# 30 Ending and Beginning...

I am actually very proud of the fact that I completed the month long challenge of posting here...well, all but for the day that I posted a poem by someone else...heck, though I had to click and paste it, so that must count for something! LOL

It has been quite some time since I wrote so often and so much each day, and I must admit that I was rarely at a loss for words...but then those who know me are quite aware of that!!

So here I am at the end of the 30 days and I reflect on what it did for me...it gave me a since of achievement...it gave me reflection time...it gave me a path back to my voice and my center...it gave me creativity.

NOW WHAT DO I DO?

I feel as if this ending is now a new beginning! All who come here know that I started this blog in 2008 to have a place to voice how I was feeling and dealing with the process that Michael and I walked together...from the beginning diagnoses to his passing. This is the place where I could rant...I could cry...I could be honest about how I was feeling at the moment each day...it was the place that I came to where I knew that someone would hold out their hand in the middle of the night to offer me strength...and love...and encouragement when I thought I could not go through another day.

And what I have realized over the past 30 days is that this blog has been used for a totally different purpose...it is now being used to write heart felt wishes for myself...dreams coming true..love...and living life to the fullest...So I have decided to put this blog to bed...to leave it here...open for anyone in need of some of the lessons I learned over the journey of 3.5 years...

I am beginning again...I have a new blog and I hope to not only write there but also to share once again my art work with myself and with those who venture there.
Please join me at: http://patriciajmosca.blogspot.com Titled: Giving Myself Permission I am deleting the past 30 days and placing them on that blog...

I look forward to sharing myself with you...I thank everyone for their love and support over the years...for the friendships I have made...for the compassion I have felt...I cannot tell you in words how much it has meant to me, especially during my darkest days...but today I am beginning again...today, my heart beats for me...today...
LIFE IS GOOD!

Content...

There is a lot to be said about feeling content...it brings a peacefulness to your life...a calm...laughter...happiness...It has been a long time since I have had this feeling. And although I may still have my moments of sadness...lately more times than not I feel content. There is no pressure...no feelings of being rushed...but rather just living in the moment...taking each day as it comes...
There is a lot to be said about feeling content...and that is how I feel at this very moment...
LIFE IS GOOD!

Time...

I have not fallen off the face of the earth...but rather I have been attending to LIFE! MY LIFE! How strange to type that...my life...my own life...
Things have changed so much for me in the past 6 months...My house is now redone and looking more like the person that I am...calmer...and brighter. I had 3.5 years to deal with Michael's passing...and although some people think that things are moving fast for me now I think they are just moving...I know my life did not move over the past 3.5 years...Those years gave me time....time with Michael...time to find out what was important to me...time to believe in myself once again...time that I probably would not have given myself otherwise...or at least I would not have been aware of the lessons that I have learned...And I take this moment to THANK those who helped me during that time...who nurtured me...and believed in me...and helped me along the way...
But...there is a time for everything...and there is a season...
And my seasons are changing...

The right size!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is now the size of the picture that I wanted to share!

Look How YOUNG I was!


We all have these "youthful" pictures of ourselves!! This one came unexpectedly across my mail this day...MY 60TH BIRTHDAY! I have received many good wishes from friends from my past...my present and my future! Reminding me to CELEBRATE LIFE!
Reminding me that the youthful girl in the picture is still within me! Reminding me that my life is GOOD and FUll...and has been all of these 60 years!

BE WELL

FIRSTS...

This is a year of "FIRSTS" for me...Michael's birthday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, the jazz festival, Corn Hill Arts Festival, Park Avenue Arts Festival, Collin's 1st day at Camp and his last day at camp, watching Collin as he proudly rides his 2 wheeler without training wheels!, and now we are coming up on Labor Day...which also marks my 60th Birthday...So how do you celebrate? What is it that you do that is "normal"...that is meaningful? People keep asking me how I am going to celebrate, and I have no idea...It CERTAINLY is a BIG BIRTHDAY! Should it go by unnoticed?... which is what I feel like it should do...I had wanted to be in Paris for my 60th...that is not going to happen this year...maybe it will only happen in my dreams I am not sure, (although I am not giving up on it quite yet)
So, this is a year of "FIRSTS"...Firsts without Michael...Firsts without my friend Marc...Firsts with trying to carve out a life of importance for myself...Firsts are pretty scary things...It seems that fear often stops me for doing things that I would not normally do...and yet, there is a part of me that says " Go ahead...try it...you just might find you like it"...Happiness is SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF LIFE! Coming from a place of perfection (completely in my head of course!)holds me back...from somethings, and yet for others I step out of my comfort zone...I wonder why that is? I continue to search for my place...I continue to rearrange my home...my life...so that I can fit back into it...make a new one...form new bonds, dream bigger dreams...recognize that life is for living and loving.
Firsts are very scary things! However, I am trying my best!
BE WELL...

SO...

Just what have I been doing??? Where have I been??? Elbow deep in paint! The kitchen is almost completed...I still have bi-fold doors to put back on...but the painting is done, the cleaning of cupboards, the removal of objects, new table, new light fixtures, new painting...new kitchen! It sort of sent me into a tail spin for a few days as it was a bit overwhelming...and in some way I thought perhaps I was trying to erase Michael...but NO...I am claiming my space! I am brightening my life...one room at a time...and I have also been working on a chair for the Rochester Breast Cancer Coalition ARTrageous Affair Fund Raiser...Here it is:

Back
Full Chair
Front

BE WELL

revisiting...

I returned home from the Celebration of Life for my friend Marc, and I was compiled to revisit my oldest journals from the 70's! One of the reasons was because I had the opportunity to view some of his writings while I was in Baltimore...and what a wonderful mind he had...and I wanted to see where my mind was back then...
To my surprise I was wise then...I was searching my soul just as I am now...I was perhaps a bit "pollyanneish" but then what 18 year old is not...Like now, I wrote from the heart...like now I wrote a bit of poetry...like now I was searching for answers to my hearts questions...So discovering that it is a process of life...never changing but always evolving...
I ran across a letter written to me with the following poem...and it strikes me loud and clear now as an adult where as a child I did not see the fullness of it...I wish in some ways I had, and wonder how my life would of been different (but then I would not be the person I am today, with all the colors of the tapestry of my life, and I would not change that now) But I share this with you today...because the truth of it is powerful for me at the moment...

I felt like climbing mountains
or using my sunbeam lasso to
herd the sweet dew together and
present it to you on this your unbirthday.

But I have found that you'r gone
when I needed and wanted to
see you the most.
I had licked my old wounds
and they had healed slowly
but I was well and perhaps a
new and better person.

Now I have nothing and the
dew is rapidly turning salty.

It's not in my power to bring
you back
But if it were I would snap
my fingers or rub the magic lamp
and you would be beside me
in golden flesh instead of nothing dreams.
And another snap of the fingers
and we would come close together
until we were one.

BE WELL.

CHANGING...

Everything I have ever read says that a messy house leads to a messy mind and life...I sort of believe that...it use to be that when I got in the "funk" and a little depressed (OK, maybe a lot depressed) I would clean...But now I am finding that I am in need of change...from the top of my head to my toes...or rather from the roof of my house to the basement! So this week I started in the kitchen...I ripped off chair rail...and resurfaced the wall...and now I am painting...painting my dark terra cotta kitchen to a very light soothing yellow...with white trim...It is a total mess right now, but my mind in clear...I have a mission...a purpose...a direction! One room at a time I am transforming this house...beginning in the kitchen...today, I start to paint...I believe all the prep work is done...(but there are always hidden surprises when you start these projects!)
I am hoping that this change will help me along my path...if nothing else it has been exhausting enough to help me sleep!! (which is a welcome blessing!)
Change is something that we all sometimes want...need and deserve...it is not something that comes easily but these small changes in my home hopefully will direct the other parts of my life!
BE WELL

An E-MAIL

THE WOODEN BOWL

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.


A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and
four-year old grandson.

The old mans hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon and onto the floor. When he grasped the glass milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

"We must do something about Grandfather", said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There
Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfathers direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone.

Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he had dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child curiously, "What are you making?"

Sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless.

Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening, the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped! , when milk was spilled, or when the tablecloth was soiled.

On a positive note,

* I've learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow.
* I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.
* I've learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you will miss them when they are gone from your life.
* I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
* I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

* I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

* I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.
* I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
* I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.
People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
* I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.

