Friday, September 27, 2013

Scanxiety on hold for another 3 months!

As I said yesterday I am finding I repeat myself more and more these days.  What seems to be working is my husband doesn't remember a word I say so no matter how many times I tell the same story it's news to him.  What is frustrating is he doesn't repeat himself he just doesn't talk at all.   Sometimes I think he has conversations in his head and then later thinks he told me when he didn't. He forgets to tell me when his oncology appointments are and then 5 minutes before it is time to go he says, "Well, are you coming?"    

But, we made it anyway.  His report was good as far as cancer goes.  His chest findings indicated Subtle pleural-based nodule medially in the left lobe measuring about 4mm is stable.  A 5 mm nodule posteriorly in the right upper lobe is stable.  There is no new lung mass.  Nothing new in the original kidney site and right kidney, liver, spleen and pancreas look good.  

So I think that what this all means is that if and until the two lung nodules begin to grow or change we just keep keeping on.  Back for another scan in 3 months.  Ron starts new job in two weeks.  We are blessed to have another day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm just a gal who can't say NO

When I was young and newly married I was a sucker for a sales pitch.  It wasn’t that I was particularly gullible or that I just loved to spend money, it was because I didn’t know how to say NO.  I couldn’t say NO to Tupperware, I couldn’t say NO to Mary Kay, I couldn’t say NO to magazine solicitors.  I couldn’t say NO because I feared hurting someone’s feelings.  That’s how I ended up serving as PTA treasurer at our neighborhood elementary school before I even had children.  I went with my neighbor to a meeting and left holding an office.  I even purchased a six-year subscription to Parent’s Magazine. 

Maybe my need to please was partly due to being born in the 50’s.  Women were all about pleasing others.  My mother’s motto was “pretty is as pretty does”.  Women were not assertive and these women were my role models.  I’ve spent most of my life trying to find the middle ground between assertive and obnoxious while avoiding confrontation at all cost.  Unfortunately, I passed my need to please on to my own daughters.  Oh, we talk a big game but when it comes to standing up to someone we wilt like Begonias in full sun.

The joy of being in my sixties is I find I care less and less about what others think about me.  This is more liberating than ever I could have imagined.  However, the challenge I’m now faced with is how to harness that exuberance to share my opinion about EVERYTHING.   Do all seniors talk too much or is it just me?   Sometimes I even bore myself. 

Writing is now my salvation.  I can purge my every thought and opinion and I don’t have to see the grimacing faces of my audience.  They can “turn me off” at will and I’m none the wiser.  It’s a win, win situation for all.  When I repeat myself…..who cares…..maybe the reader didn’t catch the first telling and if he did he can just move on to the next blog.  No harm no foul.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A new plan!

Julie saw the doctor again yesterday and after an x-ray of her arm it was inconclusive so they are doing an MRI of her arm sometime this week.  She was referred to physical therapy and released to go back to work with orders not to bend or stoop and that she should be seated 50% of the day.  She laughed and said, "You do know I teach kindergarten don't you?"  But she is back at work today.......

Right now everything is being paid by worker's comp.

Ron is having his first CT Scan since his surgery today.  We will get the results on Thursday.  Patrick from Caregivingly Yours describes this as scanxiety and it fits.  It's the dreaded anxiety before the results are known.  I told Ron last night that since his surgery I have been able to forget about cancer.  In my mind he is cancer free.  But now that we are facing another scan the reality comes back and you wonder.  His surgeon warned us that when the major tumor was removed that other cancer cells may start growing.  Ron said he was thinking about that bit information himself.  Rare that he admits to thinking about it at all.  But we will cross our fingers and hope for the best.  This is a one day at a time disease..........but isn't life in general?

When Olga's (Confessions of a Grandma) beloved Mike passed away I was so shocked.  Here I had been preparing myself for 3 years for Ron's possible death and Olga looses her husband so unexpectedly.  She wrote, "This was not part of the plan".  That really shook me up.  It made me realize I had to stop trying to prepare myself for something that will eventually happen to us all.  I have to live every moment of every day that I am given with Ron and not while white knuckling it.  I owe it to him and to myself!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Monday

Thursday my daughter Julie fell in a hole on her school playground and fractured her right elbow, tore a ligament in her left ankle and tore her ACL in her right knee (again).  It was quite an eventful day for her.  She was trying to guard the hole to keep her students from falling in it when she was surprised from behind by a student and stepped backward into the hole.  Another teacher fell in one of the holes at the beginning of the school year and broke her leg in two places requiring surgery.  You'd think they would fix the playground before a child gets hurt.  

