C'est un blague.

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  • Saturday, February 28, 2009

    The inaugural dresses

    Here are some pix of the dresses. Yes, I pixelated my face. It seems silly, given the fact that I put up wedding photos and am identifiable in them... You can laugh at me if you want.

    The gold dress was from the evening before inauguration, and the blue dress is the evening of inauguration (at an unofficial ball that we left by 10:30 because we were exhausted).

    SM and I with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki (former Chief of Staff of the Army and retired 4-star general). He is one of the nicest, most dignified and gracious men I've ever met. Truly a gentleman.

    Secretary-designate (of Commerce) Gary Locke (former Governor of Washington), Irene Hirano (a.k.a., Mrs. Daniel Inouye), Senator Inouye and me. Gov. Locke and Senator Inouye are also incredibly down-to-earth and friendly.

    SM and I taking a picture of ourselves in a mirror, just goofing around.

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    The baseball continued... into the mole

    This is a continuation of my earlier post about the baseball. If you haven't read that one, this one may not make as much sense. Also a warning: this post may be TMI for the squeamish or those who just don't wanna know personal stuff... 'Cuz this is a really personal post.

    Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Anyhoo, when we last left our bruised and battered pin cushion, she had just received a call from the doctor's office (having just left the same doctor's office mere hours earlier...), and they were telling her to come back that afternoon for further tests.

    What I didn't mention in that earlier post was that the woman who called me said that she had some of my test results, and the Beta had come back positive.

    Now, many of you who are reading this may know what that means, but I didn't. So I asked. And she told me it was a positive result for a pregnancy test.

    I was stunned.

    I had been having an irregular period (I'll spare you the gory details), but I had taken a home pregnancy test three times when my period was late. They all came back negative. Then I did eventually get what I thought was my period, just late. So I thought I had just skipped a month. (Turns out that I had been spotting.)

    The tech was all cheery on the phone and said that I should probably start taking vitamins and that I needed to come in for another ultrasound to figure out how far along I was. Then she consulted something and said that I should come back that day. Then the scheduling person got on the phone and said I needed to come back as soon as possible -- could I be in by 2:00? That was a bit alarming. It was about 12:30, so I went and told my boss that I had to go back. And off I went.

    There were a ton of things running through my head. The urgency with which they were demanding that I come back made me think something was amiss. And then there was the "Holy shit" reaction of what it meant to be about two months pregnant. How our lives would change. How would I be able to take the time off of work when I knew I'd probably have to use all my leave for my dad's transplant and the baseball surgery? And how would we get the house ready? And so on...

    All of these things ran through my head. But I'm not the type to panic, just digest -- although, I have to admit that I was pretty freaked out as I went off to the doctor's office. Just silently freaked out.

    At the doctor's office, the tech asked me a bunch of questions about when my last period was to figure out when I may have conceived. I, however, knew exactly when it was and told her. She looked at my Beta hormone levels and said they were a bit high for where I was with this pregnancy. Then she did the ultrasound.

    I mentioned that I had fibroids, and I apparently had a very large one. She said she saw it, that it was bout 8 cm across. I told her that we had nicknamed it "the baseball". She smiled and remarked, "Oh, it's bigger than that." (!) She then turned the monitor and showed me what she was seeing. Now I have no medical background, so I didn't know what we were looking at. But what I saw looked like Swiss cheese. The tech then looked for a fetus among all the globs, but all she found was empty sacs. Several of them. She said she couldn't make a diagnosis, but based on her experience, it looked like a molar pregnancy. Then she got the doctor on the phone, who told me that it was a molar pregnancy, and I needed D&C as soon as possible. This was Tuesday, I think. I had Friday off, so they scheduled it for Friday. Took care of all the scheduling then and there. In three days, I was going to have outpatient surgery (on my first flex day off -- how rotten was that?).

    A molar pregnancy is an abnormal conception that does not result in a fetus. The problem (I later found out) is that the tissue development in the uterus can become cancerous and spread to other organs, like the lungs. If that happens, it's serious shit. The reason they scheduled the D&C so quickly was because my hormone levels were really high, and they were concerned that this molar pregnancy could lead to the more serious consequences. They didn't tell me all those details in the office; I did my own research about it. But they did tell me enough to convey that the molar pregnancy could have some nasty health consequences, and it was better to remove the tissue as soon as possible.

