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

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whoops! Holiday Time Already!

My the time sure flies when you get into this time of year.  This little birdie is working on one of the last apples on the tree outside the kitchen window.  I end up taking a lot of my photos through glass.  I feel lucky to have the wildlife that come to visit the yard.  I must remember to wash windows! We have been busy with Thanksgiving and trying to get our early Christmas shopping done so that those things can be shipped.  It looks like we are going to be going to Oklahoma for a quick Christmas trip so  I can deliver there.  Last night was the lighted Christmas parade in Silver City.  It doesn't start until 7:30 and then they turn off all of the street lights.  Draws a huge crowd but it is really difficult photography.  And cold!  I was reminded how the temperature can drop in the high desert when the sun goes down.  I wore my Michigan parka and was glad I had it!  Tom wore a heavy shirt and sweater and vest and I think he  wished he had a Michigan parka!  We do get climatized here.  The temperature was only down to 40 degrees but felt much colder. There was a Christmas concert at the old downtown theater before the parade that was a real treat.  And it was warm inside!  Tom has been doing a quite a bit of baking.  Already two batches of baklava for different events and working on his Christmas peppernuts that he likes to send for gifts.  They are addictive.  We need to hide them instead of sitting them on the kitchen cabinet.  I can see that new year's resolutions for me will have to do with diet and sweets!   Excuse the rambling. .just wanted everyone to know that all is well here.  Still working on healing but still going well.  I suspect I will be going for my Mayo checkup in January.  Not a bad time of year to go to Scottsdale!  Wishing you all a big helping of Christmas cheer!  Love and Hugs to all . . .Happiness and gratitude abounds here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Party Animals!

Yep, it was a 2 party weekend for us old folks!   First we attended a beautiful wedding of Jessica and Kyle (pictured above) in Tucson.    We enjoyed taking photos and eating yummy food and visiting with a lot of excited family members.  Beautiful wedding, beautiful setting, beautiful couple.  Good times! 

And then the next day we were off to a baby shower in Scottsdale  for   a special family member for me(it's complicated) and I was so glad to be able to attend.   Again lots of good food(Tom's baklava served at both events) , nice folks and it was a treat to see Autumn, a cute mother- to- be, pictured doing baby practice , open many little pink and frilly baby things for the baby who is due on December 10th.  Tom took photos at this party and I just enjoyed.  He was doing great until the discussion of nipple shields at which point he turned red and said that now he knew why men don't attend baby showers!  Tom's such a good sport!   After the shower  we  managed to get ourselves to the nearest Outback Restaurant after checking into our favorite Sleep Inn.   Were surprised to wake to rain the next morning but took time before heading for home to stop in Trader Joe's to pick up a few foodstuffs.  Love Trader Joe's!  Also checked out a few other stores in the mall. .big city fix!   

So the party animals made it home Sunday at dusk. .Sr. Citizen party animals don't like to drive after dark!   It was a good weekend and today it was back to it- working on the hundreds of photos from both parties and getting caught up on local happenings. I am planning to make prints of the best photos and put together albums for those who will enjoy the memories.

 I am doing well, no problems. . .just still on the slowly healing track.  Looks like it will be December before it is time to go back to Mayo for my check up.  My impatience has turned into oh-well's . . .at least everything is going the right direction and I am grateful for that!  Love and Hugs. . .Sandy

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Frost is on the . . . Cholla!

I was so surprised this morning to wake to a gentle snowfall, lightly dusting the yard.  Birds were scampering after the bounty in the bird feeder and the seeds that had fallen below.  I flipped the switch on the gas fireplace and set down to enjoy my morning coffee.  Talking to Tom a bit later he laughed when telling me that the sun was shining in Washington DC and the people were wearing sandals and enjoying balmy weather.  I hope that he doesn't hit this storm as he starts home westwardly and the storm moves eastward.   As usual in Silver City, the snow was gone by noon but I must say a cold wind remained!  I guess I am spoiled with the wonderful weather here.  I dug out the Colorado outer clothing which included snow boots and a heavy jacket and proceeded with my plans to explore the happenings out and about Silver City.  I stopped first at the Mimbres Arts councils office where they were having their annual sale of items from Guatemala .  Wanted to ask why, with all the wonderful artists and crafts people locally ,they were bringing in goods from Guatemala?  I didn't make ripples and found a few things that I liked for Christmas gifts and  then moved on down the street to a big church bazaar.   I avoided all the goodies being served from the kitchen and proceeded to purchase some rolls of red velvet ribbon for $1(always good for  wrapping gifts) and two beautiful Christmas tree skirts(which I don't need)  and two stuffed bears dressed in holiday fare and holding a small light in each hand.  When I got them home , I realized why the batteries in the bears had been pulled.  The little lights do light up but the music they play would drive you up the wall. Oh, well.  I figured out how to just get the lights to come on, with no music.  They will work to decorate out table at the Christmas Bazaar that we are doing in December.  And if I want our table to get noticed, I know where that music switch is!  Also came home with a large plaster of paris yard decoration that I got help in loading but will have to wait for Tom to unload.  Hard to describe that one but I am sure it will be beautiful!   In the early afternoon the museum was presenting one of a series of historical plays which I wanted to be sure and catch.  The play was short and good but there was a young violinist that played wonderfully and also sang with the voice of an angel.  It amazes me the huge amount of   talent to be found in small towns.  Mancus was the same way.  Incredible!  I think people in the big cities must not take the time for the arts. . I guess that is a hasty judgement but wow! was that young girl good! So the day was fun. . would have been more fun to do it with Tom. . but was still good.  And I know he's going to love that big yard ornament! 

 Hope you excuse my ramblings but I know you are all tired of hearing about my LB or  "Unique Feature" or whatever I am calling this problem area of my body at this time.  Besides what is going on now is a slow process and so not much new to talk about there.  I will be glad when the healing is done and I can go back to Mayo for a check up and get their assurance that all is OK.   And all indications are that it is and I am grateful for that!   And grateful for all of you that listen to my rants, ramblings and nonsense.  Gratitude all around. 

Hugs and love, Sandy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Finding the " Light"

Do you have light in your life or darkness?   Most of us have a mix of the two.  If you have trouble with finding the light some days. . catch a sunrise or a sunset!   That is when God's light comes through the strongest.   As a photographer, the photos I have treasured most are those that have caught that few moments of beauty early morning or right before dusk.  Sometimes it catches me in such awe I have to remember to try and capture it through my lens.  And rarely, if ever, does the lens see the full glory of what my eyes have been allowed to see but somehow I feel I must try and preserve it forever.  Fortunately,  when we cannot find actual light in our day   we are given the ability to capture "light" in our minds through our spiritual beliefs or  through appreciating the gifts in our life and gratitude for all that life has given us.  Sometimes a beautiful reading can jar the mindset from darkness to light.  So my hope for all is to find the light in your life. . through you eyes. . through your mind. . and most of all through your heart.

