Monday, September 29, 2008

A Better Monday than Usual

My father came home from the hospital yesterday. My sister came into town and we had a good time visiting. We had a nice homecoming dinner for him yesterday where we all pitched in and cooked something. Makes it so much easier. We had turkey and smashed potatoes (the good red ones with the skins) and some teriyaki green beans. I made a chocolate cake with homemade vanilla frosting for dessert and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We played games after the clean up and some overhauling of my parents computer. Mom knows how to download and view but then the files remain there until one of us goes over and purges them. There were hundreds, many power point presentations! Her computer is running a lot better now.

The rain is finally gone here and I see some sunshine. Even though I am getting ready for work, the day is not as dismal as most Mondays. The weekend flew by but I know just five days away another one waits around the corner.

I found a really good skin surgeon and am on her "wait list" if not I will need to wait until November to see her. Thank God for health insurance. Cannot imagine having to deal with something like this without it.

Time to take a walk into the closet and see what I can come up with for work. Many things I want to wear no longer fit me as I have packed on some pounds which I can't seem to unload. The work cafeteria is my enemy with smells that call me. They have some great meals. I must find something though......better get to it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Updated Photo

Finally a photo with my shorter hair. So much easier to keep under control. The front is a few inches longer than the sides and the back is shorter still. Nice and quick to blow dry in the mornings.

My father is still in the hospital but expected to come home tomorrow. Today is the first day he has not had a fever since Wednesday. My sister arrived in New Jersey but has a friend with her. I was disappointed as I had hoped to spend some time with her. It has been years since she and I have set down alone to talk.

I made an appointment with a surgeon that is going to see me Nov. 14th unless the report I send them makes them bump up the appointment. I feel like concerns are weighing heavily upon my shoulders. I know that most people have no clue what it's like to have many of my life experiences. It's still disappointing because even when I don't know what someone is going through I can always drop a note or make a call and say I care.

Time to get my mind on other things. I have been up since 5 a.m. and am exhausted. Started doing laundry early, showered and got dressed, went for lunch, visited my father in the hospital, grocery shopped, put things away, had dinner and now I am ready to collapse.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. My Dad who has COPD and congestive heart failure was taken by ambulance once again to the hospital. This about his fifth stay in 2008. At least he is not in ICU like the last two visits. He has pneumonia and a urinary infection again. He was bright red last night. They will fix him up once more and hopefully Oct. 27 be celebrating his 85th birthday. He has had a long life and a good life but it is hard to see him struggling, especially when at times his dignity is taken from him and he's not even aware enough to know.

I am going back to the dermatologist tonight. I had a skin cancer removed three weeks ago. This is a secondary cancer caused by all the radiation that I had so many years ago. He will discuss the biopsy results in detail and what needs to be done.
I have lived so long after the initial diagnosis and yet it is something that is always a part of who you are once you join that club. I need to rally my spirits but for some reason it doesn't get easier because the rest of life's problems don't go on hold. I am not looking forward to having more surgery no matter how small. I went through this a few years ago and it was fine then and my logical side tells me that I probably have the best kind to have. The irrational and neurotic side is screaming that there is NO good cancer of any kind and that this lion may be at bay but he can pounce any time he chooses to. Time to think of anything else that can distract me from that thought because that thought can take me somewhere I do not want to go.
At times like this my comfort is in my belief that God dwells within me, that I am one with His universe and that no matter what else happens, that cannot change.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sumptious Sunday

Today was a much needed kick back and relax kind of day with a short shopping trip in the middle. Oh my kind of day. I needed it with yesterday's sofa delivery. We were responsible for getting the old sofa out and it was no small task. Fortunately, midway through task, a neighbor came over and offered a hand. Without his help not sure what we would have done. Old sofa is on the sidewalk with a sign "free" (no takers yet) and it's a queen size sleeper sofa with no tears in the fabric although the cushions were flattened with wear. I usually get attached to furniture but this sofa was never comfy for me so I was glad to see it go. Now trying to get adjusted to a new sofa with lots of support and it's taking time.

