Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Bit Frustrated...

This was the week of The Maven's much-anticipated visit with her Neurosurgeon, who will be doing her surgery.  First of all we showed up Monday morning only to arrive and be told our appointment had been on Friday and we hadn't showed.

No kidding. 
 We had all our reminders written for Monday and there were no calls to us to remind us of either Friday or Monday's appointment.  Doctor wasn't there so we were rescheduled for this morning.

What we hoped to hear was that the doc has received all test results/scans, etc and would have information about how we would proceed towards a surgery date. He had all test and scan results and what we were told was that The Maven would have to see the ENT Surgeon who would be working along side the Neurosurgeon before scheduling could be done.  We could have done that last week when we had so much down time!  Now we can't get into see this ENT doc until mid-May and that means more delay for that surgery date.  These ENT surgeons are not really plentiful and are consider among the best in the country, but they do not take our insurance.  This means we now will haggle with the insurance company to see if they will make an exception, especially given the delicate nature of the surgery and the excellent reputation of the clinic.  They pioneered the modern day surgical techniques that are used for the removal of Acoustic Neuromas.  
It's okay though, it is a step forward and I will call the clinic daily to see if they have a cancellation. (Won't I be popular?)

The Maven still has the Vertigo symptoms and we are working on her building more stamina by walking.  Depending on the time of day, she is going a little further than she was a month ago.  This will be a helpful bench mark for post-surgery recovery as well as keeping her strength up in her legs, not to mention the mental health benefits of activity.

We found a beautiful rose garden not far from our home and I plan to take the camera next time. 

Hope you enjoyed seeing the lovely Bougainvillea that is growing on the trellis on the back  patio.  I can see it from the kitchen here and it's just a pretty pop of color.  The hummingbirds have been draining the little feeders I've put out for them, but they are awfully hard to get a picture of!

Here's another rascal that's hard to take a picture of, Dexter. He and Darcy have been staying with us since The Maven has been bunking here.  For some reason he really loves the bathtub, but is such a blur on film that it's hard to get a good shot.  I'm working on some more for a "cat post".

Good week ahead for everyone!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Breaking News! Stan Visits for Weekend. Takes Over BT's Bed!

Really Stanley? I have no idea where you would get the idea you could just laze about our bed.

Oh, silly me.  That's right it's THEIR bed. And You've been invited up there too?

Nope.  Back on your horse blanket, Stan.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, April 22, 2013

This and That. Dr. Evil, Fingergate, Cagescape, The Maven and Tom Cruise

That title should garner some interest, don't you think?

I have a new talent.
I can do the perfect imitation of this character:

Fingergate has entered the Physical Therapy stage where I go to visit a lovely young therapist three times a week and she attempts to make my little finger bend.

The finger is winning at this point. 
 I am faithfully doing my exercises, applying cocoa butter (I now smell like a Pina Colada all day - not so bad, right?), heat, ice....

This is how far I can bend it when I make a fist:
 (Hence the reference to Dr. Evil)

Just think if it was a different finger! 

You may notice in the background of the last picture that I have tweaked my cage for a new "cagescape".  So far just a couple of succulents, a cactus and a Boston.  As I said, tweaking.

The Maven is hanging in there with the Vertigo, headaches and anticipation of surgery. Next Monday she has an appointment with the Neurosurgeon.  He should have all the scans and test results digested and we can ask more questions and hopefully get a surgery date lined up.  Once he gives the go ahead, surgery is scheduled within 2-3 weeks, we are told. Hope so!

We all (the five humans in the family) went to see "Oblivion" this weekend. I know, I know.  Everyone's down on Tom Cruise these days, but this was a really good movie.  I'm not much of a Sci-Fi fan, but this one had a compelling storyline and beautiful scenery. Not a crazy amount of CGI effects either.

A lot of it was filmed in Iceland, where The Writer and Sammy went on their honeymoon - it was the perfect backdrop for the story and the cinematographer did the beautiful landscape justice.
Good acting too.

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Something to Share

I received an email with the following attachment from my very dear friend, Jane, in Toronto.  We have been friends since we were 7 years old!  She outdates Mr. Tennis!

