Thursday, September 1, 2011

Beware the Creature that is MY UTERUS!

You know, I have always worried about my uterus. 
I have had so many kids and have heard it was enlarged more than it should be..... so it's concerned me a bit.  Then I heard it was tipped, so now this creature that holds my babies is even more odd.  I used to think it would one day fall out and start attacking us all, this odd growing, tipped creature.  Now, I really do believe that! 
It's GROWING everyday!  Apparently my creature doesn't realize I have stopped ovulating and continues to grow like I am!  It measures a whopping 17mm thick and lord knows how large it is itself, he didn't tell me!!  He just said it was unreasonably large.  Yes, unreasonably!
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES PEOPLE!!!

This thing could fall out and attack us all for not only is it growing daily, it's tipped beyond reason (my doctor has NEVER seen one tipped in such a way) and it's practicing eating people by eating on these things called grapefruit-sized fibroid tumors! 
Now, he is going to empty the contents of it on Friday of next week and if it doesn't fall out and start eating people, he is going to remove it and kill the beast soon.  I sort of picture it as "The Blob" but who knows, it may be more frightening looking!
Beware! 
Guard your children, your spouses, your loved ones,  your beloved pets.... for THE CREATURE THAT IS THE RED UTERUS may be coming for you soon.................. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Observations from the End of a Noose (Chapter I)

Ok, I decided to post the original on here after all.  It's much funnier than today's and I really want to keep my writing together.

Happy Reading!


As I relax upright on my bed, where I have been for the last week, I have had some realizations.
1.  Children really do suffer from brain damage. (credit to Bill Cosby)  Why are they so self-sufficient when you are well and then when you are sick, they seem to forget all they knew just that day before?   Brain-damage!!

2.  Friends will send you well-wishes, pray and chat with you.  Best friends will check on you daily, bring you comfort food and try to get your ass motivated!

3.  I think that men suffer from brain-damage as well, for they seem to be unable to do the things they normally do when you are down for the count.  They also forget where things are, only able to find the remote to the TV.  Now that is the kicker, when you are well, it's no where to be found, when you are sick... they find it easy enough.

4.  The tolerance level of men greatly decreases when you are sick.  Let's face it, men are gross.  But let one nasty thing fly out of your mouth when you are hacking and coughing and it's the end of the world.  Oh sure, it's ok for you to spit out nasty things on a regular basis, don't mind us.

5.  Kleenex, Puffs, or whatever your choice brand  need to come in an industrial size just for women.  We wipe our noses, our children's noses, dry our friend's tears, not to mention our own.  I find it funny that the only time a man seems to need one is when we are knocking on death's door, clinging to our tissues, and they grab the last one.  Is this a conspiracy?

6.  I need a new bed.  Yes, this last week has shown me my bed is much too comfortable.  Maybe if I had a concrete one, I would suddenly feel better.

7.  When you look your worst is when company comes by unannounced.  Thank you for visiting, I love my friends, but use a telephone please!  My appearance at the moment makes Medusa look hot!

8.  Being sick is great for weight loss.  I am asking my friends, when you are sick, to please come by and sneeze or cough on me, I am not size 5 yet...

9.  Housework will NOT get done while you are sick, quite the opposite in fact.  By the time you are well enough to move about, your home should be featured on a "Hoarders" episode, even though you have designated chores to your loving family.

10.  You never realize how much crap you truly have until it's strewn about the house, laundry room and garage.  See number 9 for the reason.

Thank you to all my friends and family for the wonderful way you take care of me.  Thank you to my best friends for the actual way you take care of me!!

Copyright 2011 ~ Wendy L. Loose

Observations from the End of a Noose (chapter II)

Here are a few more observations about life and death, passed to you from my weary eyes and wicked brain.  Please do NOT take the "end of a noose" literally.  I am not typing and close to swinging at the same time.  Some people are at the end of their ropes..... mine happens to be a noose, since I have no clue what my future holds.  ;)


1.  People suck.  Yes, there ya go.  It doesn't matter if they are good, bad, indifferent or biased.  People will suck forever.  If one isn't letting you down, then another is, time and time again.  The lesson we must learn is to not "suck" ourselves.  We must be there for ourselves when others can't.  Get off the pity train and hop on the "I will do it myself" express!  Sure, once in a while you may let yourself down or be disappointed in yourself, but at least you learn a lesson and don't repeat the behavior. (I would hope anyway!)

2.  They aren't making good movies and the music stinks these days.  Now, this conclusion leads to another one... I am getting old.  I can remember when my mother made this same statement.  She was referring to the 80s movies and music!  GASP!  The best decade ever for music (MJ, Madonna, Hair Bands, John Hughes movies, The Star Wars and Raiders trilogies) and movies.  When you start noticing that music and movies stink, it means you are aging and your tastes are changing.  They told me chemo would affect my taste buds, but they didn't say it would affect my taste in music and movies!!   I tell ya, if this is all chemo... someone HAS to pay!  (Pay me back for all the money I have wasted watching some movies On Demand lately, they were terrible!)

3.  Diapers are way too fancy.  Denim, seriously?   Now they have diapers that are a step between the ordinary diaper and Pull-Ups.  Really?  You need a step in between?   (yes, this consumer did buy the in between step diapers and is quite impressed).  Diapers hold urine and crap.  You don't need something fancy to hold urine and crap, you just want durable.  I am not going to apologize for wanting crap contained no matter what.  As much crap as a baby produces over it's 2-3 years of diaper wearing, if you quit with all the bells and whistles, you may just makes diapers more affordable again!  Again, the economy sucks and you are making diapers more expensive which means there are more poor children running around in diapers that aren't containing their crap because their parents can't afford those fancy things.  Thanks, you bunch of "diapers must be pretty" freaks!  THEY HOLD CRAP!  GET THE POINT!

4.  Too many people tip toe through life.  Jump, don't tip toe!  I don't give a crap (no, no diapers in this one) how old you are, try something new.  I recently tried crab legs, 40+ years of refusing and I finally gave in.  I LOVE IT!!  I haven't been able to get those leggy creatures out of my mind!  My mouth waters with every thought.  I look forward to going out to eat again just so I can eat some crab!  Now, if I had been a coward, I would know the sweet, tender taste of a crab.  It's part of my plan, to do something I have never done whenever I have the opportunity.  In this hole of a town, my experiences will be limited to food more than likely, but once I kick cancer in the ass... it's hello WORLD!

I hope you enjoyed some of my observations, I hope you can relate!  If you missed Chapter I, let me know... I don't think it's up here, it's (shocker) on another site! 
Always remember to look to the sky for answers, He is listening!
Tip your observers, we are the philosophers of the day!  (My donation button is on here somewhere and it's to help my family through my cancer battle) We thank you!
God Bless and stay tuned.... surgery part II will becoming soon!!
Wendy

Friday, July 22, 2011

Surgery, the Late Post part I

Ok, so I have not ranted or raved about surgery, the hospital stay or anything in between.  I just haven't been up to it.  I thought I would bring my computer with me to the hospital, updating daily after surgery on my blog.  HA HA HA!  Now that is truly funny!  I had no clue just how sore I would be, how sleepy I would be, nor how totally uninterested in my computer I would wind up being.  So, instead of a diatribe of jumbled drugged-up words, you get a clearer, less amusing picture of my hospital stay.

  We stayed up in Tampa the night before, having to be at Moffitt at 5:15am.  No one wanted to attempt the 1 1/2 hour drive at 3am (and I couldn't blame them for that) and it was just easier to get a hotel and enjoy my last night before the knife slashed into my chest.  I know, there are more delicate ways to put things, but this is how my mind was working and what it was thinking.  I tell it like it is inside my head, and I pretty much pictured the whole surgery as a nicer version of a slasher flick.

