What is the point of your comment?

In high school I dated a few guys - most of whom were losers - in an attempt to bolster my low self esteem. It didn't work. I shed them (or they shed me, as the case may be) in short order each and every time. Most of them I lost touch with, and am very happy with that fact. A few have found me on Facebook. I usually accept their friend request out of politeness. If they annoy me, I drop them.  No harm, no foul, right?

Except that one of them keeps coming back when I delete him. I think that he has reached blocking status this time, though. He started preaching at me. At first I deleted it and just sent him a polite message stating that I don't share his beliefs, and that was why I deleted his response. That message was met with a diatribe about how he won't give upon or apologize for his beliefs for anyone, and that he would love to sit down with me and try to find out exactly where my life went so wrong. Um, excuse me? And yet, I remained calm. My response was simply, "I wasn't asking for an apology. I was simply informing you as to why the post was deleted, nothing more."

So I wonder, why is it that someone I haven't seen since December 1994 suddenly feels that they have the right to judge where my life is, to make assumptions about me with no basis? He knows nothing about me beyond what is in my Facebook profile. We have had no conversations. And yet he felt the right to preach at me in emails about where I should be in my life.

Maybe I'm just oversensitive right now, but it irks me. It's one thing for someone I'm close to, someone who knows me and what my life has been, to share their beliefs with me - while I may not agree with them, I won't deny them. However, for a near stranger to try to fore their beliefs down my throat is just more than I can take.
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You know, it's been almost three years since the whole diagnosis/surgery/treatment thing. I like to think that, for the most part, I've come to terms with it, that I've accepted the consequences thereof as a normal part of my new life. However, there are some days that I still get pissed off about it. Like today.

I woke up before my alarm went off this morning because I was coughing up a lung. I have been sick with some sort of cold/upper respiratory infection/flu/whatever the hell you want to call it almost constantly since the beginning of September. It's not that I'm a normally sickly person, but the RA drugs suppress my immune system, so every single little bug that the kids bring home from school knocks me down. The rest of the family either doesn't get sick at all, or is sick for a day. Other people don't get sick from me. It's just me getting sick. It's having no immune system. I do the things I'm supposed to - hand washing, wiping down the cart at the grocery, using hand sanitizer when I'm out (and home), making the kids wash their hands when they get home, etc, but the fact of the matter is, you can't avoid germs unless you live in a sterile environment. Coming in contact with germs makes me sick. This is my normal. And it pisses me off.

Is it not enough to have survived one round of cancer? No? Then how about surviving a round of cancer and having the organ that controls my metabolism removed? No? Still not enough? What about surviving a round of cancer, having 3 organs and 10 lymph nodes removed and being given a large dose of what largely amounts to radioactive waste, then finding out that my immune system is systematically attacking my joints? Is it not enough? Give me a break, for crap's sake! When will enough be enough? Because I just don't know how much more I can take. I'm tired of having to explain why I'm sick, and why even though I'm sick, chances are you're fine around me because the strain of whatever I have is so weak that normal people don't get affected by it. I'm sick of having to explain why I'm so run down, tired and looking suddenly older than I am instead of looking younger than I am, like I did BC (before cancer).

I'm whining. I know it. I'm sorry. But if you've read this, you either actually care about me, or you're a masochist. Today is a pissed off day, though.

John Travolta and Commonalities

I've heard it said that there is some commonalities that bind us all. The longer I live, the more I believe it to be true - we all have experiences in our lives, that somehow tie us to one another however different our lives are.

I read today that John Travolta and Kellly Preston lost their 16 year old son because he had a seizure while showering and hit his head. As a mother to an epileptic, my biggest nightmare. The nightmare of all my nightmares combined.

I know it's a nightmare. Someone near and dear to me is living the nightmare - different circumstances, but same nightmare.

We never know how long we have, none of us, so we do our best and try to live our lives without regret. It's easier to say than to do, though. We try, we tell ourselves that we will live each day as our last because we never know if it is, but how long do any of us truly do this? A week? A month? A year even, for the most ambitious among us? Let's face it, though - living every day to its fullest with no regrets just isn't in our nature as humans.

I know I have more to say about all this, but right now my brain is going in a hundred thousand different directions....

Meet Vader

This morning, as Hans was leaving for work, he called the girls and I outside to see what he had found just outside the door. Turns out there was a Southern Ringneck Snake hatchling that he nearly stepped on. Somehow, though I'm still not sure how, he convinced me that we should keep it. I have a paralyzing fear of snakes, but he loves them, and one of our regular conversations has been whether or not he could have one as a pet or not. So far I have maintained strongly that, no, we shouldn't, that there was only room in our home for me or a snake.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Vader.

