Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bradley Cooper vs. Ryan Gosling: An Academic Analysis

While I was lying low last week, nobly recovering from trauma and definitely not wallowing in self-pity or consuming gross amounts of chocolate, People Magazine released their Sexiest Man Alive issue with Bradley Cooper as their choice for the top honor. Then, the Internet blew up.


Sexiest Man Alive attracts a few critics every year, but this year is somewhat unique in that there was a clear, unified support for one specific candidate – Ryan Gosling. What started as a half-joke on Tumblr quickly blew up into a veritable revolution, complete with protest demonstrations. Even People itself is taking notice.

Like Occupy Wall Street, if OWS had a coherent point and was run by competent individuals. (I'm topical!)

Personally, I find both men to be more than qualified for the position. But this is clearly important stuff, and I want to settle the debate once and for all! Read the rest of this entry

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Random Saturday – Spanksgiving Edition

  1. THE MUPPETS! I saw the movie on Wednesday night with Becky, Ashley and Kristen and it was amazing. I laughed! I cried! I had other emotional reactions! It was awesome seeing all the characters I grew up with back in the game, and I instantly fell in love with Walter, the new Muppet! Everything about the movie was perfect – the jokes, the songs, the cameos, all of it was awesome! I’d love to see it nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year, and maybe – just maybe – win a statuette or two…

    One criticism: needs more Gonzo. Everything needs more Gonzo.

  2. That said, Hugo looks fucking fantastic, and I can’t wait to see it.

    Even though Kid Mordred kinda creeps me out.

  3. My jeans are tighter today than they’ve been in weeks.

    Not cool.

  4. But then, so’s my bra…

    Bring more brownies, stat!

  5. You guys watch Weirdo or listen to Camp yet? If not, do it now. Donald Glover’s pretty much my soulmate.

    ^ Dreamboat ^

  6. The neighbors across the street have a bunch of those huge inflatable Christmas decorations on their lawn. One is a Nativity scene. I silently judge them. I’m a bad person.

    Your tackiness makes Baby Jesus sad.

  7. Most happy Christmas songs make me wanna tear my eyes out with the good silverware, but I love a lot of the sad ones, like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” Does that say anything about me as a person?

    I do know what liking this song says about someone. It's not good.

  8. I decided I’m gonna start following college basketball. I’m gonna be a North Carolina fan, because they have argyle on their uniforms and I totally dig it. That seems like a solid reason to root for a team.

    Lookin' sharp, Tarheels.

  9. Delaney met Santa at the mall today. Adorable quota for the year: met.

    If this doesn't make you smile, I don't want to know you.

Thanksgiving 2011

This Thanksgiving, I wanted to make some substantial contributions to dinner. I’m not much of a domestic, but since I’ve been so interested in food recently, I thought the holiday was a great opportunity to try out a couple of recipes. These are the recipes I tried:

  1. Apricot Cinnamon Almond Hummus from Peas and Thank You
  2. Applesauce Nut Bread from Skinnytaste
  3. Cranberry Pear Sauce from Skinnytaste

Read the rest of this entry

Catching Up

Can we agree to forgive the fact that this blog hasn’t been updated since last Monday? I actually wrote a lot, but it was just a bunch of self-pitying essays about how much life sucks. At least I had enough sense to not publish that stuff – rereading it now, I sounded suicidal. I wasn’t; I was just messed up from the Prednisone. It amplified my preexisting pessimism by about 437x. But I’m all done with the Prednisone now, and my other meds play well with natural hormones, so I’m mostly back in my right mind normal brand of crazy. There are still some lingering effects, but it’s manageable. I don’t feel like the entire universe is out to get me personally anymore.

A visual representation of how I felt on steroids.

Not that I didn’t do anything blog-worthy in the past ten days. On Friday I volunteered at the Philadelphia Marathon expo giving race bibs to the runners. It was pretty cool – the other volunteers at my table were a lot of fun to talk to, the runners were all cordial (I was expecting at least a few grumps, but everyone was polite if not downright friendly; best customer service job ever), and the expo environment was just cool and really made me want to be a runner. Read the rest of this entry

Prednisone Side Effects

Prednisone was prescribed to me last week for the surgery. The dosage was upped after Saturday’s scare. So here’s some of what I’ve been dealing with lately.

(from drugs.com)

Most Common:
Difficulty sleeping; feeling of a whirling motion; increased appetite; increased sweating; indigestion; mood changes; nervousness.

Less Common:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); appetite loss; black, tarry stools; changes in menstrual periods; convulsions; depression; diarrhea; dizziness; exaggerated sense of well-being; fever; general body discomfort; headache; increased pressure in the eye; joint or muscle pain; mood swings; muscle weakness; personality changes; prolonged sore throat, cold, or fever; puffing of the face; severe nausea or vomiting; swelling of feet or legs; unusual weight gain; vomiting material that looks like coffee grounds; weakness; weight loss.

My Body Really Hates Me, Doesn’t It?