Love and Hugs,

LB is still there, still healing and it is good to be able to focus on something else!  May you all feel "light" in your day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Hole In One

No longer stuffing with gauze but still have a small hole.  According to the good doctor, this should heal over, even though the inside has not completely come together.  Those of you who have been aware of the wound care process that has been happening with my L. B. know what I am talking about.  This isn't exactly how it was suppose to happen but Dr. Wasif says it will be ok.  I am taking his word for it but still doing a lot of positive thinking about healing.  I think it goes "Heal ,darn it, heal!"  

We had a nice early breakfast downtown and then did a photo safari around town and as always we saw so many nice people and new nooks and crannies that we hadn't noticed before.  The photo is a new little bakery that has opened in the downtown art district.  Cute, very Silver Cityish, and we've sampled the tasty pastries there.  Yumm. . .

Tomorrow we are off to Las Cruces for an eye doctor appointment for Tom and taking care of a couple of other big city things.   And of course we will find a good lunch spot!

Just wanted to update to family, friends and Friends. . Much gratitude here. . one day at a time!

Hugs and love. . .Sandy

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where the Deer and the Antelope Roam

We haven't had any antelope in the yard but the deer abound.  The wildlife in this part of Silver City was one of the big attractions in choosing our home.   And we do still love the deer despite the fact that they eat every type of plant imaginable.  But it is an OK trade off.  The little backyard decorative pond and waterfall is a big attraction for them.  Particularly when the weather is dry and there is little water elsewhere.  Our little acre here also draws many birds an occasional rabbit and I know that there are javelinas in the area although I haven't seen any. 

We made a quick trip over a long weekend to Mancos.  The golden aspen and snow capped mountains were beautiful.  It was great to see old friends and old favorite places but was good to get back to a much warmer Silver City.  I guess I didn't remember Colorado being that cold!  And winter hasn't even begun there.  I am still wearing sandals here and I like it!

I am still doing Ok with the L.B. issue.  Impatient!  Wound care should be coming to an end soon and am anxious for that final healing to happen.  After that I go back to Mayo for a mammogram and check up.  It will feel good to get that assurance that all has healed well.  I am grateful for less discomfort and the energy to do what needs to be done.  And for Tom's patience and support.  And for his bringing me my first cup of coffee every morning. Life is good.  And I am sure that next year will be a good-er  year.  :)

Love and hugs to all. . .


Colorado aspens and evergreens dusted with snow.  So beautiful. And cold.  Sandals and 70 degrees in New Mexico feel good.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

We're Off!

Well not on horseback. . but in our little red subaru.  We are taking along weekend to Mancos and it is snowing there!   I am digging for sweaters, etc.  And leaving my sandals behind!   I am looking forward to seeing the snow but I will probably be reminded why we love the weather in Silver City.  I was hoping to catch the fall colors but I would bet that is gone.  But if we are lucky nothing makes better photography than a mix of snow and fall leaves.  So we will see!  We're off!

I am doing well with my treatment.  Wound care is winding down and it was good to talk with my Mayo doctor last week and be assured that all is well and going as it should.  My local doctor had also done a "visual" .(healing well but not a pretty picture!)   Am feeling less discomfort all the time and I think that must be a good sign.  And sleeping like a baby!  We have done a couple of shows with our photography and my energy level is good.  I have learned to be careful with too much heat.  Don't know why, but since the radiation treatment, too much sunshine wipes me out! 

Seems that everywhere lately there has been the sadness of those lost to or fighting cancer.  I feel so fortunate for the early catch and good prognosis.  But until there is a cure found for this dreaded disease the  odds are scary for all.   A cure for cancer must be out there,somewhere.  Someday it will happen.  Until then, we can all be grateful for the good doctors who battle for the survival of their patients.   A cure is what must be found. . . . .

Love and hugs to all. . And my gratitude for all of you.  For being there. . I know you are. . I can feel it.  .


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Butterflies Are Everywhere. . .

Can you see a butterfly and not feel the joy of watching it flit from one flower to another or light on a beautiful blossom?   Sometimes a butterfly appears most unexpected and in unusual form.  As this one did.  Appreciate a butterfly wherever you find it!   As you can tell, I am sure,today is a better day.  Don't know why.  I didn't sleep well but woke up with a different spirit inside.  I am going to work hard to hang onto that spirit.  That's the one I prefer and seek .   Thank you all for being my sounding board, my therapy yesterday.  Tom is making soup of some sort for dinner for us to have with fresh bread from the bakery.  How lucky am I !   I know.  Very lucky.  And very grateful.  For all life has given me.  Love and hugs for all. . .And watch for butterflies. . . . Sandy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Don't Have Moods!!!

Well, I should say, I usually don't have moods!  Yesterday I was in such a mood that I didn't even want to be around myself.  How does this happen?  I have never had a depression.  I don't believe in being depressed.  That is for other people!  I don't have time for that nonsense.  But yesterday I had a mood and I don't want to go there again.  And thank you to Tom for continuing to be my sweet and kind best friend, nurse and sweetheart.  I didn't even like me yesterday and he was still nice to me.  That is above and beyond!  Today was better and I have confidense that tomorrow will be better yet.  I am physically feeling well and staying busy.  I was waiting for a mental adjustment so I could write a cheery blog post.  I'm not quite there today but just wanted everyone to know that all is well with my "unique feature".  (That's my new name for my much operated on body part. )  Still  waiting for healing of the open wound but have been pretty much pain free.  That is on my gratitude list.  Along with many, many other blessings.  How does one get through this life without gratitude?  I don't know.  I couldn't.  Life is good.  Who-Hooo!  This bog has had 4000+ reads. .that amazes me.   Next time I blog it will be about happy things. . promise. . . Love and hugs to all,  Sandy

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Feel Good! And Other Blessings

It has been a great weekend but first to let you know that I am celebrating the best nights sleep in months and waking with a great feeling of energy and that of nothing hurting.  What a joy just feeling good is.  I know that at 69 it may not  last and aches and illness is part of the benefit that living in your senior  years but for now I am just say yippee and I am enjoying!

