Tag Archive | cancer

How Many Blessings Does it Take?

Tootsie Pop OwlCounting blessings, sometimes it resembles the Tootsie Pop Owl: 1, 2, 3.

But then you realize that Blessing number 2 makes you think of 3 or 4 more blessings. Then those blessings remind you of others and of course you end with the blessing of: Thank You God for my life.

I always thank God for my blessings. It’s always easy to ask God to step in and help, but how often do we actually take the time to say Thank You? Do you say thank you for the “little” things? Like not being late for an interview (traffic was better than you thought it would be) or thank you for the last leaf bag not bursting open (because you only had a few leaves left so you over stuffed the bag).

Everyday I have many things I’m thankful for:

  • My husband has been cancer-free for two years.
  • I have been seizure-free for six years.
  • Our home
  • Our family and friends
  • My husband – that he’s even in my life. (he’s my rock/my life)

Kim nowEvery night when I pray, I start with Thank You God for everyone and everything in my life. Thank you for my Kim (he’s the love of my life), our home and thank you for today. Sometimes that’s it, other nights I will ask for help – for friends, family and sometimes for me.

I’m thankful for waking up in the morning. I’m thankful for the abilities I’ve been given and those I’ve learned. I’m thankful for friends/clients who refer me to their associates. I’m thankful I can help my Brother when he’s out on the road, there is the occasional thing he needs done that he just can’t get to (it seems smart phones aren’t always all that smart).

Yes, being Thankful is a lot like counting your blessings. Well, why not? All those things on my thankful list, are my blessings. No matter how you feel about a Higher Power, whether you believe. For this we will go with, yes I do – there is a God/Divine Being. While you will not see me in church – I believe in God, not religion. (There is a difference and not for this topic)

Something to keep in the back of your mind, are people thankful for you? Are you a person who helps, and/or brings a smile to someone’s face? Or, are you the type of person that people are thankful to see you leave? Please don’t take your blessings for granted. For this Thanksgiving, besides being thankful for your blessings, do something (no matter how big or small) nice for someone. Hold the door open for that person struggling with their hands full and trying to figure out how to open the door and not drop something. Smile at complete strangers. Give your complete attention to the person your talking with – ignore your phone/pad. Do something unexpected for a family member/friend/co-worker. Then be thankful you have the ability to do such a task.

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Frustration – a Real Pain in the Heart

frustration-babyOK, there are many reasons to be/feel frustrated. I acknowledge that. But I’m going to be selfish here and write about what’s been going on with me, perhaps you can relate to part of this. I know that I have written about “generic” frustration, I’ve talked about depression, but never from my own view, what I am truly experiencing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have epilepsy, its onset was in 1991. To explain part of my current frustration, I feel the need to explain what I had/how often I had seizures. You see, my first seizure was in 1991. That was it, one seizure. It was felt that my blood sugar had dropped drastically and an unusual amount of stress was piled on top. A couple of years went by, (I wasn’t on any medication, not seeing a neurologist) and WHAM, I had my second seizure two years later.

Long story short, this one seizure then a couple of years go by then one seizure routine went on for years and all of my seizures are full-blown grand-mal. While yes, this was frustrating, it wasn’t enough to affect my daily thoughts/life. In 2005 my favorite job (of all time) went away. The company merged with another and I was no longer needed. The next job I found I enjoyed, but the stress that went with it was overwhelming. Then in 2006 I had my record number of seizures – eleven with days when I had multiple in one day. Now while this is nothing to many serious cases of epilepsy, this drastic of a change in my condition made my neurologist concerned. I made the employees of the company I was working for at the time very nervous; to the point where they finally got me to leave. In 2007 I underwent in hospital testing for a month at a time. The first was with electrodes on my skull. The second was with electrodes on my brain (obviously required 2 surgeries), and a lot of pain.

OK. On to my “current” frustration (and being completely honest – about everything).

I haven’t had a job since 2007. Well, I did work part-time for a local store for a short time but like many retail situations, the income wasn’t enough. It being a union store and I was getting a form of insurance, the company was taking around 40-45% of my check. That’s not enough to help with the bills. There’s a major source of depression/frustration just in that alone. I have been an administrative assistant for years, and at the urging of people I trust, I officially started my business of being a virtual assistant in 2009. I enjoy working with my clients, but there isn’t enough to do to keep me busy – busy enough to make money. I’ve discovered that I’m more of a “worker bee” and not really an entrepreneur. There’s nothing wrong with that, many businesses need on-site support staff.

