Sunday, April 30, 2006

We get by with a little help from our friends..........

Starting last Saturday my week was not a good one. On Saturday I woke up with an intense sore throat. Went to the doctor and got antibiotics for strep throat. I went to work Monday thru Thursday feeling tired and draggy. On Friday I woke up with the mother of all sore throats. The strep was not this painful. I tried to nurse it but I had to run and help a friend who was having a problem. Her tire shredded on the parkway and she desperately needed a tire. She is on hard times since her husband chose to vanish after their six month anniversary. She had lived with him for nine years prior to them getting married so she was quite stunned and has been working hard to rebuild her life. She needed a friend to assist her and she needed to use my credit card to get her out of a jam. I did that and she came back to my house where we caught up. Hadn't seen her in two years since she had visited me in the hospital post surgery. By the time she left my throat was on fire. I began nursing it with chicken soup and tea with honey. I was having flashbacks now to the worst cold I ever had in my life. I anticipated waking up with a horrible cold on Saturday and that's just what happened. I believe I have been through four boutique size boxes of tissues. I am cursing myself for not splurging for the ones with lotion as my nose could double for Rudolph. My right nostril is lie a spigot and my throat is still miserable. I simply MUST go to work tomorrow. I laid around all day yesterday. Couldn't really stay in bed and sleep because my head won't permit it. I hate colds. They can cure polio but they can't find a cure for a common cold? Hard to believe.
I just took a longggggg hotttttttt shower. I now smell like a delicious fruit salad. Verbena and ginger. Oddly I can smell. Go figure.
I am going to go on Pogo and work on my game badges there. It always takes my mind off the physical miseries of life.
I will say this: the friend I helped overcame addictions to alcohol and drugs. Recently one of her closest friends relapsed. When her husband walked out it would have been so easy to go back to old bad habits that helped her cope before. I am proud of her. She will rebuild.......with a little help from her friends.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


This picture is of one of my birthday is a dear friend's birthday who gets the cake love that I have. I was going to get a cake with her name on it, post the pic and eat the cake in her honor. However, this weekend I was in the process of cleaning out my garage freezer when I found a cheesecake from Trader Joe's. You know when it comes to certain things I have NOOOOO self control. I did cut the cheesecake in half and take part of it to my ailing Dad. The rest I am now wearing around my middle! Rob would only have ONE piece of it. Don't think he's got self control. He vetoed the cheesecake in favor of his new addiction, Ben & Jerry's mint chocolate cookie ice cream. I am starting to suspect they have crack in this. I have never seen the man under the influence of a food like this, with the exception of beer, but actually given the choice, he'll go for the Ben & Jerry's. I love the man with all my heart but at times I ask myself am I feeding his addiction????

Back to the topic at hand, today is Xzasporated1's birthday. When I began to journal on AOL I was FTP ignorant. Jennifer taught me all about it.In no time she had me uploading pictures and music. When we all made the exodus to BLOG SPOT she came in and tweeked my journal, making it the lovely blog that it is. The flowers that you see here daily, were added by her. I genuinely like Jennifer, and not just for all the help and instruction she has given me. She has the greatest wit and sense of humor. Whether it's talking about her duties as a Meema (which she takes very seriously) or her duties as Walter's Mommy (lucky little Havenese) or her job as a college professor (one can only hope they realize how lucky they are), you can expect a witty entry. I often find myself laughing out loud. I feel she has brought so much to the journaling community. Her other blog, The Woes and Prose of an American Idol Fan is widely read and highly praised by people as well as blog critics. No one calls it as well as her. She's been with it since Season 1. I was a late comer and often rely on her insights as an "old timer". lol
So today please check out one of her blogs, be it her American Idol or her other
Still Randomly Rambling.
I promise you won't be disappointed.
And in her honor, please raise your fork and have a piece of cake to toast our fellow VIVI award recipient. Blogger extraordinaire we salute you. Have a wonderful day with many happy returns.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Raining and chilly..................

