Archive for January, 2013

January 30, 2013

A Little Bit of Everything

I’m writing from the way-colder-than-I-expected town of Belmont, California, a mere 35 minutes from the doctor’s office in Los Gatos and also about 35 minutes from San Francisco. I should have packed 4 pairs of pants and 1 skirt instead of 3 pairs of pants and 2 skirts. At least I brought a pair of cowboy boots. Brrrr!

We got to drive around this area today – Half Moon Bay to Sausalito with lots of ocean views.

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This is my first time to see the Pacific, and to see anything like the landscape along the ocean – mountains coming right up to the beaches, or, more often, up to the ocean itself. It was gorgeous, as you can see.

So far everything has gone according to plan. Yesterday I had a long pre-op appointment with Dr. Cook, and I have another one tomorrow. Hospital check-in is at 6 am PST, with the surgery scheduled to start at 7 and run two hours. I found out last night that I am staying overnight in the hospital, which I have never done before. I’m a bit nervous about it, particularly since I’m a tummy-sleeper (more so right after surgery) and I can’t imagine I will be allowed to sleep anyway but on my back, which might mean I don’t sleep at all. I deem this a bad thing.

Today I was on a restricted diet – no red meat, no fruit, no dairy, etc. – and tomorrow I go to a clear-liquid diet. We are trying to figure out what broth we can get that I should drink to keep me from going nuts on water and apple juice alone. Plain stuff, quite a contrast to Julia Child’s cooking, which I’ve been reading about the past couple of days in My Life in France. The book made me all kinds of pumped about cooking (this happens fairly frequently), but also saddened me because, well, being gluten-free has its drawbacks.

One thing I am doing this year is working through daily readings from the Book of Common Prayer, many of which are passages of Scripture. For whatever reason, the editors saw fit to put a bunch  of passages right around this time that relate to God surrounding, being near to, or protecting His people. These are the sorts of passages I need to be reading right now, and the Lord is making it easy for me. Of course, it also helps that I am reading through the Psalms at the moment – I knew it was likely I would need comfort, and that the Psalms are a great place to voice that need and to find the material required to preach to myself the true comfort of knowing God, of being His child.

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January 24, 2013

Lord Peter Wimsey Series in Order

This is one of my very favorite series of all time. It’s up there with the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, although a completely different genre. So I thought I’d make it easier for folks to read the books in internal chronological order than it was for me.

  1. Whose Body?
  2. Clouds of Witnesses
  3. Unnatural Death
  4. Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
  5. Strong Poison
  6. The Documents in the Case
  7. The Nine Tailors
  8. The Five Red Herrings
  9. Have His Carcase
  10. Murder Must Advertise
  11. Gaudy Night
  12. Busman’s Honeymoon
  13. Thrones, Dominations (completed – very well, I think – by Jill Paton-Walsh)

The short stories are scattered throughout. I personally recommend reading them last anyway. If you want to read them interspersed appropriately within the larger plot, I recommend getting your information from here.

I really love these books – I almost named Westley “Lord Peter Wimsey.” As awesome as the books are, and Lord Peter is, Dorothy Sayers is more awesome. If you’re more of a non-fiction/theological reader, check out some of her other books, like Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society.

January 20, 2013

So, Guess What!?!

Random facts that are new and exciting:

  • I have been feeling better! Better means I helped quite a bit making dinner by doing some actually labor-intensive work. Better means I managed to make it to church a couple of weeks ago, and have good reason to expect that I will again tomorrow. Better means I should be able to go see my students from last year play basketball sometime soon. Better means Advil actually makes enough of a difference that I could venture out to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday with my brother before he went back to college. Better means I often – maybe even usually? – walk around like a normal person. (In case you’re curious, I’ll tell you I have been typically walking around slowly, bent over, using my hands to put pressure on the most painful parts of my abdomen du jour.)
  • That fancy surgery out in California is finally on the planner in ink: January 31st! I am so excited!!! We’ll have a little bit of time to do sightseeing before the surgery, between pre-op appointments, so that will be fun. I’ve never been to California, but several regions in Cali are very high on my must-visit list. I doubt we’ll really get to see San Francisco (which is my #1), but we’ll get to explore farther south – San Jose and Silicon Valley mostly. I’m super-excited about the Winchester Mystery House – if I am only up for seeing one thing, I want it to be that. The surgery will take place near Palo Alto (read: Stanford), but the doctor’s actual office is in Los Gatos. So we’ll be kinda all over the place.
  • When I get back from surgery in California, I am getting a greyhound! His name is currently Faust, but we are so not sticking with a name with such notorious connections. (Not a fan of selling-souls-to-the-devil.) So I am changing his name to Westley. He is incredibly mellow, and when he met my nephew Brad, was soooooo patient with him. (Obviously, Brad does not know what “Don’t pull his ears” means – not that I’m planning to let that happen again.) He loves to just be near his “person,” so he’ll be a great companion for surgery recovery – and full recovery from this whole mess. Plus, I just like a dog who wants to hang out with you, who wants to snuggle or even just sit near you. He is smart and very food-driven, so it will be quite easy to train him, although he already knows a thing or two about a thing or two. IMG_0559
  • I am about to get a Tempurpedic mattress set!!! The mattress I’ve had for the last 5.5 years started to be uncomfortable last year, and in the last 8 months or so has become painful, bruising my hips and knees because of inadequate pressure support. I swapped beds with my sister’s old room, and it’s better, but I’m still bruising. So, new bed! One that will support me quite enough. I am rather jazzed. I think Westley will like it too – I anticipate he will be sleeping with me. (We got a killer deal on this thing, which is always tremendously helpful.)
  • This post by my friend Missy whose family is adopting a little girl from Ethiopia made me reexamine my expectations. It’s really easy to look at the people and not the land. I thought I’d share, since that sort of thing is good for humans – the reexamining of expectations, I mean. (Although adoption is also good for humans.)
January 16, 2013

Greyhounds loved to be massaged everywhere, but particularly on their necks and butts. Additionally, they like their noses rubbed — top and bottom. After they’ve eaten, they will often try to clean off their noses by rubbing them on your furniture, blankets or you. The more you pet them, the quicker they will bond to you.

– Claudia Presto’s Greyhound Guide

January 5, 2013

A Tale of, Oh, Eight Doctors or So (Pt. 5)

Refresher/update on the doctor list:

  • Dr. One – reproductive endocrinologist who I’ve worked with occasionally over the last 3.5 years
  • Dr. Two –old obgyn, buddy of Dr. One who did my first laparoscopy and found endometriosis
  • Dr. Three – new obgyn who actually had new ideas and gave me some options besides
  • Dr. Four – spinal pain doctor
  • Dr. Five – new internist
  • Dr. Six – gastroenterologist/allergy specialist
  • the new
  • Dr. Seven – brilliant, genius obgyn/pelvic pain specialist in California who I want to do my upcoming surgery
  • Dr. Eight – this guy should have been on the list ages ago: he’s a chiropractor/kinesiologist who has been treating me periodically since I had that parasite in 2008, which he got rid of

I’ve waited a while to update y’all to include the appointment I had today with Dr. Six. See, whenever I get blood drawn to test for the fungus antibodies, it takes weeks to get it back, and so I’m usually operating with month-old information. Anyway, here’s the situation as we think it is now.

1. The pain from the fungus has significantly lessened, almost to zero. Though apparently it will take a while for my immune system to recognize that the the fungus has been beaten back, it has apparently been beaten back. In December  So I am able to get out of bed more days than not now, and I have issues with nausea way less often. I started to suspect that the fungus was gone maybe 4 weeks ago, and Dr. Eight, who isn’t really that kind of doctor, tested me with his fancy tests and said the fungus was gone and the endometriosis is devastating me. Today, Dr. Six basically confirmed this as very possible, and said that the anti-Candida antibodies will take awhile to diminish in numbers (which explains why I’m still testing high). He told me to stop taking the bomb (Diflucan) now, and in a month to drop my Nystatin pills from 3 down to 2 a day. (Nystatin is an anti-fungal medication that keeps the fungus from growing.) We’ll see how it goes.

