Friday, October 30, 2009

Voices in the Sky

What an awful way to lose your livelihood. One moment you have a fine career. The next moment your own foolishness has cost you your fine job with its fine salary which has been paying for your fine home and taking care of your fine family! I have to say, that in spite of their stupidity on the job, the very thought of the pain they are experiencing makes me wince. That is not to say that they weren't terribly derelict in their duty.

I'm talking about the pilots of that commercial airliner that overshot Minneapolis last week. The crew of flight 188 was out of communication for considerable time despite repeated attempts by air traffic controllers in two states AND by Northwest's dispatchers to reach the airliner. Apparently they were busy on their laptops...figuring out their work schedules. I guess they won't be worrying about work for awhile.

I flew United on a recent trip to Oregon. My itinerary included a hop from Omaha to Denver, then from Denver to Portland, returning about ten days later. On United a pair of head phones is tucked into the pocket on the back of the seat in front of every passenger. With the head phones, one can tune in to the movie, listen to music, or hear communication between the air traffic controller and the United pilot. I tuned to the "traffic control" channel and listened in "real time". Controllers speak really,really fast. How the pilots can understand them is beyond me for my feeble brain had a difficult time catching what they were saying. But it was fascinating, nevertheless, to hear the chatter. (You can listen lived to controllers at various airports HERE.)

Air Traffic Control works somewhat like this...the controller in the local tower moves the pilot to the runway and to takeoff. Some short time after that pilot is handed off to a controller who moves him across country. When he nears his destination the local tower there guides and instructs him through the landing.

When I heard the news of the Northwest pilots who overshot Minneapolis I wondered if any passengers were listening to the ATC channel. If so they must have wondered why there was no communication between their pilot and ANYBODY. I suppose if it had been me, I would have just figured the silence was simply the headphones not working.

At any rate...these guys will not be flying again soon. And they cannot blame the economy on the loss of their jobs.

Makes me wince. I've kicked myself many times for having made stupid decisions but I can't imagine how hard these guys must be kicking themselves. It must be incredibly painful.

There is one good aspect to this incident and that is that everyone landed safely. Thank God for that.


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Mom, aka Barbara Bush, Wears Blue and Pearls


I seldom post photos of faces and family. But I can't help but post my Mom today. She belongs to two groups who are dressing up in costume today. Now mind you, my Mom is 88 years old. But she still enjoys a bit of fun. And when she had to come up with a costume she decided to let her white curly hair grow just a bit curlier and present herself as Barbara Bush. Blue dress. Pearls. Flag. And carrying white gloves. And a name tag just in case nobody recognizes her. heh-heh.

Anyway...hats off to my Mom, er, I mean, Barbara Bush. You raised fine sons and daughters.

And if they ever make a movie about BB, my Mom wants to audition for the title role.

Go, Mom!!!!

P.S. Mom emailed me later in the day and told me she won a prize for "most original costume". Go, Barbara!!!! Er, I mean, Mom!


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Denver - 30 Degrees and Snowing


I took Hubby to the airport today. This time it is he who is flying to visit family. He changes planes in Denver and there is stormy weather forecast. So I went online to see if I could find a site that tracks a flight via "map". And here's what I found. Just feed in the date, airline code and flight number and 'voila'! It's all there. Pretty cool. Makes him seem closer to me to know approximately where the plane is at the current time. Now I'm praying for safe landing at Denver where it is currently 30 degrees and snowing. I'll be happy when I see the plane is safe on the ground.

P.S. Plane leaving Denver had to undergo de-icing before takeoff. Flight was an hour late. The good and very happy news is that the plane arrived safely at its destination.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Procrastinator Has Arrived

The procrastinating great-grandson has arrived! Yayyyyyy! His Momma and Dad are very happy. And so are we.


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Just 15 Minutes More Snooze!!! PuhLeeze?!

Hey, Moms! Are your kids getting to bed on time? I ask that question after reading a magazine interview with Po Bronson, writer of Nurture Shock,. The author mentions things that parents sometimes do wrong but which they can easily correct.

Among other topics, the author Bronson discusses Sleep! He says that kids today get a full hour less sleep than their parents did at their age. That's probably not surprising. We live hectic lives and our busyness is compounded by today's use of electronic devices and games of all kinds.

But here is what startled me in reading the review! Bronson maintains that for every 15 minutes' less sleep, there is a correlated drop in grade point average. He says "A" students get 15 minutes more sleep than "B" students, who themselves get 15 minutes more than "C" students. What this means is that when a sixth grader gets an hour less sleep he performs more like a fourth grader.

