Four years – Time Marches Forward

Hi everybody, everyone or perhaps no one.  Its been quite awhile since I have been doing any blogging.  But I think I will be back!  I realized i needed it for me, too.   Lots has happened since I was last here.

I was reading with interest about my dog Shadow passing and how I wrote about it here.  Since then I have lost yet another dog, my little wonderful Mimzy has gone ‘home’ too.  She got sick on a Tuesday, while I was away in the city, and the following Saturday she died a harsh death from kidney failure and pancreatitis.  It was quick I guess, four days, I never knew she was going to die.  The whole thing was so awful I have sat around for one month in a total state of grief, of disbelief, and of great unhappiness with the whole substance of being.  But I guess its all a part of the path we are on.

I have now hit my four year mark, past cancer diagnosis.  My four years of making it through!I am grateful.

I just didn’t think or know, or comprehend how lossing this dog would knock me off my balance.

I am ready to go back to work, at something substantial. I will never be happy at a job out here on the island that pays ten bucks an hour, and worse than that you get no respect.  oh and let’s not even go there about aging and lack of respect from anyone.

Maybe if I just drown myself in work, I can drown myself in unnecessary junk and trips bought to just get past this mundane existence we call life.

Take time for myself, they say.  Just heal.  I am sick of having to be healing from something.  Totally sick of it.  Tired of thinking how short time is, and just ready to succumb to just what the fuck let ever come what comes.

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The Line – you’re not going back

FORKIt’s like you step over an imaginary line that you cannot go back to the other side.

You are never going to the other side again.

It’s a new beginning but a lot of people aren’t going there.  You are going on alone now.

 

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Just A Nice Quiet PeaceFul Weekend

Sometimes the best times, are just the quiet peaceful times.  It was a nice warm weekend in Seattle, some might say a ‘tad’ to warm for them.  In Seattle, we like it about 65 and overcast.  That forecast makes most people just fine.  73 is good to, but we like a break from that and have our overcast and light rain.

Not to much going on yet and that’s fine.  Had a great vacation in May culminating in a huge financial surprise at the end.  Sometimes the unexpected gifts are the best!

I have almost completed my book.  Once I got started everything went pretty smooth and I raced through the chapter outlines that took me nearly six months to complete!  So stay tuned, I am going to try this Amazon self publishing and see how that goes.  I don’t expect to be a New York TImes best seller, but if my story helps another, it will all be worth it.

I am going to spend the rest of my summer doing some fund raising for Cancerlifeline, as well as continue my current employment.  I am happy with my job, and the rest of the world is going well.  It will be three years for me in August, since I was diagnosed with Stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma.

My how time flies when you are having fun.  But life is good!  Life is Good!

Go forth and conquer.  I am well, be well my friends!

Bonni

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Everyone Has a Story = Scratch your dog’s head!

YorkieMimzEveryone has a story.  All our individual lives, make up our story.  I didn’t really understand this until recently.  We had a class on it at the local Cancer Lifeline support group at Evergreen Medical Center.

Somehow as individuals we don’t always want to share our story, or some of us do want to share it.  It’s a way of understanding it, seeing it, and working our way through it.  Some life stories are pretty bumpy, but ya know what? We all have a bumpy ride sooner or later.  Things happen to us, things happen to people we love and things happen to other people than inadvertently effect us whether we want it to or not.

I guess its what makes us interesting really.  As a journalist, I am a story teller, and  a story gatherer.  I am interested in other people and their stories, and how they made it through or not.  Aren’t  you curious about the world around you? Have you gotten so cynical, that you want to protect yourself from the whirling world around you?  There are times, when we need to take a break from it.  That’s called downtime.  Just don’t stay there. ITs not an interesting place to be and probably not healthy.

Reflection has its place in our life.  We can identify patterns.  Maybe start to understand why some people don’t understand us.  They have their own story.  What I have found that many people become narcissistic,  self involved in their own lives.  I think that’s another blog post.

