Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where's Godzilla When You Need Him?

I'm back and look! {proudly pointing to my throat} I have a neck again!!!  That big ole mess is finally out of there and I'm doing soooooo much better already.   The incision is healing up nicely and from the looks of it, there's not going to be much of a scar either.   There's still some swelling but even with that, it's so much thinner than it was when the thyroid was making me look like Mike Tyson.

My surgeon was great even tho it sounds like he had a tough time wrestling this monster out of my throat.  The damned thing was 14 x 6.5 x 4.5 cm.  That's almost 5 1/2 inches!  Gawd, no wonder I was strangling myself every time I moved my head or arms.  That was not a butterfly gland..........that was Mothra!!!   It was under the sternum so I was right about my collarbone poking into it like a spear.  Anyway, to get it out they had to strap my arms together behind my back and bend me like a backwards taco to push my chest up high enough to get in there.  I was sore and bruised from my jaw all the way down to my boobs but I don't care.  It was out and that's all that mattered!

There was a little problem with a floor nurse who thought she was a combination of HawthoRNe and House.  {sigh}  Spare me the attitude bitch.  She blew out the vein in my hand by using a port left from the arterial line they used in surgery instead of using the IV line for my first round of pain killers.  She didn't flush the line first and then she jabbed one syringe after another into it, shoving the plunger down so fast and hard that it was a blur.  In case you don't know,  morphine is really thick and even in an IV line it has to be administered very slowly to give it a chance to move thru the vein.  Otherwise it sits there like peanut butter.  It was bad enough that someone blew out the veins in my left wrist when they took out the arterial line there, but then the Marquis De Sade nurse really blew up the ones in my right hand.  OMG, it hurt worse than my throat which is not exactly what pain meds are supposed to do.  When the night nurse came on she took out the arterial port and took much better care of me.   By the time the day nurse came back with her attitude and her threats of "if you don't do what I say I'll make sure they don't let you go home today", I was awake enough to be pissed.  She actually got into an argument with my husband and stood over my bed to yell at him.  If I'd had the strength I would have reached up and punched her in the throat.  She finally sent a doctor in to settle the argument about whether or not I was under the care of a pulmonologist (just look on my chart.....he's down on the 7th floor if you want to talk to him) and I complained to the doctor about her, showed her my hand, and said I wanted out.  NOW.  Fortunately I was doing well enough that they let me go less than 24 hours after I got out of surgery.

{grinning} I can be such a bitch but I wasn't sleeping at all and I needed to be home where I could get some rest and I certainly didn't need the stress of a nurse from hell.  I had a little fever later on that night, but with Prince Vicodin at my side, I was able to sleep and start recovering a lot faster.   Bruce stayed home for a week to take care of me and made sure that I had lots of sherbet and ice water to help with the swelling.

It was the third day when I looked in the mirror and saw something that I hadn't seen in a very long time..........there was a sparkle and clarity in my eyes!  And my skin tone looks better too!   Even tho it's only been a few days on synthroid I'm doing really well with it.  Now if I can just convince my endo to keep me on the high side of normal, I'll be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the pathology report.  Surprisingly the nodules all came back clear.  I wa so not expecting that since the nodules were all full of microcalcifications and that's what they had told me held about an 80% chance of cancer.  But they were clear and and the lymph node they removed was also benign.  But deep down in the tissue, they found a little lesion of papillary cancer.  I knew it was in there somewhere!  It was small enough that they couldn't do a conclusive test but with the benign lymph node, they pronounced me cancer free and I don't have to have radiation.  Yay!!!!!   You know that I want to go find every doctor who tried to blow me off and kick them in the er, um, knees.  If I hadn't kept fighting every inch of the way about this, they never would have found it before things turned really bad.  Yep, I'm a fighter and that makes me a survivor too!

It's been such a long, hard fight with this damned thyroid that I feel like a warrior at the end of a war......sitting in the battlefield and catching my breath before I get up and head back to the business of daily life.   But I can look down and still breathe, and I can lift my arms over my head and not strangle myself anymore.  The part Bruce likes best is that I don't snore anymore.  LOL!   There are still a lot of things that I need to deal with but at least the thyroid isn't one of them.  It's the biggest hurdle I've had to take medically and I know that things will get better now.  Being able to breathe is awesome!

Of course I can't just sit around doing nothing for three weeks while I wait for my incision to heal up enough to go play with sawdust and glue, so I've been doing some puttering.   I need lots of flower arrangements and potted plants for my Tennyson and that's something that I can do on a lap tray with some bits of flowers, leaves, pots and a hot glue gun.  I may have gotten a little carried away but here's what I did........a little bit of everything from tiny potted plants to hanging baskets, to an oriental carriage for a lawn ornament.

Then when I got bored with plants, I made a red checked table cloth, some potholders, a folded dish towel and a "tossed on the counter" dish towel for my best friend's Laurel.   She's doing the kitchen with that fabulous set of retro table, chairs and step stool all in red so these are perfect.  I made her leave me the table so I could get the table cloth positioned the way she wanted it to show off the chrome edges of the table under it.  I think I'll make her some cafe curtains to go with it tomorrow.

I'm still not up to writing much and I should be laying on the couch playing Bookworm on Game Lounge right now but I remembered that I hadn't updated my blog after the surgery.  So I'm going back to the couch now that y'all have the latest news. Thank you all for the prayers, positive thoughts and whispered spells for me.  I know that made a huge difference in how this all came out.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

50 Ways to Leave Your Liver

Oh wait, wrong body part. That should be "50 Ways to Tell Your Thyroid to Get the Hell Out". Or "Hit the Road You Jacked Up Gland". Or even "Breaking Up Isn't So Hard To Do".

You get the idea. As the surgery date approaches (Monday!!), I'm sooooo eager to get it done. I'm not nervous about the surgery but then surgery has never bothered me. This is my third big one and I have the same attitude about it as I have the others.................................I get to take a nap!!!! Woooooooohoooooo!! They say it will take about 3 hours and I told them to take their time. The longer I'm knocked out, the better nap I'm gonna get.

Insomniacs have a different way of looking at things and we consider sleep to be a commodity more precious than gold. So knowing for sure that I'm going to be genuinely, deeply sleeping for at least three hours is a dream come true. (no pun intended) Even the pain immediately after surgery doesn't really bother me much since I know I'll have the morphine button and that'll put me right back into blissful slumber. sleep but not to dream. Or roll over.

I can deal with the pain because it will be the pain of recovery and not the ongoing chronic pain that I thought I'd have to live with for the rest of my life. I'm looking forward to being able to look down and not strangle myself, or turn my head and not feel the world start to spin. I'll be able to lay on my right side without my collarbone shoving further into that tender gland. And maybe, just maybe, the red triangle under my skin at the base of my throat will go away. That one is still a mystery to every doctor I've asked about it but it showed up the same time the nodules started to grow deeper and it's gotten bigger and redder with time. I've been worried because in the past few weeks it's turned purple on the edges of the right side but we're almost to the finish line so I'm not going to stress it. I'm just hopeful that it will go away with the thyroid. Most of all I can stop worrying about how busy that cancer is inside me.

I'm ready. Oh dear gawd am I ever ready! People that I've talked to in the medical profession over the past couple of weeks seem surprised that I'm so eager to have surgery, but if they knew what I'd been living with and the long and torturous journey to get to this point, I think my attitude would make more sense to them. But I tell them that I've always believed that if something causes me pain and doesn't work then it should be removed from my life. Like my first husband. {cackle} Seriously tho, I felt the same way about my hysterectomy. I had been in constant pain and nothing worked right anymore. I started thru menopause when I was 27 and by the time I was 33, I was a wreck. I was having hard periods 21 days out of 27. Talk about terminal PMS! OMG, it was a nightmare on wheels. One funny doctor decided to put me on a cocktail of Premarin and Prozac. Oh yeah, that worked. I still wanted to kill people but I was okay with it. As you might have guessed this thyroid issue is not the first time I've had to fight with a long series of doctors before finding one who believed in actually fixing things.

