Today is a double celebration for me. My son Frankie was born this day in 1971. The day I became a mother is one of the best of my life. And, also on this day, in 2009, I had a lumpectomy, and became cancer free. This is another best day/event of my life. And on the same day! I’m a lucky woman, God has been good to me, and for that I am so grateful!
We had another great class tonight. We are learning so much about talking with people and establishing relationships in which they feel comfortable to share. Lots of reading to complete before tomorrow.
We have another weekend on the horizon. It should be one of temps in the 80s, and I’m hoping we finish some outdoor tasks. And sitting out with a good book would be good.
What’s up with the stinkbugs again? I had over 20 of them in the kitchen the other day. They are not harmful, they’re just nuisances. But what good do they do? I’m hard pressed to find out what use they are. It appears they also came from Asia, a few years ago. Anyone know anything else about them? I wish they’d go away, is what I’m wishing.
It’s been a long day, and I’m ready to call it over. We’ll do the same thing over tomorrow, and hope to see you then. Take care until then.
Thirteen years ago, after a routine mammogram early in the month, my doctor’s tech called me to say something needed clarifying on my mammogram. I went for an ultrasound and found out there needed to be a biopsy done. Before I arrived at home, our doctor called to tell me he was sorry to hear of the outcome. I thought he might know something I didn’t, but he didn’t. He’s just that nice.
The Babe was still working, and took the day off to go with me for the biopsy. He insisted on holding my hand during the procedure, which he did. The female doc talked nonstop with him and as she dropped the tissue samples into the vial filled with liquid, she told him she was positive it wasn’t cancerous. I felt overlooked, at best.
Four days later, she called me and proceeded to tell me I did indeed have breast cancer, and I would be contacted by the surgeon’s office soon. I cried. I called the Babe. The sound he made as he said, “NO!” sounded defeated, sapped of energy. He came home immediately.
The thing that made all of this worse, was the fact his ex-wife Sandy and her sister Sharon, were both battling lung cancer. The same kind their mother died from a number of years earlier. Sandy did not have a good prognosis, but we didn’t know that then.
I tried to downplay my prognosis, and not talk about my chances. It was a touchy situation to be in, all of my own doing. I just didn’t want to make Sandy feel worse. We began spending a lot of time together and became friends. That was a plus.
We visited with the surgeon on October 15th. and I remember the silly balloon boy story clogging the news stations in the waiting room. On October 20th, my oldest son’t birthday, I had a lumpectomy. The oncologist and radiation oncologist agreed radiation would be in order. I had to wait until the wound was healed. We were shocked the amount of tissue removed to get clear margins was baseball sized. Needless to say, over the last thirteen years, the breast has gone through a lot of strange shapes. I did not have reconstruction done, I was good. Didn’t want to tempt fate.
Radiation was brutal. There is no other way to put it, the tumor was in the lower quadrant, so the fold underneath the incision blistered badly with every radiation treatment. I didn’t think it would ever stop hurting. In fact, it still does. Radiation does that to flesh, and I have lymphedema in the breast, not in the arm. Painful all the time. But I have my life, and a healthy outlook. I am so blessed.
The anti-hormone drug was horrid. I quit taking it at 7 years. It ruined our sex life at the time. No estrogen is not a good thing for me. The pain in my hands and forearms was terrible. Given the choice again, I would not take the drug Arimidex. I only had a 4% chance of recurrence. I don’t think it made a difference. Time will tell, I suppose.
I attended both Sandy’s and Sharon’s funerals. It was hard; that could have been me. But it wasn’t. Some folks have survivor’s guilt. I don’t think I did. Sandy’s kids were always gracious in being happy for my good health. No dysfunction there at all, and for that I am grateful. I oftentimes look at her’s and the Babe’s grandkids and tell her in my mind what wonderful humans they all are. I know she knows. Miss you, my friend
There are no excuses viable for avoiding this easy checkup. I know, mammograms hurt like hell after surgery and radiation. I think cancer again would hurt more. I was diagnosed so early, no lump could be felt. Trust me, all the doctors tried to find it. Yes, I said that. It doesn’t bother me in the least.