So, Today's Tip? Get your kids to bed on time! Try it for six weeks and see what happens!


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Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Project. Fun Project. Crazy Project. aka The Mystery Girl

New project in the making. Photos later. Her name will be Sock Girl. She's fond of red, black and white. She's quirky. She's fun. She's almost ready to make her debut.

Later, Folks.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

When You Walk Through Fire You Shall Not Be Burned

Today I'm recommending a website for cancer patients...a place where forum members ask questions, encourage one another, and share information. Whether one's cancer is ovarian (as is mine) or otherwise, you may find a helpful forum there. (click here and find a forum) P.S. there are forums at this website for other illnesses, too. So check it out.

One of the issues that cancer patients experience (and patients with other diseases as well) is the realization that this disease will, in much likelihood, eventually cause our death. A death that will come earlier than we once envisioned. So the topic of death was brought up this morning on the ovarian cancer forum....do we think about it?...how do we deal with it?...is it morbid to think about death?

In responding on the forum to that question, I included the following thoughts. I write them here to share with you. And if you wish to not think on death, please feel free to "pass" and read no further.

I had debulking surgery in January and spent 8 days in the hospital. Then a week later, another 5 days. Surgery hit me hard and I thought surely this was the end. I thought I might never walk out of that place and that surely death could be near.

But time and treatment have done their job and right now I feel really good...better than before diagnosis. That does not mean that I am through with cancer. I believe this disease will get me sooner or later. (I'm only being realistic.)

As a strong Christian I believe God holds all our days in His hands. In Psalm 139:16 David speaks to God about his own life and says this: "Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. "

God knows all my days. He has my path set before me and I walk it. Sometimes He gives me good days, full of sunshine and goodness. Other days are hard. It's that way for all of us, cancer or no. We are all in this thing, this life, together. Every last one of us.

Some will never experience illness and will live long and happy lives till the moment they keel over of a quite painless and quick heart attack or whatever. Others experience difficulty every day of their life. More difficulty than any of us here has yet experienced. But we, we few (for we are few compared to some other cancers), walk the ovarian cancer path. That path is hard and scary and it beats us up as we walk.

I do not fear death itself. Not that I am in a hurry to get there...I like Life! and I had planned to live to be 90 as my parents and grandparents. (Silly me! I thought I was in control of that! ) What cancer brings to us is the fear of what we will have to endure in terms of treatments, pain, side-effects, complications. Death itself is not the fear. It is the time between now and then that is fearful. At least to me. Frankly, I have never enjoyed pain. Imagine that!

So this is how I have settled my thinking. I try to live "today". I know that "tomorrow" may change and not for the better. But I do not have to live "tomorrow" today. When "tomorrow" gets here, I hope that I will recognize it still as part of God's path for my life and that I will walk it well.

A friend who is a 5-year cancer survivor gave me this scripture when I first went into the hospital...Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."

While walking through cancer we are truly being overwhelmed by the flood of fear and we are truly walking through the fire. And yet God promises to be with us through all of it. He does not promise a rose garden. Not in this life. But He does promise to walk with us and bring us through the water and the fire of life. And into His presence when life here is done.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two Cars, Parked Side by Side

Back home again after a week with our granddaughter in Oregon. The update on the baby is that the baby is still cocooning in Momma's womb. Silly boy.

First night back "in town" we actually never made it home. We scheduled our flight home for the day prior to my next infusion of the clinical trial drug (or placebo, whichever). And since the airport is in the same town as the clinic and since the clinic is 65 miles from home, and since our flight came in at midnight, we decided to stay at a motel overnight, do our chemo thing next morning, then head home.

Our room at the motel was wayyyyy around back, which I thought was kinda weird, and obviously we were the ONLY guests in that wing for ours was the only car in that particular parking area.

Since it was late at night, it didn't take us long to put on our jammies and hop into bed. And it didn't take long for us to drift off into sleep. But it was just long enough for the motel's ONLY other guests to arrive. After 1:00 o'clock in the morning. Right next door. And they enjoyed talking for considerable time, and opening and closing doors, and talking some more. You can see where this is going, right? A grumble session! I'm grumbling.

They finally quieted down and we went back to snooze mode.

The next morning we slept in until 8 am. Not a sound from next door. We did not worry about keeping our voices down. Nor the laughter. Our family laughs a lot. At the dumbest things. But that's okay. At least we laugh.

The other guests had parked their little yellow car with Colorado license plates right next to ours. At least our car was not lonely during the night.

