Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scope it out ...

Word from the best orthopaedist ever, I have a detached ligament in my shoulder. Generally it's listless and doesn't return messages.
Since it has refused to reattach after several months of rest, it will get a shotgun wedding in the form of orthoscopic surgery, but not for a month, thanks to the below mystery virus.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mono e Mono?

Because I love the cheerful scent of antiseptic solution, and I need to keep up on my scrub fashion, I decided to contract an unidentifiable virus.

So to recount, I've had tendonitis in my shoulder, a kidney stone, strep, and now possibly mono.

WTF. Seriously.

I have decided to will myself to be better. Shananananananana.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Helping Children Cope

Leukemias are cancers that occur in the tissues within the body that produce the body's blood cells and bone marrow. Leukemias are the most common form of childhood cancer. About one-third of all cancers in children under the age of 15 are leukemias, as are about one-fourth of all cancers in people under 20.
Stems cells are present in healthy bone marrow and naturally develop into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets -- all of which are found in blood. Sometimes certain types of immature white blood cells undergo a random mutation, or change, of a gene in the DNA that can cause the cell to grow and multiply uncontrollably, resulting in leukemia. These uncontrolled cells flood the body's organs and interfere with their function. The cells also inhibit the body's ability to produce red and white blood cells and platelets normally.
Stem cells that produce white blood cells come in two major types: myeloid cells and lymphoid cells. When uncontrolled cell growth begins within a descendant of a lymphoid cell, it is acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This is the most common type of childhood leukemia; it accounts for about 85 percent of all childhood leukemias. When the uncontrolled growth originates within a descendant of a myeloid cell, it is acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), the second most common type of childhood leukemia.

Being hospitalized can be a frightening experience for a child. Most children are used to a predictable and safe world of family, home, and school. When they are faced with a world full of new people and strange machines and their parents seem scared and upset, many feel a loss of control and order. When a child has just been diagnosed with leukemia, parents are likely to be feeling a wide range of emotions, including shock, anger, hope, fear, guilt, and even grief. These are all normal and expected as the family adjusts to the news of a serious illness. Family and friends will probably find that over time they will accept the diagnosis and focus more on treatment. The emotions may become less intense as time goes by. It's important to understand that they (family and friends) shouldn't hesitate to seek counseling - talk with a trained counselor or participation in a support group can be very helpful for all.

Knowing what is going on seems to help children cope with procedures better. And even if parents try to hide it from their child, he/she is likely to figure it out anyway - and to perhaps try to hide that knowledge to spare their parents any further pain. Keeping such secrets only makes it even harder for children. It often helps to have trained social workers or nurses who can help shape an age-appropriate message. There are books and videos that can help to explain the diagnosis, treatment and what to expect. Encourage the child to ask questions. When telling a child that he/she is seriously ill, keep in mind the fears and anxieties that are typical for his age.

Children under the age of 4 or 5 mostly fear separation from their loved ones.
Children aged 4 or 5 to 12 can understand quite a bit of what is going on. The fear of separation is less acute and may be replaced with a fear of pain and injury. Make sure your child understands that nothing he did - such as falling off a bicycle - caused the illness. Also make sure he understands it is not contagious.

Teenagers are usually well aware of how serious their disease is and may fear illness and death more than anything else. They also are likely to be quite concerned about possible changes to their bodies and how their peers will see them. Teenagers also may find it hard to suddenly be so dependent on others, just when they were becoming more independent.

Helping Children Cope with Procedures
Medical procedures such as blood draws and bone marrow aspirations can be frightening for children. A child may have no idea what is going to happen and may think he is being punished. He/she may feel a severe loss of control over his/her life, and may react with anger and frustration. Some guidelines for parents and or friends dealing with a child needing procedures or treatments:
Make sure you understand the procedure fully so you can explain it to the child. Be honest, but don't overwhelm him with information.

Use dolls, drawings, books, and videos to help explain what will happen. Get a toy medical kit so you and the child can act out the procedure on stuffed animals or dolls.

Ask a doctor, nurse, or other health care worker for help in explaining procedures to the child. They have lots of experience in what medical information children are comfortable hearing and common misperceptions.
Try to have procedures done by health care professionals who have experience with children. If possible, have the same people do procedures in the future - familiarity can be comforting.

Find out how much advance notice of procedures the child wants. Some like to know several days ahead of time, some don't. Encourage questions and expression of feelings. Don't dismiss their fears as nothing. Remember that children can imagine some very wild ideas of what is going to happen.
If possible, stay with the child during the procedure or be there when he/she wakes up.

