Tuesday, February 24, 2009

There's nothing like the fear of a brain tumor

A few weeks ago (I can't remember exactly when it was on account of the tumor hindering my memory skills), I woke up with a headache. Big deal, right? Except it was. It was a big deal because I've had a headache 0 times in my life. Or, quite possibly, I've had multiple headaches and my brain tumor is attached to the synaptic nerve that contains my headache memories.
I'll settle on claiming that I had an almost brain tumor last week. Well, almost might be pushing it a bit. Maybe I could venture to call it a not quite brain tumor. Except I was pretty sure is was quite a brain tumor.

Come on, you know what I'm talking about. Whenever anything funky starts happening, something out of the ordinary, you automatically assume the worst. For me it was headache = brain tumor, and then right along side with Googling "natural ways to cure a headache", you Google "brain tumor symptoms".

Please tell me I'm not the lone person out there who jumps to ridiculous conclusions.

Here's the gist - I woke up on a Monday morning and as soon as my body was upright, my head throbbed a good 10 seconds. Then, upon standing, my head throbbed for 10 seconds. Then, after bending over to pick Asher up and standing upright again, my head throbbed for 10 seconds. So, basically, any elevation change resulted in my head throbbing for 10 seconds. It was miserable each and every time, but the pain was undetectable if I made no sudden changes of altitude. This continued for several days, of which I spent countless hours researching possible maladies. And, for those several days, I seriously went there. There being the place you go when you think you're going to die. While cooking dinner, I made a mental list of all the women in my life that would be able to care for Asher while I was in the hospital recuperating from my tumor-removal surgery. While dropping Emma off at dance class, I added "call my life insurance guy and up my policy" to my to-do list. While blow drying my hair, I decided I would make a series of videos of myself for my kids. And throughout all of this planning, my head continued to throb. Luckily, towards the evening of each day, I would feel some reprieve and my head would throb for only 3 seconds instead of the usual 10 upon an elevation change. And guess what? The #1 symptom for a brain tumor is a headache that is out of your normal pattern, one that will usually subside in the evening hours. That sealed the deal for me. I also began to notice odd behaviors. One night during the ordeal, I was typing an email and I began to miss keys, resulting in gibberish words on the screen.

After a few days of living with my brain tumor, after a stop at Whole Foods for some advice on an herbal remedy, after a day of Tylenol, and after waking up for 5 days praying each and every morning that when I sat up, my head wouldn't throb, I made a doctor's appointment.  I never visit the doctor. The only doctor I've seen since being married is my gynecologist. I usually feel great, unless I'm sick, and then what is a doctor going to tell you? "You're sick Mrs. Draney. Gimme $20." No thanks. However, this was warranted.

I was told it's possible I have a sinus infection that's run a muck. Over the last several months, I've been fighting a continuously itchy, stuffy nose. My face was touched and poked for signs of swelling, and apparently one of my nasal passages was puffier than the other. A course of antibiotics was administered, a course was taken, and 48 hrs later, my headache was gone. My D.O. asked me to return for a follow up appointment, which I have yet to make. I don't need to hear, "Yes, you indeed had a sinus infection, you paranoid freak. Gimme $20."

The silver lining through all this is that my headache changed my perspective. Instead of my usual daily fears of the recession turning into a depression, the next flu pandemic, or a nuclear Iran, I was focused on the fact that all I wanted was to live, and that if I could survive a brain tumor, by golly I could survive anything (except Clint losing his job, getting bird flu from my chickens, or another Hiroshima). I'm continuing to indulge in my daily routine of checking into NPR to hear what the doomsayers have to report, but I'm not as frightened now, just mildly apprehensive.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Drum roll.............

Your suggestions were overwhelmingly fantastic. Emma has taken to calling them Peck and Waddle, so she's going to be a bit disappointed after hearing their new names, names she's probably never even heard of. So, with much hullabaloo, I present to you

Chicken names

It's hard to resist Patty and Selma. I've already heard several groans when asked what I've decided, but it seems so fitting. If chickens had fingers, I'm sure mine would be smoking cigarettes underneath their coop to help alleviate the stress Asher causes them. One of these days, that racket he keeps throwing at them will hit it's target. And, we'll of course have to name the third chicken we acquire Marge, which is fitting since she'll look so out of place next to these two behemoth monsters. Tweedledee and Tweedledum were perfect middle names for my stupid chickens. Congrats to Jennifer and April. I've got a dozen eggs for the both of you.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The fruits of our labor/pocketbook (mainly Clint's)


Only 843 more eggs to go until we break even.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009



These chickens need a name. They're not responding as well as I would have liked to Stupid 1 and Stupid 2. Since these ladies are sisters, I'm looking for names of famous sister duos, i.e. Charlotte and Emily, Mary-Kate and Ashley, etc. If I pick your suggestion, you'll not only have the honor of naming these stupid chickens, you'll get the first dozen of free range organic* eggs I pass out, personally delivered to your doorstep. If you live out of my driving range, I will instead send you a monthly update on how your namesakes are doing, as well as a photo of them in various locations around the yard (or we can just call it good with the whole "honor of naming" scenario). We'll have none of this "contest is over at midnight EST on the 17th of February 2009". The contest will conclude after you've left the perfect set of names.

*Can I still claim the eggs are organic if the chickens eat my left over Tostino's pizza rolls?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Can you keep a secret?

Train Conductor

Please don't tell his boss. If it gets out that Asher periodically wears a skirt to the office, his colleagues will poke fun at him. It's hard for Asher; the stress from pushing a lever back and forth is overwhelming, and his coping strategy manifests itself in woman's wear. He figures that sitting at a desk all day allows him the opportunity to inconspicuously wear a skirt. I've told him time and time again that he's getting dangerously close to being caught, but with the economy in the state that it is, and with the difficulty the lever has been giving him lately (I've suggested he change the batteries, but that stubborn kid won't listen to me), his apparel choices are evident that he's crying out for help. I've proposed that he quit his job and let me support him - maybe we can take another whack at potty training. Unfortunately, Asher is a man with priorities and he won't stop unless he feels he's accomplished his lever duties. In the meantime, he'll continue to cross the line between suitable toddler apparel and objectionable dress-up clothing. His coworkers know he has pirate costumes and the like; they've seen as much at their playdates. 3 year olds can be quite harsh, and until Asher succumbs to the taunts and ridicule, he'll carry on and push that lever back and forth in hopes that the train eventually gets somewhere, all the while wearing his nylon/polyester blend gingham skirt.


I didn't cry...


...however, I may have sworn.