Tag Archives: health

Summer of Suck 2.0 – Part Four: Tedium

As I started telling you in Part Three, the tedious part of addressing my adrenal tumor started to sink in during the days following my initial diagnosis.

Taking a subway-to-the-bus just to go to the hospital or to Dr. E’s office. Going home or to the office from there is even more awkward.

subway 20121105_091319

Walking to the lone CVS in my neighborhood, wondering why it’s one of the few places in all of NYC that doesn’t deliver.

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Summer of Suck 2.0 – Part One: I have an adrenal mass

This is kind of a long story, one that doesn’t yet have an ending so I am opting to break it into parts. Here is Part 1 of who knows how many.

I’m not a Broadway person (other than this really) but recently, I keep find myself rewriting the lyrics to that famous song from Rent.

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But instead of “minutes,” I’d say “blood tests, CT scans and doctor visits” because for the last two weeks, that has been my life.


Things were looking up, mostly.

I went on a fabulous vacation with friends. Though hard, I survived a year of sad anniversaries. I moved to a shiny new apartment and had a trip to Italy in my immediate future. Continue reading

The grand tumor/lesion/bone thing (interim) update

Read this first for a tumor refresher.

I am lying on my back in a metal tube. Not flat on my back but slightly tilted toward my right side. My left arm is raised up with my hand wrapped around my head.

It occurs to me that I might look like Elizabeth Wurtzel on her book cover although older, not as skinny and without the dead eyes (maybe).

Rights reserved by author and publisher

Rights reserved by author and publisher

I don’t have dead eyes, at least not now, because my eyes are closed. Keeping one’s eyes closed is Rule #1 of not freaking out during an MRI. Rule #2 for most people is taking Xanax, but I am disciplined – for once in my life – about not opening my eyes so I don’t need Rule #2. Continue reading

We almost lost him. Someday we will.

For the first time, I understood.

Instead of thinking “Daddy, please don’t die. Don’t leave me,” I just wanted him not to suffer. The selfishness of a daughter evaporated.

The doctors had Dad sitting perfectly upright, a mask covering his entire face and forcing air into his lungs. He was sedated, given morphine for pain. When I spoke to him and stroked his hand, Dad  opened his eyes and tried to reassure me.

“Rest, Dad. You need to rest. Don’t worry about me.”

And then I went out into the hospital corridor, nearly biting through my bottom lip as I tried to stifle my sobs.

With Dad during carefree times

With Dad during carefree times

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This part of adulthood is The Worst

This post was originally entitled “I am nothing but feelings.” You’ll see.Dad dimplesThe phone rang at 10:46 AM on November 17. It was a Monday so I was at work when my parents’ home number flashed on my cell phone, making my heart jump to my throat.

“Hello?” I answered, feeling tense.

It wasn’t Mom, calling to tell me she was taking Dad to the hospital. It was Dad, sounding fine.

I willed myself to breathe again.

Dad said he felt bad for not calling more. He just called to chat.

For years, Dad didn’t know my phone number – seriously – and it drove my mother nuts. She gave him grief about it constantly, writing the number on notepads in the house and entering it into his seldom-used and seldom-seen cell phone. But I always told him the same thing: I know how much you love me.

Still, it’s a surprise when Dad calls. A great surprise. I drop everything for him.

We talked about The Voice, which he absolutely loves. The bromance between Adam and Blake cracks him up. But he has a new favorite now.

Via JustJared and NBC

Dad asked about my cold and told me that he’s feeling good. The last three years have taught me not to take that for granted. Tomorrow is not assured.


Holidays are different now. On Thanksgiving night, I cried in my childhood bedroom thinking ahead to the day when I will no longer have a dad.

I used to save projects for Dad. A necklace that needs fixing. A shelf to be mounted on my apartment wall. He was my own personal McGyver. No challenge was too great for Dad.

But now, Dad is often physically vulnerable. I don’t ask him to do things for me now because I know it would break his heart to say “I can’t. I’m so sorry, Jen.”

My father seems to be fading like an old Polaroid. Sometimes I think about asking if he’s scared. And by scared, I mean about dying. But that’s a door I can’t open. Even thinking and typing the word feels like a betrayal.


Dad spent six days in a hospital two hours’ drive from home last week. His condition, pulmonary hypertension, is very difficult to manage. He has an excellent specialist who does everything you’d want a doctor to do, from calling the house to check in between appointments to visiting my father in the hospital, even though he’s out on vacation.

But getting Dad back on course takes time and tries his patience. He hates the hospital food, and the hospital twin bed and worst of all, the hospital TV that doesn’t offer a guide or menu. Fortunately he loves the nurses (and they love him).

I call a few times each day, trying to encourage and distract him.

“At least The Voice is on tonight, Dad.”

“You’re right, Jen. I can’t wait. It’s good to have something to look forward to.”

“I love you, Dad. So much.”

And then I hang up and cry. I can’t let Dad know how scared I am.


December 18 update: Dad was just diagnosed with shingles. 

For the final update, click here.

Things I love about NYC: Ricky’s

When I lived in DC, I forgot about Ricky’s.

Via plaztikmag.com

My bad. Ricky’s is awesome.

Picture a supermarket but filled only with beauty items. I inevitably go there for one thing and leave with, like, seven.

This time I stood in confused awe by the styling wands. Ricky’s had such a range of options that I realized I needed to do some research before committing.

Paralysis by analysis.

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