Iron Nan(a)

Many people remark on Karyn’s incredible strength. They talk about how amazing it is and how surprised they are that anyone could be so strong.

You know who isn’t surprised? Anyone who has met Karyn’s mom.

Mary Kantola, AKA WonderMom, AKA SuperNana.

I’d argue she’s from another world, except for the fact that she’s so damn human. Take that, Superman.

If you’re lucky enough to know her, you not only know what I’m talking about, you probably collect the comic books.

Hold onto those comics and keep them in good condition. They, like her, are priceless and only increasing in value.



Distraction vs. Focus

There are times when so much is going on that the feeling of being overwhelmed is overwhelming.

There is always too much to do and it feels like it all needs to be done NOW. And when you feel overwhelmed, somehow you find more and more things to add to the list.

There are times when so many overwhelming thoughts are flowing through your head that they take over the necessary thoughts of your everyday life.

There are times when overwhelming knowledge of the state of our world creates a level of panic and critical sense of responsibility that is almost crippling.

When you have a GBM – or a previous (?) GBM – it’s hard to believe that some things can wait. Everything could change in a matter of a day. But prioritizing is a critical life skill, brain cancer or not. So I gave it a shot.

Stress and fear of its known effect on my seizure threshold is a very strong motivator to figure out how to prioritize thoughts, actions, and to-do lists. As a former ‘master’ multi-tasker, convincing myself that THIS thing trumps THAT thing is a new challenge for me. Knowing what needs to be done NOW vs. what can wait until ‘after’ requires deep breaths, positive self-talk, and good anxiety medicine.

Letting go of the need for perfection. Learning that going with the flow rather than trying to do more than anyone will expect or notice while they’re visiting and celebrating 50 years of marriage of two of their closest friends is ok. Asking for the help of family and friends to help manage the necessary details isn’t as hard as you’d expect when you accept that you can’t do it all without them.

The surprise outstanding permits on the house from 15 years ago that need to be resolved can’t be resolved today. I need to accept that it may take longer than is reasonable. We’re dealing with a government agency after all.

Getting quotes for a new fence can wait a few days – my temporary repair job is going to hold, even if it’s not beautiful.

Decluttering the house can wait a few days and honestly, will take weeks. We recently bought a paper shredder. I can’t believe we’ve gotten by without one up to this point. The stacks (and we’re BIG stackers) are slowly becoming smaller and smaller. I never expected shredding paper to be so satisfying.

The lawn – which is surprisingly still growing even though it hasn’t been watered in months – can wait to be mowed.

The spring garden doesn’t need to be planted today. Plants will still grow two weeks from now as well.

We’re doing a lot already to reduce our negative impact on the environment. We can do more. Even though I had to suppress my sense of panic and responsibility, I have to realize that our efforts to reduce our reliance on plastic, over-packaged products, and continue to… The list is long.

This is by no means a complete list of my thoughts, but it gives you an idea.

What I’ve learned in the last few weeks is that prioritizing that overwhelming list of ‘critical’ feelings and actions is hard, but ultimately worth every decision of THIS vs. THAT.

And Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Another MRI on Friday… Not that it’s adding to my anxiety or anything.





Waiting With Bated Breath

Most of us with stage IV brain cancer (or any type of cancer, really) talk and think about how far ahead we plan our lives. At first it’s ‘recovering from surgery’, then ‘getting through radiation’, and other short-term, cancer related ‘milestones’.

Then it’s 4 week MRIs…8 week MRIs…12 week MRIs… And with any luck it doesn’t go backward from there. We feel nervous about planning anything beyond those timeframes. We live MRI to MRI.

At some point, when things are going well, we might venture out beyond the 12 weeks and plan a trip/vacation or buy concert tickets for a show 6 months away.

BIG family milestones might be too much – entering high school, first dates, driver’s license, graduations, weddings, babies. Those may be too far out and we can only tentatively hope beyond hope that we are here to witness it all. (My kids are 8 and 11, so we’re a ways off from most of those)

So, you start to find other, safer perhaps, big events that push you forward in your fight. Maybe it’s the World Series, the Superbowl or the World Cup if you’re a big sports fan. Maybe it’s the harvest if you’re a gardening fanatic and have been waiting 3 years for that Avocado tree to produce something…even just one avocado. Maybe if you are glued to political drama, it’s to view actual bipartisan decision-making in Congress or witness politicians representing the people instead of the money. Ok, that last one isn’t very realistic, but you get the idea.