So here's my question of the day...Why in the world would a motel that obviously knows their rooms are not very soundproof install new guests right NEXT DOOR to their ONLY other guests at one o'clock in the morning? Especially when there are a gazillion empty unused rooms on that wing? Why, oh why, Mr. Ramada Inn in Omaha on 72nd?

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Travel in Terms of Time and Distance

We live in an amazing time and amongst much wealth. Think about it. For a pittance (relatively speaking and only if you buy your tickets ahead of time) we have at our disposal a multi-million dollar aircraft that will transport us from the west coast half way across the country in a matter of hours. For a handful of dollars we can travel in a most luxurious manner.

Those of my generation are only a couple generations removed from those who homesteaded the Midwest. One set of German grandparents married in New York City, lived in Illinois, homesteaded in Michigan in the late 1890s (oh, Man, that makes me sound ancient) and then moved to Nebraska where they lived out their days.

Great-grandparents on the other side of the family immigrated from Sweden and homesteaded in Nebraska where my great-grandfather spent his first winter living in a dugout in the creek bank. He and his Swedish bride built a wood two-story home that is (barely) still standing. Their son, my grandfather, raised his family in that house during the Great Depression.

My husband's family moved westward gradually, starting in Pennsylvania early in our country's history, moving onward to Ohio, then Illinois, then Iowa, then Nebraska. Now his family is scattered to California, Oregon, Hawaii, Texas, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska. I can't even begin to relate where my family members now reside. Suffice it to say they are scattered far and wide.

In the grand scheme of things the lives of our grandparents were lived not so very long ago. Their journeys were long and hard...shipboard from their native lands...wagons and railroad westward. Life itself was hard.

And tomorrow we will traverse half the continent in the time it took them to travel by horse from homestead to distant town and back.

Wouldn't they be astounded!

I wonder what life will be like for our grandchildren's grandchildren.

And, nope, Baby is not here yet. We will have to wait to see him at Thanksgiving.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

It's Sunny in Portland

It's sunny. Even though the 10-day forecast indicated we would be having rain the entire week that we are in Portland. It's really not unpleasant at all today. We had some mild showers this morning but right now the sun is shining. The air is still. The temp must be in the 60s. Not bad at all.

The little Momma has gone for a long walk with her hubby. And she has returned. But there seems to be no sign yet that Baby is ready to arrive.

Baby's gramma is making homemade chicken noodle soup for supper. Baby's great gramma (that's me) has put together a large pan of apple crisp for dessert.

And we are relaxed in front of the football games....waiting.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

Time for Zs

Nope. No baby yet. We've been out walking. And we're going to the other gramma's for supper (dinner for those of you not born in Iowa). So now we're going to take our afternoon nap.

Zzzzzzzzzz.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All Is Quiet on the Western Front

All is quiet. Baby is still resting securely, not yet ready to birth, although he is due any time now. We had a rather quiet day, just walking, figuring walking will help Momma. We walked a couple hours in the mall, browsing baby shops, kitchen shops, other shops. The sales ladies were all interested in "when" for Momma looks quite ready now!

It's quiet right now.

Time to head to bed.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Picture Three Fool Women Walking the Beach


Picture three crazy fool women. Gramma, Mom, Mom-to-be. And one little snug baby boy, still happily reposing in his Momma's womb.

Picture them walking the beach at Seaside, Oregon. This morning.

Wind at 35 miles an hour. Blowing Rain. Blowing sand.

You see, Mom used to visit the beach when she was a child. At her grandmother's cabin. And she hasn't been back to the Oregon beach since she was a kid. So regardless of weather, Mom had to go see the coast. And the ocean. And the waves.

We're walking. Leaning well into the wind as we walk from the cabin (this is a different cabin that the one mentioned above) out to the tide area. Wind is straight from the side. And even though we are wearing huge rain coats which we found in the cabin, the left side of our pantlegs become totally rain-soaked and then totally coated with sand. We're laughing our fool heads off.

And then, of course, we head back to the cabin. And now the wind is blowing from our right! And the right side of our pantlegs are soaked and then coated with blowing sand.

We're still laughing our fool heads off. We're wondering about the residents in those upper story condos and figure one of them is watching those three fool women out on the beach. And taking a video. And posting it to you-tube for sure!

We tried taking a couple photos. But the wind and rain were blowing so hard we were worried we'd ruin our cameras.

By the time we got back to the cabin the rain was running off the hems of our raincoats and soaking what wasn't previously soaked.