Fortunately we have a wheelchair and I was able to get it loaded into my car (barely).  The problem she has is she can't wheel herself because of her arm.  What a pickle.  She sees the doctor again today and they will decide whether the arm needs a cast or just a sling.

Ron and I had a long talk this weekend and I may go ahead and retire sooner than planned.  I am going to see where I am in February and if I am doing OK  I'll continue to July 2014.  

Ron got a call back on the job he interviewed for last week.  It was late in the day Friday so he was to call them back this morning.  I haven't heard from him yet but I think it sounded positive.  It would be great if he could stop the commute to the city.  It will add 2 hours to his day and save a heap in fuel costs.

Ron got the job! will be nice to have him close to home.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Boo Hoo

Ron didn't hear anything about the new job yesterday so I have my fingers crossed he will hear something today.

I've been in somewhat of a slump lately.  I think it is mainly a result of chronic pain.  I have wrestled with rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 14.  I was lucky because I was in remission a good deal of the time growing up with only occasional flares.  These days I only have brief if any remission at all.  I guess it is the price I pay for the early years.  New drugs have helped prevent severe joint damage and I've only had 3 surgeries due to my RA.  One ankle fusion at the age of 28 and then some surgeries on my hands about 10 years ago.  

What has me in a slump is my inability to sleep through the night.  I'm awakened by pain several times during the night and finding a comfortable position is almost impossible.  I don't like to complain because there are so many people dealing with much worse pain than mine.  But it does wear on you............Having a job that requires me to sit for long periods of time is the worse thing....I get so stiff I can hardly walk and it increases the pain in my hips.  I'm so ready to retire.  Chronic pain is hard for others to understand.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Ron interviewed for a new job yesterday and should hear something today.  He currently works for a bank in Okla. City but the commute adds 2 hours to his day.  This job would be right here in town and less than 2 miles from our house.   He would basically be doing the same job.  He may hear something today.  I really hope he gets it because I think he would be much happier.  Me, I just want to retire.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Forest Gump Goes to Heaven

Forest Gump is at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself. However, the gates are closed, and Forest approaches the gatekeeper.  St. Peter said, ‘Well, Forest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven.’
Forest responds, ‘It sure is good to be here, St. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam. I sure hope the test ain’t too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.’
St. Peter continued, ‘Yes, I know, Forest, but the test is only three questions.
What two days of the week begin with the letter T?
How many seconds are there in a year?
What is God’s first name?’
Forest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St. Peter, who waves him up, and says, ‘Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.’
Forest replied, ‘Well, the first one — which two days in the week begins with the letter ‘T’? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.’The Saint’s eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, ‘Forest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?’ asked St. Peter.
‘How many seconds in a year?
Now that one is harder,’ replied Forest, ‘but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.’
Astounded, St. Peter said, ‘Twelve? Twelve? Forest, how in Heaven’s  name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year ?
Forest replied, ‘Shucks, there’s got to be twelve:
January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd… ‘
‘Hold it, interrupts St.Peter. ‘I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind….but I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question.
Can you tell me God’s first name’? ‘Sure,’ Forest replied, it’s Andy.‘Andy?’ exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?’
 You are going to love this … ‘Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,’
Forest replied. ‘I learnt it from the song,
St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: ‘Run, Forest, run.’

Monday, September 16, 2013

Miss America

Did anyone watch the Miss America pageant last night?  Ron and I watched it and first we surprised by what a watered down version it has become.  It was very short and they only showed an abbreviated talent portion, evening gowns and swimsuits. Each segment very short.  Compared to the days when I was a little girl it wasn't much of a show.

Today I've read so many critics saying that a girl of Indian descent is not representative of America.  Really, if that's the case than only native Americans are qualified to be Miss America.  The rest of us are of some foreign descent.................................

People are so full of it sometimes.  If anyone represents the American ideal it is someone whose family recently came to this country to create the American dream for themselves.  Something that many of us "other foreigners" have long since taken for granted. 

