Friday, September 24, 2010

I Have the Cholesterol of a Sumo Wrestler

The nurse practitioner at my new hematologist's office called to tell me that my cholesterol is quite high: 564 HDL. It usually hovers around 175.

She said I should contact my primary care physician, which I don't have here in NYC. I don't think my RI physician will want to deal with this over the phone.

I suggested that the prednisone has something to do with it. A quick check of the Internet confirms this may be true. Basically, I'm fat on the inside, but happily not on the outside even though I eat like a pig.

Next, I will develop diabetes.

Finally, My Appointment

I took the subway to 68th Street and walked and walked and walked. Fortunately, the weather was nice. I made it just in time for my appointment with my new Hematologist/Oncologist, Dr. Shore. Whereas Dr. Antin, my doctor for the past 3 years, is known for his asperity, and wastes not one second of anybody's time, Dr. Shore appeared to have all day to take my medical history and record my drug list, both of which could suck the life out of a normal person. It's my story, and even I was bored.

Once the data was entered, she examined me and pronounced the gvh of my skin to be improved to the point where I can reduce the prednisone I take for the condition to 30 mg./day. I was hoping for 20, but any amount is appreciated. My swollen ankle demanded an x-ray, although nobody thinks it's broken. My blood pressure was excellent, 114/70, but I still have to take the lisinopril for a while longer. I'll see Dr. Shore again in 3 weeks. Her goal is to wean me completely off the prednisone. I'm so down with that.

A lab technician came in to torture me. Normally, my blood flows freely, but I'd unaccountably turned into a stone, or at least a frozen bored mass. She had to stick me twice and wiggle plenty to find anything, and I left with an industrial-size bandage on the crook of my arm. All I can say is, ouch.

I bumped into my friend Dianne just as I got off the subway. Eight million people in the City and I come face to face with one of the 50 or so I know. There's no explaining this.

Marty and I unenthusiastically went to the gym. I made chicken curry for dinner, which was delicious. Then I went unconscious. Seeing a new doctor took a lot out of me.

I miss you, Joe.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Violent Weather and Tuna Noodle Recipe

I hope Marty's okay. He's probably on the subway and may not even know what's happening. Tornado watch, warning, drenching rain. The weatherman says he's never seen such a storm. I had to close all my windows, which face north. The storm is from the west so it's fairly odd. Just poured myself some rose from Provence. It's nice and dry, unlike the papers on my sill, and unlike Mateus that maybe you drank as a sophisticated young adult in the 70's. It's roasting in the apartment, but I hesitate to turn on the AC because I think it stopped raining.

Tonight we're having leftover tuna noodle casserole, a dish I haven't made in over 20 years due to kid restrictions. I had a yen for it over the weekend, and decided to make my own cream of mushroom soup, which I could never do before, but now, apologies to Warhol.

Half way through eating the casserole, I realized I'd left out a central ingredient of the dish--the tuna. Marty didn't notice it either. Marty claims he's adding a can tonight, but I'll have mine sans tuna. Canned tuna's not my favorite food. And who needs the mercury?

Here's my recipe. You can add tuna if you must:

Mushroom cheese sauce. Whisk 2 tbsp. butter, 1 tbsp. flour in a saucepan with mushrooms. Add one cup of milk and 1 cup grated cheese of your choice. I used cheddar.
Mix until smooth.
1 pound bowtie or other pasta.
Sauteed zucchini or other veggies of your choice.

Butter a medium-sized casserole dish. Add sauce and veggies to cooked pasta. Top with melted butter, bread crumbs and tomato. Heat in a 350 oven for 30-40 minutes or until it makes noise. Marty topped his with french fried onion rings, which if you choose you can put on the casserole before baking.

Serves 4, More if you add tuna!

Really Big Cupcakes

I've been missing out on the cupcake rage. A cupcake the size of a Mini Cooper is not my cup of tea, mainly due to its extravagant size. Cupcake-shape bodies surround me and I admit to a little thickening in the region myself, although not due to cupcakes.

I went to see the doctor who delivered my children yesterday. I hadn't been since 1994. We were immediately recognizable to each other, and she still had Mark and Harry's birth announcements in my file. I had to tell the long story of my now 4.5 year battle with AML. God it sounds awful in the telling, especially to a medical professional. I'm still here, with minor bumbs and bruises. My blood pressure was high again since I've been off that med for nearly a week. Otherwise I'm in good girlie health. It's rare for me to show off photos of my family but I did. I brought one taken at my nephew's wedding that does us all justice.

