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: (Boys)
I've been busy. Actually, I've been sick, which means I've been too exhausted and snotty to be very productive these past few weeks. My knitting has languished, my pile of sewing projects spread across the tables, and the guilt huddles in my mind, waiting for any opportunity to make me feel like an unaccomplished loser.

I do have one freelance job completed, so that's something. I should get another assignment next week... with one or two more jobs this month, I should earn a nice little pocket full of Jeff's 40th Birthday Present money. I've made a couple of Lizzypops sales, too, and hope to grab some momentum, there.

I have projects in progress for myself, Jeff and Dixon, but feel guilty working on them because they won't make any money. Then I feel guilty if I focus on Lizzypops stuff, because it may just all be a colossal waste of time. So I wind up doing nothing at all, which does wonders for the self-esteem, let me tell you.

Let's see... Ah, October in Pictures! The boys were fun this month. They're becoming closer, having fun and being affectionate with each other, although Samuel still feels very jealous of Dixon and often steals toys or squeezes between us and the baby, pushing Dixon away. He's learning, but it's taking some time. When they're not competing for toys or attention, they set each other off into choruses of squeals, screeches and giggles, and play extended games of Monkey See, Monkey Do. Last night, they were executing tandem Downward Dog poses with their heads butted up against each other on the floor. Then they'd rise up on their toes and roll over their heads, over each other, giggling like little madmen. I'll be sure to have the camera ready for video, tonight.

October 2009


And now... I dare you to go to YouTube and search for "world's biggest zit". I double dog dare you. Don't make me suffer the traumatic aftereffects alone, but don't blame me if you're foolish enough to take the dare.


Jul. 1st, 2009 01:39 pm
bronwynrh: (Eskimo Kiss)
I want to be a stay-at-home mom for a year. Here I sit, trying to pull words out of the air and cringing at the thought of how many more words I need to find and how many forms I need to complete in the next two months, all in the name of begging the NIH to give us $6m pretty please. All for a project that, thanks to the FDA, will take at least three more years - at least! - to come to fruition.

That's a long time to be waiting for the big payoff while my children grow without me. That's a lot of missed milestones, giggles, tickles, songs.

I'd rather be nesting - our house still doesn't feel like home for me, it's a mess and the project list is overwhelming. I'd rather be holed up in my craft room, sewing and knitting and learning how to create all the things that are dancing in my head. I'd rather be playing with the boys. I'd rather be hanging with my mom.

There's never enough time or energy left for the things I want to do - the things that will make me a better mom, a better wife, a happier me.

Mom often tells me to enjoy what I have and stop wishing for what I can't. I try, but always wind up right back here with the pit in my stomach, clenched jaw and stinging eyes. I'm 32 years old, unfulfilled, and feel my time slipping away, wasted on treading water and bare maintenance.


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: (Family)
Hard to believe, isn't it?

Jeff and I both took the day off for Samuel's birthday. It was a beautiful, bright and sunny day. Perfect. We all slept in together, had breakfast, made a trip to the grocery store and, after a quick lunch, went to get our first family portraits. Samuel was an angel - all smiles for the camera. The kid's a ham, what can I say? He only grew impatient at the very end, when we were finalizing our package choices. The photographer was impressed and told me that most first-year sessions don't go so easily.

She may have been blowing smoke, but judging by the other kids I saw there, I choose to believe her.

As for developmental progress, Samuel's got two teeth so far and so we call him Toofer. He's getting the hang of walking and is very pleased with himself over it. He still isn't talking, but I'm not too worried. I have a feeling that once he starts, there'll be no stopping him. He's still taking two naps a day and goes to bed no later than 8, after which he routinely sleeps straight through the night. He awakens us around 6 am and I bring him down to our bed for a morning nurse and family snuggles. He loves books and his stacking and sorting toys. His newest pal is a singing, dancing chicken. Yes, my son enjoys the Chicken Dance. Video evidence will be coming soon :)

He'll eat anything we give him, and wants whatever we're having from pork chops to homemade poptarts to fancy breads to beans to cream cheese - even Party Pizza! He eats all his veggies, loves fruit and yogurt... he's got quite an appetite. He still asks to nurse in the afternoons, so at least for now, we're nursing twice a day. We tried cow's milk and it disagreed with him, so I'll not try to wean him until I know he can tolerate a substitute. I don't mind continuing, but I need him to understand that twice a day is it - that he can't be grabbing at me when we're out and about. He doesn't often do that, but when he does it's ... awkward.

