Monday, February 13, 2012

You Are So Beautiful to Me

In case you haven't heard Tom and I shouting it from the housetops.  I got an all clear from Mayo Clinic.  No sign of cancer or other problems and since it was caught very early they feel sure that I will remain cancer free!   I have my life back!  How do I say thank you for that!   Where do I begin?  With God.  Yes.  With the skilled and talented doctors and nurses at Mayo Clinic. Yes.  With Tom.  Definitely yes!!   And how do I say "Thank You!" 5525 times!   That is the number of times that one of you has checked in on my blog.  Just to see how I am doing. To sometimes leave a message.  And even when you didn't say anything  the count on the blog showed me that many people had thought of me that day!  That amazed me and encouraged me!  And I felt the caring so a "Thank You" to each of you.

  And strangely, I have found myself saying thank you to my badly disfigured left breast.  When I was first diagnosed I was angry at the body part that had betrayed me.  It became alien to me, a parasite, just hanging on that I really just wanted gone.  Or to stop hurting. .or to be better, quickly.  I was impatient. Very impatient! Then as time went on  I slowly began to say thank you,L.B. , for not hurting so much today, for healing, however slowly, for becoming part of my healthy body again.  When I met with my surgeon oncologist last week, he happily gave me the good news, that I had dodged the big C bullet.  That I was cured.  Cancer free! He was smiling as broadly as Tom and I.  And then he apologized for the disfigurement caused by the removal of so much tissue and eagerly offered to restructure the breast.  I said no thank you.  This part of my body has endured so much and become healthy again.  I am happy with that!  To me healthy is the new beautiful!

  Again, as I have tended to in this blog, I have rattled on, a bit to deeply, maybe too bluntly.  It has been therapy for me and from time to time probably caused a few red faces out there.  It would take a lot of space to say all that I am grateful for right now.  But I am especially grateful for the kindness and  support from old friends, new friends, Quaker Friends, and friends I never even knew I had.  You are all so beautiful to me!

My love to each and every one of you,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Toenails Polished-Ready For Scottsdale!

We leave in the morning for my" after surgery, radiation,infection, more surgery check up" at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.  Am feeling well and was anxious to get this appointment, but am also a bit on edge about it.  I am hoping to get the total blessing on my recovery, but realize that is a sometimes thing with breast cancer.  All indications are that this will go well.

 We have had good weather for February here in Silver City but I am anxious for a couple days of warmer in Scottsdale.  Toenails are polished and I am looking for a couple pairs of sandals to pack!   And we are staying across the street from a major mall with Dillards, Macys, etc.  That has got to be a plus for the trip.  We have already planned two dinners at our favorite restaurants and will be watching for a Trader Joe's to pick up our favorite ginger snaps.  I hope I can work in the 3 appointments at Mayo on Thursday! (just kidding)

  So time to take care of the before the trip chores here and get packing!  Will report back!   Gratitude continues for the good care by Mayo.. and Tom and the love and support of all of you. .and Tom.  I am fortunate in so many ways!

Sandy( the grandmother with the pink shiny toenails)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Frybread and Other Happenings

It has been a busy 10 days or so.  We have been to the Bluff Balloon Festival and were blessed with beautiful weather including the last day when we arrived at early, early at Valley of the Gods to see the balloons take off on Sunday morning from that amazing location.  The sunrise we saw that morning would have been worth the 8 hour drive north. It was breathtaking!  The balloons were gorgeous but almost an afterthought  to that sunrise.      I have gotten to be a slow riser in the morning.  But for 3 days I found I could be up and ready to go by 6:30ish and even fully conscious without 4 or 5 cups of coffee! We probably took a thousand photos between us, enjoyed frybread and Navajo tacos for 3 days and great entertainment at the Friday night talent show put on by the local school.  That is two of the young performers above.  We also sold our photography on Saturday.  Busy days but it is always a great time to be had with the nice people of Bluff and the balloonists that come in from all over the country. 

Sunday noon we were off to Mancos and stopped by Hovenweep National Monument for another photo safari.  Much better than the time we were there before when the paths along the canyon were covered with ice. This time I could stay upright!  I felt good about our photography there and it was just a neat place to see.   We journeyed on to Mancos, had the barbeque special at our favorite dinner spot ,woke up to a snowstorm  and visited with some old friends in Mancos at the community breakfast the next morning.   Like a couple of escapees from the snowbelt we headed south and were home by an hour or so after dark.  Don't like to travel after dark but it happens!  Particularly when you have driven through, snow,rain, and wind to find your way home.

