Thursday, September 13, 2018

That Time I Fell

I often think about the past year's experiences had I not tripped and fallen on the uneven sidewalk while walking the dog.  I didn't see the raised part of the sidewalk, and, as I glanced to look at the toddler across the street, my feet didn't adjust and I went down on my side.  I was more embarrassed than hurt.  A very nice man stopped his car, got out and helped me to my feet.  I thanked him, and God, that I was able to stand up at all!  Whew!  I can still walk to my upcoming doctor's appointment.

I was due for a Colonoscopy procedure and had already scheduled an appointment.  I had a gut feeling that I was overdue...actually, I was one year. You can't let these things linger.  If the doc says "come back in two years," HE MEANS TWO YEARS! The doc found some polyps and removed them for further examination by a lab.  One of the polyps could not be had somehow become "flattened" and could not be excised. He scooped off a sample of it to send with the others. Within two days, I got the call...I had the "Big C" and it needed to come out. I was lucky.  I didn't have to lose the whole food processor, just the portion that was diseased.

I met with the surgeon...let's call him Dr. McDreamy #1.  We set the date for the surgery. I took some vacation time...and sick leave...and some more time to recover from the procedure.  I loved having an excuse to just lay around and be waited on by others.  Within a week, I was bored to death!  I saw Dr. McDreamy #1 a week later to follow up with the healing process.  I know he told me all kinds of things in the hospital, but I cannot be held responsible for remembering any of it while I was on meds!  His assistant told me to see an oncologist.  I guess this is normal practice for someone who has anything with cancer removed.  There might be stragglers hanging about. Let's get them now!

I loved meeting Dr. McDreamy #2...the oncologist.  He explained what he had observed from the surgical report. He even drew pictures on the back of my paperwork.  I was impressed! Chemo was an option.  It looked like the only option for me.  I thought about getting a second opinion, but I really wasn't in the greatest of shape to be going to appointments, even if I could get them within the same month!  I was there; I just said "let's do it!"

Chemo was fun....says no one!  At first, I let them use a vein in my arm.  This was not a good idea. I have skimpy veins.  I had already turned down the "port" scenario...I just couldn't wrap my head around it.  Well, guess what? After losing the feeling, then feeling nothing but agonizing pain in my arm from the first round, the port started to look like a very good option.  Another hospital procedure with Dr. McDreamy #1.  I enjoyed this!

I was originally scheduled for six rounds, but then they were cut to four.  I was pleased as I didn't think I could go through all of the side effects for that length of time.  I was lucky that I did not lose my hair; it just thinned out a bit. I was lucky that I never vomited spontaneously, as others told me I would. I was not so lucky with the depression, loss of appetite, and never allowed to be more than 60 seconds from a bathroom.  Most times I made it in time, but not always.  I was lucky to have a husband who continuously held me up with his positive attitude and did anything and everything for me.  I was lucky, also, to have BFFs that wouldn't leave me alone more than a day or two without making me laugh, providing me with great reads, and lending their ears for those days of whining.

As the fourth round approached, Dr. McDreamy #2 gave me the choice of whether or not to participate.  I had hit the bottom of the barrel, physically and emotionally. I was actually sick of watching "Let's Make a Deal" day after day! I said, "no more." He said, "okay." I was trembling from the fact that I actually stood up for myself.  I felt a sense of relief and serenity as I walked out of the office.  I followed up with a scan which came back clean. Yay!  I had the port removed by Dr. McDreamy #1.  Yay! I began taking steps to get my life back...YAY!!

It's been a year since the surgery.  I just had a new Colonoscopy which came back clean.  The CT scan of two weeks ago came back CLEAN! Dr. McDreamy #2 gave me a high five and told me to come back in four months. My life will never be the same, but I'm here, and that's a good life to have!

I don't know if the "fall" had anything to do with the flattened polyp, which led to the surgery.  It doesn't matter.  Cancer can get to anybody.  I thank God for the doctors, researchers, financial donors, and survivors, all of whom give of their time to pave the way for the much needed cure for this beast. I believe it will happen.  

This post is dedicated to Tootsie, my walking buddy, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in March. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  Please visit Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop here to read some great stories of a few of her friends!.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

My Gift to Me

If I were my mom, what gift would I give me?

If I were my mom, I would snag a “Forever” stamp, paste it to any envelope I could find and place a sheet of scratch paper with the following inside:

My Dearest,

You are absolutely beautiful and I love you more than I love life.  I've watched you grow into a strong and courageous woman who never gives up.  

My heart broke in half every time you fell but it was mended each time as you picked yourself up and moved on.  

I cried with you as your hopes and dreams drifted away so that the dreams of others could be pursued.  

I laughed and felt your joy of every single moment spent with your children…these are my most precious memories of all! 

I’m so very sorry that I could not be at your side through all of these experiences, but please know that I have lived them through you.  My spirit has been entrenched in your heart and I hope that you have felt my love all of these years.  