Samuel's got this funny quirk, where he doesn't want anything on his Tenda table. This means that we can only put a few items on the table at once - a half-dozen cheerios or two nilla wafers, never ever his cup - and even then, he may decide to take them and drop them, one by one, to the floor. Then he leans over and points to them, and looks at us as if to say, "well aren't you going to get that?"

Alright, enough talk. Time for some pictures! )

ETA One more for corto

bronwynrh: (Default)
Sniffing lavender oil scares the nauseaman away.

Of course it only works if I'm sniffing it continually, so here I sit at my desk, papers shuffled to the side and my body turned awkwardly so I can see them while keeping the oil right under my nose. I feel like Aunt Pittypat for heaven's sake. My smelling salts! Somebody fetch my smelling salts!

I've got nine projects on my at-work plate right now, all but two of them are Priority One. Hm. How's that gonna work?

I want a set of good, self-contained color-coded project portfolios, one for each project. I'll take recommendations if you've got 'em! The piles and banker's boxes of identical-looking manuscripts and manila folders on my desk only serve to confuse and overwhelm. They're organized in their own way, but so many notes are scattered and left unsynthesized that I have to go to two or three different folders to find what I need. An at-a-glance project portfolio will help me answer those impromptu questions quickly instead of with, "I don't know off-hand, let me look that up and get back to you."

I used to be so organized - In college, I started the habit of rewriting all of my class notes - complete with diagrams and color coding so study time was a breeze. I never wasted time on, "where is that?" or "what in hell was I abbreviating there?!?" The habit served me well in graduate school, too.

I am fully capable of doing this. So I'd better DO it, already! I've got six and a half months to blow away the Powers That Be and precipitate another promotion (or at least another spanktastic raise) before my end-of-year maternity absence. Time to kick it up a notch!
bronwynrh: (Pregnant)
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll just add three: October 15, 2008

bronwynrh: (Default)
My, my. Samuel is 9 months old today. Crazy! We're still nursing, and he eats like a champion, too - everything from Cheerios to chicken. He has no teeth yet, but that isn't slowing him down. Speaking of slowing down, the kid crawls at a sprinter's pace and he's a fast cruiser. Turn your back for a second and he's gone. He's managed to stand up unaided a couple of times, but only for a few thrilling seconds. He'd probably be able to hold it longer if he didn't get so amused with himself that he giggled and shook himself back down to the floor :) Of course I'm biased, but I think he's quite bright. He turns the pages of the books we read and lifts the flaps on the peek-a-boo books. He babbles well, and I think he knows I'm Mama. My mom thinks he's calling her nana because she says "no no" to him. Samuel is a very sweet and affectionate little boy who will hug your legs and reach to be picked up, and sometimes I think he's trying to give kisses.

He's just amazing to me in every way.

We seem to have turned a corner on sleep, but if we go off-script for naps or meals we pay a heavy price. Needless to say, holiday festivities have made for some interesting nights.

We had a good first Christmas with Samuel. Although we had the whole weekend, I still didn't manage to bake Christmas cookies, and I told Jeff I felt inadequate for it. Ah well, there's always next year. I tried a figgy pudding recipe, which was a significant failure, and I baked chocolate chip cookies last night. They're good, but need more vanilla.

I don't have the energy to write coherently today. I've been awake since 2:30 this morning, thanks to Samuel and a brand new cold that's moving into my right sinus. So. TTFN.
bronwynrh: (hello)
Goodness me. This has become an all-mommy all-the-time journal.

I had occasion the other day to dig through my archives, on the hunt for migraines-tagged entries for someone who inquired about them. What I found were, well, great things. I used to be quick and witty, insightful and fun. They were fun for me to read, anyway. YMMV

I miss it, you know, having a brain. I miss the feeling of having only stresses of my own making. They were my migraines, my battles with the bacteria, my encounters with The Wall and Joey and the kid who thought a fire extinguisher was the answer to a flaming jar of ethanol. Everything was simple, even when the computer ate my prelim. exam and my committee failed me.

