Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Back

   What a beautiful , sunny day it is !!! A warm , sunny New Year's Eve ! Who would have thought it possible . It's ironic that it should be like this . I dreaded this day coming like something awful . The holidays itself  were very melancoly for me .
   I am a person who likes organization and planning . Before cancer , my whole life was planned out . It has been quite an adjustment living by the seat of my pants , not having control . It is what I wanted , isnt't it ? I wanted to trust God completely with my life . Well , there it is . Be careful what you ask for .
  This year , has started out so promising , so full of rainbows that for a minute I thought I was dreaming . This couldn't possibly be my life , right ? Alot of wonderful things happened to me this past year . My son got married and I gained a daughter-in-law and two beautiful grandchildren . I thank God for Marybeth Fisher sharing them with me .
   As great as the beginning was , all the way up to August , it ended with tower after tower tumbling down . Everything I touched lay in ruins . Talk about being attacked ! Nothing worked . I know what is happening . My faith is very strong . Discouragement just right around the corner . I know I have to wait this out . What more could possibly happen ? I know I am not the one in charge . I can try to manipulate , to alter , to change  anything I want but it won't work without HIS approval .
  As this year comes to a close in just a few hours , I feel  defeated and worn out . All I can do is give myself completely to Him . I can't make anything happen . I can't fix anything . I can only wait upon the Lord to show me where I'm to go .
   I have no idea what will happen in 2012 . I'm not even sure if I can handle it . But I do know that everywhere I do go , it's where I'm supposed to be . Happy New Year Everyone .
  

Friday, December 30, 2011

Let's Laugh A Little

Hello Everyone ,
                            I have not been feeling well these past few days . Nothing new there . I'm sure I'm sounding like a stuck record . Originally , I was going to write a different story  but considering how bleak these past few days have been , I'ld rather laugh instead . Tomorrow , we can cry together . Today , let's laugh instead to one of my favorite stories ever by the great Andy Rooney. Enjoy !!!


WHY OLDER CHICKS RULE by:Andy Rooney
 
As I grow in age,I value women who are over 40 most of all.Here are just a few reasons why:A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask,"what are you thinking?"She doesn't care what you think.If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game,she doesn't sit around whining about it.She does something she wants to do.And,it's usually something more interesting.A woman over 40 knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is,what she is,what she wants and from whom.Few women past the age of 40 give a hoot what you think about her or what she's doing.Women over 40 are dignified.They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant.Of course,if you deserve it,they won't hesitate to shoot you,if they think they can get away with it.Older women are generous with praise,often undeserved.They know what its like to be unappreciated.A women over 40 has the self assurance to introduce you to her women friends.A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn't trust the guy with other women.Women over 40 couldn't care less if you're attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won't betray her.Women get psychic as they age.You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.They always know.A woman over 40 looks good wearing bright red lipstick.This is not true of younger women.Once you get past a wrinkle or two,a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.Older women are forthright and honest.They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk,if you are acting like one.You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.Yes,we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons.Unfortunately,it's not reciprocal.For every stunning,smart,well-coiffed hot woman of 40+,there is a bald,paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22 year old waitress.Ladies, I apologize.For all those men who say,"why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,"here's an update for you.Now 80% of women are against marriage,why?Because women realize its not worth buying an entire pig,just to get a little sausage.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Words Of Wisdom

  First of all , I want to thank everyone for all the kind words of encouragement and prayers that were sent my way yesterday . Yes , it was a very rough day , but I will get through it no matter how defeating I may sound .
  I ' m on my way back to the clinic today for my 24 hr.Neulasta shot for my white blood cell count . I'm trying my very best to stay focused on other things in my life . I have plenty to keep me busy . The problem is that when we don't feel well it affects our energy levels and we do nothing but lay around and think of all the pain . I don't want to do that anymore .
  Last night , I kept myself busy as best as I could . It helped alot . I have all these notes that I've made but never entered into a journal of some sorts . I spent the whole night working on it .
  Re-reading alot of these very personal and revealing  insights into life , I realized just how much of prayering I have done in my life . Alot of these prayers have come true . Another insight is how much I have grown and still need to grow . As I entered all of these private moments and thoughts into a journal for my children , I thought back to the day my son asked me what words of wisdom I wanted to share with him . That day was a day four years ago when things didn't look very promising regarding my health .
  His question really startled me because at that moment I couldn't think of anything to say . He caught me offguard . I don't have all the right answers to what life is about . I don't have the great words of wisdom to live by . I do have my journals , my blogs , my memories and they are welcome to them . Hopefully , they can find some comforting words in there somewhere when the time comes . If any of you could leave words of wisdom for your children , what would these words be ?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Grumpy Me

  It was chemo day today . I have begun to hate chemo day . Don't get me wrong , the nurses and staff are wonderful . It's just me . I'm tired of it all .
   I have to take these steroids for a couple of days before chemo . They give me a reaction . I turn beet red in the face and neck . It will wear off after a week . I swear it also bloats my face and my stomach . This morning ,  I was so bloated I couldn't fasten my pants . When we got there , I looked around and noone else has this problem . The waiting room was filled with normal looking people ........except me . I'm the only one with that darn red face . It is so embarrassing . Then the hot flashes . I was burning up . I felt like my face was on fire .
   I sat  there , taking in my infusion  , bloated sky high . I felt like I would burst  if I didn't burp soon . It's 7:30 pm and I'm still waiting to burp .  Driving home , I could feel that metal taste in my mouth come a whole day early . Lucky me . Next , the good ole nausea , constipation , diahhrea and my favorite  vomiting . It's gonna be a long night .
  I can't take this any longer . Today , I felt like getting up and walking out  and never coming back again . What is the point of all of this ? Six months ? A whole year ? How long until it comes back again ?  I  have another two months of this  and I don't think I can handle it . I'm feeling very tired suddenly . I need to go lay down .
  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Emotions , Emotions

   Why am I so emotional ? It didn't start now , either , I have been this way from the minute I found out my cancer came back . I asked  my friend Linda ,  why she cries all the time and she doesn't know either . I hate being this way , tearing up at every little thing .
    I cry when I hear a song on the radio . I cry while watching a show or movie . I cry when I think of the past , the present and the future . I cry when people write me or speak to me . I cry in anger , in happiness and in sadness . I cry for no reason at all . I cry when I think about people who find issues with me . When they don't want to hear what I have to say . I cry when people are mean to me for no reason .
   I cry in the car alot . In fact , I do alot of things while driving .I pray out loud . I talk out loud to myself . Yes , I'm nuts . Lately , I find myself crying and thinking alot while trying to go to sleep . The crying has invaded my sleep time . Sleep has been hard . Alot of tossing and turning .
   We have a Polish tradition that on Christmas Eve , the way your day goes that's how the New Year  will be . My Christmas has been very emotional . Some good , some bad , some sad , some happy but teary . I guess , I will be teary all year .
  I will tell you , this Season , was wonderful . I have children who love me no matter what . I have great friends that support me during this illness . My family is there , all I have to do is whistle . My work associates have continously written or called me . Yet , I have spent buckets crying .My face is red not just from the steroids .
  All my life , I've always held this work ethic that whatever was set in front of me , with hard work and patience , I could overcome it . Conquer it and move on to the next . How do I conquer this ? I thought I conquered it before . It just keeps coming back .Here , I 'm crying again .I have my faith . I have my God ,  but I don't want to  keep fighting this over and over again . Oh , this is gonna be an emotional day .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Great Pretender

      Wherever and whoever I meet all tell me the same thing .. . . . . how great I look . They love what I do with my scarves ; they love my positive , upbeat , sarcastic attitude ; they love my honesty . Little do these people know that I'm the great pretender . I only tell people 90 % of what I feel or what I'm going through .
    Four years ago , there was a day where I just felt worn out . Felt like I couldn't handle another day in pain . At that time , one of my girlfriends called me to see how I was feeling . Well , I burst out crying  and ended up telling her exactly how I felt . There are times where all the pain leaves you feeling like you should just die . In fact , you ask God to take you . That was my day back then .
  For the next several hours , I had one phone call after the other from friends cheering me on and telling me how I should stay positive . Only way to beat this thing , Lottie . I found out later that my friend called all our mutual friends about my little breakdown . She thought I was suicidal and just gave up .
  To this day , I never tell people really how I feel . I would never harm myself . I don't have the nerve nor am I that brave . I'm too scared of God  and what He would do to me  if I did . My point is that from that day forth I realized I really can't be too honest . People really mean well . They , too , are in pain right along with me and can't handle my disease . If I'm happy that signals to them everything is well . When I'm upset , well , you get the picture .
  This month , this week  especially , I have been not feeling well nor have I been very positive or upbeat . Sometimes , I think if these people only knew how fake I really am . I just don't want anyone to think that I'm on cloud nine . Sometimes you have to read between the lines . Remember .....I'm the great  pretender .