Anyway, this is a new campaign that DOVE is running and I think it sends a wonderful message.  One I just had to share with my dear bloggy friends and family.

Happy End of the Week!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Found Something to Make You Smile

Well, two things. 

First, I woke up from a snooze and found Sadie with her head perched on my hip.

Yes, I realize she is ridiculous, this is why we allow her to live with us.

Second, saw a good movie.  A good small, independent movie.
A good, small, independent, funny/sorta sad movie.
A good small, indepen.....

Okay here it is:

This Australian film, inspired by true events, has had a very limited release, great reviews and I was hoping to get to see it in a theater before it headed to Netflix.

It was just the right movie to make you smile, make you hope and make you think, "gee, I didn't know that".

It's not often you get to see a movie with the Vietnam War as a backdrop to story of a singing girl group, ala The Supremes, who just happen to be Aboriginals.  The civil rights movement was not just confined to the US and this movie sheds some light on a lesser known struggle that went on for quite some time in Australia.  

Sounds like a heavy plot and although some of the topics covered are serious, the movie is as light as a feather and a breath of fresh air. Besides, anything with Chris O'Dowd in it always makes me smile.

The more different we are, the more we are the same.

Here's to a peaceful rest of the week.

My only connection to Boston is my blog name and a couple of days I spent there a few years ago.  It doesn't matter where. Any city, any time, it could be any of us.  May the responsible parties be brought to justice and those who lost their lives have peace. To the many injured both physically and emotionally, I have you in my thoughts.

Here's to a peaceful rest of the week.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's Finally Happened. I've Gone "California".

At least that's how I felt as I lay on the table at the Acupuncturist's about a week ago. 

 Actually, it's when the gentle doctor removed the pins and said, "Now. I would like to do cupping on your back and neck".
 And realized I knew what she was talking about...

But I digress.  Let's go back several days and figure out how I ended up in that vulnerable position and more importantly why would I allow more pins and needles to be rained upon me willingly?

All for the greater good people.  The greater good.

As I told you in my previous post, The Maven has been experiencing constant Vertigo symptoms for over a month now with very little relief from traditional medicines and therapies. The symptoms are hard to live with and even after surgery she will experience them, hopefully temporarily. So, we are looking at all sorts of ways to lessen the symptoms so she can function properly and enjoy her young life as she should.

Somewhere along the paths we have been following the last several weeks acpuncture was mentioned as a possible way of relieving Vertigo symptoms.  I am familiar with pressure points and the idea behind acupuncture, but have never tried it myself.  There are so many clinics here in the greater LA area and I had no idea where to start looking.

So, I did the only thing a sensible person does, I looked on YELP. We've been using it constantly to find restaurants, hair salons, auto shops, grocery stores and movie theaters, why not an acupuncturist?  Turns out using YELP was a very good idea.  It narrowed my search down to two places and the one we chose was a place I would see on my way to the grocery store each time I went and had wondered about - more importantly it had good reviews and said that we may be able to use our health insurance to defray the cost.

When The Maven called to set up an appointment for us (I was supposedly going for support) the doctor herself called her back and talked awhile to determine if her techniques could help with those Vertigo symptoms. Of course she said they would because Acupuncture always seems to be advertised to help with a wide variety of symptoms, including the ones I was going in with, arthritis, stress and muscle tightness.

In we went and met with the nicest doctor who listened asked lots of questions and explained what she would be doing.  "Who would like to go first?"  That would be me.

My left hand has been suffering from overuse since I broke my right pinkie and it was my major complaint, especially the middle digit which has arthritis in the joints.  The needles started coming out and my hand was swabbed with disinfectant.  Next thing I knew my hand was full of needles. I assured The Maven they didn't hurt.  They didn't, but I'm used to needles and am not phased by them.

From there she moved onto my neck and shoulder which get very tight from stress. (What me stressed?) More swabbing and needling.  Then my knee that I injured a few months ago.  I figured I might as well throw that into the mix.  And for some reason a couple of pins went into my hairline...  timer put on and the doc and  The Maven left the room.

I think the timer was set for about 20 minutes and I was comfortable enough to catch a quick doze, but kept coming awake wondering what was going on with The Maven.