    So in the space of about two hours, I learned that I was pregnant, then that I wasn't actually carrying a baby but needed surgery, which was scheduled for three days later. Talk about a lot to digest. I didn't freak out, but I think it took a while for me to catch up with what I was being told. I had an abnormal pregnancy; my body thought I was pregnant (which explained why I had been feeling like crap for the past month) and was reacting accordingly. In fact, I was exhibiting many of the common symptoms: nausea, bleeding, increased Beta hormone levels, rapidly growing uterus, etc. My understanding is that a molar pregnancy does involve a conception, but it was never viable and no fetus develops. I am fortunate because I never thought I was pregnant, so I did not suffer the emotional distress of "having lost the baby". For me, this did not involve a loss, but was rather a clinical procedure that I needed to address a health issue. Thank goodness I never thought I was "with child". I can't imagine how horrible it would be to be expecting your first child, only to get this news.

    Still, as you can imagine, I was pretty shaken up.

    I decided to take the rest of the day off. My boss wasn't expecting me back (I told him I might be gone the rest of the day), so instead I called SM to see if he had time for coffee. I knew he was really busy at work, so I weighed whether or not I should tell him now or wait until after work. I decided to tell him right away. I thought that I would want to know immediately if my wife were going through something like this.

    I just needed to figure out how to tell him that I was pregnant but not and that I needed immediate surgery but not to worry...

    ... to be continued ...


    Dad update

    Dad is a "go" for the kidney surgery, which means that my stepmother passed all the health tests. They'll do the transplant at the end of March.


    Now if Marion Barry, who is older than my dad and has done more drugs, women and jail time than my dad as well, can get through the surgery well, then I am very optimistic for my father's successful transplant.

    Just knowing it's going to happen is a relief. I'm sure my dad must feel better too.

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    Wow... missed it but didn't

    The bar, that is. It was this past week, but it didn't hit my radar at all. It's been 3 years since I sat for that sucker; the bar exam is a toddler for me. And no one I know personally sat for it this go-round.

    To all of you who did, congrats on slaying the beast! Now get some rest...


    Friday, February 27, 2009

    Kidney story

    This is the story of a son who donated his kidney to a stranger so that his father could receive one. It is told from the perspective of the son and was really informative. And it totally made me bawl, given my current family situation. If you have about 15 minutes and want to learn more about what's involved in a kidney transplant, this is worth the watch.

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    Although layoffs in private firms have been rampant, until today, none of my friends had been axed (to the best of my knowledge). It's actually kinda surprising that my circle of classmates, friends, etc. have gone unscathed, given the massive bad news in the legal sector. Layoff... offers being rescinded... no jobs at all...

    My salary may suck, but working for the federal government is relatively stable. And I am very grateful for that. And not having to worry about if I'll get a pink slip anyday is definitely worth the trade-off in salary.

    I hope the economy turns around soon... there's just too much bad news in the news and my inbox.


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    The baseball

    So, in about April of last year I noticed a large lump in my abdomen on the right side. I could only really feel in when I was lying down, and sometimes, not even then. But when it did appear, it was fairly prominent, and I'd make SM rub his hand over my gut to see if he could feel it too. Just to make sure I wasn't acting paranoid. SM could feel it too. About that time, I had a regular checkup scheduled with my gynecologist, so I asked her about it. She felt my gut and did some poking around internally but couldn't feel anything. She suggested it might be a lump in my intestines from constipation.

    Constipation??? That's a heckuva lotta something stuck there if it's just poop.

    But I knew better. I wasn't thrilled with that answer (it seemed awfully dismissive), but indeed the lump had vanished again. She couldn't very well diagnose a condition she couldn't see or feel.

    Over the next months, the lump continued to come and go, but it always came back. So having already seen the OB/GYN, I made an appointment with my regular doctor about it. When I made the appointment, the lump was there. Of course, when I went in for the appointment, it wasn't. I also had abdominal pains/gastric distress, so I wondered if there was a connection between the lump and my always-upset-stomach. The doctor did not find anything (of course!) but took me seriously and sent me for an ultrasound of my abdomen and kidneys. The tech also looked a bit lower on my pelvis and thought she saw a cyst or the remnants of one. Otherwise, nothing irregular. This was at the end of July.

