Thursday, July 2, 2020

7777+ Days: #587 Life Jackets=Life Savers

7777+ Days: #587 Life Jackets=Life Savers: Enjoying the campfire with Rosie We just spent a few days up north breathing in the aromatic smells of the trees and surrounding ourse...

#587 Life Jackets=Life Savers

Enjoying the campfire with Rosie
We just spent a few days up north breathing in the aromatic smells of the trees and surrounding ourselves with nature at its best.  Actually it qualifies as the second best remedy for the present situation after the greatest medicine of all--grandchildren hugs from our recent Seattle trip.  With cancer and covid ever present on our minds, a break from both of these maladies has significantly improved our mental health.

Rob, my BHE, found a rustic (it was clean and had a bathroom) cabin which was  compatible with our drive to get away from it all. Rosie, the dog, escaped with us and enjoyed the romps through the woods and the chases after the chipmunks (although none were caught).  My plan to swim was achieved without any fear of drowning although between a tippy kayak and a wiggly dog, Rob was at risk for a dunk in the water.  It was my forty-seventh swim since our plunge into advocacy work and my goal to reach the fifty mark appears to be right around the corner.

On another note, I saw my oncologist (BOE-best oncologist ever) last week after my MRI.  The news, unfortunately, wasn’t good.  Party time has continued in my liver where the lesions have increased in number and in size.  Although this felt like a gut punch, it will not stop me from advocating and swimming and living the best way I know how. Quoting from one of Mary Oliver's poems, "I don't want to end up simply having visited this world" continues to be my mantra. 

As I advocate for more research funding for stage IV to ensure my daughter and granddaughters will never face a cancer diagnosis, I continue to explain to others that a cure may not be in my future. However, I’m still rooting for the brilliant researchers to discover another miracle drug and throw current metsters like me a lifejacket of more time.

June 20th was my sixth metastatic cancerversary and I want more years to hang out with my BHE and the BFE (best family ever). Although I’m now facing tougher side effects in the next few months with more scans and an array of worries, I am confident there is a shining light of hope on the horizon but need your help.  

Please consider a donation to my More For Stage IV fund at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Not only will my children and grandchildren benefit but hopefully, optimistically, fingers crossed and with “a touch on wood”; a new treatment is lurking in my future to keep me around for many more years.

Thanks for reading #587 of 7777+.

Monday, April 20, 2020

7777+ Days: #586 SHAZAM! This is Life Changing

7777+ Days: #586 SHAZAM! This is Life Changing: We are masked, thanks to sister Susan. It's been a while since my last post when...  Shazam ! Just like that our world was turned...

#586 SHAZAM! This is Life Changing

We are masked, thanks to sister Susan.

It's been a while since my last post when... Shazam! Just like that our world was turned upside down and blog writing became secondary. While trying to adjust to the new norm of living with Covid19,  I realized the troubling feelings I was experiencing were similar to the ones I had already agonized over after learning of my terminal diagnosis almost six years ago.

This led me to researching the five stages of grief and how it relates to both my initial emotions with cancer and the Coronavirus that is consuming everyone's lives. One of my findings was David Kessler's words describing what we may be experiencing due to the recent events even though we may not necessarily be suffering the loss of a loved one.

"The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ‘s terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss. At times, people in grief will often report more stages. Just remember your grief is as unique as you are."

What makes this message so relevant to the Coronavirus and to my living with terminal cancer are the similar feelings they both have evoked.

Covid19--Maybe it isn't as bad as the news reports are stating.
My cancer--A possible misdiagnosis?  Tests can be wrong, can't they?

Covid19--I am so angry I can't see my friends and family and a return to my normal life.
My cancer--Why has this happened to me?  I want to scream and rant and rave. Life is so unfair.

Covid19--Please, higher powers, hear our prayers and requests to get rid of this menace.
My cancer--Help me, I will do anything to be able to live longer.

Covid19--Why us? I don't see any way we can recover.  It all seems hopeless for our world to survive.
My cancer--There are few treatments to keep me alive and there is no cure.  I won't see my grandchildren grow up.  I will not see ___________.  (Fill in the blank with any number of things).

Covid19--  I get it now.  Accepting a different way of living life and appreciating all I do have will make this catastrophe not feel quite so catastrophic.  Good must come from this and we will be better humans taking care of the earth and each other.
My cancer--I plan to fill my days with joy, laughter and discovery. Cancer will not define who I am.

