Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 30, 2007

OK, like you've never blogged before. I have 10 minutes to the end of the news, and the arrival of a hubby and tiny hungry man to my sanctum sanctorum (better known as my hurricane-regularly-hits-it-bedroom/office/school room) So I may rant slightly off-kilter this evening...I'm on a time crunch.

Well, today is the end of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. How many stories did you see on the news? How much Britney barf were you inundated with? See my point? How many "gold ribbon" products did you find in your local toy stores, children's clothing sections, or school aisles? mean you didn't even know that pediatric cancer had a color? neither - until my daughter had been in treatment for over a year! Folks, I believe we have a bit of a PR problem.

I'd been contemplating this crazy Fat-A-Thon idea for months, before taking the sacrificial plunge. I chose to start the insanity this month - for an obvious, close-to-my-heart reason. I want someone, anyone, out there in cyber space to sit up and take notice! Our kids count!!! Our kids are suffering, fighting, and damn-you-cancer dying...and far, far too few people recognize that. I'm rather fed up with that.

Moms in our on-line group created a beautiful, moving, truthful video for this month. 60,000 people have watch it. This video tells the story of every cancer child - with raw honesty. It could change the world - if we could figure out how to get people to watch it. An uber-funny brilliant comedienne has a video with her singing perhaps the best ditty about mothers ever written. Its downright hysterical - no arguments here. Its been viewed over a million times. Do I remotely denigrate her? Nope. She's a hoot. Problem is, getting those same million to give a fig and a holler about our kids.

So here I sit. Eating healthy crap and writing oddball monologues about my masochism. Maybe, just maybe, if I can make people laugh, I can eventually make them sit up and take notice too. I may be the oddest duck diving in the pond...I could care less about publicity for me. I figure, if I can get someone to notice the Fat-A-Thon - then I can sneak in the cancer stuff. Asking directly, begging, and even the pity angle haven't worked a boatload so far. The way I see it, the only avenue left is humor.

Are our kids serious? Hmmm, let's see. Do bears, deer, raccoons, and the occasional eagle fart in the forest? Duh........ Are our *KIDS* also funny? Oh yeah. Have you ever met a 2 year old who wasn't? You haven't laughed until you've heard the shrieks from a 24 yr old nurse who's, again, been scared stiff by an ornery 12 yo patient hiding in a linen closet. 4 year olds may not skateboard well, but they can pole surf at near warp speeds. Our kids are KIDS first - they just happen to be patients in their spare time.

Have I made you laugh this month? Have you seen parts of your own round rear in my posts? Good! That makes me happy. Want to thrill my socks off? Share. Share my Blubber Blog, share my thoughts, share my mission...and maybe, someone new will share my passion. I don't want to weep for the empty arms of another mother. I feel their aching...its almost more than my heart can bear.

I want to feel the joy of end-of-treatment parties. I want to celebrate the glorious work of dedicated researchers - as they find new miracle cures. I want to sing from the highest rooftops and dance on the biggest stage...our kids matter!! Our kids count! If the universe is listening, next September 30, I'll be writing you about what a magical month it was. We'll be discussing last week's story on Good Morning America and last night's story on CBS Evening News. We'll be arguing over which story was better presented, and which network seemed more committed, rather than bemoaning the fact that no one seemed to care at all. We have 11 months, my friends. We can knock on doors, ring phones, and electronically stalk everyone in the media until they hear us.

Listen, if I can starve publicly, how hard can it be for you to share? Write to Oprah, Rachel Ray, Ellen, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America...I don't care who! But email your internet brains out. At least if they think I'm nuts - they'll talk about me or to me...and we can start the real dialogue...the important one...cancer kids.

As for the actual Fat-A-Thon, I've won and lost several battles this month. I started this quest at a whopping 258 pounds. At my lowest, I was 244 pounds. Then, a new medical disaster fell on my beautiful daughter's tiny shoulders - and stress began gnawing at my resolve. Over a weekend get-a-way at a cabin - I gained 3 .5 pounds back. I fought hard, and removed them a second time. Then...well, the news got a little worse AND it was my 40th birthday...and I rather lost my head. This time, I gained 4 pounds back - all the way back up to 248. As of today, September 30, I have solidly lost 3 of those elusive pounds again. For two days now, I've been 245 pounds. I count that as -13 pounds in my first month on the diet. Would I have preferred -20? Are you insane?!!! I would have been ecstatic! But, -13 is nothing to sneeze at - and its even been under an element of duress.

To those of you who are joining me by reading these mind meanderings...THANK YOU. I cling to your warm comments like floating doughnuts in a torrential sea of Koolaid. Knowing that I have to be honest with you...keeps me honest with myself. By the by...the whole "honesty" game is highly over-rated. I am, personally, finding accountability to be a major drag. I look at that lovely, whole-grain loaf of Panera bread in my fridge...and hear you all gasping if I eat it. I don't know how you've managed it...but you're making an honest woman out of a perpetual pudge fabricator. You may very well all be psychics in the making.

Let's use those unnerving powers for good...let's pester the pantaloons off of some media folks until someone caves and listens! Until then, I send you all a fruit-loopy queenly wave and a squishy-seat bummy wiggle.

Pickle lips and frog farts. Stop taking life so darn serious and embrace a smile!

- Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom - losing weight, and my mind, for cancer kids

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1/2 C onions, 2 TBS real bacon bits, 2 C coffee w/creamer

Lunch: We attended the Survivor's Picnic with our hospital. You will hear this often and repeatedly...I LOVE our hospital staff! I love spending time with them, I love them as humans as much as I do as medical people. They are kind, funny, silly people - and all of them make this happenstance world a better place. I ate chicken fingers covered in delectable bread crispy stuff. I drank water.

Dinner: buttered popcorn and a diet coke. Too busy trying to find my room under mountains of laundry to be bothered to make anything. Hubby's gourmet popcorn had to suffice.

PS - I LOVE our Heme-Onc staff!! And this took 1 hour to write, not 10 minutes. Good thing little man was pooped from fun in the sun! ;-)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

September 29, 2007

I have a new idea. Shop-a-robics. This is day bleckity bleck, that I haven't done the skinny-minny picture perfect idea of exercise. ..........

**** We interrupt this regularly scheduled rant-o-blog, for a public service announcement. *************
You see, I started this blog last night, ON Sept 29, like it is labeled. However, my son woke up, needed to be nursed, the bed is comfy...I'm perpetually sleepy....wham, bam, thank you Sam - I'm finishing the blog a day late. This is what I was talking about the other day. I have high hopes and children love to confound them. Just thought I'd share.
****We now return you to your previous blathering**********

I did, however, do what I feel is some decently strenuous exercise - and I want to know why-the-Hades it doesn't count?

Have you ever gone shopping with 4 kids? I'm not talking run-of-the-mill in and out of Walmart stuff. I'm talking, 3 girls, one in a wheelchair, one 21 pound boy in a backpack., cramming ourselves up and down the aisles of re-sale shops looking for clothes...for hours....................

In our town we have these wonderful stores, Once Upon a Child, and Plato's closet (for teens). We were on a hunt for Ohio State anything, Blue Jacket anything, some things for a baby who's grown 2 inches this week, and maybe something fun or sparkly that was cheap. The direct translation is, I spent nearly 3 hours - rummaging through over-stuffed stores, in cramped conditions, negotiating a wheelchair, and doing Olympic-worthy gymnastics while wearing a hanger-grabbing, outfit-snatching, 11 month old octopus. I bent over, stepped over, reached for and returned to. I lifted, squatted, balanced, and teetered. I searched, stooped, organized, and carried. And even though I did eventually pay these lovely people for the privilege of didn't end there.

Once we reached home, I got to carry it all in - and then the real work began. First, came the monumental struggle with child #3 who wanted to try on, wear, try on, wear, try nauseum. Then, came the epic battle with child #4...the boy. Trying outfits on a wiggly, squiggly 11 month old boy is roughly equivalent to wrestling a chimpanzee while holding an 8 foot octopus under your left boob. Suffice it to ain't easy.

So, my rather long-winded query is this. Why must I don spandex and jump in time to corny disco music to get credit for "exercising?". I challenge that 20 something perfectly coiffed aerobics instructor to keep up with my brood in a discount clothing zoo. I welcome that well-heeled, park avenue nutritionist to try to survive my "corporate" jungle. I'm telling you, my monkeys would take her down!

So that's it. I've answered my own question. I did exercise today. I broke a sweat, my back and legs ached, and I feel like I've been ridden hard and put away wet. I conquered space, time, and budgetary limitations...and came out the victorious huntress with bargains o' plenty. I did exercise. I exercised my body, my wallet, my virtues, and my patience. I'd better darn well lose an ounce or two today. I do not have enough personal grit to survive another trip to bargainland.

I did exercise. That's my decision and I'm standing by it. I wouldn't suggest arguing with me...I'm sugar-deprived and on the edge...

- Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom - losing weight, and my mind, for cancer kids.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 TBS real bacon bits, 1 oz cheese, 1/2 C onions 2 C coffee w/creamer
Lunch: 1 1/2 C fried broccoli with sesame seeds, water
Snack: Diet coke
Dinner: 1/2 C taco-seasoned beef, lettuce, 1 oz cheddar cheese, salsa, 2 Tbs sour cream
Exercise: see above notation...agree with me...or else!

Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007

Farts. I had the highest of hopes that I'd be diligently blogging my brains out each evening. I had utterly ill-conceived notions that I'd tuck my angelic children into their perfectly-made beds and sit here, regaling you with my day's dietary conquests.