Remember, self-care includes exams, etc. Take the time now, so you don’t have to make time for treatment later. Have a beautiful evening, and I’ll see you tomorrow.
Today is a doubly wonderful Wednesday. It signifies two milestones in my life. And I celebrate them both today.
First, it is my oldest son’s birthday; Frankie, how is it you are 50 years old? And you were born on a Wednesday, too. Fifty years of learning (both of us), fifty years of enjoying watching you grow into the good man you are. For losing your hero when you were 17, you have stayed on the good path. Grandpa Jewell was your buddy. I’ll never forget how he kept your photo from turning two years old on his dresser. It was his favorite picture of you. It’s a good one. I hope you have a great day today. I will, with my memories of your life. You have always been a gift to me. We’ll celebrate next week, when I’m off quarantine.
The second way this day is wonderful, is it’s the 12th anniversary of my becoming cancer-free. I was told you could pick your date, or event, that signified the most to you during your journey. October 20th was the first day the surgeon had free. I reasoned it was a monumental day in my life; I knew it wouldn’t creep my son out being his birthday. That’s just the kind of man he is.
Onward! The lump couldn’t be felt, but showed on the imaging. The surgeon took a baseball-sized mound of tissue to make sure the margins were good. I opted to not have reconstruction; after all, I’m just a little lopsided. Who but the Babe and I will see it? Well, everyone who examines you forever. The radiation was rough; I blistered so badly, right in the worst spot, where the band of the bra fits close to your body. No bras for a very long time. I wore sports bras, mostly. Now, I have Ruby Ribbon camis; they adjust to lopsided breasts, and I wish I’d known about them earlier. I highly recommend them. I have a whole drawer of them. They help me feel like a girl again.
From this vantage point, it’s hard to believe all the roads traveled in the last 50 years with my son. He is everything good about life, along with his brother and sister. I feel so fortunate to have them. Reminders of the good I’ve done in life. And love to see the good they do for others. Life has been good to me, and to them. And it’s not over yet. We’ll get busy back at that novel soon. After the COVIC cough clears, I’ll be able to do a Zoom meeting with an illustrator to see if we’re a good fit or not. These are exciting times to be alive. Yes, you need to look for the good some days, and most days it’s easy to find.
Before the afternoon nap/reading session, I need to do a little cleaning up around here. We’re dividing the dog toys into two bins; one for upstairs, one for downstairs. It is time to clear the way to the fireplace and get ready to hunker in. I will move dog bed and toys. They’ll survive! They love their routine everything: feeding time, places, wake-ups, all of it. The companionship surely adds to the day, especially being quarantined. Furry friends are the best. Give yours a little extra love today, just because.
Be careful out there; you never know what’s around the corner. We have the ability to make every day a good one. I hope yours is! See you tomorrow.
A man named John Fortesque is credited with saying this. I have to agree with him. How much time have many of us wasted comparing ourselves to others. I used to do that, mainly because of a bad self-image as a young kid. I have an older brother who is very small statured. He is one year older than me. I hated being bigger and taller than he is. I’d pray for a miracle overnight to switch sizes with him. Silly, right? I really wanted that miracle for both of us. He was bullied, and I was compared by other people.
The folks at Madison Avenue marketed skinny young blondes as the ones who “Have more fun.” Although inside every blonde is a smart brunette begging to get out, I couldn’t do anything at the time about hair color or height, I hated the body I lived in. In later years, I accepted myself, and marveled at how I had three beautiful kids. So many pop culture people wished for what I had. A family. I was grateful, even though I wasn’t a skinny blonde.
When I started coloring my hair due to premature graying (at 37!), I never went blonde. It just wasn’t me. Now, it’s silvery and still very thick. Funny, people compliment it all the time. I’m proud I have my dad’s hair. The Hurley/Jewell family all have thick, beautiful hair. It would have been hard to lose it. Luckily, I didn’t need chemo for my cancer, so I didn’t have to endure that. My body betrayed me in several ways, cancer included. Somehow, I always knew I would get it. I don’t know why I thought that, but it did come true. Maybe expecting it made me get through it better. Now I pray it doesn’t return. Twelve years out, I’m blessed.
