Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What to Write About?





Time to write something - but what to write about? Nothing has changed much since my last update, in relation to medical matters. I have found, after brief experimenting, that medical marijuana tincture - a drop under the tongue, does help to increase my appetite and decrease any feelings of nausea - side effect of my two anti-cancer medications. That's a worthwhile finding - I'd like to put back some of the weight I've lost. No more vaping the MM though, until the current findings about vaping in general are clarified as to whether nicotine or THC (part of marijuana) are involved - could even be both, I suppose. Pain-when-walking remains my main bugbear. Pain relief from my pain medication is good for a short time only, once it has kicked in. Sometimes I think the relief is improving, but not consistently, the following day can bring it back seemingly worse than ever at times. The radiation oncologist said, in regard to this, that bones are not consistent. It's something to watch and note. Perhaps the improvements will, as time goes by, last longer and longer - this is what the oncologist suspects, and I can but hope!


News on a wider scale continues, for me, to revolve around the UK's pantomime known as Brexit, and the USA's pantomime known as President Donald Trump.

Brexit news and the current doings of Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson (aka Donald Trump lite), become more unbelievable by the day - even by the hour this week. I didn't believe anything could possibly make Donald Trump appear to be more presidential - but this week's doings in the UK did it for me! It took a lot though. On President Trump, there's a long-running thread at Quora asking:

https://www.quora.com/Whats-the-best-Donald-Trump-joke-you-have-heard

I read through most of the thread but found most of the jokes a tad lame. Maybe my sense of humour has been lost along with my weight! This joke was the only one that managed to raise as much as a chuckle:

Trump is doing a meet-and-greet at a crowded venue and his security detail is being extra watchful. One of them is a new guy and he’s extra jumpy.

Suddenly, a gunman bursts from the crowd, aiming his weapon at the President. Pandemonium ensues. The rookie bodyguard screams “Mickey Mouse!!!” at the top of his voice and this startles the would be assassin to the point that his aim is off and the shot goes over Trump’s head.

Some bodyguards wrestle the assailant to the ground, while others hustle the President to safety. Disaster averted.

Later, during debriefing, the head of the security detail congratulates the rookie. Without his quick thinking, he tells him, the President might very well be dead.

“But I’m puzzled” he said. “Why on earth would you yell 'Mickey Mouse'?”

“I’m new”, explained the rookie, sheepishly. “I panicked. I meant to yell 'Donald! Duck!!'”

Friday, August 30, 2019

Updated and Backdated

Quick medical update first: The oncologist and the radiation oncologist I saw earlier this week on follow-up appointments both gave me a thorough "going over", declared me good for a while longer - well, anyway until my next appointments with both I guess; that will not be for 2 months. Perhaps I'll not be shuffling off before then, barring accidents and the unexpected, fingers crossed!

The temporary stand-in oncologist advised, with regard to pills for my pain-while-walking, that I can try using a double dose of the the minimum dose extended release morphine tablets, prescribed in July by another stand-in oncologist. The pills as prescribed had had no effect on my pain, so I just didn't take them and relied on the previous pain pills I'd been using. I'm now trying this new regime, with my old pain pills available for "break-through pain". I'm still not overly impressed with the morphine, the effect so far isn't as beneficial as my usual pain pills, but maybe lasts a little longer. I shall give it a longer testing and experimenting time.



I'm not sure how much longer Learning Curve on the Ecliptic will survive, in view of the fact that I shall have to buy a new computer before January 2020. Windows 7 operating system, which I use, will no longer be supported by Microsoft after that; this old computer has a hitch in its sound system so needs replacing anyway. I'm posting much less frequently than in years past. Survival of Learning Curve, at all, will depend on how compatible I find myself with Windows 10 once I've replaced my old faithful machine and operating system.


It was around this time of year in 2006 that I first jumped into Blogger and tried my hand at blogging. For many years I posted daily, initially about astrology, later on a variety of topics. In 2015 a kind commenter suggested that I should write some posts telling a little about my life. I was wary of doing so at first as it seemed particularly self-indulgent. Ah well, a bit of navel-gazing has never hurt anyone, so I began a weekend series of posts on my own life story. By the end of the series I found that I had actually enjoyed those backward glances.

Thinks: With a bit of filling out, this post could stand for the full week ahead, so...below is a list of links to the 8 parts of that self-indulgent story of my life mentioned above. Any stray passing reader might be brave enough to sample an episode - or two - or perhaps just take a look at the pictures.

