Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas... a letter!

Dear family & friends (& random blog readers)

Each year at this time I think "I should send out a family Christmas letter" I love receiving them from others I just never quite get my act together enough to follow through with the good intentions. Life simply gets busy and I fail to make the time. This year I have been handed time in abundance, and I am taking advantage of it now to jot a few lines and finally get a Christmas letter out from our home to yours.

2008 has been an eventful year for us, a year filled with challenges and blessings. We have weathered storms and come out stronger for them. We have learned that a sense of humor can make even the toughest situations bearable and even the toughest situations could be so much worse. Through it all God has been faithful and we have been blessed over and over by the graciousness and generosity of friends and family. We could not have made it through with out their love and support.

The girls are doing well. They are growing up fast.
Our youngest, Shanna is 12 (13 next month) and in grade 7. She is our sassy, spunky, determined one, all things that will take her far in life & challenge us daily. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, there is very little grey in Shanna's life. Shanna brought home a stellar report card this week full of A's & B's. Last night we were at her school Christmas concert, and it was bitter sweet - I realized that this was the last of the elementary school Christmas concerts we will attend, ending a 12 year Christmas tradition in our home. The concert took us on an around the world trip of Christmas traditions - Shanna's group took us to Australia. Shanna has loved being "of age" to be part of the youth group at our Church and has enjoyed every moment of it. She enjoys babysitting... not to sure if it is the babysitting or the money she makes but she goes pretty much anytime the offer is extended.
Teryn at 14 (15 in Feb) has a zest for life that is contagious. She loves to make others laugh and is a chatterbox, there is never a dull moment when Teryn is around. 2008 has been a year of challenges for her, she received a prognosis of Irritable bowel Syndrome mid year, ending a very long period of medical tests, doctor visits and day trips off and on to BC Children's Hospital. Now that we know what it is that causes the tummy pain we are able to deal with it and move forward. Early this year Teryn was also involved in an accident at a concert in a church where the floor collapsed in front of the stage and 40 kids fell through to the basement (about 30 feet). Teryn and 2 friends were 3 of the 40. Thankfully the injuries were minor and no one was more seriously hurt. Teryn walked away with a very sore shoulder a few scrapes and a minor concussion. All this added up to allot of missed school at the end of grade 8, Teryn worked hard to bring home an honors report card for that term. Now in grade 9 she continues to work hard and do well. She plays percussion in the school band, her instrument of specialty being the Timpani drum. Teyn loves Christian music and lives for Saturday nights when "Extreme Praise" hits the airwaves of our local christian music station.

Ashlynn turned 16 in October is our strong silent one much like her Daddy. She is a joy, and an easy teenager to parent. She loves to read and draw and shop at Value Village. She has a keen eye and often walks away with designer items, it is fun to watch her in that element. I love that she realizes that you can find great stuff at a huge savings. Ashlynn is in grade 11 (where does the time go??)and is looking at a career in costume design. She has a fashion sense that is totally her own and loves to mix and match pieces to create that. Ashlynn is in the Sr. band at school and plays clarinet, and doing lots of talking at the moment about learning how to play the trombone next year. (There are currently no female Trombone players.... she likes the idea of the challenge!) She enjoyed a band trip to Nelson for a music festival in April and is looking forward to Europe in March with this group. She is also loving being part of the Dance Company at school this year.

All 3 girls continue to dance with Dance Imagination - It is a joy to watch them preform as well as work together with the other girls in the company. I love that they are all at the same place at the same time on the same days. I do not have to try to juggle and co-ordinate activities, and driving.

Royd continues to enjoy his work at the surveying company he has been with for 16 years. He does very little actual surveying these days, his job is more that of a draftsman. Which is very good on cold snowy winter days like today. He can sit in the warmth of his office and let the other guys do the field work. Royd is very involved with the worship team at Church - singing a couple of Sunday's a month and practicing weekly. Right now is in the middle of extra rehearsals and practices to get ready to sing on Christmas eve. He is a great dad and I am especially greatful when it comes to helping with math homework! He can often be found helping with homework after a long day at work. I am thankful for my husband, and the support he has been to me this past year, I know without a shadow of a doubt I would not have made it through with out his love and support. I am a blessed woman because of this man, he is my rock.

That brings us to me.... it has been quite a year. If keeping up with the girls and all that their lives have been has not been enough.. my own life brought its share of challenges to our family this year.

In a nut shell. . . (if you care to read details follow this link then continue reading from there) in May I received a nasty mammogram result back, telling me that the tumor in my right breast had returned and that there would be more surgery in my future. September 24th, I had a mastectomy to remove the tumor and remaining breast tissue. All went well and all tests have come back clear. God is good! Life has slowed down considerably for me since then. As a result of the diagnosis and the realization that I could not do it all, Mary my business partner for 11 years, and I decided to close our Scrapbooking Store, that happened in June. This has allowed me to focus on my health without other distractions.
Early on in the journey I decided that I was not going to let this get me down... I did not want to become negative or whiny. Sure there are days that I feel lousy, that I hurt for no apparent reason, that I would rather stay in bed...BUT thankfully they are few and far between. This will not break me. God has promised that we will not bear any burden that he does not think we can handle.I have to take this to heart. I take comfort in knowing that God thinks I can handle this. I have been blessed over and over and over again by the support and love of family and friends. By people who have been there to take the girls to dance, pick them up at school, by people bringing us meals, offers to go shopping, cards and flowers.. the list goes on and on... I do not dare to try and list people by name for fear of leaving someone out. I know I am right where I am supposed to be and that this current challenge is all part of a bigger picture, one I do not see clearly at the moment, but know that God does and that he is in control. And in that I can rest, truly rest and let healing happen. The journey is not complete, I face 2 more surgeries in the new year, but that is o.k. it is always one step at a time, and hey I a guess I am 1/2 a step ahead of many of you I know what I am doing on January 9th.... do you??? I hope that if you think of me you will offer a little prayer for the surgeon's team as that is the date for my closest surgery. Then I am off to Europe with Ashlynn to chaperon the band trip - So excited about that, first I have never been to Europe and secondly but surely more important... Ashlynn is excited to have me come along! When a 16 year old still looks forward to having her mom around on a trip with friends It is a good day! I will face my 3rd and final surgery after returning from Europe. After that I will have to resume life and find a job, what that will be or what it will look like I am not sure, however I am sure that this has all happened for a reason and that life is pretty much what we make it and we have a choice everyday about how we are going to live it.

Looking back on 2008 I would say that it was a good year... not an easy year but a good year. One we will look back on in years to come and think WOW... that all happened in one year! As it comes to a close we are thankful for the blessing of friends and family and the gift of being able to spend time with them, weather in person or reconnecting online. We want to wish each of you all the best for 2009 and a very Merry Christmas. May you know that you are loved!

Di (for the rest of the crew here!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday little sister...(I do not even know if you read this!!!)

Birthdays & December traditions...

Today is my little sister's birthday. For the next 3 weeks, I will hear the traditional "I am only 2 years younger than you....." something that started long long ago when the math made sense and she was too young to understand the concept of a calendar year....sometimes over time things simply take on a life on their own. That, I guess is where tradition starts.

Dawna, may your day be all that you hope it will be. I am thankful that you are not only my sister but my friend as well. (We worked hard at getting to that place! It was well worth it!) My life is richer and I am a better person because you are part of it. Take time to celebrate with style, like only you can. Love you.

