Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paying it Forward

I am home everyday now and I get to watch the news regularly and I wonder what our world is coming to. There is so much tragedy and people are so cruel each other. What has happened to kindness and compassion? I see the transgressions that people commit against each other and it appalls me. The latest is the poor young man at Rutgers who committed suicide after his privacy was violated and spread on the internet. I am saddened by where our country and this next generation is headed. I believe that parents are trying. I see my son and some of his behavior and know that I did not raise him to behave in the manner in which he does. I see the environment in which our children are being raised and I wonder what kind of chance do they have. Our news and programs focus on violence and self-entitlement. Our children’s idols are admired for their illegal and immoral antics. In light of the disaster which is the economy, what about their dreams. Is the American Dream even valid or attainable anymore? Are we sending them false hope that they can have a job, home, family? It’s up to us to provide them with examples to live up to. I think we have a huge responsibility to do what we can to negate the affects of modern media and provide them with truth and examples of hope and kindness.

And that, my dear friends, is where I treasure all of you. I see the kindness that is heaped upon my family and I know there is still beauty in our world. It shows me and my family and anyone who follows our story the splendor of humanity. I am in the center of joy by being the recipient of so much kindness from my fellow man. I still sit in my yard and am awed by the thoughtfulness of the transformation. I have enjoyed my gorgeous yard each and every day and it has been so easy to handle the maintenance. I have to do very little to keep it beautiful. My family and friends have given me a bi-weekly cleaning service and weekly lawn service that further alleviates the burden of work on me and my family and we can focus on my health and healing.

The people around me give me hope of a better future. I worry about what kind of world we are leaving our children, but I know through personal experience that we can realistically wish for a better tomorrow. It only takes a spark to start a fire and the people who “pay it forward” are starting a trend for goodness, kindness, compassion and allow us to dream of future worthy of giving to the next generation. Keep paying it forward, your kindness is not going unnoticed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Some Special Events To Know About...Pass It On!

Hello my friends. I am feeling pretty good these days and was able to prepare Sunday dinner for my family, what a treat. I can’t remember the last time my family joined around my dining room table while I prepared them dinner. A great feeling, the normalcy of it all, the special time. I remember when fixing dinner was a chore and I took for granted that my family would always be around the table with me, not anymore. As I sat there and looked around, the people I love enjoying the food I prepared…don’t take that for granted, it is precious and should be treasured.

I received an email today from a lady who came across my blog and asked me to share the following information with all of you. Apparently NAPA is raising money for breast cancer and is painting a car to honor survivors and those who have lost the battle. I have all the information below. I know that I am certainly donating to get my name on the car. How cool to have my name on a NASCAR car! That is so cool!

About the program:

NAPA AUTO PARTS and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex, Jr., are teaming up with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to honor breast cancer victims, survivors and supporters via a special, one-of-a-kind fan-generated paint scheme featuring the names of individuals affected by breast cancer.

From now to Oct. 11, consumers can submit the names of loved ones affected by breast cancer to appear on the No. 56 NAPA Toyota by making a minimum donation of $5.60 via the NAPA Know How Facebook page ( The NAPA Signature Car application allows you to enter a name and select the area of the car where you would like the dedication to appear. Your dedication will then be featured on the #56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota for the November 7th NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Texas Motor Speedway.

With the help of fan donations, NAPA is hoping to raise at least $250,000 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to recognize more than 56,000 individuals affected by breast cancer with the custom paint scheme.

I just had some friends finish the 3-day Susan G. Komen walk in Seattle this weekend. I haven’t heard the details or how they did, but I did get a few text messages with pictures and it looks like they had a great time. On October 1st at 1pm I’ll be at Kadlec for the raising of the breast cancer flag. For the last 4 years I have been on the roof, this year that honor is going to another survivor and I am going to be down below leading the toast and cheering the flag raisers on! I can’t wait and if you can make it, be across the street from Kadlec just before 1pm.

Hope to see you there and pass on the information to all your friends. Let’s fight this disease together, it affects way too many people lives, people who dream of living their regular lives, nothing special, just do the things that all of you get to do. Never take the little things for granted, each moment is special.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Doing Good

This has been the easiest round so far. The stomach problems have pretty much fixed themselves and as long as I stay on my pain meds the headaches are minimal, except first thing in the morning where they are raging. I may have to set an alarm and take meds in the middle of the night, it would probably help. As it is now, I take my morning meds about 7 or so and then go back to bed until my head feels good enough to arise. Usually it takes a few hours and another dose of pain meds, but once I get enough in me, and keep on track, I can stave off the pain most of the day.

