Saturday, July 30, 2011

Being pampered!

My lovely daughter gifted me with a spa certificate for a detoxifying body wrap. So my Saturday afternoon treat was going to be pampered big time. I didn't really know all the details of the wrap, but I knew it sounded relaxing.

When the spa lady came to get me, she led me back to a room with a table covered in some kind of foil blanket. Then she handed me 2 little packets and told me to strip and put on this paper underwear. Seriously? She warned me that it didn't cover much, and she wasn't kidding. Boy, howdy! It looked like some kind of party favor for a "special" night with my husband. Wow!

I was slathered in a seaweed solution and then wrapped up in the foil and some extra covers, until I looked like some kind of stripper burrito. Then my eyes were covered with soothing eye pads, the lights were turned low, and soothing music was playing. Did I fall asleep? You betcha!

About 20 minutes later, I was led to a shower room, where I used the most delicious smelling shower gel and scrubbing salts. I wanted to stay in there forever! However, the spa lady was waiting for me, so I persuaded myself to dry off and retreat.

The next phase of the process was me in fresh paper undies being massaged and rubbed with a very hydrating lotion.  That felt so good, and my skin is still feeling so soft and moist.Loved it!

After having cancer, I promised myself I would look for enjoyment in life, and it wasn't hard to find on this day. I highly recommend all the spa treatments you can get!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation Bible School

There's nothing like Vacation Bible School to make you feel alive. *grins* As I have done for the past few years, I am in charge of teaching the kids the music. In today's world, that doesn't mean sitting and singing pretty little church songs. Some are a soft and slow, but most are pounding rock tunes, and all of them have dance moves to be learned.

I get tired by the end of the night, but it's great to feel so alive and happy.. I wonder if the kids or even some of the adults think I'm a little wild. I'm in there jumping and whooping and carrying on. I might be weak as a kitten when I drag myself in the door, but I know I'm still breathing, and it's a great feeling.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dealing With It

One of the hard lessons of life is learning how to deal with death. One of the most common ways for children to learn this skill is through the demise of a beloved pet. My grandchildren experienced this when their beagle "Pete" had to be put to sleep.As an older dog, he was beginning to have a lot of pain and difficulty getting up or using stairs. When the vet said it wasn't going to get better, the sad decision was made.

I've found it interesting how each of the three children has come to terms with Pete's absence. The older one, almost 9, is the one most acutely aware of the loss, and the one who will remember Pete more clearly.  He has shed some tears and now and then will bring up the subject, mostly to have the opportunity to talk about the dog, I believe.

The two year old has less understanding of what really transpired, so now and then she will ask, "Where's Petey Boy?" A calm answer such as, "He's not here right now," satisfies her curiosity.

The four year old has developed his own coping skill, and I believe his method is the one most comforting to the adults around the house, as well. He's taken a small plastic dish and put it in the spot where Pete's food bowls used to be. He also sometimes places his beloved stuffed dog "Puppy" at the bowl, so he can "eat." I haven't really discussed it with my daughter or son in-law, but when I'm there every day to take care of the children, it comforts me to know there's still a dog in the house. And I've been known to quietly reach down and pat that little puppy's head and say, "Good boy."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Farewell, my friend

My dear friend Gail went to be with Jesus today. I knew it was time, her family knew it was time, but it is hard to know she won't smile at us or talk with us again on this side. I do believe in God and in a beautiful afterlife, so I know I'll see her again one day, and I rejoice that she's already there, celebrating no more pain.

Right now I'm praying that I will remember the lessons in all this:
*That I must savor each moment of each day,
*That I must tell the people I love about that love each day.
*That I must find ways to do as much good as I can, whenever I can.
*That I must never give up the fight against cancer. Relay, Relay, Relay!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Moments of Grace

As I visited my friend Gail in hospice yesterday, her sister and mother told me how she had been able the day before to respond in small ways to family. One son had particularly longed to have her speak with him one more time. Gail opened her eyes a bit and was able to whisper, "I love you," to some family members, and she touched her son on the cheek. Her time here on earth is slipping away, but that young man will treasure that moment forever.

Hearing about that reminded me of my buddy John, who was a vital part of my online support group.When he knew his time had come, he posted a message to us, rejoicing in the fact that he would be able to have one more weekend with his family and perhaps a few more days. John knew he wouldn't be strong enough to participate in family activities after that time, so he cherished the gathering of family around him and made a few more precious memories with his wife and young son.

How often do I get impatient over silly things? I'm so capable of stamping my feet and fussing like crazy if things don't happen just the way I want them to. How much time do I waste in this needless concern?

I know I need to slow it down, see clearly all the beauty around me, hear the lovely words uttered by family, remember the smiles on friends' faces. Time wasted can't be recalled. Letting moments slip away from me is robbing me (and them) of what could be priceless treasures.Here's to a better use of time!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Survivor's Guilt

Tuesday evening I went to see my friend Gail. For the past two years, I've thought of her as my cancer twin. We share the same first name, we have been through the same type of cancer (colon), and we were diagnosed just a few months apart.

We met about 2 years ago, when we both joined our county's Relay For Life planning committee.  We found an instant connection and a true friendship. Gail has brought me joy every time I've seen her or spoken to her. She's a wonderful person!

So Tuesday evening I went to see her. As she lay in the bed at the hospice home, she looked so vulnerable. My sweet, stylish friend lay there wearing no makeup, so she looked a little different, yet so beautiful all at the same time. It hurt my heart so much to see her there and know that her time has come.

I touched her shoulder and spoke softly to her, sharing a prayer with my dear Christian friend. She was too deeply drugged to answer me, but her body shifted slightly, and I believe she knew I was there. Speaking with her husband and mother, I learned that she has already planned the service she wants, and that she spent time, taxing though it was to her body, making a video for her granddaughter and future grandchildren. How sad it is to know that she won't be able to enjoy more time being a grandmother!

As I sadly drove home, I wondered if I would be able to drive safely. The tears poured freely, and I was deep in conversation with God, asking him why it had to be her and not someone else. Why did I have the same cancer and come away so easily, relatively speaking? I don't know the answers, and these things keep me awake at night. I know I must try to do as much good as I can to deserve the great gift I have been given. And I know that I must never forget the gift I was given when Gail came into my life.

Wishing you a peaceful journey, my friend. Save me a place in Heaven. I love you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time to Relax!

We're leaving soon for a wonderful weekend with friends in the area of Virginia where we used to live. This is a lovely, rural area, and they have a fabulous, old-fashioned celebration called "Heritage Day." I am so excited! It'll be a time to reconnect with people we love and just relax in God's country.

Had my blood drawn this morning to check the CEA level. This is a marker to see if I possibly have more cancer in my system. Not expecting any surprises, but it always leaves me a tad anxious until I get "the word." Anyone who has had cancer understands how that feels.

Hope everyone has a safe, fun 4th of July weekend!