Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My siblings reactions

A short time back I was asked how my siblings are reacting to my situation.  I have a younger sister Tracey and a younger brother Scott.  They have both lived here in Colorado but have both moved back to Maine.  I guess they couldnt get our beautiful home state out of their systems.  I cannot really blame them because I love Maine also but I have to admit I am spoiled by the milder winters of Colorado.

After receiving the request for their point of view, I emailed them to ask them to write a statement.  We have close relationships even if we dont get to see each other as often as we would like.  We speak on the phone  and make the most of family time together when we can get it in.  I know that for each of them their biggest frustration is that they cannot be here to help out.  I know that when I talk to them they feel sad and helpless because they do not like hearing that I suffer.
Tracey and Fiance Joe Rich

Tracey writes:
I am handing my sister's illness just ok. It is heart breaking to know that I can talk to you on the phone but there really isnt anything I can do to help or make you feel better.  I pray for you and your family everyday and try to keep up the faith that everything will work out all right.  I hope this helps you for your blog.  I love you, take care.  Tracey

Scott had this to say:  I had a lot of mixed emotions when I found out that my sister has cancer.  I feel very overwhelmed because there is so much I want to do and now it feels like I might not have the luxury of time to accomplish everything.   I am lucky to have such a hardworking and generous sister to admire and from whom I gain wisdom.  I find myself wishing that I had listened more in the past.  I love you.  Scott

Monday, November 29, 2010

MRI Of The Brain 11-17-10

FINDINGS:  No restricted diffusion.  Advanced volume loss for age.  No extraaxial fluid collection.  Ventricles and sulci are prominent.  Normal major intracranial flow-voids.  No T1 signal abnormality.  Post contrast images show no enhancing intraaxial or extraaxial mass, but there is abnormal pachymeningeal enhancement.  Specifically, there is diffusely thickened enhancement involving the pachymeninges. The smooth, regular enhancement is felt less likely to represent dural metastases, given the uniformity.  I believe that this is post treatment in nature.  The T2 sequences show several foci of subcortical white matter,  measuring 5 mm, image 11, series 6.  There is no enhancement corresponding to this.

Limited views of the orbits and sinuses are unremarkable.

1.  Diffuse, smooth homogeneous enhancement of the pachymeninges.  Most likely, this is related to post treatment change; dural metastases are unlikely, given the smooth nature and uniform distribution.
2.  Several small scattered foci of white matter T2 hyperintensity is nonspecific.  No enhancement corresponding to these lesions.  It is possible that these are related to post treatment change, but given the patient's history of malignancy, short-term interval follow up is recommended to exclude early developing metastases.  Follow up in 2-3 months is recommended.
3.  Advanced volume loss for age, likely treatment related.

A Brain MRI was ordered just as good measure.  I was not showing any signs of neurological symptoms.  Doctor Matei was happy to announce upon reading this report that I showed no sign of cancer in my brain.  So, despite the way this reads, this is good news.  Part of the reason I include them is so that you can see the validity and seriousness of my health. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Aunt Rose and Thanksgiving Hats

Aunt Rose
This past year sure has given us a new perspective on a lot of things, from the mundane details of everyday life to spectacular once-in-a-lifetime events, and all the rest in the middle of those two extremes.  My Thanksgiving Hat idea actually was born in a moment of reflection about past holidays.  I have mentioned my Aunt Rose.  Let me tell you about her because she is the heroine of my life and of many others in the family. 