We cannot win ever comparing ourselves. Not great hair, a big bank account, prestigious friends, or a better wardrobe helps us win anything. Some folks never get it. They chase the Jones’ all their lives. And for what? Many people think the Babe and I should be traveling a lot until we can’t. We thought we would, but the Babe is preferring staying home. I don’t blame him. Should the worst happen, he doesn’t want to be away from his doctors. I can respect that. I’m not going to be upset about that. We make our live together one that is pretty relaxed, and respectful of each other. He applauds me and encourages my writing. He’s told me several times, “You can’t just quit.” That support is worth so much! I’m lucky. We both are.
As I watched over Mom yesterday getting used to her new walker and striking out on the adventure we had yesterday, I realized how I just need to try to get her our once a week. Somehow, somewhere. Until the snow flies. Then she prefers staying home. I’m so relieved she finally listened to the doctor and started using the walker. All that matters is that she does, and it’s so much safer. She was way too wobbly with just a cane. Thank goodness she didn’t break anything!
This craft I’m learning about now, this need I’ve uncovered in myself to write, it something to look forward to as I age. It’s not about the lifelong learning, the hours spent reading and writing, or the number of words I spew out on any given day. It’s about what it can become. And I’m eager but patient enough to stick it out, work hard, and get there. Because I know it will happen. And I’m grateful for this and all opportunities I’ve ever grabbed. Thanks for walking with me through all the learning. I appreciate it a lot. See you tomorrow!
So much to create, so little time. Do you feel this way? Not just about writing, but crafting and creating together. Unfortunately, I have interest in a lot of creative endeavors. I sewed my own clothes for many years. To dress like the job I wanted, I tailored my own suits for nearly my entire working career. As I progressed in salary, I did purchase them, but still sewed for myself. I’ve probably also made about 40 bridesmaids dresses, and two wedding dresses. I loved doing it all.
Then, after I could no longer work at the age of 48 due to my wacky spine condition, I went on Medicare at age 50. And straight into depression. I felt washed up and useless. I was used to being very physically active, and just couldn’t anymore. Over the next 18 years, I had breast cancer, two foot surgeries, a badly broken ankle (all on the left foot!), and been through the Babe’s extensive visits/procedures thanks to the US Government’s use of Agent Orange during his tropical visit to Vietnam, and thanked God every single thing has eventually turned out well.
The new passion I had for quilting and creating ended the depression, I needed the creative outlet to feel like I was worth something. It worked. And even now, when I start to feel less than great for a period of time, all I need to do is make a quilt, a wall hanging, something, to bring me joy again. There is a sense of accomplishment I receive from that. It’s cheaper than meds or therapy and does the trick. The quilters I’ve met both in person and in Facebook Groups are the best people I know outside of longtime friends I have. Generous, creative, supportive, sharing, and willing to teach and learn. Good stuff.
So, I signed up to make this cute little picture for my laundry room. It needs something on the walls. If anyone would like to sign up, go to the above FB posting. It’s $10. Three one hour sessions teach the techniques. It runs August 2, 4, and 6 and the time zones are posted worldwide. 6:30 p.m., CDT. The project is called “Laundry Day.” The Website is: and it appears there is a waitlist for the class now. The project I’m making is pictured on the right side of the website page.
No, I don’t need more to do. I have plenty to do. I just want something to spark my creativity. So, something different is in order. The idea is to use vintage patterns, fabric, trims, buttons, etc., and you’ll recall some memories and good people from your treasures. I need to do this. A scrap of lace trim my Grandma Bobell crocheted or tatted, a button from Aunt Lois’s sewing treasures, and some fabric that was used long ago. It’ll make me smile, and enhance creativity, too. And calm my restlessness.
Any minute now, the Babe will return home with Gavin. We’re having sliders for lunch today, it should be good. After that, I’ll work a little on my quilt, and more on my additional characters for Katie to deal with in “The Freeing of Katie Fitzgibbons,” my novel. Little bits, and I’ll accomplish a lot.
Thank you for reading today. I hope you are well. I just found out today my COVID test is negative. That’s great news. I’ll see you here again tomorrow. Be careful out there.