Since 2011, about the time my biggest client re-vamped her business and cut back on a lot of things – like virtual staff – I have been looking for a full-time job. The idea was to be working, having a stable income then build my business from a different angle.

Then WHAM! My husband was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in 2011. He was treated and, thank God, has been cancer-free since September of 2011! Since then I have been looking for full-time work, although I have dropped the search once in a while. But this year I started in earnest looking for work. I’d get interviews for jobs that I really wanted, but then I’d get the “thank you for your interest, but we’ve chosen to go with a different candidate.” Or the “While your credentials are excellent, we’ve chosen a…” I even had a client that had the potential to be a permanent job; the company owner changed his mind – over the objection of the department and department head I was working with.

Am I asking for too much???

While there have been many highs and lows since 2005 (seemingly more lows), I do thank God for the positives:

  • count blessingsI have been seizure-free since 2007
  • My husband does not have cancer
  • Even though we had to file for bankruptcy, we still have our home
  • I am physically able to hold a job – and I truly want one
  • Family and Friends
  • That I’m alive

I am doing my utmost to not scream at God/the Universe. For you see, I have been positive (for the most part) that what I want is mine. The job I want, (which by the way allows for me to be the main income and my husband can go to part-time something) with worries down to a minimum.

So, as I typically answer people, because I really believe I’m going with: the Sun is shining, Life is good.

(A BIG winning lottery ticket wouldn’t hurt either.)

Showing Support and Other Thoughts

Two thoughts for writing popped in my head, since they were short, I thought I’d combine them.

I guess when you have a cold your brain gets a bit addlepated and thoughts go off in all sorts of directions. (while I’m writing this – thoughts are still going willy-nilly)

Last year, two friends both dealt with breast cancer – at the same time. I will change the names and states to protect their privacy. One friend, Sunshine lives in Maine (far from Michigan – not exactly close by). My other friend, Moonbeam lives in Oklahoma (another not so close trip). But I did keep in contact with them and send them fun/silly things while they were fighting cancer and chemo. For Sunshine, we bought her a Rastafarian wig – it’s something completely different than a scarf. Besides, Sunshine has the personality to pull off wearing that wig. She sent us a picture of her wearing it – she looked great. For Moonbeam, I sent her funny cards and brownies (for when she could actually eat).

celebrate-lifeThe truly wonderful thing – they both had fantastic support systems! It’s wonderful having friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, other chemo patients, etc. find ways to help. Both of these women are incredibly brave. One even had to deal with post surgery allergies.

I’m happy to say that Sunshine has sent pictures (sans wig). She’s looking marvelous and I love the short hair style. Moonbeam’s hair has all kinds of tight curls – she’s looking marvelous as well. Both ladies have (more or less) returned to their previous life-style, but with some limitations, but they are alive have celebrated 1 year being cancer-free!

Now for the other thought that popped in to my head. Someone had posted a challenge on Facebook: in 10 seconds give a word starting with the letter A and ending with the letter E. I instantly came up with two, totally unrelated words – in this order: apple and arse. Yep, trying to figure out the apple-butt thing; not quite sure how that is supposed to work.

One more thing, my husband is now cancer-free for two years now, and I’m incredibly happy with that!!!

National-Breast-Cancer-Awareness-MonthTomorrow (October 1, 2013) starts Breast Cancer Awareness Month – don’t forget, women are not the only ones who get breast cancer – yes, men can too. But because this is a picture my husband appreciates – and it’s fun – think positive thoughts, pray science finds a cure for ALL cancers.

Have You Hugged a Nurse Lately?

doctors and nursesOK, a simple question posted on facebook really got me wondering: Do you think nurses have a love hate relationship with nursing?

My first comment: I’m not a nurse, but I have been around nurses who do have a love/hate relationship with their career. Then there are the nurses who spend some time working in a hospital then (seem to) run for a desk job – in nursing.

The reply: Great observation – it is true! Thanks for your comment!

