Saturday, June 27, 2009

Just to Let you Know!

So many of you have been asking me how I'm doing, and I so much appreciate all your concern and prayers. One of the greatest benefits about blogging that I never knew was there before is how many great friends I've made and how many have committed themselves to praying for me. I can't begin to tell you all how thankful I am for that and how encouraging it is to get your notes, etc. THANK YOU and big hugs to all of you!!!!!

I have been feeling really good the past few weeks. It is a strange thing -- after going through chemo, then surgery, then radiation, you forget what "good" really is. I thought I was feeling "good" after I got through chemo and that was done. Little did I know that "good" could be so much better!!!!

I just wish my hair would grow faster. I still look like a marine! And I'm so disappointed that it did not come back in curly. It is sooooooo straight. Poker straight!!!! My sister asked me what color it is. I was hoping for blond like I was when I was a kid, or at least a nice "old lady white" or all gray. Instead, I look like a squirrel. You know, that grayish, whitish, brownish thing with a few black hairs here and there, etc. It will need a lot of work, believe me, when it's long enough.

My only problem right now is a lump I found at the mastectomy site, just a little above the stitch line. It's about the size of a cherry. At first, I wondered if it was a rib, since it has only been recently that I could actually feel anything there. Before this, it was either swollen from the surgery, or so burned that I couldn't touch it. It's taken a while for all the swelling to go down, and now that it has, I found this crazy little cherry sized lump. I asked my Primary care Dr. about it, and she sent me for a chest x-ray. That report went to my oncologist, and I went in to see him yesterday. He's also puzzled by it and doesn't know what it is. So I'm lined up for a PET scan on July 2nd.

So once again, all those thoughts flood through my mind. All the "what if"s", the "I can't go through this again," the "what if it has spread," and all the rest just keep sneaking into my thoughts. I know you will all tell me not to think about it, but . . . . . you just can't help it. I've come to call cancer the "What If Disease." It seems to be the major thought process of anyone I know who has gone or is going through this. The trouble is, there is no answer to all those "what if's". I'm the first to tell other people not to worry, that most of it all doesn't happen anyways, etc., etc. But when it's ME, then it's a different story. I seem to allow myself all the "what if's!"

Today, the area is a little sore. That oncologist of mine is not a gentle soul! He goes at you like you are a two pound ball of bread dough and starts kneading, pushing, prodding, poking, squishing, squeezing, etc., until you feel your ribs are going to break. And when he starts under your armpits, or does a breast exam, you wonder if you will even have a breast left when he is through. Believe me, if that's how we are supposed to do a self-breast exam, NONE of us do it right! I'm sure that's why it's sore today. Every time he does this, I lay there on that exam table with my fist clenched, ready to sock him one. I haven't yet, but there may come a day when you will hear on the news about the first case in Florida where a doctor sues a patient for socking him in the face!!!!!

So. . . .don't know when the report will be back from the Pet scan. Usually it takes a few days. And since they don't call you if the scan is clear, you just wait and worry an appropriate amount of time and then figure everything is OK! I'll give it until the 9th of July, and then let my breath out!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Angel in my Life!

A few weeks ago, I posted about Teresa and the impact she has had on my life and the lives of other cancer patients at the Cancer Center.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to another "angel" I met some time ago -- Mary!

Mary is the owner of Stillwater Dog Training, more readily known in my house as "Bad Boy School." Those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning know all about this place, about Buster, my chocolate lab, and all the trials and tribulations he has put me through. I signed up for dog training classes with Mary, and let me tell you, I have never forgotten her.

First of all, she was just the nicest person you would ever want to meet. She put the class at ease, as we all felt we had the worst possible dog in the world and would definitely flunk out (I ended up winning that award!) It didn't surprise me at all when she closed that part of the class with prayer, and I knew she was someone who knew the Lord personally and really cared about us all. She took her job so seriously and wanted us all to succeed and make it through the trouble spots we had with our dogs.

I always felt at ease with Mary. She would always take time to answer my questions as I related my problems about Buster with her. It was such a dark time for me, as I was really thinking I would have to get rid of him if things didn't change. She encouraged me every single week, and I would go home and try again and put him through all the exercises and commands.

It didn't end well, as Buster became more stubborn, self-willed and defiant, and you will remember that I didn't go back for that last class. I felt like such a failure and wondered over the next few months if Buster and I would really make it.

