Category Archives: Health

03:45 No Sleep

Ok, I wasn’t up this early, but not too far after it either.

I’m a borderline insomniac. I have been for the last decade. Five hours a night of sleep for me is not uncommon – and rare if it is five hours in a row. Oddly enough, I’m not too bad with it. At the very least, I’ve learned to cope with it.

I can fall asleep in a heartbeat – I just can’t stay asleep.

This awake time should be used for something more productive, but it isn’t.  Actually, for the ten years or so I’ve been like this, you think I would have adapted to what my body does – or doesn’t do, in this case.

Here is what I do.  My alarm is always set, on the off-chance I over sleep.  I’m not sure I’ve heard it go off too many times.  Most of the time it is on after I get out of the shower, change and eat breakfast.

Here is also what I do.  I wake up at 04:30 and there I lie.  I think of things I have to do – usually at work.  I think horrible thoughts of ‘what if Denton dies before I do’.  I think maybe I’ll go back to sleep.    It is especially that last one that baffles me.   I don’t go back to sleep, not really.  Maybe for a 10 minute eyes closed kind of thing, but I’m never truly back to sleep, yet I can’t drag my sorry ass out of bed.

First – I don’t want to wake Denton.  Secondly – I don’t want to disturb the cats.  They sleep right next to me, on either side.  They seemingly need me there and what would happen if I were to move?   Thirdly – what would I do?   TV?  No.   Wash dishes – probably not.   The gym isn’t open that early and I’d have to deactivate the alarm to get out the door, which would wake up the firstly and secondly feature of this paragraph.

So I lay there.

I am hoping (or I think Denton is) that my new exercise routine will change my sleep patterns. It would be nice I guess.  I do not seem any worse for the wear, but that might bedelusional on my part.  And I’m not alone.  CNN says folks in the U.S. are getting less and less sleep:  6.7 hours a night as an average.  I should be so lucky!   And I am bringing down that average.

Tonite (well, tomorrow morning actually) we set our clocks one hour ahead.   Yay for me!  One less hour of sleep!

Song by: the Cardigans


I have one post out there that is seemingly more popular than the others.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not getting 1000s of hits per day….or even a 1000 hits, period. Total. It is just one of those posts from the almost 1400 I have done, has risen to the top of the pile – and what a pile it is.

The post title, Diagnosis, is two and one half years ago and documented how and when I found out I had cancer. I tried to balance the facts, the seriousness of the situation along with humour. Let’s face it, I’m all about the humour. And yes, I did find things and ways to laugh about the situation.

Chondrosarcoma (or Chondrasarcoma – not sure why the spelling differs now and again) isn’t a horribly well known cancer. We have no celebrity advocates having walks, swims or telethons for it. Bronson Pinchot! Where are you when we need you?????

Hell, we don’t even have a cool web site with any flash properties.

I also followed up the diagnosis post with one of my surgery and rehab – it was called Bones. That post doesn’t even fall in to my top 10 posts. You’d kind of think that one would be of more interest to folks who are researching the disease.

Of course, I’m assuming people finding these posts are not your medical community doing research. They are looking at academic sites……I would guess. No, I would think that these are everyday normal folk who have just found out about themselves or a friend/loved one/co-worker who has been told this news.

It is because of that, and the pseudo-popularity of these posts, I have to say one thing somewhat surprises me a bit: not one comment has been attached to either post. Not one email has been sent to me via a reader who has gone out of their way to do a search on the disease, found these links and then still clicked on the post. I kind of thought someone would have questions I didn’t address in those writings. I guess I’m wrong. No biggie.

Clearly, I’m no expert on the disease. Just a survivor. But sometimes that’s all you can ask for – right? Mine was the luck of the draw. Truly luck.

Today is 16 years to the date from my surgery (yes, Tornwordo, it’s that memory thing of mine again. no, I didn’t have to look it up, I just know.)

I always wanted to post pics of my scar – and now I am. I wish I could get you the pics of my x-ray, but you can’t do that on a standard scanner, and if you really looked at it, it might not be suitable for work.

I can’t say my father was thrilled, but I made him take this top picture of me.  The leg is still quite swollen, but the bruising was not nearly as bad as it had been.  It is hard to see, but running up the leg are 27 surgical staples.