I ate when I wanted to - or didn't, depending on the migraine prophylactic du mois! - I slept when I wanted to. I could spend a whole Sunday in my bathrobe, reading the paper and sipping coffee in bed. Oh, the hedonism!

This isn't a complaint, mind you, not really. This is merely an observation of how struck I am by the changes in my life.

For the first time, I don't have time to myself - or, rather, what time I have comes at a premium and is relegated to the off-hours of the day - but I am finally making use of that time to be creative and to produce. What's that old line about not appreciating something until it's gone? Waste not, want not? Now that I have no time, I'm using what time I can scrape together and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow I'll have something to show for it.

Ok, a finished afghan for Jeff or a quilt for Samuel is (or will be) nice, but taking what I've made and putting it out there for somebody else to judge and (I hope) pay for... well that's a whole other ball of wax. Will I crash and burn, or is this going to be the start of something big? Another major change in my life? My ticket out of the workaday world?

My mind is swimming with ideas and I'm anxious to have that first validation. That first hint that maybe I can do this after all.

After tomorrow's sale I'm giving myself permission to go back to working on my projects for the family. Jeff's afghan and Samuel's bedroom will come first, then Samuel's quilt and baby clothes, my cross-stitch projects (I miss them terribly) and - oh! so many ideas for other projects. I absolutely must finish what I've started. What's amazing to me is the thought that I may actually do it. There's a job, a house, four pets, a husband and (last but really first) a baby to care for, but somehow I'm managing to get in front of that sewing machine, to take the needle in hand.

Maybe this sudden push to pursue my creative dreams is my way of reaching back to grab some of that hedonism I took for granted, of holding onto my Self.

How's that for a good old-fashioned self-absorbed journal entry? No baby talk! Wow!
bronwynrh: (Default)
The view from my back door is lovely this time of year.

I have scads of photos and a couple of movies to upload, but they will have to wait until I get some more work done. I'll share this one with you now, though - Jeff thought maybe Samuel was trying to get back in :)

bronwynrh: (Default)
Six things that have made me happy lately...

1. My beautiful baby boy is happy and (gulp!) crawling!

2. My wonderful husband knows how to make me smile when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

3. I love my new itty bitty coffee pot because I can make my own coffee in the morning and save some $$

4. I've found my creative outlet in needles, thread, fabric and yarn, and just may be able to fund my hobby through sales :)

5. My above-mentioned beautiful baby boy is cared for by people who love him and he never has to go to daycare.

6. In spite of my frustrations, I'm very good at my job and the bosses know it. Now to see how they choose to show me the love money...


May. 1st, 2007 04:39 pm
bronwynrh: (Don't Panic!)
The young master is in his swing now, and is temporarily occupied. Good.

Other news. . . not much. There were stories I was supposed to tell you, though. So without further ado I give you: I can kill you with my mind )

And once again, I'm being called by the young master. How could he possibly be hungry again? I feel like I'm nothing but a spigot to this little fella, and I'm not enjoying it. Maybe it's the PPD, but I'm really not getting to enjoy breastfeeding as a beatific experience. I'd like it to be loving and beautiful, but so far it just isn't. Guilt.

Yeah, there he goes. Gotta go get him.
bronwynrh: (Christie)
She was my companion, my bestest friend. She comforted me when I cried. She scratched and fitzed at anyone who didn't know her most subtle of subtle warnings to "stop petting me now."

When we met, she was skinny and bedraggled, crying in a wire kennel in a nasty Arabian pet store. She knew me for the sucker I am. I opened the kennel and she came to me, putting one paw on each shoulder, and she nuzzled my neck. I gave the scary man all my babysitting money and brought her home on the school bus, all my friends cooing at my beautiful new friend. I took her to bed with me that night, and in the morning, she woke me with little kisses on my nose.

She never hugged me like that again, and only kissed me when comforting my tears.

We understood each other, we respected each other. I loved her more than I can express.

Christie was not getting better. Indeed, she suddenly got quite worse. Her seizures broke my heart and steeled my resolve to not allow her to suffer anymore. She was nothing if not dignified, and I wanted her to have that to the end.

She was calmed, I told her over and over again that I love her, that she's beautiful. . . and then she was gone.

I held her for a good while, rocking her as I used to do, kissing her luscious soft fur. I even held her up to see her face as I passed her limp body to the assistant. After a final kiss and a whispered I love you, Christie, I left her. We'll bring her back home in a few days.