I have a lot on my mind these days. Many changes at work with a new CEO and many new top people who make decisions which govern how my work is critiqued. It will all be changes for the better I believe. With all changes come adjustments. I am not as adaptable as I was in my younger days. It is hard to change a "call flow" once one has become ingrained and my job has me constantly making as many as three or four new changes in each call. Since I take about thirty a day you can imagine how much concentration this takes. All the while coworkers are talking on their calls, to themselves, each other and me. There is constant discussion on just what good customer service is. They want our customers to have a "wow" experience. I get that. There are customers however who subscribe to a service that for reasons out of their control, they cannot use. When they call to disconnect their service they are disappointed. Often they are given misinformation from a competitor trying to blame us for something that they failed to do. While you gently try to explain this, you must be very careful what you say and you do not want to anger the customer or argue with them. Some customers want nothing but to argue with you and vent all their frustration at you. Often once you have assisted them, they apologize before hanging up and thank you for your help. Mondays are the days we receive the most calls. After a weekend of build up they are often heated. It takes extra patience on Mondays. I am paid to do this job but sometimes I wish I could opt out on Mondays.

In a very real sense, the writer writes in order to teach himself, to understand himself, to satisfy himself. ~ Alfred Kozin

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Random Thoughts

Today is Sunday and I have to wonder why these weekend days pass so quickly. This week I have doctor appointments on Monday and Thursday so I will only be working half days on those days. It just seems that there is always so much to do on weekends. To be honest, I don't accomplish half of what I have planned because I so enjoy relaxing. When I was younger I could never relax unless my house was perfect and my laundry done and all of the other type A stuff that governed my actions. When I think back to having come home from the hospital at age 23 and upon discovering the horrible condition of my home (while I was having surgery) I nearly had a melt down. I got down on my knees and scrubbed my kitchen floor. That was after washing every utensil and plate in our home. This was a few days after having stitches removed from my abdomen. How sad is that? Very....I know that now. Being older and smarter I now know that this was the ONE thing I could control at the time. I certainly had no control over anything else then. Now I know that I have no control but if I am tired I lay down and take a nap. I also indulge in take out something I could not afford to do back then.
I accomplish enough and I do like order but when my head hits my pillow at night I conk out.

I recently learned that an elderly man got TOSd from AOL. This for sending emails out to a mass list (who he every few months emailed and said "let me know if you want to be removed from my list.") Apparently someone found his emails a tad risque'. I feel so badly for this poor man who lost his beloved wife last year. Although he has a daughter and grandchildren during the day he went into a chat room of what he thought were friends and who he loved to email.
It never fails to sadden me at the delight some people take in causing pain for others. I have never understood that kind of reaction. When someone hurts me just get me as far away from them as I can possibly be. There was a time in my life where it was hard to let go of people like that. A part of me felt that I would be able to enlighten them. Usually this did not happen and often when they grew tired of the game they simply moved on. Now that I am older and oh so wiser I make new friends a bit slower. I take them into my trust only after they have showed some actual integrity and it will take them years before they earn my trust and respect. One of my friends summed it up this way "In life we make many acquaintances but few actual friends. Most people do not learn this distinction until they have mistaken acquaintances for friends and learned the hard way."

