Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday Meets Thankful Thursday

One of Evan's buddies stopped by this afternoon and dropped this shirt off for him.  Thank you, Janice and Ebby.

And for Yoplait's lids in my honor, thank you, Antonette.

I am way beyond the crisis point in my treatment that I expect or need things from others, and am humbled that folks keep giving and thinking of us.

Monday evening's sunset while watching Colby's flag football game.

The view on my walk today.  It's a bike trail in Glen Carbon.  I had an appointment in StL early today, and one near GC in the afternoon.  I put a request on facebook looking for something to do in between, and a couple friends suggested this.  It was a great walk, easy and flat, and a bit of eye candy too.  The leaves don't seem to be turning colors like in years past - green and attached or brown on the ground - but it was good to keep moving.  It reminded me of home and childhood - the Katy Trail in Missouri follows the bluffs of the Missouri River, near Columbia.  It was a favorite bike/ walking trail in high school and college at Mizzou.

The interstate overpass and early afternoon shadows.

And a stream the path follows for a while, or maybe longer.

Life is what you choose to make it.  Make it a great week, Folks.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday... or Friday

Thankful Thursday Friday

Another week of blessings from God...

Morning walks.  I know exercise is the most under-utilized anti-depressant and a necessary evil to reduce the chance of mets.  Why then do I dread it so much?  I was glad to have a knock on the door the last two mornings dragging me outside when I really just wanted to drag back to bed.  And... the best part?  I stayed up and moving all day - no small accomplishment when the house is quiet & the to-do list is not much fun.

Mexico on Main.  Very early after diagnosis, a couple of girlfriends kidnapped me for lunch to get me outside of my own head and 4 walls.  I was getting to that point again, and lunch yesterday was a good antidote for my isolation.

A new work schedule.  It really messes up the morning walks and lunches at Mexico, but I need a reason to get up, moving, plan meals, outside of my head and 4 walls, and use my brain cells more actively.  I did not intend to be at home as much as I have been the last 4 weeks, but physically needed it, and there just hasn't been many hours to pick up in overtime shifts since rad ended.  If I am not earning any money, it's best for me to stay home so I don't spend any money.  Funny how that works.  Now if only the Fed govt and state of IL could figure that out!  With a new work schedule comes more consistent work days for me, and I have had enough time off to like my job again.

A clean playroom floor.  That was my project for yesterday morning.  Several hours of sorting toys, pitching & donating, and Colby came downstairs and played with toys rather than the x-box after school.  Amazing!  Love it when they use their imagination, not their electronics.

A crazy busy calendar.  Again, messes up the walks and Mexico, but Evan is playing basketball to go with Flag FB, Puppets, band & Challenge.  I will be late to some of his b-ball games, but think I can make them all if I leave work on time.  I am glad he is staying active in sports, but yikes, it was ugly to calendar all of it last night and today.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Good Day To Go Flying, Rick


I wish I had known you better.  Isn't that the line from most of the folks left behind?

You Scouted with my brother-in-law, my nephew, my parents-in-law, but my boys were still in Cubs as yours were earning Eagle.  You always asked about them, though.

I remember celebrating one Saturday afternoon church service with you maybe 5 or 6 years ago?  We were at Aviston Elementary, with you happy to be another year cancer free.  I knew you were a Stage 4 diagnosis probably 5 years before, something about your knee or leg.  Your thoughts on scans each year - at least you knew you should be around another year.  The rest of us, no telling what was going on inside our skin.

And then you had this crazy growth above your knee a little over a year ago.  I made a point to stop by your hospital room on my shifts, but found you well-medicated after surgery.  You christened me Darcy, your dog's name.  I laughed, as I had woken you up and you had some good drugs on board.  I had a couple of former coworkers take care of me the night of my surgery, and one of them I didn't remember at all, so you were doing better than I did on remembering names!  You fussed at me because I didn't take the time to visit Sybil while she was there recovering, too.  I should have, but wasn't sure she could put a name to my face beyond a friendly "hello" around town.  Having been on the opposite side of the hospital gown now, you were right - I should take the time and check on folks anyway.  It's just the right thing to do.  As for your leg, the pathology wasn't rocket science.  Cancer from the radiation that killed the original cancer.  Well, that was just crummy, but we will put you on the prayer chain, do some more cancer-killing bad stuff, and it was supposed to all be okay.

