Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's celebrate each other

Some Quotes on Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. ~Joyce Brothers

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family. ~Thomas Jefferson


I spent time today with several different kinds of people and I enjoyed each of them.  As I ponder each day, and each client, I am struck by the realization that I almost never meet anyone whom I do not like.  I easily find wonderful things about each and everyone I meet. 

I love the quirks, the eccentricities and I love the naughtiness, especially among the young ones.  I immensely enjoy the characters, the phrases that they use and the unique way they bunch up their faces when they talk.  I like asking them questions and hearing what they say.  I like shouldering problems with them and pushing hard against them.  There is a such a beauty in being human.  The most beautiful part is the human spirit rising up and preparing for obstacles.

The other side of the coin holds story, after story of neglect, pain, torment, and cruelty.  Where was the kind smile, the hug, the compassion, the generosity.  Where did it go?  Why wasn't it there.  It is hard to figure out how someone could choose to mistreat a family member when love is a more attractive offer.  I listen to these stories and I just feel confused.  I believe that we get to choose who we are.  If we don't like who we were yesterday we can choose right now to be different.

I know that I have often written about random acts of kindness on this blog.  It is because of the stories that I hear, all too often, of receiving a cold shoulder rather than a warm embrace.  I hope that you will allow me to remind you again, to be generous with our time, love and smiles. 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The song in my heart tonight.

Tonight as my thoughts turned toward what to write for a blog post, I heard this song in my heart.  It took me awhile to find the right version. 

Here is what I am thinking and what I am feeling this evening.

Have a blessed weekend.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Power of Prayer

I have been asked several times, here recently, if it would be ok for an individual to add me to their prayer list.  The easy answer is, I would be honored to receive prayer from those believers who would take their time to plead with God on my behalf.  I am a spirit-filled, born again believer who sincerely and humbly prays that I may be healed.  Any one who would be willing to join me with on that endeavor is most welcome.

Prayers Welcome!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nothing says love like a....

My mom has recently become fluent in the love language of sandwich.  We have been buying those Bratwurst rolls from Target and she can toast that baby and turn out some delicious sandwiches.  I went over to my parents home this afternoon for a swim with Tan and a visit.

I was going to stay for dinner, but was feeling tired.  Mom offered to make me a sandwich and take me home.   I came home and crawled into bed with my laptop and ate my sandwich.  It was delicious.  I felt so loved and happy.  If you are looking for a way to make your loved ones feel good, then consider making them a sandwich. 

A really good sandwich is a work of art and is not that hard.  Start with the basics.  Get some good quality deli meat that is free of nitrates.  Have the deli slice you up some nice Swiss cheese.  I think that romaine hearts are yummy and last a long time in the fridge but you can decide on that.  If you are fortunate enough to have your own garden, or patio garden, then use one of those tomatoes on it, sliced up fresh.  When it comes to ingredients you can get creative but I say start with a butter pan toasted bun.  Your loved ones with cheer, I promise.

Thanks was yummy to my tummy!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Gaining 30 seconds a day

It would seem that I am back on the mend.  My spirits have improved.  My pain level is down.  My energy is recovering at a snail's pace, gaining 30 seconds a day of use able energy stores.

I was asked whether or not I tend to like company and what seems to help me.  I like company but I do not have much energy to talk or visit for long periods of time.  When I am really wiped out a short email note, a quick hello on facebook or funny pictures and jokes tend to do a lot to improve my mood without taxing my strength.  It is hard to admit that, because I would much love to visit with my friends, some of them I am missing right now, very much.

As you probably know, anonymous, time saving gifts are the best uplift.  I needed gas in my car and it bothered me all week, but I felt better today when I finally had the energy to get some.  I am sure that my husband or parents would have filled my tank for me, if asked, but honestly who has the energy to ask (sounds whiny...I know). 

I have gotten into the habit of keeping hard candy in my office and it is amusing to me how much everyone seems to enjoy the little treat.  I ran out of the "good" candy and just had the yucky ones left.  I commiserated this fact with one of my clients, as they picked through what was left, and they offered to pick me up a huge bag at Costco (way too big for my energy level to manage) and then they did!!  Huge relief to me, that they gave me this gift of shopping, and now everyone is happy as they walk away, sucking on a peppermint or butterscotch treat. 

Last year, I tried the Helping Hands website, to manage all the offers I was getting to prepare meals for my family or do some shopping.  Unfortunately, many of the people who offered to prepare a meal or help out, bailed at the last minute and it became too frustrating.  There are a lot of people in this world who over-promise and under-deliver.  It is hard to take when you are counting on them and hoping to see them.  Those of you who read this blog will be shocked to read that, you being the choir and all, but it happened more than I care to admit.  If you have someone in your life, who is dealing with an energy crisis or illness, be sure that you are mindful of this.

