Thursday, January 22, 2009

Clarification of thoughts

I dashed off the last post last night, and as I was falling asleep, it occurred to me that I didn't properly express my gratitude that my scan results were as good as they were. I am actually thrilled and relieved about that, beyond measure. Only having to focus on one little spot is a great place to be, cancer-wise.
Unfortunately, I am not as patient a person as I would like. I am having a hard time mentally having to wait to find out what the next step is, when it will take place, and what might happen after that. There are lots of things I want or need to plan for or schedule, that I am holding off on because of this waiting. As I write this, I realize that I could just go ahead and schedule the other events and appointments, but I hate to reschedule things. Wah, huh?
I do think I have probably said before that I think that this cancer experience was given to me in part to teach me patience. And so in that vein, I am in the midst of a lesson.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And the waiting is the hardest part

Finally had my appointment with Dr. Rini today.

The news was very good! Still we are in a bit of suspense, however. I got to see a copy of my scan (have it on my computer now even!) showing the spot on my side that is concerning them. The spot has changed a tiny bit, maybe... from 2.42 cm to 2.47 cm. So, it's either stable or grew a little bit since November. Nothing else was found, so that is terrific. My big fear was that they would see additional “spots” elsewhere in the body, which would rule out any other treatment besides systemic therapy.

Dr. Rini is back to wondering what, if anything we should do with this spot. So he is talking to Dr. Kaouk, my kidney surgeon, again, to see if Dr. Kaouk feels any differently now about doing a cryoablation. It was on his recommendation that we waited 2 months and re-scanned. This morning Dr Rini also talked to a neurosurgeon who specializes in radiosurgery. Her name is Dr. Angelov - the same person who just operated on my friend Deb yesterday!!! (And please pray for her.) She specializes in brain surgery (of course) and on tumors close to the spine, which fortunately is not where mine is. She wants to consult with a colleague of hers who does more radiosurgery in the abdomen – the doctor she will be talking to is a doctor in my sister’s department, who she has known since he was a resident. So these are some good folks taking a look.

I won't know more until Monday or Tuesday. It is possible that they decide to do nothing, and scan me again in 3 months. If that is the case, I will probably enter a clinical trial where they study people with kidney cancer who aren't being treated. If I would need treatment later, I would just go off the study and get the treatment. So, more waiting... I certainly can't complain, but I wish I knew if I were headed for a procedure soon or not.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And we're waiting, and we're waiting...

... with apologies to Bonnie Hunt from the movie Dave ("and we're walking, and we're walking, and we're stopping")

The last 24 hours have been nothing like I had planned. The weather started looking nasty in the afternoon, so I left work at 4:30 in hopes that 2 hours would be enough time to get 30 miles across town to pick up the girls. Uh, try 2 hours and 45 minutes. The road surface was not that bad where I was but the traffic was gridlocked. Jim was having trouble getting away from his office too; fortunately my sister had made it across the divide and was able to get the girls.

When I walked in the door at 7:15, Becky informed me that her throat, which had been sore on Tuesday but looked fine, "burned" when she swallowed. She also complained that she was cold and was wearing her jacket in the house. I looked up symptoms of strep, because there was a note up at school that someone there has it, and then looked in her throat. It was much redder with some telltale white spots. We quickly took a few more bites of the sandwiches we were eating and I took her to the urgent care, which is about 2 1/2 miles from our house. They are listed as being open until 8 pm. We arrived at 7:45 but I could see that in the waiting area, which is viewable from the parking lot, they'd turned off the lights. I had Becky come with me to try the door but of course it was locked. I could see employees putting their coats on in the office area. I guess they wanted to go home early since the weather was bad.

We bundled back into the car, so we could decide where to go next. Our insurance allows us to use hospital emergency rooms as urgent care; we still have to pay the $50 ER copay instead of a $10 office visit copay. One hospital, L, was closer to where we were, but F, the farther one, has a peds ER and our pediatrician gets their records electronically. However, I really didn't feel like driving that far. I called Jim, who called is brother, a paramedic who works with L. His brother called the nurses there and found out that their urgent care area of their ER was not busy, so that was where we headed.

We only ended up being there about an hour and a half. The longest wait was just to be sent back. The nurse took two swabs; one for rapid strep test and one regular. Poor Becky is the gaggy sort so this made her vomit the partial sandwich she'd had. The nurse got her some paper emesis basins, and she ended up taking one home as a souvenir. She felt better after that, and laid on the bed relaxing. The doctor came in and checked her; he agreed that it was possible strep and that he would write a prescription for antibiotics just in case. He popped his head back in a few minutes later and told us that the rapid strep came back positive. He asked me if she was allergic to any medicines and I told him that she is allergic to amoxicillin. When she was 5 months old she got her first of several ear infections that plagued her first two years. The amoxicillin gave her a "lovely" rash all over her body, scaring the wits out of her poor day care teacher who discovered it two days into the prescription. (This was my first Mother's Day, actually, which was spent with a sick babe, but an awfully cute one.) Anyhow, he gave us a prescription for Cefzil, the nurse gave Becky a popsicle for the road and we were off. We headed for the closest XXX, as our XXX closes at 10pm but I knew they could pull up her record at any XXX. (name changed to protect the innocent)

Well, I didn't notice as we pulled in at almost 10 pm, but the store I picked is no longer a 24 hour operation as I thought. We went straight back to the pharmacy but the drop off window was closed. An employee told me they were still open so we went to pickup. The pharmacist and tech (both young women) looked at me and told me it was too late to fill a prescription. I felt my face fall and the pharmacist asked what it was for. I told her it was Cefzil for my daughter's strep. She agreed to fill it, then started looking B up on the computer.

Pharm: "Have you ever been to XXX before?"

Liz: "Not to this XXX but yes, to another one."

Pharm: "Which one?"

Liz: "The one up the street" (they are on the same major road, several miles apart and in two different suburbs)

Pharm: "Oh, the 24 HOUR one..."

Liz: "What? When did they go 24 hours? Are you talking about the one at the intersection of X and Y?"

Pharm: "Oh, no, I thought you were talking about the one at _____." (A few miles in the opposite direction.)

Becky and I sat to wait and then the Pharm called me up. We can't fill this - her chart says she is allergic to Omnicef, which is a cephalosporin like Cefzil. You'll have to take this to <24> and have them call the doctor. I can't do it because we're closing.

I tried to explain - she is not allergic to Omnicef, but to amoxicillin. Pharm kept repeating that the computer said Omnicef so the doctor would have to be called. I was in tears at this point. I looked at her and said "you mean to tell me that they have to call THIS doctor (pointing to the ER doc's name on the script) to ask him a question about information he only knows because *I* gave it to him a half hour ago???" She backpedaled a bit and said that she just had to make sure it was safe for Becky. I totally understood that but was looking at more driving in the bitter cold, snowy roads, waiting for the pharmacist at the other place to reach the doctor, while my sick baby was hurting, all because the computer at XXX had the wrong drug listed as her allergy. I was crying in earnest at this point, babbling about 2 1/2 hours in the car, the urgent care being closed and now this. The pharmacist softened at this point and started saying "maybe there is an error on the computer. Do you know why it would say Omnicef?" In fact I did know. Since she can't have cillins, Becky got Omnicef for a subsequent ear infection. She developed a raging case of diarrhea as well as thrush; it was far from pretty. So we tried to avoid that too. When I told this to Pharm, she made a note of it in the computer and gave us the medicine... finally. We got home sometime after 10, B had her first dose and something to eat since she was pretty hungry, and went to bed.

I truly understand that Pharm was concerned about making Becky sick from the medicine. I just didn't feel like I was being listened to. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, and her desire to get home after a long day. Hopefully in the future when a customer walks in at closing time, she will remember me and realize that sometimes the customer COULDN'T make it there any sooner, and that sometimes the customer knows more than the computer.

This morning we had our plan mapped out. Jim would take Becky to his mom's while I took Carly to school. We would meet up at the Clinic, and after the appointment I would go back to his mom's to get Becky. Shortly after I left the school but before I got to the freeway, Jim called. The freeway is a parking lot he says, so take side streets to get to the Shoreway to get downtown. So I did this and was making my way north and east. I was planning to drive through the suburb Jim's parents live in on my way to the Shoreway. My phone rang and when I looked at the display I could see that 1) it was a call from the Clinic, and 2) it was not my sister, who works there and for whom I'd left a message about parking. Instead it was Dr. Rini's secretary, P, canceling my appointment because Dr. Rini had, of all things, STREP. Poor guy... it made me laugh though, that my week has just gone this way.

I called Jim who was still at his folks' house and told him I was just a few blocks away and would pick up Becky. He wanted to know if they were going to release my test results anyhow. I didn't even ask P, because she can't do that herself and if Dr. R was too sick to work, I figured he was too sick to call. When Becky and I got home I logged into my work email and read a message from P, with a possible rescheduled appointment time. It wasn't a good time for either Jim or me so I replied with some other options. I asked her to also let Dr. R know that I was being "bugged" by my husband for test results, so maybe I could talk to him ahead of the appointment. She said she would pass along the message so I don't get in trouble with Jim. :-)

I debated whether or not to even request the call. The thing is, if the results are good, then knowing sooner would be great. However, if the results are not good, he may not want to discuss them until we meet face-to-face. Or if he does give them to me by phone, then I will end up obsessing about possible next steps, my mortality, etc. until we meet. Frankly, I don't want to waste my energy like that. So, I'm going to try not to read anything into it if he doesn't call me before the appointment, which is now on 1/21. Instead I will assume that he is super busy since he had to take at least one day off work, and so will just wait to talk to me in person.

It's weird, but I'm not feeling the nervous upset that I usually do before I get CT results. My mind is pretty much split between two extremes. One is the assumption that the news will be bad and that I will end up on systemic therapy. The other is that the spot they saw is the same or smaller now, and so they won't need to do anything but scan me again periodically. Definitely the two ends of the spectrum. I have no gut feeling about which way it will go; I believe that cancer doesn't work that way in my body.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The best laid plans...

sometimes get picked up and moved to another location. Sometimes literally.

On Monday morning at about 8:15, as I was leaving to go to my physical, the phone rang and I could see from the caller ID that it was the imaging center. They informed me that due to the cold weather, the CT machine was down. It *might* come up later in the day, they weren't sure. I could call back later in the day, but since I have to be npo for four hours before the test, I might want to just schedule for another day. I told them I'd call them back and quickly emailed my oncologist's assistant, who makes the CT appts for me. I asked her if she could get me an appt at the CT that is near to me office, which is the one I am used to going to anyhow. By the time I got to work, there was an email from her telling me that I was scheduled for 3PM today (Tuesday). Then, the CT tech was able to find a vein for the IV contrast on the first try! This is a record - I can't remember the last time I had a CT and they got in the first time. (The record is six pokes.) Maybe the weight loss helped?

My physical went fine. The fasting time wasn't completely wasted, as the nurse practitioner I saw ordered standard bloodwork and I was able to get that done while I was there. The NP was okay - she is new, hired to work with my doctor (Dr. K)'s patients as he is the medical director of his facility now so doesn't have much time for patients. While the medical assistant was taking my vitals, she told me how I would really like the NP, she is so great, etc. When the NP walked in, I felt a distinct chill in the air, and not the temperature kind. She was thorough but kind of curt or brisk. I wondered why. Was it because I was late? (Not my fault based on paragraph 1 above, though she didn't know that until later.) Was it because I am fat? She did not mention my weight per se, also did not notice the weight loss in my chart; I told her about it in answer to the standard question "have you gained or lost weight recently". She asked me what I was doing and I told her about working with R, trying to identify my emotional eating triggers, etc. She seemed rather unimpressed, asking me about the triggers but didn't offer me any encouragement. She stressed that I need to be exercising. She is completely right but man, I am having a hard time figuring out how to fit that in. I explained about my long commute, and she could relate because she's been to my building so that seemed to soften her a bit. "what about lunchtime?" she asked. Good question, but bad me usually works through. It's an issue I need to figure out and I will figure out this year. Anyhow, I was supposed to have my Pap test too but it looked like my period was starting so I have to go back for that. Now my period has disappeared again... I asked her if she thought that I should persue treating my PCOS or if my age indicated that I am just heading toward menopause. We discussed it a bit but never did come to a resolution. I have been thinking for a while that once I see where things are headed cancer-wise, I would contact the GYN/RE that helped me get pregnant with the girls, who diagnosed the PCOS, and get her thoughts. So anyhow, maybe I am projecting onto this NP my fears about medical professionals and how they treat fat people. Hard to say. It did occur to me later that I have a letter in my file, that I wrote to the doctor that I had chosen to be my PCP prior to seeing the one I have now (NP's boss). It was based on a template I had gotten from a fat-acceptance group I belong to, explaining my weight situation and that while I know about my weight being a risk factor, etc. that I did not want it to be brought up by me medical professionals in a shame-inducing way, or used as a scapegoat for any medical issues I might have. The doctor who was the recipient of this letter didn't even read it until our first appointment, and basically blew it off. So after Jim started seeing Dr. K and liked him, I blew her off in favor of him. It's really difficult in the space of an appointment to convey all that I know, feel, understand about my health. I know that it's the nature of the system that NP can't really get to know me right off the bat at the first appointment. I just didn't get the warm fuzzies I was hoping for, even when discussing my current cancer situation. Oh well, she'll get another chance when I go back for my Pap. She did also order my annual mammogram for me too, so I need to also schedule that bit of fun. :-)

So now I wait for Thursday and what news it will bring.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another fun filled week ahead

Oh joy... tomorrow I have a double header... my first "annual" physical in a couple of years, followed by the CT scan Dr. Rini ordered. I'll see him on Thursday, when my immediate fate will be decided. Some of the possibilities:

1) The mass found in November is now better positioned for cryoablation; if they are able to get to it to biopsy and possibly freeze it without damaging the bowel, then that may be the next step.

2) However, if the CT shows additional lesions, this will mean no cyroablation, and will progress me to systemic therapy.

3) The mass could be just where it was before but no bigger, in which case we'll take a wait-and-see approach. In other words, prolonging the suspense.

4) The mass could be smaller or non-existent now. Okay, so this is by far the least likely scenario, but you never know... and I did go to the healing service last week. Anything is possible.

I have no "gut feel" for what will happen next. Hopefully my next steps won't involve time away from work. It is an absolute zoo there right now; I spend my days flipping from project to project, request to request, fire to fire. Every night I bring work home and every morning I lug it back to work untouched. I know deep down that I won't get to it at home, but it somehow makes me feel less helpless to bring the papers home. But even more importantly, I would hate to miss work because it looks like my friend/supervisor Deb will be having neurosurgery soon. I'll post an update when I know more about her situation, as she will happily accept all of your prayers and positive vibes too.

Last week I tried to re-focus on feeling in control, of my eating and, really, of other areas of my life. I have a couple of affirmations that I have posted around my house, car, and work computer (though strangely not at the computer I'm currently sitting at, so I'll need to fix that). The words I am constantly reminding myself these days are:

I am in control of my choices.

I am strong.

Very basic ideas, no? But often times I forget that both of these statements are true. There is so much that I (all of us actually) have no control over, that I forget that I can make decisions that influence my path. I can't make cancer not be in my body. Well, I do work on visualizations that tell my body to kill the evil cells for once and for all. But if that doesn't work... anyhow, I can choose to try to fight that way. I can choose to try to eat better, which is a constant struggle but seems to be getting a bit better over time. Proof for me that my choices are getting better, comes in the form of a slightly lower number on the scale this morning. I'm inching toward the low weight I saw right after Carly was born - that will be a true milestone for me but I have a way to go. And that is okay. I'm finally starting to internalize my ability to choose what is healthier and not to just follow the seemingly easier path of overeating unhealthy food. And I am kinder to myself than I used to be. If I make a "bad" choice, so be it; I can choose again next time. On Friday night I took the girls out for supper. We'd gotten home super late, thanks to the snowstorm that hit prior to afternoon rush hour. I had to call on my sister-in-law to pick them up because I was stuck in traffic and Jim was stuck in the server room at work. Once we got in the door, I just did not feel like cooking so the three of us made our way to Friendly's. I realized I was not really enjoying my meal. It wasn't nasty, but more... tasteless. Wow. Maybe my mouth is getting used to fresh, healthy food; could it be? My meal came with fries, which are usually pretty good there. I just couldn't eat very many of them, when in the past I would have continued to munch on them until they were gone. We brought leftovers home but probably we won't eat them, which is fine with me. It's a new but becoming more regular experience for me to not feel stuffed after a meal, to not keep craving more food, even when the situation gives me the ability to keep going (like a family-style meal, buffet, food left out at work). This didn't happen in the past - I would look at the food sitting out and crave it, like "something bad" would happen if I didn't eat as much of it as I could. That feeling has subsided for the most part. I am still able to (and do) overeat at times, but not to the feeling of discomfort like I used to. Am I "cured" of it? I'm certain I'm not, and that there will be setbacks. The difference this time is that I'm okay with that. I'm not expecting perfection from myself and I want to keep trying, rather than giving up when it gets tough.

So, I also remind myself that I am strong. I've heard this a lot from people I know, mainly in connection with my cancer experience. Part of me appreciates what people are saying to me. The other part says, I don't have another choice. I want to live a long life! There are two small girls who shouldn't be deprived of their mommy to consider. And a husband who shouldn't have to face his own hurdles alone. Then there are the other family members and friends, whose lives I want to remain an active part of. So, I am strong for myself, and and for all of them. I do understand that not everyone can feel this strength; I get that the battle is just too much for them to face. But at least for right now, it feels to me that toughing it out and working through each day and each challenge is the only way I can do it.

And just when I'm full of my profound thoughts about choices, change, strength, etc. real life comes along and kicks my butt. Or tonight, socks me in the eye. I was showing the girls a cute animal video when I had to take a tube away from Carly, who was wielding it like a sword while sitting on my lap in front of the computer. She threw her fist back to try to catch the tube as I took it, and WHAM... a direct hit to my right eyeball. I saw stars, and nothing else at first. Becky got me the "boo boo bear" from the freezer and my eye feels better now, but it will be interesting to see if it looks any different tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Oh, the angst

I bit the bullet this morning and weighed myself, for the first time since mid December. And I was right, I did put on weight. Um, 0.4 pounds. I am such a nut. Clearly I have some body image issues to continue to work on... At least now I won't be stressing about this when I go for my physical next week, since their scale should show a loss since I was there last June.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday. Carry on...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Today's random thoughts 20090105

It seems like the holidays should still be here, but nope... now we have to take down the decorations, which is NOT one of my favorite activities. I need to be like Mariah Carey, who has people decorate her house in Aspen for her because she lovvvvvvvvvves Christmas. (OK, maybe I really don't) I think the article was in Redbook maybe, or Glamour, if you want to read it. Ugh.
I'm now faced with the prospect of getting this new year started and trying to improve on last year. I do have things I want to accomplish this year... mostly house-related. I have this vision of once again having the airy spaciousness we had when we moved in, the quality we saw and loved when we first toured the house. The "Stuff" that comes along with having two kids definitely flies in the face of my fantasy, but other people are able to combine family life with a neat home, so I should in theory be able to accomplish this myself. I've made some small steps in the direction of decluttering lately, and they are energizing me. Last month one of my coworkers started a collection of women's and children's clothes for a local shelter. I already pass along the girls' clothes, but I did have a snow suit that they never used (wrong size/season) and a bunting that was only used a few times. Queen Procrastinator me kept saying "Oh, I'm going to take those to the consignment shop." Of course it never happened. Then I was going to offer them in a "pay it forward" giveaway that one of my mom groups started. But did I get around to taking photos of the items? Of course not. So when we started the clothing drive, I looked at the two items and thought, that's it! Put them in a bag and bring them to work. I like the idea of donating them better, anyhow. Both items were gifts, so I didn't feel right about making money from them. Instead I paid it forward, to others who have little, but at least will have something warm for their babies to wear.
Then, right before the last day we were supposed to bring in clothes, I got a bee in my bonnet to go through the clothes in the downstairs closets. I used to use this space for other season clothes, but it's become a graveyard for stuff I don't want to wear anymore. In one closet I kept two things and the rest went into bags. I kept a few more items from the second closet, but ended up with 3 garbage bags of clothing. I had a partial fourth, which I didn't take to work because I planned to fill it the rest of the way from my "active" closet. Of course I didn't do that, so the bag sat in the closet for a couple of weeks.
The girls and I had gone through a bunch of their toys and boxed up a bunch to donate. These boxes sat in the playroom, unfortunately tempting Carly to pull stuff out and scatter it throughout the house. I also had some other stuff that was languishing in boxes in the front hall. So, the Sunday after Christmas, I finally got my butt in gear and loaded up the back of the Ody with everything I could grab. Plus, Jim added an enormous computer monitor to the booty, freeing up some precious living room floor space! The girls and I set off in the rain to the local Goodwill. I have taken things there in the past because it's quick and easy, but the folks working there always seem surly. I guess I might too if that was my job, but still... Anyhow, the local GW moved to a new building. Now the dropoff is in the front of the building instead of the back. And the man who came out to get the stuff was very friendly and pleasant. It was a great experience. Good thing too, because I realized tonight that I forgot to include the two Diaper Genies we have that we no longer need and nobody else wants.
I also want to get my office in good shape, in the hope that it will bring good karma of my being able to work from home part time. The papers are unreal, a true testament to my procrastination, as they are unfiled, and in the case of the girls' things, either unboxed or unscanned. I want to scan their school papers and save only a few hard copies, but haven't started. Tonight though, I gave myself a bit paper removal assist... I've been moving all of our accounts to "email only" and saving the statements electronically. I only have one credit card that doesn't have the ability to do this (boo on you, WaMu) so I have my new files set up and can start seriously shredding. I get a ton of paper every month from the investment company that holds the funds I received when my dad died. These papers drive me nuts every month and there are piles of them. Long ago I tried to set up online accounts with the company and had trouble so I gave up. I decided to try again tonight and Voila! I have a whole year's worth of statements saved onto my hard drive (note to self - must back up right away). The real shredding party can now begin! This is so geeky and yet so exciting to me. I have been wanting a new office chair for home; we almost bought one at Costco in the summer but I decided to wait on spending the money. I think now the new chair will be my reward for cleaning the office. I suppose I should take before and after photos, though they might be too embarrassing to share. :-)
I tried to refocus today on my eating habits as well. December was a bad month for me, between the holidays and stresses of various kinds. I have been too chicken to weigh myself in about 3 weeks but I am sure I've gained back at least part of what I lost during the past several months. I'm disgusted with myself but I am trying to dust myself off and get back on the wagon of being mindful. Next week is my "annual" physical - though it's been much longer than a year - and I am really dreading being weighed, and any comments that will go along with the weighing. My doctor is really hard to get in to see, but last year he hired a nurse practitioner to work with his patients, so that is who I will be seeing. I hope it will be an enjoyable visit but that will depend on my weight and on my blood pressure. The only place I consistently have high readings is in my PCP's office. Any other doctor's office, no problem. I take it at home, no problem. I must remember to take my home monitor with me to show that I really do have it under control.
The thing is, my physical is next Monday at 8:30. After that appointment I go to the imaging center for my CT scan. Think I'll be a bit nervous? You Betcha, as a certain governor likes to say. I will just keep practicing my relaxation and breathing and get through both the best I can. I'm not nervous about the mechanics of taking the test; I've BTDT so many times and I know what to expect. But then I will be on constant pins and needles until Jim and I see Dr. Rini that Thursday. I've no idea what they will see or what will happen next. That uncertainty is what makes this girl-who-loves-to-know-what-every-next-move-will-be crazy. Oh well, too bad for me; I think part of this whole cancer experience is God teaching me patience.
On Saturday, Jim and I went to the healing service I mentioned previously. I was excited to see what the whole thing would be about. It was very Catholic, actually; one of the local bishops (under-bishop?) was there as he has been a supporter of the doctor who prays over people. They had a speaker, the editor of a book that has been written about the doctor and his wife. He is the religion editor at Random House, and spoke about his book The Rosary. After he spoke, the healing service began. We were in the party center of a local church. They brought people up table by table, and lined them up. Once they were lined up I realized why there was a large wrestling mat on the floor - it was for people who fell/swooned/whatever you want to call it. The doctor would come up to each person, lay hands on them in various places, while praying quietly. Then he would move on to the next person. Not everyone fell over, but some did. Jim came up with me - after all, who couldn't use a dose of the Holy Spirit? When it was my turn, I closed my eyes and prayed along with the doctor. I can't say I "felt" anything and I certainly didn't swoon; neither did Jim. Perhaps the spirit is working in stealth mode, who knows? If my test results next week aren't favorable, I will still be glad I went. Maybe I will even go again sometime.
Lots more floating around in this head of mine, but it will have to wait for another post, to be poured out. It *is* therapeutic for me to write, though.