Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yay or Nay?

Okay, kids. I'm gonna pull a Whitney Dibble and put up a survey.

Some of you want to see what Dr. H looks like. Some of you, apparently, do not want to see what he looks like, because you like the fantasy that comes of not knowing.

I talked to my mom this afternoon, and told her I'd woken up to an email from a friend saying she didn't want to see a pic of Dr. H, because she was afraid she'd be disappointed. My mom, bless her heart, said, "Did you write her back and say, 'You won't be!'?!" ... And then we laughed. Out loud.

It appears that the masses (all 19 of you) are divided.

So, I'm gonna give ya'll the right to choose.

See the survey at the top right corner of the blog? Just above the Cancer Girl Donation Center (speaking of which... it's scan week... in a new year, and that means I need to pay a whole new deductible and out-of-pocket max... so feel free to make a donation), there's a little Yes or No poll.

Click whichever way the spirit moves you.

Majority wins. (Assuming I can get his permission to show his pretty little face here in my corner of the www.)

Deadline to vote is 5:00 PM Friday.

Ready. Set. ... VOTE!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The upside of scan week...

I get a good 30 minutes with Dr. H on Friday. Maybe more, depending on whether he has someone scheduled after me. (When I saw him in November, I'm pretty sure I was his only patient all day. We talked for, like, an hour. It was a good time.)

That's right. On Thursday this week, I get to hang out in an isolation chamber, getting pumped full of radioactive materials, and then I get to bake in a tube for another 60-90 minutes. (Not my favorite day of the quarter. For sure.)

But on Friday? On Friday, I get to see the good doctor.

And just to clear any confusion up... (I've had more than one friend/family member ask in the last few weeks if he knows I have a crush on him).

Yes, yes he knows that I love him. I did, after all, ask the man to marry me the very first time we met. And then I took cookies to my second appointment, in hopes that their buttery goodness would win him over. And thus, a tradition was born.

Our "relationship" has been discussed every time I've ever seen the man. (Save the one appointment I had this summer when my mom came with, when I was recovering from surgery. He was really quiet that day. Withdrawn, even. ... Mom was pretty sure it was because he was nervous, meeting the in-laws for the first time. Ha!) Granted, it's always me bringing "the future" up. And then he sits there and laughs through the conversation while I make a case for there being a reason God led me straight to him. (You know, beyond his ability to cure cancer.)

Oh, he knows. He knows good and well. ... And I'm pretty sure he's okay with it.

The last time I saw him was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and we talked about our holiday plans. (He was going to TX, where he has a lot of friends. I was staying here, because I had to work the day after.) One thing led to another, and we ended up talking about our respective families. He's originally from Syria and doesn't have any family in the states. ... I may or may not have offered him five siblings and over 30 cousins if he married into mine. ... As always, he just laughed his way through me planning our lives together. We talked some more about the Tootsie Roll, made plans to get me in for an MRI, and he excused himself, saying he'd let PT know he was done with me and they could take me. As he was walking through the door, I called after him "Thanks for laughing at me... But you've got to know that as long as you're not saying 'No', I'm not giving up". A few seconds later - long enough for him to have gotten a good way down the hall and then have to came back - his head popped back into the room. With a wry, sideways grin, he said "I laugh, because I think you're funny". And then he was gone.

Be still, my beating heart.

At Christmas, I sent him a card in which I wrote "I love you (and not just in a 'I wish you'd give up, give in and agree to marry me already' sort of way)". True story. Those are the actual words I wrote in the card.

Yeah, he knows.

That being said, I have two points of business to discuss with him this Friday. Okay, three.

1) Has the Tootsie Roll grown, and is there anything else in there that might be contributing to my pants getting to be too tight?

2) Can I put his picture up on my blog? (I've had a lot of people ask me if I'll put his face here, and while he sure is listed on the www -- he has, after all, been published over 30 times in medical journals (I swoon) -- I don't feel like I could/should put his face on my blog without his permission.)

3) Will he come to Sunday dinner at Jo's? (If my sugar cookies didn't make him love me, my mashed potatoes will. I can just about guarantee it.)