Self Indulgence - episode 1
Self Indulgence - episode 2
Self Indulgence - episode 3
Self Indulgence - episode 4
Self Indulgence - episode 5
Self Indulgence - episode 6
Self Indulgence - episode 7
Self Indulgence - episode 8

Monday, August 26, 2019

Tardy Update-ish

Well....I guess it's time I posted an update here, but there's not much to report at present. Perhaps after Wednesday I'll have news worth recording, after two medical appointments - follow-ups. These will be mainly in relation to issues following my radiation course a few weeks ago, and checking state of blood after several weeks on the Ibrance medication - those expensive pills for which, amazingly, I haven't yet had to pay anything out of pocket.

Medical marijuana news: I've decided to stay off it for a few days. I hadn't been taking much anyway - a drop of tincture once or twice a day. The sleepiness, my only consistently noticeable effect from MM, has been increasing daily, along with a general feeling of being "not quite with it". Up with that I will not put! No MM today, and already I feel slightly less doped-up. There were a couple of tries at vaping a few days ago, no more of that until I read more of recent reports that vaping (not sure if re nicotine or marijuana) has been causing some kind of lung disease.

Cartoons below came from my oldest (in both senses) friend in the UK - she was born a week after yours truly.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Medical Update MM-Wise

YAY!! I received my Medical Marijuana card on Saturday! We visited a dispensary, bought some tincture, a gummie and a plastic straw filled with "High Honey", as my first-time try-outs. I tried the last-mentioned on Saturday evening - no effect! I did fall asleep in front of TV late evening - but I do that most evenings anyway. This morning I tried a couple of small drops of the tincture (under the tongue), which haven't done anything so far. Finding the right stuff for my needs, and the right doses, will take time. Everyone is so different, useful advice can't really be offered. I'm looking for help with my pain-when-walking and occasional nausea and loss of appetite. Experimentation is recommended, always starting with lowest dose. The woman in the dispensary said to even cut the gummie into 4 and take a quarter only at first - I'll experiment with that later. We shall visit another dispensary, to buy the necessary equipment to do "vaping", the dispensary we visited on Saturday was out of stock. I really do not fancy smoking the stuff, vapor seems like the next best thing.

The past week saw irradiated skin around my chest and under-arm areas peeling away, leaving one painfully awkward raw place under-arm requiring a dressing. I had to seek assistance and advice from a nurse. Glad to say that, with husband's assistance with the dressing, it's now much less raw and improving daily.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Frustration Station (Medical Update)

The blog has been silent for a week. It was a week filled with annoyance and frustrations initiated by our visit last Saturday - as mentioned in the second paragraph of my previous post, above. That appointment, at a local Medical Marijuana dispensary, did not work out at all as expected! Rather than bore the underwear off any stray reader, I'll try to nutshell the tale, but it isn't easy to tell briefly. This could well ramble on.

I, allegedly, had the last appointment of the day at a local dispensary where I had assumed a doctor would be present to recommend (or not) medical marijuana (MM) for me. It turned out, however, that there were numerous "walk-ins" to be dealt with after me - the small waiting room was heaving with these when we arrived.

A good imitation of chaos ensued.

My "interview with a doctor" consisted of a few minutes talking to an elderly guy on a laptop screen. The doc seemed less interested in listening to what I was telling him about my ailments than in attaching his own labels to me. After a few minutes he gave the assistant some code numbers. That was that, doctor-wise.

I was then handed over to an assistant and "the boss" to provide my documentary proofs of identity (my US passport), proof of residency in Oklahoma (my Voter ID card), and my Medicare card. These were scanned or photographed, and a photograph was taken of me (passport style). There were some mumblings about proof of residency, and there being a need to submit the top sheet to the deeds to joint ownership of our house. This should have been unnecessary, as the Voter ID card was one listed as acceptable proof of residency in the state. We agreed to send what they had requested, by e-mail, and the "boss" would call me later that evening to finalise things and get my debit card number for payment of $20 to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), and submit my application to OMMA. I had paid "the boss" $75 in cash for his part in the process, for which he gave a peculiar type of receipt on my husband's cellphone - something we have yet to decipher. All the time we were there, by the way, "the boss" guy was dealing with at least one, sometimes two, other applicants concurrently with me.

We went home, searched for house deeds, found what seemed to be appropriate and sent it to the e-address we'd been given. Then.....nothing. No phone call that evening, none the next day nor on the day after.

We visited the dispensary on Tuesday, explained what had happened (or hadn't happened) to a lady who seemed to be in charge there. She made a phone call to "the owner" (as in "the boss") who allegedly told her he would call us that evening. He didn't. More calls to the dispensary followed next day, with promises made by recipient to call me back. Nobody ever called back.