Pickle farts. The reality is, I normally manage to get the kids into their mis-matched, just-when-did-I-wash-those-things-last? sheeted slumber pits, only to try to catch up on 1001 emails. By the time I've dug myself out of e-communication e-nnihilation...I can barely manage to stitch together 6 intelligible thoughts. Maybe its the calorie deficit, maybe its the new medical stresses...but holy cow, brain is starting to melt!

You know, I may be on to something with the brain melt theory. Think about it. As a hefty woman, I enjoyed a life of full fat, sugary goodness. Fat is gel-like, sugar is gooey. What if the fat and sugar have be the glue that held my brain cells together? I attempt to find my svelte self, may actually be disintegrating the very part of me that cares!

Face it, my thighs have rubbed together so long...they're in no hurry to lose weight. They'll be lonely. And my arse? Oh honey, its so used to dancing its own private jig after the rest of me has quit hearing the music... Why, it may just file a formal protest if I whittle away at its inherent "groove-thing" quality. No no, the brain has to be the only part of me that really wants to be thin. Poor brain, its out-thought itself. In its unrealistic attempt to shave me down to semi-normal may very well be its own undoing... (Hah! I crack myself up. Brain melting, "undoing"...Hah!)

So how on earth am I going to manage to stick my smarts together if I can't sugar-coat them? Hmmm...well, I could run down a skinny minny or two and steal some of their hoo-hah wax. (have you ever gotten that email?) Nah, I might stick something I need. Hmmm...I could borrow some of my under-the-hooter sweat that I'm desperately hoping to someday NOT have... Nah, what happens when I have perky little puppies? My brains would fall apart again. (Stop laughing! I might be able to pick them up off my knees and staple them in place...) about I just squeeze the brain juice from the next rat fink who tells me how much trouble they had loosing their whopping 12 pounds... No problems there, they obviously won't miss their brain goo. They couldn't possibly have been using it, if they told a rotund, hungry woman, something so incredibly inane...

Aww fishfarts. I can't go and goo-squeeze all the skinny people. My brain wants to be one. Man, I hope I'm never that self-stuck. I think I may sign my brain up for optional sqeezature just in case I am...

Yep, the best description of the last few days...farts. How's that for high-falootin'?

- Alicia Losing weight, and my mind, for cancer kids.

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 1 oz cheese, 1/2 C onions, 2 TBS real bacon bits, 2 C coffee w/creamer

Lunch: Broccoli (1 C maybe?) dipped in egg, flour - then fried in Canola oil - 1 TBS sourcream for decadence. 1/4 piece of Panera so-good-you'd-sell-your-mother-for-it whole grain bread.
1 oz turkey

Dinner: 2 oz cheese, 1 apple, Diet A&W rootbeer, 4 fried cheese sticks from King o' de Burgers
(so shoot me over the cheese sticks. I didn't get a burger or fries!)

Aww frog farts. I'm going to have to go back to logging everything that goes into my rather vacuous pie-hole. When I eat it, it seems small. When I see it written down...well, boop boop be doo - it looks whoppin' porcine.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

September 26 - Avalon medical update

I'm doing this part separate from the other, so you can choose whether or not to read it. I fully understand that some people coming here are here to relax, laugh, and walk away from their own stress for a bit. I appreciate that. Its why I'm addicted to several mindless shows on cable. Escapism is free and good for the soul.

But, some people coming the site do want to know about my daughter. For you, this is the easiest way to get you up to speed. (particularly, since her website is nearly 2 years out of date)

As of yesterday morning, I still had not heard about Avalon's lab tests from Thurs Sept 20. That's very unusual for our clinic, but I knew they'd run tests that required being sent to labs far and wide, so I wasn't too concerned about the time frame. I called clinic Tues morning, and left a message asking about results and leaving my home and cell number - knowing we'd be gone to my daughter's school. (with the stress they cause me, that stupid school owns at least a barn or two on my fat farm...) I did what I always do, and gave them permission to leave the results on the voicemail - its easier for them, rather than having to track me down.

When I never heard from anyone, I presumed there would be a voice mail waiting. Sure enough, when we got home at 5:45 - there was the hospital number in our caller ID. After threatening the kids to silence, (if there is no threat...people in China can hear them, and I can't hear squat) I called into our voice mail. When I got to the hospital number, I nearly fainted.

Rather than the typical, "Hi Alicia! Its Sue,..." Or, "Hi Alicia! Its Diane..." I heard, "Hi Alicia. Its Dr. R***...." At our hospital Docs don't normally call. I've talked to ours a few times on the phone...but my daughter has had some pretty nasty problems too. As much as I love our doc, his voice was the absolute LAST thing I wanted to hear associated with lab results. Worse, his message just said, "Hey, I'm going to call you on your cell phone." That's it. No results, no "don't worry"s, just a few sentences indicating that he didn't want to leave a message - he really wanted to talk to me himself. Ugh.

Here's where the torture ramped up to super level. I realized my cell phone hadn't rung all day. Then, I thought about the number I gave him, and realized, to my horror, that I'd goofed up the number, again. I don't call myself, and frankly - can't remember my number to save my life. I have absolutely no business ever giving it out - I get it wrong 90% of the time. Yesterday, was no exception. So here it was, 5:45, after clinic hours - with no way of getting a hold of the doctor. For a medical emergency, you can call the Heme-Onc on call. For being a dweeb and giving the wrong cell number - you just have to suck it up until morning.

First thing, I called Nick (hubby) and described the message - hoping he wouldn't think along the same lines. Fat chance on that. We've been together 25 years, we long since gave up having individual thought patterns. He went right to the ugly place I was. After much discussion, we managed to calm ourselves and rule out any cancer relapse scenarios, or life-threatening issues. We knew Dr. R*** would have turned the world upside down to find us if we needed to go to the hospital. That left less-than-stellar lab reports on the table. And basically, our only option was to wait it out. In Nick's case, that meant staying late at the house we're trying to sell, and working himself into a forgetful, exhausted frenzy. For me, that meant eating things I shouldn't. Duh...I'm a stress eater. And this, definitely, qualified as STRESS.

This morning, I called Heme-Onc again, and left a new message. I apologized for having the brain of a frog, and begged for mercy with a return phone call. I outed myself and my burgeoning gray hairs and heart condition as I waited for news... God bless those people - they knew I was a wreck. I got my phone call by 9:30.

Dr. R*** did, indeed, make the return call. Again, I adore this man...but again, his voice made my heart sink to ankle level. The news wasn't all bad, but it couldn't exactly be categorized as good. Quick review: Avalon has a high level of protein in her CSF (cerebral spinal fluid). This is not good. Option #1 - Best case scenario - we would find indicators of general body stress, showing that her body was not happy having some "hardware" in it (her shunt). We would put her on low dose anti-inflammatory drugs - and allow her body time to adjust. Option #2 - Worse case scenario A - we would find high levels of inflammation indicators and other blood values indicating shunt rejection. Avalon would be placed on anti-rejection meds like an organ transplant patient. Option #3 - Worse case scenario B - Avalon would show positive bloodwork for a new disease - and auto-immune disease. Treatment will depend on disease.

Well folks, it appears to be Option #3, Avalon has developed a new disease process. Avalon's neuro-optho had warned me that this was distinctly possible. She said that children with blood/immune system cancers, like lymphoma and leukemia, have a much higher possibility of developing an auto-immune issue. Add to that, we have a horrific family history of auto-immune problems, and this was our main fear. Oddly enough, I had questioned this possibility very strenuously back in Feb of 2007. (a fact that I forgot until my hubby and a close friend reminded me) In Feb, Avalon's CSF was only showing mild elevation in the protein level - still perfectly withing normal range. In Feb, the ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies) titers were normal. Now, she is positive for ANA. Without getting too medico on you, normal people just don't have positive ANA's. Its a definite indicator of auto-immune disease.

Also, she had elevated segs. For cancer people, or medical people - you know what that means. For everyone else, segs are a part of a blood work differential done on white blood cells. High segs can indicate impending relapse. Avalon's were not that high, and the rest of her counts were fine. Elevated segs indicate general body stress - and point to auto-immune disorders. Add that to her increased fatigue in the past few months, and the protein in her CSF - and now we have more than enough ammo to get an appointment with a rheumatologist to try to figure out what it is that's after her.

After checking into the most likely culprits, its also apparant that repeated anesthesia episodes are probably not the culprit for her hair loss. I've been asking for months, why her hair falls out so easily, and in such large clumps. You'd think someone would have put two and two together. Allopecia is also a hallmark sign of auto-immune dysfunction. I'm totally understanding how adults can go years without a diagnosis. This kiddo sees highly trained specialists and is constantly gone over with a fine-toothed comb - and they missed the signs.

On one hand, I'm glad that I pay close enough attention to her that I've been complaining about the fatigue and hair loss for months. I'm glad I know my daughter well enough to know she's been exhausted/in pain. I'm glad I can advocate for her, and I haven't been super paranoid crazy mom all this time.

But good grief, I'm damn sorry to be right. Just once, I wish a doctor would say, "No, its nothing." and actually be right. I've heard that phrase, they've just always been mistaken...

So, it looks like Avalon's chariot will likely be a permanent member of the family, rather than a visitor for a few years. And, we're gaining two new departments for her resume. I could sit and cry, but I don't have time. She's a grinning, happy, ornery 4 year old - who can't be bothered to sit still long enough to be pitied. She's got it going on. And she's kicking my whiny butt into moving on.

Thought you'd all want to know. At the very least, this better explains my recent hurdle off of the diet train...

