Attitude of Gratitude

and Kick Butt!!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

finally wednesday......

....whew.."it's" here. got a call from the hospital (which i seem to prefer to call it a "hotel") saying to be there at 6am this morning. yikes! are lights even on that early in the morning??

surgery is at 8

pray for steady surgical hands

pray for nuttin else in "there" but them chickens....

and a healing process that'll get me home watching the Buckeyes beat the Ducks! oh, you KNOW i had to go there! :) OHIO STATE!!! :)

k, so except for askin for a tummy tuck and boob job, while in surgery, i'm a thinkin things will be going great. don't think the surgeon will oblige, but once she's "there", she just might feel sorry for me :)

my niece says i'll be a semi-colon, now. guess that ain't all bad...semi-colons have a lot to say! :)

take care all...Happy New Year...and here's to no more hospitals EVER again.
love you all

Monday, December 28, 2009


.......yep, it's Monday. i don't know how to fill my day today. this waiting game till wednesday is nerve racking.

i'll drink a few more sips of coffee

take a shower

and go and hang out at my sister's house, with my mom

see what comes up


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today is Sunday....

......the Landmarks that were keeping me very far away from, what i now call D-Day, are slipping by: mom is here to visit; my niece caitlyn had her choir concert and 18th birthday; her high school choir sang at the Grotto; my best friend debbie came into town; my sister janet had a sermon at our church; dinner with my friends, laughing with my mom; Christmas eve was here; Christmas came....and now comes the slow march to wednesday, D-Day. today....monday.....prep tuesday....go wednesday....

all of these Landmarks were beautiful, and awesome and ful-filling as well as cherished and i kept them in slow motion to remember every smile, every touch and every experience.

good news is i'll get to see my great surgeon who i haven't seen since she sat in front of me and said "you have cancer". so, that'll be cool. cuz, she's cool!

but i'm freakin on what to do with these minutes between now and then. do i get on my knees and pray, and pray? do i pull out every book i can, and read to find the solace i seem to be just out of reach in feeling?, to calm these weird fears and emotions inside? how much harder do i cling to those that i won't be able to cling to as i'm wheeled into the surgical suite? ultimately, i am physically alone. i know God is with me. but physically i need to do this alone. agggh! i don't know how to do "this", and i don't think i am at all doing it very successfully.

i had such plans for keeping my chin up.
trusting in God for the road that is beyond what this strange thing is that i am heading toward.
but now i don't seem to be able to see that beyond anymore.
and i feel stuck right here and now in depression, anger, fear, anger, and fear.
i feel like a spoiled child that didn't get the Christmas present so secretly desired, but never really asked for, cuz everyone's suppose to know what you secretly desire, right?


i've never cried so much...i want to cling to everyone with a passion that says 'please don't let me go'; 'please take away my fear'; 'please say it is not true that i'll wake up in the hospital afterall'.

i am a mess
and, today/sunday, i am not at all doing the justice that i planned to do/be in being a good role model for nicki and cristal; being brave as they are.

thank God today is sunday. i have a few more days to get-it-together. i am determined again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

melt down 101

welp, i finally had it...melt down 101. poor best friend visiting from LA.....i make dinner for her and just before serving totally had a melt down. :(

along with "this", i've been suffering with insomnia and have been prescribed meds as such....see, that's what i get for getting into the medical stream 'o things....prescriptions, meds, chemicals. but, desperate and needy, i obliged. well, meds have opposite effects on me....benadryl, makes me hyper (not a pretty site), etc.

so, along with trying different sleep aides (which do not work at all for me), i was prescribed an antidepressant. theory sounded good....treat the depression, make me sleep......NOT! made me unable to emote....not a good thing for someone who needs to prepare for the eventuality of acceptance of "this" thing in my body needing to be cut out...reality trying to hit home but being blocked.

today, my niece has written that she doesn't appear, and or feel, that she is a cancer patient until now, as she is losing her hair from chemo.....i feel exactly the same. from the outside, no one would ever guess that i have "this" thing inside me. a foreign body that i can feel, now, every single minute of every single day. i hate "this" thing inside of me. i'm being given waaaaay too much time to live with it, since diagnosis, to surgery next week. and i feel it there.....ever present. this damn thing.

oh, so back to the antidepressant and melt down......i finally stopped taking it, the zoloft (only after a week of doing so). i felt emotion inside welling, but it would not spill over. i deserve to feel emotion, right? i deserve to cry, and be angry. my life has changed. and now i have to prepare for going to the hospital! but i felt pent up and unable to feel. so i stopped taking it.

cerebrally, i know that in the hospital they will make me a patient: take away my belongings, strip me of my clothes, change my identity and or assume one of me, what makes you 'you' will become generic. and then to beat it all they will have me put on a hideous gown that they can get to everything in, at their every whim. my body will now be theirs. they will ask me to lie down....a "less than" position to their authority, giving them the right to come and do whatever they have to do to me: needles, take things, give things, call me "sweetie/hon", and never answer my call bell.

they will make me their patient......."patient"....that's usually what i have for other's, patience. now i will be made to lay down and be one: "patient".....waiting with restraint as they do with me as they will....patiently. trying verrrry hard to be patient.