All in all, I have been treated well.  I am spoiled completely rotten by my friend anonymous and by my parents who help out in countless ways.  All of my needs are satisfied.  I would like to have visitors but then it is nice to get out of my surroundings and have a visit.  I guess that the only advice that I can offer is to contact your loved one, ask what they need, be insistent and persistent and then...actually deliver. 


Sunday, August 21, 2011

It comes with the territory

The last two weeks have been a marathon of exhaustion, running low grade temperatures, visiting the doctor, trying to get some rest and feeble attempts to get all my work in.  My body feels like it is a deflated bicycle tube.  I have no energy, or a little, and it runs out quick.  At moments, even the prospect of getting up and going to the bathroom seems too labor intensive, but I don't like the consequences of not going.

Chemotherapy is known to cause weakness, fatigue, and a feeling of being run down.  Xeloda is proving to be no exception.  I am also showing signs that this treatment is doing what it should in terms of addressing the cancer issue, which further takes a toll on the body.  I have had so much fatigue, that we, my Doctor and I, have elected to give me another week or more rest in between cycles.

Fatigue to this extent can take a toll on the spirit.  I have certainly felt a little down as I have felt too tired to move and at times in quite a lot of pain.  I count myself fortunate to have long periods of rest and short periods of suffering, because I am not very good at taking it.

I said all of that to say this, when dealing with a disease like cancer, you are going to lose a few battles.  I am aware that I will not feel terrific every day.  If you are dealing with this, then you, my friend, are not going to have a good day every day.  I like to stay on the positive side of things, but I think I need to report the truth about my process.  There are times when I feel rather crummy.  The last couple weeks have been challenging.  I am still plugging along.  I have my eyes on the prize.  I am still believing in faith for my healing.  I am thanking God, in advance, for his answer to our many, many prayers.

Keep on keeping on!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

200th Blog Post: Reasons to celebrate

Celion Dion
"The Power of The Dream"

Deep within each heart
There lies a magic spark
That lights the fire of our imagination
And since the dawn of man
The strength of just "I can"
Has brought together people of all nations

There’s nothing ordinary
In the living of each day
There’s a special part
Every one of us will play

Feel the flame forever burn
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the power of the dream
As the world gives us its best
To stand apart from all the rest
It is the power of the dream that brings us here

Your mind will take you far
The rest is just pure heart
You’ll find your fate is all your own creation
Every boy and girl
As they come into this world
They bring the gift of hope and inspiration

Feel the flame forever burn
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the power of the dream
The world unites in hope and peace
We pray that it will always be
It is the power of the dream that brings us here

There’s so much strength in all of us
Every woman child and man
It’s the moment that you think you can’t
You’ll discover that you can

Feel the flame forever burn
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the power of the dream
The world unites in hope and peace
We pray that it will always be
It is the power of the dream that brings us here

Feel the flame forever burn
Teaching lessons we must learn
To bring us closer to the power of the dream
The world unites in hope and peace
We pray that it will always be
It is the power of the dream that brings us here

The power of the dream
The faith in things unseen
The courage to embrace your fear
No matter where you are
To reach for your own star
To realize the power of the dream


Sunday, August 14, 2011

What I know now that I just sort of knew then...part 5

What I know now that I just sort of knew then was how important it is to have a clearly defined sense of self.  I have known many people who allowed themselves to be defined by their children, their husband, their pastor or even their job.  Perhaps, it is the luxury of being an older woman with a young child, I have come to know myself over the years.  Knowing myself as I do, I do not get lost in all those different aspects of my life, and I certainly do not get lost in the illness I am working to overcome.

Each day, I rely upon my inner strength, my faith, and my intestinal fortitude to make the most of all the moments I am gifted.  I cannot imagine facing all of this without knowing myself.  If I did not know myself I would not be able to draw on my resources and bolster myself when I feel stressed or drained.  Without knowing myself, I would not be able to form strong relationships and gain the support system that I have, which keeps me afloat.  I do not believe that a person who does not know themselves well, can form authentic relationships with other strong individuals.

I have heard it said that Navy Seals are pushed beyond their limits so that they may excel beyond what even they think they are capable of.  This journey, in some ways, feels like a spiritual form of Seal training.  Not that I could even begin to imagine what real life Navy Seal training could be like.  I have been pushed beyond my prior tolerances for pain, fatigue, stress, and endurance of spirit.  My desire to work and participate in my family to the extent that I am able has multiplied.  At times, my body gives out but my spirit stays strong.