For me (family milestones aside), I aim my survival goals at when the next Diana Gabaldon novel is coming out. I aim for making it through the final part of season one of Outlander on Starz (April can’t come soon enough.) I aim to see if I finally make a decision on joining a yoga studio. Can I get to 10,000 steps a day? Are there enough recipes to use all of my son’s harvest of sweet potatoes? Will the dog EVER learn to get his leash on his own when we’re going for a walk instead of staring at me while I suggest the idea? Will I ever get up the courage to make artisanal vegan cheese? Will we ever learn who was responsible for making that idiotic last call for the Seahawks causing them to lose the championship?

These may not be the most important survival goals in the grander scheme of things, but they all take me past the next MRI. They get me back to living for tomorrow and beyond regardless of what my brain tumor cells decide to do.

My next MRI is Friday, by the way.

Thoughts on potential employment

As a follow up to my Existential Conflict self-pity extravaganza, I was giving some thought to any and all job prospects.

Jobs that would be completely out of the question:
Driver – Truck, Taxi, School Bus, Delivery….you get the idea. While I’m completely capable of driving and have been approved by the respectable government organization which makes such decisions, I’m doubtful that any business would hire me to drive.

Strobe light tester – flashy lights and seizures have a long history of incompatibility

Surgeon – I’m not skilled for this role in any way, shape, or form

Mathematishian – I can’t even spell it right…clearly I’m not qualified for complex number problem solving. Also, I like words WAY more than numbers. Which is ironic since I spelled mathmatishian wrong…again.

Rave DJ – 1. Loud, repetitive techno music 2. Afore mentioned strobe lights 3. My aversion to rooms full of young adults under the influence of mind-altering drugs with various forms of glow sticks and pacifiers.

My non-negotiable requirements for any job I might consider:
Nap time – Liberal policies on crawling into a comfy corner or business-provided cot to have a little shut eye when my body tells me its time to take a little break with my eyes closed

Flexible schedule – Not a boiler plate policy allowing me to work at home (though that would also be required as well), but a level of flexibility that would allow me to pick up my kids after school, take days off when the kids are off of school (including summers), attend my regular doctor appointments, and unlimited random days where the Nap Time clause is insufficient for my needs. My hours will need to be strictly limited to 9am to 12pm only.

Fragrance free workspace – Perfume and ‘fragrances for men’ are offensive to the nose, as are artificial smells like cinnamon candles, air fresheners, or unreasonably scented hair and beauty products. All fragrances must be pleasing and approved by ME.

Vegan, protein rich snacks – Blood sugar balancing nutrition, vegan and delicious, must be readily available to prevent states of hangriness. No one wants to see me when I’m hangry, it’s not pretty.

Dog friendly workplace – My dog has separation anxiety and needs to be with his people or he cries. No one wants to be responsible for making my dog cry.

After giving it more thought, maybe I don’t really want a traditional job. I realize that not HAVING to work is a luxury and I am very grateful for that. Being a stay-at-home parent is something that not everyone can (or wants to) do. It can be hard, but rewarding work. I have the opportunity to volunteer in the school library, accompany my son’s class on field trips, and go grocery shopping in relative solitude.

While occasional feelings of guilt and insecurity for not being a rare Super Survivor may pass through my mind, I realize that my life is pretty awesome (aside from the cancer part). Self pity posts are hereby over. We shall now return to our regular programming.

Childhood Favorites

Your favorite childhood junk foods.  Have you tried them lately?

I recently told my kids about Circus Peanuts. How when I was a kid, my friend and I decided to eat a whole bag. We decided that they were, in fact, disgusting. We felt quite ill for the rest of the day.

Doubting my claims (as any strong-willed child does), my daughter insisted that she try them. Thus began the Great Circus Peanut Hunt of 2014. While they’re a classic (Me: WHY?) finding them in all of the usual places proved to be difficult. But with persistence and determination, we found some. In the sixth store (yes, I willingly went to 6 stores as any strong-willed mother would do to prove to my daughter that Circus Peanuts were not the delicious confection she was imagining in her mind) we finally found them…on sale. She had convinced herself that I was clearly wrong and decided that 2 bags were needed – they were on sale after all. It was after one bite of the first orange, ‘marshmallowy’ classic that she declared they were disgusting. I resisted my urge to gloat and tell her ‘I told you so!’ Instead, I just laughed.  Side note: if anyone wants 2 bags of Circus Peanuts – one opened, but still contains all but 2 ‘peanuts’ – let me know.

Speaking of sugary orange things… I also had a fondness for orange soda when I was young. So did my friend (different friend) and we took a couple of bottles to the playground with us. We thought we were pretty cool, sitting in the park drinking Orange Soda – which honestly tastes only vaguely like oranges and more like orange colored, bubbly sugar-water IMHO. Then we decided to go on the merry-go-round – not the kind with the horses, but the metal spinny kind that is powered by hanging on and running around to get it going before you jump on to enjoy the rapid whirly spin. Well, turns out that spinning in circles and orange soda don’t mix well for my friend. Up it came and I’ve never been able to drink Orange Soda since.

We’ve all probably had experiences like these that have destroyed our memories or experiences with favorite childhood treats. But there are others that we might look back upon fondly. BUT what if you tried them today? Would they be exactly like you remember? Or would you find them to be disgusting after your palate has matured over the years?

My son and I watched a series of videos about Americans trying junk food or local delicacies from around the world. It was an interesting way to kill an hour. Some were quite funny, some weren’t. But, I digress. One of these videos had the cast of characters trying their favorite childhood junk foods. Between the Circus Peanut Hunt of 2014, memories of Orange Soda vomit, and this series of videos I got to thinking…

We discussed it at dinner last night and discovered that our favorite childhood treats were the ones created and carefully prepared by our mothers and grandmothers (not to be sexist – that’s just who prepared them in our families). Peanut butter, rice crispy treats with a layer of chocolate on top. Corn Flake candy (corn flakes and chocolate.) Peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Apricot-coconut cookies. Ground raisin, oatmeal cookies. Strawberry rhubarb sauce. The list could go on and on. Disclaimer: both our mothers and grandmothers were from Minnesota – the land of delicious home made treats filled with love…and chocolate…and peanut butter.

We also discovered that some of our favorite (not home-baked) treats had special meaning to us or brought back fond memories of family, friends or first experiences.

What are some childhood treats or junk food do you recall and have you tried them recently?

We’ll be waiting for your replies while we’re making Corn Flake candy after school today.


Unchaperoned Meals

When I was young, my dad traveled on business trips regularly. My mom traveled less frequently, usually to Las Vegas to play some Black Jack or chat with the counterfeit characters lingering on the street corners about what they plan to do with their lives when they decide to climb out of their costumes in the dangerous heat. Ok, not really, but it’s a funny image thinking of my mom counseling strangers in Elmo-ish costumes. None the less, my mom DID travel…just not to Las Vegas. And everyone knows we played our Black Jack games at home.

These brief experiences with single parenting correlated with some culinary adventures.

When my dad was gone, tuna casserole was invariably made, complete with the potato chip topping. My dad HATED tuna casserole (or ‘hot dish’ if you prefer), so it was our opportunity to partake in this traditional midwestern delicacy.

When my mom was gone, we ventured into Spam and beans – previously only a camping cuisine. My dad and I quickly determined that Spam and beans tastes MUCH better 3 days or more into a backpacking trip and should be reserved only for those occasions.

When my husband travels, I venture boldly into child oriented meals. ‘Chick’n’ nuggets, macaroni & ‘cheese’, ‘vegan pigs’ in a blanket, plain noodles with margarine, grilled cheese sandwiches…you get the idea. We’ll also take the super lazy route of having cereal for dinner – enticingly called ‘Breakfast for Dinner! Yay!’ Last night, my children decided to make our evening meal. We had toaster waffles and ‘sausage.’ These meals aren’t particularly healthy, but I’m certain we’ll recover. We survived the tuna casserole and the Spam and beans after all.

What are your favorite culinary adventures when you are left unchaperoned?

Things I’m learning (While They’re) at Camp

Our children have left the building. They are spending a week at sleep away camp. Their first time. Our first time. Everyone was a little nervous, but at the same time looking forward to the week. The kids because they knew they were in for a fun-filled week. Us because we could play movies with bad language and explosions at whatever volume we wanted, starting said movies before 9pm. I occasionally worry about something happening with my brain while they’re gone, but then I force the thought out of my head, knowing full well that the chances are very low…but there’s still a chance.

So, while they’re gone, I’ve been learning a few things…

If your child insists on buying some Almond Dream Bites right before she leaves for a week of camp…don’t. Just don’t do it. Those little bites of deliciousness will disappear right before your eyes…into your mouth and down to your tummy.

