Bad, good, and bad good


So, apparently there are bad cancers, good cancers and bad good cancers.

Melanoma is considered a bad cancer. It's an aggressive cancer, difficult to treat and has a low cure rate. Other bad cancers include breast, ovarian, and blood cancers.

Basal cell carcinoma is considered a good cancer. It's easy to treat, typically balls into discreet tumours and has a high cure rate.

However, bcc doesn't always form with sharp edges. Sometimes the tumour sends tendrils out, and invades other cell areas. We'll call this the bad good cancers.

Apparently, this is what I have, the bad good. I won't know the extent of the tumour until the surgery on May 11th. The doctor said I can expect stitches from the middle of my eyelid to my temple. They'll be in six days before being removed.

I talked to my mom about the timing of the surgery before I scheduled it. The first available appointment was this coming Thursday, the 28th, but I won't be able to fly until the stitches are out, and absolutely not any exertion for two days (no ultimate for at least a week). So, the 28th would mean no Hawaii. Having it removed the following Thusday would mean no road trip with Paul, so that week is out.

The following weekend is my sister-in-law's college graduation. I'm torn about that weekend, because it's her graduation. But another week. This thing itches like mad. I don't think I can wait another week, especially mentally.

As I was waiting for the doctor today, I looked at my chart. I think most people don't bother actually looking at their charts. I was curious. The initial diagnosis was so casual. "Bumps on back." With quotes. Like I was imagining the bumps on my back and near my eye. Now everything I see has me wondering, is this cancerous, too? Should I have this looked at?

Thank goodness my zits and pimples are few and far between.

Trainer preferences


My training session today didn't go so well, and I'm kinda annoyed by it. Usually, I head into the gym in the morning, so I know the three morning trainers. Work requirements dictated, however, I go into the gym in the afternoon (or at least late morning) today. As a result, I had a different trainer.

About half the time I've been, I've had a partner training at the same time. The facility is set up so that each trainer has a maximum of two training partners, one working while the other is resting. I usually go in at odd enough times that I have the trainer to myself, but sometimes I have a partner.

Today's training included a partner.

This partner was the first that was significantly different than I: he was big, strong, loud, and, for the most part, well muscled. Contrast to me: petite, few muscles, quiet.

Heh. Me. Quiet.

Did I just say that?

The trainer started with the other guy, and would have him do 2-3 exercises (like something with both arms, right only, left only, then a different one with both arms), then worked with me. I would do three sets of one exercise, then the trainer would move back to the other guy.

I managed to get only five exercises in: bench press, inclined bench press, pull ups, bicep curls and tricep curls. The other guy started before and ended after me, so he managed to get 12 - 15 exercises in. The trainer spent more time with that guy than with me and I left miffed about it.

I bought a package deal with the facility. At this point, I'm not so inclined to get another. Might just finish this one out next week and find a real gym. Of course, that means I have to find a workout partner so that I stay motivated: motivation being my real reason for heading to this facility in the first place.

BCC means something new!


Last week, I went to the doctor to have the annoying growth along my right eye checked, and, because of my overwhelming vanity, removed. The doctor did a great job removing it, very clean. She sent the "skin tag" in for biopsy, out of routine.

Well, for the last few days, there were missed calls on my cell phone from "No ID." I finally was able to pick up on one today.

It was a call from my doctor. The skin tag is cancerous. It's not the agressive type, but rather basal cell carcinoma.


The Most Common Skin Cancer

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, affecting 800,000 Americans each year. In fact, it is the most common of all cancers. One out of every three new cancers is a skin cancer, and the vast majority are basal cell carcinomas, often referred to by the abbreviation, BCC. These cancers arise in the basal cells, which are at the bottom of the epidermis (outer skin layer). Until recently, those most often affected were older people, particularly men who had worked outdoors. Although the number of new cases has increased sharply each year in the last few decades, the average age of onset of the disease has steadily decreased. More women are getting BCCs than in the past; nonetheless, men still outnumber them greatly.

