Thursday, April 05, 2018

brain blog - getting moody

I think we are somewhere around day 12 or 13. Progress is now steady but decidedly slow. In the first two weeks I slept a lot and it wasn't really something to think about it just was what needed to happen. I really wasn't in the mood for a lot of TV or radio or noise or company.

Now is when it gets a little bit harder. I look a lot more okay I'm a little stronger and yet everything still takes what feels like a Herculean effort. I still love the idea of laying in my bed with my eyes closed. It feels the best.

I'm also reminded daily how lucky I am to have a husband that cares for me so much family that was able to be here for almost 2 weeks and have the finances to Simply take the time off that I need to to heal. Again, it doesn't feel like there's really much of a choice to the healing but rather working to tolerance.

When we scheduled the surgery , my parents had a trip planned. I don't think any of us and the thought that they might actually be able to go. However, tomorrow, they are off on a plane Atlantic Ocean and they say. It is a little unnerving to know they will be so far away but honestly if we've made it this far I don't see anything going terribly wrong at this point. Mom was here for about 11 days and dad was here for about a week. Again I'm not sure how we could have done this without them.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Yes, it really is brain surgery

mri of the brain
The cyst is the round black spot at the end of the yellow arrow.

As some of you know and others do not, I was diagnosed with an arachnoid cyst in my brain (dubbed Archie) back in 2016 right before I got married. For a number of reasons (not the least of which is it's way more fun to plan a wedding then think about brain surgery) I decided to wait before doing anything about it, but this year it seemed to be growing and the doctor recommended removing it. 

First, a moment of gratitude: I want to say that there aren't enough thank-yous in the world for my patient and kind husband (and I do mean patient) as he deals with my moods and pain daily, my family who has been amazingly supportive (my parents came to help and I don't know how much laundry my mother did in her time here), my Portland friends and other friends across the country who have sent their love and good wishes, visited when I was falling asleep and continue to visit as I still can't drive. 

As you can imagine, the day I ended up being sent to a neuro-oncologist after the curious urgent care MRI, was one of the most surreal days of my life. I was sitting in the waiting room thinking, how the hell did I get here? I assumed it was a formality, not for me, and they would laugh at the misunderstanding and send me home. Instead, the doctor looked at me seriously and said he recommended removing the cyst in my brain. Seriously?

Instead of acting rashly, I asked if there was any harm in waiting and watching and although the doctor thought it best to go in and get it he said it would be fine to wait and watch over the next 3, 6 and 9 months. And by the way, it was a weird bit of dark matter on the image and, as a neuro-oncologist, he was of course concerned it was cancer. Again, what the fuck?

The curious thing of all of it is that it was found during a typical scan for a person entering urgent care with a migraine. The rub is that it's still not clear whether or not the cyst has anything at all to do with my increase in headaches. My only solace is that now, when I go to a doctor, I can forthrightly tell them that there is nothing else physically wrong with my brain and something still needs to be done about the headaches. However, I certainly hope that headaches are diminished at least in some capacity.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be publishing more info if you are curious, have a friend going through brain surgery, or just don't know what else to read on the vast internet. I will be giving you my story here. If you, yourself are planning for a craniotomy or know someone who is, this nurse gives a fabulous overview of what to expect.

Spoiler alert: no cancer! It's a benign cyst and is now gone. 

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Greek Vacation

Janna's new "Happy Place" eating ice cream, overlooking the Aegean Sea on Santorini!href="">

We started in Athens and did the obligatory tours of the Acropolis (left), and visited the Archeological Museum. This began many days of eating spinach pies, and feta and tomato sandwiches from the various street vendors. This also began many days of walking, a lot!
Athens included seeing the changing of the guard and a stroll through the colorful Monastriaki market and eating our first excellent Greek food while enjoying live Greek music at the Tavernas.

Birds - some of the prolific "wall art" seen all over Athens. Tons of motorcycles too, since they fit down those crazy narrow streets!


Crazy T-Shirt vendors on The Plaka, an open air Athens Market
From Athens, the train took us to Meteora where we met our not so vegetarian friendly hosts where I was told in no uncertain terms I was "going against nature." We ate elsewhere... The hotel was great, right at the base of the amazing rocks upon which monasteries were built in the 1500s. It's striking how scared they must have been of the local situation to put their monasteries SO high on these amazing rocks. We never figured out the bus system and ended up walking over 7km (~5miles) between monasteries and up and down to our hotel.