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Family Tree

      Since I had ovarian cancer at the age of 42 , my doctor felt it might be genetic and sent me to a doctor that specializes in that field . Sitting down with this young woman , we went over my family tree as far as I could remember . The women in  my family live well into their 90's .. . . . . .except me . I won't live that long .
     There was only one incident  of a  death from a " WOMEN'S PROBLEM "  and that was my grandmother's sister  who died at the age of 48 . No one else . As I listened to her explaining hereditary and genetics being different , I couldn't stop looking at that family tree . From my great aunt Emily to me ,  there is such a huge gap . How did I get so lucky ? How did she get it ?
     Now , they tested me for the BRAC 1 and 2 gene . Since I have ovarian  , I'm also susceptible to breast cancer . My risk has increased greatly more than the average woman . My cancer , or more directly , my results will greatly impact my family tree .
   The only good thing out of this is that the next generation in my family tree will know the risks they carry and prepare themselves and their bodies . Knowledge is power . My daughter can , hopefully , use preventive medicine so she can avoid this from happening to her . Her actions  can change the family tree .

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Demon Came For A Visit

    A demon came for a visit . I have no idea who invited her . She came the other morning when I woke up . . . .uninvited . She charged around my apartment mumbling @#$%^$#@!@$%% spilling coffee on her way out the door . Yes ! She went public . She blew her horn alot and splewed more  !@#$%^&^@#@# out the window .
   Emily looked on this demon with a narrowing of her eyes . She knows all about demons . She becomes one at least once a month .
   Wearing her Christmas red and green plaid pajama pants , she stopped for gas  and the car just died . Well , the mother of all demons came out then . It was like a scene from A Christmas Story with Ralphie's dad trying to fix the furnace . After much kicking and pulling on wires under the hood , the lights came on and off she went to spread her kind of joy  around .
    Back home again , slamming the door , of course . Looks in the mirror ....grrrr....you don't want to mess with this demon today . Plops on the bed and takes a nap .
    Strange thing , though , when I woke up ...........she was gone.

Monday, December 19, 2011

UPDATE

     I've been out of commission for a couple of days very sick . IT started one night with vomiting and the shivers . I was so cold . I'm very familiar with these symptoms since I had this alot the last time (5 to be exact ) . It's an infection . I was on the brink of one and the only thing missing was a temperature .
     I'm not sure if I caught something from someone or if it was part of my treatment side effect .I'm still not 100 % recovered . Right now I'm existing on bread , cabbage soup ,crackers , rice and tea . These foods seem to calm my stomache .
     I do know I had to take a step back and analyze my situation . With my 4th round of chemo approaching next week , my worries fastened on maybe not being able to pass my white blood cell count and having to postpone the treatment .I definitely have to limit my exposure to people even more . The farther we get into the treatment the more difficult it is . Your body becomes weaker and weaker .
   I haven't been writing these couple of days . All I really want is to sleep . Found myself  last night , I'm ashamed to say , very agitated and irritable with my state of things . Very tired of these scarves and being bald . Another rash appeared on my head and I finally realized where it was coming from . It's from certainly one type of my scarves . I have alot of silky ones and they seem to be the culprit .
   Another irritation lied with everyone 's happy mood when I'm so nauseated all the time . The bad or good part of it is that I supposedly look so good all the time . No one would suspect that I'm sick . Well , that's the update . Be back soon .

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Broken Record

     A broken record means repeating something over and over again to the brink of insanity . What have I repeated ? I don't feel good . That has become my fave line . I have said it so often that I have grown to dislike that line .
    I've noticed that my daughter even added this line to her dialogue . Right after I start saying it  , she intervenes with her own list of medically inclined illnesses . She doesn't feel good , either .
    I guess , my car also doesn 't  feel good . Eversince  I  announced in September that my cancer returned , my car started breaking down . Not even two weeks go by without some sort of breakdown . Yesterday , the wheel started shaking while driving . Of course . The car doesn't feel good .
  This morning , Diamond pranced over to Emily and started meowing . I"m sure it was about an ailment of some sort she was feeling . Why not ? I've created a broken record for this household to uphold .
  Need to post a warning sign for anyone coming near in case they also develop a broken record of their own . BEWARE .....SOME WHINING MAY INCURR UPON ASKING ,"HOW ARE YOU FEELING ".

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Basket Of Yarn

 A basket of yarn and a dream begins..........

  Not too long ago , I wrote in this very blog about a dream I wanted to fulfill involving booties for St. Jude . This past weekend , I was presented with a basket of beautiful yarn to make that dream happen . it didn't take long for a crocheting frenzy to begin . That's what I've been on.....a crocheting frenzy .
  Folks , something happened inside me when I saw that basket . A renewed hope has given birth . Whatever happens in my life , I will make that dream come true . If any of you would like to join me on this quest .....that would be great . I want to knit or crochet children's booties or slip on socks for the St. Judes Hospital.
  Let's give ourselves a deadline . What time frame do you think it should be ? Six months ? A year ? How long ? How many do you think we can make if all of us participate ? Maybe , you don't know how to knit or crochet but would like to help .......donate some yarn instead . Get those knitting needles and crocheting hooks out !!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let Me Pick Your Brain

  Let me pick your brain , please . I have been experiencing alot of side effects to my chemo and I have been handling it okay . Now that I'm right in the middle of my treatment , I have found the duration of the side effects to have lengthen . There are two of them , in particular , that I'm having a little problem with . .......my nausea and the taste of metal in my mouth .
  I am looking to all of you for a suggestion as to how best combat these side effects . Crackers aren't doing it as well any longer . If anyone has any suggestions , I'm very open to try anything at this point .

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Revisiting The Past

      Driving through my old neighborhood the other day , I decided to take a spin past where I used to live . Driving around the back and front of the house , I kept searching for any signs of my old life . To my dismay I couldn't find any .
       Instead , I saw only the garage that needed repair and the window that had a crack . I saw the garden filled with weeds , all drab and unkept . The curtains weren't as pretty as the ones we used to have .
       It was the same old house , yet nothing  like I remembered it . Driving away , I thought to myself , why did I come back here for ? What did I hope to find ? Obviously , whatever I was looking for was no longer there . You really can't go back .
       Driving home , I thought back to my earlier days with this blog . I remembered the disappointment I felt but was afraid to mention out loud . I don't feel like that anymore . Whatever I felt then stays in the past because I'm a  different person now . That drab house with a cracked window no longer represents me . You c an't stop by for a visit . You can only drive past . You don't live there any longer .

Monday, December 12, 2011

Acceptance

    The morning sun streams across my bedroom filling it with a warmth that is a lie . It's freezing outside . Winter is coming . As sick as I have been feeling , my mood is pretty bright as the sun outside . I feel different this week . Acceptance is settling in . No more anger or disappointment at having to relive cancer again . It has become a way of life for me and it's time for me to make peace with it .
    My priorities in life have changed once more . All I want now is to live a peaceful life . I want to live a certain way . Carefree and worry free that ' s the new  me . I want to run away to the country more than ever .
    For the first time in a very long time I feel thankful . There are no regrets any longer . I needed to go through life to be where I'm at now . I definitely wouldn't have been the same person unless I experienced every miserable moment . We don't want to think about the bad times but it's the bad times that define us . Make us who we are .
   Am I scared ? You better believe it . I have no clue as to what is coming . Yesterday , I saw Adrianna 's husband and he looked wonderful . Happy , smiling  and his hair growing back . Came down to take pictures of his children during sunday school. We all have to move forward . Acceptance .

Friday, December 9, 2011

What's In A Name

    A transformation has taken place in my life this week . That last chemo where I didn't want to go , really changed me . On my first journey , I realized how many people  truly loved me . This time , I'm learning to love myself . Just think of all the compliments we get and don't take them at face value . We are shown how much we are appreciated or loved  but somehow we just don't believe that it's  true . People are just being nice . That's what we tell ourselves .
  How we see ourselves is so different to how others see us . Emily and I play this game where we name the characters in a particular movie we are watching with real people in our lives . We have fun with it and we end up enjoying the movie more . We have done the same thing with the people in our apartment building . We gave them nicknames based on how we perceive them to be . We have an Easy Ryan , Smokin Steve , Drama Man , Baby Mamma , Big Bird and the Newlyweds . Just by the names you can tell something about them . We wondered , one night , what nickname would they give us ? We called ourselves the laughing hyenas .
   Even  this blog . Or at least the name of it  . Where did it come from ? People ask me that all the time . I have no idea . I've mentioned this before , I see nothing enjoyable about this journey . In fact , I keep telling myself the joy of it will be later on ....that I can't see it right now . It was like that the first time , too .I was so afraid that I would miss the message that God wanted to send me .
  I want to see myself the way that Christ sees me and hopefully everyone else will , too.
  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Sexy And I Know It

