Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Crutches

Today has been particularly difficult for me. Its one of those days where tears form and I have no words to explain them. I had to force myself out of bed as the muscle spasms of being horizontal for too long won out over the need to lie prone and not face the day. I don't know where Boxing Day went, I woke up this morning and it was gone.

Once again, the blogosphere was there for me when I most needed something to help me look past myself. Is it a crutch?

I am trying to place my first order of supplies for my ostomies. I have a catalogue and a website. I am the purchasing agent where I work, it shouldn't be difficult. It seems to be Mt. Ranier at the moment. Not to worry, it will get done.

I am going to do some light housework now to set my mind to rights.

Hey, its not all gingerbread and gumdrops.

Peace,
susan

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ready for the day

Merry Christmas Eve!
I have several drafts written this week that are altogether too boring too post right now.
I have been catching up on my blog reading and have sat here and smiled and smiled. I'm not sure what this says about me exactly, but the blogs I follow really do enrich my life. I have just caught up on the last six posts of ConjugatingIrregularVerbs and I feel so warm and fuzzy and ready to start the day with a smile on my face.

I am solidly on a path to my new normal. I am getting around without the walker, I can sit for short periods on very soft chairs, my pain is minimal. Although my discomfort is pretty high. I see doctors at least twice a week and I don't even mind because it gets me out of the house.

Well, I better go, my seat is getting hard. : )

Merry Christmas,
Susan

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Night Before Surgery

I do feel the need to go back to November 30th and pick up where I left off with all the details surrounding my health. If anyone, in the present or future, comes across this blog as a resource for their own journey through cervical cancer, I want them to know all I can tell them. I found many stories when I was looking but they were very incomplete.

Last we talked, I was doing a bowel prep with magnesium citrate. The next morning I went to the hospital to have the urinary embolism. It took a LONG time to prep for surgery, about 3 hours. While I was waiting, I asked if I could talk to the anesthesiologist who would be involved in my pelvic exenteration the following day. They thought this was a very strange request. The head of the department came and asked me what the problem was; I told him there was no problem, I just wanted to talk to whomever would be putting me under and taking care of me for 12 hours. He said the schedule wasn't set yet, but he could answer any questions I had, etc. I told him I didn't have any questions, I just wanted to meet the person. He started explaining to me the process of how they would go about it, etc. I finally explained to him what I wanted while I was being put under. I wanted him to repeat five times as I was going under "Your surgery will go well and you will heal quickly", and that I did not want him to mention the word pain, as in "you will feel no pain when you wake up". I also wanted, after surgery, for him to tell me "Your surgery went well and you will heal quickly" several times.  He said that would be no problem and he usually spoke positive words as a regular service : )  Turns out he was my anesthesiologist the next day.  by the way, I think he also suggested I would crave cornbread after surgery, cuz I still want it.

They kept me overnight because they said the embolism would be too painful to control at home. I was hooked up to a morphine pump all night and I have to say there was no pain at all. What a relief.

The next morning is a bit of a blur, but mostly consisted of doctors coming through to say hello while i sat in my gown, wishing i had shaved my legs more recently.

I remember waking up in a darkened room with two nurses who could apparently go home now that I had come around. They immediately wheeled me to ICU and I was put in a room with two male nurses to care for me. I was a bit paranoid and thought something had gone wrong. It seemed like everyone was whispering and I heard someone say it went much quicker than anticipated. That, combined with the drugs, made me feel that things had not gone well and why wouldn't someone tell me? My breathing became erratic, my heartbeat was over 125, my blood pressure was about 80/50. When I asked my nurse, he told me not to worry. That ticked me off. So when my doctor came in to see me and assured me everything went really well, the first thing I did was tell her to get me a new nurse. She did. Within 5 minutes she had me wheeled to the other side of the ICU unit where I really liked my new nurse.

If there is any gift at all I can give to you, it would be the courage to stand up and control your medical care. Understand what is happening, why its happening, and demand good service as you would from anywhere you are laying down your hard earned money.

I'll share more later.

Peace & Love,
Susan






Saturday, December 17, 2011

Taa Daa

Hello! I made it :) Well, to be more truthful, I'm making it.
I have lots to tell you, and I am very thankful to Mona for going the extra mile to help me get back onto the blogosphere. I am unable to be in a sitting position, so I am lying here in bed, typing away. I will probably keep this first one short, as I am still a bit shaky.

I have so much to say, I suppose I will start with a bit of an update. The surgery went well, they got out all the bits they went after, and the biopsy shows they got all the cancer out of my body. My post op dream agreed with the biopsy; I'll share that with you later.

I came home from the hospital on Monday, I am getting around the house okay, but I can only lie down or stand up. This is challenging.

Mom went home on Thursday and that was hard. I spent the next 24 hours crying at the drop of a hat. Hubby was very sweet about it.

Okay, I'm rambling and I don't have a main point here. Just want to say thank you to everyone for your kind words both here on the blog and on my personal email. It really helps when I feel like I have my own personal cheer team.

Peace & Love,
susan

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fare Thee Well

After getting sloshed on two bottles of Magnesium Citrate, I'm not sure how coherent this blog will be this evening. I told myself I would set some time aside this evening to do something very strange. More about that in a minute.

I have been UNBELIEVABLY busy. Trying to get my life in order before going in to the hospital in the morning for two weeks! Two Weeks! Okay, work is settled. Talked to mom tonight, gave her phone numbers and all the information I know at this moment about my youngest and being where at what time with whom, etc. etc. I had the last meeting with the last doctor this morning. The Urologist. Up until this point I thought winning a beauty contest was required to be on my surgical team. I guess that's not the case.

I go in tomorrow morning to have the blood supply to my pelvic region cut off. It's called a urinary embolism. Apparently its so painful they have to keep me overnight to try and control some of it. sounds fun, yea?

so anyway, tonite I need to say goodbye to parts of my body they will be taking out in two days. Apparently I will be out of my head tomorrow night and unable to bid them a fond farewell. I don't want to grieve these parts when they are gone, and they have served me well up to this point. So here goes.

Dear Cervix,
I forgive you for allowing that sneaky cancer to take you over the way it did. I forgive you for not warning me until it was too late. I know that you are not to blame for letting stress break down your immunity like that, it was a team effort. I do want to thank you for heralding the arrival of my beautiful girls.

Dear Cancer,
I still harbor some strong feelings toward you, but you are also a part of me. I want you to know that I respect you and now it is time for you to go. You are not welcome in my body and I expect you to not return.

To all my other wonderful parts,
Thank you uterus for carrying my babies. Thank you bladder for letting me hold it longer than I should've. Thank you vagina for all that fun! Thank you rectum for haulin' out the trash. I appreciate all of you and bid you a fond farewell!

Peace & Love, Susan

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Post Thanksgiving

I am sitting at work, eating my leftover Thankgiving goodness, and catching up on my blog reading. Everything I read is making me cry; Celine at Bonjour is sharing a personal moment of utter joy, Aidan at Conjugating Irregular Verbs shares my love of Thanksgiving and tells a wonderful story about Thanksgiving in France, Sara in LePetitVillage started it all with her Thanksgiving story.  I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with all these ups and downs. There must be something in this turkey that makes a person weepy.

As for me and my family, we had a memorable Thanksgiving. It was just the five of us, and we laughed and talked and laughed and I wish someone could've secretly recorded the entire dinner for me to watch over and over. It was that good. A lot of not so brilliant life changing events have happened to us since the last time we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. We still found much to be thankful for as we took our turns going around the table expressing our thanks to God and one another.

