Friday, November 4, 2011

Brief update on some new achievements

I'll admit it - this is a little bit of a bragging post.

I've crossed a few more things off my Superhero To-Do List:

-I've lost 10lbs (10/28/11)
-I found a reason to dress up (attended Colorado Symphony Orchestra performance of Holst's The Planets, complete with imagery from NASA - it was music geek and astro geek rolled into one! 10/1/11)
-I've learned some new songs on the cello

And the big one:

-My paper on social media engagement has been accepted by the International Digital Media and Arts Journal and will be published in early 2012! My first publication, and my first experience with peer-reviewed journals.

I've got a few more in the works, including training for my first post-surgery-sickness-body-explosion 5K (December 11, the Jingle Bell Run to benefit the Arthritis Foundation), and I'm prepping my application to the Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) for their 2012 Fellowship program.

I haven't been able to visit the doctors at Craig Hospital yet, strictly due to lack of time, but I will be helping out with the new SuperBetter platform by supporting players and offering tips in their game experience. I am so incredibly excited to be doing this!

One new addition to my To-Do list is to make more regular posts about social media and health, and innovative methods for treatment and disease management. I'm challenging myself to start with bi-weekly posts in December (don't look at me like that! The project proposal for SNCR is going to suck up a lot of my time in November.)

Thank you for indulging me with this quick self-congratulatory posting. I hope to have something a little less navel-gazing for you next time. ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SuperBetter Wrap-up Part II - Challenges and Moving Forward

See Part I: Successes

Challenges: It took us a while to work out how to manage achievements and missions, especially with ten people playing. I think this should probably be added as a component to the “Recruit Allies” step: establish a framework for how missions will be managed and achievements awarded. When a lot of people are playing, and especially when they are new to social gaming, they may be eager to participate but not really know what to do.  They may fear looking stupid, or “doing it wrong.” Setting up weekly mission and achievement managers and creating a backup person for each of these let everyone participate but not feel as if they had to shoulder a big burden.  Backups and rotating the manager positions is essential when the game becomes a long endeavor.  Mine spanned several months, and it was just not possible for one person to be the Mission Manager that entire time.  The number one thing I did NOT want from this game was to make it an annoyance, hassle, or a source of stress for my allies.  It’s a game; I wanted it to be fun.  I think we achieved that in the end, but it took a little tweaking. 

One thing that worked well in this regard was having a Game Master, which I informally asked JP to do. He is one of the best GMs and storytellers I’ve ever met, so it seemed natural to ask him to help create the mythos for my game, as well as help with the structure.  It helps take the pressure off of the sick or injured person to come up with the game system, and allows a point of contact for the other players to ask questions.

I was also pretty horrible in keeping track of my points. With Matt traveling, I really didn’t have anyone with me to help with this, and I often just forgot to record things.  I got in the habit later in the game of posting points updates nightly, and collecting these in one post per week, and that seemed to work pretty well.

It was hard for me to see what I needed in order to develop missions and powerups, and this was another area where my allies performed beautifully. I think I probably could have done better in creating these myself though, and to actually utilize the rewards I’d created as well.  JP gave an excellent suggestion of creating rewards that were not attached to money, and I wish I had done more of those.  I think he made a very important point that rewards to ourselves should come from a variety of sources, and shouldn’t necessarily be attached to material items or expenses. 

Moving Forward: We are reasonably sure that my infection is gone, as it’s been four months and 20 days since my surgery and I am still symptom free.  I feel comfortable closing this round of SuperBetter, but this experience has been so powerful, and so meaningful for me, that I’d like to transform this blog into something else.  I’ve become a SuperBetter evangelist, telling nearly everyone I meet about it. I brought it up to coworkers, to fellow patients in the infusion center, to people online. It worked so well for me, and I want to share it with others in the hope that it will help them too. Last month, I had a non-medical appointment with my infectious disease doctor to discuss SuperBetter and get his perspective on it as a healthcare provider. My ID doctor is about 75 years old (not kidding, he’s been in practice nearly 50 years) and is not the most tech-savvy person or knowledgeable about games. In fact, when I told him I work in social media, he asked if that meant I worked for a TV station. After I explained SuperBetter to him and how I had implemented it, though, he was extremely enthusiastic about its potential as part of a treatment plan. We talked about utilizing the game to increase patient compliance (the bane of doctors treating the chronically ill), and ways to implement test cases.  He gave me the names of doctors at Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital in Englewood specializing in treating spinal cord and brain injuries, to speak with about running a SuperBetter trial with patients recovering from serious injury.  I plan to continue interviewing healthcare practitioners to gain their perspectives about how to implement the principles of gamification – whether that’s SuperBetter or something else – as part of treatment plans, and to work with Craig Hospital to run a session with patients there.  These plans got derailed somewhat by purchasing a home at the end of July, which ate up all my spare time, but this is how I plan to continue my SuperBetter experience.

I’d like to use this blog to track the progress of my plans, as well as to discuss how to use the SuperBetter principles in different scenarios.  I think the game works really, really well when there’s an endpoint in sight – when you can “win” by recovering.  This was phenomenal for dealing with my bone infection, but I am still ruminating on how it can be used for the management of chronic disease.  For my Crohn’s, for example, there is no endpoint – I will never recover from that illness. I may have periods, even years, of remission, but it is always with me.  I would love to hear ideas about how to adapt the game for these chronic conditions, and that brings me to another way I’d like to use this blog: to write about and exchange ideas on chronic illness management.  Particularly, I’d like to talk about how technology can help, whether that’s through the traditional online support groups, social media applications and games, or something else.

I would like to invite all of my allies to continue on this journey with me, and to help me continue battle these evils that haunt so many of us. SuperBetter not only helped me recover from a terrible illness, but it ignited in me a passion for “gaming for good”, an area of which I had no prior knowledge. It’s a natural fit for my interests in social media, technology, and healthcare, and I’m excited to continue my education in this arena. So will you join me, allies, for another adventure?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SuperBetter Wrap-up: Part I

I meant to write this in June, while everything was still fresh in my mind.  That plan obviously didn't work out, however, so I've tried to collect my thoughts as best as I could. I've divided it into two posts, because man, my thoughts got long.

Let me give you a quick update though.

First off, I appear to be fully recovered! I finished my round of vancomycin on June 6, and the PICC line was removed June 7. I'm on oral antibiotics probably for another 10 months, but three pills a day is WAY easier to deal with than three IV infusions a day and a stupid tube in my arm.  My bone is showing no signs of recurrent infection, a fact about which I thought my infectious disease doctor was actually going to throw a party.  I've got 99.9% of the feeling back in my face - there is a small, small area of my lower lip that doesn't feel quite right when I move it, but it's honestly so insignificant that I hardly notice it. We're talking about reconstruction now, and although that won't happen probably for another 6-8 months, my infectious disease doctor said I'd likely be back on the IV antibiotics for about 3 weeks when they do the implants to replace my missing teeth. He's being overly cautious because he is really determined not to let this infection come back -- an attitude that I appreciate. I still have to get back with the immunologist to continue the testing of my immune system, which I haven't done yet because I was sort of enjoying NOT having to go to doctors every five minutes.

Secondly, I've accomplished two lesser and one major item on my Superhero To-Do List:
  • I got my main toon on World of Warcraft up to level 85
  • I learned a complete song on cello (which, by the way, a big shoutout to my cello teacher for being possibly the most understanding, most amazing, most wonderful cello teacher EVER)
  • Matt and I bought a house!
That last one was something I really thought was never going to happen, but it did, and is the main reason why my write-up of the SuperBetter experience was so delayed.  We closed on July 29, and we are slowly but surely getting everything in its place.  It was a huge EPIC WIN moment for us!

I've also submitted my paper to the International Digital Media and Arts Journal for publication, so keep your fingers crossed for me on that one! It's my first time submitting to a peer-reviewed journal, and I'm nervous.

So overall, things are going well, and it's a great time to transition this blog into something else.  With that, I'll dive into the SuperBetter Wrap-up: Part I - Successes.

What worked: Pulling together a group of friends to get me through a really tough time. Prior to the framework of SuperBetter, people knew I was having a tough time, I knew I was having a tough time, but none of us knew what to do about it. You could say, "Well, why didn’t someone just OFFER to help you clean your house? Or why didn’t someone just SEND you funny videos without being prompted?" The answer is, I don't know. Maybe they didn't think to offer, and I didn't think to ask. Maybe they didn't know that was what I needed – maybe I didn't know that either. All I know is that SuperBetter gave us a framework that helped me ask for what I needed and helped my friends deliver.

One prime example was the day of my last surgery in April. I was feeling anxious and worried, my mind roiling over all the horrible potential outcomes. Dying on the operating table, losing an entire side of my jaw, facial paralysis – that stuff that doctors have to warn you about for informed consent but has really small chances of happening. Erin gave me a mission to write down all the positive things that would result from the surgery. This list not only helped me focus on the good outcomes, but as I was sitting in pre-op, I pulled up the list on my Blackberry and looked at it every time I started to feel anxious. It helped me calm down and retain a positive state of mind. I suppose I could have just written a list like that without someone giving me a “mission” to do so, but I didn’t. I didn’t even think about it. Moreover, people have a tendency to diminish their own positive thoughts. If I had thought of that list on my own, the anxious, worried, black shadow in my brain would have picked it apart piece by piece. When someone else charges us to do something, it takes on greater meaning. It’s more difficult to diminish the power of that charge, and we feel more accomplished because someone else gave us this task.