It's 5:30 Sunday morning. Or late Saturday night depending on how you see it. I have been awake since 4 a.m. I have tossed about so much I am sore again. Went through the same thing yesterday morning. I was so dizzy yesterday and not feeling well. I was able to drift back to sleep and when I woke up again at 10 a.m. I felt quite ill. All week my sinuses were bothering me but now my throat and chest hurt as well. I called the doctor who insisted I come in. Strep. Grrrrrr. This is the result of a coworker whose children both had strep. She came to work coughing all over the place and of course used the computer I most often use. Despite hand washing and such, germs seem to manage to survive and often I seem susceptible to strep. I filled my antibiotics and am already feeling somewhat better. I also made a pot of homemade chicken soup which is the only thing that really seems to help a sore throat.

It was 80 on Thursday here. People were out in shorts and flip flops. It was hot. The following day the temperature hit 60 and was in the high 50s for today. It's been raining nonstop but we needed that rain. Our lawn is greening up and I see some tulips blooming in the garden where the daffodils are already done. It's so great to walk outside and see what is in bloom.

Yesterday Rob and I watched several episodes of a new HBO series about polygamy. It's really interesting and quite amusing. The man keeps popping Viagra after he has some continuously frustrating nights. BIG LOVE is the name of it. I personally think that anyone who has ever been married has to wonder why anyone would want multiple spouses. Trying to have a good relationship with ONE person is hard enough but trying to please several at the same time. The show explores some of the obvious problems such as jealousy and some of the wives being materiastically driven to have more. It's interesting and I think rather well done. We now find ourselves watching certain shows and taping others because there are so many on Sunday evening that we are interested in. I never thought this could happen to me. I went six months without a television being turned on in my old house.

A man's errors are his portals of discovery.
James Joyce

Friday, April 21, 2006

Surivor's Guilt

I don't know if any of you will have ever heard about this before but there is something that haunts every cancer survivor. It's called survivor's guilt. Every time you know of someone who lost their battle with cancer you feel guilty for having won yours. You feel that there has to be some hidden reason and at times you feel compelled to discover what that reason is. If the person who passes on is younger than you the guilt is stronger. When I initially survived the cancer I felt that it was because I was destined to raise my son. As he got older I feared that he no longer needed me and perhaps God would decide then was the time. When my son was 16 and developed leukemia along with it came his survivor's guilt. I will never forget when my son was hospitalized for months continuously. A young boy just over a year old named Jimmy had been diagnosed with AML (adult leukemia). That is fatal in all but 5% of cases. My son felt guilty because he was fortunate enough to have ALL (childhood leukemia). His guilt increased when Jimmy died. I had to explain to him that it had nothing to do with him. At the same time I was experiencing my own sort of guilt. What put it over the top for me was when a sixteen year old died from Hodgkins disease, the same type of cancer I had had. Even though he was diagnosed early and received excellent treatment, nothing worked. I was sitting in the waiting room of the outpatient clinic when he ran out of the doctor's office screaming. The scream made it obvious that he had received very bad news. His parents were with the doctor and I jumped up and threw my arms around him. I felt faint but I kept a stiff upper lip as far as he could see. It was later when I was alone that I fell apart.
Right now I am again feeling some survivor's guilt. I feel guilty that my son is a grown adult and Pam's children, especially her daughter whom she called "Kissy" in her entries, still need her so.
Once again I look at someone who's life had real substance and I ask "WHY"?
There are no answers. I know the pat answers that are given. They don't seem to bring comfort. When someone whose children still need them leaves it always feels too soon. These are things that I will struggle with as long as I live I suspect.
I only know that it makes me realize how special life is and that I have to appreciate each and every day. I can't afford to waste even one day. None of us knows how long we have but we can control the quality of the life we live. I strive to bring what I can to those who are a part of my life .... and I pray, for understanding and for patience....and for the families that are left behind.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Random thoughts

