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!

 

 

Advertisements

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

Journey through cancer, again

I’ve been struggling over blog topics.  I want to write about everything! I want to write about hiking, beach trips, road trips, teaching and embracing life.   I wish life were neatly packaged and even thematic.  I would be able to write more easily about Living Life to its fullness.  However, we all know, this is not the case.  Life can be messy and complicated and shitty and beautiful all in one package deal.  The trick is to find the beauty in the thick of it all.  At times, that is incredibly difficult! At times, it is incredibly simple!   At times, it all merges together somehow…

2018 was supposed to be a year of new beginnings for me. My divorce is soon to be final, my house will be listed, and soon my debts will be clear. My adult children are doing well.  Freedom!  I was really looking forward to all these positive changes.  I was going to blog on a regular basis!   A white spot on my lung changed my perception.  Cancer.  Again.  Ugh.

Malignant Melanoma invaded my life in May of 2015.  On June 12, 2015 the growth was removed and staged at 2C.  Radiation followed in December/January and I was on the every three-month track for doctor follow-ups, PT Scans, blood work.  I consider my skin graft scar and the scar from the growth and radiation, badges of a battle.

IMG_3525

Fast forward to January 3, 2018.  I went in for a regular PT Scan and didn’t think this one would be any different from the previous scans.  On January 17 my oncologist spoke the dreaded words, “There is some reason for concern,” as he showed me the white spot on my left lung.  I knew there was a possibility of the melanoma spreading, but I had dismissed that thought.  In my mind, I was in the 12% of patients that did not deal with the melanoma popping up elsewhere!  Now I’m waiting for February 23, 2018 to arrive and have that white spot removed!!!

Now I have a blog topic!  I am still thankful for Life’s Possibilities.  I fully intend on living life to its fullest.  I would like to share my journey of living life while dealing with cancer.  2018 will still be a year of new beginnings for me.  A rather large hurdle has been thrown in the mix, but even in that, there will be joy to be found in the journey!

Hiking

Hiking and exploring the outdoors has always been a favorite activity of mine.  Recently, hiking has taken on a whole new dimension for me.  It is becoming an activity that is never far from my mind.  I’ve been researching hiking trails and I’m considering joining several hiking groups.  In short, it is becoming more than a casual hobby.  I’m even thinking about buying some “real” hiking equipment!

Beginning this new chapter of my life, is much like hiking.  I find it exciting and challenging.   When I find a new trail, there is the moment of wondering, “Should I really try this?  Will it be too difficult?”  That old enemy, Fear, whispers in my ear, “You don’t have what it takes.” Then my friend, Courage, wraps around me with encouragement and affirmation and says, “You won’t be sorry for trying this trail.  Go for it!”

Once on the trail, there are decisions to be made.  There are forks in the road, so to speak. Trails split and a choice needs to be made, “Which way?  Should I go up the steep trail, or should I take the easy path?”   Choosing the steep path usually leads to an amazing view and a sense of accomplishment.   There is a sense of pride for reaching the top, even when I’m gasping for breath!    However,  I’m learning that there is joy and peace when walking the easy path.  Sometimes we need the experience of pushing forward and upward.  Sometimes we need to just breathe and enjoy the journey.

Hiking has also taught me that there are times in life when we need to walk alone, there are times we need to walk with a friend, and there are times to walk with a group of people.  I find that there are times when I just want to get out and hike, but nobody is available to join in the adventure with me.  That was difficult in the beginning, but I’ve come to appreciate time alone.  I am able to just be.  I am able to still my thoughts and take in the beauty of our world.  Walking with a friend (usually my daughter) always brings new insights into a relationship.  It is opportunity to accomplish and explore with someone and build into a friendship.  I’ve solved many world problems while walking with a friend!  Group hiking is always exciting too.  With group hiking, I can hang back and enjoy the companionship of other people, without the worries that come with solo hiking.  I’ve made many new friends while hiking with groups.

I will be creating a page on this blog, dedicated to hiking and the trails I discover.  My hope is to encourage others to get out and explore the world!  To my personal friends, if ever you would like to hike with me, let me know!

Happy Trails!

The Wildlands Conservancy- Oak Glen, CA

The Search for Fall Continued

Last week, I continued the search for Fall at the Wildlands Conservancy in Oak Glen, CA.  There had been a chill in the air, so I was hopeful.  As I walked up the path, I did observe a few leaves turning, but it didn’t meet my expectation of Fall.  True, there was a soft breeze that whispered the songs of the trees, but there was no blazing glory of red and yellow leaves!

For the moment, I was the only person on the path.  The only sound was the song of the breeze.  The song captured my soul and I wanted to hear more.  I wanted to see more.  I wanted to know more.  So I sat and waited.  The song seemed to wrap around me and my mind quieted, while my senses awakened.

The beauty of nature magically unfolded all around me.  At first, all I could hear and feel was that soft song breeze.  Then I could hear the trickle of water in the stream.  Suddenly, there was a sharp,  “POP!”  My eyes turned to that direction, and a brightly colored bird was sitting on a branch.  He cocked his head, and looked at me.  He must have decided I was ok, because he chirped and then other birds magically appeared.  Some were on branches and others were hopping on the ground; all of them eating their breakfast. An echoey, “TAP, TAP, TAP” drew my attention to the tops of the trees.  Wood Peckers appeared  in my vision and I knew I had found what I was really seeking.

I was seeking Hope.  Fall is a time of transition.  It is a transition from the summer heat that makes me melt.  My energy seems to drain toward the end of summer, as if it is merged into the oven-like air of our area.  Fall is the sparkle between summer and winter.  It is the hope that is given to let us know that even during harsh seasons, there is still the magic and beauty of life to be embraced!  I know that, deep in my soul, but it needed to be pulled out and remembered.

So, as I sat and embraced the magic; the hope, I observed a dead leaf falling.  It let go of the security of it’s branch.  Fall.  Another layer was unwrapped and I became aware that I was also seeking the Letting Go that is such a part of Fall.  I could feel the hug of the Holy Spirit, as I was shown that there is still Magic and Hope even during the Letting Go.

I realized that my search for Fall was a search for the ok to really let go of a relationship, a person, a dream…  My expectation was that I’d be able to do that with the same blaze of  glory that I expected to find Fall.  Now I know that it is a thing that takes time.  Some leaves fall more quickly than others.  Some leaves hang on until the very end, when there is nothing left to hold onto it and the frost of winter demands the leaf let go.  I think that I have been that leaf.  It is time to embrace the Magic and the Hope of a life that I had not planned.  It is time to let go…