i toy with the idea of telling them i am a Registered Nurse. us RN's do not like taking care of other RN's. it makes us naturally nervous and psychotic :)) seriously.....we feel like the RN we are caring for is watching our every move and critically critiquing as such. you see, our profession, really, is an eat-our-young kind of profession. we are, normally, not very supportive of each other...a shame, and a practice i do not partake in.

not only that, if i tell them that i am an RN, they actually make you do your own things, sometimes....seriously, they do. i was in someone's hospital room, one time, visiting and the RN found out i was a peer and she suggested i take care of that person's IV for them....seriously! seriously!!??!! :)

so, i say, i don't tell them. i actually do need to be a "patient". because you know what?? i need some patience right now. so, i will lie down; i will let them care for me; and i will let them give me what i am be cured of "this" thing inside of me. to heal. and to then move on and be a survivor.

so....the melt down......i stopped the zoloft. i stopped the prescriptions meds for sleep...weren't workin anyway. and i've decided to feel. i have a reason to feel, i have a situation that is needing emotion, and i have reason to worry at night. this is all not to say that i am not taking care of myself, as i am: i have great friends that are making me laugh and love me so beautifully, and family that are doing the same. so, i'm good.

so.....i think i have passed through the shock stage. i think i am at the "holy smokes, WTF, and get-thee-prepared, girl" stage for surgery and hospitalization. you see...i need to...i have no choice. wow...that's another topic for another choice.

anyway, so i cried for 24 hours......finally just went ahead and boohoo'ed myself into smitherenes......and am feeling better for it, actually. i am now on the beginning path of trying to visualize myself walking into the hospital, with my mom and my sister at my side. and being stripped of who i am. putting my "self" into the hands of the medical team.

yeah, me! :)

a week from today...but who's counting.

love you all very much

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Power of Faith - Hannah More Kohaus (1745-1833)

the following is a prayer that my grandmother, had framed of which i am thank-full, somehow had become one of my possessions over the years. i have it on my kitchen window sill, in the old frame that was hers, and read it often. i've been wanting to share it, so hope it is help-full for someone:

The Prayer of Faith, Hannah More Kohaus (1745-1833)
God is my help in every need;
God does my every hunger feed;
God walks beside me, guides my way
Through every moment of the day.
I now am wise, I now am true,
Patient, kind, and loving, too.
All things i am, can do, and be,
Through Christ, the Truth that is in me.
God is my health, I can't be sick;
God is my strength, unfailing, quick;
God is my all, I know no fear,
Since God and love and Truth are here.
hope this helps any that are seeking where to place their faith, i.e. trust
love to all

Sunday, December 20, 2009

important information: my symptoms....

first of all, thank you to everyone who is coming to this blog, passing it onto others, and sharing their thoughts, good wishes and prayers. this whole "thing" has been such an experience that has made me take a right turn in my life, that "it" can only be described as one determined by the hand of God. so, here i go. i got a feeling that it was a good idea to share what symptoms i had that lead me to seek an MD appointment, that then lead me on this right turn from my life:

nondescript, really. i had a feeling of a nondescript "thing" in the right lower side of my abdomen. (in the medical field, we call it, "right lower quadrant"). i had thought that maybe i was having problems with my appendix. this nondescript feeling would come and go over the course of a few months...but this time, that i sought advice, it wasn't going, since it wasn't i wanted the MD to check it out and advise. along with going to the MD i also had an insomnia issue, so thought "what the heck"...get this assessed as well.

now a preface to this process, and lee and debbie and diane and some other folk will attest, that i just plain do not seek MD assistance for anything at all, unless i just plain need antibiotics, or the like. being a nurse, we are usually our own worse enemies and don't seek advice, let alone agree to hospitalizations - a hazard of the job. in other words, my going to the MD on this particular day, early december, was a big step. but i go, when i know i need to go.

i told my MD, who is so totally cool...she's actually a nurse practitioner and is totally awesome, sweet, with great presence and people skills......that i had this nondescript "thing" here....she poked around and we couldn't elicit anything...not appendix. she had me do labs and a stool sample which came back with blood in the stool. she explained the next course would be a CT scan, of which i did 2 days later...showing absolutely nothing, except a shadow on my lung. the only next plan of treatment would be a first. :( i asked her if maybe we could just repeat the stool sample, just in case that was easier...:) she didn't fall for it.

