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Risks, Benefits and Hair Color

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Busy day today.
I drove up to Pittsburgh (which is about an hour North) to see a GI specialist about my recurrent pancreatitis and liver problems. Without getting all medical on you, I have an anatomical problem that makes it impossible for bile and pancreatic enzymes to empty into my bowels (and hence they back up and start causing pancreatitis - auto digestion or the pancreas eating itself (literally) and hepatitis or swelling and inflammation of the liver)...So in short I occasionally get very sick, with severe pain, nausea and vomiting. I have spent three weeks in the hospital this year with flares of this problem. Not fun. I have seen several specialists all of whom are afraid to operate on me due to my abnormal pancreas anatomy (I need a muscle in the duct cut so that it will allow better drainage). The doctor I saw today is known for working on patients with difficult anatomy. He reviewed my CTs, MRIs etc and is actually willing to do the procedure I want as long as I understand the risks vs benefits.

Risk 1: There is a 1 in 10 chance that the problem will come back and I will need to have the procedure done again.

Risk 2: There is a 1 in 5 chance that I will get WORSE pancreatitis than I have now

Risk 3: There is a 1 in 4 chance that I will be very sick (i.e....in the ICU) after the procedure

Benefit: There is a 1 in 1 (100%) chance that I will keep getting these flares with terrible pain, nausea and vomiting at random intervals, unpredictably if I don't get the procedure.

Ugggh. I am a doctor and I don't know how to make this decision.

Second half of the day was more fun. I get my hair done in Pittsburgh by the world's loveliest stylist: Heather. I adore her. She is the sweetest woman on the planet and always makes me feel better. Today she charmed me with stories of her kids and her plans for summer vacation and how they were getting thwarted. She has such a positive attitude it always puts me in a good mood. And as a bonus, she makes my hair bright and shiny (and currently very red).

It was a rainy evening - huge thick thunderclouds and rain like an ark might come in handy, but as I got closer to home I noticed a bright rainbow. Hopefully that metaphor will hold up in life too...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNESHOPE 9/28/2014 10:45PM

    emoticon Your hair looks great.
emoticon So sorry about the medical issues. What did you decide to do? I hope everything works out well, and that you never have to deal with that again.

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SENORAHACHE 7/20/2014 10:24AM

    Good luck with this decision! I'm pull in' for ya!

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PRETTYPITHY 6/25/2014 4:45PM

    Love your hair -- sorry to hear about the GI issues!

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SADWHITEWOLF 6/23/2014 9:28AM

    The hair suits you!

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RENZRYD 6/14/2014 11:25AM

    Love the change, change is good, we all need change :) As for the decisions you will have to make regarding surgery, see the above note ;) I am sorry your body has been giving you problems but at least you found a doctor willing to look at you. Happy thoughts for you!

-Renee emoticon

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RUDITUDI2000 6/13/2014 11:30PM

    Lifting you up! emoticon emoticon

You look stunning! Such a beautiful girl!

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ISLAMOM 6/12/2014 9:29PM

    I love your hair...you look terrific, and I know you'll make the right decision for you!!


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DALID414 6/12/2014 8:24PM

    Risk 1 doesn't sound too bad, the other 2 are scary though. I hope your answer comes to you.

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MANLEYSANDY 6/12/2014 12:00PM

    Cute hair!

That is a tough position to be in. The first thing that came to my mind was, what would you tell one of your patients to do? Or course your medical training plays a big part, but human nature kicks in and you are the one that has to deal with the pain. I am sure you will make the right call!


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FITMARY 6/12/2014 8:01AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your pancreatitis. My son had that so I know a bit about how painful and how dangerous it is. I'm lighting a candle for you to help you decide the right path. Being a doctor and knowing that this specialist has unique experience will help you choose what right for you!
p.s. Very cute picture of your "new" hair!

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EMTFF376 6/12/2014 7:04AM

    I love your hair!! Its great!