 Now to the weekend. .I  think this rainbow,( and there is a double rainbow if you look closely) appeared Thursday morning. That should be a positive sign! Friday was the kickoff day for Ft. Bayard Days.  We are supportive of the Historical Group that runs the museum there and were assisting them with photography of the two day event.  Saturday  brought with it busloads of school children with mostly 4th graders from 34 different schools.  That is a lot of 4th graders!  They started the day with a flag ceremony and then were off to  different stations manned(or womanned) by costumed experts in different areas of what life used to be like at the historic Ft. Bayard.  Saturday was the day for the general public and ended in the evening with a military ball.

 There were many other things going on around and about Silver City.  We made a quick trip back into town to catch the parade mid day on Saturday.  They use a lot of big paper mache puppets in the parades here and I knew there had been a workshop for making new ones.  We weren't disappointed!  The puppets and costumes were exceptional.  Such fun the parades in Silver City are.

 Other delights of the weekend were the sighting of three fawns with spots still showing.  I wasn't sure when the birthing time for the deer population was here, but I think it must be now!

 It's Sunday night and we have been to the gallery where we have shown our photography for the summer and loaded it all in the back of the Mountaineer and getting ready for the show we are doing next weekend.   Next week is going to be a busy week.  And it feels great to be able to keep up with busy days and weeks without it wiping me out!

  Gratitude for new energy and enthusiasm .  And beautiful fall weather.  And for family and friends.  And for finally  figuring out how to make the vacuum cleaner pick up kitty hair off the carpet. Blessings abound !

 Love and hugs to all,


PS  Sorry about the clutter of all of the extra photos but so many of these happenings in Silver City are hard to explain and "You just kind of have to be there"!  Thought they might help.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The" Help"

Miz Sophie is one my favorite all time cats.  I gaze into her eyes and imagine and wonder what she is thinking. She is an independent cat.  But comes to me once every evening to scratch her head.  Briefly.  And then she is gone.  To the guest bedroom. On the bed. That's her space where she likes to sleep.  I realized that once we moved into the house and keep a washable spread over my good guest bedroom comforter.  Just for Sophie.  Cause she likes it there.  And I love Sophie cat. According to Tom, to Sophie we are just "the Help".  You know the cats have servants thing.  Sophie does.  That's us.

And that leads me to the movie "The Help".  I had read the book and knew I had to see the movie.  Good movie,great acting and a jolt for those of us who went through the era of integration.  The movie made you laugh and made you cry.  But more than anything it made you think.   Or say, did I really think that way?    Most of us not to the extreme shown in the movie.  But most of us grew up with a certain amount of prejudice.  Around and about us, if not in us.  I was in highschool when our schools were integrated.    It improved our chorus and our football team.  And we made an effort to be sure that one of the black students were put on the student council.   The chorus director asked the black student if they objected to our annual minstrel show, which was done in blackface and with many "black" jokes.  They said they didn't object but then they didn't come or participate.  Had she really thought they would?  But it was cancelled the next year.   I remember  our very thoughtful and peaceful highschool integration as a fascinating, rather beautiful thing. But I can't remember ever having a conversation with a black student or inviting them to my house or to sit with me at lunch.  So I have to admit prejudice was within me.  Not hate. Not intentional. But prejudice was there. I grew up with it.  I think "The Help" does remind us of where we've been.  And in some cases how far we have to go.

I am feeling well.  Impatient for the open wound  healing to be finished but grateful that it is going well.  And continue to realize how fortunate I am for early detection and good doctors.  And for Tom's continuing care and caring and for all of my friends and family who are always there for me.  Life is good  and someday will also be normal!

 Love and hugs to all.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gratitude Is Easy Today

Some days gratitude is just easier to find than others.  Today I think I am being pounded with reasons to be thankful for that which surrounds me.   The TV is literally "flooded" (excuse the pun) with Hurricane Irene news and the aftermath for the millions of people effected by this huge storm.  No power, flooded streets, houses crushed by falling trees and lives lost.   I am sitting comfy, under air-conditioning with all the conveniences that I have so completely adapted to.

  I heard a lady this morning talk about the struggle to feed hungry children in a Mexican  border town.  The goal is for the children to be able to eat 1 meal a day.  Many of the mothers bringing children for food only have food for themselves to eat every third day. Children must pay a fee, plus for school supplies and uniforms to attend the public schools in Mexico. As a result, many poor children are unable to attend school and have any opportunity for a better life.  Poverty and violence is everywhere in that area.   I have a fridge full of fresh produce and my only eating decision today is what meat to take out of the freezer for dinner and when to start the fresh peach cobbler.  Plus my two most recent books that I have been reading are "Just Like Us" and  "Stones Into Schools"  both about humanity struggling for what most of us take for granted. 

 So I say "Thank you God" for my many blessings.  There could go I. . . And particularly this day, gratitude abounds for the life I have.

P.S. Today left breast is just dandy!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wild Flowers, Old Pets, Chocolate and other Ramblings

What is it about a flower?  I never lose the desire to take one more photo of a flower that comes into my view!  And some of my favorite are the imperfect ones.  Like this group of very scraggly wild daisies? .  Probably not the right name for them but still caught my eye and my camera.  Saturday was a fun day.  Really half of the day and wisely we came home.  My energy was gone but we had the opportunity to get out and around town and do some photography and see some of the many happenings going on in Silver City.  I look forward to the day that I don't have to stop half way through!  Highpoint of my day today was having the carpets cleaned.  Very nice young man that came and did a great job.  And I have threatened the animals if there are any new spots!  But there will be.  And I will forgive them .  Because they are old in people years.  And I understand old.  More all the time!   Getting the carpet cleaned gave us an excuse to go out to lunch at the Curious Kumquat while it was drying. Great lunches and unforgettable chocolate desserts!  Today was chocolate cake with lemon filling and chocolate moose between the layers. Yummm!   So the days roll on. Some better than others. But isn't that true even without a much abused left breast?  It's life!  And a whole lot better than the alternative.   Love and Hugs to all. . Sleep well. . I will. . . :)   Sandy

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Day and Life Gets Better

Life has it's ups and life has it downs.  I should sit  on both hands so I don't burden you with the down days by posting an unhappy blog! There are a lot more good days in my life, even now, than bad days.  I am a positive person and a happy person and I will darn sure try to do better than that last post.   Started this morning with an early morning wound care session with the home health nurse and her giving me all of the virtues of the healing going on in my left breast.  That was good to hear from someone with 30+ years experience in doing wound care.  Today was the last day of my antibiotics and also when the surgeon from Mayo is suppose to call and check on my progress.  So good day.  Tom and I went to breakfast at our favorite spot and then strolled downtown for a bit.  It felt good.  Home for a nap and to work on a writing project for our art group.  So all is well here.  I am conscious of having used the word "good" numerous times in this post.  Good word that "good"!  Love and Hugs to All. . .Sandy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Repeat, Sandy! "One Day at a Time , With Gratitude"

