Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Lull

There is going to be a lull in this blog because I am moving to a place I am very excited about. Out of the big house, into a small duplex, great neighborhood, just my size, great streets to walk, kids for Kara to play with, the beach minutes away, and four cool neighborhoods at my doorstep.

My house is boxes. I keep stubbing my toe.

I am cranky, tired, excited, happy. I am a rollercoaster of emotion.

New beginnings.

I did put out this status report on Facebook:

Can anyone take in a overtired, stressed out, cantankerous, crabby, stubborn, temper tantrum throwing child? Oh, and my kid needs a place to stay too. :P

Thanks for the invite to the lake, Dida, what a WONDERFUL afternoon! Perfect Seattle summer day. So beautiful.

Wait till the drip drip drip....or as it was last year...snow storm snow storm, snow storm.

Let's dance:
Madonna - 4 Minutes


Thursday, August 20, 2009

And the Pendulum Swings

Back to just getting this body through another night. Amazing. Just amazing watching this dance. I am great, I am fine, and I awesome. I am shuddering, and stuttering, and am leaning on your prayers, and energy, and phones waiting at the ready. But tomorrow will be better. Or maybe the day after. But every week, this passes. In it, it feels intense, like birth. But I have gotten through every week. And I will this week. Tomorrow, if not tonight, I will make a phone call, someone will take Kara, I will curl up, wait it out. Saturday will be bright and sunny. And everytime my body goes through the cycle I will be saying hasta la vista to another bunch of cancer cells. I will rest, recoup, take the good days and see where this crazy road leads.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Thought on Chemo and Potted Plants

No no no, not THOSE potted plants that the state of washington made legal for people like me. I don't do the whacky weed.

I went to the Center for Spiritual Living Sunday, like I have all summer. And we had a guest speaker. I believe you can hear the whole talk HERE. I myself, didn't get all into the whole talk. Maybe I was more inspired by the convertible mustange, red, with the hood down in the parking lot SHOWING me manifestation of our dreams. But one thing leapt out....I had to share:

He talked about how potted plants can get root bound and die. You have to give the plant a bigger and bigger pot or piece of land grown in, or the roots choke themselves out. In order to let a plant thrive, you move it to a bigger pot, and those roots start to force their way out into the darkness and the unknown, to seek out the new nutrition they need to grow. Those roots take up the life force they need and thrive not by staying small and wound tight, but by reaching out into what''s new and untapped and unknown. Rock it! So cooooool. Sooooo true.

It just sticks with me. With SO many change this year, I sometimes feel like I am on the verge of just crumbling under the weight. But as Dida says, rest, and when you feel rested, and not in pain, decide from THERE how you REALLY feel. Otherwise your reptilian brain, the part responsible for the classic fight or flight response sets in, and you can only make decision based on fear. Usually fear of the unknown.

My biggest fear is that I am CRAZY trying to raise a young child, undergoing chemo, surgery, and no family around for 1,000s of miles. AM I NUTS! I just free fall into faith in a new day when things get overwhelming. And guess what, I AM doing it. We are both still here, still happy, still loving, still living. I AM doing it (albeit maybe a grumpy mamma somedays), we are making out way out into the dark, the unknown, and drawing up the life force we need to thrive.

It gets easier with time to practice this. The art of Faith.

I had a discussion with someone tonight, whom I consider a friend I deeply appreciate, and was hearing about a tough time she was going through with a close family member. Her family member was ill, and it was out of her hands to help. The choice is now her family members to make. To make the changes to live, or die. And I just got a reminder how it might be for some of you out there. Watching from the outside, wanting to help. Hearing/reading emails from teary eyed friends from far away wishing they could hop a plane to help on those hard days I feel like I am going to break. Perspective, gaining perspective for YOUR part in this journey.

Cancer is NOT a disease of an individual. It's effects and lessons ripple through the entire community around the person plodding their way through (or leaping and laughing their way through) or how ever they cope.

Thanks for being the net, and all the prayers and all the support in ANYWAY you give it. Wether it be strange summer squash turning up at the back door, the mowed lawn, the clean kitchen sink, or the phone call or email saying "Thinking of you!", or the pray at the end of the day.

Rock on Cancer Rebels, rock on.
Love to you and as that speaker said, "Stay conscious"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Random thoughts and becoming still

Random Thought #1) Oh, the sauciness of Rebel Girl. Guess what I found sitting in the parking lot at the spiritual center I go to.....

A RED mustang convertible with it top down. Ha ha God has a sense of humor. ;)
I also unwittingly ran into the man who owned it, before I knew HE owned it and walked out to see him get into it. We had a chat. Synchronicity. Follow the synchronicity. I was actually heading to the car to take a pic of it for the blog when I saw him get into it. We talked, but I was too shy to ask a complete stranger if I could take a pic of his car.