I was diagnosed on Martin Luther King Monday.  University of Scouting, an all-day adult training event, was on Saturday.  I already knew I was giving up my Tiger Scouts by then, and wondered why I even bothered to go.  I was still hurting from the biopsy, and hurting more from the results.  Tom was sick, and needed to go to the doctor that Saturday morning.  He wanted me to go to some of the classes for him.  I went through the motions.  I learned how to tie a knot or two.  I picked up some easy games and a craft idea or two to use with the Tigers.  I found some resources that I wish I had had to give to the dad that took over for me, and put together a notebook for him. After lunch, I saw you down the hall on the way to one of my classes.  You had that snow white hair from whatever chemo drug it was, and you hobbled a bit on that bad knee.  Your hug and our talk was the absolute best medicine that day.  You were one of the first guys I talked to about this women's disease.  It didn't matter which body part.  You knew the fear I was feeling, and the crap that was to come for me.  Joan made the age connection a month or so ago for me - your boys were close to the age of my boys when you were diagnosed.  There was for you then, and still is for me a lot of raising kids to do.  And I totally understand the adult scouting thing now.  I am ok being a Scout Widow in this season of life.

You got sicker and sicker, and there wasn't a heck of a lot any of us could do.  I've been in hospitals long enough to know about how your story would end, and it was hard for me to watch you while I wrestled my own cancer demons.  I was glad to be able to drive Joan over the river last month, though.  Good to know that my radiation was good for something beyond myself!

I just wish you had gotten one more of everything out of life.  One more Christmas with your now-grown boys.  One more snowfall.  One more night on the back porch...

Jimmy's Eagle project was a labyrinth.  I was sad to see it torn up when we built the church in the cornfield, and glad Matt re-did it as his Eagle project this summer & fall.   I couldn't do the sanctuary for the service today.  Even the kitchen was too close.  And so when I needed some fresh air, I walked the labyrinth.  It was sunny, breezy, cool.  The wind made the yellow corn rustle beautifully.

And in honor of your career, military and civilian, as a pilot, it was a good day to go flying.  Fly high, Rick.  Breathe easy, my friend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Another week gone by, another chance to count blessings & be thankful for the little things...

Thankful for this:
 It's a new lymphedema sleeve and glove, and a huge pile of pillows.  The pillows is what it takes to keep my arm from swelling at night - 3 under my left arm.  My really pretty pewter sleeve left some seriously ugly welts on my underarm.  This one is uglier, but much more functional.  I am still trying to get the thumb & index finger stretched out so they quit cutting off circulation, but it's better than the first one!  It got me released from my wonderful PT/ LE massage lady today.  Dang, I'm gonna miss her, but hope to not see her at work any time soon!  I'm not sure which was more beneficial, the LE massage (really, it's not like a spa massage, just trying to get the lymph nodes working that I still have) or the girl talk staring at the ceiling while laying on her table.  I felt like Lucy and Charlie Brown some days with Lucy's shingle hanging out, "The Doctor is In, 5 cents"  Both were needed, though!  And, the sleeve means I can use this:


Tom built me a frame for my treadmill so my arms are up, not swinging down, and no, I don't smack my head on it.  More LE adaptations.  Frustrating to need them, but useful.  Did Darwin say "Adapt or Die?"  I was hoping to have this LE stuff all figured out by the time of my nephew's Eagle Scout 5K Food Drive, but that didn't happen, so I was just moral support instead of an active participant.  We had fun anyway, and my future Eagle Scout got to see a one-day project in action.

And I am pretty sure my sister is glad it all ran smoothly.  1682 items for the food pantry & 114 participants.  Nice job, Z!

Thankful for these boys and their 6-0 season.  Evan (75) had a great assist in their last game, against another undefeated team.  So glad for a great self-esteem boost for him!  And their orange is for Galen, a local kid who lost his fight with leukemia earlier in the week. 

Thankful for small-town community to support Galen and his family.  Breese played Carlyle - county rivals - the day after he came home from Children's with hospice care, and everyone had their "Team Galen" shirts - both teams had orange on.  He got to Skype with the Duck Dynasty folks, and Children's made a music video with him in it, finished the day before he passed away, so he got to see it.  These guys are young enough that they didn't play football with him, but he played Aviston FB a few years ago.  His leukemia was diagnosed the summer of his freshman year during FB tryouts, so he never got to play High School ball.

Thankful for these, a gift from my mom, in honor of our anniversary.  13 years.  I still do.

And one more thankful, for goofy hair.

Because I can, that's why!  We all need a mohawk day once in a while!

I have 2 more pretty slow weeks with just a shift or two at work, and then it's back to 3 or 4 8 hour days a week.  It looks like I have to work maybe one more weekend's worth of 12 hour shifts, then I am straight PRN.  I will miss the weekend rhythm, and the time & a half, but those 12's hurt by the end & take longer to recover from, so I think it's the right decision.