Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bad Drugs / Good Art / Gray Rain

Whew, it's been a while.  I'm out of practice! A few people recently have asked how I'm doing so I thought I'd just go ahead and update my brain blog.  Brain is good! But my scar definitely hurts, or at least is sensitive to the weather, mostly cloudy days.  This may actually be an advantage if I can now predict weather! (bah-da-bing!/cymbal crash.)  My left arm is nearly normal, I still drop stuff with my left hand, or, like, I'll be walking with a cup of water & not realize it's actually leaning, leaking, onto me or the floor.  My kids must think I'm a drunk! My shoulder is still being a pain in the...ah...shoulder.  It's still acting weird.  If I'm in the car, reading in bed, or just leaning back on my shoulder blade my arm just feels like lead.  Still does the somewhat painful crik-crak thing adjusting itself, but not as often.  I can type with two hands now, but not as fast.  I probably will go ahead & ask my doctor for an x-ray of my arm while insurance is still covering 100%.

The bottom line is, I can drive, work, dress the girls, wash their hair, chop parsley -- which is all important in my recovery, but some days I worry.  I learned at work when I tried to lift a stack of books over my head onto a shelf above me, that the arm still has some ways to go.  It gave out and all the books came back & hit me & the floor.

Tomorrow is my last dose of Keppra (hooray!).  Then I'll only be on my thyroid medicine, iron supplements for anemia, and that nasty warfarin sodium (only through October).  I actually made a list of my leftover medications for the Free Clinic when I contacted them about a drug donation (Virginia doesn't seem to have a drug take-back program anywhere) but they can't take them unsealed.  But while writing out the list -- Dilantin, Keppra, Lisinopril, Dexamethasone, Phenytoin, Synthroid (different dose) -- each of those drugs has a specific meaning and memory for me (all bad).  Looking at them was proof of how far I have come.  It's hard to see it day by day, but when I realize I couldn't even hold my left arm up at all, I can acknowledge my progress.

Also in the medicine cabinet were the supplements I bought BEFORE the diagnosis, when I wasn't feeling well & just thought I needed to be healthier: a gigantic bottle of 600 mg calcium supplements, Vitamin D-400 I.U., Vitamin B6 (wrong, should have bought B12), and 500mg Vitamin C.  I was taking a woman's all-purpose vitamin too.  For the January spasms (good name for a band, no?), which I thought were just caused by stress from (you name it!) -- images from the Haitian earthquake, the Appomattox massacre, feeling overworked at the bookstore during the Christmas season during finals, heavy snow & 18 days straight with the girls (& no car) while Ethan did snow removal at LC, and then going back to school 2nd semester, I had purchased: Valerian Root 530mg for sleep, Visine-A allergy relief for my bloodshot/swollen eyes (crying, allergies, who knows?), Bach's Rescue Remedy for anxiety, and Boron's homeopathic gelsemium sempervirens for "stage fright/apprehension" for my upcoming public speaking class.  God.  I wanted to depress my system so much to stop those muscle spasms from happening.  I was so worried about being embarrassed having a spasm in public.  But my head kept throbbing and my pulse pounded in my right ear, keeping me awake, and luckily it all led me to an MRI machine.  Dang! It was all in my head!

I think we just want to medicate ourselves because we're afraid the problem may be worse than we thought.  The thing is, the body is neutral, whatever is happening in there is going to keep happening, unless you get help from a professional.  Really, I could have tried to smother my spasms with all sorts of things but they would have kept breaking through all that stuff.  And, as my readers all know, they were seizures anyway.

So, I did finish CVCC with a 4.0 & have transferred to Randolph College.  I am super-super excited to be there as an Art History/Museum Studies student.  This semester I'm starting slow: Studio Art, Contemporary Art, Three Ancient Cities (Rome, Athens, Alexandria), and Special Topics: Art Collecting/Collections.  All of this has been in the back of my mind since I saw the interview below, which was so inspiring to me I actually cried at the end for what the world had lost (i.e. a person who is enthusiastic and passionate about something).  Kirk Varnedoe helped me to understand that I did not have to be an intellectual to understand some forms of art, especially abstract art.  This was back in 2003 & I had caught it by accident.  Actually, maybe it was just fate. 

It's about an hour so I understand if you don't watch it, but you should some day!


It's dark & rainy here right now, which is great -- it reminds me fall is coming.  Well, I should do a bit of housework & be a good wife and mother! Ha!


  1. Have I mentioned that I think you're kind of a super hero? You should know that, for what it's worth. I'm amazed at your progress and I hope you keep on this track. Even if you never reach 100% again, just remember - you had a freaking BRAIN TUMOR, woman. That's nothing to sneeze at. You are one bad ass lady.

  2. Thanks so much foe the update, have wondered how things are going. So glad to learn you fi iced CVCC and are now at Randolph College. Proud of you gal! Keep up the good work, know it is hard but you have proven you CAN do it!

  3. Congratulations on starting at Randolph! I would like to take those classes, too. I'm so glad you're feeling mostly normal. I shared your story with a friend who just got diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and has started radiation/chemo. She has a little 6 year old girl. We just don't expect these things to happen to us--not to US. We're still young! We're moms!

    P.S. If you don't do housework, I won't either! So let's NOT do it together.