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Writer's Block: God For a Day

If you could be God for a day, what three things would be at the top of your to-do list?
I never do these. Never. I usually think that writing prompts are stupid and annoying. I have to do this one, though.

Three things at the top of my list? 

-Understand why there has to be pain and suffering in the human experience. Is it truly so we can appreciate the good? I've said that ridiculous line for years, but really, it's only been a way for me to hide from my own pain and suffering. The same way that I have always made fun of myself to head off those who would make fun of me.

-Take all of those who are truly evil - those who hurt the very young, the old and the infirmed for the same of hurting them - and cause them the same suffering that they've caused others. Yes, I would be a very vengeful god. Probably explains a lot, huh?

-Third and final? I would explain the truth of what happens when we die, whatever that truth is.

Fear and Pain

Pain strikes us at the strangest, most inopportune of times. I should be sleeping right now – I have to be up in 5 hours, well rested for an important meeting, but I can’t sleep.


It’s not a physical pain that keeps me from sleeping, not exactly, anyway. I mean, it manifests itself in a physical manner, but it’s borne of an emotional pain.  This pain blindsides me on a daily basis. The most mundane of tasks sets it off, too. Take tonight, for instance – I was reading a book and listening to my MP3 player to help me fall asleep. Now, I grant you that the book I’m reading is more than a little deep and emotionally challenging, and I have some songs on my playlist that are painful right now anyway, but the culmination was just excruciating. The songs matched up together and with the words I was reading in such a way that I know it’s no coincidence. There’s no way that it could be.


Pain. Raw emotional pain. It’s torture, but there’s a release in it, too. When I experience this pain, it’s almost like I’m relieving a great pressure. I don’t welcome it by any means, but at the same time, after a  good cry, I feel a bit fresher. At least, I always did in the past. The pain has been compounded as of late, though, and a good cry just isn’t cutting it anymore. There is such a weight on my heart, and instead of getting lighter with time, it seems to be getting heavier. I tell the people around me that are affected by the same situation that things will get better, that life will get better, but sometimes I wonder if I even believe it myself. I mean, I know deep down that it will get better; I’ve seen other people deal with similar circumstances and come out on the other side, eventually, mostly intact. But in the moment, it just doesn’t feel like it.


I hate it when these feelings come when I’m alone. I feel this pain frequently throughout every day, but when Hans is home, I can cope with it. I can make a comment about how I’m pissed off about the way things have turned out, and then I can distract myself. When he’s gone, though, and I’m sitting in bed at midnight, reading and listening to MP3s, I can’t distract myself. So I cry. I dissolve. And I feel so alone.


Alone. It’s a bit of an old friend to me, to be honest. Most times in my life I have felt utterly and completely alone, and being alone is something that terrifies me. To the point that, at 30 years old, I’m petrified of the dark. And the amazing thing about the dark and loneliness? T hey can strike when you’re in a brightly lit room full of people who love you. That’s when the darkness and the loneliness are the most frightening – if you can be alone and in the dark when there’s light and loved ones, then what’s there to pull you out and protect you?

RA, spoons


I just celebrated 2 anniversaries recently. Hans thinks it's odd that I remember the dates, but he doesn't grasp that I cling to dates. I remember all sorts of dates - the date that we met, the date that I found out I was pregnant with Aliceon, the date I found out I was pregnant with Heather. Other dates that aren't so happy.

July 19, 2006 - I got a call from my endocrinologist asking me to come in right away. This was a Tuesday, and I had had a fine needle aspiration biopsy the previous Friday. I had been told to expect results in a couple of weeks, so for them to call at 2 on Tuesday afternoon and ask if I can come in that afternoon, I knew the news was bad. I knew. And it was. Hans and I sat in an exam room and got the news that no one wants - I had cancer. Regardless of the fact that there was only a 1% chance of my nodules coming back inconclusively cancerous, there it was. I beat the stats, but in the wrong direction.

July 30, 2006 - I sat in a pre-op room in Florida Hospital Altamonte awaiting removal of my thyroid. It was a fairly simple procedure, technically outpatient, even though my surgeon routinely keeps his patients the full 23 hours insurance companies allow. Not only were all the nodules on my thyroid malignant, but there was invasive metastasis to 6 of my 10 central compartment lymph nodes and one of my parathyroid glands. So now I walk around minus a thyroid, 2 parathyroids and 10 central compartment lymph nodes.  Not the worst news - I can still speak because there wasn't a whole lot of vocal chord involvement that caused them to cut my chords, and my scar is so slight that most people, Hans and myself included, have to actually look to see it.

