Yuhui Choe in a Pas de Deux

This is Yuhui Choe and Alexander Campbell dancing a Pas De Deux from Act III of Sleeping Beauty.

I’m posting this because it is very pretty and very cheerful, and my last two posts have been neither.

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Medication Frustrations

Part of the problem with taking medication is differing advice. When I was prescribed my Synthroid medication, I was told to take it half an hour before eating anything else. (I had conflicting advice about caffeine.) Of course, I was told the best time to take thyroid medication was in the middle of the night, if I woke up to go to the bathroom.

Anyway, I noticed back in my that my TSH was trending higher. Normally my doctor would call me and give me advice or adjust the dosage, but he did not do that this time. So I thought everything was fine and went on doing what I was doing.

I just had my TSH levels tested again and they were even higher. Then, I noticed a message from three months ago on Cleveland Clinic’s My Chart. Apparently, my doctor was concerned with how I was taking the medication. He wants me to wait an hour before eating or drinking anything other than water. Because I didn’t get a phone call, I didn’t get the message. (He’d never sent me a message through My Chart before.) I continued to follow the advice I was given when I first started taking my medication.

So, now I haven’t been following his advice for three months and my TSH levels are even higher!

Now, this isn’t the end of the world. I’ll just wait an hour before eating anything else and my doctor can up my dosage for a little bit. I sent him a message through My Chart, since that seems to be how we are communicating now. I was supposed to see him last May, but because my insurance situation has been all fouled up (what with being unemployed, or rather without full time insurance) I didn’t see him at the end of May. I’ll also call his office to let him know that I did not receive his instructions, but I will be following his instructions in the future. He may simply want to repeat the labs a little earlier. (Of course, I may have to find a new doctor, since I’ll be switching health insurance with the new job. If not, I’ll try to get in to see him or another endocrinologist sooner.)

Still, I am scared. I need to make sure my TSH does not get too high, especially since it helps to keep the cancer from returning. (Of course, my surgeon said my cancer is not coming back.) Anyway, I also can’t become hypothyroid, because that would suck for obvious reasons.

Now I just have to wait for my doctor to get back to me with instructions. I don’t know what he’s going to do, and I feel terrible that I didn’t see his note. (Of course, if he had called me like he did all the other times, I would have known!) Anyway, I know this is a problem that can be fixed quite easily. I just need to take the medication correctly and then make sure I’m on the right dosage. This is a problem that can be fixed.

Anyway, this is the problem with being unemployed and being on medication. I hate being unsure about going to the doctor, of having to switch doctors. I also hate getting conflicting advice on the medication. Even online, it’s conflicting. Some websites say, “Wait 30 to 60 minutes.” Then my doctor says that I need to wait at least an hour! What is it? Why can’t they have simple answers?

I know that this can be fixed. I just want it to be fixed now! And I will feel nervous until I know what is going to happen next.

Oh, in other, better news, I am officially hired. :) Can’t end on a negative note. I may catch the trapeze after all.

aliya mustafina

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“So why choose fear?”

A few days ago, I saw a customer wearing a shirt at work that said, “No other road, no other way, no day but today.” Everyone who has ever seen Rent will recognize that quote from the AIDS meeting. The people begin the meeting by singing their common anthem.

When Johnathan Larson shared this song, some of his friends complained that the song was too positive. There is a line that says, “Forget regret.” They pointed out that there was a tremendous amount of regret, especially in the early 90’s before the introduction of the triple cocktail. Johnathan Larson accommodated their view by including a dialogue between one of the members of the group and the leader.

In the dialogue, the young man says, “My T-Cell count is low. I regret that, ok?” The leader asks him, “How do you feel today?” The young man says, “Best I’ve felt all year,” to which the leader asks, “So why choose fear?” The young man answers him by saying, “I’m a New Yorker, fear’s my life.”

It’s a funny joke, and reminds me of an even better one. Why are New Yorkers so pessimistic? Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

As funny as it is, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’m scheduled to start a full time job in early September, and yet I am still scared. I’m scared of the other shoe dropping. I’m scared they’ll withdraw the job offer. I’m scared I’ll get laid off again. I’m scared of many different things.

When I went to my two year follow up last December, my endocrine surgeon said something that terrified me. “Here’s the thing. Your cancer is never coming back.” My first thought was, “Don’t say that!”

It makes me sad because I wish I could choose hope and not fear. And yet the reality is, I seem completely unable to do that. Fear’s my life.

Still, I know that, once the job starts, I’ll feel much better. It’s just difficult now. I feel like the line from Coldplay’s Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapeze.”

I love the idea of being in the gap between the two trapeze. It’s so perilous, and yet thrilling, and full of hope. There is hope that the other trapeze is right there, waiting for you to grab onto it.

aliya mustafina

Ok, not a trapeze, but I couldn’t help it. Of course, with Musty, you know she’s going to catch the bar. I just hope I do the same.

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Coronation of the Virgin by Velasquez

I still remember learning that Velasquez was Spain’s most important painter. It seemed strange to me that there was even another painter from Spain, besides Picasso. Since then, I’ve learned to appreciate the artwork of many Spanish painters, including Velasquez and Bartolome Esteban Murillo.


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Penelope Franklin Simmons

Penelope Franklin Simmons

Another excellent American sculpture.

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O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

This is poem is an oddity for Walt, who usually wrote poems in free verse.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head;

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!

But I, with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

It seems especially pertinent to post the entire poem now. We have long associated the first line with Dead Poets Society, especially the iconic ending. We may forget that Walt Whitman wrote this poem following the trauma of Lincoln’s Assassination. It is a poem of shock, of mourning, of unfathomable sorrow. It is a poem of bereavement.

I think that anyone who wishes to understand the American Civil War must read the poetry of Walt Whitman.

However, over the past two days, I find myself thinking of something else entirely.

No, Robin Williams, thank you.

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In Memoriam: Robin McLaurin Williams (1951-2014)


An excellent remembrance of Robin Williams.

Originally posted on catherineonfilms:

In the early hours of 11th August 2014, much-loved American comedian Robin Williams was found dead in his California home of a suspected suicide.

Known by millions as the man who could make you laugh and cry, Williams had been battling personal demons for many years and a month prior to his death had admitted himself into a treatment centre for continued sobriety following years of problems with alcoholism.

Williams was nominated on three occasions for the Academy Award for Best Actor, won a number of Gold Globe Awards and Grammy Awards and received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1998 for his portrayal of Dr Sean Maguire in Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s Good Will Hunting.

The roles voiced and performed by Robin Williams are numerous, firm favourites including his performance as the voice of the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, his role as the alien Mork in TV…

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