I’ve never had a serious allergic reaction before. There are a few foods I’m allergic to – mostly raw fruits and vegetables – that have caused me to break out in hives along my jawline, or maybe get an itchy throat or ears. Always little inconveniences that go away on their own after an hour or so, even left untreated. The worst ever was the first time I drank soy milk – a bowl of cereal topped with it gave me a huge blister on my lip and scratchy throat, but I didn’t even take a Benadryl and everything was gone after just an hour and a steaming mug of green tea. For a long time after that, I’d made sure to only eat soy in small traces and tried to build up an immunity. I thought it worked, because recently I’ve been able to have tofu meals and soy-protein bars without any irritation whatsoever.

Until yesterday. Read the rest of this entry

Random Saturday – When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings…

Just as I was really starting to spring back from my TS flare-up and subsequent surgery, I have a major allergic reaction requiring yet another trip to the hospital and nearly culminating in anaphylactic shock. Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway,) I am not a happy fucking camper.

In the interest of cheering myself up, this week’s Random Saturday theme is A Few of My Favorite Things. Things like…

  1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’d been doing a really fantastic job of ignoring the stash in my freezer and saving it for a rainy day. Well, today there was a full-blown monsoon (figuratively speaking. It was actually a pretty nice autumn day. I’m disappointed I couldn’t enjoy it.) I’ve had three so far (four if a pack of Reese’s Pieces counts.)

    Imma eat that smile right off your face.

  2. 3 Musketeers Bars. Ditto above, although I only had one. It was King Size, though.

    For this alone, I believe Alexandre Dumas makes a perfect candidate for canonization.

  3. Homemade brownies with chocolate fudge icing. I’ve had two. One was topped with 80% dark chocolate chips. Taste buds = happy.

    Would you stop judging me if I said there were small brownies?

  4. Billy Crystal hosting the 2012 Academy Awards. Best. Decision. In. Oscar. History.

    Kind of makes up for having to deal with Anne Hathaway's stupid face during the last telecast. Kind of.

  5. Less than two weeks to Thanksgiving! Also known as the Greatest Day of the Year!

    Better brace yo'self.

  6. The Philadelphia Marathon is a week away! I’ve signed up to volunteer at the Expo, the kids’ race, and the Marathon itself. Figured it would be kinda fun and inspiring to see all these crazy awesome athletes, and maybe I might make a couple new friends. I need a social life…

    Also: I kind of hope to see someone shit their pants.

  7. After trying to resist the hype for over a year, I’ve officially decided to start watching The Walking Dead. You win this one, World of Pop Culture.

    Even though I kinda already get the "ever-growing horde of mindless zombies" vibe from the fandom.

  8. I’m almost done reading Wuthering Heights and the last Princess Diaries novel (I like reading two books at once – switching between them actually helps my focus. Plus, I like reading one in print and the other on my Nook.) Loving both right now, but I’m really excited about the next one on my To-Read list — God, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette. I just need to think of another book to read alongside it. I was thinking something Austen, especially hot on the heels of Wuthering Heights – Northanger Abbey, mayhaps? Should I go with another non-fiction and get Mornings on Horseback? Or should I just give in to geek-peer-pressure and read Good Omens already? Decisions…

    I'll probably just stick with a timeless classic.

  9. Hot guys. Baby animals.

    No further comment.

Well, I’m done for the night. Feeling totally wiped out from the suckiness that was this past week, so I think I’ll go grab a Snickers bar and tuck in for bed.

The Recovery Period

So surgery went well, plus I survived a 15-hour fast!

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t nervous at all about the operation. I’d gone through it twice before with no issues, and the ENT performing it seemed perfectly capable of carrying everything through without a hitch. More than anything, I just wanted it to get done – both of my last surgeries were performed in the morning, and a noon check-in just felt so late. It took forever to go through all the pre-op procedures. But luckily I brought plenty of reading material to keep my mind occupied (Wuthering Heights, Shockaholic, some health food magazines, and Princess Diaries… what else can I say about my eclectic tastes?)

The worst part of the operation is always the IV. I’m not great with needles, and having one stuck in my hand over an extended period of time is not fun. But I’m getting better with it, and this time I barely even noticed it was there for the most part. I even watched the nurse stick me and din’t get queasy! Yay for (wo)manning up!

I had to confer with, like, 12 different doctors before they could get me in the OR. Seriously, there was the nurse, the ENT, two anesthesiologists, an attending… and I think that was it. But still! That’s a lot of “C-o-u-r-t-n-e-y; September 9, 1988; no, I am not allergic to any medicines; I last ate at 11 last night and last drank water at 5 this morning”s to recite. However, I did receive a few compliments on my recent weight-loss, so eff yeah to that!

It had to be past 2 by the time they were wheeling me into the OR, and I was rarin’ to go! I practically threw myself onto the operating table and shoved the anesthesia in my IV – I knew the sooner I went under, the sooner I’d get to wake up, go home, and dig into my pint of ice cream!

