bronwynrh: (rose)
On the 14th of every month, I'm going to post this 'ere post and this 'ere button:








It will allow anyone to make a donation to help offset the costs of my mom's PBSC transplant (stem cell transplant).

On December 9, 2008, my mom was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. The first quarter of 2009, mom went through three rounds of chemotherapy and came through like a champ. She has been in remission since the first round was complete, but her blood counts have never come back to normal. She's been told that a relapse is all but certain, and that a transplant is her best bet.

Thanks to the wonderful Be The Match donor registry, a perfectly matched donor has been found. This wonderful person, whoever and wherever they are, is willing to go through the somewhat painful process of injections and then the lengthy donation process to save a life - my mom's life.

Of all the places we imagine ourselves, this is not one we ever really consider, until it strikes.

My mother is my best friend, and has always been my source of strength and level-headedness, all the times I've needed it. This is the least I can do for her.

Please donate if you can, and register to be a bone marrow donor.

I can't offer you any tax benefits for your donation, but I assure that your gift will go directly to my mom's medical bills.

Please make whatever use of your own networks as you are comfortable. The more, the merrier, and every little bit will be accepted with my deepest gratitude. The smallest gift still sends a message of love and support that cannot be assigned any value.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
bronwynrh: (Me)
that mom has a perfectly matched bone marrow donor?

This morning, I dropped her off at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, where she's been getting daily high-dose GCSF injections since last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?). Today, they insert the central line and start the draws, which will probably take at least two days, maybe three or four.

They're collecting her stem cells because she's in full remission and they want to have something in the bank. At first, they said this would be banking against a relapse occurring before a donor could be found, but since that's taken care of, we're now banking against a failure of the transplant.

They can store her stem cells for five years, and it will serve as a stop-gap measure autologous transplant should something go wrong in that time.

BUT, she has a matched donor, and the donor is still willing to serve! When she's done with donating to herself, mom will find out the timeline for her transplant. I imagine she'll be admitted shortly after the new year. A week of high-dose chemotherapy, followed by the transplant and another month or more while we await engraftment of the donor cells. Once they start cranking, she should be good to go.

Mom just rang to tell me where she is and what she knows so far about her day's plans. Once things get going, I'll head over to keep her company. Unlike last winter, when she was in the hospital about 15 minutes from here, she's going to be just a couple of blocks from where I work. If it weren't so damned cold outside, I could walk it.

We're all nervous - none more so than my mom - but we cling to our hope to keep the nerves at bay. Besides, we have to remember to LIVE, else we forget how by worrying too much.

When I gave birth to Samuel, I was struck with a sense of my own mortality. That sense has been solidly reinforced almost daily, and I redefine my perspective on living day-to-day.
bronwynrh: (Default)
Samuel is feeling much better today. Next time, I'll wait 24 hours on a fever before spending the money on a doctor's visit. He's back to his old self, running circles around the house and bapping his brother on the head.

Dixon's second surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 7:30. If you have any mojo to spare in the morning, please send a little bit his way. He'll be fine, I know, but I worry that this time he may feel afraid.

In other news, I just had an epiphany. At my dental cleaning last week, the hygienist discovered that the enamel had disappeared from the back of my lower incisors. I'm scheduled for a little shellacking on Monday, when I get my NTI. The hygienist asked me what had changed in my diet... was I eating lemons? She and I couldn't figure it out. About 10 minutes ago, it finally hit me. I've been suffering heartburn for almost three years now, between two pregnancies and my medicine. All that acid has been sitting in a nice little pool in the bottom of my mouth. My enamel didn't stand a chance.
So much for my formerly perfect (albeit crooked) teeth. Dammit.

I've got to get the heartburn under control. First my teeth, next will be esophageal cancer.

Early to bed tonight, since we have to be up by 5 and out the door by 5:30.
bronwynrh: (Default)
Had a fun evening with Samuel and Dixon on Friday evening, just me and the weejuns. Saturday, Jeff and Mog (Sam's name for my MIL) took Samuel along on a trip to Thieneman's nursery for some plant shopping. After a nap, we took the boys over to Mog and MogDaddy's house for a little pool party.