Growing up, December was always an exciting time in our house.

Birthdays & Christmas both to be celebrated. How many people get that much excitement in one month, toss in New years eve and it all ends with a bang too.

My sister's birthday is today (December 2nd) mine follows in 3 weeks. Growing up it was not uncommon to be woken up by the other jumping on our bed. Now it is simply trying to get a phone call in early enough to actually wake the other up. Something that I failed at this year. (I did think of calling at 1:30 am as I was heading to bed.. but that would just be rude!) So I did the next best thing, left messages on all possible phones, message boards and email. Quantity - making up for early!

Dinner was always the choice of the birthday girl - a tradition we carry out in our house today. In between was a frenzy of birthday parties, with friends and family (several of my cousins have birthdays late in November or December) shopping, hiding and wrapping gifts. (only one year of snooping.... never again - it really is no fun on Christmas morning knowing what is in the special packages) and always the traditional trip downtown to visit Santa at Woodwards. Woodwards had the best window displays EVER! I wish I had photo's of those. The best thing for me having a birthday 2 days before Christmas was that I never recall being at school on my birthday! I always had a holiday for my birthday. Pretty cool if you ask me.

One of the biggies in our house was that the Christmas tree never went up until Christmas Eve. My Mom & Dad's way of keeping everything separate. Think about that for a moment... we put the tree up on Christmas eve, it was always a fresh tree, it was often bought that day too. Now if you have ever visited a Christmas Tree lot on Christmas eve, you will know that the pickings are slim. The best trees have been picked and have likely been decorated and in living rooms for weeks. One of our favorite stories is that one year we went LATE on Christmas Eve to pick our tree, probably around 5 ish, but to a young girl dark meant midnight. I think the guy at the tree lot felt sorry for us, he was probably getting ready to go home and in we walk. Dad, Dawna and I. We looked at every tree that was there, maybe 12, and sticks or twigs were a more accurate description than TREE. WE eventually chose one and when we went to pay for it, the guy said he could not take any money from us and let us take the tree home for free. He probably thought we were poor and could not afford a tree. When the truth was we were just sticking to tradition.

The other thing that my mom was firm about was that Birthday gifts were just that birthday gifts and she never wrapped them in Christmas wrap. Nor did I ever receive a combined gift from a member of my family. I have only EVER received one combined gift.... (that is a story for another day.. lets just say it only happened one time and it was a great gift and that my hubby is a very fast learner!) Birthdays were birthdays and Christmas in our house came 2 sleeps after my birthday. Where in your house you would have had to count way more sleeps if you ever kept track.

Happy Birthday Dawna! And to the rest of you out there, Happy December! Enjoy your day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stress thy name is travel...listen to the little voices in your head!!!

I have done a fair bit of traveling, I love it. I love planning, I love the airport, I love the anticipation of a new adventure. However today I was not loving the travel agency location I had been working with.

We are planning a trip! It is something we have talked about for years, but decided 3 weeks before we were to leave that this is the time to do it. A little last minute, but not a problem I am assured from the travel agent. Great, we find a package and booked it and paid for it, and were waiting for the travel documents to arrive. Which should have been this week some time. So today I was going to place a friendly touch base email....... here is how it went from there

4:05 - Send email just asking for an update and when I could come in and pick up my documents.

4:15 - Receive a "bounce message" email is not able to be delivered (strange I know the email address is correct I simply hit reply to one of their earlier emails)

4:15:30 - I tried to phone, and get a " we are sorry the number you have dialed is not in service" My stomach knots. I try a few more times just to confirm I dialed correctly.

4:22 - Teryn and I are in the car heading to the mall where the agency is located... maybe they are having phone issues / Internet issues... I am feeling like I want to vomit. I have one child on the way, driving with friends we are to meet up with them on Saturday when we FLY in!

4:45 - We arrive at the mall.... head up the escalator, I look to my right, and notice that the agency office has no lights on..... I am shaking... this is not good. We walk up to the door and there is a sign that reads " This ______ travel agency location is now closed. Please contact your CC company for any services not provided." Now what?????? My hands are shaking, I am close to tears, thankfully Teryn was with me.... I have to stay strong for her....

4:47 - We are back in the car, with a little plan. I get on the phone and call a few people to pray and head to the other mall where this particular agency has an office. Hoping they will be able to help me.

5:10 - Arrive at the second mall - I say to Teryn... lets see what will happen.. remember our God is bigger than this! Inside I am thinking.. what if this does not work out what are we going to do. Shanna is in the US, with no ticket home (I know I was not quite thinking rationally at this point because Shanna would just end up having a long drive home that was un-planned. She would be happy and safe...) I was feeling ripped right off! A mini pity party was going on in my little head. What would I tell Ashlynn and Teryn.... how would I deal with it! I was a mini mess!

5:12 - I see the agency and breath a small sigh of relief the lights were ON and the doors were open! The agent was busy and on the phone but they were open!

5:20 - I sit down with Nancy and ask her if there is any way she can help me. I explained my dilemma. She smiles and says, oh this is all I have been doing ALL DAY! Poor thing, I can only imagine the frustration she dealt with today. I am so thankful that we booked on the Credit Card and did not pay cash. Nancy was telling me of others who paid cash, and the packages were not booked - yikes! So sad and maddening for those people.....

5:25 - 5:55 Thankfully I had printed off and brought with me the emails I received from the first agency. For the next 1/2 hour Nancy made phone calls, trying to figure out what had happened, and IF (big IF) the package had actually been booked. I sat and prayed, tried to think of a positive outcome, all the while thinking about how we could fix it and salvage the vacation. Pretty stressful...... HOWEVER our Angel Nancy was able to find and confirm that everything was booked, and I now have all the documents in my hot little hands. WHEW! Stress like that is not fun! God truly is bigger than it all and things worked out.... I feel blessed!

The strange thing is last Friday when we dropped Shanna of in Langley with our friends I made a comment about not having the documents in hand and the possibility of something going wrong and Shanna having to remain with them for the remainder of their family vacation..... I should have listened to my gut and followed through, I should have listened to the little voice in my head....
Why is it that we do not listen to the small voice in our head... the niggley feeling that things are just not right? You would think I would learn, it is not like this is the first time....

Should have Could Have.... didn't
But SO VERY GLAD it all worked out.

California here we come.... if you are ready or not (We are!!!)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Counting down....

Tomorrow marks the first Sunday of the advent season. It means that at the church we attend we will start to see the decorations go up and the signs & symbols of the season be displayed. The first candle on the advent wreath will be lit.

The candle of HOPE.

Life with God offers hope.

If there is one thing I have learned this past year - is that hope is what makes life worth living especially in the middle of crisis. If we have no hope life seems to lack meaning. It is often said that it is when people loose hope that they loose their desire to live. When I received the news of the re-occurrence & re-appearance of breast cancer, the first thing the Doctor offered was hope.

She did a great job of just that. From a medical point of view the tumor was one of the best to get. Phyllodes though it does not respond to traditional forms of cancer treatments, it is highly treatable with surgery... HOPE! In most cases of cancer it is the treatment that makes one feel sick and beats up the body. I am so thankful that I did not have to walk down that road. The hope that was offered was a life line that I clung to. Knowing & believing that God sees a bigger picture of life than we do offered another type of hope. Hope that this will not be for nothing that some where further down the line I will be able to offer hope to another woman, and her family because I know what it is like to walk the same road. HOPE!

