Saturday, August 4, 2012

Time Flies when it Crawls

Not sure if the title makes any sense to anyone right now. To be a little clearer, I could say that I feel like I have lost so much time, waiting for approvals, answers, recovery time, next treatment, results. I got caught up in everything, or lost in it all, forgetting about the importance of “living” the journey, not just anticipating the destination. Reminder to brain… Live while I live!

Goodness, I don’t know where to begin, it has been almost a month and a half since I have written here. I’ll start small … my self-portrait made a lot of progress for a couple weeks, but has been on the back burner since. J Although it is far enough along that I get the gist of what I want to feel when I see it. I will get back to it soon.

Also, not sure I even brought it up before, but I am moving in with a roommate. My friend here in the apartments where I live, that has my fuzzy friend and with whom I attend my new church is going to be my roommate. I made her promise to tell me at any itme if she bit off more than she can chew (me) J.  We move into the new apartment in a couple weeks. So I suppose much of my time, I have been trying to clean up this apartment and pack what few things I have kept around. Fortunately I cleared out my material things a few years ago.

The results of the tissue testing from chemo did not turn out too great. Basically the only chemotherapies that may work are the “harsh” ones, with lifetime limits or potential difficult side effects, so for now I am staying with hormonal type treatments (not hormones), anti hormonal in a way. I should have another scan session the end of the month and know if they are working at all or at least stabilizing the bone mets. I found myself thinking, “why wasn’t this tissue testing done before, I probably wasted a year and much pain with chemos that had little hope of helping” but looking back doesn’t help the future. These tests are not done right away because of their costs, although compared to the costs of the chemos that didn’t work, it would have been small potatoes. So ????

On the liver front (yep it’s a war in many ways). I had the initial “mapping”, which was fairly tolerable with some pain accessing and closing the artery in the groin. The actual procedures (left and right lobes separately) were approved and I had the right lobe treated almost 4 weeks ago, with the left scheduled for the 8th of August. Briefly the first procedure had a glitch… my body had created a new branch off the liver artery that went to my intestines?? Sine the mapping 3 weeks prior and since it was late in the day, the procedure could not be completed that day and I had to return the next. First the pain was excruciating compared to that of the mapping. The Dr thought it was because I had developed scar tissue in the groin where the artery had been accessed before (during the mapping). So the actual day of the procedure, they used the left leg artery instead and the pain was much less. The first few weeks weren’t bad, I didn’t have the usual side effects of anorexia (don’t think my mind can comprehend that) J. Although after two weeks I had some difficult issues a day long of vomiting followed by intense pains (probably from all the vomiting) then I could not eat much without discomfort. Sooooo, now my Dr. says I am atypical (no kidding – I try to tell all my Drs that up front). Anyway he believes I may have developed an ulcer, as some of the radiation can “ooze”? in to adjoining organs. Not huge amounts of radiation, as the mapping procedure assured that. But I suppose it doesn’t take much these days to throw my body out of whack. Anyway, I go in Monday to have blood work and a CT to assure all is ok for Wednesday’s procedure.  I can tell you that medicine is not black and white, by far; There isn’t any sure-fire med for anything or anyone.

This whole experience has given me new insight into the “pain meter” (gauging your pain from 1 to 10). Thank God, literally, that we cannot relive physical pain the way we can relive emotional pain. I realized that I can compare the levels of pain, not by recall of the actual pain, but what I prayed for while enduring it. I won’t share the specific prayers.  But think about your own pain experiences… It isn’t just childbirth that you cannot recall the pain (because of the miraculous birth of a baby) but all pain, we can not relive it, only what we were thinking or what our bodies were doing while we were in pain. Thank you God, for that enormous blessing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Negatives = Positive

Wow, I didn’t realize how long it had actually been since I’d written anything! I have been riding the dip of the roller coaster for far too long! Time to kick myself in the rear and head upwards.

Well, I have been reading during this lapse. I think I was stuck in the “Old Testament” portion of the bible for too long. While I want to know the whole bible, the beginning can be, well a little overwhelming with fire and wrath, so to speak. I thought I was being a “smart planner”, for lack of the appropriate word, by reading more of the old than the new portion, since it is 3/4th of the Bible.  Well, I don’t think that is a good idea. I think I would rather reread the new 3 times for reading the old once… a little more uplifting. J

I think God knew this, as a few days ago he brought one of my neighbors to me. I was sitting outside and she had just returned from a nice weekend away, refreshed and bubbly. She noticed me and we spoke for a while. At the end she brought down one of her books for me to read, one that I had heard of but not yet read – “The Secret”. It truly was uplifting, and not contradictory to my faith, even though it could easily be a good read for someone who has not necessarily dove as far into the spiritual world as I have of late.

