Wednesday, January 23, 2008

That 32-hour day

A little overwhelmed. So much going on, too little time. The 2 a.m. hour rolls around and, again - as so often it happens - I find myself awake. Body and mind are tired, but the wheels are still turning. Want to write, need to write. That story from the soul that gives you a shiver as good as the moment you see a sunrise or sunset. Want to read, everything I can - the Bible, a former journalism mentor's family memoir, history of Freemasons. Intrigued by my family history, and want to explore every depth and chronicle that genealogical story before it's lost. Gears are going on the emailed political debates with an old roommate and close friend. Another good bud brings up interesting notions in our joint-efforts to study religion. My mind goes, too, to my Michigan trip this weekend and all I need to accomplish at work before then. Work and legal issues playing out in my head, as I recap the high-profile trial I sat through today. Still have to work on the neighborhood newsletter that's due and going out soon. Neighborhood Watch issues to reflect on. Old frienships to nurture. Out-of-control health that needs immediate attention. Want to spend time at home with my wife, housekeeping and movie-watching and chatting about life in general. Figuring out how to devote and split time to both our attention-needing dog and cat. Want to have all the money to put in a fence, build a patio, plant a new tree, landscape the backyard, and paint the interior of our house. All at once. Too much debt, too many bills. Really want to catch some ZZZs, but the brain won't take a break. Meanwhile, my new contacts aren't in yet and I have to continue wearing these specs that make my eyes feel heavy, create a sensation that I'm being less productive than I could be if only wearing those contacts. It's all in the mind.

When did life become so overwhelming, so complicated, so convoluted that we push off sleep to handle every possible project that could actually wait until a later time? Even knowing that truth, the feeling remains: So much to do. Too little time.

About to brew a second cup of instant java. Swirl and dunk, dunk, then sip. Mmmm, so warm on a cold night. At least the trash and recyling's done, put out by the curb ready for Wednesday's pickup. There's one item off the list. Now, moving on to others before the sleep sets in.....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Is seeing believing?

A new year, new time to start stacking on the doctor visits. Better control and diabetes management is always a worthy goal, but for some reason new years tend to bring out that goal even more. Across the blogosphere, d-bloggers are chronicling their experiences at the endo, eye examiners, dental experts, nutrionists, and general physicians. I'm in need of pump supplies, and aside from the issue of whether I'm adequately pushing for better control, will nee to consult my endo just to get a script for life-enduring supplies.

But the first exam goes to the eye experts. I've been in need of new contacts and specs for months now, but have pushed off the inevitable purchase until now. My latest visit means I'll be back to contact wearing, ending the temporary adventure of wearing my glasses that need to be bumped up a couple notches.

The visit wasn't a welcome one, not after the news last year from a specialist that beginning stages of diabetic retinopathy had started. Duh duh duh . News we all dread, and a tidbit that I expected but somehow thought might never arrive. Well, it had. So, here we are - a year later. The next visit to the regular eye doc.

After the dialation pressure tests on Friday, waiting in the chair as the vision blurs and the already-blurred rows of letters on the wall fade out even more. He came to the open door, though I couldn't see him behind the corner. Only the rustling of papers- his flipping through my charts. Then, he entered. Light intro talk, basic questions, then lights out. Time for the bright, waving light and moving of my eyes in each direction.

As he got ready to give me the latest update, I clutched a tissue that had been given to me earlier to dab at the dialiating drops. Here it comes, I thought..... How worse can it be? What can another year of less-than-adequate control have done?

"No signs of diabetic retinopathy."

Huh? Say that again? He did. I was somewhat confused, especially after the last news bit about beginning stages. Questioning the diagnosis, I pushed for more. His answer: just because you have beginning stages of d-retinopathy, doesn't mean it's going to stay. Might go away. Of course, I'm thinking how absurd that idea is since my control's been below par. Why would it just go away? Could it be that the "specialist" can see more than he can, do more detailed and explorative tests to reveal issues that might otherwise be hidden? This took him back a little, and he noted how he's usually pretty adept at spotting signs. It's possible, though.

So there I am. Now what? May want to get a second opinion, going back to that specialist to see what he says. It just strikes me as odd that retinopathy would just "go away" like that, especially with my control behavior. As of now, I'm glasses-wearing and awaiting the contacts. We'll see what happens from here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Never Forget

Today marks the six-year anniversary that my cousin, Eric William Keeter, died suddenly and unexpectedly from leukemia - AML, or Acute Mylgenious Leukemia. He was 15.

No one in the family ever knew before that day of this, it hit suddenly and he was gone that same day. I'd just begun a new job a few weeks earlier - the call came from my mom at work. I didn't understand what she was saying at first. The words "what" kept coming out of my mouth, as I sat at the desk of my first reporter's job. Car crash? School shooting? Some tragic accident? I fumbled the phone; tears formed; my mind raced. My father was driving to the hospital in Ann Arbor - I rushed to do the same. By the time I arrived there, the whole family was already at his bedside. It was mostly too late.

My aunt and uncle know the details - they witnessed this: Rushing him that morning to the ER with a headache in the very back of his head. A suprising and unbelievable diagnosis. He's being airlifted to U-M for platlets to stop the bleeding in his brain, due to AML. Gone by 6:00 PM that day. Doctors said if they hadn't taken him in, Eric would have died at home in his bed, in his sleep.

His story is important. It must be told. And told again. Over and over. My aunt and uncle carry on that mission. People must be aware that AML doesn't mean any big signs signalling this disease. Just the ones of a typical teenager - fatigue, sleepiness, headaches. The Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is trying to help and doing what it can to help. Please help them.

On January 24, WCSX in Detroit (Classic Rock station 94.7) will be hosting a radiothon for the CLF. They've raised $2.9 million, and this is one of the major revenue-generators for the CLF. Morning hosts JJ & Lynne (favs of mine back in Michigan...) handle the radiothon. You can check them out here at WSCX Radiothon. Here's a link to the CLF. We can all help by donating. This is the optional, of course, and the donation period is open until Friday, Jan. 18.

Oh, and you might also be interested to know that Eric's story will be run on the air. And a certain someone (read: ME!) will be there in the studio to tell his story. I hope his story touches those who need to hear it, and it can help do some good. We can all help by remembering Eric, sharing his story, and contributing in whatever way possible to help make sure this type of thing doesn't turn other families upside down.