Thankful for another day

Hi family and friends…today has been a quiet day, painful throughout.  I wonder how I can feel so wonderful one day and have “a good day” or a painful day like today…I am trying to “tweak” my pain meds…I don’t think I have it quite right yet.  I don’t want to be a zombie but I would like to be with minimal pain.  YESTERDAY was an absolutely awesome day!  I am so thankful for it!  It was the best day I have had in a very long time.  Yesterday was full of memory making moments and memories.  It was wonderful!  A Budget Tree Service, our family company, had their 3rd annual BBQ to benefit the American Cancer Society, Making Strides against Breast Cancer.  This year it was held at the Casselberry Veterans.  So we had an indoor/outdoor venue.  Our staff did a super job in setting up the hall and arranging the tables of sweets, goodies, and the bbq stations.  Laura & Seven, a great musical duet, did the music and they did it beautifully.  It was so good to see them and hear them again.  There were many friends that came out to support the cause and to see me,  There were other, new friends that came out as well.  It was so neat.  I haven’t smiled and laughed that much in quite a while!  Lots of hugs and hugs I got…that was awesome.  I haven’t been out to talk to people in such a long time…reconnected….saw family, got hugs…saw my lovely granddaughters and got hugs and got to slightly tickle them…my son, Dale, did the “raffle” announcements and he was so funny…I laughed so hard.  I got to see a side of my son that I have never seen before and it was wonderful! One of the many blessings that I got to see was everyone who helped behind the scenes to make the event a success and it was wonderful to see my family as helpers and friends who came to enjoy the festivities, rolling up their sleeves to help, unasked, it was just such a blessing to see that.  I am so proud of them.  What a great bunch of friends and family I have.  I have a lot of supporters out there.  I can’t wait until next year!  Yes, I said next year…scary to say that and hope for that but I am hoping that I have another year…I can’t help but feel I am living on borrowed time…I have crafted my “do” list…I think I am going to put together a “Me” box…a box that includes my writings, songs, cassettes, favorite art, favorite stuff…it’s time to get my affairs in order all the way…I have to buckle down and systematically get it done…wish me luck!  My photographs taken throughout the years need to be put in order for my kids…I am looking forward to the project!  I am so thankful to have this time to get my stuff together…got to go for now, be kind to yourselves and others and smile…you never know when your smile will change someone’s life.  God bless all of you and great big hugs!

Thankful for the Day

I am purposely being thankful today for all of my blessings…Do we take the time to look back on our experiences…stuff…I had an afternoon like that…finally a break from the pain gave me some time to reflect…it was interesting and fun for the most part…I had chemo on Tuesday and the pain has been at times, unbearable…I feel so bad for people who are in pain all of the time…please keep them in your prayers!  I am thankful for the chemo, as evil as it is, because it gives me time…we just aren’t as thankful as we should be having these moments, minutes, hours, days, nights…even seconds…seconds and milliseconds of life and thankful for trying my best to choose to smile…being cheerful is an integral and important part of staying sane and trying to make the most of a day…I have said it before smiling really helps!  Comes to mind that milliseconds are important to racing times of race cars…they all or the lack of them all are important if you think about it.  Life is short…we reflect today in memories of all those who lives were lost and their families and friends who no longer have the gift of joy in their lives…gee there is so much stuff I want to say.  Well it’s time to make supper so I have to go…be kind to yourselves and to all those you come in contact with.  Love my family and friends and so thankful to have them!

