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.