Skipping ahead to the surgery (really isn't much to say prior to that, we ordered room service and slept), I got the surprise of my life.  3 of my 4 brothers flew down from Michigan to see me.  I was in pre-op waiting, anticipating my name being called, a large lump in my throat.  I can now compare myself to a guilty man who is waiting for the gallows, with the emotions that were running through me when they came in.  I lost it at that point, crying hysterically.    All of these crazy emotions smacked me at once and I was a little girl again, terrified yet safe because her big brothers were there to protect her.  I was instantly calm.  I hadn't seen them since my mother passed nearly 5 years ago and they truly were a sight for sore eyes.  They had already met Barb and Tabby outside (I hate being the last to know anything!) so they waited their turn to come say good luck while I talked with my brothers.  I finally got to see my daughter and best friend and off I went to la-la land. 

  I woke up hours later feeling like a truck hit me, a really BIG truck.  Dim-witted me though, was trying to be a good girl with her PCA pump (a push-button machine that allows you to deliver pain medication to yourself set to a specific time and amount) and only push it every 2 hours based on memory of the medication I was on.   I knew dilaudid was given every 2 hours from working in the hospital.  What I did NOT remember is that a PCA pump is set for every 6 minutes!!  So here I was, waiting to push my button every 2 hours, in excruciating pain, screwing myself out of comfort.  When my nurse found out she told me to keep pressing every 6 minutes until I was caught up... I don't think I stopped pressing for 2 days.  Relief at last! 

  I really have to say, Moffitt Cancer Center is like a 5 star hotel.  The nurses are right on top of everything.  They are very understanding and caring, sweet in personality and never talk down to you.  They answer all of your questions and sympathize right along with you.  The food was outstanding, which is surprising for a hospital.  We all know the reputation hospital food has and I was glad I couldn't eat for the first two days.  No eating OR drinking until I could pass gas.  Not only did I have to be awake, but apparently so did the lower half of my body.  I was so thirsty, not having a drop of water to drink since Wednesday night before surgery.  Here it is Friday and I am dying!  Ice chips, whoopee (she says sarcastically) !!  I wanted to shove an alarm clock up my rear end in hopes of waking it up.  They dryness of my throat was making me cough.  Oh yeah, coughing... let's discuss coughing.

  Now my doctor knew I was giving up smoking, so he did me a huge favor and did a bronchoscopy (he cleaned out my lungs inside, got rid of all the nasty crap) so that I wouldn't have a difficult time with the ex-smoker's cough.  My lungs were deflated for surgery and they let them naturally inflate and you do that by deep breathing and coughing.  COUGHING????    I have an incision that runs from my throat to my belly and you want me to cough?  Are you crazy?  I knew this was going to be the most painful experience of my life, worse than childbirth, because it hurt to breath.  Thank goodness for working in a health care setting, for I knew that pillows are used to brace yourself to cough after any kind of thoracic surgery.  Ok, I was ready.
NO I WASN'T!  I don't care how much pain medication was in my system, I don't care if The Hulk was bracing my chest for me, I was not prepared for the amount of pain one tiny, pathetic little cough could create.  Holy Mary Mother of God, don't let me cough again!   That didn't happen, in fact, I was coughing crap out... black crap.  Ewww.  That is the only word that can describe my thoughts.  I was told I was getting out what was left behind in my lungs and it was great that I was coughing, the doctor would be very pleased.  Glad someone was pleased, because it sure wasn't me!  After coughing the colors of the rainbow over the next week, I finally was used to it (as used to it as one can get).

 

 

Friday, July 15, 2011

How Long Can I Fight?

  The last strand of hair has fallen,
  The final amount of energy is being drained.
  The dark circles under my eyes are prominent,
  The uncompromising pain remains.

  How long can I fight,
  How much can one endure?

  My dear child asks me, "Did you have fun at the doctor today?"
 Another young one inquires, "How much longer until the cancer goes away?"

  My dear children, I have no answers.
  Only a promise I can make.
  I will not leave you without trying,
  Every day, with a strong will, I shall wake.

  I will continue to fight until the seas dry,
  no water to hold in my hand.
  I will continue to fight until the mountains crumble,
  and every bird falls to the land.
 I will continue to fight until all energy is drained
  and the world's end embarks .
  I will continue to fight until the moon turns to dust
  and the Sun itself turns to dark.
 
  My dear children, until my last breath, I will continue to fight for you.
  A mother's love is an unquenching thirst,  something cancer cannot undo.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Some Hard News to Swallow

  Ok, my surgery is the 7th and I received some good AND bad news.  The tumor was reduced by 75%, not 50% as originally thought.  A small miracle invaded my life and I am so grateful for that.  The hard news was hearing my lungs weren't so hot and I need to change my lifestyle (aka quit smoking).  I already knew that after this cancer scare but I really didn't need to hear just how bad smoking did affect them.  OUCH!  I also didn't need to hear that for 8 weeks I won't be able to lift things over 8 pounds.  WHAT??  I can't life my precious baby girl? 

  Cut me open like a living autopsy, take my cigs from me, but do NOT tell me that when my princess comes running open-armed to me that I can not pick her up!  I am crushed by this... no... I am devastated!  When she asks to be picked up, I am going to have to say no and she is not going to understand why.  The only thing she is going to understand is mommy is rejecting her and that is going to hurt her deeply.  Just great.  I will officially become the worst mom in the world to her all because I saved my life for her.  I know she will get over it in time, for right now though, she is going to be mad.  I guess I had better make sure Lovey Bunny is nice and clean, for the both of us!

  The trip to Tampa this time was really uneventful.  Stacey, Barb and I stayed at a hotel overnight, since the evil people that schedule this stuff decided my pulmonary function tests should be at 7:30 am.  ??  Ok, I know I get up early, but not every one does and I do not want to be put through tests that early.  Once I huffed and puffed like that big bad wolf enough times for Ms. Piggy, I was done, and dizzy!  I didn't sound like a chipmunk, but they mix oxygen and helium together for the test since helium is lighter than oxygen.  Yesterday, I truly was an air-head! 

  We drove around Tampa for a while, seeing my old home of Carrolwood.  I saw my first apartment, my first job in Tampa and so many restaurants and stores where I used to go.  Ah, I love nostalgia.  Oops wait... Oh yeah, the dizziness was getting to me and we had to return to Moffitt.  Besides, I had two more appointments to go to and those were the important ones. 

  So, now you know.  Now I know.  Smoking is really bad, I mean really!  It's not some ploy by evil non-smokers to get you to stop polluting their air, it's not some ploy by the Surgeon General to scare us all into goody-two-shoes.  It's honest and for-true bad!  I now have COPD (which my mother died from) but not as bad as her.  If I quit now, I won't be on oxygen by the time I'm 50!  Bye, bye tobacco, I thought you were my friend.  You kept me calm when I was stressed, entertained me when I was bored and shared so many tears with me.  It's time I find a new friend, one that won't try to kill me when I am in the same situations!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Extra, Extra...

  So you didn't hear it first here, maybe some of you have.  The chemo is over, I graduated!  The chemo also reduced the mass by 50%, so July 7th I will be having surgery to remove it and shortly thereafter, will be considered cancer-free!

  This is the best news I have heard in a long time.  I never gave up hope, never stopped believing in my faith. 

  I will tell you that a lot of changes are coming about and for that I am very pleased.  I have taken back control of my life and are asking people that have been a burden in it to kindly remove themselves. 

  Very soon, everything will be back to normal and I can finally go on with L. I. F. E.   (living impulsively, finding employment).  That is my new acronym for life.  It also has a new meaning for me. 