How soon I forget!   It has been a rather rough week.  And mostly in my head.  A little paranoia going on here about "Am I ever going to be well again?"   Two different nurses who are overseeing the wound care tell me things are progressing very well.  The wound is healing and no sign of new infection.  It is getting better. Then I have a day with a lot of discomfort and low energy and my mind wanders into the "what ifs".   I opened my blog and saw what I had originally titled it, even when my prognosis was so much worse than it is now!  So I am refocusing on "One Day at a Time, With Gratitude".  I had a good day yesterday with good energy and enjoyed attending a 2 hour art event!  I am grateful for that.  Had a rough night last night but will put a Tylenol and glass of water by my bed tonight and that will work! Today my big treat was spotting and photographing a new little fawn that still had his spots.  Loved that!   Thanks for listening , guys.  Guess this is a therapy day for blogging.  I had already downloaded another photo but  I think I will add the photo of that little fawn.  I guess that was Mother Nature's gift to me.  And I am grateful.       Love and Hugs to all,  Sandy

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Busy Weekend;Good Weekend

I have taken it a little easier this time but am feeling new energy, which feels so good!  We went to the Silver City "First Friday"  downtown merchants event last Friday evening. The theme was "Dog
Days of Summer" . Didn't make it to everything that was going on but stopped by the shady courtyard of the museum for some live music, YaDa-Ya-Da Yarn Shop  ladies had their spinning wheels out front spinning beautiful yarns out of dog hair!  In keeping with the theme there was a parade of dogs down the main drag at 7.   The parades in Silver City are so fun.  Completely unorganized, informal and anyone who would like to parade just does it!  As I have said they just parade for any reason. I think Silver City is the home of the stress free parade.  Love It!   We topped off the evening with with a bowl of chowder and homemade bread at Diane's Restaurant.  I had walked more than I had intended and was really tired but I felt so good the next day, that I think it was really good for me.

  Saturday was catching the farmer's market. I overslept and some of the best was gone but we did come home with two good melons that actually came from Texas.  An industrious local young man was bringing a truck back from Texas and said he decided to make the trip worthwhile.  Entrepreneurism lives! We managed to come home with fresh baked cranberry nut bread and other favorite things from the local bakery. It was home for a break and then we went down to take some photos at a car show down in the park.  Caught it just as it was breaking up and the rains were moving in but what they can do with the old classic is always something to see.

   Sunday came quickly and I made it our local Friends meeting for the first time in a while.  It was good to see everyone.  They have been so kind to Tom and I as we have dealt with my medical problems the last months and weeks.   I came home but went back down to the park for the Hiroshima Day gathering the the Gila Friends Meeting sponsors every year.  Amongst the fun of the weekend adventures this was a serious gathering and  the most meaningful.  Much to think about in man's use of nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

 All reports on my problem body part seem to be good.  Both from nurse Tom and  Beth, the Home Health Care nurse.   They agree that the healing is evident and no signs of new infection.  So hopefully I am on the home stretch!  Yeah!

 Tom starts tomorrow on the countdown routine for a colonoscopy on Wednesday.  Just his regular check up and he has postponed it twice because of my medical issues.  This time it looks like it is a go! Literally.  :)  The prep is the worst but Wednesday he will get a good nap.  And it will feel good to be able to return some of his good nursing care.   So, excuse my rambling update but life is starting to ramble along again and that is a good thing.   .Hugs and love to all.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home, Sweet Home

And it never looks so good as when you have been in the hospital a few days!   It was good to sleep in my own big bed- even without all the bells and whistles that the Mayo Hospital one has.   And a long shower and shampoo felt wonderful!  Isn't it strange how we forget to appreciate those little things.  I am not needing any pain medication except for the wound care and still a double dose for that.  It leaves me a bit loopy for a few hours but I should be able to back off on it soon.  Beth, the home health nurse(the one who "loves" wound care) was delighted to be able to take a flashlight and explore the cavern left inside from the surgery, and reported that it was beautiful and healthy looking in there except for a small area that had been cauterized that is blackened.  I told her that I usually charge 50cents for "cavern" tours but she had a free pass.   So, hopefully, this is the beginning of the healing and getting back to normal life,again.  Thanks to you dear family, friends and Friends you have made all of this easier. And especially to Sister Vel, who's crazy phone calls are better than morphine! And I don't know how I could have dealt with everything without Tom by my side.   Seeing the many getting care at Mayo that were obviously not doing as well as I, was a constant reminder of how fortunate that I am and in so many ways.  Just really wanted to let everyone know that I am home again and doing well.   Love and hugs to  all,  Sandy

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life at "Club" Mayo

After surgery Thursday night my doctor told me to settle into a few days here at "Club" Mayo  for IV antibiotics and awaiting the growth of cultures.   As wound care has been much more difficult than with the previous surgery, I am glad that I am here for that. Hopefully it will be going easier by the time I head home, which I really hope is tomorrow.  I managed to get myself into real pajamas today and do a few laps in the halls, so that should mean I am about ready!  I won't gross you out with the details of the surgery and the wound care, but a lot of what was left  there after previous surgeries is  no longer. .a quick trip from a size C to a size A.  Guess there was a lot of  dead tissue to be removed.  Now everyone in unison please pray for healing!  I am real tired of this!  Now to the good part of the report!  The food is wonderful!  Steak, baked potato ,veggies,roll and apple pie ala mode for lunch!  And Tom came in with chocolates and ginger snaps from Trader Joes!  Eating well.  And the best hoapital bed ever!  All of the usual up and downs but it is like a sleep number that you can make it to the right softness, and ever so often it just shuffles itself a little.  I also found out today that there is a built in scale so they can keep track of your weight.  Plus music and TV controls.  Interesting.  Very different patient care culture here at the hospital than with the rest of Mayo.  Deep subject and maybe one for a later blog and after I contemplate the situation.  I know my expectations were high . . .So with gratitude for my improved condition and even more if they turn me loose tomorrow!  It wasn't the weekend we were planning. . but as always Tom was beside me to do what we had to do. .and keep me supplied with chocolates. . what a guy!   Love and hugs to all,  Sandy

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Been There, Done That, Doin' It Again

Me and nurse Tom and my laptop are snuggled in a big bed at the Comfort Inn close to Mayo Clinic.  After a day of tests and consultation with my surgeon at Mayo Clinic it was decided that I will have surgery to get rid of this darn infection that is plauging me.  May possibly have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days of IV antibiotics but the good doctor feels sure that this will take care of my problem.  It will involve a new larger open wound and all the joys of dealing with the healing from the inside out thing.  Tom has been such a good nurse and has down the stuffing my breast with gauze .  It is probably lucky that it is in such a spot that I can't  do it myself, I would gag I am sure!   So that's the scoop!  And I am so grateful for the skill and knowledge here at Mayo.  And they are nice too!  Love and hugs to all . . . I will be back after slice and dice time. . .


Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Day New Gratitude

Dear Friends, friends and family,

My apologies for being such a grump in yesterday's blog.  I was really feeling so out of sync and just crummy.   After a rough night I am feeling much better today and ready to face the healing of another surgery. Have had a good day with good energy and little need for extra meds.   I was well taken care of by the local medical community the past few days and gained more confidence in what is available locally.  I am grateful for that.  And for a day of lovely monsoon rains with birds chirping their thank yous.  And for Tom that showed me what a good nurse he is this morning in changing bandages.   Multi talented guy that Tom!  So I am going to have a piece of chocolate, read a good book and vision myself "well".

Love and Hugs to all . . .Sandy

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Well That Didn't Go Well!

Just to update,On Tuesday  I went to my local doctor for antibiotics for an infection in "that delicate body part" . After  a couple of days of that not working, I went to the local hospital to get IV antibiotics and the doctor sent me for scan which showed I had an abcess.  Then I had surgery.  A OK , alternative to the big needle thing except they left a hole for healing from the inside out. to be stuffed and unstuffed with gauze twice a day.  Eweee!  I am home and the breast is much improved as far as swelling ,size,redness etc. Oh yes in there somewhere I was throwing up, breaking out in hives and being checked for a blood clot.  Not throwing up now, still have the hives and don't have a blood clot.  So there is good news in there!  And how was your week?  I don't even have a piece of photography for this!  I'm trying to find that positive attitude and gratitude.  Maybe in the morning. . . Hugs, and thanks for letting me share my bad mood!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Big Needle Phobia!

Well, waiting for the phone to ring and find out if I am going to have to travel back to Scottsdale for the dreaded big needle proceedure.  I spoke with the radiation oncologist Friday who is consulting with the surgeon oncologist and deciding if I need to come back into Mayo Clinic to see what is going on with the continued bleeding that I am having.  He mentioned that he thought I might need to have the cavity are drained via the (gasp) Big Needle.  I have been paying more attention to that body part the last couple of days and think I may have something going on there, perhaps an infection.  So, I haven't had many bumps in the road and this one seems very fixable unlike many of those going through breast cancer treatment.   Feeling fortunate here and going to the gym and working on some press releases for the Art Guild.  Oh, yes, the photo above I call" Dragonfly in a Blender".  It started out as a beautiful dragonfly and then I "swirled" it!  Isn't that what life does to us sometimes!  I guess the lesson here is learning to still find the beauty in life even when it isn't perfect... . Love and Hugs. . Sandy

Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Road Again- and Back

We made a quick trip to hot and humid Oklahoma and are so glad to be back home in much cooler Silver City.   It was good to see grandchildren and others although I was dealing with a family non medical type emergency that made the whole thing stressful.  But life is a learning experience.  I found that I do turn into a mild  version of  Momma Grizzley when necessary.  That Tom is an incredible person in a crisis and I am so lucky to have him by my side.   That an airconditioned theater feels really good in 108 degrees heat. That big bags of popcorn and a funny movie soothe the soul.  And , oh, yes.  I am doing well.  For a few days there I didn't even think about twinges, or being a little lop-sided, and other thoughts of breast cancer.  It occurred to me that when you are trying to help others, you somehow forget about self and being so self absorbed.  A lesson to be learned there, I think! I am grateful for this day and pray for peace, in the world, and hopefully in Oklahoma, too.  

Dear Friends, friends and family, love and hugs and to all.  And spread it around.We all need more of that, you know.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Am Talking to Lizards, Is That a Bad Sign?

Not just any lizard really.  We have two very large lizards that hang out on the stucco walls of the front of the house.  We call them the house crocs and I assume they are getting their daily meals off of the bugs on the rosebushes there.  Beautiful creatures!   A few days ago I went out the front door to find a baby lizard(a miniature version of the house crocs) around the front porch area,and now he is most always there.  Very gentile little fellow. I talk to him  and tell him what a fine specimen he is and strangely, we have eye contact and he doesn't  scoot away as the two big ones do. He just sits and listens. And does a little front body pushup of approval now and then. So I am talking to lizards these days.  Is that a side effect of radiation?? 

 I think I am doing well with my recovery from surgery and treatment.  Still have a little occasional bleeding and a low grade pain zaps me ever now and then but not really knowing what is normal  I am guessing that is all OK.  When I go back for check up in September I guess I will know.  Energy level seems alright but the heat really gets me so I am trying to stay under the cooler during the hot part of the day and anxious for the infamous monsoon season to start so we get the cooling afternoon rains.   My thermometer was reading 97 today and that is hot for Silver City!

 I finally found the bird feeder that I was looking for and have it hung outside the kitchen window.  We had to hang it very high so that we aren't also feeding the deer from it.  Just a few birds this morning but hopefully they are telling their friends where the good eats are!

 I have been saddened by the death of two people, both of whom I barely knew.  One a lovely young lady, just getting started in her adulthood, who so badly wanted to live but valiantly battled cancer and lost.  Another,just a few years younger than I, whom I had visited a couple of times,  had many illnesses and choose not to endure  them anymore, and took her own life.  I had sensed a wonderful childlike spirit in her, and was shocked to hear the news.  So sad.  In both cases.  Once when I was a child,  I remember a minister saying that life is like a sparrow that flies from the outside through one window of a room, passes through the room and flies out a window on the other side.  It really didn't make sense when I was very young and a year seemed like an eternity.  It makes sense now.  Life is precious.  And too quick.  Treasure every day.  I know I do.  Gratitude! 

Now I think I will go have a chat with the lizard. . .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What Now?