I have moved on with my life.  Some people came along for the journey, other people walked away, others just faded in the distance maybe to resurface later.  People always think they have a lot of later.  Since I have had cancer, I have observed the most insane behavior in individuals and families.  Cancer patients will always tell you, especially in the early days of diagnosis that people say the most ridiculous things to them, the most hurtful things, and continue to do so long after its gone.

Some idiot just told me in a letter, oh thanks for the letter old friend, that I have lost my memory.  Oh, no, I remember the things that are worth remembering.  I just don’t put up with peoples crap anymore.  I use to put up with a lot of crap!  That was my story, I let these people walk all over me because of what I thought was the kindness of my heart.  I was way to forgiving of people in the light of my own needs and mental health.  Oh boy, no more of that shit going on in my life.  I tell it like I see it.  I don’t have time, literally don’t have time to go along with bullshit.  I think most cancer patients see it that way.

The response to the C word, has such various reactions.  Its like you have a ‘disease’ or something.  HA HA  I guess you do.  But what you don’t realize, what a fantastic gift it is.  Its the gift of life right here on earth.  Its the gift of awareness of the things around you.  You don’t get to gain that in sight, if you are hit by a garbage truck on the corner of 9th and James in downtown Seattle.  I had an interesting experience last summer when a young woman I had sat next to on the bus, later that day was killed on that corner, drug by a truck that hit her and not knowing,  kept going down the street.  Later there were markings made by somebody measuring the impact, and where she lay on the street.  I looked at those.  and they changed me.

Her life left.  Very quickly, and I doubt it was with reflection.  She had no time, to think about the people she loved.  She had no time to reflect on who will take care of her service dog after she was gone.  She had no time to scratch his head one more time.

Why are we so dumb and take our lives for granted?  Why does it take the gift of cancer, to grasp onto the minutes of our life?  We could die today, or tomorrow.  As a writer, I like to think about things, analyze things and draw conclusions.  And I like to share those things with others.  I guess our stories bring to our story the realization that this is our life, that we have the ability to choose our response.

Sometimes I think I hate my story.  Not the job of doing the blog.  Which by the way has been very hard to do these past six months.  I think sometimes I don’t have anything to say but I really know that isn’t true.  When you have a gift, you are suppose to share it.  There’s an old saying in the bible somewhere (I am never one to remember versus and quote them…I have enough data in my brain) that says don’t hide your light under a bushel.  IT means that we all have a gift of something and we need to let it shine.  What is your gift? Do you take the time to think about it, and what life has brought to you?

Its all so deep. I think right now I will go scratch my dog’s head, and then I will give her lots of tummy kisses and a back rub.  Don’t forget to take the time, to love those around you!

 

 

 

 

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Moving On – The Seasons of Friendship

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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Rest in Peace Shadow

ShadowHoneyIMG_20140222_175918498I haven’t written in awhile.  I have been dealing with the failing health of my beloved Shetland Sheepdog Shadow.  She has been my devoted friend for fifteen years.  Actually, I guess she has been with me it seems, most of my adulthood.  Shadow seen me through many things in this life.  It only seemed fitting that I should see her go gently to the other side.  She seen me through the agony of the cancer and on to recovery.  I have been so blessed to have had her in my life.

On January 29th, I had the vet come to our house.  I chose the time.  The time I chose I hope was a good one for her.  When do we ever know if we do the right thing? I knew the time was coming.  She had been deaf about a year.  Only recently, she appeared to have a stroke during the night and she was becoming blind.  Maybe I could have even gone on for awhile after this.  Her hips had long gone out.  Her days of running on the beach were long gone.  In fact that last time she had a full walk around the block was last summer.  Here I was recovering from cancer and getting better and better, as she seemed to fade more each day.  It seemed like it all fell in to place.  Only I was not ready to let go.

I waited until she was afraid.

