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Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2 October 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Humor, Health & Wellness.
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Continued from Four Glitches & A Tumor . . .

Two months later, I arrived in pre-op for surgery at 5 a.m., wearing a green hospital gown. Despite the early hour, I was peaceful and chipper . . . even without my customary cup of coffee.

The nurses urged me to focus on the serious nature of coming events. “We need you to read this Release carefully. It addresses the risks of surgery.”

I nodded. “I know all about the risks. I’m a medical malpractice attorney.”

“Really? And you’re not worried?”

“Nope.” Then I gave them my best grin. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die laughing.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

After deciding I hadn’t left my marbles at home on the bedside table, they had me sign the requisite forms and continued to prep me for surgery.

Glitch #3: Picture a tree with a single trunk and many branches. Most parotid gland tumors are located at the base of the trunk, along a major branch of the facial nerves, making it fairly straightforward to excise the tumor without damaging the nerves. With a well-placed tumor, surgery lasts 1-2 hours. My surgery lasted 6 hours because the tumor was hanging around the branches of smaller facial nerves.

The surgeon (for whom we had waited patiently) worked patiently on his patient patient.

Due to his care and concern, I am not a drooler. I emerged from surgery with all facial nerves intact. He even did a fat graft to pad my face to ensure it would not look lopsided. He was worth the wait.

But the waiting wasn’t over yet.

Glitch #4: Once out of Recovery, my surgeon admitted me to the Intensive Care Unit. The next day, after restless morphine-induced sleep, I asked about the tumor. “Was it benign?”

“I don’t know.”

“What? You don’t have the pathologist’s report yet?”

“I have his report. But you had an atypical tumor. Given the unique cell make-up, the pathology department’s not sure whether it’s benign or malignant. They’ve sent your slides to teaching hospitals around the country for additional input.”

“My tumor’s on tour?”

He grinned. “Yup. It’s gonna be a star.”

After 3 days in the ICU, I went home.  No report.

A week later, I went to the surgeon’s office for follow-up.  Still nothing. “Once they reach consensus, I’ll let you know.”

Two months later he called with a verdict worth waiting for . . . Benign!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow with . . . Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru

Four Glitches & A Tumor October 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
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40 comments

“You have a parotid gland tumor.”

The doctor’s words hung in the air as we reviewed options:

(1) Have surgery to remove the tumor, or
(2) Do nothing and allow the tumor to grow, possibly impacting facial nerves.

As a medical malpractice attorney, I knew all the things that could go wrong during surgery. But as a litigator, I relied on my facial nerves to convey subtle nuances to the jury.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, we opted for Door #1.

Surgery.

Glitch #1: The surgeon we hand-picked wasn’t available for at least 2 months because he was moving from one teaching hospital to another.

My husband and I decided our preferred surgeon would be worth the wait . . . as long as the tumor wasn’t malignant.

Glitch #2: Due to the tumor’s proximity to facial nerves, the surgeon couldn’t perform a needle biopsy.

Great. We agreed to wait it out “in the dark.” Odds were in favor of it being benign, but . . .

Once home, the initial numbness began to wear off, replaced with worry and anxiety. I tried to calm myself by making plans.

“I’m going to have to call everyone I know before going under the knife.”

“Why?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

So much for calmness. Blind hysteria set in and I started to cry.  My husband allowed the scene to register and then he . . . grinned. He grinned! There I was, on the verge of imminent disaster, and he was laughing at me.

This was NOT the kind, caring, and compassionate man I had married.

I made a mental note to rewrite my will and change the beneficiary of my life insurance policy from him to someone else.

Anyone else.

Well, anyone other than my surgeon; I didn’t want to create a conflict of interest for him if he had medical malpractice insurance premiums coming due.

I glared at my husband and ex-best friend. “What are you smiling about?”

He didn’t even blink. His grin never wavered.  Proof that my tumor had already destroyed facial nerves essential to glaring, staring, and/or giving someone the “stink eye.”

Ignoring my ire, he spoke. “I just took what you said to its logical extreme.”

“Meaning?”

“You should probably call everyone you know every morning.”

“What for?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

“What are you talking about?”