* I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about.


I just did







--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Words of Wisdom....


This came across my mailbox a few days ago....and boy does it strike a cord with me.
I am headed off for a little 3 day R and R...much needed.
BE WELL.

quote...

this came across my mailbox this morning....a wave of hope came over me.

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full 0f overcoming it.
– Hellen Keller

BE WELL

Learning to float...


Today's journal page...I am staying just above the surface!
BE WELL

Riding the waves...


I am taking an online class...and this is my journal page for today...
I am feeling a bit like I am stuck in the sand...as if I can't seem to ride
with the waves...
So, as a friend told me this morning....perhaps it is just time to float!
Because I know that LIFE is this moment...NOW. And that I must live it to the fullest...each and every day...
BE WELL.

Marc Dana Lane


My good friend, Marc transitioned on Thursday, July 14th at 9:29 PM...Marc was the devoted husband to my friend, Lori and the father to 7 children (one, Mary who transitioned after 10 hours of life),and the grandfather to 9. Marc was an adventurer of life, one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, one of the most caring people with the sense of humor that is both sarcastic and funny! I have been friends with Marc for more than 50 years...meeting him in grammar school and maintaining a friendship throughout. He and his wife Lori have opened up their home to me to live in several times when I was going through a rough patch...they have opened up their hearts to me always. My heart now bares another hole that somehow I must mend...there was no time to prepare...and little time to even say good-bye...I am so glad I traveled to his home several weeks ago so I could actually see him and talk briefly with him. I had the honor to be at his side along with his family on Thursday. It was a peaceful passing...I have stayed with the family for several days as they try to move past the numbness...I will travel back when they celebrate his life...there was a gathering just for family and a few friends on Saturday the 16th. I will forever hear him say..."HELLO TOOTS" with his wide smile...whenever I walk into his home...he will be dearly missed by me...
BE WELL.

Marc Dana Lane
Jan. 22, 1950 - July 14, 2011

My Friend....

There will be no more chemo for my friend of 50 years...there will be no more treatments...no more tests...He has gotten so much worse and they don't expect him to be alive for more than a day or two now...His colon burst and he is full of cancer everywhere...I am beyond sad...
I am so glad that I got to see him when I went to their home a few weeks ago...I am glad we smiled at each other and joked a bit...Another ending for me...another form of darkness...I also grieve for my friend, Pat, who lost her beloved son after a 6 plus year battle...She sent me a note today, that is bringing me some comfort...

Our former minister of 33 years who now lives in Vermont with his wife said to me the other day "that when life gets dismembered, the way to begin to put it back together is to remember."

I am remembering my Michael...I am remembering going to visit my friend and how we all attended a baseball game last year and had a fabulous time...I am remembering the love...I am remembering the friendship...I am remembering that they will be forever in my heart...

I will be heading back to my friends' home in a few days to be with his wife and family...I hope that I will be able to see him one more time to thank him for all the wonderful memories that I will always hold dear...
BE WELL.

ART HEALS

I have the great pleasure of having been gifted an 8 week creativity course....and I am finding out that it came at just the right time..My book is complete and I am just waiting on hearing about the design for the cover...I have finished the trays for Sophie...I am still working on a chair for a charity auction (but I can't seem to just sit and finish this piece so I work on it here and there)...
This creativity course is helping me to make a small journal page of art EVERY day! It is helping me to sail my boat again...opening myself back up to ME...I have hidden most of myself away for the past few years...only allowing myself to venture out here and there...(I tend to punish myself by taking away the things I love the most...must be a learned response!) I am finding that I took the art away because it made me happy...and how dare I be happy when Michael was so sick....BUT ...back it is coming...slowly allowing me to work every day...I am HAPPY! It makes me happy to paint and write and search and believe that I have listened to my heart and have something to say! ART HEALS...I am finding this out more and more each day!
BE WELL...

Comfortable...

I was totally comfortable in my skin yesterday as I hosted the family gathering...
this is the first one I have had at my house where the entire family was present!(actually in several years)
Everyone was having a good time as they arrived at 1:00 and the last ones left around 8:00...
I actually had a wonderful holiday weekend...and felt more like myself than I have in a very long time...laughing and joking...talking...
I think this is a really good sign!
UPDATE:
My friend, started chemo, and after 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital has come home...just trying to get comfortable and heal the best way possible...The chemo treatment is done thru a shunt in the chest and lasts for 24 hours every 2 weeks...they are not sure at this point if it will be done at home or in the hospital... Going back to the Oncologist in 2 weeks....I hope to be back to see them within the next several weeks..
BE WELL

Strength...

I have been out of town helping my friend as she handles the news that her husband
has Stage 4 colon/liver cancer...it was so difficult, knowing all that I know that is in store for her...knowing that there is only so much that I can do to help her and that the journey is an emotional one...It hit me...it ripped at my already torn heart...
So I took care of her overgrown garden while she went to the hospital...I made sure that she ate meals...I talked with her till the wee hours of the morning...I held her hand...I hugged her...I told her that I loved her...
Her husband has been my friend since the 5th grade...he was 2 years older than me and I would see his handsome face walking through the halls in the grammar school thinking as little girls do...OH...HOW CUTE IS HE! But, we actually became friends in church, taking a youth class on Sunday evenings eating tuna fish sandwiches...we could talk to each other...he teased me..(he still does!) We went to proms together because we could be ourselves without putting on some sort of formal attitudes with our formal wear! We are friends...and he introduced me to his wife some 42 years ago...and we are friends...
When Michael was diagnosed in 2008, he and I were shopping one day and we found a necklace with the universal symbol for gratitude...written around the spiral were the words...YOU HAVE ALL THE STRENGTH THAT YOU NEED INSIDE...I have worn this necklace since that day he put it on me...This year for Valentine's Day he presented me with a locket...when you open it there is a working compass inside...This was his answer to my question..."What am I going to do without you?"..."you will find your direction" the card read ...and I placed the spiral on the new chain with the compass and he placed it around my neck...Wednesday morning I asked my friend if she had a silver chain...she found one...and I slid off the spiral from my chain and placed it on hers and then around her neck...we sat on the floor of her bedroom and cried in each others arms...
I know I have all the strength that I need inside...I have proven it to myself over and over during these 3 1/2 years that necklace served me well...Now she needs to know it...I hope the necklace serves as a reminder as she sits waiting for treatments to be done...while she fiddles with that spiral around her neck and holds on to her strength...
BE WELL.
Ebb and Flow...Ebb and Flow....Ebb and Flow...
It's just the way of the world isn't it! And
once again across my machine came another TERRI
writing that says it all to me....

keeper of her heart

“ she heard the words 'keeper of her heart'
and thought of him.
he always had been.
whether he knew it or not.
now it was time for her to be the keeper
of his heart.
holding it gently, tenderly,
she tucked his heart into hers
and carried him with her always and forever. ”

~terri st. cloud

Be Well...

What is it about Fear?

What is it that causes my fear??...I've thought about this quite a bit lately...
Fear of failure...Fear of success...Fear of being alone...
With the tides of my life changing...I'm not sure if I am at an ebb or a flow. There are things that are going on around me that fill me with excitement, that allow me to believe that everything is going to be alright...and then right in the middle of that wonderful feeling ...FEAR...pops its head in to say HELLO...ARE YOU GETTING COMFORTABLE?...I DON'T THINK SO! And it runs around dropping its seeds to form weeds in my garden...WHO ARE YOU? it whispers on my shoulder...HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY BE HAPPY?...SHOULDN'T YOU BE GRIEVING? Do I have to STOP and allow myself this moment of doubt? Allow this fear to overtake the things that are good in my life and are showing me that one foot in front of the other is leading me to places I have only dreamed of before now...that perhaps at one time I was going in that direction but I stepped off that road to be a caregiver...Is it my time? Is it time for me to get back on my own path?
So I give FEAR its 15 minutes of fame!! And I am stepping past it...leading myself into my own comfort (regardless of what others think I should be doing) If I curl up in a ball I will cease to exist...Every day I walk into this studio to bring myself a little closer back to MYSELF...still discovering ME...allowing ME to unfold.
So what is it about FEAR that allows us to stand in the middle of a dream and freeze?

What I have learned this week...

I have been helping a friend...she is having a book published and she asked me to contribute by answering questions...journaling...and doing some artwork. It has been intense work, making me sit back and examine things from all sides. And I am finding so much to be grateful for...truly grateful.

