Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Power of Thought

If you ever needed a place to clear your mind and focus on your thoughts, the beach is the place to do it. It is almost like you have slowed down the hands of time and there are no agendas, schedules or dates to worry about. I don't have a real busy life right now, but still many times my thoughts are BUSY too BUSY and I don't really stop to realize what I am thinking about. I like the quote that says...

"WHAT WE STEADILY, CONSCIOUSLY, HABITUALLY THINK WE ARE, THAT WE TEND TO BECOME."   __Ann Landers

I often try to check my thoughts and where they lead me and how they make me feel. I am always wondering if I am controlling my thoughts or they controlling me. I am grateful for this chance to come here, take a break and really look at my life and my thoughts and see how I am doing.

I know of a lady who lives in a situation that isn't good. As I come to know this lady better, I realize that she honestly thinks that she is locked in to this life and that things probably won't and can't change. It saddens me to see her unhappiness and yet realize until she takes her power back and changes her thoughts that her life WON'T change. I want so bad to help and tell her to change something, make a stand, don't take certain things and by all means realize you do not have to stay in that situation. But isn't that what we all do at different times in our lives?  We stay in certain  patterns and habits and life does seem HOPELESS. How can you help that person, what can I say or do make things better? Then I realize that is one of the reasons that I have counseling. My counselor said to me once, "Lynn, you can't save the world" "You're not suppose to". I remember thinking..."I paid you a $10.00 co-pay to tell me that" "I want to save the world, I want to help everyone" I guess he was right, because  you don't see all those people that I worry about... in counseling, just me! :)

I have to work on daily ...understanding not to take on the heartache and sorrows of the world, not even those that I am closest to. Everyone has their free agency to make the choices and life that they choose. It is very hard to me to see people (especially innocent children) hurt or suffer. For many years I thought I could be SUPER WOMAN, of course I would warn you that obviously that isn't the way to do it, look at this SUPER WOMAN now... she has ulcers, bad back, bad neck, mono and has had cancer twice....yes I would say that is why there isn't a real SUPER WOMAN in the world. She probably died from a nervous breakdown, especially when she realized that no matter how hard she tried, she can't change people or their circumstances...only they can.

I have struggled my whole life with my thoughts and fears, coming from my back ground ,that was a lot. I didn't actually address them until Amy was born and then for some reason, I realized as a mom ....I needed to protect her at all cost. I knew in order to protect her and not pass on the emotional baggage that I was carrying meant that I would have to seek counseling and someone to help me understand my thoughts and fears. I soon realized that you don't just go to a counselor once and they can magically help you over come all the garbage from the past in just one painless session, many times it can take years ( not of counseling ) but of working things out in your head and that it is ok, to go back to counseling when you get stuck and aren't moving in the right direction.

So since I have been here in this beautiful place, I have realized that I can't change some things or people's lives...even if they are bad. I am not suppose to. All I can do however is stay on top of my life, my thoughts and my actions. I can only control myself! I love these people and I guess the greatest gift I can give them is ...the gift of believing in them. Letting them know that I believe with all my heart that they have it within themselves to have what it takes to change their thoughts, their habits and their life. I can keep them in my prayers and hope that they feel the strength that comes from that (which is powerful). That is all I can do.

Wow, I could stay here for quite awhile, think how healthy I would be if I stop and truly worked on my thoughts and feelings like this? That's it, Jeff and I are just going to have to buy a beach house that we can run away to every now and then!  Wonder what Jeff will think about that?

Good night dear friends.

"WATCH YOUR THOUGHTS, FOR THEY BECOME WORDS.

WATCH YOUR WORDS, FOR THEY BECOME ACTIONS.

WATCH  YOUR ACTIONS, FOR THEY BECOME HABITS.

WATCH YOUR HABITS, FOR THEY BECOME CHARACTER.

WATCH YOUR CHARACTER, FOR IT BECOMES YOUR DESTINY."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Heading to the beach

Well today I got up and got moving so I could make it to my chiropractic appointment by 9:00am. I am telling you, what a difference it makes to have my adjustments. It has been a miracle finding Keith. Today we didn't really do very much just got ready for our Spring Break Vacation to the Beach. Lee has ball games all week, not sure why the school does that because then the family can't have a Spring Break together but... such is life. Jeff will work from home and Lauren and I are heading to Sequim to spend a few days with some dear friends of ours who live right on the Beach. We can't wait. I don't know what it is about the beach that is so relaxing but it is amazing and we are so grateful for their hospitality.

I am not a real big DEEP WATER person but I do love being at the beach and watching the waves roll in. I always am amazed at how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful place. I won't write much tonight, I need to head to bed, but will leave you with some beach photos and a neat story about the beach. Thanks again for believing in me, all of you certainly make a big difference in my life and I am sure in the lives of many others. GOOD NIGHT!

                                       Story of the Starfish

As a man walks peacefully along a beach he see's an active figure in the foreground. He appears closer and stumbles upon a young boy surrounded
by thousands of washed up and dying starfish. One by one the boy is picking up the starfish and throwing them back into the sea.
The man saddened by what he see's says to the boy,
" what difference will that make"
picking up another starfish, as he throws it back into the sea, the boy turns to him and says
"it will make allot of difference to this one"
the man continues to walk home, and as an author sits at his desk and tries to write the next chapter of his latest novel.. He hit's a writing block, he can't write a word.. All the man can do is think of the boy at the beach. He puts down his pen and leaves his house. Making his way back to the beach, he spends the rest of the day with the boy picking up starfish and throwing them in.
You see whatever you do during the time that you have, if you can say you touched a life by your actions then it has made a difference to the world.

"May your time be filled with relaxing sunsets, cool drinks and sand between your toes."  __unknown

"Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone."  __unknown

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What voices do I listen to each day?

Today was a much better day than last Sunday, I prepared myself for the whole week to decide what I was going to wear today and be ok with it. I did have a friend take back everything back to last night, the prosthetic (Sally is what I called it),and the bras. I have heard from other survivors of other stores that really make your experience much better and one where you come out feeling good about yourself again...what a concept!  I do realize that Nordstrom might have been a great experience for others, but that was not my experience. So today I knew I had to go to Plan B and that is what I did and it worked ...ok. I am glad that I made it there, I needed the spiritual boost that it gives me to survive the whole week.

One thing that I learned that really stuck with me was something I read today. This article was by Sherry Cartwright Zipperian and it was about a man who was a rancher in Montana for over 50 years. He was talking about the scripture in John 10:1-18 where Christ is talking about the difference between a shepherd and a sheepherder. In biblical times each shepherd vocally summoned his personal flock from the many herds pooled together into a nighttime sheepfold (see vs 3-4). Likewise he said, whenever I move my sheep, I simply call, and they follow.

Years ago he mentioned that a neighbor of his had gotten sick during lambing season, so he offered to do her night lambing. He mentioned that when he entered her lambing shed that first night "on duty", that nearly 100 ewes were peacefully bedded down for the night. He realized that when he appeared that they immediately sensed a stranger in their midst and were terrified. They sought safety by huddling together in a far corner (see vs 5).

He said that it continued for several nights, no matter how quietly he entered, the sheep still panicked and fled. By the 5th night they began to recognize his voice and started to trust him. He goes on to say... "This neighbor and I conducted an experiment with our sheep. I mimicked her call word for word, to see if the sheep would come and they would not and she did the same to mine, same reaction. Even though the words we used to summon the sheep were identical, our unfamiliar voices went unheeded". The sheep loyally heard only their true shepherd (vs4).

John 10 distinguishes a shepherd from a sheepherder. A shepherd, whose sheep are his own, has loving concern for their safety. In contrast, a sheepherder is merely the "hireling" and "careth not" (vs 13). The parable also teaches that while the hireling flees and deserts his sheep (vs 12), the shepherd willingly lays down his life for his sheep( see v.11).

