The Living Desert & other thoughts…

After a long week of heavy rain storms, Friday’s forecast showed that it would be in the 70’s in Palm Desert, Ca.  Trevor, Katie, and I were excited to see this news, as we had planned a Private Safari at The Living Desert for this day.  Trevor packed up my oxygen tanks and walker and we were off for our adventure at The Living Desert!

The Living Desert is a beautiful zoo in Palm Desert, CA.  The animals are all beautiful,  the enclosures were clean and the walking paths and trails were made to look regional the the animal territory we were visiting.  We chose to use the Private Safari Adventure, as it is fully done with a guide and the complete use of a shuttle.  I highly recommend this option.  Our guide was wonderful and we were able to gain “insider” information.  Of course, conservation and and extinction is a main topic of zoos and conservancies.  I am saddened at the amount of species that are currently on the Red List of declining/endangered/extinct animals.  More information can be found on iucnredlist.org.

I truly enjoyed getting out for the morning and hanging out with Trev and Katie.  We were able to see every animal and we were able to feed the giraffes!  Every animal there is beautiful and some were very funny to watch.  It seemed like the animals were happy to see a sunshine day!

Anyway, I woke up at 2:00 am and my brain started thinking about animal extinction and my own journey with cancer and hospice.  Honestly, I’m not sure where I’m going with these 2:00 am thoughts.  Comparing species extinction to my own passing seems trivial.  However, there is the issue of loss in both cases.

What will it be like on earth if the animals/creatures  continue to disappear? What will it be like if all the bees disappear?  Many people believe that it could start the end of the world.  Because bees are primary pollinators of fruits and vegetables, this could lead to a chain reaction of crops disappearing, which could lead to limited agriculture available, which could lead to limited dairy and meat supply.  It would also lead to the disappearance of my beloved honey.  The disappearance of bees would make the world a less sweet place to live.

What is it like when a loved one disappears to death?  It drastically changes the life of those left behind.  For my children, their world will be forever changed.  I believe that they will mourn.  I believe they will be strong.  I don’t think they will forget me on their big event days:  weddings, children, deciding where to settle, buying their first home, happy moments and sad moments.  They will probably think of me at the beach or when a storm passes.

The journey of life will always have it’s ups and downs.  From the big issues that face our world (extinction) to experiencing the joys found in this world.  We all have the opportunity to choose how we encounter life.  Will we embrace the opportunities put before us?  Will we become divisive with one another as we try find and implement correct solutions for the world?  My hope and longing is that people will exchange ideas and work together to make this world a better place.

As for my own remaining time, I will continue to embrace life!  My hope for my family and friends is that, they too will embrace life.  I hope they will stop and watch the bees for awhile!

 

 

Leaping Leena the Lap Dog

Leena the Lap Dog joined our family several weeks ago.  I was wishing for a little dog to sit on my lap.  Bree had been thinking it might be a good idea for me to have a dog to take outside and keep me moving.  Leena had been living with Bree for several years, but Bree felt it was more important for Leena to hang out with us for awhile.  Having Leena here has been wonderful!

A little back story….Leena has been in our family for eleven years!  She was originally Trevor’s dog.  She was so tiny, that he would carry her under his shirt, and she would pop her head through the neck line of his shirt.  She would also hide in his shoes, so he had to be very careful when putting on his shoes.  Leena has always been one of the most patient and sweetest dogs that I’ve ever known.

Ok…back to current story!  Leena not only gives me comfort, but she also makes sure that every visitor gets a chance to have a Leena encounter.  She will sit on every visitor’s lap (if they want her).  Leena brings comfort and peace into a situation where visitors might feel uncomfortable.  When I take her on walks, she leads me with the walker.  One can see that she feels very important and in charge of our walks.  Thank you Bree for sharing Leena!  Dog therapy is amazing!

Health Updates:

The mass by my left rib has grown.  It feels like the mass is pushing against my rib, which is causing a squeezing of the other organs nearby.  I can really feel it when I’m walking, so I’ve slowed down and am using the walker when outside.

The mass on my neck is also growing.  This one makes talking difficult at times.  I will return calls when I can talk clearly.   Otherwise, texting works well for me.

