Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Layin’ Off the Booze (Again)

I stumbled across a lovely little article today. It basically said that a person who drinks one alcoholic beverage a day increases their risk of bowel cancer by ten percent; a person who drinks two alcoholic beverages, increases their risk by twenty-five percent; and me? I fall somewhere between a seventy and ninety percent increase, if my calculations are correct.

Did I mention the odds are already along the lines of 1 in 20 for men, and 1 in 18 for women?

Hence the dilemma, or “new arrangement” as I should call it. In the interest of my beloved bowels, I’m no longer afforded my nightly bottle of wine. The teat is dry. At least for now.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cloud 4.5

Loss of breath. Blurred vision. Chest pains. Head pains. Arm pains. Leg pains. Light headedness. Fat tongue. Irregular heartbeat. Trouble swallowing. Involuntary twitching. Sweaty palms. Impending doom. Symptoms I haven’t experienced in months…

I don’t know what triggered it… Busy month? Approaching surgery? Working with a bunch of asshole attorneys and attorney wannabes? Maybe…

I’m still recovering from this afternoon’s anxiety attack.
At first, I thought “heart attack.” Then, “stroke.” “Maybe organ failure.” But, I quickly recalled my blood test. My age. My hypochondria. And that nasty little thing called “panic” that plagues me…

Lucinda Bassett would’ve been proud. Despite the “discomfort”—I’d have called it much worse at the time—I somehow managed to “float” through the “symptoms.” And although the aftertaste of the attack is still in my mouth, I grasped pretty quickly, that what I was experiencing (in those terrifying minutes), was a panic attack, not sudden death.

And although I clung to the “panic-handle” above the passenger window the whole way home, I knew inside it was just an attack. And just knowing was a victory. A small victory albeit, but I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em.

Now, excuse me while I finish drowning myself in this bottle of chardonnay…

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rubber Band Hand Syndrome

It started this morning as I sat my desk at drank my Dannon Mixed Berry Light & Fit Smoothie. It hit again as I lazily sifted through my morning emails. And, again as I waited at the copier. This sensation has followed me relentlessly throughout the day; the sensation that an invisible rubber band is wrapped so tightly around my wrist that my hand is seconds from exploding.

This can mean only one of two things; either, it’s all in my mind, which is highly unlikely, or, I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Either of which undoubtedly means that my body is in an advanced state of decay and I’ll die in surgery next month.

Truth be Told

You must never regret what might have been. The past that did not happen is as hidden from us as the future we cannot see.
-Richard Martin Stern

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

T Minus 26 Days and a Wake Up

As of 11:00 a.m. this morning, I’ve officially committed to having half of my throat lopped off. I met with an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist who kindly informed me that I have one tonsil growing the wrong way, (into my neck), and another tonsil that’s equally as large, as it is damaged.

The surgery—which is scheduled to take place in just under a month—is gonna cost me three hundred and fifty bucks, two weeks of bed rest, and supposedly fifteen pounds. If the last part is true, the money and time will have been more than well spent.

I’m pretty much terrified. Not only for the obvious reason, that I’m getting my throat carved up like a thanksgiving turkey, but because of the anesthesia. I’m petrified that it’ll kill me, (and the little fact that I’ll only be “out” for forty five minutes gives me no solace). Out is out!

How do I know my habit of excessive alcohol consumption, and recent drug “experimentation” won’t interfere with the anesthesia? Or, even worse, how do I know these extracurricular activities haven’t left my liver in a deteriorated state and unable to filter the “good drugs,” (for those of us D.A.R.E. graduates out there).

So, I’ve got myself something new to worry about, death by anesthesia. This should be an interesting month.

* * *
Editor’s Note: The broken toe I referred to in the last post was a hypochondriac break, which is more akin to a stubbing than an actual break; my apologies for any confusion.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Clown Shoes of a Smaller Size

I don’t think of myself as clumsy or awkward. Surprisingly, coordination is one of the few subjects in which I score pretty well. I cheerleaded for six years (something I’m humiliated by), played soccer for five, and dabbled my foot in gymnastics here and there. And I wear a size seven shoe, if that’s any testament to my daintiness.