I really liked this article because it reminds me of Jesus Christ, my Good Shepherd- who lovingly gave His life for us. It also reminds me to listen closely to His voice. There are many voices out in the world telling me things that are not true or that I can't ever find peace and happiness, but I know that isn't true. I do know what brings true happiness and feel blessed to have that knowledge.

Here comes the Easter Season, I love the Spring, the beginning of life in so many things that have lied dormant over the winter. I love the promise of summer that it brings. I love knowing that the Savior loves me and knows me. I have felt closer to Him throughout this whole experience, because I know that He has suffered everything Himself so that He could comfort and help me through my trials. In Luke 15:10 I love the parable that Christ gives about the lost sheep, even though if you had a 100 sheep if one is lost, you should leave the 99 and go find the lost sheep. I know that personally Christ knows and loves each one of us individually and that everything we go through has a purpose and a meaning. We just need to have faith to hang in there until His purpose is revealed to us. I have always wished that the whole world would get as kind and giving on Easter as they do at Christmas time. Why not? We celebrate His birth and His life and yet the most exciting part is His Atonement and Resurrection, truly understanding what He did for each one is something to celebrate!

So today was good, I felt hopeful and realized that each day I might have to get  up and fight,  but I will because I know that is what I am suppose to do. I am suppose to learn from each trial and obstacle placed in my path. Thank  you for standing on the side lines of my path and cheering me on, what amazing support you have been for me and my family.  I hope you had a great weekend!  Take care and good night.

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." Anne Bradstreet

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."  __Albert Camus

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Home is where your heart is.

Today we helped move John, Amy and Angie to their new home (apartment). The place that they were renting was sold a few weeks ago and so they had to find a place to live. But they are still looking to buy their first home. I noticed last weekend when we got the boxes out and started packing things up, Angie didn't quite know what to do. She put her hands on her little cheeks and kept saying "oh no, oh no". I realized then she is only 2 3/4 years old and that is hard to understand the whole moving thing. She did pretty good today and we kept trying to be excited about her NEW HOME. Most of the day she spent here and then I went by tonight to drop of her favorite yogurt to her and see how she was doing. She is still a bit clinging to everyone and talks about going HOME. Amy was sure to get her room up and organized first, so that Angie could feel more secure and calm.  Smart mom!

I think that is truly what our HOMES should be like, a place that makes us feel safe, secure and most of all loved!. I am a home body, have been since I have had a place of my own. I have always loved our homes, rather we rented or owned. I just like having my roots and knowing that I have one place in the world that I can be safe and surrounded by those I love. I realized that when  we moved, that the move wasn't as tough on the kids...if Jeff and I were ok. It we were unhappy, then they were too!  Kids pick up on those type of feelings and it makes a huge difference if MOM and DAD are happy.

Yesterday I went with a friend to see a new DR., I know you are probably wondering why? Well for a few reasons, mostly because some dear friends told me amazing things about him and also because he is a HOMEOPATHIC Doctor. We had been going to the most amazing Homeopathic Doctor for almost 10 years before he moved, and we had many wonderful and amazing experiences when he was our Doctor. I think he taught us just as much about life, as he did our body. I just want to make sure that I am covering all my bases in order to make sure my body beats this cancer. I know that there isn't just one thing that can do that, but I am always interested in looking into someone, who tries to tell me specifically how MY body works or doesn't work. So I gave it a try yesterday and I felt really good about him. He added more information and wisdom about how my body should fight cancer. I will visit with him again this coming Friday.

Well, I need to head to bed, thanks again for your constant love and support. I know I can handle anything in my life, with so many dear family and friends like you around.

"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."    __Jan Howard

"Home is the most popular, and will be the most enduring of all earthly establishments" 

                                                                      __ Channing Pollock

"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."

~Henry Van Dyke

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's a good thing!

I read this article from Powerful Daily Quotes and thought it was like what happened to me today. Today I met with some of the hospital staff members to discuss what changes  could be made, to help other survivor's experience better... when they face cancer. I have to tell you that these two ladies were amazing and I was touched that they took the time to meet me and listen to my story and experiences. They were so excited to hear my suggestions and of course I in turn, was thrilled to share my suggestions. They also seemed to really like the gift ideas and logos that we are working on for survivors. As soon as I get the photos of these gifts and a place to share them with you ...I will.

Today, the ladies thanked me for sharing my experiences in a way that would bring about positive changes. That is why I liked this article. I do believe that this whole situation could have turned  out bad, if all l did was complain and talk about how bad my experience was. I was upset of how everything happened and sure wished that things would have been different with me, but it was not so... hopefully, now I can take a bad thing and make it good. And also that other women won't have to go through the same painful experiences.

Thank you for all of your love and support, it means the world to me. I will some how come out hopefully a better and stronger, compassionate Lynn after all this. It has been a roller coaster ride, as I have mentioned but... I haven't gotten off yet. I am still hanging in there!

Night!

PamBarnhillRainbowTree

 "Good Things Happen to People That Focus on Good Things"

“I first became aware of this in my early twenties, when a lady I knew would always tell me she was coming down with some form of illness and after awhile, sure enough she came down with some illness. It was at that point in my life that I came to the conclusion that if a person was to focus on "Good Things Happening" then surly it would work the same way.

What I found out was that there was a commonality between all the folks that have had much good fortune. They focused on the good things in life and in spite of set backs and they continued to focus on the positive possibilities.

I believe that problems and solutions are inseparable. "You can't have a Rainbow without Rain"

I read a study about the commonality between first place winners in sports. After countless interviews with athletes that were first place winners, there was only one thing they all had in common other that being first. They All Began With The End In Mind. They all saw themselves crossing the finish line first.

At this time in our lives there can be no greater gift we can give to ourselves than to press forward and believe that good thing are coming.”

~ Submitted by Powerful Daily Quote subscriber ~Peter Riggio

 

"Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue."   __Edith Wharton

A busy day

Yesterday I was busy all day getting ready for my presentation to a member of the Evergreen Staff to hopefully present changes that could help the next ladies coming in there to fight their battle with cancer. I am tired, but very excited that my voice is about to be heard. I wish that my circumstance would have been more favorable during this whole thing but...at least now maybe I can help these next survivors. I have all my notes typed up, gift ideas, wrapped and tagged and the logo that Brad designed all ready to show. I pray that I will be able to express myself not in a complaining way but in a way to help make things better. I will to be a part of these changes if I can. Thanks for your encouragement and I will report back tonight, wish me luck!

Here is a cute story to remind me to see things more clearly. That is easier than it looks some time. Have a great day.

                                                 The Most Beautiful Flower

The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read Beneath the long, straggly branches of an old willow tree Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown
For the world was intent on dragging me down And if that weren't enough to ruin my day

A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play He stood right before me with his head tilted down And said with great excitement,” Look what I found"

In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight With its petals all worn - not enough rain, or too little light Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play I faked a small smile and then shifted away But instead of retreating he sat next to my side And placed the flower to his nose And declared with overacted surprise "It sure smells pretty and it's beautiful, too

That's why I picked it; here, it's for you The weed before me was dying or dead

Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave

So I reached for the flower, and replied, "Just what I need But instead of him placing the flower in my hand He held it mid-air without reason or plan It was then that I noticed for the very first time That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun As I thanked him for picking the very best one "You're welcome," he smiled, and then ran off to play Unaware of the impact he'd had on my day.

I sat there and wondered how he managed to see A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree How did he know of my self-indulged plight Perhaps from his heart, he'd been blessed with true sight Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see  The problem was not with the world; the problem was me And for all of those times I myself had been blind I vowed to see the beauty in life And appreciate every second that's mine And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose And smiled as I watched that young boy Another weed in his hand About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man

"People only see what they are prepared to see."  __ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How deep are your roots?