Aunt Rose was my grandfather's sister, one of three sisters who were all beloved and absolutely wonderful.  They were loving and caring and made each of feel cherished and special (that in itself is a great quality). Their names were Rose, Blanche, and Yvonne.  Back to Aunt Rose.  She and her brother Louis (my grandfather) married another brother and sister, Horace and Eva Brillant, from Old Town, Maine.  Aunt Rose and her husband lived on a farm in Old Town, but a year or two after their marriage, Horace died from some kind of kidney failure.  
Yvonne, Rose, Blanche
(Meanwhile, my grandfather and Eva were busy having six children and he was in the building construction business)  After her husband's death, Rose came back to her parent's home in Waterville.  Utterly brokenhearted, she never remarried.  Then my grandmother Eva contracted tuberculosis after the birth of her last child, and after a short period of ill health, died at age 44.  Her children ranged in age from 1 to 15 with my mother in the middle of the pack.  
Floyd and Blanche's wedding photo
  So, my great-grandparents and Aunt Rose all moved in with my grandfather and the 6 kids. They all pitched in, worked, gardened, canned food, cleaned, did laundry, and all the other chores necessary to keep a big house and 9 people fed and clothed.  My grandfather died himself in 1949 around the age of 50 - he had a massive heart attack.  Aunt Rose had become the mother of that tribe.  Though she never had a child of her own, she made countless wedding dresses.  When I was a pre-schooler and my mother worked, Aunt Rose would take care of me too occasionally.  Me, and her own mother who was an invalid from a stroke, and my mother's siblings still in the home.  4 generations.  I can still see her rocking the latest baby in the family and saying her usual comment- "this is the cutest baby there ever was." 

Aunt Rose was like a fairy Godmother and saintly grandmother to all of us.  If we needed ANYTHING we knew where to go; from advice, to a recipe, to encouragement, to unconditional love, Aunt Rose was where we would head.  One moment stands out in my mind.  Paul and I were married all of three weeks and I 
Louis and Eva
found myself pregnant.  Well, that sort of blew our plans to work and save and I was a little disappointed (and my mother was irritated, to say the least).  So, I wandered over to Aunt Rose to spill my guts and cry on her shoulder.  She said this  "my husband and I wanted to wait too, to get settled before we had a child.  Then he died and I never had a chance to have a baby.  Be thankful and make your life work with a child.  It will".   From that moment on, my thoughts changed about the baby on the way (Susan) and I knew everything was going to be OK.

Aunt Rose died in 1976 at age 76 after suffering a stroke.  It felt as though the lights dimmed and we all still miss her terribly, she was the heart of our family.  Now, are you wondering what on earth this has to do with Thanksgiving hats?   As I was thinking about holidays past this week, I remembered how one year, Aunt Rose had made a complete Thanksgiving costume for one of my younger cousins.  Dress, bib and collar, cape, hat, the whole thing.  Can you imagine taking the time to fashion such a garment?   It was impressive!!!   So, in my own amateurish way, I decided that we could garb-up too.  Poster board, staples and tape I can manage, seamstress I'm not.  And we did have fun, inexpensive, creative, belly-laughing fun. 

A lot of friends have suggested that Paul and I are some kind of super-parents to have relocated here in Colorado Springs to help Susan and her family.  Nope, we're not.  We did  have a good example in a woman who gave up her own life to find another one though, and of how there is no limit to what love can accomplish.   I hope you have an Aunt Rose in your family. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Hats

This year, in the spirit of fun and new traditions, Mom set about making us Thanksgiving Hats to wear on "the big day."  Being the resourceful and computer savvy type she found a template online.  On one of her supply shopping trips she purchased black and white poster board.  On Thanksgiving eve, we watched a movie, cooked and watched as she assembled her pilgrim hats.  Dad pitched in and colored the gold buckles.

We had fun posing our hats around the house and taking photos as the turkey cooked in the oven and filled the condo with that delicious Thanksgiving aroma.  If you look at our individual facebook pages you will see the winning photos posted as our profile pictures.  The one you see here is mine.  Mom took hers in the place settings on our holiday table.

I am not sure where this brainstorm came from but in the spirit of playfulness we all cooperated.  My husband and I joke that Tan has inherited the "Comeau Silliness".  I think being silly and having fun is a value that makes life fun and helps ensure that one does not take oneself too seriously.  After all there is simply too much sadness and seriousness in day to day living. 

Pilgrim Crew
I think that this hat wearing will become part of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Next year, we will probably represent the Native American population in the American Traditional Thanksgiving.  Perhaps some of us will opt to represent the Pilgrims I cannot say for sure.  Meanwhile, we will be busy cooking up some more silly ideas and playing them out.  We could use some levity in our lives, especially right now.

We had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.  I hope that your Thanksgiving was equally as enjoyable.  As Mom blogged earlier our menu is pretty much fixed and I loved it.  I was able to snip the marsh mellows into the sweetened condensed milk as Mom put together the graham cracker roll and today I peeled the potatoes.  I had no troubles sitting through the entire meal, which I am grateful for.  Believe it or not the baby ate squash though all predictions were to the contrary.

Mrs. Pilgrim
This year it all seemed to matter that much more.  Having Mom here has been a wonderful blessing and I owe her a debt of gratitude.  Thanks Mom, I mean Mrs. Comeau Pilgrim, it was a memorable Thanksgiving.  Thank you for cooking all the favorites and for watching Shaun The Sheep with the baby over and over again.  Mom has taught him some excellent dance moves and he jumps to his feet at the end of every episode to dance along with the credits as they play the theme song.

Thanksgiving 2010

The Audet Relatives, circa 1950
I got some of the Thanksgiving shopping done yesterday, me and about a million other people doing the same thing.  I like to be sort of a peeping-Tom in the checkout line, eyeing what others are buying and comparing it to my own supplies.  Sometimes I am impressed seeing the assortments of imported cheeses and other expensive goodies that I pass on (reluctantly).  Other times I am a moderate snob when I examine prepared stuff and other fast food items knowing that my own meal will be homemade and the recipes go back generations.  (I can tell you that one family here will be enjoying A LOT of frozen corn). 
Beloved Aunt Rose
 This year, we will be enjoying a Pinon Sun Thanksgiving Day meal on Susan's Faltzcraft dishes that she has owned since 1993.  Tea Rose is the pattern and they are currently residing here with us while she gets her kitchen remodeled.  I will make the same stuffing that my mother makes and Aunt Rose made before her.  It done in the French Canadian tradition with onions and ground pork added for flavor.  It's quite good , but the best part is that it tastes like a lifetime of Thanksgiving dinners around tables filled with family and friends.   We'll fill in with the appropriate side dishes and salads and such.  

 I'll make a small pickle tray incluidng black olives, of course, and then we'll recall Amanda's food humor with olives as her specialty.  Amanda is now a successful  attorney specializing in municipal law in Maine.   We knew there was genius in that humor!

One year, the local newspaper in Maine decided to do a Thanksgiving feature and for some reason, asked if they could do a photo of our family.  A photographer arrived and did a staged picture (note Sarah is peering into an empty serving dish).  We loved it.. Now we love that picture with all of us there, 3 generations present then.  Now the babies in that photo have babies of their own.  It's wonderful.

Dessert deserves it's own paragraph.  Paul and I will make the usual pies on Wednesday evening, Pumpkin and Pecan of course.  But the special dessert is a concoction called Graham Cracker Roll and it is not Thanksgiving or Christmas without it.  It's simple but elegant. Crushed Graham Crackers, cut up walnuts, dates, and marshmallows all rolled together with sweetened condensed milk.  It's served as a slice with a HUGE dollop of real whipped cream.  Yummy!

 This year we will enjoy Thanksgiving and give thanks for what has been a wonderful and terrible year.  This year Susan will be able to sit at the table for the whole meal.  While her illness is still present and she is still fighting, nevertheless, we fight on. This year, Tan will sit at the table with us and not in his walker.  We will fix him a little plate and if he doesn't want to eat something, he'll shake his head and say "no, no".  We know better than to attempt squash.  He just won't eat it.  Last year when we gave him a bite, he promptly threw up.  Squash is "no-no".   This year we will give thanks for many things; a new home in Colorado, a new family member in Joe Rich, the prayers and love of old and new friends, the sustaining undergirding of God and His blessings upon us. 