As a result of the book, or rather my feelings after reading the book, I took out my paints and my last canvas yesterday, as I have not painted in some time, but was inspired to do a visionary self-portrait for me to focus on. It is not my usual realism type painting, but I was driven to do something more whimsical and cheerful. In it I am somewhat a little nature fairy in the painting, with morning glory eyes and rose lips. As the eyes are the mirror of the soul, I want to see the glory of every morning as I wake. As for the smile, well we all know it is very difficult to be down when we are smiling at ourselves. Hey I can be whomever I want to be, right! J I might post it on my blog when it is complete… I will decide later. Right now it is for me, to focus on the positive, to be doing something productive and positive, and steer my life in the right direction, up! J

Now, for a brief medical update: I had the liver testing procedure, and I am a good candidate, all went well and I was out of the procedure right on time with no complications other than some tenderness in my gut. I am tentatively scheduled for the SIR Spheres procedure on July 5, although that is subject to change as approval from insurance has still not been received. Although I was assured, by the woman scheduling, that they have a 99% approval on appeal of cases they feel are good candidates. So, I will wait a little more, or not? Haven’t heard anymore from here, and they supposedly need to order the spheres 2 weeks before the date, so maybe I am approved. I think we are past that point now… I am a little lost on what day it is sometimes J

As for chemo, I did see my oncologist. However, since I have already had so many of the options and have experienced bad side effects from many, he decided it would be best to send some of the tissue from my mastectomy to a lab that determines which chemo or chemo combo is most likely to work. I suppose they do it in Petri dishes, if they still even exist, science has come so far! Although he said their turnaround was 10 days, and it has been 3 weeks with no word, I wait… But I am waiting with a positive attitude. I asked God to heal me, as the bible says, ask and believe. It is the believe part that is difficult and is somewhat contrary to how our minds work, analyzing everything, needing proof. I am working on that, the truly believing, deep inside my soul, leaving all doubt aside. The book I just read also relays the same message, to focus on your situation as if you have already received your request, you just have to believe and your body, or God and my body that he created in my case, will do its job. So regardless of odds, and analyzing, I must believe and continue to believe. I have to push the negative away, give it no attention. After all, I have already passed the mortality date, that only 20% do that have my diagnosis, so why not another 40 or 50 years, actually good, intentionally spiritually productive years. J

So that is where I am for now. I am certain I have left things out of this update, but there is always tomorrow. For now, I think I will work on that self portrait… need to wake to it each morning! J

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ready Set Go

Okay, time for me to fasten my spiritual safety belt and get ready for my roller coaster summer. The scan I had last week shows that not only is the cancer still growing in my bone and liver, but also has spread to some distant nodes, so chemo is back in my future. As the radiology Oncologist said, it wouldn’t make sense to do the liver sit spheres procedure if the rest of the metastasis went unchecked.

So I have an appointment Friday with my regular oncologist to go over chemo options that might work. There aren’t many chemos that I haven’t already done, so he is thinking of a combo of some sort, possibly Adriamyacin and Navelbine. However, Adriamyacin has a lift-time limit, and I believe I have already had more than half. So we will decide this Friday, and probably start the following week.

At the same time, I am still proceeding with the liver procedure. I received a call today to schedule the first step, which is an angiogram? They insert a catheter into the Artery in the groin (as that is the one that goes to the liver) and inject a dye. After the tracer travels trough the artery to the liver, they take images, to make certain there isn’t much overflow to other organs and to create a “road map” for the sir spheres (to directly radiate the liver tumors). Supposedly the only pain is inserting and removing the catheter and is done with just light sedation. I’ll let you know after J

The actual procedure has not yet been approved, however, doing this initial part now will let us schedule the procedure asap after insurance approval. I was informed that the sir sphere procedure, when the liver mets are breast cancer, is initially declined by all insurance companies. However, the hospital personnel assured me that they have a 99% approval on appeal. So it is mostly a matter of time, and making sure I am a candidate for the procedure, which the angiogram next week will tell.

I think I mentioned in another post, that the Radiology Oncologist wants to do the liver procedure twice, once for each lobe (right and left liver lobes). The second procedure would be about 4 weeks after the first. I am imagining they would do the worst side first, but actually don’t know. We will also have to try to schedule it around the chemo or vice versa, so this should be interesting.