I saw this young boy having what looked like his first "climbing the tree" experience the other day.  What you don't see is the mother below, knowing he had to do it himself, but  with her arms outstretched just in case!   As I have traveled this path that was unknown to me, it was so good to know there were so many of you there to catch me if I faultered or just let me lean on you if my knees were getting weak.  Thank you!  I had read somewhere that there is somewhat of a let down after cancer treatment is finished, because you don't feel that you are doing anything to fight the disease.  I understand that now.  I hope all of the cancer was removed with the surgery and if there were any of the little critters hanging around afterwards that the radiation abolished them.  I have been told it is  most likely that is the case.  That is what I need to believe.  And , what now?  You return to your life BC(before cancer).  But the experience changes you forever.  Are you a stronger person for have stared the possibility of  death in the face?  I guess so.  I don't know.  This I do know, I am  changed. With an abundance of newfound gratitude and for the better, I hope.

 Love and Hugs, 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ghost Ranch, A Peaceful Place

I must do this quickly as batteries are low(the computer, Not mine!)  but I had to share with you this photo of one of beautiful cliffs caught is last light yesterday.  Everytime I see them like this I think I have never seen theme so spectacular before.  They are just one of the reflections of the spirit of peace and tranquility that those who are able to be part of annual gathering of Quaker Friends are fortunate to experience.  I am having a good week. Feeling well, eating better than I should , resting more than I normally do and participating in a lot of thoughtful, meaningful gatherings dealing with many important aspects of rightful living in this day and time. .  I always have gratitude to be here and surrounded by the people and the spirit of peace.  Love and Hugs to all. . .   Sandy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hangin' On!

Life has gotten busy and this morning we are off for a few days at Ghost Ranch.   Seems the summer has come in a rush and I am trying to keep up with the pace. But it is a real joy to do the normal again!  I am feeling well and continue to be grateful for recovery and life!  Now have to finish packing and go!  Hopefully will be able to share some of the beauty of Ghost Ranch in photos in the days ahead.  Last year we had no cell phone signal but did have wi-fi. . Love and hugs to all,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ghost Ranch Calling

Having barely unpacked my bags, next week Tom and I head for an annual "retreat" that we look forward to all year.  Ghost Ranch is the location of the annual meeting of the Western Quaker Friends and a wonderful opportunity to see old and new Friends, contemplate our life and the world around us and just enjoy the peace and quiet of this magnificent New Mexico location. We also have the opportunity to share our photography again this year in the book store and are busy putting together a new group of "Ghost Ranch Memories" photo cards and matted photography.  I was wishing that it was a little further down the road from my month spent in treatment in Arizona, but actually the timing is probably perfect.  I am having enough time to reconnect with people here, to handle things that I have been postponing taking care of and the the days at Ghost Ranch will give me a few days to think on the past few months of this cancer venture and wrap my mind around the road ahead.  As many of you know, and I know for sure, that going through the terror of diagnosis and the uncertainty of procedures it leaves you with a different outlook as well as value of your life. ."One Day at a Time, With Gratitude".  I am there.  The rest of my life.  That I wasn't sure would be.  What a great place! A lot to contemplate next week at Ghost Ranch.   Stay tuned for the rest of the story!. . . Love and hugs to all of you  following  the blog. ..Get your cancer screenings. . it does save lives( I am going to be a nag about this!). . . .  Sandy

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Rang The Bell!

Whenever a patient has completed their radiation treatment at Mayo they get to come and ring a big brass bell that hangs in the inner waiting room!  I rang the bell Friday morning at 8:15 !   Good feeling.  Excuse the xrated photo used for this post but loved the joy expressed in this particular piece of street art! Note the beautiful Arizona tan.  Thankfully, although I have gained a couple of pounds from enjoying the good restaurants in the Scottsdale area, not quite that much! And having displayed my left breast to much of the medical community in both New Mexico and Arizona, I find bare breasts much less shocking myself.   But anyway, quick post as I have not yet unpacked or any of the many other things that go along with it, but gratitude to be home. And for life and for each of you that have followed me.I was told that the radiation will continue to work from within for about 2 more weeks and  I still have possibilities of complications such as lympodema,heart or lung injury etc but at this point everything is looking good.  My doctor and I are thinking positive!  So sending out hugs, love and gratitude this morning.  Now back to the first day of the rest of my life. . . . . . Sandy

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Contemplating. . . . .

My last full day in the Pheonix/Scottsdale area. . We made it to Heard Museum North this week. This was one of my favorite sculptures in the courtyard there.  It is a much smaller version of the big Heard Museum but we also enjoyed visiting  Carefree, a community just north of the big city.  We had lunch on a sidewalk cafe and toured a couple of small galleries.  Mostly today I am contemplating my last doctor visit.  I have my list of questions ready.  I have my FeVa Fotos "Thank You" card ready. Before departing Monday,we had quickly printed some photos of the beautiful cactus blooms at the Mayo entrance.  I grabbed some cardstock to assemble them .  In putting them together yesterday, I realized that it wasn't my best choice of cardstock for those particular photos. Anyway, I guess it is the thought that counts and employees that had come in a different entrance said they had not had the opportunity to see these special blooms that were only open for one day.  What a shame.  There should be a message about "seize the moment" in there somewhere! Our motto for our photography has been "Share the Joy" and the five cards that I have assembled for different people or groups of people who have touched my life on this journey as a cancer patient is my humble attempt to share the joy of photographing those special blooms.  The cards with that photo were Tom's idea.  He has been such a good partner in this venture.  Between the two of us we manage to come up with some good ideas.  Excuse my morning ramblings.  Just contemplating. . . what lies ahead. . 19th treatment this morning. . final treatment tomorrow. Yeah!   Guess I am also contemplating what doesn't lie ahead because of the skilled treatment here. . .Gratitude for this whole experience.. . .Hugs and love to all. .. Sandy

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How Do I Say "Thank You!' ??

Time to pack, again.  Heading back to Arizona again for my last week of radiation treatment.  Last week I was given a book to read about what after treatment is over.  I have been so focused on getting through these 4 weeks that I really had not given the "after" any thought.  I finally read it and did give me some food for thought for questions to ask at my last doctor's appointment on Thursday.  But also gave me things to worry about.  I don't want to worry.  I just want to have my life return to before cancer.  But I don't want to forget  the appreciation for life and health and friends and family and all of the other things that have loomed so much larger in my mind since I started down this path the first days of 2011.   I would like to be able to do something special for all of you who have sent me encouragement and positive thoughts and good advice and prayers.     I think I am going to be OK,   I think I am going to be a cancer survivor and there are so many  good friends, good doctors, kind nurses, supportive family and my sweet Tom all that have had a part in that.  I don't even know how I say "Thank You"  to that many for that much caring.   Ok!  Group Hug!  I am picturing my arms around all of  the above and the love is overwhelming! (I think Dr. Wong just blushed!)  Last week of treatment here I come!                    Sandy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