What are you hoping for this season?

My hope for each of you is just that. . . . hope!

Hope of a restored relationship
Hope for health
Hope for kindness and LOVE
Hope for those things that mean the most to you ........ HOPE

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One month and counting....

November 25th!

One month until Christmas.

In our house that means the count is on. When the girls were small, we made paper chains and just before bed they would cut off a link, counting down. Counting sleeps & advent Calendars filled with chocolate were all ways to keep track until the anticipated event. Birthday's, Christmas, special occasions they were looking forward to we count To this day we still count sleeps to awaited events.

This year there are several different counts going on, how many sleeps until we go to Disneyland, how many sleeps until school is out, then the big one.. how many sleeps until Christmas. Part of the fun in life is anticipating is looking forward to,expecting, awaiting, hoping for great things to happen. Last night we were visiting with some friends talking about "surprises" versus "anticipating" I am more of a gal that likes to anticipate than be surprised. Sure I love the surprise of Christmas gifts and such, but I would much rather anticipate a trip or a party than have it sprung on me. That being said, I would quickly recover and enjoy myself if someone were to surprise me with a trip or a party. (just for the record!) Christmas is one of those good things we look forward to each year, and after the year we have had we are anticipating and looking forward to a good December.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

History in the making...

It is not very often that we get to see world changing history being made, those events that make you stand up and take notice and think THIS IS a historical event. . . In my lifetime I can think of a few such events:

Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope and the ripple effect that had on cancer research. A legacy that still thrives today around the world.

The fall of the Berlin Wall all that represented for Germany, European countries and the world. I remember being glued to the TV watching as people climbed the wall tossing bricks swinging sledge hammers... thinking, WOW who would have thought...

The untimely death of Princess Diana - how it changed the face of the monarchy. That night the world was in shock!

I certainly know there are more, peace treaties being signed, wars being fought and ended, people in every country trying to make a difference. Every day history is made, by people making choices to change them selves, alcoholics that stop drinking, kids getting off the street, children being adopted... everyday the world changes hopefully for the better one decision at a time, one person at a time.

I am not a huge follower of politics of any kind. It is not that I do not care, mostly I do not understand, my creative mind gets lost in the heady stuff. I do know the importance of and exercise my right to vote. I have rarely missed an opportunity to do so since I came of age. I usually feel that my little single vote will not make or break the outcome, but if I do not vote what right do I have to comment or discuss the outcome. I have to make the effort to make an educated vote based on what I feel would be the best thing for the municipality, province or country depending...

I do however know that tonight in the US history was made. I was impressed with the turn out at the poles, long streams of people waiting to vote. Standing in line WAITING - wow we do not see that in Canada, or at least I have never seen that.... the passion of the people to be part of a history changing event in their country was inspiring.

I see the HUGENESS of the Obama win tonight. Tonight Obama's win as the first African American President will have a huge impact on the world. Dreams have been realized, and many more are being made. I imagine somewhere there is a young black girl thinking... Wow if HE could do it then so can I! Maybe I will be the first African American FEMALE president of the USA. Young boys are thinking of all kinds of things that they could do. How cool is that. Dreams are being made all over the world by young people, hope is being offered to all. Dream big kids! They do come true - you CAN change the world.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

3rd times a charm...

Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.
~Author Unknown
Or in our house every first aid kit..... because if we did not laugh I am sure that this week I would have gone crazy!

Today at 6:15pm the couch jumped out just as I was walking by and snapped my baby toe to an unsightly angle. OUCH! We pulled the peas out of the freezer and wrapped up the foot and hobbled to the car. Our destination: The local Emergency Room. This is our 3rd journey to an ER in less than a week. 3 trips, 3 reasons, 3 people.

3 photo's of my toe, confirmed what I already knew, the toe was broken. A toe can not possibly be at a 60 degree angle and not be broken. A less than 5 minute consult with the very young doctor one tug and a little pain the toe was buddy taped to her neighbour and we were sent hobbling on our way. In and out, and home inside of 2 hours. Not too bad if I do say so my self.

So just as I was beginning to re-gain some "NORMAL" in life, here we are. I am back to no driving for a bit, T3's are now my friend again and I have to rest for a day or 2. If you do not laugh you would go crazy! I think I may have to redefine "NORMAL"

I said that this was trip 3....

Trip 2 resulted in a 2.5 hour visit, 8$ in parking, an x-ray of one thumb and a plaster splint for Shanna. Who says she "fractured a ligament" when in fact she pulled a ligament and fractured the bone. She just got it a little muddled.

Trip one 5 hours, extensive blood work, ultra sound, 18$ in parking and a diagnosis... just the same old thing... Teryn's IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) was acting up. It is not an odd thing for Teryn and I to spend time in the ER, however you begin to wonder if you are there too many times when the Doc comes in and says..."hmm, I remember seeing you before"

Despite the fact that we have spent so many hours in various ER's this week I am thankful that we have the ER to go to. We are fortunate, we are privileged to have such service provided for us. Sure waits are long at times, but think about how many people in this world do not have that privileged, who may never actually have the chance to see a doctor let alone have an x-ray taken or blood work done. I do not mind waiting knowing that my family will receive the care they need. Perspective is a great thing!

I wonder what experiences this week will have us laughing. Let's just hope we can leave the first aid kit packed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Better than I could say myself

I do a fair bit of blog reading these days, there are a few that I go to on a regular basis to catch up and keep up. I read blogs from a variety of sources, friends, family, business associates, & scrapbooker extraordinaire. I am often provoked to think, challenged to create and often inspired. Today was no exception.

I thought this worth passing on.... TODAY IS SIGNIFICANT . Posted by Royd's cousins wife Jen, a woman who I have come to admire and respect. Mother of 4 boys, advocate of adoption, and a woman of strong faith. Her post is worth thinking about, it would make a great scrapbook page, and it is truth! I hope you all will take a moment to check it out and think on it.

Remember that today, no matter what today holds is significant. Time is precious and perspective can truly be an interesting thing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

So excited...

Many would look upon this venture as sheer torture, I however am totally excited. I received a phone call last week from the girls band teacher asking me to consider chaperoning the SR. Band trip. 10 days with 20 - 25 grade 11 & 12 students, who would say no. I imagine that many would, however I am looking forward to this adventure.

Last year the trip to Nelson with the grade 10's was a ton of fun. It was great to see my daughter in her own element, away from home, away from family, see her in action with her friends. To see another side of her.

The fact that this trip is to Europe is a mild tug. Who am I fooling, I am one of those people who would go anywhere in this world if the ticket presented itself. And I am totally excited about the possibility of seeing the sights & sounds of London and Paris. The trip itinerary is jammed packed with all the "must see" things in both of those great cities. I am sure it will be an adventure to remember.

I have to confess that I have longed to see many of the sites of Paris since reading of Nichole's adventures in France. I am looking forward to seeing . . . . .

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Better late than never...

On October 1st Stacy Julian, scrapbooking friend and mega star issued a challenge. To give yourself a present by recording one day in photo's and create a mini album. Then carry that little album around with you, or put it somewhere you will see it often, for one year, look at it and appreciate life when ever you stumble over it in your purse or drawer etc. Then one year later create a page about the experience. It sounded like a cool idea. I thought, I think I can handle a mini album 10 pictures (mine ended up being more) while I am at home resting and recuperating. I knew I had photo's to pull from. So I took Stacy up on the challenge and created a little album. I love it! It was fun to do something creative.

