Ninth Page

Entry Forty One

CloverThreeLeafed

Unlucky – Better Known as the Family Curse

April 18, 2018

Not complaining, mind you, just stating facts, as they are and have been as far back as I can remember my family line going – which is about as far back as my grandparents. I am guessing there are those of you reading this who can identify with “The Family Curse” as it might apply to your family.

GroceryStore

The standing in line at the grocery or department store – or any line, for that matter; curse.

I will carefully select the line that appears to have the least number of people in it and looks to be moving along at a good pace. Inevitably, something will happen so that I will end up being the last to get to the register, after about everyone else who was in a line has checked out and left.

Restaurant

The, We have been forgotten and become invisible at this restaurant; curse.

More times than you would think freaky, we have been ushered to a table, given menus to peruse, then left alone, waiting for the waiter to return and take our order.

Like red-headed stepchildren, it seems the restaurant staff have put us in the magically hidden seating area of the restaurant, and we no longer exist. Thus was the case for the following outing…

Riverboat

I recall the time when my family had made “way-in-advance,” somewhat pricey, reservations for a fine dining river boat excursion on the American River in Sacramento, California.

We boarded the boat, late that afternoon, quite excited by the promise of a marvelous meal, a gorgeous view of the American River as it cruised from one point to another; giving the passengers up-close views of fishing boats, party boats, people picnicking and fishing along the riverbanks, the local wildlife found on the water and amid the rushes on the banks of the waterway.

RiverEvening

Come dinner time, we were seated at our table, as waiters brought the most delectable dishes to those seated at tables around us. Mouthwatering! The smells so tantalizing as to cause one’s stomach to rumble in anticipation.

RiverNight

And as the light of day outside went from late-afternoon, to early evening dusk – we sat, stone like, as a simmering disillusionment began to percolate through our good moods, as we belatedly realized – we had been forgotten.

Yes, given our family history; our family curse – we should have moved faster to discern and remedy the situation, but we didn’t.

By the time we motioned a waiter over to discuss what had happened, we were advised they would try to scrape together meals for us from the left-overs in the kitchen – NO LIE!

FireworksOverRiver

After eating our most disappointing meal in an empty restaurant aboard ship, we were able to step out onto the deck and observe the river at night.

As the boat was docking, we were gifted an unexpected and delightful fireworks display that was stunning over the water of the river. Though not a feature of our cruise package, it turned into the best part of the evening. The fireworks were being shot off after the game at the ball park just south of us.

Oh, hey! I forgot to mention; we did get a “family portrait” of us that the staff had taken of every guest of the cruise just before they boarded the boat. Plus, we got a small wineglass, as our souvenir. Oh, boy!

Clover

If you have been reading my blog, you already know what kind of good fortune I have at doctor’s offices and such. No need to address them here. Suffice it to say, such is my family curse. 😬

Entry Forty Two

HeavensLight

April 18, 2018

When I worked, I had to check the obituaries daily to see if I had lost any clients. I did this for decades. Whether it is habit, or curiosity – as I’m getting to that age where those folks listed in the obituaries are more likely to be former coworkers, friends, or neighbors. Sad, but true!

newspaper

Anyway, every time I read so-and-so “passed away peacefully,” it rankles! What do they mean by this? Was the person drugged, by hospice medications, to the point that they were unconscious? Does it mean the individual was so far into their disease or other medical condition, that they were unaware what was happening to them when they died?

GodsEmbrace

Or does it mean that they were conscious and aware, lucid and able to communicate that they were in a place of peace; a state of serenity and tranquility – accepting of their state of mind and body? If it is the latter – I am “good” with knowing they passed away peacefully.

MemoryBecomesATreasure

Another term that I find irksome is: He/she died of natural causes. At the age of 40? At the age of 35? At the age of 50? Yes, if a person has a congenital condition, this would be an honest application of that term. But I often think it is a way to skirt the true cause of death…

Just how my mind kinda veers off, at times, at a quirky angle and then questions: Why?

Remember

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IlluminatedByBeautifulAngel

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NOTE:
*****~~~*****~~~*****
I got my MRI results today. No brain cancer. YAY! Happy, happy!
Now, I guess you’ll just have to understand if you catch me singing, “If I only had a brain!” Or at least a brain not affected by cancer drugs foremost, stress, fear, worry, depression, other medications, the reality of my situation, and other medical diagnoses (e.g. Sjogren’s, Fibromyalgia, Hypoparathyroidism)

***~~~~~***~~~~~***

WomanAtBeachSandy
Entry Forty Three

April 21, 2018

I’ve been thinking… It is easier to be in a negative mindset than to labor to pull yourself up, into a positive space – “drawing up into your world zone.” The thing about the easier way is that it will eat away at you; just as cancer can do to your body – being a defeatist will erode your mind and emotions and eventually it will reflect in your physical well being and health – infusing it with pessimism and failure.

I’ve been pondering this, because, I’ve put up my shields and find myself dwelling in a fatalistic zone. And the thing about subsisting in this despondent, hopeless realm is that the bleak orientation increases exponentially, feeding upon itself, and burying any hope, joy, or inspiration; making overcoming this “dead domain” near impossible. Eventually, your eyes see only murkiness and shadows; while your heart harbors only despair and defeat. What is left is a ghost of who you are, shambling along; lost and beaten, in constant pain and ruination.

Wow, the Easy Way is wicked and corrupt. Like a premature death, it hoodwinks its victim and entombs their spirit-soul in a cloak of darkness.

Do you know how EASY it would be to snap, and totally lose my sanity? And at that point I feel my sanity would be irretrievable. Do you know how CLOSE I have come to it, or how often? The easy way is the worst way…

So, instead of dropping down into that nether world of confusion and gloom, I elect to choose the Hard Way; to fight to envelope myself in the light and fill my world with prospect, peace, and understanding. Doing so will imbue my world in beauty and strength – strength to lift into my world zone, all that is good and right and a godsend. My spirit-soul will thrive and grow in revelation and promise. The Creator will be with me and He shall direct my way.

“The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live.” –Norman Cousins

Entry Forty Four

April 21, 2018

FirefliesOnTree

Fireflies, to me, are magic. We don’t get them here in California, which seems criminal to me. I was able to see them when I would visit relatives back east. I’d have to say, the highlight of each visit was being able to witness the fireflies emerge in the early dusk, over the green grassy meadows and twinkling in the trees and shrubs. There is nothing else like them!

Fireflys

Nature’s Tiny Lantern Lights

Amid indigo layers of twilight,

stars wink brightly in to sight.

Verdant grasses, cool and plush,

quiet footfalls; in the glen–a hush.

The sultry night enfolds me,

in a summery embrace.

It sighs and whispers at my ear,

Look upon the lea, find the magic that is near.

From the ground they slowly rise,

the dusk-enchanted fireflies.

Night’s escorts putting on a show,

flashing pulses of yellow-green they glow.

These tiny creatures of twilight,

are the Earth’s heartbeat, given form.

They that herald each summer night,

carried on the breath of dreams,

are in fleeting beauty borne.

The color of sunlight on new winter rye,

is captured in nature’s tiny lantern lights.

And a smiling part inside me, soaring . . .

. . . floats with them, in their flight.

© K. Pippig

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FireflyOnGrass

Magic in the Touch

How I savor summer nights,

and evenings in spring

when days grow longer,

and the dusk doth bring,

like jewels capering

on a spider’s silken string,

tiny lanterns gliding

on invisible wings.

How seeming right, I realize,

the color of their light.

How like a precious gemstone,

the sweet, familiar sight.