 It was a couple of days of recuperating and laundry and getting reacquainted with Scooby Doo,Sophie and Fifi.  Not to mention processing all of that fun photography!   The Red Paint Pow-Wow in Silver City started on Friday and went on through Sunday.  We went for a only few hours on Saturday as we  both are fighting a cold.  Some of the ceremonies and dancing were considered sacred and photography wasn't allowed but there was much to see and photograph in what was allowed.  This event was huge!  And Native Americans from all over the country.  The Indian ceremonial dress was fabulous.  It appeared to be a very structured and well run event.  And we had. . yes. .more fry bread and Indian Tacos again!  They didn't call them Navajo tacos here.  I guess because there were many different tribes at the event. Quite a contrast between the casual performances that we saw at Bluff and the very serious, structured performances that we saw in Silver City.  Both events interesting and fun, just different. 

  We are back in a week of somewhat normal.  Getting the camper ready for using this year, catching up on what is going on with different happenings about town.  We are signed up for classes at Western Institute of Lifetime Learning that start the first of February.  Woo-Hoo-Tom and I are taking line dancing!  I'm excited. . Tom isn't.  .but I hope he will find it fun.  There are also some educational classes that we  both are taking and looking forward to.

  I am tentatively scheduled to go to Mayo for a checkup on February 9th.  I am not having any problems so am trusting it will be all good.   I am hearing of more people dealing with cancer and not doing as well as I have so I am very grateful for my prognosis.  Just wish they would figure this dreaded disease out so that so many did not suffer. Someday!  In the meantime, my heart and prayers goes out to them.    Love and hugs to all, hope life is treating you good. . . . Sandy

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Balancing Act

We were at a little theater performance last week and I saw this piece of art in the theater courtyard  that rather fascinated me. It appears to be balanced stones on a metal structure,although I imagine that some "super glue" of some sort was involved.  Actually, maybe not an illusion of balancing at all but still intriguing and yes,somehow artful.

  Although I have no reason to believe that I am not doing well, balancing all that needs to be done, and yes, that I want to do, seems more difficult as time goes on.  My energy leaves me too soon. I need a nap many days.  I appreciate being able to be here for my 69th year but I just want more from this 69 year old body than it delivers!  Right now, I am sitting on the couch next to my sleeping Scooby Doo, knowing that my bags need to be packed for our trip tomorrow to the balloon festival in Bluff Utah.  And the body is tired, and wants to do no more today!  Tomorrow  will be a day of travel and Friday we will enjoy the beautiful redrock country of Utah, hopefully sunshine and the spectacular show of hotair balloons flying high above it all.

 I guess I had better go pack that suitcase, cause when it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, I don't want to miss a thing!  Love and hugs to you all. Healing is still slow, but happening.   Teaches patience, I tell myself.. And I guess I had better work on gratitude for what I can do!


Friday, December 30, 2011

The 'Tween Days

Those days in between Christmas and the New Year tend to be some of my favorite days of the holiday. They have much to offer!  The shopping is over.  The rituals of Christmas, wrapping, shipping,delivering, checking the list twice to be sure no one was missed, is passed!  Cards have been sent, cards and gift rec'd.  Whew. . those are all biggies.  So now you can relax.  Enjoy the beauty of the Christmas tree and decorations on a calm day instead of a busy day.  It's now acceptable to take it all down if you have tired of the clutter or just bask in the glow if not. Reread Christmas cards and letters without having to rush through them and check to be sure that a card was sent to that person.  Too late anyway, will catch them next year.  The 'tween days are a good time to contemplate the coming year.  What do I want to do differently?  Make New Year's resolutions if you are in to those things.  I am more into just the contemplating.   I like to do things that make a difference.  In dealing with my LB issue, I have been very self centered this year.  After all, if I do not concentrate on surviving the big "C" would I be around to make a difference for anyone in my life or the world.  So my 'tween days thoughts wander through the annual ones of healthier eating and more exercise,(Tom's peppernuts and stolen baking projects were exceptional this year and reflecting on my waistline) better organization(always an annual as I think about the coming tax season), keeping check on my shopaholic activities(reminded of yesterday as I scarfed up the end of year clearance items at the Beall's store).  But also I am thinking of making a difference in others lives is important to me.  My daughter and grandson are both having graduation ceremonies in May. Daughter on track to excellent employment and grandson on track to college.  I like to think I have and will have a supportive hand in that.  That will make a difference.  I continue to be supportive to Kiwanis charitable activities. I continue to believe they make little differences for many.  But I need something more. . contemplating. . . thinking. . . I am so fortunate. . so many other are not. . .As the Quaker Friends say  "A way will open. . "

I am feeling well.  I spent a gift certificate on a couple expensive bras(I normally don't splurge on underwear purchases) that are evenly shaped, since I no longer am.  Why didn't I think of this before?  I have always worn the softer, unshaped ones which just don't work well in my out of balance LB situation.  I must be getting better to be so happy with such a trivial matter! 