Samuel and Dixon Go Swimming


Home again, home again, jiggety jig, for a Sunday filled with running in mad circles around the house interrupted by a shopping trip with Mommy and MomMom and, of course, a nap.

There were giggles galore from Mr. Dixon and loads of energy and verbosity from Mr. Samuel.

Today, poor Mr. Samuel came down with a fever. *sigh*
Poor kid was completely deflated. It was all he could do to flop on his fish pillow on the floor and watch Sesame Street with Dixon and PopPop.

I met him and PopPop at the doctor's office after work. The Strep swab came back negative, so this is just an "observe and treat the fever as we wish" illness. Unless it doesn't get better in a couple of days.

It will, though.

Just figures that this means Samuel will miss the first day of preschool at Miss Kelly's house. And he was looking forward to it, too.

It's about an hour away from Motrin time, so I'm going to go up to wake the Young Master to check on him and see if I can't convince him to eat something. He asked to be stripped to his diaper and put to bed as soon as we got home, and he's been asleep since then. I've heard him chatter a few times, but he never called to me.

Anyway, off to snuggle Mr. Sam.
bronwynrh: (Default)
The neurosurgeon tells us that Dixon's head is just big and ridgy. He also declared Jeff's head to be big and ridgy. "It's your fault," they said. *grins* So. No horrible skull-busting surgery for my little snuggle bug.

Also, no MRI is needed, so I canceled that.

Dr. N, the ped. surgeon, will perform laparoscopy to find The Boys and place them (or it, depends on what he finds) in their rightful home. We scheduled that surgery for June 10, with an overnight stay because the doctor says he'll have to "do a lot of dissection", which will likely make Dixon feel pretty ill.

Yeah, rational as I may be, my stomach lurched at hearing the word "dissection" used in reference to my baby.

It'll be ok, though. *sigh of relief*

Samuel and the sandbox


Somebody get this boy some sunglasses!
bronwynrh: (Default)
Mom's blood test showed no abnormal cells. So maybe her low blood counts are simply the result of a slow come-back from the chemotherapy. Doc wants to wait another month before another blood test, and told mom to get lots of rest and don't push herself.

*whew*

We've been worried that her slow recovery was a recurrence... at least we can set that worry aside for now.

I have photos from Samuel's birthday, but haven't been able to upload them yet. Bad mommy.

He's been picking up a great imitation habit, which is helping immensely with his language. We're not progressing in leaps and bounds, mind you, but we are making progress. He imitates three-syllable phrases - at least the intonations - and occasionally we think we can hear the words. I could swear he said, "I love you" on Saturday. When I read Just For You, he says "bubble!" and "bag broke" (bah bock) - which he picked up all by himself.

He loves to watch golf, and understands that it's good when the ball goes into the hole. We're trying to teach him to shout "in the hooooole!" when the players swing, in hopes that we can station him in the backyard to heckle the golfers there. Right now, he just waves and babbles at them.

Oh, and when you ask him how old he is, he tells you )

Dixon is 6 shots into the 10-shot regimen, and I finally figured out how to do it with the least upset. Thank goodness, he never holds it against me. He's showing some side effects, but I'm not sure that means he's likely to pass the test. I never studied endocrinology to any appreciable degree, but I don't think what we're seeing is any indication that he's going to pass. We certainly haven't seen anything descend, which would be proof positive. Next Tuesday is the last shot, and Wednesday is the blood draw. Then we hurry up and wait for results.

Growing tired of people thinking he's a girl, and realizing that it was making him rather hot at times, and growing tired of cleaning cottage cheese from the tangles, I finally trimmed Dixon's hair. He is no longer MulletBoy, but you can still call him by his other Indian names, ThunderButt and GiggleSnort.

Read more... )

As for work, I got the cancer grant out the door 3 days before the deadline. More hurry up and wait. Thank the gods, the Powers That Be decided that, although another product is a priority, its importance is so great that it would be unwise to write a grant in haste, just to squeeze under the ARRA fund-brella. We'd be doing ourselves a disservice if we tried. So there's one less grant to write OMGRIGHTNOW!

