formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Oh Sugar, Sugar... Oh Honey, Honey

I claim to be an 'everything in moderation' girl.

But I'm not.

I'm an 'all or nothing' girl.

In pretty much everything.

I give (or take) 100%, or I don't do it at all.

Yeah. I know. I'm working on it, OK? Quit nagging me about it! Sheesh.

Anyway, last year, I decided I needed to give up Diet Pepsi (and all artificial sweeteners, in fact). And if you know me at all, you know that was big. Really big. Diet Pepsi was all I drank. And it was all I drank for years. I mean years. Well, that's a lie actually. I drank Diet Coke, too (but only out of the fountain. Because it doesn't taste good in bottles or cans, that's why). I drank gallons of the stuff every day. And though I know I'm prone to hyperbole, I'm not exaggerating about this (seriously... I figure I have so many chemicals and preservatives in my system, I'll never die).

So I went cold turkey.

'All or nothing,' remember?

It wasn't too bad. At first. But it got harder. And then it got easier. And now? I don't really even like the taste of soda anymore. I quit in November and I switched over to unsweetened iced tea and/or water. I don't really like water all that much (unless I'm crazy-thirsty), but I know I need to drink more of it. So I'm trying. But all in all, I consider my 'all or nothing' effort a rousing success!

Yay me!

But now? My 'all or nothing' thing is sugar.

Sugar is really not good for you. I know this. And what I've been told by numerous sources who work and specialize in nutrition and in the actual 'healthcare' industry (as opposed to the 'sickcare' industry most medical people work in), is that cancer feeds on sugar. This makes sense to me, really, as when they gave me the radioactive crap to light up my cancer for the PET scan, I was told it contained high amounts of sugar, which goes straight to the cancer.


So, since it's not really good for you in general and it might be really bad for you if you have cancer, it seems a logical move to cut it out. Right?


OK. I can do this. I mean, I don't eat a lot of actual sugar. Like, out of the sugar bowl, I mean. I don't put it in stuff or on stuff. So I'm good there. But I'm told there's sugar in... (gulp)... chocolate.

Say it ain't so, my peeps! Say it ain't so!

OK, I'm not a moron. I know it is so. There is sugar in chocolate. There is. It's there. It's not fair. But that's Life. There. Is. Sugar. In. Chocolate. And that means... there is sugar in... in... in...


Oh, lawd!

I don't know what I'm gonna do. Is there a Nutella rehab clinic? Does anyone know? Hey, maybe I'll start one! I know it can't just be me. Can it? No, there are others. I know there are. It could be a good career move, really.

But I digress (that's also called avoidance. I'm quite good at that, let me tell you).

OK. I can do this. I can. I will pull myself together and I will go...

Cold turkey.

On Monday.

No sugar. No chocolate. No...


Sigh. Sniff. Sob. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I'll check back in with you when the shakes have stopped and I can write again.

Wish me well, my friends. Wish me well.

At least I can rest easy knowing there's no sugar in red wine. Whew! Dodged that bullet.





Thursday, August 15, 2013

Past, Present, Future Lives

There is a theory regarding reincarnation, which states that anyone significant to a person in this life has been significant to him in all his previous lives as well. And each person will hold the same sort of role in every life -- a lover will always be a lover; a friend always a friend.

I think that's pretty cool. It means we find each other, against all odds, because we need to. And we need to without even realizing it. We're drawn to each other over and over again because we simply cannot live without each other.

While I don't know if I believe in reincarnation, I'm certainly open to the idea of it. And this theory explains how we can meet people and simply know, at our core, that they are meant to be a part of our lives. That's happened to me on a few occasions. Each time, it astounds me... and it makes me grateful to be found. Again.

