Saturday, July 26, 2008

Accidents Happen

Beth and I were in an accident last night--we are BOTH OK, aside from a stiff neck (me) and bruised knees (Beth). Here's the story...

We were hosting a neighborhood gathering last night. Throughout the summer, there is a schedule of Friday nights wherein folks in the neighborhood volunteer to host and provide a few munchies, and folks come and go with drinks and chairs. It doesn't usually get started until after 6 or 6:30pm, so after Beth and I got things in order at the house, we ordered a cheese pizza. We always order for pick up, so we jumped in Ellie (my Element) and headed out to Donato's, about half a mile from the house. On the return trip, we were coming up Medina (the street that you turn onto from Weber to get to our street-Melrose). On Medina, there is no stop at Melrose--Melrose has the stop. As we approached Melrose on Medina, I started to look up Melrose towards the house, worried that perhaps some folks had arrived for the gathering while we were gone. What I saw instead was the hood of a white car barreling towards us. I tried to swerve towards the right, and she tried to swerve towards the left, but impact was made and she pushed us across the intersection and up into the lawn of the house on the far corner. She then proceeded to keep turning left, until her car was free of mine. I thought perhaps she'd just pull up and stop, but instead she gunned it, turned down the alley and disappeared. As she was making the choice to leave, I was yelling (windows were open) "YOU ARE NOT LEAVING!" which then changed, when I realized she wasn't going to listen, to "LICENSE PLATE! LICENSE PLATE!" As I leaned back to the car, Beth was repeating the license plate number over and over, as she was looking for something to write with. She got it, and got it written down on a napkin.

As I stood outside yelling a few choice expletives, many neighbors were running over to check on us. One guy had his phone up his ear; he said he had the police and that it was a white Lumina. Well holy heck, we also know the license plate number. He told the police that she had fled west down the alley. I did hear the police helicopter after that for a bit--the copter is often near our neighborhood :). After a few deep breaths, I went over and checked on Beth, who was now out of the car. She handed the dude on the phone the license plate number, which he relayed to the police. She was fine (I didn't notice the bruised knees until later). She walked to the house to get my cell phone; it was supposed to be a quick trip, so neither of us had our phones. I didn't want to leave should the police come right away Tthey didn't; they actually went after the girl and the Lumina first, and I'm quite OK with that. While Beth was away, I started snapping photos with my phone (the attached photos, plus more). When she got back, I called Patty--who I knew was coming to the neighborhood gathering)--and she came by to get the keys and head over to the house to wait for people to arrive. We loaded everything in Ellie into her car, as I know Ellie was going away, perhaps never to return.

As we waited (and Beth had some pizza which managed to survive although it was upside down for a bit), a black pick up came by and said he saw the car (white Lumina) parked a block over (Really?!?). Apparently he was behind us as the accident happened, and he followed her as she left (I never saw him). He had called the police and told them where the car was. She had run up to an apartment, and then took off on foot. He headed back over, and apparently boxed the car in until the police arrived. His wife later came by as well, as she was driving the neighborhood looking for the girl (she also had picked up their dinner--wings, I believe).

It was amazing to watch people drive by; the look on their faces when they saw my wheel--still attached to the tie rod but not to the car--sitting out in the road. As I took photographs, we found pieces of both cars as well as cuts in the pavement from where my wheel broke and metal dug down. As the car was sitting in the grass, the rear back tire was in the air. I was also amazing how several people who live there hung out with us. They brought ice for Beth's knee, and bottled water. I never got any pizza--by the time I got to it, ants had taken over.

When the first squad car arrived, I asked the officer what he knew. He said they were impounding the white Lumina. He also said it was registered to a male, and that it had been reported stolen. What he didn't know was WHEN it was reported stolen, but based on the timing, I suspect it WAS stolen at the time, and she knew she had to get the heck out of dodge. The last I spoke to the officer, they did not yet have her in custody, but I think they were looking. Strangely, we later heard that a 9 year-old was hit (and run) on Melrose as well, but I have no idea what time that happened. Part of me would not be surprised if it was her, before she plowed into us (she wouldn't have been back on Melrose after she left our scene).

A wrecker came and took Ellie and her wheel to the dealership where I got her. I've called the insurance company. The officer said the report would be on file, but that it surely was going to get complicated with everything else going on. Who knows, I could end up in court for this one. I am only 5 months from paying off Ellie, and I had no plans to trade her in, so I'm going to have to do some research once I know what the insurance company wants to do. All in all, however, it was a few moments of fright, anger, and sadness, but no injuries or serious pain. And in one moment wherein someone made some really bad choices, others were amazingly helpful and kind...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New beginnings

I keep thinking about new beginnings. I am coming off of CSCC's spring break and I haven't really taken a break at all. So while I should be feeling refreshed and ready to hit another 10 weeks of work and teaching (and coaching and playing basketball and playing Ultimate), I'm not. I do feel like some things have changed--we did a deep-cleaning on the house, the new sofa is in place, I *think* my windshield is finally fixed, and I've made a little progress on getting some work done on the house. It's a mixed bag of things, none of which signify a new start...just a different place to be.