Thankfully, the cabin had a shower that we used to shower the sand off our jeans with us still in them. And a washer and dryer. And extra towels to wrap around our bods while we waited for our jeans to come out of the dryer. While waiting for them to dry, we sat on the sofa and enjoyed the view out over the ocean, and laughed our fool heads off some more.

On the way home, we stopped for a bowl of clam chowder. Then picked up some apples and made two apple pies for dinner.

If I'd been able to take a movie, I'd have posted us to you-tube myself.

That noise in the background is three fool women, still laughing.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's a Waiting Game

Tonight I'm in Portland. As in Oregon. Actually in a small burb if this town can be called small.

Hubby remained home while daughter and I flew westward, hoping we will be here while the next grandson/great grandson will be born.

It's difficult, you know, trying to purchase reasonably priced plane tickets which require a 2 or 3 week pre-purchase in order to get a decent price, all the while hoping that your window of visit covers the time of actual birth.

Tomorrow we're taking Momma for a long walk. We want to get this show on the road. We don't want to come to the end of our stay and return home, with baby still in Mom's womb.

Tonight we have a fire in the fireplace which feels really, really good. It's cold here today.

Here's a "hello" to hubby and the rest of the family, awaiting news of this new baby. We'll call as soon as something happens.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

When You Walk Through the Fire...

I got an email today. From a dear friend. A friend whom I met through and because of our both having cancer. We are plain spoken with each other. We don't beat around the bush. Dealing with cancer is too serious to make fluff out of it. And so we talk to each other. Plain and up front.

My friend is barely a year past her first diagnosis. I'm still well under a year. But we're in the same boat, waiting for our next scans, hoping they will be "clean" and "no change". By now we've educated ourselves to know the nuances of certain terminology...words like "tumor markers" or "areas of activity". We're watchful. We're listening. We're worried.
We know that the good news of this week's tests are not a definitive thing. We know that cancer cells can still be lurking, ready to begin again their aggressive growth. We know that time is a factor here...it won't be until we have had good tests for a long period of time, for years, that we can sit back and rest easy.

I think I have a positive attitude about all of this. I don't bemoan my fate. I have not gone into depression. But on the other hand, I never have professed the attitude that some cancer patients have...that "I'm gonna kick cancer's ass!". Oh, Yeah! Sez Who? Cancer is a war zone. And there is shrapnel all around us.

As a Christian I know that God knows my days...all my days...all my future days. Cancer is not a surprise to Him. And if He is the powerful God that the Bible teaches that He is, then if He really wanted to, He could cure me of my cancer right now. And if He doesn't, then all I can surmise is that God has purpose in all of this. Purpose for my ultimate good. Purpose for His ultimate glory.

Merely because we are Christians does not mean life will be a bed of roses. Nor does it mean that I will live with good health to my genetically determined 90 years, and die peacefully of a heart attack in my sleep.

Look at Jesus' first disciples. If these men were the epitome of what it means to be a follower of Christ, then shouldn't they have had lives that ran smooth, went well? Comfortable lives that ended in old age? Wouldn't you think that at least they should have been rewarded for their faith and their unwavering work in spreading the gospel to the early church? And yet, only one of them, John, lived to old age. And John endured imprisonment for his faith. The other ten died martyrs deaths. Killed by the sword, by stoning, by spear, by being thrown off the temple.

And why? Wouldn't it seem plausible to our earthly way of thinking that if they had lived highly successful lives, protected at every turn, shielded at all times from any difficulty, wouldn't that have promoted the spread of Christianity more than the other?

And wouldn't it seem equally plausible (to our way of thinking) that God could impress a lot of unbelievers if He caused the lives of all His people to prosper, to live disease-free, to suffer none of what unbelievers suffer? Wouldn't that be a good way to impress upon unbelievers that it is a good and profitable thing to trust in God?

But we see things in terms of our own thinking. We do not see the secret purposes of God. And it is He who has purposed and ordained all aspects of our lives. Psalm 139:16 David says this: "....
And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."

In the purposes of God, our lives do have purpose, just as did the lives of the Disciples. We don't know all the secret purposes of God in our own lives. We don't know all that He is working out. But He will work. And He will love. And He will move us along the path of life that He has chosen for us. It is, after all, His grand story; we are only minor parts of His story. We can't always see the grandness of it all. Now we see only parts of His eternal plan. As if we are seeing it in a dark mirror. Dimly.

Paul tells the Corinthians, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." (I Cor. 13:12)

In Paul's time, a mirror was dim and hazy. Not sharp as in the mirrors we use today. He compared our understanding of eternity to that dim vision. We can only see and understand all of this "eternity" thing dimly. But then, when we are there, we will see face to face. We will know fully.