My energy level has increased and I was able to do the historic home tour yesterday with Tina, which was great, and cook dinner last night. I am doing Sunday dinner for the family today which is a real treat; I can’t remember the last time I cooked Sunday dinner! I put a roast in the crock pot last night and the family is joining me at 2:00 for an early dinner before the hockey game tonight. I overdid it a bit yesterday because I was feeling good and am pretty tired today, but I am going ahead with dinner, the main course is already cooking, too late to back out now! Mom is going to come over about 1:00 and help me with the potatoes and noodles and stuff and dad and the kids will walk the dogs. Its gonna be a great dinner!! I also cooked Thursday night and last night, which has been nice to sit down with my daughter over my home cooked meal. I think she has really enjoyed it too! Mason was over Thursday and I felt so bad that he couldn’t eat with us, but his mouth is still wired shut so he is on a liquid diet and carne asada wouldn’t do well in a blender. J

I am looking forward to another good week, I just need to make sure not to overdo it when I feel good, which I have a tendency to do. I just get so excited when I finally feel good that I want to do everything! I need to learn a little restraint, which is tough to learn.

My lymphedema is back and my arm and fingers look like fat sausages. I have been wearing my big sleeve at night (at least most of the night, I usually take it off in the wee hours of the morning because it is driving me nuts) and it seems to be making it worse instead of better. I am going to try to get in with Sara this week and see if she can get the swelling down and find a way to keep it down. I do not know what is causing it to swell; it has been fine for months. For some reason I start to feel better and my arm starts to swell. I guess it’s just gotta be something!! I have learned through this last year that lymphedema is not near as bad as a lot of other maladies that I have endured, so I can deal with it.

Mike and I are going to go with my parents to see South Pacific, the Broadway musical, the first week in October up in Spokane. We are going up on the 6th and coming back on he 7th and I have my next round of chemo on the 4th, so hopefully the next round goes as good as this one is going. I am really excited, I have never seen this production live, I’ve seen the movie, but not the live version. It’s going to be a lot of fun. So I am praying this healing trend continues and I continue to tolerate the chemo well.

Things are looking up with the family, I’m feeling better, mom is starting to zip around like before she got hurt, Monica is out of the hospital and Brad should be getting out soon. So, maybe the tables are turning, I sure do hope so!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Beauty

What a beautiful day. That fall crispness fills the air, lightening my spirit and inspiring me to take a deep breath and take in the splendor. The leaves haven’t started to change yet, but you can see they are on the brink; the color burst is just around the corner. I am looking forward to the fall colors, I love the golds of the autumn, they give me hope for new life after the darkness of winter. The fall may lead us into the cold winds, but it also leads us into the joy of the holidays and the fresh blanket of white snow.

I love the seasons. Each one unique with its own brilliance and components of inspiration. I am grateful to be here today, to be able to enjoy the changing of another season to know that I am going to see the fall and be here to enjoy the winter and, God willing, I will be here in the spring when it all comes back to life and the flowers burst forth with all their dazzling colors.

I have been feeling really good this week. My headaches continue but the nausea has been minimal and I am not near as exhausted as I have been on previous rounds. I even drank coffee this week and made dinner last night! I can’t remember the last time that I actually made dinner. It wore me out, but I did it, and Peyton and I got to sit and enjoy a homemade meal together, her favorite, carne asada. It was delicious.

So things are going well, thank goodness. Finally, feeling better and I plan on continuing the upward swing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Doing Good!

So far so good. My round of chemo went well and I am feeling pretty good. The nausea has been minimal although the headaches continue untamed. I am on so many meds now that I finally created a spreadsheet with the drug and time each day so I can stay on schedule. It’s crazy. But it’s the only way I can stay on track.

My cousin is still in the hospital; he had surgery to wire his jaw shut and has already had one surgery on his leg. I am not sure if he is going to have anymore. Monica was just released today. She is staying with family during her recuperation. We aren’t sure when Brad is getting out of the hospital. Apparently the driver was driving into the sunset and didn’t see the red light or my family in the crosswalk and just blasted right into them without even slowing down. That’s why I hate driving into the sun, this is one of my biggest fears is to have the sun in my eyes and hit some innocent people. Brad and Monica aren’t angry; they are being very understanding about it all. I believe the driver has insurance, thank goodness; Brad and Monica have a long recovery.