This is me a few weeks later.  Swelling is down even more.  The staples are out – obviously.  But they leave cool marks, huh?  The extra two marks are from the drain that was in my leg.  The hair is beginning to grow back too – which was another pain altogether.

The scar is still there.  The plate is still there.  The nine pins are still there.  I’m still here.

Song by: Joe Jackson

The Latin One

It took me about 10 seconds to get the license plate yesterday on my way back from the gym and grocery store. They are not one entity – I was just doing the rounds.

We never wish each other a Appyhay Monday. So here’s to it.

Happy, because it is not a gym day this morning. I vary that routine a bit: 6a on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then later in the morning on Saturday and Sundays. I might try to add another day in there at some point – but I am so not there yet.

As it is, I cannot go without running into someone I know – no matter what day or time. And also no matter what day or time, I run into one unknown guy every.single.time. I thought he might be stalking me until Denton pointed out he might think the same of me. I’m not. He’s not my type.

Most folks at the gym are your normal every day schmoes, like me. Trying to look and/or feel better through the power of a monthly payment. Naturally you have your hard-core guys, for when big isn’t big enough (you know what they say “big fireman, little hose!”). Or the guy who has negative percent body fat. He looks like anatomical muscle model you see in any every health museum.

I hate him.

Or even worse – the guy who works out with me in the mornings. Well, he does cardio, because that is all he has to do. The rest of his body is naturally close to perfect. You know those guys – the ones who don’t actually have to be there, because some greater being smiled upon them.

I love hate him.

But I almost got out of the gym yesterday without seeing a single soul I knew. This is not a bad thing.  But I stopped to rest and eat an orange I had brought. I finished, grabbed my gym bag and heard someone call out my name. It was my old boss. Well one from….let’s see….two jobs ago. The one who could have saved my job, but clearly opted not to.

I have seen Ali a number of times since I left and each time he has been nicer and nicer. Less uptight and actually smiling and laughing. So I stood for a few minutes while he was on the elliptical, reading a journal.

He asked how often I come to the gym and I said about four days per week, adding “this (gesturing to my body) does not all happen on its own”, making the guy on the elliptical two over burst out laughing – in a good way. I think. I hope.

If not…..well then, I hate him.

Song by: 10,000 Maniacs


My work-outs continue. Believe it or not, I still don’t have the perfect body!  Shut Up!  I know!!!  WTF – it has been almost two weeks!!!!

You know that ad for 8 minute abs?  I always scream at the TV, ‘that takes too long, I want them NOW!’ Instant gratification takes too long.

But I’ve been a good boy.  Today will be the 8th day out of the last 11 that I will have hit the gym.  That’s not bad, right?

At the very minimum, I do 30 minutes of cardio – whether it be the treadmill, life cycle, the recumbent bike or the elliptical.  I try to mix it up to keep it interesting. I thought I was doing pretty well when it came to cardio, until I did the StairMaster (queue whip-cracking sound here!) yesterday.   Just on a steady pace at what I thought was a lower level speed, it was killing me.

I thought I had strong legs and decent butt, but…….now I’m beginning to wonder.  I always thought it was the upper body I needed work on (and I do), but yesterday has me re-thinking everything.

Anyway, 30 minutes minimum of cardio per time and now I’ve been incorporating weights into that too.  Me and my scrawny arms and chest.   I really do hope to see results.  I fear without seeing, I will fall prey to defeat and quit.  There has to be some validation, don’t you think?

I certainly feel the results.  I was sore.  Very very sore.  Getting my suit coat on and off was a chore in those early days.  I guess that’s good, right?

I don’t mean to bore you all with this work-out update.  Like Becky’s novel-writing advice, you have to tell people you’re doing it – which kind of forces you to actually do it.  At least that’s my thinking.

Oh – another thing I’ve learned:  I realize why I probably sucked so badly at organized sports.  My hand-eye coordination isn’t what it should be.   Have you been on an elliptical?   Hands and feet moving akimbo almost?  It’s all well and good if you are focused and looking straight ahead.  Whatever you do – do NOT look down to see what is going on.   I got so flummoxed, that I swear I could have gone head over heels (gotta have a G0-Go’s reference!) over the machine.  At least I learned my lesson.

Ok, time to hit the gym.

Song by: Olivia Newton-John

Exercise One

Yesterday I started to work out. Again.

