Friday, September 17, 2010

Lessons of Lessons

Its been a strange past few months. I feel like I have run the gauntlet (or at least part of it) and am now standing to the side, breathing heavily,a bit dazed,dehydrated and thinking, "Damn, I shoulda taken those PE classes a little more seriously."

I remember back in high school going to meetings about planning for college and taking excelerated class, they called it "the fast track". I feel like I have been on the life lesson version of that track. The only problem is, I'm not the disciplined scholar needed for the "fast track" to be successful. So if the next few thoughts come out muddled, forgive me. I'm a blogger outta practice and a student that feels like she has been cramming for the big final for the past few months with too little sleep and way too much caffiene.

Life took a sudden and very dangerous plummet a few weeks back. All of the sudden, all my little demons, all my insecurities came back to visit with a vengance. Its so funny how two little words can cause so much trouble. "Should have" should be outlawed. Another dangerous couple, "if only" also seemed to trouble my mind. Its amazing how in stressful times, we (ok I) think its appropriate to drudge up all the old mistakes, the guilt, the what if's of life. Last checked,(and very recent indeed), it still does no good. Never did before, still doesn't now. Doesn't change anything, except possibly skew ones perspective for the future. It was only a few days ago, when speaking to the sweetest man I have ever met, that I got a little reality check. After living more years in prison that out, he is free. His joy in the little things: relaxing in the dining area of a McDonald's, the ability to ride the city bus and the prospects of what to make of his next 30 years, all reminded me of the importance of moving forward.... and allowing others to do the same. It would be so easy to dwell on what was lost or the time wasted. Instead, he was sincerely grateful for the time he had now and for the opportunity to learn from his previous experience and be better for it.

I think the lessons on lessons are the hardest lessons to learn. (I swear that makes perfect sense in my mind....) See, some of us struggle to be humble enough to admit to mistakes and learn from them. Some of us struggle to forgive ourselves and realize that mistakes are a part of the overarching plan for our time here on earth. Some of us struggle in allowing others to learn their lessons on their own timeline and not on the timeline we wish they would learn them. Some of us struggle in allowing others to move past their mistakes and consider them better for the experience. And some of us struggle with all of the above... (pay no attention to the big flashing arrow above the writers head.)

So I guess in a quick sum up, Im sorry its been so long since the last post, Ive been learning about learning. Learning to be patient with myself, trying to be less critical of others who haven't yet learned,looking forward to the future with courage and smashing the hell outta the shoulda's that weasle their way into my thoughts.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

time to breathe....

So everything had been a whirl... so just consider my blog, my brain, my life under construction and hopefully I will be able to get back to routine soon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Standing corrected

Many commented (though not directly on the blog) and expressed concern after my last post. I appreciate all the love and support of my friends and family. Rest assured, I am ok. I am struggling with the stress of everyday life compounded with my lack of thyroid. Its tough to keep a positive perspective at times. I am glad to report that as the days pass, work becomes less stressful (or at least more do-able) and I am starting to see glimmers of my old self and energy returning. Thank goodness for replacement meds. They make me sick, but not taking them is far worse.

My lamp has been a little, ok -- a lot, empty recently. Workings Sundays is a tough gig. But I was able to catch the first session of both Saturday and Sundays General Conference and was glad I had made the effort.

After just a few minutes listening, I came to a conclusion. Only one of two things were possible. The first, that this conference was meant entirely for only me. It seemed to speak to everything I was feeling. All my doubts, all my frustration, all my weariness was recognised and addressed. The second, that Im not the only one out there wondering how much longer I can continue. I am now convinced the second is correct.

Its funny how when in our low points of life, when doubt creeps in, we start to look longingly at others "so called" trials and think, "they have it so easy. I could handle that, no problem. Why can't my life be like theirs." I admit, this has been my attitude as of late. Being dismissive of others troubles, being impatient with others gripes. My response has mostly been, "I wish I had it so bad...."

The conference retaught me something that I thought I had mastered a long time ago. Compassion. We are all struggling. None of us has is "easy" right now. It didn't help for me to rate others trials against mine. It didn't lift me or them. It didn't help me learn my lessons any faster. It didn't make my load any lighter. But most importantly it didn't provide the strength or love to friends that they needed and that was my responsibility to give.