Random Thought #2) And I share this quote with you, my dear friend Susan always says to me:
"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." I always find this to be so true. If this week is any indicator, free falling into faith you will enjoy the fall is a good way to live.

Random Thought #3) I have spent 3 months, parenting, from surgery to chemo, alone....24/7...and only now am I getting cabin fever and the honeymoon is over. GRUMPY mamma I am becoming. Poor kiddo. Almost to school! Almost to school!

Random Thought #4) Packing, with the thought of carrying the lightest load with you, is SO freeing. Puerto Ballardo here we come!

Random Thought #5) I am tired. Chemo is starting to have it cumulative effects. Not bad this far into it. But oh yeah, less and less days of energy, more and more windows of opportunity and laying down is starting to take precedence over much else.

Random Thought #6) Life is good. Friends are wonderful, and even with grumpy - love is pervasive.

Random Thought #7) I am that interesting to have 7 random thoughts worth reading? I share...MUSIC! Dance like God is watching. ;)

A Little Bit Of Riddim feat. Cherine Anderson

Peace and Healing

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Refocusing, Moving Forward sassy pants and all....

I must have some energy rising. I would like to say that my alter ego, Cancer Rebel Girl has quieted down a bit after stirring up the dust (and apologizes for the swearing grandma!), but my friends and family have pointed out to me that "THERE'S the girl we know and love!". Or 'Dida put it, "not an alter ego, just a sleeping dragon waking back up". Ha, ha ha. Love you all right back.

I guess this is a more "serious" posting, but don't worry I still have my sassy pants on. (Soma, I am going to take that one for as long as I need it to keep me going).

I have long neglected my workspace for these past few months. But all this reawakening energy, despite the ongoing chemo, has me pulling back to my ideas wall. On it, are posted 25 pink post it notes. 25 Ways to Stay Out of a Cancer Funk. It just keeps coming back up this week. Actually, it has been calling me back for a month. But life has me refocused.

I sat with them, pulling down the ideas: Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Hypnotherapy, If you Can't Move your Body, Move your Body in Your Mind, Gratitude List It Out. Speaking of gratitude, I am SO grateful for the time I spent at Bastyr. I wanted Art School. And got called to do Art Therapy and started at Bastyr, with a degree in Health Psychology. I went on a quest to understand the cancer that has afflicted my family (first my father when I was 13, then my nephew when I was 23). I never knew how I would take these theories from my Health Psychology degree from page to being road tested. Now I have this intimate understanding, that just reading or watching someone go through it, can never really touch.

Guess, what.... they worked.

So for all those people who have asked me to write, I promise, I have not forgotten. And I am still feeling the pull to put these on the page. I will move those ideas from post it note, to paperbound in some form or fashion over the next 6 months. Once my daughter starts school up again, and my days are not about getting through chemo with a now 6 year old in tow, those post it notes will move down one by one. Maybe I will put it on PINK paper.

Here is a shout out to my nephew, Hawk. My daughter brought him up tonight, said she was letting her "voice rise up to those who are spirits" now. He has walked me through this journey in his spirit. How a 5 year old carried himself with such in the NOW energy, moment to moment, laughing right up til the end. I learned that was the key to life. When he was scared, he was scared, and when fear passed, he was playful. When he was in pain, he said so, we helped him, he moved on to playing. I have had this picture I took of him up on my kitchen wall for a couple of weeks, "talking" to him as I pass by for encouragement to remember to be here NOW. He braved his journey so young, with such grace. Thanks little dude for the help along my way. Love you.

Note from Cancer Rebel Girl....Planning Idea

Cancer Rebels Unite! (go here to see what I am talking about...)

So, here is what I am thinking......who out there has connections to Fremont Arts world? Who do I contact regarding a parade? I am thinking much like the Solstice Parade, we do floats. One for different types of cancers. Each one celebrating LIVING and THRIVING and saying "NaNaNA-na-naaa-na" to cancer's image of sad people who must hide know...we might...gasp DIE! (SIDENOTE:Check it out people, we are all gonna kick it, how do YOU want to go down?). Someone got hit and killed outside the Cancer Center....Cancer isn't really related to death. Death is related to Death. I am going to LIVE til I die!

Back to the topic at hand:
We are a growing thriving community that won't cower in the shadows and be afraid. Like the Gay Pride Parades, but instead Cancer Pride Parades. I think we should even have on float dedicated to Stage IV of all types. We are different lot all together. :) We can get pretty damn rowdy!

We ride through Fremont, and land in Gasworks Park, and there, we have a couple of kick ass motivational speakers (eh, hem, Sean, if that really is YOU emailing me....wanna be a part of it?), and then when sing and drum and dance to celebrate LIFE.

