In Power of Love on April 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm
Most everything I read about cancer and staying cancer-free says that a major lifestyle change is necessary.
There are many different theories about why people get cancer, but there does seem to be agreement on the idea that cancer cells flourish in a certain environment and can’t live in another environment, and which environment you have in your body is in large part controlled by what you put in your body and on your body. Actually my reading indicated that this is probably true for almost all serious diseases, not just cancer.
Anyway, I have a lot to learn about all this, but it seems clear that eating organic foods is very important, along with lots of fresh vegetables and vegetable juices. Wheatgrass is a great cleanser for removing toxins from your body, so that is how I ended up with two flats of wheatgrass in my laundry room. When I brought them in, my 100% carnivore husband looked at it and said “what’s that stuff?” I told him and he asked what I planned to do with it, to which I replied that I was going to liquify it in a blender and drink it. The look on his face was priceless! “Why would you do that?” he asked incredulously. “Because it is good for me” I answer. “Huh”, he says, looking at me like he is not sure who I am.
He has stayed silent as I carried out all the products in the house that have yucky chemicals in them and replaced them with organic cleaning products. He hasn’t said a word about all the green juices I drink, or asked why I only want to eat organic foods and eggs from local chickens, or why I am not eating much meat or dairy anymore. Is this indifference? I don’t think so – what I think it is, is love. Sometimes love is expressed by keeping your mouth shut and being supportive, no matter how crazy things look. I did get a look of surprise and a grin when I brought home a bike. I used to love riding bikes as a kid and I wanted to find something fun to do outside as the weather improves, so the bike seemed to be a good idea. When I got it home I planned to hop right on it and ride around, so you can imagine my surprise when I went to throw my leg over the back of the bike and discovered that my leg wouldn’t go that high up. When did that happen? Could this mean that I am not as young as I used to be? Or limber? Hmmm…….. Once I managed to get on the thing, I noticed how skinny the tires were, and how it went way too fast, and what is up with that miserably uncomfortable seat? I don’t remember any of this from before. Maybe this wasn’t my best idea – why is this feeling so wobbly as I try to pedal? Through all of this Mike stayed quiet and tried not to laugh. Yep. That’s love!
In Peace Accord, Power of Love on March 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm
I am back from Denver with the best news possible – no cancer anywhere! It has taken a few days for the realization to sink in; at this moment, I am cancer-free!
One thing I am sure of: this would not have happened without the power of prayer and love and support from all of you in this awesome community. I don’t think I will ever again take for granted the power of family and friendship and the power of connectivity among all people. One of us CAN make a difference, and all of us together can make a HUGE difference!
So what is next for me? The trick will be to stay cancer-free. I have always known that I would be different “AC” (after cancer) than I was “BC” (before cancer), but now I am there and I have to figure out what that looks like. It is easy to say generally that I know I have to eat differently and think differently, but what exactly does that mean? Figuring that out is my number one job right now, and I have no time to waste. I have been given a tremendous gift – a “second chance”. I will keep you posted as I continue on this unpredictable journey.
In Power of Love on March 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm
It is about time to go back to the doctors in Denver and have the necessary tests that will tell me if I am clear of cancer, for now, or if I must go through further treatment. Of course, I realize that I will have to return every few months for the next several years, but this time is a huge hurdle to get over. Many of you have asked me if I am scared, and others want to know if I can tell by how I feel, if I am clear. I’ll answer the second question first; no, I can’t tell. I could not tell that I had it in the first place, so that is not a surprise to me. As to the question of being scared, that is a little more complicated to answer. I am not sure “scared” is the right word to use. Certainly, I face the idea of further treatment with a fair amount of dread – it will be unpleasant. However, the overwhelming feeling I have is calm, and a knowledge that whatever we find out, I will be able to handle it. That is a quiet strength that is new to me when facing something that I would have found frightening in the past. The other interesting thing about this belief is that it does not come from my head; it comes from somewhere inside me. My heart? Maybe, but for someone who used to live mostly in their head, this is a new sensation. It feels like a higher power has a hand on my back. I don’t know what it is or why it is there, I just know it is there, and I will be forever grateful for it. Maybe it is the combined effort of all of you; maybe it is part of that beautiful prayer quilt I sleep under every night. I don’t have to know what it is to draw strength from it and feel gratitude. I know that all of you will be with me when I am in Denver, and I will consciously keep you with me every step of the way. Thank you.
In Power of Love on January 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm
When I got home from the hospital the other day I had a box waiting for me from “Happy Trails”. The girls from “Happy Trails” sent me the most spectacular hat for Christmas! It is black with green feathers, and is DIVINE! Thank you so much! You are all brilliant buyers, which is why your store is so fabulous!
In Cancer of the "Netherlands", Power of Love on December 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm
A few of you have asked me if I am always “up” – is everything always funny? Do I ever get down? The answer is yes, I do get down. It is seeing the humor that pulls me out of that thought, and sometimes it takes me a day or two to get my sense of humor & balance back. So for those of you that may also be going through some of this yourself, please know that I do know and acknowledge the awfulness of this process, but I think this could swallow person up if they let it get the best of them, so I am making a conscious choice to not let that happen, but every day is a different fight.