Life:  Breathing in every breath you can while enjoying everything around you.  Attaining your dreams as long as they are reasonable and cause harm to no one in the process.  Taking the time to actually listen to your children and hear what they are saying, although you may not agree with what they have to say, you can still listen.  Spending time with your children, whether it's playing some video game you dislike or sitting down to a wonderful, classic board game... they will remember this and that itself is priceless.  Finding a job you love, something that you will look forward to doing every single day until you retire,  not settling for something you hate because you are broke and desperate.  Finding the love and faith Our Father provides us the minute we are born and cherishing that for eternity.  Make more time for friends, for they will get you through any obstacle in your life, all you have to do is ask.  Get rid of the negative influences you are surrounded with, they will only bring you down and decrease your energy.  Strive to become a better, more compassionate person.  There is not enough people like that in this world.  Be not afraid of who you are, but be proud.  You are your own person and individuality is beautiful.  Love yourself, for you are amazing!

  So that my friends, is my new definition of life. 

I hope some of you take it to heart, for you are speaking to someone that has stared death in the face and did not like what they saw about their past life and hoped for a second chance to change it.  I got my second chance, and I plan to implement everything I have just said.  Not everyone gets a second chance or a wake up call, so I am passing along mine to you, are you up to the challenge?

I hope so, the world could use a new you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lovey Bunny

  My 2 year old daughter's favorite stuffed animal in the world (at least at mommy's house anyway) is a half-blanket, half-rabbit that we have called Lovey Bunny since birth.  I received it as a shower gift when I was pregnant with her and on the blanket part it says "Thank Heaven for Little Girls".  It's so perfectly pink and soft and the moment I received it, I knew it would be special to her.  I didn't realize how special it would become to me...

  She doesn't part with it, she takes it where ever she wanders through the house.  I don't let it leave the house for fear of her losing her best friend.  She has a fit if she leaves it in one room and can't find it in the current room she is in, playing.   It's best Lovey just stay here when she goes to Grandma's for the weekend, or an extra few days as this visit turned out to be. 

Mind you, this last chemo was a rough one on my body.  The energy loss was worse and the heart racing hasn't stopped yet, although it usually does.  I have felt like I was on my death-bed.  Truly.  I didn't have Reni here to make me smile, laugh and giggle along with her as we played and tickled each other.  The other kids are so much older and they have their plans, their friends and their precious video games... and they would get mad if I chased them to tickle them.  Oh yeah, no energy to chase them, at least Reni sits still for it. 

  Being very sad and depressed over how I was feeling all day yesterday and into the evening, I needed comfort.  Something.  Anything.  Teenage boys, ha!  Their version of comfort is to throw you a tissue when you are crying and shoot you a look like you are a three-headed alien!  My teenage daughter was at a sleepover, so no compassion from her either.  It's hard when you are a single mom, where do you turn when you need comfort, some TLC and love?   LOVEY BUNNY!  If it works for Reni, maybe it will work for mom.

  That little bunny/blanket worked miracles.  Not only did it ease the pain of Reni being gone on a visit to grandma's house, but it eased my discomfort.  I understand why she loves her so, this sweet, pink little bunny.  I know Lovey Bunny has no magical powers, but magic did occur.  I felt close to my daughter just by cuddling her Lovey.  It made me smile.  I fell asleep cradling Lovey Bunny in my arms and woke up with her in nearly the same position.  I am looking forward to Wednesday when I can give my own Lovey a big hug and kiss, I have missed her so much while she was gone.  When I feel like utter crap, I really don't like Reni gone, her pure soul and beautiful spirit raise my own through the stratosphere.  Family is important to me and keeping her Grandmother in her life is as well.  Next time, maybe it won't be for so long.  If it is, I at least have a new companion.

Lovey Bunny.

Friday, June 3, 2011

....Until I Saw a Man with No Feet

You know the saying... I felt sorry for the man with no shoes, until I saw the man with no feet.  Another angel came to me in chemo yesterday and made me halt all my jealousy and pity for myself. 

  Recently one of my friends was deemed "cancer free" for the moment and boy, did the jealousy rise!  No chemo, no radiation, just surgery and yet is future his still uncertain.  But the moment I heard the current diagnosis, I was envious.  I know, pathetic right?  I felt a certain self-pity for myself that I have to go through all this crap and then my angel sat next to me in chemo yesterday.

  He wasn't an old man from the looks of him, but not close to my age that is for sure.  We started talking about our cancers and I found out he has an inoperable tumor on his brain and chemo is his last hope.  He has lost all movement in his left arm due to the location of the tumor.  If the chemo shrinks the tumor, he will gain it back, but it's still inoperable.  So, I became the (wo)man with no shoes and he became the man with no feet.  I felt horrible for even feeling a bit sorry for myself when I was literally talking to a dead man.  We prayed together both believing that God's healing hands can still work miracles on him.  I hope they do.  I loved his spirit, he was not depressed at all, he felt no pity, he accepted it for what it was knowing he was in God's hands.  Now, I know this too... that God is carrying me right now, but every now and then I let that knowledge slip and crawl back into my shell.

  Today I graduated from chemo!!  I will say "for now".  I have a CT scan in 2 weeks to determine if it worked on shrinking my tumor.  I am afraid it didn't but I can't let my fears get in the way of my faith that God shrank it for me.  I just don't want to repeat chemo.  It's been the worst experience of my LIFE!  I will take spousal abuse over chemo, I will take date rape over chemo (and yes, I can say that because I have been there and done that!) and I will take childbirth over chemo.  It's taken it's toll both physically and mentally.  I know I repeat myself a lot but I want to take care of my children, I want to work, I want to enjoy activities with my friends and not be a crumpled tower. 

  Rule #32:  Enjoy the little things in life (thanks Zombieland!)
I have decided to do a reverse style bucket list and appreciate what I have seen and done so far.  I am not ready to make that bucket list yet!!

1.  Sights I will never get sick of seeing:
     a.  My children's faces.
     b.  The Manhattan Skyline
     c.  My friends laughing/crying with me

2.  My 2 summers spent in Toronto

3.  The fact that I gave the greatest gift of all:  a child of mine to a couple that couldn't have them.  God Bless you Y and P for taking care of her, she is a magnificent young woman and I am very proud to call her my bio-daughter :D

4.  The times I had with my mother and the short time I had with my biological father before he passed when I was 2 1/2.

5.  Living in Tampa with my very first fiancee.

6.  Marrying those I married for each brought me children or a valuable lesson.  I still hold you all dear.

7.  The love of my life, which shall remain nameless, I am so sorry I let you get away.

8.  Living on a farm throughout my childhood.  It was the happiest place on Earth, forget Disney!

9.  My sister, without whom I wouldn't have had a strong woman for an influence in my life growing up.

10.  My brothers (at least SOME of them) who love me unconditionally just like my sister.

11.  Best friends who have stuck by my side through thick and thin.  Friends that continue to love and support me in many ways.

12.  My children that never waiver in their love and my final blessing from God, Reni whose laughter and smile make it all worth it.  (not saying the older ones don't .. she is just another one of my angels and I now know her purpose for being here, coming to me when the odds of getting pregnant again were stacked against me)

13.  Strangers that give, that teach me something new everyday and show me life is NOT over.

14.  GOD

15.  Starbucks

16.  My beautiful nieces and nephews and their children ( the ones that have kids at least), I can't wait to see them!

17.  Being an Elliott... so much pride in that name!

(these are in no particular order, just typed as I thought and I am too tired to rearrange them!)

I tell you all, take the time to enjoy the little things, count your blessing daily and you will be amazed at all you do have.  Stop worrying about what you don't have, for it will come in time when you least expect it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cancer Cancer Bo Bancer....

  The more you say it, the less scarier it is right?  NO!  Even singing a child's song doesn't change that word, it's frightening no matter what.  I am learning it is JUST a word, not a sentence.  I am learning that it's not fair the amount of people and the ages it has it's nasty hands touch.  I am also learning just how hard it is on your physically.