Because the location is right next to something so vital (my eye!), the doctor recommended Mohs Micrographic Surgery to remove all the growth:

The physician removes the visible tumor with a curette or scalpel and then removes very thin layers of the remaining surrounding skin one layer at a time. Each layer is checked under a microscope, and the procedure is repeated until the last layer viewed is cancer-free. This technique has the highest cure rate and can save the greatest amount of healthy tissue. It is often used for tumors that have recurred or are in hard-to-treat places such as the head, neck, hands, and feet.

It's the most time intensive removal, but the best for me because of the location. I'll be heading in next week. The surgery should take all day because of the iterative process.

I'm already really good about sunscreen, but I now need to be even more diligent. I'm a bit surprised at my reaction, which was about 2 minutes of crying, then acceptance. It is what it is. I have work to do, and gardens to plant.



My body itches.

Not in the hyper-allergy reaction I had 3+ years ago, but rather in the I've-been-working-out-and-am-healing sort of way. Much the same way I know when I'm gaining weight in my legs (my legs physically hurt when I gain weight from inactivity and long freakin' hours of sitting still programming), I know I'm gaining muscle mass from the workouts. I can feel my body adjusting, healing, growing.

And it itches.

I've been going to the trainer for nearly two weeks now. Nothing actually shows. My clothes all fit the same, I don't have any new muscle to speak of. I'm pretty much the only person who can notice the difference.

I've had three trainers so far: Michele (one L), Christina, and Eric (no idea if those are spelled correctly, other than Michele's). Michele and Christina are the late afternoon people, Eric is the morning trainer, with another guy. I'm close to finding the sweet morning spot where it's not rushed or full, when I can sleep in a bit, but still get a good number of work hours in. So far, I like Eric best, as he seems to get ultimate (having played in college). I'm still worried a bit about the training not being ultimate-specific enough, but I know I need a good strength base, so I'm willing to go with the current training without (m)any complaints.

Despite being told that professional athletes come in for training at the facility, so far I've seen only really out of shape "older" people and high school or college softball players. I haven't seen much in between. I suspect I fall into the "older" category, but not quite. Most of the people that I've seen have serious bellies and guts. I may have a Bundy-pooch, but I don't have a gut.

I, admittedly, don't understand the motivation of many of these other clients. Thursday morning I went in for my session and was a bit disappointed with myself when I realized I was only five minutes early: the longest I would use the elliptic trainer would be 30 minutes because I'm called off the machine at 25 minutes into the session. Twenty minutes later, the other guy (two people work out with the same trainer at a time) came in, looked for his headphones, adjusted the television, then hopped on the elliptical trainer next to me. I don't go particularly fast on those things, the movement doesn't quite work well for me, and my toes go numb after about 10 minutes, but this guy was even worse than I.

Just as this guy got up to speed, it was time for crunches. I thought to myself, "Why is this guy paying this company $100 an hour for a trainer if shows up 20 minutes late?" But he's not the exception from what I can see, he's the norm. Over half the people I've watched will come in late, talk to the trainers, saunter upstairs and aerobically workout half-ass until it's weight time. Why spend all the money if it's just social hour with pulleys?

I had to tell Eric, too, that a normal response when I get frustrated is to tear-up, and that he should just ignore it. I'm not in pain, and I don't want to stop, I just want weights I can do. He promised not to put "Crybaby" in my chart.

Several times when working out with Michele, she asked me if I hated her, mostly because she was pushing me, making me work harder. I told her, "I know the end result. I'm not going to hate you for getting me there." She was surprised. I guess most people come in late, skip half the workout, then complain when they get sore. I want to be strong. I like that sore feeling. The itching may be "not so much," but the strength, yes.

I want to be playing ultimate another 10 years.

I guess the worst part for me is realizing that 10 years ago, I used to be like all those people whom I don't understand now. Track in high school was brutal. I didn't want to do any of the workouts, I was there because it was sports or a job. I wasn't there for me, I was there for someone else. I like that now it's for me. I want to be better, faster, stronger. I really wish I had learned the lesson much younger.

Something I can do


During my senior year in college, I dated John Schmidt. An aunt of mine recently handed me a picture of John and me from some Thanksgiving at another aunt's house. Cracked me up. I'll need to scan it in and post it. I have my big 80's hairstyle.

