Monday, June 26, 2017

Isn't this a fabulous outfit? Wow. 


Sorry-a bit off track there. Where was I/oh yeah/cookies. How could I leave you without cookies? 

I apologize. I had an ear thing and then I had a sore throat thing and then I wore my sorry ass out galavanting and then I've been getting ready for the possibility of my death(OhAnn) so I've been crazybusy. That's one word. 


I'm calling them Einsteins. Because they look a little bit like Albert Einstein's head. Kind of. 

This is the before. I don't know why I thought it was important that you see this, but here it is. 



And here's the after: (Note expansive counter space. I got my balancing skills on 73rd St in Manhattan.)



You can double the recipe. I did not. Not since that peanut butter/chocolate chip/garbanzo bean disaster of a nightmarish error. First time out-I go small. 

1 cup raw cashews
1 organic lemon juiced and zested
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut plus extra for rolling. 
1/2 cup dates pitted


And that's it.


Put the cashews into your magical baby food processor that you're no longer scared of and process them into a fine powder. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut, dates and process until it gets thick and moist. 

Using your hands, roll them into small balls, roll the balls in the extra coconut and put them into the freezer until they freeze. 

They are really good. I have no motivation to lie. And NEXT, I'm gonna try almost the exact same thing only no lemon-yes some vanilla and yes some of those cacao chocolate chips. Will that not be fantastic? I believe that it will.

(I think they're about 80 calories a go for those that are counting.)

-------
Other things.

This is not earth shattering unless you haven't thought of it yet. It's a cantaloupe chopped up into open-the-fridge-door-and-get-something-to-eat size pieces. Also available in watermelon. 


----------------


Another thing. Marilyn showed this to me. And today, I added it to a whole wheat tortilla that had some hummus and tomatoes and cucumbers on it. Big flavor. Nice.


If you're looking for it? It's near the sushi. Not by the salad. Go figya. 

-------

Uhh what else. Well I'm distracted because of the surgery. I have to get everything cleaned up and seriously organized and I keep getting near these conversations where I'll drift away in my head thinking, Is this the way you wanted to spend your life? That's not a very cool/fun person to be around, is it? Oh except for this. This is magnificent. 


Okay so, Lindsay and I went to the American Library Association Annual Convention and I believe we walked for nearly six hours with two little breaks-it was CRAZY. We came upon the virtual reality booth and I stepped up because I have to try, don't I? (I was a little worried that I'd get dizzy or something but I was okay.) Anyway, I got all suited up and suddenly I was in outer space and then an elephant was sniffing me and I was standing in the back of a canoe and then a dinosaur wanted to meet me. I was really enjoying it. Super cool. And then a basketball player was(for lack of a better word)charging me. Is that a basketball term? Like he was full force driving his whole basketball dribbling soul into my universe and REALLY LOUD I shouted SHIT! 

It was at that very moment I remembered I was at a professional event and that's when Lindz got this shot. 




Fantastico. 









Saturday, June 17, 2017

I have chosen a cookbook. 




You know where this falls on the huge scale? Way way way at the end. I was working really hard there (for a bit) trying to find something that might actually work for me. 

I burned so many calories auditioning library books. 

Here is one of my treasures. This is my Mom's copy of Everyday Cooking by Dean Ornish. I don't have much of her stuff but I do have this. Check it out.



She used to mark the date every time she made something. Little tiny notes. So cool. 

Clearly my people like to have a book.


I am a two time crushing failure at Weight Watchers. The first time I lost so much weight people thought I was seriously ill but I was eating 100% artificial nonsense just so I could get the coveted stickers and lame applause and oh yeah, shrink. I am not so sure that didn't so some serious damage to my body/soul-eating no calorie bread and chocolate pop but it all came back like a freight train.  Woo woo.

Next time, I just couldn't bear the chatting parts of the WW meetings. It's always the fattest fattest fattest person that has to be telling everyone else how much they hate the taste of water so they're using Crystal Lite and I just cannot take that nonsense let alone PAY for it. 

NFW. 

I also have a real problem. If someone says I can't have something? I have to go get it. Like right now. It's ridiculous. Is it because I was raised partially in front of television commercials?  Or am I just weak. Yeah, that too. 

Have you even been to Overeaters Anonymous? You're not even allowed to actually name the offending food. Like you can't say, "I stood there and ate an entire row of sweet, delicious brownie edges." Because just the speaking aloud of such a phrase might set someone like me willy nilly dashing off to the Jewel with a wooden spoon and a quarter cup of oil and maybe an egg.  

I believe I am medically excluded from the possibility of gastric bypass so that could never happen. 