There surely is no mistaking,

that their golden-verdant glow,

is like the gorgeous hue

of the August peridot!

And should by happy circumstance,

I’m allowed to join them in their dance,

I’ll lift my outstretched hands high

and if one of them doth alight

I’ll cup it tenderly and draw it nigh.

I’ll laugh and smile, dip and twirl

When breathless, I shall pause

to gaze up at the stars a’whirl

and offer my silent applause.

If then my tiny visitor decides

the time has come to depart

to join its twinkling kindred

a’dancing in the dark . . .

I’ll bid goodbye

and give my thanks

all with a happy sigh,

for the magic in the touch

. . . of the gentle firefly.

© K. Pippig

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FireflyOnFinger

 

NOTE:
*****~~~*****~~~*****
Yesterday, my oncologist renewed the prescription drug that my primary physician had earlier removed from my medication arsenal. That is a huge relief and the weight of having to “deal” with the absence of that drug has been lifted. In addition: Yesterday, my oncologist prescribed a drug that may help some with my forgetfulness and brain fog. I’m open to trying it; if it doesn’t work, fine. If it does help some, I’m delighted.

***~~~~~***~~~~~***

Entry Forty Five

April, 25, 2018

Today I went in for my second IV Fluid Infusion. The doctor ordered a total of eight. I have had two now and the staff at the Infusion Center was gracious enough to schedule the remaining six appointments weekly, on Thursdays, in the afternoon.

I have found since taking the cancer drugs I began in January, I sweat very little; I have no oil to my skin anymore; and my skin is very dry. Consequently, I am experiencing problems with my bowels (constipation and and resulting diarrhea from meds I take to counter the constipation,) dizziness, weakness, headaches, and other symptoms of dehydration. Thus, the reason my oncologist wishes me to have regular IV Fluid Infusions.

I clocked my session today. They got me in about 25 minutes after my arrival and got everything set up for the infusion. Once they got the bag going, it took about an hour.

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The following haiku represents the many phases of the “new me” living my “new norm.”

Wind rushing past me
Wet sadness blows from my face
Driving past my past

Now, onto some haiku I wrote when I was first getting chemo, after my first diagnosis. I HATED getting the chemo. I could taste is as soon as it was put into my vein. I could smell it on my skin. Taste it on my tongue. I ended up experiencing spontaneous bleeding of my gums and nose while at work. My hair quickly began falling out and literally leaving a circle of hair around my desk chair. When I was in my car with the windows rolled down and a good breeze circulating through the car, my hair would blow off my head, swirl around me, before being blown out the windows or onto the car’s floor and seats.

I dreaded going to my chemo sessions, which I had arranged to get after work; or at least close to the time I’d get off from work, so as not to interfere with my daily work hours. On the days I was to go into the cancer center, dread would build up in me and it was all I could do to make myself go. I was a mess, and just about the time I knew I could not go through with it, I would get a delivery of daisies in a vase of water with a card from my mom.  Or a vase of colorful flowers would be hand delivered to me by my mother, with a note of encouragement.

I would cry and smile each time she did this, but it gave me the courage to go into the center and get my chemo. Often, my mother offered to accompany me. I usually begged her not to go, as I would often wait two hours before the oncologist would see me and then it was a while to get the chemo – too long a wait, and really no reason for her to have to spend her time just sitting around. Often, I could not keep her from following me in her car, and being there for me.

Even now, after taking my cancer pills, I can smell it on my skin and in my urine. I can taste it on my tongue. A reminder that I am not the me I was before my diagnosis.

crying

Bruised brow, lids heavy
with tears, white-shot veins burn hot
stab the pupil… dread

DaisysWhitePot

Daisies with gold hearts
White pot, yellow bow, a card
Thinking of you… love

VaseOfDaisiess

VaseOfFlowersAndNote

Red ribbon tied ’round
Vase of flowers and water
Balm, for pain dreaded

vaseOfFlowers

Sometime I will write of the radiation I received after my second diagnosis, but not now, for this is enough darkness to pour over for one day; for you and for me.

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Entry Thirty Six

April 8, 2018

SadnesAtTheBeach

Feeling Sad

Short entry today. I still have not heard from my oncologist. I can only guess they must be very, very busy at the office, as she has never delayed this long to respond to my emails…

I have not been sleeping well for several nights. I’m in more pain than usual from the Fibromyalgia, Hypoparathyroidism, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and Chronic Pain Syndrome. My mind, too, is working overtime to visit me with fears, darkness, worries and a myriad of over things that ruin any chance for a good night’s sleep – and those emotions linger into the daytime hours; like haunting shadows.

Furthermore, I had my monthly blood test done Friday and the results overall were about the same as the time before, but there were a few test results that were the worst they have ever been; which has me fretting and wondering what that may signify.

To top it off, one of my doctors took me off a drug that is prescribed for anxiety and nervousness. I was advised that the drug he removed from my regular medications was not safe to take with another drug I am taking for the same symptoms. Fact is, I’ve been taking both medications, at the same frequency and dose for many years. Why now would this decision be made?

I can only guess that “the powers that be” have deemed doctors must “intervene” and make “safer” choices in what they prescribe for their patients. I can understand that, given today’s more stringent standards for what physician’s should or should not be prescribing to their patients – but, this, to me, is more than disconcerting: Many days I am barely grasping onto my sanity. Having a medication removed that aids in keeping me sound of mind is quite distressing. (And, it was done without advising me first.)

AsianInDarkWondering

Since yesterday, I’ve not been feeling well. Could be a combination of overthinking about the PET Scan results, the lab results, the cutting off of a helpful medication, not getting any decent sleep, and mayhap, I’ve caught a “bug” of some sort.

A bit of sunshine in the mix: Friday, my weekly IR appointment for ultrasound (which again I ended up waiting almost two hours before being seen) showed about the same amount of fluid, or less, than last time. But, wouldn’t you know it, on Saturday, I began to feel the sloshing of fluid in my left chest. I’m hopeful that the liquid I feel sloshing when I bend down and stand up again, is the “small amount of fluid” that showed in the ultrasound, and nothing more.

I have another IR appointment next Friday, so I suppose I’ll find out what’s going when they do another ultrasound.

SadnessBoxedIn

Feeling boxed in and frustrated and sad…

Entry Thirty Seven

Note: I wrote this is November of 2009, after my second diagnosis of breast cancer in September of 2009. I was angry. I felt betrayed by the medical protocol I had undergone, twice; when first diagnosed in 2002 and again with this second diagnosis. I felt betrayed by my body, after all I had put it through to rid myself of my unwelcome resident – and yet it returned; cancer. I was hurting emotionally and anger replaced much of the fear I was trying to push away.

Cancer Survivor – Not

You know, I have never felt comfortable using the term survivor, when referring to myself, or any person who has had cancer and is still alive. A “survivor” to my way of referencing the definition, is a person who has escaped from something–an accident, a natural disaster, a plague, and the like – such as a house fire, a tornado, a car accident, a small pox epidemic.

And I do not think a host is engaged in a war, where they “fight” to “wage the battle” against the cancer within their body. The only military-esque similarity would be the weapons used–deadly to what is good and what is bad…

On a more personal level, I look upon my own experience with CA in a different light: my personal perspective definition. I feel more like a domicile–a place where CA had taken up habitation. CA was an unwanted tenant; an undesirable visitor in my abode. And, as directed by established procedure, I went through the necessary steps to evict that resident.

