Tuesday, November 28, 2017

#541 Turkey and The Best of the Trimmings

Thanksgiving 2017 is in the official books as one of the best!  All three of our offspring plus our favorite daughter-in-law and son-in-law and son's girlfriend arrived safely throughout the week with constant celebrations as they slowly appeared at the door .  The much anticipated and beloved granddaughter also made her entrance with her mama and daddy and, if you are a grandparent, you have experienced the feeling of a "grandparent love fest".   Thank goodness my children know they have also been well loved so they didn't feel slighted or ignored--too much-- as I oohed and ahhed over this beautiful little girl.

These memories of bowling, hiking, running the Berbee Derby on turkey day, animal watching at the zoo and just hanging out will be cherished for the year but, alas, a few questions frequently pop up if you are living with cancer.  Will I be here next year?  If I am here will I be able to do the things we did or will I be bed ridden?  What if?  How will?  When????

Fortunately life right now is pretty darn rosy and the continuous upward bound roller coaster ride is one I am fully embracing.  To ponder those pesky questions of what may happen is not productive so a mental adjustment is often required to get back on track of "living in the moment" and basking in my stable state. Besides, the most adorable grandchild...ever...needs her grandma around to watch her grow into those big shoes so the "don't worry, be happy, " mantra has been resurrected.

At our last cancer support group at temple our rabbi read an article titled, 9 Thanksgiving Lessons I Learned From Cancer by Mache Seibel, MD.  I highly recommend taking a few moments today and read--in his words--"some things that aren't taught well in medical books".
9 Thanksgiving Lessons I Learned From Cancer .  If you have a loved one with cancer this may give some insight explaining our actions.

The week after Thanksgiving I still treasure the memories and how thankful I am for family and friends.  You also can delight in this wonderful state of thankfulness by supporting me and my 155,000 friends living with MBC with a donation to UW Carbone Cancer Center (More For Stage IV).  We will continually thank you as if our life depended on it... and guess what?  It does.

Thanks for reading #541 of 7777.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#540 Rob Gooze Is Da Man!

Here's to my rock star of a husband!
Since it is Thanksgiving week it seems entirely appropriate to declare my immense gratitude to my  husband who will be receiving the Husband of the Year award in our house.  Warning--it is a bit of a sappy blog but acknowledgement is due to the brilliant go getter and supporter that he is.

Of course he will be embarrassed by this post but I don't care because when it comes to picking a husband, I won the lottery a gazillion times over.  He has shown time after time how you continue to love a person despite obstacles that no one sees when they start out on this adventure of life and marriage.

  After my first diagnosis, instead of panicking and running to the hills,  I saw my beloved husband step up and figure out how we were going to get through a difficult year of chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation.  He insisted on going to every treatment, asking questions and making sure I had everything I needed when I would come home exhausted from the ordeal of the day.  Completing that hell of a year strengthened an already solid relationship and made us appreciate each other and every day more than ever.

One of the many talents of Rob Gooze
That was almost six years ago and now this... this hellish ride of a terminal diagnosis that, when given the news, sent us into each other's arms with fear searing through our bodies. Instead of backing out of our partnership and deciding this was not what he signed up for thirty-nine years ago, this incredible man has dug in for the long haul and has been standing beside me with his fists up taking on cancer as if his life also depended on it... and maybe it does.  He wants me hanging around for a long long time and he proves it with his ferocious tenacity of demanding answers and getting money into the hands of the researchers who can save my life.

By using his skills as a negotiator, logistics guru, schmoozer and all around "get things done" kind of guy, he has helped raise a ton of money (currently we have raised almost $600,000 in three years) and awareness for MBC.  Want a meeting with Paul Ryan?  Check, he arranged it.  Need interviews on television stations to spread the word?  Check, he did it.  Newspapers, magazine articles, you name it broadcasting the word about this disease-- he managed to make it happen. Design a webpage when it is not his expertise--no problem, got it done--www.onewomanmanylakes.org. One day he decided a brochure should be available to others so he convinced some marketing experts to advise him on how to do it and... Voila!  it resulted in a creative and impressive handout to get people involved.

Right now he thinks he is doing this for me--to keep me from succumbing to this wretched disease-- but I look at the bigger picture and see he is making a difference so not one more person has to hear those life changing words of, "You have a terminal disease".  That's the kind of guy he is and that's why I love him more each day and am so thankful we are riding in the same buggy together. As we approach the holiday of giving thanks I publicly and loudly send my gratitude to this super hero of mine for not only standing by his woman but whipping up the best omelets...EVER.    Love, love, love this man of mine.

To continue this love fest, please consider a donation to UW Carbone Cancer Center, and we can all be grateful for a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks for reading #520 of 7777.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

#539 Wheee! It's a Ride

Even on cloudy days, look for the rainbow
Life is full of struggles from health issues to financial woes to something as simple as a dog depositing his...you know what on the freshly cleaned carpet downstairs. Sometimes I find myself totally undone by the simplest action from the dog yet find strength to carry on when life becomes more complicated. Often times, though, a mysterious twitch in my body can signal a full blown catastrophic meltdown. 

Case in point: My every day health can be like a ride on the scariest roller coaster ever built.  When I am flying upwards and feeling good, everything around me is grand--I swim farther, play harder, even cook dinner if Rob lets me in the kitchen.  However, that downward plunge is fast and furious when  an aching hip or back pain raises concern and my panic button goes into full alert.  Cancer does that--it can make a mountain out of a molehill.  

This past fall I had an aching back that wouldn't go away and each step I took I was sure it was the cancer cells growing by leaps and bounds. Thoughts crept into my brain of what's next on this bumpy road I'm traveling. I've passed the three year mark of median survival rates so... is this it--I've exceeded my limit?  These thoughts combined with the death of a well known advocate who seemed to tackle every obstacle with such gusto and determination left me completely unhinged. 

Fortunately for me the news is good.  After the medical scans were completed, it appears my ugly cancer cells are in retreat--not gone and forgotten-- but certainly not expanding into some type of army of doom. I can now BREATHE a sigh of relief and get back into the roller coaster for the next hair raising ride.  With cancer it's a never ending jaunt. 

So what to do with splendid news.  Travel to the Bahamas and grab onto this feeling and hope it lasts a tad longer.  The trip reinforced the phrase, Make Every Day Matter, and we certainly relished that motto by finding a pristine place called Cat Island (No abundance of cats.  Supposedly it was named after a Captain Catt).  

Swimming was magnificent in the bluest waters I’ve ever seen and the sandy beach stretched for a mile in front of our cottage. I seized every opportunity to be floating in that blissful state of suspension. Gliding along with a full view of the ocean floor and not one shark or nibble from a fish the entire time was a mini heaven for me.  Of course an official One Woman Many Lakes swim is now in the record books but it doesn’t describe the splendor of this swim. 

Our fishing adventure was one more of those memorable moments that will be cherished forever.  The three of us--Rob, the guide and I set off on another gorgeous morning to see if we could catch the elusive and speedy bonefish.  After Rob's numerous casting and a no show every time, he decided it was time for me to attempt this challenge of the fish face off.  Two casts later and I hooked the little booger, letting it run for a bit and then Bingo!  got it in the net.  I was thrilled and now poor Rob has to listen to my bragging rights to catching the only fish of the day.  Guess we will have to make a return trip next year so he can redeem his fish throne. 

Thanks for reading #539 of 7777.