Friday, February 27, 2009

It's finally Friday!

The day started out great because my dear friend came to pick me up and we headed off to radiation. When I went in for the treatment the tech said to me "well Lynn, are you excited this is your last treatment to your under arm area, next week will just be the incision sight?" Normally, I am way more happy, but my energy is barely there and I think I just mumbled something like "Yeah".  I just am so done with all of this.

When my friend dropped me off, she came in for a minute and gave me a gift. It was a PRAYER SHAWL that she had knitted for me. I have some talents, but KNITTING isn't one of them. What a beautiful piece of art work it was. She is amazingly talented. I do realize how long things like that take to make, and that made it even more special. I do know that even though I feel so drained and burnt to a crisp that .... I am blessed to have so many dear friends.

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."    ___author unknown

All of you remind me that I still am a fighter and that I can beat this, when some days...I wonder if I will make it or not! That's what friends are for, so I will try to remember how strong I am, even on days like these when I feel so tired, weak and sore. This same dear friend, reminded me that when it comes to making changes and getting better help for other women who face this disease, that I am the one for the job. She said "Lynn, you are the spoon, you are the spoon that is going to stir things up and get things done." I took that as a compliment. I know many people probably think I am a POT STIRRER but for some reason this being called a SPOON, sounded better.

Picture of the Month

“ It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Mark Twain

So thanks again for believing in me. I know I am almost at the end, actually only 5 days left, I am just going to try and hang on .

Good night!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am not alone!!!

Today I woke up to snow, that was a surprise! We basically turned our TV off a few years ago and it has been a positive influence in our family. It is amazing how much more time we have for each other and for doing the things we love. The down side is that we don't always know the weather that is coming. I always check the news from my computer to stay up with the latest but I am gratefully, missing a lot of the garbage that was being brought into our home through the TV. I tease my friends that if there is going to be a Sunami or something, please call and warn me:) I felt like that this morning when I opened the window, didn't see that one coming. Better start checking the weather too each day!

A dear friend of mine dropped me off to treatment, took the kids to school and then picked me back up. I have to admit, I have the best friends in the world! What a treat it is to be with them and feel their sweet spirits and know how much they love and support me.

Most of the afternoon, I laid down because my neck and head hurt from trying to hold my arm away from my body. It is harder than it looks. The kids have rigged up putting two pillows under my left arm and then tying on a strap around my body to hold it in place. It is sorta working, but still I catch myself trying to hold up that arm. I didn't realize how much I used my left arm until you can't or don't want to use it. It was sore after my mastectomy but this is even a different type of a sore, because it is a burn! I will go to see my Physical Therapist tomorrow and see if maybe she has something better to offer me. I looked in the mirror again today and now not only saw, a tired worn out lady with hair that is always messed up from laying down so much. But now that lady has no prosthetic or padding on at all, so her whole left side is flat as can be and now she has 2 pillows tied to her side and a bright green strap around that and her waist...I am getting weirder looking every day!  Funny what you will do to survive. We were suppose to have a couple of people visit us tonight but I just didn't feel up to it. I am sure they understood. Lauren was sweet enough to make dinner and that is about all that I accomplished today. Hard to do much with 2 big pillows attached to your side!

After dinner I talked to a dear friend of mine for a while on the phone. What a treat to talk to her and hear her sweet voice again.It has been quite a while since we have talked. She has since had a baby and so we talked a lot about the joys and frustrations of motherhood and how much multi-tasking is involved. Motherhood truly is much tougher than it looks, but oh ....how it is sooooooooooooo worth every minute of it!

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. " ~William D. Tammeus

I also received in the mail a book from a dear friend back East. It is a book of quotes, (she must know how I love them) and it was just a treat to get in the mail. I really wouldn't mind doing a quote book some day myself, with all of Lauren's beautiful photos.  Friendships...how truly grateful I am for them. Nice to know that none of us have to go through life alone!

"Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life."

And so I think I will head to bed, wish I had more inspiring things to talk about today. Some days it is just getting through it. Not bad, not good ...just what it is! Thanks for being there!

"While life is meant to test, challenge, and strengthen us, if we are attempting to negotiate the twists and turns and ups and downs of mortality alone, we're doing it wrong. Mortality is a test, but it is an open book test. We have access not only to the divine text but to Him who authored it."  ___Sheri Dew

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day #26 or I should say only 7 more to go!

I decided today that it would be more encouraging to ME if I said how many treatments I have left, instead of how many I have had. Someone asked me if I can feel the radiation treatment, no not really... but it is a lot like when you go to the dentist office and you are in the waiting room,  you hear the drill going down the hallway and your teeth sorta hurt. It is not really happening to you ...but you feel something. Now I am not saying anything bad about my Dentist, because he and his staff have been wonderful. I was just simply trying to explain the sensation. (They are probably wishing that I could have come up with a better comparison...sorry:)

Amy and Angie drove me today and it's always a bit more fun with Angie around. When one of the staff said hi to her, she told them she wanted to go get her strawberry shake, it's good she said. She is talking about the ENSURE that is supplied there for us in the waiting room. She thinks that is great!

As we were leaving the hospital today I felt impressed to go by the office of SPIRITUAL CARE and make sure that they got the thank you note that I left them in the chapel on Monday. What a treat it was to meet the ladies there and to just personally thank them and the whole staff for the book that I received and for the whole chapel experience, it really has made a difference. Then later this evening I had the lady from the Patient Advocate staff call me and I really felt like she was going to make my voice heard, when I told her about  some of the experiences and challenges I have had through this whole ordeal.  Every one comes up with their own survival techniques when they are suffering, hopefully by sharing those ...someone else won't have to suffer quite as much. I pray that I can some how, help and truly make a difference. The changes that I would like to see aren't big but important and I feel necessary, in order to make life and the whole cancer experience just a little better the women who come after me.

This is my second battle with Cancer, I  pray it will be my last... but I just know that I am suppose to tell my story, to try and come up with things and better ways that will help others through this terrible disease. I felt energized after talking to these women today ...why?  Maybe because I feel like I am being heard. I don't mean to complain as much, as I just don't want other women to have to go through some of the same things that I went through. There needs to be more knowledge given to these ladies and options for ways to help heal the body and the soul.

I noticed today when I looked in the mirror how tired and worn out I looked. I noticed how WELL DONE my chest area looks, it is hard to even imagine that it can burn any more. I can tell that my whole body is on alert, because of the burn and the pain. It feels like it is working overtime to try and heal it. I really don't want to do 7 more treatments but I will and I pray with all my heart that it will work, that the microscopic cancer cells (if there were any left in there) are dead now and that my body will not have too many lasting side effects from the treatment. I know that I am in the trenches now and I am going to have to rely on my Heavenly Father and family and friends to finish the end of this battle.

I also know that my life will never be the same because of this experience, I really feel like I will be able to do more motivational speaking, finally get the book that I am working on finished and hopefully be able to be an active part of HEALTHY CHANGES that will be made for the women in the future.  Tragedies seem to have a way of pointing you in the right direction, maybe it is because when something like this happens, your priorities change and so does your vision. You see life much clearer and realize that there isn't a moment to lose. Thanks again for everything you have done for me and my family. Good night!