However I did not follow up part 2 of the challenge and send photo's of it back to Stacy or post the pictures here on my blog because, well I did not think my day rated. The day was not particularly different than any other of late, but it is not one of those cheery life is good sort of renditions. It is a fairly honest look at the things that make up life 8 days post surgery.

Then I thought - hey this IS today THIS is what LIFE looks like for me right now. In the middle of fighting Breast Cancer, having a mastectomy, resting and recovering... it may be hard, it may be painful, it may be sad - but it is what it is and it IS MY LIFE today. I do not want to forget where I am today, or what we have gone through as a family because of this - This will be important, it will be a page in the history books of my life & my family's. Despite the challenge that is this disease I KNOW that I have it pretty good, the tumor is gone, the pathology reports have come back good and there is no follow up treatment required at this time. It could be so much more challenging, ugly and hard. But it is not so it is GOOD!

Life is not guaranteed, there will be highs and lows, challenges and celebrations. Everyday is different - everyday is new - everyday is a chance to make the best of it. Everyday we wake up and have 24 hours to make choices and live the life we have been given. We can make choices that make life miserable or we can make choices that make life worth living. But we have a CHOICE..... it is ours and ours alone.
So here I am 2 weeks after creating my "PRESENT" and I am finally posting. (and I emailed Stacy with a link...challenge complete!) I realized that no matter what this will still be a very valuable exercises - because LIFE ONE YEAR later will be so very different. It may be better, it may be worse, we do not know for sure but one thing that is certain it will look a whole lot different than this day that I recorded. Let's see what the journey will bring, what adventure will follow. I am willing to travel and see what I will learn from this day forward..
Here are some pics of my Present... a photo journey of today ( well actually a 72 hour period) created October 3rd, 2008.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Drain Free... oh so free!

Drain Free

Free in deed!

Four weeks to the day after surgery and the drain has been removed. Four weeks of having this foreign object protruding from my body causing discomfort and pain, when I would walk, sit or stand, or most of all when I would try to sleep. Rolling over was not fun at all. In less than 3 minutes, one quick snip and a tug and the drain and the 3 feet of tubing that chased it is GONE! GONE! GONE! Good riddance! I will not miss it. I thought that it would be in for 2 weeks tops, but long as it was draining more than 30 ml per 24 hour period it was still doing it's job. So having it in 2 weeks longer than originally thought grew old. Today when it came out I celebrated, did a happy dance & called Royd when the nurse left today. This is a big deal.

What does this mean...

It means that the constant pain and discomfort are pretty much non-existent
It means that I can start to use my right arm again more regularly.
It means that I can leave the house and not be worried about the open area and infection
It means that my kids are not grossed out by the sight of the drain
It means that I can give a regular hug
It means that I no longer have to worry about tubes and CC' units of fluid in a 24 hour period
It means that the health nurse will not have to visit any more (I am grateful for the awesome nurses that did visit, it made life so much easier)
It means that I can have a regular bath with out worrying about getting dressings wet.
It means that my energy will begin to return
It means that I will be able to drive soon
It means I can sit & stand without fear of the tubes getting caught or pulled
It means I can walk without pulling my arm in to protect my side
It means that I can begin to move more, and begin living once again away from my couch.
It means that I for the first time in a month I can try to sleep on my right side. My favorite way to sleep.
Which means MAYBE I will get a full nights sleep and put an end to 2 or 3 hour sleeping stints and cat naps through the day.

It means FREEDOM!

It means that my body is healing! And this is a huge BLESSING!

I am truly thankful for the team of medical professionals who have been coming and caring for me. They have been professional and kind. They have taken time to answer my questions both when they were in my home or when I called on the phone. Thank you!

I am forever thankful for friends and family who have been supportive bringing meals, or coming here to cook, picking up the girls and chauffeuring them around town. For the many cards and emails, beautiful flowers, words of encouragement and most of all Prayers. I know that my little family has been blessed over and over and over. I have seen God at work through the lives of many. Thank you so very much my dear friends and family - we would not be thriving if it were not for each of you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tough times and Thanksgiving.... gaining perspective

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada - a time to celebrate family and friends. Gather together to share a meal, enjoy one another's company and reflect on things that are good. Life is not always good, there are all sorts of bumps along the way. I know that we are bumping along in our house, but this is not about those bumps, not right now not today. I had a totally different post planned for today, but this is on my heart right now this moment so...

This afternoon I attended a memorial for the daughter of a long time customer / friend of Remember Me. It was a beautiful tribute to a life cut way to short because of a malignant brain tumor. At six years old Brynne lived life to the fullest, gave it her all right up to the end, many of us adults can learn allot from a life lived like that. A life with NO regrets, a life that touched so many because she actually lived and enjoyed and embraced the moments she was given.

She danced when she heard music, not caring who was watching or where she was, she wore what she wanted not caring for color coordination or what was popular she just had to be Stylish... How many times do we as adults want to get up and dance (or para-sail or sing - karaoke or jump on a swing at the park or wear some outrageous what ever) but do not because we are all to aware of what others might think. Consumed by it to the point of it being debilitating. Life is too short to sit on the side lines and not jump in and live in the moments that are presented to us.

The service was packed, family, friends young and old filled the main sanctuary of the church to show support and love to the family and to honor and pay tribute to angel Brynne. Life is so not fair. No parent should have to say good bye to a child at any age, especially one so young. What do you say to a family in this situation - there are truly no words - Hugs and tears speak volumes at times like this, but words can sometimes fall short.

Then I remembered a customer about a year ago came in to the store just after loosing her dad with a lovely memorial bracelet. A combination of sawartsky crystal beads representing dates, and special people. So I set off to create a special memorial bracelet for Brynne's mom (beading is something I am able to do right now and I am having allot of fun with it... ) here is a glimpse of what I came up with. I hope that it will be a reminder that Brynne's life was not without purpose, and that there are people out there that want to support the family through this. Rest well angel Brynne.

Then there is my cousin-in-law Jenn and her family who are sitting by the bed of an ailing Nan.. who's time on this earth is drawing to an end. A life on the other end of the age scale, a life that was and is the glue that has held this family together for decades. When she goes who will be that glue for the family... my heart swells with sympathy, Jen , Shell & boys, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Grandparents are special links in the family chain. A long life, well lived, a soul well loved by so many, a soul who will leave a huge hole in the heart of this family. Life will most certainly look different for this family. When Nan is called home.

Then there is my dad... In hospital, because of bad choices he has made in life, a life of drinking, smoking 1000's of cancer sticks in his life time. Who knows what will happen there. This is prime example of a life that could have been so different... How is it fair that he holds on when for so many years his choices have clearly been directed to not living, when a young child with her whole future ahead of her is gone. I know that sounds cold, but it is the truth we live with in our family.

Perspective is difficult to see in situations like this. The only conclusion I can come to is that each life no matter how long or short has a specific purpose, what that is and how long that will take to fulfill are hard to know. Some of us live life full of purpose from the get go, doing what we were put here to do in a short time, others the task is more labour intensive and takes decades to complete. Then I think that for some, they search, and miss the point over and over again and are given many chances to figure it out. Stubbornness & pride stand in the way, so much so that in the end they never figure it out and life ends and little legacy is left. Life seems so unfair, and truly it is, but that does not have to be our focus, we should focus on living a well lived life, enjoying the moments we are blessed with, learning from the things that we can so that we can teach others.

