Monday, February 26, 2007

Laffy Taffy

I forgot to mention my new imaginary boyfriend, Stephen Chow.

If you've seen Kung Fu Hustle, you have seen him. If you haven't, run out right now and get it -- whether through Netflix or Blockbuster or satellite whoseewhatsis. And while you're at it, please also get my new favorite movie, Shaolin Soccer, which cemented my love for him. There are several scenes in this movie which only get funnier on repeated viewings.

Warning: these are not epic movies with grand themes exploring deep social issues. They're just fun, and they'll make you laugh.


Hi, oh hi! How are you out there?

I am not quite so very great today. Today is one of the days when I wish that my new doctor, who is not in a rush to cut me open, was in a bit more of a rush to cut me open. Here is the news from Fibroidland: I have five fibroids. The largest one is the size of a tangerine** and it's located posteriorally (I swear that's what she said), pressing on my back and rectum. Yes, I just took it there. Sorry. But what's the Internet for if not to lay bare all the most embarrassing details of my life? You're still reading, aren't you? I thought so.

But that explains why I'm so frigging uncomfortable. Now here's the funny part, and I mean funny if you have a sick sense of humor, not funny if you like silly sophomoric Van Wilder-type humor. She wants to treat it medically, with a low-estrogen birth control pill, rather than surgically. She's hoping that the Pill will, by putting lower doses of estrogen into my body than I produce naturally, shrink the fibroids and alleviate my discomfort. Now, I can't start taking the Pill until I start my next cycle (another two weeks), and I have to take the Pill for two to three months before getting checked again to see if it's working. Are you following this?

I went to her because I was so miserable that I couldn't go on this way. And it appears that this may go on for another three months. You see what I mean about the not-so-funny part?

Now, since my symptoms come and go, at the time she told me this, I thought, Well, I like that she's being cautious and not so scalpel-happy. She's right, we shouldn't do anything rash. But since today is a bad pain day, I'm thinking, Hell, nah, this fucking sucks. Cut me open and be done with it before I do it myself!

(I know. I am not much with the threats. Even imaginary ones.)

So my friend Cee suggested this herbal remedy for the cramping. I have gone to four stores in search of it and somehow in the process managed to get an appointment for acupuncture tomorrow from a Chinese herbalist in Koreatown. The acupuncture may help. I'm desperate for anything that will work. Ironically, since my research into Chinese medicine indicates that they believe most illness of this sort can be traced to an underfunctioning liver and/or kidneys, I am loath to take over-the-counter pain medications because they can further stress the liver.

And my blogging blackout continues. I'll try to post in the evenings from home, and I promise next time to post about something other than this unrelenting ailment. Peace out.

* I noticed just before I started typing this that it's my 365th post. That is impressive perhaps only to me.

** I like tangerines. Nothing against tangerines. Tangerines! I could eat 'em like candy!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


The IT department where I work has reconfigured our firewalls or fortified them or some such gobbledygook. What this means for you is that I can apparently no longer post anything on Blogger from work (this includes comments on my own and other people's blogs). Thus, unless I am either working from home - which I do only once a week - or get up earlier or stay up and try to put two sentences together after Viva goes to bed, I will most likely be blogging even less than I currently do. I'm not sure how that's possible.

I like to blog as a quick break from work. I feel like it lets me release other stuff that's been on my mind and that helps me refocus on work. You may call that a juicy rationalization. All I know is it's 6:13 AM and I have to go begin my day. Rushing to blog is kind of sucky.

P.S. Our plasma screen TV, which we have had for less than 6 months, suddenly decided it's done with pictures this morning. We can only get sound. Sweet Dub had to leave the house to give vent to his rage. The TV was very expensive.

A quick Google search indicates that on LG plasma TVs, there is a known problem whereby the boards inside the TV blow pretty much right after the warranty expires (around 18 months). Ours is a Sanyo. Can't seem to find much about it yet. Have to go, now, or I'll be late for work. See you on the weekend, maybe.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A Fib is a Lie that Has Not Cut Its Teeth

Through a bizarre confluence of happenstance, Viva spent the past two weekends with her aunties. Two weekends ago, she spent the night with my sister Lola, and then last weekend she flew off to Vegas with my sister-in-law Diva to watch her cousin in a cheerleading competition. Being away from her parents and her everyday life has been a bit of a challenge, and thus this weekend we have been dealing with some Acting Out.

It is a toss-up whether at any minute Viva will be clinging to my leg and whining, running around the house shrieking like a banshee, or simply playing nicely, either by herself or with Sweet Dub and/or me. It is rather exhausting, although we are trying to be understanding.