There is ONE more element to this, but I have to talk to the person directly about it first. But it is still too soon to speak of it. ;) Got to leave you in SOME suspense.

Oh, this will be soooooo good if we can pull this off...

P.S. Want to keep up to date on this? Follow this blog (see sidebar on right side)!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Meet Cancer Rebel Girl andJoin Her Cause

Tonight, after chemo, and in a fit of rage against cancer NEVER taking my spirit, and seeing bloated nasty pictures of Chemo Girl of last year...well, Rebel Cancer Girl was Born. Fuck you Cancer. You'll never take me. You may make me cry, but I am SO much stronger than you!I have meds, and doctors, and healers, and herbs, and FAMILY, and FRIENDS, and LOVE AND JOY AND YOUR GRIP ON ME SHALL PASS. I thumb my nose and you and I have a mission now. Here is the story:

Meet Cancer Rebel Girl- she is going to go say f&$@ you! to cancer and get her dad's cherry apple red convertable mustang drive with the top down across the country banishing fears around cancer and living with a fire burning in her belly so fierce cancer flees and crumbles from the sheer force of Cancer Rebels passion to free us all from living small!!! Masses will join her, and cry out to once and for all say hasta la vista you crummy insignificant disease. We shall thumb our noses at you as you flee from our Pure Joy and Thirst for Living. Ha! Cancer Rebels Unite! At the end of our parades we will gather in fields and sing and dance and stomp out the fear and start living with a cause - to NEVER let it take our SPIRITS. Cancer may TRY to eat away at your body, or your loved ones bones, but let can never EVER take our SPIRITS - we give that away by choice.

I SEE PARADES, full of people celebrating life and defining their cancer journey's for themselves. Need to banish a cancer fear that grips you? JOIN the parade. Wear your rebel hats, laugh, scream and drive those cancer cells to the shores and drown them in the joy of life!

Live in Seattle? Wanna to join a group that spearheads this cause, gets the city involved, raises art funds from the local government, and inspires other cities to rally to the cause?!!!! Seriously, friends, family, survivors, loved ones who stand it the place of those whose bodies have fallen, but whose SPIRITS live STRONG and rebels.....let's see what we can create..march, walk, dance, roll your wheelchair, hell - roll on your gurneys with your nurses in tow, IV polls and FOLLOW this blog....see links on sidebar to keep abreast (ha ha ha) of the updates. I am eyeing the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade next year......LETS DO IT.

Seriously. I have a cause. I am on a mission. Here we go........

eh, um...sorry
Cancer Rebel Girl

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chemo Climber and Cancer

Once again, wee bit inspired (just only a tiny that Sean Swarner Top just recently made it to the top of Kilimanjaro, my old stomping grounds. This organization is dedicated to getting other cancer survivors to realize their climbing dreams and reminding them, with the right help and organization, you can do it too. GOSH, I need that right now. ;) Inspiration to be DONE with chemo and get a move on. Thin air, here I come ;)


Monday, August 10, 2009

Sean Swarner

Doing amazing things......this dropped in my Facebook Inbox today:

..for the add. i really appreciate it. how'd you find me anyhow? have you seen these 2 clips?

maybe you could share those with everyone you know!? :)

thanks again for reaching out. i really do appreciate it and hopefully you know someone who'd like to see one of those clips!?

- Sean


Saturday, August 8, 2009

hmmm, double dose of POW and gratitude

Okay, day whatever of this rough ride. Seems like the antibiotics are helping, but now I have the chemo pain. How to describe this pain...

Imagine there is a tiny robotic submarine, no DOZENS of tiny microscopic submarines being set out into my bloodstream, latching onto muscles throughout my entire system, pinching and twisting and attacking bones with tiny hammers.

Ouch.....I mean....oooooooooouch. BUT this will pass. And tomorrow, both of these things will be behind me.

What rock stars I have around me!

Kevin, thanks for the spotless kitchen, a delicious smelling dinner, and a mowed lawn - all while I slept like I haven't slept in so long! Thank you Candida for sharing your hubby and the deliciously clarifying talk about what fear does to the brain and what rest can do to help! And the yummy yummy dips and sauces for when my stomach is ready for food again.

Thanks for the phonecalls Mom, Michelle, Susan, and Jules (however brief and nonsensical I was during it) and finally...

thank you Jim, and Sharon, and John, and Evelyn, and Jason for taking Kara for soooooo long, while I huddled under warm blankets (that seem to derail the tiny submarines attacking my muscles).

I really felt like this net was thrown under us as soon as people knew I needed it. Despite my fears of being alone in this, you help squeltch those fears.