On the Road Again

These have to be the most beautiful cactus flowers ever!  We have been waiting for this cactus to bloom for days and today was the day.  It is at the entry to the Mayo Clinic and we were able to take a series of photos prior to my treatment this morning. Breathtaking!  I found that running around the grounds doing photography and then getting on a table where you are to lay perfectly still is not a good idea. I was still breathing hard when they were ready to do the radiation treatment.  Had to really work at laying very still so they would hit their target.  I had the weekly radiation/oncologist doctor appointment after the treatment and he said all was going well.  But said that I still had quite a bit of fluid in the cavity area from the surgery but that it would slowly go away,although it may take several months.  I agreed with him that it would be best not to do a needle extraction of fluid  as long as I wasn't feeling discomfort. Big needle. .extraction from my tender body part. Wasn't a hard decision on my part! :)  Tomorrow is treatment #15 and it is home again to Silver City for another busy weekend.  Next week is the final week of treatments.  The last four are to be more targeted on the area of the surgery.  Then I'm done!  I'm done!  Yipee!  It will be so good to be home for good.  Grateful for a good day.  Guess at this stage of my life I should be grateful just for a  day whether good or not!   Gratitude isn't hard to find.  Love and hugs to all of you. . . Sandy

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life in the Big City

Hello all, I just wanted to check in and let you know that I am doing well as one can be .  as my old saying goes "not bad shape for the shape I'm in".  Treatment # 13 in the morning.  That is a lucky number isn't it?  The weather is mild for Pheonix and we are not planning our days that closely.  Started out for the Heard Museum today and ended up in a 3D cartoon movie-"Rio"-fun!  We came back to the motel for a nap and then for a swim and then found a nice little oriental restaurant for dinner.  Bedtime now!  Friends, friends and family, I find myself of thinking of so many of you so often. So grateful for your support and love and prayers.  Eyes are closing. . so it's goodnight. . sleep tight out there world.  Hugs and Love, Sandy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm Getting Over It

Right now , along with breast cancer, I am getting over pink-eye which started sometime last week.  The patient oriented culture at Mayo Clinic never ceases to amaze me. When I told the doctor I was seeing in radiation oncology that I had what I thought was an eye infection and that being from out of town I didn't have a local primary physician, a Mayo eye doctor who specializes in cornea transplants looked at my eye and wrote me a prescription!  So after going from red to yucky it is on the mend.

 Also, in the I'm getting over it category, this led me to feel that I need to stop apologizing and feeling guilty about not using our local cancer center and opting to go to Mayo once I was diagonsed.  I have praised the good care given by my general practioner and others locally  but when the radiation people at Mayo mentioned they were taking extra time with a proceedure because this needs to be perfect, I realized that perfect , when you are shooting radiation beams that close to my heart and lungs, that the commitment to perfect was what I came to Mayo for.

 I am getting over being angry at myself for the pounds that I have gained since I started this journey into the world of cancer back at the first of the year.  Size 10 is where I feel my best, size 12 is ok and as I slide toward size 14 I do it with regret but am no longer consoling myself with extra ice cream as I was during the nail biting part of this unknown trip, and know that I do not feel it wise to concentrate on weight loss while I am in treatment and can worry about that once the next two weeks are completed.  As I wait in my pink smock for treatment, and see those there also waiting for radiation treatment that are frail from what cancer has done to their bodies, gratitude for my strong, slightly overweight body is recognized.

 I am getting over feeling guilty about leaving my 13 year old doxie, Scooby Doo, at the kennel 5 days a week for the month.  She doesn't understand,seems depressed and has not been eating well and has lost considerable weight.  But this is the best solution for her.  It is an excellent, caring kennel and one of the employees made a special trip to the vets office for special food to entice her into eating last week.  She is thin and has the standard indoor outdoor  room  with elevated sleeping pad and not  the  luxury one with the TV and the real bed(really this is available) but I am giving her extra cuddling and extra exticements to eat well on the weekends. So Scooby Doo will get through this also.

 So, in addition to getting over cancer, I guess I am learning to cope better with life's little bumps.  And comparatively, they are so little and petty on my part.  So my eye is less pink, my radiated body part a bit more so, but I am feeling well and only two more weeks to go!  Grateful for that and for the 2000 plus visits to my blog.  I can feel the love! 

Big hugs to all of you. . .Sandy

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Radiation Vacation

That is Tom's term for our month of May .   When we were trying to make plans for this venture into treatment, we thought of the different ways to handle the four weeks in Scottsdale and I think what we are doing worked out well.   There have been a lot of things going in our favor.  The weather has not turned to really hot on the temperature gage.  Most of the snowbirds and seasonal residents have headed north so the roads are not congested.  Treatment takes very little time out of my day so it leaves lots of free time. And I am having no side effects and not feeling "sick".  We have yet to run out of things to see and do in this area.  I really haven't done as much photography as I thought other than cactus flowers, etc. but we have explored many neat places.  This is including Nordstrom's Rack. . wonderful place!  Tom patiently sat reading his kindle while I shopped for an hour. What a guy!  And after tomorrow's      8 AM treatment I am halfway to the finish line.  And we get to go home and spend 3 nights sleeping in our own bed.  Grateful for that!  A lot to be grateful for as I was reminded of last night as we came out of the Red Lobster and an old man on an old bicycle asked if we knew of a "shelter" in the area. When we told him we weren't locals and didn't, he said he was hungry and humbly asked if he could have my leftovers I was carrying.  As we drove out and turned the corner, we saw him devouring the scraps from my meal.  Little doubt that he was genuinely hungry. I forced myself to not be judgemental about his circumstance. Pandhandling? Maybe. Alcoholic? Maybe. How he gets some good eats? Maybe.  But this I know for sure. . There but for the grace of God etc. .  Yep, we all have a lot to be thankful for.  Gratitude bigtime here for so much.
 Love and Hugs, Sandy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thank You God, But Could You Please. . .

All at once I am realizing that I am hearing so much about other cancer patients.  Those so much younger than I, those with families, those still in their youth and not even having the chance to live their lives.  I am so grateful for the easy path and positive prognosis I have had, but I grieve for those who are fighting the hard fight and not all of them winning.  Today my prayer was a " thank you" for all that has been handed me, and for help and a few miracles for the others.  And I was even so bold to ask God to please give someone out there the wisdom to find a cure for this horrible disease that takes so many lives too soon.  They say ask and you may receive.  So I asked.  I even said please.  