But the point of that story is that I'm going into this surgery with the same attitude I had then. Something inside me is broken and is not fulfilling its purpose. It's painful and debilitating and my body would be better off without it. I can live with taking a pill a day and be delighted to have another hormone perfectly regulated after a lifetime of more ups and downs than a roller coaster at Six Flags. When I had my hysterectomy, I spent the first day sleeping as much as I could and using the morphine to control the pain so it didn't tax my strength anymore than necessary. On the second day I got up, got dressed and went outside for a smoke. By the time the doctor came in, I was perched on the edge of my bed, swinging my feet and demanding that the IV be taken out of my arm so I could go home. And I did because I really, truly felt better that day than I had in years. When you've been rock-bottom sick, the pain of recovering from surgery is a walk in the park.
I'll do the same thing this time because I know that as soon as they take this time bomb out of my throat, I'm going to feel better immediately. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes I'll deal with that too but I'm feeling confident that it's confined to the nodules in the thyroid and once that's out, I'll move on completely cancer free. I may have a sore throat and a drainage tube in my neck but I love sherbet and yogurt as a diet and my hubby will be the one taking care of my incision for me. A week of that and I'll be back on top of my game.

I have some fabulous incentive to get back on my feet quickly with the dual build of the 1:12 Rosedale and the 1:24 Rosedale. I'm so excited about those houses that I can't stop working on them! I can't wait to see how they look when they're finished. After those are done, I'm building my own 1:12 Tennyson (which is in dry fit and completely furnished already) and the 1:24 Tennyson just for fun. I'm also going to be dressing 1:24 furniture for a new line at Deb's Minis and I'm excited about that too. Oh, and then there's the Willowcrest that I'm going to build for my best friend and a possible Glencroft for a client, plus as many of the new Greenleaf half scale houses as I can. I've fallen in love with half scale and it's like discovering miniatures all over again. I feel fresh and renewed when I work in this scale which is enough to make me want to move mountains to get back to my studio as soon as I can.

So I'll take it easy and rest and do all the things the doctors tell me to do so I can recover but I'll kick ass on this. There may be complications with the fibromyalgia and the hormonal issues of the thyroid removal (kind of like all thyroid disease symptoms crammed into one for about six weeks) but I'll deal with that as it comes and I'm sure that I'll get thru those days as well. The main thing is that this horrid, toxic, cyst-filled, negative, screwed up gland is on its way out!

In the words of Dr. Suess, "The time has come, the time is now. Just go, go, go! I don't care how." But for the sake of any sentiment for a body part that has been with me all my life, I'll include a little break up song to walk it out the door.

Take it away Muppets!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Butterflies Are Free

Join in on the celebration dear friends!   The often longed-for event is about to happen..............the thyroid surgeon at University hospital said that my thyroid needs to come out and the surgery is scheduled for the 23rd!  {happy dancing}  Yay!  I'm soooooooo happy and soooooo relieved.  After almost three years and 13 doctors, someone has seen the light and said, "What's a place like this doing in a nice girl like you?"

It was relatively simple too.  First his intern and his resident came in to do an initial eval (I swear that resident looked just like Doogie Howser and was just as smart), and then the big man came in.  He grasped my thyroid from behind, pressed his fingers against the middle of my throat and told me to swallow.  My response was "Urrgk" just like it always is when doctors do that and he said, "Well, that's good enough for me.  Let's get that thing out of there".  I almost swooned.  He even laughed at me when he asked when I wanted to do the surgery and I said, "Tomorrow is good for me.  Is that good for you?".  LOL!  I swear, there has never been anyone so eager to get their throat cut than I am!

Dr R. said that he didn't understand why it wasn't removed a long time ago.  And that's what the pulmonologist said when I saw him on Tuesday.  It's the same thing that my rheumatologist and back doctor have also said.  Unfortunately, none of them were in a position to do anything about it and the ones who were (like the two previous endos and the quack internist and his PA) kept saying "It's fine.  Quit whining."   And let's not forget the other "surgeon" that the quack sent me to (who turned out to be a plastic surgeon!) who said that he was going to classify it as elective surgery. Um, I don't think that being able to breathe and swallow should be considered elective.  Ah well, karma is a bitch and it will eventually catch up to all of them.

There's more positive news about surgery and this is the part that helps me to make sense of the whole thing.  Maybe it's my Virgo tendency to rationalize things, but I believe that there is a purpose for everything.  I believe that in each turn of the Wheel, there are tasks to be done and lessons to be learned.  It's that belief that keeps me from giving up because I know that when my time comes to go to the Summerlands again, I'll be able to tell the Ancient Ones what I've learned from this turn of the Wheel.

After the surgeon agreed to take my thyroid out, he asked me if I would be willing to donate my thyroid to a cancer research study currently underway at University.  I knew immediately what he was talking about because I had originally tried to get into see the doctor who is heading up the study but he wasn't taking patients because of his research work.  I've read a lot about this research Dr H is doing and he's focusing on the molecular and cellular construction of thyroid nodules and tumors that lead to thyroid cancer.  As soon as Dr R mentioned the study, I could see the gleam in his eye and knew how interesting my thyroid could be to them with all its nodules in so many stages of cancer evolution.  I lost count of how many nodules I have after 15 so this is like giving a kid a sack of marbles to play with.  Some of them are more than 20 years old and some of them are brand new.  Some are fibrous and some are fluid and some are a mixture of both.  There are some with just a few microcalcifications and others that have a "snowstorm" of them and some without any at all.  It's like a researcher's amusement park in there!  And since my thyroid disease started when I was 8 years old and was passed down from my grandmother and my mother, it gives them a chance to work with genetics as well as cellular structure.

Needless to say, I told them "Yes!" and gave them about half a pint of blood and some other samples to go to the research lab.  After the surgery, my thyroid will go to the pathology department first so they can verify how far the cancerous cells have spread and then the whole gland will go off to the research lab to be studied.

I'm really happy that I'm going to be able to contribute something that might help the study of thyroid cancer and could even be helpful in predicting what type of nodules have the potential to turn malignant.  That's the kind of information that could result in early detection and new, proactive processes to remove thyroid nodules before they turn rogue.  Maybe I'm grasping at straws here to make sense of it all, but in my mind I feel like perhaps this is why I've had to deal with this rotten little gland for so wasn't the right time or the right place yet.  My journey has been long and frustrating to say the least, but if I hadn't gone thru all that I never would have finally ended up at a teaching hospital looking for help.  And now that I have, my rotten little butterfly gland can be a teaching tool to help other people.  If that's what it's all about, then every step of the journey has been worthwhile.

They'll be putting me on thyroid replacement immediately which is excellent news!  Most thyroid surgeons have the patient wait 6 weeks until they're completely euthyroid before starting that and the last thing I need is to be more of a slug than I am now.  Getting the hormone level regulated right away will help the recovery go faster and make for a more balanced me.  Also in the "great news" category is the fact that I won't need radiation unless they see something out of the ordinary with my lymph nodes.