Similarly, the achievements bestowed upon me by other people made me feel happier and more accomplished. It’s hard to view our own situations objectively. If you’re like me, you take successes in stride and tend to dwell on doing more, and doing it better. Having someone step in and say, “Man, that was really awesome, and I think you should win 10 Internets for that” puts more perspective on an achievement. That recognition by others validates and affirms our successes, and is an important part of life, as well as recovery.

I did a pretty horrible job of staying in character, but I don’t think writing blog posts from my SuperBetter persona is the point of that exercise. The point is to see yourself as powerful, strong, and unconquerable when you feel powerless, weak, and broken. Fending off the forces of evil in the guise of vampires, werewolves, and demons sounds a hell of a lot more heroic than going to doctor’s appointments, taking medication, and struggling with symptoms. The truth is, disease and illness ARE battles – sometimes for life or death – and patients ARE heroes for meeting and overcoming, time and again, the challenges brought on by chronic illness or injury. We don’t see patients like that though – we pity the sick, feel bad for the injured. I don’t think I can properly explain how incredible that shift in perception was for me. The simple act of roleplaying, of seeing myself as someone charged by fate to defeat monsters, empowered me, invigorated me, uplifted me. Instead of wallowing in despair, thinking “Why, God, did this happen to me?” (which, I won’t lie, happened from time to time), I took on the attitude of a superhero. Perhaps it wasn’t fair, and I didn’t deserve to be in this position, but it was my DUTY to defeat these evils and to emerge victorious. Every moment of pain became a grand battle; every doctor’s appointment a training session to increase my skills; every medication a tool with which I would destroy monsters. I’ve seen people poo-poo this idea, and call it silly and childish, but unless you’ve felt how chronic illness or injury can destroy your sense of self, can rob you of your confidence and strength both physical and emotional, you can’t really understand how this silly, childish roleplay makes such a big difference.

The points system totally boosted my feeling of accomplishment. I would get really frustrated and downtrodden over having eleventy million* doctors’ appointments every week. I felt like I was going nowhere. The points system helped me to see just how every appointment, every hour spent at work, every load of laundry was an accomplishment for which I should be proud. I found myself wanting to level up – "Oh man, I’m only 25 points away from 1000XP! I gotta do something else to earn those." It made me realize just how much I was really doing to improve my health. This was especially important when it came to resting. I’m a fairly Type A personality, and if I’m not doing something, I often feel like I’m wasting time and will beat myself up over it later. By giving myself points for resting on the couch or watching movies, it helped me not to feel so guilty. It made me see resting as an ACTIVE part of getting better, rather than a passive one. This is another area where the missions from my allies played an important role. Courtney charged me to watch three movies and write reviews on them (…although I’m not sure I actually got around to writing the reviews – hey, I’m not a perfect superheroine, okay?) because she knew that I needed to rest, and she also knew that staying still is really, really hard for me. By coming up with a mission that required me to rest, she helped me do something essential for my recovery, and the mission framework helped me to see it as a participatory experience.

@eowynridesagain, a Twitter buddy who was also using SuperBetter to help her recover from a concussion put it best when she said that this game gets us to focus on what we CAN do, rather than what we CAN'T.

When you’re ill or injured, the world becomes one of can'ts. I can’t lift that because of the PICC line in my arm; I can’t attend that event because I’m too tired; I can’t go to work because I’m on enough medications to kill a horse and barely know my own name. A million times a day the word "can't" goes through your mind, and it murders your soul by inches. If I boil all the benefits of this game down to one thing, it is this: SuperBetter turns can't into can. Sure, there are still things you aren't allowed to or shouldn't do, but you stop focusing so much on the limitations. You begin to see and celebrate your achievements.

Lastly, SuperBetter helped me to not feel so isolated. My husband’s job required him to travel a lot during the spring, and because I was out on FMLA from work, I was literally alone. SuperBetter, utilizing the framework of this blog, allowed loved ones from eight different states to come together and help me out. It made me feel connected to them, and gave them a way to do something from a distance. I looked forward to posts made by my allies and chatted with them in comments. I felt empowered every time I made a post. I felt loved every time I saw the energy and dedication given freely by my friends to support my recovery. These emotional benefits contributed greatly to maintaining a positive mindset, and helped reduce feelings of isolation.

The question everyone asks is, “Did it help speed your recovery?” I can’t say unequivocally that I got better faster because of this game, but I will tell you what my infectious disease doctor told me. In nearly fifty years of medical practice, he said he’s come to one conclusion: patients’ attitudes overwhelmingly influence the recovery process. Patients that are optimistic and empowered are more likely to be compliant (e.g., adhering to their drug regimens); patients that are depressed, lonely, and downtrodden are less likely to be compliant, and do not take as much of an active role in their recovery process. It’s hard to know if attitude influences speed of recovery, simply because there are so many other variables, but my doctor was sure that attitude definitely affects the quality of the recovery. You may not get better faster, but you'll get better better.

I don't know what to say to the folks who want to deride and dismiss SuperBetter or gamification for positive outcomes. I don't understand the need to belittle something that does no harm and may actually help a lot of people. If you think it's stupid, no one is making you play. All I can say is that I hope those people are never in a situation where they need the kind of support that SuperBetter provided me. I hope they never know what it's truly like to be seriously ill or injured, and if they are, I hope that no one belittles their chosen methods to aid recovery.

*small approximation
Up Next: Part II - Challenges and Moving Forward (look for it next week.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Month of May: Rest for Allies

Hey Allies!

I'm doing a lot better now - I'm still sleeping quite a bit, but I feel a lot better.  I have some of my energy back, and I'm starting to feel like myself.  Even Matt commented on how much better I seem.  I noted it to my doctor. I'm almost four weeks into the antibiotics now, and if I compare how I feel now to how I felt at the end of January, it's a difference like night and day.  I don't know if it's because in January I was still trying to work full time, never mind trying to wrap up two ENORMOUS projects at work for which I was the lead, but I was barely hanging on.  I was exhausted, in pain, and felt totally pummeled by life.  Now - I'm sleeping 9-10 hours (which is more than normal for me), but I feel so much better, it's incredible. My doctor pointed out that 95-98% of the infection had been removed by the surgeon, so my body doesn't have to work so hard to fight it. 

It's making a huge difference.

So I'm trying to go back to work on Monday.  This week will be my part-time schedule, four hours a day.  If that goes okay, the next week I will try working five or six hours, and just work up to being back to full time.  I'm also trying to get back into my exercise routine, at least on some level.  I can't sweat while the PICC line is in, because sweat can cause the line to get infected, but I figured I could walk or take an easy hike or bike ride.  If I can get back into the routine of making time for that, I will feel better and I can add intensity later as my body rebuilds strength and the PICC line comes out. 

I have a lot of missions still on the table.  You guys gave me some great things to work on.  I have items on my Superhero To-Do List that need attention.  I think you all have achieved your SuperBetter goal admirably, which was to support me and to help me get back on my feet.  Please feel free to post things if the urge strikes you, and I will continue to post to fulfill missions and keep you updated.  Of course, if I need you, I will issue a call to arms!

But take a rest for the month of May, my Allies.  You have fought hard and admirably, and pulled me through the darkest, most trying of times.  I don't think I would be here, in the shape that I am in, without you.  Great job, wonderful work, and please know you have my undying gratitude for everything you have done! I will check back in with you in June, to see if we need to continue this round of SuperBetter, or if we want to try to transform this blog into something else.  I have some good ideas for turning it into something else, but I would like to know which contributors would be interested in continuing.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lemon Sugar Cookies


1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and all the remaining ingredients until combine. If dough is not firm enough, chill 1 hour.

2. Place the 1/4 cup remaining sugar on a plate and set aside. Form the cookies into 1 inch balls, roll each in sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool 2 minutes and remove from cookie sheet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Animal Power

As our huntress loves the small furry ones, Here's some videos to help her smile.

There's a bunch of the tiger at different ages. All so cute!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daily activities April 11-24

Got behind again on posting the daily activities, bah.

Spent a last few hours with Alys and Chris before taking them to airport - 20 XP
Rested and went to bed early - 15 XP

Six hours of doctor's appointments (not kidding) - 60 XP
Rested - 15 XP
Picked up dog from daycare - 2 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP
Blog post (mission) - 50 XP
Filed taxes - 15 XP

One hour doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Took a nap - 15 XP
Sought help from a friend to run errand/do chores - 15 XP
Gamed with friends (power up!) - 25 XP

Blog post (mission) - 50 XP
Thanked people for their support - 5 XP
Rested and watched recommended movies/TV shows (mission) - 30 XP

Went to a movie with a friend (power up!) - 25 XP
Ran errands - 15 XP
Watched movies at home and rested - 25 XP
Did dishes and cleaned up a little bit - 10 XP

Two hours of doctor's appointments - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Ran errands - 15 XP
Rested and watched Dexter (mission) - 30 XP
Played cello - 10 XP

Two hours of doctor's appointments - 20 XP
Spent time with Matt (power up!) - 25 XP
Went to Home Depot for our yearly ritual of plant buying - 25 XP
Rested and watched Dexter - 15 XP

Slept in and rested - 10 XP
Watched Dexter (mission) - 20 XP
Played Scrabble with Matt - 25 XP
Had a really good day - 25 XP

Good day

I still spent all day in my pajamas and didn't do much, but today was a really good day.