IMPORTANT!!! i never noticed any bleeding, or blood in my stool. that is because this "thing" (which has not left my "side" since) is located at the ileocecal valve (located at the small intestine as it goes into the large intestine). being so far into the bowel (what's considered the last third) blood cannot be seen by naked eye.....this is an important point for others! besides the nondescript "thing" i was feeling, i would have otherwise never sought consult.

there were only 2 other things that were important in putting a picture together in "this" diagnosis: my bowel habits were loose, and i no longer had an appetite....not usual for me :))

important, of course, is family history: on my dad's side there is so much cancer that it is astonishing to recant. so, please consider your family history.

in case i've not mentioned, the surgery that will occur (still can't wrap my brain around that one) will be a "hemicolectomy", breaking up the word: "hemi", of course means part of; "col", of course is the colon; and "ectomy" is removal of. so the surgeon (who is also an awesome young woman, who only does these surgeries) will remove part of my colon....a third of it.

so, consider your colon.....picturing it as an upside down U in your belly........from the small intestine (right lower side), the colon begins on the right side going up ("ascending colon"), then across ("transverse colon"), then down the left side to the outside ("descending colon"). the surgeon will open my stomach (about 10 inches) and remove the total right side of my colon (ascending colon).

at that time she will check my lymph system, checking for metastasis, and look around in any other organs while in there. the lab will biopsy "this" thing. and i will know what stage "this" thing is once they know (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, stage 4 - better to worse). which will then determine if they will give me chemotherapy.

the size of "this" thing is 9mm........and there is a pulmonary nodule on my right lung - 8mm. another CT in 3 months will determine "that" fate.

the surgeon says the prognosis of my having addressed "this" early, is that over the next 5 years i "most likely will not die from it". they consider over a span of 5 years who has lived and who has died from these diseases and assign percentages to them. for a white woman, the percentage of woman who are still alive with colorectal cancer, is 65%.

so, a week from tuesday, i have to do another bowel prep. i'll go to the hospital (which, funny enough, i'm starting to slip and say "hotel"!) :))............the next day is surgery. surgery will last 2-3 hours. i'll be in the "hotel" for 3-7 days, pending complications of infection, wound separation ("deheisance") and all the other things that can happen in a bug enriched environment such as "hotels", and hospitals as well :)) with an at home recovery time of 4-6 weeks: no driving, etc.

my plan is to attend my niece's Race for the Cure, in west palm florida (THANK YOU MICHELE!!!!!) at the end of, please pray for her, as well as my recovery so i can attend and walk with her and my sister, nancy.

anyway.....that's it for now.
love you all very much.....

enjoy this song/youtube vid, that my sweet friend, zita, dedicated to me this week:


p.s....when i mean "nondescript" thing, i mean i had no feeling of any pain.......just something there that was there.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

marching on..... time. i've always been fascinated in the proverbial Marching of Time. at times, in my life, i've been thank-full in knowing that Time Marches On: friday's into rest-full weekends......anticipating Times, looking forward to spending it with family or friends.....looking forward to going to church.....looking forward to seeing my family and/or friends i've not seen in a long Time.
right now, however, i am anxious. i realized this morning that Time is Marching On, and the events i was looking forward to are now coming and soon will be going: my mom has arrived for the Christmas best friend will be here tomorrow and family is coming....Christmas with the birth of Jesus will come-Hallelujah. only to be "going" to: surgery.

and, so, is the inevitable passing of Time: surgery is coming. need to force myself into the reality that i'll be walking into a hospital; i'll be a "patient", though i will most likely not be patient :) (i feel sorry for my nurses). the inevitability of pain. the unknown that is still unknown, but will pass with the coming of Time. convalescing-how long??

i realize, though, there have and always will be beautiful things about the passing of Time. already i am learning that in the course of a day there are blessings, teachings, absorbing, love, hugs, understanding, and resolution: a friend that gives a soft comfy robe as a gift; a friend that gives a picture of Jesus standing behind the surgeon and guiding his hands; loving gifts unable to mention the magnitude of; friends, family; finding appreciation of the Gift that "this" is and being able to see beyond and trust God. "this" is a gift, of which one can never completely understand enough, most likely, unless you're "here", i assume.

so - my life is changing, and will continue to change. with the passing of Time, i have learned how to let other's love me; how to receive, rather than feel any obligation to give; how to make sense of something that can not be made sense of, and trust the journey and the people within it; the ability to see beyond....knowing there is more than "this"...which is bright, beautiful and encouraging as if receiving the very first Christmas Gift ever in my entire life. :)

i am forward looking. i am encouraged by all the brave kids in my family. and i have an Attitude of Gratitude...for the Gift i have been given and will yet to receive. here we go!

Friday, December 18, 2009


well, so here i am. this time was suppose to be about my sweet niece, cristal; my dear great nephew, nick. this time wasn't suppose to be about me. but here i am. how does one "buy in to" the notion that things will now change; surgery, convalescence, can't work, outpouring of love/prayers/gifts. "this" is not me.
i call this diagnosis of colon cancer, "this", cuz i can't wrap my brain around it any other way. so, "it" is foreign to me, and will be removed from me as such.
i need this time to be about my family and the kids. there is no time for "this" that is now taking up my time.
but i have to remember that "this" is a process, and by all descriptions is also a gift. already "this" has touched so many lives. there are lots of hugs around me, lots of laughter, lots of prayers, and lots of outpouring of kindness. in my darkest hours, though, "this" does creep in and it is me [whisper].
i won't lie: i am scared. i worry. and i'm concerned about my family and the people who love me that their hearts are being affected by "this".
i am not a patient; i'm a nurse. whew...this one is a tough one. but, between now and 12/30/09 at 7am, i better figure out how to be a patient.
i just pray that that will be all i'll have to do. just convalesce...and move on into a bright and shiny future that is yet to be determined, but i know will be full of joy and light. Amen.