This Too Shall Pass

It’s all going to be all OK. I know it is. Just have to get through the next two and a half weeks.

You know the feelings you have when you’ve been dealing with things out of the ordinary (say, medical/health issues)? It’s been a very long six weeks, and this tough exterior is starting to crack. Yes, as together as we all think we are, we’re but mere humans and we get worn out, worn down, and wobegon. Don’t you just love the word wobegon? It brings to mind hearing Garrison Keillor and his stories told, painstakingly slow, as only he can. They were worth waiting for every word. He can make me laugh. That’s what I’m in need of right now, laughter.

I get a tremendous kick out of reading things that make me laugh out loud. Babe (Dan) just looks at me, then I say, “You’ve just got to listen to this.” Then I proceed to read sometimes an entire page to him from what I’m reading. Sometimes he’ll laugh, sometimes not. He never says anything, he just listens. That’s the Babe, always listening. It is one of his finer qualities, for which I’m eternally grateful. He’s patient while I carry on.

I am also listening to Peanuts Greatest Hits, by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This is on purpose, it’s some of the greatest Jazz there is. Jazz always lifts my spirits. And even more so with Snoopy on guitar, Schroeder on piano, and Pig Pen on bass.

In two and a half weeks, I’ll be hearing the Christmas tunes while I’m working on my novel. Last year, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree. Things weren’t going great and I just didn’t have any Christmas cheer. First time since I left home. It is way different when your kids are all gone, and no one wants anything but cash or gift cards. Sure, it’s easier, but nothing can make a person feel as good as picking out something with the gift receiver in mind. It is a good feeling. I miss the whole activity, shopping, wrapping, watching the person open the gift. Hopefully you get it right and they love it.

In the past, we have adopted kids through our church to shop for. Samaritan’s Purse had a very good program. When our granddaughter Addison went to Sunday School, we did that, and filled a red box for a little boy and a red box for a little girl. The photos and email’s about those children really make you think about how very fortunate we all really are.

Aside from Garrison Keillor, another humorous author I love to read is Bill Bryson. It all started with the movie, A Walk in the Woods. I read the book after seeing the movie, and the first half of the book, I laughed until I couldn’t stop. It was addicting. The Babe had a lot of passages read to him from that book. The second half of the book educated me about the National Parks and many things about these beautiful places I did not know. My family was all about learning from reading. I really appreciate that about that crazy bunch of people I grew up around. Always an adventure with them and a book.

The key to any reading experience at this point in time is time and quiet. With a puppy in the house, that’s about impossible. She explores a lot, and the doors to Babe’s office and my studio remain closed, as do the bathroom door, our bedroom door, and the laundry room door when I remember. Otherwise, the familiar search for Goldie, making sure she’s not squatting somewhere she shouldn’t, and saying, “What are you chewing on?” The Babe is doing great with taking care of her, it’s really lifting his spirits. That is so necessary for healing.

So for now, this is my circus and these are my monkeys, so to speak. It is a beautiful sunny day. I will find a stack of beautiful, happy music to hear while I write today, and all will be well, here at my little part of Lake Wobegon. It’s OK to visit there, but I don’t want to stay too long. That just isn’t me.

 

The Human Body . . .

God’s very best creation.

I have always been fascinated by our human body. It’s an awesome mix of mechanics, electricity conduction, anatomy and physiology, and I am a constant student of this magical mystery.

As I wrote earlier, Dan had a heart cath in early October. The femoral artery didn’t close properly. He had some bleeding, had an ultrasound, diagnosis, and went under the knife. It’s very painful with all the staples in for another week. He is slowly healing, and just wants to be over this. Our neighbor said he’s earned about ten years of good health. That would be great!

What kind of books do you like to read?? I love crime stories, true crime, cop stories, mysteries, historical fiction, history, and based on true events books. And of course, anything educational about the human body.

What am I writing? A realistic fiction book. It details memories and events that happened in a home as a family grew up and older. It is called “These Walls DO Talk.”  It follows a woman through the rooms of the family home, as she is taking one last look. The memories of a lifetime flood into her and she sees how she has grown and learned about life. Her life. She has learned her value. And has answered hate and discontent with love and acceptance.

I am also working on some books to introduce children and families to grieving in a healthy manner. Events such as the loss of a dog can be a child’s first experience with loss. It is best to be honest with them.

There is also book about losing a grandparent on a major holiday. It is very hard to recover from a loss like that. This is a true story, and I have a co-author for that one. It is a labor of love.

My very first book idea for children is called “Bonus Grandma’s.” It is about a little boy trying to understand why he had six Grandma’s instead of only two. He and his cousins talk about families, step parents, and the positive things about large families.

These projects are like adding to my family. More siblings for our kids. I hope you like them. Please, tell me what you think about any and all of these ideas. After all, if people won’t read them, no one will know these stories.

As always, please comment and let me know your thoughts. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.

Meaningful Monday

After last week, with Dan’s emergency surgery and the fire at my son’s apartment house Thursday, my mind has been very busy with trying to find strength through the situations. It’s been hard to make my mind go where is should be. Being strong for my two big guys. I’m back in the groove now.

Picking back up with my novel is now on the front burner. I was able to insert some of the new paragraphs I wrote at the NWG Fall Conference into the existing part of the book. It’s hard not to repeat yourself. I have a few if those sections to fit to the story.

Being a new author, I’m just finding out about NaNoWriMo. It’s National Novel Writing Month and it happens during November. You should be able to write 50K words that month. I met a fellow author at the conference, and she offered to be a buddy during the month. People are so encouraging! Looking forward to it.

I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult to finish the novel while doing participating in NaNoWriMo. It will be a skill developing month for sure.

Entrance to our humble home.
Small Burning Bush shrubs and Sugar Maple tree in our front yard.

In the meantime, fall is in full swing. The bright reds in our yard and the yellow in the wetland behind our property are sure signs it won’t be long until we are wearing heavy winter coats and boots.

The strong winds are challenging too. Keeping your car on the road is hard these past couple weeks. It has brought to my attention the butterfly bush needs to be tamed. The branches are rubbing on the house siding. That could cause some damage if left until spring.

These small but necessary tasks are present in everyday life. Kind of like fitting new paragraphs into what you’ve already written. And you keep going until you know you are done. Yes, there will be a certain type of feeling telling me when the words are enough.

In the beginning, I left out a lot of description. I felt too much was overkill. I didn’t want to belabor some details. In the end, I left out too much to adequately tell the story. I’m so glad people are giving me honest feedback on the bits and pieces they are reading.

So until tomorrow, I’ll keep working on getting back into my daily writing. It will add peace to our little corner of this beautiful world.

What will put peace in your world today? Organization? Resolve? New hobbies?? Comment below, give us a Like, and let me know what you may like to have me blog about.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate it very much.

Simply Sunday

Today is one of my favorite days of my life. Forty eight years ago, I became a Mom.

For some reason, my water broke at 6:30 am, and my son arrived at 12:26 pm. Yes. First baby, 6 hours of labor. Very fortunate. I just love this kid. I was 19 years old. We grew up together. He has a strength I admire.

I had another great event happen on this, one of my favorite days. It was the day I became cancer free – by having a lumpectomy. My husband Dan insisted on holding my hand through the needle biopsy, and they let him. The doctor told him she was sure it wasn’t cancer. He believed her.

A few days later, she called to tell me it was cancerous. I was to see a surgeon. No apology for mis-diagnosing. I was very upset. So was Dan.

So we scheduled the lumpectomy with the surgeon. I’m told what a beautiful job he did despite removing a baseball size margin around where the tumor was. Those cells had spread. The lump could not be felt, it showed on the mammogram.

We got rid of the cancer. 33 radiation treatments later, and 8 years of Arimidex/Anastrazole, here I am. It has been 10 years. I am grateful every day. I sometimes can’t believe God spared me. I pray He continues to do so.

No one tells you how the radiation causes pain. Lots of pain. I have lymphoedema, but not in my arm. My right breast swells and is extremely tender. It took eight years to find that out. The oncologist told me the pain was from radiation. He retired, and my new oncologist said, no, you have lymphedema. Amazing. No wonder they say you want a young doctor and an old attorney.

And the hormone blocking medication?? It has put a crimp in our intimacy. No one had an answer for my questions about that, until a nurse told me about a female doctor (PhD) who treats this sexual dysfunction. It’s caused from medication that is intended to save your life. All while dramatically changing that life forever. Go figure.

I am extremely grateful. I do wish someone would have been upfront about these devastating side effects ten years ago. I probably would have chosen the same course of treatment. I just would have known about the side effects.

It occurred to me that if you do not have chemo, the office, nurses, techs, and even the doctors, do not know you by name. The radiation oncologist and techs do. They see you on a daily basis and the doc sees you once a week. You do not see the techs anymore, but you do see that doc. The oncologist sees you every three or four months. Then six months. Once a year. And then doesn’t need to see you. Then what?

It’s a chapter in life I had to go through. Sometimes I do wonder if it will come back. It can, even twenty years later. We will deal with it if it comes. There is no other choice. Until then, we pray. A lot.

For now, still working on Dan’s recovery from a pseudo aneurysm surgery last week. The staples are in a very bad place. Uncomfortable as heck. Two doctor visits this week. Staples out next week.

My son will find out when they are able to remove any salvageable items this week, hopefully tomorrow. Lots of hard work ahead of him. He is a very positive and strong man. I’d like to think he gets that from me!

We are grateful for this day and all of the memories that come with it. My heart is very full for the love in my family for one another. Being this fortunate is such a gift.

Do you have any special days you celebrate? Share with my by leaving a comment. Share my blog with your friends, too. I’d appreciate it, like I appreciate my readers and visitors. Have a great week.