Then my sensibilities seemed to come to me.  I spent time with her.  I took a week off.  I hurried home from work each day to have some daylight hug and play time.  But I could see the end was coming.  Then she started to bark, when she couldn’t see me in the house.  I might just go to the other end of the house, and she worried.  I couldn’t go anywhere.  I worried about her.  What if something happened when I was gone?  She would be alone; well with the other dog but still.  I hired a pet sitter.

I bargained with life, but in the end I chose to let her go.  I couldn’t stand her fear.  And there was nothing I could do about it.  I considered my own health, and what this was doing to that.  I haven’t been well very long, and some people would say I am not 100 percent yet, but I am careful.  So I picked a day.  Then I waited until after the holidays.  Then I said, my birthday, but she didn’t make it that long.  Two days before my birthday, it was done.  On my birthday, they cremated her and this weekend I picked up her ashes and brought her home and put her on the fireplace, along side honeybear.  Next weekend, I will scatter them both together at the ocean where they use to play and run, love and run.

Rest in peace my two friends.  Rest in Peace.

 

 

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Stuck in Vegas

Okay so the new Year starts with technological problems.  I spent all morning writing what I thought to be one of my better posts, only to find it disappear to the trash.  Now I cannot find the trash!  Oh I need to update my WordPress version. I haven’t done that either.

Do you get overwhelmed with all the technical changes in our world? Just when you think you are ahead, something else comes along.  And I have been in the business for many years, of information technology but even I get a little ‘overwhelmous’ at times and I am mad I cannot find the trash. I know that article is here somewhere.

Its really irritating to have that article disappear.  Time is short, and you never know how to rewrite something, it is not the same.  My heart is not in it. :(    Because I haven’t updated my software, I don’t think I have a trash folder as an option. I can’t find it here.

What do you do when you can’t figure it out? Go to Google right? I did that.  It said go to pages, or posts, and edit and then select trash.  It is not there.

I have refused to update, because I don’t know how to backup.  This site has never been backed up that I know since I started in 2012.   Sam set it up for me, and now he is not speaking to me because he is so busy or maybe he is mad, my brain can tell me all kinds of untruths and go crazy while I am trying to figure things out.

What do I want to do with the rest of my life?  Maybe that is the real question on my mind.  I got a wild hair idea to go to Vegas this weekend.  How did that work out for me? Well all return flights were overbooked today, so here I sit in the airport in Vegas.  Its an interesting place I guess. I am observing people.  People irritated from being up to long, spending to much money, and not being able to get home.  I think I will avoid conversation with them.  Good thing I have my trusted old laptop for companionship.

Why do people still play the slot machines at the airport. Like how stupid is that, as if they haven’t already left all their money here, they take one last chance.  Like the airport would payout? I don’t think so.  Why?  Good bye suckers!

I had a little rendezvous with an old school friend in Vegas.  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right?  ha ha    Well I guess that applies to me this morning also, cause I stayed in Vegas!  My flight is in ten minutes or so…I think they said that three hours ago.  I left my friend at their gate at 4 am.  Good bye!  Thanks for the memories. (notice how I did not specifically give you a gender).

I am tired.  I have no clean clothes.  I am suppose to be at work.  Well I will be there in two hours right?  Need to go find something to eat now the airport is buzzing again.

Have a great day. Sorry you missed my other post.  Maybe when I have recovered, I can find it.  Oh my, did that dog just poop in the airport?  Yikes, I need coffee!

 

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Pretty Pockets, Cancer Surgical drains, and Happy Holidays!

dancingGreetings to all my readers!  Thanks for all your positive and uplifting comments this past year and especially in October! I really do appreciate it.  Now that I am working, I am busy and think of the blog often, but don’t write that much.  I can tell when I don’t, I miss it!

I have been busy gathering fabric for a group that has volunteered to make Pretty Pockets for surgery patients, and busier yet finding and talking with people at the various hospitals so we can distribute these free to what started out to be breast cancer, but now has expanded to any kind of surgery that requires a ‘drain tube’ after surgery.  These drain tubes were the worst thing about having breast cancer I thought.  They consist of a six inch tubing that is inside your body, and a long 18 inch tube that hangs out.  The tube is secured in your body by stitches!!  Its very painful when these drain tubes fill and the weight drags the tube down.