We all face adversity in our life, how we react to it...how we deal with it is what brings forth our strengths and our happiness. If we spend too much time feeling sorry for ourselves what do we learn from that?...what happiness does that bring?...Being grateful for the things I DO have instead of what is missing helps me to focus on the day...helps me see my potential...know my strength...see the love that surrounds me...and allows me to take another step forward each and every day...Does that mean I don't get sad...or lonely...or even depressed? No...I still feel all those emotions...but when I feel grateful...when I stay in the moment my life feels good...it feels whole...I feel alive.

Sarah Breathnach said...

"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that's present....we experience heaven on earth."

How true that is for me lately!
BE WELL

Busy...Busy...Busy...learning...learning...learning!

I love this time of year...I don't have to be locked up in the house because of the wind and and snow and the cold...but rather I can throw open the windows and go outside...work to my hearts content in the gardens...sit on the glider and dream away part of the day....Now, I can swing on the new swing I put up for the little love on the big pine tree in the backyard...I actually took a little nap under the gazebo the other day while reading a book....I love this time of year!
I literally have been keeping myself as busy as possible...the night time is the worse with no one around to keep me company or whose company I keep! But I am learning...learning how to sleep a little better by actually turning off the lights at midnight...I am learning to put the tops back on my paint....I am learning how to see some of my dreams come to realization and how to tap into the dreams that are still within me...Would this have happened anyhow? I guess I will never know the answer to that question...but it is now and I am keeping myself busy...and I am learning...and that is helping me to heal. ENJOY your day!
BE WELL.

LOVE

I know I have posted this before BUT...it always resonates with my heart whenever I read it...ENJOY, SHARE YOUR LOVE and BE WELL...

you love

“ memories flood in...
regrets tug in one direction...
joys tug in another...
how do you hold a lifetime in your hands?
and what do you do now?
maybe you do the only thing that
ever really mattered -
you love.
you offer love.
you give love.
you receive love.
you breathe love.
you live love.
you love. ”

~terri st. cloud
bonesighsart

Glorious Day

They said it was going to rain...and it did sprinkle and looked very dark in the morning...but by 12:30 as people were arriving the sun came out...it was a glorious day...sunny and warm so we could be outside...steaks were grilled and everyone was festive and laughing...we sang Happy Birthday to Michael and we let off balloons we sweet messages and we ate pie with lots of whip cream!! People stayed from 1 till 8 at night....It was a glorious day! plans were made to do it every year in celebration of Michael's life...a wonderful tribute! (we even had our funny nose and mustache glasses! IT WAS GOOD! The little love could not be with us yesterday because of school and a commitment that MOM had...so he came today...he wanted to draw a cake picture to tie at the end of his balloon (because Moma wouldn't let him tie a piece of pie to the string!) and off it went high in the sky with words of love from a grandson to his Papa!
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend....THANK A VET!
BE WELL

Happy Birthday!


Glitterfy.com - Happy Birthday Glitter Graphics


Today is the day of Michael's birth....he would of been only 62 years old....When I think of it in those terms it scares me a little ... as I am almost 60 and that would not leave me with enough time to do all the things I would like to do...But that is what we all say (there is not enough time!)... we use the "time" factor as an excuse NOT to do something...WELL...I for one am going to celebrate Michael's day...I have made his favorite pie this morning and I have some people coming over for a Birthday celebration cook out (that my son is going to do the grilling for!)The menu will consist of all of Michael's favorite foods. We will toast to his birth, for the pleasure of having known him and having him in ours lives, for his wacky sense of humor and his love of life...we will use this "time" to do some of the things WE LIKE TO DO (without any excuses!)
What can you do today that you've been waiting to do? Give yourself a present and open yourself up to the possibilities of the day!
BE WELL

Things I have to get use to....

There are so many things that I have to get use to now that I am living here alone...
Little things...but things that you just become accustomed to...like:

1. what to eat for meals ..I only have myself to consider and I really don't care for cooking for one just yet...maybe it will grow on me.

2. What to do for the day...outings...Doctors (oh wait there are only my Dr. appointments and I can actually schedule them in advance)not having to go out every day if I don't want to.

3. Not having to be quiet around the house because someone is sleeping...I can be up till all hours in my studio...running up and down the stairs for various treats (oh yes midnight treats!) and I can play music late at night...

Now these are just a few of the things I have to get use to now that I am here alone...I remember when I got divorced from my 1st husband I was THRILLED to be alone...I was HAPPY and JOYFUL...looking forward to making my own decisions about everything! I don't have that frame of mind right now...but then...I did not choose this situation...
BE WELL

WCS Monster...

Things can be going along at a fairly normal pace and then it smacks you upside the head...The WOULDA...COULDA...SHOULDA...MONSTER! He approaches out of nowhere to nip at your ankles...punch you in the stomach and slap you in the head...If I knew what I know now I "would" of been a better companion...If I "could" just have another day to say all the things that went unsaid...I "should" of been a little more attentive in the years before he got sick...I push and shove this monster away because I know I did the best that I could on most days...but there were those other days...those days when I did not do my best...I can't go backwards...I can't change them...I can only believe that he forgave me and knows that I forgave him for any of the woulda...coulda...shoulda's! How is it that when we are feeling most vulnerable we just seem to love to throw that WCS Monster into the mix also??? What makes me do that? I am trying very hard today to dive into my work to makes sure this monster stays at bay...I am pushing him toward the window to fall 2 stories...Maybe that will put an end to him today!
BE WELL

How did that happen?



My daughter turned 38 this morning at 6:27 AM!! How did that happen? That beautiful bundle of shocking orange hair and pretty pink face...those tiny rose bud lips...perfectly formed...all ten fingers and toes...TURNED 38!!!!!!!!!!
Of course I was a child bride myself!!..A mere babe of 21...Very young by todays standards but pretty much on cue for my era!
I remember 38...I was married, living in this house that was brand new then...I had gone through my surgery and was mending...both physically and emotionally...Lea would of been a Junior in High School (if my math is correct!!)Life was SO good...
Life is still good...it is just different...and today, my daughter, grandson, son, and mother will gather for a celebration meal...My daughter turned 38 this morning and that makes me OLD! LOL
BE WELL

No Clue...

I have no clue as to what Blogger did with the Sister A ...LOL But it is probably better that it disappeared...Seeing as I have always know she was self centered so I really wasn't surprised....And I am feeling better today...So I will get to those things when I get to those things and not a second before I am ready to do that...I have been working on a project that needs to be completed within the next few weeks...and I have been playing in the gardens...washing windows...putting in screens!! Feeling like I can "bring home the bacon AND fry it up in the pan"! (if you are to young to remember that commercial I am sorry!)

Some days are just better than others...

I am not close to Michael's family...it consists of his mother, and his two sisters.
His mother is in a Nursing Home and has no idea who anyone is...sister A lives close to us...Sister B lives several hours away...His sisters are 12 and 14 years OLDER than he was making them in their 70's...In the 28 years that we were together I would venture to guess I have been in their company maybe 20 times...and most of those would of been at family weddings or funerals...So, I am not very close to them at all and really neither was Michael until perhaps the past year when he called them a little more frequently than birthdays, and holidays...
Sister A rubs me the wrong way...ever since she said at our wedding "if you hurt my brother you will have me to deal with" to which I replied...what if he hurts me? The answer was: "then you would of deserved it"!
Sister A called me today...the first time since the celebration which was 3 weeks ago...she was inquiring about certain objects that she thought she should have...WHAT? Several of Michael's rings (which he wanted to go to Collin and my son Jason) His war metals...suitcases that one time belonged to their father...and
a few other things...She threw me off balance...out of whack...It was upsetting to me that she would think I should sort his stuff out and call her about things...I had given her things at the celebration....a bible he carried in Viet Nam...a flag pin that he use to wear...and she had requested some of his ashes (which my brother took care of in a beautiful container I purchased) Sister B got a container too and a pin and their fathers pocket watch....(Sister B was grateful for those things)
I felt as if she wanted me to go and collect those things pronto...and I had to sit and listen to how he was her brother and she wanted these things...She can have the suitcases...she can have the family photos...but the other things are unreasonable to me...because as she said she is grieving...they shared the same blood...they were family after all.....So what does that make me?....CHOPPED LIVER?! An outsider of 28 years?! Can you tell she got to me tonight?!! What do you do with someone like this???? Am I required to keep the peace???? The things I want to say would make a sailors face turn red!