If your children will be gone for a week at camp, get all of your chores done on the first couple days so you can play to your heart’s content afterward. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment rather than feeling guilty and overwhelmed at the end of the week for not taking the opportunity to get it all done. And don’t try to get it all done, you deserve a little fun.

A date night involves going out, talking, reconnecting with your spouse, enjoying each other’s company. It does not mean sitting on the couch watching a movie with bad language and explosions before falling asleep 3/4 of the way through. That’s sad and points to old age, not a week off without children. For goodness sake, fall asleep in a movie theater or in the middle of a performance. If it’s not a date night feel free to change into your comfy clothes and pick a movie while you eat dinner on that couch, normally a forbidden activity.

For all of you women who think you’re wearing the right bra size and yet you curse its incessant poking and squeezing, get thee to Nordstrom immediately. Ask for a bra fitting and brace yourself for amazement. If you’ve already done so, good on ya’.  It’s totally worth the trip to hell…I mean…the mall. Your husband will be happy too since bra sizes are random and your new size may make you sound much more buxom – which, for some reason matters to some men. You don’t have to tell him that it’s all about comfort.

Have you recently gotten a book you’ve been anxiously awaiting, perhaps for months, years even? Has this book prompted you to make strange comments like, ‘I hope I live long enough to see this published and read it.” (After thinking about all of the other more important things you think about when someone tells you you’ve got brain cancer, of course.) I’d suggest putting off reading this book…you will get absolutely NOTHING done the rest of the week. Or…if you’re ready to commit, pick it up and read it cover to cover, only putting it down to shower (optional) or have a cat nap (not optional.) Once you’re done, know that there’s a book 9 coming out and set a goal of living until THAT one comes out 4 years from now. Then start the series over again.

The dog will still want a walk every day, completely oblivious to your limitless schedule. Even he must be enjoying a quiet household, right?

You will still think of your day and your to-do list in terms of when the kids will get out of school. Today, for instance, is an early release day and I must be ready to pick them up by 1:30. Then it will dawn on you that your time is not restricted by the school day. You’ll sit for a minute as you come to terms with this temporary freedom before you carry on with your afternoon’s activities.

As you go to bed each night you will find yourself wondering if they’re doing ok, if they’re having fun, if they’re having a hard time falling asleep, or if someone has fed them a plateful of bacon? Even while you’re enjoying your childless week, you can’t wait for them to come home and tell you all about their first week at sleep away camp.

Now if you’ll excuse me, there are some Almond Dream Bites waiting to be eaten.

Correction: My most sincere apologies to the Hain Celestial Group for incorrectly identifying your delicious little balls of almond ice cream covered in a crunchy layer of chocolate as a Tofutti product. While Tofutti makes a number of delicious fake ice cream products, nothing really compares to your addictive Almond Dream Bites. They are in fact, dreamy.

My Mom Is Love

I am so lucky to have a mom like my Mom. My children are incredibly lucky to have a Nana like their Nana. My husband is thankful and lucky to have a mother-in-law like his mother-in-law.

I have so many memories of my Mom, but on this Mother’s Day, I’ll share a some of my favorites. I’ll leave out the ones that would embarrass my brother. (You’re welcome Jon.)

1. My mom was always trying new things. Candle making, brining freshly picked olives, macrame, cooking school, spending a summer cooking in a Scottish castle, starting a cookie business. Some of them stuck and some didn’t, but she was always game to venture out to try new things.

2. She lugged me around to the various activities that I wanted to explore when I was young – swim lessons, tennis, ballet, gymnastics, piano lessons, more dance lessons. She supported my enthusiasm for each activity and didn’t get mad (at least not in front of me) when I decided to move on to another. In my defense, having a ballet teacher tell you that she knows your posture is correct because you’ll be able to hold a pencil between your butt cheeks can turn you off ballet in an instant and she agreed it was odd enough to quit.

3. My mom knew EVERYTHING. She had a sixth sense about where I was, what I was doing, and had no qualms about magically finding a phone number of some stranger’s house (where I wasn’t supposed to be) and calling to say she was on her way to pick me up. My mom had a way of scaring the crap out of me by letting me know NOTHING was going to slip by her. Somehow that made me feel loved and safe – even if I didn’t admit it at the time. I can only hope that I can scare the crap out of my own daughter.