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
Praise God all creatures here below
Praise Him above Ye heavely Host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Happy Thanksgiving everyone

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Looking At Cancer Through The Eyes Of Love

I skimmed through my book notes this evening and came across a notation about a chapter that I would like to write about this journey.  Many of those supporting and praying for me do not know that I regard my cancer differently than they do.  I look at the cancer cells as part of me.  In fact, they are.  They are cells that have mutated and have begun running their own agenda.

I regard the cancer with love.  When I am doing well and there is not a lot of stress in my life I spend my prayer and meditation time filling myself with love.  I come into the presence of my Maker and let the love flow from me to Him and back.  I never visualize just some of me giving love or give thought to myself as diseased.  I give this love to myself with my whole being.  I include my loved ones and especially my son.

When I am not doing well, I feel sad and depressed.  I don't want to lose my hair...again. I do not want to subject myself to chemotherapy and all that this entails.  I do not relish being ill and not able to participate in my life as actively as I wish.  I have made the decision to do as much as I can to ensure my survival to be here to raise my son.  I hope to raise a daughter as well.

When you are filling yourself with love you are likely to have thoughts of gratitude.  I have gratitude for a lot of things.  I am so happy that my Mom can be here to help.  She and I are alike and she is able to give me a lot of emotional support.  I am in need of support emotionally and am not always finding that I am supported at home.  Many times I am left to fend for myself.  This adds stress and heartache in this journey but I am grateful that if I press beyond my most inner circle there are others able to hold my hand and assist me.

I am immensely grateful to have a son who is happy, healthy, hilarious and on a mission to enjoy life.  He sucks the most out of every day.  I was most likely ill when I was pregnant with him and probably before.  I am teary eyed with gratitude that the pregnancy and birth went well and that I have him.  He is a blessing and adds joy to my life.

I am grateful that my Father was able to come and stay and be of assistance.  We would not be doing very well if it were not for him.  He has faithfully and lovingly cared for my child and has not complained though his own physical needs went unmet for this year.  No sleep.  A lot of extra cleaning.  A lot of wet beds.  It is no small thing that my son is 19 months old and has never seen the inside of a daycare.  He has been cared for by family who love him if ever there was a need.  For this, I am exceedingly grateful.

I do not hate cancer.  I do not hate any part of my body.  I try not to allow hate and anger to reside in me and make its way down to a cellular level.  I continue working hard to live in an attitude of love.  I believe that this may be the only way to overcome my health crisis.  I feel strongly about that. 

I have been angry lately.  I have been stressed and confused as well.  There have been some things that have happened in my personal life that have caused me to feel heartsick.  As a result my energy is sapped.  My nose immediately begins to run.  My stomach feels icky.

I will need to spend time in the prayer and meditation that I spoke about.  A lot of people refer to this as quiet time.  I will look up some verses on love and healing.  I will work on feeling the connection with the Father.  I need to get the love flowing so hard and so fast that it drowns out the sad, the angry and the pain.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Remodel Update

Well, we are plowing forward.  The kitchen is all torn up and the appliances have taken up temporary residence in our living room.  Huy has been working really hard trying to get all the tasks done so that we can install the cabinets. 

He has torn out the old cabinets.  Removed the double glued down layers of linoleum.  He has removed the wall paper and is in the process of removing the sofits.  We thought that we were going to be good on the sofits but he has uncovered some pipes that need to be moved.  There is still a half wall to be removed.  Then it will be time for the electrician and the plumber to do their jobs.  Finally, we will be able to do the floor and install the cabinets.

In the pictures you can see the gutted out kitchen and the floor in process of being removed. 