What category do I fall under?

I was filling out paperwork today...you know the kind where you have to check the boxes...and I came to the area that asked...SINGLE...MARRIED...DIVORCED...WIDOWED.
I looked at it...thought about it...looked at it again. What "tag" should I use?
Should I use WIDOWED or SINGLE...because technically I am BOTH!(and if truth be told I have been all of them at sometime of my life!) I left it blank...
When asked why I did not answer question #7...I politely said that I did not think it mattered...For what reason did they need to know that? Was it a survey on how many of each category was filling out the questionnaire? They did not have an answer for me...and I did not offer them the information....I wonder if they just picked one after I left!..I still have my wedding ring on...they could assume that I am married.
So it made me think about it this evening...
Just what category am I???

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has finally arrived in upstate New York...it most always takes its time getting here, but it is always well worth the wait...The windows are thrown open...
the smell of fresh mowed grass perfumes the air...everything is turning green and
the flowers peek up from their winter sleep...And then....there are the chores of Spring! So, I decided I would tackle some of it!

1. Uncover the furniture (X)
2. Rake out the leaves (X)
3. Put together the two man glider...(wait a minute, I've never done that before!)
4. Hook up the electrical for both of the water fountains..(that was not my job!)
5. Weed the gardens (X)

Now, what do I do about number 3 and 4?...I decided I could call someone to help...
OR I could tackle it myself!...It took a bit of time to uncover all the parts to these projects...(did I ever watch this being done before? I'm not to sure I did because I was probably busy weeding my gardens!)

I pulled up my big girl panties..and decided I could do this...after a bit of frustration everything was done!

I sat down on the glider and cried...

Cried because it was now a one woman glider...but the soft sound of the water flowing from the fountains began to sooth me as I continued to cry....but now I was crying because I ACTUALLY DID THIS...without any help!...I cried because I was proud of myself!...cried because I was alone!...and cried because life is going on!...

It turned out to be a wonderful experience...(although a sad one) But it made me realize that I am much stronger and more capable than I ever have been in my life.
And today the sun is shining...the birds are singing and I will get to see the rewards of my hard work!

BE WELL...

Love NEVER Dies...

I do not know why TODAY I opened this mail that has been in my mailbox for weeks...but I can only believe that it is another SIGN that LOVE NEVER DIES!

Christine asked for response from readers...here is the letter I wrote this morning.


Christine,

I lost my husband on April 15th of this year...after a 3 1/2 year battle with a cancer that we knew from the
start was not curable...it was his wish to transition at home in his beloved chair...A series of miracles
happened that day...2 women whom I am very close to appeared at my home (totally unplanned)...we sat and talked and laughed
(which was an uncommon event in the evening at my home) Michael was asleep in his chair...he I am sure
heard the love for ME there...and he began to prepare himself for the journey he was about to take...We played
his favorite soft jazz and I curled up in the beloved chair with him as he took his final breath...a truly bittersweet
moment...I will carry that moment in my heart forever...He is my love and my hero...

Is the house empty? Physically Yes it is....but the love and the laughter of 26 years is held in each and every
corner....signs come from all around me that things are going to be fine...A church sign that read: REJOICE IT IS A BRAND NEW DAY....My very first book contract, (which my husband always positively said, "when"
they publish it never "if" the publish it!) Getting up each and every day knowing that I am able to CREATE it anyway I choose!
And I choose LIFE....I choose LIVING...I choose LOVE...

Do I have my moments? Of course I do...but then I find another moment to remember something sweet, or I see something in this house that brings back something meaningful...Life as I knew it has changed...but life as I know
it is very much the same.

So I share with you a comforting poem...

To Those Who Mourn
(an excerpt)

For that is the real truth;
man is a soul and has a body.
The body is not the man; it is only
the clothing of the man.
What you call death is the laying aside
of a worn-out garment, and it is no more
the end of the man than it is the end of you
when you remove your coat.
Therefore you have not lost your friends;
you have only lost sight of the cloak in which
you were accustomed to see him.
The cloak is gone, but the man who
wore it is not;
Surely it is the man that you love and not
the garment.
C. W. Leadbeater

Thank you Christine for your wonderful insight into death...for your emotionally honest video...May it help another
who needs it the way it helped me this morning!

Blessings to you and to Nanook.
Patricia Mosca
----- Original Message -----

Corners...

Some days you have to look for happiness in the corners...you know, the corners that you push it into!
We can get caught up in the drama, the unexpected, the disappointments, the hurt, the anger...and never see the happiness....

I am looking in all my corners today! Can you?
And I am going to create a great day with that happiness!

BE WELL

Gathering signs...

Today, I am aware of "signs" that are coming my way to let me know that everything is
going to be alright....That I have permission to grieve...permission to laugh...
permission to take a nap...permission to do nothing at all...permission to do anything I want to...
Today, I am aware of "signs" that are coming my way to let me know that everything is going to be alright...
BE WELL...
A simple act of kindness is contagious....Great little story


Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the
luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned
seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm
glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will
get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off,
a line of soldiers came down the aisle and
filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding
me. I decided to start a conversation.
'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to
me. 'Petawawa. We'll be there for two weeks for special training,
and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was
made that sack lunches were available for five
dollars. It would be several hours before we
reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch
would help pass the time...

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if
he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems
like a lot of money for just a sack lunch.
Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks.
I'll wait till we get to base.'
His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers.
None were buying lunch. I walked
to the back of the plane and handed the flight
attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those
soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.
Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.
'My son was a soldier in Iraq ; it's almost like you
are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the
soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and
asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or
chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied,
wondering why she asked. She turned and went to
the front of plane, returning a minute later
with a dinner plate from first class.
'This is your thanks.'

After we finished
eating, I went again to the back of the plane,
heading for the rest room. A man stopped me.
'I saw what you did. I want to be
part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me
twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the
Flight Captain coming down
the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he
walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but
noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my
side of the plane. When he got to my row he
stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, 'I
want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my
seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand.
With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier
and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought
me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never
forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was
heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the
front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A
man who was seated about six rows in front of me
reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He
left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.
When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane.
Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man
who stopped me, put something in my shirt
pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a
word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the
terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their
trip to the base. I walked over to
them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It
will take you some time to reach the base.
It will be about time for a sandwich.
God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and
respect of their fellow travelers.
As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe
return. These soldiers were giving their all for
our country. I could only give them a couple of meals.
It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank
check made payable to The United States of America
for an amount of up to and including my life.

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country
who no longer understand it.'
what we shared

“ it's not about what we lost -
it's about what we shared,
and were lucky enough to hold
for a bit.
it's not about me losing you -
it's about the fact that I'll
always love you. ”

~terri st. cloud

http://www.bonesigharts.com

How "normal" is "normal"?

(easter 2009)

Today, I went to Easter brunch at my Nieces' house...a "normal" thing that we do for every holiday...brunch...but it was not normal today...it was really the first family gathering that Michael was not attending...Some 20 years ago, my sister made Michael an Easter tie...he wore it every year...so, this morning I found a white shirt that I could wear the tie with...I thought it would help make things a little "normal"...but it just made me sadder...I went through the motions of being there...curled up in the arms of my wonderful son...but all I really wanted to do was come home....

So just how normal is normal???

Gently I hold myself...softly...knowing that it does not have to happen today...not even tomorrow...and it may very well take a very long time for me to find my "normal" and I have no idea what that might be...

So for today...I am as normal as normal can be at the moment...

BE WELL...

4 hours...