I didn’t find out about this pretty little flannel pockets until two years after my experience with drain tubes.  They are a wonderful little flannel pocket that pins or clips to clothes.  There are problems with clips coming undone, so I recommend the old fashioned pin, which does not open and accidentally drop the tube.

The problem I experienced, which I am sure all surgery survivors do, is when you take a shower!  Nobody had come up with anything for this.  And its terrible to try and balance two drain tubes and take a shower in water.  Everything gets slippery.

So my goal this fall has been to come up with a waterproof pocket/s that can be worn around your neck yet still holds the pocket waterproof in place, while you shower.  Bathing in a tub is totally out during this time, but a shower is so wonderful and refreshing.  My adventure into this environment has taken me into all types of plastics, and materials.  Thanks to Tap Plastic in Bellevue, WA, my designs are coming to life but not quite there yet.  I am getting the first ones ready to distribute in January to a local hospital.

So this has been a fun thing to do, and I look forward to delivering 500 free pockets at the first of the year.  They will come in pairs of two, with two additional waterproof pockets for the shower.  They will be free, and distributed (I hope) through Cancer LifeLine.

I am always looking for donations of cute sturdy flannel fabric.  My thanks and contributions to Maryanne Arthur, who came up with an idea called Pretty  Pockets.  I am  just expanding on that idea with waterproof shower adapters.

LOL…who ever thought.  A drain tube pocket designer and distributor of surgical solutions!  :)   Thanks to one of my favorite doctor for contributing his input and support.

Have a great holiday season, and remember to help somebody.  Its your present to yourself!!

Bonnie :)

 

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Breast Cancer, Aging Parents, and Responsibilities!

chair

It’s October again, and here we are in Breast Cancer Pink month….breast cancer awareness.  Pink seems to be turning up everywhere and anywhere.  Cancer survivors and current patients have such a love hate relationship with this month.  We are definitely tied of seeing pink in our lives and being involved with PINK.

SUPPORT GROUPS – The Pink Life

My support group has proved invaluable at times.  It isn’t usually until days afterwards, and I am gone from there; that I actually get ‘it’.  Dealing with feelings of anger and sadness are perfectly normal but your family and friends don’t accept that.  They don’t want to hear about it or see it.  Life is back to normal for them and ‘just you behave and act like it is all over’.

 

One of the women in my group says she has a cancer day once in awhile.  She just told us  ”When it gets really bad, I just tell my family I’m having a bad cancer day and go upstairs and crawl into bed.”  She is always better the next day and can cope.  Can I do that? I haven’t let myself yet, for fear I will never get out of bed again.

So working at a major hospital in a horrible part of town has lead to all kinds of emotions creeping up. Yes I see all these people with all these problems.  I am finding I am not coping with it very well.  I never wanted to work in a hospital before and now I am totally convinced I do not want to.  So luckily, I can stay out of the hospital, and work in the background in a supporting role.  It still isn’t easy some days.

I want to go to Arizona in the winter and be in the sun.  I want to relax and enjoy friends.  I want to explore the desert and putz around doing nothing while I still have time.  Because there is always that little voice in the back of your head with the ticking clock.  and I guess you have to have had cancer to appreciate that little time bomb.

I could scream at  my friends who all they think about is money.  They take life for granted.  I can’t help it, I don’t take ONE day for granted anymore.  Not one day.  Of course they don’t understand.  Everyone believes they have forever.  Even TS Elliot said “Life is a very long time”.  Tell that to everyone in the cemetery!

Is Life A Long Time?

Life is not all that long.  One day you were in high school and before you knew it, you were married and having your first baby.  Then you worked and worked, and slept from exhaustion and maybe loved your spouse, and went camping twice a year, and to Grandma’s twice if you were lucky.  Oh you made sure you made it at Christmas, gotta get those presents!