The one thing that is really killing me is the weird, alternate-reality fibbing to get out of doing things she doesn’t want to do. Witness:

The scene: Viva’s room, Sunday afternoon. I am trying to get her to nap, or at the very least have 45 minutes of Quiet Time with the door closed.

Mama Blah [easing toward the door]: So just relax, and close your eyes, and –

Viva: I’m not good at closing my eyes! They keep opening by themselves!

Mama Blah: What?!

Viva: I’m not a good eye closer.

Mama Blah [suppressing a sigh]: Well, maybe you need to practice. Try this: close your eyes and count to five.

Viva scrunches her eyes shut, grinning, counts to five, and bing! Her eyes pop open.

Mama Blah: Okay, now close your eyes again – not scrunching them tight like that, just nice and easy, like this, be natural, and see: One, two, three, four, five, nice and slow, and your head will hit the pillow… Try it again, but this time, count to ten.

Viva [convinced by now I am completely insane, but willing to give it a shot]: Okay. One, two, three, four…

A few minutes later I pass by her room and I hear her counting: Twenty-eight, twenty-nine…

(Five minutes later, she has corralled her daddy into sitting with her for the rest of Quiet Time. I can hear them in there, chatting and laughing together.)

Later in the evening, she has a complete breakdown, directly attributable to being overtired. In the morning, she gets up grumpy, uses the toilet, and then refuses to wash her hands, brush her teeth, or wash her face. We actually time her, unintentionally, by pausing the TV and telling her she can’t watch TV unless she takes care of her hygiene. From the moment we pause to her actually going back to the bathroom and performing this two minutes of self-care, sixteen and a half minutes elapse. After she emerges from the bathroom, she refuses to put on pants, even though it is chilly enough that the heat has come on. Sweet Dub is completely exasperated by this point.

Sweet Dub: You are like cold molasses today. What is going on with you? Why can’t you just put your pants on?

Viva: It’s not my fault, it’s because I’m a girl.

Sweet Dub & Mama Blah simultaneously: What?!

Viva: If I was a boy, I’d be faster.

Mama Blah: Being fast has nothing to do with you being a boy or a girl, Viva, and you know that.

Viva: I just can’t put my pants on.

Sweet Dub: It’s 8:15, and I’m already exhausted.

And so the day goes. Viva celebrated the birth of Presidents Washington and Lincoln thusly, fourscore and seven minutes at a time.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rocky Road. Not the Ice Cream.

So here it is.

I have fibroids. I’ve known this for years – in fact, they complicated my pregnancy quite a bit – but my ob-gyn was always of the “watchful waiting” school. (This is a sister school to the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school, for those who are keeping score at home.) My ob-gyn said that although the fibroids grew and degenerated most painfully during my pregnancy due to the extra estrogen in my system, they would most likely shrink after pregnancy and not cause me problems. She did hasten to add that should I choose to have another baby, I should pretty much try to get pregnant when Viva was about a year old, if not before. The inference was that in order to avoid any complications – i.e., the fibroids mushrooming into bowling ball size and interfering with a subsequent pregnancy – I should have my kids very close together.

Well, since Viva is almost four, you can see how much to heart I took that advice. And at any rate, as time has passed, the fibroids have gone from being occasionally uncomfortable and annoying to an unrelenting pain in the pelvis. And back. Oy, my lower back – and sometimes the pain radiates down my right thigh. I pretty much feel like I have dull menstrual cramps every day. They also interfere with – how shall I put this delicately – elimination. In sum, they really suck.

I have been to three doctors* since the new year began. The first made me wait three weeks for an appointment and then, after a 45 minute sojourn in the waiting room, had a nurse tell me the doctor would be another 20-30 minutes and there were four people ahead of me, did I want to wait? I think you know what I told her. The second** asked me a couple of questions about my symptoms and immediately anointed me a perfect candidate for an outpatient procedure he pioneered. By the way, he doesn’t take my insurance and can’t seem to find anyone “in network” to give me a pelvic MRI. The third spent 20 minutes with me in her office, taking a thorough history of the fibroids and my symptoms and asking intelligent follow-up questions. She then had me go into an exam room, where she performed an exam, and after that, asked me to join her back in her office, where she explained what the medical options are (um, there are two, and each is only temporary) and what the surgical options are (there are basically three, although one of them – myomectomy – can be performed in varying degrees of invasiveness).

“Before I can make any recommendation, I need to see what’s in there, so I want you to get a pelvic ultrasound,” she said.

