Monday, March 20, 2017

#515 Are We Crazy?

The old--stay tuned for the new.

To remodel the kitchen or not? That is the question floating through our house at the moment.  The problem isn't if it shouldn't be remodeled. It is a 25 year old kitchen with cupboards that were cheaply made and, after the passing of time, they are looking pretty rough around the edges.

Rob and I have been discussing this at length--invest in the house and enjoy the beautiful surroundings for many years or live with it as is until we are shuttled off to a retirement home.

What the elephant in the room isn't shouting is if I will be around to appreciate it for the next 10- 15 years or will this disease progress quickly and... well, it could get complicated.  We don't discuss that angle.  Instead we throw ideas back and forth on increased value of the home, owner benefits--all those "logistical" questions based on if we should proceed with this foolhardy idea; or could it actually be a valid move in the right direction?

The bottom line for me is will I be around X number of years to get MY value of out it?  Will the last knob get screwed in as I lie in the next room feeling screwed out of a longer life or will I be drinking my morning coffee reveling in a more efficient kitchen design for many more years?  Right now I'm feeling pretty confident of the latter scenario.

To do or not to do--always an unanswered question as we carefully proceed through life making decisions based often on financial advantages and not always taking in consideration our longevity.  My gut feeling is to bite the bullet and get it done.  For once I would love to look forward to opening that aggravating lazy susan cupboard and not have it collapse throwing the contents topsy turvy all over the floor.

Worth the risk of not enjoying it for an eternity?  Cancer takes another back seat on this one as my vote is yes; and I do believe I can convince the "best ever husband" the same.

Stay tuned for more home improvement adventures.  Oh, and by the way, to keep me sipping my coffee in the new kitchen, go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate.

Don't forget Our call to action:  As the health care legislation is presently working its way through Congress please email your representative and senators-- of our need for protection in health care affordability.  Do it today and then ask twenty friends to do the same.  Together we can make a difference.

Thanks for reading #515 of 7777.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#514 Don't Let A Road Block Your Way

A slight glitch of plans in the road.
Plans:  a method for achieving an end
b :  an often customary method of doing something :  procedurec :  a detailed formulation of a program of action
d :  goal,  aim

Plans. We make them, we organize them and we coordinate them; and sometimes they are altered on a whim or a catastrophe or for no apparent reason at all.  Having cancer often makes planning a precarious undertaking but can also be gratifying to help us look forward, onward; and the best is when our intentions are fulfilled.

Due to my continuing saga of health issues, our plans to Washington DC were on, and then possibly on hold, and then back on again.  I hate the uncertainty this disease renders me when my objective is to get from point A to B without interference.

A little help from friends gets us through every time.

Plan or not to plan? That is the million dollar (or plane ticket) question.  My conclusion--do it, get insurance if need be, use the cancer card to get out of things, whatever it takes-- just do it.  Cancer should not put life on hold waiting for the day when the body is motivated to cooperate.  It's stupid cancer, for crying out loud, and I for one will suck it up and keep planning and doing; or even repair a road with a few rocks and hardy friends, if need be (See the above picture), to get to my destination.

Phew! Live it up is my mantra so it is off to grand parenting duties in Seattle, family fun in Hawaii and anything else that might hit my fancy.  Time is a'wasting and those adventurous moments must be seized, cherished and above all, treasured.

With this short blog, you have plenty of time to go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so all of us can fill our calendars with the luxury of carefree escapades.

Thanks for reading #514 of 7777.

Friday, March 10, 2017

#513 Voices Heard on the Hill

The two of us, Speaker Ryan and our son, David

Well it's over.  The much anticipated meetings with the big wigs on "The Hill" are in the history books and the verdict?  Time will tell but here's a brief recap of what transpired and how the day unfolded.

First of all, let me begin with a caveat about life as a metster and our days that are the feeling good, conquer the world kind of days; or the down right rotten ones-- leave me alone kind of day. We never know which one will present itself until our feet hit the floor.

Unfortunately for me the BIG day would have better spent in bed than traipsing across Washington DC but, alas, here we were and the stakes were too high to be a no show.  The morning began with a sleepless night due to my ongoing enemy--insomnia.  From there it continued to deteriorate into a long, and literally $hitty day (TMI- I won't go into details but nearly every bathroom was visited in both the House and Senate buildings). Oh, the joys of the side effects from medicines that are prolonging my life...