Hopefully we will not be in limbo too long because it is not fun to go without a stove and a sink.  I know that Huy will be happy to see the fruition of all of his hard work and will glad to see it over.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lotsa Helping Hands

A new acquaintance brought my attention to a fabulous community organization website called Lotsa Helping Hands.  It is a place where people can sign up, create a community for a sick individual or babysitting or eldercare etc. and then organize the volunteers willing to help.  It seems pretty straight forward and easy to use.  If you know of someone who is in a situation similar to mine and you want to help them consider using this website.  https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com

I am just learning about it myself and am not sure if you can go on the site looking for an individual or if you have to be signed up.  I have a feeling that you can go on and look for someone specific.  I am in the process of setting up my organization and sending out requests.  There are so many awesome friends and family members who have been hounding me for ways they can help and this makes it easy.  This way I can set up events according to shopping needs I have or home projects and then everyone can sign up to help.

Check it out. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Which Type Are You?

Are you the spontaneous type or are you a planner?  If I told you that you won a trip would you get out the travel books, research the area, and plan out all the must see / must do events?  Or would you pack your suitcase and just go?  Do you take the same approach to your life?

I was thinking the other day about what I would plan for my life beyond this particular portion of the journey.  I haven't been much of a planner so it kinda had me stumped.  You see I am a fly by the seat of my pants type of girl.  Lately, I have been thinking of buying new pants.

Not being a planner I was short on details and long on impulse.  I would plan to be happy.  I see happiness beyond this stretch of the road but no road map on how to get there specifically.  I would plan to be married to Huy and mother to Tan.  Both of which, would bring happiness to my life.

I see no change in plans as to my life's work.  I like what I do and it brings me happiness.  It is a real honor to be of service to my clients.  I was thinking about one of them who was long gone yesterday.  I wondered what had happened to him and thought sadly that I would never know.  He called today.  He told me he was still in Texas but coming to Colorado and wanted to see me.  Wow.  It was so unbelievable it gave me goosebumps.

I like the magical day to day occurrences like that.  I haven't come up with much else as far as plans but I am working on it.  I often say that you cannot reach your destination if you have no idea where you are headed.  I do know that my destination is filled with happiness even if I take a round about way to get there.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Out For The Count

I started back on chemotherapy on Monday, November 8, 2010.  I knew that my tumor markers going from 1023 to 1105 meant that Dr. Matei would put me back on chemotherapy I just didn't know that she would want to begin Monday.  Any discussion of chemotherapy with her leads to a crying jag for me and I had one to be sure.  It has been since April that I have been treated with chemotherapy and had I been in my right mind I might have been more proactive and asked more questions.  You might want to really think things through when attempting chemotherapy because there are some details that just need to be worked out.

For example, I might have remembered how vitally important it is to hydrate oneself after receiving chemotherapy.  I did well for a couple of days but then Wednesday I was knocked for a loop and didn't come out of it until Saturday.  I was in unbelievable amounts of pain that probably would have been somewhat avoided had I hydrated.  Of course, being on what is commonly referred to as the "Red Devil" may mean that I will not be able to avoid this, for now I intend to think positively.

Also, she stated that the majority of people on this treatment are able to work.  I might have explored this with her a bit further and realized I might have to go it easy, you know, for the first week at least.  I thought positively and as I lay in bed and suffered there was a glimmer of hope that tomorrow might be a new day and I could get back to work.  It didn't happen.  Now, I find myself wondering if I can survive the entire four months only working on the off weeks.

I talked to my friend Michelle today.  I didn't remember that we had spoken on Wednesday when I was in the throes of pain and suffering.  She was happy to hear I had made it through. I was aghast that we did in fact speak and I didn't remember.  I am not pleased to report that short term memory loss is on the list of possible side effects for Adriamycin.  I am not one for reading the multiple page printout of side effect, ahem, I wasn't one for it until now.  I think a little research might be in order to find ways to hopefully avoid any unnecessary pain and suffering.  I am also receiving the drug Cytoxan which is also commonly used to make mustard gas.  Good grief.

I am not scheduled for this treatment again until November 29, 2010.  If any of you have any handy tips to impart on me before that day it is most welcome.  Any extra prayer time on that day would be much coveted and appreciated.  Please reserve all phone calls following that day for at least a week.  I would like to remember that I spoke to you and may be trying to rest and get through it.  Thank you for reading and thanks in advance for the tips.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Been Wig Shopping Lately?