"Discovering the ways in which you are exceptional, the particular path you are meant to follow, is your business on this earth, whether you are afflicted or not. It's just that the search takes on a special urgency when you realize that you are mortal."   _____Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens"   ____Carl Jung

 

"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible."   ___Jonathan Swift

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Friendships

Today  was my 25th treatment. I am struggling to lay still now when I get the treatment, because it is stretching and cracking my skin more each time. I did talk to the nurse today to make sure that I will be done by next Friday March 6th, she said yes. I just don't want any surprises. I have 3 treatments left that are going to radiate both areas and then starting next week they just focus solely on the incision site. There are a couple of reasons for that, one because scar tissue is denser than regular skin so they want to make sure they kill any cells that are in that area, two is because that is the area that was opened up and has a higher chance of having cancer return there. I asked approximately how much worse will I get and for how long? She mentioned that I still might get some blistering if my skin continues to react as it has already. She also said that the burning of the skin can continue  up to 7 -10 days after the treatments stop, after that you should see the skin settle down and SLOWLY start to heal after that.

My dear friend took me today, since I am no longer driving and afterwards she brought us lunch. She also made me a Pink Tote with all the pink accessories. So now even though I may not feel good at least I will look good! She is an amazingly talented lady, we have been friends for years and actually were partners in the craft fairs for years together. Then my body started falling apart and I had to quit the business but she is still going strong. Together we are trying to come up with GIFTS FROM THE HEART, for anyone that has been touched by cancer. I really think they can make a difference! I will give you more information as we go along. How blessed I am to have such great friends!

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."    ____Anais Nin

Tonight is Lee's basketball play offs and I want to be there soooo bad. Poor kid, he never hardly has his mom at his games cheering for him.I just haven't had the energy. It is a late game and so I decided to write early today so maybe I can go take a nap and then be rested enough to go to at least part of his game. This sounds awful but I feel tired just thinking about being there and then also I am uncomfortable going anywhere without Sally or Mrs. Doubtfire. Oh well, it is a small sacrifice for me (the mom) to make. I pray that I can come up with the energy tonight to make it.

"Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow"  ~Mary Anne Radmacher

I hope each of you are doing well in your life? I talk about my life so much, please don't think that I don't wonder about you and pray that you have the strength to handle what life is giving you. Take care and thanks again for all your cards, letters, calls, meals, gifts,e-mails and prayers. They make such a difference in our lives!

"True friends... bring out the HERO in us!"   ___Lynn Woodard

I wish.....

Remember when we were little and we blow on these flowers and made a wish?  I wish... that today was my last treatment,  I wish...that we were 20 years in the future where there would be better alternatives available for Cancer survivors,  I wish...that I could still drive and felt good enough to do so,  I wish... I could live long enough to make some significant changes in the way women are educated and treated about cancer, and last I wish...that I could properly thank all of you that have been there with me every step of the way.

Today was my 24th radiation treatment, Amy and Angie took me today. It was nice to see how the people in the waiting room lit up when Angie came in. One lady said, "she sure is a breath of fresh air", kids...have a way of doing that best. After my treatment I had to meet with the Doctor and the nurses, you do that every Monday so that they can check your skin and see how you are doing? After he saw mine and asked me how I felt? He then asked me what I was putting on my skin? He mentioned the expensive cream, I said no, and that I really think someone should have told me before hand that it was not covered my insurance. I wasn't trying to be mean but honestly I didn't have the energy to go and get that prescription anyway, much less find out after all that, that it wasn't covered by insurance. I did mention what cream I was putting on it and he said that some other  ladies had told him that. I asked why no one knew more about it?  He mentioned that they probably should have and it was then, that I reached into my purse and pulled out the paper that I had typed up with all the information about the company and how they could contact them. I am not sure what they thought about it all but gee, it does seem that the one hand doesn't know what the other is doing sometimes and that is frustrating. Anyway, before I left he gave me a prescription (that is covered by insurance) it is a antibiotic since the burn is getting bad. They don't want that to get infected...neither do I !

My new friend that I made last week, had her last appointment today. She is a neat lady and I only wished that we would have met sooner, she had a great spirit about her. I did give her a card with my email so maybe we will keep in touch. Later after I came home today a dear friend came by to visit and bring lunch. What a treat, especially since I am going to be home bound for a while. I didn't get my nap in till late, so we had a very late dinner and then Family Night. We played a new game... Apples to Apples, it was really fun and great for all of us to laugh so much together. We really needed that!

Need to head to bed, I knew that I wouldn't be sleepy after napping that late. Thanks for your continued friendship! Good night dear friends!

"SOMETIMES OUR LIGHT GOES OUT BUT IS BLOWN INTO FLAME BY ANOTHER HUMAN BEING. EACH OF US OWES DEEPEST THANKS TO THOSE WHO HAVE REKINDLED THIS LIGHT."    ___ Albert Schweitzer

 

"Each of us will experience over our lifetime physical pain, emotional anguish, heartache, grief, even betrayal in one form or another. If we attempt to deny the problem or to cover it with a facade of forced sweetness and light, we imperil both ourselves and each other ~ ourselves because we deny the healing that can result from the love, strength, and insights of true friends ~ and each other because people then assume we are our facade and feel even more isolated with their problems." _____Mary Stovall

 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Perspective

Today is Sunday and since I already wrote early this morning I decided to just share a story with you. I hope I haven't already given it to you, but it is an amazing one. Perspective is a wonderful thing and something that is easy to lose on days when life seems too tough. I didn't make it to church today, it is going to be hard to go out in public without any prosthetic or Mrs. Doubtfire on. But they both hurt too bad to be worn on raw skin. I am already dreading going out tomorrow for my treatment, but I don't think I really have any other choice. For those of you that usually see me, please know that I would rather be out and about... than cooped up in my house. But unless we can come up with a jacket that is already pre-padded, I think I will be staying in for awhile. I am telling you... with all the wonderful inventions that there are in the world, you would think that someone would come up with items to aid us (cancer survivors). Maybe I will do it myself some day?

Have a great evening and thanks again for all your love and support!

 

                              HOSPTIAL WINDOWS                                     Author Unknown  


Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room's only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.
And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. 
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow.  Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.  Days and weeks
passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.  She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window.  The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside.  Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.  The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.
She said,  "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage  you."

 

"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible."   ____Jonathan Swift

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision."  ___Helen Keller

Prayer

It is 5:00am and I can't sleep from the pain under my arm. I keep getting up and putting more cream on it and hoping it will stop hurting enough to let me get some sleep. I decided to get up instead of keeping moving around and wake Jeff up too. What a great man and friend he is. He really should get some type of medal for putting up with me all these years.

All my life I have been taught how to pray. I knew I had a Heavenly Father that loved me and so prayer was important to me, that was my access to Him. I was never really close to my Dad, but he taught me what it was like to really pray and for that I am eternally grateful. I have mentioned to you before that my oldest brother was hurt in Vietnam. I can still remember 40 years ago when I came home from school and as a family we prayed for the first time since we had been told he was hurt. We were too far away from him, all we could do was pray. Now that I am a parent I realize even more what faith my Dad must have had, to offer up that family prayer.

As we all knelt around our bed, my Dad offered the prayer. He literally begged and pleaded with the Lord for my brother to live, we were all crying. It was one of the most sincere prayers that I had ever heard, at least as a 10 year old. Right after he said amen, he asked us to close our eyes again and mentioned that we needed to say another prayer. ( if I have told this story before, just excuse me) So we knelt down again, tears streaming down our faces. This time my Dad almost said the exact prayer except at the end he said "but Thy will be done". I remember what an effect that had on me as a 10 year old and the effect that it has on me now as a mom. Saying THY will be done means it could go either way, that takes a lot of faith to trust the LORD enough to let Him make the right choice. ( which He will anyway)  We didn't want our brother to leave us, but we knew that his life was out of our hands and so we just  prayed that the best thing for him would happen. And it did, it was a LONG road for him, but he did survive and thrive. He is a husband, father, grandfather, teacher and coach, yes...he did survive!