Conversely, my mom once told me my demeanor was similar to that of “a bull in a china cabinet”—she’s so original—but I think her drugs were running low, and we all know first hand how irritable that can make a person. She’s also the same individual who said I can’t sing, so you can pretty much count her out as a grossly unreliable source.

And because you’re probably wondering what all this bullshit, I mean lead up, about my graceful and nimble manner is for; the answer is this: to soften the following sentences:

I broke my toe today. I broke my fragile little pinky toe on my right foot by slamming into a file-cart wheel with my poor, little, unknowing, sandaled toe. I then proceeded to scream, “OH FUCK!” in the middle of my office, as I crashed into the nearby cabinet before falling to the floor to hug myself and rock back and forth in the fetal position until the stars in my peripheral vision disappeared ten minutes later.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Verdict

The call came at approximately 11:30 a.m. on Friday. The blood work was "normal." Hallelujah!

Although, now I'm somewhat concerned that they did a half-assed job reading the results. (Welcome to the life of a hypochondriac, I guess).

My face is still swollen, and my neck is still sensitive. I can't get the image of my eyeball bursting, out of my mind. But the blood work was normal, and in the grand scheme of things, I guess that means I'm doing pretty fucking good.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Judgment Day

“The nurse will call you between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. tomorrow.”

I can’t get those words out of my mind.

I keep telling myself that if the blood test had revealed lymphoma, or some other horrible disease, the nurse wouldn’t tell me over the phone. At least I’d hope not. But, I’m completely making that up, because if the blood test really hadn’t revealed anything, my little “you’re okay” postcard from the doctor would be on it’s way to my mailbox as we speak. But instead, I’m getting a call? I’ve never gotten a call regarding a test in my life. I want my postcard!

I’m silently dying over here. I eat, breathe and drink lymphoma. I’m convinced that my face is swollen from the spillage of toxins that my lymph nodes can’t filter. I’m overly sensitive to touch all through my neck and face. I can barely walk.

I’m dying. I know it. Tomorrow it will be confirmed.

Excuse me while I go pray.

Truth be Told

Your past is important, but it is not nearly as important to your present as the way you see your future.
-Tony Campolo

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Idaho Concern Analysis Report

I’m alive! I survived a weekend in Idaho with The Beast!

At the suggestion of the charming and witty SA Dave, I have crafted “The Idaho Concern Analysis Report.” This report will reveal why hindsight’s a bitch by addressing and debunking each of the “concerns” I had prior to the dreaded trip.

[Begin Report]

The plane will crash.

This obviously did not happen. But the ride—both there and back—was shall we say, somewhat unpleasant, and not only because of the violent turbulence. I spent the flight there battling the seven-foot giant in the seat next to me for the armrest, and the flight back listening to screaming children while getting kicked through my seat. Those evil little creatures should be banned from planes, movie theatres and all public places.

I couldn’t be happier to have my feet back on the ground in good ol’ 1955.

The car will crash.

The car also did not crash, but that probably would’ve been a welcome relief from my mom’s driving, which involves a detour or pit stop every fifty feet. On the way to the airport, we stopped to get coffee, to tour model homes, to get gas, to drive through a portion of the national forest, to buy lottery tickets and lastly to get McDonalds. Did I say probably would’ve been a relief?

I’ll have some sort of medical emergency while the nearest hospital is more than an hour away.

At one point, I thought I was having a heat stroke, but it turns out that’s just the sensation you experience after being exposed to 103-degree weather for an extended period without air conditioning. Luckily, medical services were not required.

I’ll get lost and stranded in the wilderness, only to end up on “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.”

Rey attempted to drive the jet ski, with me on the back, dangerously close to a dam. Luckily, the voice of reason, from the back of the jet ski, was there to stop him. Although had he got any closer, I probably wouldn’t have lived to make the show.

