Tag Archives: perspective

Today’s bumpy blog!

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First I would like to apologize for the lack of sentence and paragraph structure.  I’m not sure what I am doing wrong.  Haven’t experienced this before and frankly, it’s annoying as hell!

I’m breathing in the signs that Spring is coming. I can see the top of my shed, my roof is actually snow and ice free, and wonderful, joyous mud is starting in my driveway. Give me a month and I’ll crab about mud, but at the moment, it makes me smile, breathe in deep, the warm air that promises new growth…Yes, Yes, Yes. Spring isn’t just a vague memory, it is a real event, and with it comes regrowth.

The past couple of days I have driven down my favorite back road,which I haven’t in months. It’s not a road you take in the Winter, well, that I take in the winter. It was nice to see the brook visible, the snow dissipating and receding. Yes, yes… Spring is coming soon.

I just finished agitating some wool purses and motifs that I made. It’s easy to do it in your washing machine but I prefer to boil water in the tea pots, put them in my sink, and stir and agitate with a wooden spoon. I like to watch the wool change into felt. It makes me smile to do this. Then why oh why, don’t I like doing my dishes in the sink? If truth be told, there are times that I do enjoy doing the dishes. The warm/hot water soothes my fingers and hands. My hands that have brought so much joy to me, have created so much, worked hard, and with whom I believe is one of my biggest assets.

I think sometime, what if… What if I can no longer use my hands? How would I create? Well, then I think it would be time to use new technology and pump out the book that I’ve so leisurely and haphazardly been working on for years. I think I do this, I take my time because then God will grant me more time, I will live longer, because from a young adult I’ve known I was supposed to write. Oh only a fool would think such. The only one that I am fooling is myself, and should I graduate tomorrow, what will my epitat be? “What a beautiful book she was going to write”.
Do you ever think about what your legacy will be? What will you leave behind when you are called home? I sat last night looking through pages of my artwork, smiling. I’m fairly hard on myself, I have had my therapist ban words from my vocabulary…. One being “the f word” and the other begins with an L. I started to panic when she told me I wasn’t allowed to use the f word”….. I can’t do it, NO!   I cannot!   Relief overcame me when she explained she was talking about “failure”. She was talking about “lazy”. Two words that I tag to my toe on dark days. I wonder, does everyone have dark days?
I used to be such a people person. I used to love to go to parties, social events. Now? Not so much. And that is okay. The key here is to find balance. To find enough visibility and purpose to hop over the line of isolation into life.

I remember when I worked at a nuclear plant in the 80’s. I did very well for myself, two promotions in two years. Funny, as I think about it now, I was often criticized for not being able to stay with one job. I was good for about 3 years and then I was bouncing all over the place. It was when I went into business for myself that I found longevity. But I digress. There was a Meyer-Briggs personality test that many of us took “Myers Briggs Personality Test”. Among-st nuclear operators, geniuses, the majority fell into the category of “ISTJ” (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judgement). It’s an interesting test, and if you want to take it I believe it is available free online. Based on Carl Jung’s work. Anyway, as the instructor shared how many of each of us fell into each category, he saved one for last. “And now we have one ENFP!  Can anyone tell me who that is? With that many eyes glanced over to me, laughter ensued. “What does that mean Irv?”, I asked him. “It means you don’t belong in a nuclear power plant!”  (Extrovert, Intuition, Feeling, Perception)…..http://personalitypage.com/ENFP.html
Have long since taken the test and the “e” has slid into “i”, though I believe that was the only think that changed.
Well, what a bumpy blog, eh? Not feeling like I made much sense, but then, do I ever?
Have yourself a great day! xo

ps…. The inability to stay in a job longer than 3 years has since been diagnosed as ADHD!

pss… I cannot imagine my life without creativity, music.

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Beyond Cancer

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I’m sitting in my oncologists office in the fast paced city of Boston.   A routine checkup, I have every 6 months.  The trip down was uneventful, unless you count construction and detours and a LOT of rain!  As I was driving down I wondered what my kid sister would say or think of how much I’ve grown.  Once petrified of driving in unknown places, you can only imagine the anxiety that would consume my thoughts when I had to drive in Boston.  Well, long gone are THOSE days!   My sister was my main encourager, my witness in life.   She was also a mighty fine driver when it came to driving me into places I dared not enter! Five years ago my fear of driving in Boston ended when I was making weekly visits for breast reconstruction.   Long gone I tell you, Long gone!     I will now share with you the “survivor skills” of driving in Boston.   First, play your favorite music and very loud!   This is calming and also means you cannot hear others honking at you!    Second, wear sunglasses!   This way they do not get eye contact with you so the majority of them will not risk getting into an accident and third?   Have a gps.  It may loop you around and around like musical chairs, but it can offer a sense of confidence.

On the elevator coming up to the 9th floor in the Yawkey Building at Massachusetts General Hospital I shared the elevator with a nice looking young man, I would guess in his 30’s.    He asked if I was having a good day.  I replied “Yes!  Today my oncologist is going to tell me I’m still cancer free!”  He smiled the widest grin and said “Alright!!!!!!!”  He opened his arms to hug me and I obliged.  “Do you believe in God?” he asked.   My reply, “I don’t walk a step without him!”.  What a nice encounter!

The sweetest woman just came over to offer me refreshments.   We had the nicest chat.   Pushing the refreshment cart around in a cancer treatment center as large as this, I’m sure she has seen much.  God bless her.   I know her sweet smile has always brought a smile to my face over the years.  I’m sure without even knowing it, she has helped many.   Her smile, her kindness makes a difference in the world!    Never underestimate the power of a smile, a friendly gesture!

My oncologist is running an hour behind, no big deal.   I said a prayer for those she is helping, and for the emergency this morning that backed up her appointments.   It could be ME in there!   Take all the time you want, Dr. Kuter.  You will hear no disappointing words from me!    I love my oncologist.  She is a wonderful person and likewise, doctor.   Never rushes you out, sits as long as you need her to answer questions, etc.   Besides, this hour gives me a chance to jot down my thoughts, write this blog.

As mentioned above I have experienced much growth.   I can tell you that I wouldn’t wish the journey of cancer on anyone, but I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for the world.  I’ve learned that it’s the toughest times that bring the most growth and when you come out of it, it’s amazing how perspective changes, at least that is how it is with me.  As I sit here looking around at the people sitting in this waiting room it’s obvious, no one wants to be here.   No one.   But you make the best of what you’ve got, if you’re smart that is!  Sometimes I had to stoop very low to experience humility, thus gratitude.   These days I’m grateful every day for so many things and even in that I know there is so much more I should be grateful for!

I am writing this blog on my iphone.   I am hardly efficient with this keyboard.  I probably should proof this blog but its time to close it.   A young woman who is looking mighty scared just arrived and sat near me.  I think it’s time to give back what was given to me.  I remember the fear I had when I first walked into this hospital.  I remember, also, the kindness of others, the seasoned “survivors” who shared their story with me and brought some solace to a restless mind and soul.    If the auto correct has done it’s job I am sure there will be major errors.  Just know if it said something about a sex change, it’s not true!   My oh my how messed up auto correct can be, but it can add a lot of spice too!

I sure hope you are having a great day.  I am!    Today my oncologist is going to tell me I’m still cancer free!   Can it get any better than that?

 

 

Variety, the spice of work!

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Whether my mood has been affected by the gloomy weather we’re having or this is depression trying to lay it’s lead blanket on me, my attitude and thoughts are aligned with the weather.  I’m doing my best to ward off this feeling of defeat.

I needed to replace my Aveeda body lotion, so when I was at Walmart I did so, only after grumbling that the price was now over $1 more.  My nighttime ritual is to plaster my body with lotion just before I crawl into bed.  Excited that Aveeda had changed the cover from a pump to a squirt, I proceeded to rub it in.   What the heck did they do, change the formula too?  The consistency was totally different.  I had taken Benadryl and quickly fell to sleep.   This morning I woke up with my face stuck to the pillow case and my body to the sheets.  What the heck?  Well, I had purchased BODY WASH.   My morning shower required no further soap!    There were suds everywhere, including bubbles in the air!  This incident is worse than the bleach in the refrigerator and the milk on the floor in the bathroom from a few weeks ago.   Sometimes the things I do scare me!

My work consists of several venues.   I design in decorative painting industry, needlecraft industry and recently started in beading.    I try to go with the flow of creativity, though sometimes deadlines dictate my work schedule and medium.   The past few days I have felt a shift coming.  This mornings actions confirmed this when I found myself putting away the beads even before I was reminded of a magazine deadline.  It’s time to reacquaint myself with my paintbrushes.   I’m looking forward to this but of course cleaning off my paint table will be a chore in itself.  May the force be with me!

It’s nice to have a variety of mediums to work with.   I find that I am gentler on myself, not beating myself up if my skills in one area seem to travel South.  For instance, when I find myself, not purposely, having brushes fly out of my hands, it’s time to move to something else.   When the yarn gets bunched and knotted and I’ve spent an hour untangling it, it’s time to move to something else.   After I’ve lost 3 needles and found myself bleeding from pokes, it’s time to throw the broach I’m working on across the room!   Okay, I didn’t, but I thought about it.

I’m recalling a time when Cabbage Patch dolls were the in thing.  Acquiring them for Christmas was next to impossible.  A friend of mine asked me if I’d make one for her great niece.  Okay, I can do that, as they sold the patterns and the cabbage patch doll heads at the local textile mill.    The doll was coming along nicely.  It was time to put the head on.    I had a full strength needle that was about 4″ long and was using this to sew the head on the doll.    This meant working it through the plastic.   I had stabbed myself so many times with the needle that my anger got the best of me and I threw it across the room against a wall.  Coincidently my then boyfriend and his friend walked in just as the doll slammed against the wall and fell to the floor.   He picks it up, brushes her off and said “I guess we’re not ready for kids yet?”

My mom was once a seamstress, making prom and wedding gowns for pay.   She would sew on our kitchen table which was in front of a sliding glass door to our back yard.   One day, while working with chiffon, our Black Lab, Cinder Poo (Pooey) saw something out back, he plowed through the area she was working right through the screen, taking along with it the sewing machine and gown.   That day my siblings and I stayed scarce!

Sometimes I remind myself when I’m having a hard day, or something happens, like yesterday that makes me feel defeated, that one day I will be able to look back at it and laugh, or impress myself with the strength I had to get through it.   Don’t you find this to be true?   I also find that as the course of life naturally happens, the gift of perspective comes to play.   Most of the stuff I used to fret about I wouldn’t today.   Unimportant!

Hope you have a great weekend!  Hope the sun comes out here, and I hope that my smile returns to my face!

Bob Dylan Unplugged….in the bose…. yup….This will surely turn me around!

 

 

 

 

 

Whitney Houston

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Last night I stopped at a local store to pick up some snacks to bring to my uncles.   This place is like a soda/beer distribution place.  Anyway, my eyes caught the glimpse of a man who was in the hospital just months ago with liver failure due to alcohol.   Typically he will say Hi, this time he didn’t.  There is “bad blood” so to speak between us, as his association with Jim was one that I knew would be trouble, and it was.  Anyway he disappeared into the beer cooler, came out with a case of beer underneath each arm.  I wasn’t surprised, even though I heard he was sober, I was however saddened.   How can anyone watch the  insanity, destructive manner that an alcoholic or addict displays and doubt that they aren’t sick, but weak?  Would a healthy man give up his home, wife, children to go sit and drink?  Would a healthy woman leave her children, let her life fall apart, all for the sake of beer? liquor?

I thought about this a lot last night.   Once angry at this man for being a bad influence on someone I loved very much, and someone whom addiction controlled, I have long since been praying for him, and his family, for his health, mental, physical and spiritual.

Tonight its all over the news that Whitney Houston has died at the young age of 48.  A woman who has been struggling painfully and whose struggles have been in every newspaper, rag magazine, and more.   I sometimes feel sorry for “famous” people that they aren’t allowed to go through their struggles without public scrutiny.  I know I wouldn’t want that for myself.   Still, as I say that, I was reading the articles, some of them anyway.   This absolutely stunning, beautiful and enormously gifted young woman who was destined for greatness, and then years later a woman whose struggles with drugs was not only plastered on the front of every magazine, newspaper, or hollywood gossip tv show, but was evident in her face, the darkness under her eyes.  Her eyes, once filled with life, shine and beauty later revealed dulnessl, sadness and withdrawn.    I don’t know too many people who would wish this upon themselves, or even their worst enemy.   At one point she had gotten her act back together, looked like the beautiful and talented Whitney Houston that most of us loved as she sat on the stage of “Oprah”.  Later it was “revealed” (rolling my eyes here) that she and Oprah had had it out afterwards.   Now we sit here at the time of her passing, shaking our heads, some shedding tears…what a tragic ending to a beautiful life, I say this assuming it was somehow related to drugs or alcohol.  Not necessarily an overdose, but something that manifested physically throughout all the years she was using.   Most alcoholics do not die of cirrhosis, but of heart failure, or physical manifestations that have been created by the overuse and abuse of alcohol.

I remember how angry I would get with Jim, and at times how ridiculously naive and foolish when I thought “if he loved me” he would give up drinking.   Love doesn’t have anything to do with it.  The good news is, some find this as their bottom, or a beginning.  A chance to start over, get help, save their marriage, their ass, their home, etc., but many do not.

Long gone for me is the anger, the rage that once ruled me when I was with an active addict.  Life gets complicated, but quick.  It gets insane, and things roll out of control at the speed of lightning.   The negative affects this has on themselves, their family, their friends plays out like dominos.  Clearly, no matter what Whitney Houston died of there are many mourning.  I’m confident that there are family or friends who are left with the lingering sadness and frustration, the humility of knowing…they couldn’t “save” her from herself.   She walked through hell with her addictions, as does any addict.

I am not “pro addicts”, I hope that is not how I sound.  My heart goes out to her family, friends who have to live with the reality of her passing, and most second guessing if they could have helped.  The “if only’s” run parallel and steady with the grief process.

I have many friends who have gotten clean and sober.   Some arrogantly will slam others who are still using, but most?  Most are so damned grateful to be one of the “chosen few” who survived that they aren’t judging another, but basking in the beauty of their lives.

Surely one thing we have learned over the years with the access to the internet, television, magazines, media is that..no longer are addicts stereotyped as dirty, unkept street people who drink out of a paperbag.   Here is a very sad example of fame, fortune, incredible talent, and yet she was not exempt from addiction.

Recalling when I started to really grasp the disease of alcoholism, how enormous, powerful and destructive it was.  It was at that moment that I placed additional words at the end of some of my shares.  “I have been affected by the disease of alcoholism and addiction…. and I’m very grateful I haven’t been afflicted with it”.

“One moment in time”…. you shared and spread so much  joy and enjoyment to so many.  Thank you Whitney Houston.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYFHAvULvJ0

Rest in Peace Whitney Houston, rest in peace

 

Reflections..starting a new chapter in the story of my life!

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Driving to Boston early Thursday morning reflective thoughts ran rampant. .  There was a strong possibility that “the end” of my breast reconstruction was going to happen, yet being a bit superstitious, not wanting to jinx the possibility and also following suit with a new practice that is working well for me…protecting myself from disappointment in case it did not happen.   I am finally learning to keep my emotions out of things, fly with a positive wind, as I believe we have the ability to manifest reality from thoughts, and if something good happens, hey GREAT!  I used to despise driving to Boston, petrified of the traffic, getting lost, or in an another accident.  That is no longer true!  Long gone is the fear, which passed quickly with the weekly trips for 4-5 months in a row, and the emergency trips.  Growth!  Memories of this journey kept coming up for me to discard or reflect on, the many friends who supported me through this difficult trek, the recognition that things do pass, and I AM strong, I AM capable of taking care of myself and I am worthy of life!

Arriving at Massachusetts General Hospital I smiled at the “new construction” that started at the time I started my journey.  It looks almost complete.   I have always paid particular attention to this, comparing our progress, the construction of a new building and the reconstruction of Donna.   It was really neat watching its progress.

My appointments went very well and I was very happy to hear my plastic surgeon say… Today is graduation day!  Two years to the month is a long time, and on a very intimate subject to just say “Thanks and goodbye!” to a man who put me back together.  Though I did it just fine!  It just felt strange (though wonderful) to hug, and know I will not see him again unless I need to.  I had to fight, and hard with insurance to be permitted to have my treatments out of state.  It was worth all of it!  My plastic surgeon is a very talented, caring man who finds his success when his patients are back to doing what they were before the need for plastic surgery.   He was so happy to see me doing well, excited about my second chance at life, and very pleased with the results of his work.    Goodbye!  Thanks!   I find myself laughing about it because this was a 2 year relationship.  Of course I wasn’t intimate with him but the subject matter was very intimate.  I have learned so much from this journey.  I could not possibly share all the personal growth, progress I’ve experienced.  I will say I would never wish this journey on anyone, though I wouldn’t trade my growth and personal knowledge for ANYTHING!   I am a much better human being, person for having gone through this.   I live life fuller, opt for peace, serenity and laughter over worry or strife.  I am less tolerant of things I deem “unnecessary drama”, I have NO time for spiteful people who like to create problems, and even less for those who like to play the role of victim with luxury problems.  Judgemental?  Yes, I supposed it is, but I’ve wasted enough time caring or worrying, or worse “trying to understand” the negatives.  I now choose to bask in the positives!

Today it is about me, who I am, my goals, and assuring that my life is good.  Of course I still care about others and do for others, but I have finally learned to take care of myself, first.  There will be times in life that I have to put others first, but I hope to never lose myself or precious time to issues that actually aren’t even mine!   Also, I care much less what others think of me.   I am who I am, take me for who I am, or don’t!  I’m okay with it if you don’t!  Why waste each others time?  I surround myself with my art, fun positive people who care about others, and I laugh all the more, which many cannot possibly fathom as I’ve always loved to laugh.

I walked out of Mass General Hospital with a very large smile on my face and a bounce in my step that I am grateful for.    I indeed graduated from breast reconstruction, only have to frequent Boston once every six months.  This “graduation” of sorts is so much more, however than breast reconstruction.  It is a realization, acceptance that no matter what I’m faced with, I will be given what I need to not only get through it, but grow from it.    It is an understanding of how precious life is, and how very little control I have over much… so why spend time trying to control?   It is a peacefulness, a wholeness, a self respect for myself that has brought me immense happiness and satisfaction.  It is a difficult chapter in my book of life that I can now move on from.  I never want to forget it, nor will I, but man it’s so good to get that diploma!   My life is good!

Unpleasantries

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This morning I logged in to find a very unpleasant comment from a reader.  I approved and posted it.    Ironically last night I had written a chapter in my book on “forgiveness”.    As true with what has played out in my life, I am always given tests and opportunities to practice what I have learned from the various experiences of my life, most of which I write about, none of which are embellished.  Of all the blogs I have written I have received two negative comments, suggesting that I was looking for sympathy, attention.  NOT.   I write because I believe it is what I am supposed to do, and also it is my hope to reach others.  If my experiences can help one other person, wonderful!  I write about my experiences because that is what I know best, this is my life, my blog, I share from my heart.   It helps me to heal from the hardships, sadness, and share and celebrate in my triumphs and growth.    

When you open up your life experiences and feelings you make yourself vulnerable to a world of criticism, opinions, and the like, but you also open up yourself to the hearts of people to whoms life you do touch, whom sharing your experiences, your feelings, your challenges helps them with theirs, and that is what its about for me.    When you share your strengths, your successes, your triumphs, it may help someone else who is about to embark on the same or similar journey.  Encouragement is something I have always needed, I like to offer this to others by way of sharing.    I made a decision a few years ago that before I died I wanted others to know who I am, what I stood for, what I am all about.  I am doing just that.    No doubt other readers have fallen by the wayside deciding my blog is not for them, only they didn’t feel so compelled to leave a nasty comment like this woman did.   Thus the title of my book “Take what you like and leave the rest!” 

What I did find comical is that the post that obviously struck a nerve “Princess  Donna” which was entitled with “Princess Leia” in my head.  Anyone who knows me personally would find humor in it.  I had envisioned myself outside shoveling snow with sorrels and a long gown, in my head it was quite funny!  I even had the hairstyle with the two braids bulging out the side of my head!    Do the voices in my head bother you? 

At any rate, last night the wind blew so strong in Vermont that I believed I would wake up in Kansas.  I was relieved to awaken in my own bed, state, snuggled up to my furries and the roof still in tact!

And now, I am off to paint… have a great day all!

There is no place like home….

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I sit, surrounded by an array of pillows, blankets, comforters on mattresses that up until almost a week ago I thought “How I wish I could replace these old worn out boards”.  I’m hearing an occasional car pass by my window, my dog breathing and and the clicking of my keys as I write this, and I think “All is right in my world today, all is right….”

Last Friday I called my plastic surgeons office with concern about some pink areas on my breasts (2 weeks post surgical).  Naturally he wanted to see me.  I drove to Boston thinking I would come home with more antibiotics, maybe get a shot in the ass for a booster.  I found myself being admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital for cellulitis (infection).  This hospitalization started out somewhat frightening, as the infection grew quickly and precautions were taken for the first couple of nights so that they could take me into surgery the following morning, if necessary, to either do a wash of my implants or if need be, remove them.  Being doused with heavy doses of antibiotics through IVs, one in particular that exhausted and irritated the veins in my arms where I had to have several ivs placed in a matter of two days, blood pressure taken on my leg, and shots of zofran to help calm my stomach and stop the vomiting and nausea, I was so relieved when they pulled me off that antibiotic and put me on another, and even more relieved yesterday when my plastic surgeon said “We have turned another corner Donna, if you are comfortable, you may go home today”.

Late afternoon the day before I had posted on my facebook asking my friends & family for prayers, that I was in a dark place emotionally, couldn’t see or feel any light.  Within moments of posting that and praying to God for help, my friend Angela from Boston unexpectedly stopped by to visit, toting flowers.  When I saw her I cried.  After our visit I logged back into facebook and had received many many responses to my post, which I read each post and focused on the kind outpouring of good thoughts and love that was coming my way, it helped.  The nausea passed at midnight, I had ate 2.5 grape popsicles at 4:00am and actually wanted more, had managed to have a bit of fruit for breakfast and hold it down. So when my Dr came in and told me 16 hours after I had bottomed out that I could go home, I was ecstatic.   I took a shower in the manner in which I am medically allowed, slipped into my jeans and a sweatshirt that my friend Ron had brought down when he visited me, one of two that I wrapped around my pillow and stuck my nose into to keep from smelling the unpleasant sterile aesthetics of the hospital, and I went outside and sat in a metal chair for 40 minutes.  The wind was whipping my hair around.  While typically I do not like this, I basted in the luxury of the wind, its strength, softness, and how heavenly it felt on my skin, my head, my hair, on my face. As each gust came I took a deeper breath wanting to inhale it all and rid myself of any reminders of of the air, the smells I was breathing in for the past 6 days inside the hospital.  It felt incredible.  At one point when I opened my eyes a man passing by was smiling at me, as he walked by he said “It is a beautiful day, isn’t it?”.  It is indeed a beautiful day!  As I glanced up at the heavy dark grey clouds that allowed only a bit of blue skies to peek through.  “Absolutely beautiful!”

On my drive home (which I was able to do because I had stopped taking narcotics 48 hours before due to nausea) I had all four windows half way down, Bob Dylan Unplugged in my cd player, sunglasses on intermittently as my thoughts poured through all that I had learned over the past few days and on various things of my past.  For one, how shallow it was that I was ever upset that my new breasts were not as big as my natural breasts were, or what I had wanted after double mastectomies for cancer.  Who the hell cares now?   As I reached down to massage away some pain and felt the bandages below my fingers I felt nothing but gratitude for not only the size that I am, how I was able to be reconstructed, put back together, but also that I was coming home with my new breasts still in tact.  Gratitude!  Gratitude!  It is a wonderful thing.

Arriving home exhausted, my mother had caught a ride down to my house, vacuumed, freshened up the place, changed my sheets, fluffed my pillows and had my bed all nice and neat, ready for me to jump into.  Aren’t mothers great?  While the other animals said their initial hello’s downstairs, Zoe, my snowball shaped headed cat came to bed with me and sat in front of me, kneading the blanket and purring.  I admit, many times in past I may have coaxed her to lay down beside me, or at the foot of the bed, this time I laid there on the best mattresses in the world, encouraging my Zoe to sing.  “Sing baby, Sing!”.  As I drifted off to sleep, tucked into the barrage of pillows and now two cats and one dog on the bed with me, I felt like the richest woman on the face of the earth.  Home…. there is no place like home…. there really IS no place like home!

Trapped Chilean Miners…..A story of HOPE

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This picture caught my attention yesterday.   This is one of the 33 miners who have been trapped underground in a copper and gold mine in San Jose, Chile for 17 days.   Can you imagine being the loved one of this man?  His wife, daughter, sister, mother, father, friend and seeing this picture?  Chance of survival for this amount of time is very unusual.   Can we possibly fathom what our reaction would be?  I doubt it.  Here is confirmation that he is alive and well.  A picture depicting answered prayers….  HOPE! 

I love stories like this, not of the tragedy itself, but of poignant beautiful moments where hope unfolds right before our eyes.  Recalling a time when all eyes of our Nation were on the rescue of a little girl named Jessica who was trapped in a well.   Now with the internet, advanced media/technology we can watch live from all over the world.  Stories that display how incredibly strong and fascinating the human spirit can be.   Great stories of humanity itself.   People reaching out their hands, their hearts, their resources,  offering prayers, sharing faith, hope, love for others whom they do not even know.

The first film clip of the 33 trapped miners revealed humor, patriotism, joy, camaraderie.  Most articles I have read speak of the concern and treatment plan for the psychological factors that this will obviously impact.   How to keep up their morale, their sanity, their mental health and stability, as it may be as much as four months until they will see light and emerge from the darkness of this hell hole.  “In a demonstration of stoicism and defiance in the face of extreme hardship and peril, the trapped miners fervently sang Chile’s national anthem after communications were established between their shelter and rescuers above.”

This is not only a story of hope and faith, but can be a wonderful reminder to us on so many levels.  The old saying ” It is always darkest before the dawn.”  Echoing the words of Winston Churchill “Never, Never, Neve,r Never Give Up!”   If you are bogged down and not enjoying your life or appreciating your life, look at your problems… how does this compare?   It can serve to puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?  If you’ve given up on hope or faith, stories like this can renew that if you are open to it.   Don’t sweat the small stuff…. be grateful for where you are and what you have.   Kinda makes my problems “luxury problems”. 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129364714&ft=1&f=1001

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/americas/Trapped-Chilean-Miners-Face-Psychological-Physical-Challenges-101573353.html

Living in the moment….

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Rarely do I know what I am going to write about when I sit down.    It just sort of takes on a life of its own after I start writing.

I’ve been having some pain in my left hip and thigh.  Typical for me, I ignore until it really starts to bother me.  Once I recognized it was there, I immediately thought “what if the cancer has metastized to my bones?”  For the past couple of months, actually since December when I wanted off the tamoxifen and my oncologist strongly recommended I not do that… I have been in touch with how serious and frightening this disease is.  There are no promises,  no guarantees, and for some, no cures… but we can hope and pray for long remissions.  And from experience I understand that hope changes.

Every headache, ass ache, sharp pain, my mind goes immediately to the cancer.  Is it back?   Is this a recurrence?  Did they miss a distant mets?  And so on and so on.  It will be one year, Friday that I was told I had breast cancer(s).  It was about a year ago that I wrote an email to a friend in LI saying….   This may be one of the last days of my life that I live without knowing that the beast has knocked on my door….  It does change things… it does change you… it has changed me… but for the better.

After meeting with my oncologist two weeks ago and discussing my fears with her she said “at some point Donna, you will wake up and say to yourself, I have done everything I can, and that’s all I can do… and you will move on with your life”.  I have thought about that much.  I HAVE done everything that I can, and I am pretty optimistic and have a good attitude about things.  And in spite of the flashing thoughts of “what if’s”, I am moving on in other areas of my life.  I am expanding my creative endeavors, I am spending a lot more time with family and friends.  I am really focusing on the positive, and no longer “waiting for someone to bring me flowers”…. I now grow them and pick them for myself.  My life is not dependent on meeting “mr right”… though I hope that does happen.  If it doesn’t, that is okay too.

I have walked into my oncologists office, and plastic surgeons office alone most visits, and seen women with their husbands, partners, spouses.    For a couple weeks after I was dumped (lol)… I felt envious of them, because I missed having “someone” in my life.  Someone to hold hands with, to touch, and to be touched during times that I feel numb.   I am not lacking for love, I have many people in my life who love me… but there is a difference in being loved and being in love… and yah, lust has its pluses too.

However, I have learned so much on this journey.  I have learned that it is common for men to leave their wives, girlfriends, once the topic of “mastectomy(ies)” comes up.  Quite sad, really, and at times, cruel.

I have met women whose husbands, partners have been very supportive and right there beside them every step of the way.  I have also met women whose relationships changed drastically after the diagnosis and treatment.  And other women whose husbands expected them to do “not miss a beat” on dinners, etc., even during treatment.   We all have a story… mine is not unique.  But what is unique for me is that, I am grateful to be going through this, single.

I imagine it can be very hard to go through all the changes that this journey can bring us too, and hope that your partner will grow with you.  I imagine its awkward for others to know what to say to us, what to do for us… let alone deal with their own feelings about what is happening, or has happened. I also imagine that women who were in a bad unfulfilling relationship prior to diagnosis, may choose to leave the relationship because… our perspective changes, at least it did for me.    I am making choices, looking at things I never saw before.  I am very much into quality right now.  I’m not talking about quality “things”, but moments, relationships, living a meaningful, mindful life.

I have no doubt that I was meant to walk through this journey single.  That is not downplaying at all, the love and support that I have received from family, friends.  All have been extremely helpful.    However, by walking through this journey single, it has strengthened me in so many ways, in ways that needed to be strengthened.   I am really getting in touch with who I am, and what I want (thus don’t want)… and I am walking taller now (even though medical records say I’ve shrunk almost an inch!).

I’ve learned to not take things so personally, to appreciate today… right now, this very moment.    Tomorrow I could walk outside and get hit by a truck…. who knows?  All we have is right now.  Yesterday is but a memory, and tomorrow…. is not yet here.  My salvation always seemed to be in “tomorrow”…. When I get here, when this happens, etc.,  I don’t do that much anymore.  I am, right now.  Acceptance…

A couple of months ago I had a very spiritual dream.  At the end of this dream, and what I woke up to was a voice asking me “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?”….  smiles.  That voice was not mine.  That question evoked much thought and thus, action.  All I have is right now.  And right now, my life is pretty good.  It surely isn’t perfect, at times its very difficult, but in 10 days I’ll get my new knockers…. and today… this moment, it is believed that I am cancer free, and I sit here writing this surrounded with all my aging and very loving furry kids…  and my heart is full of gratitude…. for understanding how precious this night, this moment is.

So I ask you… what do YOU want to do with the rest of your life?  And I wish for you peace, serenity, love and hope…. and many more “moments”.