My parents got home from Denver late Monday night. They were ready to come home but had a great time visiting Bill and his family. They didn’t do anything really special but my dad does enjoy rubbing it in to me about going to my favorite pizza joint in the world, Beau Jo’s. It is a pizza place unique to Colorado and is nothing short of fabulous. Makes my mouth water just to think about it! A few visits ago we went to Beau Jo’s right before I left and I took the leftovers on the plane home with me. I was even nice enough to share it with my kids. Gosh I’m nice. Peyton said that if she has to stay home and take care of Lucy (mom and dad’s dog) again and there are any thunderstorms she is going to make them pay her hazard pay. Lucy is pretty neurotic and had a really hard time with her mommy gone, then when that storm hit Friday night Lucy was up all night whining and panting. Then it rained all the next night and she was afraid it was going to thunder again so she paced and panted all night. Like we keep telling my parents, they’d better outlive their dog; no one is going to be able to take their place in her world!

I am having my first cup of coffee in months! It tastes wonderful! I don’t know yet how it will settle; but my stomach feels okay so I wanted to try to enjoy my favorite morning Doma brew. Yummy. I think that is a huge indication that I’m getting better. Coffee!!

It’s a cool fall day; I have my fireplace on and am enjoying the comfort of the fire. I love moving from summer to fall, the days cooling, the mornings crisp. Life is going to get better, the coffee proves it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Short night. I am having a “waking EEG” today which means I couldn’t go to bed until midnight and had to be up by 5am. Once awake I can have no caffeine or sugar prior to the test. The sugar and caffeine are no big deal, I don’t drink coffee anymore anyway and I don’t eat a lot of sugar. Since I’m awake I’ll make Peyton breakfast so I can have a little bacon and hash browns. I am not positive what this test is going to tell me except how my brain wave function is working and how its changed since my EEG a few years ago. Dr. Zhang is trying to determine what is long term damage and what function is going to be returning. I have already received so much function on my right side back, I think there is hope I’ll get the full function back.

More bad news in the family. I want to get our family out of 2010. It has been a rough year. Friday night my cousin, Brad and his girlfriend, Monica, were leaving a restaurant on foot and were hit by a car as they were crossing the street. Monica broke her leg, shoulder and lost a tooth not to mention lots of bruises and street burns. Brad too the worst of it with both legs broken, knee shattered, two ribs broken, both sides of his jaw broken, lost a tooth (strangely the same one as Monica) and numerous bruises and bumps. They both had surgery on Saturday and as far as I know it went well. I do not know how long they will be hospitalized, but I think this is a long recovery, especially Brad. Employment has been tough in San Diego the last few years and he has been working intermittently and he finally was getting back to work full time. I sure hope this kid has insurance; Brad and Monica are going to have a rough road.

Due to the accident they were not able to make the scattering of my Aunts ashes off sunset cliffs. I can’t remember if I shared how they were scattering the ashes by going out on surfboards. I believe Bri road a few waves with her before scattering the ashes. They also dropped roses in the water as prayers for her, save one, Bri dropped it as a prayer for me. He said Bobbi Jo wouldn’t mind, I have to agree.

I still can’t believe she is gone and I’m never going to see her again. I probably only saw her once a year, but she’s been there back as far as I can remember, visiting with my cousins who would both dote on and terrorize me. We have a small family, my father is an only child and my mom had her twin sister and her brother who died in 1972. So my parents are all that’s left of that generation. I hope they live a long long time. I want to keep the rest of my family as long as I can.

The chemo has left me nauseas and tired. I anticipate about 10-12 days of feeling relatively rotten followed by a few days of feeling okay followed by another round of chemo. We want every last piece of cancer gone! I am having my CT and MRI on October 13th and then seeing Dr. Rado on October 18th. I know no matter what he is going to want to do quite a few more rounds of chemo just to make sure to get all the little pieces we might not be able to see floating around in my body. As much as I want to be done I want to be done for good. So if that takes a few more rounds, well then, I can tolerate that. It would just be nice to know there is an end in sight.

So that’s my day. Pray for Brad and Monica. They could really use some healing prayers sent their way. God protect and heal them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Round

I try to remember how many times I have sat in this chair, in these now familiar surroundings, and received a dreaded dose of chemo. This is a different chemo ward than the old one 5 years ago. Back then it was a big room with each patient separated only by thin curtains. There were tiny windows near the ceiling that let in a small amount of natural light, but mostly it was harsh fluorescent lighting illuminating the drab space. But we made the best of it, the openness fostered a camaraderie amongst the patients that allowed us to share in our misery and communicate our stories to each other. The new chemo ward is nicely done, each of us confined to our individual cubicles, the only communication a smile or nod as we walk past each other to use the restroom or get a drink. The desire to provide each of us with privacy ended the ability to share our journey with each other. There are a few people that I have been honored to talk to, but mostly I sit in my little cubicle, beautiful natural light pouring in, artwork purposefully placed outside the windows and share my time with Mike. Sometimes we visit, but mostly we enjoy a comfortable silence while he holds my hand as the poison pours in my veins, the poison that will hopefully save me.