But I digress.

The morning meetings with the legislators went smoothly with their aides and Senator Baldwin indicating approval regarding more funding for research.  How could they contradict me as I described my limited time here and my mission on protecting my children and grandchild and all future generations from this ugly disease?

My final meeting was at the Capitol for a private session with Speaker Ryan. He agreed that supporting research and curing cancer must be a top priority in our country. I reminded him of the fact that we do not have the luxury of years or even months to wait for the debate on where to find the money.  I also informed him of his and our country's moral obligation to solve this "problem" quickly.

Was he listening?  He assured me this was an uppermost concern for him as he had a family member die of metastatic breast cancer.  I expressed my dismay that 600,000 Americans will die from cancer this year--many more than any terrorist attacks. He nodded in agreement.  Rob (the true genius behind all these meetings and best husband...ever) pointed out our concern of the present administration's beliefs on reducing the need for science and research. Ryan responded about being the ballast on the boat driving research forward and would not let that happen (No political comment from me).

One of the biggest concerns for the cancer community is what will happen to our health care and the financial toxicity that we face with this diagnosis. Again, I was assured that we will be protected (Really, I mean...REALLY?).

So, a successful experience or a bust?  The verdict is still out until we see NCI's funding increased and our health care becomes affordable.  Stay tuned.  With a brief 15 minutes of Speaker Ryan's time, the hope is my story and those of you who responded to my request for advice will prompt him and others on the Hill to do the right thing.

Thank you for all your positive vibes and good wishes.  My voice was one small whisper in everyone's ear but I am hoping it will resound into a chorus of shouts from all of us.

Our call to action:  As the health care legislation is presently working its way through Congress please email your representative and senators-- of our need for protection in health care affordability.  Do it today and then ask twenty friends to do the same.  Together we can make a difference.

Thanks for reading # 513 of 7777.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#512 The Update on My Big Date

The meeting is coming!  The meeting is coming!  In two days we will be in Washington DC convening with our legislators and Speaker Ryan speaking to them about metastatic breast cancer and all Stage IV cancers.  I will have the ear of the #3 person in the country and I don't want to blow it.  Pressure is on and I'm feeling like the kicker in a tied football game--hit it and you are the hero--miss and you are in the doghouse.

To make sure I cover everything I want to say in my short 15 minutes with the Speaker, I asked the metastatic community through the closed Facebook pages to give me advice...and the words began to flow.  Over 150 comments came in ranging from: "Tell him your story", to "Don't wear pink--wear black", to "Research must be a priority"; and most often expressed, "Make health care affordable.".  All were both heartwarming and heart wrenching ("I miss my mom every day").  I also heard from non cancer women offering support as they could some day be in this cancer hole without a cure in sight.

How could I let these voices go unheard--they were profoundly expressed and affirmed what we all want--more time.  Thanks to modern technology Rob copied and pasted the comments on twelve sheets of paper (removing all names) and sent them to the legislators and Speaker Ryan's office.  Let them read and hear our voices and our outrage at being ignored.

Stay tuned next week when I can report what happened.  I'm not expecting any miracles or huge revelations on his part but maybe, just maybe, when a bill comes up regarding more funding, he will hear my voice in his ear about our country's moral obligation to protect all citizens--especially those who are living/dying with this disease every single day.

As always, keep sending the donations to UW Carbone Cancer Center so if our government doesn't make it a priority, we can assure these dedicated scientists support towards finding a cure.

Thanks for reading #512 of 7777.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#511 La La La La...I Feel Great!

Hiking on the top of the mountain

I am completely stumped this week to come up with a blog entry.  Usually I can wiggle something out of my brain but...nope, not a thing is jumping out at me of what to say.

After thinking about this dilemma, I have concluded that it must be a number of reasons why I am void of words tonight.  Here are a couple of thoughts in no particular order.

1. I feel great--no pains or aches or worries--finally.
2.  Rob has been behaving himself and hasn't created any type of comedy routine I can report.
3.  Kids are moving through life quite nicely.
4.  Grand baby, well, I could write volumes about her but will spare you.
5.  Some big meetings coming up with legislators and the #3 man in the White House but will wait until it is over.
6.  No issues with anyone that I can think of offhand.
7.  I'm hiking and swimming; and did I mention I feel great?
8.  Life feels normal for a change.

And that's about the best summary of why I am in a writer's block funk.  No problem because this feeling of floating along like a La La Land movie is pretty darn good and I can't ask for anything more than that.

Now for a gentle reminder to keep me in this writing funk (it's okay, really) is to donate to UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Thanks for reading this non blog of a blog #511 of 7777.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#510 Surprise, Surprise!

The two of us after the surprise

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and least when we expect them--hence, that's what defines a surprise (more later on my brainless, and oh so obvious, declaration).

Lately it seems I've had my share of "not so grand" surprises clobber me.  It began with the first bombshell from the suspicious mammogram. No, it can't be cancer because that doesn't happen to healthy old me...surprise, yes it does.  Scans revealing progression--the surprise was in my denial the cells were still behaving themselves.  Surprise at the negative reactions of some people when they find out I have metastatic breast cancer ( Don't run from me, I am not contagious).  The white blood count surprised me when I was feeling robust; and low and behold it was in the pits.  Surprise from the response of the last series of injections that left me bedridden for two weeks.  Enough of these bombshells. According to Jane Austen Emma, "Surprises are foolish things.  The pleasure is not enhanced, and the convenience is often considerable."  I'd have to agree with her.


Along came one of those surprises that bowled me over leaving me speechless and dumbfounded but thrilled with the outcome.  The story, which will be told for years to come, began three weeks ago between Best Ever husband, Rob and my super sneaky and fabulous sister, Susan.

A few weeks ago, I had a terrible reaction to the hormone injections I receive once a month and, as a result, have been in considerable pain.  Super sneaky Susan contacted BE husband about coming out to cheer me up and, in her words, "While we're at it, let's keep it a secret" (She didn't realize the amount of pain killers I was on so, in my defense, it wasn't too difficult--but I digress and also making excuses).

With friends in on the scheme, they arranged my ride to the doctor's office while Rob covertly picked Susan up at the airport.  Meanwhile, these so called trustworthy friends boldly lied to me about the need to head directly to pool 8 before going home.  Naive me never had a clue.  Walking to the pool I searched for our friends and saw a woman across the way smiling at me.  I distinctly remembered registering in my brain how familiar she looked--cousin Liz, I thought--but kept cluelessly walking towards the couple.  Friend, Colleen, had to point out that Rob was there--didn't even see him --when this familiar/unfamiliar person stood up and said hello.  Suddenly I realized my clever as a fox sister had pulled the ultimate prank on me.

Both of them, without me even remotely suspecting anything, can be crowned Academy award winners of all as the instigators behind the biggest and best surprise...ever!  So, Jane Austen Emma, I guess all surprises are not necessarily foolish things.  Yes, I did feel a tad daft for being completely bamboozled, but it was well worth the end result.  Thanks, sneaky Susan and wily Rob.  You got me!

Of course, to celebrate surprises go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so my sister and I can continue shocking the britches off each other. It's my turn to get her back!

Thanks for reading # 510 of 7777.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#509 A Vote For Greg is a Vote "Garding Against Cancer"

Working together is what we do to make sure cancer not only takes a back seat but gets kicked under the bus.  The UW Men's basketball coach, Greg Gard, has a campaign under way through ESPN supporting researchers by providing them with more resources to make cancer disappear or at least renders it to a chronic condition.  That is our ultimate hope; and being generous philanthropists, they are willing to work towards that reality.  "Show us the money, ESPN" and let's make it happen.

You can do your part by going to the website (below) to send Greg on to the next level of funding.  It is so simple I even did it-- once a day--takes less time than brushing your teeth in the morning.  Garding Against Cancer--one more way to make this playing field fair for all of us.

Sink a three pointer from your comfy chair and vote every day until he wins the big one. All you need to do is click here-- Vote for Greg Gard and it will then direct you to sign up for ESPN. Next, find Greg Gard's name and push the vote button.  Bingo!  You are done.  Oh, and no worries-- it won't cost you a dime.  Trust me, it is so easy and will make a significant  difference for our researchers at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

After clicking on Greg's site, go to mine, More For Stage IV , and make a donation to further increase the possibilities to finding that elusive cure. It's there; and with more funding and your help this dream could win the most humungous prize of all.

Thanks for reading #509 of 7777.