  I know after reading my blog entry a while ago, about my Aloe Plant adventure... you are probably wondering why I am even talking about roots and flowers again. I was on the phone to someone the other day and when we were talking about my childhood, family and  life. After sorta introducing myself to her and talking about all this, she made the comment "wow, you certainly seem to have come from a very strong family". I have thought about that comment lately. Did I come from a strong family?  In some ways I would have said no, because of the circumstances that happened but then again I would have to say yes. We had a lot of trials and obstacles in our family life. Although maybe I would have chosen to have handled some things different, if I had been the parent and not the child, still I do believe that I did come from a strong family and that my parents did the best that they knew how. 
  In my families life... there was a brother with cancer at the age of 3, a mom who had surgery after surgery on her back and neck, a dad who had to work long hours and out of town a lot because he didn't have a college education, a little girl (the only girl) who had way too many fears and was sick a lot, a brother who was sick a lot, an older brother who was hurt in the Vietnam war and on and on. Still we held together as a family and my parents did teach us right from wrong. They did teach us a love for the scriptures, that God does live and will always be there to fight our battles with us. So no matter how hard my life gets, I need to remember to dig a little deeper and find those roots that my parents and life taught me. I wonder now if I am raising my kids to have deep roots of kindness, charity, faith and on and on?  I sure hope so. I realize how I handle this cancer is more of an example to them, than any words that I can say. I have to admit some days, that is the only thing that makes me get out of the bed. I know if I don't, my kids will be watching and how can I tell them to keep going each day, don't give up and never lose your faith....if I do?

  So I am grateful for this day, for getting up and looking in the mirror and ONCE AGAIN telling myself that I can do this. Thank you for telling me that too each day... in your thoughts, cards, e-mails and phone calls. I do have deep roots, and that's what will help me survive this terrible storm called CANCER.

  Here is a story that I found which is exactly what I was talking about...enjoy!

It was a bad day.  Nothing was going right.  My boss came by my desk, dropped a stack of papers and said, "It's not your best work, do it again!"

Three months of work down the tubes - that was it!  I just wanted to quit.  Why was I busting my bottom at this thankless job?  I'm not married, I don't have my own family, heck I don't even own the apartment I live in.  I deserve so much better.
I glanced out the window and realized I wasn't the only one having a bad day.  Traffic was backed-up and the relentless drought forced the once lush landscape into a pale, dying brown.  There was nothing good about today - I had to do something.  I picked up the phone and called home.  Mom answered with her usual hello; she always says it in such a way that makes you believe everything is fine.  I told her I'd like to come home for dinner because I had some "things" I need to talk about.  She was thrilled I was coming home (she always is).

I set out for home.  I was bored with the radio, bored with the scenery and bored with my life.  The landscape was dying, and my career was dying.  In many ways I believed I was dying.  I decided to tell the family that I was dropping out of corporate life, I was going to quit my job and move home.  Maybe I'd go back to school.  Maybe I'd get a part time job.  Whatever I did would be better than today.
I rounded the corner of my old residence and saw green - Mom's azaleas standing tall in a sea of withering life.   But then, I really  wasn't surprised they were green, Mom always takes such good care of people and things.  Being home was where I needed to be.  Things thrive at home, I thought.

Mom ran out to meet me, it was as if she hadn't seen me in years. She's always so happy.  We almost made it to the house when Mrs. Lolley (the neighbor) called us over to the hedge.  I thought, "I don't have time for this neighborly chit-chat," but I smiled at the neighbor nonetheless.
She asked, "Mrs. Holmes, how do you keep these azaleas so green? Mine are dying and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do."
Mom put her arm around my waist, and said, "I raised these azaleas like I raised my children.  I knew I may not always be around to take care of them so I didn't pamper them too much.  They had to grow deep roots to survive - they take care of themselves."  We laughed, but  my laugh was as dead as the grass.
Just as we were out of ear-shot, Mom asked,  "What are these 'things' you have to work out?"
I thought for a moment, looked her in the eye and said, "Today was a bad day, but I know what I have to do."
She winked and said, "Then get in the house - your supper's getting cold."

"Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light" ___Theodore Roethke

"Storms make oaks take deeper root"    __George Herbert

"Deep roots are not reached by frost"   __J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obstacles

Today I slept in a bit and I wasn't sure why, except that I needed it. All my life I have gotten around 5-6 hours of sleep, it has only been the past 10 years or so that I realized how bad, that little of sleep can be for your body. I just realized then, that it is important to sleep because that is when your body can truly heal. I know, most of you are going to say that you knew that all along...I didn't. You see I believed that  there needed to be even more hours in the day to get what I needed to be done, there were too many obstacles to go around in just 24 hours, I needed more time.

Even as I write this I am smiling, how wrong I was. There is more than enough time in each day to accomplish what we need, the problem was that I had priorities so mixed up and for some reason thought that I had to DO IT ALL! Too bad that with age comes wisdom, I could have used it years ago.

I had the privilege of speaking to another survivor today, what a treat it was to meet her (over the phone) she had a wonderful spirit and yet a fighter in her and so ...we connected. Funny how you can take complete strangers and have them both experience the same thing and all of a sudden...they are connected. Neat huh? She had her surgery about 2 months before mine, at a different hospital and all. It was interesting to hear her experience and to see the difference between mine. Life is like that, for some reason, it makes you feel better and not alone, to realize that just one other person on earth has gone through the same thing, and when you realize that...suddenly you have HOPE.

I found this story that I have used in my motivational speeches before about Obstacles, and realized that I needed to read and remember it again, since lately I have been running up against a lot of obstacles lately. I had a much clearer picture today of life and what I need to do and learn from all of this. I was grateful for today especially since yesterday was so TOUGH.

I need to head to bed but will leave you with this story and a few quotes. Thanks again for all of your support and prayers, they make such a difference in my life.

"If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere."    ___ Frank A. Clark

A boulder as tall as the nearby telephone pole blocks the road in La Conchita, CA.

                                 Obstacles

The Obstacle in Our Path In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.

"Life's up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want."    ____Marsha Sinetar

P.S. Ok, this photo is a bit extreme to go with the story ,but my obstacles yesterday...did seem that big ....to me!   ( no, this is not one of Lauren's photos either)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pity Party held today!

Today is Sunday, and I was excited because I felt good enough to finally go back to church. Now usually when I go to church I wear my Sunday best, but today finding something to wear and look normal in... was a much bigger task than I thought. Poor Lauren, she kept making suggestions, I would put on outfit after outfit, only to look in the mirror and then take it off and start all over again. I could tell that Lauren didn't know what else to say to me, it didn't make any difference how good she thought I looked, I knew I looked bad and it just went downhill from there. Finally with tears in my eyes, I told her to go on and meet Jeff and Lee there (who had left earlier), and that no one should want to go to church with a freak. She looked sad but just gave me a kiss on the check and left.

I cried, I prayed, I cried again. Hadn't I already conquered this whole body image thing? I realize that this is still part of the roller coaster ride, you think you are doing well and going up and  up and then only to have everything come crashing down, quite fast. After my Pity Party started winding down, I called my friend back East and talked to her for a while. She was kind to listen and tell me once again that everything would be alright, how I hope she is right! Then I called my oldest brother (who I have mentioned before has lost both of his legs and part of both hands), I knew if any one could understand he could. He reminded me that I would make it through this and there certainly will be days like this throughout my life. He told me that even after 40 years of being without his legs that most of the time he is ok but some days he still gets upset. It just is what it is.

Finally after the first hour of church, Lauren called me back to see if she could come pick me up for the rest of church and I said yes. I am glad I went, of course I had a hundred layers on, but still I am glad that I went and the spirit there felt so good. I know that many people were truly glad that I came and have missed me for the last 3 weeks. Everyone kept telling me how great I looked, I tried to just smile and say thanks.

This morning when I tried to put Mrs. Doubtfire on ( my padded camisole) that, didn't even fit as well as before. Of course I am still tender and so it hurt but on top of that, my surgery site has sunken even more after radiation and so that didn't fit and I even tried on the prosthetic and it doesn't fit at all either. I just cried to see that now I can't even wear something to look or feel normal. I can't live in sweat suits my whole life. I don't even want to think about summer and what in the world I am going to do then?  I know....one day at a time, just to think about the future is a bit scary right now. I guess when I heal more I will have to go back and be refitted for a new prosthetic and bra, wow...this is a much longer process than I ever expected.

Jeff talked to me quite a while after church, he knew what a hard time I was having. One thing that he said to me that was exactly what I was feeling and what I needed to hear was..."Lynn, you have felt a profound loss as a woman but there is so much more to you and to being a woman than just your physical appearance, like your best qualities such as compassion and charity and also your character". He then reminded me how much everyone loves me and needs me. He reminded me of things that I want to do... like helping other survivors and how I need to keep moving in that direction and actually look forward to that. He was absolutely right, I need something to look forward to. When the future seems so uncertain, that is hard to do but very important to try and do.

So I will head to bed and try to remember all the things that I have to be grateful for and to look forward to. I am excited about speaking to the Patient Advocate lady this week, to discuss maybe things that can be done to help the next group of women who have to come through their hospital and fight this terrible disease of Cancer. Thank  you for believing in me, that makes life a whole lot better even if you do have a Pity Party for yourself once in a while. Good night

"A woman is like a tea bag. It's only when she's in hot water that you realize how strong she is."

--Nancy Reagan

"Each woman is far from average in the daily heroics of her life, even though she may never receive a moment's recognition in history."--Women and Work, Newsage Press

"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform."--Diane Mariechild

 


Friday, March 20, 2009

Half Empty or Half Full

Today I went to counseling. Now you are probably wondering how often I go? :) Well, I go when I can feel myself being STUCK, and not quite able to move in the direction that I want to be going. I have known this counselor for many years and he is a man of great wisdom and counsel. He seems to know how to look at my life in his 3rd person perspective, and able to help me see the options I have of getting UNSTUCK. I do realize that the things that I am facing right now are pretty big. Trying to figure out how to go on with life and not be constantly looking over your shoulder is much harder than it  seems. I still feel like I am in one place and one train of thought and others around me are somewhere totally different and that is hard to explain. But the bottom line is this...I know my purpose in life and I have to decide if I am going to move forward and live that, or sit at home and worry about if my cancer will return. I need to be gentle with myself, this isn't going to be an easy feat but...I know it is possible if every day I just try to remember that my glass is half full instead of half empty. So I will head to bed and leave with you this half empty or half full story. Thank you so much for never giving up on me. I continue to get your sweet calls, emails and cards, thanks they truly do make a difference!

 

glass_half_empty1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

                                                  The House of 1000 Mirrors

Long ago in a small, far away village, there was place known as the House of 1000 Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of this place and decided to visit. When he arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to the doorway of the house. He looked through the doorway with his ears lifted high and his tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great surprise, he found himself staring at 1000 other happy little dogs with their tails wagging just as fast as his. He smiled a great smile, and was answered with 1000 great smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left the House, he thought to himself, "This is a wonderful place. I will come back and visit it often."

In this same village, another little dog, who was not quite as happy as the first one, decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed the stairs and hung his head low as he looked into the door. When he saw the 1000 unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him, he growled at them and was horrified to see 1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible place, and I will never go back there again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors. What kind of reflections do you see in the faces of the people you meet?

"DOUBT IS OFTEN THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM"    ___ Unknown

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Heaven or Hell?

I just had to put that title so that you would make sure and read this post. Just kidding, it actually goes with the story below. I decided last night when I was struggling so hard, to have a happy thought... that I needed to do something today other than feel sorry for myself. So I decided to get up and head to the hospital. There was a lady there that I became friends with and I knew that she was nearing the end of her treatments and I also knew she was feeling pretty bad. I still haven't forgotten those days. So I brought her my one of my seatbelt covers so that might help with her burn, when she has to be in the car ( which is every day). They really work. She looked happy to see me but she was really sore and very tired. I stayed for just a moment and then spoke to a few of the tech's, nurses, and staff there that I have become friends with, it was definitely the right choice, to make today. I even saw my surgeon in the hallway and we spoke for a few minutes.

After all my visits I went to the Chapel to visit. Gee, I really love that place, it is full of hope and peace and I have been struggling with that today. Once again I picked up the prayer journal and read the heartfelt prayers of the patrons there. Wow, one entry the person was praying that her friend would get well enough to do the kidney transplant and how grateful she was to be able to be the donor. Here I am feeling sorry for myself, I was amazed at the love this person had for another that they would be a donor. Now I am going to be a donor but ...that is after I am gone, that doesn't take near the courage. What a neat prayer that was. I also read one, from a couple and they were thanking GOD that they were able to hear their baby's heartbeat today. Gee sometimes when you have always had healthy pregnancies, you take for granted hearing that baby's heart beat. I found out that a dear friend of mine today had a miscarriage, they say it is an incredible heartache for a mom.That is one thing, thankfully that I have no experience on. The last one said, "Please help me Lord in my mission here on earth". Isn't that true, everyone has a  mission and a purpose in life, some times... it just takes a while to find it.

I have known for a long time what my mission is. I know that I am suppose to make a difference through service and helping others who are going through struggles that I have already gone through. I am suppose to learn and use that knowledge to make life just a bit better or easier for the next survivor. I am suppose to help them learn not only to survive, but thrive and truly enjoy their lives. I realized today that I have let other things get me down and cloud that vision of helping others. You have to be on higher ground to lift someone else up. So today I have to admit, the best choice I made was getting up and get moving, go see and help someone else and like always... it helps me too. I can't believe I would ever go back to the hospital unless I had to, but it was different today, I was going for a different purpose and the bonus was being able to see the wonderful people that helped me along the way, during my treatments and for that I was truly grateful.

So that is the SECRET....it is SERVICE, going outside of yourself to help someone else. I know that, I even teach that, but I let pain and doubt get in my way. I know I am not over the hard part yet but tod was a start. I got another wonderful glimpse of what life is really suppose to be like, and it felt GREAT!

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."   ___Anne Frank

Here is one of my favorite stories on service.

 A man was talking with God about Heaven and Hell. "Come," said God. "Walk with me, and I will show you Hell."
And together they walked into a room of cold, rough stone. In the center of the room, atop a low fire, sat a huge pot of quietly simmering stew. The stew smelled delicious, and made the man's mouth water. A group of people sat in a circle around the pot, and each of them held a curiously long-handled spoon. The spoons were long enough to reach the pot; but the handles were so ungainly that every time someone dipped the bowl of their spoon into the pot and tried to maneuver the bowl to their mouth, the stew would spill. The man could hear the grumbling's of their bellies. They were cold, hungry, and miserable.

 
"And now," God said, "I will show you Heaven."
Together they walked into another room, almost identical to the first. A second pot of stew simmered in the center; another ring of people sat around it; each person was outfitted with one of the frustratingly long spoons. But this time, the people sat with the spoons across their laps or laid on the stone beside them. They talked, quietly and cheerfully with one another. They were warm, well-fed, and happy.
"Lord, I don't understand," said the man. "How was the first room Hell; and this, Heaven?"
God smiled. "It's simple," he said. "You see, they have learned to feed each other."