 While at Chemo the other day , I met a woman my age going through breast cancer . We shared the same room . Believe me , I wasn't happy . All I wanted that day was to be left alone crocheting and doing my puzzles . This woman would not stop chattering away with me .
  I sat there and listened to her telling me how having cancer isn't as bad as people make it out to be . Her life hardly changed at all . Her husband and three teenage daughters were doing just great . She works fulltime and has absolutely no side effects from the chemo . She has no hair but doesn't understand what the big deal is about being bald . It doesn't bother her at all . Everything is just fine .
   I looked at her with awe . My face red beet in color from the steroids . My  chest all red from the stinking tape that covers my infusion needle . God Bless her , I thought , because she is where I was at 4 years ago ......in denial . When it finally hits her , she will be devastated at how much her life has really changed .
  Suddenly , I realized , I'ld rather be where I'm at .......overweight , bloated , redfaced , exhausted and sick all the time then back in that place 4 years ago . Bring on those side effects ....I'll deal . I want to be healed not only physically but spiritually . I also realized that I need to stop with feeling sorry for myself . Need to get off this obsession I seem to have with how I look .
  A few days ago , I read in my devotional  that if we could just see ourselves the way God sees us then we would love ourselves more . Can you imagine how beautiful I must look to him . When He sees me He doesn' t see the flaws , the dirt ........He sees me clean and shiny....all brand new . I am His Creation ...His Masterpiece .
  I sashayed out to the bathroom and caught myself in the mirror . All my love handles , muffin tops , junk in the trunk , bald headed and my turkey gobbler chin . He thinks I'm beautiful . It's about time I started to believe it . Did a spin in front of that mirror . Yep , I'm sexy and I know it !!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All Of Me

 I can't even begin to tell you how much I dreaded going to chemo this morning .  There was total silence in the car . For once Emily sat quiet . Sanctus Real came on the radio singing "All Of Me " and I cried the rest of the way . I have no idea why . I have no jokes for you today .

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away

And I'm so close
To what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start

I won't let sadness
Steal you from my arms
I won't let pain
Keep you from my heart
I'd trade the fear
Of all that I could lose
For every moment
I'll share with you

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start

And Heaven brought you to this moment
It's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me
You're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you
Even if I bleed
You're worth all of me
You're worth all of me

You're gonna have all of me
You're gonna have all of me
Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start

You're gonna have all of me
Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me
Is where I'll start
It's where I'll start

A Hoarders Life It Is

  Remember those boxes in my bedroom that I shuffled from corner to corner ? Well , they are unpacked . In their place are plastic storage boxes that I organized all these things in . My bedroom is the only room in the apartment that is always full of stuff . I'll clean it up and in a day or two , something else will take their place . All the other rooms are  organized neatly , except my bedroom .
  It's very symbolic , reflecting my personal life . By nature I am a very frugal person and I do not believe in waste . I reuse and recycle . My room is full of stuff that I don't need but will not get rid of . I am a hoarder .
  Here I am on the eve of my chemo staying up all night (03:24 am ) going through this stuff . In a few hours , I will have my third chemo .It's a halfway point .I'm halfway there . I'm almost done . Trepidation and anxiety take over because I'm not ready . I'm not where I should be by now . I'm still surrounded by a mess .
  What am I hoarding ? Honey , I have a jar of mixmatched buttons because one day I will look in my closet and see that all the buttons went missing and I'll have buttons to sew on again . I have all my taxes going back to 1984 in case I'm audited . I have recipes from all over the world because one day I will make sausage by scratch  and smoke it , too . I still have my skinny clothes  ( size 7 ) because in a few hours I will step onto the scale and a miracle will happen and I'll need those skinny clothes . It could happen . Miracles happen everyday . Stop snickering .
   I have box upon box of craft materials like doll heads , eyes , beads ,sequins , felt , magnets etc. because I plan on going into a frenzy making crafts for everyone in my family for Christmas .......one day . I have knitting needles of every shape and color . I have knitting patterns and I don't even know how to knit . I crochet . I don't have any crocheting patterns .
    Under my kitchen sink I have hundreds of plastic bags . I made a vow last week that I refuse to buy anymore trash bags until all of these plastic bags are gone . I have a huge stack of posterboard that I have been saving up for my kids at Sunday School for all those projects that may come up . I made the first step in my addiction to hoarding .....I cut up all that posterboard in different shapes for the base for Emily's cakes . I made a care package to send to my family in Poland of those skinny clothes . I maybe a hoarder but I'm a frugal hoarder !

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wanted - Ooomph!

   I was up and out early this morning ,  anxious to get my checklist done . After making sure I had plenty of crackers , miralax and anti-diarrhea medicine ......I headed home looking forward to a hot bath and some tea with lemon .
  Walked in to find my little bitty kitty went after all my ornaments , DVD player laying  on the floor and the lamp was overturned . Bless her heart she was nowhere to be found . As I  was cleaning up this surprise that was left for me , I noticed out of the corner of my eye something furry ran past.......very quickly ! Feeling disappointed that I can't thank her properly , I walk into the kitchen . Her face is the size of a child's palm yet the way she eats makes one think she is an ogre !! Cat food all over my floor .
  You think I would be mad , but I feel nothing . Not even a smile . I've lost my oomph ! At first , I was worried that maybe I'm slipping into a depression but I quickly realized its not sadness I've been feeling  . I simply feel nothing . My body and mind went into a neutral zone .
  Yesterday , I have told you about my friend , Linda . Today , I want to tell you about the third cancer patient at church  or rather his wife , Adrianna . They are a young couple in their early thirties with three children ( a set of twins 8yrs and a baby 1yr). Her husband just had a bone marrow transplant and they were awaiting test results . She said to me , that it didn't matter if the results came out great because they were at the point where nothing fazed them anymore . It's like , okay , what's next ?
  I understand what she means . This is exactly where I'm at , too . Things are going good. Chemo is taking effect ........for now ......until the next time . It has turned into a lifestyle . A way of life for all of us . It will never be the same .....no matter what happens .
  Can't shake this feeling that my neutral zone means something . I really don't think we just stopped feeling , rather , I think we 're beginning an acceptance of our new life . Are we on the brink of a new chapter ? A very scary emotion for me . Who knows what He  has in store for me now . It could be something I don't want to deal with at all . Especially , since this time I don't want to deal with anything .

 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Checklist

  On Sunday , I usually run into my friend Linda . We compare notes on the different chemo treatments , side effects we are experiencing and any test results we are waiting on . It's good to know another cancer patient to share this road with . In my church  , there are three of us  going through cancer .
   I was very surprised to find we both have the same routine . We have a checklist we go through before our chemo . We already know what kind of side effects we will experience and how long they will last . We prepare ourselves for those days when we will be out of action .
  I get chemo every three weeks . My side effects usually last 2 weeks and then I get a week break before the next treatment . Being sick and out of commission makes life a little hard . My checklist includes doing groceries , paying any bills , getting all  my medications , doing laundry etc . We also buy whatever we need for our side effects . One of my big ones happens to be nausea .I 'll stock up on crackers  and fruit to help combat it .
   I depend on my checklist alot lately. I find that I stay home as much as possible . In fact , I can feel the difference in my body more now than before . It will only get worse as time goes on . If there is an event like a birthday or sunday school , I have to rest up all week for it . Being sick is a full time job .
  Then there is a checklist for the everyday life until I go in remission . My plastic gloves that I use when cleaning , atm machines and for pumping gas . The famous clorox wipes ....where do I begin ? I use them for everything ! For the steering wheel when I get inside the car and the bathroom ,oh yes , the bathroom . Especially , if that bathroom is not mine . Lastly , the mask , for those times when someone is sick and I have no choice but to be near them .
   My checklist begins tomorrow . So does Linda's . Next day is treatment ....for both of us . Yeah , it's good to have a friend that is experiencing the same thing at the same time .

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Greatest Gift

   I can see His compassion and tenderness toward needy people . His intense love for His followers .
                                                                                                        31 Days Of Praise (pg.43)
        After reading that Quote , I immediately thought of a young couple ( both 16 ) that found out they were expecting  a child . This was on an episode of  " 16 And Pregnant ". Never really watched this program before but that morning there was a marathon of episode after episode on .  There was I , glued to the set , disgusted with the young men leaving .
      Finally , this couple comes on . Both look younger than their 16 age . They decided to give their child up for adoption to a Christian couple . They knew they were not ready to be parents . The tears they cried when their daughter was born were heart wrenching . The tears the adoptive parents cried when they held their Carolyn were heartwarming . I was a total mess for those  30 minutes .
      I witnessed the greatest gift from one person to another . I want to do that . I want to give someone a gift that money can't buy . I want to touch someone's life in a way where they are inspired , encouraged or transformed .
      Imagine a Christmas where the only gifts are those we give of ourselves . Maybe giving  someone who is lonely a gift of your time . Or making dinner for a sick friend . No material gift will bring more joy to those adoptive parents than the sacrifice of the teen couple . How beautiful !!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Pity Party

    My pity party started early in the morning . I woke up wanting nothing more than putting the covers over my head and not coming out . Alas , I had a doctor appointment  and Emily had to go to work ( its their busy season ).
   By the time afternoon came , my pity party turned into a bad attitude . Nothing worked today and I didn't care . At the doctors , I was there like two hours and most of that time I was kept waiting . Why ? Why do they keep us waiting as long as they do ? Seriously !
   I got on the scale and I gained weight . But of course ! What else would it say ?! That I lost weight ? End up buying some lounge pants and can't even get my behind into them !
  I just want to climb into my car and drive somewhere far , far away !