I so look forward to the day when we can throw our arms around each other again.

I love you,


My beloved mother passed away many years ago, shortly after I became a mother for the first time.  The gift that I would treasure most, would be the knowledge that in some way she has been able to watch as my life has blossomed.

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  Please click here and treat yourself to some great stories by some really fabulous writers! 

Thank you for stopping by today, and Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Happy Place

This is my most favorite place to be...THE BEACH!  I was so blessed to grow up in Southern California where a trip to the beach was always 30 minutes away!  As a child, my summers were spent squeezing as many neighborhood kids we could into my parents' station wagon (mini-vans were not yet invented) and making the trip down Beach Boulevard from Buena Park to Huntington Beach. Everyone had to carry something from the car to the sand so that all our stuff made it in one trip!  

The beach always held something magical for me.  I never had a bad day at the beach...well maybe once...but all the great times overshadowed that "one" bad time.  I had an argument with a plastic raft and it flipped me over so that I rode the wave "under" the raft and not on top of it.  As the wave brought me to the sand, it brushed me over a bunch of shells...a bunch of "oh doesn't that feel good now" shells!  I survived, but it took me a long time to go back into the water after that. 

I remember the beach was always sunny.  There was always a gentle breeze.  There was always the smell of the sea in the air and in my hair and on my body (along with the sunblock) and then sand all over my feet and inside of my bathing suit and I always had to wash myself off on the patio when I got home!  I didn't care!  I LOVED THE BEACH! 

As I grew older and had a driver's license, I didn't have to wait for mom to drive me to the beach.  I could drive myself...and I did...really want to.  Before school, during school and after school....I would dare myself to take that car and GO!  But I never did! I ditched school once in my entire high school life and do you think I went to the Beach?  No, I hung around so I could get caught!  But I made up for it in college...and I still graduated.  

I have the most wonderful childhood memories of summers at the beach.  As well, I have many wonderful memories as a young adult where I could go and be alone with my thoughts as I listened to the waves and inhaled the familiar smells.  When my children were born, we took them as often as we could.  When we moved to the mid west, I though I wouldn't survive.  There are no beaches in the mid west...there are places that call themselves beaches, with tiny little ripples they call waves...but they are not the beaches of Southern California!   

On our visits home, and after the plane lands and we've hit the closest In-N-Out, we head for the beach. We all become 10 years old again and we welcome the magic of the Beach with open arms!  

My Happy Place is part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Please stop by to read about the favorite places of her many friends!

Thanks for stopping by today. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Married to the Red Suit Guy!

Mr. No Excuses looks a tad bit like Jolly Old St. Nick, and I love the attention we get when we go places during the month of December!  I'm a little envious, however, because I know that everyone is looking at him and not at me!

A co-worker of Mr. No Excuses recently brought her 4 year old son into the office and almost immediately he had the "deer in the headlights reaction!"  Mr. No Excuses jumped right in!

St. Nick:  So, have you been a good boy this year?

Little One with very wide eyes:  Yes.

St. Nick: Well, I have a "Nice" list and a "Naughty" list. So you should go on the "Nice" list, right?

Little One, still with very wide eyes:  Yes.

St. Nick:  Okay then, what would you like Santa to bring you this year?

Little One, with eyes becoming normal for a 4 year old:  A Monster Truck!

St. Nick:  A Monster Truck...what color?

Little One, with happy eyes and ear-to-ear grin:  RED!!!

St. Nick:  How big? (holding out his hands about two feet apart) This big? (then bringing his hands a little closer) How about this big?

Little One:  Uh-huh!

St. Nick:  Okay then.  I am writing this Red Monster Truck about "this big."  You are on the "Nice" list right now, but there are still a few months until Christmas!  Make sure you stay on the "Nice" list, okay?

Little One:  Okay, Santa!

I am embarking upon a part-time seasonal career as Mrs. Claus.  I am researching her, pulling together a costume, collecting Christmas books to read and games to play....and THIS PRECIOUS LITTLE ONE falls right into the lap of Mr. No Excuses!!!  NOT FAIR!!!

But it is so much fun to walk through the mall during the months leading up to Christmas.  We get the best "deer in the headlights" looks ever! 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Kids on My Block!

Wouldn't it be wonderful to go back in time...just for a day...and relive the best memories of an earlier life?  On my street, there were nine of us girls within two or three years apart in age.  We were all in school together, in Girl Scouts, goofing off, ballet lessons, dress-up and just hanging out.  Some of the best times were the birthday parties.  Here's mine...

And here is my brother's...

Here we are goofing off....

The boys had their organized sports...ours would come later!

So, we had more parties...

We didn't set up play dates; we just knocked on the doors of our friends and were invited in.  We hung out all day until we heard our mom's voice calling us in for dinner.  We graduated high school, went to college, married and moved away.  And thanks to social media, some of us are finding each other again and we are reliving some of the best memories of our lives!

Today's post, The Kids on My Block, is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Stop by and enjoy some wonderful memories others have shared by clicking above.

Thanks for stopping by today!  Wishing you a great rest of the week!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I'd Like to Share....

I'm not ready to be an empty-nester!  No, I won't be one! Not me, no not me! My children no longer live with me but I just couldn't stand the thought of being completely "empty." So I brought the dog with me when I moved to Chicago with Mr. Noexcuses.  

Tootsie is a rescue who came to live with us in 2006.  We didn't know her age, or her breed, but we knew she was full of unconditional love!  The shelter guessed her age to be that of about 18 months, but had no clue as to what kind of dog she was.  Once we had her groomed for the first time, she looked like a giant Scottie, but with floppy ears!  As she grew, so did our guesses at her breed...part Schnauzer, part Basset and now we think she may be part Bear!

Over the years her health has been major illnesses, no broken bones and no hanky panky with the boys in the neighborhood!  After returning from a 10 day vacation we noticed a little anxiety panting that seems to have hung around, but nothing truly obnoxious.  We figured she was mad because we went to the beach and didn't take her with us! 

Tootsie loves the outdoors, especially the snow!  I hate the least I hate it at 6:00am or 10:00pm potty breaks, or anytime of day that I have to drive in it.  But she loves it and would stay out for hours if we would let her!  The heat, on the other hand, is not her favorite season!  It makes her very lazy...just like it does the rest of us...and she takes a lot of naps.  In the warmer seasons, she sleeps in the bathroom on the cool to the wall so she feels safe.  We are in a very warm season right now!

Last week as we were getting ready for bed, I could hear her scratching the bathroom floor and wall.  I thought that she was changing positions.  The scratching was continuous and I peeked around the corner to see if she was having a bad dream.  She was trying to get up, but couldn't make her legs work.  She would lift her head and it would drop right back down to the floor.  She was panting heavily which concerned me. I could see that she was awake while all of this was happening, but she never whimpered so I was confused.  She continued to attempt to get up, but could not. My thoughts turned to "seizure" and I began to panic.

I called Blue Pearl, a Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital about 15 minutes away from the house and described her condition.  They were so supportive and helpful and managed to calm me down enough so I could speak with regular words.  They suggested we bring her in so they could take a look.  Since she could not walk, we had to carry her.  This is where the "part bear" comes in.  She is a lug...a lovey lug, but nevertheless a chunky monkey!  

We arrived at the hospital and got her into a very large and open exam room. There were at least three technicians/doctors there to greet us.  We were escorted to a small waiting room while they examined Tootsie and I drew the short stick to fill out the forms. After a short wait, the Vet came in to talk to us.  I missed every other word that was spoken, but I did catch the words "not a seizure" and "probably just dehydration."  There was a concern that it might be an inner ear infection which caused dizziness (an explanation for not being able to stand). I have Vertigo, so I can relate to the room sort of spinning around at any given time. 

They wanted to give her some fluids, check her blood, and keep her overnight for observation if it was okay with us. I felt secure that she was in good hands.  We agreed that this would be a good idea.  We were welcome to stay if we wanted, however, they thought she would be fine and they would call us if there was any change.  Once she was settled and they had the blood results they said they would call and let us know their findings.  The next few hours were hell for me. I turned to my faith and prayed with everything I had. They called a few hours later with good news. There was a minor infection in her ears, and a slight elevation in her liver values. They were going to start her on antibiotics and a liver protectant.  They said Tootsie was resting well.  I felt very hopeful from the sound of the doctor's voice. 

Early the next morning, I called to see how she was doing.  The doctor was very excited to tell me that not only did she stand up on her own during the night, but that she was drinking and went outside to go potty.  I couldn't speak as the tears overflowed from relief and joy.  I think I must have thanked her at least a dozen times and said I would pick her up shortly.  

I feel to fortunate to have such a happy ending to this story.  It might not have been were it not for the incredibly professional, expert and loving attention given to our Princess Bear while she was in the care of Blue Pearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Elk Grove, Illinois.  

Thank you Blue Pearl, for everything! I hope that others who are in need of your services will think of you because of the story I share.   

This post is brought to you by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Please scamper over to see what others have to share today!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Grateful for Sight

Welcome to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  I'm sharing some sunsets (and a sunrise) that I've come across in my travels!

Sunset in Arizona

Sunrise in Brisbane, Australia

Sunset at Overholser Dam, Overholser, OK

Sunset, Coco Beach, FL

Sunset at the North Pole

The Overholser Dam picture provided by Pastor Rick Green, Lake Overholser Church of the Nazarene.  I am so very grateful that I can still watch sunsets and sunrises, as they imprint upon my head and heart just how beautiful nature can be.

Please stop by the Writer's Workshop for more spectacular pieces and pics!