    Into the fall, the lump came and went, and each time, I asked SM to feel it to confirm that I wasn't completely off my rocker and paranoid about this. The lump finally grew to the point where I could feel it when I was standing up, and it started to give me pain sometimes when I twisted or bent over. I had noticed that the lump appeared on a cyclical basis -- like every other month -- so I thought it might be related to my period and which ovary was ovulating. So I made another appointment with the OB/GYN and tried to time it when with I thought the lump would make an appearance.

    And guess what? By the time the appointment came, the lump went. Even so, I went to the OB/GYN for an exam, and she couldn't feel anything. Shocker. I'm sure they must have thought I was imagining it all. But this time, she (a different doc than the first time) said that I should call the office to schedule a utrasound when it reappeared. It reappeared about a month later, so I went in. This is December.

    I scheduled the pelvic ultrasound and hoped against hope that the lump would be there this time when they looked for it. In preparation for the ultrasound, I was told that I had to drink 32 ounces of water half an hour before it. That way my bladder would appear dark in the picture. So I drank it all, and I crossed my fingers and my legs that the appointment wouldn't be late. It was. My luck, right? So I sat squirming in the waiting room for an extra 15 minutes or so.

    Finally, I went in and had the exam. The tech told me that she found fibroids. Several were internal (in my uterus), but one was pedunculated (attached to the outside of the uterus by a stalk). This was the one I could feel. She said it was fairly large, about 8 cm across. Finally, vindication that I had something in my gut after so many false starts! It was not poop in my intestines from constipation, nor my imagination. I had a rather large fibroid hanging off of my uterus. When I got home, I told SM about it -- that it was large, about 8 cm across. He said, "Oh, like a baseball."

    And that's what we've been calling it ever since.

    A few days later, I got a call from the doctor to interpret my results. She said I should schedule an appointment to come in and discuss my options, one of which was surgery. I made an appointment with my regular OB/GYN (the first I had seen) about a month later. This was right before the holidays when I was switching jobs, so I put it off until after I started the new job. Sometime around the end of January, I went in for a follow-up exam and to discuss my options related to the fibroids. This time, the doc actually felt the baseball. Hallelujah! And she even remarked at how large it was. Said it felt like an antenna off of my uterus. I told her that we call it "the baseball". She said, "Oh, it's bigger than that."

    Great. But hey, at least she felt it this time!

    The doc told me that she wanted me to get an MRI so she could take a good look at fibroid stalk to see if it could be removed laporoscopically or if I would need gut-cutting surgery (with a 4-6 week recovery period). The doc also asked me a bunch of questions, ordered a bunch of tests and had my blood drawn. And let me tell you, I react incredibly poorly when I get stuck with a needle. The first and only time I gave blood, I threw up and almost fainted. It also took forever. My blood drips slowly apparently. So getting my blood drawn is never fun. I often get woozy. Since I know I react this way, I always tell the tech and have him/her take the blood while I'm lying down. This time, it wasn't too bad.

    Until the next day when I got a call from the doctor's office. Guess what? They didn't draw enough blood to run the tests. Could I please come back so they could draw more? This was Friday.

    Oh, can I tell you how happy I was to hear that little bit of news? Remember how bad I am at having my blood being drawn? ::sigh::

    So I went back in first thing in the morning on Monday (or was it Tuesday?). They took me back to draw the blood again, and I told them to please, please make sure that they took enough for the tests because I had already come back once because they didn't get enough -- and this was my idea of a very bad way to spend the morning. The nurse or PA or whatever she was assured me that she would. As usual, I laid back on the exam bed for the draw. However, despite her attempts to make it easy on me, it was the very worst experience I've had with a needle. It hurt like hell, and I felt sick to my stomach. I actually had to lie there for several minutes to recover. It was that bad. And within hours, I had a very ugly, three-inch, green bruise on my arm. Eeeuw.

    But I got over it and went back to my office. I wasn't feeling great, but I hadn't been feeling great for a while, and the blood poke didn't help. Oh well. Then, sometime around noon, I got another call from the doctor's office. Some of my test results were in (I guess they had enough blood to run some but not all of the tests), and they wanted me to come back. Now.

    ... to be continued ...


    I've been ignoring

    this particular meme, but I decided to do it since Scooter has been a good egg, putting up with my nonsense. So, Sir-who-Scoots, this is for you...