Surprisingly, I am taking everything pretty calmly. Can’t say how I will feel when I am in the throws of it, but hopefully I will be able to write about it. I must say that my newfound spiritual calm is making a huge difference in anxiety level. The hope is that throwing everything at the cancer at once, for a relatively short time, might give me a year or so of remission or at least stability. Only God knows. I pray for patience and strength, and the knowledge to know what God wants. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Words Alone Cannot Explain

I woke this morning with so many thoughts spinning in my head, so much to ponder, and wanting desperately to try to understand it all within myself so that I could share it here with loved ones and any who care to read. Before I state the following, please understand that it is not in a negative or defeated way: When I awoke this morning, the pains in my gut had returned. For just a moment, it was disheartening, but then I realized that all the other feelings of wellbeing were still there, overriding the discomfort in my physical being.

I have also been thinking of my last post since I wrote it, and how I pray every time that my true intent is heard, not just the words, as words can only go so far. With that being said, I will delve into what occurred last night and today, in my experience, my physical self, and my spiritual self.

First addressing my last post. I do not want to sound like a self-proclaiming profit, that I will continue to live on this earth until this specific date and that no harm will come to me now that I have truly found God. It is my DESIRE to live another 50 years, not for my self, but to live for God, as I did not in my previous 50 years. It is my desire to atone for those things that I regret and now understand to have been entirely selfish and not serving of the Lord. I do not however, take back the words describing that I felt God within, around, above and beneath me, in these days since I have accepted Jesus as my savior. I may though, continue to describe what that feeling, ever-expanding, is in words so that others, may have a glimpse into my soul. As I know that some may not yet have experienced these feelings, or similar, as I do not know how God presents himself to all, just to me as it occurs. As I know the feelings and experiences may change and evolve with time, as it is a continual conversation/journey, so to speak.

Last night, my neighbor friend, who has entered this spiritual journey with me, asked me to try to describe how I actually felt, speaking with God, since I mentioned that it was NOT like in the movies for me. The sky did not open to a vision for my eyes to see God before them, and I did not hear an amplified voice in my ears, not even actual words. While struggling to come up with an adequate description, to put into words, which can only be felt by the soul, I struggled with words like serene, complete, safe, etc. I thought deeper to try to come up with some analogy, as the Bible speaks of parables to help us understand God’s intent. The best I could come up with at this time, was that for me, it is like being a healthy, happy, content newborn baby swaddled and being held, loved, protected, supported, and cared for by a most loving mother. No fears enter my mind while praying, only gratitude and praise. I may pray to live on and for disease to leave me so that I may serve the Lord here on earth, but that is for my needs, my desires to atone and to work fully for the Lord here on earth. However, I understand at this time, that what I feel may actually be reassurance that God is now with me forever, in this life and the one beyond. That, in and of itself, is actually more comforting.

I believe that every day is a testament to God’s love of his children here on earth. I try not to let a pleasant moment lapse without thanking God for it, and try to let go of things that could poison my heart with any evil feelings like anger, resentment, jealousy, and greed, etc. I know that only God’s love can give me this complete overwhelming feeling of being blessed and of being one of his many children, for whom his love has no bounds. Yes, I believe he is also disappointed in me when I do not heed his commands, and wonder off into my own self-fulfilling desires, just as any parent would feel, when a child goes astray into acts that you know will not lead to a good life, but that of disappointment and pain.

I continue to pray to live on this earth for many years to come, but only so that I may do so to serve God, and hopefully be a comfort to those on earth who desire reassurance that I am well, in my entirety. I will continue to write as long as I am able, to attempt to explain my journey and all it’s amazing enlightenments in words, so that others may at least find comfort in them, if not encouragement to begin their own quest for God, and all the joys that it brings. I have also had other thoughts this day and those past that I want to try to write about, but will save them for future posts.  For now, I will simply take note of them, to remind my less than perfect memory in the future.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Upping the Ante

In a previous post, I believe one of my first, I mentioned a book of prayers that I had received from a nun in Santa Fe, a very special person. Also, that after that, my prayers were more structured and focused. Well, I keep upping the anti, so to speak. Praying deeper, praising harder and more often. And must say, that after this weekend, I know that my prayers are being answered.