It's been 2 years. Some think that I should be "over it." Most don't understand that I still wake up in a cold sweat out of fear. Fear of when, not if, I have to deal with cancer attacking my body again. Some think that it's pessimistic to talk about how my cancer is either going to come back, or how I'm expected to have lymphoma, leukemia and/or breast cancer at some point in the next 15 years or so. It's not pessimism, though, it's realism. It's what the doctors have told me to expect. Between the links between thyroid cancer at a young age (and believe it or not, this is considered a young age!!) and other cancers, the percentages that the treatments for thyroid cancer increase risk of these other cancers, and the fact that having rheumatoid arthritis (another lovely side effect of the treatments for me) increases risk of those same cancers, as does the use of the RA treatments, and yeah, the deck's stacked against me. Besides, we've already seen that I'm not good with odds. There's a logical reason that I don't gamble.

I'm not sure, at this point in my life, how I feel about all of it. Right now, because of the cancer, the RA, and all the other things that have happened constantly over the last 12 years or so, I'm just begging for a year of uneventfulness. Hopefully I'll get it - I don't have to have another scan till November 2009. If I could just have some time where nothing bad happens to me or anyone I care deeply for, that would be awesome. I'm not expecting it, though, because, well, let's face it - I haven't gone a full year without something terrible since 7th grade. I really don't expect things to change. I just wish they could.

And people wonder why my faith and belief in religion is gone. But that's another topic altogether.
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When it rains, it pours.

So I want to start this post by going ahead and saying that everything and everyone is ok. All crises have been averted. That said, it's been a hella week.

Monday night I was cleaning a few things. I had taken toys out of Heather's room and put them at the bottom of the stairs so that I could take them up to the playroom. I took up the first load, then headed down the stairs to get the next. About three steps from the bottom, my feet flew out from under me, and I bounced down the remaining steps. I  ended up slamming my foot into the Barbie Dream house and breaking my little toe on my right foot. Fun. Couldn't bear any weight on it, it was terrible. Oh well. Not the end of the world, right? And I'm so sick of fucking doctors that I refused to go to any for it. Stubborn me swore I would go on my vacation regardless, and would NOT be spending the rest of the summer in a cast. Yeah. I'm mature. Bite me.

So I don't sleep worth a damn Monday night, get up Tuesday morning, shower, get ready for my rheumatologist appointment. Had plans to go threre, come home and clean and pack, as I was supposed to fly out early the next morning to go to GA and pick the girls up from my mom's. On my way to the rheumie, my mom calls, freaking out. Heather's seizing. Not good. She's epileptic, and after the way we found out last year, I'm terrified. So I call Hans, tell him to book me the next flight to GA so I can be there. There were no flights that would get us there any faster than we could drive it, though, so we just hopped in his truck and went. We were lucky and good friends were able to come and get my house keys to take care of the cat and the fishes and make sure I hadn't left an iron on or anything like that. Seeing as how they're actually awesome friends, they also came in and cleaned up so that I came home to an immaculate house!

Anyway, we drive the 8 hours to my parents, and Heather's ok. The whole episode lasted about an hour, with a few hours of post ictal haze. She's still got a bit of confusion and fuziness, but that should clear up in the next week.

Our neuro's office wanted to see her ASAP, so we hauled ass back home and got in yesterday evening. The aforementioned friends came over and brought dinner and dessert so that we had nothing to worry about. It was nice, and we got to decompress some, something that was sorely needed.

Went to the neuro today and added two new meds to the mix - Klonipin for when she starts showing the warning signs of a seizure, and Zonegran daily. We're to keep doing the Lamictal, too, and the DiaStat when she has an actual seizure. Hopefully, though, this can nip it all in the bud. God, I hope so. I'm tired.
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Memories of Delaney

On Monday, May 12, 2008, we lost a precious little girl. Delaney Ketts was one of 4 members of my Brownie Girl Scout troop, and the daughter of close friends of ours. She and our daughter, Aliceon, we also very close. Her death was very sudden and tragic, and has left a hole in many of our hearts and lives. Her parents asked me to speak at the memorial service, and what follows is the speech I prepared. The grammar and spelling may not be perfect, but it's quite difficult to write coherently through such immense grief.

“Make new friends, and keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. A circle is round and has no end; that’s how long I want to be your friend.” These are the words to a song integral to Girl Scouts, and words that I have held true since I was a scout years ago.  People pass in and out of our lives, but those we remember, those who have an impact, are imprinted on our hearts forever.