I have definitely slowed down.  My energy level has been very low these past couple of weeks.  Showering is an example of how I have slowed down:  It takes at least an hour; maybe an hour and a half to shower.  On Monday and Thursdays a bath nurse comes out and washes my hair and body.  This was difficult for me to accept in the beginning.  Now, I am thankful for her help.  During the shower, I need to sit down on the shower chair because it is exhausting to stand for the whole shower.  When the shower is complete, I sit down for the drying.  Then there is the lotioning, the hair brushing, the hair drying…it all takes time because I need to stop and rest frequently during this process. It is a strange thing, but showers now wear me out and I usually end up taking a long nap after showers!

As I continue to slow down, I will be asking for more help.  There is a web-site that I will probably post next week.  It allows for people to sign up for times to help in various ways.  I promise, I won’t make anything difficult!

As much as I can, I still want to experience life to the fullest!  This Friday, Trevor and Katie are taking me to The Living Desert.  We will have a Private Safari and will experience The Living Desert with a private shuttle and driver!  I’m looking forward to feeding the giraffes!

Spiritually, I am doing well.   The Lord is always with me; I have never felt deserted by Him.  He brings me family & friends to help along this path.  I am thankful for each of you!  It feels like I am preparing for the ultimate Hiking Trip!  I know that this journey will be full of love and adventure.

If you are a person who enjoys Praise & Worship music,  check out this song:

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong United

This song is where I am at spiritually.  It is on the song list for the funeral!  I’m not sure it is “cool” to write that, but, yes, we have been working on that reality.  I count that as a part of the gift of time I’ve been given!  I love you all and I am thankful that you have joined in on my journey.

It is well with my soul!  Love, Cindylindy

December/January Adventures

As I begin to type, rain is pouring from the dark sky.  I can hear it popping up from our black-top parking area and I love the idea that all will be clean and fresh after the storm passes.  I’ve been in bed all day and it has been a day of memories raining through my brain.  Some of the memories are begging to be captured and written down.  Some of the memories are like thunder and lightning; they are here for the brief jolt and then the memory fades.

The adventures I want to share were big events for me.  Seeing Fleetwood Mac play has always been a dream of mine. I was able to see them in concert on December 8th with my life-long friend, Lori.  The concert was awesome and I could share so much about that experience.  The truth is, the experience was more about who I was with for the event!  We had an amazing time just talking and being together.  She is one of the few people who knows there was a husband #1 before husband #2.  At one point in our conversation, she asked, “I wonder whatever happened to good ol’ Bob?”  It  made me smile because she knows and remembers the young me and I remember the young Lori.

Staying in Newport the week before Christmas was the next big adventure.  This was our family Christmas time together.  We had a great room that had a harbor view.  Watching the boats in the bay was wonderful.  Experiencing the boat parade was on my wish-list and that made the stay perfect for me.  However, the trip was about who was there and sharing the experience together.  Important conversations came up during that time and emotions were shared.

Warner Bros Studio was the next big adventure.  Brianna gave me this trip as a Christmas present!  She made sure it would be an easy trip for me.   The tour is mostly done in a shuttle.  When there was walking, I had my walker.  I enjoyed seeing the sets, but again it was about sharing the adventure.  Bree and I have spent hours watching Friends and Gilmore Girls.  To see the sets with her, took us down memory-lane and gave us a gift of all the times we have solved world issues on the couch as we watched these shows!   We both have great ideas for saving the world!

As it continues to rain, both outside and the raining of memories in my head, I know the  importance of family and friends.  Being on the cancer/hospice journey without the help of family and friends would be extremely difficult.  I am so thankful to all of you.  I am moving at a slower pace and don’t always respond in a timely matter, but I am treasuring each of you and your outreaching to me.  I guess this a good place to give an update on my health:

I have slowed down and use a walker now. Using oxygen is a big part of my life now.   The mass at my rib is growing outward and I am really bloated everywhere.  There is a new mass on my throat and it is growing toward the rib.  Texting is easier than phone calls for me.  I am still in good spirit, and I am thankful for every moment and for every adventure.  Life is still filled with possibilities!!!

Christmas Eve Thoughts…

Christmas Eve has always been special to me.  I enjoy thinking about the story of Jesus coming into this world.  My thoughts go beyond the traditional story and travel into the realms of the Heavenly.

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, and I believe in the Holy Spirit.

I believe that God is an amazing force of Love and Light.  I believe that it would be difficult to leave His Presence.  I am amazed that Jesus would leave His side, to be born of a human.  Jesus left the Presence of the Father to dwell with us!  The thought is almost over-whelming to me.

Not only did Jesus leave the Presence of God, but He came into a world that would not welcome Him.  He was born in a barn.  Herod, King of Judea, wanted to kill baby Jesus.  He was always regarded as a bastard, so He did not have any social standing.  I imagine that He was ok with that, but it could not have been easy to endure.  Maybe that is why Jesus always stood up for the underdogs of the world.  His siblings dismissed him as the crazy one in the family.  It could not have been an easy life for Him, and yet he lived among the people.

He lived among the people.  His first miracle was to help a married couple with the wine at their wedding.  He turned water into wine!   I’m looking forward to Heavenly wine!  He taught about what The Father really wants; not what the religious leaders of the day wanted.  It seems the biggest struggle Jesus had on Earth, was to contend with the church leaders of the day.   The leaders wanted everyone to follow their rules.  Jesus said it is ok to break the rules in the name of Love.  If your animal falls in a pit, rescue it, no matter the day!  If someone gets hurt, help that person, no matter the day!  I believe that Jesus wants us to love and accept each other.  To help each other…

He treated the outcasts with kindness.  He healed people.  He stood His ground with the Religious  Leaders of the day.

Jesus left the glory of His Father, to dwell among the people!  It amazes me.

I understand that not all will agree with me regarding my beliefs.   However,  I have been fortunate to experience this kind of love from my family and friends.  I am thankful for every text message (it has been difficult to speak- texting is easier), I am thankful for every card, every visit, every prayer, and every thought that has been poured out over me and over Trev and Bree.  I love you all!  Merry Christmas!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Month on Hospice

A gift has been bestowed upon me! Quality Time. We all have time. The beauty of my gift in time, is the knowledge that my time is now limited.  With that, there is an awareness of quality of life!!!

Quality of life in the hospital was oppressive.  It was dark & depressing.  I believe I would have died if I had stayed there one more night.  So, I blurted out, “I want to go home on hospice care now!!!”  It must have been a shocking request for my family to hear, but they had me signed up with hospice and back at home in a few hours!  I will forever be grateful that I have a family who surrounds me with love and support.

Hospice care at home has been fundamental in my new time-spectrum.  The hospice staff are amazing.   Everyone of them are kind and direct and honest!  They are available 24 hours and have always responded quickly to our calls.  This gives an enormous sense of peace in the quality time.  This gives me peace that I won’t have to return to the dreaded hospital.

My thoughts above are the starting point of my new journey.  With that, “Ok, I’ve the peace let’s go forward,” come a myriad of emotional thoughts barging through the brain!  A month on hospice has me thinking…

I think about quality v. quantity.  I think about how can I make the most of my time?  I think about the after-life.  I think about my children going on without me.  I think about not knowing grandchildren.  I think about my parents and wonder how they feel about all this.  I think about all the family and friends who reach out to me and what a blessing each person is in my life.

Most of all, I think I am blessed to have time to spend with family and friends.  This time on hospice is not about doom and gloom.  It is a time to be with people.  It is a time to be myself.  It is a time, that I can allow to unfold by itself and see what the day brings!

 

 

 

Visions in the early morning… death or awakening? Power of prayer???

For the last few weeks I have been waking up with Visions of the Early morning.  I have known that I would be eventually sharing these visions.  It has only been since joining the Hospice Adventure of cancer, that I can no longer ignore the compelling to desire to share.

Each vision emerges from the right side of my brain, as I sleep on my back.  The visions are like 6 X 4 picture slides that pass too quickly!  I want to dwell on each picture and retain the details. Instead, I need to wait.  I believe the whole slide-show needs to be experienced before understanding is fully known.

The images begin as a darkish-brown hue.  The images usually start showing from a glow that springs from the bottom of the picture, or a glow drops down into some type of forest. The glow is usually soft ivory color and sometimes it springs to life in an instant of white light!

This morning the images were dark, but as the slide-show began, I could see ferns wrapped around the base of brown trees.  There was an opening between the trees with a soft, grassy path between trees.  I was a soft glow image of a younger girl in a dress with flat walking shoes.  As I stepped onto the path, the darkness opened and branches that had been dark, opened to soft light and I could see the branches were small parts of my ribs.  There were dark spots on the ribs and the spots actually began looking like catepillar-type creatures. I could see they were eating my branches, but all I could do was watch and wait.  I am reminded that the Lord frequently speaks to me about, “Be still and wait.”  I guess, sometimes we are given breaks from the battle to rest.

As I watched, The Light came from behind the munching creatures, and That Light, engulfed the creatures with His own light.  This is really hard to explain, but I could see that the creatures were consumed by the brightest of all lights.  They didn’t even know The Light was behind them and that they were ready to be devoured!

All I know is that if felt a deep sense of peace deep within my soul.  I KNOW that The Light is fueled by prayers:  prayers of love, prayers of warriors, prayers of wisdom, prayers of healing.  Prayers of so many more powers that I can’t list yet.

I am able to feel all these prayers!  I am able to feel the love, hope, and desire from all these prayers.  And all I can do is say THANK YOU to all who support me and my family.

And I am learning that prayers can be more than words.  Prayers come in the form of visits and texts and meals and desserts and phone calls and help with shopping and help with laundry and help with creative projects…and so much more!  Again, THANK YOU!

With a deep love to each of you, I am thankful for all that you do!  Everyone of you is amazing!  There are just some journeys that cannot be walked alone …!

 

 

 

Stuff Happens…

Hello All!

Radiation Update:  I’ve had three treatments; two more to go!  I have more range of motion in my right arm!  The biggest side effect has been the fatigue that goes with radiation treatment.  Other than that, there isn’t much to report on the radiation treatment, at this point.

So….a close friend has encouraged me to write about some of the funny stuff that happens.  It easier for me to tell a funny story than to write a funny story.    I’m hopeful that My Funny Stuff stories comes across as humorous to you.   I hope it will bring a smile or laugh into your life.  Here goes:  Funny Story #1- Hazardous Indoor Biking

As most of you know, I love being active and I love being outdoors.  For the last few months, I have been contained indoors.  The weather has been hot.  My right arm has been out of commission.  Fatigue keeps me on a short leash at home.  In short, I’ve become a couch potato.

Being a couch potato isn’t all bad!  I have been catching up on relationships with family and friends,  catching up on writing, and catching up on creative projects.   So really, this time has been a gift that could be easily over looked.  However, for the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking that my legs are still good and I need to keep my heart exercised…so, I’ve been looking at exercise equipment to have in the apartment.

My exercise equipment search began at my favorite on-line store, Amazon.  As I began to think this through, I decided a stationary bike with a huge seat might be the winning ticket.  Then…tad-dah, I found the mega-starred recumbent ellipitcal machine.  It has everything!  It has the super-wide comfy seat, it has zero-impact stress on body joints, it has four and half stars…AND it comes with a huge price tag.  I did give this serious thought for about a week and then decided it didn’t fit the budget or my apartment space.  The search continued and I spent days looking at exercise bikes on Amazon.

Finally, I settled on an affordable and foldable stationary bike that was more in line with my budget and space needs.  I read the reviews and did research.  It took me several days to hit the, “Proceed with Purchase” button.  Once I did though, I couldn’t wait for the bike to arrive and get started peddling while watching TV.

The big day arrived and the bike was delivered to my Postal Annex store.  Trevor and Katie picked up the bike for me and spent time assembling the bike.  They were very methodical during this process.  Trevor even read the directions out loud in a funny accent (he should have his own YouTube channel)!  When they were finished assembling the bike, they each took a turn trying out the bike.  Then I got on and peddled for thirty minutes.  Awww….it felt good to be moving!!!

On Day 2 of having the stationary exercise bike, I turned on The Voice and was prepared to peddle for another thirty minutes.  I upped the tension a bit and was ready to ride away from Couch Potato Land.  Fifteen minutes passed and all was well as I peddled my best to keep the heart rate up a bit.  I was trying to peddle in time with the songs on The Voice.  Then I decided to take a short break.