I shall return and report the findings of all three questions, come Friday. Be watching for that.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I buy bananas just to let them rot on my counter.

True story.


Rotten bananas.

Perfect for banana muffins, my new true food love!

Banana Muffins
3 bananas
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes one dozen muffins.

*Add roughly chopped nuts and/or semi-sweet chocolate chips and it's a whole 'nother level of heaven.

You're welcome.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nobody said anything about cookies...

Remember that rule about how I'm not allowed to buy candy until March?

Well, guess what...

Nobody ever said anything about me not buying cookies.

And it's Girl Scout cookie season.

Heh heh heh.

*Disclaimer: Nine of these boxes were ordered on behalf of my friend Monica who doesn't have a Girl Scout in her life. ... That's right. I'm her cookie dealer. Don't judge. ... Of course, that does mean that the other six boxes are mine. And I live alone. (Read: I will eat these. All of them. By myself.) But hey, at least I'm not keeping all FIFTEEN boxes. It could be worse.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I have a cold.

Have I mentioned that?

I blame the church coughers.

Also, the multitude of people at my work who've been hacking up a lung for the last month or so.

And the handles on shopping carts, and the door knobs at the church and those grody little kids that I love who insist on getting up in my business.

Not to mention, my lack of a spleen/natural immune system.

Anyway, I have a cold.

And I'm a miserable sick person. I mean, miserable.

Give me cancer any day. I can handle a potentially deadly health threat with the grace of a gazelle. ... But when I have a stuffy (or runny) nose, all bets are off on how I'll handle stress or what kind of attitude I'll have.

So, I've been sniffling, sneezing, leaking and/or struggling to breath for over a week now. I've been wondering at how my nose has turned into a veritable snot factory. My energy has been sapped. (Even more so than usual.)

I noticed that I have a brand new growth on my forehead, and have been having flashbacks to both the first grade and September of last year.

Oh, and I have a scabby sore on my nose from blowing it too many times.

Folks, what I'm saying is: I am tired, I am stuffed up, I have a scabby nose and a warty forehead.

It's not pretty. (Literally or emotionally.)

I have been wondering what is wrong with my body, why I ever had to lose my spleen in the first place and what new stressor is making my stupid body revert to a childhood wart-causing virus. (Again.) I've been hating the cancer and wondering why it had to come along and wreck my body.

Basically, I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself. ... It's because I have a cold. I always get stupid when I have a stuffy nose. (Maybe my brain turns into boogers? I don't know.)


Enter the experience that turned my outlook around today...

This morning, I was walking through my office building when I noticed something unusual. Or, rather, someone unusual. (We bankers are coached, regularly, to pay attention to the height, build and general appearance of people we don't recognize. Call it an occupational hazard, but we have to stay on task and pay attention to our surroundings.)

I was walking behind a gentleman who was wearing the most unusual get-up: baggy, loose-fitting pants that were long enough to cover his shoes, long-sleeved shirt with a high collar, gloves that went up under the sleeves of his shirt, and a hat with some serious neck coverage. Something like this:

He was walking really slowly, and looking into each office along the hall, and my spidey sense went off, telling me that I needed to stay behind him to see where he was going. (There are two banks in the complex I work in. A man who's completely covered up is a pretty big red flag. Bank robbers tend to wear disguises to throw people off, and baggy clothes can hide a true weight/build, making them harder to ID.)

As I slowed my walk to match his, he stopped altogether and turned sideways. I paused, too, unsure of why someone who I'd decided was some kind of suspect would be stopping in the middle of the hall... other than to catch me out as following him and maybe shoot me in the head. (Who has an overactive imagination and watches too much crime-drama television? This girl!)

He turned sideways, and looked into an office, and then slowly turned toward me... Looking lost. And very much NOT like a bank robber.

Sweet blue eyes peeked out from under that hat, and he asked me if I knew where Senator McCain's office was.

I concentrated on keeping eye contact - and not looking at his distorted face - as I explained that Senator McCain's office is in our general neighborhood, but it's not in our office building. I offered to look up the exact address for him, if he came back into the bank with me. He smiled, and thanked me - as much with his eyes as with his words - and we walked back down the hallway together.

