Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lymph update

Thank you for your prayers, everyone. I've heard from my primary care doctor and she said that the scans look good! She said the neck scan shows some enlarged lymph nodes (obviously) but that they're "not that worrisome". The inguinal one does not exceed one cm in the short axis, which is the worrisome cut off for swollen lymph, good news all around. I am still waiting to hear from my ENT doctor to give a more thorough examination of the neck CT. When I hear back from him I'll write again.

I'm so excited for spending Thanksgiving in California with Ben! Hope everyone's Thanksgiving is joyful. I know I have a LOT to be thankful for this year. Blessings and joy~

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prayers for healing

Ever since I contracted the Epstein-Barr virus (and therefore got mononucleosis) in December of 2006, the lymph nodes in my neck have been swollen. About a year ago I noticed enlarged inguinal (located in that lovely crease between your legs and your abdomen) nodes. About a month and a half ago I got an ultrasound of my neck, which showed a 1.9 cm node and others that weren't quite as big. Doctors start to worry at 2 cm. I went on Prednisone (an oral steroid) for a week and a half, to see if that would reduce the adenopathy. Nothing happened. So my ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor suggested I get a CT. After two years of worrying about this and talking to doctors about it, I am finally going in tomorrow for a CT of my neck and abdomen. This is both scary and reassuring. It will (hopefully) provide some answers about what is happening inside my body. My appointment is at 10:45 am. Hopefully I won't pee my pants on the way to the imaging place, or, even worse, pee inside the scanner. (I have the pleasure of drinking a half gallon of water an hour beforehand :) I'm thankful that i have a 'buddy' to accompany me on this grand adventure - my friend Melissa from Westminster will be sitting in as the buddy. Thank God for buddies. More info in a few days.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alex MacLean

Gorgeous, haunting aerial photography. With my past obsession with urban sprawl art I'm surprised I'm not more familiar with his work. A sight to behold.

Friday, November 7, 2008

From euphoria to reality to hope

Unlike most Americans who sat glued to their television on Tuesday night, I was installing concrete pavers for my landscape construction class. I guess there was a part of me that thought our instructors would let us out of class early so that we could witness an occasion so precious, so momentous, so of the most significant moments in our nation's history...but noooooooooo, instead we excavated the subgrade for our next landscape project and then watched a freaking video on how to install a brick patio that was made in the mid-90s. That last detail is of no relevance or consequence, I realize, but still.

At 9:50 pm I rushed out to my car to listen to NPR - my classmates seemed to be walking rather slowly all things considering, and then I heard one of them saying they'd been receiving text messages from NPR and already knew that Obama won. WHAT!!???? OMG! A sound of elation exited my mouth. I could hardly contain myself and ran to my car to hear for myself the good news. I wept in the parking lot of Portland Community College. On my way home I felt euphoric...tears of joy ran down my cheeks. I can't remember the last time I cried over something good that was happening. The last several months I've wept...but they were far from tears of joy. This was something new and different. All of the hopes, prayers, and tremendous organizing across the country actually WORKED.
Yes, we did.

My friend Eritrea called me that night and we cheered and shouted for joy over the phone. She said, "God is good! Halleluia!" I could not be more happy and proud and satisfied at that moment. The tears welling up in my eyes continued through the following morning. Everyone at the office came in with a thumbs-up sign and unshakable grin. It was a good day.
. . .
The euphoria has worn off now, reality is settling back in. We now as a nation are poised to confront and tackle the world's most pressing problems. Global climate change. Devastating poverty and disease. A crippling economy. A national deficit unlike anything we've seen before. The mess in Iraq. The quagmire in Afghanistan, Pakistan and surrounding nations. The uncertainty in Iran. The violence in Darfur, which, continues despite numerous peace accords, naming it a genocide by world leaders, and a massive public outcry. Species extinction. Depletion from our ever-more-polluted oceans. Water pollution and scarcity. Deforestation. All of the above spurring on more global conflict. This world is a crazy mess. What shall we do now?

Take life one step at a time. This has been my mantra of choice in recent days, mostly for personal reasons, but it applies here as well. I am so hopeful that things are going to change. I am proud that our country chose well, and extraordinarily glad we had the opportunity to elect a man of Barack Obama's caliber and character to lead and direct us. It's going to be an exciting next four years.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Barack the vote!

Today I completed my last civic duty before the elections are over on Tuesday: 2 hours of canvassing in north Portland, talking to a few people, dropping off a lot of literature, and walking through the neighborhood with a really neat lady named Terri. It's hard to believe that all of my thoughts and passions the past several months surrounding this election will soon be put to rest. It felt weird marking "Barack Obama" on my ballot and then dropping it off in an 'official' ballot drop off location - located in the parking lot of my neighborhood McDonalds. The official act of voting - a privilege - was a bit anticlimactic. The Obama office today was SWARMING with volunteers. It was a humbling experience to be a part of such a well-orchestrated local campaigning effort. Campaigning is quite the science, and at the same time, depends on ordinary people to just come and offer up what little time and energy they have for a cause much greater than themselves. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to get involved in this small way. I'm thankful that we live in a country where we can organize and not get killed. I'm grateful for the millions who've given of their time, talents and resources to this campaign and the thousands of others who are working for positive social change. And I'm hopeful as we get closer to Tuesday.
(photo credit: