Saturday, January 31, 2009

If I Only Had a Brain

Some days I resemble the scarecrow from the yellow brick road - in fact, as I look down this lazy Saturday afternoon, I think I might fit the bill right now, minus the straw. My sloppy red joggers and plain, unflattering (but comfy) old Yellow top would be prime fodder for ridicule should Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear appear on my doorstep. But right now I am content.
My bone scan on Thursday went as planned. I was there on time and received my shot of radioactive glow juice. The three hours that I had to wait were spent wisely with books, my day planner, a muffin, tea and several glasses of water, in the cafeteria. I was tempted to spend my parking meter money on a plate of the source of that delicious spicy aroma. But I thought better. It wouldn't be nice for a quiet lass like me to have to break through the barrier with my automobile. I'd forgotten about making sure I had enough currency to get out of the parking lot once I was in. Thank goodness I had a ten dollar bill and a bit of change rolling around in the bottom of my satchel. I managed the tea and muffin with the required six dollars for parking.

Anyway, the bone scan, once I got in there, went without a hitch and I think I annoyed the technician by asking her a myriad of questions. Soon another male technician appeared to 'finish me off.' Either my original gal went on a coffee break (the test takes almost an hour) or she conned my new guy into taking over. Anyway, his name was Dan. I continued with the questions for two reasons. I wanted to find out what was going on with me, but I also wanted to get the right details for the book that I am writing. Research. I was conducting research so things needed to be accurate. Actually, Dan the man was great. He talked my ear off and explained things in great detail. As he waved goodbye, he reminded me to send him a copy of my book - "Mrs. B Has Cancer." Maybe I should start taking orders now. :)
As I was going through the procedure, Dan did ask me if I had had dental work recently. He saw a shadow in my skull. I was hoping it was a brain but he said no. Sheesh. Anyway, it so happened that I did recently have a filling, so I'm banking on that being the 'shadow.'

I have to wait a week for the report to come back to my doctor. Here we go again. More waiting.

Meanwhile, I am remembering who the greatest Physician is and I know He has it all worked out. Thanks for taking an interest in my shenanigans and especially for your prayers. I am so blessed that you care!
(Photo: Me - With hair and Feathers! )

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fearful or Faithful?

Tomorrow I am going for a bone scan. I am not looking forward to the radioactive injection and the three hours of waiting but I know it is one of those things that just has to be done. I'm tossing up trying to decide where my feelings reside.

A long time ago Gilles and I went to a marriage encounter and I think one of the big lessons I learned there was that feelings are not wrong - it's what we do with our feelings that can make us or break us. I think this philosophy applies to many areas of our lives.

As I contemplate the what-ifs and the I-hope-so's, I have settled into realizing that I have a strong faith in knowing that what is going to happen is exactly what is supposed to happen. God has blessed me with a multitude of wonderful reasons to smile and shout - "Amen" every morning and my feelings are telling me to choose the thankful path.

If anyone feels led, a prayer for good results tomorrow and a calm 'inner environment' would be most appreciated. I might have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Laughter - A God Gift

(Photo: Nap time with Daddy. This was taken when Trevor was three, I think.)

(Photo: Feeding time. This was taken about three weeks ago when Trevor was 26, I think.)

I'm grateful for a lot of things in this life, but I think the one thing I am really thankful for is a sense of humour. We hear all sorts of clichés about how laughter is the best medicine and how smiling releases endorphins that make us healthy and the like. You know what? I believe them. Clichés or not, I'm buying it. I have a very funny family. We love to laugh and tease. We love to make merry just because we can. Somehow it seems to unite us and prepare us. We know our limits, though, most of the time. If perchance someone crosses the threshold and offends the other we 'fess up and it is soon rectified.

As you can see by the stunning photography above, my 6'3" baby who is about to become a father this year, has a sense of humour just like his momma! There were times in his teenage years that I had to temper his teasing and put a bit of a reign on his wry sense of humour. But he has turned out to be quite a character and can be counted on to be the life of the party. The nice thing is, though, Trev can be philosophical, too and having a serious conversation with him can be just as refreshing as seeing him sitting in a high chair!

I'm glad God blessed me with the ability to laugh and a family to laugh with. Over this past year with all this cancer nonsense, laughter has been like good medicine. On more than one occasion it has brought me out of the pit of self-pity. Laughing with family and friends has made the journey more jovial and bearable. It has also allowed others to feel safe and comfortable talking personally with me, I think. Don't misconstrue...I have had dark moments. Tearful times. Moments of despair. But I am thankful that God has given me lots of teeth to show off and laughing has been a good release for me.

This is a bit of a secret right now but I do have an idea for another book once I've got my other ones settled into a potential home. I'm thinking of calling it "Cancer - No Laughing Matter...But it Helps!" I woke in the wee hours of the morning, once during my nasty chemo days and that title came to my head. I scribbled it down and it has been niggling at my brain ever since. Hmmm...

Laughter is a good tonic. God said so. “A cheerful heart does good like medicine...” Proverbs 17:22 TLB

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tooth Fairy Princess

Janice doesn't really like being called a princess but just between you and me, she really does have a way of helping people live happily ever after!

