Saturday, July 17, 2010

All the news that's fit to print

Early this week, the fellow came to have me try out a mobility scooter. When he arrived in a his Subaru wagon, I was surprised to see him heft out of the passenger seat up front the pieces of a small wheelchair! Chris is paraplegic and so cute he'd make a fine actor! He told me he is 39 and I told him, I was guessing you were 23! He said his wife just had twin boys 10 months ago, and he spoke during his time at our house of things he does outside of work, like boating and skiing.

I figured out that he is a motor-head, so I told my husband to show Chris his V-max motorcycle in the shop. We had a nice visit in the shade of the shop, next to the motorcycle and our "new" car and all of Pete's tools and such. Chris said he got his spinal cord injury when he was 14 and was in a car wreck. He understood so much of the things I was talking about, that usually folks don't "get." He asked me if I could do hippotherapy and I told him that I think being near the horses would be too hard for me emotionally. He said he understood that because he can't play wheelchair softball even though he was passionate about baseball when he was growing up...for the same reason.

I was fine with the scooter he brought, but asked for one with suspension, an obvious need for anyone with an upper-C-spine injury or broken neck. I'm thinking this will be something I could go down trails a-ways on....that once more I'll be able to see "what's around the corner."

I was always a "what's around the bend?" kinda gal....a drive that kept me out way too long on rides and causing me to come home late, thus resulting in worry for my family. What's around that corner? What does it LOOK like? what am I missing? Maybe this trail will end soon and I can feel like I saw all that I could this day?

So, I'm thinking perhaps I can use the scooter for a small bit of "bein' out in the woods" again, and also perhaps I can walk my dogs that way, though it would be a hassle to haul the thing down into town. Where we live, it's all pretty rough and hilly and on the road, there are no shoulders to walk down.

I had my six-month appointment with Dr. Fu, my oncologist. Something spoke to me that day, warning me that my tests were not going to come back "fine" this time. And so, I wasn't shocked when Dr. Fu said that my M-proteins had spiked. They've never spiked before, so in 6 months, they went from an undetectable level to 19.5 mg/24 hour urine. I don't know what that means. Dr. Fu said "You are still a long way from a myeloma diagnosis." But all multiple myeloma starts with MGUS (which is what I have, an anacronym for Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance." But not all MGUS ends with Multiple Myeloma. Most MGUS increases at a rate of 1% per year, though the ones that evolve into myeloma increase at a rate of 20% per year. How my stats, of increasing from nothing to 19.5 mg, fall into that ratio, I don't know. I'm not really worried about it. It is what it is, and if there is nothing else that my journey with my injury has taught me, it is that there is no use in worrying.

I am scheduled for another 24-urine and blood labs in six months to see if the spike leveled off or is continuing to climb.

My pain mgmt team at the cancer center is awesome! I am now taking an oxycontin (long-lasting oxycodone) in the AM and PM along with 4-5 oxycodone during the day for breakthrough pain. I'm taking nortriptyline at night, which helps with the pain in a tremendous way, and also helps me sleep.

I've had a lot of company, which I've really enjoyed this year. Tomorrow, a dear friend is coming to see me from her home in Oregon. I have not seen her in almost 4 years! She and I played together in a little bluegrass band in California when I lived there. The injury has taken away my ability to play music, but my friend still packs her guitars around in her trunk as she drives, ready in nan0-seconds for a jam session.

Did I tell you already that we have a fun project this summer? We bought, a couple of months ago, a 1969 camp trailer. What a project!! It's 41 years old and looks like it feels every one of those years! Well, I should say, "looked" because we've been working on it almost daily. Too much to describe, but it's been such a labor of love, and as I work, I think of us living in this trailer next year when we drive up to Alaska with the dogs, hopefully staying a couple of months this time.

It's an Aladdin "Casbah" (model) that is 16 ft. long, and has a full bath and shower in the back. I love everything about it! We bought it from the coastal part of Oregon and now, that was just plain stupid! Dry rot? Yes! Rusted everything, including every single staple in the lovely birch paneling? YES! I have taken off all the cabinet doors and Pete buffed up the hinges to get the rust off of them, and I have painted them all, along with the knobs and other hardware. I painted the doors, too....and put them all back on. We had to pull out pieces of the wall to remove the dry rot and put in new support beams and new paneling and such. We have painted the 4-burner stove black and the front of the nice, big fridge black, as well.

And anyone who knows me knows that I have already painted silhouettes of moose and bear on some of the cabinet doors. Oh, and pine trees, too!

I also am hoping we can pull it down to CA to see our son in a couple of months and park at the beach, and have him and his wife join us at times. I'd love that! Making campfires at night, making S'mores, and visiting and getting reacquainted with each other.

Our spring was nice and cool here and oh, how I loved that. Now, the days are heating up and the AC is cranking out the cool air. I'm so thankful for the AC! I've had alot of times "paying the fiddler" for the work I try to do in the garden, especially when people are coming for a visit and I want things to look as good as I can. Perhaps that is something I've learned this year, learned the hard way: that loved ones come to see us and not our flowers and don't even notice the weeds. Or if they do, they don't mention it. That is why we LOVE them!

God bless you, dear reader!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just read far enough in this post to see that you are coming back to Alaska. PLEASE COME SEE ME!!! Last time you were here I thought I had to drive to Homer or Kenai to see you and by the time you arrive in Alaska my neck just can't do that much car travel. But you drove 2 minutes past my house. I would have loved a visit, even if only for 5 minutes. My fault!

Next year we can easily haul our camper to the Anchorage, Eagle River, Chugiak/Peter's Creek, Wasilla and Palmer area. That's much closer than Homer and Kenai. I should have my CCI service dog by then.

I'm having an extra bad pain day, so I'm treating myself to a large dose of your blog. :)

Lisa in Alaska