Sunday, October 24, 2010

" Come gather round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown. And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth saving. Ahh, you better start swimming, or you'll sink like a stone. For the times they are a changing. " Times Are a Changing, by Bob Dylan

Things are really changing for me this year! in so many ways- health wise, the way i look at my place in the world, oh, and in the world of communications. here is a brief summary of a conversation that took place last week between my daughter and son.

my son:" OMG, MOM'S ON FACEBOOK!!"
my daughter: " Yeah, i know, i helped her get started.
my son: " What were you THINKING!!?"
my daughter: " don't worry, i gave her the rules."

~~~~~ earlier that week~~~~~~

my daughter: " now mom, my friends will be able to see WHATEVER it is that you write on my wall."
me:" hum, a wall?? i thought it was a book"
my daughter: " do not write anything too personal, o.k.? save that stuff for our emails."
me:" you mean that i can talk about when you were a little girl, and you........"
my daughter: " MOM!!!"
me:" okeydokey.

yes, i am on facebook now. my blog is my first love,though. it has really helped me through some tough times, helped me deal with my situation, and be fortunate enough to make some new friends through shared experiences.

another change for me is where i am in my cancer treatment. phase one- the awful one- doctors, surgery,treatment, is over ( hopefully) for the time being. i will still have to have blood work, scans,tests, and in fact they are already scheduled. but now i feel that the ball is in my court, so to speak. what do i need to do to help me feel better?one choice that i have made is to get exercise on a consistent basis. ( i took my zumba videos to the beach- what dedication! lol) my husband and i walked on the beach, and we did something that i have not done in at least a couple of years- we rode bicycles.

we went bike riding in a summer house development- paved roads, little to no traffic, pretty scenery. it was on the sound side of the beach. i had a rough  start- my front wheel wobbled a lot, but i got that pretty well under control. my bike is sort of old- it has a bell and a wire basket in front. my son said that all i needed was " Toto" and i would be good to go. how sweet.

anyway, i have a major problem of ending up wherever i am looking. we rode by this really pretty house with a nicely landscaped from yard- i should know because i paid them a visit! their lawn sprinklers were on, so it was a short visit. do you think they knew that i was coming? my husband did not point out a rather large duck pond, thank goodness, so i managed to stay on the pavement for the rest of the bike ride.

another change that i am pondering is the role diet plays  in our health and well being. i ordered a book on" super foods", and i am going to work on this. i really craved blueberries when i was undergoing my RAI treatment. a co-worker kindly supplied me with tons of these, and they are one of the few foods that did not add on to the nausea i was experiencing from the RAI. i later read that they are one of the super foods, and are supposed to help prevent cell death.

am i going to give up chocolate? NO! am i going to drink/eat/or whatever wheat grass? NO! but this connection between diet and overall good health intrigues me, and i am going to check it out. might help, couldn't hurt i guess. oh the times they are a changing... Mom's on facebook- now that is a scary thought for Halloween!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

"May God bless and keep you always, may your wishes all come true, may you always do for others, and let others do for you. May you build a ladder to the stars, climb on every rung, May you stay forever young. ... May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift, may your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, and may you stay, forever young" Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

last night i went to see a Bob Dylan concert in Charlotte.he is my husbands favorite artist, but i like him,too. he put on a great concert. oh, he is getting older, and his voice is sure not what it used to be, but you can tell that he really loves to perform, and was just having a good time out there.he did not have a warm up band, surprisingly, and my husband and i got there just  in the nick of time. some people actually missed most of the concert because they thought that there would be a warm up band first. but Dylan and his band just came out there at 8pm sharp, and played for two hours. he played a mix of his good old stuff, and some of his newer songs. and you could even tell( pretty much) when he played his old material- if you have seen one of his concerts, you know what i am talking about!

Forever Young, is my all time favorite Bob Dylan song. i think that the lyrics are so beautiful. one  part that really speaks to me now, is the part about "may you have a strong foundation, when the winds of changes shift"- i am so thankful to have wonderful family members and friends who are constantly offering their support and love. the winds of change sure blew into my life this past April!! what  a major life event to have to deal with. but things are going better, and i am beginning to feel stronger and healthier.