Lately, along with thanking of God for all my blessings, from my amazing family, to the soft dry bed I sleep on, I have also been praying to be healed. Yep, healed. I have seen it (miraculous healing) before with others, in people that I know personally, who had been turned away from Doctors, told to get their affairs in order, decades ago, and that are still alive today. I want so much to live now, more than ever, but to live for God. I also didn’t really pray for healing before, but for strength to endure and help for my family and those close to me. But I believe now, and can feel not only spiritual changes within me, but physical as well.

After I lay in bed each night, after my prayers, I now also have a long, hard discussion with my mind and body. I say (internally) that we were created with abilities beyond human conception, and everything is possible through God. Our minds have the ability to tell ours bodies to do their job, so to speak, all the different elements of this amazing machine we call humans, working in harmony. We are so complex that not even the greatest minds understand even a fraction of the mind and body abilities. With knowing that, I tell my mind to tap into all that God has blessed us with, to rid my body of disease, as Jesus died not only for our sins, as if that were not enough, but also for our sicknesses, and throw them into the dark sea, to never afflict another with their evil.

Is it working? I BELIEVE it is. I do not have physical proof as yet, but that does not stop me and will press to not let it stop me even if my health turns worse, as every journey has ups and downs. This weekend, I pressed my physical abilities to do what I didn’t think possible anymore. I prayed for God to give me the strength and endurance to take on the blessing of being responsible for my two lovely grandchild for a 24 hour period, while my daughter and son-in-law, celebrated their 5 year anniversary away from home. This is not only something that I was apprehensive about in the beginning, but also a “first”. No one had babysat my grandchildren overnight yet. They are 4 and 2 years of age. I know, I love my grandchildren deeply, but have to say, without prejudice, that they behaved extremely well during the entire time.

Well, now that I am back home, I do have some aches in my bones and muscles and had to take a very long nap, BUT, I just noticed, the continual pain I have had in my gut for the last few weeks, most likely from my liver cancer metastases, has just subsided, it’s gone. I do not feel them, and remember now that I did not feel them last night when I went to bed either, when it is usually most obvious.

Now whether there is “physical” healing going on, only time will tell. But as long as I believe, and I am now saying I am going to live another 50 years, but a better 50 years, not greater in possessions but in life style, I do feel like I will. I can get up each morning feeling better and with more purpose. I intend on continuing to “up my ante” as only good things have resulted, and my heart and soul are so unbelievable full.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I find it more amazing everyday, when my prayers are answered, in one form or another. Yesterday, was Mother’s Day, and I was fortunate to have been able to spend time with both my children, my son-in law and my daughters two children (my grands). It was a leisurely day full of smiles, and yes a couple of small tantrums J.  However, last night, for an odd reason, I could not sleep. It wasn’t my mind keeping me up in bed, rather an empty, eyes-wide-open waiting for something, type of restlessness.  So, with not going to sleep until my body said “enough” at 6:00 am this morning, I slept the day away. Waking at 4:00 pm, I felt guilt of a sort, wasting time like that. So I picked up my Bible and read, and read, and read. Later in the evening something happened, which I won’t mention the specifics of, but it made everything in the last day and today clear, all the pieces of the highlights of the day and my recent readings fit perfectly together.

I should write about my most important role and one that I treasure and also have regrets about… being a Mother.  Not about having been a mother, but how I mothered. And, I am not talking about becoming pregnant and giving birth, while that experience in itself is a bundle of physical and emotional highs and lows. It all takes place in less than a year, while being a mother is for a lifetime. Once you are given the blessings and the burden of another human being, your life is no longer your own. Some may say that is negative, but it isn’t, in my eyes, both the blessing and the burden, as well as no longer being responsible only for myself are glorious.

Trying to keep this brief and to the point is almost as difficult as raising a child, so much will be omitted to try to let my core message out without all the adornments, so to speak.

To begin, I was a mother at a very young age, yes I take responsibility for that. At Twenty-two, I was divorced and a mother of two beautiful children. Life definitely threw obstacles at me, from every which direction: emotional, financial, physical, you name it. I know, we all have our hard-luck stories, but that is not the point. It is what I did with them, and also acknowledging that I am not a victim, and that much of what happened, I actually brought upon myself (knowingly or not) that is important. It is so easy to blame others and exterior circumstances, and so much harder, yet more rewarding, to accept what is my doing, bad along with the good. If we do not accept what is ours, how can we change it or take pleasure in it?