- Alicia losing weight to raise awareness of pediatric cancer

September 26, 2007

The universe is gunning for my gams...and I'm just gonna have to say, "NO!"

That's right...I can hear the faint footsteps (that's a big fat lie. The footfalls are more like an elephant in combat boots) of the Blubber Behemoth. He's an ornery cuss. He gets his jollies from sneaking into unsuspecting bloomers overnight - and depositing his less-than-desirable bubbles of blubber. He's a right sneaky fellow...been pursuing me with a vengence this week.

Can I hear the great BB coming? Oh yeah. Have I, thus far, been successful in evading his evening deposit? That's a negative, good buddy. Mr. Behemoth has, unfortunately, had his way with my tush-ay the past few days. The soul-sucking sourpuss has added back a whopping 3.5 pounds! Argghhhh.................

Not that he didn't have plenty of help. The Birthday Blubber Fairy was more than thrilled to add her daily quota. Then, there's the king of Blubberdom...the master of all of Fattington...the Stress Distress. Damned Stress Distress. What in the Sam Hill did I ever do to him? Cripes. You'd think I'd at least have the joy of whacking someboy upside the head or something. No...I just had to go and reproduce. Kids = stress. And a medical kid? Well a medical kid bumps you into an entirely new stress zipcode. A medical kid with an emerging, and decently serious, issue...and heck, you may as well whip out the're buying yourself a Fat Farm.

Between the three, the Blubber Behemoth, the Birthday Blubber Fairy, and the Stress Distress...I've managed to whittle my weight loss from 14 pounds, down to 10.5 pounds gone. Bat crap! I mean, seriously, when I lose this 3.5 pounds, again, that will make the THIRD stinkin' time I've had to do it! ACK!!!!!!!!!!

And let me tell you, forewarned is forearmed. Anyone foolish enough to say, "Oh, don't worry about it - things happen..." stands the very good chance of being hunted down by the light of the moon - and beaten senseless with a week-old bagel. Not kidding... I'm on the edge here....

So here I go, back to starvation/craving/carb-deprived Super Hades. Bleck. If you have ever been asked if you would jump off a 200 foot suspension bridge, without a bungi, to fall into jagged rocks - coated in salt water and broken glass...then maybe you can appreciate my *excitement* over my next few days. If you haven't...then, lucky you. Kindly don't share your good fortune...I'm going to need exercise - and I'm not above hunting you down for sport.

- Alicia, the miserably-regretting-poor-food-choices Crazy Cancer Mom - suffering to make you laugh - and maybe to make you think about our kids

Monday, September 24, 2007

September 23, 2007

Well, the universe conspired against me. I've gained weight back...lots...and it was dad-blasted fun! Hee hee hee.

As you may remember, my dear hubby tried his best for a fantastic 40th birthday. Problem was, he actually chose this year to shop early. (never before, possibly never again after this) Early would normally be commendable - except for the fact that he bought his dieting, carb-deprived wife a gift card to The Cheesecake Factory. Torture, pure unadulterated torture.

Of course, being the frugal femme fa tale I am, I simply had to go and use the fateful card. By arranging to go to lunch today, with my sister, I figured I had armed myself with a portion-limiting timeframe, and a voice-of-reason companion. Nerts on that! The lunch portions at Cheesecake Factory are megalomaniac in nature, and my sister is about the WORST voice-of-reason on the planet. She whole-heartedly embraces positive mental health exercises. Translation, she's an advocate for periodically chucking responsibility out the window and loudly singing Ce La Vie!

In all fairness, she tried to lead by example - and only ate a reasonable one or two pieces of the pre-food bread. However...she also didn't tackle me and threaten to beat me with a sourdough breadstick when I behaved like a carb-crazed basket-case. I embarrassingly scarfed up 6 or 7 butter drenched hunks of yeasty, wheat-laden loaves of death. And it was gooooooood..........

I mean, knowing that the first tiny taste would cause catastrophic diet dismemberment. I felt it was my duty, as a dieting diva, to fully explore the fall from grace. While I know a simple bite can halt any progress, I decided it was scientifically prudent to investigate what a complete annihilation of dieting protocol could do to a body. In that respect, I felt compelled to further my research by ordering a delectable pasta dish with mushrooms, chicken, and tomatoes - all swimming ever so beckoningly - in a white sauce. Being utterly committed to my dissertation, I had no choice but to also order the artichoke/spinach/hot cheese dip with chips as an appetizer. I mean, honestly, I couldn't leave out such an important step in my scientific method. (work with me, I'm on a "roll"...Ah haa haa haa) (yeah, I crack myself up)

There was, however, an enormous flaw in my research protocol. I forgot to factor in a "cheesecake allowance". Yet again, I found myself waddling out of the big CF - more stuffed than the common T-day turkey - and utterly, totally, devoid of cheesecake. I nearly wrote the mission off as a failure , then I remembered the multi-loaf assault at the beginning of the battle. Ultimately, I decided my research methods only ranked a "C", but my willingness to "suffer" for the cause, was undeniably "A" material.

Post Cheescake debacle, my chauffeur and I laboriously worked our stuffed selves through a few stores at the shopping center. We ogled furniture we couldn't afford, and clothing we can't currently fit a single boob in. I'm telling you - I lose this weight, I'm so going to enjoy dressing to embarrass my children! ("Geez, mo'om, do you have to dress like my friends?!) Oh yeah, I plan on making a nuisance of myself...

All too soon, we had to wing our way home to my waiting hubby, and his list of places he had to go. Or so...I'd been told.

In reality, we winged our way home to my 40th birthday Surprise Party! Wahooooo!

We walked in and there stood Daddy and the 4 minions, grinning like a pack of Cheshire cats, surrounded by decorations a go go. Then, one by one, people I love kept appearing from either side of the kitchen, each wearing a bigger grin than the next! Hee hee hee......

What followed was a whopping boatload of FUN! I opened rotten, ornery cards, received thoughtful, generous gifts, and withstood COPIOUS amounts of abuse about my recent arrival on the far side of the Hill. And in the interest of a dieting blog...I also ate cake, chips, nachos and cheese, and several sugar-free mini-cheesecakes. Oh yeah, I took my oath of investigation pretty damned serious. I decided it continued as long as my birthday "celebrations" did. (I know I'm delusional...I'm okay with it...)

In all, I had an absolutely PERFECT day. Friends made special trips to join us, my family turned themselves inside out to make it special and memorable, and my daughter's god-daddy even managed to make me teary by taking a personal day from work on Monday, to be able to come to the party and spend the night with us. I had the most amazing time I could have possibly hoped for, and it was worth every calorie eaten, and every ounce gained.

I suppose that's the lesson I learned today. My sister's refusal to body slam me, shows that my "baby" sister may have a better grip on life than her geriatric sibling. She knew the value of completely letting go and LIVING life today. No one can be perfect all the time. At least, no one should be perfect all the time. Its our flaws that make us human.

I let my metaphorical hair down today - and will inevitably see the scales go "up" as a result of it. But ahh....this time my wagon tipped for fun, instead of fear. I'll take a few bruises in the name of celebration any day.

Fish paste and turtle haste,
Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom - losing weight to raise awareness for pediatric cancer

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 22, 2007 baby baby. I had a baby was kind of fu-un. ;-)

Today was a friend's baby shower. I spent the morning working like a meth-crazed marathon runner, trying to finish my "assignment" for the shower. I should probably pause now to let you in on one of my giant life secrets. I procrastinate. I mean...if I could figure out how to procrastinate breathing...I probably would. I don't ever start anything on time. All billion and three college papers were written the morning they were due. Laundry is done when the skivvies drawer is empty. Floors are swept long after the dust bunnies should have been named. I...procrastinate.

Not that I didn't do the research for the papers. Not that I don't gather, sort, and carry the laundry downstairs. I do the prep work, I'm just really, really bad at the follow through. I tend to "follow" other things...until I'm "through" with any extra time. I...procrastinate.

For this particular shower, I was dad-blasted proud of myself. I not only purchased the first part of the gift two months ago, I quickly followed through with buying the parts I would be making. Then, to the shock and utter disbelief of my family, I actually immediately made the gifts I had purchased material for. You see, I am definitely in the running for the She-Who-Has-The-Most-Material-Wins award. I have a rather bad habit of buying fabric with grandiose notions of what it will become...and then looking at it, folded, for years. Oh yeah, did I happen to mention? I...procrastinate.

For once, I had conquered my procrastinating proclivity. I actually had the gift done, ready to go, weeks ahead of time. Sounds great, but the story doesn't end there. Rats. As one of many women who love this family, I was on a long list of people willing to help. As the only one on the list with 4 kids, they were kind and gave me the simple assignment of nametags. "Bee" nametags, to be exact. Something creative and fun. Not a problem, unless - you...procrastinate.

I came up with a killer idea (no bee pun intended there). I designed polar fleece bees, with the intention of embroidering guests names on them. Then, post shower, I would applique the bees onto a blanket as a shower memory quilt. Cute, huh? Fat chance. Did you somehow miss my previous paragraphs? I...procrastinate!

Back to today. Here I was, scissor-wielding wack-a-doo, cutting bee parts like a mass murderess. I cut, I glued, I swore from the third degree hot-glue burn on my middle finger, I cut, repeat... You get the general idea. With the exception of my damaged digit, all was going rather well - until I attempted to use the $65 hand-held embroidery machine purchased for said bees. In a word? Failure. Dismal, gut-wrenching, I-felt-like-a-giant-walking-boob failure. Fantastic.