I’ll be attacked by a grizzly bear.

I didn’t even see a bear, which I’d like to attribute to my preventative measure of leaving my beloved Heavenly and sweet smelling products at home. I did however see several deer and a moose. I also ate venison jerkey. I have no idea what that has to do with bears.

I’ll be bitten by a malaria infested mosquito.

Turns out Rey should’ve been worried about this one. I didn’t get bit once; he got bit at least twenty times, (apparently mosquitoes like the dark meat). He seems to be okay, aside from the swelling and delirium.

My mom will shoot me.

This was a close encounter. After several drinks on Saturday night, my mom looked at me with a blank stare and said, “I can’t wait ‘till we can all be together—me, you, Tony and Rey—together up there.” Up there! As in up there in heaven!

That little comment pretty much sent me into a hysterical fit. I calmly excused myself and proceeded to the bedroom to barricade the door and cry myself to sleep in the closet. She decided not to send us up there that night.

An intruder will shoot me.

Another no go. But, I did shoot a gun myself, not at anyone of course.

I’ll get in a boating accident.

I think the jet ski/dam incident falls under this category. Although, I did see a spider in the boat, and had I been driving when it showed its ugly little face, it would’ve been a major accident.

My mom will live up to her nickname and be a complete and total bitch.

Turns out, my brother was the one who’d be a complete and total bitch. The first thing he said to me when I got off the plane was, “Man, Leila, you need to lose some weight! You’re getting fat!"

But, The Beast was not to be out done; she managed to insult my character and appearance several times over the weekend. She was mainly concerned with my “plainness” and “lack of style."

Overall, they were not as insulting as I had imagined, and I handled The Beast and Mini-Beast surprisingly well. In the words of Rey, “You like to dish it out as much as they do.” I can only offer that my “dishing” is always done purely in self-defense.

[End Report]

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Off to See the Beast

At 6:55 p.m. today, Rey and I will board a plane. Two hours and at least four drinks later, Rey and I will un-board that plane, and be greeted by none other than The Beast. We will then proceed to drive two hours to Bum Fuck, Idaho, where we will spend the next three days.

I have several concerns about this trip. The first is that the plane will crash. The second is that the car will crash. The third is that I’ll have some sort of medical emergency while the nearest hospital is more than an hour away. My fourth concern is that I’ll get lost and stranded in the wilderness, only to end up on “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” (which is an awesome show, by the way). My fifth concern is that I’ll be attacked by a grizzly bear. My sixth concern is that I’ll be bitten by a malaria infested mosquito. My seventh concern is that my mom will shoot me. My eighth concern is that an intruder will shoot me. My ninth concern is that I’ll get in a boating accident. My tenth concern and probably the only concern I should pay any mind to, is that my mom will live up to her nickname and be a complete and total bitch.

I’m not excited about the trip, even though I’ll get to see my brother and the house where I spent many summers and winters as a child. I’m really very anxious, to be honest. I spent most of the morning in a dream like haze and had a stroke around noon.

I’ll attempt to post using whatever hokey dial up internet The Beast has available, hopefully I won’t be in tears when I do. Although I guess that’d be better than plummeting to my death in a fiery plane or getting mauled by a bear. Will see what fate has in store…

Veins of Steel

The blood is drawn. It took two nurses, two arms and two “butterflies” (whatever the hell those are), but it’s drawn. It’s drawn and I’m traumatized. There’s no turning back now.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Let the Games Begin

After putting my blood work off for almost a week, I decided this morning that ignoring the test probably wouldn’t make the lymphoma go away. And although ignorance is bliss, I’ve come to the determination that blood work is the only way to ease my mind, or, confirm my suspicion.

So, being the responsible employee that I am, I interrupted my morning blog-hopping to find the lab’s number on google local. I then proceeded to dial those fateful numbers as I sipped my decaf and pulled the lab orders from my purse.