My second comment: I do have to say: nurses have a thankless job. When I was in the hospital, I thanked and joked with every nurse that came in my room. One nurse told me she was amazed that I would do that “I can imagine the pain you’re in, how can you have such a great personality and ask how I’M doing?” Hearing that made me feel bad – why weren’t more patients being nice to their nurses?

The reply: Liz LaClair this says a lot about you! You let your light shine!

In 2007, I was in Henry Ford Hospital and tested (twice – about a month each time) for my epilepsy, with the second test having the electrodes directly on my brain – the pain part. I was always nice to my nurses and techs. It’s a simple life belief: life’s too short, have to joke and have fun with others. My husband would bake goodies for me, like banana bread mini loaves. I made sure he brought enough so I could share with my nurses. I apologized to one of my nurses after she told me I scared her. She told me she’d never been around a patient who stopped breathing during a seizure. After I calmed her down – she said she was embarrassed about her reaction – she finally laughed, shook her finger at me and told me to never do that to her again!!

When my husband was in Beaumont for both of his cancer surgeries, the nurses all loved him. Even though he was in pain after surgery, he was joking with his nurses. One of his male nurses was a (tad) embarrassed to be awarded The Daisy – it’s a top award for nurses at Beaumont. His embarrassment dealt with his being called a Daisy. I told him that in French (William Beaumont – founder – was French) daisy is marguerite. He laughed and said that wouldn’t be any better, then explained what DAISY meant.

Nurses have a LOT of work to do, they don’t always get their breaks when they should and we all expect a lot from them. When you’re sick and in the hospital (the last place you really want to be), nurses are the ones (of the medical staff) who spend the most time with you. So, why wouldn’t you be good to them?

Oh, as for that hugging a nurse question. There is one nurse I’d like to hug (she’s a new nurse – she passed her NCLEX just yesterday – 7/25/13). My great-niece Tiffany lives on the other side of the state and I haven’t seen her in a while, but I do check on her via her facebook posts!

Tribute

Since around 6:00 this morning, I’ve had this urge, need (?) to write this. It’s taken this long (2 1/2 hours) to finalize – re-writes.

You see, a friend/neighbor of 16 years passed away, very early this morning. We all call each other “Neighbor” as in Hi Neighbor! (their kids included) He had been fighting brain cancer for about five years. His doctors were surprised at how well he had been doing and that he was still alive longer than originally predicted (two years – tops FIVE years ago).

fireworks-4Every year around this time he would be setting off fireworks (just a couple each night) from 6/30 to the 4th. If the local fireworks were on the weekend – because the 4th was during the week, he’d keep going and light the last of his “stash” after the “big show” was done. One year a neighbor across the street called the cops on us (on the 4th) for making too much noise. The police were very nice about it, actually were embarrassed to even have to say anything. Every time fireworks went off, he would grab a chair and find the best place to sit and watch – from the yard (we had a fairly good vantage spot).

His hobby was working on cars. He has a friend with a collector car. So, every year Neighbor would make sure the car was running so the friend could take it on the Dream Cruise. Neighbor always made sure that every car they owned ran as it should – especially wife’s classic car. His latest project – a Chevy pick-up (I can’t remember, possibly late ’70s).

When he couldn’t work at his job any longer, the mechanic across the street hired Neighbor to work there for as long as he wanted/could. It was one of those win-win things. The mechanic got a great, hard working employee and Neighbor got to do what he enjoyed and still feel good about himself.

Anytime my husband or I had car questions (even another neighbor two doors down), Neighbor was the “go to guy.” We are all the kind of neighbors that when we help – nope won’t take money, I know you’ll help me when I need it sort of folks.

The Neighbors are folks who enjoy their toys: jet skis and snowmobiles. We have lake privileges and there are a couple of State parks with lakes close by – those same parks have snowmobile trails.

When the kids graduated high school and were both interested in cooking schools, my husband custom built cases for each of their chef knives that also held the sharpening sticks we bought for them. I got small “plaques” with each name engraved and those were mounted on each box. When we celebrated husband’s 50th birthday, I had the Neighbor Kid (son) cater and told him to set the price. He had fun.

Since husband is so good with cabinet building, when Neighbors decided to redo their kitchen, they had husband build all of the cabinets. Back in 2000 when we redid our kitchen/dining area, (before their kitchen) Neighbor Kid (daughter) was worried that we were fixing up to move – to the point that she came over and told us NO we aren’t allowed to move!!!