Then I had a cupcake. I was looking for soft-serve ice cream on 8th Street but Circe snared me and I went into a shop where mega and mini cupcakes were displayed in all their glory. It was difficult to choose, but I went for the espresso beauty at $3.75. Mmmmm. After eating half, I felt nauseated and asked for a bag, not to barf in but to bring the rest home where I could enjoy it in several more sittings, perhaps with milk. Then I accidently took the wrong train and ended up in Brooklyn. Too much sugar?

Mark was coming for dinner so I swung into action making nachos and chicken curry. The curry was from a jar, thank goodness. Mark brought us up to date on his running, his classes and his extreme tiredness. He ate a lot of food.

We watched the Yankees lose to the Rays in an excellent game. I went to bed dreaming of cupcakes. Maybe I'll have another quarter tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My new doctor got sick so my appointment was postponed. This afforded me the opportunity to figure out how to do laundry, which involved adding funds to my wash card and other technical challenges. The rest was just schlepping. Being a washerwoman is hot work. I'd rather be poked with needles.

Today I'm making curried lamb meatballs for Mecca and Peter who made me so many yummy lamb dishes when I was visiting them in France this summer. I look forward to an afternoon of cooking and cleaning. Mainly, I want to attack the walk-in closet before it attacks me.

My dog Turbo has gone back to his old naughty self, dining from the bathroom garbage pail and re-visiting other gross habits. I take this as a good sign because he hasn't done these things since his soulmate Asta died last summer.

It is a gorgeous late summer day in Nueva York. All I can see from my window is more buildings. As my apartment is right next to Ground Zero, there's a lot of construction out there but I hear very little of it from my 8th floor aerie. A cool breeze wafts in, no doubt laced with asbestos and other carcinogens.

Somethings gotta kill you.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Overeating, Undersleeping and Other Excesses

We've been at my sister-in-law's house for a few days, visiting, eating, shopping and relaxing. I've managed to get up every morning to run, but it's been a struggle when I haven't slept well.

It's the usual medication issue, which has left me wide awake at 3 am and napping late morning. On Monday, I have an appointment with a new oncologist in NYC. I'll ask for a reduction in the p-zone, which I think will happen because my skin is much improved. If I can go to 20 mg. I think I'll be able to sleep better and not need to be nailed down during most of the day. It's great to have energy, but I've moved and am settling in so I welcome a downgrade in my activity level.

After 4 years in the womb of Dana-Farber, it will be interesting to go to a new hospital with new staff and new doctors. I don't look forward to reviewing the "story" but I'll have to at least give highlights. My records are being sent but I'm sure the doctor wants to hear it from the patient's point of view. I like to think they treat the patient and not the disease.

Here are 3 things my new doctor should know about me:

1) I have the survivability of a cockroach

2) I am knowledgeable and outspoken, and like to be involved in my medical care

3) I am starting a new life that has no room for leukemia in it

So there.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

For Me

This is not the Pity Plog. I realized something today though that I want to toss out there. I'm not alone in this feeling.

Since getting together with Marty, I've almost always done and gone where he wanted to do and go. I moved to New York. I changed my religion (but not my name). I had children. The children have been the other major factor in why I don't usually make decisions based on what I myself want, but about what my family wants. We have moved due to Marty's job. We have moved to towns where the schools are good. In short, I'm living the suburban nightmare (for me), although only for two more days. Hooray. I've gotten to do some awesome things during this time (live in Costa Rica, travel), but we're talking about a few bones in a 35-year span.

Don't cry for me Costa Rica. This past Sunday, a wish came true for me. I moved into a Manhattan apartment, and while it's a fact that I'm moving to NYC for Marty's job, I'm not living in Brooklyn, which is where Marty and nearly all our friends thought it was the sensible (and cheaper) choice. On Saturday, we pack up this mad existence for a small house in a small town in the Catskill Mountains of New York State. It will be our weekend retreat. The best part about it is that I can walk to town, and all the services I need. No more driving three miles for milk.

The moral of the story is, if there is one, every dog will have its day. This is my day, baby