  This has been a week from h e double hockey sticks, HELL!  I have barely been on my computer, only feeling strong enough to look at the T.V.  I had to send my youngest away for the week because my blood counts were low and she was contagious.  What a mom!  Would someone hand me the "worst mother of the year" award now, please?   I was told it was for both of us, to protect me and to ensure she had a mommy for as long as possible.  I can get sick from anything when my white cells are low, and that would put me in the hospital.  It still didn't feel right, not being there for my baby when she was at her worst.  It doesn't feel right that my kids have to take care of me instead of vice versa.  When you are struck with cancer, nothing feels right!

  When trudging to the bathroom is a chore, you know you're sick.  Six steps away, literally and I was worn out!  I don't recall ever being that worn out since marriage!   That's another story though, for a different audience, ha!  Life isn't all it's cracked up to be when you have cancer.  Yes, I use that world a lot and no, it still isn't easy to do so.  Cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer!  Nope, no easier.  I am sure plenty of you know someone that has or has had cancer.  We are all the same on the inside.  We are all praying and hoping for the best while being terrified like a child that sees shadows in the night.  We put up bold fronts for our loved ones while crying in a corner when no one is looking.  We struggle to push through the lack of energy and the rush of nausea all the while longing for normalcy. 

  For an entire week, I felt numb.  No feelings.  Zip, zero, zilch!  Spock and I could have competed in a battle of emotions and I would have won, I am certain.  I faked happiness for the children's sake.  I laughed at jokes to make my friends happy.  Tears fell and I had no reason for them to fall.  I didn't understand what the hell was happening to me.  I still can't figure it out.  I have my emotions back at least, I am feeling again.  When Serenity came home yesterday from her week away, I cried.  I cried so hard my eyes hurt.  She was a sight for sore eyes, pardon the pun.  She was the most beautiful sight I believe I have ever seen.  Hearing her yelling "Mommy!" pulled out whatever the darkness was that was devouring my soul.  Maybe it was the lack of her presence in my little world that caused it in the first place.  I am still pondering that.  I will let you know if I ever have the answer.  I don't think I will.  I believe that cancer not only eats at our bodies but our minds and souls as well. 

  Now, for a more positive word.  I have a donation site, linked to this very page.  It's the end of the month and per usual, I was panicking about how I was going to pay rent and the rest of the bills.  I am not working and supporting my family, or trying to at least.  It's not the easiest thing in the world, coming to grips with cancer and stressing over finances.  I really need to remember that God provides.  I go through this every month and every month I am fine, thanks to Him.  I was abundantly blessed yesterday with over $800 in donations.  I was also blessed with a car being loaned to us for the time being.  You just never know what is around the corner.  Faith.  It can move mountains and change your own little world the way it has mine.  I truly don't know what my mind set would be without God so present in my life.  I am afraid that darkness would have swallowed me up whole had not the pure love of God and my daughter shone through.  She is my little angel on Earth, sent from the heavens as a gift, as are all my children.  Despite the pitfalls that cancer brings, I am truly blessed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hand it Over!

A Generation of Entitlement?

  Is it just me, or does this generation of teens seem to think they are entitled to everything?  Where did we go wrong? 

  I grew up in a household with one working parent.  My step-father went off to work and my mother stayed home to raise me.  The only time that I know my mother did work was after my father passed when I was 2 ½ years old, she had no choice then.  She remarried later on, and didn’t have to work again.  I know I didn’t feel entitled to anything.  I understood the concept of working for what you have and/or for what you want.  Even though the family finances were not told to me, I knew bills were being paid and there was such a thing as a mortgage that had to be paid monthly in order to keep the roof over our heads.  My step-father worked to provide all of these things. 

  I too, have worked since the age of sixteen, knowing that is how life goes.  If you want to get ahead, if you want to be able to provide for yourself and buy what you wanted, you had to earn money.   I have taught my children, by example that you must earn what you want in life, things don’t get handed over.  Their father and I both worked but me more so after the divorce.  Is that the key?   Divorce wasn’t common in my generation.  In all the people that I can recall from my years as a child, I can only think of one divorced couple, maybe two.  I know none of my friends had this “entitlement” attitude.  Could the popularity of divorce have brought on this way of thinking?

  I know I have always tried to provide the latest technology to my children when I could, and my ex-husband would do the same.  It’s sad to admit, but it almost seemed like a competition.  Those who bought the coolest items for the children would win their affection.  I know we aren’t the only ones that play this twisted little game either.  I hear it time and time again amongst my divorced friends.  Why are we trying to win over our children?  They are our children and don’t need to be shown anything but love affection and discipline.  They only things we need to provide are the basic needs; shelter and utilities.  Time and time again, we go overboard at Christmas and other holidays to make sure we are the shining parent.  Is this how these teens gained this arrogance?

I know I am not the only parent that suffers from the affliction of entitled teens.  I see it in other families as well.  They too, are divorced families.  I do believe we created a monster!  It looks like the old lawn mower is going to have to be fixed.  This mom is tired of providing gift after gift like it’s expected of her!  A gift is something that should be cherished, something for which to be grateful, not expected.  I think the next time I hear, “When are you getting me this?”  I am going to ask, “When did you last mow the lawn?”  or “When did you do the dishes, laundry, etc.?”.  It’s time I started to make my children understand the concept of a dollar and how far it does not go any longer.  I thought I already had done that, letting them in on our finances and showing them the bills.  I thought I was providing an education that my parents never provided me, actual proof that yes, you have to work for money.  This mom is no longer handing over money when they ask for it; they are going to earn it.  I may not be able to change the entire generation that feels entitled, but by golly, I am sure going to work on my kids!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Road Signs

5/16/2011 1:04 PM

Road Signs of my Life

As I sit here and write these thoughts, I realize how fortunate I am.  I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and a wonderful support system in family and friends.  I have six wonderful children that I desperately love, that love me right back.  So what if I don’t have my health right now, this too shall pass. 

  Whenever I start feeling sorry for myself I tend to reflect on where I was when I thought I was at my lowest.  How many times did you think you were at your lowest only to find later on, that it was only a low point?  You hadn’t hit rock bottom, you only thought you did.  Very few in the world actually hit the bottom and those that do have a choice; rise above or dig deeper.  Having cancer is not the bottom, being divorced is not the bottom, being unable to pay bills is not the bottom either.  They are just large bumps in the road of life.  We all must learn to maneuver through these potholes and learn a lesson in doing so.  The “Road Signs of Life” is just a small little guide that I think about daily, to remind myself there will be a perfectly paved highway one day for me.

  I thought divorce was the bottom.  Instead, it taught me to be self-reliant and more independent.  I learned I didn’t NEED a man in my life, but it’s nice to have one around.  I found myself enjoying my children more and worrying about pleasing someone else less.  I am not saying divorce is a good thing, it’s not…but as in all things, we must find a positive spin.  I turned that low point into a pro-active choice to become a stronger woman and a better mother.  I started putting my children first instead of my husband.  We all thrived from this turn of events.  I went head-first into the “working single mother” mode and found out how much I loved it.  “Detour” on my life road, not a bottomless pothole.

Struggling to pay bills is something most families go through at one time or another in their lives.  It’s not easy with two working people in the house, let alone when you are one person supporting a family.  I have always stressed over this issue and it is still a never-ending climb.  As the children get older, I seem to have to spend more money on them on top of the ever increasing rates of the utility companies and housing.  This part of my road I refer to as “Shoulder” for there are many shoulders to lean on in my world and I am grateful for each and every one.  More of us should be aware of the people we can turn to in this world and if you feel you have no one, you are so incorrect.  You would be surprised at who steps up to the plate when you think you are lost.  Just reach out, if my hand isn’t there, there will be another hand to hold you and pull you up and out.  Remember, GOD is always there anyway and His hands are stronger than the entire worlds!

