Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

(Pain)ting

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

I painted my new bedroom this weekend, and all I can say is ouch. My nephew did the bulk of the roller painting, while I did the corners and perimeter and Mom did some incidentals. I accidently pulled a muscle in my back yesterday when I bent wrong, and had to stay home from work because it hurt so much. By the late afternoon, all the pain was gone, so I resumed painting.

All went well until I took a shower afterwards. I put my leg up on the side of the tub so I could get the paint off of it, and it slipped. I fell with it, and my body twisted in an unnatural position. Now, my tailbone hurts like hell and I can’t bend over. I have to slowly sit and lay, otherwise I start crying. I took 800 mg. of Motrin, so hopefully that helps and I can go to work tomorrow. If not, it looks like I’m taking a field trip to the chiropractor.

Anyways, the room looks great. (more…)

Delayed Response

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

So, two interesting events happened today:

First, I received a bill from Fordham for $10 over a “student lockbox.” Umm, hello, I graduated two years ago. Why are you billing me now, and what the hell is a student lockbox? Sorry, you already took enough money from me. Your statute of limitations has run out!

Second, Mom found an Easter egg stuck between the hutch and wall in the living room. Apparently, it escape the clutches of my neice and nephew’s baskets during this year’s hunt. Well, there was the answer to the rancid smell we could not put our finger on. And, yes, we usually count, but my nephew apparently rehid some of the eggs when we were not looking.

I suppose you can call them delayed responses!

    Tale As Old As Time

    Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

    So, Lexcie and I went to go see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway last Friday. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, and I wanted to see the show before it officially closes in July. A co-worker did tell me there were some difference from the movie – mainly, it was more comedic and there were more songs. Overall, I gave it a seven out of ten stars.

    Why not ten, considering it’s one of my favorite movies? (more…)

    The Survey Says…

    Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

    PET/CT scan was clear, so my oncologist is considering it normal. There was activity in one of my neck’s lymph nodes, but since the cancer wasn’t there, he thinks it’s from all the sinus and allergy issues I’ve been having lately. I took some blood tests to be sure, but I’m positive that everything will come out just fine.  All is good! My next scan/oncology appointment will be in August.

    I can’t believe that it’s almost been two years since I’ve been diagnosed already! Tempus fugit. At least it’s been good.

    The nurse who took my blood this morning had a bad case of the hiccups. So I told her she had blood all down the leg of her pants. She began to freak out, and I said, “No, you really don’t have blood on your pants. But your hiccups are gone, aren’t they?” And sure enough, they were. She was absolutely amazed.

    The scare tactic was a trick I learned from my Aunt Rita, God rest her soul. I had the worst case of hiccups when I was about 10 years old. She came up to me and said, “Amanda, after you left last time you visited, I noticed my favorite gold bracelet was missing from my jewelry box. You were the only one in my bedroom before I noticed it missing.” I told her I didn’t touch her jewelry box, but she pressed on, saying that she knew I took the gold bracelet. I began to cry, then she laughed and said, “I know you didn’t take it, but your hiccups are gone, aren’t they?” And sure enough, they were. It’s the best trick to get rid of hiccups, but only works if the other person is not suspecting that you’re going to scare him.

    Come On (Thumbs) Down

    Monday, May 28th, 2007

    My Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop has been overheating the past week – to the point it burns my skin – so I did an online chat with Dell tech support. Boy, was I in for a suprise – and no, it wasn’t the fact that the motherboard and fan need replacing – but the tech actually had an Indian name! Yes, no more Kevin from Kolkatta or Donna from Delhi. Dell is no longer denying the fact that it outsources. I was quite amused. So, now a technician has to come replace those parts and put on new rubber laptop feet. I’m just glad I don’t have to ship the laptop to Texas again. Although repair turnaround is quick, I hate not having the laptop in my presence. I must say, though – Dell has excellent warranties.

    And speaking of fixing and putting together, I had to assemble the new patio set today – our first new set in 26 years! However, the placement of the bolts in the chairs were such that they were extremely hard to tighten – and I had to use both an allen wrench and this cheap stubby wrench at a very bad angle in order to do so. Since my left hand is not as strong as my right, it was difficult to manuever both wrenches at the same time, and I flared up the tendinitis in my right thumb. My cousin was having difficulty, too, and by the time it came to put together the table, I enlisted the help of my sister’s boyfriend. If it were Ikea furniture, I doubt it would have been as difficult. Ugh.


    For the past two nights, I have been laughing so hard that I’ve almost bust a gut. Over what? “The Price Is Right” bloopers. Some of the good ones:

    Just Another Manic Tuesday

    Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

    Two more days and I hopefully get to breathe easier. As you can probably tell in my lag of posting an entry, I’ve been pretty busy. Mostly, it’s work. These have probably the busiest two issues I’ve worked on. Luckily for July and August, we go from bi-weekly to monthly. That takes a little stress of my writing portion, at least. I have two conference to prepare for, but they should be a piece of cake now that I really have the coverage experience. I’ve also graduated to writing about finance. It’s a hard subject, especially when it’s hard enough for me to juggle my own!