"I will not play tug o war, I'd rather play hug o war where everyone hugs instead of tugs, where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, where everyone kisses and everyone grins and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins." Shel Silverstein

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wishing Our Niece a Happy Birthday

Today is our dear niece Cassie's tenth birthday. It is her second birthday without her Mom who passed away from cancer on June 8, 2007 at just 34. We were there for her birthday last year and I gave her Kit, her American girl doll along with some things for Kit. It was a big day and we were happy to be there to share in it. This year we simply cannot be with her for a multitude of reasons. Her grandmother was on vacation last week and we had hoped she would take a few days and bring her for a visit but she didn't. It is so hard to not be a daily part of her life, in reality we are not much of a part of her life. Her Dad honored her Mom's request to let her continue to be raised by her grandmother. I worry at times that her grandmother who has a pacemaker and who is a breast cancer survivor perhaps bit off more than she can chew. She would never admit it of course. She doesn't understand the problems we have in getting away. I have a very neurotic dog and only my parents or one neighbor can handle him in our absence. The neighbor gets paid and my parents are away this week. In addition to that I am taking care of a minor health issue of my own. More on that at another time. Sometimes when we are sick and get better people forget that we are never the same. My stamina lately is troublesome.

I think stress pays a role in that. It is hard for me to work full time in a stressful situation. My every minute literally is accounted for when I am working. That alone can be stressful. In this recession I am happy to have a job.

I worry that my niece sounded sad tonight. It is so hard not to be able to hug her when her voice sounds like she needs a hug. The sad truth is that we are too far away to have any real input in her life. We have accepted that but it is not easy. I just have to hope and pray that the frequent letters and cards we send let her know that she is loved. I believe knowing you are loved can make a huge difference in someone's life.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another quote for my book of favorites

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~~~ Rumi

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunny Sunday

Today is Sunday. We had a very relaxing Saturday here and I got a lot of paperwork done. Went through my files and purged a lot of things. When I have other things in my life organized it makes everything go smoother. We played games on the computer, watched a movie and had a very layed back day which is just what I needed. It rained most of the day reminants of the hurricane and our lawn just soaked it up. Today is beautiful, sunny and about 83. I have been working on the journal pics and links along with the help of my patient husband. I wanted to post a picture that I bought from the wonderful person and artist, Judith HeartSong. If you click the picture it takes you to her website with her work. She takes the most beautiful photos and I who simply love flowers cannot see enough of them. I saw a movie several years ago and in it there was a speech about sunflowers. How they turned their heads towards the sun to soak up as much light as possible. It was inspirational and since then they have had special meaning to me. When I saw this painting I wanted it so badly. It hangs proudly in my living room and some day I hope to have more paintings by this artist. She also writes a journal about her travels and her volunteer experiences from the zoo. Never a dull moment!

I am experiencing another laid back day today. Might lounge outside a bit. I love watching the birds stop at the feeder and then the bird bath. For my birthday Rob bought me the most wonderful bird bath. If you click the link you can see one on their website. It's like a work of art and simply beautiful. It is made by a company "Burely Clay" who also had many other beautiful things at the garden center where I purchased the birdbath. And now a fitting quote

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play in your hair." ~~~Khalil Gibran

Friday, September 05, 2008

September 4...a meaningful day

Yesterday was September 4th. It has a lot of meaning for me. It has always been the birthday of my only aunt. (I had many great aunts but only one actual sibling to a parent.) She had always been important in my life. She is actually about the same age difference to my mother as me. My mother was an only child for many years. Growing up we lived in my grandmother's house for many years while my Dad was in the Navy and I always thought of my aunt as an older sister. She was very cool and still is a lot of fun.

September 4th is also the day my son was diagnosed with leukemia at age 16. It has been over a decade since the diagnosis but I still feel a bit shakey on that day. I remember so many details.

It was the day after Labor Day and I remember looking out the window of the hospital room seeing the children going to school for the first day. My son never got to attend one day of his junior year. His days that year consisted of heavy rounds of chemo. He had chemo for the next three and a half years after diagnosis. To this day when I see the school buses coming that first day my eyes well with tears. My son seems to be the picture of health, at least physically. I do feel he has some emotional problems and I think he has come to understand that as well. He is doing much better than he was.