Now 40 years later, still remembering that valuable lesson from my Dad. I am trying to have the faith to place all that I am going through to my Heavenly Father. He knows how much I can endure and not endure. He knows what I am suppose to do here upon the earth, He knows that, but here in the dark; in my little part of the universe...I am not so sure I know? I even worry that after all these grueling treatments, will the Cancer still come back? What other side effects might come from these treatments? I have never been afraid to die, I know many people are but that has never been a fear of mine. My fear is what I may be asked to live through? And will I be strong enough to handle it?

I read a article on PRAYER the other day and it reminded me of things I needed to hear, and things obviously I need to remember right now!

"WE LIVE IN TROUBLED TIMES. DOCTOR'S OFFICES ARE FILLED WITH INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE BESET WITH EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS AS WELL AS PHYSICAL DISTRESS. DIVORCE COURTS ARE OVERFLOWING BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE UNSOLVED PROBLEMS. HUMAN RESOURCE ADMINISTRATORS IN GOVERNMENT AND INDUSTRY WORK LONG HOURS IN EFFORT TO ASSIST PEOPLE WITH THEIR PROBLEMS.

ONE HUMAN RESOURCE OFFICER ASSIGNED TO HANDLE PETTY GRIEVANCES CONCLUDED AN UNUSUALLY HECTIC DAY BY PLACING FACETIOUSLY A LITTLE SIGN ON HIS DESK FOR THOSE WITH UNSOLVED PROBLEMS. IT READ, "HAVE YOU TRIED PRAYER?"

WHAT HE MAY NOT HAVE REALIZED WAS THAT IS SIMPLE COUNSEL WOULD SOLVE MORE PROBLEMS, ALLEVIATE MORE SUFFERING, PREVENT MORE TRANSGRESSION, AND BRING GREATER PEACE AND CONTENTMENT IN THE HUMAN SOUL THAN COULD BE OBTAINED IN ANY OTHER WAY."  _____Thomas S. Monson

One of my favorite scriptures is in Proverbs 3:5-7 TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART; AND LEAN NOT UNTO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING. IN ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEEDGE HIM AND HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS.

I know these things are true, it is just here in the early hours of the morning and  in pain, that I need to remind myself of them. I will try to keep the faith, keep fighting and keep believing that somehow ...I will live to tell about this. Thank you for your PRAYERS, I feel them and I am so grateful for them!

"Prayer is more than meditation. In meditation, the source of strength is one's self. When one prays, he goes to a source of strength greater than his own."   Madame de Stael

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature." ____Anne Frank

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What a long day!

It is funny how the days seem longer when you feel bad. It is almost 6:00pm and I am just now putting my face on and doing my hair. It seems like any type of movement is really hurting my arm, having it just raw like that is making me not want to move it at all. It is interesting to me how hard pain is on the body and the soul. I wonder if those who have good health really know how lucky that are? Sometimes when I see people who just come and go where ever they please, I wonder what that would be like? To me, every thing has a price to pay. If I go here for a hour or two, then I am down a day or two. I have to change my thinking and go back to all those  who have so much less than I, their limitations are far worse and then I remember not to complain or to envy others. So today will be a short entry. I saw the beautiful sun for almost 3 days now out my window. I didn't get to go out and enjoy it but...I was grateful to look at it and hope that some day my days will be shorter and full again! I have to keep telling myself these quotes to remind me that everything has a purpose. This one with Angie in it, the girls gave me framed for Christmas, so it is on my wall to remind me every day to keep my perspective.

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."   ___ M. Scott Peck

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."   ____Anne Bradstreet

Thanks for always being there!

Validation!

A dear friend sent this to me when I was having such a bad day this week. It is long but very worth it!  I hope you find the time to check it out. Have a great Saturday!

Love, Lynn

A friend of yours highly recommends you read this "health" article:    -  Yes, health!http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/02/17/Validation--a-Fable-About-the-Magic-of-Free-Parking.aspx

"We can never escape the influence that we have on others!"   ___Thomas S. Monson

Friday Angels

Every Friday one of my dear friends comes and takes me to my treatments and anywhere else I need to go. Now that I am getting so sore, it really helps me out. I am glad for the time that we get to spend together. Life some times has a way of just getting so busy that you miss the special things...going through something like Cancer seems to help bring priorities back into focus.

Today at my therapy, I spoke to one of the other survivor's there and she brought her $85.00 cream to put on after her treatment. Since her appointment is after mine, she mentioned that I should try her cream. So after my 23rd session I put on her cream. It is suppose to have numbing agents in it but honestly, I couldn't feel any difference. Glad that I tried that before I bought something that costs that much. I still have issue's with that whole expensive cream deal, but I always thought that the least they could do is give out samples to see if survivor's could really feel the difference, then they could make the decision whether to sink that much money into something like that. Today when I put my arms above my head to get into position for radiation, I felt two more areas crack open underneath my arm, it is getting harder and harder to hold still, hurting this much.

I got to go to my chiropractor today, it hurt to be adjusted (from a skin point of view) but man, does it ever give me relief for my back and neck. I can tell that I am favoring my arm by the way I have to hold it up and away from my body,(it looks as if I am getting ready to sing the I'M A LITTLE TEA POT song) that in turn hurts my neck...oh well, some days I struggle to see how this poor body will ever make it to my 50th birthday!

When I got home today and after I took my nap, I had another Angel visit. She came in with a van full of food, flowers, aloe plant and anything else that she thought my family needed. It was another one of those times that  you can't imagine how you could ever say THANKS enough! The kids were so excited to see that much food, that you would have thought it was Christmas around here. Jeff said to me  after she left..."Lynn, you are truly a RICH women to have so many BEST FRIENDS who love and support you!" He was right!

The pain is getting so bad that I have realized that I am no longer going to be able to wear my MRS. DOUBTFIRE OUTFIT (camisole). It isn't as tight as a bra, but it is still made of lycra and tight enough under my arm to make it almost unbearable now. I realize by making this decision that I probably won't be out in public as much. Maybe no one will care, but it is obvious when you only have one breast and I don't want to make other people uncomfortable. I honestly don't know if I am there yet, to do something like that. I wish it was colder so maybe I could just wear a big coat around everywhere. But also because the burn is getting so bad, I am nervous about even having the seat belt on me and afraid of getting a hug now from anyone.

I need to keep reminding myself ...THAT THIS WON'T LAST FOREVER!

"From a moment to moment, one can bear much."   ___Teresa of Avila

I will focus on the service and love that has been shown to me and my family. I am sore, I am tired, I am hurting but...I am blessed to  have soooooo many ANGELS all around me. Thank you for everything from your thoughts, prayers to phone calls, rides and meals....yes, I am truly RICH!!!!!!

"Compassion for me is just what the word says it is: it is "suffering with." it is an immediate participation in the suffering of another to such a degree that you forget yourself and your own safety and act spontaneously."  ___Joseph Campbell

"The joy that compassion brings is one of the best-kept secrets of humanity. It is a secret known only to very few people, a secret that has to be rediscovered over and over again."   ____Henri J. M. Nouwen

Thursday, February 19, 2009

War Wounds

Well, yesterday I got a sweet email from a friend and this is the part that I thought was interesting, this is what she said...