Sometime during that said senior year, I began studying for the GRE. I knew my math skills were fine so I didn't study that section. And I didn't even realize there was an analytic section of the GRE, so didn't bother studying for that part either. No, I spent most of my studying time memorizing vocabulary words.

After a while, I asked John to help me with my studying. Basically, from the study book, I asked him to quiz me on the words. He started at the top and asked me for definitions of words on the list.

Twenty minutes into this quizzing, I became incredibly frustrated. I had already spent weeks studying these words, and I was getting maybe 10% of them right. What the hell had I been doing? I was going to completely fail this GRE in a few weeks, because I didn't know anything! Whaa!

After seeing my frustration, John explained to me he had been picking out the hard words and ignoring all the easy ones he figured I knew. So, rather than knowing 10% of the words, I actually knew more like 70% of the words. I'm pretty sure I punched him at that point and told him to give me something I could do.

Yesterday was very much like that at the trainers. I was working on upperbody exercises, and she kept putting the weights so heavy I could do maybe 2 or three reps. I'd make it through these initial reps, then be able to do nothing. I'd struggle and strain and exert, and not budge the weights one bit. After the third set of one of these, I dropped the bar, adjusted the weights down and just barely finished the set with the lighter weights.

I kept thinking to myself, "Geez, woman, give me something I can do."

If only barely.

Small objects lodged in odd places


When I lived in L.A., and worked in the Biz, I went to Dr. Waxler at the Bob Hope Health Clinic. I liked Waxler a lot - he was easy to talk to, he explained things well, he was responsive to my concerns, and he took the time to listen to me. I often got the impression something happened at his previous employment that affected his confidence, but I liked him enough as a doctor to continue seeing him for a while after I had moved to the Bay Area ("Yeah, my doctor lives 400 miles away from me. No house calls from him.").

On Waxler's desk in his office was a fake breast. It was made to feel like a real breast, and might if the woman's whose breast was being modelled didn't have dense breasts (don't ask). I picked up the breast when I was talking to him at one point, and started playing with it. Waxler commented to me that the breast was a learning tool for helping women find cancer lumps in their breasts.

All women's breasts have some lumps in them. It's a matter of construction since there are different cell types and functions inside the breast. Most women who feel a lump in their breasts for the first time are feeling lumps that have been there all along, but have changed in consistency, and are therefore noticed.

This particular fake boob I was mashing around had a rock in it. Most (not all, mind you) cancerous lumps in breasts are hard, similar to the rock. By finding the rock in the breast, a person could practice breast examinations, and get a feel (pun intended) for the process.

A bit over a year ago, maybe more, when in the shower, I noticed something under my arm, along the outside of my breast. It was hard, but very, very small. I pondered it for a bit, it wasn't there yesterday. Or was it? I asked Kris to check it out. He didn't know what it was. I talked to Lisa about it, she said have it checked out immediately. Good advice.

After a few days of worrying about this little thing (it was about one millimeter across, hard as a rock, and near the surface), I looked at it more closely.

And realized it was a tiny stone stuck in a skin pore. I realized this when it popped out as I was worrying.

Stupid stone.

Kris and I laughed about it, and I forgot about it.

Until tonight.

On the plane heading to Colorado, I was in the restroom (toliet area, lavatory, bathroom, whatever) washing my hands when I noticed a bit of puss at the inside of my right eye. This was unsurprising, so I finished washing my hands, making sure they were particularly clean, and tried to wipe the puss out. It wouldn't budge. Okay, so it's deeper in my eye than I thought it was. When I pulled my lower lid down more and tried again. No luck. What the heck?

After a good minute of futzing with my eye, I finally got the object out. I looked at it very closely, and concluded it was a man-made object. White, with a little knob on one side, it was just over a millimeter long, and hard. When I tried to squish it, it popped out from between my nails.

So, two odd foreign tiny objects. In places where they shouldn't be.


Homeopathic sometimes equals homeosucketh


Last night, while working late, I noticed I had gunk in my right eye. My eye has been bothering me all day, being dry or slightly itchy, but I didn't think much of it.