I felt good. I didn't have any pain.  I was alert and talkative and generally felt like myself, only touched with a little bit of tiredness.  Best of all, the surgeon told me yesterday that I could start working normal foods into my diet again, so I had cereal for breakfast and tasty French bread sandwiches for dinner.

Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've eaten cereal? This feels like a freaking epic victory!

It's all about those little things that make one start to feel like herself again.  Tomorrow, Matt's coming home early, and I'm really hoping to start walking or perhaps even a bike ride.  I also want to try some of the yoga exercises sent to me by the awesome @eowynridesagain.

I still need a lot of sleep and tire pretty easily, but I'm not going to let that overshadow how good I felt today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts on limitations

Matt came home somewhat unexpectedly very early this morning (at like 4:30am)! This is great news for me, because I was really getting worn down trying to manage the daily household activities without him.  I have a really hard time just doing everyday things, like washing the dishes and cooking.  These simple activities exhaust me so much, and with having to go to the doctor nearly every damn day last week, I was quickly getting burnt out.  My new antibiotics have to infuse for 1.5-2 hours twice a day, which means during that time I'm attached to a flipping IV.  It's very frustrating for me, because it gets in the way of everything that I do.   For example, I was trying to load the dishwasher Sunday, and caught the IV tube on the corner of the oven door.  I ripped the foam tape that anchors the PICC line to my arm, but thankfully didn't pull the PICC out.  It didn't really hurt, but it frustrated me so much that I started crying, and then my dog was all like, "WHAT'S WRONG MOM?? BELLA FIX IT!!"

I'll admit the cuteness factor of the dog helped me pull myself together.

It's those little things - the limitations I face on activities I wouldn't give a second thought to prior to all this.  I bought kitty litter at Target, but had to have one of the employees put it in my car for me since I can't lift more than 10 lbs on my right arm, and I couldn't lift the 40 lb box with my left hand alone.  Then I got home and realized I had no way to get the litter out of the trunk of my car.

I had to ask a friend to help me empty my trash and to take me to buy Bella's dog food.

While I know my friends don't mind doing these things, I still find it intensely embarrassing to ask.  I mean, it's my house and my trash and my dog, why should someone else be doing these things for me? This is the part that I think most people without chronic illness find difficult to understand.  Healthy and able friends and family are happy to help, so why is it so embarrassing and hard to ask them for that assistance? I can't explain it myself, only that it sort of re-intensifies the illness.

Because you're sick, you can't take out your trash.

Because you're sick, you give a long and probably unnecessary explanation to the Target clerk about why you need help out to your car, because you know you look fine and you fear judgment.

Because you're sick, you wonder if people will ever get sick of you and your constant need for help.

Because you're sick, you feel a loss of independence and self-sufficiency.

Running into these limitations makes the illness somehow worse, because you remember what it was like to not have to think about how to get kitty litter out of your trunk.  I feel like this post turned out more depressing than I planned, but this is probably the absolute worst part of illness for me.  I can deal with the pain and the nausea and the exhaustion and the turning of my counter into a small pharmacy.  It's harder to deal with feeling like I can't do things I want to do, or that I can't accomplish the small errands needed in my household.  I've battled against limitations since I was diagnosed with Crohn's in 2004, and I still refuse to let disease dictate my life - but it's getting harder and harder to do that.  That's also where SuperBetter helps me the most.  I don't feel guilty asking you to play a game, and people volunteer for missions, so I don't feel like I'm asking too much.  Many times, you all also see better than I do what I need to get better.  It helps me push back against those frustrations.

I watched this TED talk the day before I had surgery.  I found this statement to be the most powerful: "We have to stop letting disease divorce us from our dreams." I wholeheartedly believe this; now it's time for me to stop letting disease cause me such distress over little things as well.

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Week, New Missions

Right. Let's Do This.

Hope everyone is well and ready for another week of kicking ass (what with the bubble gum shortage, what other option is there?). Let's get into this week missions:

Batman has Robin, the Green Hornet has Kato. Who's beside you when you're out there fighting? Sidekicks don't always get the glory, but they make life a better place just by being there. Tell us about your sidekicks and what talents they have. 50 points per post. 500 points if you post a picture of your sidekick in their costume.

Was it Gross?
Remembering that we're looking for soft foods, offer a recipe and a review of that recipe. It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to be new - if you have a favorite comfort food and would like to share, please do. 50 points for each recipe, 150 points for each recipe that includes your review.

Additional Additions
I really liked the suggestion of adding a decent tasting protein powder to smoothies and I'd like to hear any other tips anyone has to make a meal or recipe more nutritious. The Huntress needs all the extra energy she can get. What do you suggest? 25 points per suggestion.

Seriously, People
We had some funny stuff posted last week, but I bet there might be one or two more items out there worth a look. This is the Internet people, and wasting time on funny stuff is what it's all about (well, it's what we're all about since this isn't one of those "You must be 18 years or older to enter" sites). 25 points per post.

Too Cute for Words
Spending time with the smaller members of the pack makes everyone feel better. It makes them feel special and it helps us get our minds off of our problems. Teach your little one a new trick this week. Could be basic obedience stuff like sit or stay, or maybe something a little flashier like shaking paws. If your pet's a little more advanced, now might be a good time to introduce Calculus. 15 points for every half hour spent learning a new task with your little one (doesn't have to be a furry, four legged little one, either). 25 points for a cute picture, 50 points if it's a cute picture of them performing the new task. 200 points for video of the new trick.

Huntress, we continue to need you to use the red phone and let us know what's going on in the world. Did you watch something you really liked? Tell us why and we'll try to find you more like it. Did you eat something that tasted yummy? What did you like about it? We'll try to get you similar recipes. If we find exercises for you, do they work? Did you do them? Please let us know what's helpful and what's working for you. I challenge you to post something here every day, even if it's just to check in and let us know how you're doing. 25 points per post.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Optimal Optimism: Addendum

I forgot to add one thing.

Although I'm not able to take Bella for long walks, I still try to take her for out for about 30 minutes a day, if I'm able.  This is good for her, and it's good for me - studies have shown that just getting outside for a few minutes can boost emotional health.  Today I walked her slowly up the street from my apartment, letting her sniff and explore.  It was the kind of day I love: early spring, comfortably cool, a slight breeze picking up the scent of blooming flowers.  The trees carried pink and white blossoms, the grass is greening, and I can feel spring and summer coming close, carrying all the things I love, like camping, biking, mountain adventures, and good times with friends.  It was a great pick-me-up, and I'm glad I walked slowly and let my senses take it all in, instead of pushing myself to walk fast and keep my heartrate up.  Sometimes it's nice to just walk, and really enjoy it, instead of worrying about what kind of cardio workout I'm getting.

Mission for Allies: Movement is Life

Prior to my scourge of illnesses, I exercised almost daily: biking, hiking, running, swimming.  I'm banned from some of those activities now, due to the PICC line, but the weather is starting to turn nice here, and I'd like to start gently restarting my exercise. 

I used to do yoga for 30 minutes every morning, centered primarily on repetitions of Sun Salutation.  I can no longer do this routine, since I cannot support my weight on my PICC arm (for those unfamiliar with Sun Salutation, certain parts require you to do a push-up like position, and that's a no-no.) 

Mission: Movement is Life: Help me find other yoga asanas (poses) and routines that can take the place of Sun Salutation.  I don't remember many other poses, so I need something to fill the gap.  Remember - I cannot support my body weight on my right arm, but any other kind of movement is fine.

Additionally, if you run across any other exercise plans for those recovering from surgery or for the chronically ill, I'd love to see them! Right now my plan is just to start with modified versions of what I did before: shorter bike rides, walking instead of running, less vigorous hikes. 


Courtney's Mission: Optimal Optimism

I've been really remiss in posting and commenting here, but you Allies are doing such a fabulous job of keeping me upbeat! I truly appreciate all your help and support.

I also want to send a warm welcome to Alys, who has joined the game! Welcome, Alys, and thank you!

For Courtney's first mission, I was asked to do the following:

"You should let us know what all is keeping your spirits up, what has made you laugh, what is getting better and what you have been utilizing to maintain your spirit. Also let us know what has been hard, and what we or you can do to make it easier."

Really, my extremely wonderful friends have been keeping my spirits up.  It was a little tiring to have company right after my surgery, but I am also so incredibly glad that Alys and her beau Chris could come visit us.  It was a much needed break from the stress and strain of illness, and it's really impossible to feel badly when Alys is around, because she is so bubbly and funny.  Additionally, they brought horribly awesome movies (the kind that are so bad they're great), and I laughed so hard my damaged lungs either accelerated in healing to full expansion or were further traumatized, I'm not sure which.  