So here is my public apology, an owning up of sorts and a thanks for sticking by me. Im not gonna lie and say I will be Sally Sunshine from here on out. But I will be working on keeping a proper perspective and not getting so lost in my self pity.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

When life's perils thick confound you

After several facebook pokes and a few concerned friends asking where I disappeared to, I figured it was time to update the old blog. With the new job has come a new schedule and whirlwind in general. Add to that, all the fun that life has recently added and I feel like sometimes don't have time to breathe.

A few weeks back I was at a funeral for one of my boys. Kale Clay was 25, just recently returned from Iraq and was a passenger in a head on collision. It so strange to lose another one of "my boys." Granted, I had not seen him in a long time, but its funny how the memories seem like they were yesterday. The nighttime lemonade stands, cooking dinner at all hours of the night, his stupid jokes and his sweet cuddle hugs. I was doing ok -- with the news and at the funeral. Its amazing how much stronger one is when you know this life isn't the end. But then the closing hymn at the funeral was God Be With You Til We Meet Again. I knew I was in trouble.

We got to the line...

When life's troubles thick confound you, put His arms unfailing round you...

And I fell apart. I was there. And part of me was envious that Kale was finished, part of me wanted to be back home, part of me wanted to not have to continue to push through the "thick" perils that seem to have moved in. Guests that have long worn out their welcome, but just dont seem to leave. Or when they do, they are quickly replaced with another. But I knew that I still have lots to do and lots to learn.

I have been in "robot mode" since. Just pushing through to the next day off... Doing my best to keep up with laundry, dishes, and Reed. I dont want to read people's blogs and hear how happy everything is in their life. I dont want to read their facebook posts and hear about the great things they do with their kids during the day. I dont even want to hear them complain either.... cause most the time I just wish that my problems were as easy to deal with as theirs are.

Oh, crap, the kids woke up at 530 this morning? Well, lucky you, you can have a nap when they do. I cant. Oh, darn, youre kid has the barfs? Mine too, but I get to clean up the mess after a hell day at work. Oh, you have a migraine? Me too... every day about 2 pm since they removed my thyroid. (Who knew a thyroid effected so many things? I sure as hell didn't!! Dry skin, sore muscles, exhaustion at all times, no appetite, nausea... Blah blah blah.)

Ok, so I realized this is a total downer of a post. Completely unintentional. This is not was I was expecting to write. It was supposed to be more of a focus on the ...put His arms unfailing round you... part of the song. And I promise, I am ok. I am just continuing to push forward and spending lots of time praying for strength that feels a little slow to show up.

Reed is my sunshine in all of this struggle. Its amazing how kids tune into what you need. (Granted he wants to act up more when stress is high, but he knows when to be sweet.) He cuddles and will pet my hair. His sweet face lights up when I get home from work. He keeps me focused on whats important and keeps me going.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


After what felt like a lifetime of waiting and testing, I am so HAPPY to be able to report some GOOD NEWS!!!! I know its been posted on Facebook so its no big surprise for anyone. But, its worth sharing again.

-- All labs came back good. My hormone levels are in normal range, further indicating that there has not been a spread.

-- These levels also indicate that the cancer was an isolated incident and no just one of several of a "family of tumors" that often happen with my specific type of cancer. (It likes to grow in clusters... cancer parties)

-- The labs also show that there is no evidence of a genetic link. Reed will not need to be tested and he will NOT need surgery for removal of his thyroid.

-- My wonderful surgeon is double checking that radiation will not be necessary. (Past studies have shown that my type of cancer does not respond to traditional cancer treatment (ie: chemo, radiation). He just wants to make sure that he is completely up to date with current treatment protocol, as the cancer is so rare. But for all intensive purposes, I should not need it.

This leaves me safe to say: I am cancer free!!!! I will continue to have lab work done every couple months to make sure it doesn't pop up anywhere else. And will shortly begin the journey of thyroid replacement therapy, which will be gladly welcomed as living without my thyroid has become quite a challenge. (Although I hear maintaining that is a whole bundle of fun, I am feeling much blessed to finally have more answers than questions for the first time in a long time.)

Again, I just want to take a moment and thank all my wonderful friends and family that have supported me through this trial. It has been a helluva past few months. And while Im sure there will be more on the way, it is so amazing to have so many people caring, offering and providing service, praying, and just plain "stepping up" on my behalf. I am so blessed.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where have all the bad asses gone?

I came from the generation where any teenager that had a car, had the bumper sticker saying, "QUESTION AUTHORITY". I think we all thought we were tough stuff, that we knew more than those trying to teach something in the school where we parked our car. The sad truth is: for all of us sporting this bold statement of defiance, we sure missed out on its true meaning.