His grin grew two sizes as he said, “Well . . . you never know when you’re going to be hit by that proverbial bus.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

I looked at his Cheshire grin with simmering resentment, annoyed that he had full use of his smile muscles.

Then his words sunk in and I burst out laughing.

“You’re right! I could die tomorrow on the way to work. Or next week by running into a brick wall. Or the week after that while caught between a rock and a hard place.”

“Exactly! Why get worked up now over surgery that’s not even scheduled?”

As we relaxed into the moment, I knew I would be all right . . . no matter what happened. Instead of dwelling on the “black cloud of uncertainty,” I had the time of my life that summer.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be continued tomorrow . . . Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2.

Acupuncture ~ A Jab Well Done October 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Nature.
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46 comments

Acupuncture Meridians, in Public Domain (Source: Wikipedia)

Ever since I practiced law, I’ve stored stress in my neck.  And the weight of the world on my shoulders.

In 2013, I tried chiropractic therapy and had regular deep tissue massages to relieve the pain.  Both provided temporary relief, at best.  I would feel better for a few days before the pain returned at its previous level of intensity.

This past Spring, we went to a lecture at the library on Acupuncture.  The DOM (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) asked for volunteers for a quick demo.

I agreed to be a guinea pig, open minded, not expecting any real relief.

She stuck 8-10 needles in me ~ from my feet to my neck.  Twenty minutes later, she pulled them out.

And my neck felt . . . Better.  Looser.  Lighter.

The relief continued unabated for the next 3 weeks.  My neck felt better than it had in decades.

Now I’m a believer!

Acupuncture ~ in Public Domain (Source: Wikipedia)

Acupuncture dissolved a 25-year-old energy block and allowed the Chi to flow.

We found an acupuncturist on the island and BFF had similar success with his long-standing lower back pain.

After 2 months of once a week visits, we now see Tricia (also a D.O.M.) once every 3-4 weeks. And our insurance covers it.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever considered trying acupuncture?

Related post:  Listen To Your Body, It’s Listening To You (Find Your Middle Ground)

Getting It All Done October 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
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43 comments

I used to worry about not “getting it all done.”

I wondered how I would ever reach the bottom of my bucket list.  Every time I crossed an item off, two more things took its place.

Such is the nature of desire. As soon as one itch is scratched, a new itch arises.

These days, I realize that if I’m satisfied with the life I’m living (as a whole), there is little reason to get caught up in regret about people I didn’t meet, books I didn’t read (or write), conversations I didn’t have, foods I didn’t taste, pounds I didn’t lose, movies I didn’t watch, or places I didn’t see.

Now I’m free to enjoy the journey as each moment unfolds into the next without worrying about how much time I have left.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For a somewhat contrary view:  Getting Fierce GOALFEST (with prizes!) (Fat Bottom Fifties Get Fierce) * Walking Your Talk (Awakening To Awareness)

Overseas Adventure Travel October 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
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32 comments

Last week at a luncheon, we met Bob and Carole who have traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel (our host for the luncheon) more than 23 times.

IMG13

They’ve been to South Africa, Tanzania, Finland, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, River Cruises in Europe, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, Morocco, Zambia, Mexico, China, India, and the list goes on.

They had to sneak out of Egypt during an uprising and they enjoyed front row seats to a gunfight between competing drug cartels in Mexico.  They’ve ridden elephants in Thailand and been offered rides on camels and ostrich.  They’ve steered water buffalo to plow fields, reins looped about their necks.

IMG6

But the real eye opener . . .

A few years ago, Carole spent 6 weeks in a coma after being involved in a single car accident.

She ran over herself.

Not on purpose.  It was an accident.  Early in the morning.  While hunting for the release of the emergency brake.

Goofy-Riding-A-BikeDonald-Duck-Driving

Some of our biggest life adventures happen in our own backyards.

And driveways.

Keep your eyes open!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

 

When I Am Well Rested . . . September 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
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36 comments

IMGP3523bSleep and present moment awareness go a long way toward making sure we focus on what matters most to us.

When I am well-rested, I am happy, enthusiastic, upbeat, positive, and at peace.  I exude joy!

I slept LATE
(Til half past nine)
It felt GREAT
Sleep is divine!

In the flow of life, I remember to eat right, remain mindful, and get daily exercise.

Expanding my happiness still further.