We walked slowly, because he couldn't do much more than half my usual pace. (And, folks, I am not a fast walker. By a long shot.) As I pulled the main door open and we walked into the sun-filled courtyard, I held the door for him and asked if he was wearing the hat to protect his skin from the sun. He nodded, and as he looked down at his baggy pants and gloved hand, said two words: Skin cancer.

I just nodded, and said I was sorry. (Truth is, as soon as I'd seen his profile, I'd figured it was the C word.) Bless his heart.

It turns out he was walking slowly because he is sickly. His clothes were loose because I don't know that they make clothes small enough to fit his tiny little frame. He was covering every square inch of skin that he could to protect his sensitive skin. (So much for those super heightened robbery spidey-senses I thought I had.)

We went into the bank and I sat him down in the lobby and asked him to wait while I went back to my desk to look up McCain's address for him. Roughly three minutes later, I came back to find him writing in a notebook in a weak, scratchy script.

I gave him the address and a printout of Mapquest directions from our building to McCain's and offered him a bottle of water, which he declined.

As he walked toward the door, he thanked me again. I told him he was most welcome, and I thought to myself...

"No more, Evans. You may have a stuffy nose, but you have a nose. You may not have the energy to walk around the block, but you still have the pleasure of sitting in the sun. No more whining. Not about a cold, or a bump on your forehead, that you can't walk as fast as you used to, or about the kind of cancer YOU were lucky enough to get."

I tell you, that sweet, slow-walking, little man was a gift from God.

I love how, every once in a while, I can see His hand in my life. I'm so glad that I was able to help someone today. I'm so grateful for what helping that sweet man gave me in return: Perspective.

We all have something: a burden to bear, a trial to learn from. ... Today, more than usual, I am grateful for what it is that is mine.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Keeping the Faith

According to my dad, ice cream is referenced in the 13th Article of Faith. (It's the "of good report" in "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or *praiseworthy, we seek after these things.") 

We're such good Mormons, practicing our religion on a Sabbath morning with a bowl of rocky road.

*And if it's really good ice cream, it's also praiseworthy. - Dennis M. Evans

Friday, February 15, 2013

Family Time, Redoux

I came home for the weekend again.

The food was so good last weekend, that I just couldn't help myself but make the drive from Mesa to Taylor after work last night.

Also, I had a four day weekend coming, and right now I'm trying to sidetrack my brain so it doesn't spend all of its days (and, more importantly, nights) obsessing about my next PET.

14 days from today, I'll have the results. (This is my new mantra.)

I so hate this end of the scan loop. The first eight to ten weeks after a scan, I rest easy. I know the results of my last scan, and I know there's nothing I can do about what may be coming. I can (for the most part) totally forget about the fact that my body's grown four tumors in the last two years and I can proceed with life as usual. But the second I get that call from scheduling, I go into a bit of a tailspin. And this time, that call came four weeks before they could actually get me in.

Enter the month of February. AKA: The month of little to no sound sleep and lots of wondering if my pants don't fit because I ate too much fudge at Christmas, or if something more sinister is at play. So then I eat more candy, because ... well ... my pants already don't fit, so what do I have to lose?

Seems like a perfect justification for coming home. Four days off. People to talk to. Bacon in the fridge and all I have to do is utter the words "ice cream" and Dad's all over it. Avocados and extra sharp cheese with a side of eggs for dinner. A multitude of fiberlicious muffins in the freezer. It's basically heaven here.

I was talking to my mom today, as we were going through a box of my grammy's things, and I jokingly said "Well, you know... I could always come back next weekend." She smiled from ear to ear, and exclaimed, "You could!"

Gosh, I hope they buy more avocados and bacon after I leave. I'd hate for them to be out of the good stuff the next time I decide to run away for a weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

I. Am. An. Idiot.

I truly am.

Remember my food rules?

Yeah, so do I.

Which means, I cannot buy my beloved Reese's PB Hearts.

It's killing me a little bit.