Immortal Souls

I've known you for a hundred years
And still one hundred more
In lives lived through a looking glass
On planes that came before

On rocky shores of wild grey seas
We gazed to northern skies
Bands of brilliance - color and light
Reflected in your eyes

In time long gone you touched my cheek
Spoke words that seared my heart
You told me I would always know
When joined came from apart

Our souls entwined, safe, immortal
Tethered to solid ground
I saw your face and heard your words
And knew that I'd been found
On the threshold, past and present
Reach for one another
Bold, instinctive, sure, familiar
Lover, friend, or brother
I've known you for a hundred years
And still one hundred more
Our future written in the past
Walk with me through the door

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Deep Water

Have you ever had a conversation that suddenly, without any warning, illuminated something about yourself -- something you'd been doing or causing or creating, without even fully realizing it -- and illuminated it so clearly, you felt like a complete and utter idiot when you saw it?

That just happened to me.

I am on a perpetual path of self-discovery but I've realized there are things about myself I simply don't want to acknowledge... because then I'd have to make a choice (gah!) to either deal with them... or ignore them.

And dealing with them would be hard.

And ignoring them would make me feel like a failure and quite the opposite of self-discovered.


Whatever. You know what I mean.

You're curious, aren't you?

OK, for the last couple of years, I have been finding myself attracted to men who are unavailable -- whether it's because they live too far way, or they're emotionally or psychologically not ready for real, grown-up relationships, or their life or work or family situations won't permit them to enter into relationships.

Simply put, they are not free.

And that? For me?

Is safe.

I don't have to risk.


Except time. And we all know there is precious little of that in anyone's life.

I never have to really try. I never really get hurt. But I never really experience the joy that comes with true intimacy either.

Oh, I get the benefit of the attention, from a distance... the flattery... the comfortable (and sometimes exciting) repartee...

But that's not tangible... it's not tactile...

And it's not enough.

Now I have to work out why I do this. I know part of the story, which is about someone else and the intense desire to avoid hurting someone I care deeply about... but I know it's only part. There is more to my reluctance (fear?) than I'm acknowledging. 

More self-discovery is in order, methinks.

It's time to get down off the high ground; it's time to get wet; it's time to surrender to the current...

And swim.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Roses Are Red...

I'm not a poet. Never have been. I've always wished I could write poetry (and understand it) but it's not what I do. My writing style is much more straightforward... conversational (as you all know).

But I've been spending time with a poet -- a poet whose words and style are... affecting. I've been affected. And inspired. Doesn't make it good, mind you... just motivated :)


Your words embrace my spirit as the sea embraces the shore
And, like silver-sheened boughs of driftwood washed aground to bleach in the sun
Answers are left  behind, on the littoral of my Self
Questions, too – shards of blue-green sea glass, polished smooth by salt and sand
And shell fragments, jagged and rough, cruel to the touch

Your word waves wash over me, cool and gentle
Soothing relief from the harsh glare of criticism and judgment
And they crash, roiling and unsettled, pulled from the deep parts of you
Eroding beliefs etched with sandy fingers near the water’s edge
Far enough, I thought, from the rising tide

You are the rising tide
And I, having played too long in castles built on crumbling foundations
Am caught unawares
I must decide
To clamber inelegantly to higher, solid ground, safe and dry

Or to surrender to the current
And swim

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where Have All the Flowers... er... Bloggers Gone?

I've just had a romp around Bloggyland, to see how many of my old friends are still out and about. There are a few (yay!) and I poked around to have a catch up on their pages, but most have left the big B. Sniff. It made me feel sad. I don't know why I expected people to stick around when I didn't stick around. Mighty double-standard-ish of me, eh? Hoping against hope, I guess. Well, now I'm hoping they are all out there living their wonderful lives, happy and healthy... and I'm hoping they check back in every now and then and find me and think, "Yay! Diane is still out there in Bloggyland!" And I hope I can find some new, as-wonderful bloggy friends this go-round.

I'm betting I can.

After all, Bloggyland is a pretty wonderful place...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Formal Introductions...

