Monday, October 26, 2009

Mr Sandman ...

Today has been very discouraging .. much pain, have been sleeping very little. I seem to only be able to sleep between 5:00 - 9:00 am. I've taken Ambien CR for over a year & it's just not helping anymore. In addition to that I've tried OTC Unisom, melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, Benadryl .. sometimes alllllll together. I did try a narcotic sleep med ONE night .. that was enough .. I'd rather be awake.

Say a prayer, light a candle, chant a spell, somebody please send some sleep my way ??

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How can it not be a wonderful day ?

67 degrees.
Leaves lilting back to earth.
A bright red cardinal and a peaceful mourning dove feeding at the same feeder.
Squirrels playing in the back yard.
Vanilla scented candles burning.
Ginger-peach tea.
Sarah McLachlan.
How can it not be a wonderful day ?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Joy Cometh in the Morning

There is a verse from the Bible that has often sustained me since I was a teenager. Psalm 30:5: "... weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning". Even during times when I thought my world was crushed, there was indeed a morning that brought new joy and restored happiness. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a friend who had heard those same words in her life, cautioned me to 'Remember it's a season, not a lifetime.'

Yesterday was a hard day. I started the series of Taxol treatments on Thursday, hoping it would be easier than the Adriamycin/Cytoxan. So far I can't say that it's easier, just a different set of side-effects. Not nearly as much nausea, but muscle & deep bone pain. My hands & feet look like they're very badly sunburned. Blisters between my fingers. This morning they aren't quite as tender; I'm hoping the blisters heal in a couple more days. I have meds to take for the pain, creams to put on my hands. So on this cool, damp, fall day, I'll rest and give my body a chance to heal, and wait for morning.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When My Shoes Are Empty

When my shoes are empty, you will know the life I have lived. Before you box up my shoes, take a look.

The conservative navy pumps worn to work on days when I wanted to project my most professional image, when I wanted to be taken seriously, when I wanted to say 'I do a damn fine job and I want you to recognize it'. When I was in high school I aspired to excel as a business-woman. I never did move up on the corporate ladder, but my position is one of responsibility and skill, and I am proud of the work I do .. I do it well.

The burgundy Clark's worn when I need comfort and support for days spent running up and down the aisles of a grocery store helping my mother with shopping, or running errands, or indulging in a 'shop til you drop' excursion for a new purse.

The simple white leather sandals that keep the hot-natured, menopausal, mature woman cool while looking classic and attractive with polished toes and a delicate ankle bracelet.

The white canvas Keds and their numerous predecessors, worn with comfy white socks and jeans, that walked on fall days with my small son, that drove to and picked up at school, that ran away to the playground when I should have been ironing.

The black 'Betty Page' heels worn with black backseam stockings to the symphony, or to dinner with friends. They hurt my feet, but looked so beautiful with a slinky black dress. They made me feel feminine and pretty. And that is, after all, more important than comfort isn't it ?

The red patent-leather pointy-toed high heels. They never hurt my feet that much because I rarely took more than ten steps in them. Worn with delicate lingerie, they said 'I'm a sensual woman and I want to please you'. Dust them, they haven't been worn in a very long time.

The sensible black leather ankle boots purchased to wear in New England snows while I spent the most joyous times of my life with my son. Trudging through slush to buy chocolate and ham, or slipping and giggling across a parking lot to enjoy a movie together, or wet feet stomping back up the stairs and boots tugged off to relax and cherish our last moments before my flight back home.

When my shoes are empty, you will know the life I have lived. Before you box up my shoes, take a look. See that they are well-worn from a life well-lived.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Three Things I Am Most Thankful For ...

I am a blessed person, and one of the most life-changing things I've learned is to 'see' those blessings. I remember several years ago saying out loud .. 'I hate my life !'. Wallowing in the despair of little things gone wrong, I was missing all that was so amazingly 'right' with my life. I've also learned we have to make a concious effort to look for something to be thankful for every day. Today there are three specific things I am most thankful for .....