I have to hold on to my faith and trust that God knows what he is doing, that is the only way these things make any sense to me. Life is here and it is ours to live. We have choices to make and we can make good ones or bad ones, but we have to make them.

I love this quote from Helen Burns
"we are all one decision away from stupid"
It makes sense.... one decision can make or break life. Think about that.

Really random.... really bugs me..

I consider myself to be a reasonable woman, most of the time.

I do not think myself as high maintenance, or high needs, I can survive with fairly simple creature comforts. I mean come on, I LOVE to camp and in a TENT! I do not loose it too often, nor do I fly off the handle easily, my feathers though not always neat and primped are rarely ruffled to the point of being crazed.
However this drives me CRAZY! And can send me into a full blown flap at times, though far less now than it used to that is for sure.
I am not sure how many times I have given the "replace the roll" lecture at my house.... Or given the demonstration in true "Stewardess" fashion, picture the beginning of every flight seat belt demonstration - no words are needed - concise ,deliberate slow movement instructions that ANYONE can follow. Apparently not EVERYONE!
This is not rocket science people - it is actually quite simple, and takes less than 20 seconds - seriously less than 20 seconds. It may take longer if one is required to actually get up to "find" the supply in storage. It is a common courtesy, that is often not even considered. The world would be a much happier place, well at least the momma in this house would be happier, and you know what they say.... "If mama is happy then EVERYONE is happy!"
Take a close look at these photos.... and you will know why it drives me crazy, there was no searching needed in either location.... no getting up even. The process could have been completed efficiently without delay. Apparently it is too much to ask.
I do not think it is unreasonable to have the TP with in reach, and more often than not I am the one that hits the bathroom when it is gone. Now if I was totally thinking clearly I would look before I sat, but no... I do not think ahead like that... And it does not seem to matter where - home, work, public restrooms, if someone is going to sit and find an empty roll it will be me. I have been the person in the public restroom stall, in true "Seinfeld" style asking for TP. I think it is the "Murphy's law of my life". Good thing I have a good sense of humor and am learning not to "sweat the small stuff."
I do realize that it is a tad bit unreasonable to let it ruffle the feathers at times, in the bigger picture of life it really is SMALL stuff and it is not that big a deal. And I am continually thankful that I NEVER have to worry about the toilet seat, it is ALWAYS down in the position it was designed to be in. For that I am grateful.

For something totally random but yet related:

Here is the "History of T.P."
there is actually a website called "Toilet paper world"
Here is to a day where our feathers do not get ruffled!

Friday, October 10, 2008

One step forward Two steps back....

Agh, nothing about this tumor, disease, monster is easy... Yes I know it could be far worse and I do keep that in mind everyday...BUT... it seems that it has not been straight forward from the beginning. It seems like I take one step forward on the road to recovery then there is a hick-up and I have to take 2 steps back. I have been good, following Doctor's orders, resting, not lifting things with my right arm, trying to keep it as still as possible. Those are the easy things, things I am able to control... it is the things that I have utterly no control over that seem to set me back....

Even the initial diagnosis of a Phyllodes tumor - being one of the rarer forms of breast cancer - was not simple because on the mammogram & ultra sound these tumors look like simple fibroid or calcium deposits. Thankfully they were odd enough looking, and the radiologist was very good at her job and biopsies were ordered (this is not always the case, often they are monitored for a year first) and they were correctly diagnosed. 2 initial surgeries, where one should have sufficed..... Clear bill of health on follow up visits and pathology reports.... 18 months later the Phyllodes Phantom strikes again.... more surgery, a more serious surgery at that, longer recovery time... and all sorts of ripple affects in my life, on all levels, family, spiritual, work, friends..... lots of ripples.

Fast forward to today.... well lets start with yesterday. I had a follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon - where I was told that there is a small area of skin that is not healing, that is basically dying because it is too thin and that it would have to be removed - ASAP - as it could cause some major complications down the road. GREAT!!!! Just what we want to hear!
When He said ASAP he was not kidding.... in less than 24 hours after the appointment I have a surgery time so I am off in less than 30 minutes to Eagle Ridge Hospital ONCE AGAIN - so that this smaller than dime size area can be removed. I should be home for dinner although I am sure I will not feel like eating! I will still be groggy from the anesthetic I am sure. I really do not like that feeling of total surrender that comes when the knock out Doctor administers the sleeping potion. Now do not get me wrong I would NOT want to be awake during the procedure, but that total surrender - I would like to avoid it! It is the oddest sensation, and waking up from that is even yuckier! Sometimes we just do not have a choice. (Hmm, think I have control issues???? Not really, well I do not think so, well not ones that are huge. Anyways. )

So once again the things I think are going to happen, simply are not! I thought that today I would have my drain out. That I would have a little more freedom and even maybe start driving again...Not so. After the setback on Tuesday night, when I was woken up in the wee hours of the morning with severe pain at the drain site, I discovered that the tube was blocked. I was not sure what to do, but I could see what the problem was, knew that it just needed to be unblocked.. but can I do it or should I go the hospital... I so did not want to wake up Royd to drive or the girls to tell where we were going! So I took the tube and forced the blockage out (yes it was as nasty as that sounds) got the drain working again, rinsed the collection area with saline to get rid of all the nasty stuff, hoping and praying that I did not hinder the progress because the tube was now full of air bubbles... I was not sure which way those bubbles were going to travel. I was pretty sure that the drain would not come out on Wed as originally planed (I was right! Bummer!!!) The home visit nurse told me that I did the right thing! Whew! Looking back even on that little hick-up I see that God's hand is in all of this. Had the drain come out on Wed, they would have had to put another in today at the time of surgery, which could not have gone in the same area hence another area that would be used, causing pain, discomfort and be at risk for infection and other complications. I do believe that God sees ahead of us and sees the big picture - hard to keep that in perspective at times.

So although I try to plan my life, as in there is a memorial service that I really want to attend on Saturday, A birthday dinner celebration Saturday night, Thanksgiving dinner Sunday with Royd's family, Dinner with my family Monday.. I have to keep in mind that my plans may not be the best plans. That there is someone else out there that is making far better plans than I ever could. And I am all right with that - I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Jer 29:11 has long been a life verse for me... "For I know the Plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future" Why do I forget this so often?

Monday, October 6, 2008

I am left handed BUT...

With my right arm is out of commission for the most part, I have noticed that I live pretty much in right hand dominance... except for when I grab a pen to write or fork to eat - my primal instinct kicks in there and it is LEFT hand all the way. Whew! Fore everything else I have to engage the brain - make a concious effort - to think about what I am doing.

Here are a few things I did NOT think about.... OUCH!!!!!!11

Computer mouse - even with the touch pad on the laptop - co-ordinating ones left hand to do the job your brain is telling your right hand to do.... with pain meds in your system.. is a long process of hit and miss.

Camera - (self timer is good - holding it to take more than 1 or 2 shots not good)

Pulling a jug of milk out of the fridge causes great pain when you do not think about which hand you use - my natural instinct is to reach with the right!

Taking things out of the microwave.... see above

Fastening my jeans near to impossible ( I do have the buttons on a shirt mastered! Just wear T-shirts!)