2014 update

Hi family, friends and followers…it’s been a while since my last update…just the normal stuff of life going up…the ups, the downs and the unforgettable stuff that makes up all of our lives…been thinking about posting for some time now but wasn’t sure if I could get through it without bursting into tears…tears of joy and tears of sorrows…tears filled with the pain of living this life of cancer…I have much to be thankful for since I am still alive…but the feeling of my luck running out is foremost on my mind during this post since my PET scan last week wasn’t so good…so far since my last post, my scans just increased the bone cancer edging through my body but this time the news was shocking and took on a life of its own…the cancer has spread to my liver and the surrounding lymph nodes…not a good thing at all even worse to hear it…don’t get me wrong I am still fighting to stay alive…facing more chemo and its insidious side effects…the neuropathy that I have on both sides of my body now sucks…we take it for granted the tiny little things that we can do without it and the struggle to get things done with it…like holding a pen and signing your name…filling out a form…I guess I was really “vain” about what beautiful printing and penmanship I have always had that is no longer possible…I get really excited when I almost sign my name in its recognizable form and really upset with myself when it’s just a terrible form of the once beautiful signature…the new pain stuff going on is really unbearable…it’s been on and off since just before May, 2014…I went to the dentist thinking there was a cavity or some such even though it permeated my jaw with instant and incredible pain…I just found out yesterday that it is a side effect of Xgeva…the shot I get for the bone cancer…it’s tolerable during the day, most days, except for when it strikes in fury…but at nights it wakes me up and it is unbearable…pain killers don’t seem to make much of a difference and I have to stay up in the night until it subsides somewhat in order to get asleep again…tonight is another one of those nights…the pain is throbbing and sharp and the spirit is a little down…I have to force myself to be thankful for all of the wonderful blessings that I have had on this borrowed timeline of mine…and the reminders of all of the stuff I had wanted to accomplish before I am laid to rest…June I had the annual opportunity to attend the Trees Florida Conference and once again contribute to my dwindling CEU’s for my ISA certification…thank God I was able to save my certification by attending…it was a peaceful and nature filled venue and I got to see lots of my friends and mentors…it was wonderful…a wonderful break from my reality of fighting cancer…still not as mobile as I was hoping to be…I can’t load my mobility chair onto the lift on my car as I had hoped I would be able to…I am still at the mercy of asking for someone to take me here or there…shopping therapy eludes me…I still haven’t “downsized” my house as I had hoped I would be farther along in this endeavor…my husband had the house painted and I am still looking for stuff that was packed up…the pictures that I had once treasured are still not on the walls…in this cancer thing that we fight, you seem to lose a lot of yourself…the “things” that surround you lose meaning and create a loss…grieving takes its place in your heart and mind…you struggle to be thankful for each day that arises…you struggle to keep your focus on praying for those less fortunate, especially the children on your prayer list that suffer from this or that…I am thankful that I am still here to pray for them and champion their cause…thankful for their moms or dads that consistently post their progress or lack of progress..God bless them and their families…it gets really real when you realize that there are many souls out there that have it worse than you or me…their courage is amazing…it reminds me to be thankful for each and every day and blessing no matter how small the blessing seems…it really is hard to be thankful in the position that I am in but none the same I am very, very thankful to the powers that be that I am still here and I can still get hugs and kisses from my children and grandchildren…I have had the honor and blessing to have a couple of short visits from my daughter who lives so far away and this past visit also included 2 of three grandboys who are sprouting like awesome trees…so thankful for that visit and those wonderful hugs and kisses…so thankful for the wonderful hugs and kisses from my little grandgirls…what reminders that life is so short and to be thankful for all blessings small or large…me being alive is very large…I have managed to beat this cancer thing in living past the 6 months that they gave me…that’s why I say “borrowed time”…In the past months I have managed to get a little stronger being on this chemo vacation and have managed to cook a little…gained some of the lost weight back (much to my disappointment, lol…) today I start back to chemo to continue my fight…added a couple of more nutritious things that are supposed to help my liver hang in there…nothing like increasing the raw garlic in my shakes and drinking straight lemon juice squeezed and without honey to take the bite off of it…yikes…one of the wonderful blessings we have received is daily visits from some ducks that I had never seen before in my life here in Florida…it took a Minnesotian, my daughter, to identify them, lol, they are black breasted whistling ducks…the bird seed is scattered on the ground underneath this beautiful crepe myrtle and the ducks come to feed and of course a number of squirrels come as well…a steady group of mourning doves come as well…it’s part of our daily routine to watch them with joy and thankfulness that we can contribute to their lives by feeding them…this month is a busy month…our family business has its annual bbq to support “Making Strides for Breast Cancer” and then in October is the annual 5k that some of our staff participate in to benefit the cause of fighting breast cancer…my husband has develop a breast lump that I am so concerned about but as yet I have not been able to get him to go for a mammogram…my wonderful daughter has also some lumps in her breasts that have yet to be solved…no biopsy yet…and of course I worry constantly as well as pray…she’s so young and vibrant and full of life…what a wonderful soul she is…so wise beyond her years…I am thankful to be able to post this update…in all of your busy lives, I thank you for reading it and praying for me and my family…I am thankful that in the past month I was able to visit my stepmother who had a stroke and recovered somewhat from that one only to suffer another one…she did not recover from that one and my lovely sister had to lay her to rest…I was reminded about the wonderful skills that she taught me and her artistic gifts of painting, cooking and gardening…God bless her…oh I wish this pain would stop…I am thankful that I can still type! Even with my nerve damage, I can still type boy that’s something to be thankful for!!!! And it brings to mind all of those who cannot because of their disabilities…thank