    Three names I go by:
    1. My real name (which I'm not saying here)
    2. She Says
    3. Chickee (a childhood nickname that my mom sometimes calls me)

    Three jobs I've had in my life:
    1. Attorney
    2. Starbucks barista
    3. Teacher

    Three places I've lived:
    1. New York, NY
    2. Shiga, Japan
    3. Washington, DC

    TV shows I watch:
    1. Project Runway (come back! come back!)
    2. The Daily Show (We've got tickets to see the show on my birthday!!!)
    3. Countdown with Keith Olberman (although not so much these days)

    Three places I've been:
    1. The Grand Canyon, AZ
    2. The Great Wall of China
    3. Kruger National Park, South Africa

    People who e-mail me regularly:
    1. SM
    2. my supervisor at work
    3. Adam Ruben (Moveon.org)

    Three of my favorite foods:
    1. Ice cream
    2. Chocolate
    3. A good crunchy apple

    Three friends I think will respond:
    Honestly? None.

    Things I'm looking forward to:
    1. My dad getting a new kidney and healing well
    2. My birthday
    3. Getting our tax refund back


    Monday, February 23, 2009

    My wedding dress made from kimono

    I just realized that I only posted one picture of my kimono-into-wedding dress. So, a few months late (like 6!), here are more pictures from our wedding... (Obviously, I'm posting ones to show the dress more and us less.)


    The kidney, the baseball and the mole...

    Where have I been? Oh, where do I start? I know I’ve been crap at updating this blog recently. I think I’m just too tired when I get home at night. And now I get home a bit later than I used to. With my new job, I leave home at 7:30 am and get home around 7:00 pm. I know that’s not a long, long day, but I’m crap in the morning. So the first few weeks of this new schedule were hard.

    Anyhoo, what’s up with me? Let’s see… there’s the kidney, the baseball and the mole, to name a few. Where to start?

    The kidney. So, my father is definitely going to need a kidney transplant. This isn’t news, but it may be necessary sooner than we had thought. Now, the family is now going through the process of who, when and how. It was decided that my stepmother is going to donate one of her kidneys, if she’s viable. Of course, this led to a “family discussion” about my dad/stepmother’s estate, living wills, advance health care directives, etc. Ugh. All very necessary conversations, but no fun at all. Especially when you’re talking about a mixed family. Step-siblings, half-siblings, etc. We all get along well enough, but it still isn’t the Brady Bunch.

    And of course, me being the attorney, I had a ton of very specific questions. And I was very persistent in getting answers. What a pest. I asked my dad what their backup plan was if my stepmother didn’t pass the health exam. They didn’t have a plan. I told them they needed one. My dad said that he’d just go on dialysis. I told him that that wasn’t good enough. His health is important to and affects all of us. None of us want to see him on dialysis if there is another option for a donor. So they need to discuss that and let us know what they want to do. They agreed. My older brother is a match for a donation, but part of his career is tied to his military service. It seems that he wouldn’t be eligible for certain duty if he was missing a kidney. Or something like that. So my dad said he wasn’t willing to accept a kidney from my brother because he wasn’t willing to potentially jeopardize my brother’s career. I understand where Dad is coming from, but I personally think it’s crap. I don’t think one should sacrifice one’s health because of potential outcome if the donor wants to take the risk. But it’s not my decision. I am also a possible donor (same blood type). But Dad says that he’s not willing to accept a kidney from any of his daughters in their childbearing years because if we were to get pregnant, having one less kidney might complicate the pregnancy. Again, crap. Don’t sacrifice your health and well-being for a “this could possibly happen” scenario where the risk is small and the donor is willing. But again, not my decision. If he won’t accept a kidney from one of us, that really is his decision (although that doesn’t stop me from trying to change his mind).

    Anyhoo, we don’t know who the “backup” is if my stepmother cannot donate. My other brother isn’t a match (wrong blood type). Meanwhile Dad’s health seems to be deteriorating. I don’t know how much is psychological and how much is physical. Knowing him, it’s probably both. He’s a lousy patient who doesn’t handle stress well and tends to blow things out of proportion. So, little things become big things with him. Not helpful now. Not helpful anytime really, but in this situation, it could have seriously negative consequences. State of mind and attitude are so important to physical health.

