Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Week that Was

Wednesday night was Restaurant Week with the Moms. Downtown restaurants in Ann Arbor twice a year have special menus for a week. We go to the vegetarian restaurant Seva as some of us are vegetarians of different degrees. I have red curry lentil soup, portabella ravioli, a flourless chocolate  torte along with lots of citrusy IPA beer. We laughed and exchanged stories for 3 hours, lots of fun, then out into the cold to try to remember where I left that car. I swore I had parked it on a certain street but no, it was not there. It was very late, dark and cold and I was by myself...not a good feeling but fortunately I found it a block away.

Thursday the family came in two far apart in time flights. The Seattle sister and her husband stayed at Shanna's mother-in-law's house while we awaited the New Yorkers. Finally at ten at night, they were able to surprise Steve. With the kids and their kids and significant others, we were 15 people: hard to move from one place to another all together. We just stayed at our house some of the time drinking lots of wine. We had a good time sharing stories, some of which I had not heard before. Sample: Steve was 8 years old or so sitting in class with a pair of scissors. He decided to cut off his eyebrows hair by hair fascinated by the pile of hairs forming. Soon it was time for recess. A girl took one look at him and screamed. As soon as he got home, he decided he needed to cover up his cutting job. For the next month or so, he borrowed his mother's eyebrow pencil and filled the eyebrows back in. No one seemed to notice, not his brother who is just a bit younger who shared his room or his mother, who we called to see if she remembered. This story sounds a lot better after you drink a bunch of wine I am now realizing.

The adults, most of them at least, went out  for Happy Hour on Friday which turned into a nice dinner. On Saturday, some of us went to Oliver's birthday party in Canton and looked at the hole in the ground that will be Shanna's house. This is how much progress there has been in 4 months. I swear my parent's house was finished in less than 3. Part of Josh's job, as with Julie who deals with marketing, is to go to the auto show. They took one of our Seattle visitors as he is a car guy though mainly he is interested in fixing up very old foreign models.  He usually is working on several  car carcasses at once. Not sure if he ever finished one.

Then we had the big birthday dinner proceeded by the giving of gifts that I wrote about previously.

But we all had good talks: topic number one...worries about our kids. Will parenthood responsibilities ever end? Not any time soon for us. The next week was full of dealing with various unpleasant issues.

Sunday, sadly they all went home. Our house is so much quieter and lonelier now. We went for a drive to look at places for Josh to live. Living in Dexter will no longer be practical; he .has to move east.

Monday was the day of ice that resulted in the death of one of our cars. It was officially junked today. This was the car I drove loaded with baby stuff across Canada and NY to meet my new grandson. I drove it again with Naomi a few years later to retrieve a crib from Boston. It had a great sound system and a moon roof. This was the car that Josh drove into a deer. The body was made of plastic so the impact completely shattered the front end. But the car looked great as the plastic doesn't rust or even fade. It still looked new though I haven't seen the car since the last 2 accidents. We also had  a meeting with the financial advisor to deal with our portfolio. Hate those meetings..never know if we are doing the right thing but by doing nothing, we are doing a lot of harm. Still to  do, transfer all of the 401K into an IRA so the kids will not be socked with extra penalties if we were to die at the same time. Also need to put everything into a trust.

Tuesday was the day of taking care of a zillion issues. I stayed back with the grandbabies. By the time I was free to run, the thunderstorms started. Our former place of employment's stock went way up. We sold even more of it.

On Wednesday, it was in the fifties. I was full of pent-up energy and went for a run lasting more than 1.5 hours. On it I saw the orthopedic resident(who by now must be a 'real' doctor) out biking with a mud stripe up his back. I met him in the ER way back when I was dealing with my broken arm. The ER resident wondered about my story that I had tripped running. He actually thought I might be escaping an abusive husband. He could not believe a woman my age would be running for any other reason. Then the orthopedic guy stepped in and said he himself, had seen me run plenty of times while he was biking (and that maybe I should bike instead). I have seen him out running with the marathon training group that seems to love my scenic beauty road too. No scenic road for me now. It will take a while for the ice to melt there.