you Lord! Lost a friend’s husband this year because of ALS, Lou Gerig’s disease…she is always in my prayers…a beautiful and gentle soul who lost her best friend and mate…not sure if I will be able to attend his “life celebration” to be held in November but I sure do want to…just not sure if I will be able to have the strength to…I am sorry that this has been such a selfish post but I just wanted to get all of the stuff that’s been building up in my thoughts out there…I am incredibly thankful to my sons and daughter who have been my support system through this journey of cancer…they say that cancer does not define you as a person…I am not too sure about that…it sure does alter your living…I get tired of the pain, the constant companion of mine…I fear that I will have to go back on the stronger pain meds…it took me six weeks this year to battle getting off of morphine and it was not a pleasant experience…I thought I had “weaned” myself sufficiently off of them before I quit taking them, but I was wrong…I should have cut up the pills and gone further with the weaning…it was an awful experience and I could only keep those poor souls that are addicted to drugs in some way or another in my prayers…what an awful struggle! I am thankful that I was successful! But the fear is there that I will have no choice but to start taking them again especially as the pain takes over my body…cancer sucks…my wonderful, kind and courageous caregiver that comes once a week lost her husband quickly to this horrible disease…I am so thankful for her, she brings such a bright spot to my life and reminds me, not in words, to be thankful and carry joy in my heart…she strengthens me…I am also thankful to my husband who has become my helper after so many years of me taking care of him, he now takes good and gentle care of me…I worry about him…when I am finally laid to rest I worry about him having to grieve about his best friend…he refuses to give up, thank God, he puts in so much time into his research about possible nutritional avenues that we can take to help me to live longer and keep the cancer at bay…I am so thankful for him that he forces me to keep fighting when I don’t want to…I remind me of a child having a temper tandrum…I have to remind myself that doing my daily shakes and taking my vitamins and supplements and five cloves of fresh sharp garlic and fruits and more fruits and more kale and even more kale helps…even though I don’t want to, I do…for my own benefit…it gets yucky sometimes…life gets yucky sometimes and we have to determine to do it anyway! Keep me in your prayers for the strength and determination to go through my family photos in order to get my final stuff in order…time to get all of my final stuff in order…no it’s not a sign I am giving up, it’s a luxury that I still have time to put my life in order for its end to be less taxing on my family and friends…I think it’s easier for us to counsel our friends and family on putting their affairs in order than it is to face it yourself and do it…not sure if I have posted this in the past or not because it has been such a long time that I have written and posted on my blog but we lost my dear, sweet mother-in-law who passed this past September 2013…she is always in my thoughts, she was such a dear sweet woman, so strong and so thoughtful to others, so giving of herself…she supported young unwed pregnant mothers and many other charities…she was such a giving person…such a blessing to her family and others…I miss her terribly…I wish we had had more time…I miss our chats…she truly helped me understand my husband, her son better…in this life we fall in love but it is up to us to continue to better ourselves and make choices to love our spouse or significant other…it is a fight sometimes but when we reach out to them in continued love, especially if we don’t “feel” like it, that brings us to a deeper depth of love…the little things, people, the little things…the importance of a hug or two…the importance of saying “good morning sweetheart”…every day…the importance of extending kindness to our families, friends and strangers…the little things…ignoring yourself and giving yourself to others in kindness…I am a Facebook junky so to speak…looking for posts that are uplifting, that can change someone’s day or outlook or moment when they are having a tough time at this thing called living…and I am thankful for the posts that I follow…that bring a smile or a laugh or just a little tiny chuckle not at the expense of others pain but just passing through this life of ours…oh that we would not take it for granted that we would live another day…life is too short…so sudden our time can come…RIP Joan Rivers…so unexpected…RIP Robin Williams, so tragic and unexpected…the hope that his life and his passing so tragically I would pray that the avenues of communication about mental illness are now open and can be discussed without stigma…I have suffered from mental illness, depression and suicidal tendencies for most of my life and I can honestly say it sometimes has been a battle worse than cancer…cancer and other diseases are “accepted”…depression is not…people think you can “cheer yourself” up…the chemical imbalance within our brains don’t allow us that luxury…and sometimes it gets the best of us…all I can say is that when I am in my deepest depression…I force myself to hang in there, concentrate on my family and grandchildren and the joys that I know that will come if I just hang in there just one more moment…and am thankful when the bad thoughts pass…it is difficult but doable for me…so far it has brought me through the darkness back to the joy of living…it;s scary though, the joy wains and bows down to the pain that I suffer…making it very difficult to keep going sometimes…scary…scary business sometimes this life is…just be thankful…look for the little things to be thankful about! Be thankful we are all in the same boat and we are in charge of our own behavior and we can make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others with love, patience, kindness, smiles, prayers and many other wonderful things! Time to go I think…I promise I will try to keep you updated more…in the meantime….pray with all of your heart and spirit for those throughout the world that struggle, or are in pain, or have disabilities, or problems they can’t, the homeless, the sick and the dying…the abused children…the people being taken advantage of…pray for peace and understanding and tolerance for each other…pray for tolerance of our many religions…be kind to yourselves and others…a smile can change someone’s day or even life…a smile triggers a brain response that can lift you up…I am daily reminded that the Joy of the Lord is my strength and that is a truth imbedded in my soul…take moments out of your busy lives to help one another especially those who can’t help themselves! Goodbye for now and thank you for keeping me in your prayers…there is power in prayer…lots of power…until next time, God continue to bless and keep you well…keep you grounded in His love that surpasses all understanding…enjoy your blessings and take joy in the nature and creation all around you…