I stared at the doctor’s marks next to “Comp Metabolic Panel (14)” and “CBC w Diff Plt,” as an animated machine greeted me and rattled off a list of office hours, locations and an extended choice of menu options. I wondered why I, of all people, would need a test that fell under the “Organ Disease Panel” category. The machine became silent as I realized it had offered no “appointment” or “scheduling” option.

I disgustedly hit “0,” just like I knew I should’ve when I first heard that machine, and before I could cuss at the system any longer, a cheery man picked up the line.

"Gooooood Morning! Annnnd thank you, for calling LabCorp! How can I help you?”

“I need to schedule an appointment.”

“Ohhh, there’s no appointment necessary! Just come on in and we’ll get you taken care of!”

“Um, okay, and how long is this going to take?”

“Ma’am, I wish I could tell you it’d be instantaneous, but I can’t.”

“I realize that, but what are we talking here? Fifteen minutes? An hour?”

“An hour would be plenty! Come on in between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and we’ll get you’ll allllll squared away! Okay!?!

“Okay, but I heard something on the recording about fasting before tests; is that something I need to worry about?”

“Fasting? No! That’s only for a few tests, what are you having done?”

“Comp…Metabolic…Panel (14)…”

“Oh. Well, yes. That’s a twelve hour fast.”

Twelve hours?
I’m also having a CBC w Diff Plt…"

“Oooh, that’s a two hour fast. But don’t worry, that Comp 14 fast is as long as it gets, that’ll cover any fast for any other tests you may be having. Just remember anytime between 7:00 a.m. and...”


I’m heading into the lab at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, that means my fast begins at 9:00 p.m. tonight. I was so thrown off by the fasting detail that I didn’t even ask how long ‘til the results come in. I guess I’ll find out in the morning. Assuming, I don’t die from a heart attack (or lymphoma) in the meantime.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chew Toy, Please

I’m teething. The day has brought unceasing pain behind my bottom, left molar. The whole area is sensitive and my gum is peely (yes, peely is a word), from the daunting pressure below. These symptoms lead to only one conclusion: wisdom teeth.

I’ll be forced to endure the pain of giant molars forcing their way into my already crowded mouth, only to have them ripped from my skull by a conniving, greedy dentist. Or, wait, they’ve already been ripped—actually, dug is a more appropriate word—from my skull. How could I forget! It was just a couple months before I had my jaw broken, reset and wired shut to cure an under bite.

So seeing as I’ve already been fully assaulted by the dentist and robbed of any spare teeth at a very young age, I’m at a loss. If not wisdom teeth, then what?

Murderous infection? Bug cocoon from licking envelopes (which I never do by the way)? TMJ surgery gone bad? Gum disease? Coffee burn? Lymphoma?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Reality vs. Leila V.

The long anticipated, three-round, heavy weight bout was scheduled to take place on Friday, in the lovely, and oh so preppy, ocean-side city of Marin, California. Leila V. headed out that morning with her trainer, Rey Ramirez, as Reality laid in wait for the first round, aka the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, to begin. Saturday would bring the most important round of the bout, the actual wedding ceremony, with more than two hundred spectators. And Sunday would wrap it up with a scheduled post-wedding brunch.

Leila “The Hallucinator” Vine received a vicious left hook to the jaw in round one, when the Ring Girl, read Maid of Honor, was not the stunning, voluptuous, young girl she had pictured. It looked like her trainer wouldn’t be drooling from her corner as she’d predicted in interviews leading up to the event.

Before Vine could gain composure from the previous blow to the jaw, Reality dealt a brutal body shot as the rehearsal dinner panned out to be a low key, pleasant time with flowing liquor and un-intrusive people. Reality won the judges over at the end of the round with several after-dinner drinks with the wedding party.

“The Hallucinator” was met in round two with a low blow as she calmly handled the fact that her trainer, Ramirez, was nowhere to be found, read getting ready with the groom. With Reality’s strong start, Vine should have anticipated the knockout that left her looking like a part of the crowd, instead of the main event.