Today, Thursday, more snow. Snow, snow, go away. I hate worrying about all the accidents it causes. I ran at the Y before my LiveStrong class as this month was not great for running and I try to keep to a certain quota. We had Ms. Maya again as Naomi went out to take care of more business. At least she recovered from her bad cold that had made her extra crabby the two days before.

There is more that I didn't cover here that will change our lives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TV Breast Cancer

So Parenthood had its season finale wrapping up several plot lines with happy endings particularly that of Kristina who was treated for BC that invaded her nodes. Big Drama: her liver enzymes were off ...could be liver mets. She can't consider going to Hawaii with her husband because she might be busy dying. But her liver scans were clear so her doctor told her that she was Cancer Free! Ah big relief. Again no doctor can ever truthfully tell you that you are cancer free. At best, there is no evidence of disease. and then he told her that after 5 years, then she will be truly cancer free. Maybe she had TNBC but with ER+, the risk of recurrence  is still there even after 10 years. And will Kristina have to take estrogen blockers? No mention of these though taking them doesn't play to the audience as well as losing the hair.

Reality check: Liver enzymes are often screwed up by chemo. Mine certainly were but no scans were suggested to see if I had liver mets.

And there was poor Sybil on Downton Abbey in childbirth  being attended by two doctors: one who was titled and got his medical degree probably by just buying it; the other someone who actually had a medical degree and experience but no title. Whose opinion matters most? Ah the one with the title. So Sybil went into eclampsia  dying of a seizure because Dad listened to the gentry. Delivery is the cure for eclampsia so  I was surprised that she died given that she was lucid for a bit after the delivery but seizures can occur even up to week after delivery. Now Tom really has a reason to hate the English gentry. Next step: burning down Downton.

We have a brief period of warmness. I didn't go my class yesterday because I wanted to run in the relative warmth. By the time I finished my baby sitting duties, torrential rains and lightning greeted me. The strikes seemed really close. I was left feeling really grumpy and put out because we' re stuck dealing with issues that really aren't ours. I tried to make up some of the miles today so I feel a lot better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Google Images of Me

This is what you get:
And a bunch of other structures of things I made. There also is a structure of Taxol, which I did not make. There are no photos of me though some of my family. Strange.

And what are those things above good for? They are inhibitors of fatty acid amide hydrolyase (FAAH). The body makes several natural cannabinoids to deal with pan but they are quickly degraded by FAAH. The thinking is  if we inhibit these endogenous cannabinoids (which look completely different from the exogenous  cannabinoid THC, BTW), the body would be flooded with natural pain soothing chemicals. It worked in animals at least. Not sure where this project is now. Steve had gone to England for a month to make our candidate (structure NOT above) in huge quantities.

Freezing  rain: My least favorite aspect of winter. Yesterday we had it. Shanna lives on top of a steep hill (her husband parked at the base of the hill for safer exits) so there was no taking her van down that hill. Josh delayed going to work  for 2 hours but the roads still were glare ice. And one of our cars was totalled by a certain someone. The car was almost 10 years old so no big loss but it will not be up to us to replace it no matter what the hardship will be to the driver. His 4th accident with that car in less than a year!!!!!!

With the weather and the visit I did not get much opportunity to run so I was chomping at the bit. Even though it was above freezing, this ice still would not melt. Finally, just before dark, I went down to the river path where a small portion had been cleared. Back and forth; back and forth. But it felt good to be moving again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Scenes from two birthdays

Josh and Julie
Making a wish. Note cane equipped with a horn and rear view mirror.

Steve's new inflatable walker

Sister-in-law, Naomi and Julie

Land of the Giants

Birthday cherry pie and pear tart. Steve does not like cake. Favorite dessert?  Right here

Oliver opening presents

Tess having fun at Chuckie Cheese

Hard to find a place for 14 on a Saturday night. If we had Maya, it would have been 15. A great time Daniel is sleeping

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Steve turns sixty

Steve appearing surprised when greeted by his bicoastal family the other night

Josh and Julie
Steve's sister and her husband and Steve's brother and his wife flew in from Seattle and NYC the other day to surprise Steve for his 60th birthday. Was he surprised? Who knows? But I am sure that he is genuinely touched and is enjoying the attention, love and laughter that comes with visit. The grandbabies get to enjoy their great aunts and uncles and our children adore their aunts and uncles. And everyone got to meet Julie.. Since the divorce is final, I guess I can announce that Josh has a significant other, Julie. Yep, he went from Julia to Julie.She is a vivacious, fun loving account manager for an internet advertising agency. Josh appears smitten. And as you can see, she is quite stunning.