Thursday, December 1, 2011

  " My refuge and my fortress , my God , in whom I trust ".
                                                                             Psalm 91: 2
  After I read that first chapter of my book , I couldn't stop thinking . My whole life flashed before me . I can remember when I was a young mom . I had such strong views  on where I thought I would be twenty years down the road . I knew what I wanted and I was ready to wait to get it . I viewed my future life through rose colored glasses .
  Back then , I loved the city and everything it stood for . Now , I can't wait to get away from it .When I look back , I can't believe how much I have changed since that young mom . I want none of those same things that I patiently waited for all of my young life .
   In all these changes , my faith , My God , has always been there . I may have been angry with Him , disappointed but it didn't matter ....He was there . That never changed . What did change is that my relationship with Him grew warmer.......better because I let Him in .
   My refuge and my fortress , my God , in whom I trust .I never really understood and felt that verse until now . I could have never gone through and make it without Him . He has been in  my life for 47yrs. Long before I was even ready to experience the relationship He has been patiently waiting for .

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Praise The Lord

     Someone very dear to me , gave me a book four years ago , " 90 Minutes In Heaven ". That book changed my life . No book has ever meant more to me than this one . It dealt with the different changes and emotions we experience as we deal with an illness .
     I remember a certain chapter ,  where the author had a hard time dealing with accepting how his body changed after his recovery . It dealt with his limitations . I feel so naivee whenever I remember my reaction about his feelings on that subject . I just couldn't understand why he was having such a hard time . I believe it took him like three years to accept his new life .  Now , it just makes me smile . It's been almost 5 years for me and I still can't accept my limitations .
    The funny thing is , this time , some other  dear person gave me another book to read . This one is called , " 31 Days Of Praise ". I seem to have a thing for numbers .
      As I started my first chapter , I feel an excitement rushing through me . Let me read you a sentence : " And whether you're a beginner or someone who has long understood the benefits of praise , you'll find that the more you glorify the Lord , the more He will refresh you and deepen your experience of Him ".
     I know it will be a great book and I know it will change my life .
  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Once Upon A Time

 Once upon a time
there was a middle aged woman
all sick and frail
whose biggest fear
was weighing upon the scale
after much wear and tear
upon her body and soul
her heart called out
let's runaway and explore
where shall we go ?
to the country , to the country
let it be so
where the trees grow tall
and wildflowers roam
where there is no wall
built around her soul
she can run around free
drinking her tea
taking naps under a tree
and come Sunday morn
off to Church she goes
singing praise and thanks
to the One
who gave her life
each day once more

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Fork In The Road

  I had a very interesting conversation with one of my sister-in-laws . I have no idea how we got on the subject of life and death . I made a comment to her how I felt like I wasn't going back to work . That on my last day there , I felt like I was saying goodbye for the last time . She , of course , asked me if I thought I would die .
   I don't know if I will die . What I meant is that I feel like my purpose here is over . That there is something different ....a new life...a new purpose ....a new beginning .Whether that is here on this earth , I don't know . I just know that life as I know it ,  is over for me . There is a fork in the road .
  She told me that it looked like I made peace with my condition this time . No , I didn't . When I first found out , I burst out crying in front of the doctor . I wasn't expecting to hear anything like that . So what changed ? I don't know . Maybe , this blog . Making fun of it . Writing about  it . Not sure really how or when it happened . But I am at peace .
   I used to worry about my children . We are very close and I have a special relationship with both of them . My death will be very dramatic for them . Somehow , I know they will be okay . Maybe , it will bring them closer . My Joe has his wife , Aubrey . I just need to find a husband for Emily ....

Friday, November 25, 2011

   I'm almost ashamed to admit ........but.....I really miss my hair .
   With all the struggles I dealt with in these 4 yrs.  concerning my appearance , I really loved my hair . Over the years , our hair goes through so much damage with all the blow drying , curling irons , frostings , dying , etc. My hair was baby new . It came back thick , wavy and baby fine ! I loved it .Even the color was fantastic . People thought I dyed my hair and wanted to know  the color . I felt beautiful .
   Yesterday , as I was getting ready for our Thanksgiving Dinner , I missed all that fussing we women do with our hair . I was ready  in like 10 minutes . I wear my scarves in different , fashionable ways so I don't feel unattractive ......so I don't look so much of a cancer patient .
   We are such vain people . I never considered myself a vain person but I am one . I learned  something about myself . I care alot about my appearance . I may not look like I care , but I really do . Believe me , so would you if you lost your hair .
   The things I'm finding out about myself during this journey . Very unpleasant .
  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Has Anyone Seen My Identity ?

   These past few days have been quite nice . Even though , some of my blogs might have seemed to be a little " depressing ", it still has been nice to have some quiet time to think . To reflect and regroup . You can find out alot about yourself .
   Years  ago , I would clean out my closets and drawers whenever I felt overwhelmed with life . It felt like I was cleaning up  and organizing my life . Well , it doesn't work this time . One of the reasons why I feel so disappointed in my cancer returning is because I'm afraid of losing my identity .
   These past 4 years have not been easy for me . While everyone was extremely happy my cancer was in remission , I on the other hand , struggled emotionally with the aftermath of cancer . The person I saw in the mirror didn't resemble anyone I knew . The person on the inside definitely didn't match either . It really was a struggle to adjust to living .
    People were like , you can live your life now , but how can you do that after you just experienced the most dramatic event of your life . Let's not forget the limitations your body develops . You have become the dependent vs. the independent . Quite a life adjustment .
   I was just getting used to the person I've become . Just accepting and actually liking who I have become . That really ticks me off . Who wants to do all that work again . Here we go . Who will I become now ?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dying

     Dying
             ( Cease to be alive . Cease to exist or function . Fade away .)
    What a funny definition of death . We stop existing , functioning and we fade away . Poof ! Like we never been here . It makes it sound like we disappear and all our existence is erased .
    As you can see , I have been thinking alot about death . Not in a morbid sort of way .I've been thinking of the different aspects of death . We use that word to mean so many different things. We are dying for a piece of chocolate . Our relationship is dying . My body is dying . I'm dying spiritually inside .
   There are so many ways to die. We can die quickly , painfully , long suffering illnesses  and self -induced ways . We all hope of dying in our sleep . We're cowards like that . I've always been in awe of people who take their own life . I'm too scared of God and His wrath to do that . But honestly , I'm also scared of messing it up and then I might end up in a wheelchair or brain dead . I'll be worse off than before .
   We plan our own funerals . We want to be dressed in certain clothes . Our hair done a certain way . My mom wants her hairdresser to do her hair not the mortician . I would have loved to seen her face when she told her that . We want certain type of songs played . Some of us even want a certain type of reaction from our loved ones . There better be plenty of crying ! We also should have a certain expression that conveys suffering . Let's not forget the black clothes . Anyone not adhering to any of these rituals and traditions is just plain not sorry that the person is gone .
  What to do with all personal items of the deceased ?  Some of us spend our whole life collecting possessions  and they mean so much to us . Upon our death ,  our relatives either throw them away  or spend years in court fighting over . Wouldn't it be better to give it away ahead of time ?
  Some of us have special requests that we make of our loved ones upon our death . We give them suggestions on how they should dispense  our money . They may not know how to spend it . We're just trying to help . How many times they should come and visit our grave . Make sure there are pretty flowers and the candle is lit . I might get lost when I'm wandering about .
  There's so much to think about when it comes to dying.....what do I want ? Well , that's another blog .

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More God Moments

    These God Moments seemed to touch a chord in people . I open my e-mail and its full of inspirational stories and songs . Even at the Wedding on Sunday , I was given inspirational stories that were found in a magazine . Obviously , people want to HOPE . So once again .....more God Moments.


MONTCLARE
 
I have have a bad week and decided to lean on the Lord and youtube for Hope.
I found myself playing this one again and again. This may not be what you had in mind, but this is how I dealt with my pain and found relief.
 