It hurts so much, I haven't the words for it.
bronwynrh: (Christie)
Christie is 14 years old now, and has been unwell for several months. She got a tummy bug and was sick for a few days, then stopped eating. We got the tummy bug cleared up, but she still wouldn't eat on her own. We hand-fed her, and she seemed to bounce back a little, asking for treats and eating little bits on her own, and I started to hope she'd eventually - although slowly - get better.

Two days ago, she got puny again. Restless, hanging her head, her hindquarters down when she walks. . . The vet suggested a potassium deficiency, and I think she was avoiding saying it's CRF, which is what it looks like.

Mom's taking Christie to see the vet this morning, to get a definite diagnosis. CRF is manageable, but terminal. I don't want her to suffer, but I don't want to take her to die in a vet's office, where she's always scared and miserable. I want her to die at home.

So please, if you can spare some good thoughts, send some Christie's way. I love her as a best friend, and am terrified of losing her. I know I will eventually, but I have a hard time really facing up to that fact.
bronwynrh: (Screw the Pooch)
So I take my little pen drive to TY's office to go over the slides for my talk. We talk. We finish. he hits "Save" then pops out the pen drive. I go back to my computer and open the file.

Half the slides are now blank. Specifically, those slides with the elaborate Drawing bits are now blank.



Several backings and forthings later, I find that I can now only open the file in OpenOffice.


XP Powerpoint --> Mac Powerpoint --> OpenOffice?

And I can't paste from OO to ppt, nor can I import from ppt to OO. So I'm stuck trying to figure out the OpenOffice slide program, while fixing the pictures (because they're there, but they're not quite right) and trying to finish the thing.


I call on the "Screw the Pooch" icon for this one.


Oct. 31st, 2005 08:42 am
bronwynrh: (science2)
I got another notification from the Science Citation Index. My review article in Current Opinion in Microbiology was heavily cited in an article of American Scientist. It's just a basic review piece for the Sigma Xi journal, but it's cool that they used so much of my review - even one of the figures!

I'd do a dance of joy, but I'm in hormone withdrawal right now. . . I've got one of those painless migraines and it's making me feel totally wonky. If this cuppa joe doesn't help, I'll go ahead and snort a migranal. Good news! They come in packs of SIX now, instead of only four, and the sprayer thingie is much more compact and easy to tote around. All for just $200. Ok, only $58 for me, but still. Damn.

I'm giving a talk on Thursday, and as I've been pulling the pieces together, I realize how damned confusing this system is. I can feel my tongue getting tied up already.
bronwynrh: (wet)
File under "Oops!": I forgot to go to journal club today. I probably wasn't missed, and it's not as though they're going to yank my funding for it, but the former student in me is screaming, "OH SHIT! I MISSED CLASS!" Sure, I've bagged classes in the past, but jeez. Can't I make it to ONE meeting a week? Que serĂ¡ serĂ¡, I suppose.

File under "Wha' fu'?!?": For the past couple/few years, I've had dreams about being pregnant. I've dreamt about every stage of the process, from conception (whee!) through the pregnancy, and even a couple in which I was in active labor. Is this what a ticking clock sounds like? Anyway, last night I had my first dream about the moment my water breaks. I was in the lab, standing at my bench with a pipetman in one hand and a tube in the other, when *gush* . . . um. Ok. *puts equipment down on the bench* "Guys? I think y'all need to get me over to the hospital wing." After waking up, I consoled myself with the thought that both my advisor and one of my coworkers have children - so presumably they'd know what to do with a woman whose water just broke. And, of course, the hospital building is connected to this one, so at least I don't have to deal with a ride in the car.

Still. That's not the way I want it to happen.
bronwynrh: (Kiss my butt)
At heart, I am a mouthy bitch.
Please, restrain your gasps of shock.

This morning, Loud Man got on the bus with me and a few of my neighbors. Loud Man is, as I'm sure you can tell by now, Loud. He is also chatty. For those of you who know her, imagine Evelyn - only shouting.