If you haven't been wig shopping lately you might want to go and see all the latest technology in hair.  I went to Ebony in town with Mom yesterday and there must have been about 500 wigs.  I was looking for a lace front with real human hair.  With a lace front wig you don't have to have bangs or thick bangs to hide the wig cap.  I found in my other wigs it made them look wiggy and I never really felt comfortable.

Now I am not dissing my other wigs.  I was not in a place last year that I could emotionally handle shopping for a wig.  The wig that was gifted to me was just what I needed.  It was very close to my color and style I had been wearing at that time.

When my hair grew back this year it was much darker as it was freshly grown and never highlighted.  Originally, I thought I would get a darker wig and shorter so I wouldn't have such a drastic change.  I tried on a bunch of them searching for that one that would be me.  It is a daunting task with so many choices.  I encourage you to pop in and check it out.  You will be shocked about how many ways you can buy hair.

I ended up with a longer wig that was highlighted with some golds and reds and long.  It is a bit sassy so it matches my personality pretty well.  lol.  I am needing to have it styled by my girl Jami and then I will be all set for the hair loss right before the holidays.  No whohoos of excitement but I am relieved that I will be prepared. 

I have already posted my other wig on craigslist with all the accessories so hopefully I can sell it and mitigate my damages.  With human hair wigs you can wash them but they need to be styled after.  You don't have to worry about heat and you can curl them or flat iron them.  They are worth it if you can find a good one.  I paid $345 for it and at that price it was an insane bargain.  When I priced them last year I found you couldn't touch one for less than $1000.

Some of you may be wondering why I didn't get one from the Cancer Society.  Well I tried.  Believe me.  I looked through all of the wigs at Rocky Mountain Cancer's two locations and attended the Look Good Feel Better program.  They gave you a makeover, new makeup and helped you get into a wig.  All of the wigs were used and some were pretty ratty looking.  The vast majority of them were kinda old lady like wigs.  Short, gray and curly.  There was one Dolly Parton type wig but it wasn't practical for working and platinum blond isn't really very flattering on me.

I did find a human hair wig on craigslist last Christmas, actually Huy found it for me, but I never felt comfortable in it and it was an old fashioned one with double stick tape.  I never lost all of my hair so this made it a bit hard to use.  Also it had been styled and I wasn't keen on the bangs.  Beautiful wig though, really.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Here we go again

For those of you not on my facebook and who do not already know my Doctor and I have made the decision to put me back on chemotherapy.  I am very sad about this and in true Susan form had a full blown meltdown.  It was necessary and quite cleansing.  I topped it off with a guilty pleasure of an ice cold Coca~Cola over ice and it helped bring me back around.  I don't know why this helps me but it does and for now I plan to go with it.

It was bad enough to have it confirmed that I was going back on chemotherapy but then when Dr. Matei asked me to do it yesterday I felt a bit overwhelmed.  Truth be told it was the most open day of my week as I have therapy clients scheduled and I didn't want to have to shuffle them.  Dr. Matei assured me that most people on this regime are still able to work so that helped calm me down.

I was very happy to have my mother by my side through this little ordeal yesterday.  I can be quite a tease and I do not think that she always feels the true measure of my gratitude toward her.  Thank you, Mom for being there and getting my prescriptions and buying me lunch. There are times in a person life when they need their mother and I was happy that you were there to help me through it.

After receiving my treatment I went home and watched some TV and my husband arrived with a parcel of treats for me.  This time around I am going into it with some experience and need to be careful about what I eat.  Chemotherapy can induce a lot of nausea and that might affect your ability to eat certain foods in the future.  He bought me some chicken and rice soup and some cupcakes (white with white frosting ..no chocolate) to brighten my mood.  Again, not health food but cheering up was the priority and if I develop an aversion to them it might not be a bad thing long term.