I'm hoping that getting back to working out would help as well. Ugh, this body is do defiant right now. I was struggling 2 years ago before the cancer diagnosis, and now that struggle is amplified (seemingly) by a 1000 now. I realize some of it is age, but I also know that my chemistry has gone down the tubes as a result of the 6 months of cancer poison. I'm in line to see a nutritionist, and I'm hoping that he can give me some one-on-one insight about how to reset things. I'm just eternally frustrated with trying to do things only to end up feeling bad on the flip side. I know I'm being impatient, but this is just not what I'm used to.

So here's to new beginnings--new workout plans, a new quarter, a new nutrition plan. Perhaps I can at least trick myself into believing that I am refreshed after this break.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ultimate-Related Things

I'm sitting at a meeting with the other UPA (Ultimate Players Association) national directors, as well as the UPA's competition director and assistant director. We are meeting to go over competition-related things for the 2008 college and club series. I believe this is the 6th time that I have attended this meeting. It's changed a bit since the first year I was the NWD (National Women's Director), but all in all it's the same. I have found a common theme when I come out to this meeting--I generally come out of the meeting excited. In some ways excited about doing my NWD job better, in some ways excited to just be around folks who play Ultimate (the Board of Directors is here as well).

This is the first meeting that I have attended since retiring (in fact, I still have trouble with that word). I don't feel as "little" as I thought I would...and what I mean by that is there are some very talented players who are here, and I don't feel compelled to mentally compare myself--in terms of playing ability--to them. I know that I can no longer play at the highest competitive level. I think that I am so much more comfortable with being "retired" then I thought I was. It doesn't mean that I won't be playing, and it doesn't mean that I won't find something else that I do with the time void that not playing Ultimate will leave me.

So remind me in the summer and into the fall that I do this work as the NWD because I am still a part of Ultimate, because I love Ultimate, and because what Ultimate gave to me needs to be repaid somehow.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

I didn't technically stay up for the passing of 2007. I was, however, awake. I probably turned out the light around 11:30pm. At that time, the "hood" was already ringing with firecrackers and gunfire. I'm sure the gunfire sounds nothing like what you'd hear in an Iraqi town filled with insurgents. But still, it was not pleasing to hear. At midnight, the action picked up. I knew this because as I tried to drift off, the amount and nearness of the gunfire picked up. At some point something hit the house. I haven't been able to find any evidence of a bullet hitting the house so I'm hoping it was just a large stick falling from a neighbor's tree.

I guess I don't get the use of gunfire to celebrate anything. And hearing it all last night informed me as to how many people around me have guns. I'd sure love to see the statistics on the number of registered guns in the "hood." I'd bet those numbers don't represent accurately what I heard last night. And I'm sure what I heard last night doesn't represent a community that believes in having guns just for their protection. In fact, hearing what I heard last night almost makes me think I should get a gun for MY protection. Almost.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Houses are so much fun.

Many days go by that I wonder why I bought the house that I did. Most of the time I am frustrated that it's in constant need of fixing and/or that it never seems like enough room. Mind you I enjoy fixing things and I don't really know what I'd do with more space. Nevertheless, that feeling is there.
Since I first moved in (3 years ago now), my bathroom faucet has dripped. Beyond the drip, it would even sometimes whistle. A few days back I noticed that the drip was no longer a drip but rather a stream. I decided that I'd fix that faucet, and I bought a general "faucet-fixing" pack from Lowe's. Basically the pack included a bunch of different yet common faucet washers. I took the faucet apart to find that none of the washers in the "faucet-fixing" pack were the kind used in my faucet. Of course when I put the faucet back together, it leaked even more.
Today, I bought a new faucet. It's nothing fancy--it needn't be. I actually have a new sink, vanity, and faucet in the basement. I'm just not ready to install those yet--those are for when I actually fix-up the bathroom. So I spent 2 hours today installing the new faucet. For the record, it's only currently leaking a bit from the hot-water lead under the sink. The drips have stopped. Sure, I had to completely take apart the sink (and of course in doing so I ripped off 3-4 tiles from the wall). There was caulking, cutting of plastic drain pipes, and the bending of the bar used to move the sink-stopper up and down. An "easy" project like this is never easy.
Now I'm itching to redo the bathroom...but first, I have to finish the basement, dry-wall the "hole" between the living room and kitchen, redo all of the closets, blah, blah, blah. 
Houses are so much fun (note the sarcasm).