Not many people know this about me, but my personal experience with homelessness is what I truly thought to be my “bottomless pothole”.   In September of last year, my house was flooded and I had nowhere to live with my children.  “Yield”.  Yes, I had to yield to my pride and accept a room in a homeless shelter.  My opinion of homeless people was changed forever.  This economy has really hit the world harder than most of you realize.  There was a waiting list for the family rooms.  Let me step back and explain this wonderful shelter so you may understand a bit more.  There are over 50 beds and a common room.  There is a men’s dorm and a women’s dorm and T.V. rooms in each and all are inside the building.   There is a common T.V. room for all the residences  in the main “lobby” and family rooms on the outer side of the building.  It’s all connected, the Safe House is massive!  The family rooms look like hotel rooms, complete with beds, T.V.s and your own private bathroom.  It wasn’t anything like I had pictured, beds stacked next to beds, no privacy to call your own.  It was clean, it had rules and it allowed for growth in your life.  They encouraged you to hunt for jobs, to better your circumstance.  No alcohol or drugs were allowed, which pleased this girl immensely.   It was amazing there, but I digress.  The point of this is that I had to learn to hold my head up high when all it wanted to do was hang low. 
  Can you imagine having a waiting list for the six family rooms?  That, my friends, is how many homeless there truly are.  My town is small and for all beds to be full, even in the dorms, is shocking.  I will always carry the memories of that time in my heart.  I made friends there that I never thought possible.  They became an extended family.  I hope you never look at a homeless person the same way again either, for they aren’t just bums off of the street.  They are families, a boy that was kicked out of his home because he was eighteen, a woman who was evicted because of these difficult times and so many others with their own stories.   

  Now with all of this “cancer” business, I don’t even believe it’s the bottom.  It’s my “Caution” sign.  A time to remember that life is precious and each day is a blessing in itself.  It’s also telling me that some of my habits aren’t healthy, (yes, I am a smoker) and that I needed this rude awakening to quit.  It’s an eye opener, that’s for sure.  I will rise above this a much better person, having more compassion and caring than I did before.  I will “pay forward” all the kindness that has been done for me.  It’s a never-ending circle, my friends.  Though I may be suffering right now physically, emotionally I am strong.  If I had to guess why I was struck when I was, I would say that it was to bring my family closer to me, to show me how important life really was when I was asking that question and to show my friends how much they are needed and loved in my little world.  Oh yes, there was a reason for all this.  In a demented sort of way, I am grateful this happened.  I now have a relationship with family members I haven’t spoken to in years, it is hard when you live 1500 miles away and are at least a decade apart in years.   It’s also wonderful that I can taste the sweetness of life and no longer the bitterness it offers us so frequently.  I will never ask that question again, “Why is life worth living?”, it shall never sit on my tongue again.   I cannot wait for the day that I am completely well and can do for those that have done for me!  Just a thank you is not enough from my standpoint.  It needs to be a big fanfare and one day, it will happen.  I don’t like it when I can’t show my appreciation whole-heartedly.  It’s just going to have to wait.  I only hope and pray that those who constantly are running here and there, sending money, buying little things for me, truly know how loved and appreciated they are. 

What are your road signs and why??

Monday, May 16, 2011

Short Story Time 2

This one is 2 years old, and some of you may have already read it, but I know some haven't.  remember ... all is copyrighted!

The Window and the Memories



The raindrops drizzling down the window matched her tears as if in a race to reach the ground. Occasionally she would turn around to stare at the empty room that was once their bedroom. Nothing remained but the newly purchased chair that she sat in, night and day, staring out the window. The window was the only part of the house that did not hold some memory of him. She struggled constantly to move about the void space, haunted by every second of the life they had shared. Her only solace from the insanity of his loss was that window.

The wall directly behind her was where he pushed her hard against it in one powerful, heated kiss. The wall to her right was where their bed once stood. The wall to her left was her vanity, where he would admire her beauty as she readied herself for the day ahead or for the night of romance to come. It honestly didn’t matter where that new chair was placed; his voice still resonated throughout their home. His laugher in the kitchen as she attempted to cook her first meal was as loud as ever. His sobs near the fireplace when he learned he must leave his love behind and venture on death’s journey echoed painfully. The straining of his body to breathe as he neared the end in that very room tore her heart to pieces regularly.

It didn’t matter that she rid their abode of every single item it once held, he was still there. Time, it had appeared, had not healed her. Two years had passed and she was no better than she was as his coffin was lowered to his well-deserved peace. He had suffered for so long. Now, she has taken upon the same role. She is not ravaged by disease, but grief. Loved ones have tried and tried but no one has yet been successful to rescue this maiden from her despair. She was hypnotized by the lights darting around on the street below, admiration for those who were able to enjoy the beauty around them. To her, she would never know normalcy in such a world. She peered at the tiny cars passing by, wondering to where they were rushing off. In her tower, she was trapped, and thoughts of others were only a minute distraction.

She opened the window and let the chilly night air touch her face. The rain misted in and only made her tear stained face even damper. She stepped out on to the edge exhilarated by the idea of being with him forever. He had promised that to her after all, and she wasn’t going to be denied that anymore. Her pale dressing gown flowed in the breeze as if she was already a specter of the afterlife. To her family, she truly was a mere ghost of herself. Honestly, what did it matter that she would no longer be on this earthly plane? Her burden to her family would be gone and she would live forever in the arms of her love.

As she threw herself forward, all the sadness subsided in an instant. She was a free soul now, and her smile was larger than it had been in years. The street rushing up on her disturbed her not. She closed her eyes, saw his face and her life faded quickly. And all of those lingering memories were no longer.

~Wendy Loose
February 16, 2009

Friday, May 13, 2011

Round 8: Chemo, The Breakfast of Champions Part II

  Believe it or not, it was just an average day!  My superstitious nature was at a pique today because of the date, and I was worried it was a bad omen to receive chemo on such a date.  All went smooth.  I got a chair by the window, so my DVD was in use.  I had to cover my mouth though, I laughed too many times.  "Death at a Funeral" the original British version is one of my favorite movies, so I decided that was the one to watch.  There were only 3 other patients after a bit so it was a bit quiet.  I had a new nurse today, I have been having the same one the other times, but they are all terrific. She borrow my "Dirty Love" DVD, said she had to see it.  I told her it was raunchy, obnoxious but extremely funny and she said it was her kind of movie.  I will get it back Monday when I get my neulasta shot. 

  No "Red Devil" today, just the Cysplatin,the two magnesiums, two potassiums and the anti-nausea with a side of steroids.  I mustn't foget the dreaded water pill... the one that makes me do the "Bladder Bossa Nova" like every 15 minutes! 

  Feeling tired today, but that is to be expected.  Lost my taste buds again...my snack of cheetos tasted like crunchy cardboard but I ate them anyway, I was hungry.  I didn't get to meet any angels today, which saddened me.  I have yet to just go to that doctor's office and not meet one angel.  I have either received my messages loud and clear or just the right amount for now, until I feel down again. 

  It's sad, but I don't even have a funny story to tell.  I am telling you it was just another, normal day in the life of me with cancer.  I did rock one of my new bandanas :D  I was pink and green head to toe!  I wore my purple yesterday... Barb wears her purple to every chemo appointment.  Now I am just rocking my 2 year old's bow in what little hair I have on the top of my head, channeling Pebbles Flintstone. 

Each day that passes, I am braver, stronger, more tired yet enthused that I am beating this.  Dr. Lunin said a very wise thing yesterday, "For every strand of hair that falls is one million cancer cells dying"   I embrace that.