I do need to update my pre-surgery events. I met with my gyn oncologist again on Wednesday. I told her I did not want a particular anesthesiologist for my surgery. He was my husbands anes.on his surgery and I did not like his style. She gave me my directions of things to do and not do before being admitted on Nov.30th. Then I went to the hospital and had a pikk line put into my arm for the surgery. This is a deep vein i.v. they put on the inner (very tender) part of my upper arm and it just sits there until surgery. I had one for chemo, so I knew what to expect, but the tape they put over it itches like crazy, and I can't really take a proper shower because it can't get wet. Then, I met with the ostomy nurse. Thankfully I went fully prepared. I had armed myself with knowledge and youtube videos, so it wasn't an emotional meeting. We were able to talk about the particulars without any emotion getting in the way. (YES, score one for me!) She marked my fat roll with two black X's and covered them with yes, more tape.  She also gave me dvd's to watch, samples to play with, etc.

So today I am at work, cleaning out my office. I've dug up a cassette tape (yes, i've worked here for more than 22 years), a business card when our area code used to be 409 instead of 936, and a picture of my family from 2003 that is a definitely keeper.

This afternoon, I go home and spend the afternoon with my friend photographer while she captures more memories with my gorgeous family.

peace,
susan

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The wonders that you see

This is for Grace, Kaitlin Gail and Margaret.
Although you see the world different than me
Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see
All the new colors and pictures you've designed
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Child of mine, child of mine
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

You don't need direction, you know which way to go
And I don't want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow
You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

Nobody's gonna kill your dreams
Or tell you how to live your life
There'll always be people to make it hard for a while
But you'll change their heads when they see you smile

The times you were born in may not have been the best
But you can make the times to come better than the rest
I know you will be honest if you can't always be kind
Oh yes, sweet darling
So glad you are a child of mine

I love you,
Mom

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Bag or the Box

I took my next step today. I've been putting it off until I knew for certain that I was ready. Well, as certain as I could be. I went online and started researching ostomies. How to care for them, how to change the different appliances, what (exactly) they look like, etc. After reading everything I could find, I then went on youtube to see the real deal. My first video was a man showing how he changes the wafer and cares for the skin around his stoma. A stoma is the part of the intestine that protrudes from your stomach. It was very difficult to watch and I did break down knowing that in less than two weeks time I would have my own stoma. Then I came across this video and it made me feel stronger.

So my plan is to continue watching videos, reading, and looking at real life pictures until I am desensitized. I have watched about 15 youtube videos already and I am pretty confident that I understand what is ahead of me. Of course no one can predict which stumbling blocks or hurdles will come along, I will just have to jump those as they arise. Several people I have spoken with say that it takes about a year to get used to these things. I have to tell you that I am determined to shorten that period. From all my research, the biggest hurdle is the patient's mindset. I am ahead of the game because I know its coming and I am educating myself before the fact. 

So tomorrow morning I am driving in to Houston again for my third opinion. I don't expect the opinion to change, but I am going to use this doctor as a resource for making sure I ask all the right questions of my own doctor, and so he can educate me further.

Then Wednesday morning I meet with my own doctor again, just for communication purposes and getting more questions answered. Then I have a pik line put into my left arm, and then I meet with the ostomy nurse so she can mark up my belly for the surgery.

THEN I get to enjoy four days with my family. I am going to cook turkey, the best damn dressing in the world, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and cranberries. We are going to take family pictures either Thursday or Friday. We are going to laugh and have a good time and I am going to relax and soak it all up.

peace out,
susan 








Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Present

My friend, A., and I whip this song out every year about this time. There aren't very many Thanksgiving songs and this one makes us laugh every time. We will listen to it every day, sometimes twice a day, until Thanksgiving. When we come back from our holiday, we will then begin our Christmas Music Season. That has always been our routine. NO CHRISTMAS MUSIC BEFORE THANKSGIVING. EVER! THAT'S OUR RULE.

With all the hoopla, I almost forgot this year. I just turned it on for us and we both wanted to cry, but we laughed at the appropriate parts anyway. :)

I am glad I will have two days of at work Christmas Music to listen to with her; we can get all our favorites played in that time, no doubt. :)

Peace Out,
Susan

Small delights

I went for a second opinion yesterday. I drove to Houston with hubby in tow, had a bag full of snacks and electronics to keep us busy. We used valet parking, as its free the first time, and felt like we were walking in to a five star hotel (except for the gloved strangers touching all your private parts).

We waited for about four hours to actually see a doctor, but we didn't mind too much. Everyone is there for a reason, everyone has their own story.

This doctor completely agrees with my current doctor.

I will be getting a third opinion on Monday. I'm nothing if not an eternal optimist.

So here are some small things that have delighted me recently:
  • My Aunt, who lives in ARKANSAS, offered to drive me to MD Anderson yesterday. How generous is that? VERY. I declined, but was amazed at her generosity.
  • My mom called me last night, just after I turned off the light for sleep, and said she would be coming for the surgery. I didn't even know I wanted her here until she said she would be here; moms are good for knowing things about you that you don't even know yourself :)
  • My husband made me laugh several times yesterday. Thank you God for our ability to still laugh and feel joy.
  • My nephew bought me some super duper soft leopard pj's. Button down top and drawstring pants. They fit purrrfectly.

I have a very busy two weeks ahead of me. I am looking forward to a stellar weekend. I will be enjoying my family, enjoying a trek to H town, and appreciating what I have.

Peace,
Susan

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'm C R A Z Y

I feel like a crazy person. One minute I am calm and can handle anything they throw at me, the next minute my mind splinters.

It is so interesting to me the way my mind works, or doesn't, whichever is the case. I was putting dishes away from the dish rack and a fork had one drop of water on it. I instantly think "the fork is crying". Weird stuff like that. I have more examples, but they are rather macabre and I know some of my family is reading this, so I won't share them. Suffice to say, my thoughts are a bit effed up right now.

Today I go back to the scene of the crime. The doctor who gave me the bad news exactly 7 days ago. I wasn't really in any condition to ask all the questions I needed to, and my husband is going with me.

I have all the faith in the world in him. I threw away my daughter's tooth, by accident, on Saturday. She had to write the tooth fairy a note, explaining how her mom has lost her mind, and dad got on the tooth fairy hotline and took care of the entire thing. It would not have happened without him. That gave me a HUGE amount of Peace =)

I got back from the doctor a short while ago. It was a good visit and King D. got all his questions answered. She even drew us pictures. He kept the drawings. Not sure why.

Tomorrow we go to MD Anderson for a second opinion. It's going to be a long day. I plan to pack snacks, vizio tablet, and an ipod.
Maybe I'll take some pictures for tomorrow's post.

Peace,
susan

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Peace in the City

Well after my eventful week, I longed for the peacefulness of the city. (kinda tongue in cheek)
My local soul sister and I had made plans for a breakfast in the Heights at our favorite grits place before my news blew me away last week; we decided to stick to our plans. Okay, I don't like grits, but her and my dad agree they have the best grits in H town.
Waffle, Eggs, Bacon, Latte...yummy.
I love Houston and I love finding new places to eat. I think this one was found while searching for the Onion Creek Bar & Coffeehouse....can't remember exactly, but it was a perfect find.