I spent the afternoon with the little love yesterday...It shocked some people that
I could or would want to spend that much time watching him...but it felt right...it felt natural...it felt normal. My little love gave me many loving moments...a few tears...but a great deal of insight for someone who is only 6 years old...
When he came into the house he saw a baseball hat that belonged to Michael...Is that Papa's hat? he asked...Yes, I said...Can I have that?...Of course I said...We adjusted the back to the smallest possible level and placed it on his head...a grin went from ear to ear...It fits he said...And I said Yes...Yes it does!...Later in the day he was playing with some cars and one went under the stove...we pulled out Papa's big flash light and the yard stick and got it out from there...but the flash light brought him a memory of how they would play "monster hunting" and he wanted to do that...Off went all the lights in the basement and we crept down the stairs...and he said...Oh Moma we need the hard hats (plastic hats with miners lights on them which Michael had bought for the two of them)...He dug them out of the toy box and placed the first one one his head...to big, that was Papa's...got out the second one and was smiling as he turned on the light to discover it worked...He looked at Papa's hat, and placed it back in the box...took off his hat...and looked at me as I wiped a tear and said...You know, lets go back up stairs Moma and play something else! Driving in the car, he was telling me how many grandparents he had...(coming from an extended family) he named them all...well, that was except me...So I said, well, I am your grandparent too...and he said...No you aren't...you are my MOMA!
As the day went on there were many wonderful memories of things we did together...and things he did with Papa...and then he said...Moma, where is Papa's chair?...(this took him all day) I said...Papa took it with him..He thought about it for a moment and said...that's good, because you really can't stand very long...I think Papa is sitting in his chair with Hensley (a cat that passed when he was 3 years old)and he is watching football on TV...He is watching the Cleveland Brown's (he was a life long fan)and he went over and placed the baseball hat on his head...the one he got the first thing in the morning...because it was a Cleveland Brown logo hat...and we sat on the sofa....snuggling....
It was a beautiful afternoon...
I am not sure what today will bring...but I am hoping...a little memory...a little bit of tears...and a lot of love...
BE WELL
There is always something, patricia, to be happy about. Truly happy.

And if you have the audacity to find it and the courage to make it your focus, in spite of the countless temptations to do otherwise, you will have learned well, your life will be transformed, and all things will be added unto you.

"End" game,
The Universe


www.tut.com

Please light a candle...

Please light a candle tomorrow for Michael from 4 to 7 to celebrate his life.

Mosca, Michael III (M Squared)

Chili: 5-26-49 - 4-15-11. Michael passed peacefully after a long and courageous battle with Lymphoma, with his bride of 26 years, Patricia (King) by his side. He is predeceased by his father, Michael Mosca Jr. He leaves behind his mother, Frances (Krukowski), loving sisters; Marlene (Joe) Butera and Sarah Dilal; nieces, Lisa and Donna; nephew, Nick. Along with step children Lea Rizzo and Jason Rizzo; beloved grandson, Collin John O'Malley; mother-in-law, Jeanne King; sister-in-law, Nancy (Kenny) Jones and brother-in-law; Robert (Shirley) King and their families. He will be greatly missed by many for his wonderful sense of humor, his strong ties fo family and friends, and for being a life long Cleveland Browns Fan.

The family wishes to thank, Drs. Vlad and Woodlock, along with the entire staff at Unity Health Ambulatory Infusion Center who worked diligently with Michael.

Acknowledgements to Dr. Rebecca Drayer, for all her tireless efforts, along with gratitude to the Veterans Medical Center teams both of Rochester and of Canandaigua, who worked so closely and respectfully with us. A heart felt thank you to Chris Jones, who guided us gently and lovingly.

Please join us to CELEBRATE Michael's life on Thursday, April 21, 2011, from 4 pm to 7 pm at: New Comer Funeral Home, 2636 Ridgeway Avenue, Rochester, New York 14626. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Veteran's Outreach Center, 459 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620. To share a special memory of Michael with the family, please visit:

Quiet...

The house is quiet tonight...this is the first night that I am alone in the house with only the kitties...Michael's beloved chair has been removed from the living room and taken away...He lived most of this last year in that chair...I curled up along side him wrapping myself around him as he took his last breath in that chair...And tonight I miss the comfort of that chair...but I know that seeing it empty would not suit me...I cleaned...I dusted and washed and moved furniture...because that is what I do when I am sad...the room is different now...the look is different...the placement of the remaining furniture is different...the smell is different because I could open up a window and let the cold air fill the room instead of having the heat on...
The house is quiet tonight...I am alone...and can't quite see past the writing on this machine...I am numb...I sometimes do not remember how I got from point A to point B...Did I eat?...People have been around me to make sure I did...but tonight I wanted to be here alone...or did I? It seems that everything is bitter sweet...and tonight...I am here alone for the first time with only the kitties..
I give you this
thought to keep..
I am with you still...
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow,
I am the diamond glints
on snow,
I am the sunlight on
ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the
morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting
rush of quiet birds in
circled flight.
I am the soft stars that
shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone...
I am with you still
in each new dawn.

Michael passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 15, 2011 at 1:35 A.M. After a courageous battle with Lymphoma.

BE WELL

Looking for peace...

The journey of dying for Michael is becoming a difficult one...Yesterday, he did not wake at all during the
day, but became restless during the evening...calling out things loudly and in repetition ...but after giving him
some meds to calm him down...he slept through the night....I have taken to sleeping on the sofa, but last
night I just had to sleep in my bed...getting 3 hours sleep before waking and going down stairs to check on him
before coming back upstairs for another 3 hours....
This morning, he was really restless....yelling out..."let me go" in succession 8 times...I assured him it was OK
to go while stroking his hand...assured him that we will all miss him, that he was loved and that all would be
fine here...he calmed down, he stopped shaking and he relaxed...I believe he is looking for peace...We are hanging on...
BE WELL...

The Vigil...

As death gets closer, many signs of the body shutting down happen....

* he is sleeping all the time
* little to no urine
* no food intake...and very little water
* cooling of the skin
* a purple coloring of the skin

This is a time when one realizes they are not in control of the dying process...but death is near, even though
one can not answer with certainty when...During this vigil, I watch...I comfort...I wait...
Like birth, death comes in its own way, at its own time...
BE WELL..

Rough day...

It took a great deal of energy to get Michael up the 13 stairs to the bathroom to take a bath...I had the water
ready, (he cannot take a shower because of the pick line) anyhow...once upstairs we got him into the tub...
washed and then it dawned on me....I have to get him out of the tub...He has little strength in his legs...so we
waited till the water was drained and then it took some maneuvering but we got him standing...then one leg at
a time over the edge of the tub...dressed and then we had to get down the 13 stairs...well...I will say without
contradiction....that is the last bath....we will now be doing washings in the kitchen on a chair by the sink...
I can't do that anymore....I do not have the strength...what if he falls down the stairs????  He has already fallen in the kitchen...and now once in the powder room....his legs just give out....I have a walker coming tomorrow so I am hoping that will help....

Would I recommend dying at home to anyone???????   NO!  This is very difficult on the caregiver...they play
a role of being responsible for the patient instead of being able to just be loving with them...Maybe if he was
bedridden and in a hospital bed that would be different....but he has many moments of being right here...open
loving and humorous...other moments...he is far far away....

Today...I received the warmth of a blanket to wrap myself up in when I am feeling the need for a huge hug...
THANK YOU MARY!  You saved me today!  And thank you to ALL who have sent cards and loving wishes they have touched my heart...
BE WELL

Another day...

Again it was another emotional day...thank the good lord I have a very good friend who works for Hospice and was by my side when Michael's hospice nurse came....because another thing has been added to my plate of flushing his pick line EVERY DAY!  Why not just push me off the edge!!!!  But, my friend stepped in and said she would be here to do that for me....as it stands at the moment he will probably not be getting the IV fluid as his feet and hands are beginning to swell which means he is retaining fluid...his kidneys are slowly shutting down as is his liver (he is getting very yellow)

At moments he is so talkative that it almost appears like a normal day...and right in mid sentence he just zones completely out or he falls asleep...he repeats himself a lot and gets a bit testy if you ask him a question that he thinks he has already answered...you have to remember NOT to take it personally....it is the combination of drugs and the lymphoma taking him from me....

I read a book within the last 24 hours: From Hiccups to Hospice by Betty Garrett, this is probably the most information I have received in an honest and direct form from a caregivers view...and it has brought me peace in a great many ways along with information I needed to have that no one seems to want to give to me...
One of the things that is in the book is a list of things you can do for the caregiver instead of asking them what it is that they would like you to do....when this question of : What can I do for you? is presented to me, I always say...I can't think of anything....but this list that Betty has takes the guess work out of what someone can do for a caregiver that they might not think of....