Pet scan report

Hello Family and friends…it’s been a while since my last post…not a whole lot going on except I’ve started chemo once again and I think I was a little saddened that the “end” of my chemo was not really an end but a “vacation” from chemo…wish the doctor had mentioned I’m on 3 different kinds of chemo – 3 weeks on and one week off – this coming Tuesday is my “off” week then we begin again… Every other week is a new chemo Avastin (new to me) and then the last week of chemo is xgeva – the painful one – it takes about two weeks to stop hurting from that one… well on to the important stuff…this past Monday I had my third pet scan – and the good news is…drumroll please, no new cancer!  No progression of cancer!  And…a decrease of the cancer of the bones!  Not sure where it decreased, I was so excited I forgot to ask but I can see the scan if I want to… isn’t that wonderful news!  I just love the word “decrease” or remission or not progessing…those are great words when you have cancer!  Those are the kind of words you want to hear!  Not much else goes on in my life other than I spend my days trying to be positive and thinking positively!  Facebook is a good place for that… Other people post stuff whether positive or negative or funny or sad or whatever and you go looking for it and then repost what they’ve prepared or found on the internet!  Sounds easy… not as easy as it sounds because some of it turns out that it could be political within your family if you post it or I might offend someone’s feelings “if the shoe fits”…stuff like that… Or in my case I can use it to instruct my kids, who are adults, and some of the stuff I find they haven’t quite learned yet…lol… how is it that we can talk so well to strangers but we have such a hard time talking to our own family members?  What are we afraid of…it’s not like they can stop listening…lol… they may not pay attention to us, but they will still listen lol… hope this post finds you all well – be kind to yourselves and others – don’t forget to smile!  That’s important!  Smile at everyone you pass by you never know if that simple smile is going to change their day for the better or even their lives!  Forgive yourselves for whatever you have done that you regret doing and forgive others – you don’t want to hold on to or grow resentment in your heart – that’s a bad thing for you – it can make you ill…I know because that’s what happened to me!

