Surgery is Happening

Surgery is Happening

Note to self: Don’t ask Dan to get chocolate from Sam’s when you’re having a craving and you’ve just taken weed.

Yesterday was my appointment with the surgeon for the consult. Surgery is happening.

The consult went okay, and Doctor S answered all the questions that I had. On February 2nd, I’ll be having a lymph node removed from either my groin or my armpit. Ultrasound will determine which one is easiest to get to, so TBD on that spec.

He did say that they will fully examine the tissue to find out what’s freaking going on, but if it’s a viral infection we might not find out which. Yay. 

We’re not just looking for lymphoma this time, though. That makes this round feel like it could provide useful information. Lord knows I’m capital-d DONE with doctors and nurses punching my glands with their bony fingers though. 

It hurts more every time they do it. I jokingly asked how many lymph nodes were needed for a human to survive and could they take all of them while they’re in there.

I asked if I was facing general or local anesthesia, and doc said he’d do either and it was my choice. I’m leaning local, just because I think getting myself to the bathroom after will be easier.

No pain meds will be prescribed. Just Tylenol if needed. (Which, let’s be real, means I need to save up for some edibles.)

Recovery and risk are minimal.

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We spent more time than should be allowable by law in the waiting room yesterday, so here are some terrible, non-HIPAA violating pictures I took to help pass the time.

How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

How to Make Crock Pot Cannabutter

To save money, I learned how to make crock pot cannabutter that I could use in homemade edibles. I am by no means an expert, but what I’ve learned I’d like to share.

When it comes to medical marijuana, I prefer to dose up with edibles. For me, the pain-relief is more noticeable and lasts longer than with other methods of consumption. The downside? Dispensary edibles cost a small fortune.

Making Cannabutter is Easy

The first time I attempted cannabutter, I was overwhelmed with advice. Everyone I talked to had a different recipe, and every website was pushing a different method. My post-chemo brain just couldn’t handle all that, so I whittled away until I could identify the most basic steps:

  1. Prepare (decarb) the marijuana.
  2. Steep the marijuana in butter.
  3. Use the butter in a recipe.

Step 1: Decarbing marijuana

If you don’t decarb your cannabis, your butter will be really disappointing.

Materials

  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • 6-7 grams of weed
  • Oven

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 250 ° F. Place marijuana on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for about 30 minutes.

This is about 5g of Critical Cure shake and about 1g of G6 after 30 minutes in the oven. Decarbing will absolutely make your house smell like weed.

Notes

Break up whole buds into smaller pieces first. This increases surface area and allows things to heat more evenly.

Some people are very particular about breaking bud, recommending you do it by hand or with a manual grinder. (Get your pieces too small and they might burn or be hard to strain later.)

But because of cancer fatigue, I’m from the School of Do Everything the Easiest Way Possible. I recommend giving whole buds a couple of quick pulses in a clean coffee or spice grinder, being careful not to overdo it.

That said, it’s even easier if you use shake. Shake is essentially just the debris left after trimming and handling buds. There’s no need to grind it because it’s already the perfect size. Added bonus: because it’s ugly and contains some stem pieces, it’s a lot cheaper than whole flower.

Step 2: Steep the marijuana in butter

Materials

  • Small crock pot (1.5 to 2 quart capacity)
  • Reusable basket coffee filter
  • 3/4 c. butter

Instructions

Warm 3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter in the crock pot on the lowest heat setting until it is completely melted.

Put the decarbed weed in the reusable filter and place the filter in the melted butter. Steep for about three hours, stirring occasionally. The butter will turn murky and green.

Turn off the crock pot and let the cannabutter cool for about an hour so. The goal is to cool it enough it won’t burn you, but not so much it becomes too thick to strain.

Lift the filter basket out of the cannabutter, letting the liquid drain completely back into the crock pot. If the cannabutter looks disgusting, you’re doing it right. Discard the used marijuana.

There may be fine bits of marijuana and really gross looking milk solids floating in your butter. To strain these, simply pour the cannabutter through the emptied filter basket and into a clean container.

After straining you’ll end up with about a 1/2 c. of cannabutter.

Who wore it better? Turns out strained cannabutter looks a lot like guacamole.

Notes on Potency and Dosing

The most important thing to keep in mind if you’re new to cannabutter or edibles in general: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. Start small, give it a couple of hours to kick in, and adjust as necessary.

Effects aren’t immediate. I usually feel them between 90 minutes and 2 hours after I’ve eaten. If, after only 15 minutes you think “this isn’t doing anything” and you keep eating more, you could end up like the cop who made pot brownies and called 911 because he thought he and his wife were dead.

Personally, I find the cannabutter I make using these ratios to be nice and potent. But then I’m really sensitive to edibles. For example, if I use cannabuter as-is on an English muffin, I will only need a pat about the size of a pea.