Now my dreams of cutsie beedom, became nightmares of no-faced, no-named scary bee zombie thingies. Great. I caved and decided the only viable option was fabric paint. Easy enough - if your paint isn't from a former presidency and therefore about as easy to obtain as sucking an elephant through a garden hose. Not pretty. Thanks to Herculean efforts of Mondo the Super Hubby - we did finally manage to create some funky lookin' bees with names on their bellies. Problem was - paint said 72 hours to cure, we had 90 minutes. Stupid procrastination.

Super Hubby to the rescue! As I water blasted my frustrated self, he lovingly hair-dryered the offending bees. I stressed, he blew. I freaked when I couldn't find shoes and began winging things with no regard to life or limb - and he aired some more. I railed at myself and my short-comings, he heated with gusto. I lost my mind...he fixed my bees. Mondo scored MAJOR points. He saved my bees! Mondo does NOT procrastinate. Can't figure out how he hasn't killed me.

In my frenzy, I hadn't bothered to eat breakfast. No time, no interest in smelly eggs when heading into a hen-fest. As for lunch - torture, torture, torture. There were bowls of candy, bee-hive shaped cakes that reportedly tasted even better than they looked (and they were stinkin' CUTE), and be still my heart...Panera bagels. Sure, sure, there was pasta salad and chips and dip to torment me too - but they couldn't begin to compare. I mean...bagels.... Oh, and did I mention? There was cream cheese too, three kinds. Uh was there. Strawberry cream cheese. Oh, the agony................. (look at previous posts, you'll find the answer to what you're wondering)

To be fair, there were veggies and three separate fantastic salads that I could eat. I actually did fine diet-wise, I just wasn't happy about it. Stupid diet. Stupid strawberry cream cheese winking at me from between the stupid bagels.

Man, I wish I could find a way to procrastinate FAT.


- Alicia - your gonna-be-dreamin'-bagels-again Crazy Cancer Mom

Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 21, 2007 - part 2

End of my birthday...ah well. Thank you to those of you who emailed and posted here. You made my day. I wish...oh I wish there would have been 200 notes from strangers saying that I've touched someone I don't know. But I am very happy with the two or three people I have heard from. Each person who thinks about our kids even a victory to me!

I'd love to tell you I painted the town red, ate like it was my job, and still lost 5 lbs. I'd love to tell you that...but I'd be the fattest liar this side of the Mississippi! No...ate a sensible and typically stinky breakfast - and indulged more than I should have at dinner. Afraid to see what my nemesis, the scale, will say the next few days...

One of my admitted food-passions in life is take-out Chinese. OOOOOOHHHHH...the smell and crunch of a good crab rangoon.....OOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I'm telling you - its nearly an out-of-body experience for me. Figure in my abiding love for Sesame Chicken, Hunan Beef, General Tso and his army of tasty tidbits...and you can imagine why the local Chinese place at our old house knew us by name. (seriously, we probably financed at least one of their cars) I tell myself that, in the grand scheme of things, Chinese isn't as bad as other options. I know, I'm delusional. But its soooooooo gooood.

Well, my deluded, dieting, decrepitly old self let go of the reins a bit too far tonight, I'm afraid. I did sidestep the rice, but I oh-so-didn't remotely attempt to bypass the rangoon. You have to understand...rangoon doesn't just call my name. It walks across the table, pries my lips open, and leaps to its delicious demise. Its not my fault! (work with me, its my birthday rant)

In the interest of full disclosure - I also had more than a dalliance with some Sesame Chicken and some delectable veggies that had been stir-fried in what could only be described as heaven's sauce. Translation - I ate chicken and veggies that were so coated in ooey good crap - I'm sure their nutritional value reached negative status. Fishfarts.

On a more positive note, I was gifted rather amazingly. My 3 girls all made me jewelry. Number 1 daughter made me a fabulous red glass bead and bali silver necklace with an amazing glass pendant. Daughter 2 went crazy with purple beads and made me another wonderful necklace - complete with a "big girl" glass focus bead that her sister gave her. Daughter 3 was not to be outdone, and made her first "grown up" bracelet, complete with a real clasp fastened on by big sissy. No mom has ever been fancier. Even though there is overly ample amounts of me to go around, extra chins cannot function as extra necks. I'm actually short in the neck department. I could use 2 or 3 more to be able to wear all of my finery at once.

Then there's my poor mis-guided hubby. After years of not shopping until the last day, he finally listened to more than two decades of tirades. He went and shopped early. He not only purchased early...he made thoughtful, meaningful choices - taking my personal loves and interests to heart. He bought a gift card to a favorite restaurant - that I haven't been to in over two years (we have 4 kids - one with health issues - going "out" is not an expression we can wrap our brains around!), and a gift card to my favorite self-indulgence - Jo-Ann fabric. Sounds like a weary wife's dream-come-true, doesn't it?

Yes, yes, it would have been...if it weren't for this damned diet. Here I sat, eating my smelly onion eggs that my oldest daughter suffered horribly to make - and admiring my new finery. Then my wonderful, thoughtful, hubby presents me with his mushy, beautiful card and his oh-so-planned-out gift. I'm nearly a puddle of appreciation just reading the front of the card. Then...I opened it. Mind you, I'm hungry. I'm cranky. And thanks to my weekend of stress-induced debauchery...I'm still in anti-carb fueled cravings from Hades. So, what do I see as I open my flowery, poetic birthday card? A gift card to...(wait for it)........


I don't remember much of the rest of the day. My brain imploded and I blacked out.

Better luck next year.

- Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom who aged to the area called "Middle" today. Ack.

Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007 - part 1

Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday to Me!
Happy Birthday, I'm 40 and decrepid....
Happy Birthday to me........................

Hello there, tubby-watchers! I will be posting twice today - because I was too stinking sleepy last night to do the Sept 20th post. So, this will be a backtrack blog - and a birthday plea!

Thursday, Sept 20.
**First - Avalon update. Feel free to skip ahead - if you're only here for my sugar-deprived rantings...**

Avalon had clinic today - and I had a wow-I-can't-believe-I-dorked-that doctor's appointment to make up - so we were at Children's Hospital from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm. Ugh.

Clinic was OK. The neuro-optho had ordered so much bloodwork, that they actually took out more blood that they would give her in a transfusion. In three years, its the first time she's mentioned "I can kind of feel the blood you're taking..." She actually got a smidge woozey. Little bit of juice, and she was good to go. Of course, could they have apple juice? Oh no - had to be grape juice...dark purple permanence just waiting to hit her rainbow-embroidered white shirt (incapable of being bleached...). She thought I was a loon treating the juice like toxic waste. She doesn't do the laundry.

As for tackling Avalon's CSF issues, its the first time I've ever felt "bumped" at our clinic. Our attending seemed to have little to offer and is bumping the referral process back to the neuro-optho. The neuro-optho had sent her referral request with me, because I have always said how helpful our clinic is. Neat. Now I get to crawl back to her - and beg her to jump the hoops. Not to mention, she's not a "Children's" doctor - everything moves more slowly coming from her. Our attending's one concern was proceeding slowly - not subjecting Avalon to loads of testing - which might ultimately not show anything. While I completely agree with that, the fact is, all the neuro-optho is asking is for a physical/rehab doctor to evaluate her muscle function - looking for indicators of auto-immune disease - to explain the de-mylenating process going on. We have more hints that things are not going well...this is the second month in a row, and people 3 and 4 who have not been able to find any reflexes in Avalon. Two months ago, she still had reflexes. Last month..none. Monday - none. Today, none in any joints, with two doctors trying. Something has to be up.

The mountains of bloodwork they leached her for - were so extensive, that several of the tests aren't even performed at our hospital. The blood has to be sent out-of-state. Wonder how long that will take? Heck, the lab had never even heard of one of the tests...our doctor had to interpret it for them. Sadly, the blood for the difficult test had been put into the wrong type of vial. That meant they had to re-draw Avalon. Since it was too much for a finger stick - we had to re-access her port and take it that way. My kiddo is a trooper! She and her "bestest bud" sissy - went tromping back to the infusion room, had her blood taken, and came out victorious - all without me! I just got the I-don't-need-you-I'm-big hand. Too funny! Of course, the nurses thought they were the two appeared with beanie babies and pretty hats as a reward. You've never seen bigger smiles...

Then, there's my you-have-to-be-kidding screw up. Wednesday, I was supposed to be in a meeting with Avalon's neuro-psychologist - to go over her test results. Would you like to ask me what I was doing? Hmmm, can you guess I wasn't sitting next to him? Yep. I was sitting next to a 6 year old, in front of her school computer, discussing differences in your body from the time you are a baby until you're six. Talk about your dork-up. When the doctor called - I wanted to crawl under my seat. Here I am, 40 (ack - that hurts to write!) and I "lost my homework" so to speak. I was mortified.

Thankfully, Dr. Glazier has a wonderful sense of humor - and couldn't have been kinder about it. He even gently teased me today when he graciously agreed to see me after clinic. The good news is, he actually gave me good news! Wahooooo! I threatened to kiss him for being the only medico in recent months to give me good news. I probably should have followed through on my threat...he's young and cute. The only "bad" news wasn't really bad - just affirming. The tests showed a loss of speed/motor function with Avalon's right hand. She is definitely right hand preferential - but it doesn't work right. Perfectly in line with Left frontal brain damage that we've been suspicious of. So - not really bad - just more evidence to get us in to see the latest set of docs we need to see.

So - other than being embarrassed by my own stress-fueled shortcomings - it was a pretty good hospital day!

OK, on to a few Fat-A-Thon ravings.

