In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Refresh: What is a PET/CT scan?

I've written about various PETs and CTs before - and added my scan images -  at:

Here's a bit more good info:
See also the link at the bottom of that page:

PET Prep

Tuesday I'm having a routine PET/CT scan of my abdomen.

Here's what I was given as preparation instructions:

48 hours prior to PET/CT scan
• No strenuous exercise (aerobic, weight-lifting, treadmill, etc.).

24 hours prior to PET/CT scan
No sugar/low starch; avoid the following items:
• Bread, pastry, cereal and pasta
• Fruits (no tomatoes)
• Desserts, muffins, crackers, candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, yogurt, jams, jellies and honey
• Soft drinks, milk, soy milk, tonic water, juices, beer and other alcoholic beverages
• Starchy vegetables (rice, potatoes, corn, lima beans, soy beans, parsnips and peas)
• DO NOT take common cold medications.

24 hours prior to your arrival
• If you take medicine containing nicotine, please let us know immediately.
You may eat:
• Meats (beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish) and tofu; do not use sweet sauces and do not bread the meat
• Eggs prepared without milk
• Cheese, butter, mayonnaise and unsweetened peanut butter
• Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, green beans and cauliflower)
• Nuts, excluding honey roasted

12 hours prior to PET/CT scan
• DO NOT eat anything 12 hours prior to the PET/CT scan.
• Drinking water before the exam is encouraged — but WATER only. Anything other than water can adversely affect the exam quality.
• All necessary medications may be taken with water (if you are diabetic please check with our PET/CT coordinator before taking diabetes medication).
• DO NOT chew gum or breath mints.
• No smoking or use of tobacco or nicotine products preferably for 12 hours or at least four hours prior to your arrival.

Got all that?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Brian MRI Is Normal

Yesterday I had a routine brain MRI, then saw my Radiation Oncologist. She repeated a few times how it all looks "perfect." Hooray! The radiation worked.
There were a few small spots they were watching - which they can't watch anymore because they've disappeared. (Or a Buddhist might say, "dissolved back into emptiness.")
I'll continue to have routine brain MRIs every 2-3 months for about a year, so don't be alarmed when I say I have another one scheduled.

As some of you know, I got to attend US Festival, with featured Medicine Buddha Empowerment this year. I really felt his healing blessings and am grateful for another chance to reconnect with him.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Phantom Hair

Spring Is Hair ... or so I might think, with so many things growing, and even blooming - not that I want my head to burst into bloom - but I wouldn't mind small signs of hair growing on my head. All I have is the very shortest of stubble, which I've kept throughout my treatments.
It will take months for it to grow in, but will have to start sometime. C'mon, give me a sign!

On the other hand, you could say it's been a very irregular Spring here in Seattle, weather-wise. Some days have been sunny and warmish; others - like yesterday - have felt more like November.

I'll admit there are some advantages to my micro-short hair: As you can easily guess, taking a shower takes no time at all. When I packed for my recent trip East, I got to leave behind a brush, comb, shampoo and conditioner (I simply use a liquid soap on my head). Must save money too.

And yet, in the back of my mind, I still have hair - "phantom hair" I call it, thinking it's similar to a "phantom limb" (even though there's no physical arm or limb, there are still sensations there). If you're familiar with the teachings about the emptiness of the body, I find this phenomenon worth contemplating.

There's a story about a nun in our tradition who did a lot of hiking before she ordained and cut her long hair to nun-length. One time, after she had been a nun for many years, she went for a walk with her teacher. When they stopped for a break, she took off her hat and shook her head back and forth. He wondered what she was doing. Shaking out her long hair, of course!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Story from Hospice

From one of the women on the Ovarian Cancer discussion/support group I read, who's now on hospice, and is very happy with it:
"... beware of the nausea patch that goes behind your ear! It makes your mouth so dry....that you can spit straw. If that isn't a good enough description, mom says that it feels like the whole Russian army marched through her mouth! I guess the most important thing that she wanted me to tell you is that she is not in much pain. And what a comfort to be in your own home, in your own bed, surrounded by your family.....oh, and puppies. ..."