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves."                 __James M. Barrie

 

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."    ____Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Struggling is part of the process (Butterfly)

I had another rough night because of my neck and back again. Called the chiropractor back and once again got an appointment to come in this morning. Amy and Angie went with me, so I didn't have to drive. I am driving now but, as little as possible because it still is sore some. Also because when I drive, I do way more than I feel up to doing. If I don't get some sleep during the day, I am really dragging, I tried to lay down some today so I could make it to Lee's first baseball game. Lauren took me and brought me a chair, and I at least got to stay long enough to watch Lee pitch. I hope that I can get the energy to make it to more of his games. Last year I missed quite a few because I had just had Gallbladder surgery and now this. He is a good boy though and acts like it is no problem if I don't feel like coming. But I know that he would like to have his mom there and I would like me to be there more often too!

It feels weird to be among a bunch of people right now. I watched all the parents at the ball game, listened to their conversations and realized that I don't really fit in. As they talk about when the next baseball get-together for the mom's will be or who was going to carpool for the Friday night game. I just wondered if I will think about those things again?  All of which seem so ................... I don't know, maybe just lower on my priority list compared to fighting cancer. I need to make myself a schedule of all that I am doing on a daily basis... to actively fight my cancer, so that I can see that I am doing something each day, maybe that would help.

I do realize that the struggle is part of the process and I really am trying to find the positive things out of this whole terrible situation. I will keep trying to find the NEW LYNN, the NEW NORMAL and hopefully when I do, life will settle down and I will be able to focus on other things....like ....ANYTHING!

I am planning to have lunch with the lady from the hospital next week and I am looking forward to that, but just need to get my spirits up a bit more before I do that. I know I need to focus on me and getting myself healed up but I actually think what I need is to do a bit of service, that usually makes me feel lots better.

Good night!

butterfly

Legend has it that there was a man who saw a butterfly struggling to get out of its chrysalis. He watched it struggle for a while and then stop. The man thought that it was so difficult for the butterfly to get out that he would make it a little easier. He cut the cocoon just a little, just enough that the butterfly wouldn't have to struggle so much. It worked and the butterfly crawled out easily. He had a big fat body and withered wings. The man stuck around to watch the wings spread, but they never did. Without the struggle of getting out of the chrysalis, the butterfly had not been able to pump enough the fluid from its body into its wings. The struggle was what made the butterfly so beautiful.

 

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.    ____Anais Nin

"Life is just a chance to grow a soul."   ___A. Powell Davies

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I almost forgot to tell you Happy St. Patrick's Day
I feel lucky to have you as my dear friends.
I thought this was neat.
The Chicago River

Chicago river dyed green

Chicago is also famous for a somewhat peculiar annual event: dyeing the Chicago River green. The tradition started in 1962, when city pollution-control workers used dyes to trace illegal sewage discharges and realized that the green dye might provide a unique way to celebrate the holiday. That year, they released 100 pounds of green vegetable dye into the river—enough to keep it green for a week!

Where am I going?

Since I was a little girl, I have never had much sense of direction. I even get lost when I come out of the restroom in the store, half the time I head for the stock room. I have been the butt of many jokes because of my NO SENSE OF DIRECTION, actually on top of that it scares me to be lost. I hate that feeling of having no idea where I am or how to get back home. I never really went a long way from home for most of my life so it wasn't that big of deal. When I started to drive, my biggest fear was of going down the wrong road and not knowing how to get back. My mom on the other hand had a great sense of direction but she didn't know how to drive; together... that worked out.

When Amy was in Kindergarten and we had just moved here from West Virginia, Amy's teacher asked me to drive for one of the field trips, most of the moms worked outside their homes and since I was a Stay Home Mom, it just made sense. I sorta mentioned to the teacher that we were new here in the area and that I am famous for getting lost... so I need to make sure to follow someone up and back, she said that was fine. I took Amy and 2 other little girls to the Pumpkin Patch on one of our lovely rainy days. I got there just fine, didn't really worry too much until we headed for home, the weather was getting worse and darker by the minute. I reminded the teacher to have someone watch out for me so I didn't lose them coming back, "Sure" she said. You can probably figure out the rest of the story, the person I was following forgot all about me and once I lost her, that was it. The girls were in the back seat having a great time with their pumpkins and deciding what patterns that wanted for their Jack-o-Lanterns, while I was about to die from fear of being lost, and with someone else's kids no less.

I knew after 20 extra minutes, that we should have been at the turn off and I was beginning to panic. I think the girls could feel it because they began the old familiar question WHY AREN'T WE THERE YET?  I began to come up with different reasons and then I heard one of the girls whisper to Amy "Does your Mom know where we are going?" Very proudly and with no hesitation Amy said " Oh she gets us lost all the time!"  She had no sooner finished her sentence when one of the girls began to cry and wanted her mommy. Shoot, I would have liked to have my mommy right about then too!   


Many times in my life I have thought about that situation, how nervous and scared those little girls were and my Amy was fine with it, because it was "just the way it is" for our family.  I have wondered so many times WHERE THE HECK AM I ? and HOW DO I GET HOME?  I am sure if I were to ask other survivors they would tell me, this is just part of the journey ( just the way it is ) and that somehow I will figure it all out.

I feel like this last week I have been asking myself this same question a lot lately, WHERE AM I GOING? I am not sure exactly what direction my life is going to take from here, but I am working on that. I don't necessarily want to be on the same road I was before, I want it to be different and probably a more direct route. I tend to get off on the little side roads too often, and so I hope I can be more patient with myself as I try to figure out, WHERE I AM HEADED. I knew the road  wouldn't be easy and so I guess for now, this is just part of the journey. I think my family isn't as worried as I am, because somehow I always end up making it home.

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware."  ___Martin Buber

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."   ___Alan Cohen

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pain wears me down

I got up at 4:00 this morning because I couldn't sleep any more from the pain in my back. Saturday when I was visiting some friends of mine, their sweet little daughter crawled over and stood up on my legs. I am telling you she is too sweet and I just bent over and picked her up. She isn't that heavy but... it just doesn't seem to take much,to throw my back off and that is VERY DISCOURAGING to me. Some days I just want to do normal things, without paying such a high price. Well, I knew I had done something to a rib, because it hurt to take a deep breath. I finally called at 8:00 this morning to see if my chiropractor could fit me in and he did. He is a very compassionate man and really wants to see me get back to a more normal life, that is his goal. After he put me back together( I sound like Humpty Dumpty ), I could immediately breath easier and came home and went to bed.

It is weird how pain wears you down. I mean some pain... is one thing, but when you have two or three areas going on at once, I feel like I just can't get up fast enough, before something else knocks me down. I have to admit, I am seriously wondering how much more fight I have in me?  I just don't want to do this any more. I want to be there for Jeff and the kids more. I want to be a better Aunt Lynn, be more active with Angie and so on and so on. I know I need to be patient but wow, how much longer will it be before I get to plan something in my day other than a nap?

I went on a Cancer support website early this morning  and realized all the things I have been thinking and feeling are pretty normal. I wonder why they don't tell you these things when you leave your treatment? I would think that would be a perfect time to introduce these ladies to all the support groups and things that are available. The emotional support doesn't necessarily go away right when you finish your treatment. I found that out, first hand. I still have lingering feelings and concerns about recurrence, self image and what will come next in my life? I went on this Caring4Cancer.com and found out more information and even wrote to a few people who are in the middle of their cancer and wanting someone to talk to.

My rash was getting better on Saturday and Sunday but this morning when I woke up it was turning a bit red again and is beginning to get sore again too. I put a call out to my Cancer Doctor, she wasn't in today so...hopefully by tomorrow we will see what is the next step. I do have the antibiotic that my Radiation Oncologist gave me but haven't taken it yet, because I was getting so much better with just using the Hydrocortisone Cream. His concern is that he wanted for me to watch it, because he didn't want it to be an infection on my chest wall...that makes two of us.