Since the fight was stopped, read brunch was cancelled, Leila V. limped solemnly out of the oh so preppy, ocean-side Marin, after getting a serious ass kickin’ by a thoroughly good time.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Today in the Doctor's Office...

“Wow, your lymph nodes are very swollen.”

They don’t feel swollen to me.”

they are. Very swollen…almost like “shoddy” lymph nodes…like a person who’s suffered a lifetime of infections…but, no…you’re much too young for that…”

Not like I have…lymphoma…or anything, right?”

well, that’s why we’re getting your blood work done; to make sure your red and white cell counts aren’t off.”


not any weird cancers, like lymphoma, in your family, is there?”

my grandma had lymphoma.”


my little brother has cancer…”

right, astrocytoma…I remember. Lay down so I can check your other lymph nodes…”

I'm fucked

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Hate Weddings

Brief recap of day: Woke up to fourth day of unceasing back pain. Before arrival at work, back pain was accompanied by fat tongue and twitchy eye.

Morning included spilling large cup of decaf coffee all over desk, in front of several co-workers.

Afternoon consisted of inadvertently knocking Senior Counsel’s printer off stand while changing cartridge. Did I mention she was standing right there? Proceeded to break rib while trying to get the damn thing back on its stand. Limped around for extended period of time, debating whether or not to call ambulance.

But w
ait, it gets better...

Stormed out of work, five minutes early, only to stub toe and fall face first, to the ground, in lobby of building, (in front of god knows how many people). Continued to car, teary eyed, with chest pain and buzzing in ears.

All because of this damn wedding!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Girlfriend of the Best Man

Rey’s super cool, super tattooed, super full of himself cousin from San Francisco is getting married this weekend to a super un-cool, super blonde, super annoying chick from the boondocks. That was somewhat harsh, but I don’t care because Rey has been chosen as the Best Man for this two-hundred plus person production, I mean wedding, and that really sucks ass for me. And Rey too, I guess, but whatever, it’s partially his fault, and this wedding is not about him.

Rey being Best Man means he will spend all day, prior to the evening wedding, with the Groom, instead of me. It means that I will have to sit by myself during the ceremony in a sea of two-hundred plus people that I don’t know. It means that I will also eat dinner by myself at a table of—you guessed it—people that I don’t know. It means that I’m on the verge of an anxiety attack just writing about this damn wedding!

But most importantly, it means that Rey’s first walk down the aisle will be with the Bride’s sister on his arm. Charming.

Weddings suck in general, as far as I’m concerned. The dancing, the fake pleasantries, the bouquet toss...they’re all anxiety-inducing events I can do without. But this! This is taking it to a whole new level!

Have I mentioned the world revolves around me?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Death's Doorstep

I woke up yesterday morning with severe back pain. Not fucked up liver back pain from too much drinking the night before, but spinal tumor, cold back, muscle dystrophy, I’m going to die, back pain. I figured I just slept wrong and carried about my business, drinking wine and eating salmonella infested turkey, and assumed that if I made it through the night without gastrointestinal combustion, the back pain would be gone.

It’s not. It’s worse.

I literally cannot move my head without sharp, crippling pain shooting through my left shoulder blade into my neck. It’s unbearable. If my attempt at self-medication with Advil and Sierra Nevada doesn’t work, I’ll be forced into the emergency room before nightfall. I can only live in such agonizing pain for so long.

The scary part, aside from the horrific stabbing sensation when I reach for my beer or turn to look at the TV, is that the area of my neck and back where I’m experiencing the pain, is not sensitive to the touch. Nor does it hurt when I move my arms.

Rey thinks the pain is stress induced. Or, a possible attempt to foil our trip to his cousin’s two hundred plus person wedding on Saturday. He could be right, or, I could be right and the tumor is about to engulf my soul.

Truth be Told

In the days of the frost seek a minor sun.
-Loren Eiseley