"I hate hearing the skin is cracking and open and the pain that is causing but as awful as it is it means the radiation is working it’s number on the cancer.  What a war you’re in.  Nobody chooses war but thankfully you have a weapon to fight it and unfortunately that means war wounds."

I guess that I never really thought of it like that, but it was a much more positive way to look at it, than I have lately. How grateful I am for that insight, for friends that continue to support me and encourage during this battle with cancer.

Today has been a real struggle, I had my 22nd treatment and I am hurting and I am also having one of those BIGGER THAN ME days! I can't seem to talk at all without crying. I had to be careful in the radiation room not to think about things too much, because if I did cry, there is no way that you can move at all to wipe your tears or anything, so I just tried to not think for the 15 minutes that I was on the table.

I left radiation and went back to the waiting room and said hi to one of the ladies that I have seen a couple of times there. We talked for a minute and I found out that she is at the end of her treatments. She had chemo before, so she thought radiation was much easier than that. We talked about our skin and she said that she was really sore too. She had purchased the $85.00 cream and said that it seems to be working ok. I mentioned my concern about those of us that couldn't afford the cream and how there should be more options for us. She was so cute, she said "you can have some of mine". I don't want any of you to think we are so poor that I can't get cream. It just is that we are putting our money into supplements to build up my immune system plus I think it is terrible that insurance doesn't pay for that and that it costs that much. If it is something that all radiation patients need because of the side effects of the treatments then....there ought a be a way for  people to afford it. I get angry when I think of all the money that is made off of cancer patients! I am working with the patient advocate person at the hospital to help make some of these issues come to the fore front and be addressed. But today... I don't feel like fighting the battle. I don't have the energy to talk to one more person, maybe tomorrow I will, because I feel so passionate about helping people survive cancer. But for today I am done, I don't want to have cancer any more. I don't want to go to any more treatments, I don't want to always have to take a nap. I would like to just worry about normal things, what to have for dinner, plan our next family vacation but... all that seems so far away. 

After talking for a minute to my new friend I went straight to the chapel and there once again, took the time I needed to cry,ponder and pray. How grateful I am for that facility that someone designed and built. I got a book there and it is all about getting through life's toughest times it is called WE CARRY EACH OTHER what to say, what to do, how to care with compassion. It is by Eric and Sharon Langshur with Mary Beth Sammons  It is full of real people's stories and struggles and how they got through them with the help of friends and family. I was impressed by the stories, probably because most of them I can relate to. So  I will just share a few things from the book, I am pretty sure it will be more uplifting than my thoughts....just for today.

"Illness offers an extraordinary and at times frightening vantage point from which to view the terrain of one's life." ____Kat Duff

"In the dark times, the eye begins to see. The dark times in life are not our enemy. Dark times empty the world of things that would otherwise distract us from seeing the important things. Enter the darkness with confidence." ____Theodore Roethke

"Too many of us panic in the dark. We don't understand that it's a holy dark and that the idea is to surrender to it and the journey through to real light."   ______Sue Monk Kidd

Once again, thanks for sharing this journey with me!

Lynn

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Families are Forever

Today Amy went with me to my appointment. It was nice to just have her there and to introduce her to some of the people that I am with everyday. I went a bit early so that I could give a card to one of the girls there. Today was her last day of treatment. She is a very young mom and has already been through chemo, mastectomy and radiation and she also still had a smile on her face every day. I am constantly amazed at the strength of many of these women. In her card, I told her now that she has beat cancer at such a young age, she can handle anything else that life gives her. I pray that she and her sweet family will be able to heal and go on to have a very healthy and happy life. That is the trick with cancer, not to let it ruin your life or destroy your dreams.

I had a friend yesterday come by and she asked me an interesting question. She said " when you get through with your radiation treatments is...your cancer cured? "  Well, that is the question of the year! I explained to her that no one knows if the cancer is gone or just in some temporary remission. One of the frustrating things about chemo or radiation there isn't a test afterwards that measures, or checks to see if you still have cancer or if your particular treatment got it all. There is way too much guessing when it comes to cancer. So if you ask me when I am done with my treatments...IS YOUR CANCER GONE NOW? I will say yes! You mine as well be positive!

Before dinner I had to go and dig out my flannel pillow and put it under my arm again. It really hurts to put my arm down at all now. When I took off the gel pad this morning after my treatment, more skin keeps peeling off. Gee, I found it hard to do much tonight because of the pain. The hard part is that they want you to stay active and keep using that arm so that it won't get too stiff and you lose mobility in it ,and yet they don't want you to do too much because the movement causes friction between your arm and your side and so...that makes it worse.

I was grateful that John came here after work and we were all able to have dinner together tonight. The only bad part is we miss Brad and Krystal. It's funny, when I get in a lot of pain or really down...I just want all my family near by. I guess because they bring the greatest joy in my life. I was able to talk to Brad and see how his classes are coming along and also Krystal to see what she has been up to? It is fun to be able to talk to her so easy, I am thankful that she is part of our family, she is an amazing girl and so talented and sweet. I only wish that they lived closer so that they could come over for dinner and do some family activities with us. So grateful for cell phones.

Well, I need to head to bed, thank you for being my friends and family. I really do feel your love and support and some days I depend on that MORE than you will ever know. I will leave with a photo of all of us at Brad and Krystal's reception in January. We meant to get more photos, but the evening went by fast, lots of people to visit with and Angie wasn't feeling well at all. But at least we are all together. Good night!

 

"In each family a story is playing itself out, and each family's story embodies its hope and despair."

___Auguste Napier

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family:
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."  ___Jane Howard

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right."  ___Confucius

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The meaning of Life!

Last week I think I mentioned to you that I found out where the chapel is in the hospital and that I go in there sometimes after my treatments to think, ponder and pray. I have never seen anyone else in there and it is a beautiful place so I decided to take a few more quiet moments in my day. There is a journal there and so I wanted to share with you what I experienced in there today. It was eye opening, heart wrenching and definitely filled with hope.

The card that sits by the journal said this....

YOU ARE INVITED TO USE THIS JOURNAL TO RECORD YOUR PRAYERS AND REQUESTS FOR PRAYERE. EACH DAY THE REQUESTS ARE GATHERED BY THE CHAPLAIN AND HELD AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY. IT IS OUR HOPE THAT YOU MIGHT USE THIS JOURNAL TO SHARE FROM YOUR HEART. AND IN THAT SHARING YOU MANY FIND SUPPORT AND A SENSE OF COMMUNITY WITH WHAT IS SACRED AND HOLY IN YOUR LIFE. ALL OF US HAVE TIMES WHEN WE NEED TO SIMPLY BE HEARD. MAY YOU FIND BLESSING IN THIS PLACE. ____Dept. of Spiritual Care

Here were some of the request and prayers that I read today, I am not trying to be disrespectful for sharing them. I did not add their names but they were so sincere and so honest that I just sat there and cried and realized how very blessed I am, even with having cancer. I really felt like I needed to share them with you and maybe you too can add them to your thoughts and prayers.

Dear God, Only 3 more days of radiation, thank you for the stamina and faith to stay the course...

Please God, give me the strength to make it through chemo and radiation...

Lord, I pray that you will heal my husband and give him strength to endure the next 3 months. He needs your help to heal his body from this infection....

Please Lord help my mom, she is lingering and she needs your help to let her know we will be ok and bring her safely home to you...

Grant me clarity to see your will in my life...

Thanks for  your guiding hand in helping my husband heal. I know we have a long road ahead, I pray for discernment and knowledge...

Please God make my mom come back to us after her stroke...