People never stop amazing me.......their petty judgments and crazy ideas.  Yesterday our church held University Sunday.  The entire service was directed by young college students and their sermon was entitled "The Church is Dying"...they talked about how young adults are discouraged by the hypocrisy the perceive in organized religion.  The exclusion and judgment of certain individuals and primarily the gay community.  Religion teaches love thy neighbor and to follow the teachings of Christ but they do not see that being practiced.  They say they believe in God they just don't believe in the way the church is representing him.

It was very interesting.  More and more we have noticed that the congregation is made up of people our age (60's) or older.....there is an obvious absence of the young 20 and 30 year olds.

Friday, September 13, 2013

I caved!

Well, I caved.  I had a Diet Coke last night.  I came home feeling as awful as I did the day before and I just caved.  I know it is the caffeine my brain is craving so I'm going to have to approach this another way.  Maybe I need to first switch to caffeine free diet coke and wean myself from there.  Or first switch to the smaller cans and wean down from there to caffeine free.  Right now I've had one diet coke in the past two days.  I felt absolutely horrible and it was amazing how much better I felt after just a couple of swallows............  I'm such an addict!

Our state fair started yesterday and with it came rain.  We were actually needing a little rain so it was a welcomed sight.  Okla. calls it the fair curse because it always rains the week of the state fair.  As I have written in the past the state fair is where Ron's and my romance blossomed.  Right on top of a fair ride that made me turn green.  Ohhhh how love creeps up and bites us when we aren't looking.   I don't know if we will go to the fair this year since it is a lot harder for me to walk any distance but we might give it a shot.

I guess I will plan my new strategy to eliminate artificial sweetener from my diet.  This is going to be so much harder than I thought.  As a diabetic it is hard to eliminate it completely but I figured diet drinks were not a dietary necessity so why not start there.  Easier said than done apparently!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Who would have thought that eliminating Diet Coke would make me feel so awful!  By the time I got home from work yesterday I felt like a run over dog.  However, I managed to go all day without one and for me that's a near miracle.  So onward to day two and I'm hoping my stubbornness will get me through the day.  I sure better see some improvement in something in the next few days.  

I have a morning breakfast meeting at 7:30 and I'm going to try a cup of coffee.  I haven't drank coffee in more than 25 years but hey I gotta have some caffeine..........

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No more artificial sweetener for me

 I have been reading a lot about the side effects of aspertame especially as it relates to joint pain.  I've had Osteoarthritis since I was 14 years old.  So I am no newbie when it comes to joint pain.  I had both basal thumb joints removed about 10 years ago and I had ankle fusion in my late twenties.  But like other seniors my joint pain has increased with aging. So I am now in the process of trying to end my addiction to Diet Coke...and eliminate the use all artificial sweetener in my diet.  Reading about the side effects of these sweeteners frankly scared me.  Some people reported experiencing horrible joint and muscle pain that completely vanished after eliminating asperatame from their diet.  This morning I had a cup of hot tea with honey.   I need the caffeine in order to avoid the headache I will get if I don't have it.  So far so good.  I have promised myself I will switch to water only.  Wish me luck!  This is hard!

Monday, September 9, 2013


When C.S. Lewis described grief as an invisible blanket between the world and the person grieving his words struck me.  I remember such a feeling when my father died.  The day before my dad was removed from life support we had to bury my great aunt.  I stood at her gravesite with only one thought on my mind and it was that my father was going to die tomorrow.  It was surreal and I wondered if my pain was visible.  I felt almost invisible going about the business of living but wondering how the world could go on when my world was being torn apart. Lewis also said grief felt like the sensation of being afraid, that same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness.  Oh, how accurate a description.

Until my father’s death I had only been introduced to grief.  My first encounter was at the age of five when my great grandmother died.  I remember my parents coming to me while I was playing outside.  They sat down beside me and told me that Mama Tucker had died.  My mother was very close to her grandmother and I could feel her sadness but had very little understanding of the finality of their words.

As a young adult I experienced the loss of my grandparents and though I definitely experienced grief it was on a much lesser scale.  I found myself in a supportive role.  My job was to be a support to my parents but always cognitive of the feeling that life goes on. Not until my father’s death did I truly understand grief as described by C.L. Lewis.  And like many of life’s experiences once we have survived such grief we are able to imagine our ability survive it again if necessary.