{huge sigh of relief}  I know that this isn't going to fix all my problems, but it's going to go a long way toward making me feel better.  It'll get the pressure off of my collarbone and the fibromyalgia trigger point there which will hopefully help get my fibro out of constant flare.  Depending on how big it's grown under my sternum, it might open up some more space for my lungs in there.  It will definitely get rid of the pain in my throat and collarbone and I'll be able to turn my head, sleep on my side, raise my arms and swallow easily!  I've been getting really tired of strangling myself every time I raise my right arm!  LOL!  So even with the other issues, this is still going to be one of the best things that could happen to me.   I get the feeling that the doctors are going to be pretty surprised at how much better I feel right away.

In other news, I had the first spinal shots on Monday.  They didn't use the "twilight" anesthesia.....they just plain knocked my happy ass out for it.  I'm okay with that coz I didn't really want to be awake while they stuck needles in my spine.  They didn't do the 60 lumbar facet shots as originally planned.  Instead they opted to go for the big bundle of nerves at the S1 joint and my right hip.  They also did my hands while I was there.  Unfortunately, the back shots didn't do any good at all.  I woke up in pain from laying on my stomach and then on my back, and after standing up for a few minutes, all the old pain hit just as sharp as it was before.  The shots in my hands were helpful, but not nearly as much as they have been in the past.  (this was my third round of cortisone shots in my hands)   So that's a little disappointing but it was just the start.  The doctor said we'll follow up in a couple of weeks and talk about doing a second and third round of shots.  They're not real optimistic because they think it's my kidney and not my back, but we'll see what happens.  Ya know, as long as they knock me out, I don't mind if they want to do more shots.  It was only for an hour, but damn, that was the best nap I've had in a long, long time!!

On Tuesday I saw the pulmonologist for the first time.  I went in with a chip on my shoulder and told him that if he says I'm fat, he's gonna get hit.  That got his attention!  LOL!  But he *listened* to me and paid attention to what I told him.  He did a chest xray which came back nice and clean.  He said that there's still a chance of emphysema but nothing that shows in the xray.  (and that's the second one I've had come back clean)   He said that the xray does show decreased lung capacity which accounts for my low oxygen saturation and it could be due to muscle weakness caused by a long history of thyroid disease and the fibromyalgia.  I'll have a ct scan and a VQ scan done soon so they can check for sure about emphysema.  The CT scan will also see how far into my chest the thyroid has grown so that's doubly helpful.  I think the only thing that worries me about the surgery is that "worst case scenario" where they'd have to crack my sternum to get it all.  But the CT scan should give them a good idea of how much is in there and that will put my mind at ease before the surgery.  The pulmonologist also gave me the green light for surgery as far as my breathing is concerned so that's good too.  My pre-op screening is tomorrow and they'll give the final approval that my body is up for it.

So there are still a lot of things going on, but my biggest concern has always been the thyroid.  I don't care what the doctors say, I know it can't be healthy to have this thing inside me, squatting like a malignant toad in the middle of my throat and sending it's toxic hormones throughout my body.  I've been putting up with it's horrid personality since I was a child and I'm really just tired of that shit.  It's also gotten very, very crowded in here and I think that serving an eviction notice on it is the best thing ever.   So let's all do a little happy dance together and come the 23rd, we'll have a huge virtual party to celebrate getting my throat cut!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Steampunk Day Bed

Dr Thaddeus Robertson has overcome the biggest obstacle for daytime napping.........he's figured out a way to stop time as long as the napper is snoozing in his Amazing Solar Energized Time Preservation Napping Bed.  I'm not sure how it works, but if he could make it in life size, he and I would both retire!

I so want to sleep in this bed!  There are 20 pillows and snuggling down into that much silk would be a dream come true.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Lesson in Pain

Last Wednesday was my first appointment with the spine doc.  I went in clutching my MRI films (getting copies of those was a new experience in incompetence!) and not really knowing what to expect.   It had taken over an hour just to fill out the new patient paperwork because there was soooo much of it and I had to initial and sign and swear in blood that if they gave me any medication I wouldn't even tell my husband where I kept it and agreed to random drug tests twice a year to be sure that I was taking the correct amount and not selling it in dark alleys.  Not that I've been in any dark alleys (lately) or that they think a middle aged woman would be considering a new career as a drug pusher.  It appeared to be all legal stuff but you can see why I was wondering what to expect!  I've been trying to avoid taking the pain killer route in all this so I was a little apprehensive about them just handing me a prescription and shoving me out the door.  Turns out that I didn't need to worry about that at all.  They're more about eliminating the pain than simply masking it with narcotics.  Yay!!

The first person I saw was Dr. B's physician's assistant.  My first impression was "I have shoes that are older than this kid".  Then I took a closer look and thought, "Wow!  If he has an Australian accent, he'll be a perfect double for Dr Chase on "House".  He's pretty!"   It didn't take long to figure out that there was more to the PA than a pretty face.  He's intelligent and was very meticulous in his exam.  He asked a lot of questions and listened to my answers.  The listening part alone got him a gold star in my book.  That doesn't happen very often!  Even more impressive was that he took notes.  After he was finished, he went outside and discussed his findings with Dr. B and they looked at my MRI pics before he came in.

The first thing Dr. B asked was, "How long have you had this pain?"   I opened my mouth to answer and then realized that I really don't know.  I tried to answer again and my brain still wouldn't engage.  So I sat there looking like a fish while I tried to figure it out.  Finally I told him that the pain started about 20 years ago but has become debilitating in the past five years.  He looked at the forms I'd filled out and said, "Tell me about the old injuries to your back that you mentioned here".

Oh dear.  I was afraid that was going to come up.  I'd thought about not mentioning them at all when I filled out the paperwork but if I want doctors to be honest with me, I can't not tell them things that might be important.  So I took a deep breath and explained about Domestic Violence:  The Gift That Keeps on Giving.  

The upper back injury happened one night in the late '80s when I was sound asleep and my ex came into the bedroom, took an assault rifle off the wall, and slammed it down across my shoulders.   It took about three or four years for me to recover from that one.  When it would flare up I wouldn't be able to even turn my head for months at a time.  Now it's just a dull ache that I don't notice unless I stop and think about it or the weather is really wet and cold.

The lower back injury wasn't nearly as dramatic but apparently it caused more damage.  My ex shoved me into a kitchen counter and the corner of the countertop made a direct hit into my right kidney.  That one never really stopped hurting, especially if I touch that spot on my back, but after awhile I got used to it.  My way of dealing with pain isn't to ignore it or try to convince myself that it doesn't hurt..........I just convince my brain that it's normal to feel that way.  The human body is a lot tougher than most people imagine.  With time, we can learn how to assimilate almost anything.

Fortunately Dr B didn't make a big deal about the reasons, he simply asked, "Why haven't you looked for pain relief before now?"  I explained that I didn't have the option for medical assistance at the time and then later on, I'd lived with it for so long that I didn't really even think about it anymore.  When it started to get worse there were other medical issues that took a priority and the only reason I was seeing him now is because my rheumatologist had finally seen the MRI report that the quack internist had dismissed as "just fine" and said she wanted me to see a back specialist.  Fortunately I had a lull in doctor appointments until the end of the month so I could fit him in.  I think his lip twitched and he almost smiled at that.

After that he started his exam and pushed and prodded at various parts of my back, especially where the degenerative disc disease and facet arthropathy is the worst.   He showed me one of the spine sculptures that doctors always have and explained how the bones were grinding against each other in those places and how steroid shots would provide the cushion to relieve the pain.  He said surgery may be something to consider down the line but for now we can try the shots and see how I do with them.  Yay!!

The discussion turned to which part of my spine to do first since they need to divide the amount of steroids up into two sessions for it to be effective.  Dr B told me to turn around with my back to him and he started tapping against my spine with the flat side of his fist.  I yelped a little here and there but it wasn't any worse than any other exam until he got to the S1 joint.  He waited until I exhaled and then drew back and gave it a rap just to the right of my spine.