Dear God, Please bless my mom and dad that they will work on their marriage and bring back those loving feelings...

Help me hear your voice God...

"Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. ln those transparent moments we know other people's joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own."   ____Fritz Williams

cemetery

"People living deeply have no fear of death."  ____Anais Nin

I just wasn't the same when I walked out of that chapel today. I realized that there are many people suffering, many of them much, much more than me and my heart went out to them. I included them in my thoughts and prayers today and hoped that they will find the peace and hope that they needed. On the wall when you come into the chapel there is a saying that goes something like this ....MAY THE PEACE OF THE SPIRIT BLESS YOU....BE STILL AND KNOW.

So when I came out of my 20th treatment and was getting dressed today, I looked at my arm area (which is the reddest and sorest) and realized that the skin is cracking and open now. I was a bit discouraged because it is hurting and uncomfortable most of the time now. Then I went in and sat in that beautiful place that someone was so thoughtful and kind enough to build. I read the heartfelt pleas of so many people that were so real to me that I came away with an appreciation for Life and thankful that I know the meaning of it. I left feeling so thankful for each day and that even though I am doing radiation that I am at least able to come each day and do it. I am grateful for my life, my health and my body. I have so much to be grateful for. This life is a place of learning and today I did a lot of that and my spirit was lifted...I am thankful for LIFE!

The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it."    _____Helen Keller

P. S. Lauren and Jeff just came back from 3 days in Port Townsend, WA and while she was there she took lots more photos, I was grateful this one fit perfect for my post today. Thank you Lauren, your photos are getting better every day!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Half way there!

Today was my 19th treatment, I am now officially half way through my radiation treatments! I met with the Doctor today, (like I always so on Mondays) and he says that my skin looks like it is holding up well and that he thinks I am doing great. I guess everything is relative...I am pretty sore but according to them, they have seen a lot worse, with much worse fatigue too so.....I am very lucky ...they say. I can't imagine being much more tired but... all in all I guess I am doing well?

I did ask the Doctor today about Physical Therapy stopping and what I can do myself for the swelling under my left arm? That is sore and under the arm there, is what seems to be taking the worst hit from the radiation. That is why any clothing up against there is tough! He suggested some things that I can do on my own, reminded me to continue to wear the arm sleeve and to do my massage every day too! If need be, he said I could start Physical Therapy again later.

I also asked about the brown spots all over the radiation area, on top of being red or pink, I have like dark freckles all over the area, they say that it is just the pigment coming up to the surface, that is really typical. I forgot to ask why it is that you have  occasional stabbing pain in the incision area, they told me it was normal but they didn't tell me what causes it?

Friday I took the prescription in that they gave me for cream for my skin. I was told that they didn't carry it there at this particular pharmacy, so they ordered it for me. When they called today to tell me it hade arrived, then they also said "you were told that this isn't covered on your insurance weren't  you?" I said No, how much is it and then she told me $85.00 for the tube, I told her thanks but I didn't have that kind of money. I will have to talk to the Doctor about that tomorrow. I am telling you again, you can't afford to have Cancer, it is crazy that the very cream they want you to have help heal the effects of radiation are not covered by insurance! I am just going to stick with my ALOE for now. I guess once you get half way, they suggest that you put both on a few times a day.

Well it is late and I just had to at least tell  you that I am on the down hill side of my journey through radiation. I hope( like every thing else in life) that the 2nd half goes faster, it usually does. I am still struggling with my attitude I guess but I am working on that. I need to just continue on!  I need to keep studying because after my radiation treatments are over, I still have some big decisions on how to fight cancer from coming back.  I just want to see if there are other (non destroying ways) to fight cancer. I hope that I can continue to search and pray for other options. Good night dear friends, thanks again ....for always being there!

"What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it. "

~ Alexander Graham Bell

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Race

Today was a tough day all around. I felt like I was on a race and that there was no way I was ever going to catch up with the other runners. I started out too tired and that is never good. Jeff and Lee went to church early but I made Lauren and I  late. That girl is never late for anything, thankfully she never got on my case or frustrated with me. I know she realizes that EVERYTHING is becoming an effort on days like these. I almost decided not to go, but each time I put forth the effort... there was always something important that I learned or needed and for that I am truly grateful. I read a quote from an author who was talking about running a race and compared that to life. One of things in this article that hit home to me was when she said, "I don't always need to sprint. Occasionally, it will be all I can do to simply face the finish line. Doing our best to move forward - no matter what speed 'our best' is - is OK." I  do believe that sometimes, just heading in the right direction is good, even if you are moving ever sooooooooooooo slowly.

It is much more of an effort to control my thoughts of discouragement when I feel like this. I then try to remember all the things I have been taught and have counseled with other women for years. Our thoughts are powerful but....we are the ones that control them. I have a dear friend who is writing a book on this very subject, we have had many wonderful discussions about this and I for one... can hardly wait till she gets that book done. She also is going to do Seminars on it too, she is a counselor and one of my dear friends (it always helps to have one of those in your life!)  :) So when she gets all that together you will hear me talk more about that. I think everyone could use a class on working on our thoughts and understanding how to be happy ....no matter what happens to us or what place we are in, in the race.

Today after church Lauren and Jeff left for Sequim, Washington to stay with some friends for a few days and go to Port Townsend. That is one of our favorite places around here and where we have done most of our family reunions. I am so glad that they will have some time together, but originally ( the kids are off for a 3 day Winter Break) we all were going to go until... we realized that I can't go anywhere. I can't miss RADIATION, I still have quite a few weeks left. Gee, when we were talking about this whole thing, I felt bad....not only because I couldn't go, but because of the effect that this whole CANCER thing is having on family. They have sacrificed soooo much for me, now I am asking them to sacrifice more. Some days I just want to run away from this cancer, these treatments and this cancer life and start over, but I realize that is not how it works.

But to end on a happy note, I walked out my front door and there on my porch this evening were beautiful flowers, just freshly planted by my dear friend and neighbor. She had removed all the dead plants from the winter and gave me all these beautiful flowers, that definitely changed my mood! I am telling you...there are ANGELS all around us. Lee and I took a walk this evening, the DR said that if you walk every day that it will help the fatigue. I can't say that it is really working for me YET, but it feels wonderful to be outdoors and moving. On the way back we stopped by my neighbors to thank her for my beautiful flowers and they invited Lee and I for dinner. So it wasn't a lonely evening like we were anticipated, that was a real treat! Plus, since my cooking skills having been used as much lately...I know for sure that Lee was REALLY grateful!

So I will continue on this race and remember to just keep moving. Thanks for being my cheering section, those always help the runners along the way. I will hang in there, I promise!

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

- Napoleon Hill

 

 "Though no-one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end." - Unknown

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

 

I realized that I laid down last night and didn't enter my post, I just saved it in a draft. Man was I ever tired. Our date was about as exciting as my day, I felt sorry for Jeff...I was just wiped out. Isn't it funny when you feel good it makes the day go by so fast and I feel so much happier, than days like yesterday...well they are long and frustrating.

I got up this morning with a bit more energy, I was able to go to the store and get some groceries...one of my least favorite things to do, but I just wanted to not ask Jeff to do that on Valentine's Day. I have had more exciting Valentine's Days before, but I was just grateful to be surrounded by those I love. Amy, John and Angie came and spent most of the day and then we watched Angie for them while they went to dinner. I usually try to decorate the table and make a special dinner. Well, I had the special dinner because a dear friend made it for us but I didn't even set the table, wow...I am really slacking lately. (I can hear all of you saying " that's ok Lynn, just take it easy!")