We spent the evening watching TV and talking.  We discussed our remodel project and made plans.  We sat together and watched videos of our son dancing (facebook) and discussed how much he has changed.  It was nice to have some undivided attention from him and I feel strengthened as a result.  I want you all to know that I count myself a very blessed woman.  I am loved by my husband.  I am supported immensely from my family.  I am prayed for and supported by people around the world.

This blog has had readers from the United States, Canada, Russia, Slovenia, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Sweden, Singapore and Germany.  That is quite a range.  I know who some of the international readers are but not all.  We only have 18 registered followers so it is difficult to tell unless comments are made or back channel emails are sent.  It is a very humbling thing to be able to pour my heart out on this forum and have readers tune in and spend their precious time on this endeavor.  So I just wanted to thank you from my heart because it means a lot to me and I feel even more supported by a whole crowd of anonymous people.  Thank you.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fall Back

My favorite holiday of the year is fall back.  To me, there is nothing as delicious and juicy as that extra hour.  Don't you agree?  Not a holiday you say?  I declare that it is and a mighty fine one at that.

Now it would be a whole lot easier to celebrate fall back if it were not for spring forward and the whole pay back system.  I understand how it all balances out but I can honestly say that, for me, one is celebrated and the other is not.

Anyway, back to my love of fall back day.  I think that there should be a fall back seasonal candy and certain traditions.  Now let me think for a minute about what they should be.  Peppermint is spoken for and so is chocolate.  I guess I will nominate the lollipop.  It is already a favorite of my son and it can be a hands free confection, perfect for the changing of clocks, which is just part of the fall back celebration.

For this holiday, no special characters are needed, therefore, no silly cover stories need be written.  However, it would be a wonderful idea to discuss the principle of time and how we as Christians know not the time/moment that Jesus is due to return.  It would be a great time to look up the verses that pertain to that as a family.  It would also be a good opportunity to talk about time and how each of us are not promised any guarantee on how much of it we get.

I cannot think of any other traditions for fall back day at this particular moment.  It is a bit late in the season for timed potato sack races or other outdoor type activities.  Fall back is a distinguished holiday and so it would simply not do to have other forced or copycat activities from the other holidays.  It is, however, a perfect time for family favorite foods and getting together.  Please note that though distinguished, this holiday is not stuffy, and only casual clothing should be worn while celebrating.

As for me and my family, we have not decided upon a traditional food for the main meal of our fall back celebration but we have concluded on the dessert.  Creme Brulee is the official Comeau family fall back special.  Though we will eat it often, I imagine, it will not taste quite as rich as on fall back day.  Okay it will but you gotta admit that sounded good.

Next year when you celebrate fall back just remember you heard it here first.  I would love to hear what traditions you came up with.  If any of you have any suggestions or favorite fall back day stories please feel free to comment.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Of course you do, but a reminder now and then is helpful.  Tuesday of course was Election Day.  It seemed like the whole country was stirred up and irritable didn't it?  There is alot of angst out there and it showed. Well Tuesday, I drove from my parents' home in Sidney, Maine to Manchester NH, to fly to Colorado.  I'd like to say fly home but I'm not exactly sure about this.  I do know that I achieved a personal and family record this week.  I was in each of our three homes in five days.  Friday in Florida, Monday in Maine, and Tuesday in Colorado.  Good Grief.   Anyway, I had brought with me a valuable research book to work on a personal project on the plane.  It was borrowed, expensive and difficult to replace.  I reached for it on the plane and it was not where I thought it was.  I was sick. I tore my luggage apart three times and could not find it.  My homecoming was somewhat tainted by the sick feeling in my stomach.  What had I done with it????   I placed a call to the Bible Study ladies back in Florida and left a message to pray!!!   Around midnight, I remembered that I had popped into a cafe in the airport and decided to check email at work.  I realized that I had probably taken the book out of my computer case and left it behind.   The next morning, I looked up the Manchester Airport phone numbers and was relieved to see the phone number of the cafe.  I called and reached an employee by the name of Jennifer Dionne.  I explained my world-shaking crisis to her and she almost immediately located the missing book.  Then, in a pay-it-forward spirit, she volunteered to go to a post office and overnight it to me.  I told her it would cost $20 or so, and she said "no problem, I'll just put it on my credit card".   WOW....  Sure enough, the very next day it arrived around 10am and I was able to continue my project right on schedule.   I can't express how encouraged and blessed I felt to have connected with a giver and someone who would go an extra mile for a complete stranger.  Thank you Jennifer.  Your act of kindness and unconditional giving was a tremendous gift.   I hope and pray that when I have the opportunity to pay-it-forward to someone else in need, I am willing to act without concern for my convenience or wallet, as you were. 

