Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy News and Sad News

So, we've gotten official word that Mom doesn't have tumors. When the doctors opened her head up, they discovered that the spots were actually damaged brain tissue. They took some samples and the first test came back as bacteria, meaning she has some sort of bacterial brain infection. They were supposed to get a full diagnosis and treatment on Tuesday their time, so hopefully tonight when I call, I can get some definite answers. One doctor thought it could be a type of E.Coli infection from bad sushi, but that theory was refuted by another doctor since Mom didn't really have any of the other symptoms. Plus, the last time she ate sushi was the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my sister and I. We all shared and ate from the same plate and neither my sister nor I got sick. (Unless colds about two to three weeks later count...)

For now, Mom's on two IV antibiotics to speed up the killing of the bacteria. She'll be on this treatment for about 5-6 weeks, but the doctors think she might be able to go home on Friday and continue the treatments from there. So, happy news! Mom is okay and nothing is life threatening. She did have some light brain damage (her left hand is slower than usual) but the doctors said it shouldn't get any worse now that she's on the antibiotics.

And now for the bad news...

Someone stole my iPhone in Hongdae Friday night. It was mostly my fault for leaving it unattended, but it still sucks. I went in Monday and got a temporary phone until my new iPhone comes in and left in tears after shelling out a ton of money to pay off the old phone and hearing how much it would be to get a new one and a new contract. Especially since I normally get paid at the end of the month, but Accounting is still tying up end-of-the-year stuff for the freelancers and we're not getting paid until the second week of February.

However, I've somehow managed to get everything covered without zeroing out my accounts. My friend is being super nice and letting me pay for half of the new phone now and half of it when I get paid. And I'll be able to eat for the next two weeks and go to my friend's going away party in Hongdae on Saturday. I'll be stuck at home for Lunar New Year (meaning: no crazy nights out or shopping trips or traveling) but I can handle that. It'll be a good chance to get the apartment spic and span. And maybe have some friends over for a cheap night in. Or get creative and figure out some fun things to do that don't cost anything. Not to mention I still have my emergencies only credit card, though I've got what I owe on it sitting low, and I'd rather not push it any higher.

And, I'm upgrading to an iPhone 4, getting a cheaper plan than I had before with unlimited internet, and I'm fully insured, so God forbid if something should happen to this phone, I'll only have to pay half of what I owe. And this one is costing me a little less than my 3GS a year ago.

So, everything is working out okay (as long as I get paid on time) and I can pick up my new phone tomorrow morning. I'm just hoping it doesn't take long and I'll have time to run home and upload everything onto it before I have to be at work...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I'm learning an amazing lesson in positive thinking and prayer.

My mom has, literally, thousands of people all over the world praying for her now, and we're seeing results. The doctors are completely baffled. Normally, when a person has multiple tumors in their brain, it's caused by cancer from another part of the body spreading up. They've done just about every type of scan and test possible, and they can't find any cancer or other tumors anywhere. Mom said today that one of her doctors admitted he hasn't seen anything like this before.

There is a slight chance that one of the scans missed something, but the doctors don't think so. They pumped her up with enough of whatever it is that makes cancer/tumors light up like a Christmas tree, and nothing. Everything is clean and normal.

They said it is possible for someone to have multiple benign tumors in their brain, they are just shocked to see it, since more times than not, multiple tumors turn out to be cancer from somewhere else.

So, we're staying positive and keeping up with our prayers. They've gotten us this far. The biopsy is on Friday, and Mom said since none of the tumors are close to the surface, they'll have to cut her open to do the procedure. Her doctor tried to find a way to not have to do it, but there wasn't an option. And he's being very careful. They did a procedure today where they lit up the tumors and vessels in her brain so that he would know where to cut and not cut. She's feeling lucky that when all is said and done, she'll most likely only lose a small square of hair on the lower left side of her hair, and not the whole thing.