1. Sit with them
2. Bring some groceries for them
3. Cook meals that you can freeze and bring to them
4. Send cards and notes to say HELLO...thinking of YOU...
5. Give them gift cards
6. Send them a pizza
7.Offer to call friends or family members to give them updates
8. Send a fruit basket or fresh flowers
9. Talk about some UPBEAT things
10. Send a book or magazine to them...GIVE THEM BETTY"S BOOK!!!!!!!(if the patient is terminal)

These are just a few...but they are things one can do without asking the caregiver...What can I do for you?
For all who venture here....thank you for not asking....and for just doing!  You all have given me so much less to think about....Blessings!
BE WELL...
 

Long Day...

It was a long day....
Hospice came and re-evaluated Michael and he is now signed up for Enriched Care...which means if he is strong
enough to go into the clinic he can get his blood and platelet transfusions....if he is not able to do that than hospice can come and give him IV fluids ONLY....but here is the kicker!!  Guess who has to learn to set up the IV...flush the pick line...administer the fluids and flush the pick line again....OH GO AHEAD TAKE A WILD GUESS!!!!!!!!! 
That's right....you win the jackpot...that would be little ole ME! Can you tell that I am thrilled beyond belief that I get to do this...that I get to have one more thing on my plate to be responsible for....I thought that is what hospice was for....but NO....when you decide to pass away at home....it goes to the caregiver as a responsibility...
BUT they will teach me how to do it...now mind you they will bring someone in to bathe him (which is something I can actually do) but they would leave a medical procedure for me to do....Now really...does that make sense??????
Can you tell I am thrilled???
I know I have gone through this before with not wanting to give him shots in the stomach but learning how to do it...and I handled that...but I never did like it....and I will get through this also, but I am tired...I am upset...
I am somewhat depressed (I admit that!) and they are handing this to me on top of all of it...PHEW!
It made me think of all the other care givers who have to do this....especially older than me caregivers...my heart goes out to them...
Things will look better in the morning...
BE WELL

They Say...

That we go through stages before we die....that the body begins to prepare itself when dealing with death...that it begins to rest more...that breathing is irregular...and that one might begin to see their life as a movie...that some people when doing this ask for forgiveness...some forgive others...some want to say good bye to special friends and family members...and make sure all final arrangements are in place....
I never thought much about most of this....but I know that some of it happens because when I was care giving for my father in his final weeks he did a lot of the practical things...taking care of funeral arrangements...getting all documents in order....telling me where to find important papers....but like most things these are not the things I remember about my father...but rather I remember a strong and loving man who adored me.
I am now watching my husband as his body gets his soul ready for departure...and I have witnessed him asking for forgiveness....giving forgiveness...saying good bye to friends and family...making sure that everything is in order....and to my surprise and amazement....listening as he wakes from a 5 minute nap to tell me a story about his childhood that he just relived...or when he was on the winning team in high school that won the City Championship....I watch as he smiles in his sleep now....knowing that he is reliving something wonderful...something that brings joy to his heart....and I know that he will go peacefully when it is time...till then I hold his hand...I wipe his brow....I give him water to sip...change his clothers...and take care of him the best that I can....
BE WELL

Family...

Michael's family is coming over this morning....this is a difficult thing as he has kept them in the dark about how sick he is...How can that be?....In 2008 when he first was in ICU they knew he was sick (he has 2 sisters one is 14 years older than him the other is 12 years older)  Anyhow, once he started chemo and went into partial remission that is the last thing that he told them...partial remission...doing good he would say when he talked to them on the phone each week....things are great he would say....over the past 2 years he has made excuses not to get together when asked to go out to dinner....So, here we are...toward the end and they are coming over this morning....I tried to gently tell them on the phone when I made these arrangements that he was not doing good and had not been doing good for a while now, but it was his wish not to worry them....and I respected that wish.  I went and bought two heart necklaces yesterday that he will give them today as a symbol that he will always be with them....But, this will be a difficult morning for all of us...
BE WELL... 

Opening my soul..

It has been an extremely rough couple of weeks...There have been blood transfusions, platelet transfusions,
IV fluid almost every day...There has been a CT scan and a Bone Marrow Biopsy.  But, the last few days have
been the hardest for me...Michael has asked me to do a great deal of things for him...the funeral home has been called, Hospice is getting into place, Friends and Family that he wishes to talk to have been called and arrangements have been made for their visits, final wishes have been written down, and he even wanted to dictate his Obituary to me.....He is still hanging on...still manages to smile and crack quite a few really off colored jokes about death...(actually they are quite funny and keep us together) We have lived our lives with humor, especially during the difficult times...life is just to short not to laugh in the face of problems...
The bone marrow biopsy showed that the lymphoma is now in 92% of his bone marrow, which is why the blood is not making all the proper cells...which is why his heart rate is 124 instead of 80...which is why he sleeps 20 hours a day....His body is beginning to shut down...he eats very little and sleeps a lot.
But we are hanging on....and we have TODAY!
BE WELL

Shut...

Shut Up...Shut Down...Shut Out...
That is what I tend to do when things overwhelm me and fear sets in...
Knowing perfectly well that no one can read what is going on in my mind...no one can guess what it is I need or do not need...Knowing that when I do the 3 Shuts that I isolate myself....But none the less that is what I tend to do when I am overwhelmed and fearful...
   

The chair in the corner...

I made the call early this morning...and into the Doctors office we went....The Nurses had Michael's chair
all ready for him....the chair in the corner...where he can see everyone coming and going...out of the way of all the commotion that goes on there...two blankets and a pillow... Blood was drawn...and his platelet counts were now dangerously low...a low normal is 130....he measured 3...So platelets were ordered and it was going to take a while...which really didn't matter as we were going to be there for 2 to 3 hours anyhow because they were giving him IV fluids...
The Doctor talked to Michael and made it very clear to him that everything that they are doing now is to just keep him alive....He again said that he was willing to continue doing this even if it meant that he came to the office every day of the week to get transfusions and fluid...whatever gave him another day...
I sit....I watch him sleep...I read a book....sometimes I read the same line a dozen or so times....I don't leave him there anymore and go about doing errands...I don't know why that is...but all of a sudden I am not comfortable doing that...So I stay there 2 hours...5 hours...whatever...sitting in a chair ...next to the chair in the corner...getting him water or plumping up the pillow...
It has been a long week (the only day we were not in the office was Wednesday)....we are scheduled to go again tomorrow to hopefully get him through the weekend and then he has an appointment for Monday...they cannot give him chemo unless his counts are up...so hopefully all these booster shots that he is getting will help...
I was talking to a dear heart today...who lost her husband not to long ago...we laughed...we shed a tear or two together...but kindred spirits are we...and I know when I need someone she will be there with her open heart...and arms....healing.
Someone asked me how I did this...(got through each day)...and I said...Well, I could sit around and cry in my beer....but you know, I would rather drink it!
Raise a glass to someone today!
BE WELL

REALITY HITS...We don't look like this anymore!


Yesterday we celebrated my Mother's 85th birthday....We had a small gathering of select friends and all most all the family (my brother and family live in Florida and could not make it here)...Anyhow, Michael was feeling well enough to go to the brunch (he usually does better in the morning) We put a game plan in place just encase he had to bow out early....We got dressed and drove with my son to the restaurant....
REALITY HIT....and HIT HARD....
I am so accustomed to being with Michael 24/7 either here at home or at the Doctor's office (among other people who are living in various stages of cancer) that my vision is blinded....and it really wasn't until we were sitting in the restaurant among "healthy" people that I realized how sick he looks now....how thin and fragile he is...how his face appears sunken more now than before...how he walks very slowly and not very steady...and shakes more than I remember....
Maybe this reality hit me because I see him every day....that I look to see if he is sleeping to much or running a fever...or other side effects that I must take notice of...over looking everything else....Maybe it is because I am so close to the situation that I do not want to see what is taking place right before me...Maybe it is because there are not others around for me to compare the difference in him...
Maybe it is because his spirit is still the same...Maybe it is because he laughs a lot...Maybe it is because he continues to make me believe that everything is going to be alright...Maybe it is because he has maintained his sense of humor...
I think more likely it is because LOVE surrounds us....
BE WELL....

Happy Spring...

Wishing all a HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING!!!!!!!!!
We are off and celebrating my mother's 85th birthday (which is really tomorrow)
Michael actually feels good enough to go....back up plan in order encase he needs to leave early!
ENJOY your day and....
BE WELL

Difficult ...