If I make a pan of brownies, I will only need a piece about the size of a mini candy bar (that’s right Mini—the smallest size, not to be confused with her big sister Fun Size).

Since I typically only take weed before bed, a 9 x 13 pan of brownies can last 9 months—no exaggeration—saving me literally a thousand dollars over dispensary prices. (Pro-tip: Cut cooled brownies into full-sized candy bar-ish portions, vac-seal, and freeze. We use a FoodSaver.)

Step 3: Use cannabutter in a normal recipe

Keeping it real here. Cannabutter has a distinct flavor that you might find off-putting, especially if you’re a first-timer. I think it tastes the least offensive in things like brownies and peanut butter cookies.

You can use cannabutter in any recipe you want, though, not just sweet treats. If it calls for more cannabutter than you have on hand, simply make up the difference with regular butter.

When I make a 9 x 13 pan of Real Good, Feel Good Brownies (recipe to come later), I use 1/2 c. cannabutter and 1/2 c. regular butter.

You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t: you can replace most fats in your recipes at a 1:1 ratio. So you could swap 1 c. of vegetable oil with 1 c. of butter (and therefore cannabutter) if you wanted. What I’m trying to say is: you can also turn that boxed brownie mix in your pantry into something SPECTACULAR.

Do you make your own cannabutter? What advice would you give someone making it for the first time?

Did you find this post helpful?

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9 Goals for 2020

9 Goals for 2020

Happy New Year, everyone. Historically, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day have not been very big deals to me, but I felt like celebrating today with 9 goals for 2020 if for no other reason than I’m feeling a little optimistic. (Note these are not resolutions I’m doomed to fail, just little nudges for making 2020 more fun than 2019.)

Stream a video game on Twitch

My brother Ryan and I live a few hours apart, but we still manage to get together virtually once a week or so to play State of Decay 2. He and my sister-in-law brought up streaming on Twitch several months ago. The idea has been percolating in my brain for a while, and I want to give it a try. No commitments to anything more than seeing how it goes.

Write a crossword puzzle

With my brain being what it is, I do word and logic puzzles almost every day to try and keep the neurons firing. Recently while working on a crossword with a really weird answer to a horrible clue, I wondered if I could make a better one. Now I’m obsessed with noodling out how to create the pattern of squares, make a functioning grid of words, and write good clues.

Grow marijuana

Though I’ve had a medical license to consume marijuana for about three years, Illinois just made recreational use legal. The govenor is clearing thousands of convictions as we ring in the new year. (Halle-freakin-lujah! More criminal justice reform, please, Governor Pritzker!) We can now grow up to five plants for private, personal use. I have several seeds in my position, and intend to give it a try. No biggie if I fail, but it has the potential to help me save a lot of money. This is one medication that is 100% NOT covered by insurance.

Complete a 100 Things post

I started my first blog on AOL Journals circa 2006, and I made a ton of online friends through that platform. I still keep in touch with many of those bloggers to this day. In fact, AOL J-Land (as we affectionately called it) is how I met my husband Dan.

One of the fun things that swept J-Land back in the day was writing a 100 Things post. It’s where you cobble together 100 facts about yourself and post the list. It’s like an ice breaker for bloggers. I recently and randomly stumbled across the Twitter account of a name I recognized from the AOL days, Kelly Sedinger of Byzantium’s Shores. I saw he still had a One Hundred Things About Me post, and got sucker punched by the nostalgia.

I’m going to post a new one soon. Honestly, I’ve been working on it for a few days already, so it seemed like a good addition to my 9 goals for 2020 list. (Yes, I’m one of those people who writes shit in her to-do list that’s mostly done just so I can experience the pleasure of crossing it off.)

Make new Zentangle videos

It’s been a few months since I’ve created any new content for my YouTube channel, because life is just that way sometimes, you know? But the meditative aspect of creating the art and then watching the time-lapse playback is so good for me. It also seems to be something that others enjoy, because my channel keeps growing. I can’t commit to a schedule for health reasons, but I can promise myself to just make “more.”

Track Swagbucks for a year

Swagbucks is a cash back slash survey website where you participate in polls, submit receipts, watch videos, participate in special offers and other junk, and then earn “Swagbucks” which can be converted to gift cards and PayPal cash. The catch is that they collect your data and make use of affiliate links. But you know, data privacy is for the financially privileged, anyway.

Last year as a casual user, I earned about $150. Which isn’t much, unless you’re broke. In that case, it’s a tank of gas and Christmas presents for the family. This year I want to track how much I make in a full year from January 1 to Dec 31.

For reference, I’m starting today with 355 SB (roughly $3.55 when redeemed). If you want to try it, use my link and we both get 300 bonus Swagbucks if you reach 300 SB in your first 30 days. (FWIW, I got to 355 in just 3 days, so that is very doable.)

