Friday, April 18, 2008

congraons....what ever that means....Angiogram

here is a happy story...

So: I no longer have an AVM. After three years of worrying when I might have the next stroke, whether it would be a bad one or "just" another small one, I'm done.

It's gone.

I'm cured.

(I feel like I should randomly shout "Praise JAY-zus!" but that ain't how I roll.)

They went in through the femoral artery. I was drugged and given local anesthesia, so I didn't care what they were doing. The feeling of having a tube going up through your artery is pretty weird. It wasn't painful, but I could feel it...kinda freaky. They took some shiny pictures of my brain and told me the AVM was gone, then closed me up. I had to lie flat on my back for two hours, but I swear, UAB's Heart and Vascular Center nursing staff are like a real-life sitcom, so I had plenty of entertainment, plus the nurse checking every 15 minutes to make sure my legs weren't going to fall off or anything. (They were actually concerned about hemorrhages and clots.)

I'm in some pain now--not excruciating, but Tylenol isn't touching it. The only way I'm semi-comfortable is lying flat on my back, which is irritating as piss because then I can't *do* anything. Walking hurts, but sitting hurts more because of the way they did the incision. So right now I'm lying on the bed on my left side (the side they didn't cut on), propped up on my elbows so I can use the computer.

But dude. The AVM is gone.

In other news, Sam's offered to take me to the beach before I have to leave for Massachusetts.

read her stuff here!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Story... a avm story

My Story...
Everybody has a story to tell. I suppose that is why blogs are so popular; it can be liberating to tell a tale. But what about food blogs? They might be about sharing recipes, from my table to yours, but they are also about the story behind the cook.

In this month’s issue of Natural Health there’s a story all about my life in the kitchen. Why would they ask me, a regular old food blogger to write a story for their magazine? Well, I have an unusual tale to tell and, in the interst of complete disclosure, here it is:

When I was 21 years old, just finishing up college, I suffered an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Similar in nature to a stroke, it left me completely paralyzed on the right side of my body. The next few years were a blur, of doctors, of therapists, of rehabilitation, and of frustration.

So what does this have to do with food, or blogs for that matter? I am not going to say that a cake came in and sweetly solved all of my problems, but cooking did come in to solve some of my problems. While dealing with physical therapy and all the challenges it involved, I began to spend more and more time cooking. It was lovely to escape into the petty business of the kitchen: chopping, watching a pot boil, or tossing a salad. The kitchen grew to be my place, a warm nook for experimentation, and unlike therapy, there was no one to reprimand me for trying out that failed recipe.

I cooked, and I cooked. And then I cooked for other people, starting with family and friends, and later, clients in a small catering company that I started. I did this all the while rehabilitating. I never got back to where I once was, but I’ve learned to be fine with who I am, each step of the way.

When I started this blog, I was still wobbly like a custard, unsure of who this new me was. I would sit down to tell you all about the latest soup that was simmering on my stove, or my triumphs with a fiddlehead fern. Blogging was liberating for both the new cook and the new me. There is a certain anonymity to blogging, a faceless name behind the computer monitor, and I relished my little secret. No one could watch me fumble to peel a clove of garlic one-handed, they just hungrily saw the final product.

But as I continued to blog one-handed, there was an elephant in the room sitting right next to me. And that proverbial elephant was whispering in my ear that there was an entire other story that I needed to tell, a story of food, of loss, of work, and of joy. So, over the past year and a half, I’ve sat down each day to write that story. I know, I know, a memoir at less than 30 years of age; it doesn't seem quite possible to me either, but as I began the process, the words came, filling up page after page.

Well, one things leads to another, and a proposal leads to an agent and finally a publisher. I have written a food memoir, tentatively titled Cooking and Screaming. As for the manuscript, it is due in my editors hot little hands May 1!!! That's soon. The book will be published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) and is due out Spring '09. That seemed so far off when all of the paper work was signed and the contracts drawn up, but let me tell you, the days are simply flying by.

What does this have to do with the magazine article? I was approached a few months ago by the editors at Natural Health to write a story, based on the memoir, for an upcoming issue. (Now you might be saying to yourself, Natural Health? Did they even read my paen to Easter candy a few weeks ago? I don’t know, what can I say?) Fitting a life's story into 2,000 words, plus recipes, was certainly a task. I had to leave a few things out.

If you are curious to know more about my story, you'll just have to wait for the book, and in the meantime, pick up an issue of the magazine. The article also has recipes for a slow roasted chicken with a fennel-apple slaw, a springtime hash with poached eggs, and a chunky watermelon sorbet with coconut tuilles (for those of you who are just hungry!).

So, that's my story.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

heres one... Stupid AVM

Hmm..been to my medical review last Wednesday, didn't get to see Dr.CN, but another doctor (his student I believe). He told me more about my condition (AVM) and mentioned there's no way to prevent or stop it since the option for surgery is out. It’s like a timebomb.

Then yesterday at my pre-employment medical check-up, while asking if I have any pre-existing medical condition, and I mentioned about this, the doctor also used the word "timebomb". Okay, this had an impact.

Though this is something I have known since 2004, it still affects me. C’mon, who wouldn’t be affected if someone had told you, “You have a timebomb inside your brain..”

I guess it is quite scary? I am only turning 24 this year, still considered young right?

Everyone might know the phrases: Live your life to the fullest; Cherish every moment; but who really does it? Someone once told me, “there are bound to be regrets in life, it’s how you live your life to avoid having deepest regrets..” (ok, it’s translated from Chinese)

I guess I really need to “re-think” about my life and make plans carefully. Study/Work/Life…everything? Probably I need to try to forget/don’t think about the avm to start planning. Yes, I need to get over it.

Stupid AVM.