Love that one of my colleagues keeps pointing out that the grant application is cumbersome and obnoxiously, computer-draggingly huge. Yes, yes I know. Glad you're finally getting a taste of what I've been telling you these past three years. Ah, well. I managed to bang this last one out in quick order, with relatively little pain, perhaps indicating that I've finally hit my grantwriting groove.

Er... Yay?

On to IRBs and the whole mess o' bureaucratic forms those entail. Somebody stop me, I'm having too much fun.

Oh hey, I ordered $111 worth of yarn from stonehedgefibermill.com so I can finish the knitted blanket [livejournal.com profile] travellight set me on. Thanks, Susan, for the new obsession. I'll try to post a picture of my progress... It's going to be beautiful when I'm finished, sometime around my 43rd birthday.

Ugh

Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:01 pm
bronwynrh: (Default)
I've been buried in grantwriting Hell for the past week or so, taking work home on the weekend. Now I'm in the deeper level of Hell reserved for grant submission.

Thank you, government, for making the application process even more burdensome on the ol' processor than it was before. I swear, it takes a couple of minutes just to save this Adobe behemoth.

I've not had the energy or time to spare to tell you all about Samuel's birthday celebrations, the epic saga of Dixon's Novarel shots, or the latest - Mom's white counts are still in the toilet.

She just called to tell me her doctor has ordered flow cytometry on her blood to look for... what, I don't know. I can guess, but I don't want to. At any rate, the results will tell him whether or not another bone marrow biopsy is necessary.

The monster, it seems, has not been definitively beaten back, as I had hoped.

I'm scared to pieces, but I can't afford to go to pieces with my work responsibilities hanging over me. I'm on such a short deadline, it's making me sick.

So here's a family portrait. Looking at it makes me happy, and I need happy now.

bronwynrh: (Default)
Blech. I should have known when I woke up this morning. I was feeling a little gross, and over the past hour, the stabbies and nausea and vision whackiness have begun.

Look out the window. . . Rain! Well, that explains everything!

Fucking brain barometer.

Time to pull out the sunglasses. Time to make all the coworkers stare at me. Yay.
bronwynrh: (Default)
And so we have another chapter in the dramatic saga of healthcare bills.

But first, an update. I have yet to see the approximately $400 owed to me by Megadeath for my migraine medications - a prescription I filled and paid for 3 weeks ago. I am told that I should soon see the $28 I am owed for a doctor's visit from a little over a month ago. We'll see if they remembered to include the check in the envelope (they forgot to do that with [livejournal.com profile] ashfault76's claim).

Who's trying to send me to collections, now? )





In other news, I'm still waiting to hear from an appraiser. At this rate, I won't be able to close before the end of the month, which means I'll have to pay that dreaded higher July mortgage payment. Grrr! I don't like appraisers. My every encounter with them has shown them to be very very bad about making appointments, calling back and meeting their commitments. Annoying, to say the least!





The Lawnmower Saga Or: When Customer Service Goes Right )

So, that's been my Monday so far. I need to do a bunch of reading, since I didn't set up to do benchwork today. I had a migraine yesterday that pretty much kept me on the couch. At least I managed to mow the lawn (once I got the mower started) and I vacuumed the house. I was pretty pathetic yesterday.

I did another little something this weekend that you'll all make fun of me for, so I won't tell you about it just yet. ;-)
bronwynrh: (Default)
My nice neighbor is selling her house.

My lawnmower is in the shop.

Bunnies have eaten my roma tomato plant.

I want to sell my car and buy a new/used one.

I'm not getting that $500 I was counting on, so I'm only grossing $18k this year. I's po' so po'.

I've lost almost 10lbs and my pants are all getting "longer" - heh. Really, they're all just hanging loose on me.

I'm also hungry. Anybody wanna buy lunch for a poor hungry, cute and overworked me?

I want a beer. Maybe two.
bronwynrh: (Default)
Well, that's what I'm told, at least.