If I am fortunate, the unwanted guest is expelled and I am free of that lodger. But, as may be the record of any dwelling with a history of lives, living and dead, there is usually a good ghost story or two-a haunting, if you will. So, as with many abodes with a few good years on them–the ghost of CA past haunts my home–my body. Moreover, much like the Dickens’ Christmas tale, the ghost of CA present, or the ghost of CA future may visit me. The ghost may decide not to leave, and I am, again, dealing with my unwelcomed inhabitant.

Such is the case now. Two months ago I learned CA has returned to take up residence in my body. I just finished 30 radiation (mis)treatments. In two weeks, I will begin taking chemo–all in an attempt to expel my unwanted guest.

So, do I consider myself a survivor? No, I am more the landlord, the proprietor; haunted by a phantom – the specter of CA; which may or may not take up residence in my abode…

And it is not a war – though weapons of mass destruction are used to rid one’s body of the invasion.

© K. Pippig

DeepOrangeRoseDewDrops

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Entry Thirty Eight

Note: I wrote this after my first diagnosis of breast cancer – it pretty much speaks for itself. 💖

Hey, Watchya Doin?

Girlfriends

More than two decades ago, Paula came to work in the task area where we shared an office.

She had been given the position I had been vying for. It didn’t seem at all fair. I labored to make her feel uncomfortable and unwanted.

But because of her indomitable spirit she kept pressing onward with her positive attitude, generous smile, and infectious friendliness.

But I was not easily won over. I was miserable and worked overtime to counter her goodness.

Deep down I had to admit there wasn’t much about her to not like. She was Pollyanna and I was “The Bad Seed.”

Shame and guilt eventually made me feel loathsome. Perhaps she saw through my bristly facade. I truly hope at the time there was some essence of good that glinted from my soul’s innards. I’m guessing there was and she coaxed that spider silk thread out with her charm and began to weave the web of our friendship.

Understandably, a friendship is a two-way mechanism. A relationship functions best when both individuals proffer the finest qualities from their heart and soul. I had a lot of catching up to do and, consistent with my nature, I extended myself wholeheartedly.

Her friendship was a shining gem that sparkled brightly before my eyes. What she offered was beyond description or value. The bond that two beings can cement which lasts a lifetime… Friendship!

FriendsFemale

The saying, “Hey, watchya doin’?” became a part of our bitter, joyous, disheartening, thrilling, ecstatic, crushing, and wondrous happenings that living life brings.

Those were the words I stammered the night I drove over to her house and apologized for how I had treated her when we first met, admitting I had been cruel.

I should have gone to her earlier in our relationship and apologized. She never spoke of my treatment of her in those first days. She never told me that my actions had hurt her.

But when I asked her to forgive me she began to cry and all the pain I had been responsible for was etched on her face. She merely nodded.

Then smiled at me.

We hugged and cried together.

I heard those words from her during the rough days when her marriage was falling apart and she needed to talk. When there was a suicide in the family she spoke that phrase through the tear-choked pain of loss.

Though we no longer work in the same area, we still work for the same organization. No matter where the job assignment, stress is part and parcel of the job. And many times we’ve phoned the other with the question, “Hey, watchya doin’?”

We have seen heartbreaking human suffering, abuse, and loss. As much as we might try to “leave it all at the office” we cannot always shove it in the desk drawer, turn off the lights and head home with a peaceful spirit.

It is at such times we have sought solace in each other.

“Hey, watchya doin’?” she said. “Why don’t you come on over tonight for dinner? We need to talk.” I did, and she introduced me to her fiance — a wonderful man who would give her all that she deserved. The joy of a good marriage. She was long overdue!

She has asked me that question when her voice bubbled over with happiness because she wanted to tell me her daughter was engaged. And again, twice, each time she learned her daughter was pregnant.

“Hey, watchya doin’?”

That evening we got together and shared our fears. We were no longer young women and the fast rushing reality of years gone by seemed to hit us at roughly the same time.

“My folks are getting older. Oh, Kathy! I am so afraid of losing them.”

Tears burned hot in my eyes. “Me, too.” My father had died years earlier but my mother and step father were still alive and very much a part of my life.

“Hey, watchya doin’?” I asked one late afternoon. “I just got in from work.”

“Why?” she replied.

Emotion choked me as I tried to squeeze the words past my constricted throat. “I have cancer…”

On another afternoon, when I woke up from surgery, I saw her face. By her side was her youngest daughter. They both smiled tremulously.

Their eyes shimmering wet. Their expressions full of love and hope. They had a gift and a card for me, but to this day I cannot tell you what the gift was, or what the card said.

ACard
AGiftInPink

All I saw was the glow of a loving friendship reflecting back to me — the years we had shared our secrets and hopes, our fears and triumphs.

“Love you!” she said.

“I love you, too.” I garbled roughly through my tears. “Thank you for being my friend.”

Two and a half years have passed since that afternoon. We still greet each other with that old phrase. And every now and then we will say…

“Love you! Thank you for being my friend.”

And when I say those words, I count myself blessed to have your friendship, Paula.

“I love you. Thank you…”

© K. Pippig

FriendsUnderRoseTree

Entry Thirty Nine

April 17, 2018

The Last Week

Last Monday I started feeling quite poorly. I hung on, thinking it would pass. It didn’t. On Tuesday, I was extremely sick; non-stop throwing up, blasting headache, terribly weak, and with pain throughout my body. I got very little sleep Monday night and no sleep Tuesday night. By Wednesday, I was so weak, it was an effort to get up from bed and walk anywhere for any reason. It was too much to go to the bathroom to vomit, so I kept a pot bedside. I had nothing to eat Tuesday and nothing Wednesday.

HospitalGroundsOutside

I decided to contact my oncologist about how I was feeling. She recommended I come in that day for an IV fluid infusion. I was not feeling well enough to safely drive myself to the hospital, so I called my mom. She came over right away.

On the way to the hospital, I got a phone call from the hospital informing me my oncologist wanted me to get an EKG prior to the IV infusion. They directed me to head to Cardiology as soon as I arrived, I was then to go to the Infusion Clinic.

I felt just awful and upon entering the hospital, I began crying, feeling so miserable – which is not like me, at all.

Due to some error in registering me into the Cardiology Clinic, by a lady who was new to the department, I ended waiting an hour, even after asking 3 employees at the front desk how much longer until I’d be taken back for my EKG.

HospitalInBlueShadow

The clinic was in the process of preparing to close up for the day when they realized I had not been seen yet. Turns out I had never been registered into their system for my appointment.

Because my EKG was done so late, I was more than an hour overdue for my IV fluid infusion, but they called over and advised the staff at the Infusion Clinic I’d be there soon.

Graciously, the lady helping me and a few other Infusion Clinic staff members stayed late to accommodate me. Bless their souls!

Other than what has been given to me at the times I’ve had surgeries, I have never been to an Infusion Clinic. It was in the same area as Infectious Diseases.

Shock

Well, the lady sat me down in a comfy chair. For some reason, I was freezing and asked for a blanket, which she promptly brought. It took awhile to find a vein she could slip a needle into, due to the level of dehydration I was in; but after a couple of tries, she found a suitable vein and got the fluid infusion going. She also added Zofran to the infusion. She asked I I wanted to watch TV. She said it helps block out the sounds and activities going on around a person while in the clinic.

I looked around but didn’t see any TV screens. I asked her if she was serious and she said she was; to which I said, “Okay.” I hadn’t noticed until she swung out a device from the side of my chair and settled it in front of my face: Every chair in the clinic had one of these devices – a TV. She asked if I’d like to wear headphones, which I did. And voilà! TV, headphones. In addition, there was a remote control next to my right hand that I could use to adjust the position of my chair; lie down, sit up, or anything in-between. Nice!

