Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Woot! And Stuff

Robbie is now an orange belt! He did great on his test, a couple of minor hesitations in his first kata, all successfully negotiated, and other than that did everything within his belt requirements, and several things that aren't. There've been a lot of times I thought he'd never get here - especially when he decided to drop karate a couple of months after getting his yellow belt, but since he came back this fall, he's been putting in the effort, and it really shows. Congratulations, Robbie!

In other news, I'm still planning on going to the Nashville Isshinryu black belt only tournament, but I'm going to observe, not compete. I haven't sparred in a couple of months, my weapon katas are a mess (learning Urashi Bo has screwed up Tokumine, and Urashi itself isn't secure enough yet to be reliable, Chatanyara no Sai is nowhere near tournament condition), and regular kata is usually my worst venue. So rather than put the extra pressure on, I'm just going to go and hope to run into some of the people I trained with way back when.

Dad W. had a fall Sunday night. No serious injury, but he bruised up his side fairly well. My big concern is that he's wanting/needing (it's hard to tell with him) a boost to sit up on the edge of his bed now, and I'm worried that by the time the bruises aren't hurting him, he'll have lost the necessary muscle tone to sit up on his own. Experience with Dad says that once a piece of functionality is lost, he doesn't get it back. Plus, if he needs that much extra boosting, we'll probably have to ask for a different aide. Barb is lovely, but she's also 70 and barely over five feet tall - she can give him an extra boost, but she can't support any significant percentage of his weight - and for him to get up today required some serious heft.

Mom has an appointment with a local oncologist on Friday. She should find out then about probable chemo/radiation plans. For the moment she's continuing to heal well from the mastectomy.

Finally, anybody whose visited our house in the past will be happy to hear that Rob managed to fix the leaky tub faucet. It's been leaky since we moved in five years ago, but after trying to fix it, our plumber declared that it was sealed too tightly, and that fixing it would take $800 and breaking into the wall behind it. So we just lived with it. But this last week it finally got too bad to be ignored, and it turns out that the 6'6" guy who figures that he's got nothing to lose and possibly $800 to save, when working with a really big honking wrench, could knock the faucet loose and get in to repair it. I kept waking up last night wondering what was wrong, and then realizing that the house was silent, and I wasn't hearing the continual drip. Ahhhhh.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Where We Stand

First off, thanks to everyone for the well wishes and support. They are all much appreciated. I'm down at my parents' house right now, but will be heading back home tomorrow.

In good news, Mom is recovering well from her mastectomy. She should be able to get the drain out in a couple of days, which I'm sure will be a relief. Also, Dad W. likes the aide we found to help him while I was gone (I like her too). She's an older woman, but very bubbly and active (and likes dogs - a must around our place). Having her available should give me significantly msore flexibility for when responsabilities conflict.

The bad news is that several of Mom's sentinel nodes (5 of 11) showed positive, so there's chemo and radiation in her future. The exact plan hasn't been decided upon yet (we're awaiting a call from the oncologist), but regardless, it's not the news we were hoping for.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bits and Pieces

Mom is scheduled for a mastectomy on Friday. It looks promising that she may not need chemo, but we won't find out until they dissect the sentinel nodes during the surgery. The current plans are somewhat fluid, but most likely I'm going to be driving up to pick her up and bring her back here initially, and then either I'll drive her back home (she's having surgery three states over from her home, but only one from me), or Dad will come up and get her. She and Dad are sounding much more like themselves now that there's a plan of action. My father does not like having a medical crisis that he can't do anything about, and I think that was a lot of why he sounded so anxious when I first spoke to him - they got the biopsy results late on a Friday, cancer is out of his expertise, and he couldn't really do anything until the following Monday - cue an anxious, out-of-sorts guy.

Dad W's oncologist has decided she's unhappy with how fast he's rebounding from his anemia (I.e. very slowly), and has decided to add an additional treatment to the Procrit injections he currently gets once a week. The new treatment will mean going to the hospital twice a week. I hope I can talk them into making one of the visits concurrent with his Procrit, or that's going to be an awful lot of time eaten up - getting Dad W ready to go out, out the door, to the hospital, treated, and then back home and settled takes about two hours, even though the hospital is ten minutes away.

I learned the end of Urashi Bo tonight. I'm liking this one quite a lot, but it's going to cause problems for the April 10 tournament I mentioned last time. Urashi Bo is too new for me to do a really good job with it - but I went back and practiced Tokumine no Kun today, and Urashi has also done a good job of making me hesitant with Tokumine - they're so similar in spots that it's confusing my muscle memory. So now I have to decide (and quickly!) whether to work hard on bringing Urashi up to snuff, go back to drilling Tokumine, or try to work up Chatanyara no Sai, which has languished the last month and is nowhere near ready. Great - fried brain is in no condition to make decisions! Don't make me make decisions!

In kidlet news, Robbie continues to do well with his flute, having put his sights on third chair (he started at sixth and is currently at fourth). If he gets up to second chair he's going to have a dilemma, because first chair is the girl he's had a crush on for the last three years. To celebrate his increased flute facility, I got him a book of flute and piano songs, with the promise (reinforced by my organ teacher) that if he learns one well, we can play it together for the offertory at church sometime.

Aaron is still running straight A's for the year (and is adoring having better grades than his brother). We should get the results back on his ISTEP tests in about a month, but everyone including his teacher and him thinks that he likely did very well.

Unfortunately, Aaron is very grumpy with lots of semi-meltdowns today because his shoulder started hurting him over the weekend and it's still bothering him. We took him to his pediatrician just as a precaution (mainly because he didn't do anything obvious to injure it, so we're a little mystified), and she gave us the expected advice - ibuprofen, heat, rest. Aaron is quite put-out. He expected the doctor to be able to fix his shoulder, isn't that what doctors are for?

And I decided a bad week and no husband deserved a small treat. So I bought myself a shawl pattern - Heere be Dragones. The same seller makes several other equally stunning shawls, including patterns of a Chinese Dragon of Happiness, a Pegasus, a Celtic Dragon, and a bird in a bamboo forest. However, I'm not a huge shawl knitter, so I restrained myself.

And that's the news down in Wood territory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


March 30th is going to be Robbie's orange belt test. Both Sensei and I have been very impressed by the way he's buckled downa and worked lately, and he's more than ready.

April 3rd is Dad W's next set of scans (at least the first bit - there are several scans involved). We'll see how much the two rounds on chemo/radiation have done. These are the scans that determine how we're going forward.

April 10 is a black belt only Isshinryu tournament in Nashville. Both Sensei & I are planning on going - and because he's still active and in the area, there's a reasonable chance that my first sensei will be there, and a near certainty that some of the local black belts that I knew from back then will attend. It would be very cool to be able to introduce my two sensei.

March 15th - my mom's first appointment with a breast cancer specialist, as she just had a biopsy come back showing two kinds of cancer. Fortunately neither is very advanced, but really the odds of two in the same place at the same time have got to be long. Weird versions of Doublemint gum commercials keep floating through my brain.

Those are the biggies for right now. I'm using a bit of freeware called Chaos Manager to keep track of various appointments now. It's a very apt name.