The trip continued to a ferry and landed us on Crete in Hania, a sweet and touristy town on the west side of Crete. From here we were able to visit the beach a few times, happy to sit after much walking. I found I can actually swim if I'm in salty water!

Hania was also the base for our day trip to the Samaria Gorge on the south side of the island. This amazing natural wonder has a 12km hike (and another 2 at the end to get to the much desired ferry home). I managed to twist my ankle at km 2 on yet another almost invisible rock, par for the course. I limped through the rest of the hike, not willing to stop for anything! At the WC and water stops we tasted the cleanest most amazing water that ran through the gorge.

Through random acts of kindness and unkindness, we got on a bus to Rethmynon. The city is spelled many ways, the bus destination was confusing, and there was little English spoken. Kevin used his trusty internet connection on his cell to confirm we were likely going the right way. Here we ambled around yet another ruin of a fortress overlooking the sea - taking, yes, more photos!
Heraklion, on the east side of Crete was the final stop here. We visited the Cretaquarium to see what's under the sea in the Mediterranean. Another bus adventure, waiting 1.5 hours in the wrong spot and .5 hours in the right one... and were were back for dinner.

The final stop was the picturesque island of Santorini. Everything you see in the postcards, and all the tourists to prove it! 100+ photos in 2 days. The hotel room there was amazing with an unobstructed view of the Agean Sea. All I can say is, wow. We spent an afternoon shopping, then cooked macaroni" on a hot plate in the room after many cravings as "pasta" is translated as "macaroni" on menus. on Monday took a ride on a "clipper" type of boat to see the caldera of the volcano that broke up the original island of Santorini. More hiking! The boat also made a stop near some sulfur hot springs, but my swimming abilities didn't allow me to partake, although my travel buddy Kevin got to go!

The travellers enjoying some history in Athens.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

My house!

Well, I wrote a nice entry, then goofed saving it. I'll wax poetic later, in the meantime here are some rehab pics!
I have to say I love Portland. Traveling has been great, but I love coming home to the green city, where folks say hi and ask how you are. It's a good sized city that still has a small town style. Today was nice enough to open the windows and enjoy the sounds of kids playing outside and dogs barking in the spring air.

Below are pictures of carpet removal, a new closet being built and the wallpaper removal process...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Phoenix 2006

Well, mom and dad were nice enough to return to Phoenix for winter vacation here. A much closer trip for a weekend, and a welcome one to the warm sun for me! Portland has had rain for at least 32 of the last 33 days. Even wetter than usual, I'm told! Meanwhile Phoenix hasn't had rain in over 100 days.

We managed to fit a lot into the 2 short days including a trip to the Wildlife Park--where you can hand feed a giraffe!, a tour around an old pueblo, dinner, theater a ride on a steamboat on beautiful Canyon Lake and a trip to the world's most tourist-y ghost town.

Plus, in the lovely town of Tortilla Flat (population 6), we ate at a restaurant where the walls were covered with dollar bills left by visitors near and far.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Which would you rather?

Kiss a bird...or drink rain from a waterfall??

Wet Weekend

Well, it has been raining in Portland for many, many days and nights. It goes on, and off, an ON! I console myself with the fact that it's not snow...and it's not really cold! Went hiking with old buddy Kevin this weekend in Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge about 1/2 hour east of downtown Portland. Pictures below...Including the beautiful lichen on the trees, a snowy hilltop, Punchbowl falls, and one very muddy boot!!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Winter Wonderland

So, here in Portland, there is a place where everyone decorates their houses for Christmas. It's the mini-version of Chicago's Sauganash area. One full street that looks like you opened the door to some fantasyland. Horse drawn carriages go down the long street and you can buy hot chocolate at a stand. It's cute! Below are a few pictures...albeit a bit dark, of the lovely Peacock Lane. This link will take you to a site of slightly better pictures. As in most things, Portland's "christmas-y area" doesn't quite live up to the overdone lights in Chicago, but then, maybe this green city is onto something--- not making the electric companys rich!