Monday, June 11, 2007


It's been 4 months--give or take--since I last posted. In many ways, not very much has happened; in other ways, tons of things have happened. Since February 16, I have seen the change of 2 seasons, traveled to Arizona (Hi mom and Dana!), watched OSU lose in the NCAA Basketball finals (to Florida), started to play Ultimate and softball again, and finished 2 quarters of teaching at Columbus State. Of course many other things have happened--I've gained a kitten (Angus MacGyver), we've decided to have Beth move in, I have a new roof and fence (no the fence is not on the roof), I broke 2 fingers (same incident), and I've ordered some new pants. OK, I won't blog about new pants, but I will say that in part I need them because 1. they don't make pants like they used to, and B. I don't fit in some of my old pants.

My goal with the new pants is actually to make them not fit as well. I've ordered a slightly larger size (in theory), but I've also hired a trainer and have been working on getting into Ultimate shape (see above), so hopefully these will be too big in a couple of months. If not, well, that might just have to wait until I am no longer taking Tamoxifen.

In the mean time, I only have 3 Herceptin treatments left--the final one to happen in July. The goal then is to have the blasted port taken out. I think once the port is out the tone of this blog will change. I haven't quite decided how just yet, but I think by then it will be time for the focus to not be on cancer. Maybe the size of my pants will be the focus instead.

Friday, February 16, 2007


So I get a call the other day, from Grant Hospital, to preregister me for the MUGA that I am scheduled for on Friday (today). Um, I have a MUGA scheduled for Friday? This makes some sense--I see the oncologist next Friday--he probably wants the results before we meet. But somehow I totally missed getting this onto even just one of the many calendars I use (did I mention I think I'm doing too much these days?). I have 2 hanging over my desk at work--nope, not on either. My dayplanner (yes, I still carry a dayplanner)--nope, not in there (which is surprising because not only are my treatments written in for the day I have them, but I also have the printout for the 5 or so that they scheduled in advance). It wasn't even written on the calendar over my desk at home. Fair enough. It was lucky that they wanted to preregister me--I was able to find out what time this scan was scheduled for from the dude on the other end of the line.

One of the "checks" that the oncologists sends me through is a heart scan--a MUGA. I have to do this every 3 or 4 months...apparently both the Taxol and the Herceptin each have a 2% chance of screwing with my left ventricle. I only get Herceptin now, but it's still something they monitor. So today, I had what I think is the 4th MUGA of my life. They take some blood, tag it with radioactivity, put it back in me, and then take some "pictures" of my heart. Somehow this calculates the percentage of blood that the left ventricle pumps back out to my body...needs to be at least 50% to continue with the drugs...mine has waffled from 68-73% (which is quite normal). Of course the technician didn't give me the results. I'll have to wait to hear from the poison doc next week. But it was interesting to be back at the hospital. It was reminding me of all of the tests that I went through almost a year ago.

The room where they take the "pictures" is connected to the room where they do bone scans (both use the same type of radioactivity). A woman was being scanned in that room, and I could hear her tecnician chatting with her about things. Now I realize this probably is bad protocol, but there is only a curtain hanging between rooms. I hear the technician say that Dr. Brenda will use this particular bone scan as a baseline, and that the woman should not be concerned if in a year, Dr. Brenda orders another. Dr. Brenda is a breast cancer doc. This is the woman's first it becomes apparent to me that this woman has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

I'm intrigued in part because I laid on that same table in March 2006 for the same test. I haven't had a second bone scan, but I should anticipate getting one, I suppose. The technician mentioned all of the doctors that routinely ask for a follow-up scan, and she named both Dr. Liang (surgeon) and Dr. Yadav (poison doc). OK then--why haven't I had a second one ordered? Should I have one? I guess it might make me feel better to know that my bones are STILL clear of cancer. It is the assumption with which we are running (an assumption that carries a 97% likelihood). Percentages. It all comes down to percentages now.

I have recently begun to wonder if every last little cancer cell is indeed gone. I mean seriously--it was in my lymph node...which means one could have passed that filter and moved elsewhere. No other lymph nodes were positive--indicating that isn't the case, but still. I'm a biologist--I know how small cells are. And I do know that if one did slip by, that doesn't mean it survived either my immune system or the chemo. But what are THOSE percentages? We can work the chemo drug percentages until we are blue in the face, but we haven't worked the statistics backwards at all. The chemo percentages are all based on what was put into my body. What about what may have already been going on IN my body? I don't suppose those statistics are easy to calculate. But if I could figure out how to calculate them, I would.

Instead I'll wait to hear what the percentage of blood being pumped out of my left ventricle is, so that I can continue receiving the Herceptin until sometime this summer.

And for whatever it's worth, did you know that you can use mileage to and from any medical treatment (at 18 cents a mile) towards earning a tax deduction? Overall, any out-of-pocket medical expenses have to surpass 7.5% of one's yearly wages. The statistics might be in my favor on this one.