I hope you find a quick and healing decision. It sounds like your choices are tough, but you've done your homework. I'm sure you will make the right call.

Have a good weekend!

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    That is a tough decision for sure...

I LOVE the hair!! You look amazing!!

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JEREMY723 6/12/2014 12:30AM

    I hope a joke's ok...

can't you just find some stronger gravity? Live there and it will keep stuff from "moving up"

Oh wait, you said "back up" not "move up" Probably not funny either way, I'm to tired!

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BOPPY_ 6/12/2014 12:07AM

    You have a difficult decision, And, apparently, a wonderful hairdresser.

Enjoy the rainbow, and best wishes for your decision and the outcome.


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Desert Soujourn Part 4 (and final): Flowers along the way

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I was lucky enough to be in the southwest as many flowers were in bloom. So much beauty...The photos below are just a few of the lovely flowers that made me happy on a daily basis.

Hope you enjoy!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUDITUDI2000 6/11/2014 7:12PM

    So amazing. Thank you for sharing these!

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FITMARY 6/11/2014 2:26PM

    Wow! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing these! They brightened the day!!!

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KRICKET57 6/11/2014 10:45AM

    Those are amazing pictures! Colours are amazing.

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CHRISTINECAN 6/11/2014 7:58AM

    Thank you for the look at your pictures. The flowers are beautiful.

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    You should be making money from your photography! Amazing Pictures!!

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JEREMY723 6/11/2014 7:13AM

    What great color from where we consider it all to be shades of brown. Have a great day!

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ARUNNINGKAT 6/11/2014 1:13AM

    Those flowers are so beautiful!

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DALID414 6/10/2014 11:35PM

    Love, love, love! The colors make me happy.

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Desert Sojourn Part 3: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Monday, June 09, 2014

From Tucson I drove southwest to Ajo and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument just north of the Mexico border. There I spent the last two days of my trip, basking in the sun in utter isolation from the world. If you ever really want to get away from the world, this is one of the places I would recommend getting lost.

The Organ Pipe cactus is rarely seen in North America although it is more common across the border. Above are a few pics of the beautiful cactus and it's skeleton.

I did some amazing hikes here. The first was deep in Arch Canyon. Loose, rocky terrain to the top, but it was so worth it...

Another hike I really enjoyed was Estes Canyon - amazing views from the top. Hiking down during sunset and watching the light changing the colors of the canyon walls is one of my favorite memories from the trip.

Tomorrow I will post the flower and cacti photos (which are my favorites) from the trip as my last in this series of posts - thanks for the kind comments and following along

Hollynn aka SpunkyDucky

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITMARY 6/10/2014 9:16AM

    Beautiful!! And you are even wearing jewelry for your hike. Looking good, girl!!!

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ISLAMOM 6/10/2014 7:41AM

    Beautiful!! You got me thinking about getting my kiddos to this part of the country....we usually do city tours (since that is so different than our "normal") but we need to do something new!


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DALID414 6/10/2014 12:35AM

    I'll leave the getting lost (and found) to you.

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DNRAE1 6/9/2014 10:42PM

    Beautiful, Hollynn! I just caught this blog, and am going to go back and read the 1st 2 parts!!! Love the desert, when it isn't tooooooo hot!

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Desert Sojourn Part 2: Saguaro National Park

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Drove from Joshua Tree to Tucson to start the next part of my adventure at Saguaro National Park. The photo above is from my hike the first evening. I headed up to the saddle on the Sendero Esperanza trail to watch the sunset.

It was a beautiful hike with many interesting cacti: saguaro, chain fruit cholla, teddy bear cholla, ocotillo etc and I stopped frequently to take photos. It was about a 2000 foot climb to the top and I didn't see another person. Very peaceful!

The next day I drove toward the Rincon mountains to the eastern side of the park and did one of my favorite hikes of the entire trip. I headed up to one of the side canyons off the beaten path where I found several pools of water, canyon tree frogs and cattails growing next to cacti...