Yesterday was also the anniversary of meeting my friend, Paula. Her son Danny was only 14 in the next hospital room and he had the worse type of leukemia. He fought so valiantly but even after surviving his bone marrow transplant at CHOP he lost the battle. We still think of him and ocassionally I visit his grave. Gone but never forgotten. I will never forget him having someone come to the hospital chapel to confirm him as a Catholic. We had a cake in the children's ward and it was very moving. I will never forget Paula telling me that it was so awkward when new people she met asked how many children she had. If she said four boys then she felt she had to explain that one was no longer living. How would they take their traditional Christmas morning photo with the four boys on four steps? Danny was next to the youngest and his illness had a heavy impact on his younger brother. Paula practically lived at the hospital (as did I) for those first few months. You were just too afraid that your child (adolescent) might need you and you wouldn't be there. All the while we were trying to support other parents whose children like ours going in and out of remission. (My son went into remission but went in very late. His prognosis was double high risk and his expected survival rate for 5 years was 30%.) He made it and not a day goes by that I don't thank God for getting us all through that difficult time.

Yesterday I had a doctor's appointment to have some skin tags removed. While there the doctor confirmed that I had a skin cancer on my back. He removed it for a biopsy and when he gets the results I will need the area excised. I do not look forward to that as I have had this done on my chest. I am hoping this is the same type I had earlier which caught early is no problem at all.

Well, time to go find an outfit and head off to work. Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Catching up on Rest

Today I had to stay home from work. I rarely do that but I was groggy from the meds and my pain was still there. Even though I took meds throughout the day at time the muscle spasms were really painful.

Took less of the muscle relaxer in the hopes I can make work tomorrow. Because I stayed home today I won't get paid for the Labor Day holiday and with losing today that is another day's pay lost (unless I use my time I have which is little.) We don't get time off approved without having it to use so sometimes people don't request pay for their sick days. I get 10 hours each MONTH for everything; sickness, vacation etc. That basically means by the time I use what I need for doctor visits, dental visits and sickness there is no time for vacation days.

Well time for bed. Please whisper a prayer that I can make it to work tomorrow.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Monday, Monday Can't Trust That Day..............

Does anyone remember the Mamas and Papas big hit with that song?
For the past several days I have been surviving with back pain. It all started last Thursday kind of out of the blue but I had felt some muscle tension in my back for awhile. Well, last night it overtook me and I knew I had to get medical attention today. My regular internist was closed so I had to find a medical walk in clinic. After paying my copay the doctor (his name was Ghandi) told me that he was afraid that it might be my heart. Oh please not this I thought. If I have a stubbed toe they suspect my heart is to blame. He did an EKG and admitted that there were no changes from the old one I brought with me. However the place I had the pain he felt was indicative of a possible heart problem. I knew what was coming and he sent me to the ER. Oh how I hate spending my paid holidays in the ER and this is the second one this year. LOVED the ER doctor though. Really. He immediately felt the huge knot in my back and said that although he thought I might be right we had to eliminate other possibilities. I was whisked off for xrays and of couse loved pointing out my wires and parts to the xray tech who is always taken aback.
These people were absolutely wonderful. All except for the ER nurse who stuck me FOUR times to get an iv going. Burned like a bee sting. Again and again and the final one was done with a tiny butterfly in a vein in my tiny hand. Again ouch. Tests showed that I was okay except for the back muscle spasms I was no having. I laid on my tiny ER bed for nearly six hours. Had a nice flat screen TV to watch and more importantly, my angel of mercy Rob was by my side. Even when the doctor said I MIGHT have a blood clot in my lung and my heart nearly stopped he just glanced at the monitors and told me things were fine. Have I mentioned his goatee has turned gray? Seriously all in the last year or so. Well, I am home now with pain meds and muscle relaxers. I hate pain meds, I really do. I have to be coherent at all times, or at least believe that I am. The doctor gave me a note to stay home from work for two days but I cannot possibly afford to do that. I just ran up another $130 plus in copays today. Although I am not happy to be in pain I thank my Heavenly Father that it was nothing serious. Hope your Labor Day was more enjoyable than mine although time spent with my baby is always good.