So now, in this struggle with cancer (or heart, or diabetes, or terrible accident, or birth defect, you name the struggle, it's the same), we see God working in us. We question, we struggle, we move forward in fear, pushing one reluctant heavy foot in front of the other, going to bed at night and wondering about our upcoming blood tests and scans, etc. And we bow down to Him, knowing that He is in control, even of this.

It is a grand journey we are on. And we travel in grand company. And our job while we're traveling is to encourage one another, to cheer each other onward. Keep moving forward. And with each step we look up, amazed that we are given the strength to take another step forward towards the prize. He refines us, causing us to walk through fire.

Isaiah 43:2,3 "....Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you....."

In my flesh, I want to live to 90, healthy all the way, and keel over on the last day from a heart-attack. Happy and long life. No suffering. No pain. Instant death. That's my idea of how my life should go.

And yet, that is likely not the road that God has for me. I have to get my mind off my vision of my road and focus on the unknown road ahead of me. Then I can rejoice in God's providence, his provision, for me. As long as I struggle to stay on my own idea of what my road should be, I struggle against God Himself. I have to quit struggling. I have to recognize that THIS road is the one God has ordained for me. I have to travel THIS road and not the road I would choose. And know that when I walk through the fire, I will be safe under His protection.

My friend is right...it is a strange place we are at. But isn't it a grand place! Haven't we learned so much this past year! Haven't we cried and wept and prayed and struggled with God! (Reminds me of Jacob wrestling with God in the Old Testament). And won't we have a story to tell, our little story, when we are united in eternity! All of our little stories woven together into the grand story of God's dealings with His creatures and of His loving kindness in redeeming us from sin and death.


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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Forget the Chicken! Why Did theWoolly Bear Cross the Road?

Woolly Bear. That's the name of that brown and black caterpillar that clues us in on what to expect about the coming winter. We just hope he is not clueless.

Last Wednesday my mother, brother and I drove down the road a ways to the apple orchard. For the first time this week the sun was shining. Fall leaves were showing color. Crop fields are ready for the harvest. And the apples were ready. We picked out several boxes of apples (and ate a piece of yummy cherry pie in the lunch room) and headed home.

I asked my brother about a side road that turned northward, which was the general direction of "home". I had never taken this road and thought it might be a nice alternate route.

"Oh," he said, "it goes right over to Little Sioux." Which is in our direct travel path. So we take the side road. Which is part of the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. Which is NOT a straight road or it wouldn't be scenic. Normal s-curves turn out to be double-s-curves. You get the drift. This was a winding, round-about way to get home. But we were having fun. And enjoying the scenery. Heading home.

So there we were, twisting and turning, driving north, west, then east, north, then west again. We did eventually find Little Sioux from whence we were able to find the old familiar highway home.

But not until we had spotted numerous Woolly Bear caterpillars crossing the road in front of us. And yep, these are my photos. And a different Woolly Bear in each photo. Stopped in the middle of the road numerous times for numerous photos. No traffic. Not on this scenic byway. Every other human in the county was out on the straight-a-way.

I figured four Woolly Bears would give us somewhat of a scientific poll, so to speak. Were they all on the same track in regards to the forecast? Were they all on the Right track for that matter! The locals (of whom we are) say that if the WB is mostly black, the coming winter will be colder than usual. The wider the brown area, the milder the winter. And, Aha! These four are in total agreement. Mild Winter Ahead. Yayyy, Woolly Bear! You Rule!

So...weather aside...here's the question. Why did the woolly bear cross the road?

Answer: I don't know. You'll have to ask the chicken.

But we WILL have a mild winter.
And next spring I'll be able to tell you, "I told you so!"
I hope.

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Friday, October 9, 2009

What Me Worry?

It's not easy to believe in the providence of God. The provisions of God. That of all the things of life, it is God who provides. Providence. Because if you believe in God's providence (God's providing) and in His sovereignty, you also understand that there isn't a single solitary thing that happens in your life that could possibly be happening outside of His control. In other words everything that happens is the outcome of the sovereign overruling of God. When I say it is not easy to believe, I mean that it is not easy to "live". It's easy to intellectually "assent". It's another thing to "live".

I want to say that my post is not meant to be a discussion of the providence of God. This is not a theological discussion. It's more of a commentary on how I am dealing with cancer.