Opening a door

I thought I'd scrapbook a little, but using the paper trimmer & the pulling action of the slider- not so smart. Thankfully good old fashioned scissors work best in my left hand. (I did manage a little project - more on that later)

Trying to pull up bed covers, or adjust a pillow...

Washing my hair one handed... Thankfully my hair is SHORT.

Sadly most of these things happen before I think and then the pain hits me like a 2 x 4. One would think that after one such incident I would learn.. not so much! Oh well - there is hope.

It is crazy the number of things we do in a day that we just DO, we do not think about HOW we do them, we just do them. 100's of things everyday. Then when something happens that hinders the natural process - it can be frustrating, challenging and a good brain work out. However in light of all the "non-thinking, slightly painful moments" I have been having recovery is progressing well. Today the itching is minimal (YIPEE!!!!). The home care nurse just left and said that the drain area looks great! (we are just waiting for fluid to be less than 30 cc/ 24 hour period before that sucker is GONE!) When I think before acting, I am able to keep to the pain meds only at night - rolling over = shooting, totaly uncomfortable pain, that is easily avoided with a T3 and a regular strength Tylenol kicker.

Doctors & nurses are pleased with the progress and tell me to keep doing what I am doing because what ever it is is working in my favour.

Crossing my fingers that the drain comes out Wed! Then I can take small adventures out of the house.

Thankfully that typing is not so bad when the injured wing is tucked in close to my side. Though more than 10 minutes at a time is not so smart.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sweet 16...

Happy Birthday Ashlynn!

My sweet daughter turned 16 today - how is it that time flies so fast. It is true what "They" say, "Life passes in the blink of an eye" gone are the days of soothers,dress up, high chairs and car seats. Here are the days of, solo trips to the mall, dressing, over seas band trips up and car keys.... YIKES!

October 3rd, 1992 - I remember it with unmarred clearness. Oddly because I could not tell you the events of yesterday like I recall that day. I awoke around 5am feeling a little "odd" something was just off... The baby was already a few days late so you would think I would have a clue - or at least clue in. Nope I got up went to the bathroom and went back to bed. At 7 I woke up again still feeling "odd" and mentioned it to Royd who thankfully "had a clue". To this day I am thankful for his calm! This was not going to be a regular Saturday for us, it would be the Saturday that changed our lives forever for the better.

Around 8:00 I called the doctor (I did not want to wake him or be a bother, it was a Saturday!) who said I should probably get to the hospital, but not to worry there would be lots of time. HA! We got ready at a leisurely pace, by 9:00 we were in the car and on our way. In the mean time, there were no doubts that labour had started. It was not unbearable, but it was certainly more than just an odd feeling...

First stop - my sister's to pick her up. (Thankfully she lived on route to the hospital) That turned into the longest 5 minute car ride of my life! The 30 seconds I had to wait in the car on my own as Royd went to the door seemed like an hour. My time perspective was a little off I think. Thankfully it was a Saturday, and traffic was light. When we pulled out into traffic, heavy contractions set in - my poor dear husband was trying to drive, and keep me calm, while trying to remain calm himself... I specifically recall one corner, turning from Lougheed Highway to North Road - and a superdoopercrazy contraction hit, my back was arched, my feet were pushed into the floorboards and the car starts to turn the corner.. I seriously thought I was going to be on the sidewalk - Just the over active imagination of a woman in labour. Then as quick as it arrived it was gone. Once Dawna was in the car we were at the hospital less than 5 minutes later - then I had to get out of the car... between contractions, breathing, trying to focus. We eventually made it into registration, then the labour room.... I was 4 cm dilated when I arrived. Then my water broke... and as they say all hell broke loose, I was too far along for any sort of pain meds to be given, which would have been our choice anyways. I was wheeled into delivery and Ashlynn Danae entered this world at 12:45 - healthy, and beautiful.

I remember the total euphoric awe when I held my precious baby girl in my arms for the first time. The sense of responsibility that God had entrusted us with.

Now 16 years later - I am still in Awe with all that God has done in our family from that day forth. Ashlynn is a beautiful teenager with a sense of style and individuality that is inspiring. Happy Birthday - my sweet girl.

I love you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is Breast Cancer awareness month....

Oh I am very aware of Breast Cancer this month as I sit on my couch.

I am aware that when you google Breast cancer there are 50,800,000 hits. That is WAY too much information.
I am aware of how your heart stops for a minute when you hear "its Breast Cancer" and how it sinks deeper when you hear "it's come back"
I am aware that I am now one of the statistics (1 in 9 Canadian women).
I am aware that you can actually feel the monster growing in your body

I am aware of the sleepless nights as you wrestle with treatment options.
There are so many options.....
I am aware of the fear as you play the "what if game"
What if it comes back AGAIN, what if surgery is not successful, what if I do not wake up......
I am aware of Doctors and medical teams that have dedicated their lives to eradicating this ugly disease.
I am aware of support groups, that are there to see you through it.
I am aware of friends, grandparents, mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins who have all been touched in some way....

I am aware of the pain and discomfort associated with surgery.
I am aware of drains, and tubes and home nurse visits. (I am thankful for the home nurse visits!)
I am aware of how people look at you differently (and how this can be in my own head)
I am more aware of my body,how it will look, how it will be different. How it will never be the same.
I am aware that the reflection in the mirror is the"NEW ME"
I am VERY aware that I am one of the "LUCKY" ones.
That Phylloides tumors account for less than 1% of all Breast Cancers.
I am aware that my prognosis is good!
That Phylloides are successfully treated with surgery. Chemo and radiation are not needed.


I am aware that I have a large network of family and friends both old and new, who love me beyond measure, who have brought meals, sent encouraging notes, cards, email, flowers. Who have dropped my girls off, picked them up, gotten them where they need to be. People who have lifted us to God in prayer. People who have dropped things in their lives to make ours easier for this time. I am more thankful than words can say. I love you all.

Are you aware....
That Breast Cancer can be detected early by regular Mammograms
That it takes less than 5 minutes to do a self breast exam. (I found my first tumor doing a self exam!)
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do regular self exams and get your annual mammograms! It could save your life!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

When I grow old...

I hope that I can make people laugh and that I am happy.

There was a dear soul next to me in the hospital, 89 years old, and well let's just say that physically she was in the bed next to me, mentally we were not too sure where she was at, but it was not there. She was disoriented, far off somewhere, BUT she was happy... well for the most part. She did NOT want to be in bed - in fact she wanted to be up and partying. . . "Life is too short for bed" (That just made me laugh.... )

As the nurse came to get her ready for bed she was adamant that she was not going to bed, and that she wanted to see each of us in our fancy gowns and then go to the party. I happily paraded by her in my lovely "hospital gown" of green stripes, snazzy blue squares with a plunging back that left the world gaping.... did a little twirl on my way to the bathroom - to which she clapped, and let out a little whoot whoot.... I was happy to make her smile. Besides anyone who says you look lovely in such a gown can only be trying to make YOU feel better.

She truly was a sweet thing that reminded me of a few grandmas rolled into one. Esp when she let out a "so so so" something that Royd's grandma would come out with when she was not to sure about what was going to happen next. Or when she in no uncertain terms let the nurse know she was NOT going to bed... that she wanted to party - something I could hear my own grandma saying. She was a feisty little bit of a thing - she did party all night long, at the nurses station - where the nurses said she did not sleep a wink. Then when she was wheeled back "home" for breakfast she went on and on about how those girls out there sure chatted all night long about nothing, no one could sleep a wink out there. The 3 of us left in the room hooted - and smiled about it for the rest of the day.

