Friday, October 26, 2018

The Heart Incident




(Note:  Those who don't want to read about CBW's Drama du Jour, please enjoy the unrelated photos.)

Once upon a time, exactly three years to the day from when Chesapeake Bay Woman took her very first helicopter ride to the hospital after a major car accident,  and about a week after her mother was in the ER for a heart issue, she was carried out of the house on a stretcher for a whirlwind, siren-enhanced ambulance ride to Riverside Walter Reed Hospital .








I had just finished up a six-mile walk around what I call the Wayland Church Loop, something I've run/jogged a million times before, but only a few times since completing chemo.  I was feeling OK but a bit thirsty.  Normally I carry room-temperature water in my vehicle, but this time I didn't. On the way home I stopped to get a cold Gatorade and took several chugs.








And that's when it all went haywire.







As I was driving, I started to see spots and felt very nauseous.  I was simultaneously sweating and cold and just felt awful.  Although I contemplated driving myself to the rescue squad I went home and felt certain I just needed to lie down.







Once I crawled into bed I called Middle Sister, who suggested we needed to go to the ER.  That sounded too extreme but while I was waiting for her to arrive, I vomited and quasi-blacked out.  All of a sudden a trip to the ER sounded reasonable.








In the interim, however, I couldn't lift my head off the bed, couldn't even fathom standing up and walking to get into her truck.  So, she called the Mathews Volunteer Rescue Squad.





Words can't express how comforting it was to see that Emily Brown, who graduated with my son and who I've watched from the sidelines of various sports events for years upon years, was one of the paramedics.  All three of the people I remember (there may have been more) could not have been more professional, more calming, more soothing and more reassuring during one of the most unexpectedly distressing times of my life.

When we arrived at the hospital, my resting heart rate was 187. After an IV of some magical concoction, the episode calmed down, but I was admitted for a couple of nights for observation and every test known to man.  In the days afterwards my chest has been tight and also sore.  The enzyme for heart attack had been elevated, but they don't think I actually had one.  (#Winning!)

In short, they're labeling it an a-fib episode and now I have a zillion follow-up appointments with various doctors, one of whom specializes in aneurysms--because I have one (ascending aortic).  Most of the doctors don't feel that was in any way responsible, but I am here to tell you I think it has contributed.  I also think the influx of cold liquid after exercising was a trigger.  Six months of chemo, that included a known heart-debilitating drug, could not have helped.  I've been unable to build up my endurance since chemo ended in March.

It's strange to me that this happened at all, much less three years to the day from my car accident.

I'm eternally grateful to Emily Brown, Chris Buchanan and anyone else associated with my ambulance ride.  They were there during the worst part of the episode and made the experience as palatable as it possibly could be.

If you consider your life boring and uneventful, Chesapeake Bay Woman says thank your lucky stars.  There is such a thing as too much excitement.

The End.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Blue Heron





Today since I didn't have to drive to work, I decided to visit Bethel Beach.










I parked my car and jog-walked three and a half miles.









On my way back to the car, I spotted this fellow.  
(Or gal, I don't know which and have no idea how to tell.)






Luckily, I had my camera in the car, and he was still hanging around when I drove back out.

The past few weekends have been very busy.  Middle Sister and I went to the Gloucester Wine Festival a few weekends back.  Last weekend, I drove to Dewey Beach, Delaware, to visit my two college friends.  (On the way home Chesapeake Bay Woman was trapped for five and a half hours on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel--on a bridge in between the two tunnels--due to an accident.  I could write a novel on that experience alone.) Anyway, this past weekend, Baby Sis and I drove to Louisa, Virginia, to see the band Ambrosia play at a gala for the Louisa Arts Center.  This weekend I'll be headed over that Bay Bridge Tunnel yet again to visit Ocean City, MD, with a friend.

In between, I'm making that soul-sucking long commute to work each day, trying to figure out how I can stay at home and make enough money to make ends meet.  Alas, I have six years and three months--but who's counting besides me--before I'm eligible to retire.

In any case, I've been trying to enjoy life in the free time that I do have. 

Today's trip to Bethel Beach and the brief photo op with this blue heron were just what I needed.

Have a great week.




Monday, September 24, 2018

Mathews Market Days





Mathews Market Days has been a big deal around here 
since I was knee-high to a grasshopper for many years now. 









It's an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to get out 
and actually experience "downtown" Mathews.








This year it was hotter than HELL blue blazes.

Emphasis on blue and blazes.









The Kona Ice truck definitely caught my attention.










Regardless of the sweltering heat, 
Middle Sister and I managed to hit all the high spots 
and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.






The End.


In spite of my best efforts, I've not been tending to this blog, and lots has happened that's report-worthy.  No matter what it looks like, this blog isn't yet dead, and I intend to get back here more regularly.  

-CBW



Monday, August 20, 2018

Sunrise






Since returning to work in early June, I've not been able to sleep until ten like I want been getting up around 5:45 a.m. each day.  5:45 in the summer time is not nearly as bad as 5:45 in the winter, when it's dark and depressing and Mother Nature is giving a very clear sign that we're supposed to be asleep, because:  DARK. 