It is in the middle of the night and I can't sleep, per usual. I think Steve's sister is in my alternate bed in Josh's room..not sure but I don't want to surprise her. Steve's brother and his wife are in Naomi's old room and at least Steve's brother-in-law, also a Steve is in our lower level 'suite'. They all were warned that Steve keeps the house way cooler than they are used to and brought long underwear. I bought an extra down blanket to keep the brother warm.

I really hated being without the internet most of the week. Things still aren't fixed. No Wifi for instance. Perhaps the router needs replacing. Who knows? Not the Comcast guy who was here for over an hour. Fortunately we have some computer experts staying with us. I did use my extra time to reorganize at least some small parts of the house. We hung at least fifty photos. And I cleaned out, at least partially, the lower level. Still lots more to be done.

 And it has been cold... seven below the other day. Fortunately  it was my Y day though walking up a half mile hill into a stiff wind wearing wet gym clothes with that cold was not fun. On the 'warm days' now defined as above ten, I ran. Cold snow is not as slippery as 'warm' snow. I didn't get to run yesterday due to too much snow and too little time. Today, the actual birthday, will be devoted to Steve and family activities. It is really fun having everyone here. Lots of interesting stories and laughter.

And it is not just Steve's birthday but also my oldest grandson's. Oliver is turning F-I-V-E. He requested Chuckie Cheese. Just five years ago, I was racing across the northern stretches of NY and a good chunk of Ontario hoping I wouldn't miss his birth. 750 miles. I did get there in time but just as Shanna was getting ready to push, the top of the head could not be felt. Yep someone should have checked for it way before. But all turned out well.

So today, sledding, Chuckie Cheese, the auto show  and then the big birthday dinner. But Steve already got his best present.....

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Ah to have a computer again!!! Though it may be short lived. For instance, the router had to be disconnected to make this work. The computer guy was here for over an hour.

I've been taking this time away from the computer to reorganize my house after years of neglect. Above are photos from Maya's  doctor's visit yesterday. All is fine aside from her lack  of speech except her iron levels are now 12 when then should be 20 and over. Since she does seem to eat a good variety of things, the doctor thinks she may carry the sickle cell trait. Some of Don'tae's siblings do. He presumably does not but  perhaps his mother was confused on which kid has it and which does not. Or he is confused. She is 60%tile in weight and 70%tile in height.

A surprise is here in the works....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


No f###ing internet so if you have been trying to get a hold of me via e-mail etc. you are outta luck. So so frustrating. I am using my phone as a hotspot but...I am almost out of data this month no thanks to a certain redhead so this is it. Comcast was to resolve this today but now it will be Thursday @##@@@&**!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Rococo Bathroom

This is my latest project: the great hang up. We have framed quite a bit of stuff yet it remains in unhung piles. Steve's excuse? We will move and then we will just have to take everything down. From my grandmother, I inherited all this gilt frame stuff with porcelain pictures of what looks to be Marie Antoinette and her friends. Suffice it to say, this is not my taste. But do I throw it away? I put all the gold frame stuff in our lower bathroom, the one with the hideous wallpaper that I vowed to take down before we ever moved in...almost 30 years ago.

When Julia moved into our lower level for almost a year, I said that she could take down the garish wallpaper. She ripped down one thin strip and called it a day. ( I have since taped it back to the wall). This bathroom is on our list to be remodeled but until then (whenever that is), these bizarre pictures will have a home. Are they worth anything? Probably not. I took one of the oil paintings to an antique appraiser and he said the picture itself was worthless but the frame could be worth $100 or so. Steve loves to watch Antique Roadshow and has some fantasy that these porcelain paintings are actually valuable.

