Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I know the dermatologist thought I was being silly in wanting the cyst removed. But I was getting tired of hitting it with my hairbrush every time I brushed my hair.
This was the second cyst to appear in the same spot. I lived with the first one for about twenty years before I had it removed. This one popped up about four months ago, and grew much faster. It was just a pilar cyst, but it was a nuisance.
I had it removed last Tuesday, and it took longer than the first time. Lots more lydocaine, and it hurt more afterwards. My entire head was swollen. The swelling didn't recede until Sunday night, and at that point the stitches started bothering me as I sleep on my back.
Yesterday afternoon the doctor's office called to confirm that it was a pilar cyst. But they went on to say that they discovered some squamous cell carcinoma, and that they were referring me to another doctor who would do a more invasive procedure to determine the extent of the carcinoma.
Ignoring her lousy bedside manner, I managed to ask whether I shouldn't be concerned about having the rest of my body examined. I was assured this would be done in three months when I returned to my regular dermatologist. I decided there was not much point in trying to get information out of this person. So now I wait for the specialist's office to call me after they've reviewed my records.
Serendipity? You bet! If I hadn't insisted on taking care of a nuisance, I'd have no idea whatsoever that there was anything wrong. But I'm really shaken. I have no real facts at the moment except what I can find online. I've been bursting into tears at odd intervals. My usual strength in dealing with problems seems to have vanished. I keep reminding myself of other people who have dealt with far worse, but that doesn't stem the tears. I guess that's what I need right now. I'm just tired of being strong.
Sunday, May 02, 2010
When I signed up for the Galloway training session and then the Galloway seminar, my intent was to train for a half-marathon - San Antonio in November. As the day drew near for the kickoff meeting, my runs slackened off due to other priorities intervening. That's life. So when I headed out for my run Friday afternoon, it had been ten days, and I was concerned. Sure enough, it was a rough time. There are a lot of reasons why this happened - if I look at it logically - but I suspect a lot of it had to do with expectations (read fears.)
When Saturday morning finally arrived (I've been waiting since February for this day), we started with an 'organizational' meeting and pancake breakfast. Not exactly what I had expected, but so it goes. I'll have to admit to being totally intimidated, and all we'd done was eat!
With an hour to kill between the meeting and the start of the seminar, I sat in my car to read some of the material I'd received. There I discovered that our schedule, if followed, will have me able to run a marathon by the time of the Houston Marathon next January. I headed back in for the seminar, where I found Jeff Galloway in an upstairs meeting room with one other person. We sat and chatted for about fifteen minutes until the others arrived, and he assured me that no, I wasn't too old to start, and yes, I would be able to do this. It seems that out of some 250,000 who have signed up for these training sessions, they know of 100,000 who have successfully completed marathons, and that includes folks who literally went from the couch to a marathon in six months. Well, I'm no couch potato so I should be able to do this.
So here it is: I'm training for a marathon. There, I've said it.
I enjoyed the right brain 'thinking' yesterday, and envisioned myself doing this. It's really just like SP: trust the process and you'll get there.
I was plagued with dreams last night in which I lost things and in which I was expected to do for others, but they weren't there for me. A disturbing bunch of dreams.
I took advantage of driving my daughter to work this morning to go run at my newly discovered location. Today was the first time I would truly try Galloway's run-walk-run method. Well, the blasted left brain kicked in and all I could focus on was how terrible I felt, how much my neck hurt, how much trouble I was having with my Gymboss (yes, another new toy) and how anxious I was for this to be over, and oh how glad I was that I only had to run for 30 minutes today.
So it's time to tell my left brain to just shut up, let me enjoy the process. Let me envision each new week's achievement and go for it. Let me envision the totality of the achievement and not focus on each blasted step along the way. I want to enjoy each of these steps, not dread them.
And enough of the dreams in which no one is there for me, because that's not the reality. You've all shown it time and again.