A fig tree in the backyard here!

DING!  Timer goes off. Needles taken out.  I'm ready to get up and dressed, but doc says, "let's do some cupping on your shoulder".  I knew exactly what this was because I had seen pictures in magazines of celebrities coming out of clinics with round bruises on their necks and backs from "cupping".
I was now about to become one of them...

The doc explained they might leave a bruise because the little jars attach to your skin by suction to pull the toxins out of your body.  Exactly why am I doing this again?

Oh right, the greater good.

The little jars, probably six of them didn't hurt, just felt a little strange hanging onto my upper back and neck. Did they leave bruises?  You tell me:

In total we were there over an hour and a half.  When I came out of my room The Maven was already out and said, "what took you so long?"  When we got outside I told her about the cupping which sent her into a fit of laughter.  Really? She's going to laugh at me when I came along just for "support"?

Turns out she had needles put on her face, in her scalp, on one hand and on top of a foot.  And she's laughing at me?  No cupping for her.

Did it work? It supposedly works in a cumulative way and we went back for a second treatment, but had to stop after finding out our insurance wouldn't cover it.

The plum tree is producing plums!

But did it work?

Neither of us felt any different, but that's not to say over time it wouldn't have worked.  Perhaps some of you have tried acupuncture and were able to complete a whole course of treatment.  Have you?

It was worth a try.
And it made us smile and laugh.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How Do I Put This?

I've been in a quandary the last couple of weeks about posting on The Boston Lady.  It's my happy place where even if things are less than ideal I can go and find the positive side of things and even make myself laugh.

I'm usually drawn to write a post maybe three times a week or more if I'm really on a roll or there's a lot going on in our lives.

Well, there's a lot going on in our lives, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to the point of sitting down and writing about it.  First of all, I always try to keep my blog on the upside of things. Humor and laughter are great healers and I always enjoy a good chuckle, even at my own expense.  Second, I don't like to trespass on my family's privacy - I'm fair game, Mr. T, well, poor man, he's so good natured, he doesn't mind being fair game either, but I try to just stick with funny little stories or what we've been up to with various family members.

Third, I didn't think it was fair of me to keep asking people to keep my daughter, The Maven, in their thoughts and appear overly dramatic and mysterious about what's going on with her.  I thought I could just write about mundane little things going on at Boston Manor, but helping The Maven is all consuming at this point, if not physically, then emotionally and mentally.  So my choice was to just take a hiatus from the blog for a while or let my good friends on here know what is going on with my pretty girl.

She told me that she would like me to share her story at this particular time with my friends and family on here, many who already know a good bit about what is going on.  The Maven is a big believer in the fact that if you share a difficult experience with people, perhaps there is someone out there who is helped by your story, or someone who has insight that they may want to share.

The Maven has been staying with us for about 6 weeks now because she has the symptoms of Vertigo and they will not go away.  We suspected why this may have been happening and that has now been confirmed through tests and scans.  

Last year a MRI of her brain showed that she had a small benign tumor in the ear region of her brain.  It is called an Acoustic Neuroma.  When it was discovered we were told that it would probably be a long time before it may ever affect her, if ever.

Ever came this February. 
 Usually these tumors are a nuisance and affect the hearing of a person when they grow, but The Maven's is resting on her balance nerve and these Vertigo symptoms are signs that the tumor has grown - a very little bit, but enough to be disruptive to her sense of balance.  She is unable to drive, work, walk for any length of time and is often nauseated as the day progresses.  

The solution for this is surgery.  Brain surgery.  Which is very scary sounding, and honestly freaked us out at first to contemplate it.  However, over the weeks we have talked to so many experts and learned so much about how this surgery is done that we all have developed a comfort level with it.  Almost to the point where we are saying, "let's just do it!"

The doctors told us The Maven needed to take a good amount of time to make her decision and they have sent her for numerous tests to measure hearing levels, balance irregularities and nerve function.  In the course of the last several weeks it has become clear to The Maven that she wants to have this surgery which should take care of her balance issues. As with any surgery, there are risks and that is what we worry about most, especially in the region of the brain. We are grateful to have a large city nearby full of some of the best neuro-surgeons and ENT surgeons in the country. And doctors and experts who have taken the time to explain details over and over again.