I think it pays to work on self development as often as you can.  Take a trip with a girlfriend or, if you dare, alone.  The key to developing a strong sense of self is to stretch your comfort zone in as many ways as possible.  Visit uncharted territory.  Conquer your fears.  Discover!  Then please email me and let me know what you did...I still need 40 some odd items on my bucket list.  lol.

The promises of this world are, for the most part, vain phantoms; and to confide in one's self, and become something of worth and value is the best and safest course. ~Michelangelo

What we do flows from who we are. ~Paul Vitale

I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm. ~James Thurber

My life should be unique; it should be an alms, a battle, a conquest, a medicine. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance


Friday, August 12, 2011

What I know now that I just sort of knew then...part 4

this picture is called "Blue Moon" know like
every once in a blue moon? 
I heard a long time ago that when you write down your goals/dreams it is more likely that they come true.  I immediately started writing down the things that I was dreaming of and refining them, adding all the details I could think of, so that I was clear on my goals (note that I use the words dreams and goals interchangeably). 

When I was diagnosed as suffering with cancer it through me for a loop.  I always, even from day one, had a strong feeling that I would beat this issue but there were some dark days.  I have never faced such a massive opponent.  Initially, I was struggling to walk, trying to work, and concerned with co-parenting my six month old baby.  As soon as I was able to make some progress, and regain some strength, I began to dream again.
What I know now that I just sort of knew then was that dreams give you a direction and a reason to live. They speak to the quality of what you want your life to be and they create a road map to your sucess.  When times get tough, dreams are promises you have made to yourself, that you have things to do, and it helps you fight.  A clearly defined purpose and some evidence of your passion can give your mind something positive to dwell on.  Nights that are long, and spent in sickness and pain, call for some sort of relief and I have found that shifting to a dreaming and planning mode is really helpful to me. 

It is what I was experiencing last year when I felt that I had to remodel my kitchen.  I needed to accomplish something positive.  I felt an intense burning desire to create something.  I was trying to turn some creative juice into something tangible (of course, what I know now about remodeling is that it can test even the strongest please take some caution on that).  I just needed to do it.

I know now, even more than I knew back then, that you must never stop dreaming.  If you stop me on the street and ask me what my dreams are, you will get a long, long list.  It is why I think a bucket list is vital.  It is important to have things to look forward to, work toward, and to give you the satisfaction of accomplishment.


Monday, August 8, 2011

What I know now that I just sort of knew then...part 3

It is not the place, nor the condition, but the mind alone that can make anyone happy or miserable.''
Sir Roger L'Estrange

They say that "attitude is everything" and I knew that this was a true statement but now I really know how powerful your attitude can be.  I work in a field where I have the ability to influence those I work with.  What I have learned through this experience is that having a good attitude when things are not going well seem to make people stand up and pay attention.

I believe that when you can stay focused on the positive it does something to your entire being.  It is not always possible to remain upbeat but I realize that it is important to try.  I have always tried to send the message to my clients that I care about them.  When I would show up for appointments despite having a broken back and being hardly able to walk they received that message from me in a powerful way.  When they expressed concern for me and I was able to grin through the pain and authentically say, "hey it is hard for me right now, but I am doing something I believe in and it will get easier.  Life is hard sometimes but you just have to keep moving."  Many of them related that this motivated to try harder in their lives, thinking, hey if she can do all of that, I can give some more effort.

I work hard on this blog and in my personal and professional life to remain hopeful and positive.  When I succeed it seems to inspire others to do the same.  What I know now that I just sort of knew then that this is a powerful way to live.  It is faith in practice and it just feels better than the alternative, allowing yourself to feel miserable.

I hope that you too will be inspired to give a little more umph to your life and your goals.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

What I know now that I just sort of knew then...part 2

One thing I know now that I just sorta knew then was that parenthood is precious.  I had been a mother for six months when I was diagnosed with cancer and I knew that my son was a gift from God.  It seems, though, that every day since my diagnosis has been more sweeter than the day before when I am able to play with my son.

Even when Tan is just sitting next to me watching a movie I admire his face with love and amazement.  I have never seen a sight so beautiful.  I could never answer the question, which expression is my favorite, because I simply never get tired of looking at him.  Tan (pronounced thunderbolt) is beautiful when asleep, when laughing and even when scowling at me in defiance.

I waited a very long time to be a mother and it was bittersweet that some of my energy, focus, and fitness was compromised in the early days of his life.  Nevertheless, I knew that motherhood was an important thing, I just didn't know how much it meant to me until it was threatened.  It really hurt me that I couldn't be a rough and tumble Mom.  I wanted to nurse him until he was one, crawl around with him on the floor and perform all the developmental enrichments right on cue.  I had several dreams about my child but one of them was that he have a close and happy relationship with his grandparents. 

I knew that this was important then, but what I know now is that this has been a life changing gift for all of us.  My son loves all of us but his Grampy is his happy thought.  He is adored, well taken care of, and safe, because of his parents and his grandparents all cooperating together to make it so.  He has two cozy nests from which to explore the world and this has made all of the difference.  God has demonstrated the ultimate expression of love for us by sacrificing His wants for our needs and sending His son to die for our sins.  It is such a humbling thought that we could be so loved.

I certainly do not pretend to be capable of that kind of Divine Love.  I do not even have the capacity to understand it.  I do love my own son.  I would not wish cancer on myself but with all that I know now I would not take the gift of Grampy and Grammie from my son.  He is blessed with an incredible father who takes excellent care of him by day and who whisks him away and into the loving arms of his grandparents by night.  Cancer certainly put a big detour sign into the path of all of us but this part of the journey has been a blessed one.


What I know now that I just sort of knew then...part 1

What I know now that I just sort of knew then was how important your friends are.  I was always the type of person that opted for a few really close friends over a bunch of good, but only sorta close friends.  Over the years some of those friendships have grown stronger and others have withered away.  I feel great sorrow over those that are gone and wish I could find them and repair that which was broken.  I miss them.

Thanks to Facebook some of them I have found.  It is comforting to know that I can reach out to them again and see some glimpses of their lives through their posts.  This contact, though limited, makes me feel better somehow than no contact or word at all.

This weekend some really good inherited friends came to Colorado to go camping.  These were friends of a friend of mine and for some reason my friendship has blossomed with them and the original relationship has been lost.  I guess that happens, and is natural given the ebb and flow of life, but I still feel sad.  You see, I knew before cancer that friendships were important.  I knew that for relationships to survive they had to be nurtured.  What I know now is that I do not have a lot of strength to seek out friends and nurture relationships in a physical sense.  Those relationships that I had carefully tended to, remain, and are present to nurture me now.

I know now that time is precious and that when I am able to physically walk in search of some of those relationships that have withered it may be too late to save them.  I have fond memories of adventures, giggles, shared meals and shared support.  I didn't know that this time might be limited because back then, before cancer, it felt like I had forever.  I know now that this was only an illusion.  Though I may want to, I cannot jump on a plane when a dear friend needs me.  I cannot just go off for a week or two and visit.  Heck I can't even take off at 10 o'clock at night to rush to the hospital and sit along side a friend in panic.  I took so much for granted back then.  I wasted so much time being busy or being tired from being busy and what I know now is that I was not doing much of anything. 


Monday, August 1, 2011

Bone Marrow Biopsy

A. Bone Marrow, Biopsy - 1 bone marrow biopsy left
B.  Bone Marrow Aspirate Smear - 2 bone marrow aspirate smear - left
C.  Blood, Peripheral - 3 Peripheral blood

Clinical Information
The patient is a 40 year old female who was diagnosed with metastatic breast carcinoma with bone and bone marrow metastasis in October 2009.  At that time the tumor was estrogen and progesterone receptor positive and Her-2/neu negative by FISH.  She was treated with radiation and chemotherapy.  In November of 2009, the patient had 2 right breast biopsies which showed ductal carcinoma in one and invasive lobular carcinoma in the other.  The patient has had a recent PET scan which by her report showed widely metastatic disease.  The bone marrow is performed to assess metastatic disease and perform ER/PR and Her-2/neu on the tumor present.

This biopsy shows marked osteosclerosis and metastatic carcinoma consistent with breast carcinoma.  Staining for estrogen weak positively in 2% of tumor cells.  Progesterone staining was negative.  Negative for Her-2/neu gene amplification, metastatic poorly differentiated carcinoma with breast primary.

Hot Dog Bun Update

Good news folks.  Mom was shopping at Target and discovered a suitable alternative to the New England Hot Dog bun.  In case you cannot see the tag well it is a Bratwurst Bun found in the bakery section.  They are not sliced and have flat sides which makes them perfect for toasting up and after cutting open on top you can add your Hot Dog ( Oscar Mayor has nitrate free hot dogs) or other sandwhich favorites and eat it New England style. 

This may seem strange but I got a lot of positive feedback on my Hot Dog Bun post and I wanted to let you know that we have found a viable option here in Colorado. 

this is actually laying on its side and with some butter the sides
toasted up nice and crunchy.  Be sure and stand it up after
toasting and cut across the top and it will sit up nicely

Hope you are all enjoying your summer.  I know that I am.