4. She encouraged me to continue doing things I loved doing, even when some b#%#h of a teacher told me I was a terrible writer and would never, ever be a good writer (or something equally horrible to crush a kid’s soul and dreams.) It took me awhile to get over that serious blow to my confidence, but my mom never gave up encouraging me and telling me that she had confidence in my skills. And look at me now Mrs. Merrill! Ppssshht (or however you spell a raspberry sound)!!

5. My mom survived my teenage years when I was nearly impossible to live with. She let me know that no matter how horrible I could be, she was still going to love me (even if it was REALLY hard.) The drama and angst of my teenage years were probably awful and I’m sure my daughter will put me through the same sort of torture. Even through that torture, she did continue to love me.

6. My mom has always been there when I’ve needed her – driving 6-7 hours to be there for happy and devastating moments. She was there to take care of me when I had nasal surgery to correct my deviated septum – recognizing the signs of a bad reaction to Valium when I pointed out there were tiny men dancing on my nose and then listening to me swear loudly as they pulled 6 ft of gauze out of each nostril.  She was there when I had my tonsillectomy – learning along with me that foods you’d NEVER think were acidic are acidic and agreeing that baby food was nasty. She was there when my daughter was born – immediately loving her unconditionally as she does all of her grandchildren. She was there when I lost my second daughter and quite possibly saved her twin brother in the process, experiencing devastation and tentative relief in rapid cycles. She arrived in the nick of time before my son was born and went out to buy preemie clothes when he was 2 pounds smaller than expected. She was there when I was diagnosed with brain cancer, taking care of my children, my husband and me as I recovered from surgery, went through weeks of daily trips to Stanford for radiation treatments, and suffered through chemo. All of this happening during a kitchen remodel – proving her status as a saint.

7. When I became vegan and married a vegan and then we decided to raise our children vegan, she made every effort to learn how to cook vegan meals for us. She doesn’t have to, but she does. She willingly cooks 2 meals when we visit, even during holidays. While I help cook some of those meals, she happily makes us feel comfortable, accommodating and respecting our dietary choices.

There are so many memories of my mom, I couldn’t possibly name them all here. She is amazing and I have learned so much from her about how to be a good mother to my own children. Thank you Mom for all of the sacrifices, love, and support you’ve given me through good times and bad. I couldn’t have had a better mother to lead the way in life.

Happy Mother’s Day today and every day.

mommebaby mommeteen

momlucia   momciame

Alone Time

I know that some people get energized from being social and having a full schedule of interesting (and sometimes mundane) things to do. My husband is often in this category. He gets home from a long day at work and wants to visit with neighbors, play with the kids, go to shows or events. He is an exuberant and enthusiastic extrovert.

I however, am an introvert (opposites attract?) and have a brain injury. Introverts re-energize by getting lost in their own thoughts, having quiet time, reading a book, mostly things that don’t require talking to someone else. This means that the alone time I need to re-energize is no longer optional, it’s mandatory. I get overstimulated with a full schedule and socializing, even with the people I love most. This overstimulation means that I shut down – I can’t hear conversations, I can’t focus, I get exhausted, and I have to say, ‘it’s time to go’ with little warning. This is exacerbated if I didn’t sleep well the night before – tiredness leads to tiredness or something like that.

Luckily, the people who know me and have been there through the last 18 months know that what I’ve described here is immensely better than it was in the early months. Then, I had to wear earplugs everywhere, visits were limited to very short periods of time, I excused myself from the room without warning, loud noise (including music, and my definition of loud was just above a whisper) was intolerable and it wasn’t unusual for me to nap twice a day. My family quickly learned the signs that I was being overstimulated and gracefully, generously helped me enter my cocoon of solitude.

For people who don’t know me or my ‘situation’, I can only imagine what they’re thinking. I don’t look like I’m sick, so when I find it difficult to have a normal conversation, I’m aloof or a bitch. When I get to the end of my tolerance for noise and stimulation and I look at my husband, giving the signal that it’s time for a speedy departure, I’m ungrateful or a bitch. When I no longer attend concerts or events with my husband, because my low tolerance would completely ruin his experience – we’re clearly drifting apart or I’m a bitch. When I need to excuse myself from the room abruptly to get a moment of quiet so I can go on, I’m just a bitch.

I have good days and bad, just like anyone else. My bad days will find me entering into my Hobbit hole for a nice long nap. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I de-prioritize everything on my to-do list. I read a book. I have another nap.