All the support messages I received has helped me to maintain my spirit as well, and just connecting with friends to talk about mundane stuff has made me feel like my life is getting back to normal.  As for what's getting better: my pain is greatly diminished, in both my arm and face; the swelling is almost gone; I'm able to eat progressively more human foods (I had pizza last night! Not the crust, but pizza nonetheless!); I feel less like I've been pummeled on by a professional boxer.  Some of the feeling is coming back to my face, which makes me very happy as well.  I'm still pretty tired, but I'm at a point where I don't know if that's because my body is recovering still or if I'm low energy due to lack of exercise.  When I start to feel bad emotionally, I reach out to my friends, I read posts on this blog, I read post on my Facebook wall and Twitter, and that reminds me that I am not alone, and I take encouragement from those words. 

The hardest thing has just been dealing with the everyday life stuff while Matt has been out of town.  It's really exhausting to me to keep up on laundry, dishes, walking the dog, taking care of the dog and cat, and cooking when he's not here (and makes me appreciate even more everything he does when he IS here, because Matt is my superhero.)  I feel guilty about not playing with the dog as much or taking her out for long walks like I used to do.  I feel bad because the house gets messy and I just don't have the stamina to clean.  Doug, who may also soon be joining the game, helped me take care of some household duties Friday, including taking out my trash and carrying Bella's dogfood into the house, since the PICC line prohibits me from lifting more than 10lbs on my right arm.  I felt embarrassed asking him to help, especially with the trash, because I feel like these are my responsibilities and I shouldn't be foisting them on other people.  That exemplifies the hardest thing for me: acknowledging that I am legitimately ill and injured and need help.  It's not that I think I can do everything by myself, but I just never feel like I'm so sick I should be asking people to do things like chores for me.  I have a constant fear of overextending my friends' goodwill or of asking too much, and that makes it really hard for me to reach out when I need help.  Similarly, it's hard for me to give myself permission to do nothing and rest.  Angela, the friend who originally linked me to SuperBetter, suggested making rest a goal, and I think that would work well for me.  My problem is, when I spend a day on the couch, I always have a voice in my head yelling at me for "wasting time" or being lazy -- even if I desperately need that rest.  It's like I always think I need to be doing something: cleaning, exercising, working on my designs or learning code, running errands, etc.  If I make it a goal, I'll instead feel like I'm accomplishing something instead of "doing nothing."

That's also why I really appreciated Courtney's other mission, to review movies and TV shows suggested to me last week.  It makes rest a mission and a goal - and Courtney knows me well enough to know this is how I have to approach it if I don't want to struggle with my Type A personality.  I couldn't find some of them on Netflix, but I did find Dexter, Pillars of the Earth, Penn & Teller, and a couple others.  I also found Tudors on streaming, which wasn't suggested to me but I have been wanting to watch.

Also, my cello teacher will be amused to know that the first question I asked the radiology team when they placed my PICC in my right arm is if I could still bow with it.  They said yes. :) I hope to start playing again soon, as my arm is finally not throbbing with pain.  I do feel like things are slowly but steadily improving, so let's just hope my bloodwork and films show the same thing on my bone.  I would like to start gently exercising next week, but for that, I need your help.  Mission for Allies in next post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boss Fight - Surviving the Surgery

I apologize for my silence, friends.  Last week, I prepared for a battle against a group of vampires.  I thought I was prepared - I'd armed myself, gathered my allies, and formed a strategy for attack.  But I didn't anticipate their numbers, or encountering a Master Vampire.  I'd only fought a Master once before, about six years ago, and he nearly destroyed me.  With the help of my allies, I managed to defeat those bastards and escape, if somewhat narrowly.  I spent three days recuperating, and I'm still not back to 100%.  In celebration of our victory, as soon as I was able to get on my feet, I took several days away with a few close allies.  We laughed and ate fine food, relishing our brief respite, for this battle may be won, but the war goes on...


Twitter post April 5: Battle time. My allies are gathered, & I even have a soundtrack.

Last Tuesday, April 5, was my surgery.  The plan was to go in and remove any unhealthy bone - as my surgeon described it, if the bone didn't bleed right, he was going to cut it out.  This was because both the surgeon and the infectious disease doctor believed the necrotic and diseased bone prevented the antibiotics from being delivered to the infected site, since there was no healthy bloodflow to those areas.  By removing anything that appeared unhealthy, we hope that this time the antibiotics can more easily reach the affected areas.  He removed a significant portion of my upper mandible, and another big part of my lower mandible.  I lost another tooth (bringing the total to four now) because there wasn't enough bone underneath it to hold it in place.  The jaw part of the surgery went well, but because I'm me, and can't do anything simply, there were other complications.

Soon after the anesthesiologist put me under, my lungs started having problems.  My oxygen levels dropped really low, and I went into tachycardia - the medical term for increased heart rate.  This happens when the heart is under distress, and can sometimes indicate imminent heart failure.  I didn't flatline or anything, but I significantly scared the surgeon and the anesthesiologist that they almost stopped the surgery.  They were able to stabilize me, and the surgeon made the decision to go ahead and operate and just try to get me out from under the anesthesia as quickly as possible.  When I woke up, I told them that my right arm hurt (which had nothing but an IV in it) and that I couldn't breathe.  Fearing that I had thrown another clot and was suffering a pulmonary embolism again, the surgeon and the OR team rushed me to have a CT of my chest.  The scan showed no embolism, but rather a condition called atelectasis - basically, my lungs had partially collapsed.  So I was placed on oxygen, and there was talk of putting me in the ICU.  In the end, they put me in the progressive care unit, which is for patients who are slightly better than those in the ICU but still in need of considerable monitoring and care.

As my dad said in response to me telling him all this, apparently I don't do anything halfway.  Including scaring the bejeesus out of my surgeon.  I'm told I'm medically famous now, as doctors warn each other about me and the weird stuff that seems to always happen to me.

I went through Tuesday night on pressurized oxygen, with my heart hooked up to a portable EKG, a pulseox monitor on my hand to monitor my oxygen levels, compression machines on my legs to mitigate the risk of further blood clots, and a new IV in my left arm - they had to pull the one in the right due to what we later discovered was, you guessed it, more blood clots.  Needless to say, it wasn't a very restful or comfortable night.  My throat was also really sore from the intubation tube.  The doctors came into tell me that my bloodwork showed low dispersion of oxygen in my blood and an elevated level of troponin, a protein secreted by the heart when it is under stress.  My levels weren't crazy high - I think the said the upper threshold of normal was like 5 or something, and people who are having a heart attack are at 20 or 30.  So it wasn't super severe, but given that I had no known heart conditions, the hospital wanted to keep me until they could ascertain that the distress in my heart and lungs was caused by the anesthesia and not something else.  Which I appreciate, because if I went home and felt sick, that's one thing, but if they sent me home with an underlying cardiac or pulmonary problem, well, that could end not so well for me.

Five million tests later (I'm sure this is an exaggeration, but this is what it felt like), including an ultrasound of both my arms before placing a PICC line to ensure there were no major clots in my large veins, I was told the doctors were satisfied with the test results and would be letting me go.  I did have another PICC placed, as I'm back on a super ridiculous IV "antibiotic of last resort" called vancomycin, which had to be placed in my right arm.  The brachial vein in my right arm is apparently FAR larger than the one in my left - this means that it was much, much easier to place the PICC this time, and a lot less painful.  It also means that I can't lift anything heavier than 10lbs with my right hand, which is my dominant side, which is kind of inconvenient and annoying, but c'est la vie.

The doctors discharged me late Thursday afternoon, after which I accompanied Matt, while doped up on liquid Vicodin (it tastes like 99 Bananas, I swear - and as Matt said, that's not a good way to discourage drug addiction, haha), to the airport to pick up two friends who were visiting.  I was really anxious about not being able to be a good hostess and show them a good time due to being Swelly McSurgeryFace, but the weekend went extremely well.  I had a ton of fun, and probably wore myself out a little too much, but it was well worth it.  I'm still off work for a few weeks, so I can catch up on rest during that time - being with friends is incredibly energizing for me, even when it tires me out.  It makes me feel hopeful and strong and unconquerable, because I have such a large number of fantastic people pulling for me.  The posts on my Facebook wall and Twitter, the texts, the emails sent to me by so many people -- I honestly feel like I wouldn't have come out of that surgery as well as I did without all these wonderful people from across the world spending a few moments to send prayers, good vibes, and meditative thoughts my way.

Additionally, this game really helped too.  The mission from Erin to list positive outcomes from the surgery helped me to not be so anxious and worried during pre-op.  I brought up the list on my Blackberry and just kept looking at it when I would start to think bad thoughts.  I told the nurses about SuperBetter, and they all thought it was a fabulous idea.  Several commented that they thought it could really help other patients.  Maybe when I'm well, I can try to set up some kind of program for patients at the hospital.

The missions from last week and this week, the achievements - all of these help me to not feel alone, to find ways to defeat my "bad guys" (some of which I am still discovering), and to not feel like a lazy bum when my Type A side starts wailing that I'm not being active enough.  I am so incredibly glad to have had this in place before the surgery, and to help me with my recovery.

Overall, I'm okay.  My face is still partially numb, because the surgeon had to move my nerve to operate on the bone and thus bruised it slightly.  The numbness should be temporary, and I already am feeling pins and needles in the area.  I'm mostly just really exhausted.  I'm working on giving myself permission to do nothing and rest without feeling guilty or like I'm "wasting time." This is also why I appreciate Courtney's mission to watch the movies and TV shows you all suggested - it makes me feel like I'm still doing something (I'm questing!) while sitting on the couch.  My right arm is feeling better - the clots had made it super, super sore over the weekend.  I also randomly burst a vein or something in my side, reaching down for a water bottle on the floor.  I am awesome.

