…..in a blink it’s been 29 years…..

(adapted reprint from my former blog August 13, 2012)

The above date may or may not mean anything to you.  For me it is a wonderful day.  It is the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth.  Kathleen Harriman came into the world in Bar Harbor, Maine. She had 4 sisters and one brother.  She married and had three children.  For the most of her life she worked in upscale ladies dress shops in Florida, Cape Cod and Bar Harbor.  She was a great saleslady and very attentive to her clients.  More she was a great grandmother and I am honored to carry her name.  She was not typical.  No rocking chair for Grammy.

She left her first husband in the 40’s.  That was an unheard of thing at the time.  She remarried in 1947, survived a fire that devastated most of the town and lost most of her belongings.  She moved where the job took her with second husband.  They lived in an Airstream Trailer in Florida in the winter.  She was the first to speak about this – she smoked and didn’t inhale!  She carried a flask to card games with the ladies.  She had the best looking legs, my uncle used to say, of any old lady.  She was stylish to the day she died.  I do not believe I ever saw Grammy disheveled.  She could tell an off-color joke like a bawdy sailor!  She rarely made waves.

After she retired to Bar Harbor, she and her siblings would have lunch together every Thursday.  The local paper did an article on them and called it “A Reunion Every Week” and included a group photo with the article.  Any of us who were in town on a Thursday would join them.  On occasion we took over multiple tables!

She wore rings that were costume jewelry though looked real not caring either way.  If she liked them she wore them. She had charm bracelets.  One bracelet had charms of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Her other bracelet had charms from her life’s travels.  Together they made the loveliest tinkling noise.  It was hard to know what to do with them after she left us.  The grandmother’s bracelet was broken up and we each got our charms.  The other bracelet we put in a gold framed shadow box as we just could not cut it up.

One of the nicest things Grammy did for me was to support me in various ways. She rarely sent me a note when I was in college that did not have a $5 bill in it.  “Pin” money she called it.  One summer I lived with her – more shared her room – when she was living in her sister’s house.  We really got to know each other well then.  When I would come home for lunch with a cooked chicken I’d bought on my way, we would gorge ourselves while laughing at the decadence!!  One time when Grammy’s Aunt Ruth was verbally tearing down my generation (the 60’s) I spoke up to her saying that we were not that bad.  After Aunt Ruth left, Grammy said, “I was very proud of how you stood up to her, Dear.”  We were always called ‘Dear’.  I was relieved to hear those words. That praise, knowing that I had not overstepped, was written in my heart to be remembered.  Another summer she had my sister and I serve as her models for a fashion show held at a local hotel for the wealthy that summered in the area.  I got to wear a beaded top red cocktail dress that led me to the love of sparkles to this day.

GrammyThree weeks before she died at age 86 in 1989 she was at our house for Easter dinner ‘dressed to the nines’!  She looked beautiful in her pink and black suit.  If you did not know it you would not see she had cancer.  She usually had a drink before dinner. She always told the person who was making it not to put in too much coke with the rum as it spoiled the taste.  On Easter she was having trouble tasting so declined her usual.  My husband’s offered her a beer to which she replied that sounded great!  I think that was the first and last time I ever saw Grammy drink beer!

Sunday April 16th at noon I called the hospital and my sister answered the phone.  I asked if I should get up there right now.  She said no rush.  I was scheduled to come up the next day which was the beginning of spring break for our kids.  The next morning we got the call that Grammy had passed away earlier that morning.  My aunt (her daughter) and I were on the road by ten.  Our families came up later.  As I said Grammy made no waves.  She knew we were all arriving for spring break so just like her she made it convenient for us to say good-bye while losing no school time for the kids.

She gave me the greatest gift before she died.  During that phone call we chatted.  She sounded surprisingly good.  I said I was coming up the next day and I would see her then.  The greatest gift is love we are told.  I carry the gift of her last words to me in my heart now forever.

As I ended the phone call I said “I love you Grammy.”  She said “I love you too, Dear.”

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

Advertisements

…..in a blink it’s the halfway mark…..

This blog was supposed to be this aging ladies compilation of her eclectic thoughts during retirement.  To some extent it still is though we have had a kink tossed into the mix.

Tuesday of this week we reached the halfway mark in the treatments for my boyfriends cancer, Diffuse Large B Cell Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.  We were happy to celebrate this milestone.  The pre-check with the Dr was good news with his blood counts in a good range and no weight loss.  The infusion went off same as before.  These nurses know their stuff!  We spent the morning as the two previous with reading, chatting and munching as the miracle oil entered his body.

He had the same amount of very slight nausea, the metallic taste and the bone pain that he had experienced before as the drugs were introduced.  While these side effects passed almost as quickly as they came, he also had the ginger inhaler to be more comfortable as they waned.

Pause for a small commercial break…..nauseainhalerI discovered this inhaler (1) last year when a friend who also had cancer was complaining of nausea.  I said there has to be something.  I found this on Amazon, ordered her a bunch of them and waited to see if they worked.  She said they did.  With our diagnosis, I ordered one just in case to have on hand.  It works.  It said it was for pregnancy and chemo.  Wonder if it would work for flying?  It is so simple.  We shared this info Tuesday with our next door neighbor at the infusion center before we left.

I have been asked about the medicine.  R-CHOP fascinates me.  Before any treatment happens we stop at the lab to give blood.  Next is the weigh in with the Dr visit.  Once he is in the infusion chair more questions before the nurse sends the order down for the bags of drugs.   The drugs are mixed right then specifically for my boyfriend.  They are sent up in stages.  It is fascinating to me that since this is such a well used combination that it is not already in a bag somewhere waiting to be used like the saline that goes in first.  We chatted about that with the nurse.  She made the point that if it were ready and the pre-checks were not good we would not get the treatment today so what, then, would they do with the drugs.  In fact on Tuesday there were 3-4 patients who came in to cancel appointments due to their blood work being off.  Medicine certainly is miraculous.

Another question we received from a friend was why are we using a blog as opposed to Caring Bridge which lots of people use when they are ill.  I have three reasons.  One is that our experience is that many who use Caring Bridge are really, really sick to the point of some of them no longer being with us.  I did not want to have that amount of seriousness right now.

A second reason is Caring Bridge asks those who participate to donate money.  Did not want our families and friends asked.

Thirdly I needed a reason to get back to blogging.  I set up the blog a few months (many) ago as I said for retirement.  Now seemed like a really good time to kick it off.

Lastly this week, I have to share a story with you.   Medicine in the form of diagnostic tools, tests, drugs in pill form or otherwise has come a very long way.  We are indeed extremely grateful we are in this time to receive such good care.  We are aware there are also alternative ways to heal.  Believe me we will be looking into many of those when the maintenance part of this journey comes along in October with the last treatment.  There is one other form of medicine in which we believe.  Let me share it with you.

We are in the middle of a hot summer.  Here in the middle we have had mostly 90 degree days filled with high humidity.  On the coast of Maine where we had planned to spend our summers it too has been blisteringly hot.  They too have had high 90s with high humidity for a lot of the summer as well.  The difference here is that we have air-conditioning whereas most of the cottages and homes in Maine do not.  Many people of course have units, yet to find air installed as part of the heating system is not common.

We were sitting on our couch watching some TV weather when it came to me that God works in mysterious ways.

I mentioned this to the man sitting next to me on the couch, “How interesting is that.”

My boyfriend said: “What?”

I said, “Do you suppose God in his wisdom knew it was going to be hot so kept us here so I would not complain (I used another word)  all summer?  You know I would have done so.”

I went on to say, “God would have known it would have to be something drastic to keep me here.”

Now the man to whom I am married, aka my boyfriend, is slow to anger, slow to speak as well as  a man of very few words.  He looked at me gave me the quizzical over his glasses look and said nothing.  Typical end of discussion.

Today we were on Skype having our weekly visit with a dear friend from NJ.  Once again the weather came up.  It has been as hot in Haddonfield as the coast and the middle.  I reiterated my theory about the heat and cancer.

I posited my theory by saying, “I wonder if God kept us here because he knew I would complain about no air-conditioning unit to the point of a being real pain in the neck to irritation and anger.”

My quiet man of few words piped up this time with a louder than usual exclamation saying, “I would have rather had to hear that and go buy the (really was a blankety blank stream of words)  air-conditioner than go through this stuff!”

The way he said – rarely swears or raises his voice – it made me break out in gales of laughter, he joined in as did our friend across the country on the internet.  We had a real belly laugh over this exclamation of his choice.  This brings me back to one of the best medicines of all – laughter truly is it.  If you can share it during hard times with the ones you love – even better.

Truly, know we are well.  It is day 3 and, Thank You God, looks like he is feeling well enough to go out jamming tonight.

…..ONWARD TO MOREMISADVENTURE….

(1) https://smile.amazon.com/Aromatherapy-Queasiness-Medication-Botanicals-Alternative/dp/B00V3N42H0/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1533847228&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=nausea%2Binhaler&th=1

…..in a blink mundane disappears…..

The word mundane is marching through my mind this day.

Mundane definition, common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.

20180731_153119That is our life at this moment. I rejoice in it.  My boyfriend is not suffering too badly with the side effects of the chemo.  As I have said,  the first week after chemo is the worst and still manageable.  The second week is better.  Now in the second round this is the third week and he is almost back to normal.  He still says he feels some muscle fatigue though it is livable. In fact yesterday I was the recipient as well as minor helper of two new cabinets in the laundry room.

Before I go any further let me once again reiterate that while our experience of cancer so far has been more like that of recovering from a very bad flu, I realize that there are many people ‘out there’ with cancers that suffer extreme side effects from their treatments.  I can only speak from our experience.  When we questioned our oncologist about what we were undergoing being so different than what we read on the web he answered simply with the words, “…no one writes about the good effects of chemo.”  I am.

I am certain my dear husband would rather not be going through this illness.  I am certain he would like his hair back.  I am also certain he believes he will be healed.  I am glad he is surrounded by many prayer warriors world-wide.  I am glad he has friends who have walked this path before with whom to speak and share his journey.  I am certain he is thankful for what is behind while still being concerned about future treatments.  I am also certain he is filled with strength and hope.

For my part I can only love and support him.  I can cook meals that are nourishing.  I can keep his surroundings clean despite our differing opinions (the boyfriend is fastidious) of what that actually means.  I can keep family and friends updated with blogs.  I can share with much thanksgiving that his chemo therapy using R-CHOP for us has been a manageable blessing. The hope is that others will read  this on the web in the hope that it may alleviate some from the fears that we were experiencing when we heard the diagnosis.

I so enjoy beginning a new post as I never know where it is going to lead me.  While I started thinking of mundane, I now see word hope has been used multiple times.  Looks like that is the direction today.

Part of my blogging is to check my site regularly to see stats as well as allow comments to be posted as I want feedback.  When I did it today up popped an old post of September 2016 (1) from my former blog.  It was a redux of a post I had written in 2012.  In 2012 wanting to be a writer, yet uncertain I had the tenacity, I had challenged myself to write a blog every day for a year.  I share the old blog rather for your reading.  It appears hope is important to me. It is my wish it would be for all of you, readers, as well.  I cannot fathom a life without hope in it.

What does hope look like?  For me hope is the image of a cloud, a light bright white fluffy one.  Have you ever been up in a plane on a sunny day? Once above the clouds you look out the window to see that you appear to be flying on a pillow of cotton batting – white fluffy cotton batting?  Of course hope is also one of my favorite colors, yellow – bright and sunny.

Hope sounds like a calliope playing happy music at a circus with people around filled with laughter.  Hope looks like a whole group of brightly colored balloons floating in the air like in the Albequeque, New Mexico International Balloon Festival. (2)  Speaking of balloons, The Wizard of Oz was all about hope wasn’t it?

billconventionMy best picture of hope is the one in which I posted day one of this blog.  With our hope and belief in God’s Blessings we will return to that same pose and picture.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…..

(1)  https://ktsquaredtreasures.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/good-morning-world-redux/

(2) http://www.balloonfiesta.com/

…and in a blink – a paradigm shift…?

Interesting week this past week with cancer.  It was week one from second chemo and all went the same as before.  The upset when the nulasta kicked in 27hrs later which was alleviated by the ginger inhaler.  The tired weariness which was a reason to just relax.  The constipation which was less than before due to medicine and ginger snaps. (1) This latter fact we learned ourselves while in Maryland in the fall when Sweetzels Spiced Wafers hit the stores.

A little more about ginger.  It was a couple of years ago now that we were helping a couple with some of their writing for our ministry when the gal casually said they were taking a boat trip and she had to buy ginger candy.  Ever looking for a natural cure for anything my ears perked up. (2)  I did the research.  Sure enough it was there and I stored the information.

Last year when a friend was undergoing chemo I looked for nausea relief again on Amazon to see if there was something that would help. Once again I found a product (3) that was not invasive.  If it did not work you were out very little.  I got it for her and VOILA.  She said it helped.  We chuckled that it was for morning sickness as well since we were both long away from that!!! Now they have pills too I found in my looking around the web. (4)

Each chemo we go armed with our ginger inhaler, ginger candy and ginger gum (my sister-in-law told us about this) in our wheelie bag with the blanket books and lunches with ginger snaps.  Only 4 more to go with all the prayers from all our family and friends as well as our hope that there are still few side effects while the process is truly healing.

As the caregiver I simply do what needs to be done as usual.  This recovery has not interfered much into our lives.  My boyfriend built a set of shelves last weekend in fact.

Recently he looked at me and said,  “You DO take good care of me.” 

I was taken aback and said, “Of course what did you think I would do?”

His reply was to say he thought I of course would yet he was thanking me.

Well me, being me, now am thinking out loud in my head “What did he think I would do lock him in the basement?” I said it out loud and we chuckled.

This interplay led me to a reality that perhaps there are those that cannot cope with illness especially if it happens to someone they love.  I have to admit it is taking a huge paradigm shift to see my boyfriend as sick.  I still cannot despite his low energy and less hair.  He is still my knight-errant jousting at windmills for us.  We will get through this blip. 

I hoped I was interpreting the word right which led me to once again wonder why in the world my boyfriend would thank me for taking care of him.  Hadn’t I been doing this for 49 years?

Now do not get into an uproar I know exactly what he was saying and am grateful for his love and health!  This discussion did get me to thinking about paradigm shifts in general.

As an information junkie I wanted to be sure I understood just what a paradigm shift is by definition.

First I looked to be sure that a paradigm was a system of thoughts, beliefs or standards.  Assured that it was,  I further looked to Merriam-Webster.  It says a paradigm shift is “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.”   Others call it a change in process or impact on ideas or theory.

Now I have had paradigm shifts on my mind.  Have I had them?  Have I changed my mind or way of doing things?  Interesting musing for a morning.

I know I  no longer think the same about  many issues and things.  With this being said my core values have not changed.  I still believe in my faith, probably even stronger now.  I still believe in love now knowing that while it does just happen it also takes work.  I still believe in being passionate in all things.  Half-heartedly doing anything simply does not work.

The unique thing about a paradigm I believe is that you can change yours quietly without anyone understanding that you are different.  It is your own best kept secret while others try to keep you pigeon- holed into “the same as you always were.”  You are not in their eyes allowed to shift any perspective.  It really is quite fascinating.  Watch.

Let me share examples from my life.   One paradigm shift that many do not believe or understand is I am no longer competitive.  I could care less if I win or lose.  If I am playing any game it is for the joy of it along with the company.

Another paradigm shift I am working on is the need not to be right.  I know Daddy is rolling his eyes somewhere as we are always supposed to be right.  I have found it gets you nothing.  Why bother.  Those in the conversation believe they are correct as well. Usually there is no right or wrong so why argue?  Could I possibly be becoming passive?  No – passion in all things!  Being right not so much.

I must codify this with the fact that I do like to see credible reporting on issues in the news today which at this time is difficult.  I will correct this when I see it.  I try not to take sides yet at the same time offer further awareness into a perspective while sticking to facts, using relevant quotes or clips.  I care not for the opinions simply reality and clarity.  I want to see facts clearly and have others do the same.  Not necessarily for them to agree with me, simply offer the opportunity to see other information.  Splitting hairs?  Will be mulling this further!

Paradigm shifts – what is next?

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

————————————————————————————————-

(1) https://homeremediesforlife.com/ginger-for-constipation/

(2) https://www.verywellhealth.com/ginger-for-nausea-relief-89214

(3) https://www.amazon.com/Aromatherapy-Queasiness-Medication-Botanicals-Alternative/dp/B00V3N42H0/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1532623301&sr=8-1&keywords=ginger%2Binhaler%2Bfor%2Bnausea&th=1

(4) https://www.herbs2000.com/articles/09-05-22_ginger_chemotherapy.htm

 

 

…..in a blink an era ends…..

I have been a loss for words since Sunday morning at 8AM Central Time when the call came.  I was not yet out of bed.  I heard the phone. When my boyfriend came in saying it was my sister, I had no more need for words as tears sprang from my eyes.  The long awaited and dreaded graduation had occurred in the silent sleep of the night before.  Ever so quietly the world was once again less – for me and for so many others.  The last has now gone.

I grew up with the stories of my dad and his three sisters, two older one younger.  All of them filled with silliness or some stunts they pulled.  While they were not rich in money, they had each other.  Their mother passed when Dad was 15.  The stories of their lives filled our childhood.  Every time the four of them were together we had a picture taken of the four siblings.  The interesting thing is they left us in order of their ages.

When my own mother died and left Dad with two girls 12 and 9, his three sisters pitched right in to help.  We were at one or the other of their homes for dinners most Sundays.  This is when I started to really get to know the sisters.  They were all so different.

The oldest was very entertaining, the second very motherly and the third very quiet.  We spent most of our time after our mother’s death with the second sister we called “Auntie”.  Her house was physically closest to us.

She did not work outside her home nor drive. We were at her house most days in the summer.  Our oldest aunt worked all the time.  We saw little of her except as I said Sunday dinners.  The youngest had a license and two little children of her own. Lots of times in the summer she would come take us all swimming in whatever new car her husband had provided.

These cars were usually luxurious for the time and embarrassed her to pieces.  It wasn’t until years later that I knew of the embarrassment.  In a small town of people of moderate means she believed she would be perceived as a show off.  I had to chuckle as if you knew this woman showing off was the last thing of which she would ever be accused.

Having a license she was also the sister dubbed to take us looking for clothes if we needed them.  I remember her patience when I was bathing suit shopping.  I remember the approval of my choice.  Another time it was a dress for a dance.  I got approval again which was affirming to me.  As I write this I wonder where her two children were when we were spending this time together?  Probably with “Auntie” as they were both helping their brother.

The memories are swirling as I know that on this day she is being placed to rest next to her husband.  Oh how he loved her!  He showered her with the cars as I said as well as nice jewelry.  One Christmas some fancy nighties for a trip to the Bahamas that next year.  I remember teasing her, now I was older (hardly), about the dangers of fancy nighties.  The joy was that she also was showered with a baby shower later that year!

One of the struggles with living away from your roots is all the times you miss.  It also is all the times you cannot make special occasions like birthdays, wedding or anniversaries due to work schedules or other activities.  I was so looking forward to retiring home so that we would not miss any more than we already had.   When we bought our cottage for retirement it was around the corner Dad’s youngest sister.   I was excited to think of all the visits we would be able to have.

In the past years we actually have been able to be home more often.  The one constant visit is around the corner.  I dropped in often just to be with her.  After Daddy left I dropped in even more,  When the vacation or week was over she would always ask when we would be coming back. Not a goodbye just when are you coming back.

I loved being home to take her to lunch or have lunch at our place with the cousins.  She loved my fish chowder and I loved that she liked a glass of white wine with it too.  At these times with the family she was not very vocal yet was simply a presence of quiet and joy.  She was the matriarch of my paternal side of the family.

Our lives have taken an interesting turn with my boyfriend getting cancer.  While we are focusing on the positive outcome it did make me aware of words unsaid.  In the past few weeks I have written letters to people to tell them just what they mean to me.  One of them went to Dad’s youngest sister around the corner from the cottage.  I hope she got it.  I felt so warm writing it and hope she enjoyed reading it as well.  While my words were from the heart as what I am writing here is as well, I am truly not capable to describe this lovely woman let alone my love for her.  Except perhaps to say she was in fact more a mother figure and friend as well as an aunt.

With her graduation there are so many things I am going to miss, our laughter together, her call on my birthday and mine on hers, really too many things to list.  Yet there are so many memories I am going to savor.  The best came about the Monday before I received the news she was gone.

I had tried to call often in the past month.  She either was in bed or not home, in the hospital or unavailable to talk.  On Monday she answered the phone as brightly as ever.  Oh we had such a great conversation catching up making more memories. She sounded so good.  I told her I looked forward to visiting when I came home.

When it was time to say good-bye I knew it might be the last time, I said what I always say,  “I love you Aunt Pauline.”

Blessedly, one last time she responded sweetly with, “I love you too, Kathy.”

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

 

 

 

 

…in a blink I am called on the carpet…

I have to tell you how blessed I am to have friends.  We all are right?  Friends make our world spin every so nicely.  A phone call of encouragement here, a surprise visit or perhaps or cupcakes as they had some to share, are ever welcomed from a friend you care about.

Good friends are honest with you.  Honest not to the point of hurting you though open in sharing their thoughts through love.  I have one of those friends for whom I am ever grateful.  After my last blog where I tried to show our change of attitude from the negative to the positive she called me n the carpet.  I had to listen as she too has cancer and knows of what she speaks.

She began by saying that she knew how my history of loss to this disease has perhaps colored my view of cancer.  While I had tried to write a positive piece I had to do better.  She said if I was going to truly look at this disease in the positive I had to drop the word ‘horrid’ from my description and vocabulary.  She also said I could no longer refer to chemo as poison  I had to come up with a better visual for it.  She also said I had to reconfigure my thinking, say the word cancer and acknowledge that cancer is a treatable disease like diabetes or heart conditions.

Well I listened and took it all to heart and she is right.  I was not clear enough in my last blog about our change of attitude.  I had intended to be and failed at clarity.

At the appointment before the chemo yesterday we mentioned to our doctor that my friend referred to her first round of chemo as pac man going and gobbling up all the bad cells.  He said that would be good except that with R-CHOP (long technical words – you can look them up with the link below – 1) my boyfriend gets the R to open up the cells to be vulnerable to the CHOP that comes next to kill them. So we imagined the R puts a target on the bad stuff and pac man gobbles it up and VOILA it is gone.

My girlfriend also shared that her visual now with her second round, since it is red,  is Kool Aid.  She calls it an elixir which is a very positive life affirming word.  This elixir goes after the cancer which she refers to as a devil. When the Kool Aid hits all the little devils she sees them die and roll over like a dog with their paws up in the air!!!  Love this one too.  It is whatever visual we can use to keep the positive energy going.

This comeuppance was well deserved and well received.

We went to the treatment yesterday with our wheelie bag filled with the prayer blanket, magazines, books, lunch.  We made the decision to live in a positive attitude.  We were smiling not grimacing.  Our energy exuded this I believe.  Please do not misunderstand, I am sensitive to the discomfort my boyfriend has to endure yet we were chatting, laughing and looking forward to the purchase we were making on our way home.  We sent out pictures of the ‘chair sitting’ and even face timed with our son during our session.  It was much easier and the time flew.

As I type chemo minus 1 day all is well.  We are praying that the after effects remain similar to what we experienced these last three weeks which were manageable.  We are pleased to be a third of the way through.  We have places to go!

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…..

(1) https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/drugs/R-CHOP

…and a blink sometimes is hopeful…

Yesterday was a trip to the doctors to check on the progress of this ‘horrid’ disease.  The doctor was very pleased as all numbers looked good.  This will be the last mid-treatment visit.  From Tuesday on it will be three weeks between treatments only.  Evidently this appointment, being two weeks from the first chemo, was to assess toleration and results.  My boyfriend passed with flying colors. I commented that while we did not wish this, nor really want to continue with it, that I am surprised that none of the ‘horrid’ stories we hear about is our story.  The doctor said few people comment when treatment is going well.  I said I would like to change that.

When we hear that 6 letter name for this disease, which I said I would not use and will in this blog – cancer – everyone’s voice drops.  It is like you are passing a cemetery.  Or walking the Vietnam War Memorial in DC.  The word rings death instead of what it is – a disease.  I am not making light of the seriousness, I just think it would be easier for those beginning the walk through it to have some positive feedback.  I know when we heard this diagnosis our minds immediately went to the dark side.  While amazingly we were already working on updating our wills due to retirement, now do to the ‘horrid’ belief we were talking funeral arrangements.  At least those are now out of the way!!!

In keeping with my promise to our doctor for this disease I want to take away some of the dark.  While there are many variations of this illness each with their own set of problems getting cancer is no longer a death sentence.  Many years ago my father lost two lovely wives who struggled with the ravages of cancer.  Subsequent to  this he would say “If someone gets cancer take them out and shoot them.”  A lot changed since this proclamation.

That was still Dad’s mantra until colon cancer visited him in his early 70s.  The disease was diagnosed on 2/14, encapsulated tumor removed on 2/21 and he had a clean pathology on 2/28.  He died in 2014 at the age of 93.  So glad he did not take his own advice.  Yet his history with this illness was surely different from his experience and blessedly his opinion changed.

In our family we have had many such diagnosis – Leukemia, fallopian tube, kidney, breast, colon, lymphoma.  We are grateful that all are of survivors.  This has been from early detection followed by good medicine.  The medicine is surely not comfortable yet it brought about healing and longer life.  We are expecting the same in our case. I am not trying to be a Pollyanna here, still not much is mentioned positively on the web about this good cancer treatment.  Even I referred to it as poison in my first post.  I have had to readjust my own thinking.

To clarify the intention of this blog.  While it still is extremely hard to hear this diagnosis, I want to say that cancer is no longer the immediate death sentence it once was.  I cannot change anyone’s reactions to this news.  What I can do is accentuate the positive. It is my hope that I can with confidence at this point say that with good medical counsel many cancers can be managed well.  Perhaps not easily yet surely not as horridly as some web posts.

Sure it can make you nauseous, constipated, achy, tired and generally infirmed for some time after each treatment.  There are medicines to counteract each and every one of these symptoms.  While this may not be as simple as fixing a broken bone it is managed in a similar fashion…diagnosis, treatment and aftercare.   A bone is set has the 6+ weeks in a cast and therapy to reactivate the muscles.  Or a heart condition with open heart surgery.  That is a diagnosis, major surgery, aftercare and months of therapy to get back to square one.  Again any comparison is a delicate line yet it is important to understand that many cancers are manageable, even curable just like these illnesses.

I also believe a large part of the management of this illness comes down to attitude.  If it is entered into thinking it is a death knell then it will be hard.  After the initial appointment we were devastated.  It took everything we had to change our attitudes and focus to meet this challenge.  We are still doing that on a daily basis.  We are focusing on the positives – early detection, good meds and great prognosis.

Probably one of the best and perhaps most important part of our management is a good support system. I cannot emphasize this enough.  The doctor’s office supplies information which is helpful in demystifying the illness.  More needs to be written about that.  Once the mystery was removed one is able to choose to live up to the challenge in a positive way.

Additionally we are blessed with a strong group of families and friends that supply the prayers that surround us each and every day.  The power of prayer is like a bridge supporting our every step.

One of my very favorite scenes in any movie is a scene in the 1989 movie “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.” (1)  Indiana is searching for the Holy Grail and has to go through three challenges –  the “Breath of God”, the “Word of God” and the “Path of God”.  My favorite scene is when he reaches the opening in the mountain with no visible way to get to the opening in the mountain on the other side where he knows he must go.   He stops and the dialogue goes like this…….

INDY:  “Path of God.”

             He refers to his book and reads out loud,

            “Only in the leap from the lions head will he prove his worth.”   Then he says:    

             “Impossible.”

             “Nobody can jump this”

             “It’s a leap of faith.”

HIS FATHER YELLS:

            “You must believe Boy, you must believe.”

INDY places his hand on his chest lifts his leg and steps.  A bridge appears in the rock which could not be seen before.  He is able to walk across to the other side to find the Holy Grail.  VOILA – the Path of God in his leap of faith.

In order to share this movie clip with you, which helps describe our change of attitude and belief that cancer is a manageable and curable disease, I had to do research to explain the scene.  I was amazed to discover the name of the bridge…..the Path of God.  Truly that is the best support system of all isn’t it?  Isn’t prayer one of the best stepping-stones on this path?

We have tried to live our lives by God’s direction and with His protection.  We are grateful for early detection.  We are grateful for the medical team that is working with us.  We are grateful for our families and friends as our support system.  As we walk this “Path of God” in our lives now we do so with an even more positive attitude.  It would be a delight if anything we experience helps someone else not be so afraid.

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

(1) https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=indiana+jones+last+crusade+bridge+scene#id=1&vid=2af7139ff2adf2e08b0501f2d06cba15&action=click