My good days – when I’ve gotten enough sleep the night before, I can spend an entire day taking kids to San Francisco. I can clean the house from top to somewhere in the middle. I can garden with focused intent on ‘growing things we can eat, dammit’. I can run errands at a super hero pace. I am overjoyed at being able to speak without hesitation, finding every word needed. I make valiant attempts to fix our dryer that won’t start. I cross things off my list at a steady pace and feel no need to add ‘shower’, ‘eat’, ‘get dressed’ to the list, just so I can cross them off. Good days rule! And then I go take a nap and have some alone time.

Post brain cancer diagnosis/treatment, I’ve had to relearn and adjust my understanding of my limitations. I understand that my body and brain can only handle so much. I sometimes feel guilt for needing to retreat into solitude, but I understand that it’s needed. I have a brain injury and a seizure disorder and the overstimulation is exhausting. I want to do it all, but I know I can’t. I want to fill each and every day with seeing friends, volunteering, writing, playing non-stop with my kids, or escaping into nature. But I can’t do it all. Perhaps its cliché, but I have to take care of myself so I can take care of others. I have to take care of myself so that I can continue the fight energetically.

I see people who are so busy that they’re taking or making calls while completing their everyday activities – dropping kids off at school, walking the dog, grocery shopping and my least favorite – while they’re on the toilet. But EVERYONE needs alone/quiet time to just breathe, appreciate what you have, smell the flowers in bloom, feel the warmth of the sun, do something for yourself. Even my very social husband needs his alone time – playing drums, exercising, or walking the dog. Maybe the amount he needs is smaller, but he still gets re-energized by doing something for himself.

I write this post more as an acknowledgement of my needs, giving myself permission to escape into solitude without guilt.

But take time for yourself every once in a while to appreciate all of the amazing things you do, enjoy something you love, and nurture your soul before you go back to the daily grind.


My Absence Explained

Some people have been asking why I’ve not written any posts recently, so I thought I’d give you a quick picture into my recent activities. It’s not particularly exciting I’m afraid. I was being a mom, with just a smattering of Brain Cancer.

I went on a field trip with my son’s class to a very cool place at the University of California Santa Cruz. It’s called the Life Lab and they learned about leaves, held chickens and warm eggs, and explored to find different kind of roots. It was pretty awesome and they had a great time. Because it was a pre-defined agenda for first graders, it was a little frustrating for me because I was finding things off of that agenda and I couldn’t use my discoveries as teachable moments. I found bugs, cool remains of some plant – you know, like when it’s just a skeleton left behind, an incredible view of the ocean, a bird’s nest and a few other things. I couldn’t interrupt the UCSC student’s planned schedule of discovery. So many missed moments – but maybe that’s just the previous educator in me.  I’ll have to take my kids back some day and explore more freely.

Other than that we’ve gone swimming, cleaned rooms, sorted Lego collections, walked the dog, supervised and supported a science project, hung out with friends and our awesome neighbors, volunteered in the school library, planned part of a summer trip, and other lovely, daily life activities. I’ve had a great time playing with the younger siblings of the girls in our school’s Girls on the Run team during practice. I attempted to fix a broken dryer – unsuccessfully – making us Wilders without clean underpants. I fixed a broken car – though to be honest, it wasn’t very hard – I pushed the connector to the negative thingie on the battery back down after it popped up. I went to a fundraising event for the Valley Medical Center Foundation where my brother-in-law is the Executive Director. He knows EVERYONE – it’s amazing to see him work a room and explain the value of the VMC to our community. My husband was a ‘celebrity bartender’ at the event. It was a great success and if you like wine, you should go to Facebook and like his page Wilder on Wine. He’s funny, knowledgable, likes affordable wines, and is incredibly handsome. And yes, this is a shameless promotion.

On the Brain Cancer front, I’ve had another round of vaccine shots. I was invited to be a part of 2 panels for Clinical Trial Awareness Week at Stanford. It’s interesting to see how different each trial is in terms of what’s being targeted, how is the drug supposed to work, how it’s administered, etc. For example, one panelist talked about spending 12 hours receiving infusions (with some breaks). Some people have to drive great distances to get their treatments. It takes me 20 minutes to get to Stanford and I spend about an hour and a half at the Center for Translational Medicine and then I’m on my way home to dig an ice pack out of the freezer. Again, I’ve been pretty lucky.

So now you know. I’m healthy, busy, and enjoying my between days. Now I’m off to start digging in the garden.