We then drove over to the park....the park I wanted was blocked off due to some parade about to begin, so we headed to Discovery Green. We staked out a grassy area, right near the water. It was beautiful, partly cloudy, and we listened to music, talked, read magazines, people watched, etc.
Saturday Morning Yoga in the Park
Then I texted my daughter, who lives nearby, to come join us because the day was so beautiful. She brought a sack lunch and we ate and talked.
Isn't she Beautiful?
It was a beautiful day in the park. Would've been more beautiful if the parking cop were following our New Life Rules. But alas, he was not even aware of the changes and gave me a parking ticket anyway. So instead of costing 50 cents an hour, it cost me $75 an hour for parking in a commercial zone. What can I say? All those signs were confusing. I got my receipt, put it on my dash and thought that was all I had to do.

We decided we liked this building best because it reflected the sky and clouds...kind of merging with the scenery.
beautiful bldg
That was my day. I hope your Saturday was good too.

Peace,
susan

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11

As mothers, we have experienced the humility of completely losing our modesty. Whether its having to spread eagle for a pap, or having a stranger insert their fingers to see how far the cervix has dialated; it can be quite awful.

Have you ever heard of brachytherapy? When you have cervical cancer, after five weeks of radiating your pelvic area, they often do brachytherapy. In laymans terms, they fill your vagina with about a dozen ball bearings. Each ball bearing is attached to a long tube projecting from your vagina. They insert these while you are under anesthesia, when you wake up they roll you to the radiation tomb and hook each long tube to another long tube that will inject radiation directly into your cervix. It's loads of fun. (I actually found an image online, but decided against sharing it with you. You're welcome.) They do not put you under to pull these ball bearings out of your vagina...just sayin'.

Okay, so all that is pretty harsh. You get used to people seeing your bare ass and strangers hands in your stuff. Whatever, you have cancer you don't care after the initial shock of it all.

Now, all that being said, today was a whole new level of awkwardness and ugh. Today , it went like this: drop my pants, kneel in the prayer position, rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr as the prayer chair turns me on my head, then have someone shove a flashlight up my bum.
Besides the obvious, let me tell you what I found hilarious about the entire situation. The doctor leaves the room, the nurse has me drop my pants. She then covers my wide white arse with a paper sheet. She then taps on the door, the doctor reenters, and he then tears a rip in the middle of the sheet to get to my behind. It makes me laugh just typing this...I read that in France, you don't even get a little modesty paper vest when you have a mammogram...I get a butt sheet with a rip in the middle. Take that France.

New Life Rules

Did you know that having one tragedy in your life does not prevent other bad things from happening to you? It's true. It's totally bogus. I think it should work like this: If you have cancer, you are automatically exempt from car wrecks, gunshot wounds, stubbing your toe, or having anything bad happen to you or any other member of your family. Who's with me on this?

My gyn oncologist called me this morning to say the latest she can do the surgery is Dec.1st. This is because she will be on holiday the last two weeks of the month and she does not want me to be in the hospital while she is not in town. My second opinion is scheduled for Dec.12th with MD Anderson.

I started calling everyone I know and several I do not know. I left a message for the doctor at MDA I have the appointment with and asked her to call me back. I called my sister in law, who used to work in the medical center environment, and then I remembered that her son is actually a lawyer who specializes in health law. Bingo. I am currently awaiting a phone call from the chief of gyn oncology of the methodist hospital in Houston. Also, a woman from MDA returned my call for Dr. Nick and she said there is an opening on Wednesday, she would check with scheduling and call me back.

So now I am sitting here, waiting for that phone call that is going to get me some quicker answers.

Of course all these details and phone calls and coordinating information with different people isn't making me better and it isn't making me worse. But it does feel like I am doing something instead of sitting helpless.

I had a talk with God this afternoon (fyi he doesn't mind if you're on the pot or not), and asked him to make sure all this coordination comes together for the benefit of my health. I asked him to let me finish raising my youngest. He reminded me that he has already made all the promises he is going to make and they do not include getting to see your children grow up. and IF I do not get to finish raising my youngest, He will take care of her.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Door No.4 Please

If he knew, when we met, that we would be going through this 23 years later would he still choose me?

This question crossed my mind and it is a question not worth asking, really, he knows what I want to hear and he is good about saying the important things.

He is pretty scared. He is very strong. He knows how to tuck our daughter in at bedtime.

He is not fully recovered from his surgery and he pressures himself to get better faster. I don't think it works that way, not with the brain.

So, to spell it out, the cancer has returned and it seems kinda pissed. Although two doctors read my petscan and told me all was swell, the biopsy told a different story.

I went to the doctor appointment alone. It was one of those things where she called me that morning and asked me to come in. I knew it wasn't good, but I didn't know how bad it could be. I thought, okay, I got a little cancer back, I'll just chemo and radiate again and finish it off. I've done it before, I can do it again. Well, turns out you can't do it again. They gave me the full allowable radiation the first go around and I'm not allowed to take any more. So she gave me three choices, which weren't really choices at all. 1) take chemo (but it's ineffective) 2) have a pelvic exenteration or 3) die within a year.

Uh, I'll put all my money on what's behind door #4 please.

If you don't know what a pelvic exenteration is, go look it up, cuz the details are too horrific for this particular post. I didn't even know they existed.

I live near Houston, Texas. People come to the medical center, from all over the globe, because we have the best doctors on the planet. MD Anderson is the cancer expert melting pot of the world. I have an appointment with them on Dec.12th to get a 2nd opinion.

Oh, turns out if you are gonna give someone the worst news they've ever heard, wearing lilac is a good idea. She had on her scrubs and they were the most beautiful lilac color, even her name stitched onto her front was another shade of lilac. It seemed to be something my mind was focusing on through the entire conversation. I tried removing myself from my body and viewing the conversation from afar; seems like a good skill to have at a time like this. No luck.

I will keep posting all my thoughts, scary and brave, while I am going through this. It's going to get graphic but I won't apologize. My not knowing pelvic exenteration exists is unacceptable; especially when I have cervical cancer and still didn't know it was a possibility. I did a lot of research on cervical cancer and this did not come up. I understand it is a difficult thing to talk about, and it may be embarrasing to some, or TMI, but it is a reality for a lot of people, most likely myself included. If I have to be a resource for other women in the future, I want them to know what's going to happen for better or worse.

Peace Out,
Susan

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sounds pretty heavy. Weight has nothing to do with it.

I have the need to write, write, write. Get as much as me onto this virtual paper as I can. I feel like Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, looking at a picture of myself as I slowly disappear. Slowly becoming irrelevant, my hands are transparent. I have to quickly make sentences into something substantial before I am gone entirely.

What will I leave for my daughters? My amazing, smart, beautiful girls. Words are not enough. Have I given them everything they will need? I've given them each other.

Oh how I do not want them to be sad. Have I given them enough good memories of me? Will they remember me being happy? laughing? loving?

Will they be able to feel me when I'm gone?

I think the hardest thing about a mother dying is not being able to hold her children and get them through it; not being there when they need her most.

Harriet Tubman said "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

An old friend told me "You did grow up and change the world. You raised three incredible daughters and that is an amazing contribution to this world."

I have given them each other.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grieving

My last Texas autumn. My last Texas Halloween. My last Texas Thanksgiving. I look at everything as my last Texas "fill in the blank" now. I've given myself permission to grieve for what I will be losing. It doesn't mean I don't want to move, it doesn't mean I'm second guessing myself. It just means that after 23 years here, I need a moment to grieve.


Even if you aren't from Texas, I am sure you are familiar with the pride that comes from being associated with this big, beautiful Lone Star State. If you aren't from Texas, you have probably been annoyed by this pride once or twice in your life. We Texans love that.


I love to watch MotoGP racing. It's an international sport. One of my most favorite things about watching the race is the announcers announce that Rossi is Italian, Hayden is American and Colin Edwards is Texan. Oh yeah.