2. My endometriosis is back. We always thought it might be an underlying factor in this whole drama. It is the worst it has ever been. I am in pain every day, and it’s usually pretty strong pain. So while I’m not bed-bound anymore, I’m still significantly incapacitated.

I found a doctor out in California named Andrew Cook, who is a leading expert on endometriosis and pelvic pain. He uses a different method that almost all doctors to eradicate endometriosis – excision rather than burning with lasers. Excision is much more precise because you can actually see what you have done; burning leaves, well, burned looking stuff. It’s hard to tell if you got it all, especially since endometriosis has depth as well as breadth. And of course, since mine is located mainly on a nerve over my left leg, nobody wants to risk going too deep. This is why it keeps coming back there. But Dr. Cook, aka Dr. Eight, looks and excises on a microscopic, cellular level. Oh, and the stats on this doc are fantastic, especially for endometriosis patients – we are hard to treat.

SO, needless to say, I am hoping to go to California sometime in the next month-ish for surgery with Dr. Seven. It’s my best shot at beating the endo, plus it has the benefit of NOT BEING A HYSTERECTOMY. Which I really, really am glad about. (Of course, if you get a hysterectomy but don’t have an effective laparoscopy, the pain and problems can persist. Endometriosis likes to colonize.)

3. Dr. Six did some allergy testing, which I’ve never had done before. Apparently, though I don’t have celiac disease (which I was tested for several years ago), I’m allergic to gluten. I’m also allergic to, shocker, wheat. And yogurt. And bran.  And rye and casein, sort of. This is very very sad – I love cheese and milk and pizza and flour tortillas and pasta. I know there are substitutes and stuff, but there’s no denying this is going to make my life way more complicated. 😦 But I’m sure I’ll figure it out with a bit of help from Mom and the internet.

The hardest part is that right now, I can’t have much sugar. Some fruits, like pears, apples, and citrus fruits, are fine, but honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, white sugar, etc. are all off limits. Which stinks, because I have found tons of great recipes that involve all kinds of great recipes that have sugar in them. And it will be awhile, apparently, before I can eat them with any kind of regularity.

So there’s your update. Progress = good. Surgery = good. Gluten = bad.

January 4, 2013

It sounds really spiritual to say God is interested in a relationship, not in rules. But it’s not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is full of commands. They aren’t meant to stifle a relationship with God, but to protect it, seal it, and define it.”

 

Just like, if you love your wife, you’ll keep your vow to be faithful to her as long as you both shall live. The demand for sexual fidelity does not pervert the marriage relationship; it promotes and demonstrates it. In the same way, God’s commands are given as a means of grace so that we might grow in godliness and show that we love him.”

– Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Holiness

 

January 2, 2013

Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.”

– Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness

January 1, 2013

Reading – The End of 2012

The final count for the year is 167. Here are the most recent 40+. I’ve bolded the ones I liked best, and made a few notes for fun.

The Next Accident by Lisa Gardner
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lot’s Return to Sodom by Sandra Brannan
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (translated by Lowell Bair) – so it turns out Lowell Bair is AWESOME. I got all the books he’s translated from French after I read this.
The Jupiter Myth by Lindsey Davis
Dragons of the Valley by Donita K. Paul
The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams
Widow’s Might by Sandra Brannan – one heck of a mystery novel. you want a strong female? you got it in this series. (this is book 3)
Gideon’s Corpse by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Drop by Michael Connelly
Dragons of the Watch by Donita K. Paul
The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafor
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside by Greg Dutcher
The Disappearance at Pere-Lachaise (Victor Legris #2) by Claude Izner
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Death in the Floating City by Tasha Alexander
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul
Where the Lilies Bloom by Vera & Bill Cleaver
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
Sandstorm by James Rollins
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner
Gone by Lisa Gardner
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
The Professor’s Assassin (short story) by Matthew Pearl
DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul
Silent Night (short story) by Deanna Raybourn
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – yep, read the British version. really appreciate the Britishisms that didn’t make the cut in the US version.
Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli
The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
The House of the Wolfings by William Morris – this book was very influential for JRR Tolkein, and you can tell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
The Night Tourist by Katherine Marsh
The Survivor’s Club by Lisa Gardner
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain