Some days it takes a supreme effort of will and faith that all this is meant to heal me.

Priest said at mass today to be holy, be faithful, and follow Christ's example.

I went to mass yesterday and the Gospel reading was about false prophets. His homily was on how we all get suckered in by certain people and everything that bombards us on a daily basis. The priest said we should all listen to the Holy Spirit working through us. Do what is God's way, not what is our way. And to stay away from people who don't speak kindly, who don't speak in loving ways. And to go by his father's simple rule: If it ain't right, it ain't right.

I'm getting treatment at the New York Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. I saw this map/sign today at the patient waiting area: Radiation Oncology Babies Tunnel. It struck me as funny, picturing babies using the tunnel to get around. Perhaps to get to the Baby Depot?

But seriously, it's heartbreaking to see the children and infants coming for treatment. I always wonder what illnesses they have, and what their parents/families must be going through. At least I'm older. Malakas pa sa kalabaw!

My mother went back to the Philippines last night. And I go through my usual guilt trip for not treating or speaking to her more kindly. Some days I felt I'd earned the right to be cranky. But that's probably not true. Anyway, I never intentionally meant to hurt her feelings or be mean to her. And I hope she knows that. Mother-daughter relationships are so complicated. I wish I could be like my other sisters and know how to deal with her better.

I got into the NYC Hope Lodge! I feel so blessed. My sister Lynn and I moved in today, with Cecile and her husband's help. Huge room, beautiful, eco-friendly building. And nearMacy's and Madison Square Garden, which could be a plus or minus. Thank God for the generosity of people. At least now I won't bother my family too much about bringing me to and fro radiation. Except Lynn of course. I feel guilty about that. Although she's never said or done anything to show that she minds being my caregiver, driver, assistant extraordinaire. God bless my sisters, too!

Funny how some people just sap my will to live.

Hurley: Dude, Nikki's dead.
Sawyer: Who the hell's Nikki?

Sawyer pours out Paulo's bottled water)
Hurley: Dude, what are you doing?
Sawyer: Two people are dead. You ever think they might have been poisoned?
Hurley: That's evidence! You're messing up the crime scene!
Sawyer: Crime scene? There a forensics hatch I don't know about?

Hurley: Apologize for calling me all those names.
Sawyer: Ugh. I'm really sorry I called you rotund.
Hurley: Really?
Sawyer: Oh, god! You're worse than a girl! Come on, let's, uh, spread the love. (edit)

Sawyer: You know how for three days, ten hours and 15 minutes I ain't allowed to use nicknames?
Hurley: Yeah.
Sawyer: Well, you Sir Hugo, are rotund, annoying, and you're ruining my damn view! How's that for amends?

Charlie: Hey. Whoa, that's too much water. It's gonna be all soggy.
Hurley: It's oatmeal, dude. It's supposed to be soggy.
Sawyer: Well, if it ain't three men and a baby. (pause) I counted Hugo twice. Oh, what? Come on, I used your name.

Sayid: You said earlier if you told me everything you knew, I'd kill you....I'm going to test the validity of that statement.
Sawyer: He means talk.
Juliet: We don't have time for this.
Sawyer: We cleared our schedules. We got all the time in the world.

Sun: Trust her? She's one of them!
Jack: Not anymore. They left her behind.
Charlie: Oh yeah? Where'd they go?
Jack: I told you. I don't know.
Sawyer: Maybe we better ask her.
Jack: She doesn't know either.
Sawyer: Well, here's a wacky idea. Let's sic our resident Iraqi on her. Let him do what he does and then see what she says.
Sayid: No, I don't do that anymore.
Sawyer: Well, ain't that convenient.

(To Jack and Juliet, who were talking)
Sawyer: Hope I'm not interrupting. You two arguing over who's your favorite Other?

Sawyer: Did you tell him?
Kate: Did I tell who what?
Sawyer: You know, did you tell the Doc ... about you and me?
Kate: No, but he knows. He saw us in one of their surveillance monitors.
Sawyer: I thought you said the camera was broken.
Kate: Well, they had another camera.
Sawyer: Perverts.

Sawyer: You need me to make you a mix tape?
Kate: Yeah, why don't you do that?

(About the ping-pong table)
Sawyer: If we don't play every 108 minutes, the island is going to explode!

Sawyer: You want me to walk you home?
Kate: It's five tents, I think I'll make it.
Sawyer: You sure? I gotta pee anyway.
Kate: That is so romantic.
Tom: Okay. I give up.
(Sawyer shoots him in the chest)
Sawyer: That's for taking the kid off the raft.
Hurley: Dude, it was over. He surrendered.
Sawyer: I didn't believe him.

Woke up bright and early for the second day of treatment. We were there an hour early so we hung out and had breakfast. We ended up waiting for a while because the computer had some glitch. The therapists said it happens when they end up giving a treatment on New Start day. Today I had Dennis again and Rosemarie. Tomorrow should be smooth. They have such caring staff at Columbia. I'm amazed at how they can keep up their kind attitude and demeanor in the face of such life-threatening illnesses. If it were me, I'd be down at some point. Maybe that's why I'm not in this field.

Saw 4 other patients in the waiting area. One well-dressed lady started talking to me. Turned out her daughter died from anaplastic astrocytoma 15 years ago. It was pea-sized but so deep in the brain it was inoperable. Radiation and chemo didn't work. Now she's raising her daughter's son, a 16 year old. And she has uterine cancer. I wish her well.

My brother-in-law's father also has to start radiation therapy. They found a small spot on his lungs when they did a recent scan. So much illness. I pray he'll be healthy and cancer-free for many, many years to come. He has to be around to attend ALL his kids' weddings and play with ALL his grandchildren from ALL his kids. Stay strong Mr. A!

I had my new start session today, to take other scans and make sure everything's on the up and up. The CT scans were fine so the doctor said go ahead and give me my first treatment. Thank goodness Dennis and Angela could find the tattoos so I didn't have to get new ones! I felt headachy afterwards, and my right jaw feels tender. Not sure if it's from the treatment.

Madeline the Social Worker already submitted the application for Hope Lodge. Hope I get in!

One down, twenty nine to go.

As I start my IMRT today,

I vow to be cancer-free;
To never be sick a day in my life again;
To go through radiation with minimal to no side effects;
To not let malignant cells, thoughts and feelings get the better of me again ever;
To stay away from malignant people;
To be courageous, optimistic and positive at all times.

Ever heard of being sick and tired of being sick and tired? That's how I feel lately. I get a headache at least once a day, I get dizzy when I change positions/turn my head, short of breath when I walk, tired when I do anything, even speak. I'm cranky and I know it, but can't seem to do anything about it. I feel obligated to entertain my mother and sister, but again, I can't. I feel guilty that I have to ask them to do certain things, when I snap at them, when I don't feel like doing anything other than lay on the couch. And I haven't even begun radiation! I wonder how much worse it could get. One of the doctors said it's fatigue that won't be relieved by napping. I wonder how much of what I'm feeling is from the medication.

I've resumed meditating, I'm re-reading Deepak Chopra's Quantum Healing. It's amazing how the mind can really influence how the rest of you is feeling. When I try and put myself in a positive state of mind, I feel better. Unfortunately, it doesn't last. I'm trying.

God give my family and friends patience and strength to deal with me. I sure as heck don't.

My medication Keppra may cause sleepiness, tiredness, weakness or muscle coordination problems, aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, mood swings, depression, hostility and irritability.

Hmm...doesn't sound much different from when I WASN'T on the medication.

The Japanese waging war against obesity and expanding waistlines? What is the world coming to?

(photo from New York Times)

Sawyer: Dharma nutri-bar?
Hurley: No thanks, I'm not hungry.
Sawyer: You serious?

urley: Did that bird just say my name?
Sawyer: Yeah it did. Right after it crapped gold

Karl: Hey. Hey, how long would it take to get to your camp?
Sawyer: What, you talking to me now, Chachi?

Sawyer: (to Tom) How about you bring me an ottoman? While you're at it I could use a blow dry.

Sawyer: Havin' fun yet, Freckles?
Kate: Quit staring at my ass
Sawyer: Well give me something else to stare at!

Pickett: Time for work!
Sawyer: Sounding a little stuffy there, ChinaTown. You need to blow your nose?
Pickett: (wants to hit Sawyer) Just give me an excuse
Sawyer: Thought I just did, what do I gotta do, talk about your mother?

(Karl pushes Sawyer back)
Karl: I am tough!
Sawyer: Sure you are, Bobby.
(Karl gives him a blank look)
Sawyer: Bobby? The Brady Bunch?
Karl: What the hell is The Brady Bunch?

Sawyer: Hey, where the hell's my stuff? What are ya'll doing?
Hurley: Dude, you're alive! (He runs up and hugs Sawyer) Alive!
Sawyer: Yeah, yeah, Snuffy, good to see you too. (He sees the van) I'll be damned. You found yourselves a "Hippie-Car."
Hurley: Yeah. Pretty cool, huh?
Jin: Sawyer.
Sawyer: Jin-bo! How you doing?
Jin: Good... see... you.
Sawyer: Well, look at that! Somebody's hooked on phonics!

Sawyer: (to Hurley) So, you really the number one draft pick, Grimace?

Sawyer: You a shrink now?
Hurley: She'll be ok, dude. Kate? I know you're worried about her. She's with Locke and Sayid. She's gonna be fine.
Sawyer: Yeah, well, thanks for the pep talk Lu...
Hurley: Uh uh dude. It's Hurley. Hugo if you want.
Sawyer: Get bent, Hugo

Sun and Jin are talking in Korean about Sawyer's deal to get his stuff back)
Sawyer: Ooh! Looks like Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon got something good. Lay it on me.
Sun: No nicknames. If you lose, no nicknames for anyone for a week.
Charlie: Nice.
Sawyer: You're on. Pick your player. I'll be back in an hour, then let the slaughter begin.

Sawyer: Ping-Pong Table? Where'd the hell that come from?
Hurley: Jin found it when he was out looking for firewood. We made legs for it, paddles. Now, all we need is a ball.
Sawyer: Found it?
Hurley: It must have landed in the jungle when the hatch exploded.
Sawyer: I thought the hatch collapsed.
Hurley: Look, dude, all I know is the sky turned purple. After that, I don't ask questions. I just make myself a salad and move on.
Sawyer: Yeah, I can see that's working for you.

Sawyer: I'm telling ya, this is the trail.
Hurley: What do you know about tracking?
Sawyer: Well, I know what a footprint is.

My sister Cecile had this when she was a little girl, the Look 'n Love Dolly. These days I find myself being sit 'n stare Lani. 'Tis a whole new sport for me, a test of human endurance.

Freaked myself out today when I kept noticing hair falling out. And I haven't even started radiation yet! I never thought I'd be bothered by the impending hair loss, I never thought myself vain. But I guess it will be an issue. I even used to freak my mom out with my short haircuts when I was in high school and college. This is different.

Hair: another casualty of war.

Got my tattoos for the radiation treatment today. I got three, one above the right eyebrow and on both temporal areas. They hurt like heck! The technician had to do the right one twice.

Battle scars.

You were never around for the important, or the not so important things.
You never showed us fun things to do, or took us anywhere fun.
You never could fix things around the house.
Nothing we did was ever good enough for you, and you made sure you let us know.
You always put us down instead of raising us up.
I don't seem to have picked up any values or life lessons from you, other than wish to be the complete opposite of the person that you are.
Most parents would want to take their child's pain away; instead you wish to inflict it upon us.
You were always busy, but never had any time for us.
They say parents don't become parents until they become one. That men grow into fatherhood. We should stop holding our breath.
You claim to know what's right, and we don't.
Love doesn't mean that you always agree.
But I don't think love means that you hurt each other intentionally.
Or that it means never having to say you're sorry.
Because if you care for someone, you will be truly sorry for hurting them.
And you won't be afraid to let them know.
I never had the inclination to come to you for advice or comfort.
I never made an effort to get to know you.
I never shared my life with you as much as I did with Mom.
We'll never understand each other.
And that's because of our lack of trying.
But I feel no shame that I am so angry.
Life's too short to regret what could have been or should have been.
You are not worthy of that.
We are fine.
We turned out to be great human beings, no thanks to you.
We are whole. Even without you.

Divine Providence seems to have been at work throughout my recent health crisis. I was at work when it happened, the neurologist was available in the ER, it happened during summer instead of winter so that travel isn't such a problem for my family. My friend Mike happened to have a friend who knew of Dr. Bruce and out of the blue texted his name to me before the neurologist asked me if I had a surgeon's name. And of course, if one will be undergoing treatment and recuperating, what better than to do it during the summer AND with your family available, willing and able to assist you? I hate people making a fuss over me, and maybe this is God's way of telling me that it's OK to ask for help. That I really can't do it all. That we're supposed to look after each other. *weeps* over my family and friends coming together and making me feel like the luckiest person in the world. Despite the bad luck of being in the less than 2% who get hemangiopericytomas. I hope they know I appreciate all that they do for me.

This whole experience might not make me more religious, but at least more spiritual, and more certain that Someone is looking out for me. I better pay attention, and make my life all about service to others. Thank God for small mercies.

Happy 4th Birthday Zack!

For our mother, hope your birthday was happy. We are who and what we are because of you.

Hurley: This is how people get killed in scary movies.
Sawyer: If this was a scary movie I'd be with a hot chick. Not you Barbar.
Hurley: It's Babar.

(After Sawyer squishes the tree frog)
Sawyer: I hear with a little ranch they taste just like chicken.

Sawyer: (to Kate) Check it out, I found a new pair of glasses, damn near my prescription. You like em?

Kate: I need a gun. And you don't get to ask why.
Sawyer: Well, Thelma, seeing as I got all the guns, I do get to ask why.
Kate: No, you don't.
Sawyer: Yes, I do. Watch... why?

Sun: I heard that you have all the medical supplies.
Sawyer: You heard correct.
Sun: May I look through them?
Sawyer (chuckling): No you may not. But if you'll tell me what you're looking for...
Sun: Forget it.
Sawyer: Okay, hold on. Now I'm intrigued. Tell you what, tell me what you're looking for and it's yours, gratis.
Sun: Can't I just look myself?
Sawyer: It's not a drugstore, sweetheart.

Sawyer: (to Jin) Yo, Dadio!
Jin: Sawyer?
Sawyer: Way to go, Papasan. You didn't waste much time. I'd give you a cigar, Bernie, but I'm fresh out.
Bernard: Sun, is pregnant?
Sawyer: Keep it down there, Suzie, I don't think Jin Sr, here knows yet.

Sun: How's your book?
Sawyer: Predictable ... not nearly enough sex.

Sawyer: Okay, I'll call you with the aspirin and raise you with a bottle of Amoxicilin.
Jack: Do you even know what Amoxicilin is?
Sawyer: You may have been to Phuket, Doc, but I've been to Tallahassee. (Jack looks confused) Let's just say something was burning and it wasn't from the sunshine.

Kate: (about Hurley) So, he just attacked you, huh?
Sawyer: Try to contain yourself, Freckles.
Kate: What? I'm worried. You look like you got your ass kicked.
Sawyer: Don't you got an adventure to get to? I think Timmy fell down a well over that way. (

(after Hurley says that he does not want to be the one to divide up the food)
Libby : Okay, hey, hey, how about no one's in charge, okay? I'm sure everyone can manage to just take what they need.
Sawyer : Great plan, Moonbeam. And after that we can sing Kumbaya and do 'trust falls.'

Charlie : Shouldn't we let someone a little more trustworthy take care of this?
Sawyer : Like you, babynapper?

5.27.2008 Tuesday

Woke up early to shower. Thank God K. Rene decided to take 2 cars although I felt bad that he had to be involved in this. A. Des drove my car. I can't even look at the man I call my biological father. I had all negative things to say against him. It felt good to run my mouth the whole way into the city. K. Rene's a better man than me.

Not too late for appointment (905 AM), filled out paperwork. No co-pay? Got called maybe half hour later into an exam room. Dr. Bruce Almighty said everything looks like it's healed well. He took each and every one of my questions after taking the staples out. Some hurt. Not the questions, the staple removal, harhar! No special dressings/wound care needed. I can dye my hair in 3 weeks he said. Never did before, but what better time to start than now. Wonder if dyes are carcinogenic. He said to see a neurologist and radiation oncologist, and to see him in 3 months. He'll do an MRI then, although if I get radiation I will get an MRI sooner anyway.

Oh did I mention it's not benign? He sat down to chat, and said it's a malignancy that doesn't spread. It's all out so he's not worried. He even said no rush for the radiation. They're gonna talk about me at some meeting this Thursday. I asked how big it was and he gestured with his hand. It was bigger than a golf ball, maybe the size of a tennis ball. I asked again if it could recur and he said that's why they want to irradiate. He said meningiomas are usually benign but this was a rare aggressive form. ANAPLASTIC HEMANGIOPERICYTOMA. That's why it was so bloody. He asked who I needed him to write to and I gave him my primary MD. He took us back to his nice office so his secretary could give me the docs' names. I thanked him profusely and I said how lucky I was to hear about him. He asked how I got his name and I mentioned Wily Lopez, a famous Pinoy neurosurgeon. Apparently he works at the lab with Wily's son. God bless Dr. Jeffrey Bruce.

Again, no surprise. I half expected it to be malignant after they kept saying it was so bloody. Still no hysterics. Maybe I'm just not prone to it. We drove home, had a snack at Dunkin' Donuts. Katherine called while we were on the road and I kinda told her about Daddy's tantrum. I decided I'll tell her later so at least someone there knows the true story. I emailed her later.

Of course when K. Rene got to Cecile's, we just had to talk things out. Had a lot of laughs before they had to leave to pick up Kristen. Dad called Mom a couple of times with silly questions. In a way I felt bad for him because after his temper tantrum, he's faced with the knowledge that I need further treatment. My, how vindictive of me.

I took a nap and told Pinky the whole sordid drama. I have no qualms, no sense of shame. Ces and Lynn chatted with Katherine. Story she heard was that I disrespected T. Nona...I probably did. But that's her own fault for being stupid. I keep expecting a kinder, gentler Lani after surgery but seems like that's not happening.

I kept expecting SI people to call and say Dad's in the hospital. But thankfully, no news like that. What happened to his chest pain? Katherine said malungkot daw, palaging nakahiga after he heard about the biopsy results. Let him stew in his juices. Nabigla lang daw siguro and how he realizes his mistake. Knowing him, he's not the type to say sorry anyway, even if he realizes he should apologize. He is the patriarch after all.

I told A. Des she's on her own as far as caring for him. I'd stick him in a nursing home. I wish Lynn can find a job here. I fear for her being back there, seeing how his bad behavior is escalating. Mum knows how to deal with him, plus she's never separating from him. Believe me I've tried. ContraTitas can go fuck themselves.

What's interesting is I told him not to come, like I had a feeling there was going to be drama. I wish I never had this attention on me, but since I do, I wonder why he felt the need to shift the limelight on him. This had nothing to do with the titas or him. It should have been all about me, the patient. KSP ang mga walanghiya! I wonder how they can go to church and pray as much as they do and yet have no clue.

Also interesting why I seemed to be on a mission to see places this year, like Yosemite, Bryce, Zion, even Indiana/Chicago people. Like I knew. Everyone's asking how I am. I really believe I'll be fine. That I'll be around for a while. And if I don't, then that's not so bad either. I've had a good run. I still have to see London, Italy, Greece, Paris, Amsterdam though. Oooh evil thought: I'm sorry I cut short my Spain vacation to be at my father's bedside. God bless Mom, K. Rene and A. Des for still putting up with his shenanigans.

I end my Anaplastic Hemangiopericytoma chronicles here. God bless Lynn, Cecile and Eugene for being good children inspite and despite of bad parents. Lessons learned? Oh the usual Life is short, live your life. Everyday is a gift, every moment can be holy and miraculous. Don't forget to say thank you, please and I'm sorry. You are always stronger than you think you are. A true family pulls together during a crisis. And in true Buddhist fashion, what's the point in resisting or fighting something? You only cause more suffering to yourself. How the rest of the world moves on despite your own personal battles. How we really are small in the scheme of things. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle. Voltaire might be a good one to quote: Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. I hope to keep singing for a while.

5.26.2008 Monday

Day started out early because of the mass at the Abbey. I even showered! We were there a little after 8 because we missed the entrance to the place. Latin mass offered in thanksgiving for me! I took Communion even though I haven't gone to confession in years. It gives me strength. I met Sister Maria again, she didn't know I was going to be there. She took my address.

We had breakfast at Dottie's Diner. A. Des and her family were going to Mg. Chona's for their family gathering. Mama Elsa's sisters are in town. We went home for a bit of rest before going to T. Annie's. Swung by Stop n Shop for flowers and fruits for the bday girl and the patient. Had a nice pleasant lunch there. T. Efren looks good, he even gave us a garden tour/botany lesson. When we got back inside, he started talking to Daddy about medical appointments/taking care of himself. Dad started getting agitated, saying how hard it is to get appts/medical records, how he wants to go back to his cardiologist in Brooklyn. T. Efren got him to calm down, being the good psychiatrist that he is. I probably could have handled it better, because I kept piping in just to say that we do plan on getting him his check-up after my doctor's visit Tuesday. That Lynn can drive him.

So we left, he was all quiet. Mom and Lynn wanted to go Bed, Bath and beyond so we did. He lingered outside, talked to T. Myrna and told Mom he was going to Staten. He didn't like how his kids talked to him. They went to Best Buy while I stayed in the car with the parents. Awkward much? We got back to Cecile's house and he was on the phone forever. He was going to SI tomorrow....I can't take him because I just had surgery. He didn't speak to anyone of us. I texted A. Des to forewarn her because they were stopping by after their party.

They got here after 7 PM and we had dinner. Daddy told K. Rene that he had been having chest pains but nobody paid him any mind. First I heard of it! They started talking about doctors, insurances, etc. I gave him all his doctors' phone numbers and tried to explain that we do plan on getting him seen by doctors. He's just too stubborn to listen to us and wants things his way. Things quickly got out of hand as he lost his temper. He kept saying he's going to his siblings because they'll take care of him, unlike his children. He brought up other new issues, borne out of his insecurities. Things that cannot be taken back. I never expected to have a falling-out with my father. Hissyfit II 2008.

Thank God K. Rene and A. Des were there. They calmed him down, and took him home. For the first time since my whole hospital ordeal, I cried. For the sad pathetic man my father has become. For the seemingly bad daughter I had become. I don't even want to be in the same car with him tomorrow. I knew deep down that I didn't want him here for my surgery or after, and tonight's events proved me right. I was angry and sad, but felt righteous. After my surgery, I cast out what is broken and unhealthy in my life.

5.25.2008 Sunday

Woke up early to shower. Able to let water run through hair now---no more tabo. Not as freaky. I got up early because I knew it'll be crazy. Finally got some dreams. Weird ones though. Dad kept waking up to stare at me. Made sure I took my meds. He got up and watched TV. Weird how volume was so high, considering everyone was asleep. Like he wanted to wake everyone up.

We were going to 11 AM mass at Sacred Heart because the kids were singing. We ran a little late because I was trying to pay bills. Frustrating remembering passwords, user names. I got locked out. Good to know it's hard to recover information. We went to Empire Szechuan for lunch. I treated in thanksgiving for what everyone's done for me. Good meal and discussion of the kids' show. K. Rene and the board also not happy with the show. We called T. Annie to see if they were up for company. Tomorrow we visit them. So we left Lynn at Cecile's and we went to Wappingers so I could pay bills, get mail, drop off stuff.

Frustrating how I couldn't remember things. Plus my headache was a little worse today. Hard to know what's severe. I still try not to take meds because one thing to watch out for is severe headache. Today wasn't one of my better days. My left side also feels odd sometimes. Like I'm seeing things. I spoke with my neighbor Bea and asked her to pick up my mail and keep an eye on the condo. She said I looked good considering what I've been through.

We got back here and I just took it easy. I fell asleep for a bit. I had a 99.1 temp. Had a good appetite for dinner though. Had some mocha b-day cake after. Finally a small BM! Hope it continues. I worry about bowel obstruction. Almost done with dexamethasone; I wonder how much an effect it had that I took the wrong dose twice the day I came home. Oh well. I hope I'm not as cranky as I feel I am.

Tomorrow we go to 8 AM mass at Regina Laudis Abbey. I do hope it was benign. I hope my family continues to have strength and patience for me. I hope I'll keep up my strength, too. God bless my family and friends! I love them all.

5.25.2008 Saturday

Went to Carlito's in Woodbury for Daddy's birthday lunch then watched Just So. I got confused with the plot though. But it wasn't just me; everyone else did. Kids did great as usual.

Slept a little better. Erwin and Anna called but I didn't speak to them. Ces did the updating.

5.23.2008 Friday

Woke up around 2 AM to go to the bathroom...Zack was there! Nagpapalamig siguro. He looks so worried. He was whining so I told him to come into the room. He slept there on and off. I tried to meditate, pray the rosary. I was trying to do ROM exercises 20 reps. Shocking how tired I got. I get weird feelings on my left hand, like numb or heavy. Hopefully it's nothing. My ears hurt from being squished. I was in and out of sleep. I have sore spots on my head, probably from being restrained. I texted Debbie how hard it is to do 20 reps or walk a few feet. Her typical response? "So what are you trying to say? U are going to be more sympathetic and nicer to your patients? I don't think you can...everyone knows u are the meanest, toughest PT." That was good for an early morning laugh.

I got up at 7 when Lynn got up. I was hungry. I took my Pepcid and had some Cocoa Krispies. Called New Century to report my surgery. Euge cooked breakfast later so I ate some more. They left around noon to pick up parents from airport. I was really tired, tried to write but mostly laid in bed. It's so easy to give in to the urge to stay in bed. Got up around 2 PM, decided to do laundry, just to try and stay up. I started feeling better. I got flowers from Dee and Keith. Earlier I got a text from Janel asking Cecile's address. I got irritated because Rick already had the address. A. Des and K. Rene did a surprise visit, bringing lunch from a Peruvian restaurant. The longer I stayed up, the better I felt. I still got short of breath, my right ear feels full. I get blurry/double vision every now and then, occasional throbbing. Just really weak and tired.

By 5 PM, parents were here. Good to see Mom and Dad. It's good they arrived when I'm home instead of being all staypuff marshmallow man in the hospital. Glad they're here. Dad even said he'll take his licensing test so he can drive me around. No mention of drama with titas. We updated Mom.

Still nervous about showering, a little freaked out about touching it although Lynn offered to wash it. I don't want anyone touching it either. We're taking Dad out for birthday lunch tomorrow then watching the kids' show. Maybe I'll wash it tonight so I won't have to deal with it tomorrow.

Moment of weakness: T. Nona called to check on me. She asked how my vision was so I said I haven't checked it. She started telling me how to do it, asked when it was supposed to come back. I said I don't know. It wasn't guaranteed to come back, then she started asking why not, why have the surgery then, etc. I tried to say it's only been a few days since surgery. We don't know. Then she started getting annoyed, pretended she couldn't hear me or the line was breaking up. She hung up after saying she'll just call again. I got so annoyed. I could have handled it better. It's like when I got mad when T. Flor asked why I was out of breath or tired. Or T. Iya getting annoyed that I didn't give the scapular to the docs during surgery. I might just be a worse post-op patient than pre-op.

I finished laundry, packed up my stuff. Stalled my shower until after 10 PM. I don't know why this is so daunting. Maybe because it makes it so real, the staples are there, it's not gonna be pleasant to the touch. I'll feel the bald spot. Plus I'm not sure how much pain I'll have. I took a Tylenol. I tried letting the water run but ended up using the tabo as per Cecile's suggestion. Took me a while and I didn't really scrub, especially the back and the right side of my head. Just ran baby shampoo through my hair. I was unsure how to rinse it or towel it. I was afraid to take my shirt off and put one back on. I almost got scissors to cut the shirt. Combing even with a wide-toothed comb was scary. I did the front then asked for help. Cecile mercifully did it. Kudos and muchos gracias! There were some yukky stuff she had to comb out too. Amazing she did it. Daily shampooing might not be something I'll do. Too freaky. Sat up for a while chatting with the 'rents. Got a little perturbed with Daddy's vitamin suggestions. I should be less nasty.

5.22.2008 Thursday

Coleen, a tech woke me up around 330 AM to check vitals. My temperature was back to normal. She said I should watch TV to fall asleep. I had an idea that doc would be in around 5 like they always do so I stayed up. Can't remember if it's Dr. Hocking or Hockingson, young skinny nice doctor who's my 5 AM visitor. He took the dressings off and said I'm going home today. My hematocrit's still low but they think it's stable and I should recover quickly. He said Dr. Bruce will be in to talk to me about d/c, dressings, etc. The Hair Louisa! I wet my hair trying to untangle it and straighten it out until I remembered we weren't supposed to use the water. OT Heather came in to ask if I needed her. I said no so she was gonna call PT and tell her not to come. She just watched me walk, asked where I worked. She said she doesn't like outpatient because it's too busy. She asked if I liked it, how many patients I saw a day. I got my breakfast, eating more but still a little queasy. Hurts to chew, open my mouth. Oh and I noticed clicking noises on the surgical side, like pulsing. Felt weird laying on it without dressing. I met my last nurse Zelpher.

Sometime in the morning, Dr. Bruce came in to say I wasn't sick and I needed to get out of here. He said no dressings, may shower and wash hair tomorrow. No driving, and Maria the NP will write the scripts. So I just cleaned up, changed into regular clothes. I went on a long walk about. I even met a Pinoy nurse Renato. I sat and read newspapers for a bit. My nurse asked what time I was being picked up. I told her they're coming from CT and won't be in until at least noon. Lynn came with A. Des and K. Rene while Ces and Euge prepped their house for my arrival. I got my d/c papers at 3 PM. We left cookies and orange for the nurses. Had a wheelchair take me down to the lobby. Parang hotel! Nice hospital. They put me in the car and we drove home.

Ride was OK; we decided to pick up meds while still in NY so we went to Rite Aid Brewster. We had to wait 45 mins for it so they got food at JB's BBQ. I just tasted their food. We went back to the problems because the prescription was from the city and not my primary doc. We were told to come back in 15 mins to try and go through my primary. Thank God they finally gave the meds. I told them to go pick up the kids and save them a trip. A bit of traffic on 84 as usual. But again, a rainbow sighting! Ces saw one one our way to Columbia too! I was feeling a little out of breath, started worrying about a blood clot. I was probably just tired. Got to Cecile's by 730 PM. Chatted for a while, watched the season enders of Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy. No Lost today! They just ordered pizza while Ces/Euge did a bit of shopping. Zack was so excited to see me but probably realized something was wrong when I wasn't as playful with him as I usually am.

I finally took a bath, but used the tabo! I was so short of breath. I retired after 10 PM after taking my meds and set my alarm for the 4 am dose. Ceciel got me comfy memory foam pillow for under the neck. I got confused with prescription. Zelpher gave me one tablet each for 4 PM and 10 PM doses. But pharmacy gave me smaller dose so I had to take 4 tablets at one time. Oh well. I can feel vibrations/clicking in my head. Great to be home!

Text messages: Never heard Charles so caring and comforting. From Charles-Meanwhile, pahinga ka muna and we're all glad you're OK :) Natural lang dami blood supply. Tumors behave like that. Now all you have to do is rest and recuperate. We'll worry about the histopath in around 7 days.

5.21.2008 Wednesday

Transporter came. Nurse Gigi asked how tall I was, how much I weighed. Other girl said she could probably carry me, which Gigi quickly pooh-poohed, saying she didn't want to end up with a broken back. I sat up, got a little dizzy. Stood on the stepstool then transferred into the wheelchair. Other girl wheeled me to 8Hudson North, this time Room 127 bed 2. Found out 3rd and 4th floors were ORs. I asked what the weather was, still rainy. I walked into my room, had a view of the GWB! Another roomie, another Spanish lady. Nadia did my assessments, put me to bed then turned on the TV. It was 1130 AM. Doris had told me about Sen. Ted Kennedy having an inoperable brain tumor and I thank God for my blessings. I wish him well. That was all over the noontime news.

Shortly after, A. Des, K. Rene, Mg. Etta and Karina came. Nice surprise! Karina gave me so much stuff, prayers, holy water, an angel. I had Nadia call Cecile to tell her where I was but she said she never got the message. A. Des got led on a wild goose chase as well. But they found me, like they always do. Ces and Euge came in shortly after. They left Zack with Nikki. T. Cesar also stopped by. They kept me company, took turns eating lunch. I was wide awake. Dressing still on, swelling receding. We heard my roomie was going home, no surgery. Mg. Etta speaks Spanish and got the dirt. It's a comfort to talk to Mg. Etta and Karina because they've both been through medical crises.

The Valeras had to leave early to check on T. Efren, plus the kids. Mg. Etta left with them. Ces stayed because Lynn was arriving that night. Keith and Dionne stopped by, also Rose, her dad, Val, Veronica and Marinette. They stayed until 830. I did get tired, felt feverish. I told Ces to just go home because it'll be late and they're tired. I asked for anti-nausea meds.

Haha! Lynn did want to swing by and so they did. They stayed for 20 minutes. Great to see them. I slept for a few hours.


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