Can that be right? Masterful is defined as imposing one’s will on others. It’s being domineering, imperious, imperative, and peremptory. Huh? It does sound pretty unflattering, even to call Monday. But I don’t mean it in a bad way. My intent is all that matters here, and my intent is good. It’s a good thing. How so?
I do not want to be a person who regrets not doing things they always wanted to do. I will publish a novel and some children’s books. Before I don’t have the opportunity any more. In order to do that, I need to have my ambitions and my skills and my purpose defined, mapped out, and get with the work. In a way, I’m imposing my will to do this on my ability to procrastinate. I’m making it the most important thing to accomplish in the next couple of years. Seriously. It’s got to be first. The hitch is here: it can’t be more important than spending time with the Babe, our families, our grandkids. Moderation is the key. And work like hell in the block of time I can spend on it every day.
Song of the Day: “I’m Going to Love You Through It,” by Martina McBride. I’ve been the woman waiting for that phone call. I’ve been the woman who hung up and thought, “Shit, now what?” It was terrible calling the Babe at work and telling him. He cried out, “No!” And he said, “I’m on the way home.” I felt terrible telling him on the phone. We always know when each other is upset, by the tone of voice. I couldn’t hide it at all. No, I’ll never play poker.
The month was October. Boy, was I aware of Breast Cancer by the end of the month! My mammogram came back needing an ultrasound. I went to have that done. The radiologist and nurse told me, yes, it’s a definite lump, and I’d need a needle biopsy. All through this, I was thinking about Dan’s ex-wife, Sandy. She was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She had immediate chemo and radiation. We were establishing a friendship, as she was no longer working. I wasn’t either. It was wonderful talking with her about her kids with Dan. We were blessed to be able to be friends.
The Babe went with me to the biopsy. He told them he was going to be in the room with me while they did it. They tried telling him, “You might want to wait outside.” He wouldn’t hear of it. ‘I was in Vietnam, so nothing bothers me.” They talked throughout the whole procedure, and as I placed my right arm above my hand, the Babe took hold of it. He didn’t let go until the doc and nurse left the room. I knew he’d love me through it. There was never any doubt about that.
The doc seemed almost cocky, though. She said the three samples didn’t look like cancer at all. I chose not to believe her. The Babe, however, believed her. So much that he was dumbstruck when the news came. I wanted to scream at her. How could she give us false hope like that? Wow. I hope she never did that again to another woman and her family. I was angry for how hurt the Babe was.
Next step was surgeon, he was quite thorough. The lump(s) were too small to be felt, trust me, everyone tried. To get clean margins, he removed enough tissue that was baseball sized. Ponder that. I’m pretty lopsided, but not bad, didn’t have reconstruction. I was in my late 50s, and I’m so fortunate to be an eleven year survivor. I don’t like the fact the medication added 30 pounds to me while removing all the estrogen from me. I’d had a hysterectomy at 39, so I was already a “quart low.” Or more. I don’t know. It’s not ever been the same, but I’m so grateful to God. Screw the 30 pounds.
My friend Sandy, mother of the Babe’s children, lost her battle. Her sister also had the same cancer, she is gone now, too. Oral cancer claimed my sister in law, Laura. All around us, it’s been a battlefield. How it picks and chooses is a mystery. Sounds strange, though, I have always felt I would have breast cancer. I don’t know if you’d call it a premonition or not, but I was not surprised at all when I got the call. Hard as it was to tell the Babe, it was the worst to tell my baby brother, Tim, all 6+ feet of him, lean and lanky, tattooed man. He is the kindest person I’ve known. I’m lucky he’s my best friend after the Babe. He was still reeling from his loss.
Somehow, we all made it this far. And we’ll keep going. It’s what’s in the plan for our lives, I believe. Without being cocky myself, I do find it easier to see the signs God gives me. They are everywhere. See if you can tell where your signs are. They are things you would never have considered, they must be acted upon with logical thoughts and plans, not reckless abandon. While it might be God’s plan for us, we have to do our part. Just practice, it will come to you.