I love the Valentine's Day and I am at least grateful that we had the house already decorated for it but I wished that I would have felt better today. Oh well, I know these days won't last forever but ...why do they feel that way? You don't have to answer...I already know.

So tonight I will personally wish all of  you a Happy Valentines' Day! I love sending Valentines, I love getting them too! I believe you can never tell someone too often how much you love and appreciate them. So thank you for all the love you give to me and my family. It truly has uplifted me in my life. If nothing else... today at least know that YOU ARE LOVED! It's a great feeling isn't it.

I will close with some of my favorite quotes, a love story and some photos of a real life ANGEL

THE GIFT

This is a touching story about a bus that was bumping along a back road in the South. In one seat a wispy old man sat holding a bunch of fresh flowers. Across the aisle was a young girl whose eyes came back again and again to the man's flowers. The time came for the old man to get off. Impulsively he thrust the flowers into the girl's lap."I can see you love the flowers," he explained,"and I think my wife would like for you to have them. I'll tell her I gave them to you." The girl accepted the flowers, then watched the old man get off the bus and walk through the gate of a small cemetery.

"The love we give away is the only love we keep."   _____Elbert Hubbard

"The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."  ______Allan K. Chalmers

"Love cures people -- both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it."  ____W. H. Murray

Friday is finally here

Well, for some reason this week seemed longer than usual, not sure if that is because I am so tired or what but I was glad to wake up and realize it's Friday. Today was my 18th treatment, I forgot to ask the nurse some questions about my skin but I will meet the Doctor on Monday. I am doing ok though, I think? My dear friend came and took me to my appointment and then took me to do an errand. I am so amazed at how many true Angel friends I have. I read a quote the other day that went like this "HE WHO PUSHES YOU CLOSER TO GOD, HE IS YOUR FRIEND"  ( OR SHE) ___Thomas S. Monson I do believe that is true and that also means I have MANY TRUE FRIENDS!

I need to go lay down so that I have the energy to go on my date night with Jeff. I wish I had more to say but I am soooooooooooo tired. Thanks for all  you do!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tired, tired and tired.

Well, today I was going to meet with a friend but I had to call and reschedule, I was just too tired. I know that I did do a lot on Monday and Tuesday but...it was worth it! (Don't let my Doctor hear me say that.) Ok, but I am trying to be obedient now by resting up. Today was my 17th treatment, as I was changing to go in for my treatment,  I realized that I have quite a few spots on my skin and I am not sure what that is all about, need to ask the nurse. I noticed that the redness is getting worse and it is tougher to even have my MRS. DOUBTFIRE outfit on now. They did give me a gel type pad that I can cut up and put on my radiated area, it helps a bit but it is just another thing that hangs out of my clothes. I don't think my clothes and neckline will ever be straight again. Oh well... such is life!

I will give you a story tonight because I am too tired to do much more.

Thanks again for your friendship and encouragement.

                         Mountain Story

"A son and his father were walking on the mountains.
Suddenly, his son falls, hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
Curious, he yells: "Who are you?"
He receives the answer: "Who are you?"
And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!"
The voice answers: "I admire you!"
Angered at the response, he screams: "Coward!"
He receives the answer: "Coward!"
He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?"
The father smiles and says: "My son, pay attention."
Again the man screams: "You are a champion!"
The voice answers: "You are a champion!"
The boy is surprised, but does not understand.
Then the father explains: "People call this ECHO, but really this is LIFE.
It gives you back everything you say or do.
Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart.
If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence.
This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life;
Life will give you back everything you have given to it."

YOUR LIFE IS NOT A COINCIDENCE. IT'S A REFLECTION OF YOU!"
-- Unknown Author

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keeping Home a happy place.

I realized tonight when I was upset and frustrated about something, how quickly the atmosphere changed in our home. I am amazed and how quickly that could happen and to be honest with you... it was over something that I made too big of deal out of. I was tired and discouraged and took it out  on everyone else; not really on purpose but that really isn't an excuse. How true it is, that we protect our homes and family from many of the problems and evils of the world today. It there was ever some place that should be safe and happy should be our homes. I certainly didn't do that in my home tonight. I realized that life keeps trying to tear down our homes and families and it is vital that we stand up and fight for ours ...sometimes on a daily basis. It is important, our kids will notice the difference. So tonight before I go to bed, I need to write an apology note to everyone and leave it for them in the morning. I just keep learning and growing, but sometimes just way too late. I will work harder making tomorrow a better day.

Today was my 16th treatment. I had to ask the nurse a question today, it was "Is it normal to have stabbing like pains every now and then ,right at my incision sight?" The answer was "YES". The only bad thing is I was in such a hurry to go that I didn't find our WHY...it is normal  to have random stabbing pain? That will be a great question to ask my DR when he comes back.

The last few days my skin seems to be getting more sore, some days it is hard to even wear Mrs. Doubtfire! Today was my last Physical Therapy appointment, the Therapist is hoping that I can do the rest on my own and that my swelling under the arm will get under control. It is important for me to keep up with my stretching exercises and massage for lymphatic draining, well at least as much as I can do. I will miss are the great conversations that my therapist and I had. She is a great lady.

Still tired from yesterday, so I laid low most of the day. I was able to take Angie on a walk this evening, it was a beautiful out but COLD, Angie loved it and Nana got her exercise in for the day. I was extra tired when we came back and never quite got any energy after that.

Well, I am beat and I need to head to bed. Here is a wonderful story that I had and thought it went with my post today. Take care and thanks again for you love and prayers.

 

                                                                       The Trouble Tree

                                                                                       - Author Unknown

I hired a carpenter to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job...a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit...and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching tips of the branches with his hands.
When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied.
"I know I can't help having troubles on the job and in my life, but one thing's for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when  I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again."

"Funny thing is," he smiled, "When I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right."   __________________Confucious

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rush, rush, rush!

That seemed to be the theme for my day today. I really didn't have a lot planned except to go to radiation and then stay home rest and finish up the last details of my speech. Well, it didn't quite go like that, I was going and going all day long for one reason or another. I have been having more energy lately but today I over did it and by 2:30pm I felt like I was being tortured to stay awake. As soon as Lee and Lauren saw me, they headed me right to bed, I must have had that LOOK!  I was only asleep 20 some minutes when Lauren came and woke me up with a phone call from my DR at the Cancer Center. I have been trying to get a hold of her for a couple of days and I told Lauren no matter what, don't let me miss that call. I am glad that I took it but man, I sure could have used the sleep. I mentioned to my DR that I was speaking tonight at a Women's Group and she said to be careful not to overdue now that I have a bit more energy. Well, I would say that usually I am very obedient but today and tonight I might have pushed the envelope too much. Ok, so much for dwelling on the negative, there were a lot of good things that happened today.

I had an hour for my presentation tonight. There were about 50 women there and of course Jeff, Lauren and Amy! Lauren does my Power Point presentations to go with my speech, which makes it even more interesting I think. I don't know how I am going to make it when she goes off to college. I will have to learn more computer skills for sure. Plus, I have to learn to calm myself down before my speaking engagements I get so nervous, and yes it is one of my favorite things to do, weird huh? I can of act like on the movie RUN AWAY BRIDE right before she gets married and this time she is waiting for her groom to arrive. Her girlfriends are trying to calm her down and tell her ways to relax, it is pretty funny and that is almost exactly how my girls have to help me each time before I speak! Thank goodness for my girls!