Ok, that is all the cheery news I have for you today, I feel like my blog lately has had such a sad feeling to it. I am sorry for that, this is suppose to be a MOTIVATIONAL BLOG but a REALITY BLOG too, so I think you are getting both. I sometimes think I shouldn't write my true feelings but to be honest with you, I know I am suppose to. If there is anyone else out there struggling, I hope if nothing else that they realize they aren't the only one. I also try to continue to put in quotes and things that remind me to NEVER GIVE  UP, I just seem to be reminding myself of that, a lot these days. Hopefully this too shall pass. I will end with the cute photo of that sweet baby that I couldn't resist picking up and a quote or two. Thanks for hanging in there with me, this has not been a short journey at all. You  have been true friends to keep supporting me for so long.  Good night dear friends.

"The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you're in control of your life. If you don't, life controls you."    __Anthony Robbins

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."   __Anonymous

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour,or a day, or a  year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."    __Lance Armstrong

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Healing is a Process

I think what I have been realizing the last few days is that healing is definitely a process. Some times it is faster than others and definitely comes in degrees. I am sure by reading my blog these last few days, you have noticed that I seem to get glimpses of healing /happiness and then there are those BIGGER THAN ME moments that follow very quickly. I know that there are levels of healing in this process, there is the obvious PHYSICAL healing, then there is the EMOTIONAL healing and also the SPIRITUAL healing, all which seem to be going on at different times and different levels. When I was at the Cancer Center the other day, I picked up a Survivor's magazine and found some interesting articles of other's who have fought this same battle. I really don't have any good advice today, so I will share some of theirs...

A SURVIVOR OR TEN YEARS SHARES THIS INFORMATION...

TAKE A BREAK FROM LIFE...life gets overwhelming, it is important to take some "ME" time and reconnect with yourself. The world will still need to be saved once you've refreshed

LIVE FOR THE PRESENT... I wake up each morning and feel gratitude that I get to have another day. Too often, we hold grudges or fret about circumstances in the past, or are eager for what tomorrow will bring. So take time to tell your husband and kids you love them, spend time with  your nieces and nephews and read a book. Today.

BUT DON'T FORGET THE PAST... I can still feel the emotions and remember the significant days of my cancer journey. Every experience has made me who I am today, for better or worse. We can't change the past, although we sometimes want to forget parts of it, but we can learn from it.

LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS ORGANIZED...I am a cancer survivor, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Try as I might to separate my life into neatly organized compartments, all of these qualities may take precedence at certain times, it is all of these, and the experiences that come with, that make me who I am.

THE END IS THE BEGINNING...I felt slightly lost when treatment ended. For more than a year I had routine, boring as it was. Chemo, doctor appointments, hospital stays, blood transfusions. Then it ended. No more imaginary safety net. No more doctors and nurses to protect me. My feelings of elation and freedom were countered by uncertainty and apprehension. After finally realizing all that was over then I took a good hard look at the girl in the mirror and realized there was a new me. I saw someone ready to face the world with a whole new outlook.

LEARNING NEVER ENDS... each time I think I've figured out what it means to be a cancer survivor, I realize there is more to learn, more to accept, more to let go of. It is a never-ending experience, one that I have finally learned to embrace and look forward to.

After reading this article, I realized that I am sorta where the end and the beginning is. I did not like going every day to the hospital and receive radiation treatments. But it did give me a routine and a reason to get up each morning and helped me feel like I was actively fighting my cancer each day.  Now that I am on my own, I am uncertain and anxious about the future. Can I really beat it again? Can I do all the little things that will make my body stronger and healthier? What if I get lost in life again and forget my priorities?  Weird, I know but she seemed to hit the nail on the head for me. I do have a Game Plan but it is a very personal one and one that I have to choose to do and act upon each day, lots of little things. Getting caught up and busy with life could keep me from remembering and doing what I am suppose to do. So I am a bit worried about that. Discipline is what it will take and a remembrance of why I am doing what I am doing. When you are all healed up physically I believe that you can forget all the little things that should be done to continue your fight. I don't want to forget to do those.

So I need to find my "NEW NORMAL", surgery and some side effects might make it hard for me to go back to  precancer activities as quickly as I would like. I know that recovery might take longer than I would like. The cancer doctor told me Friday that it will take at least a good 6 months to properly heal. I know that I will need to revise my expectations of myself and remind those closest to me that I need to be allowed to take the time I need to heal and feel healthy again. I will probably have to continue to adjust to the changes in my routine and my diet, develop better habits and try to slowly get back to practical matters that come in every day life. I still am trying to get comfortable with this new body of mine, definitely not there yet. Plus, I need to continue doing my own exams, not missing check ups and watching my body for any other type of recurrence. All that seems necessary but overwhelming. But today is almost over, maybe tomorrow will look better. Good night dear friends. Thank you!

"The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reasons for remaining ashore."     ____Vincent Van Gogh

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rough Saturday

Now I am not sure if I did too much yesterday or just because of this rash... but I have been tired, since I got up. I have laid down twice already and still I feel ready to head for bed. The rash is much better today, it still itches and is very tender but much of the swelling has gone down. So maybe by the fact that I wasn't itching it as much today, helped. I had a friend of ours today who is a DR check it out to see if he had any idea what this rash was caused from. When I told one of the kids where I went, they asked me if that was really embarrassing to have a friend who is a DR, look at the scar? I simply said NO, maybe because every day in this whole cancer ordeal I have had to have my shirt off. I think after a while the embarrassment subsides and you just feel like another body having tests, and surgery. The other thing I have noticed is that I don't really feel like a woman any more. Maybe some day that will come back but I just don't feel feminine at all, the whole area is just a bad memory. I am working on changing that because I realize that isn't very healthy but it is the real feeling for now.

We continue to have so many dear friends stop and drop off stuff and call and send cards, I don't really have the chance to stay DOWN too long. Especially when you know that many people love and believe in you, and keep you in their prayers. So I am sure that this is just another bump in the road, I will take it slow but I will make it over it and hopefully be better and stronger because of it. Thanks for being such a great cheering section.

 

 

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up"  ______Pablo  Picasso

 

"Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it "creative observation." Creative viewing."  ____William S. Burroughs

 

No matter how bad my day is, when Angie comes to visit...I feel better. Of course her favorite thing is to create (funny that is my outlet too!) This is a photo of a person to her...maybe the angels aren't that far away? When I try to see life through her eyes, I always feel more happy! Thanks Angie!   Love ya, Nana

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another challenge

Well, today I got up and got ready to go to the Seattle Cancer and Wellness ,where I will be doing the next step of my treatment. They just moved from Seattle to actually Kent, to a brand new building. It is much bigger and very modern, it was wonderful. My Doctor is a great lady and very supportive of our choices and decisions. That is exactly what the Center is all about ...treating the individual patient, instead of the disease! I liked that concept from the beginning. We weighed all the choices and talked about my body and where we needed to go from here. I think it really boosted my spirits to finally have a GAME PLAN, and get started on the rest of my fight against cancer. Much of it will be a LIFE long choices and daily discipline but... I am going to do it.

I also brought in the gifts that Chris and I have been working on for Cancer patients, Dr. Lewis loved them and asked me when I felt better to please come and present them to her and her staff, so that maybe we could get them into the gift center there. I was so excited when I left, I had my GAME PLAN and also someone who was wanted to help promote these gifts for the patients. I know that there needs to be more things out there for these sweet women and their families who have to fight cancer, if we can make something to help comfort and aide them in their healing, then ...we should do it.

One thing that I think has been making me feel so down the last couple of days, is that I haven't felt very good. I have had my radiation area really itching and swelling some and then this morning when I got up I had a rash that is spreading. The sores look infected and I wasn't sure what to think? My Doctor at the Cancer Center thought it might be a type of Heat Rash that has just gotten infected but she told me to go back to the hospital and have the Oncologist there look at it, since I just finished my treatment last week.

So after we got home Jeff dropped me off and I got in to see the Doctor. He and the nurse both looked really perplexed at my skin. They weren't sure if it is an allergic reaction or what, but it did look like the whole area is getting infected and that concerned them. Their first line of defense was to have me get Hydrocortisone cream on it, plus take an antibiotic in case there is an infection in the chest wall. I suggested that I would like the try the cream for a day or so first before starting the antibiotic. They are tough on my stomach,plus I want to know if the cream will work first. The Dr. was funny when I suggested that, he disagreed and then in mid sentence stopped and said "Well it is your body and you can decide what you want to do " So we compromised. I am so sure that he just shakes his head when I leave and thinks....."POT STIRER"! I just don't want to overkill if the simplest thing will work first. Sometimes too, if you do too many things at once then you aren't for sure what really did work.

So I am home bound for a few more days, need to let the area have as much air as possible; that wouldn't be a big deal if I lived on a island by myself but... I don't, so I will just have to wear real baggy clothes and hope that not too many people have to see me :) This whole thing has been tough on my self esteem...yikes.

Well, it is my date night and I need to go to the movies with Jeff ( Downstairs!). Thanks for all of you love and support. I will conquer this some how. Have a great night.

 

"If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream."  ___Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you , they're supposed to help you discover who you are."    ___Bernice Johnson Reagan

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Struggling

I realized that through this whole thing that there would days that I struggle harder than others, today has been one of the hard ones. Physically, I am healing a bit more each day but mentally I still seem to be suffering more than ever. I think when you have something like this hit  your life, there really is no RIGHT or WRONG way to get through it. Now that my radiation is over, I now have to make a decision for the next part of my game plan. Tomorrow Jeff and I head back to the Cancer Center and meet with my Doctor to see where we go from here? I still need to have a bone scan to make sure that the cancer hasn't gone into my bones. I also have to have a bone density test too, but that has also to do with my age. So I am far from over this whole ordeal.

I will be 50 in July, now age has never been a big deal to me. I personally am just grateful for each year that I get and even more so... now after my cancers. But I do wonder what the next 20-30-years will be like? Will they be as big of trials and testing for me too? Some days I honestly don't believe that I can take much more or at least my poor body can take much more. I wonder what the future will hold or if I even get to worry about the future? I realize that when everyone sees my body heal and my energy return that they will think that I am all better ( so to speak) and ready to go on with life. Funny because, I don't quite feel like I am ready to make big plans or to look that far ahead. I am not trying to dwell on the negative or stay in a fearful state but I am just being honest with my feelings. I wish that I could wake up and just wonder about what to do that day or want to plan something in the near future, I am just not there yet.

I remembered when I had my first cancer and when my surgery and everything was over and I was getting stronger, that it took me awhile to feel SAFE enough to go on with my life. I do believe that is one of the terrible things about CANCER... if you aren't careful it robs your life and your vision for the future. It took a while to be able to stop thinking that any time I hurt anywhere, that it wasn't the cancer returning. Yes, no matter how positive you are or not, those thoughts will come and are very common for us cancer-survivors. When I read my journal from 7 years ago, I realize it didn't stop me from living too long, but it did seem forever. This time has seemed even longer, maybe it is because I have had it twice, who knows?

So before I go on and get you guys all depressed I will add a few quotes that stop for now. Don't worry about me, I will pull through this but it won't be easy. Then again, when has my life been easy? :) Having all of you in my life has made it better and for that I am grateful. Have a great night!

"WHAT WE DO NOT SEE, WHAT MOST OF US NEVER SUSPECT OF EXISTING, IS THE SILENT BUT IRRESISTIBLE POWER WHICH COMES TO THE RESCUE OF THOSE WHO FIGHT ON IN THE FACE OF DISCOURAGEMENT."                 ___Napoleon Hill

" SEEING THAT A PILOT STEERS THE SHIP IN WHICH WE SAIL, WHO WILL NEVER ALLOW US TO PERISH EVEN IN THE MIDST OF SHIPWRECKS, THERE IS NO REASON WHY OUR MINDS SHOULD BE OVERWHELMED WITH FEAR AND OVERCOME WITH WEARINESS."   ___John Calvin

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What am I planting?

A dear friend  who I haven't heard from in a very long time, got a hold of me yesterday through email. What a joy it was to hear how she and her family are all doing. She had just found out about my cancer returning and was sending me well wishes. She also started reading my blog and sent me this story because she felt it would fit with all the other uplifting things that I try to add to my blog.

Today I did ok physically, still tired but not quite as bad as I have been and that is good. My skin looks even better but itching like crazy, not very lady like to itch like this but ....that is why I don't go out in public. :) I know the itching is a good sign and I would much rather itch than hurt, so I will try to keep it in perspective. I remember years ago when I lived in Colorado with my Brother's family one winter;I broke my ankle. After weeks in a cast and it began to heal I was going crazy with a terrible itch on my foot and I couldn't reach it because of my cast. I tried sticking anything down there to scratch it, the worse was a butter knife, but it worked like a charm. Well, until it got stuck in there, that was embarrassing. I will stay away from the cutlery and just try to gently rub so I don't hurt anything.

I hope you enjoy this story, tonight I am a bit on the sad side, probably just looking to far into the future, just need to remember to take it one day at a time. Thanks for your love and support.

"NOTHING GREAT IS EVER ACHIEVED WITHOUT MUCH ENDURING"     ___St. Catherine of Siena

                          The Daffodil Principle                  

Several times my daughter, Julie, had telephoned to say, "Mom, you must come see the daffodils before they are over."  I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my place by the beach to her lakeside mountain home.

"I will come next Tuesday," I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. The next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.  Still, I had promised, and so I got in the car and began the long, tedious drive.

When I finally walked into Julie's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Julie!  The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and the children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly, "We drive in this all the time, Mom."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears and then I'm heading straight for home!" I said, rather emphatically.

"Gee, Mom, I was hoping you'd take me over to the garage to pick up my car," Julie said with a forlorn look in her eyes.

"How far will we have to drive?"

Smiling she answered, "Just a few blocks, I'll drive ... I'm used to this."

After several minutes on the cold, foggy road, I had to ask "Where are we going? This isn't the way to the garage!"

"We're going to the garage the long way," Julie smiled, "by way of the daffodils."

"Julie," I said sternly, "please turn around."

"It's all right, Mom, I promise, you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience."

After about twenty minutes we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church.  On the far side of the church I saw a hand-lettered sign ... Daffodil Garden

We got out of the car and each took a child's hand, and I followed Julie down the path.  As we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped.

Before me lay the most glorious sight.  It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.  Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.


Five acres of the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen!

"Who planted all these?" I asked Julie.

"It's just one woman," Julie answered, "She lives on the property.  That's her home," and she pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.

We walked up to the house and on the little patio we saw a poster ...

Answers to the Questions
I Know You Are Asking

50,000 bulbs
one at a time
by one woman
2 hands, 2 feet
and very little brain
Began in 1958

There it was ... "The Daffodil Principle"

For me that moment was a life-changing experience.  I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun - one bulb at a time - to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.

Still, This unknown, old woman had forever changed the world in which she lived.  She had created something of magnificent beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration:

  • learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time,
    (often just one baby-step at a time)
  • learning to love the doing,
  • learning to use the accumulation of time

When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.  We can change the world.

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Julie, "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years.  Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way, "Start tomorrow, Mom," she said, "It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of our yesterdays.  The way to make learning a lesson a celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask ... "

"How can I put this to use today?"

Author - Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

P.S. I almost forgot...