Hallelujah Jesus saves
 
MELROSE PARK
In 2005 Nite Life Cafe was New Life Melrose saturday nite service. Being a single mom I was there anxious, fretting over the troubles that the next week would bring. While there.....I shook someones hand - there was a Twenty in it. A friend showed up with some clothes for me - (we had been trying to meet up for months)  Another friend went fishing, and shared what she caught, with some other food also. Another sister handed my popcorn balls - we laughed since we hadn't had any since we were kids :)  Before I  left that nite another dear friend called and invited us for dinner after church. 
    Yahweh Yireh    Praise Your Name  This has been a constant reminder that I am the Apple of His eye, and to cast all my cares upon God.  O how He loves us, O how He loves!!
 
MONTCLARE

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dark Shadows All Around Me

   My mood is a dark one . I feel that something has been chasing me ....a dark shadow ...something I can't quite pinpoint . It keeps following me around , taunting me , playing elusive games with me . Just when I think I can turn around fast enough to see what is behind me......I find IT is faster than me .
   Eversince , this past chemo , I've been feeling this dread . Never ,  have I ever felt so bad after a treatment like now . I feel sick and exhausted......WEAK . I feel weak . I put on a big front , but honestly , I hate this . I'm tired of this road .
   Someone at the wedding yesterday , another cancer survivor , made a remark how he is waiting for the cancer to return , because it will come . Maybe , this dark shadow , is that cancer . I will not be able to kill it , only subdue it . It will always be lurking in the shadows waiting to jump me . To overtake me . It's like living a life on the run . Who wants to live like  that ?
   Somehow I have to make friends with it . Learn to accept it for what it is . But not right now . Now all I want is to live in my quite little place , not seeing anyone , not talking to anyone . Right now , I yearn for the quiet . I yearn for the fantasy ....

THE SHUT IN by:Nellie De Hearn

she lives a prisoner within

the four bare walls of her poor room
in the bright world she walks no more
yet cheerfully accepts her doom
and holds that life is very sweet
as eager she looks and sees
the golden sunlight daily creep
into her room
and with it weaves
fantastic dreams of rosy hue
delightful things
in which she sees
the sparkling earth bedecked with dew
green hills and vales and stately trees
she lives a prisoner
and yet
she gets more out of life than we
who walks bowed down with care
and fret
for things we are too blind to see

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nostalgic

  Back in March , my son got married and started a chain of events that propelled our family on the road of re-discovery of each other . From that point on , the family had a full agenda of marriage proposals , wedding showers  and weddings . My time was spent traveling from Michigan to Indiana to Wisconsin and Springfield . We, as a  family ,  have never had such a whirlwind of events .
  My son started it and my niece ended it . Today is her Wedding Day . I know that it will be a while before another year like this one .
  I was up all night , tossing and turning , thinking of my life . It is always so much harder when the girl gets married . It takes a girl to understand a girl . I thought of all the couples that got married this year . The new life they have started as a couple...as a family . I thought of how my family enjoyed themselves at each Wedding . How much closer we have become . How I didn't want the closeness to end .
  I thought how happy they all looked on their Special Day  and I realized that I never looked like that . I thought of all the things that I have done wrong . All the things I wish I had done differently . I made plenty of mistakes . As the hours ticked away , my life flashed before me .One episode after another .I can't change what happened behind me , I can only change what happens in front of me .
  Who wouldn't want to start their life over again ? We all wish we could . We all have regrets . I know I do . I thought of all the things I wish I could say to these couples but somehow can't find the right words . What am I really nostalgic for ? My life ? Or her future ?
  I send her a text congratulating her on this special day. Her reply ? "Yes, God has been good to me ".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

God Moments

   Well , everyone , here are some God Moments . I hope you find them inspirational as much as I did .

Random Lake , Wisconsin
I had all 4 of my children in our old station wagon.    We were going to the library in Random Lake.   We had to cross a two lane, busy, highway.   I stopped at the proper place and then proceeded to cross the highway.   However, the car quit right there in the middle of the road.   I tried and tried to get it started.  It just clicked and clicked, but didn't fire up.   I looked to my right and saw a car coming in that same lane.   I tried again and still the car wouldn't start.   I just breathed a prayer "God help us".  When I looked again there was a policeman and he had poistioned himself in the right lane and turned on his emergency lights and that car stopped.  
The officer came to us and asked what was the matter.   By then I was crying and told him I just couldn't get the car started.   He just told me to take the car home and have my husband fix it.   I said "Yes, I will" and with that I turned the key and the car started right up.  
God is the only one who culd have had thta policeman at that psot at the very time we needed him and also helped get the car started again right then.
That is the God Moment that I remembered as soon as I read Lottie's request.   Praise His Name!!
 
Savoy , Illinois
The Lord is My Defender
I was a babe in the Lord, and a newly divorced single mother of four young children. When I look back, I realize how mercifully and tenderly God walked with me through the nightmare of those painful days.
Trying to raise four children on a very meager $8 an hour job, quickly brought me to the brink of disaster. My ex-husband, financially secure and reveling in his newly minted play-boy life style, glanced at the situation and saw his opportunity to end the burden of paying child support. He sued me for full custody of our children, something he knew I would never voluntarily allow.
He had the financial resources and the connections to hire the best attorney in town. I had no resources to hire an attorney at all. In complete ignorance of the way the legal system worked, I thought I would just go to court and I would be assigned an attorney, since I didn't have one! I didn't know this only applied to criminal cases – not child custody battles. He taunted me in the days leading up to the court appearance that I should just not even bother showing up – I didn't stand a chance of winning since he was a well-respected professional in the community and I was a 'nobody'. Even though I was intimidated by the whole court scene, I had no intention of walking away from my children without a fight. He should have known me better than that.
Behind all of the saber rattling from my ex-husband, I turned to the only source I knew for help – the Lord. With all of the excitement and passion of most new born babes in the Lord, I 'ate' the Word of God like a starving woman – I simply could not get enough of the Word. I was desperate for God. I knew it and He knew it. I told Him every day. 'I need You, Lord, I need You. Every hour, I need you...'
On the day of the court hearing, I went to court with my knees knocking and my hands trembling. I was aware that I was vulnerable and could lose custody of my children – many of my friends had done just that. This was a crucial turning point in my life and theirs. I walked into court alone. Except for the Lord...
I sat in a back row and watched as one case after another (all custody hearings) were called before the court. One after another, I saw the judge rule in favor of the one parent that had shown up in court. There was no contest. The parent that didn't show automatically gave away the children to the other parent. It was chilling to me and heartbreaking that a parent would dispatch his or her children so easily. Suddenly, my name was called and I approached the bench, as my husband and his high priced attorney jaunted forward, seemingly so sure of themselves that they were almost laughing on the way up the aisle to the bench.
Almost before my name was read, my ex-husband's attorney announced that I should lose custody of my children because of my inability to provide for them adequately. My ex-husband quickly added that he had brought witnesses with him that could testify to my inadequacy as a mother. Before he finished his sentence the judge slammed the gavel down, silencing the verbal onslaught from my husband and his attorney. Leaning over his desk and looking at me directly, I heard this judge ask me in a voice dripping with compassion, “Honey, do you want your children?” Answering immediately, all I said was “Yes, Your Honor, I do.” My ex-husband interrupted quickly to remind the judge again that he had brought witnesses with him to speak against me as a fit mother. The judge glared at him over the desk, and advised him sternly not to interrupt again or he would be found in contempt of court. Once again leaning over the bench like an affectionate father, he advised me that 'this man' (my ex-husband) might push this as far as it could go and, in the event that he should bring me back to court again, I should look into finding a lawyer to represent me well. Ending by smiling at me with a look of understanding and wisdom as to the game that was being played, he slammed the gavel down once again and ordered that the children be returned to me immediately as their mother.
I have never forgotten that day. I knew that God had gone into the court room with me and, against all human odds, had presided over the court proceedings on my behalf. He had placed a judge on the bench that saw through the facade of money and prestige that my ex-husband thought would win the day. I had no lawyer. I had no money. I had no knowledge of the court system and how it worked. All I had was The Lord. He showed up that day and fought or me. I had met my Defender.  And He was all I needed...

Des Plaines , Illinois
Hi. As you know my husband had a stroke. The miracle here is that he was not suppose to live. Its been over a year now and the drs and specialist are still talking about he's not suppose to be here. I believe the  GOD moment is that someone told me to call 911 when I did.  To me he just seemed sick. he was throwing up. But something inside my head told me to call 911. They told me in the ER that if I didnt call when i did he wouldve never made it to the hospital. Even all along his recovery, they were telling me he was paralyzed on the right side, hes not, hes paralyzed on the left side, not. They told me his eyes were paralyzed and he would be blind. Not. I prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. Today my husband is home, hes talking (with a slur but you can understand everything he says). He walks with a walker but is still learning to walk. I felt GOD with me the whole time. And still. I believed in GOD before, but now its a whole new faith I have. They tell me at the hospital they use his story as a inspiration story to other patients and Loved ones.  He is still learning and progressing. We don't know how much further he is going to recuperate, but as long as i keep seeing improvement, I will learn right along with him.
 