Help the child to maintain some sense of control. Let him/her make as many choices as possible: choosing a toy to hold during a procedure, choosing which arm gets a needle stick, or choosing which pills to swallow first.
Consider the promise of a special treat or toy after the procedure.
Honor the child's preferences if at all possible. As they get older expect them (preferences) to change over time. Treatment for leukemia can take months or years. The child's needs will change during that time; teenagers, for example, might no longer want their parents to accompany them during exams and procedures. Respect their decisions.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Dating a triathlete, Part 2

I have the t-shirt that's mentioned in the article....

Fit in Tucson by Jennifer Duffy: Their sport is their primary relationship
Jennifer Duffy
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona Published: 03.13.2007

Alex Waters is married. To biking. Swimming. And running. He's like a good number of triathletes who spend much of their free time training for their sport, sometimes causing rifts in their love lives.
Waters has no problem admitting that.
"I make this analogy all the time," said the 21-year-old University of Arizona student. "The idea of being married to your sport is that this is something I'll be doing my entire life. I've never found anything I love as much as this sport."
Triathlons can require 10 to 20 hours a week of training, including morning and evening workouts. They also often demand lifestyle changes, like early bedtimes.
Waters would rather spend time biking, running or hitting the pool than he would taking women out to candlelit dinners and movies.
"I don't have time for dates. I try, but I haven't found anyone that's more important to me than that little piece of paper with my workout schedule on it," he said.
"It sounds insensitive, but I love this," he said, adding that he has dated women who want full-blown relationships but he hasn't committed because of his racing schedule.
He might be an extreme case, but other triathletes find it difficult to strike a balance between training and maintaining a relationship.
There's a joke in the triathlon community — and even a T-shirt that says: "If your relationship still works, you could be training harder" (if you're that type, the T-shirt and other apparel with that phrase are for sale at
It's easy to get caught up in the good feelings from a rigorous training schedule, said Ari Kalechstein, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at UCLA.
There are tons of rewards for it: You look good and feel good from the endorphins and chemicals released in the body from exercise. It's also a big confidence boost.
"I think on a very practical level, it's so well-known that if you exercise well, then you're going to look good," he said. "And also the sense of satisfaction that you feel because you've accomplished a goal that relatively few people can accomplish."
But there's no reason training for an event like an Ironman triathlon should be mutually exclusive from having a romantic relationship, he said.
"There are all kinds of athletes who participate in highly competitive sports and manage to have relationships," he added. "I'd be suspicious of someone if they said they can't fall in love while they're training."
Dawn Elvick, a 36-year-old who competes in sprint and Olympic-distance triathlons, stressed that she wouldn't ever want to be so overtrained that she neglected a loved one, although she sees training cause conflicts among other triathletes and their partners.
She says it's important athletes find a balance between training and love in their lives, but acknowledged that it's easy for athletes to get so involved in working out that they don't seek out dating and relationships — that's even happened to her a bit.
If she meets someone interesting, then she'll consider rearranging her training schedule to make time for dating, but for now she competes to feel good about herself and to keep herself busy.
"It's absolutely emotionally fulfilling," she said. "It's purposeful, just like energy you would put into a relationship. Only instead, you're putting it into a goal."
Training for three sports — or even just one sport — boosts athletes' confidence and rounds out their life, she said.
"It's a big deal in terms of being yourself and becoming a better person. I don't feel like I have to go out and find somebody (for a romantic relationship)," Elvick said. "I like what I'm doing."
Adrienne Weede remembers feeling that way.
She used to live to do triathlons. Now that she's married, she works out with her husband, Tom Weede. Neither one of them commits to such serious training anymore.
"I remember when I was single, thinking I could spend the whole day on Saturday training. It was fun," said Weede, 31.
She met Tom while running, and they both were training for an Ironman (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles). After the race, they became romantically involved and scaled back their training to make time for each other.
"When I met Tom, there's this other interest and I want to spend time with him," she said. "That was the initial spark for not getting right back into the level of training I was doing, and that opened the door for other opportunities, like pursuing my career."
Her priorities shifted from training to work and relationships. She shocks herself when she thinks back to the days when she would go for an 80-mile bike ride and then a run.
"I can't believe I did that."
Waters, the UA student, loves that kind of a day.
He's already fretting about what life will be like when he graduates from college and has to balance his love with a full-time career.
"I have to plan what I'm doing after college so I can keep doing triathlons," said the visual communications major. "When I go somewhere after college, it will have to be a place where I can train, have a team and have time to train."
He doesn't know if he wants to have a family in the future or not, he said, but he knows that would subtract even more time from his training schedule.
"Triathlon is a time to focus in and cut myself off (from the world) and rely only on myself," Waters said.
"It's hard to do that and open yourself up to someone at the same time. It conflicts, and it's hard to do both."
For now it's just him, a pair of light running shoes, the pool and the bike.
● The Star's Jennifer Duffy writes about health, nutrition, fitness and how to live well in a fast-paced world. Contact her at or 573-4357.