I was outside the MegaDeath office at 8:30 this morning where I stood for half an hour, waiting for the door to open. Eileen walked up at precisely 9 o'clock.

(I marvel at people with 9-4 jobs. . . especially those who have lunch hours from 12-1 to boot. Absolutely amazing!)

Anywho, she invited me in and we sat right down and I started to explain what had been happening since my first visit to the neurologist in December. I showed her the multiple bills, the statements of benefits that showed how Mega had consistently gone against its own set precedent, repeatedly failed to do what its representatives had told me they would do, and finally were failing to follow the letter of their own policy.

I then told her that my doctor had sent a bill suggesting that I would be sent to collections if a remaining balance were not paid.

Eileen is a Mega employee, so there really is only so much she will be willing to do, I suppose; however, in my experience with her over the past 4 years, she's also been able to work as an advocate, insofar as she is able to call the right people and push things through in a pinch. Sometimes.

I don't want to count my chickens, but it seems that today she did it again. She called the claims adjustor and asked that they pay the balance. Now.

*cross fingers*

Next call, the doctor's office. I reminded my doctor's receptionist (and SIL) of all those things I've done to make sure they get paid and asked why they felt it necessary to dun me. . . Answer: The computer automatically adds that message after some period of time, she's very sorry, she knows and understands the trouble I've been through and no, they are not going to send me to collections now.

My internal response? Take a little more control over your billing so you're not scaring the crap out of people - these are people with neurological disorders, after all. I did say something a bit milder and more personal. . . she got the point, though.

Moving on, I suggested that the problem will continue unless the doctor chooses to do one of two things: 1. enter into a contract with Mega or 2. lower his fee to Usual and Customary. Either one of these solutions would end the billing problems and the massive waste of my time arguing with obstinate HIPAA-blocked "customer service" representatives. Otherwise, I have to consider finding another doctor, based on bargain-hunting or a Mega-determined list (non-local only, I'd have to drive to Indy for all my appointments).

Obviously, I'd rather keep my current physician. Here's to hoping he makes some smart decisions.

And just so y'all know (those of you who may think I have anger issues ;-D), I did it all with grace and good manners, but a no-nonsense attitude that says I know my rights and will not be messed with.

The rest of my day. . .

I stopped by the lab to chat with Clay for about a half hour or so, and then I made a mad dash outta there! Grabbed a small coffee and a chocolate-cream cheese muffin at Starbuck's and headed home to enjoy them outside on the back patio with my book (Scandalmongers by William Safire for you bookish folk). I managed a two hour nap and a lot of reading and a whole lot of relaxation today.

And it was good.
bronwynrh: (Default)
to bash some heads in. If only, oh if only tomorrow weren't a holiday!

I've been preparing my rant since Friday, when I tried to get in touch with the yahoos at MegaDeath (MegaLife) to find out why I hadn't heard from them regarding the claim I had told them to re-re-re-open. I never got through, a fact which only heightened my level of pissed-ness.

I contacted our on-campus liaison to find out that they've taken away her computer, so she couldn't help me unless I came in with my paper work next week and she would see what she could do over the phone - provided she could raise someone. (THANK you, HIPAA). Pissed-ness raised a little more, but fine. We'll deal with it next week - on Tuesday because Monday's a holiday.

Then, I get home to find a DUN LETTER in my mail box from my doctor saying that if the bill isn't paid, they're going to send me to COLLECTIONS!!! EXSQUEEZE ME?!? (many many expletives censored here)

Heh. Uh, no. I don't think so.

Am I not the one who's been calling MegaDeath over and over and over again trying to get them to follow their own policy? Am I not the one who's been trying to get this bill paid, 100% in full at the required preferred rate for preferred providers as it should be per the policy?? Am I not the one who has called the doctor's office after every conversation with MegaDeath, keeping the doctor's office apprised of the situation? Have they not received the same Statements of benefits that I've received? Have they not received the checks that were insufficient, but nevertheless the results of my continued efforts?

Oh that's right. I AM!! And THEY HAVE!!