I saw the doctor today and it went well. We continue to try to find the right mixture of drugs to combat the side effects of this chemo. We have scheduled through six rounds, even if the scans next month are clear. That takes me through the end of the year. We are doing CT and MRI in mid-October and then I’ll see Dr. Rado and...well…and we’ll see. He really wanted to do five or six rounds regardless of the outcome of the scans to make sure we get it all, even the stuff we can’t see. Based on my symptoms, it appears we are headed in the right direction. My right side is significantly better than it was back in June, which is comforting. Hopefully the tumors just keep on shrinking away.

So I persevere on, hoping I handle this round better than the last. We will see.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Storm

The thunder rolled through here last night like a war train. As I lay in bed and listened to the rumble and roar I thought of my disease and that it too is like a violent and unpredictable storm. It has an inner beauty as the lightening sears the sky and a dark undertone while the storm clouds roll through without mercy. It has been an difficult yet entlightening year as I have walked through this storm. Sometimes the storm clouds have been so thick and dark that I cannot see any daylight peering through and no future on the horizon. Then the lightening will burst forth and brighten the sky and I can see my surroundings, my situation and the time is lighted with an electricity that exudes excitement and wonder leaving my surroundings clear but the future hazy and unformed. Its the unknowing that is so unsettling. Not knowing what is going to happen when the clouds clear and the storm is over; where will I be standing then? Will I be standing tall and healthy or will I be crossing to the other side, leaving behind nothing but memories and an urn of ashes. I want to believe that the lightening is the portal to a bright and beautiful future, but therein lies the unknown. The dark clouds block the way.

So I will perservere through the storm. Though the rain may soak my spirit and the thunder may mar my way, I'll count on the light brightening the horizon that there will be a clearing in the future that I will walk boldly through and continue my life and my love. My friends cheering me on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Dream

I couldn’t believe this was happening to me. It couldn’t be real. I must be dreaming. “Wake up” I try to scream, but no sound emanates from my lips. “Wake UP” I scream again, but the sound only echoes in the confines of my head. The pressure on my chest increases and it becomes harder to breath. Stop, please stop, let me go, I plea in my head trying to telepathically relay the request to the being holding me tight. I look down on my room from the upper corner where he holds me captive. This is impossible, to be up here, suspended in the air against the wall only the force of his desire holding me there.

His eyes burn like coal. Red fire reigned down on me. His lips were pursed in a crooked line and his soul emitted a resonate evil. Darkness surrounded him. I could feel him sucking the life out of me as I struggled. The more I fought the more forceful the pressure. My voice useless, my limbs held tight, my chest being crushed under the evil forces that pushed against me.

I pushed back. With all my goodness and all my light I pushed back forcefully. You will NOT take me resonates in my mind and I lock eyes with him, unafraid. You will NOT. The corners of his lips twitch ever so slightly and his eyes flicker briefly and all the sudden the pressure is released and I’m falling, falling, falling…

Freefalling, cart wheeling through blackness, spinning, whirling no end no bottom in sight. Then, suddenly, I’m on a roller coaster, and it is tossing me to and fro, side to side, up and down. I’m surrounded by screaming people; they are joyful, hopeful, full of life. They fill my heart, the blackness falls away replaced by overwhelming light as I rise and fall through the twister called life.

I wake up. Consciousness comes swiftly and I look around my familiar surroundings. The room is empty, I am alone but the remnants of the dream remain. I wonder about its strange composition but knowing and understanding the message for which my subconscious sends. Evil may be lurking in my life, but life is a roller coaster and I might as well enjoy the ride.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting Better, Finally

I think the worst is finally over. My stomach is still upset, but not as bad and I seem to have a little more energy today. I usually feel better in the late afternoon/evening, and that is how it is today. I finally started to perk up about an hour ago (4ish) and threw in a load of laundry, which is badly in need of being done. Just that small chore left me out of breath and tired and I had to sit down for awhile, but at least I was able to do it!!

The parentals leave for Denver tomorrow, Peyton is going to stay at the house and take care of little Lucy. She simply is unable to stay alone. That is one spoiled and neurotic dog. I love her, she is wonderful and a perfect dog for my parents, but we always joke that they better outlive her because none of us will spoil her the way they do. I know I come close spoiling my dogs as much, but not quite. Based on our puppies…we’d better all live long long lives!