OMFG.  I screamed and my knees buckled.  My hubby caught me before I could hit the floor and shoved my cane under my hand.  I pulled myself back upright, gasping for air but not really finding any.  Tears were running down my face and I realized that the sobbing noises I heard were coming from me.  It felt like a piece of bone had come off and pierced the bundle of nerves at the base of my spine.  It took several minutes before I could catch my breath and stop crying.

That was a real awakening for me.  Dr B had just demonstrated the amount of pain that exists when I'm not controlling it thru breathing and diversionary tactics.  It shocked the hell out of me to think that this is the pain that I've been  living with for so long.  Granted I don't often encounter raps to my lower back like that, but the pain is the same that I feel whenever I'm standing or walking.........just not as sudden or unexpected so I can control it.  I didn't see Dr B's rap coming and he caught me on the exhale so it was a sucker punch for sure.  I understand why he had to do it to evaluate the pain levels accurately, but if he ever does it again I'm gonna go upside his head with my cane.  Not even a doctor gets more than one chance at a sucker punch with me.  LOL!

Dr B helped me back up on the exam table and said that we'd start the injections with the sacrum region and do the lumbar later.  There will be around 60 injections the first time, but they're going to put me under the "amnesia anesthesia" so it doesn't matter.   The really good thing is that he said they can do the cortisone shots in my hands at the same time.  Double Yay!!  I'm waaaaaay overdue for a refill in my wrists so right now I'm happier about that then I am about the back.  I'm glad we can get that all over in the same day.  Given the option, I'd rather have twice the pain on one day than to have half the pain on two days.  Might as well get it over with at once.  Hopefully the injections will work on my back.  I'm optimistic about that since I already know that cortisone works for my hands.  It stands to reason that it might work on my back too.  I haven't really thought much about what it would be like to not have the pain in my back.  It's been so long that I can't really wrap my brain around that concept, but it did cross my mind that it would be nice to be able to mop the kitchen floor without having to stop and sit down every three minutes.

The last thing Dr B talked to me about is the cyst on my right kidney which had him pretty concerned.  He's sure it's from the old injury (which didn't surprise me at all) and strongly recommended that I find a good internist to take a look at it.  He said that the shots aren't going to impact any pain coming from the kidney at all so the worst of the pain may still be there afterwards and if it is, then at least it arms me with information that I can use to push an internist into doing the tests needed to determine the damage to the kidney and possibly get the cyst removed.  I'm putting that on my medical to-do list right after "getting oxygen to my muscles" and "removing the elephant in my throat".  

I'm having the shots done on the 26th which is going to be a busy week because I see the pulmonologist on the 27th and the thyroid surgeon on the 29th.   Oh, and as long as I was there, I asked the doc about the pain in my collarbone that the thyroid specialists say can't possibly be caused by my collarbone being shoved into my thyroid gland.  He said there's nothing skeletal causing it.  Therefore, if the thyroid surgeon tries to pull that same bullshit line on me of "It's just arthritis or referred pain from your spine",  I can tell him that I have a rheumatologist and a spine specialist who are both willing to 'splain anatomy to him and prove that it's his job to fix it.

I may be on the right track, depending on what happens with the pulmonologist and the surgeon.  At least I have one more doctor on my side who's willing to tell other doctors what needs to be done.  I'll be going into see doctors 12 and 13 with a real chip on my shoulder and I'll start yelling if I need to.  At this point I really don't give a shit if they have to call security to come drag me out of their offices.  I'm not going to leave until someone does something to fix me.   My awakening moment in Dr B's office has been a bit of an eye opener that things are probably a lot worse than I think they are.  If I can hide *that* kind of pain from myself, what else have I become accustomed to just because it's felt that way for so long?  I shouldn't have to live with a thyroid gland that is constant agony because there's a bone jammed into it.   I shouldn't have to live on 80% of the oxygen my body needs simply because some template says that I'm too fat to be considered worth fixing--especially since it's the lack of proper medical attention that has caused my weight gain in the first place.  Most of all I shouldn't have to live with the possibility of cancer growing unchecked in my throat.  I've been pissed for a long time, but now I think that I'm just plain outraged about it all.  I guess it's time for my southern upbringing to be set aside (much easier said than done!) and become aggressive and rude to get these lazy ass doctors to do their job.  I'm done searching for good doctors because I don't think I'm going to find any around here.  I don't like to be a bitch, especially to someone that I'm asking to help me but it seems that being a bitch may be the only way that I'm going to get any help at all.

You know, when I started this blog it was supposed to be all about miniatures but sometimes I forget that other people read what I write and I go drifting off into these rants about my ongoing saga with the medical profession.  For the most part, I end up talking to myself and then remember that other people are reading it.   I seldom go back and read my blog but I looked at the archives today and thought, "Oh lordy, this is starting to sound like General Hospital without Luke and Laura".   I've thought about deleting some of the things I've written and then decided to leave it all as it is because there are other people out there who go thru the same kind of fights that I do in an ongoing struggle to get proper medical attention.  So I'll leave everything as it is just in case someone comes across it and realizes that they aren't alone and it's important to keep fighting even when it feels like you can't go on one more step.  

In the mini side of life where things are much happier, I'm thrilled about getting the cortisone refill in my hands because the design plan for the Rosedale is finished and I'll be starting to order wallpaper and supplies and all those other fun things this week.  My hands will be functional again about the time it all gets here.  Woooooooohooooooooo!  While I'm waiting for them to arrive I'll be working on the furniture and window treatment designs to pull it all together.  It's been exciting to plan this house and it's going to be sooooooo pretty!   There's a special architectural feature that I'm going to add to the bedroom that I think will take the house over the top.  I haven't been this psyched up about a house since I built my own Willowcrest.........and this Rosedale is going to be every bit as spectacular.

I almost forgot that I was going to share a picture of one of my recent challenges.  One of my favorite clients sent me some vintage white wicker furniture with a request that I dress it in oriental fabrics, preferably a dragon.  I thought, "I can do that!" and set aside some gorgeous chinese red brocade for it.  When I showed him the fabric he said, "That's really pretty but this is going to be outdoor furniture and I need it to be yellow and blue to match the exterior of the house".   {moment of silence}  Yellow and blue oriental fabric with dragons.  Now that's not something that you see every day.

{giggling}  Well, it's not something you see every day unless you have my eclectic fabric stash.  LOL!  Would you believe that I actually had a piece of yellow and blue oriental fabric with a dragon print?  What are the odds of that happening???  It was one lonely little fat quarter of a print from one of Hoffman's challenges way back when.  It's at least 10 years old and waaaaaaaaay out of production.  But a fat quarter is all I needed, even with some fussy cutting to get the dragons just right.

The client send me one of the actual windows from the house so I could match up the colors.  The first thing I did was weave a matching ribbon into the sides of the chairs to perk up the elderly wicker just a teeny bit.  I used the same dark blue for the pillows so it would pick up the darker blue in the print.  Here's what the set looks like with the window behind it.   From this angle, the dressing has a bright and cheery, and somewhat tropical, look with the focus on the colors and not the design.

But if you look straight down at them, the cushions show the dragon's talons holding crystal balls.

The throw is another fussy cut piece that has a tropical and bamboo look

until you turn it to the side and then you can see the dragon's face.  

I like playing with little optical illusions like that and my client was thrilled with a set of wicker furniture that holds a secret.  

