Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blood Red

My hair always changes. It was very, very long, then short, then sort of inbetween. Now it's about shoulder length, but last summer it was really short. (St likes short hair. Weird, for a man, yes?)

Last summer also found me with skin cancer on my scalp. It seems I have a creative cowlick right where my hair parts on top. The center of it must have been exposed to sun way too many times. I had the spot tested, then removed, then removed again because he didn't get it all. And this was from a plastic surgeon. I love the guy, so I tolerated a second removal. Then a cyst grew in the same spot and I had that removed. Four surgeries on top of my head. It doesn't get any better than that, does it?

Why am I mentioning this? Well, it seems that last summer I allowed the child to take a very bad picture of me when I came home after the first cancer removal. I allowed it because I had so much blood in my hair that I liked the color. I was on my way to dinner at Andiamo (is that a national chain or local? I am not sure, but it has really great food!) and I was afraid to subject a brand new surgery site to shampoo, so I went with all the blood in my hair. The color really was outstanding.

At another time I was fiddling with my new Android phone and decided to actually stick that picture of myself into Google Talk. I think that picture is now available of me any where in Google. Blogger is part of Google. Therefore, ya'all can see my blood red hair.

I need to change that picture. Sadly, I don't have a better one. Yet.

Good news: I just found out that I am going to get my favorite whine! I am going to Florida in a few weeks! Life is good after all. I haven't been any where since February and I am really, really stir crazy for travel. Martha, where are you?? I will be not that far from you!

Thank you to those who have let me know I was missed. It felt very good! I plan to catch up on everyone else as soon as I can! Did I hear that Remo retired finally? Oh, my. What else have I missed?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Good and Bad

In the past, I had done entries listing good and bad situations. They were fun to write, and hopefully entertaining to read. However, this won't be one of them.

Has anyone noticed I was gone? I didn't really want to disappear into the ether. I just could not bring myself to write about what happened.

The light of my life was taken away. Molly died not long after my last entry. It was not from her Addison's Disease, which was always well under control. Her blindness had no bearing. I don't like to talk about it much any more, but it was medical and I miss her so much every day that surely some part of her lingers with me.

I do not mean I have a shrine in my house and I cry at the drop of a hat. I mean if I see a squirrel run across the yard I might smile thinking about how much Molly loved to chase squirels. She loved meeting other dogs and would have been great friends with Chester, the new beagle puppy who moved in around the corner. Chester has Molly's unusual voice, and I laugh whenever I hear him.

Baby, my other beagle, has been an absolute delight. She always lived in Molly's shadow. Any other dog would have - Molly's personality was much bigger than she herself was. Baby has turned out to be quite a lady and minds her manners much more than I would have anticipated. We have become very close, and I am glad we are having time now to just ourselves.

Molly sent me Bubba. My daughter adopted a Jack Russell puppy just before Molly died, and named him Boston. He was Bubba to me from the first minute I saw him. I know Molly sent him - he even has her facial colorings. He has her large personality and can try the patience of the most devout saint. He can drive me batty, but bottom line, Bubba was sent by Molly and we have a bond. Luckily Bubba and Baby are good buds. Molly liked him too, for the few times she saw him.

I visited ST for a weekend every month at least for over a year. We had a lot of fun driving all over VA and a few neighboring states. I even had a short break from my vertigo and was able once to ride in the car 10 hours home with him. Earlier this year he left his job there and moved back here. He found a new job here that he seems delighted with. The bad part is I haven't been out of town since he came back. The good part is that with all those little trips I finally was cured of my PreTravel Freak Mode Dance and can pack and get out of the house with little or no fanfare. As far as flying, it got easier once I realized I could pack a couple of 3 oz bottles in my little baggie that I had to hand over to TSA for inspection. Those bottles would contain Grey Goose. ST and I are as close as ever.

My vision is all fixed now. Both eyes have had cataract surgery and my vision is 20/20 for reading and 20/20 for distance. No problems other than some loss of night vision. I had excellent night vision before, so this has been an adjustment. Nevertheless, for someone who used to be legally blind without correction (could not read the big E on the chart or sometimes even find the chart) this is absolutely amazing. It was worth sleeping on the floor because I was not allowed to lift Molly onto the bed for a week after surgery. Her blindness caused her to lose her ability to jump onto the bed.

Let's see, medical issues. Hm. After seeing 3 or 4 neurologists and who can remember how many other doctors, I finally managed to figure out myself what caused my vertigo. Amazing, isn't it? The sleeping pills I took for 25 or 30 years were the actual culprit. Not one doctor ever mentioned the possibility that medication could have caused it. The vertigo became quite unbearable in time. I had a short break when I stopped the sleeping pills and changed to the new sleep med that is a liquid. It's called Xyrem. It also gave me vertigo, but since the stuff is a liquid, I could adjust the dosage very carefully, so when the vertigo got worse, I could reduce the dose. Two weeks later, I would get a touch of relief. But finally I could not take it any more. I totally stopped it two months ago.

Within a few weeks, I noticed changes. I was no longer dehydrated. My vertigo lessened, but very, very slowly. The extremely loud tinnitus did not go away, sadly. (Also caused by the Xyrem.) My mouth was no longer dry and it turned out I did not have an auto-immune disease - I finally insisted it be tested about a year ago. I think the problem was just due to dryness. Oddly, my hair color holds longer now. It was fading rather quickly while I took the Xyrem. No idea why. Oh, and I don't sleep. Well, I expected that.

Bad changes - all my fibro symptoms came back at once. Much pain from that, but I am getting used to it again. Then my restless leg syndrome came back - I had completely forgotten I had it and was surprised that the Xyrem had not only cured the fibro but also the RLS. Odd.

Now that my vertigo is so much improved that I call it vertigo light, I am getting out more. Driving is no longer a terrifying challenge. I can walk without having to fight against fear of falling or having to guess where the floor is or which way is up. I even bought a bicycle and rode it once before it got too cold out. In the spring, I plan to start jogging again.

Between Molly's loss and the vertigo, mostly the vertigo, I pretty much had holed up here at home and read most of the time. I did finally branch out to watching movies with Netflix, but I still have no desire to watch television. I have watched some series through Netflix - Dexter, Bones, and True Blood come to mind, but I have also read all the books those series are based on. I never did stop my long walks, but they were quite a challenge at times.

ST and I walked a lot in VA. Once weekend we went to the west side of the state to the Shanandoah state park and walked a bit on the Appalachian Trail. That was exciting, especially when we spotted four bears in a tree. ST seemed confident to walk under the tree, but why not? He only had to outrun me. Luckily, the bears stayed put. Another weekend we drove down to Virginia Beach. That was wonderful! I loved VA and miss it.

Sometime we walked on a trail that was just lovely. Once I got stung by a wasp right through my shirt. I wasn't sure if I was going to have a reaction or not, and ST had no idea what to do. I reminded him we had passed a fire station a few miles back, and suggested he drag me there if necessary. Our walks on the trails were often 12 miles long, and in 90+ degree heat. I miss those walks. We have the same rails to trails here, but for some reason I really liked the one we used there the best. Maybe because it often wandered near civilization and we could find real bathrooms?

I hope I am forgiven for my long, long absence. Somehow I just wasn't able to put the words down about Molly. It makes it so final.