So now Neighbor has to finalize her husband’s funeral. I can’t imagine how she feels, oh sure I can guess. I know it’s hard on her and on their grandson they’ve been raising since he was one – will be 12 in September. I do know one aspect she will be going through – what to do with all of his things.

So, what is the reason for this? Well to honor my neighbor. To honor a man who kept fighting when doctors told him he didn’t have a chance.

I do know that watching fireworks just won’t be the same.

Colorful Fireworks over Lake

Water Everywhere – Where’s the Bathroom???

drinking waterWe all know that water is important, heck most of the planet is water! Now all in good clean fun, (oops pun there) I’ve got my thoughts a couple of facts.

Remember, doctors, scientists, dietitians, etc. will tell you to drink at least 8 – 10 8oz glasses of water every day. How is a person supposed to get anything done with having to RUN to the bathroom all the time because of drinking all that water? My bladder ain’t that big!

  • 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

This is a scary thought. But what’s causing that? I mean really what with so many of my friends insisting they have to have their coffee or they can’t function. HELLO – drinking liquid – albeit flavored water. Why doesn’t that count?

  •  Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as much as 30%.

sign-bathroom-runningWell, if one were to drink all the water specialists say we should – that would indeed boost your metabolism. Why? All that sprinting to the bathroom aught to be good for something! Then of course there’s the dance women do in public restrooms to make sure:

    1. There’s toilet paper
    2. There’s enough to cover the seat AND to wipe
    3. Hold our purses – because that dang hook is gone
    4. Do the squat thing – because we still don’t want to touch the seat even with all that paper covering
  • One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.

sign-bathroom-funnyMidnight hunger pangs??? I’m at the age where I have to get up a few times during the night to go to the bathroom because I had some water 1 ½ – 2 hours before I went to bed. I occasionally have lack of sleep issues (because of waking up for that bathroom run…), I don’t even want to guess what would happen if I had water just before I went to bed.

  • Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

And here all this time I thought I was tired/fatigued because of not sleeping the night before.

  •  Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

At last, a positive reason for retaining water!

  •  A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page. NOW, they tell me this??? I could have used the lack of water on the nuns in school – especially Sr. Odilla – my math teacher. Hmm, there was something else I was going to say here…

Now remember, I said all of the above was in jest. I know there has to be at least one of you who’s had the same thought at least once in a while. Maybe you’ve had funnier ones! I dare you to share those thoughts – after running to the bathroom of course.

P.S.: An important fact that I wouldn’t dare poke fun at, and I feel it is important to share.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

Thanksgiving

Yes, it’s that time of year when we reflect on all the things we’re thankful for. Although some of us also wonder just why shopping has gotten to be so important. Those Black Friday sales now have Thanksgiving pre-sales. REALLY?

Well, back to the original thought – thankfulness. No ranting here.

There are many things I’m thankful for:

  • My husband has been cancer-free for a year and a half.
  • I have been seizure-free for five years.
  • Our home
  • Our family and friends
  • My husband – that he’s even in my life. (he’s my rock/my life)
  • My business/clients

Every night when I pray, I start with Thank You God for everyone and everything in my life. Thank you for my husband (the love of my life), our home and thank you for today. Sometimes that’s it, others I will ask for help – for family, friends, and sometimes for me.

I’m thankful for waking up in the morning. I’m thankful for the abilities I’ve been given and those I’ve learned. I’m thankful that I can type my blogs – I’m thankful that people read them!

This year Thanksgiving will be different. You see in July my step-Mom passed away. Dad had surgery in October – still healing (it’s OK that it’s a slow process). Kim – being a FEMA Inspector will be in New York.

I’m thankful that the hosts of the B&B he’s at will let him stay during the holiday. I’m thankful that I don’t have to search for a place for him to stay. I’m thankful that he’s in a safe place. I’m thankful that I can spend Thanksgiving with Dad. I’m thankful that my brother will be able to be there too. I’m thankful that Kim’s truck will get me where I need to go (it’s a wee bit beat up ’95 Dodge with a LOT of miles), it runs great and that’s what counts.

Yes, I miss my husband. But I am thankful for our cell phones! We talk every day.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?