Round 8: Chemo, The Breakfast of Champions! Part I

Ok, so let's try this again... 5 paragraphs were wiped out due to issues on this site and I could kill them!  UGH!   I am hoping I can remember the humour in yesterday.....

  All week I was stressed out about having to go to another chemotherapy session.  I woke up at 5am the morning of chemo!!  Couldn't fall back asleep to save my life.  Oh well... grabbed a Gatorade (keeping those fluids up) and started my day after playing on the computer.  I packed all my necessities, my book from Jilly, my DVD player from Sheelagh, 4 DVDs and Barbie brought the snacks :D

  We arrived 20 minutes late because SOME little girl didn't want to walk her butt to school.  I guess 8th grade award ceremonies are EXHAUSTING!  ha!  While getting my blood drawn to test my white cell count, a med assistant just had to harass me about nearly fainting at last weeks blood draw.  This whole port thing is just so new to me.  Mine seems to have a tilt in it, so after two people poking and prodding it, yeah, I was a bit faint.  SEND IN THE SMELLING SALTS... TWICE!!    She said she should have sold tickets!  Brat!  Thank goodness for Tammy, she got it the first try.   So, I asked for Tammy again and BOOM, first try again.  She is going to be my standard request from now on, no offense to the other techs, but I am not fond of feeling faint. 

  I met another angel on Earth today.... She was 75 and going on her third battle with cancer.  First it was Uterine, second was breast and now lymphoma.  Most people sit in the waiting room only speaking to spouses, loved-ones or friends, never to each other.  Not this lady, whom I will not name.  I am still a "hospital worker" mentally and I won't violate the HIPPA laws.  I found her amazing!  Her spirit was so alive and she acted like it was nothing, no big deal.  WOW!  Someone can fluff off cancer and chemo like that?  I was shocked.  She had asked my what type of cancer I was dealing with, when I told her, she said she was going to have to look it up for she had never heard of that type before.  It was very interesting to her.  Her ocean blue eyes danced as she talked about her life and you could see nothing but joy in them.  He beautiful shoulder-length hair was a dazzling white and a bluish-silver and I knew that would be falling out soon, it was such a pity.  It didn't seem to phase her.  I guess when you are her age and fighting for your life for the third time, it gets to be normal.  She gave me more courage, I think she actually passed on some of her courage to me spiritually. 

  Time to go in!  I was all set up and getting the Adriamycin, the "Red Devil" as it's affectionately known.  It is the one that has made my hair fall out so fast.  I noticed the nurse held several paper towels under it as she pushed it into my port.  I asked her why and she stated that it would eat her skin.  WOW!  This is going through my veins??   She said that is why I had a port, so it would go straight into my blood stream, because it can damage veins, burn them!!  I was sadly disappointed when I walked into the room... it was packed!  I couldn't get a chair near an electrical outlet, so my DVD player was out of the picture.  I tried to read my book, but found myself getting drowsy, so I napped through most of my chemo.  Except when I took the time to flirt with a cutie that was sitting with his friend.  He was under 40 and I never found out what kind of cancer he had, but I mentioned Lance Armstrong's foundation that helps with all sorts of needs for cancer patients under 40 and he thanked me.  His friend brought him McDonald's for lunch and I scolded him saying "If you don't have enough for the class, you can't bring any!"   I made someone smile and that felt good.

  Oh and I did see my doctor earlier.  He was pleased with my count, pleased that I was not nauseous and happy that I am handling things well.  He did his patient dictation right there, and I swear that man could replace the one that did the Micro-Machine commercials!!  I couldn't understand half of what he was saying, I never knew a doctor could speak so fast... holy crap!! 


Another thing my angel told me... The American Cancer Society provides you with one free wig and if you sign up for "Look Good-Feel Good" you get over $200 in cosmetics, to help you feel beautiful why being as bald as a cue ball!  You know I am going there!!! LOL

My water pill was in full force, and I was making constant trips to the bathroom.  As I was leaving, I had to make one more trip.   Speaking of trips... the nurse that teased my about my fainting?  Well, just as I walked into the bathroom, I saw her trip on her own feet!  I have to remind her, I should have sold tickets!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reflections on my mother

  With Mother's Day fast approaching, I feel compelled to write an open letter to my mother...


  Mom,

Words do not do justice for all the love you gave me from the time I was but a small cell growing in your body until the day you had to leave me, to go home to our Lord.  As a mother, I know there were times where you feel you failed me but I can guarantee you that you didn't.  I am who I am thanks to your love and support.  Your generous nature taught me to think of others first.  Your sense of humor lives in me and I am so thankful for that.  The beauty of nature and the world around you did not escape you and you passed that down to me, so much so that I have to fight the urge to take in strays be it animal or human!  I never really understood the love you had for all six of us until I had children of my own.  I now know it's so powerful, no matter what any child does or will do, I will not stop loving them.  I understand you so much better, your sacrifices and why you did what you did to make my life better.  I truly do regret not spending more time with you, not taking a few minutes out of each day to stop by and get a hug.  I miss your jokes and your laughter, I can still hear it in my head.  I miss bowling with you and playing bingo with you. 
  Some kids get embarrassed by their parents and their actions, but I never did with you.  My friends all loved you, and thought of you as a "cool mom".  They were right, you were.  Even as an adult when I was on my own raising babies, if I was sick you were right there bringing chicken soup and whatever else I needed.  You took care of me through everything, even my first pregnancy.  When other parents would turn their backs on their pregnant, unmarried teen you stood by my side.  When I chose to put her up for adoption, you were right there for me during the most difficult time in my life.  I am so glad you got to know your grandchildren and they love you.  I am only sorry you weren't around for Serenity, but I think you are here somewhere.  I think you watch over her everyday.  I don't think you would let even death keep you from your youngest grandchild, you are that strong!  Your strength in certain situations amazed me.  I suppose that is where I get my strength.  No one knows the sacrifice you made, you told only me.   You suffered silently to give me the life I had and I will love you forever for that.  I will love you forever just for being my mom, my best friend, my confidante and my support.  I will never let your memory die, it will live on in your grandchildren and their children. 

I love you mommy,
Your baby,

Wendy

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Short story time!

The Walk

  The morning was much cooler than usual, the snow having freshly fallen the previous night.  My walk to the office was only five blocks, but in this weather with the sun being shy by hiding behind the clouds, made it seem more like five miles.  I held my coffee tightly for the warmth, and trudged along, regretting not wearing gloves.  I was coming up to the local park which was a sad sight in mid-winter.  The slides and swing-sets looked so lonely and neglected this time of year.  Today wasn’t a normal day for the solemn looking play-set.  A lone child, a boy, sat on a swing and kicked his shoes against the frozen ground.  I noticed he had a look of contemplation on his face as his gaze met mine.  I smiled the best I could for a man close to freezing and proceeded with my trek on the icy sidewalks of the city. 