(Hey word to the wise? Now is NOT the time to approach me and suggest I ask for a tummy tuck while I'm in there. Just FYI. If you value your front teeth and all. I do manual labor. Don't forget that.) 

There's this super cool looking detox cooking class program I would love to go to but it is WAY too steep for my budget AND, I was looking at the offerings-especially something like a fresh ginger lime(I'm making this up)morning tonic  and my head went all Long Hair Salon in Manhattan.

Do you remember Crystal Gayle? Famously famous for having extremely long hair? Yeah well. She got her hair done in Manhattan and once I went to that salon. The Long Hair Salon. 

They washed her hair-they told me-in a series of sinks. (I also went to Katie Couric's dermatologist but that is a story for another day.)

I wanted to grow my hair out and I never could, so I made this appointment and they did like this...how do I describe it. It was as if they actually cut three hairs off my entire head. And then they showed me how I could twist my bangs and pin them up while they were growing out(I actually used this advanced knowledge last Halloween when I dressed as an Old School Librarian.) And That Was IT.

And I remember feeling like....wait a second. Did I just pay you (I don't remember how much but I was an art school kid so it was something to me)for something that if I did exactly nothing-it was going to happen all by itself? 

I try to avoid similar behavior. Someone trying to sell me something that was gonna happen anyway. 

For now? I can smash ginger and pinch lemons. It will have to do.

I did a lot lot lot of reading about Whole30. I was nearly ready to do their vegetarian version.(I would be scared to do the meat. Not me/not now.) I even printed out the grocery shopping list but this book fell into my hands and it fit my criteria. 

There has to be a 'cookie'. There has to be a 'pizza'. There has to be some sort of cheerful 'drink'.  And this is one of the physicians food plans that was recommended by the doctor who ran the Preventing Recurrence class at Gilda's Club. I'd be a maroon if I didn't pay attention to that, no? 

The first thing I made was a salad with parsley, red onion,  tomato and white beans with a little splash of balsamic. Poor P. Not a fan of eating stalks of parsley, or tomatoes or red onion. He went around them all and pretending to enjoy eating white beans. 

And now I go around saying things like, these are little cancer killers-referring to the 3 or 4 walnuts halves we have in our breakfast gruel. Who would not kill to be my dining companion? 

: )

The breakfast is solid and I honestly actually love it. Like 1/3ish cup rolled oats. Big splash of pomegranate juice. 1 banana sliced. Cancer killers(about 4 walnut halves). A big pinch of raw sunflower seeds. And about a cup (but a half cup works as well) of frozen berries. The first organic bag came from Costco and when those ran out I went to Aldi. I don't think they're organic because they're awfully pretty. Three and a half minutes in our tiny microwave. Comes out SUCH a pretty color. Yay. 

Here is a funny thing.

As soon as I officially picked a cookbook? (And a philosophy. Nutritarian is what it called.) The very next day I attempted to cheat. I was in an office cafeteria and there were 2 soups. One was Fresh Vegetable and the other was Tortilla Soup and my hand went STRAIGHT for the Tortilla-I cannot explain this behavior except to demonstrate what I am up against. MYSELF. Ha! Guess what. The Tortilla cauldron was empty. I had to have the Vegetable. 

The cosmos had aligned in my favor. 

Later that day, I was going to be walking past a plate full of cookies that has always been part of my route. I didn't even think about it until I did think about it and I thought, oh man what am I going to do? And my head is all wondering and worried and thinking and guess what. Not ONLY was the plate empty. It had been REMOVED. 

The universe is on my side even when I am not. 

Today I swung by Super Tony's on my way back from the gym. I am obligated to show up at the gym X number of times every week and that is a Really Good Thing For Me as you can imagine. I wasn't all into it today but I showed up. 

So, Super Tony's. I wanted some watermelon and some Apple Slices for my Dad for Father's Day which is tomorrow eventho my Dad just said that Father's Day means nothing to him I said, yeah? Too bad. We're coming over. 

Apple slices are like a pan of pie. Do they have them where you're from? He used to be so happy if we ever had apple slices which was rare. We'll see if he likes them now. 

Anyway, you know how this goes. Instead of just watermelon and apple slices I'm pushing the cart and picking up some stuff  and at some point-I guess near the cash register-I looked down and I thought, whoa. Who's cart is THIS? It was so beautiful and wonderful and red. 


"Things that are red for 100 Alex. "


So I secretly pull out my phone to take a picture so I can remember and because it is Super Tony's, the lines are long and I get to talking to the cute/nice couple behind me about the strategy of picking a fast lane. We had both fallen for a line that had two men with hardly any stuff in front of us so we thought we'd be out in a flash but NO. The first dude had these mysterious-have to be punched in one at a time-coupons so there was plenty of time to chat and the man of the couple said, Wow, you got some healthy looking groceries right there. 