Thank you for all your support and reading. You’re giving me a boost that is important. We’re getting closer and closer to that year mark for blogging. It’s kind of fun to look back, and see how the writing has changed, and how many things I discover about WordPress. I’m a work in progress, and it feels so good! Wash up, Mask up, Be Kind, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Here we are, snuggly under my new sherpa throw, sitting by the fire, and enjoying the snow falling. It is beautiful. The Babe gave me a dirty look over the top of his blue glasses. We both spent many years commuting in this stuff and are glad to be retired and not HAVE to go somewhere in bad weather. When my kids were students they attended three different schools because of their age differences. This was the case for several years. Now that it’s over, I marvel at how we managed. The big thing was we only had one bathroom! They all understood I could NOT be late for work. We left the house at 7 a.m., I dropped them off at three different locations, and was at work by 7:45 a.m. I miss those days yet am glad they are over.
A great suggestion came in from my longtime friend, Janet Nichols. She suggested I include the recipes I talk about. It’s a great idea, thank you Janet! Yesterday I talked about Pasta e Fagioli. I used ground turkey in place of the ground beef/sausage. The Babe has such bad heartburn we substitute even for Chili. We use ground turkey. Good stuff.
I have tried repeatedly to include a link to the recipe, and for some unknown reason, it is not working. Too much snow, I guess. But you can Google “Pasta e Fagioli”. Select the results from Damn Delicious, and you will have Olive Garden’s recipe for it. Funny thing? I forgot to add the pasta, the last ingredient, to be added at the very last hour. It’s still good!
This morning I was reading some varied articles about women letting their hair turn grey. Yes, it is a natural thing. I colored my hair while I was working because I felt it helped me appear relevant, as I do not look my age. I was in my 40s while still working. I started working later in life, after my divorce and was competing with kids right out of high school. Since I started greying in my late 30s, I wanted a cover up. I kept it until my breast cancer diagnosis in 2009. After the lumpectomy, I had my hairdresser cut my long beautiful light brown hair OFF. I wanted to be ahead of the curve if I was to lose my hair with chemotherapy. I didn’t need chemo. Boy, was I fortunate. I kept my hair short these past eleven years and like it. I miss longer hair. I want to let it grow again and maybe get some curl in it. I still have very thick hair, and I don’t wish to spend nearly an hour drying it. I’ll see how far I get. Until then, it’ll be lots of gels, combs, and maybe a Cubs hat.
Going to be a long day with the snow, ice pellets, and whatever else falls from the sky. At least it’s not iguanas! Seriously. It’s a thing in Florida. Warning people because of the cold, Iguanas may fall from the trees. Poor things! Thank you for reading today. I appreciate it very much. I hope you have a great day and come back tomorrow. I’ll be here.
It has been ten years since the Balloon Boy was allegedly sailing through the air, causing the world to halt, not realizing we were being scammed.
I remember those reports vividly. Not because I was drawn into the story. I remember because Dan and I were sitting in a doctor’s office. It was a follow-up visit to the surgeon who did my lumpectomy. We were there to have a look, removing the bandages and determining what I was to do next. I was frightened.
I remember being bothered by the hoopla surrounding the hoax that was the Balloon Boy. I had much more important concerns, like if the cancer would come back? Back then, I couldn’t imagine reaching ten years being cancer free. Would I need any reconstruction? I opted not to even think of it. I’d seen a younger woman at the warm water therapy pool who had reconstruction. She was so bruised from the donor area it made a real impact on me. It looked so terribly painful I decided against it. Would it ever quit hurting? Due to lymphedema, no. Some days are worse than others, but it’s a small price to pay for escaping with my life so far. We just had our twenty first wedding anniversary, and we have four beautiful grandchildren. There is so much left to experience.
And what would I look like, eventually? In ten years there have been probably a hundred exams. Many doctors have exclaimed, “That is beautiful,” followed by an embarrassed, “your surgeon did such a good job.” In my mind I laughed. What a funny but honest reaction. I knew how they meant it. It still makes me laugh now. In spite if the #metoo movement.
Would my husband still love me? Of course he would. And he still does. It was my own fear as a woman that was speaking, not my heart or mind. Fear does all kinds of things to you. Self doubt is one of them. It passed, thank God. It rears an ugly head now and again. The price we pay for being human!