The final day in Tucson I spent half of the day hiking and half of the day enjoying the beautiful flora and fauna at the Desert Sonoran museum. Highly recommended if you ever go to Tucson.

While hiking in Little Wildhorse canyon I met a fellow traveler who said that if I was seeking solitude I should head down to Organ Pipe National Monument- those pictures are up next.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNRAE1 6/9/2014 10:47PM

    Absolutely beautiful, Hollynn! I love the cactus in spring. Gorgeous!

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FITMARY 6/9/2014 7:45AM

    WOW! So beautiful! And you are so clever to have gone there and taken them!!!

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JEREMY723 6/9/2014 7:21AM

    Great photos! I really like that canyon tree frog, I almost missed it!

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YMWONG22 6/9/2014 1:35AM

  Amazing photos. Thanks.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DALID414 6/9/2014 1:23AM

    That blue sky looks amazing

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JAMBABY0 6/8/2014 10:13PM

    Very pretty pics Thanks for sharing

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Desert Sojourn Part 1: Joshua Tree National Park

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Joshua Tree - which incidentally is not a tree at all but an agave plant much like the yucca...

Those of you who follow my blogs regularly know that I have had a tough spring. One of the things I did to try to keep myself sane was a 9 day sojourn in the souther Arizona desert at the end of April. It was sublime and exactly what I needed. I spent my days hiking until my feet felt like they were going to fall off. Initially I struggled to relax but after days of quiet, I realized how small I am in the larger universe - and that gave me a great sense of peace. I thought that over the next few days I could share a few of my photos from the trip.

The first 4 days I spent at Joshua Tree National Park. I flew into Phoenix, rented a Camaro convertible, put the top down and drove across the border to nearby California. I had only been out of the hospital for about a week at that point and my hikes there were easy going and this was a perfect place to recover...

I was lucky enough to be there when many cacti were in bloom

Me after a very short hike my first day in the park. I took this photo while perched on a rock outcropping awaiting sunset.

The sunset that followed - it was lovely and well worth the hike

I spent the second morning reading book in the hammock outside of the small cottage that I rented

Petroglyphs near the Barker Dam

Cholla cactus aka "Teddy Bear cactus" from the Joshua Tree Cholla "garden"

I went bouldering to the top of this rock on the Hidden Valley trail for some amazing views and peace and quiet away from others

View from the top

More large rock formations that I felt the need to boulder around on - it gave me a great sense of accomplishment

A younger Joshua tree on top of Ryan mountain which I climbed on my 4th day there - first day I really started to feel a little more like myself physically

Desert horned lizard that I happened across on Ryan mountain

Interesting Rock formation on the Skull Rock trail

What my feet looked like at the end of each day. Love my chacos!

I took many photos of blooming cacti and other flowers of the desert but I will post those separately. After my time at Joshua tree I drove to Saguaro National Park in Tucson - those photos next

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DNRAE1 6/9/2014 10:45PM

    Lovely, simply lovely! The perfect way to depressurize! (sp?)

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    You take AMAZING Pictures!! Love them all!!

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JEREMY723 6/8/2014 5:12PM

    What great photos and a great trip! I certainly hope to travel more in the future!

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NEED2LOSEN2010 6/8/2014 12:35PM

    Beautiful pictures of God's Handiwork!


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FITMARY 6/8/2014 9:21AM

    What a fabulous way to heal and recover! Thank you for sharing these pictures. They are awesome. I especially love the petroglyphs. WOW!

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ALICIA214 6/8/2014 1:18AM


I think it is very therapeutic to surround ones self with the awesome nature built by God's
hand, your pics are beautiful,i hope the desert helped you..


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RUDITUDI2000 6/8/2014 12:37AM

    All I can say is WOW!

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FABAT402009 6/7/2014 11:39PM


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DALID414 6/7/2014 11:18PM

    Natures' pedicure

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