HospitalChair

The IV Fluid Infusion made a welcome difference to how I felt, though I was still weak, and had no interest in food. But later that night, I managed to eat, and keep down, a few saltine crackers and a can of Campbell’s Chicken Rice Soup. By Thursday, I felt nearly normal.

April 16, 2018

BloodPressureCuff

Monday I had my appointment for my “butt shots” and my visit with my oncologist. The last time I had my “butt shots” they were pretty unpleasant “going in” and I developed an avocado sized lump on the right side that was throbbing sore and lasted over two weeks. I explained this to the nurse who does the injections and she suggested I lie down for the shots (whereas I stood for all the others,) as my buttocks would be more relaxed and the thick (warmed) fluid of the Faslodex injections would go in easier, with less trauma afterward. That seems to have done the trick, as I didn’t experience as much pain during the injection and the resulting lumps from the injections sites are much smaller.

TeddyBearBandaged

During my visit with my oncologist she seems to feel I had contracted the stomach virus that has been going around. That, combined with my body’s reaction to the Ibrance pills, and the Faslodex injections, was why I had become so ill. She strongly advised that I go in as needed for IV fluid infusions.

She told me she put in an order for me to have multiple visits at the Infusion Clinic and that I should take advantage of them whenever I am feeling weak, sickly, and headachy. She said many of her patients go in for IV Fluid Infusions regularly; some even go in every other day… She commented that she realizes how much I dislike having to go into the hospital, at all, but that I must think of all the appointments and procedures as a maintenance program I must keep up in order to  remain as healthy as possible.

April 17, 2018

I have an MRI scheduled for this evening, as I wish to rule out the possibility that the cancer has migrated to my brain… If it shows clear, I’ll know that all my forgetfulness and brain fog will be due to meds foremost; then stress, depression, weariness, fear, and the reality of my situation.

Fortieth Entry

April 18, 2018

StormComingBeach

An Observation

I have noticed, over the years, that the negative things that have betided my body, for the most part, have and are happening to the left side of my body. Since I was very little it has been so.

When I was a young girl of elementary school age, I suffered an illness accompanied by a high fever. I awoke during this illness one morning to find my left eye had turned toward the bridge of my nose. Though my eye eventually straightened out to a more “normal” position, I was later diagnosed with “lazy eye” also known as amblyopia.

EyeGoldSpiral

During my fifth or sixth year of elementary school, I had to wear an eye patch over my right eye, in hopes of straightening and strengthening my left eye. And thereafter, I have had to wear eye glasses. My left eye needs the strongest prescription and the damage to my eye is such that no prescription will ever be able to totally correct the vision in that eye.

In the year 2002, 2009 and 2018 – I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2002, in the left breast. In 2009, in the left chest (breast lymph node) under the sternum and near the heart. In 2018, in the left chest, multiple areas.

Chest

Though I’ve had surgery on both knees, it is the left knee that has been operated on twice, while the right knee, only once. Each surgery was to repair a torn meniscus and shave off spurs of arthritis. The orthopedist also re-positioned my left knee cap. My knees are such that all that can be done for them now is knee replacements.

KneesManWoman

Since the 1990’s I have had a history of falls that I could not explain, aside from just being clumsy and not paying attention to where and what I am doing while walking, running, trekking about while doing yard work, traipsing on unfamiliar terrain, or simply ambling around the house. Some of these falls have resulted in fractured ribs, multiple scraped knees, shins, hands, elbows and injuries to my face.

FootPrintInSand

It wasn’t until just the last two years that I discovered why I have so many falls – I do not pick my left foot up high enough to avoid tripping over things. It has become so bad that I will trip on the mortared cracks between the tiles of our house.

I believe I am just recently finding why – because my left foot is dragging closer and closer to the ground, instead of being lifted up high enough to be safe. Unless I consciously think about lifting my foot up higher than normal, I am at peril of tripping.

When I was transitioning between being a child, to being a teenager –  commencing at about the age of twelve – I began to have egregious migraine headaches. They were on the left side of my head. I had them for over a decade, before they began to taper off.

Headache

Furthermore, I cannot hear nearly as well out of my left ear as I can my right ear.

LeftEarOnCat

My deviated septum is on the left side.

I am right handed, and right footed. Does that have any bearing on why my left side has so many weaknesses, physical and medical problems? Definitely weird and peculiar. I wonder if any research has been done on this?

There has to be a connection! Why hasn’t this been studied by the medical community? Or has it, and I just have not heard about it?

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 Thirty First Entry

The Chair in the Graveyard

March 25, 2018

ChairInCemetery

An empty chair in the cemetery,
to what would its purpose be?
I wonder, as I gaze at this photograph,
the weathered wooden chair, with no armrests,
and its hard uncomfortable back.
Spartan in design, it would weigh next to nothing.

It is set apart from the headstones
placed in the manicured yard on grass;
such a lovely color of green,
and turned away from the burial ground.

FireflyOnGrass
Come nightfall, I can envision the magic of fireflies,
floating atop the grass, moving between the headstones,
dancing in the trees.

I look on, no one is in sight; just me,
gazing at the picture from my chair at the computer.
I’m trying to decide which is the “safer” seat?

If I could, would I walk to that chair in the graveyard?
And why? It seems so lonely a place, lamentable even.
Why would anyone go to that chair,
sit there amongst those who have passed from this life?
…the silent residents of the cemetery.

Maybe a person would go there to visit the grave of a loved one.
If so, why turn the chair away from those in repose,
‘neath the green, green grass?

Headstones
Perchance, it is too painful to look upon the name on the headstone.
Too difficult to reconcile what is remembered, from that life; and now gone.

Then again, the last person to visit may have turned the chair outward,
a sign of welcome to whoever comes next – to take the chair and move it
to wherever a loved one is resting, and visit. Perhaps each person who
walks into the cemetery; they see first the chair, waiting for them to
come in.

graveyard-church-crocus-cemetery-161280
The fact that the chair is not comfortable is of little importance
and forgotten when the visitor moves the chair to a grave,
sits down, leans forward and bends their head in prayer.
They may even leave the chair
as they get down on their knees in the grass,
close to their loved one, remembering,
reliving their lives together.

FirefliesOnTree

The chair waits. A while later, that visitor may sit in the chair again,
stare out over the cemetery, surrounding trees and bushes;
maybe watch the sun set and the fireflies come out,
and think of nothing, just settle into the peace and beauty of
the life all around, and the joy of being.

GraveyardAtNight
After the bright moon rises, unfurling moonlight over the visitor,
the wildlife, and the tombstones; the person may stand,
take the chair and gently walk it back to the area where it was first found,
facing away from the headstones and toward the next visitor; welcoming.

MoonlightThruTrees

Perhaps it would not be such a sad place to visit;
such a lonely chair to sit in.

Maybe it would be a visit to cherish,
memories to embrace – and a giving of thanks
for the welcoming grace of a sacred place.
© K. Pippig

ChairInCemetery
~~***~~***~~

 

Entry Thirty Two

WomanWaitingInDarkness

March 26, 2018

Waiting for the PET Scan Results…

Well, fretting and fretting, waiting to find out what the results of my PET Scan are, has been gnawing away at me since Friday – honestly, earlier, to be truthful. Anytime I have a scan or other test scheduled, I begin to worry what the outcome of the results will be.

Anyway, the tension is only building and I can’t stop worrying and not sleeping and glomming on to each notification of a new email, hoping to hear the results – so – I email my doctor, asking if the results had come in yet. I got an email saying my oncologist will be out of the office until April 1, 2018.