Out with the old and in with the new – Happy New Year

Dear family and friends:  What a rocky year it was – finding out I had breast cancer, having surgery, going through chemo – yes, it’s been quite a year!  Oh yes, and ringing the bell at the end of chemo, or what I thought was the end of chemo – after all it was noted at the end of the schedule.  I have since found out that I am just on a break from chemo and will continue chemo in February 2013….that was a crushing disappointment but I think my son said it best, “Mom, it’s just time for round two…”  I am looking forward to my rls getting better (after effect of chemo).  I am looking forward to 2013 to get the reports like the cancer is not progressing as I had earlier this year!  Hope your year, as it draws to a close gives you time to reflect on your successes as well as your failures (hopefully not too many of them)…I am looking forward to another year with my family close by in support and the love and joy that comes along with them.  Our holidays are usually quiet and this year was no exception…I guess that’s how it is when we get older and our children are grown.   Life is blessed!  We are so fortunate to have had the time that we have had together…we are so blessed that we have each other to depend on…the joy of the season is infectious and welcome – a welcome break to the hardships that have taken place this year…we look forward to the new year with anticipation of joy, love and friendships…well, good folks, be kind to yourselves and others…smile at all you never know whether you are going to change their lives by that smile!  Take one day at a time, be thankful for all things and if that doesn’t work, one moment at a time…

Chemo ends – Rang the bell 12/11/12

Dear family and friends:  Today was an awfully big day – the bell has been rung – the end of the chemo has taken place.  I did my last chemo – hopefully, no more chemo is in the future for me…I’m done with it. It was quite the ceremony.  Our three sons showed up for the ceremony much to my surprise – I wasn’t expecting them to take time out of their busy schedules but there they were – I am so proud of them.  There was a few friends there as well as well as all of you who said you would be there in spirit – I believe you were – the hall was crowded…I broke the bell with enthusiasm as I rang it… lol…I choked up as I read the Rear Admiral Le Moyne’s poem that he wrote when he donated the bells after his own chemo.  I wish I had committed it to memory, his poem, but it was good…,short and to the point about the course being run and now the ringing of the bell tells you the chemo is done.  My voice broke has I thanked all those who had walked with me during this journey, family, friends, and the wonderful nurses Pam, Anita and Hayla… Hospital administrators were there as well to represent the hospital.  It was a big deal for me and them that another success story rang out with the ringing of the bell.  What a walk – it has been a slow process all these months sitting there in that chemo chair… not a pleasant one at that but tolerable – chemo has come a long way…nothing to be feared anymore….I was ringing out as another patient was just starting his journey with it… I think I saw hope in his wife’s eyes as I encouraged her along her journey with her husband…My youngest son gave me a rose bush to be planted in his yard – with the promise of bringing me roses from it – it was lovely – wonderfully fragrant rose; a beautiful pink color hued with white…what a wonderful surprise!  lol – it was quite the ceremony – the preacher was even there – the hospital chaplain – a wonderful character who has visited me through my journey there… I can’t say I’m going to miss the chemo but I will miss the nurses who so lovingly cared for me and encouraged me through this process…friends, family, blog readers, take good care of yourselves, be kind to yourselves and others; take good care of yourselves and others and smile at everyone you meet – you never know if that smile is going to change their day or even their lives – God bless you all.  Thank you Lord for the ringing of the bell and bringing to an end the chemo that I went through!

let the countdown begin

Dear friends and family:  Only one more week left for chemo – the bell will ring!  Next Tuesday – I am so looking forward to this…I looked at the bell today again, which I do every week and it is so close…I can’t wait……today’s chemo was on the rough side…I am not feeling too well right now so this is going to be a short post…one of my son’s celebrates his 32 years birthday today – hard to believe the kids are getting that old…I can’t believe I’m that old lol…60 – never really thought about how old or how young or how whatever years have passed – am I weird or what… I am all over the place again on this post – I was thinking earlier about the blog I follow that she knows to the day when she found out that she had cancer….she wasn’t sure.  When I found the lump, there was no guessing, I knew that I had breast cancer and I can’t tell you how I felt – hopeless, I think – but hopeful at the same time… In an earlier blog I said that it was the beginning of my life…another life…I guess I still feel that way….hopeful that I have beat this thing…That the cancer has not progressed and will not progress – that is wonderful news when I heard it and when I hear each time. it’s sounds like I imagine the bell will sound next week – I’ve heard the bell only a few times over the past 7 months maybe 3 times – and the sound was lovely, looking forward to next week if I don’t post before then – keep me in your prayers as I will keep you…be kind to yourselves and others and love yourselves and one another – smile at everyone because you never know if that is going to change someone’s whole day or even their life!  Have a wonderful day – one moment at a time.