Speaking of the dogs, we almost lost Sophie in Amon Creek. Dad, Houston and Jessie took the dogs for a walk down to the creek on Sunday and they, of course, got in the water like they always do. However, the water is very high right now and the two older dogs know to stay out of the current. Sophie, on the other hand, is not quite that bright and got caught in the current which carried her downstream and she couldn’t get out. Thank goodness dad noticed and Houston ran down the bank and was able to pull her out. This is where it gets sort of funny; silly dog jumped right back in. I think God forgot Sophie when he was handing out brains. Anyway, they got her out again and kept her out this time. Dogs. Gotta love them.

So things are improving slightly, of which I am eternally grateful. Hopefully, every day will get a little bit better.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Plugging Along

I feel like I do nothing but complain these days, but that is just what is going on with my body right now. I am weary of this constant head pain, nausea and overwhelming fatigue. I want to be able to play with my grandson and do yard work and eat hot green chili. I want to be able to write and read with the ease of a competent adult. I am half way into the first half of round three, so the end has to be coming soon. I have the second half September 23 and then the following week they will be doing CT and MRI scans to see what the status of the cancer is; please God let it be gone.

I got to spend a little time with Jessie today which was incredibly enjoyable. He is so loving and careful with me. He knows his nana is sick so he treats me so gentle. He asks me “you okay nana?” and hugs and cuddles with me. It is beautiful. It is a reason to keep persevering through this nightmare that has become my life. I tire so easy that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with him, but enough to put a sparkle in my day and a smile in my heart.

Mom is recovering well from her surgery. She is the toughest woman I know. She and dad are flying down to Denver this week to see my brother and his wife and their two kids who are in Denver visiting. Well, Jason is visiting, Andrew recently moved back to Denver to be with his girlfriend. There is always a girl in the picture!! Bill and Rhonda just bought a new house so my parents are really excited. They invited me to go, but I am done traveling for awhile. It is just too hard on my body. So I’ll stay home and Peyton and I will take care of the dogs.

Off to nap. Hopefully when I wake up my stomach will feel better, my head won’t hurt anymore and I’ll just plain feel better. I can only hope.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What if?

Do you ever wish you could just fast forward your life? Jump forward 3, 6, 10 months or even a year and skip all the heartaches and pain ahead of you. What would you miss? Would it be worth it to miss the good in order to avoid the bad? That’s how I feel some days when I’m laying in bed, stabbing pain in my head waiting, wondering when or if the pain is going to go away. Wishing I could just fast forward until the treatment, this battle is done and over with, and I am working my way back towards health and wellness.

I guess I am glad that its not possible to jump forward because in between the darkness there are rays of sunshine that are so brilliant and beautiful that to miss them would be a crime. In fact it’s those rays that give me the strength to pull myself up and keep moving forward despite the continuing pain, frustration of the ongoing treatment, the exhaustion. I keep going because beyond all the pain there is such extreme splendor in this life. And I don’t want to miss a minute of it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Small Improvements

I woke up today to a cool morning surrounded and warmed by my faithful dogs. They never leave my side, especially my Kyra. She is there in the nighttime when I fall asleep and there when I awake in the morning. Faithful by my side, watching over me. She looks at me with those big beautiful brown eyes, full of love and caring and I know she would die for me. Whatever it takes, Kyra would go to any lengths to care for and protect me. Dogs are wonderful creatures. I can’t imagine my life without them. Sophie is turning from a puppy into a wonderful dog. She still has her puppy moments, chewing up stuff, digging holes, but she loves her people and is loyal and loving.

I woke up this morning feeling mildly better and praised God for small miracles. The indigestion is subsiding ever so slightly, but I’ll take any improvement I can muster. I am still awful tired and can easily sleep 10-12 hours at a stretch. The headaches just continue. But I enjoy every moment I can, sitting on my beautiful back patio, enjoying the sunshine and the cool breeze. I still can’t get over the beauty of the yard and how much I take pleasure in it. I mean, I have always enjoyed my yard, its one of the main reasons that I bought this house, but the enjoyment has increased exponentially because it is filled with the love of my friends and my family.

I got to take the dogs for a short walk today and I can feel the taste of fall on the breeze. As it caressed my skin I smiled thinking of the colors soon to come, the cool nights and mornings, the brilliant harvest moon. I hope I have the energy to plant some fall bulbs to enjoy after the dark and cold winter. The walk felt nice, although I tired easy. The dogs ran free and had a wonderful time, and I enjoyed watching them be free.

I hear it will heat up again soon, a little more summer before the coming of the fall. Enjoy the sunshine.