This Tree

“I read the news today, oh boy” (McCartney/Lennon)

Every morning while we sit drinking our coffee, W and I trade interesting or funny or unbelievable crap we read about on our different news feeds.  Sometimes it’s really entertaining tuning in to the next instalment of the current gong show going on in our neighbouring country.  Sometimes it’s downright frightening.  I’m afraid that all the attention, no matter how negative, simply feeds the beast.  I’m afraid we all might soon be buried alive in alternative facts (a new and improved name for bullshit). I’m afraid there might be some devious method to their madness, piling it on so high and so deep that we lose the will to claw our way out from underneath it.

So in the interests of not feeding the beast (while at the same time not turning my back on him either) here is a slide show of our wintry ice-foggy  backyard.

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I snuck in a couple of shots of my bad hair day to show you how I am becoming one with nature.  By resembling a half dead tree.  Or something way more poetic than that.  This awesome big old tree is the same one in which my sisters grandson discovered an alligator nest last fall.  We had no idea it was harbouring such an amazing thing. Around Christmas time this same grandson explained to his grandma how he could recognize Frosty from the other snowmen by the brown hammer in his mouth. For sure this boy is going places.

I hope gazing at this tree with its magnificent icy alligator nest sheltering branches towering above the other frozen things in our yard on this cold grey January Monday gives you a brief respite from whatever doom and gloom crap is taking up valuable space in your brain.

If not, here’s something completely different.  Not all news is bad.

Family of boy in Justin Trudeau town hall photo to name baby after prime minister

My Blood Just Might Be Slightly More Interesting Than Yours

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Vast knowledge makes you strong.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  My dad used to say that last bit.  And it follows that if you believe something, it is very real in its consequences.  So if I believe my left foot is possessed by satan I might be inclined to cut it off.  Even though my original notion was probably wrong, I still end up hopping about on one foot.

I’m sure there’s a miraculous point in there somewhere, although it could be simply a tangent my brain took off on when I remembered my great love of medical dictionaries and encyclopedias in my youth.  Those books have been replaced by Google.  I had a mothers medical book when my kids were small and was able to diagnose them with every childhood affliction going.  Now there are millions of new conditions so I have great empathy for todays parents and their boggled minds.

I still research diseases and random symptoms and come to wild conclusions.  Then I go to a real doctor to be assured that I am not in immediate danger of dropping dead.  So far they have all been very accommodating.

The condensed version of my medical history is just as likely to lull you in to a coma as the detailed one, so I will skip over both of them and jump right to the diagnosis.  IgG4.

Yes, of course, I could not have something mundane and ordinary.  IgG4 is a rare systemic fibro-inflammatory disorder.  Here is what I know about it, even though I have googled these facts and realize you are not supposed to blindly believe everything you google.  Hasn’t stopped me yet.

Immunoglobulin G is an antibody found in blood and extracellular fluid which controls infection of body tissues.

By binding many kinds of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi, IgG protects the body from infection, neutralizes toxins and helps maintain food tolerance by the immune system.

Inflammation is a result of infection.  

Okay.  The original specialist I saw no doubt said all this to me because he wrote it all in a report which I didn’t see until very recently.  Two years later.  All I heard was NOT CANCER blah blah blah.  He said he didn’t know the cause of the infection or the inflammation, gave me heavy-duty antibiotics and then a course of prednisone, and since neither made any difference suggested we forget about it.

The inflammation never went away so my doctor and I thought a follow-up visit in a little over a year would be a good idea.  Same clinic, different doctor, and it’s like he never read my file and started over again with all the same tests.  Eventually he didn’t know what to do with me next and referred me to a lung specialist.  I learned more in that one visit to them than I figured out from him in six months.  They are the ones who showed me the original doctors report.  They sent me for blood tests and then referred me to a hematologist.  I saw her on the 3rd of August and she was wonderful, even though she sent me to a lab to have seven more vials of blood taken so they can analyze the hell out of it.

Her diagnosis, unless she finds anything new, IgG4.  Treatment for now – none.  Steroids could cause more problems than they solve so no point in going that route yet.

The inflammation hasn’t spread much except to a lymph node behind my esophagus and a couple in my lungs.  Any organ in the body could be affected.  It seems to be a little unpredictable.  Fibrosis is a possibility.  Not a lot of studies have been done on this yet and there are differing opinions. But really, I am done losing sleep over it.  Skin rashes and thyroid problems and type 2 diabetes are all related and I remember saying once I thought whatever was going on was a systemic thing and holy crap, I was right.  Maybe everything is systemic, I don’t care, I still think I’m smart.

On Wednesday I’m going to see a dermatologist on the hematologists recommendation.  Then I would like to do what the original specialist suggested and forget about it.

How’s that for a plan.

 

Art du Jour 30

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I wonder why I can’t see the things that are wrong with a drawing until I take a photograph of it.  By that point I usually don’t care enough to go back and fix it up.  Some of my fix ups have been disastrous, so I’m trying to learn to just leave well enough alone and try harder next time.

This one is all about the smirk.  Or sucking on ice cubes,  I can’t decide.

It’s still cold here.  But it’s still January, isn’t it?  The daylight is increasing in little leaps but no bounds yet.  Soon the lack of sufficient lengths of it will no longer be a valid excuse for whatever you’re trying to get yourself out of, or merely put off, which in my case is painting something on a canvas.  That’s two very awkward sentences in a row!  Fix them up for me, would you?

It’s getting dark and I’m hungry.  This has been the worst Art commentary ever.  I’ll try harder next time.

December It Is

Well look at me. I was going to take a well-earned day off from posting, but then I remembered that every day is a day off for me and do I really need to spend any of these days doing ABSOLUTELY nothing? Or could I just put that off until tomorrow or some other day.

And then as I was wasting time on Facebook looking at pages that I’ve liked in the past but which never ever come up on my news feed, I came across the following interesting thought-provoking stuff.

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Plus W mixed me a spiced rum and orange juice.  So I’m not completely responsible.

Back to the drawing board tomorrow.

Art du Jour 13

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It’s more challenging to attempt some kind of expression than to draw a simply placid, pleasant, symmetrical face.

This could be the concentration it takes to whistle, or to pucker up on New Years Eve, but the fact that her eyebrow is raised and the other side of her face is frowning suggests skepticism to me.  (Really?  You seriously think I’m buying this?  Nooooo……)

Our tv guy is here. The sun is shining.  I’m off to see my ENT doctor this afternoon to give him this look if he still doesn’t know what’s up with my immune system.  Just another manic Monday.

By the way, I do have the peculiar talent of being able to raise my left eyebrow independently of the right.  The right eyebrow though won’t do anything on its own.

Have a write- happy day.

nano