My breathing is better, my heart seems to be fine, and my jaw looks like it's healing well.  Let's keep our fingers cross that this surgery and the new antibiotic will kick this thing for good.  Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who wished me well and sent healing thoughts to me this last week.  I am stronger because of you!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Laughter Continues with Colbert

Best version of this song ever:

Gettin' All Involved and Stuff

This weekend I got to participate in my community's biggest fund-raiser and awareness campaign against vampires, "Take Back the Jugular." I like to think of it as my opportunity to fight with the best weapon I've got - my big mouth. I talked people into buying over-priced plastic "wooden stakes" that lit up, silver foil covered chocolate bullets, and t-shirts that said "Vampires Can Bite Me." All the money went to help the effort against the foul creatures. And while we didn't actually kill any vamps that night, it felt good to know that there were so many of us united against the Abiding Evils. I got to shake the hands of people who'd survived the most vicious and deadly of attacks, and I got to hear them tell their stories of epic battles and how they'd killed their attackers. It made me think of The Huntress and her fight, of how I hope she knows she's not alone, either.


As of 8:00AM Saturday morning when the event was over, the Texas Bay Area Relay for Life had raised over $770,000 for the American Cancer Society. My feet and throat hurt when it was all over, but it felt really good to help fight against something that has taken so many people from me. I know it's not the same disease (and I swear, if there's a campaign against Crohn's in my area, I'll get out there and sell t-shirts with the best of them), but the event really helped crystallize the game for me - "Screw the disease, we're going to keep living well and beating the crap out of it until it's gone!"

I really hope you're doing OK, Jess. Please post if you feel up to it.

Cardamom-Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

OK, OK, OK, I know these are supposed to be healthy recipes, but I saw this recipe and I had to share:

Make 'em, don't make 'em... I'm just happy knowing that they exist somewhere in the world.

Little Political Laughter

Not that our huntress is political at all.

"Prop 8 - The Musical" starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly, and many more... from Jack Black

And because my favorite president always makes me smile and it has to do with my last video.

Lampooning Laughter Mission: Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

Most of my Internet time is spent looking up food porn, but if the mission calls for funny Internet videos, I think you have to head over to Funny or Die and check out a few episodes of "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Missions

Good Evening, Allies and Huntress,

This week looks like a fine one to continue kicking evil ass and taking names. As such, I would like to discuss this weeks missions.

Huntress, I have a couple of important missions for you.

Optimal Optimism: You are on the road to recovery from you latest outstanding and heroic battle against the vampires and beasts, with the occasional demon sent by the Evils to shake things up. As your allies, we cannot rally to you unless we know. I want you to post to this blog at least 4 times this week. You will receive 50XP for each update. You should let us know what all is keeping your spirits up, what has made you laugh, what is getting better and what you have been utilizing to maintain your spirit. Also let us know what has been hard, and what we or you can do to make it easier.

Lampooning Laughter: There is nothing worse to these evil bastard than being laughed at. As you recover, you have been offered a variety of diversionary tactics in the form of movies and shows. I want you to let us know which you have used and play critic for us and write it up. Let us know by the end of the week what your thoughts were on each piece (and that means, yes, you must sit back, relax and take in a variety of shows. This is why you are payed the big prestige, huntress.) You can also do this with the many recipes that have been sent your way. Be our movie and food critic. 25XP per critique

Allies, I am calling upon you this week as well.

Sending Satire: We have made suggestions of humorous heroics for our huntress to watch to fight back the evils. However, beyond the television diversions, our huntress loves vids from this blasted internet. I want you to either this post, to your own post or to her book of faces, post short diversionary internet vids to keep the huntress's spirits up and let her know that you care and are thinking of her. 25XP per vid.

Mastering Meditation: Our huntress needs our support now more than ever, and many of us cannot be there in person. I ask that on a piece of paper or the like, you draw her symbol of power and put it up where you will see it each day. I ask that when you can spend time meditating on that symbol and connecting to our huntress and her power mark through it. Keep it up for at least this full week. 50XP for the whole week.

I look forward to the updates this week.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Savory Smoothies" or "My Kingdom for Something that Isn't Sweet"

Just in case you're getting tired of all the sweet stuff, here are some savory smoothies to break up the monotony. As always, combine and blend until smooth. All recipes are from "Smoothies and Juices: simple and delicious easy-to-make recipes."

*Red Bell Pepper Booster*
1 cup Carrot Juice
1 cup Tomato Juice
2 large Red Bell Peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

*Ginger Crush*
1 cup carrot Juice
4 Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 Tbs grated Fresh Gingerroot
6 Ice Cubes
1/2 cup Water

*Celery Surprise*
1/2 cup Carrot Juice
1 lb, 2 oz (500g) Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
4 Celery Stalks, trimmed and sliced
4 Scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 oz (25g) fresh Mint

*Curried Crush*
1 cup Carrot Juice
4 Tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
2 Celery Stalks, trimmed and sliced
1 Romaine Lettuce
1 clove Garlic, chopped
1 oz (25g) fresh Parsley
1 tsp. Curry Powder
6 Ice Cubes
1/2 cup Water

*Watercress Float*
2 cups Carrot Juice
1 oz (25g) Watercress or Arugula
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Achievement Herald Checking In

I have to run to class in a minute, but I wanted to herald some achievements really quickly.

Huntress, you get the Pollyanna Achievement for completing the exercise to look on the bright side! - 150 XP

And let's not forget the Exorcising a Demon Achievement for going through your operation successfully. I would really like to give you a million XP for this, but I think I'll have to settle for giving you 300 XP.

I also want to give Matt the Martyr to the Cause Achievement for being an awesome supportive husband - 150 XP

More to come!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's More Fun If You Make the Slurping Noise!

Smoothies! OK, so there's not a lot of crunch, but hopefully you'll get a lot of flavor and vitamins. This post is sweet smoothies, next one will be savory. The directions are all pretty much the same - combine ingredients and blend until smooth. So here's a listing of ingredients from recipes in "Smoothies and Juices: simple and delicious easy-to-make recipes."

*Melon Medley*
1 cup plain yogurt
3 1/2 oz (100g) Galia Melon, cut into chunks
3 1/2 oz (100g) Cantaloupe, cut into chunks
3 1/2 oz (100g) Watermelon, cut into chunks

*Cranberry Energizer*
1 1/4 cups Cranberry Juice
1/2 cup Orange Juice
5 1/2 oz (150g) Raspberries
1 Tbs Lemon Juice

*Nectarine Melt*
1 cup Milk
12 oz (350g) Lemon Sherbet
1 ripe Mango, pitted and diced
2 ripe Nectarines

*Berry Cream*
1 1/2 cups Orange Juice
1 Banana, sliced and frozen
1 lb (450g) frozen Berries, such as Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

*Banana and Blueberry Smoothie*
3/4 cup Apple Juice
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
1 Banana, sliced and frozen
6 oz (175g) frozen Blueberries

*Banana and Apple Booster*
1 cup Apple Juice
1/2 tsp Powdered Cinnamon
2 tsp. grated fresh Gingerroot
2 Bananas, sliced and frozen

*Strawberry and Orange Smoothie*
1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
3/4 cup Strawberry Yogurt
3/4 cup Orange Juice
6 oz (175g) frozen Strawberries
1 Banana, sliced and frozen

*Summer & Citrus Fruit Punch*
4 Tbs Orange Juice
1 tsp. Lime Juice
1/2 cup Sparkling Water
12 oz (350g) frozen Fruits, such as Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries)

*Strawberry & Peach Smoothie*
3/4 cup Milk
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
2 fresh Apricots, chopped
14 oz (400g) fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Bananas, sliced and frozen

*Fruit Rapture*
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Peach Yogurt
6 Tbs Orange Juice
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
6 Ice Cubes

*Peach & Pineapple Smoothie*
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 cup Water
3/4 cup Plain Yogurt
8 oz (225g) frozen Peach Slices
3 1/2 oz (100g) frozen Pineapple Chunks

Monday, April 4, 2011

Erin's mission - Positive thinking

I'm being attacked by an insidious demon that wants me to only think of all the scary, bad outcomes of surgery.  So Mad (Erin) challenged me to beat this demon by listing all of the positive outcomes.  Here they are:

NO MORE PAIN in my jaw and face
Infection will stop destroying my bone
I won't feel so exhausted and awful all the time
I will get to go back to work full time
I will get to do activities like hiking and biking again
I won't have to go to doctors so much
I won't have to worry about how to beat this thing
I won't spend day after day in drug-induced haze
I won't have to have multiple surgeries again
I won't have to have a PICC line again (once this current one comes out)
I will (eventually) be able to eat normal food again
I will be on the path to recovery instead of just battling this one infection over and over
I will be much happier
I won't feel so beaten up and beaten down
I won't have to feel so worried and scared
I will feel an EPIC WIN for having triumphed over this infection
I will be able to do more with my husband
I will get to put an end to a 14-month plus nightmare
I will get to feel like myself again
I will have one less health problem to fight
I will feel better
I will get to take my dog for long walks again
I will get to go camping and jeeping and backpacking and beer-festing with friends this summer
I will get to spend money on fun stuff instead of prescriptions and medical bills
I will possibly develop super powers because I will be partially bionic once they do the bone graft (just kidding)

Between this and John's energy routine mission, I actually feel quite a bit better. :) Thanks guys!