It was Thursday by now - I had steam coming out of my ears. Another call to the dispensary - this time I let it rip a lot more than I had during past phone calls. The guy at the other end of the line said "We were only hosting the event, it was nothing to do with us". GRRR! I told him that as hosts to something, they had to take some responsibility for what had gone on. He promised to call the owner of the outfit who had "organised" Saturday's chaotic event. Nothing further was heard by that afternoon.

At some point, someone had given me a phone number which led to an answering machine at the offices of "the owner", in Oklahoma City. I decided to leave a message on it. I guessed my message would be just one of thousands and like everything else I'd done, be completely ignored. The answering machine cut me off after a few seconds, but I kept going back each time, continuing my call, ending with pleas to "please, please, please will somebody ring me back!" Ten minutes later somebody did. It was "the boss". That turned out to be a very long phone call, an hour or more with lots of waiting time included. What had gone on on Saturday was repeated over again, as though Saturday's visit had never happened. This time, eventually, I was asked for my debit card number and that was that. He said I should receive confirmation that my application had been received by the OMMA, and that my MM card should be with me in around 5 to 7 days - possibly by Wednesday next. I got the confirmation from OMMA within a few minutes.

On reflection, and upon further reading around, using name of "the boss", I began to realise that there is a veritable flood of applicants in the state, a never-ending flood it seems, and "the boss" and his organisation are trying to deal with the flood, but without adequate means (or so it appears to me, now).

Fingers crossed that the train, having at last left Frustration Station, will arrive at the proper destination bringing with it my MM card, to enable me to buy some MM to assist with my pain-when-walking and my nausea/loss of appetite.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Medical Update plus Something Completely Different, with Ian Lang.

Radiation therapy course finishes this morning! YAY!!!!
My second 21 days of Ibrance began mid-week after 7 days free of the demon pill. Oddly enough the loss of appetite and nauseous feelings increased during that 7 days off - I was expecting the opposite. I really need to be eating more. I'm oncologistless at present, so I asked one of the senior nurses about the nausea. She very kindly sent a couple of prescriptions to be picked up - 2 different nausea medications specifically for problems caused by chemotherapy and other cancer-related therapies. One of these medications worked a treat on the first trial, not as well the second time - but I'm to take them alternately, and for a particular reason didn't do that initially- better luck next time, I hope.

On the medical marijuana front, I have an appointment at a local MM dispensary late tomorrow afternoon (I managed to get their last appointment - my stars must have been aligned!) I'll see a visiting physician who will (I hope) give me a recommendation letter to send to the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, so as to get me an MM Card. That card will enable me to buy product at any dispensary in the state. This appointment will cost me $75, a little cheaper than expected, and because I'm on Medicare the cost of the MM Card will be just $20 (as against $100 for those not on Medicare or Medicaid.) Around 10 days, after sending (online) proof of identity, residence, the recommendation letter, with a digital photograph of myself, and my Medicare card + the dosh, all to the OMMA, I shall hope to be set up to buy something which might help on several fronts.




And now for something completely different....

I'm calling on Ian Lang of Quora to provide a lighter note. As any regular readers will remember, Ian has very kindly given his blanket permission for me to use his writings on my blog. Here's what he had to say - waxing all poetic for a change - in answer to this question.

What do British people think of Boris Johnson as their PM?


Non-British readers will likely need a translation of "soss" : it's short for sausage; and should any readers in the USA be thinking of 'chips' as known in their world (= a bag of crisps in the UK), chips are something akin to steak fries in the United States - certainly not like French fries which are way too skinny for their own good!
So:

What do British people think of Boris Johnson as their PM?

I think unlike John Masefield, I’ll stay away from the sea

And focus all my wishes on soss ’n’ chips for tea.

I think I’d not like to be at work in summer’s hot enthrall-

I think that is much better though, than watching the football.

I think I really can’t be arsed, with who it is in charge;

Johnson, Corbyn, Hunt, Leadsom, or that bloke Farage.

For I think that in some future age, it will be so much fooey.

In five billion years, as well we know, the sun will go kablooey.

And all that we have said and done and all our silly rhymes

Will be vapourised. Including those with lines that don’t suit the rest of the metre and aren’t made into couplets.

I think then, that we should not dwell on our human worries of toss,

Yet cast our minds to glorious times, when there are chips, and soss.

And splendidly, egg as well, if you’re lucky.