Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pixie does Sudoku

My parents got two new dogs in 2017. The got Bella in January and Pixie in March. I was home mid-February through mid-April, so I got to know the little doggies pretty well. I even taught them both to use the doggy door, and helped house-train Pixie (she was still in the learning curve when I left). I took this photo of Pixie sitting in my dad's lap while he works on a Sudoku puzzle. Some say Pixie's so ugly she's cute. I just think she is cute. She has a perfectly charming personality, bounds with energy, and loves to be held. Pixie is only 7 months old in this pic, and four-year-old Bella enjoys her company some of the time. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

It's been awhile

I'm sitting on my balcony with Mimi, watching the rush hour traffic below on this cool, overcast spring day in the Middle Kingdom. I know it's been way too long since I updated this blog. I don't even know if anyone bothers to check it for updates anymore. 

Since I finished cancer treatment in January 2016 and had surgery later that same month, I've been on the mend. But just when I thought I should be feeling better, I felt worse. I returned overseas according to schedule, but endurance to make it through the day without napping eluded me. I would do my work during the day, then crash before I could make it through the evening hours (when I would normally update this blog). Furthermore, I couldn't catch my breath, huffing and puffing when it didn't seem reasonable that I should be doing so. Doctors checked me out, and even tested me for heart failure due to the gasping for breath. No one could find anything wrong.

But when I went to MD Anderson for my annual check up in February 2017, they did a chest x-ray. They checked my previous x-rays against the new one and realized that the phrenic nerve in my neck had been severed in one of my neck surgeries, and it had paralyzed my right diaphragm. 

(Radiation can also sever phrenic nerves, but two doctors told me they believed it to be a result of surgery.)

A paralyzed right diaphragm buckles, pushing up against the right lung so that it can't fill up with air. There is no medical solution for a paralyzed diaphragm. One just learns to live with it, making sure not to do things that cause shortness of breath, like climbing stairs, jogging to the mail box, or visiting Lhasa. The pulmonologist said I can't run (because I can't breathe), and I can't lift weights (because my right arm can't be raised more than 45 degrees). He suggested walking for exercise and keeping to light housework and office work. Another doctor suggested I take up yoga, but what yoga pose doesn't require the use of your arms to hold you up off the floor? I tried yoga before cancer came my way, and it was painful even then.

So my new normal is to take it easy. I've had a spurt of energy the past week that has kept me awake in the evenings, like normal people, and I hope it stays around for a long time. I'll make every effort to post more bloggy stuff soon, so I hope you'll check back from time to time.