Tuesday, June 30, 2009

T-minus seven days (and counting)

One week from today I have my appointment with the needle advisor to begin a lifetime of daily injections. I know it’s really not so bad, and that the meds are clinically proven to slow the progress of the disease, but I’m cherishing every remaining day that I do not have to deliberately puncture my skin and inject foreign chemicals into my body.

This will also mark nearly three months since my initial diagnosis. Wow. Time flies. But holy crap, it has been a fantastic three months. I got a tattoo. I have ramped up my intensity in soccer (sometimes playing two, three, or four games in a single day). I have spent several weekends at the family farm in Iowa. I have been to San Antonio and Washington D.C (both trips for work, but I managed to find time to do some exploring). I ran a 10k at a pace I was more than happy with. I have taken risks I wouldn’t normally take. I bought a kayak. I plan to enjoy the upcoming 4th of July weekend to its fullest.

I know few things are likely to change when I begin my injections next week, but for some reason July 7th looms out there like a deadline for me. I guess that’s the curse and the blessing of MS—you don’t know what’s beyond the next curve, so you gotta drink in each stretch as best you can.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Girl's Got Some Stones!

So, after waking up in the middle of the night on Thursday in pretty significant pain, I found out that I had freakin’ kidney stones. Seriously, 2009---WTF? I have no real medical issues for my entire life, and this year I have more pictures and analyses of my innards than I care to think about.

Allow me to draw up a quick run-down of the major tests I have gone through so far this year (not inclusive of any of the billions of lab tests and bloodwork I have had):

1. MRI (brain—with and without contrast)
2. MRI (lumbar/cervical—with and without contrast)
3. Lumbar puncture (aka Spinal Tap)*
4. Evoked Potential Test (visual)
5. CT Scan (without contrast)

I’m not complaining, plenty of people go through much worse—I’m just giving 2009 the what’s what. I am officially closing the list above for this calendar year—no more entries allowed. Period. End of story. I’m out of money. That’s it.

*Interesting note: I tried to rent the movie “This is Spinal Tap” to watch during my recovery from the procedure, but as it turns out, this is not as readily available at my local video stores as one might think. Bummer.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Casting Call

I saw a link to this video on another blog about a year ago, and immediately fell in love with Ben, despite his insatiable desire to eat his own feces. Since then, I have been researching Ben’s whereabouts, as I would like him to audition for the role of Randy for the remaining scenes of the movie of my life.

**Please Note--I am not a monster, and I am not planning to replace Randy--there are just some days (many, actually) when he does everything in his control to test my patience**

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Updates and other very random musings

It has been awhile since I have written a post that has anything to do with the initial reason I started this blog: my MS. Although I do apologize for this violation of blogger etiquette, I have to say I'm not the least bit unhappy with the course of events in my life from DxDay to present.

The way I see it, my lack of relevant posting materials is a good thing. While I do still have a couple of topics I want to touch on in the coming weeks, I'm happy that my life after DxDay has really returned to normal (with the minor inconvenience of crappy vision when I'm active, especially now that it's getting hot outside).

So please bear with me as I expand on other topics. Today, for example, I thought I would post a few pictures of what I'm terming The 2009 Commitment Project (T09CP). You're probably wondering what the heck T09CP is... well here's a visual for you:

and another...

I have been planning to undertake T09CP for years now, but have managed to put it off for one reason or another. This year, with paint flaking off in large chunks, I decided to suck it up and dive in. T09CP, if you hadn't already guessed, is an annoying, huge, and not-so-exciting stripping (get your mind out of the gutter--I'm talking about paint), sanding, and painting project, focused mainly on trim (with a few ancillary shakes requiring some touch-up, assuming the bucket of old house paint I inherited with my home purchase in '04 is still good).

Today I began the craptastic project by sanding, scraping, and power-washing some of the proverbial low-hanging fruit (the loosest chips). The reason I've named the project T09CP is because now that I have started, there's no turning back until it's done. Completely. Because I'm changing the trim color from white to green. Ugh. What have I gotten myself into???