In retrospect, I’m grateful I had such good examples of lives well lived. My dad, his mother and father, brothers and sister, my mom and her family all gave us a normal or (at times), Abby Normal examples of how a person lives. Love God, work hard, respect our elders, soldiers, teachers, and especially police officers and firefighters. No one in my extended families has ever felt the urge or need to fake-launch one of our children into space and still insist it happened. We are not so dysfunctional after all!
I’m hoping the media doesn’t continue to have such a hard time reporting actual news that they report the same story about Balloon Boy twenty years out. If they do and I’m still on the earth, I hope I can reflect on twenty years cancer free. There’s so much to do until then!
Friday, I’m joining writers from all over the country in a challenge to write 50K words during National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for shirt. Seriously, what did we do before we had acronyms?? How did we ever communicate with one another??
I’ll leave you with this meme. Ponder it and comment at the end if this post which you prefer. It’s important for authors to know what their readers may want. We will have all kinds available when we publish. Give us a like, and comment. It will help me provide what you like.
Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for being here with me. It’s so special.
Today is one of my favorite days of my life. Forty eight years ago, I became a Mom.
For some reason, my water broke at 6:30 am, and my son arrived at 12:26 pm. Yes. First baby, 6 hours of labor. Very fortunate. I just love this kid. I was 19 years old. We grew up together. He has a strength I admire.
I had another great event happen on this, one of my favorite days. It was the day I became cancer free – by having a lumpectomy. My husband Dan insisted on holding my hand through the needle biopsy, and they let him. The doctor told him she was sure it wasn’t cancer. He believed her.
A few days later, she called to tell me it was cancerous. I was to see a surgeon. No apology for mis-diagnosing. I was very upset. So was Dan.
So we scheduled the lumpectomy with the surgeon. I’m told what a beautiful job he did despite removing a baseball size margin around where the tumor was. Those cells had spread. The lump could not be felt, it showed on the mammogram.
We got rid of the cancer. 33 radiation treatments later, and 8 years of Arimidex/Anastrazole, here I am. It has been 10 years. I am grateful every day. I sometimes can’t believe God spared me. I pray He continues to do so.
No one tells you how the radiation causes pain. Lots of pain. I have lymphoedema, but not in my arm. My right breast swells and is extremely tender. It took eight years to find that out. The oncologist told me the pain was from radiation. He retired, and my new oncologist said, no, you have lymphedema. Amazing. No wonder they say you want a young doctor and an old attorney.
And the hormone blocking medication?? It has put a crimp in our intimacy. No one had an answer for my questions about that, until a nurse told me about a female doctor (PhD) who treats this sexual dysfunction. It’s caused from medication that is intended to save your life. All while dramatically changing that life forever. Go figure.
I am extremely grateful. I do wish someone would have been upfront about these devastating side effects ten years ago. I probably would have chosen the same course of treatment. I just would have known about the side effects.
It occurred to me that if you do not have chemo, the office, nurses, techs, and even the doctors, do not know you by name. The radiation oncologist and techs do. They see you on a daily basis and the doc sees you once a week. You do not see the techs anymore, but you do see that doc. The oncologist sees you every three or four months. Then six months. Once a year. And then doesn’t need to see you. Then what?
It’s a chapter in life I had to go through. Sometimes I do wonder if it will come back. It can, even twenty years later. We will deal with it if it comes. There is no other choice. Until then, we pray. A lot.
For now, still working on Dan’s recovery from a pseudo aneurysm surgery last week. The staples are in a very bad place. Uncomfortable as heck. Two doctor visits this week. Staples out next week.
My son will find out when they are able to remove any salvageable items this week, hopefully tomorrow. Lots of hard work ahead of him. He is a very positive and strong man. I’d like to think he gets that from me!
We are grateful for this day and all of the memories that come with it. My heart is very full for the love in my family for one another. Being this fortunate is such a gift.
Do you have any special days you celebrate? Share with my by leaving a comment. Share my blog with your friends, too. I’d appreciate it, like I appreciate my readers and visitors. Have a great week.