The last bit of mini news today is that Dr Robertson is almost finished with a new steampunk mini that he's been working on for the past two weeks.  He says that it's sure to be a big sensation because he's figured out a way to fit more naps into the day.  Now that's technology we can all put to good use!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A few steps back but moving forward again

I haven't talked about my ongoing search for medical resolutions for awhile because the latest events haven't been real positive.   The new endo didn't turn out to be very helpful.  She lost my test results and took almost three weeks to get them to me (after I called repeatedly) and I had to argue with her just to get her to send me forward to two other doctors who might be of help.  The biggest argument that I had with her was when she told me that my thyroid hadn't changed at all for two years.  Uh, look again lady!  I told her I had the same two ultrasound reports sitting in front of me that she was looking at and actually had to guide her to "Look here.......and here.........and there........" so she could see how drastically it has changed in the two years between ultrasounds.  Yeah, she's fired too.

The real setback for me was the "official" diagnosis from the pulmonary tests.  The diagnosis is that I'm fat.  {stunned silence}  I can't believe she said that or that they actually put that as the main diagnosis on the tests.  It sounds like they looked at my weight on the chart and stopped right there because obviously no one who weighs that much could have any other reason for pulmonary problems.   To say that I was devastated is an understatement.  I mean, I'm a recovered anorexic and this was like a shotgun blast to my psyche.  Yes, I am overweight but there are a few things that need to go on record here with these doctors who are determined to dismiss me as fat and lazy.

I wasn't fat when all this started.  Two and a half years ago I was a size 14 and that's when the breathing pressure started.  That was back when I was still walking every day.  The problem isn't so much that I can't breathe.......the problem is that the oxygen I take in doesn't get to my muscles.

The reason that I've gained weight is because I can't exercise.  I'd like to see those doctors do aerobic exercise when their oxygen saturation rate is at 80%!  Or even take a walk for that matter.   Personally, I don't think they could even keep up with my daily routine if they had to deal with that O2 sat.  The other reason I can't exercise is because if I do push those oxygen starved muscles the myfascia starts to tighten up on them and that sends my fibro into panic mode.  If I do three minutes on the treadmill I'll be laid up in bed for a week.  And because of the fibro issues, I have to take the maximum dosage of Lyrica which has some of the same side effects as steroids...........weight gain.

So you can imagine what it did to me to hear "You're overweight and that's why you need to be on oxygen".   I think I cried nonstop for a week.  But before I started to cry, I pushed back at the doctor about the results and told her that there had to be more to it because the breathing problem existed before I gained weight.  She read a little further and said, "Well, there is a slight possibility that it could be a problem with the air diffusion from your lungs to your heart.  There's a marker for DLCO that popped up in the test but they don't think that's the issue.  They're pretty sure it's your weight".

{banging head on keyboard}  Let's review for a minute.  The reason I'm on oxygen isn't because I can't catch my breath.  I walk around all day and I'm not gasping, panting or wheezing.  The only time I have trouble breathing is when I turn my head or look down and my thyroid blocks my throat.  The problem is that the oxygen doesn't go where it's supposed to go after I get it into my lungs.   So after I went off on her about that, she finally agreed to get me into see a pulmonologist.  Then I asked her which surgeon she was going to refer me to and she said, "What for?  There's no upper airway obstruction caused by the's just your weight.  Why do you need to see a thyroid surgeon?"   {snarling}  Oh, let's call it a whim of mine.  I still think that having my collarbone jammed into my thyroid gland might have something to do with all that intense pain in my shoulder and throat, and hey, while we're at it I'd really like to know just how far down into my chest this thing has grown since no one has even bothered to look any lower than the base of my throat.  If this is a sub-sternum thyroid, there could be some real problems in there.  It would also be nice to be able to breathe when I look at my feet.  Other people are allowed to continue breathing when they look down and I think I'd like to be able to do that too.   She said she'd get me set up with the thyroid surgeon because "Well, the size alone qualifies you for a thyroidectomy".  

{stunned silence}  If that's true, why do I still have a thyroid?    Why the hell do all these doctors keep resisting me about this???

So she agreed to get me set up with the surgeon............and promptly forgot because I had to call back three weeks later (making it a total of six weeks since I'd seen her) and beg the recep in her office to just transfer me to the endo surgical department and set it up myself.  So I see the pulmonologist on July 27th and the thyroid surgeon on July 29th.

On of the things that pisses me off the most about the pulmonology report wanting to blame all this on my weight is that reduced air diffusion can be caused by fibroid tissue in the lungs which is associated with rheumatoid arthritis.............something my hand surgeon says I have even tho the blood tests are all negative.  That's why the hand surgeon is going to do an open incision when he does my CRS so he can get a deep tissue biopsy that is more conclusive than the blood tests.   (and we have to keep putting off the hand surgeries because resolving the thyroid and breathing issues take priority so I'm limping by on cortisone shots in my hands until that wondrous day arrives)   So you can see why I'm so concerned that the pulmonologist might just take the "you're fat" excuse and not pursue the other potential problems.  There's a lot at stake here.

I haven't felt much like talking about this but since my blog has become something of a medical diary for me so I can track dates and the sequence of events, I thought I better not leave anything out.  For those of you who follow my blog and actually read this, I'm sorry to be a downer sometimes.  This part of my life really sucks and while I try to keep a positive spin on it, sometimes there's just nothing good to say.

However, it does get a little better from here because I had a good appointment with my rheumatologist on Friday but I have to backtrack a little bit to explain the good part.

A problem that has taken a back seat to my thyroid and breathing issues has been my lower back and my right hip.  I've been telling doctors for a couple of years that I can't walk or stand for more than three or four minutes before my back is in excruciating pain.  We're talking about the kind of pain that takes people to their knees and would do the same to me if I wasn't blessed with an extremely high tolerance for pain.  I rate the back pain at a 14 on a scale of 1-10 and keep telling them that it feels like bone on bone coz it's definitely not muscle.  When I'm not standing or walking, the pain is normally around an 8 or 9 but never lower.  The xrays have shown degenerative disk disease and arthritis in my spine so that's what everyone has written it off as and even when I demanded xrays of my hip, they said they didn't see anything but "mild ddd".   Last November I talked the internist's PA into ordering an MRI of my lumbar region just to see if that showed something that might be missed on the xrays.   She did and when she gave me the results she said, "It's just mild degenerative disk disease.  Keep taking your arthritis meds".

I figured that if the MRI didn't show anything then the diagnosis was right and tried to just suck it up and live with it.  It's gotten worse and I started using a cane to get around a few months ago but I figured that's what the "degenerative" part means.  Anyway, when I gathered up all my medical records a couple of months ago it included the MRI report.  Most of that is greek to me but I did see that they found a cyst on my right kidney.  {shrugging}  My body is so full of fibroids that it would only be surprising if I had an internal organ that didn't have a cyst.  I did some research and the cyst is within acceptable size limits for a kidney cyst so that's not a problem unless it starts acting up.  The rest of the report is all in medical-ese so I tucked it into my file to take to my next appointment with my rheumatologist.

That was on Friday and when I handed it to her, she looked it over and said, "Wow!  There's a LOT going on here!".  HUH???   I was told there was nothing at all!  She said that in addition to the DDD, there are bulging disks all the way from L3 to S1 and moderate facet arthropathy which is worse on the right side.  That last part means that the actual bones of my spine are rubbing against each other and the erosion is more on the right than the left which sorta sets me off balance.  It shouldn't be causing the radiating pain down my leg but we'll find out if the kidney cyst has something to do with that since the epicenter of the radiating pain is over that kidney.   The main thing is that she immediately faxed the MRI report over to a spinal pain management doc and I'll be setting up an appointment with him on Monday.  This is the kind of doc that does the ultrasound guided cortisone and spinal epidural shots.  I'm hopeful that if the kidney cyst is a problem he can diagnose it and get me to someone who can remove it.  At this point I'm totally unconcerned about the risks of the spinal shots and am content to be thrilled that I might get some actual pain relief.

