Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fight or Flight

I have a ridiculous survival instinct. My goal, at any given moment, is to stay alive. It's a genetic gift handed down from prehistoric man. Our genes have one pass on our genetic material. In order to do that, you need to stay alive. (I have no actual desire to have kids, but in theory my genes do.)

While my main goal is to stay alive, there are others whose goal is to live. Do you see the difference there? I'm trying to stay alive, but they're living.

I'll call them thrillseekers.

Mountain climbers are among those who I would have to classify as thrillseekers, or livers.

There's no evolutionary reason to climb a mountain. It makes absolutely no sense from a genetic standpoint. Sure, you could argue that a potential mate might see you as strong and therefore a viable candidate for mating, but that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Recently, Rod was watching a movie about people climbing K2, and I got sucked in. I'm no thrillseeker, but I do love reading about people who climb mountains. I do not understand why people climb (because it's there isn't really a valid reason for me) but I love watching them do it.

Last year, we did some hiking on the Eiger Trail. It's hiking, not climbing in any way. But there's a bit of a vertical gain and it's not exactly a walk in the park. About 30 minutes into our hike, I pretty much had a meltdown. It was really hard, and even though I had been training for the hike, nothing had really prepared me for the exhaustion that your muscles feel when you are doing this kind of hiking. (Like, you're looking straight up at where you have to go. It's not a fun sight.) I didn't really know how much further it was, or how much harder it was going to get. I figured if 30 minutes had mentally and physically drained me, I'd probably be better off cutting my losses and just turning around. Better safe than sorry, better to stay alive than risk the unknown. That is how my brain works. At all times.

Buuuuuuuuuut........I was in Switzerland. At the foot of the world-famous Eiger. On a hike with Rod. And I had been planning this for a few months. So I turned off my instinct to stay alive and decided to live instead. We hiked the 5 miles, ate a quick sandwich and then ran down the mountainside to catch the last train back to Grindelwald. It's one of my favorite memories ever but I still would prefer to read about climbing than do it.

(For a great read on mountain climbing, check out Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. I could not put it down...finished it in a night, which is pretty unusual for me....)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Why can't there be a middle ground?

You guys, one week ago today I was complaining about how much I had to do. With 20 pages worth of papers due in a 2 day period, I was so over school. I kept thinking, "this isn't fun. From now on I'm only doing things that are fun. I'm gonna go to Starbucks every day and read books that I want to read and not write any stupid papers." Now, a mere 7 days later, I've had my fill of free time.

Why can't there be something between zero and sixty?

Last year I graduated and spent the summer "writing my grad school essay." I spent my free time drawing, reading Jung, hiking, running, doing physical therapy for too much hiking and running, traveling, hanging out with friends, etc. Maybe I just need a few more weeks to get in the groove of relaxing?

4 months of school+The Longest Winter Ever+new medication that wipes me out for 18 days every month=a very out of shape Kristin. I did yoga for the first time in 4 months this week and thought I was going to pass out. I think I'm going to pass out every time I do yoga, but this time I almost stepped out of the studio to gather myself. The day after that, I had to keep pace with one of my professors on a walk from Main Hall to Market Street. I was so winded that I could barely carry on a conversation with her. Last year I was probably in the best shape of my life, this year I can see that I am not.

I'm just looking for some middle ground here....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Newly Diagnosed with Carcinoid? Here's where to start.

If you aren't already signed up for the Carcinoid List message board thingy over at ACOR, do it now. Like RIGHT NOW. It can be a lifesaving, game changing thing. The folks on there are carcinoid patients, with issues like yours....yes, people just like you! They can tell you all about their experiences with surgery, PRRT, exams and labs......all the things you are going through. Plus, Dr. Woltering is on there and will answer questions for you.....usually with a yes or no or the shortest answer possible, but answer from the top doc in the field is always good.

Here is the link:

Just type "carcinoid" in the search box, hit the "search" button and then click on the link for carcinoid cancer and neuroendocrine tumors.

Then enter your name and email address. 

There are a few more steps but I think you will figure it out! I didn't want to create a second account just for the screen shots.

What are you waiting for??  Go do it now!  And hit me up on here or via email if you have any questions.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Quick update.....

I’ve been a really bad member of the carcinoid community. It’s not that I’m in denial about my condition; it’s just that when my tumors act all stable, I figure I might as well not talk about them. I imagine there will be a day in my future when carcinoid rules the roost again, and I’ll give him all the attention he needs, but for now I’ve relegated my disease to the back burner.

A month ago I went to a carcinoid conference for the first time since 2011, and I realized just how much I have been neglecting my disease. Someone asked where my primary was, and although I know where it was, the terminology to explain it had escaped me. “Ileum, I think?” was my response. That’s pretty bad. I used to be able to rattle off my entire diagnosis and treatment in a single (long) breath.

Being around other carcinoid patients is a great thing for me. I realize I need to get out into our growing community more. I will be attending the New Jersey Carcinoid Cancer Network conference this weekend. Looking forward to seeing some other zebras and seeing what they've been up to.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I am not a mountaineer.

One of the highlights (for me) of our trip was the Matterhorn Museum. I got to learn about Edward Whymper and his success and tragedy on the first ascent of the Matterhorn. I like hiking. But hiking and mountain climbing are two entirely different animals. And that's fine, even according to Whymper: "Others, again, who are not detractors, find mountaineering, as a sport, to be wholly unintelligible. It is not greatly to be wondered at— we are not all constituted alike." (I'm reading and enjoying his book Scrambles Amongst the Alps in the years 1860-69 (Kindle Locations 3686-3688).

At the Matterhorn Museum, I finally learned what bivying is. My brain chose to not process the idea. I looked at a picture of someone in a tent attached to the side of a mountain, and my brain says, "error. does not compute."

This picture does not even begin to match the one I saw in the museum. Maybe Rod took a picture. IT'S A TENT ATTACHED TO THE SIDE OF A MOUNTAIN. WHUT?!

Anyhow, you should at least read a little about the first ascent of the Matterhorn. It has a surprise twist at the end!