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?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Carrying Wood

How much better it is
To carry wood to the fire
Than to moan about your life.
    From “The Clothes Pin” by Jane Kenyon

Hair at my house growing up was always a real issue, but that is another story. My hair was my one strong feature. It was long, thick and comforting to my head. Among other things, chemo wrecked that too. Huge handfuls of long brown hair came out in my hands. The long hair knotted up in the hair still rooted to my head and the weight actually made my scalp hurt.

So my friend/beautician helped me take OFF my hair. It was harder on her and my husband to see than it was for me I think. But I survived. In fact, there are some mighty nice features about being bald. It is easy to care for, washing my head is a breeze, and it has eliminated $$$$  worth of shampoos and conditioners! Do I dare show my face? Yes, I think I do. On a day that I feel decent, my ear rings make me feel even better and being bald means I am still kicking at least!

The local Cancer Society gave me a free wig. I thought this was amazing and so comforting. It gave me options. I was pretty sick the day I sat in the chair and later I ordered another to give me some of my length back. Chemo makes your skin a pasty color. When I put on hair in my color, I looked terrible. So some new shades were needed. So many changes in my life, and some are not bad at all. 

                                              Taken a month earlier when definitely less light in my eyes!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Peeps, Are You Still There?

In May when I put this blog to sleep, my husband was not happy with me. He thought I was quitting too soon. But I knew I could not keep it up and did not want to do a shoddy job of anything, much less my blog. I instinctively knew that every ounce of me must set to work to fight cancer. It has been and still is a hard fight!!!! But thanks to many of you, I have held on to hope and prayer which are the real howitzers of the battle. I am a long way from winning the war, but I can see the enemy wearing down the tiniest bit. I am not sure if I should post here or not, but I do miss you all!

I miss reading blogs…of writing blogs…of reading books…of writing poems and fiction. At first I could not even hold a book, but I am once again reading some. I can’t write but my mind begins to whirl a bit again. If you don’t hear from me, it is because I am very sick and can’t write or visit your pages. I have been reading a few pages but sometimes even writing a one line comment is too much for me.

God and I are talking things over and I am trying to figure what I could do for Him if he allows me to stay here longer. I have always tried to be a good person (although I often missed the mark!), so I am not sure I can change that part of my living.  However, ovarian cancer is little understood and is a silent demon that tiptoes up on women and takes them hostage. So maybe I could be a spokesperson….raise money for research…use my writing to promote information to spare other women my plight. Maybe I will experience a miracle and am simply to tell others about it.  I just don’t know.

I have already learned much including how good and kind people are or can be. I can’t begin to thank you for specific things without risking leaving someone out. However, I have received Masses said in France, cards mailed from Australia, prayers from the Deep South, candles lit in Illinois, medals and prayer cards of Saint Peregrine (patron saint of cancer), shawls from St. Louis, scarves from numerous places, hats from friends, and so many kind, kind words from all over the world. My book club went together and bought me an iPad so I can watch movies during my six hour chemo days.

I have been supported by family, friends, neighbors, associates, but the most astounding thing has been you Blogger Peeps! I have a huge basket of cards from people I have never ever even met face to face or talked to on the phone! From my words alone, you came to care for me. You did not throw me over when I could no longer be a blogger too. The profound statements you made and the prayers you prayed made a wet spot on my desk where I opened both snail mail and email and cried like a baby in gratitude.

I don’t when or if or how I can write again here, but I want to return to you if at all possible. Again thanks for all the continued prayers and support and kindness. I am grateful, humbled, and filled with JOY by you.