As I mentioned in another entry, I did not really grow up practicing a religion, and, not necessarily justly so, I did not bring my children up learning the Word of God either. This I regret. I did try to teach them good from evil, right from wrong, along with the ideals of being open-minded, non-judgemental, charitable, forgiving, etc. I also regret if I ever gave them the impression that material wealth was more important than being humble and being thankful for what blessings we do have, as I did continuously try to achieve more in my career to provide more “objects” as well as needs over the years, always battling between time for them and time away to provide for them.

Later in their lives, but still while they were minors, I married again. I may have provided more monetary treasures and benefits, but in the process, I also took me from them, more than was necessary. It was for a number of reasons and circumstances, but again, I take full responsibility and regret some of the consequences that hurt them rather than me. I pray only that my mistakes serve as a lesson to them as they have to me, and that my love for them was and will never be in question, only my own sanity and choices.

I have been more than abundantly blessed with my children and who they have turned out to be at present. They have many years ahead of them, and I pray to instill only good memories from this point forward. I know I may falter, as I am human, but plan to make every effort to demonstrate by example what I wish I had been and want to be for them, the one who sows in good earth and tends the resulting crops.

Although I have written for some time now, at least by my current standards, I have barely touched the surface of most of my life being a mother, really no specifics at all.  It is abundantly clear, that I need to write more on this topic. Also, this has served as a reminder to me that I have been blessed many times over with the so called burdens of motherhood.

Thank you, my beautiful children. I will love you with all my heart forever, and Happy Mother’s day to all the people who also have been blessed with this burden. May you overcome all obstacles, not all but some in the presence of your children, so that they may benefit from your mistakes, but also without expectation rather with hope that it will be absorbed, as we all will have obstacles, each with varying degrees of difference, and we don't think anyone else could possibly understand what is in our unique minds.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Journey Rather than Destination

It has been a few days since my last post, as I have spent time with family, reading, crafting, thinking, and yes, resting.  A few days ago, I began reading a new portion of the Bible, the Book of Ezekiel. Oh my, what a different aspect of teaching from the Book of Matthew. At first, I admit, it tested my faith, actually scared me, as much of it is about the Wrath of God.

After that first day that I read from it, I felt I had to set it aside, listen to more uplifting messages, do more pleasurable activities, and spend time smiling with family and friends. Then yesterday, I was listening to a CD that my lovely neighbor, one of my earth angels, lent to me for encouragement. It referenced a portion of the book of Ezekiel that I had not reached yet in my reading. The message was much more positive, loving, forgiving, and uplifting, so today I finished reading this particular book.

What did I learn, even though I was confused, as much of it was repetitive and I could not quite grasp the timeline of events, as it seemed to wander, did made sense eventually of the my earlier reading. Although, I must admit it was immersed with mathematics of measure that boggled my mind, in all, I did learn from it positive and treasured lessons.

I have a long way to go. In fact, I may never “complete” my understanding of all of the Word of God. However each reading (journey into the Word) gives me new insight, whether it be in a parable or testament. So, even though my reading may be slow, as compared to someone who has studied the bible their whole life, I am able to absorb more and more with each step. As it is with life, if we apply what we learn along the way, as we learn it, we become more and more informed, and with it more and more whole in mind, body and spirit.

One thing that really stood out to me was that charitable actions should be done anonymously, not in sight of another to gain favorable impressions. But, rather, in secret so as only God knows your good deeds, as it is more important for Him to see your actions, than praise from other people.  Obviously, some good deeds I do for someone, may be noticed by the recipient, but should be without advertising to others, and with request to the recipient not to announce it either, as I am just doing what is right, nothing superior to others. I may need to drill that one in many times, as well, I have had a need for praise in the past, maybe not on the surface, but I realize it was within me. Please God help me be humble.

Another lesson, very difficult for many, was not to rejoice at the punishment of others, even if their actions are public and deplorable, it is not for me to gain pride in that I am better. I know that is a mind twister, but I think I grasp it now. As with other lessons, it is putting it into action that is hardest, but most rewarding internally, which is more precious than any material object or receipt of praise.

Please God help me be humble and not prideful. I am not writing this blog to make others feel inferior to me, but rather to expose my faults and lessons and to speak aloud (writing where all can see) to Praise God and hopefully serve only as encouragement to others. As there is a fine line between being humble and expressing ones misgivings in an effort to change others. I pray that this message is received as it was intended, and not in any means demeaning or pressure on others to conform, but only to enlighten them to my journey of learning, as my destination will never come, all of life is a journey.