My Son - A. Reluctant to be born, came kicking and screaming into this world. There were some challenging years (notably ages 2-3 and 17-18). He could turn a Sunday afternoon drive into hell-day, or throw those little arms around me and make me feel like the most-loved person on the face of the earth. Those arms aren't so little now. They're big and strong and can reach all the way around me. They can pick me up off the floor. He's all grown up now. He still has the ability to make me feel like all's right with my world, He's still a little boy in my heart, but when I look at him I have to admit he's a no longer a child but an amazing man. He's honest and works hard. He's caring and talented. He makes mistakes and learns from them. He still holds my heart in the palm of his hand. His hands .. they can pick up a freezer or caress a tiny kitten. His eyes .. they can burn so intensely the bravest of men take a step back, or they can see into your soul and understand intense fears and hurts. His heart .. as fierce as a knight or as gentle as an angel. No, he's not perfect nor would I want him to be .. 'perfect' is way overrated and takes the adventure out of life. We disagree on a wide range of things, and that's just fine. He's independent and strong-willed, and sometimes just a little cocky; he'll be a survivor. There are times I'm too dependent on my son and I'm trying very hard to not let that grow into a cloying curse. He is my greatest blessing, my breath, my soul. I am thankful to God every moment for my son.

My Sister - S. Several years are between us, and I'm quite sure she considered me a curse for many years. When I was a child I destroyed the one 'prize-possession' she had .. a small music box with a twirling ballerina given to her by our Grandmother. I snapped the little bitch right off her fancy platform and smashed the mirror. One Christmas after we were both past 20, I actually found one that was almost identical. I gave it to her and asked her to forgive me. She was gracious and kind and forgave the devil-spawned brat I had been. As sisters usually do, we've had varying degrees of 'closeness' over our adult years. We've gone through times of raising our own families and being involved in our own lifestyles and neglected our relationship. We've argued and been miffed with each other. In many things we are at opposite ends of the spectrum, and we've learned to appreciate those differences rather than rail against them. We've learned there are few bonds that are greater than that of sisters. We've learned we can take each other's hand and face the worst the world can throw at us. She can be vulnerable and consumed with sorrow and fear as she was when her husband died. (Ahhhh ... now there's another soul to be thankful for.) Or she can kick down a damn door. She has wrapped me in bandages and cleaned incisions and emptied disgusting drains. She has sat with me while toxins drip, drip, dripped into my veins. We can chatter away or sit for hours in silence, and both are just as wonderful. There has never been a moment in my life when I doubted she loved her terror of a little sister ... welllllll ... mayyyybe when she put me in a box and taped me up and threatened to mail me to our father hundreds of miles away. Wait .. there was also the time she begged Mother to please just leave me in a department store. As different as we are, there are hurts only my sister comprehends. She is an amazing, gentle woman who gives every ounce of her being for those she loves. I am so very blessed to be one of those people. If I could go to a 'sister store' and pick out just the perfect model, I would say ... I want the one there with the auburn hair in a pale dress, sitting on a tricycle; I want the one with an angel's heart that loves me even when I'm unlovable. If I could choose, I would want this same incredible creature as my sister.

My Best Friend - L. I remember the first time I met the woman who would become my best friend. I walked into a room filled with people, nearly all of whom I had never met before; and this one woman exuded a warmth and peacefulness all the way across the room. She had just emerged from a hot kitchen where she was helping prepare an incredible meal, conquering an oven that didn't want to cooperate, working her 'kitchen-magic'. Instead of scowling and cursing as I would have been, she was singing. Singing ? And laughing ? Over the course of just a few days we had the opportunity to get acquainted. There was something so incredibly soothing about just being near her. Being in the same circle of friends, even though we live several hours apart, I had opportunities to learn to know her better and a wonderful, nurturing friendship developed. She has taught me to take the 'labels' off people (professional, religious, background, etc) and simply learn about them for 'who', not 'what' they are. We deny ourselves some of life's most wonderful blessings when we limit the package they come in. She has a healing heart and healing hands. When she hugs you, she holds you close, enveloping you in her strength and peacefulness; I can close my eyes and stress melts away because my best friend is holding me. I am quite sure this is the only person in my whole life who has truly understood what makes me, *me*; why I think the way I do. She comprehends the way I'm wired. I can confide in her things I could never tell anyone else, and she responds without judgment or criticism, but helps me work through my own doubts and fears. She helps me refocus and find balance in my life. Our 'labels' might make us seem far apart, but our strongest beliefs are the same. It's amazing that when we actually listen to people, we are so much closer than those 'labels' would allow us to believe. My friend who understands me, who loves me, quirks and all, I am so very thankful to have in my life. I'll never be able to give back all she has given me.

Yaaaa, I know, enough with the mushy stuff. But sometimes you really need to make sure the people who are closest to you truly comprehend just how awed you are by their presence in your life. I am in awe. I am blessed. I am thankful.