Well…

YorkyPooping

Grumpy Dumpy !!!
💩💩💩

————–***~~*~~***—————–

Addendum:

March 27, 2018

I received an email from a doctor covering for my oncologist during her absence. He sent me the PET Scan results, which I am grateful for!

If you have ever read these reports, you will, in all probability, find them very confusing; full of medical words and terms that spin your brain around in your skull, leaving you with even more questions than you had before getting the findings.
That is how I felt after going over the report.

The doctor who sent the results said: “You can review the results and discuss it detail at your next appointment with Dr ##### or e-mail/call clinic with any questions.

So, I emailed the office, and I telephoned the office, so I could “ask my questions.” The lady who answered spoke with the doctor who sent the results, and relayed to me that what he meant to say was I could call and schedule a telephone consultation with my oncologist upon her return… Really?!
😖😣😞 Argh!

That aside, this is the short, comprehensible paragraph that I have extracted from the long, perplexing, bombardment of  medical jargon:
—————————–
Impression
1. Stable metastatic disease involving the left chest wall, multiple lymph nodes (chest and left retroperitoneum), lingula and likely left pleura.  Unchanged small to moderate left pleural effusion, probably malignant.
2. Aortic atherosclerosis.  Normal abdominal aortic diameter (<3cm)
——————————
The aortic atherosclerosis is from the rigorous, intensive radiation I received after my second diagnosis of breast cancer in 2009. The lymph node that was cancerous was right next to my heart, beneath the sternum, and encased in veins and arteries, making operating on it, to remove it, impossible – so they told me; ergo, the radiation.

Before the MBC diagnosis, my oncologist told me I would likely require surgery to replace a valve when I am in my 80’s, due to the aortic atherosclerosis.
When she first told me that I’d need that surgery, I was thinking about how risky it would be to perform such surgery on a person in their 80’s.

Rather ironic to now hope I will have that procedure done, as it infers that I will still be around when I am in my 80’s.

~~***🙃🙃***~~

Thirty Third Entry

March 29,2018

Flood Control Basin

20180329_152228

Huzzah! Finally the gates to to the flood control basin across from my mother’s house were open today and the basin was freshly mowed yesterday. To top it off, it was sunny and warm; not too hot, not too cool. Such a stunning Spring day, and a fun way to celebrate the coming Easter holiday weekend.

20180329_155027

After the heavy rains, the flood control basin was a luscious green, and the trees had leafed out splendidly. In the larger fenced in ponding basin area, there was one black swan, several coots, and a duck or two.

BlackSwan

My husband and I, our Golden Retriever, and my mother with her Black Lab walked through the gate and released our dogs, who were thrilled at being able to run free, stretch their limbs, gambol up and down the hills, and sniff all the many new and mysterious smells that were strewn everyplace.

20180329_155030

So, the dogs got in some great exercise, as did we humans. It is a nice sized basin, with several hills and rises, and we explored the entire expanse.
In the tiny fence-enclosed water drain, my husband spotted several large frogs, (sitting, sadly, on trash that was floating on the surface,) just before they jumped into the water.

BullFrogsTwo

This was the first time we had allowed the two dogs to be together. They got along amicably, and rather than spend time together, they struck out on their own to explore. I wasn’t worried about our Golden, as he has been socialized in dog obedience, agility, and AKC Canine Good Citizen training programs. But, my mom’s Black Lab lives a life free of other pets; cat or dog. Thankfully, all went well, which is good, because I’d like to do this again, soon.

HusbandMomBlackLab

My furboy is growing up fast! Many times, during Obedience Training Classes, before I received my diagnosis or knew anything was wrong, the instructors would mention, repeatedly, that he would make a terrific therapy dog. Each time they said it, I would think to myself, yes, he would, but I’m thinking he would be a wonderful therapy dog for me.

Perhaps some part of my psyche knew I might be in a position to appreciate the love of a therapy dog. Because of our bond, right from the start, I’ve felt uncannily close to him. He is very sensitive to my many moods, and makes himself present, even when I don’t realize I need him.

20180329_153250
I love this photo of him!

As I continue to live with my diagnosis, my furboy and I grow more and more close-knit. Our love is in every way, reciprocal, because there are days he needs me nearby, to talk to him, pet him, hug him, kiss him, understand him, and play with him. And to commune on a silent level that runs even deeper than any spoken words could convey. I love him!

20180329_155114

It was a very good day…

Thirty Fourth Entry

March 30, 2018

Weekly IR Appointment

My appointment, this time, was a scheduled appointment, not, as they have been in the past, “a fit me in appointment.” My appointment was for 2:30 pm and I waited until a little after 4:00 pm to be taken back into the IR exam rooms. I was advised that there had been a couple of emergencies, which were responsible for delaying my being seen.

This time they had no chair and no wheelchair for me; which didn’t bother me. The area they brought me to was very small. They had me sitting on a hospital bed, pushed up against the wall. When the curtains were drawn closed, there was little room between the curtains on one side and the wall on the other.

I said I could turn around, hang my legs off the other side of the bed so they could do the ultra sound. That was our only option and it allowed for them to perform the procedure sooner. So, the nurse moved the hospital bed around enough to let me squeeze through to the other side and sit down. There was just enough room to bring the ultra sound machine in and do the check on my chest.

HospitalBedsExamRoom

I had not felt that sloshing I had been aware of since before my diagnosis, nor during the week since my last visit to IR. Furthermore, I was not laboring much to breathe; not needing to catch my breath when speaking to someone. I had noticeably more stamina and strength. Being able to walk up and down those hills in the flood control basin as I did was a treat for me, as I hadn’t been able to exercise like that since before my diagnosis. Even when I have my chest drained, I do not feel so energetic.

Those things considered, I did not expect the doctor to find more fluid than he detected the week before. As it turned out, he found less fluid. What excellent news! No needle poke.

This revelation boded well, as having less fluid means my body is operating on a healthier level and I am doing better. I’m guessing the cancer drugs may be helping out with that, as well.