My Top Ten List

    Since this is my second bout with cancer ,  I have discovered that I have a routine , a repetition of  things that I only do when I have cancer . This just came to me yesterday in the waiting room . Funny , the things we think about when we have time . Here is my top ten list of things I only do when I have cancer.

10. I found that I have great patience when I have cancer . I can sit in the doctor's waiting room without a complaint . I also found that as soon as the cancer goes in remission , so does my patience .
9. I have also found that I can out burp , out belch and pass gas better than any sailor out there . Come on  , challenge me !
8. Another great accomplishment ....I can crochet like a mad woman !!! I can whip out blankets faster than a rabbit can have babies !
7. I also have found that I have a whole collection of books , journals and puzzles of every kind you can imagine that I only take out during cancer and doctor visits . Seriously .
6. I have found that I do not screen my calls but answer every single one . I write letters and remember everyone's birthday . I send out e-mails . I answer e-mails .
5. I have found that I accept every invitation sent my way . A baby shower ? I'm coming . A potluck dinner ? I'll be there . If you don't see me at a function , it just means I went somewhere else .
4. I have found that I have become a Reality T.V. junkie . I'm just glued to People's Court . I mean where else would I have learned the phrase ,"stick a fork in me ...I'm done ." Then there is Hoarders .Yeah! I'm mean , it's a relief that someone else's house is messier than mine . Then there is Toddlers and Tiaras . Certainly makes me feel like a better mom . But my all time favorite happens to be Storage Wars. I have no idea why I love this , but I do .
3. I have found that I love and appreciate my family more .I see them through rose colored glasses . Things that would annoy before seem to stop when my cancer comes back . I'm sure the minute I go into remission those rose colored glasses will develop a crack .
2. I have also noticed that the devil follows me around more trying to cause havoc and discouragement . When he does , there is always someone who calls , or writes or sends a card to cheer me up . So he really never catches me . Ha !
1. Now here's my favorite thing I found about having cancer . I do not have to pluck , shave or wax anything on my body ! Yeah , that deserves a number one.

  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Have A Request

   Whatever my plans for the blog were today, they  will have to go on hold . I have other pressing issues to bring up . I received a phone call this evening that certainly was a " God Moment ". I could not get this event out of my head . It made me realize something very important .
    People  tell me how positive I am during this journey of mine , but this is a lie . This is a facade , but that's another story .....another time . It did alter how I felt . It uplifted my spirits . Here I was laying down after just coming home from my chemo and I was dead tired . I mean my body actually felt like dead weight . I just hit the bed and didn ' t move . The whole time I'm thinking how in the world am I going to perform all my duties for the next two weeks . This chemo took everything out of me .
   This " God Moment " changed all that . Then I started remembering the many " God Moments " in my life  and how they re-affirmed my faith . I thought of my friends , Doug and Linda , both fighting cancer . Then there the relatives of people who are recovering from a stroke ......Natalie-father , Kathy-husband . Then there is Kelly whose son was born with a cleft . Let's not forget my dear friend Maureen , who is in pain everyday with her leg . There are so many more that aren't mentioned here .
  All of them are trying to stay positive during their journey , but we all suffer from depression at times . We all need a pick me up .
   I have a request . If there is anyone who has a experienced a " God Moment " in their life , I would love to showcase your story as part of a series on this blog . You can e-mail me your story at lottiekrol@yahoo.com along with what town or city you are from . For privacy, I will not be posting anyone's name . I look forward to hearing from you . Let's uplift and inspire each other as we all continue on our journeys .

Monday, November 14, 2011

Uncharted Waters

   It's Monday and a scary week for me . Tomorrow ,  I'm starting a different chemo and I'm a little worried about the side effects it will have . Not to mention " my other problems " that keep resurfacing over and over again . Even my car is starting to act up again . It all is coming to a head this week .
   So since it is Monday , I want to change the whole attitude of this week and approach it in a light-hearted , funny way . Here is a story I wrote about a day Emily and I experienced at Schiller Woods . Hope this puts a smile on your face as you start your week .............


Hello everyone!
                      Today, Emily did the unbelievable!She took her cat Diamond to the woods for an adventure and for some exercise.Yes,it sounds unbelievable but it really happened.
                    The only way I can explain how the process went getting Diamond from the house into the car is just think of trying to give a cat a bath.Lets just say that my daugther was the one who ended up with both her knees skinned.Ouch!!!
                    Did I forget to mention that Diamond was on a leash?Yes,in our house we believe in cat walking instead of dog walking.
                      Once we made it to the woods , she quite behaved herself and for a minute we actually thought she loved it.She found a spot under a fallen branch under a tree.Again, it was the bath scene as we tried to get her from the tree to the car.She stuck her claws into the tree trunk hugging it meowing nooooooo!!! I don't wanna goooooo!!!!We , of course , assumed she was enjoying herself but ,alas, that wasn't so.As soon as we opened then door to the house she made a run for it like the devil was after her with Emily still holding the lease.Comedy central around here .Who needs t.v.What did you guys do today?
P.S.
    Oh yes,let's not forget the couple of rose bushes that got in the way.I think it was more of an adventure for Emily.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Expectations

    We all have such great expectations of what will happen in our lives . We plan and organize so everything will turn out the way we want it to . Sometimes we just dream and fantasize of how we want our lives to turn out .
     The first time I found out I had cancer , I wasn't  as traumatized as people think . I thought to myself that I'll go in and have the surgery . Then afterwards , have the chemo and go back to work . Clean cut and simple ...in and out . That's how I handled life back then . Make a list , do the list and move on to the next list . That's not quite what happened . I was naive .
     This time around , I ran around preparing all the details because I am a pro at this , right ? I knew what to expect or at least I kept telling myself that . When treatment time would come , I planned on staying home recooperating . I would do all those things I set aside for later . I would keep away from people because I didn't want to get sick . Germ free. I was naive  .
     We are not realistic people . We like to fantasize and dream . When life doesn't quite turn out like our dreams we get depressed . We feel cheated .
      I would dream this dream in my youth of living on my own in an English Cottage surrounded by all types of flowers . The simple life....the peaceful life.....the calm life .Where did this come from ? I really don't know . Not realistic at all . What are my chances of moving to England ? Pretty slim .So why do we do it ? I think we dream big and unrealistic dreams to help us deal with our ordinary lives . To get away from our problems . It's like reading fairytales . We want the fairytale life where everything turns out perfect . We want to believe .





    

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Word Of God Speak

   I should have titled my blog  "Traffic ". I sure spent alot of time in it today . So restless in the car with my mind drifting  in reflection . Thinking of my life and all the things I should have done but didn't . The things I did and shouldn't have . The  mistakes I have made . We always remember the mistakes first . All the warning signs that were there but I ignored . That feeling we get that something doesn't feel right . Why don't we heed it ?
   I thought of this program I watched a very long time ago . Where a group of women would come live together , as therapist worked with them on their many issues . There was this one woman there . I won't forget her . Her therapist gave her all these bags.....she called it her " excess baggage " and wherever she went she had to carry all her baggage with her .
   I watched her lug all this baggage into the bathroom , as she was cooking , on the couch with her , on the bus etc . One day , the whole group went walking in the woods . This poor woman carried that baggage uphill tripping and falling several times . Finally , she was so disgusted of this baggage causing her so much misery she dropped it and refused to carry it around with her any longer . She was tired of it .
   That's how we all are . We don't listen to warning signs that God sends us . We refuse to listen . We stop  our own growth . We get tired of waiting on Him . We plunge in and make matters worse . Or we become scared and don't move on at all .
   Word of God speak . Why is it so very hard for us to trust Him ? To hear Him ?
   Instead , we do our own thing and develop excess baggage that causes us so many problems . We almost have to be covered with bags before we finally listen to Him . None of us wants to be sitting in traffic 20 years later playing back all our mistakes in our mind  thinking why didn't I listen ?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Falling Off The Wagon

     Discouragement hangs over me like a black cloud  creeping closer and closer . I'm falling off the wagon today . Spent the morning reading old notes from Sundays Past . Message after message trying to encourage my discouraging heart . Everything lies in His hands . You think I would be upset with my illness but instead I'm upset with the paperwork . Who has time to worry about that when I have all this red tape to untangle .
  One of my favorite verses in the Bible says ," Be still and know that I am God ". There is nothing more that I can do . A quiet day , today , spent reading my devotionals . Here is a poem I found....