I did OK today. Not great...OK. I didn't have time to make breakfast as I ran around tossing children into clothes and scrambling to find the list of bloodwork Avalon needed. In my less-than-composed life this week, I had lost the stupid piece of paper. As I single-handedly destroyed my bedroom and half the house searching for it...making my smelly onion eggs somehow got lost. Probably wasn't a bad least I didn't have dragon breath for the 6 hour hospital tour.

By lunch, I was ready to start sucking IV's I was so hungry. (for those "in the know", I was going to say ready to suck TPN, but most people would wonder why I wanted to lick a television network...) Thankfully, some brilliant human installed a "good" food court in the basement of our hospital. Its the overly priced cousin to the regular cafeteria - but at least the food is actually tasty. While I watched my short people eat what could possibly be the best looking chicken tenders ever, I did manage to stay healthy and eat a huge chef salad. And...I only used one of the dressing pkts. (a whopping 180 calories! Ack!)

Here's the problem. By the time we got home, I was pooped. Pooped, up-to-my-eyeballs in my to-do list, and in a pre-birthday funk. I didn't manage to carve time to eat until about 10pm. Yeah, yeah, I know I should have just sucked it up and gone to bed...but then I could hear the diet gurus screaming in my ears about "needing to eat enough" blah blah blah. OK, so maybe they weren't actually least they were a good excuse. I ate a healthy, small taco salad - right on track, no issues. That is, until my own onion breath nearly asphyxiated me. I gotta admit...I have been one dragon-breathed dieter these past two weeks. I am downright disgusting! Onions, pepper, garlic...they make boring taste better...but at a nasty price. What in the Hades is it going to matter if I'm thin and sexy...if my hubby can't stand to be in the same zipcode with my breath?!

Anyway, I was doing well, until I stunk myself out. Then, I had the unfortunate memory that I had a multi-pack of peppermint lifesavers stashed in a cupboard. Up until now, they've been totally safe. I loathe peppermint. Heck - I'm equal opportunity - I despise anything remotely mint. Ah so...that is, until you make me a carb-crazed lunatic. I innocently brought a few packs of lifesavers upstairs with me. My thought was to be kind to my 6 year old, and have lifesavers handy for school hours - so she doesn't have to smell my "icky breath". Nice thought - if you're not a 244 lb glutton! (yes, you read that right...I've lost 14 pounds!) I sat here, reading emails, and ate two entire rolls of peppermint lifesavers. I've decided, I'm now officially brain-damaged. Dieting has apparently destroyed all common sense and good taste - I ate mint. Lots of it. Bleck.

So, for most of the day - I was perfectly respectable. I ate rabbit food sprinkled with fair amounts of protein, and even drank some water to wash down my Diet Coke. I didn't cave to the fried wonderland that beckoned me in the food court. I didn't worship at the alter of the vending machine - even though it sang my name. No no - I suffered like any respectable dieter should...until. Until the siren song of the carbs led me down the path of mints. Lots and lots of mints. Yuck.

Face it, its amazing how far you will go when you're desperate. Mints. What the heck was I thinking?!
Final thoughts: Its my Birthday! Yahoo! (no, this is blogspot...maybe I should have said Bloghoo!) How about sending me a birthday I know more than two people are reading this? You can comment on this post, email me at or best of all - send in a pledge for the Fat-A-Thon. I'm dong all of this to remind you how much cancer kids need you. My bestest best birthday wish would be to learn that someone I don't know is reading this, and thinking a bit about our kids.


LOVE from an officially OVER THE HILL Crazy Cancer Mom - Alicia

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19, 2007

I had a fork day.

Funny thing forks. They're useful, but can be painful. They're often quite decorative, while truly meant to be merely functional. Forks, or a version thereof, are used by all cultures, all races, in all corners of the world - but some people may never have seen some kinds of them. There are shrimp forks, salad forks, dinner forks, and cheese forks. There are silver ones, pewter ones, gold ones, and tin ones. They can be large, small, 4 pronged or two. They can match, contrast, compliment or distract. The fork - you never knew how many forms it can come in.

Forks can describe stress, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done." They can describe the level of frustration you are reaching, "One more minute of this, and I'm going to stick a fork in my eye!" They can even be a suggestion to a certain individual who may be causing you undue stress, "Oh go fork yourself!"

Forks can deliver life-giving nutrition to an elderly patient in the hand of a loving caregiver. They can bring waves of pleasure as they offer a decadent 4 tier chocolate-mousse cake to the lips of a hormonal woman. Forks can bring comfort in the kitchen of your best friend, and spark wonderful memories at your mother's table. They can be your ally or your sworn enemy, depending on what they carry your way.

Then, there is the proverbial "fork" in the road. A "fork" brings with it imminent prospects. You can choose to go this way, or that. A "fork" in a road suggests possibilities begging to be taken. You can veer one way to bliss, or another way to torment. Even if you know your direction ahead of time, at the least - a "fork" provides a chance to pause and reflect. As a kitchen fork brings food for life, a "fork" in the road, can bring a chance to feed your soul.

I had a fork day.

On the diet front, my fork was rather kind to me today. It fed me eggs and onions for breakfast, and a healthy taco salad for lunch. Dinner was grabbed at a meeting. Even the plastic fork was kind to me today; it fed me a small and perfect-for-weight-loss salad, rather than the delicious, diet-crushing pizza my fingers were gunning for. You see, I've had a bit of an epiphany. My fingers like fattening foods! Cookies, chips, candy, bagels...they are definitely devotees of the digit. Salads and steaks, those are the food of the fork. All these years, I didn't have a problem with my eating habits...I had a habit of eating with the wrong delivery system! Hah!

Then, there's that most fascinating of forks, the kind you find right in the middle of your path. As I told you earlier, my path has been a bit strewn with Rocks these past few days. A Rock isn't like a fork. A Rock stands in your way, and forces you from your desired path. A fork, gives you a choice - a reason to consider the path you're on.

Today, I ran into a fork... My fork was in the form of a friend I've lost touch with in recent months. This friend has had a year of unbelievable heartache and loss. This friend has had a Rock dropped on her, and yet, she is moving down her path. My friend gave me a gift tonight, and she never knew she did it. She gave me a giant fork.

Yesterday, as I arrived at a meeting at our Children's Hospital, I was once again forced to pay to valet park. It seems small, but its more than a mild irritation. I volunteer my time on several hospital committees, speak often for the hospital's foundation, and spend more than enough days visiting the hospital for my daughter's medical needs. While I don't mind paying to park for normal hospital trips, it seriously rubs me wrong that I have been paying a tremendous amount of money for the privilage of volunteering my time to help the hospital. Never mind the 90 minute round trip to get to the hospital to attend the meeting, or the obnoxious amount of money we feed into our van's gas guzzling engine. Those are my fault for moving to the suburbs and having a brood that requires a van. But paying to park so I can serve the hospital...ooh, it irritates me.

So here I am, fuming, as I burst into my meeting. I was more than a bit rash, and I'm embarrassed to admit, more than a bit boisterous about my frustration. I did apologize later for my ranting, but the fact is, I did pretty good stress-fueled monologue. I rather beat the messengers, and it certainly wasn't any of their faults that I'm worried about Avalon or feel like I'm drowning in a list of financial, housekeeping, and school issues.

Enter, my fork. Tonight, I was, again, at the hospital for a meeting. (different committee) After the meeting, I shared a lovely conversation with my Fork friend. She was at yesterday's meeting, as well as today's. As we sat and tried to shorthand our lives from the past few months, she began to show me how narrow my path had become. In the midst of the heartache of losing a child, she has still managed to work, tend her other child, and continuously reach out to other medical families in need. She's helped other grieving families as they cross the threshold no parent wants to imagine. She's moving forward and reaching out - through the stress. Wow...she really started cutting those trees down for my road.

Then, she went and really did it. As we climbed in her car so she could ferry me to mine, she explained that after the fateful meeting yesterday, she had stayed late to work on solving my parking dilemma. Wham! She tossed a fork in my path.

The fork she created for me gave me two options, continue being a self-absorbed twit while ranting and raving...or walk the other way, and think about someone else. With a gift like that, I could barely even pause to reflect - I had to sprint down the good side. To do anything else, would have been an insult to her kindness. She gave me a whopper of a fork, and had no idea she'd done it.

Interesting, that a fork can help you destroy a Rock. Apparantly, finding the Fork, can sometimes shorten the path around life's Rocks. I've had giant Rocks tossed my way this week. It was nice to run into a Fork for a change.

I had a fork day.

And it was good.

- Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September 18, 2007

Back to semi-normalcy. I'm actually writing this on the day it describes. That means I must be slowly dragging myself out of my cabin/stress stupor, nearly ready to re-join the rat races. Wonder if running in the rat races burns any calories?

The scale is still showing the burdens of my weekend excess - still at -10 pounds. You'd think I'd be ecstatic. -10 pounds in 18 days really isn't bad. It just feels bad because I know I "lost" ground over the weekend. Funny expression that. How does "gaining" weight turn into "losing" ground? Kind of describes life in the middle of a massive attempted change. Down becomes up, and forward is better described as back. Like learning to go "back to basics", or moving "down the corporate ladder to move up your happiness quotient". Its all a bit twisted. A reminder that just when you thought you had it all figured out - you learn how little you really know.