Send me to collections. Damn well better not. We'll have words, we will.

MegaDeath will be hearing from me on Tuesday morning, first thing. I'll be in Eileen's office, so that if I can't get through on my own, she'll do it for me through HER channels. Then, I'll be calling the doctor's office and we're going to have a little discussion.

We're going to talk about how wrong it is for them to dun me. We're going to talk about how he should drop his association with MegaDeath if he doesn't like the way they do business, and I will find another doctor. We're also going to talk about how he should be informing his other MegaDeath patients about what I've been doing, because if he's letting them pay these bills instead of making MegaDeath pay them, then he's letting his patients get screwed, and that's just not right. That last bit, I'm also going to tell MegaDeath - if I ever get a chance to talk to a supervisor.

Don't cross me. You will regret it.
bronwynrh: (Default)
*gasp*

I felt like garbage all day yesterday. It started when I got to work and I was sick to my stomach, then I had a bad neckache that turned into a bad headache with a little bit of fever and nausea and my lower back was really hurting. Actually, my back's been hurting me for over a week now. Eh. So, I decided to kick off early and skip our weekly lab meeting, and I'd already decided that I was going to take Friday off.

I RARELY take a day off. My guilt meter is extremely sensitive. It has a hair trigger, you see.

Mom's in town, though, and I just wanted to spend a little more time with her. Besides, we had things we needed/wanted to do. (See? I have to rationalize it!)

Anyway, I came home and laid on the couch, trying not to move much. Mom made potato omelet for dinner (yum!), but I didn't feel good, still, so it didn't sit all that well.

I went to bed early and my back was still hurting. I woke up after an hour of sleep in so much pain, it was all I could do not to cry. I turned this way and that, used pillows, changed positions. . . nothing worked. Stand up, stretch, walk around. . . nothing worked. 4 hours passed before I finally took two Tylenol PM just so I could sleep. I thought I was having a kidney stone attack (I do have a history, and the Topamax I'm on is known to increase the risk, especially in people who have a history - so forgive my paranoia). The thing is, I had no other signs like what I had with the other attacks, but knowing what I know about physiology. . . it would make sense to not have those other symptoms.

I just didn't know.

So This morning, before mom and I started our day, I went to the IU health center and saw my 2nd favorite doctor and requested a urinalysis. Thank goodness, it came back perfectly clean. The downside is that my back muscles are in spasm or are inflamed - Dr. Fletcher found exactly the two and showed me :-)

Downside is that it's another one of those things that can't be seen and can't really be fixed. So there I am for the rest of the day as mom and do our thing. . . I can't lift anything heavy, I can't push a loaded cart. Carrying my backpack hurts. Hell, just the jostling of walking hurts *rolls eyes*. 26 years old, I'm walking next to a 50 year old woman, and who's doing all the heavy lifting? Yeah, I looked like a lazy-ass freak next to her.

Oh well, She and I knew better, I guess. That's what matters. *sigh*

We got most of our other missions accomplished, although we need to go back out to Sam's to make an exchange on the camisoles I bought - a medium at the Gap does not equal a Gloria Vanderbilt medium, apparently :-D

We came home and after a bit of putzing around, I fell into a dead sleep on the couch for an hour and half. You know, that nap-sleep from which you awaken and it's like your body is made of lead? Wow.

Tomorrow, we go to the farmer's market, then breakfast at the Bakehouse, then we go to get our hair done. Big plans for the Ramey ladies!
bronwynrh: (Default)
And so I've not had much to say.

Sorry this space hasn't changed much for several days. I have a ton of work to do and I haven't been doing it. Well, now I am. . . so livejournalling hasn't been much of a priority. I've been reading and commenting, but not composing.

I'm finishing up my poster for the meeting this weekend.

I have to pull something together for lab meeting this week. I was informed this morning that I'm up for Thursday night. Talk about mixed messages, in one breath I was told that powerpoint wasn't necessary but that I could share some of my micrographs. I'm not to spend much time on preparing for lab meeting because I'm expecting to be doing a whole lot of other things.