The Texas Tornado - Colin Edwards


As I wait for my husband to tell his sister that he is moving, I am adding to draft posts, so many of these are over the course of several days and weeks. This is my excuse for their lack of continuity.


So this morning on my way to work, I was mentally listing a few things I will miss.
I will miss you Java Java.
I will miss you House of Pies.
I will miss you Mucky Duck.
I will miss you Courthouse Square.
I will miss you Houston skyline, you are so beautiful to me.
Houston View from Houston House


When I come around that last corner heading south on Hwy 59, I feel excitement right before the skyline spreads out in front of me in all its glory. I really can't get a picture of that sight, I am always driving and the corner is off camber. I love that sight, but I don't want it to be the last one I ever see.


I cannot actually list the people I will miss yet. That is too difficult. Several times, seemingly out of nowhere, I get a sharp stabbing pain over a person I will miss. Different people at different times. Perhaps I will write about that later, or maybe I will not be able to write about it. We will see.

In for a penny, in for a pound

I've been writing about leaving for quite some time now, I just haven't been able to publish until my husband told his family this morning. So I have an overload of posts today.

I set him up on Skype this morning with his sister. Although we've had skype for about 2.5 years now, it is his first time to talk to anyone (he still has a flip phone, BUT he does text!). So this morning, I had him brush his hair and put on a black t-shirt so get ready for his debut. :) He gave her the news and now I can share all these thoughts that have been racing around in his head.




My mom called this morning. Dad told her to read me the morning's news headline. Turns out Tampa Bay is 98th out of 100 as far as job growth goes. Houston is #1 on the list with over 16% growth.

Well shite.

Mom and Dad have the same concerns that David and I have. We are concerned and pray everything will work out for us. I reassure mom this is what we want to do and we aren't jumping in without a thought. We have even discussed an exit plan if it doesn't work out for us.

But we are boldly moving forward with the move. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Say the thing...continued...

I just read a lovely post from Ms. Kindersleyclick here to read and it reminded me of some things:

When I told my friend, D, about leaving he says to me, "you know the thing I hate about your leaving?" I say, "what's the thing?", He says "I've always anticipated getting to know you better. Now I know I've wasted all this time." It was such a lovely thing to say.

My friend, K, she now hugs me every day at work. It's like she is saying the same thing, but with hugs instead of words.

My friend, Mona, came by today to schedule a Houston morning getaway, to include one of my most favorite spots: Java Java. Which is funny because I just wrote a post yesterday (yet to publish) about Java Java being one of the places I am going to miss. And what is better than having breakfast there next Saturday with one of the people I am going to miss most? I can't think of a thing.

six weeks and four days left

Taking my Memories with me.

Taking walks through the National Forest with my girls.
Driving up to the family cemetery, walking and talking about the people buried there and how they are related to my girls.
Friday night half time shows; watching my older girls dance and lead the band while trying to keep tabs on their little sister in the stands.
hyped up on concession stand food
These are the memories I will take with me to a new place. After I put them in black and white, I can see the most important part of the memories are my girls. The places are just where we happened to be at the time.
in the woods, we stopped to play

I am loading up the family and heading East. I am both excited and terrified at once. I am excited about a new place, about being close to my parents, about a new beginning. I am terrified of failure.


My biggest fears lie with my girls. Shocker, I know. My youngest has just started fifth grade. That age where you cement your friendship with your best gal pals. That age when your core confidence sets in stone to rely on later in life when your environment is less than ideal. She has a very large support system here, a very large cheering section. Teachers, teachers aides, girl scout leaders, my co-workers, they all believe her to be quite extraordinary. They all know her name.


My two oldest girls have been going away to school for the past 2-3 years, but they always had a place to come home during the summertime, winter break, various weekends. Now I am pulling up home base. My head tells me they are 22 and 20, it's time for them to fly on their own. My heart tells me I am pulling the net out from under them.


I am excited and terrified.

Friday, October 28, 2011

If you want something you have to earn it

I came home one day and noticed the yard had been mowed, I wondered but got busy and forgot to ask who had done this wonderful thing. A few weeks later, the same thing. I got home and the yard had been mowed. I asked David, "Who is mowing our yard?" and he says "I've hired Charles". Splendid, I think.

So a few weeks later, I come home from work and there is a small child helping David load a lawnmower into the back of his truck. Holy Smokes! The child labor police are going to lock us up! As soon as I get him alone, I say, "David, you can't hire a little boy to mow the yard! He's only 6 or 7 years old!" David assures me he is in the 7th grade and he is quite capable.  I'm doubtful. Where is his mother?

I got home from work yesterday and David says, "Charles called, he is coming over to mow the yard". Our doorbell rings about 6:30pm, it's Charles to mow the yard. Splendid. He does half the yard and comes to the door for a drink of water. Lovely, come in, catch your breath, here is some water. I take a closer look at him. He has grown since I saw him last, the way 7th grade boys do. He has a smattering of freckles across his nose. Quick to smile. He goes back out to finish the yard.

David says to me, "I can't remember how much I usually pay him". So I have a twenty and five ones on the ready. Charles comes to the door to say he's finished. David asks how much to pay and Charles tells him twenty. I hand him the twenty. I say, "Do you need me to take you home?" He says, "not really". I look at him harder and say "How did you get here?" He says, "I walked". I say, "If I don't take you home, how will you get home?" and he says "I'll walk". So I tell him to come on and I'll drive him home (about a one and a half miles).

I help him put the mower in the back of the truck. I say to him "I am very impressed that you would walk all the way over here to earn some money" and I hand him the five ones. He says to me, "My dad says if I want something, I have to earn it". I say to him, "Your dad is right".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

a very good height indeed


I previously rambled about our caterpillar invasion and my hopes of seeing butterflies in winter...well it isn't exactly winter, well alright it isn't winter at all, but we have been rewarded with a(n) (significantly smaller) invasion of butterflies!

I knew her when...
These little beauties are all over the field outside my office. I wish I could take a picture ala national geographic so you could see what I see, but alas I cannot.
Finding Waldo
See what I mean? This field of wild onion flowers has dozens of butterflies who are all wearing their invisibility cloaks. Tricky buggers.
If I was real slow and careful, I could sneak up on them and get a close up. It was really comical how they would alight on the top of the flower and then hang on for dear life as the flower bent to the ground under the heavy butterfly weight.
notice the parched earth



Alright Already

People remind me (daily) what a difficult two years my family has been through. I think they are afraid that I've forgotten about the motorcycle wreck, the brain tumour, the cancer, the second brain tumour, etc. etc. So they very kindly point it out, with furrowed eyebrows as they wait for me to form words of sympathy inducing gratitude; that we have come through everything and are still alive, I suppose. The banality of it all is quite depressing.

But here is the truth.

It has made our lives better.

I can't go so far as to say that I wouldn't change anything, because my husband is the one who has endured most of the physical pain. But I wouldn't change any of my own pain for what we have gained over the past two years and seven months. We have grown as a family, and my relationship with my husband has been completely altered. We always held something back from each other in the past. I actually preferred it that way, so did he, which is why we were so perfect for each other. But when you nurse someone back to health things change. And when you take turns nursing one another back to health, it is an equitable change.

Now we are going to begin a new adventure together, and we haven't been able to say that for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Swinging Cousins
My 21st Daniels' Family Reunion was this past weekend. Held in the Deep East Texas Pineywoods with Lake Ivanhoe as the beautiful backdrop. It was a Gorgeous day; like only October in Texas can produce. These little girls are second cousins, I think. The one in the swing is my youngest. She is first cousins with the other two's daddy's.--i'm sure that is grammatically incorrect..that makes them second cousins, no?