The pictures posted here are of one window of one side of the house. A teeny tiny sampling of the ginormous project that lies ahead. Not that my house could be termed anything but "quaint," "charming," or "cute" due to its small size and stature, I do have a large section in the back that I will not be able to reach--even with my tallest ladder (which, if I'm honest, is scary as hell at the top rung), nevermind the fact that my power line runs right through it. I suppose these are bridges I will cross when I get to them. Can you tell I'm looking forward to it?

Side note: If my postings suddenly stop with no explanation, it could be because I am getting evicted for lack of paint and a total lack of curb appeal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

From a Tex Mex Food Coma in San Antonio

Greetings, dear readers. I must apologize for the lack of postings in the recent days, and in advance for the probable lack of postings until later this week. I'm in San Antonio for work, on the heels of a fun-filled weekend in Iowa. And this evening, I'm sitting in my hotel room attempting to prepare for a conference tomorrow from the depths of a self-inflicted Tex-Mex food coma. Blarbagalakea (that's how seemingly normal words look in my head right now).

I will, however, leave you with a few snapshots from my stint as a tourist this afternoon (while searching for a grocery store, I popped out my camera and took some pictures--interesting side note... downtown San Antonio doesn't have a single grocery store, or so the gentleman at the five and dime told me).

Touristy photo #1--Remember the Alamo (side view) (oh, and it was closed... hence the gates)

Touristy photo #2--Super cute little artist market thingy (totally got turned around and ended up in the middle of it)

Touristy photo #3--The Infamous Riverwalk (the section that bumps up to the back of my hotel)

And finally, Touristy photo #4--Super cool gnarly tree (I saw a few of these--they look like they're straight out of a scary Headless Horseman movie or something!)

**Note--this posting was scheduled to be about traveling a week or so into treatment, but since DSO is a rock star who changed my meds, those postings will have to wait until after treatment begins on July 7**

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Apologizing in advance for this post...

So, I have a number of things floating around my head that I have been meaning to post. One topic is introspective, another is timely and informative. But today I have chosen to ignore all relevant postings and go ahead with this:

That's right. I'm officially a Poop Expert. Jealous? Well I'll let you in on a little secret... you can be a Poop Expert too. All you have to do is take a quiz that the Minnesota Zoo put out, which challenges you to match the pile of the stinky stuff with the animal that released it back to nature.

Think you can top being a Poop Expert? Feel free to share your poop stories in the comments section. As most of you know, I'm always happy as a pig in... well, you know... when it comes to talking about poop.

**Yes, I really am 34. I have just chosen to allow certain elements of maturity to pass me by.**

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetle....

July is the kickoff month for my Myelin Hollywood Era! And here's why...

You see, according to the information I found on the MS Society's website, the Copaxone regimen I'm due to begin on July 7 will introduce something of a "stunt double" for the myelin my body produces naturally. The master plan of these stunt doubles is to act as a front-line of defense by confusing the rogue T-cells that are attempting to obliterate my body's healthy myelin.

I liken it to some poor schlub baring her bottom for the camera so I don't have to. Ah, Copaxone--you wonderful, selfless, exhibitionist friend.

What, you may be asking, does the Myelin Hollywood Era have to do with Beetlejuice? There is a connection, I swear. Along with the new shipment of drugs that arrived (another cryptic delivery from the fine folks at FedEx) today, I also received a delightful packet of information from Shared Solutions, the support network developed by Teva Pharmaceuticals (manufacturers of Copaxone). At the forefront of this packet was the official (looking) Handbook for MS.

I'm sure you've already made the connection, but in case it is eluding you, here you go... In Beetlejuice, when Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis find themselves hurled into the unfortunate position of post-mortem purgatorial living, they are given the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. This book is designed to help them navigate through the deserts, sand-snakes, and curious goth teenagers that are included in the afterlife. Naturally, when I unwrapped the MS Handbook, the book from Beetlejuice was the first thing that came to mind. Because let's face it, nobody wants to be on the mailing list for either--and yet here we are (the Maitlands and I). If this handbook adds even a fraction of the value that the Handbook for the Recently Deceased did for them, I'm ready to rock this $hit. Bring it.