Oh.

Yeah. So my motivation meter better kick it up several notches.

That and I really need to stop making the dumbass mistakes I've been making. Last week I twice ran the right experiment on the wrong sample. Twice. After I finished smacking myself in the forehead, I ran two experiments at the same time, didn't mix them up and got the results I needed. But damn! I wish I knew where my brain was hiding the other two days.

Still no word from Denmark on the software that will get me going on cranking out statistical data on those 27 GB. I just spent 4 hours making pretty pictures from about 300 of my image files, but pretty pictures do not a convincing argument make. *shrug* They do, on the other hand, a pretty poster make, so that's what I'm going to have to settle for today.

I did my exercise vid on Saturday night. Not very well, I might add. All this microscopy and data crunching and winterizing has turned me into a little ragdoll. I haven't gained any weight, but I'm definitely a little ragdoll.

Dave and I went shopping this weekend, too. Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! I spent money, yes I did, but I spent money on things that I like a great deal and will enjoy for a good while. A little guilt, yes, but tempered because I enjoyed it and I didn't overdo.

So there.

Speaking of money, time to pay the mortgage, phone and electric bills - and finish lunch. For those of you who may be wondering, Lean Cuisine chicken carbonara (Now! with Real Bacon!) is tasteless and I swear I can't find the bacon. Blah.

My mantra

Feb. 7th, 2003 05:28 pm
bronwynrh: (Default)
I am NOT getting sick. I am NOT getting sick. I am NOT getting sick.

Oh please please please let this just be exhaustion. I was just sick in November - go ahead, read the posts! I was really sick with a horrible sinus infection! I don't need to be sick again for another 6 months, at least.

I am NOT getting sick.

Dammit.

------

On another note, CNN has a moron (well, at least one) on its staff who is under the impression that the Space Shuttle Columbia was traveling 18 times the speed of light, 200,000 miles above the Earth's surface.

One more reason why I watch FNC.

I know of CNN's embarrassing gaff because a couple other morons over at Fark were dumb enough to (a) believe it and (b) open their mouths and admit it. I tried to set them straight, but since it was on CNN, it must be true.

Some people just can't be helped.

Nerdslut

Jan. 29th, 2003 10:33 am
bronwynrh: (Default)
"You attract your partners with your wallflower charms, intelligence, and thirst for knowledge. Chances are you look cute in glasses. You know when to cut loose and this can be exciting and fun for those who manage to meet your high standards."

nerdslut
What's your sexual appeal?

brought to you by Quizilla

Heeheeheeee Is this me, or is this me? HA!

*sigh*

------

On another note. . . I seem to have exchanged the migraines for these strange sinus pains. I even had a bit of an earache this morning and just now, as I was typing this up, I got a jab in my right sinus (same side as the earache). Fantastic.

Hrm. I'm not congested or anything, at least, I don't feel stuffy-headed. But boy-howdy, have I had the sinus headaches going lately.

It still beats the migraines, so I suppose I should be grateful. Ok. I'll be grateful. Grateful with reservations.

---------

Nerdslut. Har.

Nerdslut returns to her petri dishes now, and then will get back to her soon-to-be publication and the presentation she is working on for tomorrow and next week.

Perhaps she will stop referring to herself in the third person as well?

Maybe.
bronwynrh: (Default)
Nothing like starting out an important Monday morning by oversleeping an hour. Geez.

6:50, I sleepily roll over and look at the alarm clock. It's set, but hasn't gone off. Why? Because I didn't reset it to 6 like I should have. Dammit! Mooooom! I screwed up! Help!

After I help massage out a charlie horse I probably induced in her leg, I run to jump into the shower while my poor wonderful mother makes a lunch for me. She starts my car to warm it up while I get dressed and chug down a Carnation Instant Breakfast.

I do take the time to note down the numbers of IUPD and Parking OPs, just in case I have any sorostitutes to deal with this morning in the parking lot, an issue I'm almost looking forward to dealing with.