I'm feeling really good right now. My last "real" chemo session was in July. By "real" I mean the infusion of a cocktail blend of carboplatin and paclitaxel or "carbo/taxel" for short. (I'm continuing to receive the clinical trial drug, Avastin, or a placebo every 3 weeks for another 16 sessions. But I don't call that "real" chemo.) In spite of the harshness of the "real" chemo and the resultant harsh side-effects, there was something vaguely comforting about each session. It's comforting to know that, in spite of having this insidious disease, somehow the chemo is doing major battle damage to the cancer cells growing in your body. With each session my body took a major hit and I was glad of it, for that meant the chemo was hitting the cancer cells as well. And hopefully, harder.

Anyway...I finished the actual chemo in early July. And living "post chemo" I find that I am apprehensive of every twinge, every bodily nuance. In my pre-cancer days a stomach ache would have been "something I ate" or hip pain would have been "arthritis or bursitis". Now my mind worries "cancer" every time I notice some odd thing happening to my body.

Here I am, a believer in Christ and one who believes in God's providence in all events of my life. In my earthly thinking, I worry. In my spiritual thinking I recognize that God is totally in control here. I will live exactly as long as He plans for me to live. And I will experience (good or bad) everything that He intends for me to experience. And it will all be for my good and for His glory.

So last night, I was lying in bed, thinking about this morning's scheduled CT scan. I began to fret. What if the scan shows a change in the lymph nodes or finds a small tumor beginning to grow somewhere in my body? What if? What if? What if?

You see, I've already had two good reports this week. The results of genetic testing brought the report that my ovarian cancer is not caused by defective genes. It is, as the geneticist explained, "environmental". That is good news because that means my daughter does not have the gene. And my nieces are not likely to have it either, unless they acquired it from another side of their family. Defective BRCA1 and BRCA2 indicate a heightened risk for ovarian AND breast cancer. But...the result came back negative. This was a huge relief to hear that.

And I've just finished routine blood tests. My CA-125 came in at the same level as before. Again, this was good news.

So last night I was lying in bed. And thinking. About today's CT scan. And worrying. And I finally had to recognize that if God's plan for me is that I will live long life, then I will live long life. And if His plan is that I endure a recurrence (and all that it entails) then I will endure. As a Christian I see God as the supreme ruler of the universe, the one to whom we all owe love, devotion, and obedience. And just as a soldier on the battlefield follows his commander with complete obedience (to the point of death), then I, too, will follow my Lord with that same obedience, even to the point of death.

This morning I drank my pre-scan drink and went over to the hospital for the scan. I am amazed at our small-town service for the doc has always been able to give me his readings before I ever leave the premises. And today's reading was "no change" from the previous scan, no detectable cancer. And that is good news. And it is God's providence. And I am grateful.


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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Of Which There Should Be More Serious Response

Is it or is it not a crime for an adult male (adult to the age of 40-ish) to act as predator in deliberately enticing a 13-year-old female to non-consensual and indeed, forced sex? That's a "yes-no" question. Answer it with a simple "yes" or "no".

If the answer is "Yes, that is a crime in every sense of the word", then why is Hollywood so prone to exonerate Roman Polanski? Why did Whoopi (that Great Wise One) insist that Polanski's crime was not really "rape-rape". You know, as in "Real Rape"!

When does rape become not rape?

Please read Carson Calloway's thought-provoking response on this rush by Hollywood to exonerate a man who has long evaded justice.

And then, come back to the question I propose in my first sentence. And answer with a simple "yes" or "no".

All comments welcome.


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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Averting Cell Phone Disaster - Again!!!


We survived another cell phone disaster!

Yesterday my beloved dropped his cell phone in....well...ahem....the toilet. (Thankfully HE was the one who retrieved it and not I.)

This was Major Crisis! This was a brand-new cell phone. The same one he temporarily lost last month...and found again within 24 hours. But that's another story.

A "toilet dunk" can kill your phone. Permanently. But if you react quickly you have a very good chance of avoiding that costly scenario. I know. Because almost four years ago I dropped My cell in the ocean! In salt water! And I am STILL USING THAT PHONE! So here are my suggestions if you find yourself in a similar situation:

IMPORTANT .. REMOVE THE BATTERY AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. THIS IS ESSENTIAL!

1. Briefly rinse phone (and battery which you have already removed!!!) under the kitchen faucet to remove any contaminants. The idea is to clean the phone but NOT to soak it further. This baby is already wet. Rinse it only long enough to remove the bad stuff. Be brief but thorough. Swish it quickly and go to Step Two. (If your phone has a memory card, remove and rinse it as well. And if you dropped it in plain, non-salty, CLEAN water, disregard this step.)