My Three Wishes

I was asked by an anonymous reader if I could wish for three things, with the exception of my cancer being cured, what would I wish for.  The first two wishes are easy and the last one will require some thought. 

I would wish that a pink Asian bundle of joy be adopted into my life.  I can no longer have children naturally and I desire greatly to have a daughter.  I would name her Mai Rebecca Rose and I would take great delight in rearing a strong capable daughter.

My second wish is that I would have complete financial freedom.  I think 60 million would suit my needs quite satisfactorily.  ;)  I could then work or not work and spend my days doing exactly what I want.  I could buy real estate, remodel, and give generously to whomever I wanted and all to my little hearts content.  I could fatten a college fund for Tan and Mai and ensure to their needs following my passing.

I could also take excellent care of my parents and provide them with the means to retire and live fabulously.  My parents have been hugely generous with me and I would be able to return the favor.  My father has not left my side in the past 13 months.  He and Mom traveled here to visit me when I was hospitalized and diagnosed in October 2009.  Mom had to return to work but Dad stayed behind and takes the baby at night so that I may rest and try to recover.

I also have several ideas for some charitable organizations that I would want to move forward on and create.  I would set them up with endowments so that they could withstand any issues with the economy and continue to serve the public in the manner in which I intended.

Finally, I would wish that no further crisis of this magnitude visit my family.  I think that we may be able to tough this one out, because we have stuck together, but it would be hard to bounce back without sufficient reprieve.  In life there are certainly no guarantees which is why I think this is a good use of wish number three.

Thank you for the post idea my dear anonymous reader. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why are people mean when they hurt?

If I could figure out the answer to this question I would be able to sell a million books, save countless marriages and earn untold riches.  I am not sure why but when people are emotionally hurt they strike out at the ones they love.  Oh, I am sure that not everyone does this but a lot of people seem to.

Is it a fear brought out by vulnerability?  Is it a sheer hatred of all things weak, including oneself, and then reacting violently.  Shucks.  I do not know.  I do know that having counseled, many a couple at this point, it happens. Week after week, my couch is filled for an hour with people telling me tales of how mean their loved one was.  They were having an argument over routine stuff when out of nowhere comes a real zinger.  The kind that makes you wince for years afterward. 

Worse yet, as the comfort level in the relationship goes up so do the frequency often times of letting those zingers fly.  Why?  Why do we hurt the ones that we love?  I wish that I could understand it and I certainly wish that I could change it.

When this sort of thing happens to me, my breath catches in my throat, and my very skin feels as though someone has thrown scalding water on it.  The agony in that moment is real and the heart literally feels as though it is breaking.

As I mentioned before, I am beginning to feel a sense of writer's block and it is taking longer to figure out what to blog about.  This post and some of the more recent posts, reflect what I have been thinking about lately.  I am thinking about the fact that my pain level may increase.  My ability to get up and enjoy my life may be compromised.  I worry that I may succumb to being mean and I want to prevent it from happening.

If any of you  have successfully conquered this problem in their own lives I would really like to hear about it.  Simply click on comment and type in the box.  Oh and while I am on the subject I haven't gotten a lot of contact from readers with pay it forward stories.  I am still looking for those.