Every year, for as long as I can remember, this sprite gentleman has been videoing the entire reunion. I have no doubt there is enough to convict myself, and most everyone else, of something on those darn tapes. I hope my sister-in-law remains friendly with him or we are all in trouble.

Mac Cam
cousins
The best part of the reunion is always the kids. They have such a great time running, jumping, playing, sticking their fingers in the desserts.


The little one here on the left is a cutie, but don't let her fool you, she is a real hoot. Someone asked her what grade she was in and she says "3rd" and never cracked a smile. They walked away and she says, deadpan, "I'm really in preschool". Cracked me up.

My husband had a brain surgery only nine days before this hour long trip into the Big Thicket. He has the most awesomely wicked stitches on the side of his head in the shape of a C. (He is totally ready for Halloween; different blog post). He played dominoes, ate like a horse, and was completely worn out by the time we left. 

My favorite part? Sitting on that green grass, looking out over that gorgeous lake, with Dave Matthews on the ipod singing about being alive and well.  :)






Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking Charge of My Life


I could not sit quietly by and wait for my Doctor's appointment in November to find out if the cancer had made a comeback. So I drove an hour to the imaging center, got my report, drove to the Doctor's office and sat until she would tell me what the report meant. Then I drove an hour back to work and popped the cork off a bottle of champagne (my girlfriends at work were prepared!) to celebrate being Cancer Free!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To be or not to be

I called my doctor day. I am waiting for her to call me back. I have an appointment to see her in a weeks time, but I had a petscan yesterday and I know the results are sitting in her office somewhere. It seems that my ability to concentrate is directly connected to the results sitting on her desk; or rather my lack of knowledge concerning the results sitting on her desk.

People are talking to me, about important work matters I'm sure, and I am catching about every 2 out of 7 words. My forehead is creased and I try to look like I'm paying attention.

The receptionist acted like what I was asking is frowned upon. For freaks sake, I'm a grown woman and I need to know how I will be getting on with my life, with cancer or without cancer. Just tell me.

I'll keep you posted. If you watch the news and a receptionist in Houston has been strangled, it wasn't me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bunny Ears

I am typing this using the new blogger settings. It's a little strange, like being in a large white room where the floor and the wall are indiscernible from each other. Sometimes, while I am typing, I wonder if I should be more careful with my grammar and spelling. I am usually writing these while at work. I think of something and type it up in between answering telephone calls and depositing thousands of dollars into their bank accounts. I simply don't have the time to edit myself.

Today is a beautiful day here in Texas. It is a beautiful 88 degrees, my office window is open, the front patio at work is covered in caterpillars. Thousands of caterpillars are venturing onto the concrete wall, the concrete slab, making their way to God knows where. Does this mean we will have thousands of butterflies before winter? Hmm, I wonder.

Okay, I went searching my computer to find a picture of a flower that grows outside my office and instead I found THIS AWESOME PICTURE of my littlest tying her shoes for the first time. How cool is that? What a Cutie Pie!

I have nothing planned this weekend, it is a welcomed break. My every weekend in October is completely booked. Wherever you are, I hope you have a fabulous weekend. :) :) :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sally

When my youngest was younger, she wanted to be called Sally. All her dolls and even a cat or two were christened "Sally". I took her with me to the grocery counter to order her Birthday cake and when the nice lady behind the counter asked what name we wanted on the cake, I looked at my youngest expecting her to give her name and instead, out comes "Sally". So Sally it was.

When I was about the same age, I wanted to be called Cindy. Too many episodes of the Brady Bunch. No one in my family would oblige. This is, no doubt, why I am all mucked up as an adult, yes?

My oldest used to carry around an imaginary friend named Robin in the palm of her hand; and at times wanted to be called Robin herself.

I can't recall my middlest wanting to be called by someone else's name, but she did ask to be called by her middle name when she was about ten years old. It stuck. Sort of. I actually use both of her names interchangeably and often, both, in the same breath. Making me sound like I have four daughters instead of three, or much like a crazy person.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cows

I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self contain'd, I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the earth.

—Walt Whitman

Pretty in Pink

I blindly selected a picture from my pic folder to write about. My youngest was six years old. She was showing signs of OCD and her school counselor recommended she try a team sport. The counselor was married to a football coach, her son was a football coach and perhaps team sports was the miracle solution for all her problems and thought it would help. So we went and signed up for soccer and got all the lovely accoutrements that come with the gig. Doesn't everyone get pink knee pads, pink cleats, and a pink soccer ball?

She enjoyed it for a little while, but mostly she liked to sit on the sidelines and talk and laugh and make new friends. We finished out the season, which came with a lovely lime green jersey, but she didn't want to sign up for another season.  As for the OCD, well it didn't really help but she seems to have outgrown it for the most part.

She has really grown this past year from a young girl into a tween. I was never sure what that word really meant, I thought it was an advertising word. I get it now. She is only ten, but she is developing already and has the mindset of a teenager. She is in a very In Between stage of her adolescence.

She has a lot of changes coming toward her and although I am by her side, I know that she has to learn to deal with things on her own. I'm hoping I've given her the foundation to get through it all as unscathed as possible.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Limbo

Sometimes I wish I would've had the courage to write about my daily experience after finding out about the cancerous invasion of my body. I found a blog in the stratosphere where a woman did have the courage and although our experience wasn't exactly the same, it is as close as I've found.
http://cervicalcancergirl.blogspot.com/

I sat the other night and read her experience from beginning to end and although it was several years ago for her, it was so very familiar to me. I cried for myself and I cried for her. One of the things about something like this is that people want you to be okay and think that because the cancer is gone (whatever that means) that you are well. The lasting effects from the radiation and chemo are ongoing. It isn't something we feel comfortable talking about all the time, but it is always there.

I am thankful that my family was complete before getting sick.

I find out October 12th if the cancer remains gone. I am trying to be patient about finding out. I've got places to go and people to see and that is the one hurdle that is holding me up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Small Town

I was driving to work this morning and came to the stop sign behind an old pick up truck. The bumper sticker in the window of the cab said "My wife says I'm not fun anymore, well, DUH, we're MARRIED now."

I couldn't design a more idiotic bumper sticker if I tried.

Not that I'm a great fan of bumper stickers anyway. I've never had one on my own vehicle. I don't even like the dealer logo being on my car.

Well I wrote all the above days ago and it didn't go anywhere so I'm picking up with my thoughts on a conversation I overheard at work this morning. I come from a pretty rural setting. I work in a small town, the county seat, population 693. I live fifteen minutes up the road in another small town, population 2262. This can be a little misleading because of course everyone is a bit spread out and they aren't included within the city limits. But you get the idea. Small Town. It comes with all the stereotypes you can imagine. Everyone knows everyone and gossip spreads like wildfire. Very conservative thinking, everyone goes to the same churches, so there isn't a lot of diverse opinions on social and political issues.

This can be difficult for people, like me, who have a different background or wander in from somewhere bigger. I don't raise farm animals to show at the County Fair (this is another topic all in itself, the County Fair is Big, HUGE), I don't go to the Baptist church, I don't work at the county courthouse nor the school district. Oh, and let's not forget my biggest transgression: I'm a Democrat.