2. Dry with a kitchen towel. As thoroughly as possible, including any crevices and ports. Wick that moisture out with a corner of the fabric or a Q-tip!

3. Find a warm dry spot. Turn on the light in your oven. Do NOT turn on the heat! The light bulb alone will produce a quiet, drying heated air. I've heard of people placing their phones on the dash of their car and letting solar energy provide the warmth to dry it but it would seem that might get a bit hot if you live in Death Valley or some such place...use some sense here.

4. Place the open phone and its battery in this warm spot AT LEAST 24 hours before re-connecting the battery. Forty-eight is even better...if you can stand the suspense that long. If you re-connect while your phone still holds moisture you run the risk of shorting it out completely and your end result will be a dead phone.

5. In my case, I waited about 36 hours before placing the battery back on the phone and it worked fine. In hubby's case, 24 hours did the trick.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT CAKE! or I Am Not a Fruit Cake!

The Pioneer Woman is having a giveaway today. It's a lovely giveaway. And, so I posted there on the premise that I would have a teensy chance of winning today's prize. Sure there will be 22 zillion posted entries, but I figure I'm one in a zillion. har-har

Her question was, "What holiday food do you anticipate every year?" And my reply, of course, was FRUIT CAKE!

Here's what I wrote on her website...

"FRUIT CAKE! Alright, I know I stand in the minority on this one. I'm not talking about those cheap fruitcakes that you can pick up in the holiday section of the local grocery. No, no, no! I'm talking about real, honest-to-goodness, homemade FRUIT CAKE! Decadence for sure! And, Hey! If YOUR grandmother sends you her famous home-made cake every Christmas and if your usual procedure is to dump it down the disposal (after a reasonable time, of course), please send it to me. I could eat this stuff year round. FRUIT CAKE!!!!!! And, no, I am not one."

I really, really do like good fruit cake. But it has to be Good Fruit Cake.

I can blame credit my mother for my craziness for my fascination began when I was quite small. There was a small fruit cake in the house that had been given us by someone, I don't know who. Mom placed it on a high cupboard shelf and would take it down now and then for a nibble. It was on the high shelf so that we kids did not eat it. With my brothers, that would have been a waste for I'm not sure any of them liked it. But the Forbidden Fruit Cake was a temptation to me and now and then I would drag the step-stool over to the cupboard, climb up, and take a nibble. A nibble here, a nibble there, and I was addicted.

Maybe I should get out a recipe NOW and make one. A Good Fruit Cake takes time to cure to its best goodness.

And, No, I repeat again, I Am Not A FruitCake! You may or may not think the Pioneer Woman is a Fruit Cake. But I repeat!!! I Am Not!


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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Who Me? Sock Hack? Yiddle Shows How!


If you have cold hands in the winter and have a crafty bent, you'll love Yiddle's tutor on sock hacking.

Go to the store, find the coolest socks ever, then by doing a sock hack, you can make yourself the warmest fingerless mitts ever!

Fingerless gloves are not just for the young folk! They work wonderfully at office or at home to keep your hands warm on those cold, drafty winter days.

You can find Yiddle's post here. She has a click link to download a pdf instruction sheet.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

What! Me Do Laundry! Yes, And Happy To Do It!


We often overlook the blessings. And that shouldn't be.

We have a washer and dryer in the house. Not everyone does, you know. Even in this country that sometimes is simply not available. And if you go into the third world countries...well, you get the picture.

Growing up we had an old Maytag wringer-washer that resided in a cubbyhole closet on the porch. Beside it sat a galvanized steel rinse tub. Doing laundry meant filling both with plenty of water, washing the whites first, then the colored fabrics, then the darks, and lastly the rugs and mop rags. By then the water was a dingey, slimey opaque gray. To drain the two, we attached a garden hose and ran the water out into the yard.

Drying the clothes was a different matter. Hang 'em on the line in the summertime till dry. Hang 'em on the line in the winter time until freeze-dried which wasn't dry at all. Bring them in frozen, drape them over lines strung up in the bedroom and over the oil burner stove in the dining room.

As a young adult, living in my first house away from home, and the second, and the third, the laundry had to be hauled to the laundromat. Expensive. Inconvenient. In a single word, a "hassle".

That was decades ago. (I know, I'm old!) And even after decades of having my own washer and dryer in my home, I still remain grateful that I do not have to take my laundry to the laundromat. Which is a good thing, because the only laundromat in this town closed down about four years ago.