This morning when I woke up, however, I knew something was wrong: my eye was glued shut with even more gunk than last night. I evetually managed to remove most of it from the edges of my eye, and opened it, but the missing eyelashes will be sorely missed.

A quick phone call to the doctor, an appointment with another doctor in my doctor's office, and I was on my way at lunch. I was pretty sure the problem was pink-eye, as Mike had it a few weeks back. He had pink-eye really badly, and I really wanted to avoid such luck. I dashed off to the doctor for the first appointment they had available.

I think the worst part of the doctor's office is actually the weighing in before the actual appointment. There's no way to get fully naked, go to the bathroom, not eat, anything and everything to have the lowest weight possible, so I give up and just take the keys, camera, phone and wallet out of the pockets and hop on the scale. Today's weight was a shocker: I've gained 10 pounds in the last 10 months, which is the biggest weight gain I have ever had. I weighed 105 heading into college and 106 heading out. I weighed 118 when Kris and I first started, and it took me 7 years to add another 8 pounds to that weight. Adding another 10 to that in 10 months seems a bit unusual, and has me slightly concerned.

Of course, it might be something in the water. I know 8 women due in the next 8 months (Megan, Katie, Gena, Lisa, Christina, Nichole, Jane and Heidi), what's one more?

After a few minutes in the doctor's office, the doctor came in and I described my symptoms. She listened, asked questions, looked in my ears and eyes, asked more questions, then explained to me that, yes, I had pink-eye, but most eye infections are viral, and antibiotics have no effect on viral infections. Yes, I knew this, and, darn it, I knew what was coming.

No happy pill to make everything better. Instead, five days of flushing my eyes with eyedrops every hour. Sigh.

Sometimes homeopathic, natural solutions are sucky suck. Yes, I know the antibiotics won't be effective, but I'd love a happy little pill so that my eyes stop itching and producing gunk.

The part of Kitt will be played by Liza today


Since I wasn't feeling good yesterday, I didn't head into work. We have the sick policy that if you are starting to feel ill, stay home and work, rather than getting everyone in the office sick, too. So, I stayed home yesterday. Good thing, too, given how sick I was last night. Today isn't much better, not being able to do much more than sit around the house, drinking sugar water, and asking Kris, "Do I feel hot?"

Liza had been sick on Thursday, but was feverish on Wednesday afternoon, so she couldn't go into school on Friday. Instead, she spent the day with her mom at work, then with her dad at work. Apparently she managed to get as much work done on Friday afternoon as I did:

Potato leek soup


I'm a big fan of delivered organic vegetables. I'm mostly a fan of supporting small farms through CSA programs, where consumers (that's me!) purchase shares of harvests in order to support local (often organic) growers. I'm mostly a fan of organic food, but the farmer's blood in me isn't too diluted.

We started getting boxes of organic food delivered over six years ago, when we lived near Ben and Lisa and split a weekly big box delivery of organic food. We often struggled to both get foods we all liked and eat all the food we did receive.

When we moved to Sunnyvale, we found out the company we used previously didn't deliver to Sunnyvale, so we stopped deliveries. We tried again later with other companies and programs, including a pickup in Palo Alto, and another delivery company that did deliver in Sunnyvale. Unfortunately, we ended up throwing away more than we ate, so Kris asked me to cancel that service, too.

Since one of my new year's resolutions is to cook more, it made sense to start the delivery back up. Kris was, expectedly, skeptical about the resumed delivery. Okay, yeeaaaaah, so, sure, I plan on cooking more, but are we going to, once again, be throwing out more food than we eat?

I convinced him to continue the service, but we'd watch what we consumed. If we ended up throwing away more than 10% into the compost bin, we'd stop the service.

Been doing fairly well so far. Tonight's dinner was potato leek soup to use up the leeks from this box of vegetables and the last box of vegetables, as well as the potatoes from a couple boxes ago. Having never made potato leek soup before, I wasn't sure how it would turn out. It turned out fairly well. I need the soup tonight, having caught whatever Mike and his kids are dishing out. I'm good on the one resolution of cooking more, but less good on the running every day. Stupid fever, aches and chills.

MM 2006 1:2


While having lunch with Jessica and Dad: mensturation 1, migraine 2.