  It was just a normal day at work, the phones wouldn’t stop ringing, the work piling up as fast as I could edit and before you knew it was time to head home.  The evening walks were always so much better, with the lights twinkling all around the city.  It did seem a bit colder than this morning, but I was happy to be going home and my pace seemed to quicken with every step.  Chinese take-out, the ball game and a nice bottle of red wine eased my evening into bedtime.  I am skipping a lot of my mundane existence because it does not relate just yet.  I have a basic routine I follow daily; I am not one for change.  Again, I head out for work on my route and as I come up to the park, I notice the same boy, on the same swing.  This time there was something different about him.  He didn’t seem deep in thought; he appeared as though he was calling me over with his eyes.  I glanced at my watch and noticed I had over forty—five minutes until I had to be at the office.  I decided to enter the park and sit next to him to see if he would strike up a conversation.  As I got closer, I saw his woolen hat was covering a head that had no hair and trying to hide invisible eyebrows.  My heart went out to this lonely boy and I knew I had made the right choice in stopping.  He wasted no time in saying hello and introducing himself as Henry.  He asked me what made me turn into the park.  I told him that he did.  He was surprised and a small smile appeared through cracked lips.  He was curious to find out why I constantly walked the same route day after day.  I didn’t realize I was entertainment to anyone, let alone a child.  I told him that I had to go to work and it was the quickest way there.  He wondered why I never changed it up, made it more adventurous.  I explained that sometimes as adults, we don’t think of such cool things.  He laughed in agreement.  He said that if he were me, he would slide across the ice, throw snowballs at the parked cars and try to see something new every day.  His wisdom about life tossed my brain around a bit.  Here was Henry, who couldn’t be more than ten or eleven and he was giving me advice on how to live. 
It was time for me to go, I still had three more blocks to walk and with ice having formed a thick layer, it would slow my steps.  He said he would see me tomorrow with confidence and I knew I couldn’t disappoint.  I thought of Henry throughout the day and into the evening, not noticing him in the park on my journey home.    The next morning, I carried not only coffee, but a hot cocoa as well for my new friend.  It was just so cold out; I couldn’t imagine sitting there with him shivering while he watched me warm up with my hot drink. 

  Henry was waiting for me again, wool hat in place.  He asked if I knew he had cancer.  I had figured that was the reason for the hair loss but I played it off quite well.  The focus of the talk switched quickly to me.  He wanted to know if I threw a snowball, or slid on the ice on my way to the park.  I laughed at the idea and he admonished me with small noise.  He told me to enjoy everything I could while I can, for you never know when your number is up.  He sipped his cocoa very slowly and proceeded to ask how I felt about God.  I had no answer.  I never really believed in anything my entire life.  Monsters, God and Santa Claus were all myths to me.  I wasn’t sure how to answer him, so I said I just didn’t think.  He pressed me for an answer on why I don’t think God is up there, watching over us.  I told him a good reason was him.  I didn’t think that a God would let great kids like him get cancer.  He thought for a moment and told me that there is reason children get cancer, it’s to remind old people like me to enjoy life.  I never considered myself old at thirty-three, but I guess Henry did.  He said it wasn’t my age that made me old, just my actions.  He thanked me for the cocoa and stood up to leave.  I checked my watch, I figured I must be late if Henry was ready to go.  I still had over half an hour to kill and wondered where he was going.  He said he had an early doctor’s appointment and his mom would be mad if he didn’t get home in time to leave.  As he walked away from me and I turned to leave, I felt a “smack” on my back.  Snowball.  I laughed it off, knowing I would get my revenge on my walk tomorrow. 

  All day at work I was distracted by Henry’s words.  Kids get cancer to make adults enjoy their lives.  I couldn’t grasp that idea, but coming from a child, what do you expect?  Logic isn’t part of their thought process at this age.  With tomorrow being Friday, I had to try to spend a little more time with Henry before the weekend.  I never left my apartment on weekends, and if I did, it was just to go to the cafĂ© and that was the opposite way from the park.   I got up extra early to get ready and headed out with two Styrofoam cups again.  Henry was nowhere to be found.    I waited until I could wait no more and left his cocoa with a note letting him know I was sorry I missed him.  Being a boy, he was probably wrapped up in some cartoon and forgot our meeting.  I was sure I was going to get a surprise attack of snowballs and was slightly disappointed when I didn’t.  I had to stay later than usual at work to make up for the time I lost in the morning waiting for Henry.  I decided to head to the park Saturday morning.  I wanted to see if Henry was there, expecting me to show up, breaking my habits a little.  Henry wasn’t there; instead a tired looking woman was in his place.  It had to be Henry’s mother, considering her age and the fact that she was holding that wool cap.  Right after I noticed her, I recognized my cocoa and note, both still on the bench, untouched.  She asked if I was Greg, Henry’s new friend.  I handed her the fresh cocoa and asked her to sit.  I slid the note to her and asked her why I hadn’t seen Henry.  She started to sob, clenching to that hat as hard as she could.  She explained that he had passed last night, complications from pneumonia.  She blamed herself for letting him come out in the cold, but it was his wish, his last wish.  She said Henry had been talking about me for weeks, watching me from their apartment.  It was his goal to change my life, to make it just a bit better.  Carla, his mother, stated that he felt sorry for me, always doing the same thing day in and day out, never wavering.  He told her that if he really did change me a little bit that I would show up today and she should be there to let me know that God wanted him home.  I knew he had cancer, but I never fathomed he was truly sick.  I thought the cough he had was just due to the cold air.  She wanted to thank me for taking my time to speak with her son, to show compassion when the world today severely lacked that emotion.  I felt the lump in my throat grow enormous and I could no longer hold in my tears.  I reached out to touch her arm, show some comfort, when she handed me the wool hat.  Henry wanted me to have it, to remind me to live every day.  As she walked off I looked up to the sky and noticed the sun shining brighter than I ever could remember.  I took the cocoa that Henry never got to drink the day before and poured it out onto the ground, as my own little memorial to him. 
  His message was loud and clear now, he had been watching me and his dying wish was to change my life.  Here was a child that knew he was going to die and he spent his last days attempting to help me.  I thought it was the reverse, I thought by giving him some of my time, I was cheering up a sick child.  I never once thought Henry wouldn’t get well, he was a child, and he would live for years to come.  I slowly got up from our bench, stuffed the hat into my coat pocket and proceeded to head home.  I heard Henry’s soft giggle in my head and took out the hat.  I popped it on my own head and formed the greatest snowball in the history of snowballs.  I threw that ball with such force at a parked car that it set off an alarm.  I ran for the hills, in a different direction this time, letting myself slide across the ice.  It felt good.

© 2011 Wendy L. Loose

Monday, May 2, 2011

Round 7: Open Up and Say OW!

  Nope, it hasn't been an easy road since that first dose of chemo.  I have been nauseous, losing fluids but mostly tired.  I can deal with the lack of energy, I just rest and it comes back.  These new symptoms?  I am not liking at all!  I have been experiencing the feeling of my tongue being burned, like when you take a sip of too hot coffee.  I had hoped it would go away, but it hasn't.  My tongue still feels raw and sore.  Let's add to open mouths sores as of today.  One on each side of my mouth, on my inner cheeks.  I had my tastebuds back for a few days, but since this mouth thing started, they have been slowly going away again.  Gatorade tastes like water, my salad tasted like nothing and my favorite treat of yogurt and fresh berries taste like dog crap!  (By the way, I do know what dog crap tastes like, but it's a whole other story!!)

  Bone pain.   Yes, BONE PAIN!  My legs ache like they have never ached before.  I can't get them comfortable.  This is not due to the chemo, but due to a shot to boost my white cell count.  It's one of the lovely side effects listed on the package.  My bones are working over-time in their little marrow factories producing cells thanks to this shot.  I was told some people never feel it, some people feel a mild pain and others feel a stronger pain.  Guess which one I was lucky to get??  You win the million!  STRONG PAIN!
I have given birth to 7 children, so my tolerance to pain isn't that low.  I can suck up a lot of pain and keep going.  I have a horrible back and deal with that pain daily, but I am sorry, this leg pain sucks.  I can now sympathize with those that suffer from RLS (restless leg syndrome).  I am constantly moving them, adjusting them and stretching them, hoping for a bit of relief.  Ibuprofen and acetaminophen aren't touching it in the slightest.  I am so glad I still have some pain pills left over from my surgery.  They help for a few hours.
Walking on them is even worse I found out, after taking a trip to the store.  I did my best to ignore like a trooper but when I got back home to rest, I cried like a baby.