But here's a tip for those of you who find your way into a small town and don't feel quite like you belong. Everyone has something to offer. Don't look down your nose at the differences, search out the similarities, learn something new, odds are, you'll end up learning something new about yourself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 11

There were very touching commercials on the past few weeks, the slogan being something like "what will you do?" - to remember 9/11. Robert DeNiro even chimed in, with his long hair and New Yorkness. It must've really sunk in because Sunday morning, my daughter crawled into bed with me and we flipped a few channels together and settled on a man who used to work in the North Tower telling his story. My youngest was interested so I left it there. It was like so many other stories we've heard over the past ten years. To be honest, I shy away from the 9/11 stories every year. It's all too sad and has been hijacked by conspiracy theorists and politics, and did I mention how sad it is?

This year was different. I let myself take the time with my daughter and my husband to remember. We watched the History Channel's "102 Minutes", which is television coverage as it happened that morning. I had been at the doctor's office with my youngest, getting her three month immunizations.

My husband watches every year. His son died on 9/11. It was years before the new millenium and there was no news coverage when his seven year old died; but as he watched the memorials on Sunday morning, he felt a sense of the whole country mourning with him. He once told me that one of the many hard things about losing his son is that no one talks about him anymore. I imagine people are apprehensive because they don't want to bring up the sadness of it all. But it is sadder to think that people have forgotten.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fires & Floods

My life has slowed to a snail's pace lately. Everything is rocking and rolling along. The heat here in Texas has reached record proportions, which I don't mind, but the drought is no bueno for anyone. The state is on fire and the skies are filled with smoke. I drove to the doctor Friday and the smoke was so thick it blocked out the sun. The firefighters are tired and over 1400 homes were lost just west of Austin. It's all very sad.




I watched a snippet from the news and a woman had come back to her home after fleeing from the fire. The only thing left was a four foot tall brick wall that had the numbers of her house still attached. The pictures were worse even than the pics of Joplin, MS after the tornadoes. Total devastation.

And I hear the yanks up north are submerged in the water we need here so desperately.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Flying High

I had a dream last night.
I was flying over my hometown elementary school via a handheld glider. Basically, I was holding two handles in the shape of metal triangles in each hand and a wide ribbon of parachute material that was floating me on the breeze. I was talking to someone on the ground, I don't know who. An old friend from childhood walked up with her young daughter and the other person says to her "I always thought you would make something of yourself" (Implied: You obviously haven't and won't accomplish anything since you have moved back to this hole in the wall town).  As I was maneuvering my homemade hand glider back to earth I said "Don't let where you are define who you will become". Then as I was standing in the parking lot of the elementary school a big gust of wind grabbed my sail and blew me back into the sky. I felt so free.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Blessings

I was cleaning out an organizer and this caught my eye. It was in the corner of a 2010 calendar I was about to throw away.

"After Grace & Kaitlin were born I felt like I was missing a son. My mother-ness wasn't fulfilled, I thought, because I didn't have a son. Then I had Margaret and I realized I had simply been missing her."

I wanted to preserve this feeling in the forever-ness of the internet.

Monday, July 25, 2011

For Delana, a.k.a. Banana Pudding and Plumes

This recipe is the original Nilla Wafer recipe on the back of the box (can you get Nilla wafers in France?) with a few adjustments. When my sister came out to see me in May she made this for me and showed me how easy it is to make.

3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
4 eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
one box of Nilla Wafers (has to be Nilla Brand)
5 to 6 med. size fully ripe bananas, sliced

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour and salt in pot on top of stove (some people use a double boiler, not really necessary). Stir in 4 egg yolks and milk; blend well. Cook, uncovered, stirring constantly until thickened. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla.

In a large serving dish, layer Nilla Wafers alternately with your sliced bananas until all your wafers and bananas are in the dish. Then take the custard and pour into the dish, over your layers of bananas and wafers. The custard will fill all the nooks and crannies and the wafers will soak it up. Yummy.
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry; gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spoon on top of pudding, spreading to cover entire surface and sealing well to edges. Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes or until delicately browned. Let cool for a short time...tastes best warm.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Olive you too.

So my hubby wants to go for a ride this evening. We end up at Subway and I already had a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner; so wanted nothing. He ordered a footlong cold cut combo...gross. We sat and talked about home improvement projects we want to do next year. He finishes half of his sandwich and offers me a bite of the second half...I take a bite and want the whole thing. So he painstakingly picks out the cucumbers, tomatoes, and the 250 olives that were on the last six inches of his sandwich and offers it to me. I ate [almost] all of it. The entire time he was picking olives, I thought "He loves me SO much".

How awesome is that?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independence Plus

I told you my girls went on holiday together to Florida. They made me a beautiful photo album of their trip together. This is one of their pics...I believe this was Busch Gardens Day.
Today I cooked.
It's the first time since March that I've really got my hands dirty in the kitchen. It was great.
I chose Rachel Ray's double dipped buttermilk fried chicken tenders, Rachel Rays goat cheese and dill potato salad, Greenbeans (Outback style), baked beans, corn on the cob, and homemade banana pudding with a meringue top. And because my husband adores banana pudding, I made two.
I've never made a meringue before, so this was fun and everyone loved it. There were nine of us in total and the few who are left are in the other room watching old black and white episodes of the Twilight Zone.

It was a good day and I'm exhausted. Oh, I almost forgot...I cut my hair super short yesterday. It feels great :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Catching up on Current Events and such

I have lots rolling around in my head today. I am distraught about the teachers getting a paycut and can't understand why the GOP is hell bent on dummying up our nation. They are making sure the poor and the minorities have less access to birth control; which of course, means more children we aren't going to give healthcare to and will not educate properly. Doesn't make sense to me.

I'm also reflecting on the roller coaster I've been on lately. I've learned a little bit about myself. I don't like being poor. I don't like being the breadwinner. I don't like the musical band Spoon. I know not to ask someone if I can help, to just DO IT.

Luckily we have money rolling in again and I'm NOT the sole breadwinner anymore :) oh, and I've deleted Spoon from my ITunes.

There's a certain reaction one gets from the general public when revealing one has cancer. But apparently if you aren't on a platinum chemo that causes you to lose your hair, then the cancer you are suffering from "isn't that bad".  That just ranks up there with the idiocy detailed in my first paragraph.

OH, and another thing I have been wanting to spew about. A very solid part of the "american dream" has always been to own your own home. While most of America is still out there trying for this very special piece of the american dream, it turns out the banks are more interested in using your house as a commodity they can sell, and sell again. They are not interested in you keeping your house. They would prefer you not be able to afford it so they can sell it to someone else. They are not buying in to your dream. So stop getting more house than you can afford and guard your dream.

Regarding the Casey Anthony trial. A Liar does not a Murderer make. They do not have the solid evidence needed to convict of first degree murder.

Shame on you, Anthony Weiner, you were a great Democrat and you let stupid personal jollies get in the way of being a statesman...we cannot afford to lose good democrats.

I watched the movie Babies last night and it was delightful and heartbreaking at the same time. I recommend it.

Alright, that's all for now.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Independence

My girls are on vacation...together...without me...or their dad. Isn't that just the cutest thing ever? They packed up in the eldest's bright red Nissan Versa and drove East to the land of retirees, palm trees, and Mickey Mouse. They took enough to survive for five weeks and should be home tomorrow, after only 7 days. They are rookies at the packing for vacation thing, they will get better with each trip.

I wanted to text them about every 15 minutes. If I had, I would've wrote things like "Don't forget to say please and thank you" (they stayed with my folks), and "pick your wet towels up off the bathroom floor" and "get out of bed before noon every day", etc. etc. It was an endless tickertape in my head.