I drive to work, almost get hit by a blue-hair who runs a stop sign (it's not just the kiddies who don't know how to drive around here), and pull into a HALF-EMPTY parking lot. Yes, it seems there was a parking lot pogrom of sorts last night, as there was not a single non-permitted vehicle to be seen. A beautiful sight, let me tell you, but a little disappointing, as I was also geared up for a fight.

So I made it into the lab on-time, in spite of my oversleeping, and checked on my cultures, to find that I should have grown cultures of a larger size. So I spent about half an hour crunching numbers, trying to rescue my experiment. Hoping it will work. Praying it will still work. Please, bacterial gods, let this still work. An hour and a half and a case of carpal tunnel syndrome later, the experiment is begun and incubating (happily, I hope) on my bench.

Let's see, 16 plates times 12 wells each . . . that's 192 individual squeezes of my pipet bulb (out) and 64 long squeezes of the bulb for fill-ups. Yeah. My wrist hurts. And my cultures are about 10 times more dilute than I wanted them to be (my fault for not starting larger cultures), but oh well. This is a 3 day experiment, after all. I'm sure it'll all work out in the end.

Not that any of this makes sense to any of you. Sorry.

A while back I was griping and complaining about my headaches and migraines. I won't bother to link you guys back to the posts of gripes and complaints, just suffice it to say that it's been about a year-long trial of weight-gain and headaches and migraines as I tried several different migraine prophylaxis medications, none of which seemed to work.

I tried a beta-blocker, which essentially turned me into a slug with a resting pulse of about 50. I was tired all the time, I could barely motivate myself to get out of bed, much less work or move, and I still got migraines.

Then I tried elavil, an old antidepressant. Killed my night-life, as it knocked me flat in the evenings and I still got migraines.

Then I tried verapamil, a calcium channel blocker. I was on it for about 3 weeks and stopped because, although it lowered my blood pressure, I had a headache every single day and I had two very severe migraines, one of which drove me to the emergency room. Very not good.

That last one convinced my PCP to refer me to a neurologist, with whom I had an appointment last week. He gave me a prescription for Topamax (Topiramate) - the wildly popular anti-epileptic drug that's also prescribed for manic-depressive patients and migraine sufferers.

Its most common side effects?

Weight loss and increased libido.

Wow.

Its cost for me per month (working up to 200mg/day)?

$305

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

This better work.

Of course, for the first time in, oh, six months, I haven't had a migraine in about 2 weeks. So I felt badly about starting to take the medication two nights ago. What's up with that? I HAVEN'T had a migraine and I'm feeling GUILTY? *sigh*

I don't know what to think. These darned things are so sporadic. I can go two weeks without one, then go two weeks having one every other day. I just don't get it.

One word of advice though - stay away from over-the-counter meds for headaches. If you regularly take tylenol or ibuprofen or excedrin or some other analgesic-of-choice, beware. They can cause you to get into serious rebound loops where you actually become dependent on the medications. If you think you may be in such a loop, try to avoid taking all OTC analgesics for about a month. It may be rough at first, but I bet you'll find in the end that you'll have fewer headaches.

Well, that's about it for now. My Carnation Instant Breakfast has worn off. I think I'll give my poor wrist a rest and eat a Nutri-Grain bar.
bronwynrh: (Default)
I am sick. Sick. Sick. Sick. I was sick all weekend at the meeting in Minneapolis. I was fortunate, though, because I presented my talk Saturday morning before this sinus infection really took off.

A synopsis of my weekend. . .

1) My talk went really, really well. I got a great response from the conference attendees, both in person and through Clay. One scientist went so far to say that the work that Clay and I presented was the most original work he'd seen in the field in years. How cool is that? I got to talk with a lot of really nice people, some of whom I've met before, some I only met this weekend.

I met Eugene Nester, considered the father of Agrobacterial studies. He mentored Steve Winans, who mentored Clay's Post-doc, who of course is now mentoring me. So he's like my academic great-grandfather. He's a distinguished looking gentlemen whom many young scientists like myself revere as a god, but then you meet him and realize how cool he is and that he's human - but a really fantastic one. He's also well-known for his collection of Northwest native American art.