Daily activities, April 4-10, 2011

30 minutes yoga and stretching - 5 XP
Cleaned house off and on during the day - 15 XP
Watched a bunch of TED talks - 5 XP
Pre-surgery energy routine - 15 XP
30 minutes cello - 5 XP
Erin's tasty food mission (mango, nom nom nom) - 25 XP
Erin's mission to do something I won't be able to do for next few days (yoga & cleaning) - 50 XP
Erin's mission to think of POSITIVE outcomes of surgery instead of negative - 25 XP

Total: 145 XP, a personal best by a LOT, who hooo!

Cleaned house a little bit - 10 XP
Erin's missions: took a hot shower (instead of bath, wanted to wash my hair), had the surgery, and followed after care instructions - 100 XP
Managed to not die on operating table (this is actually an achievement, see health update) - 25 XP

Total: 135 XP

I was in the hospital, so not able to do much.
Had PICC line put in - 25 XP
Erin's mission: colored in the coloring books Matt brought to me - 25 XP
24 hours in hospital - 240 XP (I used the same calculation as hours at doctor's appointments - I spent all day getting tested, examined, poked, prodded, and ultra-sounded.)

Total: 290 XP - New Personal Best! Whoo hoo!!

Level Up! Reached 2000 XP

Hospital again.
Determined I do not have serious lung or heart damage - 25 XP
Another 24 hours in hospital - 240 XP
Got discharged and was able to pick up Alys and Chris from airport - 25 XP

Total: 290 XP

Doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Went to Tattered Cover (power up!) - 10 XP
Hanging out with friends, including those I haven't seen in forever and met new people (power up!) - 40 XP
Watched hilarious movie (laughter = power up!) - 20 XP

Total: 80 XP

Went to Boulder to visit Celestial Seasonings and Redstone Meadery - 25 XP
Successfully navigated a bad health day - 25 XP
More hanging out with friends and hilarious movies - 80 XP

Total: 130 XP

Alys's birthday!
Managed to go to an awesome birthday brunch with my awesome friends - 25 XP
Successfully navigated a bad health day - 25 XP
Fixed a few house problems - 20 XP
More movies and hanging out, met new people - 50 XP

Total: 120 XP

Weekly total: 1190 XP - EXTREMLY High score!
Overall total: 2503 XP
Total minus subtractions for rewards: 2478 XP

Recovery Entertainment

In response to the call, I submit some television shows that I enjoy. In no particular order and with descriptions blatantly stolen from, here are some suggestions which I hope will help you pass the time as you get on with the important business of healing:

- Although a recent graduate of Brown University, Jaye Tyler decides to ignore her degree, live in a trailer and work at a tourist gift shop in Niagara Falls called Wonderfalls—-much to the despair of her well-to-do family. But Jaye’s aimless life takes a startling turn after a lion figurine begins talking to her. Her family calls it an "episode," but Jaye knows better. Fearing for her sanity, Jaye nevertheless starts doing exactly what an increasing number of inanimate objects tell her to do and is amazed when her outrageous actions begin changing people’s lives in unexpected ways.

- Self-proclaimed pit-bulls of truth, Penn & Teller use their trademark humor, knowledge of carnival tricks, and hidden cameras to blow the lid off popular notions about second hand smoke ,self help products, diet claims, creationism, TV psychics, Feng Shui, bottled water and more!!!!

Pushing Daisies
- Pushing Daisies is many things at once: detective show, romantic comedy, whimsical fantasy and above all, a story about a guy who bakes pies and has the ability to bring dead people back to life. Somehow all of these things come together to make one of the most enjoyable, funny and bittersweet shows to come along in a long time.

Mad Men
- Welcome to a world where Monday has a three drink minimum. Mad Men exists here and it's a fabulous place to visit, back before Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique really made much of an impact and before the Surgeon General put warning labels on cigarettes. It was an America on the brink of social explosion and Mad Men, which tells the story of a group of Madison Avenue advertising executives in the early 1960s, captures that surface stillness perfectly, complete with the growing tension barely contained below the surface.

- Carnivàle doesn't waste any time making its--wildly ambitious--aims clear. As carnival manager Samson (Michael J. Anderson, Twin Peaks' diminutive backwards-talker) notes in pilot episode "Milfay," directed by Rodrigo García (son of Gabriel García Marquez), "To each generation [is] born a creature of light and a creature of darkness." With that the story begins. The year is 1934, the setting the Oklahoma dustbowl. In short order, Ben Hawkins (In the Bedroom's Nick Stahl) loses his mother and his home. He's poor, he's alone--he needs a job. So he joins Samson's carnival, en route to the West. Hawkins, naturally, is the good guy. Waiting for him in California is the not so good Brother Justin Crowe (Clancy Brown, The Shawshank Redemption), a fire and brimstone preacher with supernatural powers and a fiercely loyal sister (Amy Madigan). Hawkins, as it turns out, has similar powers...

Chef! (it is really important that you only watch seasons 1 and 2 - trust me)
- Hungry for a laugh? The BBC serves up more than a few chuckles in this engaging sitcom about imperious chef Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), a stern taskmaster who runs his kitchen with an iron fist, a lightning tongue, and a silver palate. The show combines some of the best elements of episodic drama and zany comedy, generously seasoned with sensual splashes of fine French cuisine. (Picture Julia Child crossed with Fawlty Towers' John Cleese following a script by the creators of thirtysomething and you get the general idea.) Blackstock is a brilliant, egotistical black chef running an all-white kitchen--until, that is, his wife maneuvers him into hiring an old school chum. Challenges mount as the restaurant faces bankruptcy and Blackstock decides to risk everything to buy it. Could fulfilling his dream wind up costing the king of the kitchen his home and savings?

Party Down
- Party Down is a Starz original series about a group of struggling dreamers who are stuck working for tips while waiting for their big break. As employees of the L.A. catering company “Party Down,” these misfits mingle with guests at everything from sweet sixteen parties to the most lavish Hollywood soirees. Follow these engaging wannabes as they wait on guests while waiting on something better to come along.

- Meet Andy Millman, Actor. Never forgets his lines because he never gets any. Andy (Ricky Gervais) is a desperate man. He's been an actor for five years but thanks to his useless agent (Stephen Merchant), he's never done any real acting. Instead, he's a lowly film extra, making his mark in the background while the stars do their work. His partner in arms is the pitiable Maggie, a fellow extra and a hopeless romantic. Andy may be an extra, but he's a star in his own right. Too bad nobody else agrees.

Daily Missions

Jessi will be receiving daily missions which I will be appending to this post each day.

Daily Mission 4/4/2011

Jessi, your mission today is to eat something delicious and to do something you won't be able to do for the next few days due to the surgery.

XP: 25 for each

Daily Mission 4/5/2011

Today's mission is to have a nice calming bath and meditate for 20 minutes before your surgery. Then to have the surgery itself. Afterwards, you are to follow all doctor's instructions. This last part will probably require Matt's help.

XP: 100 (25 for pre surgery, 50 for surgery, 25 for post surgery)

Daily Mission 4/8/2011 - 4/9/2011

Due to our huntress being in the hospital, these daily missions were on hiatus. But we are back! Now the mission is for her to rest in her sexy pajamas. I heard that the demons and vamps HATE sexy pajamas.

Part 2 of this mission involves getting creative. Jessi, you are to color in some coloring books with crayons. Maybe you can share your artwork :P

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mission Mistress Time

Week of April 4-10

I'm going to post two recurring type missions for this week. By that I mean they can be completed at any point and as many times as you wish. I will try to post small mini-missions each day as well. I reserve the right to add as genius comes to me :P

Mission 1: Our huntress is going to be in the hospital this week. So I think it's really important that we concentrate on sending her good healing thoughts. So every day this week spend just a few minutes (or longer) thinking about her and how the surgery will go super well and how awesome her recovery will be. This can take the form of prayer, meditation, reiki, energy medicine, running outside and shouting it to the world, whatever works for you.

XP: 25 each time

Mission 2: As I said, Jessi is going to be having surgery. So let's all think of a movie or TV series that we really like that we can share that she can watch during her recovery. She is going to have a lot of downtime and she will probably sleep a lot. But in case she is just sitting there bored I want to have some suggestions for her to cure boredom with.

XP: 25 for each

Optional: My previous suggested storytime mission. I haven't posted my story yet because I've been kicking a demon in the ass an it's been rough. Now that I've got a handle on this demon I can go ahead and post mine this week. This mission is purely optional because it is up to all of us how little or how much we wish to make public.

XP: 50

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baked Eggplants

Man, I'm not even going to pretend like I've been paying attention to eating well. I skipped a few cooking classes, I ate waaaay to much fried food and I had to kick a vampire in the balls on the way home from work on Monday. It's definitely been a weird couple of weeks. I know there are hard times ahead, though, so it's time to stop wallowing in my own chocolate-covered misery (mmmm, chocolate) and get back to the mission at hand. There's serious fighting to be done next week and I'll be damned if we're not fueled up for it. Let's all have a little extra something in preparation, shall we?