Truly laughter is the best medicine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2 days and counting...

I woke up this morning, thinking 2 more sleeps and mentally making a list of things to do. Royd and I started talking a little about what this week will look like. Shanna is off to Timberline with school for 3 days of camp. I have to figure out driving and such for dance - actually I have it figured, I just have to get email off to the kind people who have offered their services while I am recovering. All the pieces are falling into place and the girls will get to where they need to be when they need to be there. God is so good, he is providing in ways that are beyond what we could ask or think.

Then Royd asked hmm, I wonder if the aunts and uncles know what is going on. There was some discussion about the family grape vine and how little filters down to us, so we assumed that little would be filtered out to others as well. He decided that he would call his dad and ask, then maybe make a few phone calls and fill a few in on what is going on. Interestingly enough I logged on to the computer this morning, check my mail and my facebook messages and have one sitting there from a cousin ......

"3 days to what? I think I have it figured out.... could you confirm."

Bless her heart! I loved that she asked for confirmation and did not assume and lead into conversations that could go so many places when there are no facts. I sent a message back, filled her in, feeling bad that she had not heard. But it is not like I stood on a mountain and shouted for the world to hear. Though I guess sharing on a blog like this is pretty much the same, except that people have to know you are writing then go and read if they so choose. Interestingly enough despite what some family grape vines are like it has been confirmed that with ours, well at least on Royd's side things do not often travel very far it they ever get started in the first place. This also means that they rarely get distorted and grown out of proportion. It is an interesting concept for me where most family conversations with my extended family often started with "did you hear what so and so is doing now...

Once again I am struck by God's timing. Royd asked the question this morning, and within a couple of hours it was answered. He did not leave us wondering for long, and was pretty clear with the answer too. That is just like God - quite simple actually. Too often I think we humans try to make God out to be a difficult entity with a long list of things to get right.... when simply he just wants relationship with us, he wants to care for us and he wants to be part of our lives. I for one will take it - I would not want to be on this journey, facing surgery to have a part of my body removed not knowing what will happen next, with out knowing God and having a simple relationship.

off to work on the lists.......

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sometimes you do not have to be there...

Usually when someone says "oh, you just needed to be there" when they are retelling a funny story, you truly needed to be there in the moment for the story to be funny. However there are times when I think that things are just plain funny, and being there is not so nessicary.

I light of my upcoming surgery this Wed (7:45 am - yeah God... I was hoping for an early appointment....) this is particularly funny. Or it was to those of us who were there, hopefully it is not one of those "you just needed to be there" things and it will give you a little laugh. I know it will keep me laughing when I recall it for years!

Friday night we were getting together with friends to go out for dinner... something we had been talking about for a VERY long time and under the pressure of upcoming surgery, finally made it all work. Shanna was all set to baby sit and we were looking forward to a great night with great friends. We dropped Shanna off, picked up our friends and off we went.

Discussion in the car started with "So Di where do you want to eat?" To which my dear husband states, in a most serious manner....
"We have been talking, and Di was saying that in light of surgery on Wed she wanted to go to a place that would be memorable and would hold some "special meaning" something to look back on with fondness.... "

D & B are like " Sure, ya where ever... it is up to you". I think they are expecting a nicer, higher end suggestion.....

In the meantime I am sitting in the passenger seat trying looking out the window, trying with all my might to keep a very serious expression... when I turn and say "I think we should go to HOOTERS" The car erupted in laughter and the tone was set for the rest of the evening.

We did not go to HOOTERS, mainly because we did not really want to go to Surrey from Burnaby on a Friday night at the end of rush hour. We settled on Earls and headed out. Once we were settled, drinks had been brought, we had chuckled over the HOOTERS conversation of earlier we began to order....

B orders Ribs... pretty innocuous until the waiter asks...."Is that a full rack?" Poor guy, I got the giggles, Royd gets the giggles.... B & D get the giggles, then he says... well "No one really likes a 1/2 rack. At which point I could not suppress the out and out laughter... - The whole table is laughing and the stunned waiter has no idea...

"Royd says something like... sorry, inside joke" as we continue to laugh....

I am so glad that despite the fact that I will infact be living with a 1/2 rack for a while, I am able to find the humor in situations like this. It truly makes walking this journey a whole lot more fun, and helps keep things in perspective. It just goes to prove that it is the people and the conversations that make an evening like this memorable!

A story for another day.... Busterino Pizza Whistler.... Just the name makes me smile....
Life is good! In the midst of the hard stuff - if you have friends who love you and you can still laugh the hard stuff does not seem so hard!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Time is drawing near

September 24th has been marked on the calendar for a few weeks now, the surgeons office called in August I marked the calendar, but it did not really hit me until it was actually flipped and SEPTEMBER looked out from the page with stark boldness. My first thought... turn the calendar back to AUGUST and do not think about it. Time still flies like a nasty bat!

Let's just say that September 1st was not one of my best of days! Sure I went about my day, did what I needed to do, but I was not all there, my mind was pre-occupied, and I had to give myself a few pep talks to keep the pity party and tears at bay. Still a few fell. The reality of it is on the first of September I started counting days, 24 days and counting down. Just like we did as children awaiting the coming of Christmas, except it is not with excitement and impatiens because we can not wait for the grandness of the day. It is with apprehension, trepidation, and a little fear of the unknown. Sure this is the second time around and I know better what to expect when I arrive at the hospital, but my tummy still gets a little knot and feels a little off when I think about the whole process and the recovery. So I try not to think too much!

I do not doubt for a moment the decision, BUT in 17 days I will be having some pretty radical surgery. I will be put under for several hours and when I wake up my body will be forever different. There are lots of things to be apprehensive about... this is breast cancer, being under, waking up, body changes, sleeping in the hospital (or more like not being able to) coming home, caring for my self and my family, reaction of self and others after surgery, recovery time? If I dwell there my mind boggles and I do not see clearly.

I know that at this moment in time, I do not totally understand all the emotional ramifications of having a breast removed, I do not think one can know such things until you actually go through the process. I have read some information, talked to people who have been there, connected with a great support group on line and tried to prep myself the best I can, but until it actually happens, and the breast is gone I do not think it will sink in. I am trying to be as ready as possible.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the right thing to do, I have total confidence in my medical team and the decision that has been made.

I Know what they tell me and what is written in the books about Phelloydes tumors and how they are highly treatable with surgery and that chemo and radiation are not needed. That they are not considered life threatening, they do not metastasize...But this IS round 2.....and that in it's self is a tad bit unsettling. It is what it is and it has to come off!

I know that I have 110% support from my family and friends. But it is still a bit scary.

I know or have been told I do not look sick - Nor I do not feel sick, But I can now feel this lump where 2 months ago I could not. It is growing.

I know in my heart that I am not walking this journey alone, that God is walking with me every step of the way. I feel it, I know it, I do not doubt it for one moment! I am thankful beyond words, I would not want to walk this road alone.

