November 29, 2006


i'm back from colorado. as always, it was a joy to be with my family, and heart-wrenching to leave. it was also fucking COLD. other than that, it was a perfect visit.

this morning i had my follow-up appointment with my primary care physician. i actually never saw her; only the resident (or intern, or whoever those kids are). he performed a lot of the same coordination & strength tests that were done at my last visit and asked a lot of the same questions. the only thing i really had to report to him was that i'd had a number of significant headaches since the TIA, with only a few days of recent relief.

he left the exam room and apparently conferred with my doctor, then came back to report that she'd like to schedule an echocardiogram. so we did: i have an appointment for 10am on friday. we'll then apparently be able to see whether my heart is "throwing clots".

so that happens friday, then i have an appointment with a neurologist on the following thursday.

i have a feeling we're not going to ever find a firm cause of the TIA, but at least i'll have a lot of neat pictures of my brain and my heart.

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November 25, 2006

 uncle ray is a funny, funny guy

roxi_he_sure_is.jpgsome of the things that are coming out of this little girl's mouth are truly amazing.

yesterday she was playing with two wooden figures... one was a black & white striped cat, the other was a souvenir figurine from someone's trip to guam, complete with feather headdress and gold painted accents.

roxi carried the cat from the living room back to her bedroom, left it there, then came back and played with the guam souvenir, tickling each one of us on the neck with its feathers. she then took it to her bedroom, too.

she came back, empty-handed, looked up at lulu and so as to explain the absence of both figures, said, "the cat and mister guamie are having conversation." (i was pretty stunned that this 2 1/2 year old knew the word 'conversation'.)

lulu replied, nonchalantly, "they're having a conversation? about what?"


of course.

and then, just a few minutes later, i was lucky to catch this gem on video (3.2 MB .mov). even though ray is not here, roxi is talking about him and remembering him fondly.

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November 21, 2006

 so far so good

no headaches for two days! woo! i even threw caution to the wind last night and had a glass of wine... no adverse reaction!

now i just have to cross my fingers that my brain will cooperate during my colorado vacation. i leave thanksgiving day to visit my beloved brother, his groovin' wife and this adorable little girl. i'll return tuesday.

ray isn't coming with me, which i have to admit makes me a little nervous. i've said over and over again that he's my rock in weird medical situations. i don't know how he manages to stay so focused in the face of crisis. (had it been him experiencing the TIA that night, i know i would have been visibly freaking out... but not him. he was calm, cool, and collected. tall, dark & handsome, too.)

anyway, i'm sure everything will be fine. i'm sure it will.

have a happy holiday!

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November 19, 2006


got a headache last night. i wasn't sure whether to take ibuprofen or not, as it was near the time when i take my daily aspirin. so i didn't. take ibuprofen, that is. i just took my one aspirin and went to bed.

the headache woke me up early this morning. the pain in my head was ten times worse than the night before. i stumbled to the bathroom, choked down 4 ibuprofen, and got back into bed. i found a wonderful pressure point in the center of my forehead, but my arm started falling asleep from pushing so hard.

the headache lasted about 3 hours. i finally had the sense to make some coffee; the caffeine seemed to really help. i also had some dark chocolate for good measure.

feeling fine now, but kind of shaky... perhaps from all the coffee.

jeez. gonna try to get through divaville without my head exploding.

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November 17, 2006

 do you still care about this? i'm going to assume you do.

got a call from my primary care physician this morning. she reiterated the MRI was clear ("except for maybe something tiny") and said she understood how frustrating it must be to not have a firm diagnosis.

my friends and family have been suggesting possible diagnoses (migraine syndrome or 'atypical migraine', temporal arteritis and/or vasculitis, rheumatoid disorders)... i'm ashamed to say it didn't occur to me to mention any of them to my doctor while i had her on the phone.

what can i say? i've been pretty spacy lately.

she said that when i come back in to see her (on the 29th, a week before my neurologist appointment on the 7th) she might order an ultrasound of my heart in order to make sure that it's not "throwing clots". (doesn't THAT sound lovely??)

as for how i'm feeling... alternatingly good and not so good. i find that staying on top of the ibuprofen really helps stave off the mild headaches. (i have also been ordered to take one aspirin a day for blood thinning purposes until we can figure out what's going on.) i'm finding i'm having to eat more frequently to avoid the spaciness, too. my normal schedule of breakfast at 10am and lunch at 3pm is just not working right now. 10am and 1pm feels better.

i'm getting tired more quickly and am sleeping more heavily than usual. last night i was in bed before 11pm (VERY unusual for me) and slept until 9:30am. i'm continuing to go on my morning walks. those always help me focus.

last night on-air i did pretty well, though one of my final breaks i stumbled over the word "slovak", suddenly thinking that what was coming out of my mouth was not right at all. it was close to 7pm, though, and i was hungry. i don't know how much of that experience to attribute to low blood-sugar and how much was brain freak-out.

so... overall i'm feeling ok. not great, but ok.

