Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It Happened Over Night...I Swear...

     I've received several emails from my MS "gal pals" since posting my insomnia spew...they've been gently reminding me my insomnia "could" be hormonal and not MS related...because I'm "at that age"!  Thanks, girls!  Unfortunately, you've only reminded me of yet ANOTHER topic of discomfort!!!  Something I like to call FORTY EYES.

     It seems like over night my arms have shortened and my eyesight has become...well...not as sharp as it used to be!  How does this happen?  One day I am reading just fine out of my prescription glasses (which I have worn since I was 9 years old), and the next, I am having to REMOVE them from my bulbous nose to see anything with small print up close!  I have officially developed OLD LADY EYES.

     Oh sure...I KNOW the scientific reason for this visual change.  Bottom line, in lay man's terms, the old eye muscles and iris have gone caput...given up...relaxed...petered out...AGED!

     I wish I knew how to age gracefully.  As a matter of fact, I wish I knew how to do anything gracefully!  But...I don't.  I'm just not happy about this visual change.  I refuse to get bifocals (if I even need them?) and I refuse to admit I simply can't read anything up close anymore with my glasses on!

     I'm searching EBay right now for arm extensions...LOL

Just Shoot Me!...With A Tranquilizer Gun, That Is...

     It's 2:30AM Pacific Standard Time and I am working my way through yet another night/bout of insomnia.  What the hay is THIS about?!?

     I have been feeling quite well these past several days (knocking on wood and surrounding myself in a force field to repel any "computer virus" Miss Chris or MDMHVONPA might send my way!  Sorry you're both under the weather, guys).  I have little MS-wise to complain or moan about right now...just back to the "usual" (stiff calves, numb half of my face, occasional vertigo...the usual! LOL) and I will take the "usual" over any relapse ANY day!

     I have a history of chronic really should come as no surprise anymore when I enter into one of these sleepless phases...but it always IS...a surprise.  And not like a pleasant birthday surprise, but more like a "oops I may have wet myself sneezing" surprise.  LOL

     Fortunately, I have wonderful medical providers who seem comfortable with the turn 'em loose method of prescribing medications...I say fortunately because I always have "stock" meds on hand for just about any remedy, except erectile dysfunction or treating baldness!  I started pushing the benzos about an hour and a half ago...I'm STILL waiting the tranquilized elephant effect.

     I don't have any helpful statistics to spout about here, but it is quite common for MSer's to report periods of insomnia...I have no medical rationale why, I only read the literature and this is what it says!  Something just seems to misfire in the sleep portion of our brains now and then.  I imagine there may also be factors relating to the various medications we often take on a regular basis, too.

     I am not one who generally welcomes late night visitors or guests, even though I tend to work an evening schedule in my job.  My after work hours are my time to take care of a few things around the hut, then unwind and take refuge in my extremely comfortable and plush bed.  But just for tonight, I wouldn't mind if Mr. Sandman paid me a visit.  Heck...I'd welcome the old fart in for a cup of tea and a chat if he'd just ring my bell right now!

     Off to go check my doorstep to see if he might be sitting out there in the cold...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Gimp...I Mean PIMP My Ride...

     I have a friend at work that mocks me relentlessly about my Multiple Sclerosis.  He can.  His first wife died from complications of MS.  He watched her extreme, rapid decline over the course of just three short, years—from diagnosis to death.  We have an “understanding” together…he makes good fun of me and my trials and tribulations with MS and I…well, I laugh sometimes until I nearly wet myself!

     During my latest and greatest relapse this past fall/winter, the subject of my mobility arose often.  I was walking with a cane and quite worried I might never return to walking without assistance.  As I shared these concerns with my coworker, who I’ll call “Casper”, the idea of one day possibly needing a motorized scooter came up.

     Being the high-strung and fiercely independent Leo I am, the thought of possibly being reduced to a four-wheeled ride was most alarming.  And, being the always-unique prankster I tend to be, the thought of having such a mobility device and not “standing out” in the crowd in some way left me devastated. 

     Casper and I began to brainstorm and the idea of the TV show, “Pimp My Ride” came up.  Why couldn’t a motorized scooter be individually crafted and decorated to display the “uniqueness” of its driver?  Plans began to surface…

     We decided if or when I EVER become relegated to a four wheel, motorized mode of transportation, MY personal scooter would have the following:


1.  A vertical extension bar on the handlebars terminating approximately two feet above the horizontal bar to hang a pair of fuzzy dice.


2.  “Spinner” hubcaps on all four wheels.


3.  A hydraulic lift mechanism so I could raise and lower the vehicle quickly up and down in a “taunting” manner.


4.  A small dashboard installed on the handlebars for my statue of the Virgin Mary, Buddha, or any other figurine.  The tiny dashboard would also be carpeted. 


5.  An electric horn that sounded the “Charge” song or the Queen song, “We Will, We Will Rock You”.


6.  Classic pin-stripe painting along the base and bucket seat.


7.  A small, but stylish “spoiler” mounted on the rear of the frame.


8.  A deep base stereo system…that an IPod would plug into.


9.  A small beverage holder mounted to the handlebars (just below the carpeted dashboard).


10. A vanity tag license plate reading, “Gymp”.


11. Driving clothes that would consist of:  one pair black leather gloves, one black leather “puffy” cap, black leather boots, chaps, and jacket.  And, of course, mirrored sunglasses.


     When I imagine my personalized “ride” above, my fears of immobility just seem to lessen!  Food for thought…

Where's OUR Parade?...

     How many of you loyal "Cheese" readers are aware next Monday, March 5th, begins the nation's observation of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week?  Hmmm...just as I thought.  I guess this means there will be no parade in my (or your) honor and no flowers or chocolates on my desk! LOL

     Maybe, had the National MS Society or one of it's partners teamed up with those Breast Cancer Awareness MONTH people (yes, the boobs DO get a full month of "awareness"), more of the general public might KNOW about our quiet, little week of "awareness".  Perhaps in October, the BCA public relations people might tack on a little diddy about OUR week in March directly into THEIR ads.  It could go something like this:  "I Run For Life (the breast cancer awareness slogan) and I Walk For MS...Because 40 Percent of Those With MS CAN'T Run."  Whaddaya think?!?