  If anybody has any suggestions for the mouth pain, I would love to hear them.  Is there an organic mouthwash that won't burn?  Any advice you can give would be awesome.  Remember, I am not only writing this for me, but for anyone else that cancer has affected or will affect in the future.  It would be nice if only ONE person was helped by this blog.  I would feel I did my job in sharing my life with the world if the life of just one person was changed for the better. 

  I only have one request, when you post a comment or some advice, please keep it positive and upbeat.  I won't allow negative energy to flow from this blog.  My posts may be sad, depressing or whatever, but they are never written while negative.  I am always upbeat and happy when I write, even when it's about mouth sores the size of the Grand Canyon!

Today's emotions:  Frustration, Fear, Confusion, Pride (for the USA) and Hope....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chaos, Clutter and Cancer? Oh My! Received the Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank to Ask Away I received the Versatile Blogger Award!



This award is to recognize and appreciate fellow bloggers and let your readers know about blogs they might not have known about.
Now it's time to pass it on.  Here are the rules:

*Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.

*Share seven things about yourself.

*Award 15 bloggers you recently discovered.
*Contact these bloggers and let them know they have received this award.

Here are seven things about myself:
1. I have 6 gorgeous children and am proud of each and every one for being an individual.
2. I am the baby of  6 children, and I love my sister to death!
3. I get really mad if I get interrupted while watching a "good" movie.
4. I don't really wear makeup unless I am going out.  Natural beauty is the best.
5. I am going through chemo to kick cancer's ass! :D
6. I am a proud cat mommy.
7. I love Kevin Smith and Simon Pegg movies!

I am awarding the following Bloggers with this Award!
















0 - 60 in .... 5 days!!

Wow, I woke up this morning energized!   So now I know to give it at least 5 days before I start feeling like my old self again, at least as far as the energy level is concerned.  They said 2-3, but they also said chemo treats everybody different. 

  I feel like taking a walk today, looking at the green grass, but not feeling it... Florida grass is horrible compared to the lush Michigan grass I grew up in.  During my trip to NYC in September I sat down and felt the grass, there was heaven!  It brought back all the memories I had of rolling around as a child on that beautiful, kelly green carpet of nature.  I miss "real" grass, Florida's is just too picky and itchy.   I also want to take the time to notice the flowers, maybe bring my camera with me to catch what is blooming.  I loves taking stills of flowers.  I get to keep their beauty with me always, and they get to stay alive and thrive.  No picking flowers for me!  I am of an unusual sort, I know women LOVE to get flowers, but I prefer a potted plant of flowers.  A bouquet of flowers just says, "enjoy my beauty, for I will die on you very soon" and that saddens me.  I feel like finding a canal near here and sit on the bank of it and watch the water birds.  I have some great shots of our water fowl here.  I thank my mother for all of this.  She is the one that taught me to appreciate all of nature and it's creatures.   I think this is going to be a very good day today! 

Come on sunrise!  It's a brand new day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Written by my dear friend, Kat... total inspiration for me!

Readers, I did not write this piece, I am merely sharing (with Kat's permission, of course) a wonderful story of love, inspiration, cancer and family.  Please enjoy the journey as much as I did and remember to say " I love you" as much as possible to those that matter.   As Kat's story shows, you never know when you are called up to Heaven.....

Written by Kat Roessler:

I want to share my grandmother’s story with you. At 69, she was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was given 3-6 months to live if she was lucky. But my Grandmother was a fighter, survivor and a real hoot, if you knew her.
I was only 13 when she was diagnosed but I became a grown up that minute. I went to every chemo session with her. They were usually 6 hour infusions in a room with other patients. My grandmother was the house entertainer! She would chat-up and cheer-up every single person in the room, they were mostly older men and women but we also had two 12 year olds. They had a TV but on the days my grandmother and I were there? It was a Part-ay! She sang, I sang with her… I journaled furiously while she entertained. I was writing her story while she lived it. I have a closet full of journals. I have kept them since I was 9 years old (that’s also when I started writing poetry).

My grandmother was my mother, father, everything. She took care of my mother, my sister and me. I always felt like my mother was just my out-of-control older sister. She is a smiling dragon of barbed innuendos. But that’s another story. Anything I know about being a good wife or mother or person came from my grandma.

When my grandmother lost her hair (she loved her hair and even when it was old and gray she kept it long and wore it in carefully arranged bun), I wept for her. She didn’t cry or complain; she laughed and said, “Well that’s a relief! One less thing I have to fuss over and deal with! Let’s go find a classy wig!”

That was my grandma’s spirit. She handled the grit, and pain and every ugly, grueling aspect of cancer and chemo and sickness with grace and humor. I sobbed crying for the greatest role model, friend, mother, teacher, counselor, and priestess that my grandmother embodied. She looked at my sister, my mom and me and said, Mark my words: I will fight, love, laugh and LIVE through this for years to come. I will prove the doctors wrong; I’m going to live a heck of a lot longer than 3-6 months. They will NOT put a timeline on me, my life, or my vitality!

And she did just that. She (we) lived through a full hysterectomy, almost weekly grueling chemo sessions, treatments, appointments, and 2 more surgeries. I was 13 when she was diagnosed and given 3-6months to live. She eventually passed away a month before my 16th birthday.

When they said it was ‘her time,’ they moved her to a hospice suite (her hospital room with a room attached with a cot and a couch and a reclining chair for my mom, sister and me to sleep in). The doctors told us she would be passing that night or the next day. She hung on for two WEEKS. Every bit the proudest of the proud Fighting Irish/from Queens, NY hanging onto to each moment left on Earth. Those 14 days in the hospice suite were the hardest. All of the nurses, night security, cafeteria staff, orderlies, basically every hospital employee knew that the term “visiting hours” did not apply to my mom, sister or me. I was on summer vacation between my sophomore and junior year in high school so I was there almost 24/7 with her.

We were granted a small miracle from heaven one of those days in the hospice fortnight. One night, my grandmother woke up! She had been heavily sedated with morphine to keep her comfortable, was fed through IV, and the doctor’s said that, theoretically, it was impossible for her to be conscious or coherent enough to sit up and talk the way she was. It was truly a miracle. It lasted about an hour, but in that time she talked to my mom, sister and me each in turn and alone. This, of course, what after she sang, “Let Me Entertain You,” to the room.

I don’t know what she said to my mom or my sister, but I will never forget what she said to me. “Kathy, you are quirky and brilliant. You have a strength in you that is special that your mother and sister don‘t have. Take care of them, I worry about them but I know you will be fine, we are survivors. Always stay close to your sister and mother and be strong.”

With that, I told her I loved more than anything in the world and would be fine. That if she saw grandpa (her long-since-passed husband), hitch a ride to heaven with him. We’ll be ok, you can go now.

I, of course, was not ok and many, many mistakes in the years that followed.. I don’t regret any of them because they have made me who I am today: a strong, quirky, brilliant, survivor. She passed away shortly thereafter. I stayed awake for the next few days straight to give her the only departing gift I had to offer, an eloquent eulogy worthy of what she meant to me.

The day of the funeral, in a big Catholic Church, I thought I would pass out as I walked to the lectern to read my eulogy. I was certain I would falter, and cry and just as I was about to turn away from the microphone and crumble, I felt HER holding me up at that podium. I was embraced by a warm strength that I know came from her… I read every word clearly and from heart. I wish I had not lost that eulogy, I wish I had made a copy and not left it on the lectern to be thrown out… but I do remember two quotes I began and ended it with:

“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
DIE NOT, poor Death; not yet canst thou kill me!”

-John Donne (intro poem to John Gunther’s “Death Be Not Proud”)

…and I finished it with a verse from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life:

“Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate -
Still achieving, still pursuing!
As we learn to labor and to wait.”