PersonAtCross

Now that’s some good news on Good Friday! Thank you Creator, for being there for me!

~~~***~~~**~~~***~~~

Thirty Fifth Entry

 

The Scar of Loss

April 2, 2018

CemeteryWithLanterBehindHeadstone

(I originally wrote this piece for the loss of a beloved furry family member, but the notion is the same for human loved ones we have lost, as well.)

BibleOpenWithCrossBookmark

When we lose our loved one, a sharp, painful wound is opened; we put salve on and dress the wound. But the wound is revealed to us anew, each time we clean and re-bandage it, as is the pain.

Eventually, the wound heals, much as a physical wound does. Often a scar has formed, red and angry in appearance. Yet, over time, the scar softens; becomes less noticeable. It is no different for the emotional injury and wound sustained from the loss of a beloved family member or dear friend.

WomanInColorfulDressSittingAtBeach

And – there will come a time when you will look upon that scar and remember – not so much the pain of losing that loved one – instead, your thoughts will turn to the moments in your shared lifetime that brought joy, happiness, strength, laughter, and love! And that scar will now serve to pleasantly remind you that a part of that loved one will be a permanent part of you, until you, too, pass from this earthly plane.

BlackLabPuppy

Rather comparable to the time your furkin (furry family member; kin) nipped at you with those razor-sharp puppy teeth and left a scar on your hand – a forever reminder that he or she was part of your life and will always remain so. Oh happy scar! 💖❤️💖

© K. Pippig

***~~****~~***

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Sixth Page

Twenty Sixth Entry

2CrowsNTreeAutumnSKy

March 13, 2018

Forgetting

Forgetting to do things, resulting from chemo brain, stress, and a certain amount of depression, can be so perplexing. The possibility of failing to remember exacerbates my forgetfulness. And grappling with my misremembering depletes my reserves.

I must leave notes stuck to the refrigerator, enter them in my computer’s calendar (with several email alerts), write them on notebook paper, ask my husband to remind me and any other method that aids me with my memory.

CanNDogRelaxing

I forgot to go to the credit union yesterday and today. I didn’t remember to drop something off at the veterinary’s office – on the other hand, I have an appointment with the vet tomorrow, so I can take that item with me then. And that option didn’t even occur to me, until the veterinary assistant who called to remind me of the appointment suggested it.

I’m fairly certain that my absentmindedness irritates family and friends, and others I come in contact with, which wounds me, as I have no desire to upset them. Knowing I have, in my chemo-stress-depressed-addled mind, done something to have them lose patience with me, leaves me feeling helpless. In the interim, I will make my clumsy apologies, try to make amends – do what I can to mend the rift.

LadyBugsOnBranch

I can only try to let a person know what I’m experiencing, as thoroughly as I’m able to explain it. If they don’t “get it” and an incident occurs, leaving me holding the end of the rope (the link, our bond) that extends between us as family or as friends; I can only pray that they will elect to pick up that rope to reconnect us. The weight of the waiting, however, is rather dreadful! Perhaps, it is so harrowing, because I am at a place in my life where treasured relationships mean more than ever.

I feel hyper-sensitive, at times, which I imagine is normal, given the circumstances. But it is not a really healthy emotion to live with; it makes me feel selfish and it interferes with my ability to function and be positive. I don’t know how best to cope with this, at present. Do I just say, “It is what it is!” and move on; leaving that rope (in my mind’s eye) dangling, dragging, perchance getting dirty and fraying in the process?

CountrysideHorsesCreek

Do I pursue those I have possibly injured – leaving me feeling like I’m annoying them? Yeah, I’ve done that, convinced I’m pestering them – I don’t think that’s the answer.

Turning the situation around, if I were in their shoes, how would I react? In a perfect world, I sincerely hope I would understand. I do know, I’d much rather be in their position, as opposed to mine. And thankfully so! (But how self-serving, and unrealistic.) That said, I am not in their situation. I need to be thankful for my life, as it is, as it can be!

While I do what I can to tackle my forgetfulness. Accepting what I’m capable of and acquiescing to that which I lack in the “remembering” department. I can hope that they will elect to pick up that trailing rope and recommence our cherished relationship.

BlueRoseDew

Still, I’m feeling blue – when my remembering is tossed askew… 😥

***~***

Twenty Seventh Entry

Spencer Creek, Dundas

March 20, 2018

Yesterday, I restarted taking the Ibrance daily, for three weeks. Yesterday I also went in for my monthly “butt shots” of Faslodex, and afterward, I had an appointment with my oncologist. That appointment was originally set up to discuss the results of the PET Scan I was to have had, but it wasn’t scheduled until 3-21-18 – so my oncologist will let me know the results if they are good news, via email, otherwise, I guess she will schedule another appointment to go over the results.

BubblesOnBigLeaf

During the appointment with my oncologist, we discussed how I was managing with my breathing and if I needed to get my chest drained more often. The doctor told me she had put in a “standing order” for me to go in once a week to have IR (Intervention Radiology) do an ultrasound to find out if I need to have my chest drained. She recommended that I go to Scheduling and make weekly consultations with IR, instead of waiting until I needed to have my chest drained before trying to schedule the appointment.

She said they used to have patients go home with a finger oxygen monitor, so the patient could better determine when they needed to go in to get their chest drained – but patients would wait until the oxygen levels were dangerously low and then the situation became an emergency. Ergo, they stopped doing that and, when appropriate, regular IR screening appointments were scheduled instead. I was able to have them schedule appointments for me weekly, through the month of April, when the “standing order” expires and my oncologist will need to issue another order…

HugeBubbblesNWater

Last week my husband decided for apply for FMLA. He secured the paperwork from his workplace and I took it in to the office I was directed to go to drop it off. Well, as is often the case, it seems, the proper procedure requires my oncologist to complete a WASF (Work Activity Status Form). Once that is done, the ROI (Release of Information) Department “sees” the WASF in their computer system. At that juncture I was instructed to contact a certain individual in the ROI Department, at which point they would then complete the necessary paperwork for the FMLA and in a few days, get that document to me and my husband. All so CONFUSING!

Well, yesterday, I was given a copy of the notification that the WASF had been completed and submitted on the computer, and was told to telephone that specific person. My husband and I expected the FMLA to be effective for a year. Turns out their policy now only allows them to authorize them for three and a half months. They used to do them for a year, then for six months, and now only the three and a half months. Rather disappointing, but whatchya gonna do?

Well, while writing this entry, I just received the paperwork, via email, for my husband’s FMLA request. Yahoo! He will be happy, as am I.

HugeBubbleGreenLeaf

Today, I’m on the pre-PET Scan regimented diet. Yucko! I’ll be glad to have the scan over with tomorrow (scheduled for 1:40 pm) and I’ll be crossing my fingers and praying that it yields good results. My oncologist stated she should get the results by Friday.

***

CatOnBackCute

Yesterday was an exhausting day. My butt cheeks hurt from those shots. My mind was reeling, trying to keep straight all that I needed to handle throughout the day; while still coping with overwhelming absentmindedness. And to top it off, I stopped by the Walmart Neighborhood Market (I love that store) and forgot one item on my shopping list. I then trekked halfway across town with my Golden Retriever in tow, to my mother’s, as I had hopes of going with her, her Black Lab and my fur boy across the street from her house, to let them romp and run in the flood control basin.

JessaLikeLab

I got there, only to discover they had locked the gate to the basin, due to the rains we had and the impending rainy forecast ahead. Drat! I was so looking forward to sharing that activity, with Mom and our fur kids.  Most disappointing. So, I packed up my fur boy and drove back across town to get that last item on my list at the Walmart Neighborhood Market.

 

~~~***~~~***~~~***~~~

TreesMeadowSunGilted

NOTE: If you have read my blog from beginning to here; thus far, I applaud you and deeply thank you from my heart and spirit-soul. As I said on the blog’s home page: I am completely cognizant of the fact that reading my entries may “bring you down” as I am chronicling my journey through this diagnosis, honestly. While realizing there is darkness in my writing, I also do my best to share all the other elements and emotions of my voyage as well. I know many souls will not be able to get past the earliest entries, because of the unvarnished straightforwardness – but I commend those of you who are strong enough to continue beyond that and see my world, in its many facets and, hopefully, find humor, inspiration, enlightenment, comfort, and support, in my candor. Perhaps you are living events similar to mine and in reading my blog, you will find a connection, a sharing of like experiences, a bond…

You do not know how much it means to me to have you invest your time in my trek through this part of my life. Thank you!

Twenty Eighth Entry

March 23, 2018

Grumpy-Dumpy

Time to interject a little humor. Back on October 18, 2017, I posted part of this entry on Facebook and it got numerous laughs and some fun responses. I have added to the piece here and I’m happy to share it with you. No doubt, there of those of you out there who have furry family members who do something very similar in your home, or at least something equally as lovingly irritating.