I enjoy life, relax, and overflow with vitality and gratitude . . . and all that positivity spills out on those around me.

When I am well-rested, I remain awake and aware.  I avoid getting thrown off kilter by the every pothole in the path:

“A stable mind is like the hub of a wheel. The world may spin around you, but the mind is steady.”

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja (BKS) Iyengar

Scruffy-CatIn contrast, when I’m overtired and forget to stay in the NOW, I’m cranky and irritable and the toxic sludge of negativity keeps me from “going with the flow.”

Things slip through the cracks until, exhausted from struggling against the current, I go back to Step One and get some sleep.

Aah Morpheus . . .that’s better!

Related post:  Sleep, Beautiful Elusive Sleep (Views and Mews by Coffee Kat)

A Sense of Humor August 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
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44 comments

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Laughter shortens the distance between people.

He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh. ~ the Koran

The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer everybody else up. ~ Mark Twain

When we stop taking ourselves so seriously, we become ever so much happier!

220px-JoseOrtegayGasset“Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” ~ William James

Not being happy during Happy Hour is a self-defeating way to go through life.

“A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Life improves with laughter. ♥ ♥ ♥

Aah . . . that’s better!

You Don’t Know Jack August 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, People.
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30 comments

Watched another thought-provoking film this week ~ You Don’t Know Jack.

The documentary addressed the efforts of Jack Kevorkian to assist terminally ill patients to end their lives with dignity.

He believed that we should have the freedom to choose to die when we’ve had enough . . . without having to shoot ourselves, dowse ourselves with gasoline, slash our wrists, strangle ourselves, wrestle crocodiles, or dive off buildings or bridges without a safety net.

Just breathe . . . relax . . . and check out in peace.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

An Unwanted Visitor August 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
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40 comments

I stepped outside to go for a walk and came face-to-face with a 4-foot-long black racer.

I retraced my steps and raced inside.

Pluto-RollerskatingExercise is over-rated.

 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Reality: What A Concept! August 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
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44 comments

alice26thMany of the on-line tributes to Robin Williams had something in common.

Instead of looking at life through Robin’s eyes to garner the whys of his demise, bloggers mentioned him, in passing, as a stepping stone to get other issues into the spotlight.

That’s understandable.

It is easier to know man in general than to know one man in particular. ~ Duc de la Rochefoucauld

* Some called for more resources for those who struggle with mental illness.

A laudable goal, for sure, but I suspect that Robin had adequate (if not ample) resources available to him.

* Others called for us to be kinder in our daily doings and dealings.

An excellent suggestion, but I doubt that Robin took his own life because of   bullies on the cyber-playground or people looking at him askance.

* Some cited the need for open discussion about depression and addiction.

A noteworthy objective, which I suspect is irrelevant to Robin’s death since he spoke in public forums about these “taboo topics” with great regularity.

* Others encouraged us to lend an ear and really listen to those around us.

Yes!  We should do that.  And, yet, I’m not convinced that our poor listening skills, even collectively, caused Robin to end his life.

Sometimes talking makes “it” better.  Other times, talking just makes it BIGGER.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27I could keep dunking the teabag, but you get the idea.

Instead of focusing on the reality of Robin’s life, many tributes gave Robin little more than a passing glance before veering off in other directions.

Not surprising, really ~ our view of reality is skewed because we’re looking at life through a dirty lens and cloudy filter.

When something happens, our experiences, concerns, and viewpoints form an opaque overlay, obscuring reality.  We tell ourselves stories and fanciful fictions in a futile effort to create order from chaos and sense from nonsense.

We see the world behind our eyes.

That’s not to say that our creation of ostensible tributes to Robin Williams was misplaced energy.  I don’t have a suitable vantage point to understand or oversee all the various ripples set in motion by our actions and inaction.

Perhaps the outpouring of emotion following his death will cause a tidal wave of love and compassion, lifting us high above the surreal landscape.  From that heightened perspective, maybe we’ll catch a glimpse of reality as IT IS instead of as WE ARE.

A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.

Reality: What a concept!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On the outside chance that Robin is reading this in Never Never Land, let me close with his view of reality:

Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs. ~ Robin Williams

Related post:  Why We Mourn the Death of Celebrities (Smart Living 365)

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