I will make an attempt to be more consistent this time. Last time / last gym started off strong, but when my travel started to increase, my exercise time decreased in equal proportion and frequency.

The old gym was ok, but it was functional. I’m not looking for glamour, ya know. Oh, and because it was in the building my company was in, it only cost $10 a month.

The new gym is nicer, but it is a bit more pricey. Not that I care. It needs to be done.

On a BMI scale, I’m good, but I want to be better. I need to be. My lipid profile is pretty good. Triglycerides are where they need to be. The overall cholesterol is fine.  LDL is hitting all the marks. But my HDL is lower than it should be. The only way to raise it is through diet and exercise.

I’d be lying if I said there are not other benefits. Hopefully ones that will show. Things could be toner.  Tighter.  I’m not above admitting to being vain.

So my initial work-out began at 06:00 yesterday. I thought I would try an early morning routine to see how suits me. I had been doing after office visits, but after a long day of work, sometimes you just don’t have the energy to go.  Guilty!

This new place provides some one-on-one training with the monthly fee, so that will be good, though I want someone encouraging and not who berates me.  I don’t need my 6th grade gym teacher.

This gym also has lots of members I know.  I’m not sure this is a good thing.  When signing up, I ran into to folks.  While working out yesterday at 06:00, I ran into two more.   You know – some people you just don’t want to see in the shower.  You just don’t.

….nor do I necessarily want them to see me either.

So, anyway – here we go.  Another attempt be be healthier.

Song by: Joy Division

Caught a Light Sneeze

Blech.  I’m sick.

My annual cold arrived a month early.  I always get it the third week in January.  What gives???

And it is working totally in reverse, I might add.   The deal is to get some stuffiness, have it drain past my throat, making that raw and then settling into my chest for a dry cough, finally turning to a disgusting productive one.

This one started in my chest and is working its way up.  The congestion has finally hit as of last night.  The folks on my flights were just loving me!  Typhoid Blobby.

To be fair, I’ve been on eight airplanes and two trains in 13 days.  And then got caught in that monsoon in DC last week.  I’m like the girl in the mini skirt, with no underwear on, drunk, at an all guy party – I was kind of asking for it, no?  (oh lighten up, it was a joke!)

I’m hoping to shake this before the holidays, but what are the chances it will be all gone by then?

Naturally, my schedule is booked, but I’m not going to work today.  I can answer emails at home. Of course, if I feel good enough, maybe I’ll venture out and do some holiday shopping, since I have done nothing about this season as of yet.  Well, we have the tree, but it remains unadorned.

Song by: Tori Amos

Blood Makes Noise

What does one do when they are home for a mere 36 hours between trips?

Go get fasting bloodwork done, of course.

I had a doctor’s appointment a few weeks ago, but he never got the orders for labs in before the actual visit.  I mean, he poked and prodded me appropriately, and I paid for that privilege, but normally he provides results from getting stuck in the arm.  This time it was all backwards.

Now, I’ll have to call and email him to get my results – but that’s ok.

With my travel, I have been gone way more than I’ve been home.  Today was about the only day I could do it.  Since I have to fast for 12 hours (I cheated – I only fasted for 11.  Sue me!), I just waited until they opened, went down and had this done:

Step 1 – Get a tourniquet placed on the arm of your choice
Step Two – Get stuck by a pointy metal object that goes deep into your veins to extract blood into the vacutainer to the actual tube
Step 3 – well, there is no Step 3.  Take a pic of five tubes of blood roll around while they put a bandage on your puncture wound, while they ask, “what are you doing?”.

They don’t need to know.  It’s none of their beeswax.

Then there is always this popular signage – just to remind you that blood and body fluids (possibly yours!) are a ‘hazard’.  A biological one.  Not unlike Anthrax.   It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Possibly like Anthrax.

Song by: Suzanne Vega

Shut Your Mouth

Once again, I have a mouth full of teeth. Sure, they’re not all MY teeth, but at least I have them.

Yes, my new crown came in. Ain’t she a beaut?

It was actually very hard to get a picture of it – none of them really turned out right, this being the best of the bunch. Yes, the techs just sat there and waited till I finished the red-hot photo shoot, so they could prep me for installation. Gotta love that my dental plan (“Lisa needs new braces!”) pays for their time, eh?

Ok, so I added a second shot.