Hugs and Love,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Musings

Delightful Mother's Day here.   No children close by to share it with but daughter Heidi called and I had online sharings with many people.  Tom greeted me with a hot cup of coffee, a sweet card and even sweeter bag of gourmet chocolate.  Scooby-Doo greeted me with a wagging tail and wanting her morning hug.  I lingered at home while Tom went off the Sunday morning Quaker meeting.  It would have been good to go but I am trying to pace myself with all the traveling for treatment. We went to a late brunch at a favorite place of ours, Bear Mountain Lodge. And finished the afternoon with a concert from a local chorus group singing a lot of "oldy but goody" songs. We enjoyed!  We are having a quiet evening with repacking suitcases for our next week in Arizona.  I was determined to pack lighter, didn't happen!  Just kept pileing clothes in the bag.  It happens.  I will do better next week.  I was thinking(this is the musings part) that it seems strange that this is Mother's Day and it was the ducts that carried the mother's milk that fed my children that have brought me into  the battle with cancer.  Were they the enemy that created the deranged cells that threatened my life?  Or did they encase the bad cells till I had the time to have them removed instead of cancer cells dangerously wandering  through my body?  I prefer to think the later.  I could be wrong but I prefer to think that my milk ducts allowed me to nourish my babies and came to my aid again when needed. It's Mother's Day afterall and Mother's get special privileges. . .even in musings!  Today I am grateful for this 69 year old body that is my partner in fighting this disease.   Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms. . Love and Hugs. .

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day Six-Treatment Five

That's tomorrow.  There was a thoughtful offer by my doctor  to make up my missed Monday treatment with a Saturday morning treatment so. . we are making a really quick trip home on Saturday and back on Monday.  But the good news is when I am finished tomorrow I am 25% complete!  1 week down and 3 to go.  I am feeling well but it will be nice to be home even just for 2 nights and 1 day.  It will definitely be a busy day,  putting out the kitty food and water for Sophie and Fifi, picking up Scooby-Doo from the kennel on Saturday afternoon and delivering her back on Monday morning.  Watering thirsty plants and doing a couple loads of laundry.  Too much to do for one day, but for this week we will have to make it work.  I am just glad that I can do the make up treatment on Saturday and not have to come back in in June for just one treatment.  All seems to be well with treatments, I am napping in the afternoon most days but many days at home I do that anyway.  So no fatigue and the scales keep verifying no loss of appetite !   The good wishes and kind thoughts and prayers are so appreciated.  I see so many others here that are so much more ill than I that it is hard to not feel guilty about using this special facility to treat me.  And I do think "Thank heavens for early diagnosis".  So friends and family, if you haven't had your regular cancer screenings, do it!  It is the best gift you can give yourself and those you love.  Love and hugs to all, Sandy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In The Pink!

Day two of radiation.  Fast and easy.  I found the cabinet with the pink tops to wear for treatment.  It felt better than the oversize robe type garment that I ended up in yesterday.  It definitely did not make the proper fashion statement! I had never practiced visualization in relation to cancer treatment but strangely found myself visualizing during treatment radiation pieces chasing around my breast looking  for straggling cancer cells!  Go figure where that came from! Treatment was at 8 AM and we planned on looking for some good photo opportunities afterward..  The photo above is a blooming giant yucca on the grounds at Mayo.  There are blooming cactus everywhere.  Anyway we stopped at a mall to get a new battery charger, and started exploring and the photo safari was all downhill from there!  This mall was like a village.  Just beautiful, with water features and tons of little shops as well as eateries and major stores.  We ended up going to the movies to see Water for Elephants, having popcorn for lunch and coming back for a nap and a swim.  I am waiting to find American Idol on TV for the evening entertainment.  Good day.  Tomorrow another early treatment followed by an appointment with the radiation/oncologist.  No problem, but the doctor appointment seems to be a once a week thing during radiation.  Things are going well and I am grateful for the no problems!  We are enjoying the area.  I am sure that the interest will wane in the coming weeks, but right now we are just two over-aged kids enjoying the big city. Love and Hugs,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

1 Down, 19 to Go

Everything lined up perfectly today and my first radiation treatment was completed.  When it happened, it seemed too quick, too easy(my job was to lay still) for something so important.  The preparation was meticulous.  The actual treatment took 4 minutes at the outside.  But Yippee. . only 19 to go and it seems likely that I can do a makeup for the first treatment that was missed yesterday before the original end date of May 27th.  I go back in at 8 am tomorrow for treatment #2.  And then it is off on a photo safari!   The photo above is one of the sculptures at the Heard Museum.  We spent most of the day at the museum.  Fabulous!  So much to see there, I know we must have missed some of the exhibits.  The courtyard is a peaceful, lovely spot where we had lunch.  Such a nice day we had!  Gratitude overflows!  Love and Hugs to all. .


Monday, May 2, 2011

Size Matters!

And I just didn't measure up!  No radiation treatment today.  I was ready.  I was properly undressed  and redressed in the glamour garment that opens in the front.  And then. . .it seems that swelling had decreased as had the size of the subject body part to be radiated and so today's treatment was cancelled.  And scans and measurements and x-rays were done again  and everything for the radiation treatment is being recalculated.  I am to go back tomorrow at 4 and hopefully then the treatment will be possible.  The technicians apologized.  The doctor apologized. They said this happens sometimes. I told them that I had come to Mayo because I had confidence in their expertise to get it right.  And that I was glad they were taking the time to do that.  So I was disappointed in not getting treatment underway and that my 4 weeks here now looks like 4weeks and 1 day of the 5th week.  But I am grateful for the perfectionist culture at Mayo Clinic.  In the scheme of things, that one day doesn't matter.  Getting it right does.. . . Love and Hugs,

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Look Into My Eyes. .

Nothing to do with my delicate condition but this dog was such a beautiful animal and had the eyes of an old soul and I had to share.  I am doing well, we will be on the road monday morning for my first week of radiation treatments.  My biggest strggle this week has been trying to understand the Medicare statements and reconcile them with what financial statements I have from Mayo.  I think I finally have the process figured out.  It is confusing because medicare pays some of the payment to me directly and some goes to Mayo directly.  Overall I think it is coming out ok.  Whatever additional I end up paying, I decided long ago that Mayo is so worth it when life,death and your health is at stake. I am so grateful for medicare coverage and I hope the generations ahead of me have the same in their senior years.  How sad for us as a society if they don't!  Hopefully I should have more interesting things to report from Pheonix/Scottsdale in a few days.  Happy trails  to all of you.  I know where our trail is going to be for the next four weeks.  But it is a good thing.  Hugs and Love to all,