Friday, November 20, 2015

The stories of my tattoos

It started with wanting to mark and rejoice in the passage of time.

When I turned 40, I wanted to do something for myself to mark the passage of time and the transition to what I considered to be the true beginning of 'old.' I was in San Antonio with friends and saw a tattoo shop, asked them to stop, and decided right then and there to get a small blue bird tattoo on the inside of my right ankle. Deed done!

About a year later, Richard and I split up and eventually divorced, but several years after that, we reconciled and remarried.

When I was 50, I was in Phoenix and found a shop, and an apprentice and I drew out an ivy design to go around the bird. The ivy tattoo is not connected at the top or the bottom so the bird is still free to move around without being caged in, but it has a home now. The ivy was in celebration of my birthday and remarriage.

I started planning my tattoo for my 60th birthday and got Meredith and Mike involved in the drawing. I wanted a small body of water with a drop of water causing a rippling outward, like a drop of knowledge or experience sent out to all in its wake, and a sunrise behind it. Once again in Phoenix, 5 years early at age 55, I looked for an artist and took my drawing, and now the image is on the inside of my left ankle. When it healed, it looked a little like a blue swirl birthday cake, so I found a shop in Virginia Beach and had the water worked on. It looks much better and I am happy to have it permanently on my skin.

The summer I turned 60, I was fairly ill and unable to travel and didn't have the energy to get another tattoo, but I did start thinking about it. I wanted something really special this time. I decided to take a breath and honor my mother. I never gave her the respect she deserved. Her life story is very complicated and we had a few runins that just were too much for mother/daughter. In the last three years of her life, she was slowly sinking into dementia and I learned a lot about her life, things I didn't know about. She straight up told me she didn't want to get married and have "all these children," and it was obvious she had been homesick for Austria for god knows how long. She as in a country she wanted to leave, married to a man she didn't really want to be with, worked full time, and there was so much she had to tell. There are more reasons than I can count for honoring her with my new tattoo. And so, I asked my brother to draw a simple edelweiss picture for me. I settled on a double flower image he drew. Edelweiss is synonymous with Austria and I now have my most beautiful tattoo on the inside of my right arm to always remember and smile. No one knew the dementia mom like I did as I spent untold hours with her moving, needing medical care and transportation, and just visiting or going for a ride. I really knew her the last three years, but those were broken years. I now wear hers and my heritage proudly.

I don't know if I'll get any more tattoos. Will I be around at 70 to do it again? Who knows. Winnie watched the edelweiss tattoo being done and helped by providing a color reference on her phone for the artist to refer to. I hope we're both around to do it as a team again.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

MRI done

And why did I have an MRI of my head?

Balance issues (for which I went to physical therapy), a bit of trembling, hard time finding words, frustration - all related to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation - Sleeping 1/2 hour at a time for months, extending to 1 hour at a time, and now, getting up 1-3 times a night. Napping during the day. No restorative sleep. All related to having to get up to go to the bathroom.

Frequency - Related to the allergy to mitomycin and the damage done to the bladder, with left over strands and tissue still hanging out.

Allergy - Requiring a second surgery August 27 to remove inflammation related to allergy to mitomycin. The first consideration of a possible allergy wasn't mentioned until July 30.

Mitomycin - Instilled post TURBT on June 18.

All of the goofy complications could have been possibly minimized had the allergy been discovered sooner. But Dr. Burgess didn't take me seriously at the time.

Now I wait.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Busy time in Phoenix

Health stuff first - Frequency is a little more than a normal person and I'm getting up two to three times a night. No strands yesterday or today, but the day before that, there were a few. Today, though, I had a painful pee, which reminded me of the ones of old. It did not repeat, for which I'm thankful. Whew.

Today was a fun day. I got my happy 60th birthday tattoo. I think I love it.

It has to heal and the colors have to mellow, but it's just about perfect. Edelweiss to honor my mom and her Austrian heritage.