In Sickness and in Health

For everyone who takes these vows, many are young and vibrant, some are mid-life and still doing well. And then there are those of us, who in middle age, meet and marry the loves of our lives but . . .

But we know full well that both our spouse and ourselves have some health issues that may loom at any moment.

The happiest day ever. Still an honor to be this guy’s wife.

For us, Dan has ischemic heart disease. That comes with a lot of ups and downs. By the grace of God, he has not had a heart attack.

What he has had is a roller coaster of procedures and scares. What WE have had. We are equals and partners. We are here for each other no matter what. Much easier said than done.

Two weeks ago, Dan had a heart cath to see if he had any blockages since the quad bypass five years ago. No blockages, yay!

However, two weeks later, after too much tenderness at the site he returned to the doctor. Ultrasound reveals a psuedo aneurysm. Since the site was bleeding internally, it required surgery to get the bleeding stopped and clean out the area. More recovering for a guy who’s already been through the mill.

Last summer, he had a stroke followed by an left carototid endarterectomy. That was very scary. His stroke was at the base of the brain, causing a visual field blackout. This healed and recovered about 95%, so he can drive again.

It’s been one thing after another, and men may have less patience to recover. Their pride is hurt. They are slower to admit they’re scared or apprehensive. They may not want to be patient while recovering. They may be so angry they’re not 100%, a normally upbeat person could become a crabby old curmudgeon. It happens.

That’s where that vow comes in. A little complaining is normal, but no one can be verbally abusive and be normal. Abuse is never acceptable. Ever. A reminder is in order about what’s appropriate and what isn’t.

Encouragement and positive reinforcement of the patient to recover is vital. It’s exhausting for the caregiver. Take care of yourself. You cannot give when you are tapped out. Take time out for you.

It’s not all been Dan’s issues. I’ve had a bunch. Orthopedic, cancer, a lesion on my spinal cord in the neck area that could have been MS but wasn’t, and he has given care beyond what I could hope for.

We’re good together. I’m praying it will go on for a very long time.

He’s only a dancer once in awhile.

Thank you for reading. I’d love your comments, we can encourage you as well. That’s why we are all here, to be kind to each other, and help each other, within respectable boundaries. Have a happy Wednesday!

The last few days

After writing a blog every day for 32 days, I played hookey the last three days.

Wednesday was our twenty first wedding anniversary. Lots of beautiful memories and challenges along the way. We went out to dinner and had a nice, quiet time.

October 3, 1998

We were in our 40’s when we found each other, and were married a couple of years later. We are perfect for each other. If everyone could feel this level of contentment and respect, I think there would be more happy marriages.

Oh I’m not saying we don’t have issues. We do. Lots of times. And we talk. We both know which battles to pursue. Many little ones aren’t worth the fight and we learn the art if compromise.

I used to look at compromise as having to give in or give up. I was very wrong about that. It is the art of working together for the best outcome. It’s what the partnership of marriage is built on. It doesn’t allow for a dictator to rule on everything, although some are like that. Not a good idea.

We love Rocky Mountain National Park

Despite trials like heart disease, cancer, broken bones, loss, paying off debts, and early retirement, we are so grateful and blessed. I am so looking forward to the next twenty one years!

Have a beautiful Saturday. Let me know what you’re up to while I’ve been playing hookey. Take some time to comment. And don’t forget to like my blog. It helps with the stats I’m supposed to be looking at.

October

Today, I’m amazed and grateful for the incredible knowledge in the medical field, specifically cardiac care.

Since I met my husband in 1996, he has had numerous stents done and a quadruple bypass. Some cardio doctors have the expertise to do stents or even valve replacements through the wrist. Isn’t that amazing?

Technology is partly responsible. Research has yielded so many breakthroughs and the technology follows suit.

I am old enough to remember the term “exploratory surgery”. Those words were spoken in hushed tones and with looks of deep concern. There was due cause for concern, because it meant they would make an incision in the area of concern, and explore until they discovered whatever was the problem.

In our new world, CT Scans, MRI’s, Echo Cardiograms and a host of other tests can give pre-op diagnosis in a very accurate way. Knowledge has helped doctors be so much more precise and less invasive during surgeries.

I believe knowledge helps me be a better patient. People are in a position to be active in their health decisions, treatments, and recoveries.

The human body, it’s anatomy, and physiology, just amaze me. God created a wonder.

Just watch a baby grow up! Watch how they puzzle over things. Watch them smile and respond to familiar people.

Watch a child start school. Watch how they learn to be kind to their classmates. Watch them as they read or work math problems. Talk with them. Let them ask you questions. Watch them as you answer their questions. They are little sponges that absorb everything! Be sure to give them good things to absorb.

As we begin October, I hope we all have a beautiful fall. Omaha has lots of rain on tap for today. Praying no one gets flooded out again!

Leave a comment about what you marvel at in this modern world. And leave comments on topics you’d like to see me write about. There could be a prize for you if your topic is chosen. Thank you for reading!