My only consolation is that I am allowed to buy candy again in March, and Easter candy is my favorite. (Hello, Cadbury mini-eggs. How you doin'?)

The Reese's hearts are mocking me everywhere I go, but I'm taking consolation in knowing that on March 1st, I will be purchasing a package of Reese's eggs. Maybe on my way to work in the morning.

Listen, peanut butter has protein in it. And protein is good for you. Esp in the AM.

Yeah... self-control. That's not really something I do. I can follow rules, but as soon as I give myself a little leeway, I'm in trouble. (You know that "You give her an inch, she'll take a yard" adage? It was written about me. And my love of candy.)

The End.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

There's no place like home.

It's true.

And I'm not just saying that because my family is the only group of people I know who can match me, calorie for calorie.

The conversation's good, too.

Oh, and we laugh a lot.

(Though a good part of the laughing could be contributed to a sugar high.)

I rolled into town yesterday afternoon at about 5:00. I wasn't hungry. At all. I'd had a meatball sub from Capriotti's for lunch. (This is not a paid advertisement, but I'm here to tell you... if you like meatball subs, get yourself to a Capriotti's. Forthwith.) And then I'm stopped to get gas on my way home and picked up some roadtrip treats at the gas station. (Don't worry, I did not buy candy. That is pretty much my one rule I haven't broken yet, and I'm determined to make it to March 1. ... But I did buy a giant ice cream sandwich and a bag of jalapeno potato chips. Both of which I gobbled right up.)

So, as you can see... I had eaten a lot yesterday afternoon. I was not one whit hungry. But at soon as I walked into my mom's kitchen, I popped the lid on a tupperware and helped myself to a fiberlicious muffin. And ten minutes later, Dad was home from work, hungry (because he'd skipped lunch). And... we were off to Trapper's.

Bacon cheeseburgers on the char grill all around. (Except Dad, who went with his standard BBQ sandwich, which is also delicious, but not legendary the way a Trapper's burger is.) Kate ordered fries, but they were too crunchy for her, so I ate them. (I swear, they were double fried. They were crunchy and salty and fantastic!)

Remember... I wasn't hungry when I started eating this. (Neither was Mom. She'd had four fiberlicious muffins, and I'm here to tell you... they're filling.)

And then Cindy came back and asked if we wanted pie. Heck yes, we did!

They have a new flavor: Peanut Butter Pie.

Of course, we were curious, but not sure if we could commit to a solid PB pie. So Mom ordered a piece of chocolate pie to go with it.

I got my standard apricot a la mode, as did Dad. Katie couldn't decide between apricot and lemon cream. It was quite the dilemma.

When Cindy brought our platter of pie out (yeah... a table of four and we merited her bringing our pie out on a platter) we laughed out loud. There they were: 3 apricot a la mode, 1 chocolate, 1 pb and a to-go container with lemon cream, because Cindy thought Katie probably "needed" it.

Did that lemon cream go home with us? No. No, it did not. Dad was a good boy and ate his own piece of pie. I ate mine, but then helped Mom finish off the pb/choc pies.  Kate and Dad both tasted the pb, but weren't sold on it like Mom and I were. Katie ate her apricot pie, but then couldn't stay out of the lemon, so I joined in to help a sister out. (I'm such a giver.)

About 20 minutes in, we started laughing like hyenas. Maybe it was the sugar. Maybe it was the realization that three women eating five pieces of pie (after eating full dinner) was pretty ludicrous.

Joyce Brimhall came to our table to see what all the laughing was about, and had to be drug away by her husband. Brenda Crook caught us on our way out and told us she wanted to know why we were having so much fun at our table. She said all the laughing was contagious, and she was starting to get giggly herself.

People, we are a good time. Copious amounts of sugar delivered in pie-sliced pieces of heaven only helps.

There's no place like home. There is no one like these people. I love it here. I love them.

And, now, if you'll excuse me, Dad's making his famous stone ground whole wheat pancakes with pecans and blueberries for breakfast. I need to go eat myself sick again...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The most aggravating hour of my week.


It kills me.

Every week.

The coughing, the sneezing, the coughing some more. From every corner of the room.