About 15 minutes before the end of the Friday workday, I got a call from my doc with the results of my recent PET scan. There is that moment, when she identifies herself on the phone, where my heart drops into my shoes and I'm about 70% scared to hear what she has to say and 30% desperate to hear it. But hear it I must. And I did. And it was not bad news. Not bad at all.

The scan was done to get a baseline, to see if there are any "hot spots" that might indicate treatment is necessary immediately, and to find out exactly where the cancer is located. They knew, of course, that the lymph nodes in my neck were invaded, as that's where I had a biopsy done. They were hoping the nodes in my abdomen might have looked messy on the last scan because of the nasty infection that landed me in the hospital... but no go; the cancer is there, too. And they needed to find out if the nodes between my neck and gut are also affected. They are. So it's everywhere. Blech.


The nodes in my neck and abdomen don't look worse than they did a couple of months ago. There have been no changes. And the ones in between aren't "alarming" in any way. That means the cancer's not growing... or it's growing so slowly that it's not too concerning yet.

Yay me!

So, since I feel perfectly fine and everything looks OK, the plan is to wait 3 months... then I go back in for blood work, an exam, and possibly another scan.

Also? No treatment.


The doc was quick to let me know that if anything changes in the way I feel, I need to get back in there. And although this type of cancer typically moves very slowly and can lie dormant for years, it can become aggressive.

And that? Means I can never rest completely easy. It will always be with me. Always. It will never go away. It will likely never go into remission and, on the off chance it does, it will come back. Treatment will simply set the disease back in time but it will never eradicate it.

On one hand, that sucks. Knowing you have this ugly little poison in your body for the rest of your life doesn't do much to make you feel all warm and fuzzy, you know? On the other, it provides for a certain level of comfort. Well, OK, comfort might not be the right word. But it provides for consistency... and beyond waiting to find out if the growth speed has increased, it means I won't be sitting here wondering if it's going to go away/come back/kill me tomorrow. And honestly? That's a wee bit comfortable.

So this cancer has officially become my new best "friend." If it has to be with me all the time, if I have to get used to living with it, then I figure I'd better make some peace with it. Or at least learn to co-exist. I've been calling it "Rat Bastard," and while that might be fitting, it seems rather... aggressive. So I'm going to give it a new name.

I'm thinking of "Myrtle."

What do you think?

I envision friends asking, "So, how is Myrtle these days?" And I can reply, "You know, she's been quiet," or "Well, she's being a bit pissy right now," or "Man, I want to bitch-slap that wench!"

I like it.

Myrtle it is.

So, everyone, this is Myrtle. Myrtle, this is everyone. Play nice.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I Won't Give Up...

So, I spent the latter part of this afternoon and early this evening being angry and upset. Dealing with this whole cancer mess without insurance has been frustrating. Beyond frustrating. It makes me want to kick things... and poke people with sticks. Sharp sticks. Not random people, mind you, but the people in charge of our for-profit sickcare system ('cause it is SO not healthcare).

Anyway, I stomped around and grumbled and whined and even cried a bit today... it had to do with the whole pre-existing condition crap, but really, that's neither here nor there. All that matters is that I was mad. And you know how when you're mad at something you can't actually poke with a stick, you take it out on the people around you? Well, I really didn't want to do that. So I took a deep breath, dragged my girl away from Dr. Who, and went out for a little Mexican (served by the big Mexican who flirts shamelessly with me [for tips, I'm certain, but hey, whatevs]).

While we were having dinner, we were talking about goals we'd like to accomplish in the next year. Ryan's involved swimming and learning to skateboard. And as I was talking to her, I realized that I have a lot of goals. An awful lot. And I realized that I've been setting them and making plans to accomplish them without even thinking about the cancer and how it could affect them.

I'm living my life.

And that's how it should be. 