Good news from a complicated test she had yesterday, the tumor has not caused any nerve damage - a real plus for recovery. And hopefully after a bit of a recovery period she can get back to her old life, her much-loved job and living on her own with her two kitties. 

Her employers have been wonderfully understanding thus far and that has been one less thing she needs to worry about.  She and I are hanging out together just like the old days, watching "our" shows, sometimes arguing over laundry duty, you know, the usual mom/daughter drama. Mr. Tennis is once again outnumbered.

We've laughed, we've cried, we've yelled, we've laughed again.  And that's how I know we and she are all going to get through this as long as we can still laugh about some of the silliness that we've experienced along the way.  And there has been plenty of odd and silly experiences.

So, I will understand if you'd rather not read about it.  I may never write about it much again.  I don't know.  I may write about it a lot.  All I know is that I think about it constantly and it's hard to take funny pictures of the dogs (having the camera card would help) and come up with things to say about them when my heart is just not in it.

There you have it. I so appreciate all the supportive comments I've received on past posts and I always show them to The Maven if she hasn't already read the blog.
Being away from friends and family is difficult at a time like this, but we are so grateful for the support they give us from afar as well as the well wishes from so may new friends via the blogosphere. 

Boston Lady out, for now.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Would Be Remiss...

...as a fan of the movies, newspapers, writing, intelligence, humor... if I didn't acknowledge the passing of Roger Ebert.

I told someone that my first memory of this man was sitting in front of the TV with my mom and watching "Siskel and Ebert" on Public Television "duking it out" over their opinions of movies.  Their "two thumbs up" was a coveted quote for movie promoters at the time and still exists today as a popular way of expressing a positive reaction to a movie.

I envied them for their jobs.
Wished I could do what they did. \
 In a small way, I've gotten to do "it" via my blog
 - purely for my own enjoyment and fulfillment.

Gene passed away several years ago and Roger went on to successfully battle cancer, even through the loss of his jaw meant he couldn't eat in the regular fashion.

 Today I learned something I didn't know about this extremely gifted journalist.  Even though he could no longer eat food unless it was pureed, he still loved to cook for his wife and published a book of his/her favorite recipes.

As I said earlier today,
I inherited my love for going to the  movies from my mom,
 but I learned about the movies from Roger Ebert.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Camera Card Broken, but FingerGate Almost Over

My camera card is damaged and until I get a new one I will have to use some pictures I received via Mr. Connor in an email.

Don't know who to credit, but they sure made me smile.

These three reminded me that I have been to the hospital three times in a month. Sheesh!  The admissions people actually recognized me on Monday and said, "Girl!  What's this all about? We already know everything about you.  Go on up to the second floor, STAT!"

That's me there in the middle of the Rottie puppies. 
 All pink, plump and ready for my Heart Cath.

I was nervous, but thankfully Mr. T had my back and let me lean against him.

I just wanted to disappear rather be poked again, but I'm glad they found me because it was good news!

It was right there in black and white....

No blockages, arteries look very good and my heart is strengthening!

And all that hard work, pain and effort with Fingergate is, as a good friend (Chic) put it...

...a blessing in disguise. 

 If I hadn't broken the finger, I might have found out about the fluid in lungs and around heart too late when more damage was done.

So lucky.

Now I can have the ooomph! to help The Maven weather and recover from some rough health issues she's facing at the moment.

She's been there for me a lot lately and now I can continue to do what I've always promised to do...

Be there with her to help lighten the load.

And to remind her, and myself, that things happen for a reason and in the end it's going to be okay.

Thanks to all my friends and family who have listened to me whine and complain during the last two months of Fingergate.  You all helped me find the humor in the situation and thus I could write about it without feeling like a big baby.  So many people are having some truly tough times and it is my wish that wherever their journey leads them, they have the love and support of family and friends and someone who can bring a smile to their face even though times are hard.

Oh, and Fingergate: The Movie  has stalled in "talks".  
Can't find anyone to pony up the money.