Flash forward over ten years later as we watch the very foundation of our country being demolished piece by piece. Some look on cheering, some with shock, some with horror, some with complacence and some are just too busy to watch. I look on saying, where are all those who seemed so tough, so quick to fight against the status quo, the political machine, the traditional education. Where have all the bad asses gone?

Maybe they are the ones cheering. I dont know. What I do know is this: No matter what politial affiliaton, no matter what spiritual or logical tenets one subscribes to, NO ONE should be looking on saying, "this is good". Back away from your wants from government. Back away from what you think is justice and fair. Back away from all the rhetoric that gets us all fired up and fighting against each other. That just keeps us occupied so we dont see whats really happening.

I dont care if your views on politics are completely opposite than mine. The pendulum continues to swing from one extreme to another, leaving us all a little motion sick and none of us better for it.

In then end, uncontrolled and unchecked, government is a dangerous thing. Far more dangerous than any extremist, whether they fall into Napoletano's definition or any other.

See, what we dont seem to realize or what we forget in the heat of the moment of trying to provide all for the the people is: for every power we give the government, we lose a little more freedom. You cant have it both ways. Unfortunately, we are living in a society that believes the promises of everything you ever "needed" will be provided, IF ONLY: you trade a little bit of your freedom back to the government. The problem is, we have been doing this for far too long and now we have no control. We are no longer considered the "free-est market in the world". Did you know that?

So now that over a decade since our rebellious teenage years have passed, I believe it is time to resurrect the simple statement of QUESTION AUTHORITY. Not to be subborn or cause trouble, not just to thumb our noses and act like spoiled teenagers again, but to remind us of something we have forgotten along the way or something maybe we liked, but didn't truly understand.

There is power in questioning authority. There is a sense of responsibility in questioning authority. It lets government know that we expect them to do what they say and say what they do, that is means is, that blatant lies during state of the union addresses are not acceptable and that if they cant do the job with integrety, they cant do the job.

Im not calling out one political side, Im calling out all politicians! So quick to point the finger when the other fouls up, but doing exactly what they are pointing the finger for when they think no one is looking. All are guilty. I say start from scratch. Get rid of the whole bunch, cause if you think that they care whether you have insurance or not, they dont. They care about you handing them over the responsibility for it, the power. If you think they care about your right to choose or a baby's right to life, they dont, the like the power to make that decision for you. I could go on an on. In the end, suffice it to say: If something is important to you, that is your responsibility. Not the governments.
Remember: A government big enough to give you everything you ever wanted is big enough to take everything you ever had.

I was reading George Orwell's 1984 a couple days ago and my stomach churned at some of the things that mirrored today. History suddenly changes, words that are no longer allowed -- like terrorist or illegal alien, being punished for thoughts. (IE: hate crimes FYI: A crime is no more or less punishable no matter the reason behind it...) Its scary to see our society turn into that of Orwell's. It also guarantees one very important truth if we come to it: POVERTY. We keep hating the fat cats, but they put food on the table for most of us. Their success is our success. Just ask those who were laid off because of the recession. Big business is cut, so is our way of living.

Just a little glimpse of where my mind goes when it cant sleep at night. I promise to not be quite so far between posts. Its been a rough last little while. But life is good, insane and a bit frantic, but good. Just one more time for all you bad asses in disguise out there.... QUESTION AUTHORITY!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A cancer by any other name....

I saw the surgeon yesterday. I keep thinking each visit will bring answers, unfortunately with every answer, more unknowns show up. The tumor was a Medullary Carcinoma. It is very rare. The results took so long because the slides had to be sent to a specialist at the Mayo in Rochester. I feel pretty special knowing that part of me has now visited Minnesota. (And I didn't even get any pictures!) Mom and I also laughed that of course, my case would be one of the freaky ones... What did he call it... oh, an anatomical abnormality. (Like I didn't already know that!!!) Well, I will never be normal no matter how hard I try!

The good news is, I wont be needing radiation. The bad news is, I have a big lab work up that has to be done. But has to be momentarily put on hold til my new insurance begins on Tuesday. The labs are because:

About 80% of the time, this is sporadic, its just a fluke that just starts growing.
About 20% of the time, there is a genetic marker that kinda predetermines whether you are going to get it.