Janice is my sweet daughter in law who just happens to be pregnant. Yes! Another grandbaby to adore and spoil.

Janice is also a dental assistant - and a very capable one at that. I have watched her multitask on the job to the point where I am dizzy. She can run the suction hose to stop me from drooling all over, take a phone call, concoct a filling, keep me calm, plan dinner and remind me what a wonderful son I have as Dr. Dentist drills for oil.

The other day I had to go to a dental specialist to check out my choppers. Since my chemo, I have had some issues with some of my teeth (I had no idea there was so many 'issues' until the x-ray!) Anyway, Janice asked if she could accompany me to the appointment because she had worked part time there for a while and wanted to have a visit with the staff. I was thrilled. Having company on the drive for my 8am appointment in Kitchener would be most appreciated.

And most appreciated it was. I walked into the office. Obviously Janice was well loved there. I bragged about how I had brought along my own private dental assistant. Janice really was a big help, especially since yours truly forgot to bring along the 'little slip of paper' indicating what was to be attended to in my oral cavity. Janice took over and explained the situation covering up her dopey mother-in-law's forgetfulness.

The dental surgeon was eloquent and knowledgeable. After my little session in the chaise lounge with the attached spit bowl, Janice went with him to his office. There, the fate of my fangs was discussed. I am a little leery about any type of invasive work, because of my recent chemo. But on the way home, Janice interpreted and confirmed the plan of action. I didn't need a piece of paper to take with me. I had my own private DA!

It was a good morning. I know Janice will probably try to suction my tongue the next time I am in her dentist chair, but I really do think of her as a sweet princess - only by marriage of course. I mean, she is married to my son who is actually a prince and I know that is true because Amanda my darling daughter and Janice, herself, bought me a sign a couple of Christmases ago that says that I am a drama queen! It all makes sense to me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Miss Fran

Do you want to see a picture of an angel? Take a look at the little gal standing in front of me. She's wearing a black leather jacket in this photo so you can't see her wings!

Fran is my Florida friend. This picture was taken years ago when she popped up to Canada to visit her folks in Woodstock. Just before they headed back to the sunny south they made a quick detour and we rendezvoused for dinner at Anna Mae's in Millbank. That's where this photograph was snapped. Although it was a while ago, I remember it well.

Frannie and I met in college in 1977 (yikes!) From the moment we met we sort of knew we would be buddies for life. Her infectious laugh and her profound faith were a major magnet for me. My faith consisted of milk and baby steps. Through my new found friend I started to see an unconditional love on display. A Jesus kind of a love. Fran and I had some great times. And I always kidded her about her perfect hair (- she still has perfect hair to this day.)

Fran has been a rock to me over this past year as I have battled cancer. Nary a week passed once she heard about my diagnosis, that she didn't call me from the sunny south. She lifted my spirits and told me to put on my big girl panties and be strong on more than one occasion. It seemed God prompted her just at the right moment to call or send me something or e-mail me. Probably one of the most treasured items that appeared in the mail one day was a plaque. I have it on the wall beside my bed and even now it is one of the first things I see in the morning when I open my eyes:

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit
Cancer is so limited... (author uknown)

Following many nasty chemo treatments, I would roll over and look at those words. Sometimes I would cry. Sometimes I would smile. Sometimes I would just stare and wonder about the wisdom contained within the lines. Thanks Frannie for being my angel and for ministering to my heart and understanding my moods, my needs and my tears. I love that we can be apart and hardly even communicate for months on end yet still be soul sisters forever.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

O Canada. I Love My Grandchildren!

(Photo: My sweet little granddaughter, Jocelyn pretending she is a fishy!)

I am so glad that God decided that this recent bout I had with ovarian cancer was not my calling card for heaven. I periodically gaze upon my growing family and thank the Lord that he did not decree my time was up. Trevor and Janice are in a family way and glow a little brighter each time we are together. I can't wait to hold their little one close. My other grandbabies are growing so quickly and they never cease to amaze me every time I see them.

I started back to teaching yesterday and I swear each one of my precious students have all grown at least three inches in the past seven months. There is no way that I would have wanted to miss all this. The milestones. The memories. The incredible heart-warming moments of joy with all the young (and older) ones in my life - family, students and friends alike!

Today is Trenton's 3rd birthday and he is a constant source of sunshine. Check out the video (below) that I took of him this morning as he sang O Canada! How can you not smile?

I don't particularly care anymore that my hair is returning a little grayer than I had originally ordered. I don't mind that I am not quite as spry as before. I am even coming to terms with the blasted hot flashes and the packed on pounds. What I really care about is the unconditional love that I find young people are so capable of giving. They are able to look beyond the wrinkles and the worries of this old gray mare who (literally) 'ain't' what she used to be and love me for who I am.

When I am around children I somehow glean energy and purpose. What is that God? I'm wishing that I could bottle it and keep a few ounces handy for those less than energetic days. And I am still hoping I have first dibs on that nursery position when I do finally make it to the 'promised land!'

Meanwhile I will keep hugging and cherishing and laughing with little ones. As my sweet mom used to say, "they warm the cockles of my heart!"