Sure enough, the next thing I know I’m back in the patient waiting area with a heated blanket and a sore throat. Operation was done! The nurse taking care of me immediately got my parents back to me. I was told I could stay longer if I had to, but I honestly wasn’t all that groggy – in fact, I was feeling pretty amped up! Weird, because I remember being dead tired after my other operations. Maybe it was because I was a professional TS patient by now, maybe it was because it was so late in the day, maybe it was because I could hear the ice cream calling my name. Whatever it was, I was all set to just get my clothes on and go home! I didn’t even want to wait for a wheelchair – just guide me to the damn car and let’s get moving, folks!

When I finally got to crash on the couch with my favorite blanket, the TV remote and (of course) a pint of Vanilla-Maple Arctic Zero, the adrenaline calmed down and I was feeling more like someone who had undergone laser surgery – the sides of my mouth felt pinched (they had to clamp my jaws open,) I had a weird taste in the back of my throat (they used a latex balloon to open that up,) and my voice was really scratchy. All totally normal, but kind of annoying. But most importantly — I could fill my lungs!! SUCCESS!

I’m feeling great breathing-wise, but still tired, sore-throated and stuffy-nosed. But most of all, I’m feeling kinda restless. These past two days have been very lazy – not much more than watching TV (so. much. TV.) and shoving food down my pie-hole. Caitlin’s dogs Chloe and Bella are over, and they’ve been awesome cuddle-buddies (except when they totally Bogart the blanket. Lame.) I managed to give my bedroom a much-needed straightening-up, so yay for being semi-productive! Tomorrow morning, Mom and I are planning to go to the Reading Terminal Market if I’m up for it. I’m hoping that by Monday I’ll be fully recovered and ready to go back to work and my daily work-outs!

One more thing: a HUGE “Thank You!” for all of the warm wishes I’ve received in the past week! I’m seriously lucky to have such fantastically supportive and caring friends – y’all rock!

Steroids & Surgery

An update on my TS situation.

I did meet with a new ENT yesterday (the third since I was first diagnosed with TS almost four years ago.) According to her, my trachea is about 50% narrowed. I could live somewhat comfortably like this for a few more weeks, but I’d eventually need a surgery anyway, so we’re just gonna get it out of the way. I go under the knife – er, laser, I guess, tomorrow at 12:15. She also prescribed me some more steroids (my muscles are seriously gonna get jacked) and Advair.

I’m not scared about surgery at all. It’ll be my third and I can tell this doctor is more than capable of pulling it off. The worst part, really, is that I have to fast – no food past midnight tonight, no water past 6 am. By the time surgery’s over and I’m back home, I won’t have had anything to eat for, like, 15 hours! That’s the part that’s gonna kill me!!

 

 

 

ER

Sunday morning, I had plans to jog for about an hour on Sue’s treadmill. But by minute five, I was wheezing pretty hard, and by minute ten I just couldn’t move anymore. My breathing’s been extremely shallow ever since.

My mom called my ENT’s office yesterday morning to see if I could get an appointment to see him sometime soon (my next scheduled appointment is in January, but I’d like to be able to breathe during the holiday season.) Unfortunately, there’s nothing open through January, so my parents took me to Penn’s ER after dinner.

After four hours of waiting rooms, oxygen tanks and x-rays, we were finally able to meet with an attending from the Laryngology office. She gave me a quick endoscopy and said that I have a small post-nasal drip that may be agitating the stenosis. I’d need to get checked out by a laryngologist sometime very soon for treatment options. Turns out my ENT is in India this week (as Mom said, when it rains, it pours.) But there is another laryngologist at Penn who could probably see me; it was just a matter of finding an opening in her schedule. Not a problem – we got a call this morning, and I’ll be able to see her at two this afternoon. In the meantime, I was prescribed some steroids. They won’t cure the stenosis, but they can help prevent further inflammation. (I’m also hoping they’ll help me get some sweet bulk in my muscles.)

It’s really kind of depressing me. Okay, not “kind of.” It’s seriously depressing me. I’m pretty much out of commission, so I haven’t been able to do much but lounge around the house and eat like a fat kid at a food festival. I think I’ve consumed about as many calories in the past 2 days than I typically do in a week, and I can’t work it off or anything. And it’s not good stuff I’m eating, either – it’s pizza and ice cream and garlic bread and ginger snaps and cheese sandwiches, stuff like that. So now my stomach (which is used to fresh produce and lean proteins by now) hates me as much as my trachea does.

In addition to all the complications that accompany my breathing issue, I’m struggling with over-eating and trying to make good choices while not hating myself for the poor ones. But I’ve worked so hard in the past few months trying to lose weight, and just as I was beginning to feel happy with how I look and comfortable with my new, healthy habits, it’s like it’s all toppling down.

I know it’s not the end of the world; it’s just something I have to come to peace with. I’m trying to take inspiration from a man I met in the ER last night – he sat across from us in a waiting room with his hand all bandaged up. He made some polite small-talk with us, and Dad asked him what he was in for. He responded nonchalantly: “Oh, I was working with a circular saw and cut off my finger.”

He was so zen about it, like he just accepted that this was his life now, and he moved on. I know that that’s what I need to do. I just need to figure out how to do it.