My oldest texted me one evening and said she heard my mother talking on the phone with someone and told them that "[my] girls were very independent, but of course Susan is their mother". She said it made her feel proud. I am proud too. I am also glad I didn't textstalk them all week :)  It would've totally blown the independent cover. :) 

I just want to say thanks to you all for your good wishes and prayers and kindness. I have been declared "cancer free" and I am steadily beginning to feel better and have even been able to put a few thoughts together to write a tad bit. Thanks again. :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

peachy keen

I am sitting here in an almost drunkenlike amazement at how God created this fantastic peach I am eating. Alright, truth is I'm finished with it, otherwise my keyboard would be covered in sticky peach juice. It was running down my chin and I was slurping and it was really quite obnoxious I'm sure, but it was pure heaven to me. Good Job, God!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the darkest before the dawn

I have tried, with many false starts, to write in the past couple weeks. I think the drugs they are giving me put me in a little bit of a fog. I can't exactly think straight and I'm doing odd things. I have gotten a sense of what it must have been like to be in my husbands head the past year. I am making deposits into the wrong account, reading a map incorrectly; and navigation is a specialty of mine, so this was very disconcerting.

My sister has come and gone. The first couple days were us trying to figure out a)what I needed and b) what she needed to do. She drove me every day for treatment, one hour there and one hour back home. She cooked and cleaned and washed and rubbed me when I felt bad. The hardest was saying goodbye. Just her being close made me feel good. Well...not physically, but emotionally. :)

I had my last chemotherapy treatment today and I am so glad. I have met some amazing women in the chemo lounge. There are six chairs in the chemo lounge, a large window across one wall, and women all fighting for their lives. One young woman was so young, she was sitting there with a large folder in her lap, choosing invitations. I wasn't sure, at first, if it was for a high school graduation or a wedding. Turns out it was a wedding. The next week, I saw her again and we talked. Her boyfriend asked her to marry him on Valentines Day this year. Three days later she found out she had ovarian cancer. They needed to operate. They talked about taking an egg to freeze so she could have children, but they decided against it because they were only going to take out one ovary. When they got inside her to remove they ovary, they found a web of cancer across her uterus to her other ovary and had to remove both. She can no longer give birth to her own child. I weep for her as I type this. She is so brave and beautiful. She has lost all her hair and wears these really hip hats and her fiance brings her lunch from Freebird and we all ooh and aah over him and tell him what a lucky man he is. Chemo is a 4-6 hour treatment for most of us, so we have a lot of time to talk.

What strikes me about our conversations is the lack of specific signs. One lady had an unrelated pain in her leg and when the mri came back it showed ovarian cancer. Another lady had uncomfortable bloating in her stomach; ovarian cancer. The young girl was there for her annual pap smear; ovarian cancer. It just seems to me that our bodies should scream out in more dramatic ways that it is being taken over on the inside. It shouldn't be so silent.

I got a text tonite from a friend who hit it right on the nose. She said at the end of something difficult is when it can be the hardest. The darkest before the dawn. I haven't seen her in more than a week, I think; it's just too hard when you feel this bad and need to stay close to necessities. But it was like she was reading my mind. It was exactly the way I was feeling. I have a bit of anxiety about the second part of the radiation therapy, and I seem to cry almost everytime I am alone and I'm not even sure why.

I'm going to go now but if you are reading this and you have sons or daughters, please encourage them to get the HPV vaccine. It is a virus that is known to cause cervical cancer. The statistics say that 75-80% of males and females will be infected with HPV in their lifetime. It doesn't always lead to cancer, but why take the chance.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Forgiveness

I was awake most of the night and had a perfectly lovely blog all written in my mind to post today, but now in the light of day most of the words are gone and I can't seem to find them.

I've decided I need to help the physical recovery of my body by cleansing my spirit, my soul. How can something so black and ugly grow inside of my physical body without having a start in my spirit. So I lie in bed last night searching myself for any grudges I'm harboring, any wrongs that I need to forgive and let go.

I cut small circles out of bright yellow paper and on the front of them, I wrote "I forgive you". The first circle, I put my husbands name on the back. The second circle was my mom's and the third was my dad's. They say the people you love the most cause the most pain. I just wanted to let go of the little things, all the perceived hurts. These three precious people in my life who are not perfect and who love me greatly.

The fourth circle was for myself. Turns out I'm not perfect either. I find myself wanting to explain the forgiveness and what its for, but some things are too personal or would be telling of others tales. So I'll keep the details and let the forgiveness flow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Dad

I called mom today and dad answered the phone. I got choked up when I heard his voice. I haven't spoken with him since I was diagnosed. I knew I would cry. I want him to hug me and make it all better. He told me that I managed to get him to do something he's not done before. "What's that?", I ask. "Offer up small prayers", he says. And I cry some more.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Shame

My youngest daughter asked me, "Momma, have you ever been really ashamed of something you did?"
I didn't have to think very hard. I proceeded to tell her my most shameful moment.
I was fourteen or fifteen, too young to drive, and my aunt had volunteered me for a babysitting job. She had a friend who needed a night out, and she sang my praises. Told her friend how responsible I was, how she could go out and not worry.
When I got there, it wasn't exactly a babysitting job. The lady was caring for an elderly parent. A sick elderly parent, in a hospital bed. I was scared. I was not used to being around sick people, or old people, or sick old people. She assured me he would sleep and I didn't have to do anything but check on him. I was petrified. He fell out of the bed and I didn't know it because I never checked on him.
I felt so ashamed.

My youngest threw tartar sauce. : )

Monday, May 2, 2011

King D

I am sitting here eating a hot bowl of rosemary chicken soup. It is so good for so many reasons. It is made with fresh ingredients, a home grown chicken and the love of a friend. It was heated up by my husband and it is now nourishing me beyond belief.

My husband has been driving me every day for my treatments. I talked him in to letting me drive one day, but I haven't been able to do it twice. He drives me an hour there, sits in the parking lot or the lobby for 30-45 minutes, then asks me if I want to eat; sometimes yes, sometimes no; then drives me another hour back home. He is amazing. The day I had chemo, he sat in the parking lot for over four hours.

In the evening, he fixes me something to eat. He asks me how I am feeling, he offers me something to drink.

It seems so simple. But it means so much.

Here is the soup recipe from my parallel friend.
Boil one chopped onion, 3-4 stalks celery, 4-5 chopped up small carrots, 2-3 boneless/skinless chicken breast! Season with garlic salt, pepper and rosemary to taste! Once chicken is cooked I chop them up small or shred add back to soup, with <1 cup of rice> and BAM it's done!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES, C'MON

I survived week one of "treatment". (more like torture)
From Tuesday to Friday I have had this feeling in my stomach that made me go around with my brow furrowed. I didn't know whether to feed it or not, its been awful, a constant sickness that had me bed bound for a lot of the week. Its difficult to describe, but its rather like an intense car sickness.
Well this morning I woke up and it's not there! I cried I was so happy! I know its temporary, but I'm so so happy right now! I want to celebrate! So I'm going to strip my sheets and help David gather the garbage and I need to go to the bank this morning, etc. etc. I have a dear friend coming to clean house today and we leave for a pet scan this morning.
I just want to shout to everyone "I FEEL GREAT TODAY! LET'S CELEBRATE!"

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Crystal Cares Too

My dog keeps staring at me. I've tried explaining to her what's going on, but she doesn't seem to understand. So she just stares at me. She knows something is wrong and she sits by me and pins her ears back as she stares at me and tries to heal me with her little puppy light.