After this, it's waiting. We won't know if the tumors are cancer for about three to five days. And then after that, it's treatment. Regardless of whether or not they're cancer, they have to come out since they are applying pressure to her brain. Mom thinks they might be able to get rid of them with radiation lasers and not have to cut back into her head.

My sister and I have told her that we're so positive this thing is benign that we're not planning on coming, because it won't be serious enough that we need to be there. Mom is going to beat this. I know it. I finally have that 100% conviction.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Day at a Time

I still can't believe it was just yesterday that my Dad called and told me the news. Nothing will stop your heart like the words "They found some tumors in your mom's brain."

We've all seen the soaps and movies and TV shows where someone has a brain tumor and they die tragically young. You always hear about your friend's friend or your parents' friends' mom, or whoever that had a tumor or cancer. You never think that it will happen to you. That sort of thing only happens on TV or to someone else that you don't really know.

But right now, it's happening to us. My family. My mom. Four tumors. In her brain. She's only 44.

And the worst part is I'm halfway across the world. I can't be there by her side while she's going through the tests and the scans and the biopsy. I asked her if she wanted me to come. She said not yet. She wanted me to wait until we found out what we are dealing with. She says not to worry. She'll be fine and we'll get through this. And then she says that she keeps going from sad to angry to guilty that my dad, brother, sister and I have to go through this. And then she's defiant. Determined that nothing will get her down.

I wish I could be that strong. I wish I could say, with 100 percent conviction, everything is going to be okay. Those tumors are not cancer. They'll just remove them and everything will be okay.

I do say that everything will be okay, but I worry and I doubt. I sit in my room and cry because for the first time in my young life, I'm facing the possibility that I could lose my Mom. We all know that at some point in our lives, we will come to this moment. But normally it comes when we're all old and gray. Not now.

But all I can do is just pray and think positive. Maybe if I act like I believe everything will be okay, I really will start believing it. I have to be strong for my family. For my Mom. We've been praying non-stop since we found out and we have gotten good news. There are no other tumors in her body, which makes it seem more like the ones in her brain are benign. We're still waiting on more tests and results, but we're taking it one day at a time and one victory at a time.

We'll get through this. And Mom will be fine. It's just the journey is a little scary along the way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weight Issue

I remember thinking before I moved to Korea that if I could just fit into a size 9 again, I would be happy.

At that time, I was a size 12 and weighed 150 pounds. I hadn't been anything under a size 10 for a good five or so years. I had a couple months when I was down to 140 pounds, which I thought was great, but I was soon right back up to 150, since I can't ever seem to keep weight off.

So, you can imagine my surprise and happiness when I dropped 30 pounds over my first two years in Korea. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of that weight came off in some unhealthy ways. Stress and a mild case of depression were not my best friends. But I was elated to fit in a size 9, and then 8 and then 5, and 4 and then 2, and even when I went back up to 4. I'm at a healthy 130 pounds now.

But I can tell that living in Korea is wearing on me. I'm constantly surrounded by tiny little girls who are a size that I will never be. I should be happy with where I am right now. I haven't been this size since high school. But instead, all I think about is how if I just dropped five more pounds I would be under 130 and my favorite wool mini skirt would fit a little better. And that I would look a little bit better. Doesn't help that some of my Korean girlfriends point out that I've put on a little weight. Or that I'm dating an incredibly good-looking guy that I want to look good next to.

I know it's ridiculous. I know that I should be happy with where I am. In the US, I'm slender. When I went home, my old friends and my family said I looked great. But now that I'm back here, I keep chasing those elusive five pounds. It's exhausting. I try not to snack or drink soda or eat hamburgers, but when I slip up, I punish myself by staring at the scale and berating myself. Even today, I swore that I wasn't going to snack when I got home from work since you aren't supposed to eat after 10 pm and what did I do? I made a caesar salad. And I still want to snack.

I hate that Korea has done this to me. Made me so obsessed with my weight and how I look. I've never been like this before, even when I was larger. But I've decided to make the best of it. Maybe this time, if I really want to lose weight, I can take the opportunity to actually do it the healthy way and try to get myself into better shape. I've decided on Monday I'm starting a new healthy eating routine. And starting today, I got up 30 minutes early and did some pilates. I've decided it's high time I started taking better care of myself. And hopefully I'll stick to it. We'll see.

