Time for the biannual blog post

Tombstone: "I toldl you I was sick"
I’m seriously considering this for my epitaph…

So I’m awake at 2AM for the second night in a row. It’s not due to insomnia, but kidney stones.

Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer over seven years ago, I’ve become quite the hypochondriac. I am acutely aware of everything that goes on in my body, and anything out of the ordinary immediately sends up the metaphorical red flag in my mind.

So about a month ago, I was having odd discomfort in my abdominal area. I knew I had a very small kidney stone due to a CT scan a couple of years back. But what I was experiencing wasn’t the searing, I-wish-I-could-die pain that I’ve always heard associated with kidney stones. I went to my doctor, and he couldn’t find anything wrong. In fact, my health is the best it’s been in a while thanks to losing 20 pounds over the past six months.

I thought I was in the clear, and any discomfort was due to my active imagination. Last Sunday I was proven oh so wrong. We were over at Mom’s for dinner, when I suddenly got very ill. It was certainly painful, but the worst part was the fear – I have never felt anything like that in my life, and it wasn’t anything I could isolate – it hurt all over.

So Mom took me to the ER, and sure enough it was a kidney stone – a large one. They doped me up and sent me home after several hours. A follow-up urologist visit showed that the stone probably wouldn’t pass on it’s own, so I was scheduled for a lithotripsy (shockwave) procedure the following Monday.

The last week passed uneventfully. I was on Percoset for two days, but eventually stopped taking anything due to minimal pain. Monday I went in to have the stone blasted, and from all accounts it was successful. But I have been in fairly significant pain since then, mostly at night. The on-call doctor suggested that the stone wasn’t completely obliterated, and I’m still passing some larger fragments. It’s certainly not unbearable, just annoying, as I’m in more pain now than before I had the procedure! Percoset doesn’t seem to help, but it does make for some crazy dreams. The heating pad seems to be the best source of relief at the moment.

Speaking of which, I need to go pass some more bits and pieces of that stone now…

In other medical-related news, Emily had quite a time with our last round of in-vitro.  We had to stop the initial series of injections due to it being too effective.  We started again in late September, and once we got to the progesterone shots, it was miserable for her.  The last two times were not exactly walks in the park, but this time was worse.  Emily herself is in fantastic shape after nearly a year of exercising daily to get rid of the baby fat.  Unfortunately the progesterone has to be injected directly into the muscle, and this time there was much more muscle to deal with, and made her that much more sore.

To top things off, one night I managed to hit her sciatic nerve, which was unbearably painful for 48-72 hours.  Thankfully, she got better after a few days.  But even after all that –  we transferred three embryos and none of them worked.  We still have two left, and we’re praying for the best, but it has been rather discouraging.

But even if the remaining two embryos do not work, Colleen continues to be the light of our lives – she is walking, talking, and learning more and more every day.  I can’t imagine my life without her now.  This Christmas in particular will be so much fun – she already oohs and ahhs at all the Christmas decorations in the store. Though it remains to be seen if she’ll deal well with Santa this year!

"...and a dolly, and some blocks, and another teddy bear..."
“…and a dolly, and some blocks, and another teddy bear…”

It’s March already?

My last blog post was your typical apology for not blogging more often.  And I followed that up with a three month silence.  Oh well.

2010 has had no small share of excitement, for lack of a better term.  December was very busy at work with the typical end-of-the-year rush as everyone attempted to get their slates clean for the Christmas break.  Then we had Christmas in Columbia, followed by New Year’s in Chicago.

Sadly, while we were in Chicago, my grandmother passed away.  It wasn’t a huge shock, as when we saw her on Christmas Eve it was obvious she wasn’t doing very well.  But it was still very sad, and we’ll miss her greatly.  Emily lost her last surviving grandparent in 2006, and now I’ve lost mine.

The next week, the earthquake in Haiti struck.  While natural disasters have always meant “all hands on deck” at my job, this one was particularly exhausting.  There were UMC executives caught in the quake, and this marked the first “big” event since a staff restructuring that was supposed to facilitate faster and more numerous updates to our website (but with fewer staff members to share the load).  It was stressful to say the least.

Colleen is doing great – just growing and learning every day.  She’s sitting up on her own, her first tooth is coming through, and she’s starting to talk – in a manner of speaking… she’ll say “dada” without much prompting, but she doesn’t associate it with me  – yet!  Her personality is really coming through, and every day is a new adventure with her.  She’s now seven months old – hard to believe she’s closer to being a year old than she is to her birth date.  Where does the time go?

Merry Christmas

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn’t a scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men.

But he didn’t believe in all that stuff about an Incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did. “I am truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, who was a faithful church-goer. “But I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. “I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d much rather stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. “If we must have Christmas,” he reflected, “it’s nice to have a white one.” He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper.

A few minutes later, he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snowballs at his living-room window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

“I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,” he thought. “But how can I help them?”

Then he remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the barn doors wide and turned on a light. But the birds didn’t come in. “Food will bring them in,” he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn.

To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction…except into the warm, lighted barn. “They find me a strange and terrifing creature,” he thought to himself, “and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety.”

Just at that moment, the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for awhile, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas… then he sank to his knees.

“Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had to do it.”

–Author Unknown.


Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season… make the most of it, and remember the TRUE meaning of the holiday. It’s not being with family, or warm feelings or any of that stuff – it’s the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!


Next issue – DIVX. I’m sure you’ve seen these commercials from Circuit City. Stay away from it like the plague! I support DVD completely – it is a great format, and is destined to replace VCR’s the way CD’s replaced vinyl and tapes. But with DIVX, you’re basically paying $400 for a Pay-Per-View machine. You get to pay $3.50 every time you want to watch the movie… how nice! You also have to make sure you have a credit card and phone jack near your TV… and I don’t have either one. Now, you can pay another $15 or so to get a movie “upgraded” to free play…. unless you want to take it to a friend’s house. Then they have to pay the $3.50 fee every time as well.

Doesn’t make much sense when you can buy DVD’s for $10-20 (which have more features to boot), and rent them for 5 days at Blockbuster for $3, does it?

DiVX is a surly piece of consumer electronics.  From penny-arcade.com
DIVX is a surly piece of consumer electronics. From penny-arcade.com