This time, there was no anesthetic. I felt every poke and prod. I felt it every single time the crown went on and off for adjusting. Then they had to water and dry the tooth – or where the tooth used to be. Yeah – that squirting water and high pressure air gun felt sooooooo good, I can’t even tell you.

Overall, I’ve become much better at the dentist. I didn’t grip the sides of the chair. I didn’t flinch or jump or anything. Yeah, I winced with my eyes – but hey, I made it in and out in an hour, which included my bi-annual cleaning. It’s all progress.

The better news than having the crown? My gums. Dr. Dorothy is thrilled with them. That gum surgery and my violent flossing have made my mouth better. The dentist was just hoping for slowing or stopping the deterioration that was going on – but it actually has improved. Bonus for me.

Hopefully this is the last dental post for quite a while. Be thankful. I am.

Song by: Garbage

Crown of Love

I almost forgot that six months ago I made an appointment to finally get my crown fixed – meaning: replaced.

Since the day I got it, over a decade ago, it’s never fit the way it probably should have. My dentist(s) confirmed this for me. Mind you – not the one who originally placed it. That guy was a prick. Sure, he ‘catered to cowards’, but he was still a prick.

The placement was as such that you could drive an SUV through a gap. Everything I’ve ever eaten in the last 10 years has had to be flossed right out of there. It is why I keep floss at home, in my car, at my office and in my computer bag/brief case. If I were ever stuck on the tarmac, I could probably find some nourishment between my lower left molar and whatever tooth used to be next to it.

So Dr. Dorothy finally convinced me to have it fixed – all for the low low low out of pocket payment of $225. I can probably save that in floss in the first 18 months.

But when the day came (yesterday), I was a little worried – and almost canceled. They were gonna pop that sucker off and I was afraid of what they would find underneath. So much so, that I don’t think I slept much of the night before. Would what little tooth was left be decayed? Would it really be a root canal waiting to happen? Would they find Jimmy Hoffa or worse –  remnants of food I’ve eaten?

My understanding of the “procedure” was, they would just pop it off, clean it up, make a new impression and then put on a temporary crown.

I guess that’s what they did – but not without some complications. I mean, hey – it’s me!

It started off with three (THREE!) shots of Novocaine. I didn’t think there was supposed to be any. The entire left side of my head and face were numb. I’m down with that!

The quick pop-off? 38 minutes!!!!!

So much for a quick process. The guy who originally put it on was like nothing that Dr. D and any of her staff had ever seen. No, it didn’t really come off. They had to drill it off – in pieces. Break it into little bits. Oddly enough, this could have put the old Blobby and his dentist phobia right over the edge. But with no pain and the iPod on, I was just closing my eyes and trying to relax.  It’s all in the breathing, as I found out.

Keeping my tongue out of the way of the drills was my biggest issue. Who needs a drill bit going through that? Not me! At one time, there were four hands in my mouth.  I hadn’t had something like that since my last visit to the backroom of the Chicago Eagle!

But finally it was all off and I got a 10 minute break while they checked on their other patients. It gave me a chance to take some self pics and Twitter them while I killed time.

Yeah – if there were any doubt I’m going to end up looking (more) like my father – look no further than here. Though up above image, I look like I have contracted Bells Palsy. (ok, it was just the effect of the Novocaine and a missing crown.)

The team came back in to clean up any decay around the partial tooth.  That was the most disgusting part.  Did it hurt?  No.  But the smell !!!!!!!!!!  UGH!  Apparently the anaerobes hitting oxygen and the drill/scaler combined stirred up odors I cannot describe.  I’ll assume it’s like opening a casket after 4 years and getting a good whiff!

Overall, I was in a good mood and joking with the dentist and assistants.  I mean, what a shitty job they have.  I’m sure most patients are not in a good mood or have a nice thing to say.  We had many a laugh in the time I was there.

I got one more break between them taking impressions of my tooth, so they can make me a new porcelain faux-tooth.   Here is me again getting the impression done.

Naturally, I was busted taking the pic.  They had to leave me alone for 3-4 minutes for it to set so I snapped away.  But they came in while I was taking some.  They just laughed and laughed at me.  Apparently, I was the first one they have known to do this.

It only took two hours, but I was finally out of there – at least for a few weeks, until I get my “permanent” crown.  Mind you – it took another three hours to get feeling back in my face.

Song by: the Arcade Fire