the other part that i like is " may your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, may you stay, forever young". i hope that i can always have a joyful heart- and be young at heart,too. i can see  the joy in things better than before i got sick. i am talking about simple day to day stuff mostly. appreciating a beautiful day- fall leaves, pumpkins, beautiful potted mums, crisp fall air, sunshine,etc,  

my husband and i are going to be gone for a week's vacation at the beach. we rented an ocean front beach house and will be taking my dad with us. he is just as excited as we are. he has a young heart, i think, even though he is 84 years old. he is a joy to be around- he never complains about anything, and usually does whatever activity we pick out.

i will miss blogging, but i will be back a week from now, and i hope that everyone has a great week!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Birds flying high, you know how i feel, sun in the sky, you know how i's a new dawn, it's a new day,it's a new life for me, and i'm feeling good. dragonfly out in the sun, you know what i mean; butterflies all having fun, you know what i mean, sleep in peace when day is done, this old world is a new world, and a bold world for me." "Feeling Good", this one by Michael Buble

THIS IS MY 100th BLOG ENTRY!! all from someone who was not sure exactly what a blog really  was until shortly after i found out that  i had cancer! i have come a long way, in many things, actually. i feel like i have turned a major page, a chapter really , in my life book .i feel totally different than i did just 6 months ago- yes, it has been six months since i got that infamous phone call at work. i could never have guessed how much my life would change- for the better, i believe.

i have made so many great "email friends" because of this blog. they have offered me support, we have laughed together, and i sincerely hope that some people out there have benefited by our shared experiences. that was my number one objective when i decided to write this blog- that i might share some information that might help someone else. i did not expect all of the support and friendship that has come my way, but i am truly grateful.

if my life was a song, it would be sung in a minor key. but, there would be a lot of happy parts- or "movements" as my music major son would say. we all have our own song to sing i think, and it is best shared with others. as i was "singing myself home" this afternoon, i was thinking about what in the world i could write about for my 100th blog. when TV shows have a 100th episode, they get a cake and have a party or something. i think that i will bake a special cake on Friday. my daughter and son-in-law are coming home for the week-end. my son-in-law just had a birthday, so we can share the cake. i am going to make his favorite, i think- devils food, with a raspberry filling, frosted with chocolate butter cream . eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!!

thank you again to my family and friends. thanks so much to my new email friends, and to everyone who follows my blog. i really feel that " it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me and i'm feeling good". i sincerely wish the same for all of you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

" We are the champions, my friend. And we"ll keep on fighting "till the end. We are the champions, we are the champions. No time for losers, 'cause we are the champions of the world." " We are the Champions" by Queen

yesterday i went to the wellness center in a town about 30 minutes away from my house. it is a college town, so the wellness center is a very,very nice facility and offers a lot of classes, including my beloved Zumba class. there were two things that were different about yesterday: one, i actually had some energy to go to Zumba after working my long week.  ever since my surgery/treatment, i have just collapsed after my long week- practically just slept all day on Monday and zombied out. it is a funny thing, but it is hard, and takes energy to exercise- but what do you get? you get some energy- you just have to push yourself a little. i am beginning to feel better and stronger than i have felt, really, since before my surgery. i was very sick, but did not know it. my previous doctor just called it "stress". i will not go off on the "blame it on stress" tangent here, but you know what i mean.

the second "different thing" is that i talked my husband into going with me! not to Zumba class- i do not think i could pay him enough money  to do that, but he worked out on some exercise machines first, then went down to the racquetball court. there was a college guy already there, so they had a game. my husband had about 30 years on the college dude, and my husband still  won the game!! the college guy said"Well, it has been about 3 months since i have played". my husband was nice and did not say that it had been a year since he had played racquetball!