I contacted Mary a few times after that, and she has always been helpful, encouraging, and just. . . . . so nice! And when I found out about my cancer and all the treatments coming my way, I had questions and doubts about Buster. She promised to pray for me and Buster and somehow, I knew she would!

Buster has come a long way. Maybe someone who didn't know him a year ago would raise an eyebrow and call him a wild maniac of a dog. But to me, he's an angel compared to what he was. And I owe it all to Mary, the techniques she taught me, and her prayers!

I remember those first few classes. . . . I had delusions of grandeur, thinking that I would love to be a dog trainer like Mary. She just loved her work, loved her dogs, gave so much to the community with Ruger, her work dog. You can read about her and Ruger


But I soon found out that dog training is definitely a gift from God! And I don't have it! Mary has chosen to share that gift with others by teaching us how to handle our dogs properly! But even further than that, she has trained her own dog to be a "sniffer", to work with police and law enforcement, and to be a rescue dog. She has given so much of herself! I know how much it has meant to ME during this past year to have Buster's slobbery kisses and his happy face around me ---- something I would NOT have had, believe me, if Mary had not helped me with all the behavioral issues!

Thank you, Mary, for all you do for so many people! I know I'm not the only one who has been impacted by your life and your talents!

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. . . Others come and stay awhile, encourage us, show us a way we never saw before, and somehow, we are never the same again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

No, they don't get me down --- in fact, I LOVE rainy days, and today is one of those. After such a long season of drought here in Florida, we are finally seeing a return to those daily showers, and sometimes --- just long, rainy days! Like today!

The day started out sunny, but it gradually got darker and darker as the gray clouds moved overhead. Then, I heard the drops hitting the exhaust fan thingy on the roof. And Buster and I headed for the back porch. He's not much for playing in the rain, but does love it when I go out and sit in the rocking chair, so he was all gung-ho!

It was one of those steady, hard rains, no wind, no thunder and lightening -- just rain coming straight down. I noticed all the leaves on the trees dancing as they got showered and washed. Puddles were forming fast, and the birdbath soon overflowed. A very large toad, afraid of rising flood waters, hopped across the lawn, through the fence and off to safer, higher ground.

And then it happened. . .

Buster was bored with it all, but for my sake, laid down on the porch and tried to act like he was enjoying the whole thing. All of a sudden, he was up like a shot ---- a squirrel was sitting on the sidewalk, wondering where to go to keep dry. I don't think he had a chance to decide as Buster was fast on his tail, telling him where to go. Up that tree he went, but I noticed he was smart enough to hang on the underside of a big limb which served as an umbrella. He was a little smarter than Buster who stood there in the pouring rain looking up the tree! Poor Buster! He just can't seem to catch one.

I'm always amazed at the birds during a storm. The whole time it was raining, I never saw or heard one bird. But it seems they just know when it's about over and begin to sing. There is nothing more beautiful than the choir of birds singing at the end of storm. Today, it was the wren who started off with the solo part. Then the woodpecker made it a duet. Wasn't long before the bluejay added a perky little tune, and then the flycatcher. Soon, the titmice, cardinals and others joined in. I always wonder how they seem to know when the end of the storm is near????

And you talk about making the best of a bad situation!!!! A pair of cardinals came out and perched in the cherry tree, then began rubbing up against the wet leaves. Definitely a very unique way to take a shower!

I always loved the song playing --- Rainy Days and Mondays. But they don't get me down. Today, it cheered me up! I came back inside, enjoyed a bowl of hot, homemade hamburger and veggie soup, and thanked the Lord for all His goodness towards me! Buster is laying next to me, soaking wet but dreaming of squirrels, and we are both waiting for the next rainy day to come our way!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Angels --- From a Child's Perspective

A friend sent me this in an email, and I thought it was just too precious!!!!!

Angels Explained By Children

I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.

-Gregory, 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it

-Olive, 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to Heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.

-Matthew, 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else.

-Mitchell, 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science.

-Henry, 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!

-Jack, 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.

-Daniel, 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath, somewhere there's a tornado.

-Reagan, 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter.

-Sara, 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter.

-Jared, 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn't go for it.

-Antonio, 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.

- , 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.

-Vicki, 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.

-Sarah, 7