We have to determine which kind it is because Reed may also have that marker. If he does, his thyroid will also have to be removed as soon as possible. The surgeon said if it isn't tracked, he could be full blown malignant by 10. This is also important, because my sisters are starting to wonder if this little marker is possibly what has been causing havoc for them. (No cancer seen in any of them, but if there is a genetic link, this is important to know)

I will also have to be tested to see if it has spread. The tumor itself is out and the questional lymph nodes that they removed were benign, so that is really hopeful. I will continue to be screened for a specific hormone the tumor produces. The sooner that level increases or doubles the more likely it has spread and will eventually be fatal. (Oh that was hard to type...) But if my levels remain stable or even decrease I will continue to have a normal healthy life like most common thyroid cancer survivors. And again the surgeon is confident that we caught it early, because of the small size and the benign lymph nodes.

I will continue to update the blog and keep my facebook up to date as soon as I know more.

I appreciate all your concern, your love and prayers. I appreciate your own similar experiences that were shared and gave me confidence and increased hope. I know that I have already been so blessed through this. I also appreciate that I know that I can call in favors if needed. This is going to be a stressful next few weeks/months, but I know I am being strengthened through the love and blessing of a Heavenly Father and through my family and friends who continue to plea to Him on my behalf.
I know that He has sent me you to help through your prayers and service. My prayer is that I can learn what I need to from this experience and be able to look back on it as just one of life's many stepping stones that will eventually make me who I need to become.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A little behind (like any kind of behind has only been little around here)

First and foremost: If you were scheduled to be on the recieving end of 2009 Made by Me giveaway, (Katherine and Jennifer I believe) I must apologize. (Its cut out. Its not done yet.) In the rules it stated I had til the end of the year. I was gonna pretend like I thought it was a year from the date of the post, but then I figured I better just say.... Ya never know when something may show up in you mailbox. But it wont be in 2009. Obviously.

Next, the fun stuff. For those of you wondering how I ended up having surgery so quickly. Here's a quick little overview of Cancer Watch 2009-2010.
-- Last summer my OBGYN suggested I go visit an endocrinologist because of one (just one) hormone that was outta range.
-- October, I finally got into see said endocrinologist. (Waiting list cause he is good.)
-- He ran a bunch of labs, everything normal. But palpated a nodule on my thyroid.
-- November, had an ultrasound of thyroid to find a 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 cm growth.
-- December 17, had a needle biopsy. Was told Dr was going out of town so I may or may not get the results back before the new year.
-- December 21, recieved a call from the Dr saying to be in his office Thursday at 8:30 (before the office opens) to discuss the results.
-- Christmas Eve, I was told:
Biopsy results showed abnormal cells -- but it was inconclusive whether or not it was malignant. Find a surgeon to remove half or all of the thyroid. (By then I had already texted friend to get her surgeon father to do the surgery.) As I left, the nurse said Merry Christmas and smiled and said: "dont worry, if you have to have cancer this is the best kind to have."
I then went back to work to finish off the rest of my day.
I dropped off all the notes at the surgeons house, talked with him a minute and he said his office would contact me about an appointment. I explained that it would either have to be before the end of the year or I would have to wait til March. (I start my new job 1/19/10 and cant miss the training at all.)
Enjoyed Christmas festivities, but all the time wondered what I would do. I knew from the start I would be ok.... I just didn't know what would happen that would eventually get me to well.
-- December 30, surgery day. Went perfectly. Thyroid completely removed along with a couple lymph nodes.
-- January 7, Dr Walker says its healing great and looks better than he expected it to. The bad news is: the pathologist couldn't tell what it was they took out. Its not common. My thyroid is being sent out to more pathologists to look at cause it is a "anatomical abnormality". (Mom and I laughed hard when he called it that. I said, "What's new, I didn't need a surgeon to tell me that!) So I still dont know whether I get to be radioactive or not. The good news is: its out!

I am hoping to find out Monday and will keep everyone posted. In the mean time:
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for your meals and visits.
Thank you for the texts of encouragement.

Its funny. I have been through lots in the past few years. And I used to complain and say, "I could deal with all these problems so much easier if I didn't have to deal with them alone. Its so hard to feel picked on and unloved." (Meaning, if I was married this would be much easier to bear my health problems. Keeping a positive outlook is tough without a soft place to fall or a shoulder to cry on.) This time I realized, I may not have a man to hold me and tell me its gonna be ok. But I have about a BAZILLION friends and family that are there. And no one person coulda given all the love and support that the collective have given during these days. THANK YOU ALL!!!