Learn Krita and make a printable coloring page

I gathered up the Amazon gift card money I collected and finally purchased this stylus for my computer so I can do some Zentangling and sketching without killing trees or using up all my Micron ink. Krita is the free drawing program I will be using, but it’s pretty complicated and will require setting aside some time to learn. It’s kind of like Photoshop. Except it’s totally free.

I think it would be really fun to draw a coloring page and maybe host a cheesy virtual coloring contest sort of like those ones I always participated in at the grocery store when I was a kid.

Reach 100 Patrons in 2020

My goal for Patreon this year is to reach 100 subscribers. I currently have 29. I chose a people-based goal as opposed to a money-based goal because despite our dire financial circumstances, I really just want to find and connect with people who want to read Who You Gonna Believe and watch my Zentangle videos.

Reach 1,000 YouTube subscribers in 2020

Speaking of those Zentangle videos… 1,000 subscribers seems like a lot, but I’m giving myself a whole year to get there, and as of this writing I’m already at 485. The One Zentangle a Day series I did in 2019 really helped me establish my channel. This year I want to focus on producing higher quality videos. It should be doable now that I’ve got some of the basics sorted out.

So those are my 9 goals for 2020. What are yours? What are you looking forward to in the new year?

Cancer Ramblings

Cancer Ramblings

I’m exhausted. The kind of exhausted where I’m too tired to get up and plug in the cannabis vape pen that needs charging because I spent all that energy an hour ago making toast with peanut butter and a cup of green tea.

So I’m lying in bed composing a blog post on my phone instead of standing up, and I’ll ask Dan to charge my V2 Pro next time he comes in to check on me.

***

My platelets are low (64 at last week’s count) and I’ve been barfing again. No idea if those two things are related. Also, though I don’t really want to admit it, I’ve been basically bed ridden for a couple of weeks.

It’s not the cancer; it’s the treatment.

After my last round of chemo, I didn’t regain much strength. I mean, it’s always hard, but it seems to be getting harder. Could be the absence of the dexamethasone now. Could be the cumulative effects of the chemo treatments. Could be the shit-ass weather and extra migraines I’ve had this month.

That’s the thing about brain cancer and its treatments. So many potential causes for the add-on problems, and no sure way to identify the cause.

So you just endure.

***

Dan just plugged in the vape for me and told me goodnight. He did Boomer’s voice for him as he pulled the door closed.

“Love you too, Ma.”

“Love you too, Boom!”

“Love you too, Ma.”

(I don’t know. We’re weird. We do voiceovers for our pets. Also I sleep in the guest bedroom. It sucks. Cancer sucks.)

I asked Dan once why Boomer always said “I love you too” over and over, and he informed me that it was because Boomer had to have the last word.

Duh.

***

Anyway, barfing.

I woke up at 11:30 last night and reached for a vomit bag. The combination smell of those vinyl bags, my PB&J, and stomach acid left me heaving long after I’d blown all my chunks.

When the spasming in my stomach stopped, I brushed my teeth for the second time and walked the bag to the garage. I had called to Dan for help, but he was snoring. Hard.

Oh well, he deserves to sleep, I thought.

Unfortunately, I had to turn the hall lights on, and he stumbled in to check on me when I returned. I was sitting on the bed pouting. The dog and cat were right on Dan’s heels, and I commented that everybody had come to console me.

If there’s a bright side to puking in this house, it’s that everyone is curious. You’re never alone.

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Regardless, I hate throwing up. It’s the worst. And I mostly hate food now too. (I’ve lost 26 pounds since quitting dexamethasone, but don’t worry. I’m still unbelievably fat for a girl who hauls 2-pound vomit bags to the garbage a couple times a week.)

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I have no wrap-up for this post. I’m just going to try to sleep now.

I Might Owe Dexamethasone a Very Small Apology

I Might Owe Dexamethasone a Very Small Apology

It appears I was a bit hasty in my judgment of dexamethasone. Still suffering after a round of chemo without it, I can now see that in spite of its horrible side effects it was masking some of chemo’s even more horrible side effects.

I won’t go into the full details of my emetic escapades, more for my sake than yours. But I will just say that Activia is off the menu for a few days while I purge my scent memory.

There was some discussion between Dan and I about what to do next, seeing how I spent maybe three hours not in bed this past week.

“You could try taking the dex only during the week you do chemo,” Dan suggested.

I whined something about not wanting to while admitting it wasn’t an unreasonable suggestion. “It was just so hard to quit. I almost think I’d rather suffer some new evil than go through that again.”

For now I’ve decided to take more Zofran, despite the headaches and hiccups. I’ll use cannabis to make me want food and Zofran to keep it down.

At least until the next thing. Because there is always a next thing.

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