The break went really well.  I sat down, I had a drink of water, I stalked Facebook, and then I hopped back on The Bike.  As I sat on that huge, comfy seat, something went terribly wrong.  I leaned back into the back rest and in slow motion the back rest started to move.  It wasn’t supposed to move.  It was supposed to be a secure place to lean into while riding…my brain was trying process this…but the bike seat and my body kept going backwards and down to the floor.  I landed with a thud.  I landed on my right shoulder and elbow.  Trevor and Katie ran into the living room to find me on my back!

For a moment, I could not comprehend what had just happened.  Here I was, on the floor, looking up at the ceiling of my apartment.  I had fallen off a stationary bike!  Yup, that does seem like something I would do! All I could do, was to start laughing.  How many people fall of stationary bikes?

Trevor and Katie helped me up and then looked at the bike.  The metal post that holds the back rest broke in half!  I wrote to Amazon immediately.  I haven’t heard back from them, so I’ll give them a call after I post this blog.

Trevor and Katie are heroes to me.  They have been driving me places, helping around the apartment, running errands, and they come running if they hear a loud crash in the apartment!  Thank you Trevor and Katie!!!

I did not sustain any injuries from the Stationary Bike fall.  I still want to exercise indoors, so the search resumes.  Maybe I will have to stretch the budget for better quality?

As I read through this, I realize I am not able to write this with the humor I intended.  I’ll keep on working on, “Writing with Humor.”  In the meantime, I’ll change this from, “Funny Stuff That Happens” to “Stuff Happens.”  There has been plenty of Stuff happening to keep the blog going for years!

Thank you for reading this entry and staying in touch.  I hope that you find something to smile about or laugh about today.  Sometimes we have to really search for the positive or humorous side of things, but it is always worth searching for the treasures in life.

With love, Cindy

#Alivewithwonder! Continue reading “Stuff Happens…”

Alive with Wonder!

Hello All, I was a couch potato all weekend!  My right shoulder/arm was painful this weekend, so I decided to have a “do-nothing” weekend.  I even subscribed to a TV service (I haven’t had TV for awhile)!  Many friends called and/or texted this weekend.  I always enjoy hearing from family & friends.

Radiation begins today!  I’ve had radiation before (with the original scalp melanoma), so I go into this part of the journey with some experience.  Last time I had radiation, the “radiation fatigue” hit me pretty hard.  I’m hoping that since I’m on medical leave, it won’t be as difficult to manage.

The Meal Train meals start today too!  I am very thankful to the Kimberly parents for putting this together.  It is always fun to visit with the families bringing the meal and getting to try out new meals.  You all make this journey easier!  Thank you!

This morning I had an interesting dream right as I woke up:

I woke up with an image of a little girl (5 or 6) holding the hand of a parent.  Her hair was long, blonde, and parted on the side.  It was very straight.  She looked at peace and was gazing around- taking in all the wonders of life.  I think it was me!  My first thought was, “Alive with Wonder!”

Alive with Wonder is how I always hope to view this world.  I love watching the sky, cloud formations, and weather patterns.  I love being outdoors and watching the leaves and birds.  I love listening to the sweet song of the breeze tickling the leaves.  I love to sit or stand still and watch the creatures emerge from hiding.

Of course, I love going to the beach in the early morning hours.  I love watching the sunrise over the ocean, the sound of the waves and the birds, the breeze, picking up shells, watching dolphins & other sea creatures, and watching & talking with other early morning beach people.

I love sitting by mountain lakes and rivers.  Watching the birds soar high into the heavens always leaves me with a sense of wonder.  Watching the fish swim idly by can keep me entertained for hours!

I am thankful for all that I have experienced in this life.  This world is really a beautiful place to live and be.  Even when there is “foulness” in some area of life, hope and beauty can usually be found if we stay still and watch and listen.  I think I’ll address this on a future post!

Thank you for reading my thoughts and sharing my journey.  I could not do this without all the love and support each of you have shown me.

With love and Alive with Wonder, Cindy

#Alivewithwonder