Still to hang up..lots of black and white 16x20s  that my father photographed and printed.

We had 50 mph gusts in the middle of the night which woke me up. Branches were hitting our house. A toasty 6 degree wind chill greeted me on my run this morning (yesterday was beautiful though..bright pink and red sunrise greeted me in the morning). Ah winter..this week will be cold, cold cold. Maybe in 6 weeks, we will start to have spring.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dynamic Balance

This was the theme for our LiveStrong class this week. Often chemo leaves us with balance issues. When I was evaluated for the class right after finishing chemo, I could not stand on one foot for more than a few seconds. Now I can but in class, we were not just to stand on one leg; the other leg was swinging every which way. Actually none of us did very well with this and had to keep grabbing the ballet barre.

In my BC restorative yoga class she had us do a lot of balancing too. I really did not do well. I especially could not relax when I felt I would topple over any second.

We had a meeting with our financial advisor this morning. He seems to know his stuff unlike some of the others we have tried out. Still we have to decide how to handle certain issues.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The CD House

Today in the bright sunshine, I drove out to the western edge of our county to my hairdresser's. I now have much shorter hair and the roots are gone. My hair is no longer a pile of straw.

The drive itself is interesting. I go by the buffalo, a llama farm, all sorts of country churches, mostly Lutheran..and the CD house. The latter is on a country road that I took last time. I was blinded by the shininess. The house was completely covered with CDs. I wish I had stopped to take photos then because today, the CDs were off the house and just on the tree. See photos below.

One of the churches advertised a Swiss steak dinner. I put Swiss steak in the same category as city chicken (actually pork or veal covered in musty cornmeal) and Salisbury steak...not going to eat it. Had enough of this stuff when I was young.

Later I went to my monthly Cooking for Survival class. This month's topic: Thai. Yum!
Factoid I learned today there: chevril is French for cilantro. (still going to check that out..don't believe it)

A CD bush

Typical Lutheran church

Ugh! I cut off the steeple. This church is not typical and was sort of standing all by itself. It looked pretty however

The tree with CDs. I swear, last fall this whole house was  covered with them.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The kids all jockey for position on Shanna's lap. I chase down any escapees

A book that Shanna got for the boys showing landmarks of Brooklyn

B is also for Brighton Beach Boardwalk near where Steve grew up
I've been staying off this blog in the hope I would get a certain project done, which I finally did. I don't have all that much to do but I still put off the few things I need to do until the last minute.

Winter is back. I thought with all the rain we had Sunday then the freezing temps the next day, that the roads would be sheer ice. But they were dry so I could run without breaking my neck.

Even though it was close to 60 up north, Josh was able to ski since the snow base was so deep. He stopped by for a visit on the way home.
Shanna and I take the kids to story time at the local  library branch every Tuesday. Naomi gets a short break those days. They read stories and sing songs for a half hour and then the kids can play for another half hour. I have my LiveStrong class right after it so it's rush, rush , rush...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baseline Road

Years ago, when they were dividing up the Northwest Territory of which Michigan is a part, a line was drawn across  the widest part of Southern Michigan. This was the baseline. From there, the whole state would be platted into one mile sections which would further be subdivided into parcels and then numbered. Anyone who owns land in Michigan has a survey that identifies the exact section based on this subdivision devised almost 200 years ago. Six  by six  mile sections would make a township

This baseline forms the northern boundary of many of Michigan's counties. In SE Michigan, Baseline Road is known as 8 mile which used to divide the haves from the have nots. It's becoming more blurred now.

I grew up between 10 Mile and 10 and A Half Mile. The latter has been renamed.  When I was a kid, it was a dirt two lane road that was regularly coated with a slippery carcinogenic coating of used motor oil to keep the dust down. It now is a 4 lane paved boulevard with bike lanes.

The most northern mile road  see on the map is 37 mile. In many sections, local communities have renamed their  'mile' roads. My favorite is 16 mile; in some sections it is either Metropolitan, Big Beaver, Quarton, Walnut Lake or Buno.

The other night, I was going by the assumption that 8 mile and Baseline are the same, which is true for most of SE Michigan. However there is a one mile stretch that they part. We went back and forth on 8 mile looking for our target that actually was on Baseline. Live and learn.