At work today we had a prayer circle outside and over a dozen people joined in held hands and prayed for me. I felt the wind on my face and a stirring in my stomach and knew that we were being heard by God. After, I hugged every one of them and took a little extra light from each of them as I did it because I knew they had it to spare.

I have been craving fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas and grape juice. I can't get enough, so I'm going with it. After my first chemo yesterday I looked like death warmed over. But today has been a good day.

Can't wait for all the good days to come.

Monday, April 25, 2011

X Files

I haven't felt very well this week. Nauseous mostly. I have a laundry list of prescription drugs that I will begin taking this week. This for the girl who avoids an aspirin when she has a headache, well, unless it gets really bad and then I only take one. I took Prozac for about a week before my diagnosis. I was full of anxiety with the not knowing and all the different doctors peaking, probing, scraping. I stopped taking that about three days ago. I try not to think of how my body is going to react to 12 different drugs this week. That is a very difficult part for me that I don't talk about so much. I feel, deep down, there are ways to combat this naturally and I know i don't have the time to research it and handle it alternatively. I go to the medical doctor and they say, here...do this and this and this. But there is nowhere else to go where they say and here is option #2, you can do this and this and this and this and it's takes a lot of committment, but you won't have to kill your good cells along with the bad cells. You won't have to destroy your immune system and you will be able to digest nutrients for the rest of your life and you won't destroy the esophogal glands and you won't get sores in your mouth and you won't kill your ovaries.
I'm such a conspiracy theorist at heart and I've always had this huge mistrust of the entire corporate cancer industry and now i'm like a lamb led to slaughter. Here is your salvation, here is your redemption. We are going to save you if we don't kill you first. So do I really have to get on board while I'm sitting there having poison pumped into my body intravenously? I'm supposed to have light healing thoughts the five hours i'm sitting in the chair? I'm too jaded for that. How does one use their personal healing powers, and calling upon the healing powers of God, and gather the healing light energy everyone is sending her way, while allowing the poison to flow. Yes, there is no question mark there, I have to conform. I know that. But thankfully I have this safe place to say these things.
Perhaps you are growing weary of hearing about the goodness and blessings coming my way, but I am not that jaded yet. : )
My heart overflows every time. A few kind words, a hug, a meal, a phone call, a hand full of cash, they all mean so much to me. And it's strange that the hugs mean just as much as the cash!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

random bits

Well I hate to go on and on about it, but today was another day of bountiful blessings. At one point, I was actually sobbing and couldn't speak. The generosity has been overwhelming.

I had a consult with the radiation doctor today and it looks like the next 7-8 weeks are going to be hell.

I am continuing to take my herbal medicine (the doctor knows) because it gives me some stupid sense of control over this uncontrollable situation.

I'm afraid we've given the impression that we like my brother's goulash.

I have been pretty nauseous the past few days; a result of so many pelvic exams and the biopsy. I need to go lie down right now.

More Kindness

My parallel friend.
We live our lives in parallel. It's uncanny. We say to each other "Get your own life" and we laugh.
We think about things the same way, we look at problems from the same angle, we arrive at the same conclusions.
She has had so much on her plate and I want to say to her that I am sorry. But she doesn't want to hear that. She already knows what I'm thinking and she says to me 'My hands are stirring alot of pots but I can stir yours too. My hands are holding alot of hands right now but I can still hold yours'. So in those few words she acknowledges that I am concerned about being another burden to her and assures me that she has broad shoulders. So she touches me and makes me cry with her kindness, handing me what I need without asking. I did not say to her that I am worried about buying gas for the two hour round trips to daily radiation. She gave me money without asking. Once again I am overwhelmed with the thought and kindness and my abundant life.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4/20

I got through today.
I spent a full day at work, told most of my work friends. I feel bad because they don't know what to say, after the shock of it. I can already feel them treating me a little differently; perhaps that will fade as we all get a little more used to the thought. I know they will whisper about it, "can you believe it?", "isn't that awful?", that sort of thing. Mostly I want them to know they don't have to whisper about it; they can say those things to me. I am thinking them too. But I've been moved to a different category, I am no longer like them. I am different now.

So it turns out I really do have some amazing friends. Which is really surprising to me because I am not very good at cultivating relationships. I can't even remember to call my own mother once a week. I think when you get to my age, the people left standing are the ones who really have something to offer and I can only hope that I am still in their circle of friends because I give them something too.

So I was thinking about their differences and how they are all so good to me in their own special ways.

My sister. She is seven years older than me. I spent time with her the summer she was pregnant with her son. We would eat all day and lie around in bed watching soaps. It was in south Texas and it was so hot. That was a good summer. Later, when we moved to Florida, I would look forward to her coming for a visit; we would sit up all night talking about everything and sneak out of the house to the Subway for a roast beef, mustard and pickle sandwich. Of course she was full grown with a child of her own, so it wasn't really against the rules sneakin' so much as just sneakin' for the fun of it. When I told her about my latest BS she was solid. I don't remember much about what she said, I just remember she was solid and she prayed for me and I felt so much better after talking to her than I did before. She shares my faith in God. I know it's hard for her because I'm the baby sister; but she calls me again today to see if I'm okay. I needed that.

Then there's my sister-friend. She is over the top. She thinks of shit I need before I ever know I need it. She doesn't say "Let me know what I can do", she does. Well, okay, she does say it too; but she doesn't wait for an answer. She cooked dinner for my family tonite. I stopped by after work to pick it up on my way home and she says she's going to the grocery for me to write her a list. I need to tell her I don't have any money for the grocery right now but I can't seem to get the words out...as she starts and keeps adding to the grocery list, it dawns on me that I don't think she's picking up groceries for me, but  FOR me. She's buying them too. I am overwhelmed. I mean how incredible is it that this person takes a look at my life, knows my daughters are coming home from college, knows I need groceries in the house and goes and gets them for me. She didn't know I didn't have money for groceries this weekend. It is just more than I can return. I don't know how to give that back. and I know she doesn't expect it back, but how many of you (of the female persuasion) can take and take and not give back? She encourages me to accept and I have no will to object. She does not share my faith in God, but she is respecting my space in that too. I know she wants to say so much on the subject. I would just have her know that I know I am good enough. me. alone. It's just not how I prefer it.

There are more, no less important persons whom I will introduce you to very soon. My life is abundant.

Job, long o

I have been diagnosed with cancer.
I am currently unable to remove the 3rd, 4th, and 5th word from that sentence. I attempted it yesterday and literally choked on the words, so I haven't tried it since.
My head is still spinning from all the information and I feel quite nauseous as I sit here typing these words.
I would like to think that I will handle this turn of events in a graceful, ladylike fashion, but I'm not sure how I'm going to handle it. I'm not feeling very graceful right now.
My friend, Janet, died from cancer a few years ago. I still weep when I think of her short lived life and her young daughter having to grow up without her.
One of my first thoughts is that dying is all a part of living. My second thought is I am thankful two of my girls are full grown and I know they will nurture the third the same way I would in the event I leave this world early. My third thought is I could get hit by a bus tomorrow. There are no guarantees we get to watch our children walk down the aisle and hold our grandchildren on our lap.
I have had a crash course in leaning on other people the past two years. When David had his motorcycle wreck, and subsequent brain tumor, I learned to reach out to the people who were there, waiting for me to only ask and sometimes not waiting, just doing.  Was it all really leading up to this? That's very self serving, even for me.
Well I know that positive attitude and all that jazz goes a long way and I know, no matter what, everything will be okay. Not in a God will fix everything and all will come up roses sort of okay; I just mean that I will be okay because I believe I am never alone and that's what has always given me strength.