Now that we are getting old older we have decided to move the laundry upstairs. The far end of the kitchen has space for that. We will no longer have to run walk downstairs to put the laundry in the washer, run walk downstairs to put it in the dryer, run walk downstairs to retrieve. Even though we realize the exercise is good for us, we're getting a bit more stiff in the joints. We are a bit more careful running walking up and down the steps.

The job is begun. Plumbing is in place. We plan to buy new units so we're on hold until that can be done. And in the meantime...our house is a mess.

It will get better. Soon.

And I will be grateful to be able to do laundry. In my own house. Not in the basement. Not at the laundromat. And not in an old-fashioned Maytag wringer washer.


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More Scam - BEWARE

More Scams. Guard yourselves well.

The latest is a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that a scam group is calling veterans who receive their prescription meds from the VA.

Callers who claim to be part of a "Patients Care Group" are calling veterans at their homes. These scammers tell veterans that their prescriptions have been switched and are now being administered by their company. They then ask for credit card information so that the veterans can continue to receive their medications.

BE AWARE that the VA has not changed its prescription service. And be aware that the VA does not call veterans asking for financial information (credit card, bank account) over the phone.

And just because you are not a veteran doesn't mean that you are not going to be scammed in this matter. IF ANY CALLER claiming to represent YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY asks for your credit card information, do not give it to them. If they actually and truly need your financial information, then YOU INITIATE the call to a number that you KNOW is authentic.

SUMMARY: Never give your bank account number or your credit account number to someone Who Calls You! You have no clue who is on the other end of the line.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Drugs, Drugs, More Drugs and No Drugs

I'm on a clinical trial for a new drug for ovarian cancer. After the six sessions of regular chemo, I'm taking another 16 sessions of Avastin or placebo. Since it's a blind study I haven't a clue as to which I'm receiving.

Yesterday, there I was, sitting in the waiting room. Waiting!

They could just as well call it a "TV room". The TV is always on, always too loud, and always tuned to some program that I detest.

So instead of TV, my preferred mode of passing time is to read. This time spent in the "waiting room" is time to catch up on my reading. I get to read the big city newspaper, peruse magazines that I would not ordinarily purchase, or read a few pages in a book that I've brought with me.

Yesterday, I was reading the newspaper and ran across an article about the "accidental" death of a rather famous entertainment figure. The celebrity, whose real name was Adam Goldstein, died last month. His body was found August 28 in his apartment in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.

In September the Medical Examiner's Office ruled that this man had in his system a mixture of :
  • cocaine
  • Oxycontin
  • hydrocodone
  • Xanax
  • Konopin
  • Benadryl
  • levamisole.
That's an incredible mix! An astounding mix! And guess what! The cause of death was ruled "accidental" of an "acute intoxication" from the combined effects of the drugs.

I know the illegal use of drugs is out there. I'm acquainted with a number of people who are addicts. And most of them are quite well acquainted with not one, but numerous illegal drugs. They've tried this and they've tried that and they probably habitually use one or more on a daily basis.

It always astounds me that anyone goes into this lifestyle. It's incredibly damaging. Why do they do it? And, yes, I understand that they think they can use "once" and not get addicted. And, yes, I understand that they use drugs to "self-medicate" anxiety, etc., etc. And, yes, I understand that the addiction is a terrible thing to overcome.

And it astounds me is that so many doctors prescribe mood-altering drugs to addicts. These are drugs that are contraindicated for use by drug addicts. Sure, sure, the user is not going to tell his Doc, "Hey, I'm an addict, don't prescribe something for me that will increase my drug dependency." And I'm well aware that addicts are excellent manipulators and know exactly what to say and what not to say while they're in the doctor's office.

But don't you think it might be good to do a blood toxicology for the guy who repeatedly comes to the Doc with some ache and pain or mental stress and who requests a prescrip for hydrocodone or Xanax for instance? Again and again!

The cocktail this guy took killed him. And the death is labeled "accidental". Accidentally what? That he accidentally took one too many pills? No. This man's death wasn't accidental. It was quite predictable. Almost to the point of inevitable. The only question was "when".

While I was doing chemo (January-July) I figured my body was being hit big-time by heavy-duty stuff. While the drugs were doing their thing on the cancer cells, they were also doing their thing on my liver, my kidneys, and a dozen other areas of my body. I knew that. I knew it was bad stuff. But hopefully, the damage to the cancer cells would more than offset the damage to other parts of my body.

Even though I was enduring heavy aches and pains I refused to take even tylenol or ibuprofen. I simply did not want to hit my body with yet another drug. I walked (sat, slept) through the pain.

Reading about this man's death saddened me. Drugs killed him. And not accidentally.
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