Tag Archives: TP-AIT

Just Breathe.

19 Aug

To say I’m a basket case might be sugar coating it.  I’m a gigantic bundle of nerves lately.  Monday an account in Alas, Babylon – a post-apocalyptic novel written in the 1950s about an atomic bomb attack by the Russians – triggered my hand a-reachin’ for the telephone to call the hospital and cancel the whole thing.

On the ninth day after The Day, Lavinia McGovern died.  This, too, had been inevitable ever since the lights went out and refrigeration ceased.  Since Lavinia McGovern suffered from diabetes, insulin had kept her alive.  Without refrigeration, insulin depleted rapidly.  Not only Lavinia, but all diabetics in Fort Repose, dependent upon insulin, died at about the same period as the drug lost its potency.

Alas, Babylon , Pat Frank,  page 165.  It goes on to describe the situation in a larger town’s hospital, and the gruesome terrifying death of a diabetic without insulin.

So WHY would a person willfully put themselves in this situation?? A situation where their life is dependent on the presence of a man made chemical? Why would someone decided to put their life in danger if there were ever… ever… ever what? Ever an apocalypse?

So then it dawns on me that despite what my amazon wish list might indicate, I am not actually a dooms-day conspiracy theorist.  I do not ACTUALLY spend every waking hour (or any of them usually) in fear of the end of days, or atomic war, or the end of the world.  So why was this silly little excerpt giving me such grief??

Now, Post-Apocalyptic being my favorite genre I cannot tell you how many of these books I have read, never once reading anything quite like this before.  I could have read a thousand more and been happy not to come across this passage.  Of course, the timing had to be impeccable as well, just before my surgery, eh? Yeah.  Of course.

Point is, it didn’t really matter what it said, one itty bitty little interjection of doubt and my mind is reeling.  The potential bad-side of this surgery, possible complications and incredible ominous warning of immense pain I’ll be in afterwards is not lost on me, believe me!

Finally, this week, I managed to put a lid on the constant back and forth babble of doubting thoughts that have been ambushing my brain for the past several months.  While the fears and doubts are still there, they are manageable now, they are quieter, and I have positive and logical retorts.  How did I do it? More on that next time…

Evil Villain Pancreas

10 Aug

Alien Symbiote Pancreas

I recently posed the question on the facebook page  “What does your pancreas remind you of?” I got a lot of really hilarious responses, and I’m really excited to do some more cartoons, but I started off with this one.  My friend, Christina’s husband, John, just got his pancreas removed last month.  She said that they used to refer to his pancreas as an Alien Symbiote.  I’ll be honest, at first I had no idea what this was, my inner geek-o-meter went down a couple degrees and google/wikipedia came to the rescue.

For those of you who like me, do not know what an Alien Symbiote is check this out.  Scary looking thing, isn’t it?  A bit darker than the normal Bad Pancreas Cartoons, on the other hand, with the way my pancreas has been behaving lately, for all I know he has become a Symbiote as well.

Here is hoping this gives John and Christina a much needed chuckle during John’s recovery!! Everyone send some prayers their way while you are thinking of it! :)

Bucket List

18 Jul

I have been thinking a lot lately, not unreasonably, about the things I would like to be doing.  Things I would like to do if I were feeling better, and things I would like to do once I am feeling better. (That is right O, crankiest of pancreases, the day is coming, beware.) So, I thought maybe I would pen my reflections here.  As the days seem to be speeding by faster and faster, leading into my surgery, and the doctors appointments get further and further apart, my level of fear rises.  It’s focusing on the good things, the things I will soon be able to accomplish and try that helps me regain my composure.

1. Spin really excellent yarn using my hand spindle.  My wonderful hubby gave me a hand spindle for Christmas last year, it was almost a month before my pancreas attacks became daily.  I played with it and congratulated myself for spinning something slightly resembling thick rope after several hours.  I would love to knit with some hand-dyed and hand spun lace weight yarn.  I have finally learned to knit and crochet at a level where I feel like I could do justice to a lovely hand-spun yarn.  Now its just a matter of getting the spinning under my belt. That being said…

2. Learn to use a spinning wheel.  I have heard that there is no contest in the efficiency of using a spinning wheel, I can’t wait until I have the money to get a beautiful second-hand spinning wheel and invest some time and patience in to learning how to use it.

3. Make a hand spindle, knitting needles and a case for all my fiber art tools from scratch.  That’s right, I want a matching set! With little clay ends, I am so excited to sit down and do this! It will take about $50 and a TON of patience.  But using my hand forged tools will bring me so much joy! I can’t wait to knit my first shawl with my hand-made needles.

4. Learn to throw pots.  One of my greatest regrets about high school is not taking a 3D art class.  I don’t know when or how I decided that it was more important to take a second second language, but somehow I did.  Now, I feel like I have a better handle on priorities and finally learning to throw pots is one of them!