And you know how I felt?  

100% yay me. 









Sunday, June 11, 2017

The first strange thing. I got there early and they took me early. What?!?!

This was the post ultrasound check-in with my endocrinologist who's handshake could drop you to the floor. 

I have excellent news to share with you. She might have said excellent, she might have said wonderful. Something along those lines. The lymph node we had been concerned about? It looks fine now. Everything looks fine. 

Okay uhhh I didn't know we had been concerned about a lymph node. I really didn't. So I was all like, uhh great! 

Then she actually tried to trick me-which seems 500% crazy, doesn't it? But not to worry. I am on top of my thyroid medication game. She said, So you're taking it with your coffee? Umno, says me. Empty stomach? she asks. Yeah, that's what you told me to do, right? Very good, she said. Phew. I passed. 

The pressure. The pressure. 

And as it turns out-all of that-'If you're going to get a cancer-thyroid is the one to have' nonsense(I think I've even said that myself but I'd have been referring to the actual surgery)isn't entirely true. You're looking at a new ultrasound every six months until you clear a certain period of time hurdle and then, once a year but guess what. You can still get it. Even if you don't have a thyroid. 

Fer f!@k sake. 


Anything I can be doing to avoid that? No. Anyway I'd know if something was up? Only medical testing. Is there some sort of danger in letting it go on for a whole year? No. It's a slow growing cancer. See you in December. 

----

Blood test I was supposed to get before the aforementioned appointment. Oh hell, I dunno. I thought they got enough blood last week but nope. You have to give each doctors name and so I arrived unprepared. Check minus for me. 

Blood test goes wrong or maybe not even wrong but when the phlebotomist starts yelling for someone to come in there-while the needle is still stuck in my arm-I'm gonna tell you, it's disturbing. 

Medical people seem to think it's no big deal but they're not me and I was alarmed. 

Silver lining. I now have the number to the patient advocate and I'm putting it in my phone. 

If you take away nothing from all my bloggery? Remember this: As soon as something feels wrong in hospital land? You have to speak up as it is going down. Ask for the manager. Do not wait till you file your lawsuit, you might be dead. 

You're welcome. 
----


More-no eating for 4 hours-time to kill between the appointment and the cat scan. I tried to read this local author I'd seen interviewed on TeeVee (it was a lot of pressure to put on one writer, wasn't it?)but I had this sense that her words had been shoved through 27 editing machines. Or maybe 28. Scrubbed clean of what was probably it's charm. Too bad. 

I say that because I'm feeling the same way about my own book manuscript but I have an idea. Ding. 


Maybe next I'll try her first one.


Next up was le chat scan avec contrast. A 2:40 appointment. Yeah, more drinking of the goo. In this case orange blossom, I believe. I don't know what was going on with the cosmos but I was actually able to toss it on back. (With the straw, of course.) Also I made the appointment after lunch so I wasn't empty hungry. Know what I mean?




There was a misunderstanding within that whole cat scan prep process-the further away from it I get the more I think it might have just been having this day scheduled the way I did. 

I think I do better with one appointment at a time-but when they said 'take off everything except your underwear and your socks' and I replied that I wasn't wearing any socks-I understood it that I shouldn't be going in there with my giant buckled sandals. Right? I wouldn't put those in a washing machine. Would you? 


See that pink-ish thing in the lower left corner? 
That's where the trouble began. 


I took my clothes and sandals off, locked my stuff in a locker and sat in this little carpeted area and waited. 





Well, in came the nurse and all of a sudden I seem to have been cast as one of the Beverly Hillbillies not having been gifted with the knowledge that I should be wearing my sandals. (For the record, I don't wear water shoes in the C-ment pond either. I can't stand them. You be scared of germs. I'll be over here goofing around.)

The nurse sat down next to another patient and remarkably rudely made some comment about my lack of footwear(honest? I thought they'd be bringing me some of those stylin' yellow socks. I could have even brought my own.) and the other grandmotherly type patient in the waiting area chimed in with an observation that she'd even seen a staple on the floor. 

Oh HIPAA where art thou. 

Got through the next bit which is where they kinda make a little port for the contrast stuff to be pushed through. (That's currently the little purple spot between my wrist and elbow.) 



Maybe some of the most unattractive patterns known to man. 

And at about 4:15, I was standing next to the cat scan machine explaining the weird conversation I'd had with the prep nurse and about 15 minutes later I was on the phone in the hallway explaining to the Head of All Nurses what had gone wrong with the instruction process and what changes they might consider in the future. 