And I sit there, trying to tell myself that it's allergy season and it's probably just pollen. But what I know is that it's also influenza season, and the coughers are contaminating my air.


It's a cesspool of germs.

I tell you, there's not enough anti-bacterial gel in the world to cover Sunday mornings in my life.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Laundry Day

I finally did it.

That's right.

It's February, and I did my laundry.

I didn't do laundry once during the whole month of January.

The last time I did laundry was December 20th, actually.

44 days
6 batches of laundry
3 loads of whites
47 pair of underwear

*In my defense, those 3 loads of whites included my sheets and pretty much every blessed towel I own. It's not like I filled three washer drums to the fill with dirty underwear. I just wanted to clarify.

It was a long time coming. Obviously. But the sick thing is, I was nowhere near being out of clothes.

I know that I probably shouldn't show you this, but I'm gonna. (Disclaimer: I know it's excessive. My excuse has always been that when the world ends and we have to go back to the basics, I will barter my clothes for food. That's right, I have a "year's supply" of clothes.) Don't judge.

And that's just the left side of my closet. Here's the right side. ... The kicker is, the right side has two racks of shirts and you can't see the pile of sweaters in the back corner.

And these are the clothes that I didn't have to wash. As in, I had a month and a half (6 weeks and 6 loads) of laundry to wash. ... And I still had all of this, clean, hanging in my closet.

I tell you, if I hadn't been down to the underwear that I truly hate, I could have gone another month. ... I'm thinking I should probably buy more underwear. Like, tomorrow.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Last February...

So, you know how I like to set (temporary) rules for myself, right? Well, last February, my rule was that I was going to walk an hour every day.

That's right. An hour. Every day.

(Don't be impressed. On a good day - back then - I could walk maybe 3 miles in an hour. Maybe.) Anyway, the deal was that I had to walk for an hour. No rules on how far or how fast I walked. As long as I was out for an hour, it was all good.

There was one day that I was walking around my block after work and this very sweet little toothless black man joined me. He was pretty chatty. (Also, hard to understand. What with the toothlessness and all.) He seemed a little lonely, so I just let him talk his little heart out. He had been a truck driver in Colorado, but had become disabled and had moved to Arizona. He was living paycheck to paycheck. Half his teeth had rotted or fallen out, but he'd won sort of a free dentist lottery. (Some dentist in Scottsdale does a humanitarian thing once a year where he'll remake a disabled/homeless person's teeth, and he'd been selected.) He was going to have his remaining teeth pulled in March, and then once his mouth healed, would get dentures. He was a dog person. He liked kids.

I mean, I'm telling you, this guy was a taaaaaalker.

Right about the time we were coming up to the entrance into my complex, he asked me why I was out walking.

It's important to note the timeline in my life: I had been told about three weeks earlier that I had a new tumor. I knew what that meant. Possible treatments. Certain surgery. ... And with the surgery comes a really long, hard road to recovery. One that always includes using a walker as I regain my balance and learn how to walk again. A huge part of my walking-for-an-hour rule in February 2012 had to do with the fact that I wanted to be outside, on my feet, for as long as I could be.

When I hesitated to answer my new little friend's question, he kept talking. He asked if it was for exercise, if I was trying to lose weight, if I just needed to get out and think, etc...

As he talked, I said to myself, more than to him, "I am walking because I can."

A year down the road, seven and a half months after surgery, I am glad that I walked for an hour a day while I could.  (I'm doing well to walk for half an hour at a time right now. That's a mile, and it's about my limit.) I can't do it anymore, but I'm really grateful for the memories I have of walking, for hours at a time, up and down the street that I live on.

It seems that, more than anything else, this last surgery has been an exercise in learning to be grateful for what I do have.

I am seriously grateful for the energy that I do have, because it allows me to do the things I need to do. (Namely, work 40 hours a week, so I can provide a life for myself.) I miss having the energy to do something as small as walking for an hour after work, but at the same time, I am really, really grateful for the knowledge that I while I did have that energy, I used it for something that I loved.

And someday, I'll be able to walk like that again.

Not today. Probably not next month. But someday.