GOD'S PLAN by:Kathleen Lyons
 as I travel on my journey
living life from day to day
I see the joy in GOD'S plan
and give thanks when I pray
but when the road gets rough
and my troubles seem to stay
I forget that GOD has a plan
and I search for my own way
I try to chart my own course
never knowing which way to turn
all the time I waste on worry
if only I would learn
for when my troubles pass
I can always see
it was all part of GOD'S plan
and never up to me
   

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Goes On

    There is a stretch of road that I take on my way home from my brothers house . It's simply beautiful during the Fall . All the greens , browns , reds  and orange tones are in full display in these woods . Once again , I'm amazed at God's beauty .
     The road is long and winding , surrounded by the woods . The seasons will change no matter what happens in my life . The leaves will keep falling and the snow will come . Once again , in the spring , everything will come back to life . Life goes on.
    I feel lifeless but very calm  as I drive through this beauty . I've had another draining morning  dealing with "paperwork" and " reps" . I'm tired and exhausted of dealing with these people .
    You call your benefits rep and he tells you they faxed a document over to your doctor . You call the doctor and he never got the document . You call them back requesting the same darn thing you asked for three days ago . .....PING PONG...PING PONG .......PING PONG .
    We are incompetent creatures , yet Jesus loves us . We kill , we hurt others , we lie ,cheat and steal . Yet , HE shows us mercy , grace , love , forgiveness and sent His only Son to save us . What do we do ? We beat Him , torture Him and nail Him to the Cross . He still loves us .
    We are very incompetent . We change peoples lives with a click of a button .What does it matter ? Life goes on . What is the worst that will happen to them ? It's a mistake . People do the same thing with God . When everything is fine , who needs Him ? What has He done for me lately ? How do you know its not a she ? When they hit a bump in the road , they fall to their knees and scream HELP ME ! Where are you God ?
    He truly is a loving God to put up with the likes of  US . Seriously . Take a look around . Look how we impact each others lives without any feeling of consequence . Nothing matters . No responsibility . No accountability . Life goes on , Right ?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Junkie In Recovery

    This past Sunday , my friend Linda comes running up to me in Sunday School . Her face is simply beaming ! Just beaming ! She just had tests done and her cancer on her ribs and under her armpit is gone . The cancer in her neck has spread even more....but ....she's not upset . That doesn't even matter right now . All that does matter is that the cancer is gone from the other two spots .
    She already knew that . You see , from the very beginning she knew that she would be healed by God . Even though it looked so very bad , she knew . She believed .
    Such  a simple word believe . Just heard Joyce Meyer's preach on that very subject . She held up in her hands a wooden sign spelling believe . It sits upon her desk and whenever she doubts herself or feels down , she looks up and sees that word......BELIEVE . Just believe .
    Another friend of mine says it best . Breathe in . Breathe out . Move on . I'm envious of these two . They're at a level that I'm still dreaming about . Like a junkie in recovery , I take out plain  pieces of paper and write BELIEVE  on it . I post one in the bathroom , one in the hallway , one on the refrigerator and one on my bedroom door .
    I just spent a terrible night of tossing and turning , thinking about all my forms . Did I fill them out right ? Will my short term disability kick in soon and I can get paid ? Has my doctor faxed over the papers yet ? Will I be able to pay my bills ?
   I am a junkie in recovery . One day at a time . Trust . Believe . Trust . It will be just fine .Breathe in . Breathe out . Move on .
   

Monday, November 7, 2011

Turning The Negative Into Positive

      So far , today , has been very trying . Just when I thought all the paperwork has been taken care of....BAM.....it's not . There is so much red tape , who can keep track of all this ? It shouldn't be like this ! You shouldn't be swimming in red tape ! A person should be concentrating on healing ! UGGGH!
     This is all my fault . My inability to deal with issues . I know this is God's  way of having me face and deal with it . Learning to trust HIM . Learning to leave all my  troubles with HIM . I read once that when we ask God to teach us a particular " thing " we also need to ask him for mercy  as we go through it . Teach me  trust , Lord , but show me mercy first !
     As bad as today has started out , I really am trying to stay positive . I keep telling myself that the latest snag is just a minor delay . Trust , Lottie , trust . With a renewed hope in my heart , I went on Facebook .
      Now , I have to admit that it took alot of persuading from my children to join facebook . You all should know  by now how I am . I hate filling out forms...why can't they just log me in themselves ? I have to admit that when I finally did , I BECAME  A JUNKIE !
     I have been critisized for being too open . For putting it out there . Everyone knows my  business . I don't believe that I'm saying anything wrong or bad about others .The era of our mothers where everything was kept hidden and SSSSHH and not talked about is over . How are our children , our daughters gonna learn if we don't talk ?
     Like my Pastor , I just went off track .Sorry .
      First thing I see on Facebook  is someone 's comment on how difficult of a day they had . Second thing I see is the comments people wrote to uplift this person . To me , this is what its all about . There are so many negative things in our lives , we need to let it out so others can help us turn it into something positive .
     This journey of mine isn't just about me . It's also about the people around me . Maybe , there is someone out there that is feeling and going thru the same thing . Maybe  , they need to be uplifted . Maybe , the people in their lives want to know what their thoughts are . Maybe , someone out there already went thru a journey similiar to mine and they have some advice for me . Whatever it is .....I just want my journey to mean something .
   Last night , I made a discovery about myself ......the trust issue . Today , I want to start changing how I deal with things . How do I acquire that trust ? Well , today, I'm turning this negative day into something more positive . I ' m trying not to stress out . It will work out . I want to place all my Faith into the Lord .
   One thing , I don't want to do is shut myself away from people and not talk about it . That's not gonna happen , sorry .
 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trust , Trust ..... Where Art Thou?

    This being my second time around , I find people asking me primarily the same question . ......Is it the same ? Is it the same chemo type ? Are you feeling the same ? Are you having the same side effects ? etc, etc, etc . It's basically the same question . How is it like now ?
    There are more differences than similiarities . I'm not even sure if there are any similiarities other then the fact that I have the same cancer . Before , I dealt with my spiritual side . The part that was missing.....lacking in my life . Now it seems I'm dealing with my personality......my character.....the type of person I am . Or want to become .
    I have been walking around doing all the right things : going to church , bible study , volunteering , trying to behave in Christ-like way . I have seen a change in me and others have too. I haven't really gotten where I want to be . In fact , I have found I have alot of flaws in me . It seems I have been working on the big things but there are other things maybe not that noticeable to me . The key phrase here is " noticeable to me ".
   Yes , things are different now , only on the surface . For instance : the old me would have fought if confronted , blocked , hurt . Now ? My son says it best : I want peace at all cost . I will sweep it under , walk around it or  walk out the door before I have to deal with it . I do not want to deal with  anything . I want a peaceful existence . Or am I more afraid of the old me coming back ?
    So have I really changed ? Or have I just changed the way I handle things ? Again , I started writing about one thing and something else is coming out . God is so funny at times .
     Another thing I have noticed is that I put things off.....things that I don't like to do...unpleasant things . Or I break off personal relationships before they get serious because somehow I'm psychic and I can look into the future and see it will never work out .
      Boy , I'm really messed up . It really is all the same thing . I'm scared . I'm scared of my old-self coming back . I'm scared of getting hurt in a relationship...being taken for a fool . I'm scared of trusting . That's what this is all about....TRUST.
     Don't we all say , "I trust in the Lord" or " leave it with Him", but do we really ? I know I have a hard time with trust . I did an exercise on trust with my Sunday School Class once where they had to fall back and have their partner catch them from behind . I was amazed how these children trusted each other . They were falling back without a moment of doubt . Like a swarm of flies . Why can't I be like that ?Why can't I do that ? I want to let go .
    So is it different this time ? You better believe it . It's alot more personal somehow . All my fears , my vulnerabilities are right here in the open . I feel exposed before God. I am a Christian and I'm afraid to let go ....completely let go .
   I think I just found what my journey is all about.
   
    
  

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Blanket Therapy

   One of my vices in the early days of my cancer was crocheting . When you spend alot of time in the hospital you develop their schedule . You end up sleeping in  short naps through out the day . When you go home the schedule stays with you for awhile . Its very hard to shake it off . You're awake at all odd hours .
    I started crocheting making blankets .Called it my cancer therapy . At that time it was very close to Thanksgiving . I decided to make a blanket for everyone in the family for Christmas . I wanted everyone in my family to have something of mine to look  and remember me  by . From Thanksgiving to Christmas , I made 11 blankets . It kept me occupied during my healing process . I also played alot of computer games .
     Well , my blanket therapy expanded to friends , baby showers and donations to charities like Mary's Room . Funny enough , people started giving me yarn to make blankets for others . One goal for this Christmas  is to donate to a Nursing Home . Whenever my donation of yarn would start dwindling someone would always drop off some yarn without my asking . God's provision never stops to amaze me .
      It's amazing what a simple blanket does to a person . It seems to make people feel loved . Whenever I would present someone with my blanket they would be so touched . I never quite understood the impact it made . Maybe it was the idea of someone thinking of them and making a personalized gift just for them . The fact that someone took the time to make something . All homemade things make us feel like that .
      If there is anyone who may need a blanket let me know . I would be honored to make one .If anyone would like to donate yarn I would be so grateful .
      My dream.......to make slipper booties for all the children at St. Jude's . Who knows ? Dreams come true . you know .