I've ridden the bus with Loud Man many times before. He hollers halfway back the bus to talk to (I'm sorry, yell at) Randy about the high school game on the radio last night. He yells about politics and religion (together, no less!) and shouts things like, "RULES WITH AN IRON HAND" and "BLADDER CONTROL" and "CRAP HIT THE FAN". He shouts about his plans to go to the library (really? They let you in there?) to read up on POLITICS and RELIGION. He teases Randy, but calls him Jeffrey (the bus driver's name). He holds on the pole and leeeeeeans into the guy two seats away so he can better be heard. He asks polite questions and then shouts about SOMETHING RANDOM before the questioned can answer. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that, during the entire 17 minute journey, he was silent for no longer than 1.5 seconds at a time. Four times.

This morning, I got fed up. It's just too damned early for being shouted at - or near.

So, as I left the bus and passed by him, I paused and said (in my polite, indoor-but-fully-audible voice), "You really need to learn how to use your indoor voice." And down I stepped.

He looked surprised, and I heard him say something, but I was already off the bus. We'll see if he shouts something to me when next we're at the bus stop.

Dave, how was that? Not bitchy enough?

/ps. Like my Kiss My Butt icon? She mowed three times in the past 6 days. So weird.
bronwynrh: (me boat)
Hello, LJland. Not a whole lot going on in my world; at least, nothing out of the ordinary. I spent last Saturday and this Saturday at Panera with Jeff. I think I can handle it and enjoy it for 8 hours, but yesterday it stretched nearly to 10. I think 8:05 was too much :)

But hey, I get free food, all the coffee I can handle, a comfy chair, and the people-watching is pretty damn good. I know I enjoy the time more than Jeff does, poor guy. They got killed yesterday and the Jeffster got stuck playing barista for 4 hours straight. Stupid understaffitude. Stupid GM who nods and says, "yes we're understaffed, we need to hire lots of people. . . " and then does NOTHING. Jackass.

It's kind of hard to run and manage a store when you're quite literally swamped behind the milk steamer for 4 hours. Ya think?

I also wound up with a migraine yesterday, that started shortly after we got to the store at 6 am. (Yes, you read that properly.) I drank a couple of cups of coffee, then dropped a Phenergan in hopes of knocking the migraine out. Well, I knocked myself out, that's sure! I tried to read, but found myself reading the same couple of lines over and over again because I was so drowsy. It got better after a while, though. Last night the migraine came roaring back quite suddenly. Within about an hour, I went from "oo, ouchie" to "o fuck me this HURTS!". So I dosed up with phenergan and toradol and went to bed early.

On the bright side, that's the first real migraine I've had in about 10 days, so I guess it's good. On the downside, I think the Cymbalta is attacking my tummy. I read somewhere that our digestive systems have their own "brain", so to speak, driven by seratonin just like our brain-brains are. So taking this SSNRI (which affects two neurochemicals, not just one) can screw with the brain and help with depression and headaches, but it also can screw with the gut-brain.

All this to say, I can't eat much anymore without feeling nauseous. Stupid me, I'm a slow learner. My mouth says, "Yum! Feed me more!" so I eat the yummies and then my stomach totally revolts. Blarg. I've only puked once, but I've wanted to plenty more often. I'll learn to work on eating less and more frequently or something to control the nausea, I guess. I can deal with the discomfort to a point, so I'm going to try my best to work with it - if it turns into the constant dagger-in-the-gut that was Topamax, I'll quit, but not until then.

I think this stuff is working, and I'd hate to have to give up again.

In other news, life in the lab is going swimmingly. I still don't have a project to call my own, but I'm making progress with the things I'm working on, and I'm much more comfortable with the system. I have to give a presentation in the first week of November. . . that'll be the real test :-/

I'm still having fun over at Distributed Proofreaders, watching myself climb through the rankings. 59/2618! *dork* I've been reading about the woman suffrage movement, a couple of historical novels, a 1631 publication on orchards and gardens, the poetry of Omar Khayyam. . . so much fun!

In my spare time :) I've picked up my cross-stitch project again, and have re-read Robert Graves novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God, and have just started another read of King Jesus. If you've never read any Robert Graves and you like ancient history, READ THESE! Since I can't really afford another trip to the bookstore right now, I'm going back to my own library for reading material. I've got the list of your recommendations in my purse, though.

So that's it. I'm at the lab now, and Jeff's at work. When I'm done here, I'll take a leisurely stroll home - about 2.5 miles. Yes, I remembered to wear my sneakers!


bronwynrh: (Default)

February 2012

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