Friday, June 21, 2013

On Being an Advocate ~ June 21, 2013

One thing this little excursion into the health care system has taught me is that it's critical to be your own advocate. Kaiser and UCSF are world class institutions but that doesn't mean that things can't get lost in translation, transition, or Timbuktu. I have an awesome medical team, but regardless of the expertise represented, you need to find your voice and speak up. Telling me no or I don't know is not an option.

We can do it
We Can Do It

It's akin to herding cats or cattle, to make sure everyone is on the same page, headed in the same direction. As Will Rogers once said "If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there".

Fine Art Print "Long Shot"

Long Shot
So whether you're looking after yourself, a friend, or family take the bull by the horns, do some research and educate yourself. If you're not satisfied with an answer take it up the chain of command. 
What I find most amusing is that the watchwords and catch phrases of my youth have come full circle and make as much sense now as they did then: assume nothing, ask questions, take notes, question authority, be a squeaky wheel and persevere. Who knew?

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Art of Giving and Other Thoughts ~ June 17, 2013

In Fall of 2009 I did a three part series called the Art of Giving. In the last few days readers have checked out one of the posts. I realized, after a quick glance, that the links no longer exist so I took a few minutes to update the trio. This of course got me to thinking and I've decided to expand on the series, to give my readers some ideas and food for thought for the coming seasons.
Autumn Fall Art Photo.8x10 Inspirational Art Photo.InspireMe Photo.Fine Art Photography.Home Decor Photo.Vintage Style Photo. Give-Autumn
Inspire Me
A lot has changed for me in the last four years and that in turn has changed my perspective, the lens through which I see the world. All of it has been documented in my blog but the gist of it is: don't waste time on the unimportant shit, appreciate the little things, choose your attitude, and cherish your friends.
Friends (Signed Print)
Friendship is Wealth
Now go play outside. Unplug from all things electronic and share yourself with the world, one on one. We're off for a picnic and a walk in the park.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Album of the Heart ~ Dec 26, 1873

An Epic
Pleasant Recollections

Oh! Flora,
Do you remember the evening,
When we departed for Mirasole's Academy?
Be when it may, it has found a place
Where precious things can ne'r erase
Mine that deep fathomless spot I claim
Flora in that ever thine abode you may maintain.
Tell the world that night can ne'r be recalled!
Me in heart does awaken such a truth
Shall we enjoy many eve in happy calm.
I can not doubt that the stars proclaim all in sooth.
Wait and we will more good things disclose
For all you will believe, being of such reality,
Thee no other shall find there, much enclosed;
Do say yes! when you hear of so a faithful immortality!
I believe you can not doubt in your heart;
Will all be mine if you so pleasant words still define;
Be what they will they came to pass and not to part
Thine such real thoughts truly have great incline.
And when we at tea did depart home ward bound,
That moment filled us with many sweet recollections of the past;
Forever shall in our future life such pleasant thoughts still resound
Too great is our life after experience of such a cast!
Good Flora:
Yours forever:
Charles W. Lieb
Friday Evening, December 26, 1873

According to the Online Archives of California (OAC) Mirasole's Academy was in San Francisco, circa 1870's. My friend Margo Metegrano found a reference under California Business Ephemera that it may have been a dance school.

The lithograph is from the Album of the Heart. The accompanying quote "Catch the white-handed nymph in shady places. To woo sweet kisses from averted faces" is from the poem "Sleep and Poetry" by John Keats, where he talks of the gods Flora and Pan. What I find truly interesting is that Flora was but 14 years old in 1873.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rolling Thunder Review ~ June 10, 2013

The weatherman said something about chance of thunderstorms and maybe a little rain. It was cloudy and windy when we took off for a walk late Sunday afternoon. We laughed about timing and figured if anything happened it would be just after we got home. Well, not exactly.

About 1:20am this morning a blinding flash and loudest thunder I ever heard sat me straight up in bed. These light shows are pretty rare around here and aren't to be missed, so we put on robes and toddled out onto the covered porch. Another great reason to have a pair of oak rockers!