Ruminating about these five stages is exhausting and occurs on a regular basis for me.  You see, life with a terminal disease is not always easy for others to understand...and that's okay, I get it. But perhaps those of you experiencing this coronavirus crisis and the stressful emotions involved, you may now understand what I, and many others like me, face every single day. I will keep going and so will you--one day at a time.

Thanks for reading #586 of 7777.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

7777+ Days: #585 Sunshine, Animals and Teeth.

7777+ Days: #585 Sunshine, Animals and Teeth.: Rosie the dog It's been a while (too long) since I've plopped down at the computer and composed a ditty to share.  The reas...

#585 Sunshine, Animals and Teeth.

Rosie the dog

It's been a while (too long) since I've plopped down at the computer and composed a ditty to share.  The reason for my no show these past few months?  Life with all of its ups and downs took over and writing was not at the top of my "to do" list.

Today is a new day so will attempt to write a profound blog and astound you with the knowledge bestowed upon me by this wretched disease.  Realistically, it most likely will be the usual rambling so bear with me as I blather away!

 Due to a new medication change, my body has had to adjust to the side effects which has sent it into a bit of a rebellious mode. This lovely drug has given me a new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes which entails blood pricking, diet monitoring and moving when all I want to do is stay in bed.  And to add to that debacle, the dreaded diarrhea is back and typifies the old adage--"when the shit hits the fan..."  You can only imagine.

 Cancer spares no one their dignity or their feelings as a healthy being but those of us living with it carry on.  Yeah, right.  That last statement certainly sounds like a Pollyanna quote or a picture of me belting out , "The sun will come out tomorrow..."  Cancer sucks and takes away so much of who we are---if we let it.

A month ago, I said, "Enough!  You will steal no more from me".  I am taking my joy back...and so I have.  Here's a short list of my joys--simple, silly or straightforward--in a nutshell; and no particular order.

1.  My electric toothbrush takes two minutes to clean my teeth.  For two whole minutes I think about how lucky I am to have teeth.

2.  The sun is shining--the warmth penetrates into my inner cells with their uplifting rays.  My apologies if it sounds a tad obnoxious to my friends living in a colder climate, but the 80 degree weather we experience daily certainly helps put a smile on my face.

Our little animal family
3.  My BHE being there for me...always.  Having a loving man by my side through all the scans, appointments and the outright scariness of this disease proves once again how I hit the jackpot of husbands.

4.  The beauty of nature fills me up--soaking it in every time I step outside.  I love to discover something new on my walks whether it is a tree blooming or one of the many hummingbirds flitting past my face.  I am always in awe of Mother Earth.  (On a side note, let's start taking better care of her.)

5.  The past month we've had a number of family members (including the best ever grandchildren, children and spouses and sister and hub!) visiting the desert.  Since they all arrived from cold and overcast places, the joy on their faces as they reacted to the sunshine was priceless.

6.  Good food.  There is an abundance of fresh food available to us and I am appreciative of the hard work of the farmers in the area.

7.  Music abounds from the magical human voices in the complex to the local morning doves waking me outside my window.  Surrounded by the sounds brings me joy.

8.  My two "Learning in Retirement" classes have been both stimulating and educational.  Who would have thought listening to the beauty of opera would be so moving?  Wonders never cease.  Not only have I opened my ears and mind to this splendid genre but my BHE has also embraced my new found music pleasure.

9. A major positive mood changer named Rosie came into our lives this past December. This bundle of energy is a six year old rescue mutt from the local animal shelter.  Despite a few quirks (don't we all have some?), she has brought endless joy to both of us. After being abandoned on the streets and taken to a kill shelter, we feel we saved our little dog's life; but truly she is returning the favor tenfold.  My advice--get a dog--you won't regret it. By the way, never fear the cat's safety,  Catfish continues her reign as head animal in the household and shows her dominance with one swipe to poor Rosie's nose.  No blood drawn but the territory has been established.

10.  I'll end this "joy" list with friends. Carole King's famous song, You've got a Friend" says it best.  In times of trouble or not, good friends truly have my back and have lifted me up while going through some rough spots.  My hope is to someday return their kindness.

A bit of a cheesy post but it is how I am managing through difficult times while negotiating this wild ride every single day.

Thanks for reading #585 of 7777+.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

7777+ Days: #584 Help Us Reach Next October

The last day of October.  3,596 lovely people have died since October 1 from MBC.  That number times 12 = over 43,000 this year.  Let's start reducing these deaths beginning today.

7777+ Days: #584 Help Us Reach Next October: Champion fundraisers! October 31 Goals The last day of the month and I would be remiss in not plugging the most important goal...