Baked Eggplants
adapted from “Mmmm… Casseroles: delicious recipes you’ll be unable to resist”

3 Tbs. Olive Oil, plus extra for oiling
4 Eggplants
10 ½ g Mozzarella Cheese, thinly sliced
1 Tbs. chopped Fresh Basil
2 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Tomato Sauce
4 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 large Onion, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
14oz canned Chopped Tomatoes
1 lb fresh Tomatoes, peeled and chopped
4 Tbs chopped fresh Parsley
2 ½ cups hot vegetable stock
1 Tbs. Sugar
2 Tbs. Lemon Juice
2/3 cup Dry White Wine
Salt and Pepper

White Sauce
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour
1 ¼ cups Milk
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a large, ovenproof dish.

2. To make the tomato sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic, and fry until just beginning to soften. Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, parsley, stock, sugar, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Thinly slice the eggplants lengthwise. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook the eggplant slices for fifteen minutes. Drain on paper towels.

4. Pour half the tomato sauce into the prepared dish with half the eggplants and drizzle with the oil. Cover with half the mozzarella and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Repeat the layers.

5. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the flour. Stir until smooth and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly beat in the milk. Simmer gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then season to taste with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper.

6. Spoon the white sauce over the eggplant-and-tomato mixture, then sprinkle with the Parmesan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, until the topping is golden. Serve immediately.

Mission: Story Time!


We have all struggled in our lives with something evil. Something that tore at our bodies or our souls. Or we have watched loved ones be destroyed. I challenge you to document what you have seen and experienced. If we can collect these stories we can help future generations combat and destroy the evils that lurk in the shadows and the light of day!

((my own to come later today))

Monday, March 28, 2011

Two new missions for allies

Mission One: Writing on the Wall
Heya Allies! I'd love your feedback on the One Month Review - your input will help make this game better as we move forward. Please leave a comment with your thoughts before April 8, 2011!

Reward: 50XP and my undying gratitude

Mission Two: Standing Guard
I'm scheduled for surgery April 4, and I'm asking for your help. This surgery will be the most extensive, invasive one yet, and I'm a little nervous about it. I'd like to test out a new system of having one person as Mission Manager and one person as Achievement Herald, with a back-up for each, for one week periods. Your mission is to pick which position and which week you'd like to do these. Just edit this post and put your name on the list! I think each person will need to volunteer twice in order to cover the back-up positions as well.

Mission Manager: Give missions to Jessica (and other Allies as appropriate), track and report on successes
Achievement Herald: Monitor mission successes and other daily activities and bestow achievements as desired

Week 1: April 4-10
Mission Manager: Erin/Madd
Back-up: Courtney
Achievement Herald: Jamie

Week 2: April 11-17
Mission Manager: Courtney
Achievement Herald: Erin/Madd

Week 3: April 18-24
Mission Manager: Carrie
Achievement Herald: Courtney

Week 4: April 25-May 1
Mission Manager: Jamie
Achievement Herald:
Back-up: Courtney

Reward: 25 XP for each position

Daily activities, March 28-April 3, 2011

Went back to work! Whoo hoo!!
30 min yoga and stretching - 5 XP
1 hr doctor's appointment - 10 XP
3 hrs work - 15 XP
Playing courier for doctors picking up MRI results 1 hr - 5 XP
Picked up dog from daycare - 2 XP
Evening stretching - 5 XP
(I have somehow pulled my IT band in my left leg, so walking is out for now, but I'm doing lots of yoga and stretching!)

Total: 47 XP

Level Up! Reached 1000 XP

30 min yoga and stretching - 5 XP
4 hours work - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
More playing courier for doctors - 3 XP
Defended SuperBetter on Slate - 2 XP
30 min cello - 5 XP
Evening stretching - 5 XP
Blog post - 2XP
Responded to comments - 2XP

Total: 46 XP

30 min yoga and stretching - 5 XP
4 hours work - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Took a nap - 5 XP
Cello lesson - 10 XP
Evening stretching - 5 XP
Blog post - 2 XP

Total: 48 XP

30 min yoga and stretching - 5 XP
4 hours work - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Doctor's appointment - 10 XP
Took a nap - 5 XP
Watched Dr Who (power up) - 5 XP

Total: 47 XP

30 min yoga and stretching - 5 XP
4 hours work - 20 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Took a nap - 5 XP
Gamed with friends (power up!) - 20 XP

Total: 52 XP

1 hour hike with Matt and Bella - 10 XP
Sushi (power up! haha) - 5 XP
Bought new pajamas to wear to hospital - 5 XP
Generally had a really great day - 25 XP

Total: 45 XP

Cleaned house for an hour - 10 XP
Social time with friends (power up!) - 10 XP
Got dressed up for pictures (Superhero To Do list item) - 25 XP

Total: 45 XP

Weekly total: 330 XP
Overall total: 1313 XP
Total minus subtractions for rewards: 1288 XP

Friday, March 25, 2011

One Month(ish) Review

We started this game just over a month ago.  I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the progress and lessons learned, and where I would like to go from here.

Successes: This game has definitely helped me to not feel so isolated and powerless.  This is especially helpful when Matt is out of town, and I'm here alone.  It's made it easier for me to reach out and ask for help, and I think - correct me if I'm wrong, Allies - it's given people a way to do something for me. I also think a perhaps unintended side effect is that Allies are not just helping me, but they're helping each other.  The game has taken a disparate group of people, from seven different states ranging from Massachusetts to Colorado, some of whom have never met before (either in real life or online), and joined them together in common purpose.  Has all of this helped my healing? It's hard to say.  Has all of this helped my mindset? Absolutely.  I may be still sick, but I'm not suffering nearly as much as I was before we started SuperBetter.  Now when I encounter something painful or difficult, I think, "How can I create a gameful way of dealing with this?" instead of feeling overwhelmed, crushed, and desperate.  I have gained unexpected allies, such as my boss, the owner of our doggy daycare, and my cello teacher, who may not be formally playing the game but they are definitely contributing to my recovery.  Even the blog itself has been therapeutic, and things like posting my daily activities helps me to see just what I am doing to participate in my recovery - and in my own life - rather than just sitting around waiting to get better.

Challenges: I need to come up with some more power ups, and I need to be better about using them when I have a bad day instead of sitting around moping.  I also need to be better about developing missions and achievements.  We started off strong with that, but it kind of waned, which is to be expected.  Also, I need to more clearly communicate that the game, and the blog, are supposed to be fun for Allies too - several Allies privately brought up to me that they felt like they weren't doing enough, because they hadn't posted recently or hadn't done something else.  I want to state for the record that that doesn't matter to me.  What matters to me is that you're here, you volunteered to help me through an incredibly difficult time in my life, and you have done so much, all of you, to get me through this.  Any time you feel like you're not doing enough, just come read this post.  I also think we need to develop a little more structure in the game, to create back-ups for people, and to give people clearer ideas of what's going on.

Moving Forward: I'd like to work with you all to create a monthly structure to give out missions and achievements.  The reason I bring this up is that I know you all have your own lives, and more than anything I DO NOT want this game to become a burden or just "something else you have to do." If we have back-ups in place, it takes some pressure off and allows the game to keep moving without causing undue stress on anyone.  I'd love to hear your comments on how to work this.  I was thinking that at the start of each month, we assign one person and one back-up for each week to manage missions and achievements.  I'd also like your help in brainstorming what I need in terms of missions and power ups - I kind of really suck at evaluating what I need, and whenever I consciously try to think of power ups, my brain fails.  It would be really awesome to have some of these flushed out before I head into surgery (which is looking to be the week of April 4.)  Also, I'd love to develop some little character insights or fiction pieces or something so we can use these wonderful characters that you've all worked so hard to develop.  Additionally, I'm thinking of trying to actively blog more, not just about the game, but about chronic illness in general (this would be a great thing to structure as a mission and/or achievement.)

Be proud! I just wanted to let all of you know that there are people out there who found this blog, and it inspired and helped them to create their own SuperBetter games.  So you're not just helping me, you're helping strangers fight their own Evils as well.  You all are the best group of Allies a huntress could ever ask for, and I deeply, truly appreciate everything you have done.  We will conquer this, one Evil at a time!

I would love to hear your feedback on what you think are successes, challenges, and suggestions for moving forward!

Calm before the storm (health update)

Things have been quiet here.  Too quiet.  Something is brewing, I can feel it.  Early last week, I caught a vamp. I thought I had him, but then the bastard took me by surprise.  The fight was brutal, and it took a lot of work by the clerics, my allies, and potions to get me back on my feet.  My Wolf nearly got loose one day, that's how bad the damage was.  This week there has been....nothing.  It makes me uneasy.  Today, I am meeting with yet another cleric, who has yet another idea on things that will help me fight the Evils.  We'll see.  I try to enjoy the break in fighting, but all I can think is that this feels like that eerie, prickling calm before a storm.  Well, when it comes, I'll be ready.  I'm done being caught off guard.