5. Harvest Natural Clay for throwing pots.  There are a lot of trends that I don’t really buy into.  Localism, suffice it to say, is not one of them.  I love the local movement, as far as I’m concerned it is the way we were “supposed” to live.  Local honey has recently been proven to help with allergies (please don’t get me started on my aspirations to own a bee hive…) then there are the economic perks in buying local produce, but it is also safe to assume that things grown in the soil  where you live will be richer in the nutrients that you need to survive in such a place.  Also, it is just SUPER cool, to know that the things you are taking into your body and home are a part of the place you are from integrates you into the community and connects you with your city.  For me it is a part of feeling “at home” with where I live, it literally becomes a part of you.  So, I don’t have a real great health reason for wanting to harvest clay, but I figure it all fits together in one way or another.  It’s just one more element in my  fascination with seeing things through beginning to end!

6. Become a foraging expert. I love reminiscing about being a kid in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  One of my fondest memories is afternoons spent scouring the forest floors with my grandparents for ramps, morels, wintergreen, wild asparagus and huckleberries.  Of course, much like with Halloween candy, someone was always there to inspect our spoils.  This is an experience I desperately want to share with my future kids! Nothing quite compares to having a meal of steel heads, asparagus and morels that you found that day (and lets not forget the raspberry huckleberry crisp for dessert!). Mm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

7. Go on a survival trip. Mostly just to prove I could do it.  I want to be dropped in the middle of the northern woods with a back pack of essentials and just go for it.  Sleeping under the stars and catching all my food for a week.

8. Get a tattoo. I think this will come soon after my surgery.  I toyed with the idea of getting a tattoo for years, but I never felt I had anything substantial enough to represent.  Overcoming this illness and getting on with the rest of my life finally feels like THE thing.  I’m not sure what my tattoo will be yet, or even when I will feel up to getting it, but I finally feel like there is a good reason to.

9. Make wine and beer from scratch, including home-grown/foraged ingredients.  Yes, I know I will probably not be able to drink much wine after my surgery, but this is one that is going to stay on the list anyway.  Someday I will make my own.

10. Invest in really making my company take off.   I wish I could say that my company, The Historium wasn’t at a temporary stand still, right at the peak of my media exposure!! Unfortunately, the way I have been feeling, working two full-time jobs just hasn’t been possible.  After this surgery is over, I will have somewhere between four months and a year that I will be unable to work, I’m truly hoping during this time I will be able to invest some serious time in determining where I want my company to go and how I am going to get it there.

Of course, there are so many (many, many, many) more things I can list that I would like to do, but this is a good start.  A top ten if you will (or even if you won’t).  I am not belittling or forgetting the things I’ve accomplished so far, but sometimes it is hard to remember that this will be over soon and keep that spark alive for the future.  So, for me this is a little reminder!  Something to focus on until the future gets here!

Call to Arms

24 Jun

So we’re at war in our household with one Bad Pancreas. Admittedly, my weak point is asking for help, but I have to confide that I can’t take on the little guy on my own.   As the months leading to my surgery turn to weeks (and days, and so forth) I’m going to need a lot of support.  So, I’m asking:

  1.  For Prayer.  We desperately need prayer, in every single aspect of our lives.
    • We need prayer on September 12, on the day of surgery,  for guidance for the doctors.
    •  We need prayer after September 12, for healing.
    • We need prayer leading up to and following the surgery for our financial well-being.
    •  We need prayer for our fundraiser, we know God will provide for us to have this operation, but any security we can muster will exponentially help our certainty that we are doing the right thing and allow us to have peace about our decisions.
    • Prayer for our family and friends, this is going to be a hard time for everyone involved.  We’ve been told by the doctors over and over again that it is almost a community affair, this surgery affects everyone, it is going to be a hard, long surgery, with a hard, long recovery.
  2. For Financial Help. This is by far the hardest thing to ask for.  I know with the economic climate the way it is, many of you can’t afford to help.  Please know that I understand, and I’m not asking you for money.  I appreciate anything you might be able to contribute, whether it is a one time prayer, or help spreading the word to those who may feel led to give.
    • Social Media.  One of the best tools we have for raising money is Facebook and e-mail.  In order to raise any money at all we have to be exposed to potential donors.  To do this, we need all the help we can get, from sharing events, status updates, and pages, to initiating your friends to donate their status message for the day with our fundraising link (http://www.giveforward.org/evicttaraspancreas). If you have a blog, please feel free to share the links to this site and the one above, as well as my story and any images.  We have a limited amount of time to make as big of an impact as we can with this campaign and I’m being really up front here because we simply can’t do it without your help.
    • Mail.  If you have access to a list of addresses through your church, business or organization who you think might be inclined to help out our cause, we would love to send them a letter explaining how they could help if they were so led, including the time and place of our eventual event.
    • Fundraising Event. I’m completely at a loss here, if anyone has any experience with these things, I would so appreciate your advice.  I’m sure we’re going to need a location, food, advertisement, possibly people to help run it, and I have no clue what else. I’m open to ANY advice!!
    • Donations or  Merchandise Purchase. If you are interested in contributing financially you can do so here at our charity website OR you can purchase Bad Pancreas Cartoon Merchandise at the Shop.  We get a 30% commission on merchandise sales, and 100% of anything donated to the charity site.  If you have any advice or ideas on how to make this drive more successful, please, please contact us!
  3. For Support After the Surgery.
    • Watering the Plants and Feeding the Cat during the Surgery Week. I know my darling husband will do his best to take care of my patio garden and our giant fat cat, however, I’m sure it will be far more overwhelming for him than he or I realize.  To this point, if anyone would be willing to stop by once a day for the one or two weeks I will be staying in the hospital during and after the surgery, I’m sure it would be an incredible relief.
    • Spending time at the house.  I know this one is tricky.  My doctor asked us if we could find someone to stick around while my husband is at work, and essentially babysit me my first few weeks home.  If you have any spare time you’d be willing to spend hanging out at my humble abode post surgery, we’d be so thankful.  We would be more than happy to provide food and sleeping arrangements. If you can stay more than a day, let us know and we will start looking for some simple furniture to make our spare bedroom inhabitable!
    • Running Errands.  I won’t be able to drive for the first few months, and I’m sure Rob is going to have his plate full taking care of me and working his insane schedule.  Which might leave a few neglected tasks that need to be tended to.  We may need someone to run and grab something from the pharmacy or help me get to a dr. appt.  every now and again.
    • Silly Domestic Stuff.  Like possibly providing a couple meals for Rob and whoever is able to stick around and help out that week.  I won’t be able to stand to cook for myself or anyone else, at first I will be on feeding tubes, so this won’t be a huge deal for me.  But, it might be nice for other people to be taken care of.  If you would be able to do this during the first month or two post-surgery, that would be amazing.
I know this is a lot.  Truth be told, we can’t do any of this but by a miracle of God.  Anything you are able to contribute, even just thoughts or prayers will be more than sufficient.  We love you all so much.  We feel your support all the time, and we are seeing God answer your and our prayers each day.  I couldn’t have made it this far without you, and I know you’ll be with me through this whole super, major, life-changing experience.  I can’t wait to share it with you all.

My Pancreas is a Bad Apple.

13 Jun
Bad Apple

My Pancreas is a Bad Apple.

Panky, Panky, you can run, but you can’t hide. Finally, the doctors agree, my pancreas is a bad apple. And the old adage an apple a day will keep the doctor away ain’t holdin’ water this time.

It’s time. That’s right. We finally got an eviction date!

(drum roll please!)

(keep drumming)

September 12.  That little miscreant is going to be outta there.  I’m thrilled and terrified.

My first reaction was SHEER JOY.  My second reaction was utter panic.  So, we’ll see where I am tomorrow, maybe I can formulate more eloquent thoughts on the matter, but for now, I thought I’d share: We’re officially counting down!

Bad Pancreas.

9 Jun
Bad Pancreas

Tara has a very bad pancreas.

Bad Pancreas.

Tara has a very bad pancreas.

Did you ever make the wrong roommate decision? You know who I am talking about, that leachy, anti-social person, who left their half eaten pizza sitting in the sweltering sun too long attracting all manner of rodents and bugs, who left the house unlocked that day you came back to find your entire collection of Mr. T DVD’s missing (I don’t pity that fool).  The one who broke grandma’s salad bowl and called the cops on the idiot downstairs banging on his ceiling (uh, you mean the LANDLORD?)?

Well, that is what my pancreas is like.

Don’t get it?  Don’t worry.  Basically, my pancreas refuses to work (hold down its job) or be remotely cooperative with its neighbors (other organs) and causes an incredible amount of pain and damage all the time.

So what do you do when you have a bad pancreas?

Evict it.

I’m giving my pancreas the boot! No more! That stinker is outta here.

Good Pancreas

Some people have good pancreases.

Good Pancreas.

Some people have pancreases that work. Good pancreases.

A well-behaved pancreas serves two purposes: It secretes enzymes (exocrine function) which are chemicals that break down food in the intestines so that your body can absorb the nutrients from what you eat; secondly, (and more common knowledge) it makes hormones that help keep your blood sugar levels balanced like glucagon and insulin.

This hardworking, digestive powerhouse, while relatively unresearched, is essential to the digestive process. i.e. without it, a person can’t (or might as well not) eat.  Until recently it was believed that a person couldn’t survive without their pancreas.  In the 70’s a Doctor at the University of Minnesota began to experiment with a procedure called Total Pancreatectomy with Autologous Islet Transplantation.


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