Thursday, September 22, 2016

Dull Days but a Big Surprise


This has been a tough week. Usually this third week after chemo has about five good days that remind me I am a functioning human.  This week felt too much chemo still and lots of other issues piled up. I get very frustrated having no energy. I sit, think I am fine, consider doing something, stand up and then feel like someone pushed me over a cliff again. Regular readers know how I hate to whine but right now there is very little I can share that is bright and positive, but I still long to blog.

The one household chore I still try to do is fixing a meal, an abbreviated or somewhat prefab meal. Today I made onions and apples which sounds yucky right? Well, I bought cooking apples at the farm stand, got them home and found I was too tired for making a pie and wanted to avoid the sugar anyway. This recipe is onions, apples, Splenda and vinegar cooked 15 minutes in a skillet. Very good and somewhat different.


Then I did get a really BRIGHT spot in an email! An editor asked my permission for her to nominate me and my poem for the 2017 Pushcart Prize! Never saw that coming one bit and so appreciate it. Even if I don’t win a place, just to be nominated is enough. It feels good that someone in publishing saw my work as worthy of more.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chair Happiness



"Happiness is a thing you cannot cut off in chunks or yard lengths," wrote Gladys Taber. For me, happiness can be a real good chair, one that holds a body like a safe cocoon.

In early spring we planned to replace my family room chair. Then disaster hit and I was too sick to do it. While at my sickest and sitting so much, the chair was actually uncomfortable. So while I was up and before Tuesday’s chemo again, we ran to our favorite chair store where I have bought the last five chairs in this house.



I go there because the store is family-owned and the wife fits chairs like salesmen used to fit shoes! When I bought my office chair she asked me to trust her with a chair where my feet don’t quit touch the floor. It is a recliner and she said I might sleep in it (and I did while sick!) and it was a perfect fit for my short legs and wide behind. Best chair I have ever sat in (slept in) and wanted exact same chair for family room now.

Once again she Vicki guided me well. I was close to choosing a recliner with a slight rock. She said the rock thrust me forward in the sitting position and warned me against any movement while battling with chemo. She was right of course, my insides needed stillness not any shifting or motion. I brought home the chair she picked and it was a perfect fit!

Do you have a favorite chair?


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday Chatter



It rained hard yesterday dumping four inches with some thunder and darkness. DH and I both were down physically so the day seemed very gloomy. This morning the dog and I opened the door to the deck where everything was soaking still. A chorus of crickets crooned songs in the wet grasses from every corner of the yard. A slight fog hung in the air like a mountain mist making the back yard feel like a highland valley, beautiful but not inviting for sitting with a tea cup.

The forecast is for returning sun and the 90’s again this week, but we know Yellowstone has had its first snow, the Tetons have four inches already, and our in-laws in Montana have had three nights of hard freeze ruining their garden.  There are many reminders that winter’s wrath hangs in the wings waiting for a chance to wallop us one day soon!

                                                       Picture of a Deck Past

My flowers are mostly dead, but a friend has brought mums. I have a few pumpkins, but nothing is like it used to be here. I looked up a picture of my deck years ago and was floored by the beauty then. Maybe someday I will have the energy and health to do it again. Meanwhile, I am overjoyed at any orange or yellow of the season I can manage.


I also found one of my all-time favorite pictures from New Mexico. This old truck sitting in a purple field cheers me every time I look at it. I have it on a bulletin board above my desk. It captures a life lived and the life bursting in the flowers. 




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Another Week After



Here I am a week out from chemo again. While technically it went better, my body has suffered and is taking a long time recovering. I am hoping today is better. Yesterday was week mark for doctor visit and blood work. Red blood and white blood cells were both down. I got a shot for red blood cells which meant signing a paper agreeing to serious side effects. Is there nothing in my fight that isn’t multi-thorned like a fresh cocklebur sticking to my sock.



If at all possible, we try to eat out on these days. We do not eat much beef so a steak is a special occasion. We went to the Longhorn Steakhouse. I know it is just a chain but I love their flat iron steak! I also love their d├ęcor. Since I won’t be traveling West this autumn (oh such longing for the prairie and plains when the air begins to cool and I know the aspens are starting to turn!), it was like a little mini-visit to cowboy country!


Hubby played with his lathe this week. He took a chunk of cedar and turned it to a lidded bowl. He thinks it looks Southwest. It does…the red clay colors are reminiscent of New Mexico mesas. Also the bowl is so fragrant! No, it can capture sage and pinion, but the cedar smell is close enough to make me shut my eyes and “travel”. 



Sunday, September 4, 2016

Friends, Some Silver and Some Gold


When I was in first grade and having trouble with a little girl friend, my mother tried to teach me how to deal with people. She said I would meet lots of friendly people, some not so friendly, and that a person was lucky if in a lifetime they made ONE best friend that lasted.

I guess I was extra lucky because I have met and kept many friends. I have numerous besties too! During these last few months I really learned who would stay and help bail the water out of this sinking boat! They have driven miles to see me, taken care of things I needed, and much more.
I had a best of friends in college. We are polar opposites! I don’t know how we ever stayed friends. She is athletic and no patience for a pansy. You guessed it, I am a pansy of the grandest sort, and I am NOT athletic. Yet here we are almost 50 full years later and she has been at my bedside-literally. She came to the hospital every day, calls now after chemo, and shows up to visit when I feel like it. I love her so!


For over a quarter of a century, another friend and I have stayed in touch. We lived on the same street for about eleven years I think. We walked together every day; we agonized together over raising all boys! We shared books. She always has had such appreciation for my writing—makes me feel worthy!  During this rough time she has texted me every single day with some prayer or perk or thought as she continues to pray daily for me. Sadly enough, she has been sick too through this. She is a best friend of the highest sort.







When DH and I were newlyweds, we moved to St. Louis to a duplex while he worked at McDonnell Douglass Aircraft. I taught as Hazelwood High School. At one point we youngsters held four jobs between us so we could return “home” and buy a house to rear a family. After about one year, another set of newlyweds moved next door. While we grew up in Kansas, they grew up in St. Genevieve, Missouri so we were all from small towns.  We shared meals, played games together in evenings, “reared” our doggies together. We moved back to the Kansas/Missouri border area and eventually they spent a few years in Finland. Still we maintained our friendship getting together every three years or so to fish, canoe, macrame, craft, moan about rearing four boys between us! They just made the drive to have lunch with us yesterday. That is one long drive from St. Louis and back just for lunch! They also brought two ice chests of groceries from The Hill in St. Louis. DH and I are set for Italian food this winter. They have made our life richer for years!


We love all these people. What would we do without friends? I am so fortunate to have these good friends and many more! 

The day after Labor Day, I will go to chemo again so page might be silent for a while...please don't give up on me! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Color Teal


It is hard not to talk about cancer because it rules my life right now. Someday though, I hope to get off the topic. Right now, I’m still forming questions and finding answers. I have two pleural effusions and I have had them drained three times a week by a Home Health nurse. She is excited because she thinks I am ready to move to only twice a week.

One thing I learned was that teal is the support color for ovarian cancer. To me, teal looks a lot like turquoise. Yeah for that as I love turquoise!

In an article about Australian AFTERNOON TEALS (teas for ovarian cancer support), I saw the lady using a teal colored tea cup. Now I have a jillion tea cups and saucers here but nary a one is teal colored! So I went to Amazon and found one! This morning I used it on the deck for morning tea. I am a long way from a tea party yet, but I did have a tea party for one this morning.



I was out early and the skies were still overcast from yesterday’s rain. A chorus of crickets was singing and later I saw butterflies. Autumn was trying to slip in a wee bit. Afternoon was a visit to my book club for the first time in four months and I will miss next month due to chemo so today was important visit. Then supper out with friends tonight to eat some healthy liver to help fight anemia.

Tonight it is to get down to 59 and the morning should be cool to start…maybe too cool. But hot tea in a teal cup will be nice again!!!!


Do you drink from a favorite cup?


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Holding Up


Five years ago a friend invited me to be part of an exercise group she was starting at her church.  It was simple exercises provided by a stroke program at the hospital and some kindergarten dancing to raise heart rate. About ten women came for an hour each Thursday and then retired to the Common Room to have tea. A strong support group was the result where women cried, laughed, cussed and discussed, and bonded together. We have been and are THERE for each other. This is what we humans were meant to do.

When this group heard my diagnosis  on Memorial Day weekend last May, they met at their church and prayed for me. They prayed hard and never stopped. They, along with others, brought food, sent cards, wrote notes, called my husband. A fire brigade of news went from one to another every time there was a development, which for a long time was a dark and depressing development usually.

Four months later they are still with me. A note today one wrote from her morning meditation time says today, "For your friends who love you, you have become our poster child for HOPE! We know that God loves you and is in control. Watching you suffer we know there is a larger meaning to life. Thank you for carrying this burden for us...please don't give up. Lean on God, lean on us as you become this new person..."

In the face of such support, of such confirmation, how I can I do anything less than go forth, accept, and meet head on whatever I have to face each day?