Friday, April 30, 2010
I didn't feel the euphoria this time. Although by all accounts, the dance camp was a huge success, I was almost detached by the time it ended. In truth, while being very involved all weekend long, I also observed what was going on with myself all weekend. Regrettably, most of the pictures of me reflect this: almost a dead-pan instead of the usual grin.
This Kochavim was fraught with challenges, starting with the volcanic ash that stranded one of my teachers in London where he lives. We agonized for a week beforehand but the earliest he could have gotten a flight out was Sunday, the day it ended. As this was going on, I came up with a contingency plan to make certain everything that needed to be taught would be handled.
Then on Wednesday, another teacher (and my evening DJ) called me at 4 pm to tell me he was going to miss his flight as he was stuck in traffic. Oh, and he hadn't been able to find the mic he was to bring. After getting him off the phone, I rescheduled his flight for the next morning, called him back and sent him home for the evening. I then got online, found the mic we needed, arranged overnight shipping to Wimberley, after making sure UPS would be able to find the location. All it takes is money, right?
So it seems I can handle challenges. But I knew that. What I didn't realize is that I could do it calmly, almost as a matter of fact.
I also discovered that I can be fierce when I choose to be. A week before camp, the director informed me they'd changed their rules about meal times, requesting that I rearrange my schedule. I pushed back, and would have stood my ground if I hadn't been able to rearrange my schedule. But I pick my battles and this wasn't one I had to win.
The next day, just six days before the event, and about six weeks later than I usually get it, the revised menu arrived. I only expected the one change I had requested, but the new menu was entirely different. Given the number of lactose intolerant and vegetarians in the crowd, it was not acceptable. This battle I fought and won handily.
Thursday finally arrives. I get confirmation my DJ is at the gate and so is his plane. Good news! I arrive at the camp, meet with the director, and discover that the dance floor we bought the previous year has been attacked by termites. I made a beeline for the dance hall, and notice that one of the panels dead center is crunchy: if you step on the damaged part, you'll go right through. I seek out the director and insist the floor be taken apart and the panel removed. This is a multi-hour job, but we can't take a chance. Another battle won.
In the meantime, just to make matters interesting, I get a call from my daughter-in-law and find out my son has been hospitalized in Las Vegas where he went for a 'guys weekend'. She's headed out on the next flight. It's a good thing I can handle stress!
Fast forward to Saturday night, and only one of the teachers (out of four) is on the dance floor. One of the 'requirements' of a teacher is that he or she be on the floor dancing with the participants. One in particular is AWOL, sitting in the next room and talking with two young dancers. So I head in there to see if everything is OK and to find out what's going on. He assures me he's only been gone two hours (!) and that's he's teaching the two girls' some line dances. I thank him for doing so and remind him there are more than two dancers at this camp. Much to my surprise he agrees with me, and for the rest of the evening is seen on the dance floor where he needed to be. I'm stunned to discover that one can have difficult conversations calmly and that they yield results. I mean, I'd always been told that, but didn't know I could do it.
And it continues, as I'm still have billing discussions with the director. The jury is still out on what the result will be, but I'm saying what needs to be said rather than just retreating. I'm being fierce!
And the biggest surprise of all is that I'm creative. Don't get me wrong, I've always done things like sewing, knitting, quilting, oh yes, dancing, but I've never considered that creative because I'm merely following directions. My contention has always been that anyone can follow directions. The only creativity I allowed myself to claim is creativity with time: managing to fit a lot of activity in too little time.
This year, as every year, I came up with a theme for the Saturday party - dancing among the stars. I asked all dancers to send in a picture of themselves at age 5 or 6, mounted the pictures on gold or blue stars, and arranged to have them posted on a wall with prizes awarded to those who recognized the most. Everyone was asked to dress for the theme, with interpretation left to the individual. Everyone loved it! And as I looked around the room at all the decorations, including all the pictures of dancers from prior years (everyone loves to tour the room to see what's new that year), I acknowledged that I am creative. I'm still not artistic, and leave it to others to take my ideas and arrange them in space, but I create the concept. I found the hot pink lights that surround the dance floor, I ordered the bandannas we handed out the year we had a Texas theme, I planned the dinner music for each theme night, came up with the concept for the T-shirt we ordered, for the water bottle we handed out last year. I'm not artistic but I have ideas - yes, I am creative. You have no idea what a huge thing it is for me to acknowledge this.