And Kevin, you do have a great singing voice! When you get back, we will have to plan a jam session around a campfire on the beach with anyone in the area wanting to jam!

Thank you thank you thank you! I needed to just sleep. My only regret is missing Iska's birthday party! I have been looking forward to that since the invite. It sounded so cool. Ihope you are all snug in tents, listening to owls squeak!

Happy Birthday Iska and Elena!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Rough Ride Update

1) Feel so much less scary today, woke up understanding....I am SICK, not just chemo'ed.
2) Got Bug somewhere she could be because I couldn't keep my head up off a pillow. Once again, she understood
3) Got an ND in, and she said sinus infection (and somehow I feel sick all over too), so antiobiotics are on the way
4) Sweating and sleeping it off, lots of fluids.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rough Ride Night

Wow, talk about digging deep. I laying here in cold sweats, my insides shaking, and freaking out how I am going to get through the night. I missed my window to get to my friends house, thought this would hit tomorrow. But things are settling down after a rough ride.

My daughter, is amazing. Amazing. After playing around me, watching Dora, and doing puzzles while I slept on and off on the couch, and managed a decent lunch, and back to sleep til 3:00, we pulled it out and managed to get her to her first swim class. She BEAMED and it was worth it. It was close by, or I wouldn't have done it. But it was worth it. After a decent dinner of healthy leftovers, the rough ride returned in force. I was pushing hard through fatigue, and that is where her amazing-ness came back. She retreated to her room for some journaling time, because I explained the drugs were making me feel very tired again.

I callher down for bedtime, I am shaking but she comes down. Brush teeth, she cooperates, I explain she needs to sleep downstairs, because I am so tired, i can't get her back up to her room. She says "okay" and we read Mr. Potters Penguins, and I say I have to sleep. In a cold sweat, she starts to read, I catnap as she manages herself. She can't sleep so early but knows i want her close. She gets what she needs, gives me hugs, journals, reads to me, reads to herself, turns on a CD of stories and falls asleep. How amazing is this child. No child should have to go through this, and she rocks it.

Now to get over my own fears. Next time, I head straight to my friends without waiting to see if it turns. If it turns, I can always come home. But getting through nights like these, is much better not alone. But at least I have been through this before, and have that voice in the back of my head saying, "It is JUST this, and it WILL pass, tomorrow WILL be better". And it already is. I am doing what I need to do to help myself, and it is settling down. Tomorrow will be better.

How deep can your strength go? Pretty amazing.

Thank you good friends for calling and answering the phone today Marcia, Kendyl, I heard you, was just asleep when you called. Candida, always a blessing. Rach, thanks for the daily dose of love and laughter, Mom, thanks for taking the time to walk me through big decisions, and Soma, rock on. And Evelyn, special shout out for the LATE NIGHT talk to help me make sound choices, your friendship is greatly appreciated and I admire your calm insightfulness in other peoples storms.

I may need more help coming up friends. The slow accumulative effects of chemo are slowly setttling in. My rebound not so hot right now. Moral support appreciated, practical support GREATLY appreciated. I have all the ingredients for dish I am unsure I can get around to making, for Bug and I to eat off of for the weekend. Any cookers want to come over for an hour an whip it up if this doesn't shake off? Any chicken soups by the back door are appreciated!! Needed even. I am starting to not keep up.

And whatever angel left the summer squash at the backdoor, thank you! ;)

Off to sleep it off now that the stomach is settling down and the cold sweats are abating.



Sunday, August 2, 2009


Lately I have been grappling with fears. How to start over, will I have my body strong and functional again enough so I can go hiking, learn to surf, dance, parent, love, travel. I know when I tangle up with fear. And I am getting wise enough to know, if you just move forward, fear will pass. Momentum is the antidote to fear. Because my conviction and spirit have proven stronger with time and practice, overcoming fear is easier. I was beginning to panic about what the next chapter in my life might look like.

I heard this song. I have heard it a million times in the background of grocery stores but never paid attention. Until this week. I "heard" it. It fit so perfectly. I have been tangled up with my fears of losing my strong young body to a diseased aged less functional body. And I realized, it was all just that fears. I can handle my body and live the life I desire....I will find my way. Others before me have. I can ride the coattails of those cancer survivors before me, and use their momentum to not get stuck.

This song below fits this insights so well....

Tomorrows page is blank. I don't want to fill it up with, "She sat with fear, and fear made her sit still, so she sat with fear, and fear made her sit still....."

So, once again, cancer, I say to you, na-na-na-na-naaaaaaaaaaa-na, I win.

Now go dance it out:

P.S. If the fluid and somewhat disorganized nature of this post bothers you, I get to blame it on the meds they give me at night. Make me kind of "flighty". So have fun, even if it doesn't make sense, just enjoy the song and dance!