Friday, November 20, 2009

Novemberrrrr... the good, the bad, and the ugly.

November is an odd month in Utah. After mormons, and the Sundance Film Festival, Utah is known for its outdoor adventures. It's cold in November, so no more rock climbing, hiking, or boating... but the snow has not come yet... and my snowboarding pass doesn't begin for another week. So it is a bit of a restless time here in Utah.

Luckily- or unluckily?- I have been keeping pretty busy anyway. I have had at least one test a week... and will continue to have a test a week until the end of the semester, some on the same day. The latest test was physiology- by far the most stressful - which had added stress because it was the same time as opening night for our dance show. Panic set in last night when I realized my professor forgot the arrangement we had made so that I could both take the test and be on stage on time... oh man. Thanks to a helpful TA, it worked out, glad that's over. So November has been divided between doctors visits with mother dearest, library marathons, and dance rehearsal... With dance show ending life should be settling a little bit...

So changes happening in November... some good, some bad, some ugly...
- no more dance rehearsal
- signed up for a rock climbing class
- ski season begins
- new medicines for mom
- preparing for an art market
- getting information for sailing lessons next summer
- getting information for volunteering abroad next summer
- hoping beyond hope I can talk my way into anatomy class
- and... I am no longer a blonde.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Hell of a week ahead...

Show weeks are always really stressful! Spacing rehearsal, lighting rehearsal, tech run, dress run, show Thursday, Friday, Saturday plus any other last minute rehearsals the choreographer needs. (Everyone come to see The Odds: A Dance Concert with Things on a Stage this Thursday, Friday Saturday at the Marriott Center for Dance, U of U campus, 7:30 where I will be performing in a work by Shannon Vance- my first time on stage since graduating with a BFA!)

Test weeks are really stressful. I'm not a scientist, although I'm trying my best to do well in my science classes... it just is really hard for me. Class, quizzes, reviews, library marathons... STRESS!

What's really awesome is when show week and test week happen to be the same week. Ha- yeah!!! Thank goodness I was able to rope my professor into letting me start the physiology test an hour early (while missing another class) so that I can be done in time to have a full 30 minutes to run across campus throw some make up on, change, warm up, and hop on stage!

Of course... all classes and review sessions for test will be missed because of tech, dress, etc...

Thanksgiving can't come soon enough.

My heart starts pounding every time I think about this week more than one day at a time... systemic capillaries, systemic venules, systemic, veins, superior/inferior vena cava, right atrium, tricuspid (atrioventricular) valve, right ventricle, pulmonary semilunar valve, pulmonary trunk, pulmonary artery, pulmonary arterioles, pulmonary capillaries, pulmonary venules, pulmonary veins, left atrium, bicuspid/mitral/atrioventricular valve, left ventricle, aortic semilunar valve, aortic artery, systemic arterioles, systemic capillaries and all over again... sooooo much studying to do!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Epilepsy continued...

So my mother dear has been in town all week. Lucky me! I love having my mom around- a constant companion, a shopping buddy, giver of life advice, sharer of crocheted clothing opinions... plus I get to go out to eat all the time! Usually... that's what happens when my mom is in town. Not so this time. This was a medical visit. Over the last week my poor mother has had EEG's, MRI's, EKG's, several blood tests, and an ambulatory blood pressure test (with her arm inflating 3-4 times an hour). She's seen internists, neurologists ... and the list goes on.

I've written a few blogs now relating to epilepsy. I have a fresh view of it after yesterday's visit with my mother's neurologist. My mom has been feeling awful lately- and wondering if the root of it is her anti- epileptic drug. Her hope this week was to be told that she didn't need them anymore... no such luck. We were told that because epilepsy is a progressive disease, you are pretty much destined to be on Anit-Epileptic drugs for the rest of your life once you have had a seizure (because seizures cause brain damage that lead to more seizures, that lead to more brain damage and more seizures...) The doctor said that if any patient with mild epilepsy lived a thousand years they would reach intractable epilepsy (epilepsy that can not be treated with drugs). So... it is important to treat it while you still can.

The downside? Those drugs have some NASTY side effects. My mom has been on one medication and feeling completely terrible... so we googled the drug. The side effects include, but are not limited to... drowsiness, accidental injury, weakness, vomiting, infections, loss of appetite, runny nose, coughing, nervousness, neck pain, back pain, depression, mood swings, irritability, muscle weakness... and that's only half... Yesterday she decided to try switching meds - when we saw these side effects we were pumped! Maybe not taking this drug she would feel better... until we saw the side effects of the new drug ... headaches, shakiness, weakness, back pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, bronchitis, chest pain, fever, a rash that could send you to the burn unit of a hospital... again - not even half. I have to admit, I almost didn't want to read the list to her.

And these are what people suffer from who can be TREATED for the disease. Those that have to live with the effects of epilepsy have it even worse. I was BLOWN away that a disease that has been around for so long still destroys so many lives. On the plus side - spending the afternoon in the Neurosciences Center of the U of U made us realize how lucky we have it. Yes, my mother's health is poor... but there are a lot of people there in much worse shape. Donate to the Epilepsy Foundation if you can- help support research for new drugs. They are much needed.