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 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...


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,


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....