I have been guilty of looking for answers where there are none.  I have wondered why God would have allowed me to find such happiness at this stage of my life and then threaten me with the unthinkable possibility of taking it away.   I had convinced myself that the advantage of remaining single was that I would never have to experience the loss of a spouse.  It seemed to be a worthwhile trade until Ron and I met again and though I avoided marriage for a long time I realized that I would never be able to protect myself from the possibility of grief. 

After our marriage and the 3rd cancer surgery I again questioned why God would let me have such happiness and then threaten to take it away.  But I think I finally found something that helps me come to terms with this possibility.

“It was too perfect to last,' so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic - as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it ('None of that here!'). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean 'This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.' As if God said, 'Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sittin Pretty

How lucky I am.  I was fortunate to grow up with two loving parents who opened their doors to everyone.  We had such fun as a family.  There was lots of story telling, plenty of teasing and just plain fun.  Ours was the house where everyone wanted to hang out.  Most of our friends were just sitting on baited breath waiting to hear the next story out of my dad’s mouth.  He was always the entertainer.  I swear he missed his calling for he definitely belonged on stage.  He was a one-man show 24 hours a day. 

My mother could be just as entertaining only it was unintentional.  She was just so honest and said the first thought that popped into her head.  My parents were compared to Archie and Edith Bunker but without the bigotry.  My dad was as colorful as Archie and my mother was a sweet as Edith.  I think what I admired most was their love for one another.   My father had the same romantic love for my mother for 55 years.  He always referred to her as his lovely Lolita.  (I guess he wasn’t that much like Archie after all)  I always hoped to find someone to love me as much as my father loved my mother. 

Sometimes when I am quiet and close my eyes I can see them both.  I can see my dad in his white t-shirt and shorts, rolling a cigar between his thumb and fingers.  With one leg slung over the arm of a chair he would survey his audience with a mischievous glint in his eyes.  Not far away was my mother always lovely but oblivious to the shenanigans about to transpire.  

Forgive me if you have heard this before but hey, I'm old, I repeat myself..................

I remember one day in particular when my brother Mike decided to join the family after spending a few days recuperating from hemorrhoid surgery.  I was sitting in the den next to my father as Mike gingerly made his way down the hall carrying his rubber donut.  I remember watching my dad out the corner of my eye aware of his rather unusual silence.  Daddy just puffed on his cigar while keeping an intent eye on Mike.  Finally Mike positioned himself above the couch.  He let out a deep sigh as he slowly came to rest on top of the rubber donut. Before Mike could inhale dad suddenly remarked, “Well I’ll be damned Mike, you are finally a bigger pain in the ass to yourself than you are anyone else.”

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lady In Red

Last night I got a phone call from an old high school boyfriend.  He is currently living in Paris and he called to touch base like he does ever year or so.

I met Albert when I was fifteen.  We were sophomores in high school and though we had several classes together I did not make his acquaintance until the day I wore my new red shoes.  You see it was the first pair of red shoes I had ever owned and because red is my all time favorite color and because they were also my first pair of non-corrective shoes I was really, really, excited about them.  I couldn’t take my eyes off those shoes.  So, in our 5th hour history class there I was sitting sideways at my desk just so I could keep glancing down at my feet.  This put me in a position to talk to the student behind me, which happened to be Albert.  Not being able to contain my enthusiasm for my new shoes I stuck my feet straight out and said to him, “See my new red shoes!”.  Duhhhhhh what a dork.   But the door was opened and Albert took it from there.     

We dated all three years of high school and continued through our freshman year of college.  It was at the end of that year that Albert confessed he was gay.  Not exactly confessed but told me about an experience he had on the wheat harvest that summer that made that fact very clear.  I was shocked, repulsed and maybe a little scared.  Being young and naive I didn’t know how to react.   I just remember going home and crying on my dad’s shoulder.  For some reason unknown to me at the time my dad wasn’t surprised by the revelation.  It was something he had suspected since the first time he met Albert but never shared with me.  I guess he felt my virtue was safe so why rock the boat. Maybe I missed the clue in Albert’s shared enthusiasm for my red shoes……..but that’s stereotyping.