It has been a difficult couple of weeks....Filled with many Doctor appointments due to Michael's very low blood counts....He has had lots of IV fluids because he is so dehydrated and he is very anemic so he is also getting blood transfusions (they have to give the blood bank 24 hours to locate the blood that he requires because it has to contain some  kind of anti-body and it is not that common)
Today he was suppose to get his medi-port put in, (which goes under the skin up by the collar bone) but they could not place it in him because his platelet count was so low and they would not risk the fact that he might not be able to clot...so they put in a pick line which goes in his arm...this is a temporary thing but it will save him from having to be stuck with needles every time a procedure needs to be done...his veins are collapsing and rolling so it is becoming very difficult for them to find one to use...He is down to 135 pounds now...and is barely eating...but he maintains his spirit....
Some days....some moments are better for me than others...
He has decided that he will continue on fighting until his body says no more...we are in it for the long haul...
BE WELL...

could it be????

The snow has melted here....I saw a Robin....
Could it almost be Spring here in upstate NY in 9 more days?
Michael spent the day in the Oncology office yesterday....I watched the little love (who has eye infections)
It was a long and draining day....Michael needed to have IV fluids again (he is very dehydrated) and he
needed an antibiotic IV....now he is on oral antibiotics....He goes into the hospital on Tuesday for his out patient medi-port to be put in...right after we will go to the Oncology clinic to have blood drawn and see if the counts  are good enough for chemo....keeping our fingers crossed that they are....
I am taking an hour to go to the little loves house as he is home from school and Michael's doctor highly suggested that with Michael's very low immune system he not be around a sneezey and runny nose little one...who forgets to wash his hands! So I am the between guy....between when Mommy goes to work and
Daddy can pick him up....We are all working together....and I do not want to be gone to long....
BE WELL....

Simply put....JUST NOT MYSELF!

Ever have one of those days?...weeks?...maybe months? where you  just did not feel like yourself! Your true self...I am feeling that way....I feel as if I have a heavy blanket over me and I am buried underneath it....I can go about doing ALL the things that I have to do, but I can't get out from underneath this blanket....And to make matters worse, if someone comes to try to help me take the blanket off....I pull it tighter and tighter around myself.

I know that I am trying to protect myself...I know that things in my house are changing...I know that one should not carry all of this on ones shoulders alone....I know all of this...and yet I am still under the blanket...
At least today, I have now verbalized it....maybe that will help me really peak my head out from underneath...

Have you ever had one of those  days?...weeks?...maybe months?....

BE WELL

Monday..

No chemo today...
Michael's blood count is so out of whack that they had to give him IV fluids today as he is so dehydrated.
Tomorrow he will be getting a blood transfusion....and we are making arrangements to get and IV pick
put in him as it is getting more and more difficult to find a vein for him....
It has been a hard morning....
BUT....the sun is out...the birds are singing...and the snow is melting!
BE WELL

The show must go on!

Poor little love came down with the flu....So he was not able to do his talent....
To make him feel better I told him that when he feels better MOMA will have
a party and invite the whole family and he can do his skit....He seemed to take
that alright...

Pure Talent...

The little love has a talent show today....Michael and him do a joke act complete with whistles blown at
the right time...sound machines...laughing track and of course what boy doesn't just love a fart machine!
Michael can't do it with him because he just doesn't have the strength so Mommy is doing it with him...and they
will dedicate it to him....Can't wait!!
It is snowing like crazy...but that is not going to stop this upstate New Yorker!

Some people ....

Have you ever noticed that some people just know when to give you a hug...say a kind word without you having to say anything?

Have you ever noticed that some people reach out unconditionally without thinking of themselves?

Have you ever noticed that some people can heal your heart with a word...with a touch...by just standing beside you?

Have you ever noticed that sometimes that person can be a complete stranger rather than those closest to you?

Have you ever noticed that some people open up their heart and extend their hand just when you need it the most?

I HAVE!
Let's all try to be that someone today!

BE WELL...

what do they have in common?

A blue jay....a rabbit....a squirrel...
They were all spotted in the back yard this morning! Patches of green grass was nibbled...bird seed was
enjoyed and digging for perhaps one of the last acorns that was hid....
Could it be signs of spring?!
ENJOY YOUR DAY!
BE WELL...

A little something from ME to YOU....

Click on the link below...You will get a black page.  
Click your mouse anywhere (& everywhere) on the page & see what happens!
Better yet, click (hold down) & drag your mouse over the black page...
Enjoy!!

http://www.procreo.jp/labo/flower_garden.swf

On the mend....

I have been down and out since last Friday really(the 18th)....finally ending up with the knowledge that I have been having a gall bladder attack...having spent the better part of the day on Wednesday in the ER...(sent there by my Doctor)...lots of tests later (especially one to rule out heart attack) I will have to revisit my Doctor...but a change in diet is in the game plan for the first line of treatment....
Had to swing a lot of things to get to the ER....The main one was getting my sister out of the mall!! LOL..No, really she came willingly...and someone to check on Michael...Had to juggle a few things just to take care of myself!  WOW...
But I am feeling much better today...after the last few days of liquid food and then adding some all white bland food when really all I am craving is some chicken wings!! (they might be out of my diet completely....OH NO!)
I did tolerate a cup of coffee this morning....Oh please don't let them take that away from me permanently!!
Michael has been extremely tired since having chemo on Monday...it will be interesting to see what his blood counts are on Monday...to see if he reacted the same way to this type of treatment or if he reacted differently this time around....
BE WELL...

BUT WAIT....THERES MORE!

So we got back home after 4.5 hours in the office....got settled in...comfy clothes put on...ready to veg
out and look at magazines and Michael was going to have a nap....the phone ring...CALLER ID: UNKNOWN....which means a Doctors office...and we have to go back in....to get a shot of Vitamin K...
This is because his blood is WAY to thin...He takes a blood thinner for his embolisms, but it is usually steady between 2 and 4....TODAY...after being tested 2 times it is 17...which is way off the charts....So back we went ...mind you in the comfy clothes!!  Finally arriving back home at 3:30 ( we left the house at 8:30 in the morning)...There are quite a few things to watch for now....So doing the due diligence!!  But as Michael
says....
ONE DAY YOUR DRINKING WINE....THE NEXT DAY YOUR PICKING GRAPES!
Here's to drinking wine today....
I have copied a bit about the INR level to give you an idea of what it is and what it should be....
BE WELL...


If you have ever undergone oral anticoagulation therapy, you have most likely heard of the PT-INR test, but you may not understand what it is and/or what it means. This article will attempt to explain the PT-INR test.
First let's talk about the PT test. PT stands for prothrombin time. It is a measure of how quickly blood clots. The traditional method for performing a PT test is to have your blood drawn and sent to a lab. At the lab, a substance called a reagent is added to your blood. The reagent causes the blood to begin clotting. The PT result is the time in seconds that is required for the blood to clot.
There are a variety of reagents that can be used when a PT test is performed. Since each of these reagents works a bit differently, a PT result obtained with one reagent cannot be compared to a PT result obtained with another reagent. To account for the different reagents, the result of a PT test must be converted into standard units that can be compared regardless of the reagent used. These standard units are known as INR units.
INR stands for International Normalized Ratio. As its name suggests, one INR result can be compared to another INR result regardless of how or where the result was obtained. So, the INR is really just the standard unit used to report the result of a PT test.
There are a few things worth mentioning about the INR. First, an individual whose blood clots normally and who is not on anticoagulation should have an INR of approximately 1. The higher your INR is, the longer it takes your blood to clot. In other words, as the INR increases above a given level, the risk of bleeding and bleeding-related events increases. On the other hand, as the INR decreases below a given level, the risk of clotting events increases.
The ideal target INR range will vary from person to person depending on a variety of factors such as the reason for taking anticoagulants, other medical conditions, and a number of other issues. Your anticoagulation clinician will determine the appropriate INR range for you. The most common INR target range for someone on warfarin is somewhere between 2.0 and 4.0. INRs of 5 or more typically are avoided because the risk of bleeding increases significantly at INRs above 5.

A bitter/sweet morning...

After weeks of very low counts they finally gave Michael his chemo treatment today...His counts had come up within a range to be reasonably safe to give him the chemo....But, he must be watched carefully.
It was a good day at the clinic today....people seemed to be in good spirits...and one woman we have made good friends with, along with her 2 sisters who stand by her side for support, got a certificate from the Doctor
today for SUCCESSFULLY completing her chemo....We all clapped and cheered her on today!!  Cake was passed out along with coffee...I have to say we have met some wonderful people here....We decided that we will get together with the 3 sisters (as we refer to them as) outside of the clinic when Michael is feeling better...We live very close to them...and in fact one of the sisters son live on the same street as we do....
That certificate also made me very aware that we will never receive one....and will continue to come to the clinic till the end...or until the chemo no longer works....
A bitter sweet sort of morning....