Today I can report I learned two new things. One, once you have fallen off of (or been knocked off of) the dietary trail - it totally sucks trying to claw your way back onto it. The cravings, wants, and mind-numbing food fetishes rear their ugly heads, bigger than ever! Its like they get together and decide to extract revenge for temporarily leaving them. If you dare to give them the tiniest in-road to your psyche - they attempt to grab your conscience mind with both hands and hold on with hurricane-prowess. I have battled craving demons today that would have brought lesser beasts to their knees. Thankfully, my knees are weak because my keester is so big - I wasn't able to cave in to their demands easily...

And the second thing I learned? Learning to admit you're in over your head - helps. I am unabashedly admitting that I'm currently drowning in to-do lists, deadlines, and things people need from me. By wallowing in a bit of self-pity and whining to my hubby, I've been trying to release a few of those all-I-want-is-Calgon-and-dark-chocolate demons. Every time I feel like I've let someone or some deadline down - I feel the pull of the PayDay (candybar, that is). But several times today, when I honestly said to someone, I'm out. I'm over-done, I'm let me close that 'fridge door with nothing (or something healthy) in my hand.

If I am guilty of any indulgence today, it was watermelon. After a fascinating, but horribly inconveniant, meeting today - I let myself eat several pieces of sugary sweet, incredible watermelon. It may possibly be enough to keep me from losing any weight today - but I consider it a victory over what I would have done last month. My normal m.o. would have been a trip to Wendy's for a frosty friend for the ride home. I think watermelon is a fair-enough substitute. I long for the day I need no substitute - but I'm a reasonably honest woman, that day may be millenia away...

For now, I go to bed secure in the knowledge that my worst enemy today was watermelon. Considering I dreamed about eating a giant chocolate bar in my daughter's doctor's office last night - I'd say watermelon ranks as a Victory! Listen, when your rear-end is the size of mine - you take victories where you can find them...

Onward and upward! Or, forward and downward - as the case may be. May I march on, and the scale trend down. Oh puh-leasee, may it trend down again....

- Alicia - the Crazy Cancer Mom

September 17 - evening

I'm baaack! I figured it was easiest to divide this day into two parts - A) Before the big doctor's appointment, and B) After the big appt. Welcome to part B) The After. (see previous post for description of the weekend and what led up to this)

Today was a re-check with Avalon's neuro-opthalmologist. This appointment is the reason Avalon had the LP (lumbar puncture) on Thursday Sept 13. I wanted the neuro-optho to know exactly what Avalon's spinal pressure was when she looked at her eyes - no guessing this time.

The good news - Avalon's eyes are fantastic! The doctor said they look better than she ever thought they could. Wahoo! The better news is that it appears we have finally "beaten" the brain at the fluid game. We have finally reached a point with the shunt that its keeping up with the brain enough to allow her optic nerves to return to normal. Double wahoo! Bad news - the protein in the CSF could be as bad as I feared. Quadruple Boo Hoo...

As I wrote previously, normal protein levels in CSF are 14-45, Avalon had 89. High protein can indicate shunt infection (Avalon has a shunt in her brain), de-mylenation of nerves (think like in MS), auto-immune disease, and a few other ickies. Protein in CSF makes the CSF like "sludge" - very thick. If the protein level gets too high, it can clog her shunt - causing shunt failure (which can quickly kill her). So, the neuro-optho is not happy and being very pro-active. The neuro-optho thinks that Avalon's protein is from inflammation. Most probably, because Avalon's body is "angry" that it has a foreign object in it. The other most likely thing is that Avalon may have developed an auto-immune disorder. (EX: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc).

For now, the neuro-optho has ordered an enormous bloodpanel to look for blood indicators of generalized inflammation - and to look for indicators of pretty much any auto-immune disease she could dream up. She ordered tests for several diseases that "only adults" are supposed to be able to get - because Avalon's pseudo-tumor is supposed to be only in adults too. Best case scenario: no evidence of auto-immune disease, positive presence of inflammation indicators in blood, and we treat with low doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Dapsone). Worst case #1: auto-immune disease and we have a whole new batch of crud to deal with. Worst case #2: her body is rejecting the shunt - and she would have to go on anti-rejection meds like a transplant patient.

Craziest part? We can't test to see what's going on in the CSF. Each LP"stirs up" the CSF. Any trauma from the LP can introduce blood into the spinal fluid, thereby adding extra protein to it and making the whole problem worse. So, we now have to avoid LP's and hope we can solve the problem - with no way to see if we have. ACK!

And just how does all of this medical mumbo jumbo translate to my diet? Hmmm, let me try to figure out how to explain it. I guess the best description would be rocks. Big, ugly, really heavy - Rocks. I'm trying hard to stay on the diet path, and I feel like I keep running into rocks. I didn't put the rocks there, but I can't move them out of my path either. I keep having to go around them, and its making staying on-course more than a tad bit difficult.

Before the doctor's appointment, I had already seen the misery of the scales. I already knew my weekend of debauchery had brought me home with 3 pounds more than I left with. This was Rock #1, the I've-already-gained-wieght-back-so-I-might-as-well-give-up-Rock. I ran smack into Rock #1, and lost the fight. I couldn't help but eat that last bite of the forbidden brownie that had been lurking in my pantry.

Running into Rock #1 and losing the fight, threw me headlong into Rock #2, the I-just-screwed-up-and-ate-something-bad-so-I-might-as-well-eat-more-Rock. While I did run headfirst into Rock #2, I was able to soften the blow a bit with a previous semi-intelligent food purchase. Rock #2 rattled my brain convincing me that I needed carbs, carbs, carbs! (another weakness to my stress sirens). The call of the carbs was so LOUD, I gave in and ate this god-forsaken allergy-free, wheat-free, dirt-tasting cereal I'd bought for the weekend trip. I mean, I was desperate. This stuff was AWFUL, but I just had to have cereal. Criminy - stress has a life all its own.

After reeling from Rocks #1 and #2, I headed off to the fated doctor's appointment. Suffice it to say, her news brought the biggest boulder yet, ROCK #3. Depending on how long I look at Rock #3, it can sometimes seem to shrink, and sometimes look 20 stories tall, and three leagues wide. Funny though, I seem to be handling Rock #3 the best. Maybe its the head injuries I sustained from Rocks #1 and #2, but over all - I'm starting to forge a path around #3. Believe me, its SLLOOOWWW going. Every inch I make it around Rock #3, there is a hideous stress scream that is begging me over to the dark side. The screams have made me open and shut the 'fridge 1001 times this evening, but at least I haven't been removing things from it - just wasting electricity looking into it wistfully.

I believe, if I can make it around Rock #3 in one piece, with some semblance of sanity in place, I may actually have a chance at surviving this path. Maybe, someday, I'll learn how to dynamite those stupid rocks and avoid them altogether...

Wow, wouldn't that be lovely?

Crazier than normal, Cancer Mom, Alicia

September 17, 2007

Wow! Has it actually been 3days since I've pestered you?! Whew...worlds can blow apart in 3 days... I suppose I have some back-tracking to do. Sit back, get comfy - this may take a while.

First of all, when last we met, I was giddy as a 6 year old on Christmas morning. We were packing like crazed chickens, trying to get to a cabin to meet the owner at the correct time. The cabin was the brainchild and heart wish of an amazing man, whom sadly - we will never have the opportunity to thank. Larry Joseph lost his battle with colon cancer nearly three years ago...and the world lost a living angel. After facing cancer himself, Larry couldn't stop thinking of children with cancer - and how their families cope with the stress. He dreamed up Chapel Hill House. And in the few short years he managed to fight to stay here - he made his dream a reality. Chapel Hill House is a restored 1835 log cabin that sits on 70 acres of prairies and woods. It welcomes pediatric cancer families for a weekend of family bonding and soul-filling respite. Larry's wife, Annie, welcomes you to this magical retreat with all the love of a grandmother, and the understanding of your best friend. I will write at length about our stay at some other time - but for now, you just needed to know where we were headed last Friday. (

What I didn't know as I typed my quick we're-off-to-have-fun note to you, is that within minutes, I would find a piece of paper that could potentially change our world, again. As I ransacked a plastic bag from Thursday's hospital visit, I found a lab print-out from Avalon's procedure. When I had asked the nurse to print lab results for me, I had really only been looking for white blood cell counts - and hadn't paid any attention to other numbers. Friday, as I unfolded the lab sheets, I realized there were three papers, instead of the customary two. The third paper had the beginning of the lab results for Avalon's Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF). While most results were "Pending" - a few were already in. Avalon's CSF contained nearly twice the highest "normal" amount of protein. Blood values are given in ranges. CSF protein content is considered "normal" if its between 15-45. Avalon's was 89.

Once I saw the results, I ran upstairs, booted up the computer and did quick searches for elevated protein in CSF. The options for explanations were not pleasant. I put a call in to our nurse practitioner, and asked her to please phone us and, in effect, "pat me on the hand" and tell me I was a worry wart. No dice. She did call back - but she said she was also concerned. We settled on the plan to have the NP talk to our attending oncologist on Monday, and I would consult with Avalon's neuro-opthalmologist at her appointment on Monday.

To say I headed off for my weekend of "relaxation" in anything but a "relaxed" mood, would rather be like saying the Titanic got a bit wet. I was a certifiable basket case. Poor Annie, as she greeted us and walked around the grounds teaching us about her beautiful gift to cancer families, she made the collasal mistake of asking how Avalon is doing. Blip - flood gates opened. I managed to rein it in, and blame it on the ragweed - but I nearly burst several gaskets trying to pretend everything was OK.

That's the thing about Chapel Hill House, though. As the weekend wore on, the house really did work its magic on me. I was able to let go of the panic, and find my resolve again. There really was a deep, mystifying presence there. I left ready to fight - not fighting to breathe.