Then all of a sudden one of your parents dies unexpectedly, and you think gee now I am the adult.  No I still have one parent.  But you continue to take them for granted and as you push towards your 50s you are way to lazy to sit down with Mom and see what she is up to.  No, you figure you will do it later.  Nobody writes down the receipes, or people on the family tree and all those old photos remain in the box, album free and curling on their white edges.  Mom sits by the phone and waits for it to ring to get a call back.  But it doesn’t happen.  Pretty soon she is out with other seniors looking for ways to survive; getting this senior discount and church groups to come in and clean up the yard and wash the windows.

And then one day, you get the inevitable phone call, that Mom has  practically burned down the house.  Oh gosh you wonder, how am I going to get off work to take care of that?  Why wasn’t she more careful.  You make some excuse and a couple of days later you are on the way.  When you get there, you wonder what happened to the house.  Nothing works, the bathroom has a rug on the floor? Who would put carpet on the bathroom floor?? (Maybe somebody that falls).  You notice the dirty window sills, and the house has a broken beam outside and is hanging down - not having been painted in a long while.  Next you notice the neighbors house, with garbage and old rags, and crap piled along the side.  A dead pickup in the driveway parked sideways backed in.  What’s up with that?

Then the neighbor comes out and starts talking to you.  He is worried about your mother.  Her dog runs lose a lot, and she doesn’t appear to ever wear different clothes.  He says he picks up things for her at the store when he can.  What’s going on, you wonder.  Later that night when you have finished the strange dinner she has cooked, you ask what’s going on?  When did you start cooking breakfast for dinner.  I was hoping to have one of those good home cooked roasts you always do.  Roasts cost to much money?  Well, Mom you always had money before.  Why do you need to borrow money. You walk off now, telling yourself it isn’t your responsibility to help her out. You have enough problems yourself, and its your siblings turn cause you did it last time.  Of course, he doesn’t know what’s going on   because he hasn’t been there either.

The plight of our senior population.  If you aren’t responsible then who is?  The neighbor, the government, their old friends?  No, I think it is you.  But you don’t want to step up.  But who stepped up for you when you were a kid?  Oh, your parents were abusive.  Were they abusive all the time?  Could it have been that generations way of dealing with things?  Who are you to tell an entire generation what is wrong with the way they raised you?  Didn’t you get enough to eat most times?  Where were they when you were in the hospital? I bet they were right there.  Who was at your little league games, brownie camp outs, and taking you to Grandma and Grandpa’s.  Who always had a Christmas tree and presents of wonder  for you.  Who took you to church or sent you to church, and gave you guidance that formed your value system even if you chose a different route later?

Who was there for you when your first puppy died?  Who disposed of it without letting you know how banged up she was because she followed you on your bike, and got hit by a car?  Who provided you with homes for those animals you always brought home?  Not taking into consideration they might have new carpeting, or needed their sleep in the middle of the night?  But a puppy had to go outside.  Did you wake up?  No, you didn’t, Mom did.

And who gave you money or worked extra jobs so you could have the same things other kids did?  Your Mom did.

So when you don’t want to go, and are surprised when things are falling apart…its because it is the end of the line.  Wake up and smell the coffee.  The Season is moving on, and so are your parents.

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“A Vacation State of Mind” – Are you Living there?

Flight 232This weekend I was reading an interesting book synopsis by Laurence Gonzales.  I was particularly interested in his new book, which is called Flight 232 and covers the anniversary of a United Airlines flight to Chicago originating in Denver, Colorado that crashed in a corn field.  A miracle, 184 out of 296 lived that fire ball of flames.

I was suppose to be on that flight that very day.  But my daughter had pulled one of her infamous, ‘I am running away’ scenarios and I missed my flight for my meeting with the phone company.  Thank you Holli.  Or I possibly wouldn’t be here, 25 years later.