I continue to make contributions to medical science. 

And PS: Barium goes out like a lion. Go straight home. 'Nuff said. 

------

Surgeon Appointment. Me, P, the surgeon who resembles BD Wong reprising his role on SVU-same slightness physically, same quick intelligence, maybe a bit more intensity and one med student. 

We are in and we are going to be looking at the CatScan and I am like, is this going to be gross? And the 2 med people are like no. Not at all. And I'm like, are you sure? Because I don't think I'm ready for that right now and they assure me and all of a sudden there I am on the screen in black and white  COMPLETELY exposed. 

I mean like every inch of my circumference visible to everyone in the room. Including things you'd probably be good with remaining unseen except by the worms that might be eating you in the afterlife. I mean All Of Your Stuff. 

Yipes. 


AND, if that's not weird enough and I believe it is-they can easily scroll through me. Like I'm watching as my tail bone appears and gets bigger and then smaller and then gone. That's what I am focussing on because the rest of it just freaks me out completely. (You look like a bag of X-rayed charcoal briquettes kinda/sorta.) Sorta like this only softer with bosoms. 

There is a lot of talking and at one point I am completely excluded from the conversation and I am looking at the med student like: hmm I wonder what would happen if I just walked out right now. But there needs to be another surgery.

The top of the giant incision(why did I never measure that thing?) has opened up. 


I drive the conversation(because I got straight A's in that one semester of creative problem solving when I attempted grad school)into: In what ways can we make this surgery better than the last one because we can all agreed that the last one completely sucked and a half-o-rama. 

And the doctor took a big slice of time to really have me consider if Loyola was the best place for me which was awkweird because based on my limited resources, what are we going to say and after this strange period of silence, I said I was willing to go in with an open mind if I could be the first surgery of the day(barring some natural disaster)and he said  yes and he'd try and get a post-surgery room on the 4th floor as opposed to the 7th? (It might be the other way around. The taking in of all of this was A LOT.) and we purposely planned this avoiding the holiday weekend because that had not gone so well last time  and he told us his vacation schedule and asked us what our summer plans were and we were all like: uhh we're sort of waiting to know about THIS you know, before we book our trip to the Rivera and stuff. 


And the next thing you know we are driving home and I'm looking at all the people and I say, how come I have to be the one that has this shit? 

I'm not the worst behaved person in the universe(this is my self pity phase-luckily it's relatively short)and I start picking out people on the street that are CLEARLY behaving way worse that I ever did. Look at that lady-I point out a huge woman floating by-how come she doesn't have this shit? Or that guy-a man completely sunburned smoking a cigarette. How come he doesn't get this? 

We spend the rest of the evening relatively stunned. 

------

The next day, I decided the only thing to do was to get myself as strong as possible and eat at the tippy top of the food chain. I've got a month. 

Game on.







Saturday, June 10, 2017


Well, I got the results from the cat scan, and what I'd like to say about the entire episode can be summed up in one word. 







Sunday, June 4, 2017




"Don’t Let Fear of Cancer Recurrence Ruin Your Life or Threaten Your Health"




It was Thursday morning. I was working. My phone was in the desk drawer. There was a message. It said: MISSED CALL-LOYOLA. 



Here's me: HOLY 






                             F!@K. 


I didn't say it. I just thought it. I had JUST had that ultrasound on my neck and the tech said the doc would have the results the next day and I didn't get any kind of emailed report so here was this message and that had to be bad, didn't it? They don't call if it isn't extremely serious. 


I walk around for about five or seven minutes because it is not the appropriate time to be making personal calls. My eyes are like 2 half moons. The top half. Unusually wide open. 

Blink blink. 

I look over to my co-worker. Can't say anything to her. Her Mom died from cancer just moments ago. Okay months. Maybe more than 12 even. But it's not enough time to increase her burden. 

Take a moment, pull it together, tap the message, get ready...


It's from Loyola. The fitness part. It's about the pool closing. Oh oh oh oh. ya think to yourself. Oh-verreaction.


Where is the cure for that?
---------
I filled cups of water for Loyola's 5k at the zoo today. To support pediatric cancer research. Everyone was exceptionally kind to me as a former frequent flyer(?)and I ended up filling cups and cheering for runners with a cheerful crowd of people. Win win win win win. 
-------




I texted this to my professionally funny friend who was also a visitor to Cancertown around the same time as me. 

We get a day?!? she wrote. 
Yeah, texted me. It was on my Dad's calendar. 
We shouldn't have to go to work, said she. 
A parade would be nice, said me. 

Then we lol-ed till the cows came home. 


Moo.