So I had the biopsy last week, and considering I've had three surgeries on my jaw, I didn't think the biopsy would be any big deal.  Oh,I was wrong.  The incision was much bigger, and much more painful because he had to cut a section out of my bone in three places.  Using a drill.  My face was crazy swollen, bruised, and painful.  It's been a lot better this week.  On Wednesday, I went back to the surgeon to get the biopsy results.  Good news: I don't have bone cancer! Bad news: The bacteria grown by the culture in my lower mandible, while still the same bug shown by the last two cultures, is now showing a resistance to the antibiotic I'm on.  I'm allergic to penicillin, so it's back to the infectious disease doc on Monday to see what we can do.  The culture from the upper part of my mandible didn't grow any cultures at the time of my appointment, although the surgeon said that the lab was still working on a few specimens.  He said it's possible the hole in my jaw as seen on the CT scan is a genetic anomaly, which I would believe except it's painful to touch.  So he's sending me for an MRI this afternoon to get better images of the mandible and see if it's really something to worry about or just the way my bone is formed.  Erin helped me feel better about all this by telling me that it's possible to determine new damage from anomalous growth on the MRI.  Hopefully, we will have a definitive answer soon.

At any rate, I definitely need a massive surgical debridement of the lower mandible.  The surgeon said it's like excising a tumor - he'll cut until he finds healthy bone, and then cut a little bit more to ensure he's removing all of the infected area.  He'll actually be removing a section of my bone, and he'll have to move my nerve out of the way during the operation, so I will have some post-surgical facial numbness.  He said that the numbness should go away, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for that.  Facial paralysis and numbness scare me more than anything else about this whole thing.  The MRI will help him determine how extensive the surgery has to be, and right now we're looking at doing the operation the week of April 4.  And of course, a friend from Pennsylvania is coming to visit April 8.  Murphy's Law, in effect!

I feel okay about this treatment plan. At least I feel like we're moving forward with something more aggressive.  The surgeon called the procedure a "definitive operation", so let's hope he's right.  I'm not kidding when I say that I just can't keep dealing with this.  I need it to be over, or at least on the path to being over.  Surgery after surgery after surgery with no effect isn't cutting it anymore.  I'll say that I'm "cautiously optimistic" and go from there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daily activities, March 21-27, 2011

Okay, here goes that newfangled thing where I create one post and update it throughout the week.

I really need to post these when I'm not so tired so I can try to post in character.  You all are doing such a great job of that, I need to step up my game! (Literally!)

30 min walk with dog - 5 XP
paid medical bills - 10 XP (I gave this the same as a 1 hr doctor's appointment, as I had to call them and it was super stressful u_u)
30 min cello - 5 XP
30 min meditation - 5 XP
15 min energy routine - 3 XP
Worked on game char - 2 XP
Chatted with friends via skype 1 hr - 5 XP
Wow 30 min - 5 XP

Total: 40 XP

Today was not a good day. Anxious, achy, emotional, and exhausted.  I didn't do much of anything.

Took dog to daycare - 2XP
30 min cello - 5 XP
15 min energy routine - 3 XP
Chatted with friends on gchat - 3 XP
WoW 1 hr - 10 XP

Total: 23 XP

1.5 hours doctors' appointments - 15 XP
30 minute walk with dog - 5 XP
Called my dad (power up!) - 10 XP
WoW 30 min - 5 XP

Total: 35 XP

30 min doctor's appointment - 5 XP
Cleaned house for 2 hours - 10 XP
Friend came over (yay social power up!) - 10 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
30 min cello - 5 XP
No major health complaints today - felt pretty good! 10 XP
Blog post - 2 XP

Total: 44 XP

3 hours at hospital for MRI - 30 XP
Took dog to daycare - 2 XP
Finished game character - 2 XP
30 min cello - 5 XP
Completed 5 Daily Challenges from MeYou Health - 10 XP
3 blog posts - 6 XP

Total XP: 55 XP

30 minute walk with dog - 5 XP
WoW 1 hr - 10 XP
Picked up house - 2 XP
Went grocery shopping - 2 XP
Gaming with friends (power up!) - 20 XP

Total XP: 39 XP

WoW 2 hrs - 20 XP
Listened to body & rested - 10 XP
Blog post - 2 XP

Total XP: 32 XP

Weekly total: 268 XP

Cumulative total: 983
Total including subtractions for rewards: 958

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catchup on points and activities

I'm still trying to figure out the best way to catalog daily activities. I feel like daily posts might be overwhelming and/or annoying, but if I DON'T record it every day, I'm likely to let a long time elapse (like now) and forget.  Plus the point of this was to track progress and to recognize the things I'm doing to be an active participant in my health - and for you guys to help me recognize that through achievements.  Kind of hard to do that when I don't tell you what I'm doing.

So I think from now on, I'm going to follow the model that we set up with weekly missions - I'll make one post on Sunday, and update it throughout the week.  If that doesn't work, we'll just try something else!

(I posted all the boring day-by-day stuff at the bottom.)

Sunday, March 5 total: 297 (through 3/4)
Sunday, March 20 total: 715 (through 3/20)
Cashed in 25XP to buy Tetris Party for DS

Final total: 690

Also, I was able to run across the parp go to scifi book club on Monday, which made me really happy. (The "parp" is a reference to this Hyperbole and a Half comic, which Jamie and Matt were using to tease me about my insistence that I could go to the book club meeting after having the biopsy that afternoon.)

I don't remember a lot of this week either.  There was a lot of sleeping, and I've been on Vicodin since last week, so that doesn't help with the whole memory thing.  As I mentioned, I was off work this whole week, and I'm actually ordered off work until I get the biopsy results on Wednesday.  I'll just have to find a way to make up the extra 20 XP per day that I got from work... ;)

I don't feel like I should get XP for sleeping, but I evidently need it.  I slept for 15 hours Friday night, and 11 hours Saturday night, plus naps during the day.  I'm mildly alarmed by this, but Matt keeps saying I must need it, because I don't typically sleep that late.  I've been awful about playing cello this week, but I was awful about doing a lot of things because of the biopsy.  Hopefully next week will be better.

I want to give like a million XP to Jamie for coming down here and staying with me.  She really helped Matt and I both out by driving me around and helping around the house.  Also, she brought me a bunch of awesome CDs - classical music and meditation stuff.  So instead of a million, how about like 175? 25 per day that she was here, plus 50 for the CDs - seriously, she brought me a bunch.  I need to update Courtney on other people that deserve XP and compile all our awesome music into a playlist - or maybe someone could help me out with that last one? Allies, please be sure you post comments on Courtney's weekly recap posts letting her know what you did for me - I want to make sure you're recognized for how awesome you are, and sometimes I suck and don't remember to tell her. :)

Also, 50 XP to Carrie for beating her own Tech Evil and setting up Skype so we can have Skype dates.  Yay!

And 50 XP to Courtney for managing the weekly mission posts.  That really helps me out!

And 10 XP to everyone else just for sticking with me in this game and being awesome.  :)

I'm going to update the pages of the WoH this week to get everything current.  If I miss anything, please let me know!

Daily Minutia Crap

Yoga and energy routine - 10 XP
30 minute walk - 5 XP
went shopping - 2 XP
Felt pretty good today - 10 XP

Was social for 3 hours and played pool - 6 XP (I gave myself 2 XP/hr)
Unloaded and loaded dishwasher - 2 XP

2 hrs doctor's appointments - 20 XP
Laundry 3 loads - 6 XP
Hit Level 80 - 10 XP
took dog to daycare - 2 XP

Yoga and energy routine - 10 XP
Work for 4 hours - 20 XP
Sorted out biopsy business - 10 XP (this required many hours of calling many doctors)
Blog post - 2XP
Laundry 2 loads - 4 XP
took dog to daycare - 2 XP

Worked for 4 hours - 20 XP
Cello lesson - 10 XP
took dog to daycare - 2 XP
(I don't remember what else I did that day -- see, this is the problem with not posting!)

Yoga and energy routine - 10 XP
Worked for 4 hours - 20 XP
Dishes - 4XP
took dog to daycare - 2 XP

Yoga and energy routine - 10 XP
Worked for 4 hours - 20 XP
took dog to daycare - 2 XP

I slept a lot that week, I remember that.  Matt was out of town and my face was swollen and hurting, and I would come home from work and just pass out on the couch for a few hours. 

Impromptu gathering at my house of friends, yay social! - 25 XP
(I don't remember much else...)

I have no recollection - Jamie, help?

Biopsy - 25 XP (This isn't really an achievement, but I feel like I should earn XP for surviving medical procedures.  And Jamie said I wasn't even crabby!)
Ran across the parp Went to scifi book club, more socialness yay! - 25 XP
(The "parp" is a reference to this Hyperbole and a Half comic, which Jamie and Matt were using to tease me about my insistence that I could go to the book club meeting after having the biopsy that afternoon.)

Ran errands (or, more precisely, sat in the passenger seat in a narcotic haze while Jamie drove) - 4 XP
Took dog to dog park for about 1 hour - 5 XP
Did a whole lot of nothing as my face looked like I had a golfball in my cheek

Hour long walk with Jamie - 10 XP
Drove up to Ft Collins - 5 XP

Follow up with surgeon because I was alarmed by the swelling - 10 XP

INR check with doctor - 10 XP
Bought groceries - 2 XP
Conference call with boss - 5 XP

Went to Home Depot and Safeway with Matt - 10 XP
Meditation for 1 hour - 10 XP
Played WoW for 1 hour - 10 XP

Picked up prescriptions - 2 XP
Dishes - 2 XP
Participated in #hcsm Twitter chat - 25 XP (this is career related)
Wrote a career-related blog post draft - 10 XP
Blog post - 2 XP