So, I am definitely having the ACDF procedure on the 28th. I am supposedly an excellent candidate, and I've been able to weather the semester, battling sporadic pain which varies in intensity and duration. I've made it to Finals Week, wherein the demands on my body are much reduced, so (magical thinking, knock on wood) I'm going to be able to finish up. I am disappointed in my performance as a teacher, but considering everything it hasn't been as bad as I feared in terms of student performance, and it is my hope that, with a successful surgical outcome, I will be able to revisit first-semester standards as needed and do more engaging activities in the spring.

Now the down side. Surviving isn't thriving. The pain essentially encourages lassitude and, I hate to admit it, procrastination. "I'll do something later when I feel better." The problem with this attitude is that you have to something on a regular basis, engaging the mind and body, if you want to maintain your present level of mobility and intellectual acuity. So my weight loss that I crowed about back in October hasn't entirely evaporated--I'm still on the good side of 215---but I have gained 6-7 pounds back. And I'm not as sharp mentally as I would like, and many commitments have gone "by the boards."

I wanted to work on a Civil War show, for example....postponed. I have a potential biology book project.....postponed. My CD project, tantalizing close to the final mix stage.....postponed. My plan to rework the arrangements for my church's Christmas Day cantata, adding some instruments, etc......abandoned. Christmas shopping?? Ha!

So, clearly, I'm hoping that the surgery improves my quality of life and I'm counting down the days to the 28th. It's going to hurt, but the potential benefit pencils out so much above the risks that I'd be a fool not to do it. In retrospect, I wish I had done it as soon as it was diagnosed, rather than work around until the holidays. If I had known just how my students would've done, how the church's music program would've evolved, etc. with me at just 80 percent, I would've done it sooner. It testifies to the fact that maybe I'm not good at delegating tasks, and tend to overload myself. If I had more skills in this area, maybe I would've gotten back in form before Thanksgiving and finished strong.

On the other hand, not having the surgery gave me the opportunity to play with the Trike Shop in a pair of October gigs, so maybe it's all for the best. Sometimes, there is no one best answer, but only intelligent choices. Sometimes, not even that. If you can't move without hurting, and you find it hard to sit at a desk or a keyboard, it makes it hard to work on software or music. My dreams have been (for me) unusually memorable, a sign that I'm not using my creative juices when conscious enough. I've been playing with lyrics of late, since this is something I can do at a laptop, standing....I need an outlet.

Still, when you don't want to move, a TV show or a video game is hard to resist. I've never been one to stay glued to the tube or any game for too long, because I get antsy. But I've watched a lot of Cowboys football the last month, much more than usual, and I've drained dozens of hours playing....this.

For the record, my character's name is CattyHatty.