GrumpyDumpyCat

Nearly every time I take a shower or a bath, no matter the time of day OR night; while enjoying the bliss of hot water soothing sore muscles in the shower or the steamy wonder of a bath, melting all my cares away 🙃 my cat decides he must take a grumpy-dumpy, smelly-as-helly, ☠️☠️ POOP. (The cats’ litter box is in the “toilet room” of our bathroom – the only place it is safe from the dogs and away from people who visit us.) Argh! Furthermore, he often skips the part where he is supposed to cover his pile with litter, and therefore staunch the odor some. What is up with that guy?! 😱😱

CatPoopUncovered

Then to top it off; while I am showering or taking a bath, one of the dogs will feel obligated to pee on the carpet – not the tile floor, but the carpet; usually in the bedroom or the small hall entryway before the bedroom – and just out of sight of the bathroom.

DogPeeing

There is no door to the bathroom. It is simply a doorway and when in the shower or bathtub, I can see into part of the bedroom. But sneaky as they are, they hide their crime just out of view. I will discover it upon exiting the grumpy-dumpy reeking bathroom and if I’m lucky, I will not accidentally step in the puddle of pee. Mind you, I make a point of letting the dogs outside to do their doggy-business before I shower or take a bath; so the reasoning behind leaving me a puddle of pee is beyond my understanding.

Yes, while these grumpy-dumpy and puddles of pee incidents can be maddening, I find a twisted amusement in it all, and that really comes in handy, now more than ever. Plus, I gotta thank my furry kin for sharing their “potty humorous moments” with me. That’s what family does, they share all of their lives with us, and I can’t imagine my life bereft of them and their funny quirks.

FurryFamilyKin

Twenty Ninth Entry

March 24, 2018

hummingbird

Left Wondering…

Well, my oncologist said she should get the results of the PET Scan on Friday; and if there was no problem, she’d email me. I kept checking my emails throughout the day, and night; nothing showed up. I can either take that to mean that my doctor received the PET Scan results, and the outcome was worse than the last PET Scan, so, instead of calling me to review the results, she decided not to ruin my weekend and will call me Monday.

Or, she did not get the results, at all. I think I’ll go with the latter likelihood. It won’t hurt to shrug into that mantle of uncertainty – it is assuredly more favorable than the former, so that is what I shall do.

So what if I am up at 6:27 AM, writing this entry, without having gone to bed yet. Yeah, I often stay up quite late, because my mind will just not shut up and leave me alone. But, it is not usually, wholly, this late/early. So, yes, I’m worried about not getting the PET Scan results, but I’m sure if I pull on that cloak of chanciness, I’ll feel better, and maybe get some good sleep.

No Needle Poke

Yesterday I had another exam with IR to establish whether or not I needed my chest drained.  This was a “they’ll fit me in” appointment, so I had to wait a while. When the lady came to collect me, she asked if I had a wheelchair. This is not the first time I’ve been asked that and every time I tell them I don’t have one, nor do I need a wheelchair. Upon discovering I had no wheelchair, she said she’d be back shortly, and disappeared – in search of a wheelchair. As has been the case each time but once, she was unable to secure a wheelchair – so I was escorted back to the IR exam room and asked to sit in a regular chair.

black-and-white-disability-landscape-93822(1)

I’ll admit, the unexplained need for a wheel chair left me befuddled. So I puzzled it over and over, just because it rankled me a bit. When I realized what the pressing need for a wheelchair was, the reasoning was sobering. Should I cough, or the surgeon slip while performing the procedure, my lung could be punctured and subsequently collapse – therefore, the reason for a wheelchair – so they could wheel me into ER, stat.

Yesterday, the nurse who has been there each time I go in, explained the reason why the doctor will not drain a chest if the ultra-sound shows insufficient liquid to corroborate the need to drain. He clarified they will refrain from draining the lesser measure of liquid that may be present, because the possibility that a lung might be pierced is greater. I had liquid in my chest, but not enough to justify getting it drained. Now that I am on weekly appointments to determine if draining will be needed, I feel fairly relieved that it will be done when it needs to on a more timely schedule than I’ve had in the past.

Happy and Proud

CGCMaverick
I’m wearing the Disneyland T Shirt

Last evening, I took my furboy to test for his AKC Canine Good Citizen Program Certificate and ribbon. There were eleven dogs participating and it took about two hours all total to get them assessed individually for the ten elements they must perform correctly to pass their CGC test. My guy did GREAT! I am so happy and proud! And I am so blessed to share my life with such a handsome, intelligent, loving and loyal furkin (furry family member; kin). He gives my existence, my life, a BIG OLE SMILE.

CGCMavi

If it looks like I’m bending down and forward a bit, it is because I am – I had to keep reining him in and hold him close to the both of us. In one of the pictures, I didn’t post here, he was soundly stepping on the instructor’s foot. Thus the reason for my “rolling my eyes – shaking my head,” yet overjoyed with my goofball furboy kinda grin.

By the time we got to taking these pictures, my boy was getting pretty fidgety and a bit weary of being “such a good boy.” We were the last participants to leave, and all he wanted to do was go home. Not to mention, it was way past his dinner time – and he is a chow-hound extraordinaire. Despite his escalating antsy attitude, the photographer managed to get a couple of decent photos out of the several she took. Woo Hoo! ☺️😊 My sweet knucklehead! I am so lucky… ❤️❣️💘

 

Thirtieth Entry

March 19, 2018

Spring of New Beginnings

RainbowHalfCircle

It is the first sunny day after a number of days filled with heavy, and some places in the valley, torrential rains and rushing floods.

I’m driving to the hospital for my IR exam. Not exactly what I want to be doing, but as I look around so much dazzling life suffuses the world around me.

BigGnarlyTreeInPark

As I pass through the shade of trees and buildings, the air immediately drops to a cooler temperature, then just as quickly when I’m driving through the sunlit spaces, I am engulfed in satiny warm sunlight.

Cool and warm currents of air, filled with the breath of new blossoms, the fresh lush green of reborn grass, dewy earth, and newly budding orchards waft around me like a priceless secret softly whispered in my ear.

OrchardInSpring

In neighborhood parks and nature walkways; people are out riding bikes, walking their dogs, enjoying a picnic with the family, skateboarding, running – all marveling in the beauty that is a Spring day in all its glory.

GirlWithDogInVegetation

RunningInPark

Later that evening, while in the backyard with the dogs, I am greeted pleasantly by the uncountable voices of frogs encircling our house, singing out their happy song to the entire neighborhood. Frogs, to me, are such agreeable creatures.

frog

Up above, cottony clouds slide across the black velvet of the night sky. Here and there a star shines in the inky darkness. I hear the geese talking in the huge flood basin just east of us. And now and then a barn owl screeches as it travels in the dark Spring night. There are also the high pitched voices of bats, as they move overhead. I love bats – such misunderstood creatures.

CanadianGeese

 

Spring came a day early; the season of new beginnings. I, too, have begun my new beginning. I did so a couple of months prematurely, but a new beginning it is – my unforeseeable, uncertain Spring.

***

SunsetSpring

Well, dilly dilly! (I could not resist 😉)

Seventh Page

 

 

 

 

Fifth Page

Twenty First Entry

SpiderWebSunLit

February 25, 2018

Does Nothing Change?

I have pondered why the passing of a being so precious to me seems to have no affect on the world around me. I must, therefore, wonder will it be the same after I have passed? Of course it will.

The sun has risen and it is a gorgeous day.
My furry family members still need to be fed, their needs seen to.
There are weeds to be pulled and a yard and flowers that must be watered.
I’ve got bills to pay and errands to run.
On television, the newscasters are smiling whether they deliver celebratory or dire news.
I go outside and birds are singing their lighthearted tunes.
Streetlights are blinking on and off, traffic stops, then moves onward.
While out running errands, I espy folks laughing, smiling, caught up in lively conversation.

forest-fog-sunny-nature

People everywhere are conducting their everyday ordinary chores, unaware that a soul very remarkable to me has passed away.
The world spins from dawn to dusk and into darkness, apparently allowing nothing to mark the passage of this exceptional being who was part of my life.