Note that she did not try to get me to have an MRI. I asked her about it and she said that it’s unnecessary in this case – basically overkill unless she suspected something else was really wrong with me. This only confirmed my suspicion about Dr. No. 2, which is that he was trying to charge me for as much shit as possible.

So I had the pelvic ultrasound on Friday – the day after I saw Dr. No. 3, at a facility she recommended, through which I was covered by my insurance. Which by the way, is a major national health insurance company, not some rinky-dink outfit run out of a trailer with a push-button phone and a ditto machine in the back.

It seems likely that I will have to have surgery. At this point, I welcome it. Yes, I am that unhappy. More on this as events develop.

In the meantime, work is psychotically crazy. Our non-profit has plunged headfirst into the icy cold waters of a capital campaign, and I am right in the heart of it, dog-paddling like mad and gasping for breath while dodging tree branches and other bits of jetsam that happen by. No worry, it will all be fine. But I clearly won’t have much time to brag about my exploits – er, I mean, blog. Unless I have surgery and am confined to bed while I recuperate. Except I guess if I can blog, I can work. Dang.

* Not one of these is the ob-gyn who delivered Viva. She is inexplicably on a leave of absence, and I miss her wise counsel. I have no idea when she will be back from leave, nor what she is on leave for. I fervently hope it is nothing bad, although in my experience, that is usually when people take leave.

** He, incidentally, is to blame for the title of this post. That is how he referred to the fibroids on my uterine wall. Yes. Classy, I know.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What You Make of It

Do you ever have that feeling, having finished a really satisfying book, that you are a bit adrift? I recently read Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I liked the book so much I wanted to dive right into another book and be as fully immersed. Eat, Pray, Love is an account of the year Liz Gilbert spent traveling through Italy, India, and Indonesia after her marriage ended. It’s full of funny, and sad, and thought-provoking moments.

I thought, when I turned 30 and had no serious man in my life, that I would be perfectly happy working on my career, traveling wherever I wanted, and spoiling my nephew rotten for the rest of my life. I accepted this future quite happily, and when I read Eat, Pray, Love, it sounded like a shortened version of what I had thought my life would be. Shortened, because I could never see any possible way that I could just take off and travel for a year, but it was my vision that I would be the adventurous, eccentric aunt who was always taking off somewhere and coming back with all sorts of interesting stories and unique trinkets.

Life is funny. Two years after I turned 30, I got set up on a Sunday morning coffee date by a woman I worked with. She was hilarious and fun, and she had a son about my age, and she thought we would really get along. Despite some trepidation, I allowed this crazy woman to arrange the Sunday morning date. This crazy woman would later become my mother-in-law, as the “let’s meet for coffee” turned into a full breakfast and gabfest. Yes, her son and I really got along. Six months later, I moved in with him, and six months after that, we were married. Viva came along 18 months later.

So here I am, married, with a kid, on a different kind of adventure. It’s full of funny, and sad, and thought-provoking moments. It’s mine, and I love it.

Although sometimes I wish I had more time to read.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Turn Energy Drainers into Energy Gainers!

Sorry for the self-help title. It just made me laugh.

Okay, so I haven’t been blogging (or responding to comments - so sorry!) so much because (a) work is crazy and (2) I’m having health issues which are draining my energy. (Doctor’s appointment* this Thursday, don’t worry.)

So, the work thing. I just wrote a really long explanation of what’s been happening here, but after re-reading it, decided to delete it. The summary is that I’ve been working on a project which culminated in a meeting with a donor Friday, which went really well. Someone else in my department (who out-ranks me, but who is not my supervisor) summarized the meeting points in a group e-mail, and in essence, made it appear that s/he had arranged the whole thing. My boss was livid. But as I pointed out to her, everyone on the distribution list knows this was my project and that this other person is trying to take credit. It’s almost laughable. I’m going to respond graciously by thanking this person for summarizing the meeting in my absence (I was out sick yesterday due to issues mentioned above) and adding some details that were left out.

Damn, I just want to do my job. Why are people so messed up?


* Did I tell you about my last appointment? After waiting three weeks for an appointment, I left work, drove across town to see another doctor in my favorite ob-gyn’s practice, waited for 45 minutes and then was told she’d been called away on an emergency C-section and they’d have to bump me to the next day!? And did I tell you that another woman in the waiting room told me this was the third time she’d been bumped? I think my head exploded that day, so maybe I didn’t write about it. It goes without saying that I'm seeing a new doctor this week.