I remember meeting Delaney at the first meeting she and Dianne came to. She was so open, so friendly. When I should have been the one putting her at ease, she was putting me at ease. She entered into the group seamlessly, making friends with all the girls she came in contact with. She ended that first meeting by giving me a hug, something she would do at the end of every meeting, and every other time we saw one another.

The first outing we had as a troop was a trip to Sea World for the cookie sales kick off. It was a special event open only to Girl Scouts, and was a dolphin show performed specially for us. It was ridiculously cold that night, and we didn’t realize that we would be sitting outside until that evening. Delaney and Aliceon were bundled up in coats, and I was trying to help keep them warm as we sat on cold metal benches to watch the show. Even though she was freezing, Delaney talked the whole time about how much she loved the dolphin show, and how excited she was to be there. Her enthusiasm helped make the evening a little less frigid and a lot more enjoyable.

Soon after that was our investiture, the ceremony that marks a girl’s beginning as a Girl Scout. In Jeff and Dianne’s family, scouting isn’t just an activity for one person, it’s a family affair. For our short investiture, Dianne’s parents, brother and sister in law were all present, as was Jeff. It was a very proud day for them, and you could see it all their faces, but especially Delaney’s. She was embarking on something that she knew meant a great deal to her father, as he is an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement a Boy Scout can receive, and also something that she knew would bring she and her mother even closer together than they already were.

Then came cookie sales. Oh, how the girls love cookie time! Standing at a booth in their uniforms, asking anyone and everyone if they would like to buy some cookies. All the girls were energetic in their sales, but there was something about the way Delaney was so politely passionate about it. She was asked very often what her favorite cookie was, to which she always replied, “Thin mints are the best cookies in the world!  They’re so good that we had to buy a box for each member of our family because no one wants to share!” Who could say no to that sales tactic, right?

Delaney brought an indescribable energy to our group, and to my life. I knew as soon as she walked into the room, without seeing or hearing her. There was just something about her; you could feel her presence.  There was a light that seemed to radiate from her, and a calm that was so far beyond her years. She knew exactly what to say to someone when they were sad, hurt or upset to make them feel better. And she could brighten any room simply by giving you a smile. Delaney was a very logical child, too, who wanted to fix the things that were wrong in this world.

When we finished cookie sales, our troop got together to discuss what we were going to do with the money we earned. Delaney’s first suggestion was to give it to charity. Of course, then we started talking about horseback riding, and trips to NASA, tea parties and other fun events. The one event that she kept coming back to was an overnight at the zoo. It seemed to speak to her love of animals, and was something that she thought would be a lot of fun to do as a group.

A week ago this past Wednesday, Dianne and I took all 4 of our kids to Winter Garden Pizza after scouts. It was something that we did periodically when the guys were out of town, because it gave us both adult time, and gave the kids time to spend together. On the way to dinner that night, because Mother’s Day was the following Sunday, and Aliceon and Heather were going to be spending Saturday evening at Jeff and Dianne’s, Aliceon and Delaney were in the back seat planning and scheming. The whole way to dinner, I listened to them talk about what they wanted to do, and how they were going to go about it. They had huge plans to get Dianne to take a nap so that they could set up a scavenger hunt for her for mother’s day. They wanted to make things for her, and write riddles. The only goal that Delaney had in mind was making her mom happy. That’s just how she was – she was more concerned with the feelings of others than with herself. It showed in our girl scout meetings, and in the times that we were together outside of meetings.

When I think of Delaney, I always see her upturned face smiling at me, eyes twinkling, freckles across her nose. I hear her saying, “Mmm, Miss Kerry…” and then continuing on with asking me about something or telling me some fact that she found interesting. Delaney was a very special person, and I was so fortunate to have her in my life, and in my troop, if only for a short time.

A Girl Scout troop becomes a family, and very quickly. We’ve only been together as a troop since December, but in that short time, the girls have come to care deeply for one another, as have we adults. Delaney was one quarter of a whole unit, and she will always be a member of troop 707. Her memory will always be with us, and the wisdom and love she brought to our little family will carry us through.

Delaney was a girl scout in every way. I would appreciate it if any and all girl scouts here present, both current and past, would stand and join me in reciting the girl scout promise in her memory.




I need to sleep!

It's 1:10am. I have to be up at 6:30 to get Al ready for school, and to get ready to do yet more PTA stuff. And I'm sitting here, playing online and watching The Golden Girls. What the fuck is wrong with me???

Part of it is Hans being gone - I always stay up insanely late when he's not here - and part of it is that my mind is going a million miles an hour. I just got thrust into the position of PTA President, and so the last week has been a whirl.

Okay, I just finished my tea. I think that I may try to go to sleep now.