I've not been blogging a lot lately. There's work -- 17 kindergarteners are enough to keep anyone hopping, right?!? Sure, I've had Girl Scouts. And, there's all those dratted cookies to contend with. But, the *real* drain on my time lately has been this. And, I'm starting to worry that I'm seriously hooked. I dreamt about pillaging last night. I'm starting to dream in pirate.... Should I be worried?
I mentioned trying to lose some weight in various postings -- here, and on other blogs' comments. I have always been large, so my struggles with weight are lifelong. This is, by no means, a new development.
I tend to use humor to diffuse rude comments about my weight. When people ask rude questions, most of the time, I try to make a self-deprecating joke -- it hurts less when *I'm* the one doing the put-downs. I guess it's a sort of a defense mechanism.
When I became friends with an online group devoted to the TV show "Homicide: Life on the Street," we all praised the show for starring "normal" looking people. The original stars were regular Joes, not beauty queens and GQ models. We often described some of the characters as "lumpy." This was, in our estimation, a good thing as far as realism of the show was concerned. Real poh-leece don't look like they stepped off of the fashion runway! They look tired, harried, and busy, just like the rest of the world does. I tended to apply the term "lumpy" to myself as well.
A few years ago, when Offspring was about three or four, people around me started noticing a lump on the back of my neck. It didn't hurt, and it wasn't bothering me in any way, so I didn't think much about it. I just figured I was putting the truth to my designation as "lumpy." I went to have lunch with my mother one day, and a co-worker of hers stopped me in the hallway to ask about the lump. It turns out that she had had something similar, and wanted to know if I ever had my lump checked out. She had had Cushing's Syndrome, which is a type of endocrine/hormonal disorder. She had a tumor on her adrenal gland, and the hypercortisolism was making her gain weight in her torso, and she had this fatty deposit like a dowager's hump on the back of her neck. She wondered, looking at my hump, if I might have the same thing.
I went online to various places, and printed out information about Cushing's, just to see if I needed to request a test for this from my family doctor. All the symptoms are just vague enough that probably 3/4's of the world would qualify: Upper body fat -- check. Lumpy neck -- check. Thin skin that often cracks -- double check. Stretch marks -- BIG check. Rounded, "Moon Pie" face -- yeah. Irregular or stopped menstrual periods -- yup. Decreased libido -- uh-huh. Putting all this info together, I called my doc's office. I made an appointment. When I arrived, I had to explain to my doc what Cushing's was. I showed her the information I had gleaned from various sources. Together, we looked through all of it, and decided that even though the symptoms were vague, I had enough of them to warrant a test. Dr. T. makes an appointment for me with an endocrine doctor. Based on his assessment, and Dr. T's best guess, we decide to do the test.
The definitive test at the time (and it might still be, for all I know) is a 24 hour urine sample. The urine is tested, and is supposed to fall into a category numbered from around 1 to 7. If your urine is on one end of the spectrum, you're normal. On the other end, you have Cushing's. Dr. T. and I talk about what the test results might show. Dr. T. calls me back, and tells me that, according to the test readings, I have Cushing's. We discuss treatment options. Based on the hump, Dr. T. thinks that it's likely that my tumor is at the base of the brain, but that we'll have to do CAT scans and MRI's in order to be sure. The treatment is much the same as chemotherapy. I'll have to have surgery -- basically, brain surgery -- to get rid of the tumor. I get this news on a Friday. Dr. T. tells me to break the news to my family, and to come in on Monday, and we'll set up all the necessary scans and tests at the hospital.
I tell JF, and we both panic. I try and explain to my little one that Mommy will be very sick, and in the hospital for a while. I even write out my will. I decide that I'll do whatever I have to do in order to be around for the next 75 years. I'll fight it! I'll become an expert on Cushing's overnight! In the cold dawn of Monday morning, however, I get a call from a sheepish Dr. T. -- she's read the results *completely* backwards! I *don't* have Cushing's. I never did. It was a new doctor, reading unfamiliar test results. I'm so relieved that being angry is the farthest thing from my mind. It turns out I'm just lumpy after all.
This time of year is always busy for us here in HumidityLikeABrickWall. We usually have a lot of projects going on all at one time. For the past four or five years, we've been mired very deeply in the all-American tradition of Girl Scout Cookies.
As a mother, I'm glad to see Girl Scouts help my daughter grow in confidence and personal strengths. I'm glad of the sense of belonging and community it offers her. But every year, I hate having to try to find storage room for all those blasted cookies. I shouldn't say "blasted." I should say "the cog that turns the wheel that is our troop's finances," but I find that I'm less and less excited at the idea of shlepping around all those blasted cookies.
Don't get me wrong, I love the cookies. I love them all too much, as my enormous girth will attest. I love that my eight scouts have sold so many cookies that we will garner over $1,000 profit this year. I love that my daughter sets her goals for cookie earning, and does her best to meet and exceed those goals. and that every year, she usually does very well in the cookie sale, not only in numbers, but also in initiative and drive, and in manners.
I hate having to load and unload (multiple times) 172 cases of cookies. I hate the crushed toes when a case or three falls on my foot. You wouldn't think cookies would be so heavy, but they are. Deceptively so. I hate having to "give up" my newly furnished craft room (in what used to be Offspring's nursery lo those many moons ago) because it's full to overflowing with cookie cases.
If I don't post for a week or so, send a search team out to see if I'm caught under an avalanche of boxes. At least I won't starve while awaiting rescue.
For obvous, Dooce-like reasons, I won't go into too much detail, but EMS had to be called to my class this afternoon for a student in medical distress. Please pray for that student, and the student's family.
I will update when I have a good/bad prognosis to deliver. As it is, pray for the ailing child, and for all of my others who were also in class at the time.
Update: No real news to report. At last notice, my student was resting somewhat comfortably at the hospital. The initial reaction of the docs was that a high fever triggered the "incident", and that was the most I was told at the time. I do plan on making a card for my little one, and sending it to the hospital if it proves that s/he will be there for any length of time. I appreciate all of your prayers.
At the end of January, our Girl Scout Unit always holds a very nice father-daughter ball. Every year, we, the leaders and mothers, go all out. There's a theme every year, and this year's was "An Evening in Paris." The girls and "escorts" always have a great time. Offspring and JF always attend, and we always have pictures to record the momentous occasion.
Here's their Ball picture, set in front of an Eiffel Tower backdrop. :)
(Thanks to the genius computer whiz JF for helping me get this posted!)
Offspring has been very reluctant to get her ears pierced -- it's mostly my fault. I told her the story about when I got mine done. The little gun got stuck on BOTH of my ears, and it hurt like the dickens. So, Offspring was natuarally very wary.
Today was the day that she overcame her fear very bravely, and went for it! My baby is growing up so fast!
Once again, I must apologise to those of you who share my tiny slice of the blogosphere...real life is kicking me in the pants.
We are facing a major crisis at work -- screwed up personnel records, and the push to redocument absolutely *freaking* EVERYTHING so we are a) not in violation of NCLB and b) so we can pass our accreditation review. This, in addition to teaching a full day, and various faculty meetings. Add my weekly scout meetings and prep time for that into the mix, and I suddenly start having heart palpitations.
So, I'm sorry I'm MIA lately. I am out here. In relatively good health, except for the aforementioned heart palpitations and what is probably turning into a nice blood pressure issue. Just busy. Family's fine. Weather nice, but raining to beat the band currently. Miss you all. Hope all is well, and hopefully, I'll get some time to read and post tomorrow night.