So I decided to stop being mad. There is much I can't control, it's true, but this situation could be ever so much worse than it is. This cancer could be aggressive and mean, as so many of them are. I could be in immediate fear for my life; worried about leaving my daughter to grow up without me. But I'm not in fear or worried in those ways. And I'm so very grateful for that. I'm setting goals. I'm making plans.

I'm living my life.

In a couple of weeks, I start a class to learn to play the guitar I bought myself at Christmas (with a little unexpected Christmas bonus I decided to spend on moi). The guitar's name is Finn (which means 'fair stranger'... and it's definitely both of those). And after I get the basics down (which will be a challenge, as I'm completely devoid of any musical ability), I'm going to learn to play Jason Mraz's I Won't Give Up. Because I crazy-love that song, that's why. And because I won't give up. I won't give in. I won't let the bastards win.

I'm living my life.

I won't give up.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Time Flies...

My girl just turned 14. I don't know how it's possible, but she did. When I started this blog, she was 8. A third grader. She's getting ready to start high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people! I can't even wrap my head around that. And? She's so cool. She really is. She's crazy-smart... she's funny as hell... she's talented (a writer!)... she's so beautiful in the water... and on land. I love her. I like her. She makes me proud and so happy.

Remember what she looked like back then?

So cute.


Here she is on our recent trip to NYC (her choice for summer vacation)...

And here...

Even Spiderman thinks she's cool.

And you should see her IN the pool!

So, are you feeling old yet?

Yeah. Join the club.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Threw Me For a Loop...

Helloooo out there... are you still around? Anyone? I'm hanging my head, as I've been a sucky bloggy-friend... gone, gone, gone from Bloggyland... and missing this place and you all. As I do.

Life has taken a few interesting turns of late. It's been busy, as usual... a new job (which I might have told you about)... then another new job (which I just started, and I'm finally not under-employed!)... swim season (this was my 6th summer with my little sinkers, who are growing up to be pretty big sinkers!)... a trip to NYC with my daughter (who is about to enter -- get ready for it -- high school!!! Can you believe it?!)... a trip to the hospital (and a near-aneurysm when I got the bill)... and a cancer diagnosis.

Yeah. That last bit sucked. Sucked big. It's not as terrible as it could be, though. It appears to be ("appears" being the operative word) a "slow-moving" cancer -- a lymphoma (Non-Hodgkin's Follicular Lymphoma, to be specific). I had a PET scan today, so they could get a baseline, identify any "hot spots," and determine when treatment might be necessary (hopefully not for a while!).

It threw me for a loop, let me tell you. I was in the hospital for an infection that resulted from an antibiotic I got for a kidney infection (please note that I'm starting a petition to make hospitals pay your bills if they give you medicine that makes you sick! Because, damn, that's just not fair, that's why!). While I was there, a few tests made them want to poke around some more (quite literally)... and a biopsy later, VOILA! Cancer.

Cancer is stupid, by the way.

Oh, and getting cancer when you don't have health insurance? Makes it even stupider. Er... more stupid. Er.

Note that my new job has great benefits. Between the health insurance (which should kick in before Christmas) and the whole 'Oh-no-you-don't-say-you-won't-cover-preexisting-conditions' clause in the ACA (which should kick in after the New Year), I should be OK for the future. I just have to sit down before I open the hospital bills 'til then. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I'll have to sit down after, too. Our healthcare system? Nothing short of criminal. And one of my doctors actually said that out loud.

Anyhoo, as I say, the whole diagnosis thing threw me for a loop. Made me look at where I am... where I want to be... how I'm going to get there.

Yeah. I got nothin'.


That's not true. I've got a list. And on that list is WRITE MORE! Right at the top. And this is where I write. Right here. In Bloggy-land (which tells you how much I've been writing lately).

So... I'm gonna try. I really am. I know you've heard that before. I know, I lie. I don't mean to. They're accidental lies. There is too such a thing. Shut up. Just read, 'k? If you read, I'll write. I will. Honest.

Pinky swear...