But man, I wish I could go back to the days when I was thrilled to be a size 9... And not freaking out if I reach 135...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Busy, Busy

Back at work for the week and I'm feeling much better, albeit, a tad bit drowsy from the meds. I only had a couple flubs, so I consider it an okay start. But what I'm really looking forward to is this weekend. I got my first assignment from an expat magazine for the February issue and I'm thrilled to get started on it. Apparently they needed more music writers and a couple co-workers of mine that did some work for the magazine passed on my info to the music editor, and viola! My big magazine debut.

I pitched the idea of doing a feature on a little live music spot called ๋นต for the music issue in March, but the editor asked if I could get it done for the February issue instead. This is fine with me, however, the deadline is next Saturday (Jan.15) which means I have to do all the work this weekend. Thank goodness it fell on my weekend off, otherwise I don't think I could get it done. Especially since the show starts early, around 7 pm, which is normally right in the middle of my work shift.

So, Friday night, I'm heading over to take pictures and hopefully interview the manager and a couple of spectators. The only thing is, I'll be missing my roommate's birthday party. I feel bad about this, but at the same time, she only mentioned it was her birthday after I had said I was planning to go to Hongdae Friday night. Plus, she said she had no plans yet. And this is a work thing, even though I don't get paid for writing the article.

I haven't told her yet, since everything just worked itself out in the last three or four hours while I was at the office, but I'll have to tonight. Or whenever she finally tells me what her plans are. I could possibly start out in Hongdae and then go wherever her party is after the show ends around 10pm, but I kind of want to stay in Hongdae and check out whatever bands are playing at the clubs that night since I've been out of indie loop for a bit and need to get back in if I'm going to be covering the scene.

We'll see what happens. I'm also on a kick to try and watch my spending this month since I'm 100% I'll get paid on time. It always happens at the beginning of the year with all the year-end freelancer tax stuff getting in the way...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sickness... How I Hate it...

So, been stuck in bed for two days. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat. I was hoping it would just go away and not turn into an upper respiratory infection (of which a sore throat the day before is always a precursor). Fortunately, it didn't turn into an infection, but according to the doctor, it is a cold. I think I was knocked out today mostly because of the meds and less because of the cold. He gave me heavy duty cough meds, since that's what is causing my sore throat (even though the cough came later) so I could sleep through the night. And heavy duty decongestants. Put them both together, and I'm more or less a zombie. Luckily, during the day I only take one cough pill twice a day instead of the two at night, and he said I could skip the decongestant if I need to drive or do any other activity that requires staying alert. (Does editing fall in this category?)

Hopefully, I'll be in good shape in three days or so. I'll probably sound like a frog on tomorrow's radio show, but oh well. I have tea at work to help my throat and I'll probably bring a giant mug-ful with me to get through the show. I suppose it's a good thing I got sick while my boyfriend is out of town. He's got a big show opening up later this month and him catching my cold would not be good for his rehearsal schedule...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Okay, so I've decided that I'm going to get 2011 started off right. Lots of potential for this year. I'm in a new relationship with a really sweet guy. And I've got a great idea for a novel/screenplay. And a wonderful group of new and old friends to keep things interesting. So there is no excuse for this year to not be exciting.

Some of my goals that I've decided on:
1. Complete writing on my new manuscript that I've been talking about for AGES.
2. Try to get my room organized. (Trust me, this is a MAMMOTH undertaking...)
3. Make healthier decisions and try to get back into shape (which I probably haven't been in since high school...).
4. Make this relationship work. I see huge potential. ^_^
5. Travel more.
6. Enjoy more of Seoul than just the nightlife.

So, I'm hoping that I can keep up with these things. I tend to not make resolutions since nine times out of ten I end up breaking them, but I think these are manageable. So, here's to a wonderful 2011!!