     I'll jump off my soap box on this one, because I've already lamented about my thoughts regarding MS Awareness back in October, 2006 (see  Where's MY Parade?!?... ), and the wonderful but somewhat too advertised Breast Cancer Awareness Month (seriously, was JUST a comparison!).  And I've already WHINED about our (Mser's) lack of collective exposure in the media.

     Every year, I donate a small portion of my personal funds to the MS Society because I can...I am employed and I make a decent salary, unlike many people with MS, who are no longer able to work.  Every year, I order a few dozen of the MS Bands Of Hope (although admittedly this year, I just did it today!) and I randomly distribute them wherever I see fit...this makes me "feel" good...I am allowed to have a deluded sense of participation in "the cause".

     But lately, I've had this nagging sense of guilt in the pit of my gut about my "awareness" of MS.  Yes, it IS true...I HAVE MS...what more "awareness" do I need?!?  LOL  And I write this trite and trivial blog about MS...I mean, geez!  What more could MS WANT from me?!?  I have to WORK full time, support my OWN "cause", and try to manage my fatigue to get by...surely MS can figure out I don't have the time or the energy to DONATE more or VOLUNTEER?!?

     But, still it nags me.  I'm not exactly certain what may unfold in my own process of "Raising MS Awareness" this year.  I am NOT one who enjoys doing anything BIG...I am more of a behind-the-scenes type of donor/volunteer.  I like to organize things and then let someone ELSE take over (and do the work!)...I like to give directly where I can see immediate results of my giving (because I lack the attention span to wait!).  This complicates even the simplest of volunteer work, such as stuffing envelopes at my local MS Chapter!  LOL

     I hope you will make effort this year and next week to "Raise MS Awareness" in any ways you can be as simple as talking to someone about YOUR experiences (or if you are reading this, Mr. Gates, donating large portions of your mega bucks to MS research is a wonderful START!).  Whatever you choose to do next week starting March 5th, know that you are NOT alone in your struggles OR your "cause"...and know that YOU make a difference!

     And for the rest of you local yahoo's reading "Cheese"...I prefer salmon-colored roses and Godiva chocolates if you MUST bring me something in honor of MY MS Awareness Week! LOL 

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hide And Seek...Except I'm Not Searching!...

     When I was much younger and far wiser than I am now (?), my neighbor friend and I used to roam the streets of our village (all two of them!) often accompanied by her little brother.  We hated taking little brother "Z" with us and would try to "ditch" him at every opportunity.  One of our favorite ways to do this was to outsmart the seven year old by convincing him we were going to play a game of Hide -n- Seek with him.

     The game usually began in one of two ways...we would either convince him to hide his eyes while we were "allegedly" seeking out great locations to disguise ourselves in, OR we would convince him we would hide OUR eyes and he needed to find the most secret place to wait for us to discover him.

     In either version of the game, once little "Z" had begun his count from 50 backwards or we began our count, my friend and I would take off running without his knowing our goal was to disappear off his radar and spend the rest of our day without him in our company!  It did work every time.  To this very day, I still wonder if little "Z" ever caught on to our trickery.

     I bring up this childhood memory as my current example of how I am treating my Multiple Sclerosis.  You see, for the past 7 - 10 days, I have actually been feeling pretty good...despite some odd numbness in the left side of my face, a tad bit of residual vertigo, and a bit more fatigue than usual.  I know THAT description might cause alarm to could I be feeling "good" with all of THAT going on?!?

     But, my previous 3 months of functioning were plagued with DAILY reminders, big and small, of my MS.  And each day I grew less and less hopeful I would EVER emerge on the other side of my current relapse.  I am giddy to report today, I believe I AM finally surfacing on the other side of this disease!!!

     The wonderful thing about feeling better is this:  I can leave my MS counting backwards from 50 and run off and enjoy my day.  It doesn't have to tag along with me.  It doesn't have to bother me right now.  It is is probably still "looking" for me even as I type, but I am not looking for it and MS is having a harder time FINDING me right now! 

     The only worry I have in my little game with my MS is, I just hope "it" doesn't run home and tell it's mother I'm not playing fair...LOL

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Leave It To Those "Canucks"...

     While the United States continues to funnel billions of dollars into an unending war in the Middle East (no bias here!), CANADA has been quietly spending some of its resources funding Multiple Sclerosis research.  Yes, it's true...our polite neighbors to the north have made a big discovery in Calgary...leave it to the Canadians to discover a major break through in MS research!

     Dr. Wee Young and his snap team of research experts announced yesterday that PROLACTIN (which is a hormone produced during pregnancy in females...sorry, boys!) may repair already damaged nerve cells in MS!  It has long been observed and known that pregnant women with Multiple Sclerosis appear to have a remission of MS symptoms...what has not been known is "why".  Prolactin appears to be that mystery key.

     The Calgary research team took pregnant, female mice with spinal cord injury (sorry animal rights not kill the messenger...I'm just reporting the news!), and compared them to non-pregnant female mice.  They observed TWICE as much myelin repair in the prego mice than in the non-knocked up mice.  This got them thinking (which I'm not certain USA scientists are allowed to do much of anymore...think independently)...

     They wondered if the higher levels of PROLACTIN in the pregnant mice might be the culprit (I'll reference a bit about PROLACTIN later), so they injected the hormone into some non-pregnant female mice and...TADA!  They saw an increase in myelin repair in the "virgin" mice (hey, that's what the scientists called them...I'm not disputing the "meeces" sexual habits here!) as well.

     So, what does it all mean, Alfy?  Should we all run out now and get "one in the oven" ladies?  Probably not...I, for one, would rather have MS symptoms than a lifetime of motherhood!  LOL  AND...the increase in the PROLACTIN hormone ONLY occurs when pregnant or with continued breast-feeding.

     BUT...this research could become very important to the MS community.  AndI'm so glad the Canadians are putting so much energy into it.  If you'd like to read more about this study, here's a link: .

     Now, back to PROLACTIN 101...I will neither humor you nor bore you with MY shaky medical knowledge about this hormone!  If you'd like to read something more in depth, I suggest Wikipedia:  Prolactin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .

     I WILL, however, leave you with one of the oldest and most offensive "hormone" jokes I can dust off from the shelves of the great library of my mind...a library that closes periodically for various violations: 

Question:  Do you know how to make a hormone?

Answer:  Don't pay her.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy President's Day???...

     Another recognized "holiday" in which we will not receive any mail service or be able to withdraw money from INSIDE a bank (what ATMs were created for anyway!)...oh yeah, and anyone who sells ANYTHING will have that product on sale today!  That's kind of what this particular holiday has boiled down to, isn't it?  But why IS that?

     I was pondering (as I often do when I'm drooling and laying in bed) PRESIDENT'S DAY today and it's meaning.  Allegedly two of our greatest presidents had birthdays which fell in the month of February (but I haven't seen any birth certificates to prove this one way or another...thus "allegedly".  LOL).  And I started to wonder why these two past presidents in particular are "honored" (stretching it here) with a day of remembrance in their birth month, while other past presidents are not.  What was it about these two American "heroes" that caused the people of the the United States to feel a need to pause and remember their contributions to the political landscape?

     One thing I have always known is, hindsight is 20/20 (a case you were wondering).  I certainly wasn't around during President Washington OR President Lincolns leadership era (although I think my very young nephew would think I was!), so I have little to say about what they did or didn't do for the American people during the country's early years.  I only have the wonderful source of HISTORY to rely on for information.  And as we all know, history is fluid...always changing...based on the storytellers perception.  So I can neither agree with nor deny these past presidents' legend.

     America is, however, a country that NEEDS heroes...we NEED someone to look up to and remember or respect.  I think one of the major problems in American society today (note I say "one of"...) is a lack of respect for others and particularly authority figures.  And I believe this lack of respect has evolved for several reasons...the first being, respect is both EARNED and TAUGHT.  I believe our "authority figures" have too often ceased to earn our respect and we have also not been teaching our children this simple principle.  It's a vicious cycle.

     I watch the current presidential candidates for 2008 pop up like weeds in my yard and I wonder which one or "ones", if any, will succeed in gaining the RESPECT of the American people?...after all, we've grown a bit cynical of our leadership of the country in the past few decades.  Will whoever wins the next presidential election earn the RESPECT of the people to the same extent Washington or Lincoln did?  Will our future President get his or her own holiday or parade?  These are the ideas I ponder today...

     Now I'm off now to hit the ATM and withdraw money from my account/salary, which is paid for by Washington State tax payers...and you secretly thought I was "anti-government", didn't you?!? LOL...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Things I Have Heard, Read, Or Seen This Week That Have Pissed Me Off...Without Further Explanation..

     Ever have one of those weeks where the world offers you many situations to challenge your mental strength?  I've had one this past week...and unfortunately, I've found myself feeling a tad bit frustrated and angry over MANY of these situations! 

     As a behaviorist and working in the psych field, I'm fully aware it is one's PERCEPTION of events or situations that create feeling...anger included.  So I'm thinking perhaps I may need to do a bit of soul-searching to delve into this issue and get to the "root of my problem"! 

     One way to do this type of self-digging (that really sounds a bit perverse, eh?  LOL) is to journal.  I not only keep this blog rolling, but I DO also keep a journal as well.  Today I'm a bit pressed for time, so I thought I'd just leave you with a "blitz" list of things I've encountered this week that have irritated'll just have to make up your own context for the following "Things I Have Heard, Read, Or Seen This Week That Have Pissed Me Off:

1.  "She's really having a hard time right now, so you need to cut her some slack" (regarding someone's habitual bad behavior).

2.  Drivers distracted in traffic or at lights because they are talking on their cell phones.

3.  "You people never do anything to help(us)" (said by someone unhappy with my decision).

4.  "I wasn't on the schedule, so I didn't think I was supposed to work" (without checking to verify this).

5.  "We've just been slammed" (with a work load).

6.  "She's just using her MS for political gain."

7.  A "tardy" notice regarding a mailed bill with a check that has yet to clear the bank because the power company has admittedly lost it.

8.  People who say they'll meet you at a certain time, but are never ON time.

9.  Repeated dropped cell phone calls (aren't we past this problem technologically?!?).

10.  Lazy people...truly lazy people...not disabled people or challenged people, but lazy people.

11.  People who make more work for others by trying to avoid working.

12.  Light bulbs that blow out after dark...and not remembering where the replacements are.

13.  People who drive with their stereo base so loud in their cars, it shakes my living room windows.

14.  Door to door sales people or door to door "proselytizers".

15.  "That's unacceptable".

16.  "I don't know" (without offering to find out).

17.  Drive through fast food places that take longer to complete your transaction then if you'd just walked in the door in the first place.

18.  Chemo hair.

19.  Sales clerks that repeatedly ask you if you'd like to open an account in their store.

20.  Telemarketers...especially the ones who remain on the line after two minutes of laying the phone down and returning to see if they are gone! that's a BIG list I have to work with in my self-exploration this week!  And I'm sure I'll "get right on that"...LOL

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Will It Help Or Hurt Us?...

     Interesting reading out there in the land of political garbage...I just read an article regarding an interview with Republican candidate, Mitt Romney's know, the potential first lady with Multiple Sclerosis?  Or maybe I should say the FORMER first lady of Massachusetts?  She DID serve in that role already while Mitt was governor of the state.

     What is very interesting about her (and her hubby's) situation and disclosure she has MS is this:  Nobody really seems to care.  The mass media is too focused on the notion this man is...I say with a "religophobe" whisper...close your ears all you Right-Winged Protestants...A MORMON!  How could it be so?!?

     I am chuckling with delight over THIS one...the man has a wife with MS, is a Republican, AND he practices the Mormon faith...the only thing better would be if he were gay!

     Most likely his wife's MS will take a far back seat in his bid for the Presidency, which is actually somewhat sad.  After all, it's rare Multiple Sclerosis GETS this kind of national exposure...and it sounds as if MS has taken a back seat in the life of the former Massachusetts first lady as well, which is NOT sad...I don't wish this disease on anyone and she seems to be doing quite well, or so she says.  (Of note:  Both Mitt and wife oppose stem cell research for religious and moral reasons...just thought you should know.)

     My biggest fear is, the extremely strange and FAR right-winged from this man's political affiliation, will somehow tie in his wife's MS to some type of affliction GOD has given her because of her religious beliefs!!!  She's a (said with a whisper) MORMON after all!  And you know that dude from Kansas who goes around protesting at funerals?  Well, this would be right up his...ah...alley!

      Bless their hearts...Mitt Romney isn't someone I'd necessarily choose for President, but we all deserve a far chance.  I just hope the MS cause doesn't get slung with the mud (and crap) that's about to fly over THIS one...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Haven't Been THIS Tired Since I Had That "Kissing Disease"...

     For someone who is a chronic insomniac (that would be me), my recent sleep patterns are a bit disturbing...the fact that I'm sleeping A LOT is quite strange!  And I can honestly say I haven't slept this much since I was 16 and came down with a severe case of know...the "kissing disease"?!?  And trust me, there's been no deep-tongue, lip smacking going on HERE lately...unless you count smooching my cat, Meha, now and then.  LOL

     The only plausible explanation I can come up with is a medically based one...the Novantrone has plummeted my cell counts.  Remember waaaaay back when I was lamenting about the function and side effects of Novantrone AKA, the "blue juice"?  Well, it's action is to interfere with and wipe out rapidly growing/dividing cells, which includes the blood cells.  It is believed Novantrone interferes with the White Blood Cell Counts which, if you recall from MS 101, are thought to be responsible for the development of plaques in the MS brain (funny...I just typed "plague in the MS brain"...really the same thing, isn't it?).

     But the problem with Novantrone is, it's just not very also interferes with platelets and Red Blood Cells.  And those sweet, lil' old RBC's are what carry oxygen around to vital organs like...say...THE BRAIN!!!  And one could argue I've been hypoxic (without oxygen) to my brain my whole life, but I believe it may be a bit worse now!  LOL

     I have noticed even the smallest of exertion causes me to feel winded also.  Walking up a small flight of steps gives me pause.  And the overwhelming need to take a nap (sometimes twice in a day) is just not like me...I tend to be someone who runs on a 4-6 hour sleep schedule...getting any more sleep than that, just feels "lazy".  LOL

     Today will be the true test of my stamina as I return to work...I have been off work on a 6 (7, if you count taking off last Friday for my infusion) day furlough from my job, which has been wonderful...I've been afforded the luxury of "cat napping" whenever the mood strikes me.  But my work demands not only my attention, but also that I remain AWAKE!  Work can be sooo dayum demanding, can't it?!?

     The other "wonderful" idea about Novantrone is, usually one's blood counts don't completely bottom out until between the 10th and 14th day post infusion...I'm on number 7.  I can hardly WAIT to experience what "might" happen in another 3 to 7 days!!!  It may take a stick of dynamite to blow my arse out of bed by then...or a fairy tale kiss from someone on a white horse.  I'll keep you posted.  LOL  But I imagine the end result will be the dynamite...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Opinions Are Like Bellybuttons...

     The title of this post?  Well, it's another "Peg-ism"...a well-worn saying my mother used to use often when hearing something she didn't like!  The actual quote she would repeat is, "Opinions are like bellybuttons...everybody has one!"  (And yes, that photo really IS of a bellybutton!)

     It wasn't until much later in life I heard my mother's famous quote change.  And I had no idea SHE had actually changed the saying to begin with!  What I heard "other" mature (?) people saying was, "Opinions are like A-holes...everybody has one."

     Now, seeing as how my mother wouldn't say "crap" even if she had a mouthful of it (yet another Pegism!), I can understand her wanting to change that three-lettered word (the other name for a donkey) into something much more palatable!  But I really think the original saying is just much more "on target"...I mean, how offensive IS a bellybutton anyway?!?

     So, in an effort to stay with the spirit of this post (because ALL of my posts are so "spiritful"  LOL), I'd like to take this opportunity to join the ranks of the A-holes and offer my opinion about OTHER PEOPLE'S OPINIONS!!!I'm talking about this mornings addition of the's the link if you're interested: .

     You may recall (or not) yesterday's post about the Sacramento Mayor, Heather Fargo, announcing she has had MS for the past 10 years?  And if you don't "recall" it, go read the post again...I'm not your mother...there will be no spoon feeding here!  LOL  Anyway, I digress...

     The above linked article is a more detailed explanation and interview about WHY Mayor Fargo has chosen to come out of the MS closet at this time.  It seems she has recently had her diagnosis changed from Relapsing and Remitting MS to Secondary Progressive MS and sheis apparently having greater difficulty with her symptoms.

     I am not one who usually READS the comment sections of web articles or newspapers (I DO read the comment section of blogs, however!) because...well...opinions ARE like A-holes and I'm not all that interested in someone else's opinion!  LOL  I'm too busy with my own.  But, I DID happen upon the opinions in the section of today's article...and I was just blown away.

     It seems there are constituents from the fine city of Sacramento who think Mayor Fargo is simply using her MS for political gain.  Now...(taking a deep breath) I am not from Sacramento and had never even heard of Mayor Fargo until yesterday, so I really have no basis to dispute any of her past politics or decisions as a mayor.  She may rule as a dictator for all I know.  But, our common denominator together is this:  WE BOTH HAVE MS.

     So, in defense of MS and NOT MAYOR FARGO, I say this:  Leave it to you simple-minded, arrogant, pinheaded, malicious, off-base, maligning, antagonistic, pathetic, self-righteous, A-HOLES to assert that someone with MS would USE THE DISEASE FOR POLITICAL GAIN!!!  Like she had/has a choice to "use" it at all?!?  MS is not some kind of garment that can be worn when convenient and changed out of when one doesn't feel like wearing it, you silly cows!  Once it (MS) is here, it's here to stay.  The fact she chose not to reveal her condition until now SHOULD speak more to our society's lack of acceptance of disabilities/disease than as a political manipulation.  And your pretentious claim to "know" why and when someone with MS chooses to disclose their status only speaks to your FLAMING IGNORANCE!  YOU are the very reason I would choose to stay in a MS closet, my ill-informed foes.

     There...I definitely feel better.  And I fully accept my place in the opinionated A-Hole Hall of Fame...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another One Out Of The Closet...

     As I was perusing my usual stops this morning on MS blogs and MS news, I ran across this article:  News - Mayor Fargo tells City Council she has multiple sclerosis - .  Apparently, Sacramento California mayor, Heather Fargo, announced to her city council she has Multiple Sclerosis.  This announcement came on the heels of a 10 year struggle with the disease, which she has kept "mum" about all these years.

     I applaud her for "coming out" of the MS closet and also respect her need to have remained in that closet for so long.  It is a very precarious balancing act public figures play when dealing with chronic diseases:  To tell or not to tell.  I have no idea what the details are that changed her mind to make this announcement now, but I'm glad she did.  The more exposure the general public has to what MS looks like, the more knowledgeable and understanding they might be.

     I took the time to send Mayor Fargo an email today thanking her for her announcement.  I also told her I would be posting her Sacramento Gov. email address on my blog so others who read CHEESE could send her well-wishes also if they chose to.  I've not heard any response from her, but that's really not my point. 

     My point is in supporting ALL people living with MS, public figures or not.  It does seem the higher one climbs up the food chain, the less the "little people" are inclined to show their support...maybe this is because we "little people" assume those in the public eye already HAVE all the support and resources they need.

     If you are so inclined to do so, Mayor Fargo's email address is: .  Drop her a line and lend some support nationwide.  I let her know I am not even a California resident, but her story has reached me in Washington state and I am pleased she has chosen to join the "MS team"...I'm not sure she is thrilled about it however...


**Oh...and Happy VD to you today...(Valentine's Day)!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

From There To Here...

     One of my well-meaning "peeps" stood to correct me today after reading yesterday's post about the Grammy's.  She said, "But you're not FROM Texas either".  In my mind, she wins on a technicality!

     It IS true...unlike Sbbridges (see yesterday's post comments), I was NOT born in Texas.  I was actually born in a very small farm village in Nebraska in the 1960's.  I spent the majority of my youth attending a tiny rural school, working in the fields in the summer time, and dreaming of another place I could eventually call "home".

     Life on the isolated plains in the Midwest was no cake walk...winters were bitterly cold and summers were unbearably hot.  There were no allowances paid for work done around the family was PWT (poor white trash), and anything other than our room and board had to be earned outside the home.  I started working every summer by the age of nine, either painting houses with my father (E.P.), and/or working in the fields cutting shatter cane, weeding 1/2 mile rows of beans, or detassling mile long rows of corn...these days started at 5:00AM and ended when dusk slowly arrived.

     I lived through tornadoes and floods, droughts and blizzards.  As a child, I didn't know there even WAS another world out there other than what I would see on TV...the nearest town with any substantial population was 100 miles away.  But I never stopped being curious and "wondering" what might lay hidden just beyond the cornfields.

     I went to a small state college after high school, earning a scholastic scholarship and a basketball initial studies were in Language Arts/Drama and Sports Education.  The college was located practically IN the Missouri river in Southeastern Nebraska...I spent two years there.  Somewhere during my first year of college however, I got the "bright" idea to change my major and began a pre-nursing program...this was after never having had ANY chemistry, anatomy, or physics in high school!  Whatever...never tell a young and aspiring youth they can't DO something!

     After my second year in college, I transferred to a private nursing school in Lincoln, NE, and spent the next 3 years there full-time emptying bedpans and learning the "ropes".  I worked two jobs to support myself...when not at the hospital as a student, I was there as a glorified nursing technician earning about $6.00/hour...that job, and cleaning a large church at midnight every Saturday night, was more than enough to keep me busy and out of trouble!

     My final months of nursing school found me "itching" to get as far away from the Plains as possible...Texas seemed the furthest destination!  I HAD visited Texas as a very young child and the allure of the urban cowboy myth kept tapping on my subconscious.  One week after passing our nursing boards, two friends and I loaded up their cars and a UHaul and moved to the Lone Star State.

     Houston, TX, was my first stop in a big city...and, I fell in love with it.  The people were friendly, the winters were warm, and nearly EVERYONE had access to a pool in the summer time!  What's not to like about that?!?  I established my life and my profession in Houston and it remains the place I call "home".

     In the mid 1990's, I once again packed up my belongings (most likely foolishly as I was following a "love" to my next destination!) and headed blindly to the Great Pacific Northwest/Seattle...I have remained here ever since.  I like Seattle...I really do.  But it's just not the same as good ol' Texas and Houston in particular.  And, I've yet to refer to Seattle as my "home".

     They say "home" is where the heart is...I can't really say if G.W. Bush has his heart in Texas...I'm not even all that certain he HAS a heart!  LOL  And where we are BORN is not necessarily where we find "home".  What's most important is that we FIND a place we can call "home".

      So, as I said yesterday...I kind of have to cut our 43rd President some slack.   We ALL have to be from somewhere, we ALL need a place we call "home", but that doesn't mean we necessarily have to LIKE our neighbors!  LOL...

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Mammies Swept The Grammy's...

     Or maybe the title of this post should be "The Political Statement of the Music Industry"?  LOL 

     Wasn't it just a few, short years ago the Dixie Chicks were taboo in every home West of the Mississippi and in any home with a collective IQ below 100?!?  And I'm pretty certain I saw even Reba McEntire applauding during one of their award presentations (they took 5 Grammy Awards last night)...she was one of the outspoken Country & Western singers that condemned the Dixie Chicks practically to hell for Natalie Maine's comment in London, circa know the one... "Just so you know, we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."  And just so "all y'all" know, I claim my home as Houston, TX, and I'm not exactly "thrilled" our 43th President is from this state either...but I suppose we ALL have to be from somewhere, so...LOL

     I broke my tradition last night and actually WATCHED the Grammy Awards...because I was tired and bored AND I have no life!  I was pleasantly shocked at the volume of female vocalists who not only performed for the event, but also took home awards.  And if you also saw the awards, didn't Mary J. Blige look wonderful and sound fabulous?  And who knew Justin Timberlake could actually SING?!?  I just thought he was some hot shot little twirp that exposed Janet Jackson's headlight on national TV during last year's Super Bowl half time show...who knew he could really belt out a tune?!?

     There were several performers I had never heard of, which isn't exactly a news flash...I don't get out much! LOL  Most looked to be barely out of their teens, which only added to my, "I'm getting too old for this crap" attitude regarding what is "hip" or "hop" in the music world and society in general.  But many of them didn't look even old enough to be  out of diapers! 

     Of course, now-a-days there's no "moratorium" on age when one should stop wearing diapers (See yesterday's post re:  Astronaut wearing diapers)...but I digress from the music industry to the space industry...LOL  Yet another "news worthy" event involving too much estrogen...   


Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Feel Good...Ouwww!....

     Pretty hard to type ol' James Brown's squeal, but hey...I tried!

     Seriously though, I DO feel good...or at least I don't feel any worse post Novantrone than I felt pre-Novantrone.  I am somewhat disappointed today, however, that my urine has lost it's radioactive green glow...all good things must come to an end, I suppose.  LOL

     I am truly amazed I feel as good as I do...I had anticipated the worst and seem to have gotten the best out of any possible side effects Novantrone COULD have brought me.  I've had some very mild nausea off and on...but, if I compare it to the nausea of December when my vertigo was so bad I wanted to rip my own stomach out...this is nothing.  THIS, I can live with easily.

     So, what's on my mind today?  Well, not a whole heck of a lot.  There IS one news story of this past week that keeps floating around in my brain because of it's absurdity, but I have only whispered about it among colleagues.  We are all reserving the right to our opinion while we await word of psychological testing.  You know the one...the NASA female astronaut in diapers?!?

      All I can say about this news story IS this:  If our dear loon walker (I meant "moon walker"...oops!) ISN'T just plain lay man's terms, circus freak crazy, then she's definitely going to give all the "normal" people out there a bad reputation!!!  I mean, we all know love is blind...but I think even "Love" stops to use a toilet when the urge hits!  LOL  I cannot WAIT to hear the outcome on THIS one!

     Other than watching the news of the world, I've really got little to write about or report.  All seems to be relatively well and stable in my little microcosm.  I rather like having little that interests me in my life helps me stay focused on feeling GOOD!  Ouwww!!!...

Friday, February 9, 2007

Yellow + Blue = Green!...

     I am peeing Mountain Dew...or at least my urine color "looks" like Mt. Dew!  It's quite the shade of green tonight.  That blue dye Novantrone wasted no time discoloring my bodily functions...way cool, if you ask me!  LOL

     My infusion has appeared to go far.  I'm still holding my breath for any signs of nausea, but I'm actually doing far better than I had anticipated...of course, I had planned and prepared for ANY disaster with the Novantrone...and much to my delight, this has pretty much been a cake walk during the past few hours post infusion, I must admit.

     Here's something I found (and find) most annoying however.  Bathrooms with auto exhaust fans and auto flushes.  You may be asking yourself right now how either of these topics could have ANYTHING to do with my infusion today (I ask myself repeatedly how ANYTHING I write about on CHEESE is pertinent at're not alone.  LOL)...I'll get to that connection shortly.

     Ok, the auto exhaust fans in bathrooms DON'T have any connection to my infusion, but I bring it up as an example to make my point (and I DO have one...a point, that is).  I'm really peeved nonetheless whenever I enter a public bathroom, flip on the lightswitch so I can see to do my "business", and an exhaust fan automatically begins to hum.  What is that about?  Like someone has already predetermined ANYTHING I do in that bathroom is going to create a "smell"?!?  I resent this (LOL).  I am a mature woman who should be able to discern if my "business" has created a scent...but no...that privilege has been stripped from me!

     Likewise, auto flush toilets...and my point and connection with today's infusion. 

     Club Med is a high-tech, state of the art should insurance company has surely purchased a wing there already with the amount of charges I have racked up in a year!  And this is where I go for all of my infusions, Novantrone included.  So, in their effort to remain on top of the high-tech medicine game, Club Med has auto flush toilets in their infusion lab (because patients obviously can't be trusted to say goodbye to their own waste products!).

     Today after my infusion, I high-tailed it into the bathroom because: A)  I'd just received a mother load of fluids IV, and B)  I really wanted to see if the Novantrone was already discoloring my urine...I'm just curious like that (I look at accidents on the freeway, me crazy! LOL).

     So, I'm in the "pod" bathroom doing my "business" and, like a kid at Easter, trying to finish up quickly so I can take a scientific gander at my pee...THIS is exciting after all.  LOL  I complete my "business" and stand up to reconcile my clothing when, all of a sudden, I hear the loud and startling suction of the auto flush toilet begin to evacuate my prize bowl!  I nearly broke my own neck twisting my head around like an owl to peer into the porcelain God before gravity whisked my urine out of sight! 

     I only caught glimpse of the tail of the water funnel before it was gone forever...but I am proud to report...IT WAS LIME GREEN!!!  Sometimes, one has to rely on the "little things" to entertain us and make the most uncomfortable of situations bearable...LOL

In Honor Of Mondovapova And Corrine...

<--------THIS is what they seem to think I will look like following my Novantrone today...and here I am fretting over the potential "vomit factor"!  LOL

Novantrone Blues...

     The countdown for Novantrone today begins...I go into the infusion center at Club Med around 2:00PM for my first dose of the "blue juice".  I am admittedly anxious about times, even somewhat panicked to be quite honest!  I even had a very bizarre dream last night about riding on a school bus with a bunch of children and the blonde bus driver collapses...I am forced to try to stop the bus without getting anyone killed and manage all the children...but when I am finally able to get them off the bus and I try to exit, I am trapped inside because I have an IV connected to me that I can't get undone.  Freud (or any other psych nut) would have a hayday with THIS dream! LOL

     I'm not exactly certain WHY my anxiety about THIS particular drug is so high.  After all, for the past 4 years, I've submitted myself to multiple medications that have made me sick...even injecting them into myself.  You'd think I'd be used to the "drama" of Multiple Sclerosis by now! LOL

     I think there is just something completely out of balance in knowing the drug I am about to receive KILLS cells, to be exact..."things" my body has obviously worked seemingly flawlessly to produce.  And I realize these "things" may be the damning source of all of my problems, but they're STILL my cells.  I tend to have a deep-rooted belief they must be there for a reason somehow or I wouldn't have an abundance of white blood cells (and all the others Novantrone may target in its attack!).

     I've got my "peeps" on standby to go with me and wipe my brow should I get nauseated and (God forbid) need to vomit...a few others reachable by phone should any unforeseen "event" take place.  This is quite I have said many times in this blog, I have somehow managed to find and maintain some of the best friends in the world (and you KNOW who you are, too!).  I do trust their ability to "check in" should I unexpectedly "check out" at anytime.  LOL

     It IS rather difficult to write an upbeat or funny post today, however...the best I can hope for is, somewhere inside me, I will find the humor in my current "drama"...perhaps not today, but at some point.  But for now, I must go complete a load of laundry and finish making my bed as well as spruce up the hut a bit...I don't want to be bothered with any of these silly details when I get home later today.  Actually, I kind of don't want to be "bothered" at all today...

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I Forgive Them...

     Two medical appointments in two days...BOTH running an hour late.  Both practitioners are women...neither had a "medical emergency" or surgery to perform...there was no earthquake or natural disaster delaying their commute to work...I doubt there was a missed bus, train, or plane in their commutes to the offices...there did not appear to be any physical injuries on either one of their bodies to explain the timing...there were no screams heard in the lobbies or in exam rooms, causing one to think "someone" might be in crisis.  This, my friends, is just the standard these days in the medical world...a loose "I'll get there when I get there" schedule and...I forgive them!  LOL

     What I have come to know about BOTH of my practitioners, Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named and my wonderful A.R.N.P./Primary care person is, they will typically be late because they are actually HELPING people.  Neither presents in a "rush" when it is finally my time to be seen...both sit down and chat as if they have all the time in the world.  Both are attentive and listen to what I need during my 15-20 minutes of undivided attention.  It's easy to forgive them for their lack of sticking to the "clock", but it doesn't make it any less annoying when I feel MY schedule poking me in the shoulder and demanding I be somewhere at a certain time AFTER my appointments!

     I didn't plan well yesterday for my appointment with Dr. SWWNBN...I was already expected into my work "late" because of the timing of my appointment.  In my work world, being LATE is not an option...I do crisis work after all...people just don't seem capable of putting their "crisis" on hold until I get there!  LOL  So as time quickly ticked off the clock while I sat in the waiting room (funny now that the lobby is called that, isn't it?!?), I was making calls to my workplace to try to give a guesstimate what time I might arrive in...cases were waiting for me to complete.

     After a literal hour wait, Dr. SWWNBN flew into my room like a gnat in a wind tunnel, regrouped, and proceeded to discuss with me my neuro "plan" and examined me.  Sheadvised me I looked "neurologically good", whatever that means! LOL  We chatted, we bantered, and then I left hurriedly to get to MY work.

     Today, after a literal hour wait, PP, my A.R.N.P., came into my exam room looking a bit worn for wear and I could not resist asking, "Tough day at the office, dear?"  She fortunately laughed, sat down, and proceeded to spend a great deal of time with me getting "caught up" on my health status without once looking at a clock.  I left feeling good about my visit.  AND, I did not have to report anywhere today following this appointment so my stress level was a bit lower (as was my blood pressure...woohoo!).

     The one thing I can say that has been helpful for me with all of my frequent medical stops and appointments is this:  MS has taught me to be patient, but not to be A patient...there's a big difference!  And, I am learning the fine art of being able to finesse when being "on time" is really important and when "spending time" outweighs the clock...and my two, favorite practitioners are excellent teachers!...

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Count Down To Novantrone...

     I go in today for my pre-Novantrone, fireside chat with Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named...of course, she does not have a fire place in her office...I only add that for calming effect.  LOL 

     I am still scheduled to receive the blue carpet dye on Friday (Novantrone)...admittedly, I am nervous about this process and post infusion side effects.  I have several of my friends on gastro standby (in case I need to call someone for "puking events") and another person who plans to go with me to the infusion to "watch over" the process...although highly unlikely I would EVER be unable to speak for myself, that's what she'll be there for!  Or, to shut me up...which ever is needed.  LOL

     One of my friends has volunteered to collect the dog hair from her two Labrador dogs and make me a hat/wig combination should my hair thin or fall out...I suppose one should never look a gift horse in the mouth.  LOL  Other than the hair issue, I think I've got every other imaginable  and yet unforeseeable problem's nice to put my "worry" into motion.

     I still have a busy week ahead of me BEFORE Friday, so I'm hoping not to exhaust myself too much in the next 3 days...I will work my 9 hours today after seeing Dr. SWWNBN, have another medical appointment tomorrow morning and spend my only day off "preparing" for Friday (i.e., grocery shopping, some cleaning, etc.), attend an all too early staff meeting Thursday morning and turn around and work the afternoon for another 9 hours...then...Friday will be upon me.

     I guess it's probably best to keep myself busy this week allows me less time to ruminate!  LOL

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Something I Find Annoying And Concerning...

     In my personal quest over the past 4 years to find accurate and practical information about the medications used to treat Multiple Sclerosis, I have run across only a FEW sites and sources that I have found useful.  Most of the "googled" sites are either written by the drug manufacturers themselves or included in study data that is quite difficult to decipher unless you have a PhD in physics!  I have searched and searched for HONEST information about the ABC's/CRAB drugs (those nasty injectables), IVIg, Tysabri, and now Novantrone, only to discover there's really no GOOD site where patients THEMSELVES can go to document their personal experiences with these drugs.  I'd like to change that...

     I wish I had the knowledge and the where-with-all to establish a website for this purpose, but I don't...I haven't the faintest CLUE how websites are made, produced, or placed on the Internet (MDMHVONPA?!?  Computer geek that you are...).  I also understand there is liability with written words even on the Internet (yeah, they're lining up to sue me now!).  But wouldn't it be nice to have a place where MSers could go and read REAL experiences in a concise and practical manner without fear of condemnation for their experience or fear of being told "it's all in your head" when talking about the effects these potent drugs have on us? 

     I'm weary of surfing MS blogs for this information and trying to hunt and pick through sites to find a morsel of usable content.  So, what I'm proposing to "all y'all" MSers out there who do drive bys here on CHEESE is this:  I'd like to be able to document your honest experiences with any and all of the MS drugs in some sort of post that I could link over on the side of this webpage.  And to do that, I'll need your input, your thoughts, your writing, YOUR experience!

     What I am proposing is each of you either place your experiences in the comment section of CHEESE or, better yet, send me an email that you wouldn't mind seeing in a post here in your own words.  I will gladly accept responsibility for the disclaimer of "not everyone will experience the same effects", blahty blah! LOL  I'd like you to write about the good, the bad, and the ugly (of course leaving out expletives that AOL might "ban" me from using!) of your experiences with any of the drugs used to treat MS.  I'd like for it to be in YOUR OWN WORDS and your experience uncensored (except for the expletives!).

     If you feel so inclined to participate in my little science project, please answer the following questions as well in your writing:

1.  Which drug(s) you have taken, what you currently might be taking, and how long you've been on your current regimen.

2.  Any untoward side effects YOU'VE encountered...regardless if they are documented as a possible side effect of the drug(s).

3.  What you may have used or tried as a means of combating any side effects (like other medications, home remedies, diet, etc.)

4.  Whether you feel the drug(s) has been useful in controlling your MS symptoms and what those symptoms are/were and also your current diagnosis (RRMS, PPMS, SPMS, etc.)

     If enough of you MSers choose to participate, I will compile your information (and use your name or screen name with your permission only) into one hopefully LONG-ARSED post that can be linked to over on the side bar of CHEESE.  I look forward to hearing from you soon...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

A Day Without MS, Is Like A Day Without...?

     Well, you just fill in your OWN blank on the title of this post!  And trust me, I personally wouldn't be putting the word "sunshine" at the end of that sentence either!

     I really, really wish for a day without MS...selfishly, in my OWN life (and it would certainly be OK for any of YOU with MS to have a day without it, too...I'm not THAT selfish! LOL).  I've grown quite bored with this's just not "fun" anymore...not that it ever WAS fun, but at least I could try to make some sort of medical mystery out of it in my least there used to be somewhat of an element of "intrigue" for me.

     But I've read most of the CRAP in print about Multiple Sclerosis...I've followed the progression of this drug or that...I've TAKEN most of the MS progression-stopper drugs, I've studied up on the nervous system, reviewed my own MRI's, developed a circle of "MS friends", donated money to the MS Society, walked the MS walk, and LIVED in an MS body.  And frankly, I'm just plain bored with it!  LOL

     Today, I awoke with my left foot feeling like it is permanently going to sleep...or at least like waking up from one of those horrible, nerv-y, pins and needles situations, like when I've sat on my leg way too long in some unusual position and cut off the circulation to my Nether Regions.  You know the kind/feeling.  Even NORMAL people report this (just so all of you "normal" people who read CHEESE can relate!  I think there's like maybe TWO of you?!? LOL).  And I have to say, INITIALLY the sensation was "interesting"...for about the first 3 hours.  Now, it's grown most annoying and I'm bored with it, too.

     I stayed home from work today because of the continued and BORING pain in my lower back/hips and weakness in my legs.  And if anyone out there thinks staying at home from work is a "fun" thing for me, let me tell you, it is BORING, too!  There's absolutely nothing about being home from work that is entertaining or in the least bit "fun"...and, considering my least painful position is horizontal and on my side, there's just not a lot of interesting things to do or think about from that angle!

     The self-inflicted chemical burn on my left hand (you know, from the self-medicating with the ancient topical product?!?) IS leaving an interesting scarring...I only wish in hindsight I would have rubbed the goo in with a more "artful" design...the permanent red "V" is...well...BORING.  Oh, had I known...LOL

     I am sadly not looking forward to my infusion of Novantrone on Friday.  Even though I'm sure this latest and greatest medication will be far from BORING, the sense of "excitement" it brings is just not the welcome kind.  I am in anxious anticipation of the one side effect I will hate the most if I have it...nausea.  I'd really rather have a hot poker shoved in my eye than vomit...again, not BORING, but also not welcome!  Of course, I suppose things could be worse...Jaime over at  is reporting a recent discovery of substantial HAIR LOSS from Novantrone!  (I have already alerted Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named that I will not tolerate much hair loss from the drug because I have a horribly knobby head and I just don't look good bald!)

     So I guess in summary (you were hoping I'd get to the summation soon, weren't you?), a day without MS for me, would be a like a day without BOREDOM...pure and simple.  Because a day without MS would lend me the opportunity to think about something else for a global warming, Al Franken running for Senate, Miss America's addiction problems.  You know...less "boring" stuff! LOL

Friday, February 2, 2007

If A Tree Falls In A Forest And No One Is Around, Does It Make A Sound?

     I know...I'm just full of philosophical questions this week!  But the REAL question at the moment is, "If I fall in my bedroom while trying to get out of bed and no one is around, is there a sound?"  LOL

     This entry will be short and sweet...or at least short and to the point.  I fell this morning while trying to get out of bed and walk to the bathroom, so it's extremely difficult for me to sit upright now and type.  As usual, I'm not at all certain what is "going on" in my body.  I developed some low right-sided back pain yesterday, but just assumed I may have pulled something...but now that I think of it, one usually has to be ACTIVE to pull a muscle! LOL

     Anyway, I slept horribly in the night and awoke quite early for me:  6:00AM.  I noticed some fairly intense, stabbing pains in my lower back when I tried to hoist myself out of bed...but no sooner had I begun my trek to the bathroom, did I find myself "swan diving" ungracefully to the floor.  No injuries to report other than wounded pride.

     Interestingly (if one can EVER call anything having to do with MS "interesting"), my legs are both experiencing weakness and I have a tight banding feeling around my lower back and hips...what concerns me the most is, it seems to be affecting my RIGHT leg more than my right leg is my star performer, so this is more than a bit concerning.  I've always relied on the right one to drag me through the mud if I needed it to.

     So, I'm off to gingerly push myself out of this chair, hobble to the medicine cabinet, and pop a few more "happy pills", AKA, Advil and Zanaflex...the pills don't REALLY make me happy, but they are seeming to provide some relief from the discomfort.

     Now begins the typical MSer "Wait and See" game...I'm sick of playing it...

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Now What?...

     They located my heart on the echocardiogram today...does that mean I now have to "care" and be more "loving"? 

     Talk amongst's a philosophical question...LOL

If I Only Had A Heart...

     I'm going in this morning for an echocardiogram...they're going to check to see if I have a HEART before deciding if I can take the Novantrone.  LOL  I'm ambivalent...if they DO find out I have a heart, then I'll probably be forced to care...and if they don't, well let's just say that's an entirely different matter!!!

     I HAVE consented to take the Novantrone.  My first dose of the "blue juice" is scheduled for next Friday, the 9th of February.  The echocardiogram is to make sure my heart is functioning correctly and to get baseline information about the performance of my left ventricle (See post a few days ago "What's It All About Alfy?" or do your own dayum research of the matter!)...I hope my left ventricle doesn't have a case of stage fright and perform poorly!

     The echocardiogram is a completely non-invasive test that I'm told will take about an hour and a half.  Having never HAD an ECG before, I'm only slightly nervous about what it entails, what if any contortions I will have to perform, etc.  I'm only somewhat nervous they may not FIND my heart, but I don't think working myself up into a fit of high blood pressure will make MY heart's performance or THEIR search any better or easier.  LOL

     And now I must go shower and "pretty" myself for yet another trip to Club Med (and believe me, that "pretty-ing" process could be an all day event and require several attempts!)...I'll let all y'all know how things turn out.  It WOULD be nice to know if I have a heart, however...considering Valentine's Day is only 13 days away...LOL...