It felt like it went great and many of the women came up and thanked me for my words and for helping them with areas of their lives that they were struggling with. One lady came up and said "do you know why people like to hear you talk?"  "It is because you are real, you don't try to sugar coat everything, you share the good with the bad."  I love doing motivational speaking engagements to others, giving them hope and maybe helping them find a reason to get up every day and try to make good changes in their lives. One quote that I used was "YOU CAN NEVER ESCAPE THE INFLUENCE THAT YOU HAVE ON THE LIVES OF OTHERS" Thomas S. Monson  I do believe that is true, good or bad, we influence others. We all need to stop every now and then and look at our lives to see what kind of influence we are being, what kind of difference we are making.

Anyway, I am beyond spent. Today was treatment # 15, I feel like my skin is getting more tender and red every day. I did meet with the other oncologist today since my doctor is out of town. He basically said that every thing was going as it was expected. I looked healthy and that I can expect more redness, sore and fatigue by the end of this week. I do hope that I can not drop too low with these next 4 1/2 weeks of treatment.

Thanks for all of  your support. I am going to try and share my message tonight with you soon. I need to do a mini version of it, remember for those who ask me to share it on my blog...that it was an hour long!  But I would love to share it some time. A few women there asked if I would be willing to speak to some of their friends ? I said "sure I would love to", I love doing this. I will just have to wait a bit before doing my next one... but it gives me something to look forward to and to prepare for. Life is good, hard sometimes very hard but...good!

Good night dear friends!

"One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one's life has meaning, that one is needed in this world." ____ Hannah Senesh

Monday, February 9, 2009

Family Life

Today was my 14th treatment and it went fine. I had physical therapy appointment  right after it and that always makes my arm feel better.Plus, I love talking to my physical therapist, she is a neat lady and I am grateful that we have become friends. You know...one can never have too many friends! :)  I have to continue to do my exercises every day for my arm, so that I can reduce the chances of getting lymphodemia. I have to admit after reading about it and knowing women who have it...I really don't want to get it. I actually saw a lady today come into physical therapy who had developed it and she was hurting. She seemed so worn out. She had already endured a mastectomy, went through chemo ( evidence by her wig ),is now going through radiation and has developed lymphodemia in her hand...it looked swollen and painful.

There are times that I just want take all these ladies... that are there suffering from cancer and the terrible side effects of the treatments and run away with them. It is hard to watch others suffer. One other lady today in the waiting room was there with her little knitted hat to cover her head and a pink ribbon blanket. I walked by and told her that I liked her blanket and that I had a pillow case that was soft and looked like that. She was talking about how sore she always is and so she carries a blanket to keep her warm and protect her chest. We talked till I got a smile out of her, I found out that her mastectomy was in October and so we had some things in common. We didn't talk long, because she had an appointment and I was heading to my chiropractor's appointment.. But we connected for just a moment, touched hands and wished each other health and healing. As I walked to my car, I felt blessed to be where I am, even with one breast and all. I tell you I would never make a very good nurse...I just would have a whole house full of kidnapped patients and trying to take care of them and ease their pain!

After I got my back and neck fixed I felt so much better that Amy, Angie and I went to the mall, actually we only went to one store but it still was the mall. I was able to get a  few more sweat suits  since that is all I ever wear or want to wear lately plus they were on CLEARANCE . Cheap and Soft... is good! It was so fun to be out and about and have some energy. My doctor at the Cancer Center gave me a remedy to help my fatigue, she said that it might take a week to kick in and it was 6 days, to be exact. I had moments starting Friday of energy and then it has continued today. That is 4 whole days that I haven't been completely exhausted, most of the time but not all of the time! Oh, I am sooooo grateful for that. It is fun to feel good enough to spend time with Amy and Angie, lately when they have been over I usually have to end up taking a nap most of the time.

Tonight during Family Home Evening we started out doing our calendar for the week, we also mentioned what we would like to do next week for the Winter Break, which is for 3 days. I didn't really have a lot to say because I can't miss radiation appointments, they are every week day. Lee then told us that he had basketball practices and games that were to be played all during Winter Break, so that changed our plans a lot. Lauren and Jeff had their hearts set on going camping to Port Townsend and I was hoping to spend the weekend visiting my friend and her husband in Sequim. It was hard trying to figure out what to do and there was lots of frustrations and some tears but I guess that is family life. I am not sure what we will end up doing but...I hope we can at least help each of them have some fun on their vacation. Every body needs a break!

I need to go and get to bed soon and finish up the last preparations for my speech tomorrow night. I have 45 minutes to an hour to teach about Self Worth and Self Esteem. I love doing my motivational speaking but it is funny how nervous I get before I do it. I guess I will always stay humble this way. :)

Thanks for your friendship and encouragement.

 

"In my life's chain of events nothing was accidental. Everything happened according to an inner need."

                                                            ___Hannah Senesh

"It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference."
-- Jenny Craig

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Taking it one day at a time!

     Well I heard a quote today that went like this...

     "NOT THE WHOLE FOREST-JUST ONE LEAF"  ___P.L. Travers

I liked that quote, because most days I have to remember that . Last night and today when I had a few spurts of energy I got excited ...thinking wouldn't this be great if I felt like this every day? Then I have to remember that probably it won't, BUT it is good to truly enjoy the moments that I do have energy,instead of wondering how many more bad moments are yet to come. This really has been a roller coaster of a LIFE.  But I am sure that I wouldn't be the person that I am today...if I had never gone on this journey. I have a plaque in my room that says ... EMBRACE THE JOURNEY. That reminds me that I need to do much more, than just hold on during the hard times, I am to learn and grow from them too!

I actually had the energy to sew today, play tea party with Angie and even take a walk with Lauren...now that is a big day. After the walk though I could hardly keep my eyes open. Oh well, it was great while it lasted!

I saw a friend tonight at the store and she is pregnant and her little family has been sick too. I saw how very tired she was, I remember those last few weeks of your pregnancy when you are so uncomfortable, too big to sleep and then the days seem to stretch on forever. I remember thinking I was going to go crazy if another person said to me "wow, you are really getting big, you have how many more weeks left to go? I wanted to take this dear friend home, watch her sweet boy for her and let her get some SLEEP! Motherhood is much tougher than it looks! She is a sweetheart and I know she will make it but ...she and I both need to remember to just TAKE ONE DAY AT A TIME!  Some days I can't believe that I lived to tell about being a mom of 4! :) There were times that I didn't think I would survive it!

Now that I have talked about being tired and not getting much sleep, I realize that I need to head to bed. I hope each of you are having a good weekend. Please remember if you are struggling with anything to try to break it down and take it one day at a time, for some reason that feels easier to handle.

Good night dear friends and family.

 

     "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."  ___Annie Dillard

"Dost thou love life? Then waste not time; for time is the stuff that life is made of."  ___ Benjamin Franklin

"To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons."   ______Marilyn French

 

     "Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it    will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived."

  ___Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Friday, February 6, 2009

Life of purpose

Today is Friday and I have always liked Fridays. When I was little, it was because we got a couple of days off of school. When I was a teenager and older, it was because that is the night we could stay up a little later and get together with our friends. As a wife and a mother Fridays were always our DATE NIGHTS and the kids got to have a sitter or go to Grandma's house, which meant everyone got a little break from each other. Very important for survival, those Fridays were vital. Now I love Fridays because that means I don't have to have any RADIATION treatments for 2 whole days. I also love them because it is still our DATE NIGHTS. Jeff however has been sick with a cold and so we will have to postpone this one, until he is better. But I am still glad that it is FRIDAY !