The other day was a case in point for me: in addition to the other side effects I am dealing with, yesterday I learned that the skin in the “Netherlands” is literally melting off now because of radiation. The doctors told me not to let plastic too near the “Nether regions” because I am putting out so much heat that the plastic would melt and stick to what skin I have left and pull it off. This really shook me up and nothing was funny yesterday. To have said I was cross would have been an understatement. I was angry and scared… I think that it is important to acknowledge those feelings and not stuff them, but let them pass over me so I don’t get stuck in them.
What pulled me out of that ( I had to kick myself in the butt, which isn’t as easy as it sounds!) was going into the treatment center and seeing so many people much sicker than me that are probably suffering worse than me and some of those people were all alone. When I thought about all of the family and friends that are with me providing love and support, I felt so lucky and so blessed that I couldn’t stay down. I wish I could have gone up to some of those people and give them a hug and a warm cookie or something, but that would have probably gotten me arrested, so I decided to settle for smiling at everyone– did you know it is almost impossible to feel bad when you smile?
In Power of Love on December 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm
It is Christmas Day! I don’t feel very well, but that is okay because this has been a really great Christmas, thanks to Mike & the kids. This year it wasn’t about the “stuff”; it was about being all together & having fun. All the kids and adorable grand kids are here and the girls put together great meals and lots of fun and atmosphere. Many of the gifts were funny and it was delightful to be able to sit back and watch Christmas movies and see the little kids be so excited and so funny about the “magic of Santa”. I have learned this year that the holidays aren’t about “Cecil B. Demille” productions- they are about love and caring. I really feel like the luckiest person in the world.
In Chemo/Radiation, Lucretia Borgia, Power of Love on December 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm
I apparently had such a good week last week and my blood counts stayed high, so today the doctors decided “enough of that” and hooked me up to my chemo friend, Lucrezia, once again. She will be with me all week, 24 hours a day, until late Friday afternoon. However, after that, I hope to be done with her forever! The doctors lightened the dose a little because she “kicked my butt so hard last time” (their words, not mine – a netherlands cancer pun, I suppose).
Anyway, Lucrezia is more scary to me than radiation, I think because the side effects are so unpredictable and unpleasant. They just pop up out of nowhere. but I will get through this week, no matter what surprises I get, by using the grace of gratitude and the grace of fortitude, and clutching my prayer quilt like Linus clutching his blanket, because I know it is helping.
In Power of Love on December 9, 2010 at 10:03 pm
Last Sunday, Ray and JoAnn Laird brought me the prayer quilt. I had never actually seen one until this one, although I had heard of them.
This quilt is so beautiful and just seems like it radiates the most wonderful healing energy! I don’t think I have ever received a gift that meant more to me than this beautiful quilt and for those of you that put it together and those who tied knots, I will never be able to thank you enough. I am keeping it close to me during these days – I even sleep under it because I think it is helping. It also helps when I feel a little “homesick” for Pagosa. In this world where there is so little magic, this quilt is a little bit of magic that will be something I will treasure forever.
Thank you, my friends.
In Cancer of the "Netherlands", Power of Love on November 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm
Thanksgiving will never be the same holiday for me again. I always (BC) liked Thanksgiving. I considered it a “Day of Thanks” of course, and at my house it has always been about family and friends, wonderful cooking projects, and football ( the Texas Longhorns always play on Thanksgiving). Having taught history for several years, I always got into the pilgrims and Indians thing. I also considered it a kickoff for Christmas, so as soon as Thanksgiving dishes were done, out came boxes of Christmas decorations. I MIGHT be a bit of an “over-decorator” at Christmas, but I do love it!
This year, of course, is very different; this year I felt really serious gratitude. Not that fleeting, general gratitude, and I felt it in my heart, not in my head, as usual. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but those of you who “live in your head” will know what I mean. I got so many lovely messages from from friends and family and I started my morning with them. My friend, Terri, sent me a short video on life that was so beautiful that it moved me to tears (good ones). This year my daughter-in-law, Libby, was the lead cook with Emily and Cindy in supporting roles and she did an awesome job! This was her first Thanksgiving as the lead cook and I couldn’t eat much because of the mouth sores, but the food was all great.
This year it was not about the food for me anyway – it was about being with family and being grateful for so much right now; my family, my friends, the people at the cancer center, the treatments themselves, being alive, and a lot more. So I hope I never again get caught up in the “doing” that was Thanksgiving and will always celebrate it with “being” reverence and gratitude as it’s own day, not the gateway to Christmas.
In Chemo/Radiation, Power of Love, Thwarted Sleep on November 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm
This is day three of chemo and radiation – so far all is well, but my sleep patterns are a little wacky -the first two days I couldn’t sleep at all – I was up in the middle of the night wishing for a 24 hour Home Depot so I could go buy a gallon of paint and paint the kitchen. The flaw in that plan is that I am in a hotel – I wonder how long it would take them to figure out the kitchen is a different color? hmmmm………
Today, I feel like I could sleep all day, so who knows what tomorrow will be like? I have decided that any day that something does not fall out or off is a good day – no unreasonable expectations for this roller coaster ride! The staff in the radiation place has started wearing masks around me – this is slightly disconcerting – are they protecting themselves from me, or are they protecting me from them? I must remember to ask. Thank you to everyone for sending picture and emails to me and posting comments – I can’t always answer each one personally, but it really means so much to read them – it always gives me great strength, so please keep posting even if I don’t get back to you right away. You know, the journey of healing is sometimes a transformation ( not too get too serious on you) and I know now that I will never ever again take for granted the power of family and friends and the power of love.