Monthly Archives

September 2010

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Book Club

I’m sitting in my office (which is the dining table), drinking a deliciously fresh cup of coffee. It’s sunny. I had a great night sleep. And yet, I’m still feeling that slight twinge of uneasiness. Kind of like nerves before a date. Instead of having a biological clock ticking, I have a MRI clock ticking. I’m doing a pretty good job of focusing on the important things. For example, the book club is meeting at my house tonight. Usually, I would go crazy cleaning. Hitting the usuals like vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the bathroom – and the other not so usual spots like the baseboard, rinsing light bulbs, organizing shelves in the kitchen, spot polishing silverware and dishes. These days, instead of being anal retentive about cleanliness when I have guests, I’m just taking it easy. Yes, I’ll clean the bathroom, but no, I’m probably not going to clean the baseboard. I’m actually looking at the baseboard right now and it’s completely hideous. It’s really disgusting, so I might actually clean that. But maybe not. I don’t think any of the girls will care if I have dusty baseboard. I guess, people aren’t going to judge me by a dusty baseboard. And if they are, they’re definitely going to find more things to judge, and that would be impossible to prevent. Back that that awesome mantra: Just enjoy life, and breathe. …and maybe go clean that baseboard. Seriously. It’s gross.

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My New Mantra

I just finished weeding my garden. I needed a distraction. Life is great, my family is amazing, my friends are insanely wonderful, the weather is fantastic, and yet I’m starting to feel the twitch of this next MRI. I’ve been working out, although not as much as I had been. I’m seeking comfort foods like goat cheese and grapes (just like potato chips, you can’t stop at one). Neither of which should be consumed in the quantities that I have been. You know, it’s actually a double edged sword, this MRI. On one hand I’m excited by the idea of a clean scan. It would mean that the headaches, spot heat in different locations around my brain, pressure, and things of that nature are all completely normal. I can chalk it all up to healing. It would be incredible to be able to ignore a lot of the symptoms. On the other hand, if I don’t receive a clean scan, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to relax when I have pain, heat, or pressure.   Last week while at the UW, I requested a few records from my file. I was looking for my actual diagnosis and pathology. When we were selecting the proper paperwork we received a printout from the emergency brain surgery. It was a play-by-play. That was a rough one to read. I knew I didn’t have to read it, but it was impossible to stop. Highlights include, exuded under pressure, bone flap, myocutaneous flap, stab…I think you know where I was going with that. Anyway, no wonder I had such a horrible headache from that surgery. The first surgery wasn’t that bad. Here’s the official diagnosis: Infiltrating Astrocytoma, WHO grade 2(There are multiple types of infiltrating astrocytomas, and we’re digging through the pathology to…

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Post Surgery IQ

Yesterday was UW day. Speech therapy was a success. I’ve been transposing the majority of my numbers, which is weird. I hear the numbers, and then write them down differently. I can even stare at the number I’m typing and I don’t notice that it’s the wrong number until the telephone call won’t connect, or the credit card won’t go through. It’s frustrating, and it’s causing a serious problem at work. According to my therapist, it’s completely normal after having brain surgery. It’s expected that as my brain connections find new pathways, my abilities will improve. It’s odd though. All in all I’m doing really well with the recovery, in fact I usually feel great! That is, until a day like today happens when I completely mess up at work. I’ve been working between 2-4 hours a day, and 3-4 days a week. A lot of times I’m gone for doctor’s appointments, or sent home because I look exhausted and they want me to sleep. I used to be a purchasing manager, and since recently starting work again, I thought could handle my job. I’ve been working little by little, trying to resume my responsibilities. In the past I’ve felt completely confident with my abilities. I used to be able to juggle ordering the right products, at the correct quantities, under the constraints of minimums, while meeting up with the ebb and flow of seasonal demands. Well. No longer. I tried to do a purchase order, and the product came in today. Not only did I miss two complete products, two completely different products are already out of stock. Yep. That is four errors. This is a colossal mistake. These products are for our largest customer, who was already upset about our lack of product availability. The lead time is…

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The Goodness In Life

One thing about this blog is that it allows me to purge my feelings, and my fears. Once I put it in the blog I’m able to walk away, literally, and go out and live my life. It’s a type of therapy for me. I guess we all have different coping mechanisms in life, and mine is writing. At every turn, the world keeps showing me the goodness in life. With this diagnosis, I still believe that nothing is too wonderful to be true!

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No Pretending

I’m exhausted. Yesterday, Danny spoke with my radiologist’s nurse and asked several questions about my recovery, the treatment options, and what’s expected as this tumor grows. After processing the information, I did a lot of crying. I’m scared. I know that I’m doing okay right now, but I’m still afraid for the future. The nurse said that because the tumor has grown into my brain mass, like little fingers, that other than radiation there won’t be a lot of treatment options. Although I have the void where the majority of the tumor was removed, the tumor will most likely continue to grow both in the void, and within my gray matter. The main concern is the tumor cells growing within my gray matter. As those grow and multiply, I will start to have more and more trouble with my cognitive function. I’ll progressively lose motor skills and physical abilities. It is expected that I’ll lose my ability to communicate, and the ability to take care of myself. That’s a lot to take in. I realize that there are miracles, and that there’s still a 1% chance that everything will be fine, but it’s still hard to hear. I don’t want to be treated with kid gloves, and I don’t want to pretend that this isn’t happening. I’m grateful that I have the time to prepare myself for what most likely will happen. I’m grateful that I still have my cognitive abilities, my speech, and my physical health at this point. I still miss my long hair, but other than that I’m just extremely grateful for my life. I’m lucky because a lot of people never get to plan and lessen the blow. It’s just hard, that with each piece of new information I have to analyze my life. Danny has…

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Sara’s Salmon Run

My friend Sara did the Salmon Run in Leavenworth yesterday. She emailed me and wrote, “I proudly wore my Team Jess shirt today at the Salmon Run.  It definitely helped me through 1.5 miles of almost constant up hill!” What a sweet thing to say!! Sara and I met at Gold’s gym. Last winter, we were part of a crazy crew that went to a 5:00am exercise class twice a week. I hope that with patience and time, I’ll get my speed and distance back so that I can run my little butt off the way the Sara does. Sara at the Salmon Run yesterday: Sara was making fun of herself because of all the sweat in the photo but I think it’s awesome! It just shows her hard work. Thank you Sara. You’re an inspiration!

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We Did It!!!

My body hurts the way it used to back in the day of my half marathons. In fact, I’ve already taken two naps today! It was weird to see my 10 minute mile (literally it was exactly a 10:00 minute mile average), especially since I was truly pushing myself as hard as I could. Long past, are the days of a 7, 8 or 9 minute mile. Boy has my running life changed. I used to train with sprints, long runs, interval runs and insane cross training. Now, I’m just grateful to run without walking. During the race, I put a good game face on, but inside I was about to die right around the 4 mile mark. At the end of the race, just before the pedestrian bridge, I started to worry about having a seizure. I was so exhausted, I was practically panting. I had spotted the rest of our group (that did the 5k) in the distance. I was grateful for our t-shirts because it was much easier to spot them! About a half mile north of the finish line I kicked it up a notch. Our group of 10k-ers started running even faster to catch up, and we found our original team. They cheered us on, giving us the burst of energy we needed to cross the finish line. Thankfully, I ran across the finish line healthy, happy, in fact THRILLED and so incredibly grateful for our crew! There is no way that I could have finished this race without all of the support. In fact, if Danny, Annie, Michelle, Kristin, Cari and Heather hadn’t have done the 10k right by my side I would have walked long before the finish line. Good thing I’m stubborn and competitive. I didn’t want to drag anyone down, so…

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River Run

It’s the day before the big race! Here’s the plan… We are meeting just in front of Cafe Mela (click for location) on Wenatchee Avenue at 8:30am tomorrow morning. Come with your game face on, because I’d like to get a group photo! I’ll also distribute t-shirts for those who haven’t gotten theirs yet. From there we will walk together to the starting line. Our group is divided into the 5k and the 10k which both start together. Hopefully, everyone has registered already. If not, you can register tonight from 5:00-7:00pm at Arlberg Sports (click for location) or tomorrow morning starting at 7:00am again, at Arlberg Sports. I’m extremely excited for the race tomorrow! Thank you to all of my friends and family for being willing (and apparently excited too!) to join me on this little journey! Even my grandma is trying to find an electric scooter or wheelchair to join the walkers on the 5k. How fun is that!! I’ll see you tomorrow at 8:30am in front of Cafe Mela. If your feet are still dragging at that point, at least you can swing into the cafe for a quick shot of espresso. Hopefully my choice of meeting point wasn’t lost on anyone 🙂

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Sorry I’ve been missing for the past few days. I went to sleep the other night and woke up fourteen hours later, only to be awake for three hours and then take another three hour nap. I guess I’m exhausted. I’ve got information for the race on Saturday, but I have to go. I’ll post the information shortly! I’m getting excited and nervous….

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Fat Cat Of The Day

Everyone loves a fat cat. Danny and I were driving on the island last weekend and we saw the street sign below. Anyone that has met my mom’s cat Bentley has seen his amazing stature. He’s a butterscotch colored butterball. He’s about 30 lbs and oddly, he has the voice of a kitten. He’s ADORABLE. He once caught a mouse by accidentally stepping on it. This sign’s for you mom!

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