This is something positive so I'm happy about that.  My rheumatologist also made me feel a lot better emotionally when she was genuinely angry about the pulmonary diagnosis that I'm just fat.  She ranted for several minutes about how they might as well have slapped me in the face instead of telling me something like that.  Dr. H knows that I used to be an avid walker so she knows that I'm not just fat and lazy.  She took the time to talk to me about why I've gained weight and why nothing can be done about it until some of these other issues get fixed.  She also told me to make sure that both the pulmonologist and the surgeon call her for a consult because she's going to make damned sure they know how severe both problems are to my overall health.

She also had a few strong things to say about the endo not pursuing the thyroid surgery.  She said, "You've had two fine needle aspirations but they biopsied the same nodule both times.   Everyone knows how notoriously inaccurate those FNA biopsies are and with so many nodules with microcalcifications in your thyroid, they're playing games with your life.  We *have* to get that thyroid out of you because the risk of cancer is very real".

{sniffling}  And then she hugged me and told me not to give up.  She said she understands how frustrating it is to be on doctor #11 and still have to keep fighting.  It really did help a lot to hear her tell me to never give up hope and know that I have at least one doctor on my side.  I'll have a little more confidence going into see the pulmonologist and the surgeon later this month knowing that I'll be handing them her card and telling them that I'll be checking to make sure they talk to her.

As always, I'm hopeful that doctors #11, 12 and 13 will finally be the ones who can make things better.  After all, 13 has always been my lucky number.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A little ragtime to start the day

Anyone who knows me IRL knows that I've always had a thing for the music of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.  {cackle}  Yeah, I know.  If you know who they are you're thinking the same thing I am right now---and it's not about their stuff that got played on the radio either.  hehehehehehehehe  I got a kick out of Ray and the guys when I was a teenager and they still make me laugh.

I'm not sure but I think my subconscious convinced me to start a steampunk line of minis just so I could use one of Dr. Hook's songs in a video.

Dr Thaddeus Meets Dr Hook


Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's getting crowded in here


I've been told it's a strange thing to do, but I've always given names to various aspects of my personality.  I don't have a split personality and I don't have clinically diagnosed multiple personalities.......I simply understand that my personality is very diverse and eclectic and I embrace every part of it as a unique individual.

Even as a child I knew that it wasn't a good idea to tell other people about this little habit of mine so I didn't mention things like Herbie (who likes to give human characteristics to inanimate objects).   It's not like I had imaginary friends either.  I suffer from excessive contact with reality which makes it impossible to have imaginary friends. However, I do have a rather bizarre sense of humor and it amuses me to isolate different personality traits and give them names.

Herbie was around a lot when I was a kid and even tho he makes fewer public appearances, he's still very much a part of me.  I think the funniest thing that Herbie ever did was when I was in high school and he took to carrying around a rubber worm in our pocket.  He swore that the worm was alive and had a passion for lettuce and mayo sandwiches.  {pausing to think back}  The rubber worm was stolen by a guy I was dating and I've never figured out if he did it because he wanted a souvenir or if the whole thing was just creeping him out.  {shrug}  Doesn't matter because he didn't last much longer than a lettuce sandwich at a July picnic.  I've never had much tolerance for people who are critical of my whimsy.

But anyway, Herbie is still a vital part of my personality even if he's not as public about it these days.  I still talk to inanimate objects and still bestow human traits on some of them.  It's a handy way to feel for someone who builds builds dollhouses for a living.  Yep, it could even be considered as part of my job description.

{grinning} My favorite was always Trixie.  Ah, Trixie and I had some really good times together.  Trixie is part of my fashion-personality and, well, to put it bluntly, Trixie is *such* a slut.  Going shopping with Trixie was always a hoot!  I can look back at pictures of myself and think, "Yep, that was a Trixie outfit for sure".    She bought things like hoop earrings the size of bracelets, and hip hugger jeans with body shirts that unbuttoned down to there.   She was the one who would unbutton our shirt and tie it up under our boobs as soon as we left the house in high school.   She picked out stiletto heels with open toes and wore them with flirty red dresses whose skirts whirled around our thighs when we walked.  As we got older, Trixie matured with me but her style was still unmistakable.  She wore Donna Karan suits without a blouse, glorying in the black velvet push up bra underneath.  If I walked into the office wearing my notorious black leather skirt (pencil thin with a slit up the back) and a black silk blouse, my coworkers would greet me by cheerfully calling, "Good Morning Trixie!".  {cackle}  Oh yes, Trixie was well known and had quite a following.  People knew that if I came into the office wearing a Trixie-outfit, it meant that I was in a mood to either do battle or have some fun.    (and that wasn't all bad because anyone who has played in the corporate world knows that sometimes a little cleavage or leg is fair when a woman needs an edge on a male-dominated battlefield......and Trixie was confident enough to pull it off)

Sadly, Trixie has been around less and less as my health issues have changed my body structure but she's still a part of me.  All I have to do to get her back in the spotlight is play Bob Seger's "Her Strut" and Trixie comes running.  We have a good time reminiscing about the good old days when we weren't good, we weren't old, and it was the nights that mattered most.

There are others of course.  Emma is the one who is very proper and has lovely manners.  She's most often seen at award's banquets and Women's Club luncheons, weddings and funerals.   There are two mothers..........One is just plain "Mother" and she's the earthy type.  She's very bohemian in style and attitude. The other is "Mother M" and she's the one who gives people flashbacks to Catholic school.  She'll whack your knuckles with a ruler in a heartbeat if you step out of line and she has a very sharp edge to her tongue.

Most recently has been the arrival of Dr. Thaddeus Robertson.  {beaming}  We're all so proud to finally have a doctor in the family.  I'd never given a name to the geeky side of me before so it was high time that I formally recognized that part of my personality.  Dr. Robertson is the one who does steampunk minis because he so loves things that have flashy lights and buttons to push and make gurgling sounds when they work.  He's also a bit of a cynic and a smart ass.   I like having him around and in his own way, he fits right in with the rest of the gang.

The list goes on and on but you get the idea.  It's a quirk of mine to name them all and to acknowledge when they take the driver's seat.  Oh, and the one with the weird sense of humor who likes to talk a lot..............that's just Deb.

On the mini side of things this week, I have two things to share.  One is an admirable speaking-out against art thieves by Grimdeva of Cauldron Craft Miniatures.  Drop in on her blog and see what she has to say.  I think all artisans can identify with what she's going thru and respect her taking a stand about it.

The other is my new toy, the Dremel Trio Tool!  It slices, it dices, it makes french fries in less than 30 seconds!  Ooops.  Wait a minute, that's the wrong tool.  LOL!  Actually, I think the Trio could probably do all of that too but its main functions are sawing, sanding and routing all in one tool.  I rushed to Home Depot as soon as I saw it because this is the tool of my dreams.  It does plunge cuts!!  That's the first and best thing, but it's also a scrolling saw which means that there's no more tearing at the wood with a reciprocating saw blade.  Bye-bye splinters!!  I can do straight edges, circles, and free hand designs with equal ease.  It also replaces my plunge router because it has an adjustable base and it sands too.  The handle is articulated with two positions and it's about one third the size of a regular jigsaw.  That means that it's heavy enough to be a serious tool (my mini jigsaw didn't have enough muscle) but it's small enough to fit perfectly into my hands and be easy to control.  Yes, I'm in love with a power tool and I don't care who knows it!!  Between the Trio and my Stylus, I've got just about everything covered all in two tools.  The only other power tool I really need is my bench sander.   I'm a happy girl.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

House hunting with the hippy quilter

I've been really bouncy lately because of some awesome news.  My friend Kathy (aka: The Hippy Quilter) has been living in the Armpit of Hell for the past couple of years and has been reeeeally uncomfortable there.  Her husband just got a new job which was fabulous news to begin with but the best part is that the new job is in Greeley!  Woooooooooooohoooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!   {doing the snoopy-happy-dance}  Greeley is only an hour away from me!  That's close enough that we can do lunch and spur of the moment fabric shopping and see each other more than once a year! I'm really happy that she's getting out of Armpit and even happier that she and I are going to live close to each other again.  We haven't lived close to each other since 1981.