What I did appreciate was what my father told me.  He reminded me that everything I loved about Albert was still there.  He was still the same boy.  He was still my best friend which I think is what he had always been.  We shared many interests and that hadn't changed.

So, Albert and I have remained close friends all our lives.  He moved to California but we always stayed in touch.  His mother once told me that maybe if I had just slept with her son he might not have been gay.  Poor mom……….she had a hard time accepting her son's sexual orientation and way too much confidence in mine.

A few years ago Albert up and moved to Paris where he plans to remain for the remainder of his life.  He once told me I was the only girl he ever loved.   I know it was a sweet innocent time in our lives.   I’m glad he was finally able to be his authentic self and I’m glad he was able to share that truth with me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Iron Lady

My brother has taken to calling me “The Iron Lady”.  He referred to me as such at his silver sneakers class.  I think he is feeling the heavy hand of the law since I put him on a budget.  I was having such a hard time managing his finances because of his, shall we say, unusual spending habits.  It took us about 3 months to round up all the credit cards and blank checks from his house and to come up with a plan.  Each Saturday we fill a Subway gift card with $30.00 for the week.   Mike likes to eat a Subway sandwich every day………………. He no longer buys foot long sandwiches. he now just purchases one 6 inch per day as opposed to two foot longs and forgetting he has one in the refrigerator.

Finally………I have successfully introduced him to TV dinners.  He has several he likes and they have been a huge money saver.  I don’t know why he can remember he has a tv dinner in the freezer but couldn’t remember the meals I prepared and left in his refrigerator but I’m not complaining……….whatever works!  So, we take him shopping on Saturday for groceries and then we give him a set amount of cash to pay for the extras  and his silver sneakers class.   So far, so good.  He has managed 3 weeks in a row and I say that is a significant victory!

All these things are new to Mike.  He has never managed money or worried about it since our parents paid his bills all his life.  It’s not easy to acquire daily living skills at the age of 65 but it is never too late.  I just have to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.  We celebrate every new accomplishment and ask for patience along the way.  Sometimes the job of managing two households overwhelms me but I just have to slow down and forgive myself when I feel less than perfect.  It is OK……..  I’m doing the best that I can and if that’s good enough according to Mike then it should be good enough for this Iron Lady.

This is a prayer I say when I'm feeling like the mean ole "Iron Lady"

Lord, may I be slow to anger and filled with love

Please fill my heart with patience
May I be ready to forgive - myself and others
Not just this once
But as many times as it takes
Because I know that you are not mean
When it comes to forgiveness

Please fill my heart with understanding
May I always seek to contemplate
What somebody may be suffering
Before I jump to any conclusions
Because I know that you never cease
To pardon me

Lord, may I be slow to anger and filled with love
Because you are my hero
And I'm following you

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Elusive Butterfly

You might wake up some mornin'
To the sound of something moving past your window in the wind
And if you're quick enough to rise
You'll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone's fading shadow
Out on the new horizon
You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings
And if the sleep has left your ears
You might hear footsteps running through an open meadow
Don't be concerned, it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing somethin' I'm not sure of
Across my dreams with nets of wonder
I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love

Just think about that.  How many people do you know are struggling to feel happiness?  How many people do you know are searching for love?  In my family alone I can name several.

“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

What does it mean to have freedom in your heart?  To me it means emptying yourself of the past hurts and disappointments, not only by others but yourself as well.

When you are dwelling on the past you are not present in the now and to me that means you are missing the best part of your life.

I remember how much time I wasted after my divorce asking the question why?  I just wanted an explanation.  I wanted my ex-husband to tell me why he stopped loving me, why he had an affair, why he left his children and why he was never in their lives again.  But it finally dawned on me that no matter what answer he gave me it wasn’t going to make me feel any better or excuse the way he treated his children.  That’s when I realized there was no point in asking it anymore and that is when I stopped looking backwards.  

It was a pretty good lesson overall because I continued to go through life refusing to look back.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes, I’ve had my fair share of crazy relationships but I don’t spend one minute looking back with regret.  Every mistake, every relationship, every experience brought me to where I am today and it is a really good place.  I try to keep my heart open and free to embrace all the wonderful things yet to come.