On Easter Sunday I forgot to mention two things that happened. My Dad lost his crown as he was attempting to eat his Easter ham. My mother was busy still getting dinner on the table. He kept asking her to stop everything and come put his crown back on as the post was sticking his tongue and causing him discomfort. Mom kept ignoring him. Finally he looked at Rob and I and said that whoever helped him would be put in his will and my mother would be eliminated for not helping him. I can't tell you how this sounds coming out of the mouth of an 83 yr. old man but trust me it was damn funny. Later on my mother began to fuss over her Boston terrier puppy and he stated that he hoped in his next life he came back as a Boston puppy so that he might get some of her attention. That's when the laughter gripped me and I had tears rolling down my face. I love when he gets annoyed because his sarcastic wit takes over and he comes up with some real gems. Like the time my childhood best friend asked where my mother was and he said "in my pocket, where she always is!".
He's a character with his Southern accent. Honestly his mother was so much like Miss Daisy it was scarey.
Last night I had quite the panic attack. I have noticed that since I had the heart surgery I don't have such a strong feeling that I might lose consciousness as I used to have. It's still a miserable feeling with the heart racing and the frequent trips to the bathroom, and the oh so dry mouth. I do have ativan for just such ordeals and within about twenty minutes I had some relief. I did wake up my very tired husband for a quick hug. Bless that man, he never complains but only asks what he can do to help me. It's times like this that although I appreciate him on a daily basis, make me realize that in a world of coal I have a diamond. Thank you baby for always, and I mean always, coming through for me.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Living with Fear

I wondered last week if I was experiencing the last few minutes of my life.
I can't remember exactly what I was doing but suddenly a knife type stabbing pain hit my chest and felt like it was my heart. It knocked the wind out of me. There have been times since my heart surgery that I have experienced pain. This one was intense and startled me. I wondered if I should call an ambulance but I knew that was futile.IF the pain were something serious I would have about a minute......After my heart surgery I asked my heart surgeon if there was anything I should be concerned about. His answer gripped me with fear. IF a blood clot should enter my artificial valve (picture a louvered door that is about the size of a fifty sent piece and round made of some metal similar to titanium) it would stop the valve from working. I would be aware because suddenly I would not be able to breathe. I would gasp for about a minute or two and then be dead. My first hours alone after learning this were cause for alarm. I gave so much thought about what those final moments might be like. Would I panic? The other day I realized that two minutes passes quickly. I didn't panic at all. My first thought was for Rob and not myself. That he might come home and find me.
Fear is not something new to me. I have lived with fear since I was 23 years old and diagnosed with cancer. For years they waited for it to return but it never did. My fear then was for my three year old son. Over the years the fear has taken a back seat in my mind. The thing is when someone dies of cancer that I know it reactivates some of the fear. How ironic that one of the few certainties of life causes fear. I don't fear being dead but just the process. I don't want to know it's happening. Fear of the unknown. I want to just stop breathing quietly in my own home and not know when the time comes for the great transformation to the other side. I have read many books about the transition. They say loved ones come to take you. All I know is that when I am gone I hope that people will remember me with the laughter, the fun times and all the smiles. Don't cry because I'm gone, smile because I was here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Remembering A J-Land Sister.............

Yesterday our beloved friend and fellow blogger Pamela lost her battle with cancer. I was relieved to know that she passed away in her own home. My heart aches for her children whom she was so proud of. They, her mother and sisters will be in my prayers. Pam was dealt a difficult hand. She continued to work as long as she could. She was a fighter right up until the end. She had the right stuff to make us both care for her and respect her. Rest in peace our friend. While your body is gone your spirit lives on in the hearts of all who knew you.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Is there a virus that causes blogging block? hmmmm

Image by Angel

Love is like a precious plant. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it. ~~ John Lennon

It seems that not too many are blogging on a steady basis these days. Granted, there are only so many hours in the day and many of us have family and work obligations that occupy a lot of our time. For me, the work has been a lot but honestly, keeping busy has been what I have needed this week. I had yesterday off but I ran errands most of the day and visited with two neighbors the rest. Rob came home and we sat aside an hour just to enjoy each other's company. That was wonderful. This morning we ran some errands together and had lunch out. An unusual treat for us these days. We came back and I cleaned up the yard from the doggy mines and signed on to read email. Rob finished some yard work.