WinterForestSnowInGlobe
Witnessing all of this leaves me feeling woebegone, small, insignificant; because I know that is how it shall be upon my passage from earth to the hereafter.
This is how it must seem for nearly every creature who has dwelt on earth and arrived at death’s passageway to the afterlife.

SpiderWebDelicateLaceLike

But just as a spider will surely feel the slightest breath of air on a strand of its web; the Creator will perceive the merest touch of that single soul upon a filament of the universal tapestry. And the reverberation of that touch changes the cosmos. That contact will be noticed and its affect felt. And who knows how we might continue to weave our attendance into the canvas of creation after we have passed from our worldly existence.

So, does the passing of a soul, a precious being, have no affect on the world? Perhaps not to our immediate awareness, but the touch of its existence is transformative to the latticework of the universe. And, every act a person has accomplished that has touched the soul of another, will gleam and be treasured by the recipient.

MultiColoredDewDropRose

So, in theory, a being may leave behind pieces of their self, like glittering crushed diamonds tossed out over many beneficiaries. And every being, human or animal, who valued the shining shards of what you left them, will be like a lantern, lit by the deed you performed that changed their life. And the glowing lanterns of your past presence will cast a light on everyone in their vicinity, chasing away shadows, warming their spirits.

LanternLight

So, does nothing change?

No, you have added to the structure of our Lord’s creation. You have made a change…

Entry Twenty Two

February 27, 2018

Hurrah! I finally got my chest drained this evening! They took out almost twice as much fluid as they did the first time they drained my chest – and this time it was a relatively painless procedure – after I explained to the physician how it had hurt last time he performed the draining. YAY!

I was fortunate enough to have the same doctor and the same male nurse assist with the procedure. Both are angels – turning a loathsome necessity into a less stressful, less repellent event. Thank you both!

I feel much better, as I can breathe easily, move about without becoming breathless, talk without having to gasp for breath, several times, throughout a sentence. And I can sleep a lot easier, as I don’t have to struggle to find a position that allows me to breathe more comfortably. In addition, I don’t feel like I’m confounded with a chest that feels solid, heavy and immovable.

Breathing

Okay, that aside…

I just ran across this article and fell in love with the idea of Niksen. It is remarkably close to one of the fruitful methods I use to alleviate stress. Rather than copy the entire article here, I’ll leave a link. Look for Niksen in the article. I hope you find it as valuable as I did!

Introducing: “niksen,” a philosophy of nothingness.

Author by Olga Mecking

The New Dutch Trend That’s Better Than “Hygge”

CatStaringOutWindow

Twenty Third Entry

February 28, 2018

MavNDar

“If you bond to the heart of a Golden, you release the magic held in a Golden’s heart.” –kap

MyHandsomeBoyBridger

“Dogs are aware that they cannot always outlive their human companion, and they begin to secretly grieve for their companion; it becomes a small sadness they carry with them always. It is why they give so freely of themselves while they may.” –kap

Twenty Fourth Entry

February 28, 2018

Balance

Riding the roller coaster of mental and emotional ups and downs keeps me busy trying to stay positive. I find writing about it in my blog helps, but I also realize that some of my reality is genuinely dark, so I endeavor to also infuse uplifting and positive contributions. I want to offer hope and peace as well as acknowledging the woeful realities of the diagnosis. There must be a balance in my what I share here, as there must be a balance in my life, as well.

Sharing my Haiku – offers an inroad to express a fount of poignant emotions and mental battles. For me, Haiku allows me to convey a bevy of thoughts in a spare offering of words – So much in so little; beauty in brevity. I feel it is an aesthetic vehicle, for expressing all aspects of human nature and the world around us. Not everyone will “get” it or even enjoy it, and that is absolutely fine. Others may ponder the words for a length of time, seemingly, longer than would be imagined for that number of words – and then, wham, they will “get” it. Like a puzzle gift!

Painting pictures with words. Enjoy if, it connects with you…

DarkenedTear

 

 

 

 

 

~*~
In each darkened tear
Within the watery veil
Ghosts with tales to tell

~*~

SunlitTreesHills

~*~
Shadows ‘neath the tree
Swirling, dancing, silently
Music of the sun
 
~*~

Twenty Fifth Entry

Peace

Thanks to Bob & Sheila for the title of this piece.

March 9, 2018

I had a fitful night of sleep, or lack thereof. I’m having a hard time escaping from what is going on with my body and how that affects my mind, my emotions – my peace. I am also finding it so rough to accept what is going on in my body, my mind, and my emotions. It has been approximately one and a half months since I received my diagnosis. Not a long time ago, that I heard I have metastatic cancer.

OnTheDockHeadDown

Question – How long does it take for a person to accept such a thing? Can you ever accept it? How long before you can find peace? How long for all of this, for me? It seems insurmountable. It is not always like this; but when it is…  It. Feels. Like. It. Is. — Always. Like. This. What a seesaw ride this is!

And there are so many lonely times – more often, than not. Spending time with friends and family is a balm, but they have their lives, just as I have mine. So being alone is something I must accept – can’t escape from it, no matter how much I may wish to.

GoldLeafedWoodsMeadow
It is not always like this, and when it is not like this, life seems just about normal.

I received an email from my oncologist yesterday, telling me that I will be getting a call to schedule my next PET Scan. Can’t say I’m thrilled about that, as it requires a rigid, restrictive diet the day before. The radioactive material they inject in my vein seems counterproductive to the cancer in my body. And then there are the results of the PET Scan that can either be encouraging, or not. And, it serves as another reminder of what is going on in my body, that I can’t escape from.

I went in this week for my monthly blood tests. I received the results and they were not far different than the month before – good news to me.

GoldensMagic

Thank goodness for my furry family members! For good books! For chores and errands that must be done and occupy my mind and body! Thankful for musical instruments that provide an escape and a challenge and plain ole fun! Thanks for the beauty of nature, the wonder of the imagination, the magic of the human spirit, and all the blessings of Heaven. Thank goodness for being able to express what is going on with me hereThank goodness for God!

OpenBible

I fervently hope this blog is being read by others and that they find something here that is beneficial to them. Whether they have cancer or they have a loved one with cancer. Perhaps, even someone in the medical field, the social welfare field, or some other professional field may find something here they can share with their patients or clients. And lastly, I hope someone who knows me, is reading this, as I think it will help them to understand a bit of who I am and what a person with cancer is living with.

If, however, my family and closest friends are thinking, “I will read it after she is gone. I haven’t the time, desire, or strength of mind to read it now. But after… I should have all the time in the world, to read it and process it.” But, that won’t be the case, because when all the time in the world, for me, is gone, so shall be my blogs, my social media sites; FaceBook, Twitter, InstaGram, etc. After I am gone, the time for any of this mattering will be gone, too.

BeautifulSunsetDockBeachBeyond

Post-script
God can speak to us when we least expect it – surprise us with a gift of immeasurable worth; a joyous blessing – and He did just that, as soon as I had finished with this entry, I got a phone call from Ranee, and we spoke of many things, but we also talked about what I had written in this latest entry.  Her words cheered my soul and fed my mind with encouragement, support, and the kind of answers that we often cannot see, when looking from the inside – out. Thank you, Ranee, for brightening my day. Thank you, for your gift that was truly a godsend! (Ranee – I ordered the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl  – Click here to order this great book to read on my Kindle.) 🙂

~~~*****~~~

An Interview With God

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Sixth Page

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