Spring in winter is over though it still is comfortable to run and the ice has not reformed. Waiting impatiently for real spring.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

March in January

Or maybe April in January. It is close to 60 now and sunny. Everyone is out basking in this rare treat. Kids are playing bball in shorts, runners, bicyclists, dog walkers..everyone is in a good mood and chatty. I already ran and biked. And later went for a walk.

Josh and his friends are up north on a ski vacation. Even though it is colder up there, I don't think a whole lot of skiing will be possible.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Pretty Babies

We all wear many hats. You are one person in one situation; another in another situation. While I was working,coaching sports teams, being a Girl Scout leader, involved in my endurance events, I think I wore more hats than most. Since I worked with mostly men, I left my proud mama personae behind. No one there wanted to hear me to gush about my pretty babies.

A lot of the work I did was relatively mindless meaning we could work and talk at the same time. One day, my lab mate said something about how most moms think their kids are cuter than average but the reality is that most kids look average. I said this may be true but in my case, my kids are much cuter than average (yeah..a real stupid conversation). I was told I was in no position to judge that as I am naturally biased.

Well Josh was just voted cutest boy in the 8th grade by the 8th grade girls. Are they biased?

I guess the argument is that kids are usually cute even though they may turn into average looking adults. And the person arguing with me is a good friend. He now gushes over everyone's kids no matter what they look like. It can't hurt.

Still relatively spring here. I will go to the Y though.

Steve went to the financial meeting by himself.

Aren't they cute?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Last Real Christmas Tree

I finally got around to taking down the X-mas tree. Over the years, we have accumulated lots of ornaments. The glass ones were placed high above the reach of toddler hands. They did enjoy looking at some of them. Maya's favorite: a red silk flying horse given to me years ago by Soulmate.

  I had forgotten that the city no longer takes the trees so I guess that is an incentive to not getting a real one. Steve bought an artificial  one on quick sale. Still to be done: untangling the masses of lights.

Warm and sunny: almost spring. I went out bright and early sure that there would be a nice path to run on and almost broke my neck. I guess it had rained last night leaving black ice  even though I thought it was above freezing. Waited for the sun to do its magic and went out again later.

I resumed going to the Y again twice a week for its Livestrong Alumni Class. First we work out on weights and do something aerobic then we meet for group activities. Since it had been a while since I used the machines, all my muscles are now sore.

One of my long time readers just died this weekend. Cancer sucks.

While I was in treatment, I tried to look on the bright side. at least I don't have to worry about my 401K. Well I am alive so it has to be dealt with. We see someone tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A graceful divorce

Josh's and Julia's divorce was finalized yesterday. No divorce is ever easy but this went as smoothly as could be. So I no longer have a daughter-in-law. Alex and Jack will remain dreams  or at least have different parents. (The girl and boy names of their unconceived children). They hammered out the details between themselves the night before. He asked her if she was sure that she wanted to go through with it. She said she wasn't sure but she would do it anyway. They share custody of their dog so they still will be in almost weekly contact. Maybe at some point, he can figure out what went wrong.

It makes me sad. They once seemed so full of hope that they would spend their lives together.  I am glad that she didn't ask for everything she could have received legally. He can now move on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Chemobrain without the chemo

Shortly after I entered Cancerland, I was asked to be on a study that monitors brain activity, before, during, and after chemo. There would be three groups of people: age matched controls, people with BC but did not need chemo and finally my group, women who had BC who needed chemo. To qualify for the study, I couldn't be depressed or left-handed. The latter apparently process memory tasks differently than right handed people. About the depression, who wouldn't be depressed right after receiving a cancer diagnosis? I was told that it was OK to be sad but did I still derive pleasure from something?  I guessed I did. Well then you aren't depressed.