Perhaps I'm not euphoric because there is so much for me to take in.
Although there were moments when I allowed the joy to show through......
(Oh, no clear diagnosis but it seems my son suffered from pancreatitis, and it responded to antibiotics.)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
For the sixth year in a row, I've organized an Israeli dance camp weekend held in the Texas Hill Country. Every year it's attracted approximately 70 dancers from Texas and the rest of the country. Unlike other Israeli dance camps, we don't invite the choreographers to come teach, we invite some of the best teachers and dance session leaders. Kochavim means stars, and at this camp, the dancers are the stars!
In honor of our five years (and six camps), we asked the dancers to send in a picture of themselves at age 5 or 6. We created a wall of stars, and had everyone try to identify them.
What a weekend! I'm still so exhausted I'm going to keep this short, but did want to share the excitement.
and danced some more.....
but clearly not enough!
We had a pool party and went down the monster slides
We played Israeli dance Jeopardy....
and tried to identify all the Stars!
Lots of challenges, lots of excitement, lots of realizations and lots of lessons learned.
But all of that is for another blog.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I've complained about the things that go bump in the night,
but I have to admit that running has given me a new appreciation for Texas wildlife.
I grumbled some last Saturday because I had to take my daughter to work, when what I really wanted was to go for an early run. On my previous run I'd seen a blue heron in the bayou.
When I got out to Sugar Land to drop her off, I saw a trail running along the water course. I'm not sure what to call that water course, it's not a lake, it's not a bayou, maybe it's a creek. Who knows! In any event, I decided to go run there.
As I worked my way around, I became aware of some interesting black birds that had scarlet patches at the top of their wings, on what I guess I'd refer to as a shoulder (do birds have shoulders?) It was like a wide red swatch, with either a white or yellow thinner line below, and the bottom half of the wing was black. I tried to take a picture but only had my Blackberry so you can't really tell.
A little bit farther on, I heard a large bellow and looked down to see a huge bullfrog sitting half submerged. My Blackberry was NOT up to the task, so no picture!
All in all, it was a very interesting run.
As I drove in to my subdivision yesterday after work, I noticed two turkey buzzards sitting on top of a house. There was a car behind me so I didn't stop to take a picture. There they sat, just surveying the neighborhood! I bet they were looking for that possum that was up the tree in my back yard....
After yesterday's run, I came home to find my youngest sitting with her laptop in front of the TV. I went in to change clothes only to hear her yell at me to come back, there's a bird in the house. Sure enough, a small black and yellow bird had gotten in and was perched on top of an antique Chinese wall hanging. That bird had good taste!
Not sure what to do, I left it alone. But a while later, another Texas critter became concerned. The one with the bows.
So I opened the window to try to pry the screen off to allow the bird to fly off, but I didn't succeed in getting that blasted screen off. In the meantime, the bird is sitting on top of the window as I'm pushing the sash up, and Sophie is bouncing and barking. I reached up, and the bird allowed me to pick it up. I carried it outside and released it on a bush by the window.
I've always been told that the amount of wildlife in an area is a clue to the health of the environment. By that measure, I'd say my neighborhood is still pretty healthy.
Oh, I almost forgot: my house is suffering yet another invasion of tree roaches. Now I know what you think, but these things come in no matter what you do, and it doesn't matter how clean you keep your house. Not that I do.....
When I first moved to Texas, I was horrified by these things. Let's face it, they're big enough to saddle and ride! And I'll never forget the first time I stepped on one in the middle of the night.
These giants come in if it's too wet out, if it's too dry out, anything's an excuse. All I can say is that it must be tree roach season. But I don't think my house is all that healthy an environment, because a lot of them are lying on their backs with legs up, and I stopped exterminating fifteen years ago! There's still that much residual pesticide in my house?
OK, here goes. Not for the squeamish!
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