Wish for no more painful pees, please.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Purty good day

Other than increased frequency, probably affected by intake of water, body stuff was good today. A nice rebound from the icky day yesterday.

We hit Casino Arizona for some fun. Both of us took a certain amount of money in and left everything else at home. Somehow, and it's about time, Winnie's and my luck were switched and she was the big winner with me being the one that left busted. It didn't matter to me about the spending all my dough; we had fun.

There was no nap today and I think I just hit the wall. I'm heading for bed and some reading.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Teeny tiny setback

FBS 109.  Amazing.

I was up every hour last night. I'm not sure why. Drinking too much? Pain medication? Strands that I saw earlier continuing to try to come out? Who knows. I just know it will make today an air-headed me day. Since in Phoenix, I've been getting up once or twice a night. At about 5:30 this morning, I almost threw in the towel, but did get a little more sleep. I hope to have a better night tonight.

Friday, November 6, 2015


First the medical crap - I still am going to the bathroom more than the average person, but it's not so bad. I got up four times last night, but I had a couple DDPs and water in the evening, so that could have been the catalyst. I'm sleeping like a champ between getting up times, though. I am napping and happy about the quality of sleep I'm getting.

I'm doing a whole lot of nothing. Tomorrow, I will be up to 8 back and forths on the patio. Every day, I add one back and forth. I'm feeling confident in my walking. I'm also feeling a bit more confident in my conversation ability. I lose a few words here and there and stringing together a sentence is not always the easiest thing to do, but part of that is a function of being 60. I don't think that everything going on with me is sleep deprivation related, but most of  it is. I will find my balance.

The PT said I needed confidence. I'm getting that every day.

What I am doing most is relaxing. I've cooked the past two nights, both very healthy meals. This trip may be the medicine I needed to bounce back a bit more than I would have with my regular routine.

I am not rushed for anything.

We're thinking about things we want to do when Winnie is off. She works Friday and then is off until I leave on the 16th.

All in all, I'm in a very good space and though there are still minute issues to heal, the majority of the physical stuff is coming along. I suspect I'll be sleeping through the night in nothing flat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Brain farts

Master plan while in Phoenix is to minimize external distractions when I can. Music and television are off while I'm working. I am walking the patio a certain number of lengths adding one each day. It was back and forth 5 yesterday and 6 today. I'm focusing on eating mostly properly.

I only got up once last night and daytime frequency is almost in line with the amount of liquid taken in. My mouth is extremely dry due to the Myrbetriq and VESIcare, but it's a small price to pay.

The first week I am here, Winnie is working. I will take full advantage of the quiet time. I will nap if the spirit moves me. And I will walk every day.

Almost zero pain on urinating when I drink water, so am keeping that habit going. Overall, I'm so ready to get myself back and to get a little in shape so my conditioning and confidence in body movement improve. In other words, I'm healing. It's time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I fleed, I flied, I flew

Yesterday was whirlwind day, Got up to a decent blood sugar, got my bags packed, took a shower, worked a quick shift, and went to the bathroom a lot (nerves!). At the Richmond airport, I did visit the ladies because I knew I was going to be on a very small plane. All seats for this jaunt are near bathrooms, but who likes to do that? I did the same in DC, preemptive pees :) Unfortunately, I also experienced a blood sugar low at the airport due to the no carb lunch I had in Richmond. My mistake. I bought a ginger ale and M&Ms, and in an hour, I was fine. I only made 2 trips to the loo on the 4+ hour flight to Phoenix. Not bad. I was pretty tired, but we stayed up and talked a while, and I bid my leave at about 10ish. I did get up 4 times last night, which I found to be odd here in desert land! Very little pain, if any.

151 fasting this morning. not great. Not bad.

I'll be working and taking it easy today. I'm exhausted and well, that's no fun. I walked a lot yesterday and never considered getting a cart or a wheelchair. It felt good to be up and moving around.