How far away was the lightning?  I remember counting as a kid, but wasn't sure how it translated. Guess we're never to old to learn something new. Here's the story from the National Severe Storms Laboratory.

"Lightning heats the air around it to as much as 60,000 degrees, producing sound waves by the quick expansion of the heated air. Since light travels at 186,000 miles per second, you see the lightning the instant it flashes. But sound, including thunder, travels about a mile in five seconds near the ground. If 15 seconds elapse between seeing a lightning bolt and hearing its thunder, the lightning was about three miles away".

Flashes were going off all around us. We saw no ground strikes, but close to 500 were reported. Of the 22 small fires discovered by morning, about half were in Sonoma County. Most of the activity to the north of us, around Healdsburg and Geyserville, was followed by basso profundo, the woofer is all the way up to stun, rumbles. Think about three F-15 jets taking off in the driveway next door.

The flashes overhead were followed by snappy, crisp rolls ~ a celestial bowling alley with all lanes in action. The front yard turned to daylight every 10-15 seconds. We came back inside about 2:30am when it started to quiet down, but we continued to hear rumblings until about 7am.

Check out the photos and blog by local Kent Porter from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Kent Porter

We had watched a Weather Channel special on lightning earlier in the evening so this was Science In Action for us kids. Totally amazing!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Off the Proverbial Grid ~ June 07, 2013

The actual chemoembolization or TACE procedure was the easy part. The aftermath can kind of take the wind out of your sails for a few weeks.

Pain is the most common side effect of the procedure because the blood supply to the tumor is cut off. Also, to control the potential for bleeding, I had to lay flat on my back for at least 4 hours. Due to the fact it hurt too much to move, I was basically in that position for 24 hours. Old spines speak, then scream volumes, when parked in stationary situations for inordinate amounts of time. Spines are made for movement.
lady art print, painting, fantasy, dancer, dancing, Lake Dancer
Lake Dancer

Nausea and a slight fever are to be expected. Only with you for a few days, but totally annoying. Fortunately all are readily controlled with antibiotics, anti-nausea and pain medication. And yes, Mabel, they too come with their own side effects. Oh Boy!

Why are there never any good side effects?
Just once I'd like to see a drug commercial that says
May cause extreme awesomeness.
The potential side effects of the procedure, listed on the UCSF and other websites, are totally generic with no hint of the possibilities. I guess they don't want to scare you. However, anyone going through chemotherapy or TACE treatments is already facing a life threatening situation. We are already warriors in our own right so I don't think a few more details are going to scare any of us. 

Equus. valkyrie fantasy horse greek warrior woman warcraft art print 

What else can we expect besides the usual suspects? What about the vice clamped on my right shoulder the first week and the hive like rash on my back? Are there naturopathic or other remedies for some of these? It's the little things that can make a difference.

Sleep is one of the keys to healing. I've mastered the art of the cat nap and drop in my tracks whenever I feel the need.

While She Slept 5x7

While She Slept
One of the most important aspects of healing is the power of positive thought. Rod is my rock and I cannot say enough about our posse of friends and neighbors. They have sent energy, humor, flowers, food and thoughts. We've partnered up with one of our neighbors to share the work and the bounty of our large vegetable garden, a win-win for both families.  
I'm back to sleeping through the night and getting stronger everyday. It's taken a couple of weeks to approach normal. I've learned to be patient with myself. The rash on my back is healing, but still looks a little like I got hit with buckshot. My doc thinks it may have been a reaction to the detergent used to wash hospital linens. On her advice I'm bringing a T-shirt and my own sheet for the next session on June 24th. We went to the movies yesterday and for a mile walk today. After two weeks of inactivity, I had to start from scratch, that's been the really hard part.

Amusing aside ~ I seem to have the attention span of a six year old. I'm hoping it's temporary.

Bright note ~ I'm at my high school cheerleading weight of 125 ~ Do you serve belts with those pants?

Once again thanks to Etsy Artisans who create the pictures that speak my words.