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mirror , Mirror On The Wall

  One of my hardest struggles didn't really come from the actual treatments of my cancer . They came from dealing with the aftermath of having cancer . There is nothing worse than going through a major struggle in your life and you defeat it expecting your life to go back to normal ......and it doesn't .
   Instead, you look in the mirror and see a stranger . Here I have had 4 children and always been thin . This cancer I have gained 80 lbs. My hair was different color and texture . Then there is the different person you are on the inside .
    This was a  major challenge for me . This is another reason why I am so upset this time around . I was just getting used to the " new " me and now I have to erase the slate and start all over . I have gained  7 lbs already. I don't want to go thru that all over again . I don't want to rediscover myself .
   Now I know what you all are thinking and I certainly don't want any emails about how my appearance doesn't matter . I understand all that  but lets be honest , folks , we all have a problem with how we look . Each of us would love to change something about our appearance .
   I don't need to go back to my original  " look ". I'm not that person anymore on the inside  but  I would like to meet somewhere in the middle . I guess , I just don't want to start all over again . I don't want to gain anymore weight . I was happy with the way I was looking. I feel I worked real hard to get to that point and it was for nothing .
   Don't get me wrong , its just my weight. When you've been thin all of your life and then suddenly you're like the opposite its very difficult to deal with .I would be happy with some weight loss . I don't need to be a size 4...I can be a size 12 instead . I do love my curves just not so much of it .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today.......

  Today the weather is pure FALL!!!! It's raining and howling wind outside . Both Emily and I have been sick with a cold for a full week and there's no relief in sight . Doesn't look good for my chemo on Monday .......it might be cancelled .
   Words are not needed on a day like this . Today is perfect for a hot , homemade bowl of soup and a slice of fresh bread . Snuggle on a couch with a blankie and hot tea with lemon and honey . Words are not needed . Today we should spend time with our loved ones just being quiet . The month of THANKFULLNESS is here .
  Let me share a poem with you that reminded me of HIM when I looked outside today.


GOD'S PRESENCE WITHIN by:Regina Wiencek

 have you looked for God when the
tempest broke
have you seen him in the lightening
stroke
have you heard his voice in the
thunder roar
or in proud waves that break on the shore
have you watched him in the sunset glow
has he left his footprints in the fresh fallen snow
does he live in temples hewn of stone
where is his palace
where is his throne
you can search and search without
seeing his face
as his fleeting footprints through nature you trace
he is Lord of the earth and Lord of the sky
he is Lord of life's seasons that swiftly roll by
you can search the world pver for glimpse of him
but to find him
my friend
start looking within
in hearts he is living

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hair Today , Gone Tomorrow

   I do not like talking on the phone . Especially , if it involves speaking to sales people or handling a problem  like insurance ......can't stand it . The minute I find out I have to call someone to fix a problem , I immediately look for someone to handle it for me. Otherwise folks , I'm walking away from it . Who needs cable ? I've been like this all of my life . Feel the same way with confrontations . If I don't feel like dealing with certain things , I put them aside . Digging deep is hard .
  When my son moved out to Missouri , I called him one time to order pizza for me and I live in Chicago ! Thats how bad I have it.
   Since my last blog , I spoke with my son and he did an interview with me for his radio program . I kept thinking about those questions he asked me all night . Couldn't sleep . Kept going over the entire interview in my head . Something very important came out during that interview . I had no idea I felt like that .
  In a way , I feel like I'm fighting GOD . HE is bringing forth things out of me and I keep resisting . Like a two yr old stamping her foot saying : " no, I don't want to and  you can't make me ." Well , HE kept me up all night so I guess HE won .
  That morning folks I made a decision . I know now ,  why I haven't shaved my head yet . I've been waiting for someone to do it for me . Last time was different because I was in terrible shape healthwise and I needed people to take care of me . I didn't have to handle anything .There was someone to handle all my paperwork and folks it was a mess . There was a  nurse coming to the house twice a week and whatever I needed all I had to do is pick up the phone and someone would take care of it for me .
  Not this time . I've been handling all the paperwork . Felt very proud of myself . There's just one thing......my hair .There is something so very personal and difficult about shaving your head . I can't describe it . I know of someone whose mom had breast cancer and the entire family had to have a meeting on how best to deal with shaving her head .
  I thought about going to a salon but I knew I would break down  and cry . I didn't want to do that in front of someone I didn't know . I didn't want to be vulnerable in front of a stranger .
  I asked my brother for electric shears and I shaved my own head . Strange thing happened.....I didn't cry . As I looked in the mirror , of course , I didn't like the face I saw . I didn't recognize it . It didn't look like me . But ...I have a very nicely shaped round head ....although the turkey gobbler has to go .
   I took control and not let it control me . Maybe thats why I didn't cry .
 
 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Losing Your Identity

   My hair has been falling out . It's not a pretty sight . Everyday it gets worse . I don't think people realize what the process looks like when your hair starts shedding . Think of a chemical waste movie where the infected person 's hair is falling off in chunks . Globs....chunks. Yuck .
    It starts off with just some hair whenever you brush . Then a handful everytime you touch your hair. After that, you shed on your shoulders , pillow , bathtub . You don't even have to touch it .  Everyday it gets worse and worse . So I made the decision to shave it already .
   Four years ago , I shaved my head immediately when it started to fall out . This time , I have waited alot longer . I mention this to someone and their response really ticked me off . This upset me so much I felt I needed to write about it . They wanted me to wait . " I mean , Lottie, its not that bad . "
   Really ? Really ? How would you know . That's like telling someone that has breast cancer...its just a breast . Or someone in a wheelchair.....its just a leg .People say the most insensitive things . This is why people who are going through tragedies do  not share their feelings with others . Another reason ....because they feel that noone understands what they are going through .
  Another huge misconception..............this is not vanity.......it is the loss of identity . My losing my hair is not about being attractive . Its about not recognizing myself .Who am I now? Who will I be when I come out of this ? Then there are my children who still have a hard time seeing me with no hair . I should just tell them its not that bad when they see globs of my hair hit the floor . How dramatic do you think that will be for them ?
  The funny thing is that the person who said it , if this happened to them , would have gone into a depression . I'm not saying this to make the person feel bad about themselves . I want people to be aware.
    Since starting this blog ,I have had so many relatives of patients come up to me and tell me how they never knew what they were feeling . How they kept all their emotions bottled up . How they wished they knew their thoughts .
   My feelings alone have been like a rollercoaster ride....up and down and up again . I think thats because I'm trying to find out who I am in all of this . This person staring in the mirror with a bald head...who is she ?Who will she become ?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Leaving Something Behind

    A couple years back , I went to a funeral of a woman that wasn't exactly " nice " for  want of a better word . In fact , she was very difficult , negative , never had a good word to say about anyone . It was very hard to be with her and everyone would avoid her as much as they could . People made excuses for her because of her many illnesses .
     As I sat at her funeral , I could not think of one happy moment that I spent with this woman and it shocked me . Why not ? Because she was miserable and made sure everyone around  her was made miserable too . My last memory of her involved her complaining about a baby crying .That's all I could think about sitting in the pew .
     I don't want anyone to ever feel like that about me . If there is one thing I want to leave behind .......its happy memories . What better way of honoring someone then with memories .I want for people to sit around and bring up things we have done together when I'm gone . I want a relationship with every person in  my life .
     I want my children to remember all the things we have done together.Times we have cried together....laughed together and yes, even fought together . Because after each fight we did learn something from it . ....we learned to apologize .

The Missing Link

  As a Sunday School Teacher , my Sundays are usually spent downstairs in the Childrens Ministry. I love what I do . There is one thing I miss and that is the worship part of the service. That 's what  is missing from my " church on " during the week . I can listen to K-LOVE all day and its still not the same as being in church and giving HIM your complete attention. At home, we are usually doing other things while listening to music .
   So when someone gave me tickets to " Casting Crowns " , I was very happy . Let me tell you I was in pure heaven last night . I forgot everyone and everything . This concert was for me . I had tears coming down my face . Its as if a dam broke and everything I have been suppressing came out . At the end of the concert , the lead singer said how they all came out and prayed over all the seats earlier in the day .
   Come to the well. I came to the well and left everything there. My problems with all my FMLA forms, insurance , my cancer car , my health etc. Everything .What a release . It was a turning point . I knew than that everything would be okay . Everything would be just fine.
   As a Christian , I have had many experiences like that . The joy and peace and fullness of heart that comes with it is unbelieveable . I believe dying feels like that . What  an incredible feeling . I stood with my arms stretched wide worshipping the ONE who gave it all just for me.
   If you are a fellow Christian , you know what I mean .You have had that experience . If you're not , I wish you will know Him ,  too. Come to the well......

Yarn Bombing My Life

                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey. Some murmur if their sky is clear, And wholly bright ...