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November 15, 2006

 back to work

i went back to work today. i was doubting whether or not i should --i've still been feeling pretty spacy-- but i'm glad i did. i felt a little unsteady at the beginning of my shift, and i probably worried too much about stumbling over a few words here and there, but by the end of the 3 hours i was feeling more clear-headed and solid than i had since the TIA occurred on friday.

after i got home i talked on the phone with one of my doctors, who reiterated that my mri results showed no abnormalities. she also told me that my "c reactive protein" blood test came back normal. (we're still waiting on the results of an "ama test", whatever that is.) she would like to see me again in a couple of weeks, before my appointment with the neurologist. she might want to run some more tests, or at the very least would like to see how i'm doing.

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November 14, 2006


thanks for your well-wishes, everyone. i can't tell you how much i appreciate your kind words.

ray left an update on the previous post, but i figured i should probably also post the results myself. my doctor's office called this morning and said the scan results were all negative, clear of aneurysm and clear of any sign of tumor.

while that is extraordinarily good news, i'm now left to wonder what the hell caused the aphasia, if not a tumor and not an aneurysm. my blood tests haven't come back yet (or at least the nurse on the phone didn't mention that they had), and to the best of my knowledge those blood tests will be able to tell us whether i actually did experience a TIA or not. it might be a couple more days until i learn the results of those labs.

so the next step? i don't know. wait on the labs, i guess. i've got a neurologist appointment scheduled for december 7 in the hopes that a specialist can help pinpoint possible causes of this mysterious attack (whether it was officially a TIA or not).

i've still got a very mild headache, but nothing like i experienced over the weekend. i guess it's more of less life back to normal now.

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November 13, 2006


ray and i went to DC last weekend. we had a really good time. i was planning on writing up all the stuff we did, but instead i'm going to write about an odd thing that happened the night we arrived. this was friday.

we had tickets to see violinist nadja salerno-sonnenberg perform with the national symphony orchestra at the kennedy center. (she was SPECTACULAR, by the way.) during the last piece, my head started to hurt like crazy. the lights on stage suddenly seemed too bright, too. i pressed my fingers to my temples, and spent the last 5 minutes of the concert looking at the floor where it was darker.

the concert ended, and we walked into the lobby. ray mentioned something about nadja autographing copies of her CD, and i tried to respond but i couldn't get the word "signing" out of my mouth. i slurred, stuttered, started and stopped about three times, but couldn't for the life of me form the word. ray finished my thought for me, and then i tried to say something about the conductor also signing CDs... but i had completely just forgotten the word "conductor". seriously. this is a word i say a hundred times a day, and it had suddenly vanished from my vocabulary.

i started to feel kind of light-headed. i stopped walking, and as i looked at ray and tried to force myself to conjure the word "conductor", panic started to rise within me. i tried to explain to ray the word i meant by saying "the guy with the baton"... but the word "baton" had also disappeared. i struggled to finish the sentence, saying "wand" instead. ray knew what i meant, but by that point i was near tears. what was happening to my brain? where did these words go??

i started repeating, "something is wrong. something is wrong. something is wrong." ray led me to a couch in the lobby of the kennedy center and sat me down. i told him i was having trouble speaking. ray asked whether i was feeling any numbness (no) or tingling (no). he asked if i could lift my arms over my head (yes). by this point tears were streaming down my face. i was totally freaked out.

ray asked me to count backwards from 100, by 7s. i could only get to 93... i had no idea what came next. i would look around the lobby and test myself, saying, "that's a flag. that's a chair. that man is wearing a red jacket." making sure my mind wasn't totally gone.

we sat there for about 15 minutes, and my words slowly came back to me. we got up and took our time walking back to our hotel. my headache was still there. i was still freaked out, but i figured maybe this whole thing was precipitated by the 4 hour drive, the lack of dinner before the show, or maybe some slight dehydration from traveling. we walked straight to a restaurant to have some dinner, and i felt better minute by minute. i took some ibuprofen, too, and the headache slowly went away.

the headache returned, though, first thing the next morning. more ibuprofen. we spent the day sightseeing and i felt pretty good, but that night the headache came back. more ibuprofen. i woke up with a headache the next day. more ibuprofen. by this point, i was convinced that i had experienced something friday night more than just a weird reaction to low blood sugar. i vowed to call a doctor first thing monday morning when we got back.