Mr. Gonzales, I discovered has written several books.  So I decided to pick up his older book called Everyday Survival, and Why Smart People Do Foolish Things.  Oh this book, I found,  is wonderful.  I haven’t’ yet gotten in to Flight 232 but this book appealed to me.  Having survived cancer (at least to this date) always brings up that question, and certainly when everyone around you is dying, why am I thriving?  It’s an interesting way to feel.  Its an unanswered question lurking in the back of your mind.  Maybe, I am having what he calls “A Vacation State of Mind”.

In Everyday Survival, I really connected with the words he said.  We often know the storm we are going into…but we don’t look, we are not aware, and we choose foolishly and without using our intelligence to really think these things through.  I have felt like that day he had; flying an airplane into an oncoming storm; one that he knew was there but didn’t believe it until the full blown realization that the sky was black and threatening and that it was happening right now.

I compare it to the oncologist telling me, yet again this month.  My odds in the first place, of getting breast cancer were one in seven.  Lucky me!  My odds of   surviving this  ER Positive cancer with surgery and medication is 83%.  Without the medication, it is 74%.  Without the surgery, I would not have survived at all.  So I have a 26% chance, it will return, because I am not taking the oral estrogen inhibitors.  I have an even higher chance of a new cancer growing.

I think he explained it to me differently before, it was like a 17% chance it would return; but to me that said it was 83% chance of not coming back.  I liked those odds and took them.  Well…….now I am two years out, I am starting to, like Mr. Gonzales, notice the stormy skies ahead and wonder if I really made the right decision and is it to late to change directions before the hail starts?

No hail storm is worth attempting.  I have already been through and survived one round.  I don’t want another one.  I had not even considered this, until I read Mr. Gonzales’ pages.  I have gained some awareness, added some knowledge to my data bank of decision making.

What fascinates me most is that our society really thinks the same way.  We live our everyday lives thinking this way.  And we are smart people, but we refuse to see.  We refuse to see what lies right in front of us.  People die every day for their choices.

We make choices to drive to work, in our single cars.  We burn fuel like it has no meaning.  Yet what is it doing to our earth resources?  What is it doing to our pollution?  Do we really have to take the car?  If all just choose once inawhile, to do it differently, You and I can actually impact our world in a positive way!!  Think of that!

But back to Mr. Gonzales, he makes a comment to the effect that “understand your rules of behavior”.  What guise are we operating under?  When I was a kid in school, we were warmed of possible wars and there were bomb shelters.  I questioned it then, did we really expect a bomb in our country?  We are the United States.  This is a safe place.  We have a great army, great leaders and we are the strongest country in the world.  It took many years, but 911 taught us all that trouble lurks in unexpected places and it comes to visit when and where we least expect it.  Of course, it doesn’t happen to us in Seattle, because no one would want to pose a threat here.  What would be the point?  What was the point in New York?  What was the point of the bomb shelter when I was a kid?  Did someone see the storm cloud in the future?  Our plane flew on into the storm.

Trouble is going to find us all in life.  Are we going to use our senses, our intelligence, our quiet sense of mind to make our decision to proceed?  Or will we react emotionally and chose something foolish?  Will there be time to correct our mistake?

We are only humans.  We think foolishly sometimes.  What are we here for?  What is the destination, and how are we going to get there?  Was there something we missed?  Is there something I have missed about my treatment?  Am I in a Vacation State of mind?

Is this state of mind going to cost me my life?  Interesting question.

Thank you Mr.  Gonzales for charting your course, and in the after effect of writing Flight 232, I picked up your other book.  Isn’t it all so interesting, how life goes around full circle?  Only not being on flight 232, had me look at Amazon.com and read the synopsis of that book only to find pages of the other book, Everyday Survival, Why Smart People Make Foolish Choices.

I do love it, when life sends me these subtle ideas to contemplate.  I love life.  Living is good.  So how is it, we make our choices?  What blindfolds do we wear?  At what cost?

Have a great day blessed day!  This summer, be aware of your vacation state of mind. :)

Bonnie

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