    As it stands, Dad is scheduled to go to New York City next week for more tests. He’ll have the transplant up there when everything is worked out. Possibly at the end of March. They are planning on renting an apartment short-term (for several months) to make it easier for him to get to his appointments. They’ll probably hire a nurse to help him in the beginning, but after that, I think the kids will be taking turns to help -- taking off work and staying with him; stuff like that. Everyone seemed willing, for the most part. Except my stepbrother, who lives several states south of here. He pretty much said that he won’t be able to help because he has kids and is too far to do anything. And while I know that’s a practical reality, I still felt like he had the wrong attitude about it. And it irked me. I think he should have said that they will do anything they can; it may not be much, but they will try. Instead, they said they probably couldn’t do much. I was annoyed.

    So that’s the issue with the kidney. Please cross your fingers that everything works out well for Dad – that he gets a good match, that the surgery goes without incident (no dropping kidneys on the operating room floor!) and that his recovery is easy. I am definitely worried about him, but I am also the type not to get bent outta shape and upset unless there is good reason. So I’m not too too worried, just anxious. I will worry when there is good reason. Until then, I’m confident that it will all be just fine. Right? Right.

    Next: the baseball.

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    Saturday, February 07, 2009

    Sorry Scooter

    My new job uses the other legal database. Now I have to relearn it. I have been using blue since law school -- and during law school, too. I prefer it and don't remember the other one very well.

    One more adjustment to my new job.

    Which I still love, BTW.

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    The thing I started writing about earlier...

    The set of articles on the New York Times website. I found them interesting and useful. I suppose it says something about my age that I was attracted to articles on "what you need to know" about...

    Estate Planning
    Health Insurance
    Home Insurance
    Income Taxes
    Credit Scores

    The estate planning article also included a link to a site where it will apply the laws of intestacy of your state and give you a basic breakdown of what will happen to your assets if you die without a will. That was useful. I had assumed that since I am married but without children, my husband would get my estate in its entirety. I was wrong. My parents will get half.

    They don't need half, nor do I want them to have it (believe me, their estates are worth a whole helluva lot more than mine). So, now I'm gonna look into doing a basic will.

    That's my PSA for the month.

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    Okay, this time I am actually back.

    That other post? No, we didn't get a cat who was walking across the keyboard. In fact, I actually broke the keyboard. Anyone know how to re-attach keys? My "O" is now not. You don't realize how often you use that key until it no longer functions properly.

    "O" well.

    So, I never posted about inauguration. Here is something quick and cursory to describe part of our day.

    Getting ready to head out. See how bundled folks are -- and we're inside!

    View of the Capitol from SM's office.

    SM and co-worker figuring out where we needed to go to get in...

    Unfortunately, we were among the throngs who had tickets but didn't get in. We had blue tickets, and it turned out that the magnetometers screening the blue section didn't work (or the generators powering them didn't). About 50 people were able to get in. The rest, not so much. We were among the many who were outta luck. Here are some pix from the mass of hopefuls.

    We really wanted to see the ceremony/speech, so at a certain point we decided to cut bait and went back to SM's office and watch it on TV. So, yeah, we basically ended up with the same view as everyone else around the world. We could go over to SM's office window to view the Capitol, and we did hear it outside. But we watched it on TV. It was still thrilling. I cried when he was sworn-in.

    And here's W's helicopter leaving the Capitol. We had a good view of it from SM's office.

    ("Nyah nyah nyah nyah... nyah nyah nyah nyah... hey, hey good-bye!")

    Anyway, we had gotten up at 4:00 in order to get downtown in time to clear security to get in. D'oh. So much for that. So, we were tired but didn't get to see the ceremony in person. Kinda not worth it, but we weren't too too disappointed. We did get to participate. We were there. It was cool.

    SM snoozing in his office after the inauguration and before the evening's festivities.

    I do have pictures from the two balls we attended (one the evening before and the other the evening of). No, we didn't go to any official balls nor did we see Tom Hanks or John Cusack. But it was a great and exhausting coupla days.

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    I'm still here...

    Just been feeling sick recently. More about that later. Also, the new job doesn't allow access to personal email, social networking sites or blogs. So no goofing off at work that way anymore.

    I am, hwever, catching up on my online newspaper reading. I found a bunch of articles on the NYT website on "oiki9oi. ythings you should know" about varil`ii

    Tuesday, February 03, 2009

    Tom Daschle 1986 campaign ad

    I think Tom Daschle would have been an excellent HHS Secretary. I was so sorry to see him withdraw and think he got kinda shafted.

    That being said, I still found this amusing:

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