I fear that my entries have become dull and boring. I find that I am working on automatic pilot much of the time, especially by the time I usually sign on just before lapsing into my sleep coma which runs from 10p.m. until 3 a.m. Those are my best sleeping hours. If I stay up until 11 it doesn't change my 3 a.m. wake up call.

Tomorrow Rob and I will be having Easter dinner alone. While that might sound depressing to some it really isn't. Many years ago I shared all holidays with my family. My sister and her husband were always fighting. My ex refused to go to chuch with me. All holidays were stressful. Tomorrow I will wake up in a bed with a man who has helped me find my inner peace. I will go to church with him, sharing our religious faith. That alone makes the holiday for me. We will give each other small remembrances but most importantly, we will be happy in the here and now. We did receive invitations from friends but it will be nice to have a relaxing day.

My Easter prayer for all of you is that you have a peaceful and relaxing day........shared with a loved one or family. Spring is here, the Earth is renewing itself. I love nature and I am soaking it all in .... like a sponge. :)
Peace be with you.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Moving right along............

Last week and this week have been hectic. I covered for two people last week and I put in my usual hours this week, learning yesterday that I would have to pull a long day today to cover for the woman who just got home from Bermuda. Can we say travel envy? Things went better than I had hoped for, smoothly and being Maundy Thursday it was a rather light day and I was able to do my usual work as well. I took a lunch today and got a delicious chicken Caesar salad and sat outside in the gorgeous air to enjoy it.
I am going through a personal struggle of sorts. For those of you who faithfully read my journal, you might remember the incident over a year ago with my sister. She was very hurtful and told me to get out of my mother's house. We had just returned from the hospital when my father had open heart surgery. My sister has a lot of anger towards my father. He was very generous to his sons but not his two daughters.When I was younger it bothered me too but at this point in my life, having been through what I have, I don't dwell on it. She wanted to confront him prior to his surgery. That is just not my style and I refused to cooperate. Her anger at that just came across in every word she spoke at the hospital that day. She refused to sit by me and kept moving if I moved in her direction. She was rude to my husband, saying he had no right to be there. He was the one who took off work and took my Dad for his pre op testing not her. She was most annoyed when the heart surgeon (who was mine and took my Dad on as a favor to me) came over and spoke with me. I introduced her to him but that didn't matter. Anyway she told me that I was not wanted or needed at my mother's house and that my sister-in-law was sending over dinner for TWO and that I would make three. I had come over with five pounds of shrimp and told her that I didn't need any of their dinner. Finally as my mother stood there in shock I told her that I didn't need that behavior and I got in my car and left. I have not seen her since. I feel that she owes me an apology and she has not apologized, although she has promised my father many times that she would. She came for Christmas and I refused to go over then. She told my mother she would not be coming for every holiday because of how I felt but now two days ago she announced that she is coming for Easter. Everyone in my family is begging me to go but I won't. People don't understand this but when you have heart problems, it's more than just the emotional you deal with. When I get upset it feels as though a fist is squeezing my heart. It is actually painful. Why would I do that to myself? Subject myself to that? IF my sister would apologize I would accept and then attempt to be in her presence. If she can't then who needs to be in her presence? My sister-in-law told me that she admitted to her that she was cranky and deliberately said things to upset me. She told her that she told me to leave. My sister-in-law has been upset by her many times too. At this point in my life I don't want to be around hurtful people. I have paid my dues and received my diploma from the College of Hard Knocks. Now I want love, peace and tranquility. If people don't treat me kindly or decently then I don't need to be in their presence. If it means not seeing someone again during this lifetime then so be it. My mother finds it appalling that I can say that about my own sister. I feel that we chose our emotional family. I spent fifty years doing everything possible for my sister. I never received any thanks. I was woken up early so many days to hear her complaints but when I had open heart surgery she never even called me once to see how I was. Several months later she called wanting to know if she could stay at my house with her boyfriend to attend our nephew's wedding. It's always been like that. Me the big sister giving and her the younger taking. I'm tired of those one way relationships. I'm older and smarter. I want reciprocal relationships. There's a time when relationships become hurtful and it's time to let them go. I've finally been able to do that.....and find some peace.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fighting some intestinal distress

On Sunday I was experiencing some stomach distress. On Monday it slipped lower into my intestines where it has taken up residence and refuses to leave. I have noticed that my worst bouts of distress where after having a bowl of cereal and later a yogurt. I am starting to wonder if I have lactose intolerance.
Today was my day off again as I am working on Saturday. I spent hours on the phone catching up with people I had neglected to stay in touch with. I followed that up with a trip to the grocery store and Home Depot. Came home and made a lovely dinner of beef stir fry. Rob worked late and then went out to play darts. My day today has felt much too long. I am tired and will be heading off to bed soon.
Thinking today about how many people come and go in our lives. People that we feel fondly for and think that we will never lose touch with them. Then they move away and several years later we think of them. I am trying hard to stay in touch with those people. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day but then I think it's because when I have the luxury of time, I waste too much of it. Right now I have dropped off all the tax stuff. My checking account has been reconciled. My house has food in it (pet as well as human). My laundry is done and my bed has clean sheets. All those squares have been checked off. My bills are paid and I have already calculated the distribution of our next paychecks. Life seems to be in order. Instead of enjoying that, I find my mind wanders to all the things that might happen that would throw my plan to waste. I find as I am older that I can roll with those punches more. Life is what happens while we're busy making other plans.
Today I got a surprising phone call from my childhood best friend. Right after I divorced my ex she divored her husband. I met Rob and shortly afterward she met and married her second husband. She has left him and is planning a divorce. It's not that she hasn't tried because she has bent over backwards. She has tried so hard that it has amazed me. I have seen her compromise until I felt her back would break. Now she has done the only reasonable thing and admitted it's futile. She worries about the stigma of being divorced twice. I tell her that it would worry me much more to waste years of my life in misery and hopelessness. I don't take divorce lightly. I wrestled with that issue for years. But there comes a time when a person realizes that ONE person cannot save a dying relationship. It's sad but I've told her that I am here for her. Husbands have come and gone for her, but our friendship is forever. Sometimes I think more people should stop and think of the value of a real friend. The kind who come in when the world walks out. What really fascinates me is that this guy always wanted her to tell him that he was her best friend. I love my husband dearly. He and my son are the most important people in the world to me but I believe that a person needs to have friends in addition to their spouse and children. To make one person your entire universe would put an awful lot of stress on them ,I think. I know that when you truly feel secure in a relationship you don't have to make that person define what they mean to you on a continous basis. I feel so secure with Rob. For the first time in my life I feel I can trust this man. It's a wonderful feeling and I wouldn't take anything for this feeling.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sunny Sunday

I just got caught up on some blog reading. The time change took place last night and while others feel disoriented I think my body was still on this time from last Fall and the clock is more in synch with me right now. I know that while Duffy was waking up at 6 which was way too early, he will now be waking up at 7 which is my usual time to rise and shine. Duffy is like me. We wake up, we shake ourselves off and we are perky and ready to go. Not so for my significant other. He wakes up and his eyelids refuse to fully open until he has several cups of tea and a warm shower. His family warned me about that but I just laughed. Little did they know that on his visits to my home while he was still living in Rhode Island he woke up to see me dancing around the kitchen to Motown. He learned to deal with it. I have stopped trying to pull him to his feet to join me for a quick spin around the kitchen. Now I scoop up one of the pets to dance with. The cat doesn't mind as much as the dog.
I am loving this weather. Warm sunshine but gentle cool breezes. Yesterday I worked but was home in time to enjoy it. This week I am going to be covering for two women who are vacationing. I will work some extra hours. That's a good thing when you are only working "part time" although some weeks I put in thirty hours. We are invited to a cousin's wedding in Manhattan in July. I am hoping to be able to pull that off. We would want to sleep over because after partying who would want to drive home and public transportation would still mean driving at least part way. I still have some bills that must be paid off before we can entertain that idea.
Well time to go find out what is happening downstairs. It's entirely too quiet.