So anyway, as my cold developed into something more flu-like and settled into this sinus infection (complete with fever and body aches - yay) I was doing my best to make the most of the opportunity to talk with some fantastic scientists, friends, colleagues.

I noticed that I tend to start few conversations at these meetings. I do start some, but I most often wait for someone to approach me, or I simply join a group and listen. I learn a lot just by listening, but I also found that several of these scientists were very interested in me, too. Very cool.

2) When going through security at the Minneapolis airport, fevered and feeling quite under the weather, something on my person tripped the sensor in the walk-through metal detector.

A list of all items on my body at the time: sneakers with plastic insoles, socks, denim jeans, underwear and bra, turtleneck, two bracelets (one silver, one gold), one wristwatch and one gold necklace.

Something in the above list tripped the sensor. Anyone want to guess what it was?

So I had to sit in the chair, take off my shoes - I told the security officer that there were insoles inside, so she wouldn't be freaked when she saw them instead of seeing the flannel lining of the sneaker - the shoes were sent off and checked out while my legs and feet were wanded. I then had the legs-apart arms-out wanding, front, back, left right. Do you know what tripped the sensor yet?

My bra.

"I have to touch you here, since it beeped"

um, ok

At this point, I was trying very very hard not to crack up. I remember there were times in Saudi Arabia when my orthodontic braces would trip the sensors. But never an underwire bra, for chrissakes.

I now understand the motivation of the woman who stripped off her sweater, shirt and bra at such a checkpoint in frustration. The devil in me wished I could do the same as a joke, but I didn't particularly feel like being arrested, nor did I feel like showing my bosom to hundreds of strangers, Clay and several colleagues from the meeting.

3) Our flight out of Minny was delayed by an hour because our dear president landed in Air Force One, so the airspace and runways were cleared out. We saw the plane right after it landed, watched it taxi all around the airport until it settled at a distant hangar. Then we saw the motorcade - complete with the requisite black suburbans.

It was a cool sight - how often does one get to see Air Force One? Clay and I wondered if the parties or the taxpayers have to pay for all the pre-election travel of our president as he stumps for his party's candidates all over the country. I just know we're the ones footing the bill, but I really think the president's party should have to pay for stuff like this. Presidents have more important things to do than hop about the country attending pep rallies - especially if those pep rallies aren't even for their own reelection, but for that of other candidates. I figure he's not really doing the country's business on these trips, so why shouldn't the party pay for it?

I know, they all do it. But I still don't like it.

Ugh. Does anyone know where I can find a new set of eustachian tubes? Mine are completely plugged up.

Yay Me!

Sep. 18th, 2002 08:33 am
bronwynrh: (Default)
So I'm in week 2 of my pursuit of marginal fitness. I've given up on Cindy Crawford (or rather, my knees gave up on her) and I've moved on to the NAC System's Body Parts video.

A nice, moderate-level workout that takes just over 30 minutes and gets me going in the morning. Legs, buns, chest, arms and abs all get their 7 minutes of fame. After just a short amount of time, I can actually tell that I'm getting a little better at it. I can't see any differences in the mirror yet, but that takes time, and I'm learning to be patient.

Makes for an early morning, though. I get up at 6 (or as close to that as I can muster, my bed is so darned comfy in the morning), take care of a couple of hygienic matters, then work out. Then it's into the shower, get dressed, put on my face and drink
(yes, drink) my breakfast before zipping out to the car to get a primo parking space.

She's trying to get in shape, you say, yet she drives to campus?

Yes, I drive to campus. But right now, only on alternate days. I figure, MWF I can work out and drive, TTh I can walk. If I can stick it out with this sort of routine, I just may get myself back to some semblance of shapely fitness.

But now, it's off to the mail room - It's Wednesday. Around here, Wednesday is also known as DONUT DAY!!!!

Hey. All I had for breakfast was a Carnation Instant Breakfast mix in SKIM milk. My metabolism should be able to take care of glazed twist, no problem.

Yeah. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

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February 2012

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