we went ahead and joined the wellness center. i think that it  will be great for both of us- and something that we can do together. we filled out all of  the paper work and got ready to leave. my husband looked at me and said" ARE THOSE STAIRS, AND DO WE HAVE TO GO DOWN THEM??" do you think that he over did it a bit? we slowly made our way down the stairs to the parking lot. then, we stopped again. what in the world made us think that parking at the very end of the parking lot was a good idea?? as we were gingerly making our way to our car, a woman asked my husband who won, and he said, oh, i did. i thought to myself, well, here are two middle aged people, slowly making their way to their car after a wonderful workout. they look a little old and out of shape, but you know what? at that moment, i was thinking we certainly could be the "champions of the world!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

" It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down, I had the radio on, I was driving, Trees went by, me and Del were singing, Little runaway, I was flying, Yeah, running down a dream, that never would come to me, working on a mystery, going wherever it leads, running down a dream.....It felt so good, like anything was possible..." Running Down a Dream" by Tom Petty

i do confess to singing in the car on the way to and from work! i have an hour round trip commute, so i take advantage of the time to "work on my voice". the way i figure it, i need to try to "exercise" my vocal cords a little so perhaps i will get more of my "original" voice back. i am still hoarse sometimes- like last night i was pretty hoarse. but i had worked my long week, including the week-end, so i was talking more than usual. i do miss being able to sing like i did before- i just sang for myself, it is not like it was my livelihood. on the pre-surgery form there was a question that said :" are you a professional singer?" my husband said put down yes!! that way maybe they will be more careful with your vocal cords. i did not say yes, of course, but i think the surgeon was as careful as he could be. besides exercising my vocal cords, i just like to sing. it makes me happy.

i saw a couple of commercials from the national cancer society- with different people singing " happy birthday" to cancer survivors. i like that commercial-i have mentioned this before. a friend of mine told me that she celebrated her " half birthday" now. nothing big, no presents, but just a cake and maybe a special dinner. i think that i will do this,too. it is a good time to reflect and be thankful, too.cancer has really changed my life forever. before, i have had minor " tests"- a close call on the highway, minor health issues, but nothing like this. after those events, i would just go back to business as usual after a few days or weeks. now,however, there is no going back to the way that things were before. and i mean this in a positive way.

for one thing, i am trying to take better care of myself. i think that as women, mothers, daughters,we tend to put ourselves last on the list. we take care of everyone else first, and then have little or no time for ourselves. i decided that i needed to take better care of my health( duh), for one thing. i have added regular exercise( ZUMBA!!) . oh it was not easy to start exercising. i first started with walking- just a few days after my surgery, i walked down my driveway a few times. then i walked to the mailbox and back( about a mile- you have to know were i live for this to make sense!) anyway, i found that exercise made me feel so much better- improved my strength, mood( my husband likes this) and general sense of well being.

i am considering things- even minor things- with a new attitude. yes, i am still caring for my family, but i am also asking myself if what i am planning to do will be good for me,too. i am making sure that i have time for myself- exercise, hair appointments, retail therapy, whatever. i want to be happy and appreciate my loved ones and the times that i have with them. i guess if it took a serious disease to make me do these things, then cancer was indeed a positive thing in my life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Don't worry, about a thing, cause every little thing, gonna be all right. ....Rise up this morning, smiled with the risin' sun, three little birds pitch by my doorstep. singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and sweet, this is my message to you-ou-ou- " Three little Birds, by Bob Marley

i have to sing this song to myself so that i do not worry too much. my daughter included it on my new CD of mixed songs that  she made for me. it is a "cheer mom up  and send positive thoughts her way" CD. i just love it, and besides i was about to wear the first CD out! that said though, i want to relay some important information about a friend of mine.