I actually did a bit more today than normal, just found a spurt of energy....what a treat and a surprise. But now I am more than ready to head to bed. Treatment number 13 is over and I am still hanging in there. It is weird to wake up each morning and head to the hospital. I usually try to avoid Hospitals at all cost, now it is my daily routine... weird!  Just thought before heading to bed, that  I would leave you with a neat story and quote.

Story of the Bumble Bee          

It was "known" for many years that the bumble bee couldn't fly. It had been mathematically "proven" by scientists that its wings were too small and its body was too big. It was impossible for the bumble bee to fly.

There was one small problem with this scientific proof….the bumble bee was clearly flying! Luckily no-one had told the bumble bee that it was doing the impossible and it just kept on flying – ignoring the experts!

It wasn't until the mid 1970s that scientists announced that they had proven that the bumble bee could fly after all.

Thank goodness we didn't tell the bumble bee. If it had known it was impossible for it to fly it might never had tried. If it had never tried, the experts would have been proven right!

"The bumble bee teaches us that if you focus on where you are going you will get there, never mind people around us who tell us what we are doing is impossible."

"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven’t had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!"   _____Lewis Carroll

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose"   _____Robert Byrne

I am feeling a bit like the bee, trying to do the impossible. I am trying to beat Cancer once again. I know a lot of people wonder if I can, especially since once again, I am not traveling the prescribed and well worn  path. But shhh...don't tell me that, because I am still working on beating the odds and  fulfilling my purpose in life!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Friendships are VITAL!

Today was I read a story that was amazing. Since treatment #12 was uneventful, I thought I would share this story with you.
Who Packed Your Parachute
An excerpt from Aim For The Heart by Tom Mathews

As a leader, do you honor and appreciate the power of WE? Do you stop to thank and recognize the members of your team? Do you consistently show an attitude of gratitude?

I recently read a great story about Captain Charles Plumb, a graduate from the Naval Academy, whose plane, after 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam, was shot down. He parachuted to safety, but was captured, tortured and spent 2,103 days in a small box-like cell.

After surviving the ordeal, Captain Plumb received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts, and returned to America and spoke to many groups about his experience and how it compared to the challenges of every day life.

Shortly after coming home, Charlie and his wife were sitting in a restaurant. A man rose from a nearby table, walked over and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"

Surprised that he was recognized, Charlie responded, "How in the world did you know that?" The man replied, "I packed your parachute." Charlie looked up with surprise. The man pumped his hand, gave a thumbs-up, and said, "I guess it worked!"

Charlie stood to shake the man's hand, and assured him, "It most certainly did work. If it had not worked, I would not be here today."

Charlie could not sleep that night, thinking about the man. He wondered if he might have seen him and not even said, "Good morning, how are you?" He thought of the many hours the sailor had spent bending over a long wooden table in the bottom of the ship, carefully folding the silks and weaving the shrouds of each chute, each time holding in his hands the fate of someone he didn't know.

Plumb then began to realize that along with the physical parachute, he needed mental, emotional and spiritual parachutes. He had called on all these supports during his long and painful ordeal.

As a leader, how many times a day, a week, a month, do we pass up the opportunity to thank those people in our organization who are "packing our parachutes?"

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"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."    _____Anais Nin

"What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" _______George Eliot

Wasn't that a great story? See...that is why I have to thank you often for your friendship and for packing my parachute!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

From the heart

Today was my 11th treatment, not really any different than any other. They did take films with the radiation and I am not sure why that is,but this is my first time with radiation so... there are a lot of new things. After radiation I went to Physical Therapy and since I can no longer do the weights in the gym and I am getting so sore, the Physical Therapist has to massage only certain areas for the lymphatic draining. She said ...it might get less and less each time as I get sorer.

Right after that I went to the other side of the hospital and meet Amy and Angie at their doctor appointment. Today Amy was meeting with the midwife and then we also got to hear the baby's heart beat. I am telling you there is something magical about hearing that little heartbeat for the first time, I had tears in my eyes. Of course the moment was interrupted because Angie needed me to play with her. Just almost 3 years ago, my friend and I drove to Idaho while Amy was pregnant with Angie to go to the doctor, hear the heartbeat for the first time and to help Amy set up the nursery, that was a fun trip. Now here we are doing it again, I am so grateful to be able to be a grandma (actually Nana), it honestly is one of the best feelings in the world. I love it!

So after a three hour nap, I got up feeling better and headed outside for a walk. I am trying hard to get stronger and to keep this fatigue from completely stopping me. But when you look around at my house you would realize that it is keeping me from doing my normal stuff and the worst part is ...I am so tired that I don't even care. I have decided to name the dust bunnies and just realize that I have 2 weeks down and ONLY 5 to go. Yikes, that actually does seem like a long time.

Need to head to bed. From the bottom of my heart ...thank you for being such a big and important part of my life!

 

"Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life."   ____Maureen Hawkins

"Home is the place where boys and girls first learn how to limit their wishes, abide by rules, and consider the rights and needs of others."     _______Sidonie Gruenberg

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making connections

I have always been about making connections with people. Life just seems to be wasted, if we all go about our daily lives and never take the time out to connect with each other. To really get to know them, to know their troubles and their joys. I think it can give us great wisdom when we take the time to learn from each other. A dear friend of mine brought me a book today and it is about this very subject... "ordinary" people, and their defining moments in their lives. Their hard times and good, their  laughter, tears, and regrets; tender scenes, turning points, and private triumphs.

Today was day 10 for me. I finally have been able to meet a few of the women that are there with me every day. They schedule the appointments so that there isn't a lot of people waiting in the waiting room. One lady who I think I had mentioned meeting before, came up to me today and told me good bye. This was her last treatment. She had a Radical Double Mastectomy and so she had to come in twice a day for treatments. See... it really doesn't take long to find someone worse off than we are!  I noticed her the first week I was there, she was bubbly and greeted everyone with a smile. She told me her birthday was yesterday and she turned 67 ! Then she said and I expect to have at least 20 more good years to go! I was amazed at her courage and positive attitude, I think that is what it takes to endure Cancer and keep living. I know some days she came in discouraged and tired but more often than not, she tried to keep a smile on her face and see how everyone else was doing. What a  great example to me she was. I will miss her smile and courage. I pray that she will  have at least 20 more GOOD YEARS ahead of her!

After my treatment the nurse asked me to do some blood work to check on my iron and Vitamin D levels. They are a bit concerned why I am so tired ...already! That was one of my concerns when I came into this whole treatment, because of my mono I was already tired! I had a call out to my Doctor at the Seattle Cancer and Wellness Center today. I waited for her call but twice I missed her. Maybe tomorrow we can reconnect. I wanted to ask her advice on what else I could put on my skin to protect it since it is already getting red and tender and also to send all my supplement list to my Radiation Oncologist, so he could see what I am taking and what it is suppose to do. I don't really know that he wants that information or even believes in any of that, but I thought it would be good for him to have. I am always amazed that someone wouldn't want to know or study about something more natural that is good for you and doesn't have the scary side effects. Wouldn't that be worth the effort?

Well, I need to head to bed but just wanted to thank you for your friendship and example to me. Being connected to many of you ...has taught me many wonderful lessons,  given me great courage and a desire to have 20 or more good years to come!  Happy Birthday to that dear stranger who took time to connect with me, during her journey with Cancer!

 

 

"A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will be strong."

"The more you care, the stronger you can be"       ______ Jim Rohn

"The best way out is always through."    _______ Robert Frost