    May through July is also time for graduations, parties, barbeques and other events. It started over a week ago with one of my little cousins’ First Communion. It was there I learned “Chicken Noodle Soup,” (which apparently is quite popular, but I have been blissfully aware of it thusfar) and how to do the Charlie Brown move to “Cha-Cha Slide.” (I couldn’t find a shorter YouTube example, but in my search, I  found the quite amusing “Hey Ya, Charlie Brown!“). Of course, there were the ancient classics of “The Twist,” “The Electric Slide,” “Celebration” and “Hands Up” – the bad staples of any catered and dee-jayed party. As untolerable as those old songs are, at least they’re not as cringe-inducing as some of the new songs out there. It seems that if you’re able to string some random phrases along with pantomime, you’ve got yourself a hit party song.

    House is coming along. Today the contractor framed the front, so now I can see exactly how big my new bedroom is going to be. I think the most exciting part will be hitting Ikea for some new furniture. I need lots and lots of bookshelves! Probably going to for a classic, less modern-looking decor. Besides the house, there are a lot of other things to look forward to, but that will come in time  😉

    Welcome to the Rat Race

    Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

    So, it seems we’ve been having an influx of critters in our neighborhood – mostly squirrels, raccoons… and now, rats.

    Many are blaming a certain neighbor, who we believe is responsible for the increasing population of squirrels. For the past two or three years, we’ve found peanut shells all over our yard, as well as a noticable absence of tulips – as we planted the bulbs, they dug them right back up and ate them. One day, the said neighbor came over to my house and blamed my younger sister for shooting a BB gun at his window and shattering it. He was insistent, even though my sister doesn’t own a BB gun. We later found out it was another neighbor, shooting at the army of squirrels eating peanuts and digging through his gardens. And the squirrels are quite brazen now, too – they don’t run as quickly when we come outside or when our dog Obi is frolicking around the back yard (or did all my neighbor’s peanuts make them too fat to run?).

    Next came the raccoons. They make horrible shrieking noises in the night, almost like cats fighting. I always run outside to see what it is, hoping that our cats Pippin and Merry didn’t get out. One night, I saw two of the bandits fighting WWE-style on top of the culprit neighbor’s roof.

    And now the rats. They’ve been spotted scurrying up and down the driveway two doors down, and have been heard scratching around other yards. Now with the construction going on, we’re hoping they don’t get in the house, lest we have the same situation as a decade ago.


    When I was about 14 years old, we started to notice things around the house being chewed up, namely soaps and food. Then one day, we saw something black scurry across the kitchen floor. We thought one of our many gerbils had gotten loose, until this black creature decided to come into the living room and watch television with us. It was then we noticed it was a fat, black rat.We first set out Havahart trap, because we didn’t want to kill the poor thing. But he alluded it. Next came the snap traps, but he knew how to get the peanut butter and cheese without setting it off. We finally put out glue traps, but to no avail… he was quite the Frank Abagnale. He would come out every night to say hello, then scurry off to wherever his little rodent heart desired. We eventually named him Templeton, after the rat in Charlotte’s Web.

    One night, my younger sister was in the kitchen making a snack when Templeton ran over her feet. She stood in the doorway between the kitchen and living room, her feet moving, but not going anywhere. She finally said, breathlessly, “Oh my God, the rat!” Meanwhile, we were sure Templeton was crouched in the corner somewhere, saying, “Oh my God, the human!”

    We never knew where he ran off to at night. He was a very neat rat, and left no indication, including droppings, that he had been around, sans a chewed-up bag of Oreo cookies. He stuck around for about two years, then disappeared as mysteriously as he came.

    A few months after Templeton left, our dishwasher broke and we had to install a new one. That is when we discovered his secret dwelling and learned he was quite the pack rat. In quite a compressed cube of items, we found: paper towels, old chicken bones, three earrings that I had “lost” over a year before, black banana peels, socks, a sponge, some Brillo, a shoelace and other miscellaneous bric-a-brac. We were stunned that it never caused a fire.

    Now, every time I hear scratching, I wonder if we have a new houseguest. We don’t live in a neighborbood that should have rats!

    Light The Night Walk

    Sunday, October 8th, 2006

    Last night was the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night. It was the first one I participated in since being diagnosed with lymphoma… last year I was too weak to walk even a block, let alone a mile. I had a whole bunch of friends and family walk with me, and together, we raised about $2,600 for the society. It ended with the most amazing fireworks I have ever seen.We also wore team t-shirts with a jack-o-lantern on the front and “Squash Lymphoma” on the back, harking back to last Halloween, when I had painted my chemo-bald head orange, glued on a stem to the top, and went to my oncology appointment dressed up as pumpkin.

    I had gotten a fever that Halloween, all though I was feeling fine. However, having a fever while I had cancer meant one thing – a blood transfusion. Two pints, to be exact. While I was being transfused in the outpatient hematology center, I met a girl named Sara. She was a few years older than me, but had just gotten diagnosed with the same exact lymphoma. She was also starting her chemotherapy treatments just as I was finishing mine.

    We talked for a while and I told her my story. We also exchanged contact information, and I told her to call me if she had any questions or needed to vent, because I knew what she was going through. We saw each other time to time in the hospital, but around December, I didn’t see her anymore. I e-mailed her, but never received a response back. I let it go, figuring she didn’t want to talk – sometimes you just want to be left alone when you’re sick. About a month after, I asked one of the nurses how she was doing, and she told me that she had stopped going to that particular hospital. I never heard from her again.

    I always wondered what happened to Sara. Last night, I found out. Before the walk started, I was walking by the memory banner, where people write names of people who had died of leukemia and lymphoma. I saw her name. I must have made a face, because one of the volunteers asked if I was all right. I burst out crying and blubbered something about knowing her and that she had the same exact cancer as me. The volunteer took my hand and said, “Honey, sometimes people do die of this. You were lucky. You’re a survivor.”

    All the feelings of invincibility I once had had just washed away at that point. It suddenly made cancer very, very real to me. People could die from this. Why didn’t it feel this real when I was actually sick? It felt like a punch to the gut.

    Yes, I am lucky. I went into remission quickly and kicked cancer’s ass. I’m also lucky that almost all of the people close to me who’ve had cancer also survived. I always knew I was going to be all right. And since I knew I was going to be all right, it just felt like everyone else was going to be all right, as well.

    As we walked last night, I saw Sara’s family. I ran over to them to give my condolences, and her mother just hugged me tight and cried.

    I don’t even know what to think and feel anymore. I just want to go outside, scream at the top of my lungs and make all the sadness and anger go away. I want to stop thinking of what could have been, what should have been, and why it always happens to good people. This is the first time I’ve gotten exteremely upset over this. CANCER, YOU %$#!ING SUCK.

    Rest in peace, Sara.

    New Job And Insurance Snafus

    Sunday, July 17th, 2005

    Well, I’ve got myself the job with the magazine. They’re willing to work around my doctor’s appointments and have been so nice to me so far. I start Wednesday. Woohoo!

    I’m set to begin chemo soon, except I’ve run into a few insurance snafus. (more…)

    Emergency Room

    Thursday, July 7th, 2005

    Last night, I went to bed. Just as my head hit the pillow, I started coughing uncontrollably. I climbed down my loft, ran to the bathroom, and proceeded to throw up for five minutes straight. Mom decided she had enough and said, “We’re going to the emergency room.”

    So I found myself in the Southside Hospital ER at 1:30 in the morning. I had to wait about two hours before they actually took me in, so I was stuck in this waiting room with two people who smelled like walking Marlboros and vomit. The room was absolutely dirty, with Pepsi cans and chip bags strewn about from people who were there earlier. I wound up watching four episodes of “Murphy Brown” before they called me. At least they had a good show on and not some garbage, which seemed to be the room’s theme – the only reading material they had were about 20 donated dime store novels. You know, the ones with a muscular-Fabio lookalike holding a fainting woman with a ripped dress and bare legs.

    The ER was extremely cold, and even though the nurse promised to get me a blanket, she never came back. The doctor finally came, and when we asked him what his name was, all he said was, “Steve.” He looked at my x-rays and CT/PET scans that we brought with us, and he thinks the coughing could definitely have something to do with the lymphoma. He convinced me to take the cough medicine with codeine to quiet the cough, which I’ve refused twice already from two different doctors. I’ve finally raised the white flag with this cough – it’s really driving me crazy and I haven’t been sleeping well. He also gave me a shot of steroids in the arm. I’m glad I got it there, instead of the other choice – my rear – because it burned like hell for a while. Now my arm feels a bit bruised, but I have been coughing much less.

    We wound up coming home around 5:30 in the morning, I watched the London bombings on TV for a bit, then went to bed. I had planned to sleep as much as I could, but the guy across the street weedwhacked his lawn around 11:30, so I got up. I’m still a bit tired right now.

    I have an appointment with the oncologist at Sloan-Kettering in Manhattan on Tuesday to discuss my treatment options. She told me not to take the job with the magazine until I talked to her first. So, I called the executive editor at the magazine and left a message, telling him that the earliest I can let him know if I can accept this job is Wednesday. I really hope they can wait; I’d really like this job if I can take it.

    Everybody’s been so helpful. A lot of my friends have been gathering names of oncologists and hospitals who have treated people they’ve known with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Large B-Cell Lymphoma is a segment of the larger group of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas). I’ve received a lot of nice e-mails and IMs, even from people I haven’t heard from in a while, wishing me well. It feels so good that I have such great friends to support me and pray for me. Thanks, everyone :o)