my friend has papillary cancer, and  had her thyroid removed about 4 months ago,, and underwent  the I-131 treatment. the doctors did not biopsy any lymph nodes, nor were they discussed. she has had some bouts with hoarseness and asked her endocrinologist about this. he referred her to an ENT ( ear-nose-throat) specialist. also, she noticed some tenderness and a lump  in the lymph nodes in the right side of her neck. upon exam, and ultrasound, her ENT thinks that her lymph node(s) might be cancerous. she is scheduled for a PET scan, then a fine needle biopsy, if the PET scan shows cancer in the lymph node(s).she is taking this one step at a time, and has a great attitude-concerned, but not paniced. i wanted everyone to know that if you have hoarseness, or a lump or tender area( lymph node) in your neck you need to get this checked out. the doctor you need to see is an ENT. they will do the necessary tests and check things out for you. if this does turn out to be cancer for my friend, she will need another surgery, starting where her thyroid scar stopped- going up her neck to her ear. it is called a neck dissection, and my surgeon first told me that i would have to have this done,too. in fact, i woke up from surgery and the first thing  that i did was feel my neck- i did not know until then if he had had to do it. he biopsied my right neck lymph nodes while i was on the table. luckily, they were not malignant. infection, and not cancer, can also  cause the same symptoms and can look the same on ultrasound. the deciding factor is  usually the biopsy. in other words, CHECK YOUR NECKS, GUYS!! and if you need to, get it checked out by the ENT. we have all been through so much, but we need to be diligent about checking. think of it as a self breast exam for your neck!

on a lighter note, i did a zumba class tonight. i'll have to admit that i was spoiled by the instructor at my daughters class. this instructor was not as skilled, i guess you would say, or as friendly. also, the class was enormous- about 45 people or so! one cool thing we did was the dance moves to the song "Thriller". i loved it! we are going to do it every class until after halloween. i will be going back every wednesday, for a live class( it is my only day off), and doing my DVD's two days a week. well, that is the plan anyway. i am sore, but happy. like i said, if i can do it, ANYONE can! this class had some college girls in it :( but also had some old, out of shape women like me in it too!! i think i am addicted to zumba now. look out "dancing with the stars!!" lol

Sunday, October 3, 2010

" Here comes the sun...Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter. Little Darling, it feels like years since its been here- Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say its alright. Little darling, the smiles returning to your face- seems like years since its been here." Here comes the Sun, by George Harrison

i had the best weekend that i have had since i got sick! not only did i get good news last week about my ultrasound and blood work, but i got to see both of my children( and their spouses, of course) this weekend. i feel just like that song- that it has been a " long, cold, lonely winter" and now the sun is back! and also, i feel like smiling again. oh, i put up a good face- the people i work with call me "brave and courageous". i am not, of course. i have dealt with this cancer the best that i could, and i have tried not to make the people around me suffer, or feel too miserable. anyone that knows me really well, though, could tell that i was not exactly myself. i am beginning to get stronger, but it has not been easy. sometimes i do not feel like taking a walk, or exercising, but i drag myself through it. and at the end, i do feel better. i try to get more rest- go to bed earlier, and i think that this is tremendously important,too. i feel that losing my mom to cancer last year, has had an impact on me as well. it made getting " the news" a little harder. but it also made me realize how much of an impact that i could have on my friends and family. i did not want them to suffer- but of course, it was hard on them,too. having the best attitude that i could about things helped them, and me,too, in the long run.

i made good on a promise this weekend,too. I DID ZUMBA WITH MY DAUGHTER!!  a whole hour class. neither one of us was sure that i could do it- we did stand in the back. i could just envision having to call 911 at some point. ( i wanted there to be plenty of room for the paramedics to get in). after about the third song, my daughter relaxed and stopped giving me these "worried looks". i was laughing my head off- when i could get my breath, of course. our instructor was so very nice- so positive and very sweet to everyone. but OMG what abs she had!! and my body does not( or will it ever, i think) move like hers did! i liked the class because there were all types of people in there( yes, some even more ancient than me). all fitness levels, all sizes, male and female. i can see why my daughter loves the classes so much. i am going to start attending a class about 30 minutes away from where i live. i decided that i could attend a live class once a week, and then on another two days per week( well, that's the plan, anyway) i could do my zumba DVD. i heartily recommend zumba to anyone. believe me, if i can do it, YOU can do it! get ready to laugh and enjoy yourself- of course there will be plenty of sweating- not perspiring, but the kind of sweating where your hair and underwear get wet! i happen to be one of those that think if you do not sweat a little, you really are not exercising.

yes, the smile is returning to my face. some of it is because i have been lucky so far, and i have been trying very, very hard to have a positive attitude. another part is how much love and support that i have gotten from my family and friends. as always, i am eternally thankful for you all.