Knowing these things my head does not mean that it is translating well to my heart and emotional being some days. There are days when I do not want to lift my head of the pillow... I want to sit and wallow but I will NOT allow myself to let this get me that down. There have been tears, but for the most part, I pick myself up, brush myself off and go on with the days... living, loving, learning and exploring the world around me. Enjoying them as they come -sun or rain! Laughing with the girls, getting them settled at school, working, visiting with dear friends, walking the sea wall come what may it is one day at a time.

And you know what they are all good days (even the ones with tears!) When you are able to wake up and enjoy the day, you enjoy the day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time to get back on the wagon...the blogging wagon that is!

Back on the wagon, and I am going to try to post more regularly.

We will see what happens, but that is my intention.

It has been so very long since I have taken the time to blog, not that I have not thougth about it. There are even 2 "Drafts" sitting in my posting box, thougths that never got completed and there fore did not get posted. (Maybe one day I will return to them...) To those of you who know me and have been on the receiving end of "snail mail" back in the day of popularity this is not a surprise (Lisa!). Multiple letters in a variety of forms, started, finished from months (years) before arriving in a large package all at once and having to try to figure out how the peices fit together... anyways I think you get the picture. I love to write, I am not so good at getting the finished project out there. Even in this age of electronic ease. It is time, so here we go.

Life is full of changes, twists and turns and forks in the road, moments when you know that the decision I make right now is going to affect my future. How we react to the twists and turns along the way most certainly affect us down the road. We ALWAYS have a choice, we can grumble and complain about the tough stuff, or we can look at it and DECIDE to make the most of it. The road has been twisting and turning that is for sure. But I will learn and make the most of each situation and learn and grow. It is all part of the journey. I am inspired to write to let you know the twists and turns as they come, instead of months later looking in the rear view mirror.

We have just returned from 10 days of holidays. Of those 10 days we spent 4 great days Creation Fest Northwest. Where I heard this great analogy about life and looking forward and living in the present.

Picture yourself sitting in the driver's seat of an amazing car... You look forward through the front windshield, and you check your makeup in the little rear view mirror. The rear view mirror is considerably smaller than the windshield. The mirror is a good place check, to look back & gain perspective & to see where you have been. However if you try to drive the car by only looking back you will surely crash. (It is a natural reaction to pull to one side)

In life, just like when driving a car, we need to focus on what is in front of us, to spend our time in the present, looking forward - It is important that we recognize & acknowledge where we have come from, it certainly makes us who we are today, however we can not LIVE in the past, hoping and wishing that things would be that way again. Life changes, time passes, we have to look ahead and try to figure out how to learn and grow from our past and make us better people for our today.

I have been giving allot of thought to things like this over these past few months.....

A friend attempts suicide, I spend hours and hours just listening, walking, just being there. Praying. The whole time I am thinking, I am not qualified, I do not know how to help, I am in over my head. I learn I can help simply by being available, and by listening.

Teryn & Royd go to a concert one Friday night, and the floor in front of the stage collapses. An estimated 40 kids fall through the floor into the basement. Teryn and 2 friends fall through. A few weeks of school are missed due to a minor concussion, and post traumatic stress issues. Minor when you think of what could have been ! It could have been A WHOLE LOT WORSE. There were 100's of kids there, nothing was in the basement below them, it was a "clean" fall, it was only a small area of floor... kids remained fairly calm!

I go for my routine mammogram in May and it shows another tumor in my right breast. Here we go again! 13 Months after the first surgery where the surgeon thougth she got it all, the margins were clear here we are again - facing surgery, facing cancer, facing the removal of my right breast, facing recovery, facing we do not know what.
What I do know for certain is that I could choose to mope and feel sorry for my self, ooh poor me I have breast cancer, but WHY there is nothing I can do about it - it is what it is - I can not change this... HOWEVER I can control my reaction...I can choose to be a voice, to remind family and friends to get a regular mammogram, to do self exams at home, I can choose to learn and grow & help others. Why me, I do not have the answer to that however I am not questioning it at all. It is what it is - there are some things we do not know and there are some things we know..

It is a rare type (Phelloydes Tumors account for less than 1% of all breast cancers world wide.
It is not life threatening
It grows fast
It does not spread often
It has a high rate of re-occurrence
It does not respond to Chemo-therapy or radiation
Success rate of surgery is VERY HIGH

The other thing I know with out a shadow of a doubt is that God knows what is going on and he will give me what I need to deal with the whole thing. It is all o.k. it is being taken care of.

In light of the 2nd Cancer diagnosis we have closed Remember Me after almost 11 years, we are done. A very tough decision, however I know hat it was the right decision FOR SURE.

All of these were fairly major twists and turns in a fairly short period of time, we chose to face them head on, learn and grow. The responsibility now is to use the lessons learned to aid others. To keep my focus on the road ahead not the road already travelled. No matter what the twists are or how many of them there are, in each and everyone of them I have a choice! I can either grumble and be unhappy about it or I can CHOOSE to find the good, to enjoy the moment for what it is, to simply live in the present and not look back.

I found this amazing Youtube video called "The Last Lecture" well worth the hour plus to watch. I was challenged, I was encouraged and I was totally inspired by Randy Pausch and his "Achieving your Childhood Dreams" lecture. Watch it and let me know your first reaction....

Monday, February 4, 2008

When did it happen.....

I just had one of those moments - you know the ones when you stop dead in your tracks and wonder when or how did that happen.

The reality of parental roll reversal hit me in the face. . Just like "THEY" say it will! (who ever "THEY" are...) That day our parents begin look to for help and advise the same way we looked to them when we were children or the day our children to do the same! That fateful day when we look in the mirror and see our mothers looking back at us and know that the day is here! Or in my case today when we see a glimpse into our own future of our children caring for us.... YIKES!

I know that for me it has been a graduall process, I have always been told that I look like my mom, so when I look in the mirror and see my mom looking back it is no surprise - I have been expecting her to show up! Just as she expected her mother to show up. . . . I know that for a number of years, I have been "helping" - asking questions that indicate the slow process of the reversal.

For instance, Mom right this moment is basking in the sun in the Carribean, on some luxury ocean liner with 9 of her girlfriends (I am sure the ship will never be the same! Hopefully neither will my Mom.) Before she left, I asked questions like, do you have all our phone numbers, email addresses with you in case of emergency, is your will up to date, where is the banking information, we talked about the "what if's... what if you are delayed, what if you get lost in the Bermuda Triangle.. etc. I made sure she left a copy of her itnerary, that she had sun screen (and told her to wear it!!!) joked about not talking to strangers, and wearing clean underware, and not to take lots of cash with her in her handbag, but to "wear" the extra... just like grandma did (tucked inside her bra!), and always make sure you have your ID with you!~ Like she has never travelled before. When did that happen??? When did I begin to ask these sorts of questions of my mother?

However here is the KICKER - the moment that stopped me dead in my tracks.... tonight Shanna is in the kitchen making cookies, from start to finish from scratch, by herself (my baby is growing up!) She knows that I would rather eat the cookie dough than the baked cookies... and she asks ME if I want to lick the beater.... SMACK! IT hit me, the roll has begun to reverese!

Gone are the days when she would stand tippy toed on the stool beside me as I would mix the cookies and beg to lick the beater! When did that happen?
You blink and they are 12! Learning, brilliant, and determined to do it on her own!

I had hoped that I would have a few years of independent living - before they would begin the process of caring for me, it would seem that in reality it is a gradual process that begins when you are least expecting it. It would apear that it happened overnight! At least I know that they will be there, and I will at the very least be offered the beaters!