I almost forgot to mention about my skin, I need to remember to do that so if any one else goes down this road that they can at least know what one more person dealt with. The itching is getting worse, and the skin is changing color, they said that would happen. The bumps that are raised up seem to be spreading, I wonder if I have something other than a burn now but the burn was so deep that maybe that is how it heals. It still looks bad to others but it really is much better than it was a week ago. The incision are is getting more sore and more red but it still isn't as bad as the majority of my burn was and for that I am grateful. That part should start healing in a few more days. The last 2 weeks of radiation was the worst for my burn, I believe. I am still having the random stabbing pains, they say that when the nerves try to regenerate that they do that, I need to look that one up?

The only reason I say that is... because a couple of years ago when I felt something different in my left breast and wondered if it was another tumor, I was told that it wasn't. I was told that it was just scar tissue and that it gets harder as it gets older. But after I was diagnosed this past October and I was explaining that to the Medical Oncologist, he said "actually Lynn, that is not true, the scar tissue gets softer throughout the years." I took that to remind me never to take things on face value, I need to follow my instincts, they never have lead me wrong. I am sure you have heard the old saying "the first impression is the right impression" , it's true! The problem is, we tend to think about it more and then question our thoughts and then get really confused. So I just need to search out for myself about these random stabbing pains or any other things that I don't understand.

Jeff and I walked tonight, not long... because I am out of shape AGAIN! Gee, some days all I feel like I do is START OVER! Guess that is better than not starting at all?  Since my armpit is healing up, it makes walking a lot more comfortable. I need to count the little blessings like that to actually see my progress some days!

Thanks again for all of your support! NIGHT!

Happy Birthday MOM!

Today is my mom's birthday. It may sound weird but even though she has been gone now for almost 9 years, I still try to remember her birthday and teach my kids about her life. We talk about her favorite recipes, movies, songs or just funny things she said or did. I was the only girl in my family of 5 children, some would say I got spoiled for being the only girl, that's not exactly how I saw it.:)  Like many of you, I didn't have the perfect childhood. Matter of fact I am not there is a perfect childhood out there, but I did have my share of struggles. For years I tried to understand and make sense of things that happened or didn't happen in my life, but as the years have come and gone, I now realize to take the good and make peace with the bad.

I knew motherhood was important, but I had no idea until I became one, what a deep profound responsibility it is. It touches you to the core. Whether you choose to make a difference or not in  your child's life, you will ...though it be good or bad. I love the saying ..."When You Save a Girl, You Save Generations" by Gordon B. Hinckley. I actually believe and know that what we do as Mother's, has a profound effect on the future generations, so we need to take our calling as a 'MOM' very serious. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed about things that I should have done or shouldn't have done as a mom and then I remember this quote...

"I am not a perfect mother and I will never be.
You are not a perfect daughter and you will never be.
But put us together and we will be the best mother and daughter we would ever be."   __Zoraida Pesante

I hope that my mom thought this way about our relationship. We both had things we probably should have changed, but I do believe we both did the best that we knew how. I think that the best way I can honor her, now that she is gone.. is to remember all the good things she taught me and pass it on to my kids and grandkids.

One of my granddaughter favorite things to do is pull out all my antique jewelry, she is always saying "what's this Nana?" On Monday she pulled out a bracelet of my mom's, I explained to her that it belonged to Grandma Lou ( her name was Ludy but that is many of her grandkids called her). Angie repeated a few times later that the bracelet was Grandma "Ou's", it was cute to hear her say her name. It also reminded me how much Grandma Lou would have loved getting to know Angie, she would have loved her spunk. The reason I know that, is because that is one of the things that Mom loved about Lauren, they were a LOT alike, just one was brunette and one red head! Most of the time, I call Angie...Lauren's name, they both are too funny.

I catch myself upset some times with people who still have their Mother's with them and yet they still don't get along or appreciate each other. Of course there are those situations when that isn't possible and the best thing is... to just disconnect from such a toxic family. But still there are many who have pretty normal Moms and yet they still don't seem to truly appreciate them. I want to share with them the wisdom that I learned AFTER losing my Mother. You can't change the past, you will probably never get all the answers that  you need to make you understand why they did what they did. Holding a grudge isn't worth it,it actually hurts you worse. Wondering why life isn't fair, why some people get to keep their Moms longer than others will never have an answer. So if your Mom is still with you, please just appreciate that she is still here, try to accept each other where you are and most important be sure that  you are the best MOM you can be, so the next generation doesn't have to carry any burdens that aren't their own.

I miss my Mom, but instead of being sad...I will be happy that I am her daughter and thankful for all the good things she taught me. Each year gets a bit easier, I guess that is why you hear the quote...
"Time is the only comforter for the loss of a mother."   ___Jane Welsh Carlyl

So as Angie would say it "Happy Birthday Grandma Ou, we love and miss you!"

 

"WE CANNOT CHANGE OUR MEMORIES, BUT WE CAN CHANGE THEIR MEANING AND THE POWER THEY HAVE OVER US."  ___David Seamans

Monday, March 9, 2009

My free day!

I got up this morning and hurried and showered and got ready. It is habit now ,because the next thing I am suppose to do... is head to the hospital for radiation. Well, not today, after seven weeks I was finally free today, to do or not do ...whatever I wanted. It felt weird, but great. I still can't help but think though of my survivor friends who are still in that waiting room every day. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

I had a couple of dear friends stop by and visit this morning. Then Amy and Angie came over for the day. I am not sure that I really accomplished anything today, other than playing with play dough and coloring and singing and dancing with Angie. So I guess I need to take that back, I did do a lot today!  When Angie climbs on my lap and sees my burn, she says "oh Nana, you have an owie, I am sorry Nana...you'll be ok". She is right, I do have an owie and it does hurt but...I will heal and be ok. Today the incision burn seems a bit worse, but my main burn seems to be changing ( for the better I hope ). The skin is beginning to bubble up now and itch a bit so...I am just trying to make sure that it doesn't get infected.

I was on the phone last night to my brother and we were talking about how bad the economy is doing. He is a Stock Broker and he has many clients that are losing much of their life savings. He said that it has been a really hard thing to watch, and realize that he can't do anything to help them. His job is stressful like that each day, lately. When I was reading the news I realized that things do look grim but... this story I found; put things back into perspective some.

                                                         PROBLEM OR SOLUTION?

   It was 1933, I had been laid off my part-time job and could no longer make my contribution to the family larder. Our only income was what Mother could make by doing dressmaking for others.

   Then Mother was sick for a few weeks and unable to work. The electric company came out and cut off the power when we couldn't pay the bill. Then the gas company cut off the gas. Then the water company. But the Health Department made them turn the water back on for reasons of sanitation. The cupboard got very bare. Fortunately, we had a vegetable garden and were able to cook some of its produce in a campfire in the back yard.

   Then one day my younger sister came tripping home from school with , "We're supposed to bring something to school tomorrow to give to the poor."

   Mother started to blurt out, "I don't know of anyone who is any poorer than we are," when her mother, who was living with us at the time, shushed her with a hand on her arm and a frown.

   "Eva," she said, "if you give that child the idea that she is 'poor folks' at her age, she will be 'poor folks' for the rest of her life. There is one jar of homemade jelly left. She can take that."

   Grandmother found some tissue paper and a little bit of pink ribbon with which she wrapped our last jar of jelly, and Sis tripped off to school the next day proudly carrying her "gift to the poor."

   And ever after, if there was a problem in the community, Sis just naturally assumed that she was supposed to be part of the solution.                                                          ______________Edgar Bledsoe

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health that I might do great things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was give weakness that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed."      ___Unknown

"You aren't wealthy until you have something money can't buy."   ___Garth Brooks

"Poverty consist in feeling poor."   ___ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Don't tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I'll tell  you what they are."   __James W. Frick

This was a great thing for me to remember, we need to all help each other through these hard times, as well as acknowledge our many blessings!

Thanks for being one of my greatest blessings!