Kathy and I met when I was 17........I was a newly-wed and she was a newly-widow and we lived next door to each other in some tiny little run down duplex apartments next to the railroad tracks.  We were always together and up to something.  Not only were we both artisans even back then, but we knew how to  make our own fun.  One of our favorite past times was to go to "town" and visit the trailer house lots.  Neither of us could afford a home of our own, not even a trailer house, but if we told them we were just browsing, they'd let us go thru the trailer houses and we'd talk about how we'd redecorate them and laugh at how they were already decorated.  I'm pretty sure that if there were any toxins in shag carpeting, Kathy and I would have died a long time ago.  LOL!  We definitely saw more than our share of harvest gold and avocado green kitchen appliances too!  But it was our way of getting away from some of the harsher realties of our lives and we had a good time wandering thru hundreds of mobile homes and mentally hanging curtains and ripping out walls.  We spent a lot of time sitting on floors in empty rooms and being impressed with garden tubs.

So anyway, house hunting isn't a real foreign concept to us but this week we discovered a whole new way to go about it.  Kathy and her husband were in Greeley looking for a house.  Since they're moving before their house in Armpit sells, they'll be renting and finding a house for rent in Greeley isn't all that easy to do.  The online listings are usually for apartments and the few Realtor-listed houses that she'd found weren't what they needed and no one advertises in the newspapers anymore.  Finally Kathy just set out in her car with her cell phone and started driving around looking for "for rent" signs with phone numbers.  When she called to tell me what she was doing I was in front of the computer with my headset and "Operation Find-a-House 2010" began.  I started digging thru the more obscure online listings and classifieds and when I'd find something I'd call her with the address and with the help of Google satellite maps, the driving directions.   She'd take off for that one while I looked for more listings.  When she got to the house, she'd call me to let me know what she found and we'd start again.

Kathy and I have always been in sync with each other like that.   Over the years we've developed some excellent systems for everything from how to paint fence rails in a feedlot to how to get rid of psychotic ex-husbands.   And as with all of our other systems, the remote house hunting worked out well!  I think we were on the 4th or 5th house when she found "the one".   It's a really nice ranch in a lovely neighborhood with five bedrooms and a fully finished basement.  Now she'll have space to lay out quilt blocks again!  She'll also have decent shopping and pizza delivery which she's been living without for way too long.  (I told you she lives in the Armpit of Hell!)  I'm soooooooooo happy that she's getting back to civilization.  I'd be happy for her about that even if she wasn't living in the same state as me again but having her an hour away makes it even better.  I can't wait till she gets moved and we can go have chinese for lunch!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A big yellow clock with a picture of Carrot Top in the middle

Dr Thaddeus Robertson proudly announces the

Incredible Steam Powered Food Preparation Device and Instant Hot Water Receptacle

Ladies and gentlemen, come closer and prepare to be amazed!  Are you tired of always fussing with damp kindling to start a fire?  Do you waste away from hunger while you wait for the stove to heat up?  Tired of your bread burning on one side because of uneven fire?  Do you hate hauling wood?  Wouldn't you love to turn a lever and instantly have hot water for your tea or your bath? 
Dr. Robertson's new device will make all those problems a thing of the past!  Step into the future with the new and amazing steam powered stove!  You'll be amazed at how easy and fast it is to prepare the finest of meals with scientifically precise heating. Control your cooking temperatures with a turn of a dial.  Hot water is always at your fingertips with a simple twist of your wrist.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, we are living the dream of the future! 

When Dr. Robertson unveiled this one, it really blew me away.  There are so many things that I like about it!  The tap and kettle on the reservoir is really awesome because it makes it so easy to fill a tea kettle or a bathtub.  (and it set my mind at ease about the whole tea and bath combination)  The use of zodiac symbols on the dial fascinates me.  I asked Dr. Roberts why he used the zodiac and he only smiled mysteriously and refused to answer.  Oh well.  With the good doctor who knows why he does what he does.  As long as the dial works, that's all that matters.   The fact that he also makes it beautiful just adds to the charm.  

Dr Thaddeus gave me a brief description of the mechanism on the oven doors but honestly, it made no sense to me.   It has something to do with creating a rotisserie effect inside the ovens by turning the air instead of the food.  The brass and copper gauge on the front of the oven door shows in which direction the air is revolving.

I was really fascinated by the burners on the stove top.   The Dr tells me that the burners are designed to hold a pot up high enough for steam to move freely from the bottom to the sides and evenly cook the contents.  It sounds to me like there's a dragon under it blowing steam on the pan!  It's supposed to cook food even faster than a microwave because the reflectors on the back of the stove push the heat back to the cooking surface.  

Dr. Thaddeus went on and on about all the details and most of it went over my head.  The arrogant little bastard laughed and said he thought that it would.  I reminded him that he's small enough for me to stow away inside a shoe box if he keeps it up with the attitude.  LOL!  He mumbled something about a switch under his breath and walked off.  At least I think he was talking about a switch.  That's what it sounded like anyway......

An interesting aspect of living with the Dr is going shopping with him.  Obviously he needs supplies and just as obviously, I can't let him be seen.  I mean, I live in a fairly tolerant area but a six inch tall mad scientist on my shoulder is going to raise a few eyebrows!  So I stuck him in my purse and off we went to the thrift stores.  I stuck my Bluetooth in my ear so people would think I was talking on the phone and that allowed me to talk to the Dr without drawing attention to us.  Hell, three quarters of the world is wandering around talking to themselves like crazy people but thanks to technology no one gives it a second thought.  Score one more for technology.

Anyway, the good Dr and I started thru the thrift store and began with the jewelry.  He didn't find anything he liked there altho I saw a pair of earrings that were really cool.  He jabbed me in the ribs and told me to stay focused.    Little tyrant.   Finally we found the shelves with the clocks and the Dr got excited.  He yelled, "The yellow one!  Grab the yellow one!".   I groaned.  Oh gawd, not the yellow one.  Another sharp jab in the ribs got the point across and I reluctantly picked it up.  I said, "You mean this yellow clock with the picture of Carrot Top in the middle?".  "Yes, yes!  That's it!!" cried the doctor.  I didn't even hesitate and told him, "There is no way in hell that I'm going to walk thru this store carrying a huge yellow clock with a picture of Carrot Top in the middle.  And if you think I'm actually going to go thru a check out counter and tell the clerk that I want to buy it, you have another thing coming".  

I made a mental note to myself that from now on I'm going to tie the little twerp's hands behind his back before I stick him in my purse so he can't poke me anymore.  I'm going to have bruises on my ribs for a week!  Needless to say, I gave in and actually went thru the store *and* the checkout with the gawd-awful yellow clock with a picture of Carrot Top in the middle.  On the ride home the Dr tried to console me by saying, "Look at it this way.  I'm going to destroy the clock and the world will have one less big yellow clock with a picture of Carrot Top in the middle".   Okay, so he makes a good point but it was still humiliating.  However, we had a good shopping day and picked up a couple of mysterious items that the Dr will use in his experiments.  He asked if we could stop at the pet store but I drew the line there.  He acted all innocent and said that he just liked to see the puppies.  {snort}  Yeah, right.   Not gonna happen.