I do, however, need to admit a few shortcomings. In my last post, I shared my "Declaration of War". I must now admit, that in every war...there are a few casualties. I took a pretty major hit at Chapel Hill.... While the Battle of the Bulge is far from over - you might say I "lost a hill" on the Hill. Or rather, I gained a bit more to battle with. Shockingly, Friday morning, the scales tipped at a whopping -13 pounds! How's that for amazing? Don't be too impressed...this morning showed the full extent of my battle fatigue...back to only -10. Apparantly, my previous rantings about stress were dead on - it does, indeed, tend to affect my "bottom" line.

Odd thing is, I didn't really overeat at Chapel Hill. I just made poor food choices. I know no one probably believes me that I've lost so much weight so quickly by simply avoiding the foods I'm allergic too. I was beginning to doubt myself. I even questioned my hubby about potentially sabotaging the scales to "boost" my ego! Nope. Chapel Hill was the proof in the pudding. I gained those 3 pounds in 3 days, by eating (you won't believe this) 4 sugar cookies, 2 pieces of sourdough bread, 1 piece of seeded rye bread, 1 hot dog bun, and 3 s'mores. How insane is that?! The rest of what I ate: tacos, eggs for breakfast, etc - were the same things I'd been eating at home, while the weight was falling off. But my body hates wheat and sugar so much - that those few indulgences grabbed calories like a sailor grabs whiskey - and held on for dear life.

Am I disappointed about the pounds? Well, duh - it stinks to see the numbers go higher! Am I going to beat myself with a wet noodle over it? Heck no! First of all, noodles have wheat and my ridiculous body would figure out how to grab calories from the lashing. Second of all, I'm human! I managed to control myself and not go hog-wild - and for that, I'm proud. What I wanted to do was hole up in a corner, suck down all the chocolate in the 'fridge and every homemade cookie in the container, and sugar myself into a stress-free-stupor. What I did was enjoy a few decadent things and allow myself only a small amount of time to worry - while finding that special place of pure joy being with my family.

OK, so a few cookies isn't nirvana to most people. And a few extra pounds to lose (AGAIN) is a bit of a pain. The truth is, I think the weekend taught me everything Larry had envisioned it could. It taught me to enjoy every second of life, and learn to accept the bad as well as the good - for they both mean Life.

In the next post for Sept 17 - I'll finish filling in some cracks in the story...

Hang in there, I'm mentally and bloggerly getting caught up...

Crazy Cancer Mom

Friday, September 14, 2007

I Declare War

***It's Friday, September 14th. My hardworking hubby, 4 tax deductions and myself are running around like crazed circus clowns throwing miscellaneous items into mismatched bags. We are heading out the door for a weekend stay at a remote cabin that is donated to a local ped cancer charity. We've NEVER gone away like this as a family. Not once. Since Avalon's diagnosis, we've gone two places, Disney for her Make A Wish trip, and two weeks ago - to a group camp with other cancer families. We are actually going away...just us...just to be together. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!! I'm downright giddy....

Since I won't be able to pester you all for a few days....I'm going to share something I've been saving. I wrote the following essay, the last time I lost a tremendous amount of weight (40 lbs). BTW, the last time, was right before Avalon was diagnosed.... Hmm..wonder why I gained it back?

Anyway, here is my little offering, "Declaration of War". I hope you get a giggle or two.

By Alicia Hall

OK, that's it. I've officially declared war on my thighs.

I passed a store window today and turned to see who the fat lady behind me was, only to find she was me. Something's got to give when you can follow yourself and not know it. It's dad-blasted amazing how in my mirror at home, I'm still 17 and svelte. Snow White's step mom must have really had something after all.

The problem with this declaration, is the length of time required for victory. I know I lost my territory slowly and gradually. But let's face it, we all want to take the hill on the first day of battle. The person who could invent a one-day nonstop anti-fat device, would own the world. We wouldn't have to be greedy. The device could be a one shot deal. You pork up again, it's up to you, babe. But gee, don't we all deserve the chance to be stupid at least once in our life?

The way I see it, I'm really not overweight. I'm just 3 feet too short. Vertically challenged, so to speak. If I were 10’ 6" tall, I’d be darn svelte. Yea, that's it. I’d be a 10’ 6" bikini model...

Fine, you got me. My malfunctioning gland is my brain. Truth is; I love food! I adore food. High fat, low fat, who cares? It's food and therefore worthy of my adoration. Chocolate, of course, is in a category of its own. Chocolate transcends classification as mere food. It assumes more of a godlike stature. Chocolate is to be revered, celebrated. As such, it must be partaken of regularly to ensure spiritual well being. Chocolate consumption is not frivolous, it's satisfying a basic biological need. Ask any woman.

I suppose my second failing would be exercise. I hate sweat. I hate thinking about sweat. I hate producing sweat. I hate cleaning up after sweat. I hate being around other people who are sweating. It's all pretty simple; if the choice came down to death or sweat, I'd choose daisy dirt.

This aversion wreaks havoc with an exercise regime. When the point is to elevate your heart rate, sweat is an indisputable side effect…so much for my activity level. Let's see, no exercise, lots o' chocolate. Hmmm… Wonder why the fat lady walking behind me was so darn close?

Well, now I've gone and done it. I've taken a blood oath to burn my fat lady clothes. Since the whole Joan of Arc thing holds little attraction for me, I guess I've got to shrink. I must break up with food. We're going to have to cool it off to just a friendly relationship. I hope the grocer doesn't take it too hard. His stocks are going to plummet.

Then there's the sweat issue...conquering this one may kill me.

I've got to give in and join the world of the weight-conscious. Not that I wasn't conscious of it before. I always knew I had a weight, I just didn't know how much it was.

Never fear, I won't go too far. I've made my husband promise to lock me up if I ever turn into one of those size six skinny minnies, who gripes about her thighs. I guess my days of threatening to sit on those ladies are soon to be over.

Maybe I still have time to track down a few...for exercise.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

September 13, 2007

So, it turns out, stress may be a bit of a food cue for me. Not that I didn't kind of *know it* before...but today it kind of jumped up and whacked me upside the head. My epiphanal ego says, "Yay! I'm so smart, I've recognized a huge issue!" My throbbing skull says, "Man, I wish the ego wasn't so dense that I have to get walloped so hard." And my rear says, "Damn. I bet I just found a few of those pounds I lost."

As of this morning, I nearly fell off of the scale when it read 246 pounds. (*If you happen to be tuning in late...that would be 246 pounds DOWN from 258 pounds, a mere 13 days ago.*) If you gathered the convoluted confession from the preceding paragraph, you may be surmising that my "net losses" may have been affected today.

Today was a long-anticipated and dreaded medical benchmark for my daughter. I suppose its about time I ante up some basic info about her. The beautiful little baldy you see covering most pages on is my own baldy, Avalon. Avalon (or daughter #3 as I usually call her here) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when she was 17 months old. She is currently in long term remission and has been off of chemotherapy since Dec 2006.

As a result of chemo, Avalon has been left with osteoporosis, painful, grinding joints, and brain damage. Avalon has a condition called intercranial hypertension (IH), or pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). The English translation is that she has too much spinal fluid surrounding her brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. In fact, she has been recorded at having nearly 4 times more than the average adult. Skipping forward through years of symptoms, months of treatments, and 3 dozen trips to the OR - I'll do my best to shorthand for you.

Avalon has had a surgery to put holes in the covering of her optic nerve to allow fluid to leak out - thus reducing pressure on the optic nerve and hopefully saving her vision. Avalon now has a V-P (ventricular-peritoneal) shunt that has a tube that runs into the center of her brain to drain fluid through a resevoir and tubing to eventually dump the excess fluid into her abdomen. Avalon's shunt is what they call a "smart" shunt. We can change how much fluid it sends out by holding up a remote control behind her ear. Its pretty cool - she's actually a remote-controlled robot! (although she steadfastly refuses to make bee bop boop beep sounds for me! Killjoy)

Whew! You're almost caught up. The mystery of Avalon's PTC is that no one knew what was damaged, the mechanism that drains the fluid - or the one that decides how much to produce in the first place. I believe we have probably reached the conclusion that its her production center. Every time we give the fluid more room to leave, her brain seems to catch up by making more. Its a lose-lose proposition.

Six weeks ago, we discovered that she was, again, losing vision and that her pressure was up. We opened the shunt further and have been waiting. Today was the follow-up lumbar puncture (LP) to see what effect we had. What I haven't been telling you is that the past week as I've been jumping one diet hurdle after another...I've actually been leaping a giant chasm. As today got closer, my stress has been increasing rather exponentially. My hubby, my sister, and a close friend were all right. They all counseled me to stop focusing, stop worrying - we'll deal with it and move forward. No sense borrowing trouble. But...from a dieting perspective, it was rather like having God's biggest Hershey bar outside my window, screaming my name. The higher the level of stress, the louder Hershey yells. Its a viscious cycle.

Moving into the present, we had the LP today. For Avalon, LP's mean a long, torturous, hungry day. The procedure is done under general anesthesia, so she has to go without food after midnight, the night before. Our house rule is that anyone going to the hospital on procedure days, also goes without food until she can have it. (baby was exempted from that!) A) its downright inhumane to eat in front of a hungry short person, and B) it makes anyone with her, appreciate how she is feeling. While this all sounds noble and such, it did make for a rather cranky bunch o' kids today - since I got stuck taking all of them.

Long story short, (well, that ship appears to have already sailed...) the results were not as good as we would have wanted. Yes, her pressure is better, but its still twice normal. The problem is, we're running her shunt at nearly full capacity already. It may not be possible to outdistance the brain with just the shunt and the previous eye surgery. From here, the options get...interesting. (I'll leave it at that, for now) The news wasn't horrible, just disappointing. And now part two of the wait begins. We see her neuro-opthalmologist on Monday. What we find there, will be the true deciding factor. So my stress-fest will have to trudge on through the weekend.

Post surgery, we took our morphine-goofy, hungry-bunny to a lobby of the hospital where they were broadcasting a fundraising radiothon. We've participated in this radio-thon in years past, and only missed being interviewed this time because I forgot to return the phone call. So, we went to see if we could help out, visit our hospital friends, and bribe my brood with some catered goodies.

At the radio event, I was able to relax a bit and enjoy good conversation and warm smiles from wonderful employees that have long since crossed over to "friends". I even managed to eat healthy, choosing just one spinach chicken wrap. A wrap, by the way, that was so stinking good-for-me AND tasty that I nearly was convinced I had nodded off and dreamed the whole thing... At the event, I fed my woozy 4 year old ooey gooey brownies and chips (she gets anything she wants for her first "meal" post-op), all without a second thought to tasting them myself. And then...I came home.

Right about now you're thinking, "What in the Sam-hill does any of this have to do with dieting? And geez, I thought this Blubber Blog was supposed to be funny?" Well, the BB is usually going to be humorous - I am usually pretty light-hearted. Its a darn sight easier to laugh about life than drown in the serious. (see Bruhnhilda's Blog of Absurdity) But, I would rather keep the BB honest than fakely funny - so today...maybe its a bit more real than real funny.

Don't get me wrong, our day at the hospital was one giant grin. We LOVE the wonderful, giving, warm, loving, supportive, amazing humans that work in our hospital. We laugh, hug, tease, and enjoy the time we share with them. It may sound rather insane, but a hospital day is not a negative event for our family. We enjoy "catching up" with the friends we've made along the way. I think that's the interesting thing I learned today - I wasn't even interested in the "bad stuff" while I was standing there facing piles of gourmet cookies, pans of brownies or the chip buffet. As long as I was distracted and laughing, I could have cared less.

It was the fateful drive home that gave me time to really start *thinking* about what could potentially be coming...that I began to unravel. Am I a teary, bleary mess? No. We've handled far worse. However, did I over eat in the comfort of my own 4 walls? Oh yeah. Uh-huh. Affirmative. Yep-a-roonie. Guilty as charged.

The good news is, I must be making some sort of mental progress, I didn't exactly "pig out" to even a fraction of the extent I would have 3 weeks ago. Days past, I would have finished off the container of brownies still in my cupboard, followed by probably ordering pizza for dinner. I did manage to rein myself in to two 1 inch squares of the dreaded brownies. However, to chase away my Brownie Blues, I chased my sensible portion, with a bowl of cereal. OK, so the cereal was organic, and was mostly oats. It also has a good amount of wheat - which can be entirely responsible for sinking my dieting battleship. Then there was my dinner... a giant bowl of butter-dripping popcorn. Since the battleship was already gone - I went ahead and sunk the coast guard's boat too...

After recovering from my naval assault, I realized how I'd been seeking my ammo with no thought to what it would do to my body. I was only looking for how things would taste. That's about the time I had my great epiphany that stress really does make me do things. Here I thought I was so highly evolved and junk. Hah! I'm a complete simpleton. When it comes to why I eat what I eat and when, I've barely been surviving at amoeba level. Wow. Who knew?

I guess what I'm trying to share, is that I think I bumped up an evolutionary notch, or two, to at least paramecium today. I have finally recognized that no matter how much in control I think I am...there are times I completely surrender to the call of the sirens, the stress sirens. For today, I figure I may have surrendered a pound or two to them. The trick is to find my earplugs. I need to learn to ignore that call and divert my attention. Hopefully, finally knowing there is a call, will be a giant step toward immunity to it. I don't really know, I'm just musing and sharing...honestly.

Ack, this open heart, open life stuff can totally blow some days.

To keep you all from thinking I've gone totally serious on you...I'm posting my first tidbit on Bruhnhilda's Blog of Absurdity. Click on the link in the Links section upper right hand corner of the page, it will take you there. For my ALL-list, my local friends and family - you will recognize the story. For everyone else, this started as an email to a few people, and has morphed into the BBOA. Salute my on-line friends! You are keeping me sane.

- Alicia - the crazy cancer mom!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

September 12, 2007

Oh cripes. Just how much trouble am I in for not posting yesterday? Would pitiful and overly-mascaraed batting eyelashes get me out of dutch? Puh-lease...?

How about some rockin' news? Hold onto your horses, your britches and your brother's balls (his basketballs - get your mind out of the gutter!)...I've lost 10 pounds!!!!!! Wahooooooooo

**We now take a blog identification break to allow for author bummy-shaking and proud-proud dancing.**

We may now resume our regularly scheduled rantings....

Yep, you read that right. teno poundaroonies! hee hee hee So apparantly, it may indeed be worth learning to merely wave at the chocolate bar, rather than offering to marry it. There may atually be something to the theory of "moderation". Well, who'd have thunk it?

But I do come here this evening with a smidge of a heavy heart. (OK, so we know definitively, that no part of me is a "smidge heavy" - c'mon - go with it...) I fear, I must confess something to you. As I dance and hoot, I admit that in doing so, I'm committing a bit of a falsehood....

Oh don't you worry, I really did start this ordeal by weighing myself on Thursday Aug 30. The scales really did horrify me with the chart-topping 258 pounds. Those same scales really did read 248 pounds, three times in row this morning. No kidding, no bluffing.

The problem is, I'm not exactly sure how much they would have read before I planned this Fat-A-Thon. You see, I've been living the last few months like Dead Man Walking. Only, you can morph it into Fat-Lady-NOT-Walking!

I dreamed up this idea of a Fat-A-Thon several months ago. I thought long and hard about the "Why" , the "How", the actual brass tacks of pulling this off. Then, I even went so far as to have a grown-up type meeting with some people who run a local pediatric cancer charity - to pick their un-child-drained brains for ideas and feedback. We all agreed on a plan of attack, and the beast of burden was left to me to start the sight and the weightloss.

Here's where the road gets a little twisty. Now, if you knew it was your last chance to ever see a dear friend, how would you choose to bid them adieu? Would you do the bandaid method - saying a lightening fast good-bye and then ripping your heart out with several hairs and burning skin cells attached? OR Would you take the romantic movie approach - gently caressing your friend's hand as you took long, thoughtful walks together on the beach, tirelessly recanting your years of enjoying each others' company?

Being the committed romantic that I am...I felt that too rapid of a farewell to food would simply not do our relationship justice. I decided to honor my long-time friend with a series of heartfelt get togethers and tasty trists. I began a several-month long effort to make sure that food - particularly that of high calorie and fat count - knew that it had been well-loved and would be missed.

Thus began the Summer of my Content. I can now fully divulge the divinity that was my Summer. I ate as if it was my job....and it was gooood..........................

I ate cookies and cake and brownies and pie. I ate chips and dip and spinach on rye. I ate french fries and pizza and cream of the ice. And damn it all, man - it surely was nice!

Get real. I didn't get to be this size by not liking food. I got here because food tastes good. I like it. A good hunk o- chocolate is nearly a religious event. Somewhere, in the deep dark recesses of my twisted mind, I think I decided I needed to eat everything I ever would want to eat ever again - and pack it into a few weeks. I would be driving past a set of Arches or the home of the King and think, "You know, in a few weeks, I'll never be able to have a *&%^$ again. I really should stop and get one so I can remember what it tastes like." OR I'd see the ice cream store on the corner and think, "Oh, the kids will really enjoy that on a hot day like this. Since I won't ever eat ice cream again, I think I'll get the large (which should really be called the Gargantuan)" Here's the real fruit-loopy part to that one - I don't even like ice cream!

Somewhere in the last few weeks leading up to this diet-death-trek of mine, all of my insanity began to work. I would think about pulling into a dwelling of the Mac - and think, "Bleck. That doesn't even sound good." I would drive past our favorite soft-serve center and think, "I'll really get a headache from that." I think I actually managed to out eat myself. You know those stories you used to hear about a parent catching a kid with a cigarette and then making him smoke until he threw up, to make the child hate the taste/smell of cigs? Well, I'm here to report that you can, indeed, over-junkify yourself. I ate until I abhorred, I dined until I despised.

I actually managed to overeat myself into eating sensibly. Just how insane is that?! It is with this knowledge, that I must confess that probably 4 or 5 of the pounds I've parted company with this week, may very well have come from my oh-so-questionable "preparation" for my pledge quest. Yes, yes, I may truly be certifiable.

Funny thing though. As I "fattened" the goose with my long, romantic, goodbye, it never quite occurred to me that I was merely setting myself up for extra band-aid days of losing my gander-padding. Perhaps, I need to re-think my methods of departure.

Rip! Ow...... Rip! OW! RIP!!! Ow!!!!!! Oh yeah, hindsight is definitely 20-20. Rats.

- Alicia
And now Bruhnhildas Blog of Absurdity see the link above

Breakfast: 2 eggs, onions, tomatoes, no cheese! (if I don't go to the store soon - I may begin licking cardboard) 2 C coffee with creamer

Lunch: Forgot it! Doing school with one child, dressing others, leaving with all 4 for a meeting at the hospital...Oops!

Dinner: 1/3 - 1/2 lb ground chuck with taco seasoning, salad greens, tomatoes, diet coke
(again, no cheese - criminal, I tell you!)