It doesn't seem so harsh, 5:45 that is, when I can glance out the back door and see the sun and her stunning colors letting everyone know it's officially daylight.







Although I'd still like to sleep until about ten I'd usually prefer to stay in bed a bit longer, there's just something a little bit energizing and rewarding about having the sun to greet you first thing.




I hope your week is full of sunshine.




Monday, August 6, 2018

Habits







Today for the first time in a very long time, I went for a jog.

And I sat down to this blog.








Last year was one of chaos for me.  

Last summer, my father went in for a routine surgery that turned into something he's still dealing with today, namely a nightmare.  My sisters, my mother and I lived at the various  hospitals and nursing homes he meandered into and out of.  We didn't know if he'd make it.

Then, in the midst of all this, I came down with what I came down with, namely cancer--but the "best" kind. 

Other major life changes happened last year, but I tell you all that to say this:  I neglected jogging and blogging for a long time.  Way too long.





I confess that I hate jogging, but by forcing myself to do it--however minimally--each week I could eat and drink whatever I wanted, seemingly, and everything balanced out.  (Where everything equals the scales, my health, how I felt, etc.)

Back when I blogged regularly, my children were still in school, and each evening the way I unwound was to sit at my desk and spew forth whatever happened to be on my mind. It was my mental exercise.

The past year's events wreaked havoc on my jogging and my blogging, two things I used to force myself to do whether I felt like it or not.




Since returning to work from coping with Hodgkins lymphoma, I now have Mondays off.  Today for the first time since 1982 2017, I walked--WALKED--six miles.  I used to jog six miles several times a week back before these major life events happened.

I'm out of shape physically and mentally bloggily (just invented the word), but I shall make jogging and blogging regular habits again.

Happy August.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Still Here




In spite of all outward appearances, this blog has been picked clean by turkey buzzards who circled over its dead carcass for months. is not yet dead--nor am I!  (Click for sound of applause.)


After many months of wearing a bath robe all day resting and focusing on getting better, I finally am.






As of this moment in time, my scans have all come back clear of Hodgkins lymphoma, and if all goes well/clear for the next two years, I am pretty much good to go--at least on the lymphoma front. One of the unintentional benefits of doing so many scans is you discover things you didn't know you had, such as an ascending aortic aneurysm.  For now, nobody seems to be concerned about that, so I'm pretending like I don't need to be either.  I've definitely sharpened my denial skills in the past year, that's for sure.

In addition, I gained weight and lost hair, sadly. But I can work on losing the weight and finding the hair.  Actually, it doesn't sound very good to find hair, so let's say that the hair will grow back instead.  There.  Better.

Although I've been away from this blog for a while, lots has happened.  For example:
  • In the spring of this year, this dead blog turned ten years old!
  • My son graduated from UVA and is now living in Costa Rica working for Global Leadership Adventures as a camp counselor of sorts.  
  • My second child completed the second year of architecture school at UVA with good grades.
  • My father, although weak, is back to cutting grass and chopping wood and conducting perimeter checks of Waverly Lane on his golf cart. All good.
  • My mother, not without some health scares of her own, has had good test results lately.
  • I am back to work four days a week but squeezed in an End of Chemo Celebration Trip to Moab, Utah, with my blog friend Lauren.  We went on a jet boat tour of the Colorado River, went on a slickrock jeep tour, ziplined, and toured Arches National Park as well as Dead Horse State Park.  I highly recommend a trip to Moab for an unforgettable experience.
My intention is to return to blogging somewhat regularly, but it all hinges on my home internet working properly.  My internet is free of charge thanks to a deal my parents worked out with a local provider who put a tower behind their barn.  It's been spotty service at best here lately.  But assuming I have time to take pictures and my internet is up and running I hope to get back into a routine of some sort here on this crusty old blog.  

In the meantime, thank you for reading.




Sunday, February 4, 2018

Checking In









These first three pictures of farm-raised oysters were taken around Thanksgiving, which coincidentally is about the last time I've posted to this blog.






I've been focusing on getting better and surviving chemo treatments.  So far, I've completed eight of the twelve which are necessary. My interim PET scan, which shows the size and locations of the various tumors present thanks to my Hodgkins lymphoma, came back clear after treatment number four, which is great news.  (I still have to complete the full twelve rounds of chemo though.)









In the mean time, I've taken off work, because between the commute and the brutality stress and length of the workday, I was just too exhausted and couldn't handle trying to get better and maintaining my normal routine.  So I am officially on leave until I feel better enough to return, and I'm very grateful for that.

Otherwise, I've just been taking life one day at a time.








We had a few snow episodes in January and endured some pretty brutal temperatures.









The other day, some swans came up the creek and into my cove.  I can't recall ever seeing swans in the creek or the cove, so it was a special treat.









They're much bigger than you think.  







These few unrelated pictures are all I've snapped in the past several months, mostly because it's been so brutally cold and I've been so brutally tired I've just not mustered the energy to go out and snap. 

Hopefully that will change.

I hope all is well in your world.  Happy Belated New Year & 2018.