and i did. the triage nurse who answered my call this morning was shocked that i hadn't gone to the emergency room right when the aphasia occurred. honestly, the thought hadn't even crossed my mind. i feel like my mind was only half there during the attack; "hospital" was probably one of those words that had disappeared from my vocabulary.

so i got an appointment today to get checked out. the doctor performed a series of motor tests to see if i'd lost any strength or balance (no), and looked in my eyes and tested my reflexes (all good). i mentioned that i also recalled stumbling over a few words on-air last week, but at the time didn't think much of it... i figured i was just tired or distracted. the doctor took all of this information, along with my complaint of continuing headaches and chronic spaciness, and concluded that i'd probably had a "TIA", or a mini-stroke. she arranged for two different blood tests, and also scheduled me for an immediate MRI and an MRA, with concentration on the corotid arteries.

i listened to this diagnosis and i was calm the whole time she was talking. i remember focusing hard on the words she was saying (still feeling a little spacy), but not being particularly phased by any of the information. i was more freaked out while it was happening on friday. i guess i had all weekend to process it, and the doctor's words didn't do much to affect me.

i called ray and he met me at the site of the MRI (which happened to be at the children's hospital, oddly enough). he held my hand through the entire one-hour procedure. the MRI wasn't as scary as i feared... just loud. with frequent strong vibrations. the most difficult part was staying perfectly still for an entire hour. (they don't make that tube big enough to wiggle around in, though. plus my head was inside a cage-like thing to prevent further movement.) the technician said she got good images and that the scans would be read tonight.

it goes without saying that the scans could possibly include evidence of brain damage from a TIA, or evidence of a tumor. i'm choosing not to think too hard about either of those results. i suppose there is also a chance that it WAS just a weird overtired/overhungry/dehydrated reaction to the traveling. perhaps i'll know tomorrow.

Posted by xta at 8:24 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

November 9, 2006

 the mind reels...


can i just say that i've driven by this sign for a WEEK now, and each time i see it i find myself thinking... just how passionate and just how modern? i ponder this for miles. until i see the next sign...


... at which time my head explodes.

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November 7, 2006

 this is my boyfriend


if you see him around town on election day, please don't throw anything at him. he worked hard rigging up that contraption (which he lovingly calls "THE PROTESTINATOR".)

ray feels strongly that there should be no law prohibiting write-ins on our ballots. (currently, write-in votes cast for a candidate who has not gathered signatures and petitioned the board of elections will be thrown away. if a write-in candidate happens to receive a majority of the vote, but hasn't properly petitioned, he's out of luck.) if you're interested beyond that brief explanation, you should contact ray directly. he'll be glad to chat you up about the issue, believe you me.

i told ray tonight that i don't always agree with his politics, but i always admire his tenacity. he's planning on visiting as many elections sites tomorrow as he can.

visit ray's website if you're interested in finding out what other issues he's passionate about. (or at least the issues he was passionate about in 2004, when we built that website around his last campaign for office.)

now GO VOTE! (though if you choose to write in a name, make sure it's going to count before you throw your vote away.)

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November 5, 2006



i swear it took me more than 12 hours to get this stupid joke.

perhaps if i would have applied something directly to my forehead i would have had that "aha!" moment sooner.

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November 2, 2006

 say it with pictures


better late than never, here are a few photos of the neighborhood halloween decorations. the people at the end of my street (right near the traffic circle) go ALL OUT with the halloween celebration. i always miss the festivities, of course... halloween is usually right in the middle of pledge drive. this year it wasn't, but i happened to have symphony rehearsal instead. bah humbug.


scary, eh? bwahahaha! good thing my poor photo-taking skills landed the camera's wrist strap right inside the frame of this terrifying image! you probably would have fainted to see the horrifying sight sans-strap!

for something more soothing, here is a picture of my favorite house in the neighborhood:


the whole thing used to be slate blue with white trim. very ho-hum. then someone new moved in and gussied it up. i ADORE this house now. the colors are spectacular.

here's a nice church sign to also help take your mind off the frightening sights above:


oh, and here are some new cute shoes i forgot to tell you about! they're from target, and are EXCEEDINGLY comfortable. i wear them everywhere. who knew that $20 shoes could be so AWESOME?


and finally, for your viewing pleasure, is a photo of my friend mary who is going quite nutty in a parking lot in raleigh. she started running around, throwing her hands in the air, and shouting "wheee!" for no apparent reason.


i personally find this photo quite hysterical, though i understand if you prefer the others. maybe you had to be there.

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