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!

 

 

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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!!!

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…”

he·ro [ˈhirō] NOUN a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities:

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Keeping it light while waiting for the surgeon!

Without family, friends, and faith this journey would be very dark and dreary.  Thankfully, I am truly blessed with the amazing support that I am receiving from family and friends!  I count them as heroes in my life.

My adult children are amazing heroes in my life.  Through thick and thin they have always supported me.  Both have always had the ability to help me see the lighter things in life and to enjoy life with appreciation.  It they are available, they will always go on a hiking or beach adventure with me!

Bree has never been shy about calling things out that doesn’t seem right to her,  and has a deep sense of justice and honesty.  By her example, she has taught me to be more bold in life and to speak up! Brianna has gone to the majority of my medical appointments.  She makes me laugh while waiting, she gives me that look if I’m not being completely honest with symptoms, and she stands by bravely as the doctor or surgeon speaks those terrifying words!

Trevor has always had the ability to make me laugh, even in the darkest of hours! Through his medical journey and all the trials he endured before the diagnosis of Crohn’s,  and how he has managed his medical journey after the Crohn’s diagnosis, Trevor has been an inspiration as I work my way through my own medical journey.  How can one complain about scopes and tests and IVs, when your son has already endured without complaining  at a very young age?

Both of them work well as a team and come together to support and care for me.  After my first melanoma surgery, they teamed together to make sure I had my meds on time and one of them was always in the same room with me.  They even helped me to the bathroom before the skin graft healed.  I know that helping me heal from that surgery was gross on many levels, but they stuck it out!IMG_0150

My parents are heroes too!  They raised me so that I am not afraid of hard work, I am not afraid of battles, and I am not a quitter!!!  Much of that knowledge came from the horses we trained and showed and…Dad will love this…weekends cutting trees for fire wood.  Ugh!  I really must have given him a run for his money on that one.  I did not want to do that work and I know I must have complained and whined!  Sorry…!  Mom, I’m sorry I wasn’t so willing to help you in the garden.  It’s funny, because now I love to garden and I really did learn a lot from you about gardening!

Paul, my brother, I have not forgotten you!  We really stuck together as we were growing up and had a great childhood.  I would have been very lonely and scared without you in my life!

I’m sorry if this is boring and sounding like an Academy Awards thank you list!  In a way, it is!  I’ll try to condense the rest of my thanks to my heroes, but everyone on my hero list is near and dear to my heart.  It is important they know how much they mean to me!

My aunts, uncles, cousins, and in-laws are all heroes!  They have all come together and given me love and support and advice, that I usually take!  Everyday, I have a text full of love from at least one of my extended family.  Heroes all!

Al and Karen are amazing heroes.  They have always stood by me and Bree & Trevor.  They have included us as family and they have always spoken the truth to me with loving kindness.  They were there for the kids before I even realized the kids needed that kind of help.  Thank you!

My Life Quest Family!  Oh, how they have stood by me!  They have fed me, they have prayed for me, Jessica goes hiking with me, they text me and let me know I am in their thoughts and prayers.  The men of Life Quest came to the property and cleaned it all up for me so I can list it next week.  That was HARD work and I am very thankful!  They stood up for me and validated me.  Life Quest family will always be my heroes.

My Kimberly School Family!  Oh, my heart is so full for each one of you!  I don’t know how I could have managed everything I’m going through without your love and support!  I am thankful for your wiliness to come and work on the property on Saturday.  Everyday I am shown love and support at Kimberly and I feel that you are all family!  Thank you to the Lunch Group too!  What would I do without you?   Kimberly is an amazing staff of heroes.  Everyday they give their best to their students, their families, and to each other.  No wonder we are #1!!!  Lol!!!  (Kimberly retirees…you are included too!).

To my closest friends, I hope you all know that I count you as heroes!!!  I will acknowledge you in a more personal way!  And to my Nine Hour Away Friend, thank you for filling my texts with humor and real life stuff!

Oh, this isn’t meant as a goodbye speech or anything!  There will be many more blogs.  It has been on my heart for a long time to let people know that I am thankful for them and that I love each and every one!