The New Year is coming quickly!  Had a delightful dinner last night with Silver City  friends and acquaintances.  We usually hibernate for New Year's Eve but were invited to go to an early dinner with good friends at Bear Mountain Lodge just outside the town and one of our favorite spots.  That's a go!  We have some photography to deliver to a locally gallery this morning and will stop by our favorite breakfast spot on the way.  Yes life is good.  And time to contemplate that in these 'tween days of 2011. . .

Happy New year all. . the photo I am using is an abstract(like this post?) ice painting by my good friend "Mother Nature"..  She always supplies me with the best raw material for my photography. . hugs and love to all. . .


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Silver City Christmas Season, 2nd Year, with Hugs

This is our second year to be residents of Silver City for the holidays.  Last year, having just moved here from Colorado, we knew few people and were just feeling our way around.   This year it feels like home and I like it!  I realized a few days back it was so nice to go places and be greeted with hugs by people we now know.  I am a hugger.  Learned somewhere in midlife, not from my early life. I can still remember the shocked look on my Mother's face the first time I came home for a visit and greeted her with a spontaneous hug.  As with many loving people in my early life , hugging was not an automatic greeting.  Actually, it was through"Lulu" a dear friend somewhat my senior and a 5 foot bundle of energy, bubbling over joy and wit who greeted everyone with a hug, not a handshake, that  I came to learn what I had been missing as a 30 plus years of non-hugging. What a gift! I lost track of  Lulu several years back. I need to find her and say "Thank You"!   Tom is a hugger.  Mancos was full of huggers.  Hugging is good for  the soul.  I am so happy to now feel a part of this friendly, hugging community known as Silver City, New Mexico.

We are off for our Oklahoma Christmas visit in a few days.  It is a multi purpose visit, not the least of which is to spend Christmas with daughter Heidi and the grandchildren.  Also am needing to see about some major repairs needed on my rental house and a couple of other things.  We are doing our annual trek to the Bluff Balloon festival mid January and sometime soon will be going for a check up at Mayo.  Am feeling good, LB is still healing slowly but hopefully complete within the next few weeks.

 I was delighted with the photo above being published in the December issue of Western Friends magazine.  I call it "Aspens and Evergreens" and was taken on our last trip to Colorado.  I used the original version before on the blog but this one is the one run through the computer "Paint It" program. Evergreens are nice but really love those aspen trees!

I expect I will not have the opportunity to blog again before the 25th, so I will send a  Merry Christmas! to all my friends, family and Friends out there.   And yes, a big "Christmas Hug!" to each and everyone of you!

In the spirit of this joyful holiday. . with love. . Sandy

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The View

Very cold, very beautiful!  Snows aren't as frequent here in Silver City as in Colorado or  Michigan or come to think of it even northern Nevada but they do come with a beauty all their own.  The landscape changes immediately to a winter wonderland and shrubs and native plants take on shapes and personalities the you have not seen on most days.   You can't beat mother nature for winter decorations.  The view here is from our back patio. I usually crop out overhangs etc to make it look like I did more than open the slider, but I rather liked the icycles on this one.  And so many of the wildlife photos I take do not even involve opening the sliding door and are shot through the glass.  I guess this house was designed for senior citizen photographers!

Life is busy with holiday happenings.  I am enjoying working with Kiwanis on Christmas projects, including gifts for long term residents at an area hospital.    And FeVa Fotos is making a showing this Saturday at a holiday bazaar sponsored by two of the artist groups we belong to.  And that involves putting together a lot of new FeVa Christmas "keepsake" cards for that sale.  Always fun!   As a Kiwanis project , I worked on holiday lighting of a gazebo in our local downtown park.  More complicated than it sounds!  But I have never worked with a nicer bunch of city officials including the young men on the  fireman crew who came to hang the lights.  And Tom has been up the ladder several times to achieve a proper setting on the timer!  Something else that proved more complicated than it looked.  But as of last night We Got It!   Most of my packages are mailed . .and only a couple of Christmas Parties to go. . This season always comes on so fast. . and it is evidently here!

The status on my healing body part remains about the same.  Slowly. . slowly. . but no problems that I am aware of. . I should be going back to Mayo for a check up next month for sure.  But for now and just thankful for another holiday season to enjoy with a Tom  and exchange greetings and goodwill with family and friends.   Even without a cancer recovery it isn't difficult to find gratitude for a good life when you look at the needs of those near and far.  We aren't that far from an area of our world where we are told some  mothers are eating every other day so their children can have something to eat every day.  That one got me!    "Be thankful you have enough." Not my quote but one that looms large in my head.  There are many who don't have enough.  So I guess that is my thought today.  Gratitude for being one of those who has "enough".   And humbly grateful for the being blessed with  so much more.  Sending love and hugs to family , Friends and friends. . .Sandy