As I write this, the Dr is back in the studio and I haven't had the nerve to go in there yet.  I heard a loud "sproing!" and a crash and then "Ooops, my bad" but I really don't want to know.  I'll check on him tomorrow.  Right now I'm going to go make dinner and have a relaxing evening with my hubby and the cat.  I think the Dr will be so busy that he won't notice that I've locked the studio door behind him.  

This should be interesting

Dr. Thaddeus Robertson has done it again!  This time he has created the Incredible Steam Powered Food Preparation Unit.   He says that's it's also a remarkable innovation in the brewing of tea and taking of baths.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure I want to know how he combines brewing tea and taking baths.  He said he'll unveil his newest creation tomorrow so I guess we'll find out then.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Good Doctor is proud to announce.....

............The Amazing Steam Powered Rocking Chair!  {cue trumpets to made traditional "ta-da" blare}  Yes, here we have it.  The good doctor feels that not having to rock the chair will save people a great deal of energy and make the time spend in the chair more relaxing, which is the goal of sitting in a chair in the first place. 

The Steampunk Rocking Chair features a steam engine under the back of the seat.  A side effect of that location is that the seat stays nice and warm, even in the winter.  Always putting safety first, Dr. Robertson placed brass weights on the front of the chair to balance the weight of the engine on the back and added a nice footrest so the occupant won't fall out.  There are brass rings on the arms to grip if the rocking becomes too energetic.  All the mechanisms are on the back of the chair and the steam powers the hydraulic steel rockers on the sides.  The exhaust is located on the top of the chair.  Be careful not to put your hand close to the steam. 

To be honest, I'm fairly impressed with what the Doctor has come up with.  I hear that he has plans for steampunk miniatures for every room of the house and has already started on his newest creation.  He's being very secretive about it.  I thought it was going to be a bed but he's dropping hints that it might be something that would go in a kitchen.  

The Amazing Steam Powered Rocking Chair is listed in my Etsy store now so go have a look.  It might be just the perfect new mini for you! 

My studio has been hijacked!

Something strange has been happening in my studio.  I've noticed that things have been out of place and it appears that someone has been using my tools.  Both my husband and the cat denied any part of it, so it became a mystery that I was determined to solve. 
I snuck downstairs in the middle of the night and could see a small light coming thru the door of the studio.  As I tip-toed quietly down the hall I could hear a voice mumbling and the clipping sound of wire cutters.  Closer and closer I crept toward the door, silently hugging the wall.  I jumped around the corner of the door and in my loudest voice I yelled, "A-ha!!!  I caught you!!"

There was a scream and I ducked just in time as a pair of pliers flew from the little fellow's hand into the air.  "Good gawd woman, you scared the bejeebers out of me!  Don't you know how to knock?  Maybe you should just wear a bell around your neck so folks can hear you coming.  Now pick up those pliers and hand them back to me.  Go on now. Leave me alone and let me get back to my work."

Needless to say I stood in the doorway dumbstruck at the sight of a little man wearing a white coat and large brass goggles.  He had the strangest contraption on his head that appeared to be some sort of magnifying glass.  His hair looked like it hadn't been combed in a week and one suspender was coming undone.  I noticed that his shoes were on the wrong feet but I didn't think it would be nice to point that out.

I asked, "Who are you?" and was given a stony glare.  "If you must know, I'm Dr. Thaddeus Robertson .  Before you ask me how to cure a headache, I'll clarify that the PhD is in physics, not medicine.  I'm an inventor.  In this grand age of the steam engine, I work day and night to find different ways to put this wonderful resource to work".  

Not wanting to disorient the good doctor more than he was already, I didn't mention that the year is 2010.  Instead I looked over his shoulder to see what he was making.  Following my gaze he said, "This is a steam powered rocking chair.  It will save enormous amounts of effort by rocking itself.  Would you like to give it a try?"   I thanked him for the offer but pointed out that the rocking chair is only 4 inches tall and I'm 5' 6".  Dr Robertson observed, "As a matter of fact it had occurred to me that you are rather tall.  In fact, you're at least five feet taller than I.  Oh well, no matter.  Hand me that copper wire please". 

It appeared that Dr. Robertson had lost all interest in me and was once again absorbed in his work.  He's happily oblivious to the year and the fact that he's living in a world where he's only 1:12 scale. I can only assume that it's the result of an experiment gone wrong that left him one twelfth his normal size and threw him into the future.  Normally I would worry about that, but he makes such fabulous steampunk miniatures that I don't want him to leave!  So we've reached a comfortable existence together.  He's allowed to use my studio whenever he likes and occasionally leaves gifts of his newest inventions for me to find.  On the other hand, I keep a supply of peanut butter crackers in the studio for him and I've convinced the cat not to eat him.

I'll be showing some of Dr. Robertson's work soon and some of it will be on sale in my Etsy store.  Check back very soon to see what he's come up with.   Honestly, for a little mad scientist, he makes some really fabulous minis!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I think I'm giddy

I'm not sure about that because I don't recall ever having felt giddy before I'm pretty sure I'm feeling giddy now.  I got an email earlier today from the Dollhouse Hall of Fame with a picture of the display case that holds my work in the gift shop.  I tried to be cool.  I really did.  Being cool lasted for about three seconds before I was bouncing off the walls like Daffy Duck on crank!  Woooohoooo!   Woohoo!  Wooooooohhooooooooooooooooo!!  Yippeee!  Wow!  Wooooooooohooooooooooo!!!

Wanna see? The whole display case is filled with my minis.  All of it.  How cool is that?

This was excellent timing because it helped to pull me out of a blue funk where I've been stuck for a few days.  Seeing my work in a brick and mortar store for the first time and in such a nice display put the smile back on my face.   I was so happy that I headed back to the studio and finished this retro living room set. 

{grinning} Quite a different style from what you usually see from me, isn't it?  This was FUN!  The colors are so bright and cheery and the fabric is such a flashback that I couldn't help but have a good time.  The fabric will be familiar to anyone who ever embroidered their jeans or painted a VW bus.  Those big yellow and orange flowers were everywhere! 

Of course a living room like this has to have floor pillows.  {wink}  If you remember the flowers, you know why.  Sooner or later we were going to end up laying on the floor, listening to the music because it sounded better in the middle of the floor where you got the full effect of the speakers. 

Here's a close up so you can see the fabric better. The flowers are so cool and I even found a purple fabric for the pillows that makes them look as if they might have been made from faded purple denim.  Okay, a show of hands many of you just had a flashback????  Does anyone else have the urge to go make a batch of brownies?  

So that's been my day and I have to say that a happy day like this was desperately needed.  It lifted my spirits and brought me back to life again.  What would I do without minis?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ooooooooh, pretty!

I had to pop in and share some eye candy!  I'm not a big fan of blue, but when I found this fabric and thought "Wow, that looks like Wedgewood!", I knew that something special would happen with it.  I was right.  {grinning}  Sometimes I surprise myself but Muse knew what she wanted with this set and this is what we got.  

Isn't that blue really pretty!  I love the little pearl buttons with it too.  They have a very nice luster to them.  I listed this set on Etsy today along with the Sweet Daisy Mae bed, but I had to stop and think twice about giving up the Wedgewood.  

Ooops, I need to run.  I hear Napoleon singing a duet with the stray cat outside.  I'm pretty sure they're singing something from the White Album but it's really hard to tell since neither one of them can carry a tune in a bucket.  At any rate, even with a baby gate in front of the screen door, I always supervise their play dates so I gotta go.  {skipping off singing "Ob la di, ob la da"}