I agreed to this on the condition that I get to see my individual results. The powers that were had to be consulted on this. Yes they would at some point review my own results with me. This hasn't happened; on my list of things to do. My brain activity would be monitored while I was in a fMRI which monitors blood flow to different areas of the brain. I wore special glasses that flashed questions at me and I had a joystick to answer. I was stuffed in a narrow tube for an hour with jack hammer noises all around me. Good thing I wasn't claustrophobic. I did get to see my brain in the static views (never got to see my brain in action). I looked carefully for tumors, my biggest fear though this is not the type of MRI used to detect them. But if there was a large tumor, I would be able to see it. I was also told that my brain had plenty of folds so it didn't look like I had Alzheimer's.

They finally shared the results at the recent San Antonio BC symposium.
Bottom line: Deficits in memory tasks were noted in both sets of BC patients even before chemo started. The chemo group showed the most deficits. All of this seemed to reverse itself when the scans were repeated a year after chemo.

I do want to see my individual results. My suspicion is that I process things differently.

We are having a warm spell. Yay! But since it snowed again, it was slushy and slippery when I went out this morning.

The next 2 days will have big changes in store for a few of my friends and family.  Can't elaborate.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter exercising options

Steve and I in the winter of 1985 (I think) in our winter running clothes. I skip the clingy lycra these days.

They never plowed the neighborhood streets  after the 2 snowfalls we had more than 10 days ago. They remain icy sheets. However, the bikepath behind my house has been plowed and it leads to a road that is fairly clear so I've been able to run, when not battling that cold. I really don't care how cold it is as long as it is calm and dry. Some days this week, I was treated to 30 mph gusts giving a windchill near zero. Today was sunny and calm.
Next week, I can go to the Y twice a week for the Livestrong alumni class in which they work on the after effects of cancer treatment. Strength building  seems to be the main focus. I can use their aerobic equipment, pool or running track before and after class.

The snow is old right now but maybe I will give X-country skiing a try once we receive fresh snow. Right now, it is too icy.

We'll have Shanna's babies tonight as she and Ramy have fun together.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Two dollar cosmos

Or cosmoses ...Cosmos cosmesis..???

I swear I only drank 2 of these but the bill and my fogged brain seem to indicate otherwise. Yes they do put alcohol in them, even for $2.

Well it was the first time since Xmas I left the house other than to run through the frozen tundra surrounding us. My cold left me a bit dehydrated so these hit me hard.

Waiting for spring.....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Unbearable Weight of Hair

We BC survivors have been watching Parenthood with interest as it pursues the storyline of Kristina's breast cancer.The inevitable hair loss episode aired this week. She is out clubbing with her sisters-in law when she happens to run her hand through her hair and comes up with large clumps. The party is over and she dashes home to deal with this by herself. As some sort of self-enpowerment exercise, she shaves her head. Of course she looks beautiful but then she misses her hair and is in tears. She wakes her husband from a sound sleep  and he gasps to see a bald Kristina. She is angry that he gasps and proceeds to make him feel miserable. The next day he tries to make her feel better by buying her a wig, which insults her further. He can't win. Eventually she feels badly that she was so mean to him. She buys a sexy wig and promises him a night on the town where they will be 'husband and wife' again though at the crucial moment, she is too tired to perform. At the end of the episode though, she seems to embrace her new baldness and is seen walking into the California sunshine arm in arm with her husband. She is not even worried about sunburn.

How much does this jive with this BC survivor?

First of all, there would have been no swilling of martinis even though I like to drink. The Red Devil (standard treatment) made this impossible. Just a little bit of alcohol would make my throat and stomach burn more. I couldn't even drink coffee any more. Too much acid and the smell made me sick.  I drank Snapple raspberry tea for the caffeine I needed. And I lacked the energy to dance around with my relatives, not that I do at any time.

As for the hair loss, I was warned this would happen on Day 16 or so, 2 days after the second cycle of poisons began. Still part of me hoped that this wouldn't happen to me.  Simply combing my hair resulted in big clumps falling out. My scalp was burning. My chin length hair felt unbelievably heavy, a very strange sensation. I sit here now with even longer hair and I don't feel it. I took scissors and cut it very short in part to relieve the pain of it tugging. I left myself with  an inch or two of hair. Then that started to feel too heavy and I cut it down to less than an inch. It didn't matter; in a few days there were only a few strands left. My scalp was acutely sensitive for most of the time I was in chemoland. Warm water that felt fine on my shoulders would feel scalding hot on my head. And it was acutely sensitive to cold too. I couldn't leave it uncovered for a minute. Maybe some women look beautiful bald; there have some in my yoga class that actually look just fine but not me. I looked bad and I made sure that noone saw me bald. Even going to the dermatologist to deal with a large black spot that had been hiding under all my hair, I was reluctant to show my scalp to her. I didn't even let Steve see me bald. No he did not tell me I was hideous.

Lastly, the night on the town with her husband did not ring true. Again, no alcohol or even eating a gourmet dinner would be possible. At the last moment, she is too tired to perform though she admits she wanted sex just five minutes ago. Here is the reality folks: I don't think chemo and sex mix. Whatever biological pathways that are responsible for desire, chemo throws a big monkey wrench in them. And for those that believe desire springs from the head? Maybe some does but feeling badly and knowing that you look hideous does not help much. No cute stranger tried to pick me up.

I spent all day yesterday...doing nothing. Hate being ill but I am going out today..I don't care how cold it is.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Winter's Cold

Ugh. I have a cold. I haven't had one in almost 9 years most notably on my trip to France and Spain where I hacked away all night on the plane to Paris much to the annoyance of us all and then on the overheated, ever swaying especially through the Pyrenees overnight train to Madrid the following night. Fortunately by Day 2, it was gone.

My theories on why I seemed immune to colds:
I've been on this earth so long that I have been exposed to all the strains of  cold viruses. Steve has been on this earth marginally longer though and still seems to catch anything around him.

I run raising my core body temperature so much that I kill any invading viruses. Exercising also sets off a mild exercise-induced allergy in which my nose runs and I am covered with a rash very briefly.The runny nose flushes away invading viruses. Also there is evidence that 'killer immune cells' levels are boosted. (see

To prevent secondary infections of which I have had only one, sinusitis years ago, I never take antihistamines or anything else that would interfere with my body's attempt to rid the cold. Steve on the other hand, takes all kinds of cold medications and things linger on for way too long. I did take an aspirin as my throat was raw and preventing sleep.

Weird theories others have about the causes of colds:
Cold causes colds: Don't believe this for a second. I am outside quite a bit in winter and rarely have colds. Why do others get colds in the winter. Overheated dry air is my theory. Dries out our first line of defense, our mucus membranes.  Actually the only time I feel a chill is in our house. Steve keeps the heat really low at night (does not want to as he puts it, burn money). Yesterday I did have trouble staying warm in our own house and he did raise the temperature a bit for me.

Wet hair while having a cold makes it turn into pneumonia: I am not sure who else believes this but my mother did leading to one of the most mortifying nights of my existence. When I was in 6th grade, I was asked to sing a solo in our school's winter concert. I actually used to (USED to) have a semi-reasonable voice. Unfortunately I had a cold though I was not sick enough to miss the concert, my mother forbade me from washing my hair. I already was experiencing the signs of puberty: rapid growth, weight gain and very much increased activity of my oil glands. I also has straight, fine hair that soaked up oil like eggplant slices (unsalted ones at least). So on the night of the concert, my hair hang in oily, dull ropes. My mother was so clueless that she didn't see a problem with this. How I wished that I didn't obey her! (never did in the future). I don't remember what the cold did to my voice but I wish I had a dollar for all the sneering suggestions that maybe I should have washed my hair. I wished I had had pneumonia instead, which I wasn't afraid of.

As with most things, this too shall pass. The cold developed on New Year's Eve while entertaining Maya for the night. She was sick and would not sleep thus I didn't either. I had drunk too much such that my stomach lining was inflamed. I couldn't even drink coffee the next day. I spent most of yesterday in s stupor. I watched the first half of the UM game, which I am told, ended in heartbreak. Shanna's family came over and I just sat bundled up in a corner. Everyone in her family already had the crud I have.

So my chocolate pear clafouti turned out quite tasty. It has a mousse-like texture and very rich from all the eggs and cream. Usually clafouttis don't have chocolate and usually they have cherries and kirsch. I bet mine is the only one in the world containing mirabelle eau de vie.


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