Mid-day

By midday yesterday, Michael had been sleeping for most of the day...the temp still hovered around 100...
but things just did not seem right to me..."due diligence"..."woman's intuition" call it whatever....I called the Doctors office right  after their lunch...explaining that he was extremely fatigued...very pale in color...the tumors had suddenly popped out again...low grade temp continued....So...I had him get dressed and in the office we went....All sorts of blood work was done...cultures were taken...IV fluid was administered for 2 hours..prednisone was prescribed....and a bone marrow biopsy will be scheduled once we get approval....It seems that either that last doze of chemo complete knocked him down and his bone marrow just can't handle anymore or the lymphoma has filled so much of his bone marrow that it is not allowing enough new cells to be produced....
Today, he feels a bit better...and actually has some color....and the plan is to still have a nice kid friendly dinner with the little love and open up presents...cake and ice cream for the 4 of us!!
BE WELL....

Turning a corner...

Finally after days of up and down...ranging from a temp. of 98. to 101.6...it seems this morning that things are holding steady at 98.9...WOO-HA!
The chemo was canceled once again yesterday because the counts were still to low...so another booster shot was given....We really have to watch carefully for signs of blood clots...He already has 2 in his lungs, so any strange pain, especially in the legs needs to be taken VERY SERIOUSLY! (try really telling him that!) When the platelets are low that is one thing that can happen very quickly...plus he is on blood thinners so that adds another element to the mix....AH YES!!
HOWEVER....today is a GOOD..GOOD DAY!  Today, is the little loves 6th birthday...we probably won't get to see him till tomorrow...but we celebrate the wonderful love he has brought our way!!
BE WELL...

Dodging the bullet...

Michael started running a fever yesterday...I called the Doctor and they told me if it gets to 101 that he needed
to get to the hospital ASAP....mainly because his white cell count is low along with his platelet count....
99....99.9.....100.....100.8...101....
GIVE IT AN HOUR MORE he asked as I started to pack up for the hospital....
FAST FORWARD:  100.3....100....99.9....

This morning holding steady at 99.....
OK ...so he dodged the bullet....

Diligence...

SO I have been doing my diligence and watching closely...and there are normal side effects from any drug one takes and then there are the acceptations that perhaps 10% of people taking the drug MIGHT experience...
OF COURSE!  We just had to fall in that 10% range....So off to the Doctors' to get a shot to boost those white blood cells once again before hopefully a round of chemo can be given on Monday...and another dose of anti-bodics!!  I have to say it was great going to the office and not being called out for not calling when the symptoms first appeared....my diligence paid off!!
It has been bitter cold here in upstate NY but, you can't just stay cooped up in the house all day...So with Michael donning a face mask we actually went to the grocery store for a moment....Lots of disinfectant after returning home...but a "driving Miss Daisy" trip!

Good/Bad

You know that they have always said that there are two sides to every story...two sides to every coin...two sides for every medication....
SO...
The good news is that there was no chemo today....
The good news is that the chemo is shrinking the tumors...

The bad news is because the chemo knocked his counts down way to low....and they could not chance giving him the chemo so we have to wait for the week...
The bad news is that the Dr. informed us that the chemo treatments are being rejected by the bone marrow..so, we are getting to the point where the chemo is not going to work anymore...HOWEVER...we will continue treatment until that time comes.

...in the meantime we "WATCH AND WAIT"...Which really is a combination of good and bad...the longer he goes without treatment the more symptoms arise....This week alone he lost 6 pounds....memory has been really bad...and he is back to sleeping a lot...So this week I have to use due diligence!

BUT...the good news is ....NO CHEMO TODAY!
                                        AND THE CHEMO IS SHRINKING THE TUMORS!

What emotion is it anyhow?

So I have had a very difficult weekend...I've been short tempered...snappy...mad...distant...quiet...unsettled...
just to name a few....So what emotion is it anyhow?  As I watch a brick fall here and a brick fall there tumbling around me...I am very keenly aware of the wall I have built around myself especially strong in the past few years...and as it starts to crumble....I am also very aware that the emotion I have been hiding from is SADNESS...pure sadness that Michael is going through this...
WOW!  I actually admitted that to myself ...Sort of makes me feel really vulnerable...but also makes me feel very honest...
BE WELL

There BACK!

Over the weekend we noticed that the tumors in Michael's lymph glands were starting to appear again...a little
swelling under his chin and a small pea like lump....This morning...FULL BLOWN tumors....bigger than a golf ball and hard as a rock...(that is how quickly they can progress) So I called the Doc and we went right into the office....they were running around checking with other Doctors to figure out what action to take next....He has already been on 3 different types of chemo in the past 2.5 years...none of them held the cancer from growing very long (the longest was 6 months....the shortest, this time was 3 months) So...on Monday, we are trying another type of chemo....keep us in your thoughts that this one might hold him for longer than 3 months as we are running out of options....
BE WELL
 

A new development...

Ever since this journey began in 2008 Michael started complaining about an annoying ringing in his ears.
Because we have been in the thick of so many other things involved with this disease, it was put on the back burner.  But, I began to notice that he was either "not listening" to me (which is not uncommon for men to do!! LOL) or there was something wrong because he was giving me wrong answers to some of the questions I would ask...When confronted he would just brush it off...but it has been increasing to almost a constant.  Today we went to have his hearing tested...he has a good deal of hearing loss in his right ear and partial hearing loss in his left ear...we will be making an appointment with and ears, nose and throat specialist as soon as it is approved by the VA.  We are not sure if this hearing loss is from the Waldenstrom or if it is just the progression of age...but he is only 62...His lymph node tumors are reappearing under his chin, so I will call the Oncologist tomorrow...

If you are a regular visitor here you might see Merry Me here too....Please send out warm hugs and blessings to her...She lost her father on Sunday. She has been a blessing to me in so many ways ....You are in my thoughts Mary!
BE WELL

Here I am...

I am deep into this class....LEARNING...DISCOVERING (RE-DISCOVERING)...EXPLORING...
Finding myself as I do a time line of my life....It is very hard at times...and yet very wonderful at others...
But the biggest thing I am learning is...the things that we thought took up so much of our lives ONLY
took up such a little space on the time line...but shaped how we feel,  how we look, how we interact with
others and ourselves. I am unlocking and re-discovering things about myself which is allowing me to make
sense of why I feel the way I do about so many things...and how I need to let some of it slip away...
SO...I AM HERE...( just sort of working in the studio)
It has been a mild week....Blood work Monday has come and gone along with the final shot for the boosting
of the white cells (well at least until we have the blood counts checked again) I had my bone density test done...and I do have some problems with Osteoporosis...A game plan will be put into action for that (just like Sally Fields! What do you want for a 59 year old!)
All in all....It's feeling good once again to be ME!
BE WELL...

Sunday...

The week went off without a hitch...well, except for the snow! Only one day was a bit hard traveling in the weather...But for the moment the blood counts look good....most of them are at the bottom of normal...which
hasn't happened in 2.5 years!  So the booster shot has helped...making it worth all the running around...
He has one more shot on Monday and then he is OFF for a week!  YA-HOO!  And the calendar looks pretty good for next week...Actually it is ME that has Doctor appointments..So hopefully this week I can really dive into the online class that I am taking....doing a lot of soul work! I am off to a TI-CHI 2 hour special class today
which I am looking forward to...and then into the paint in the studio to work on my journal...Life feels really good!
BE WELL

The weeks game plan...

Michael will be getting the white cell booster shot every day this week!  Hopefully this will knock some of those cancer cells out of commission!  Plus we have 2 different Doctor appointments this week....Guess it will be a week of running around town...hope the weather holds as I hate driving if it is snowing really badly...
As for me...I start an online class tomorrow...I am very excited as this is FOR ME!  RE-DISCOVERING ME!
And I have actually been in the studio the last few days...working on some things...but I still need to clean it...
Maybe tomorrow (famous last words!!)
BE WELL...

Long week...

It was a long week of chemo and the side effects from it...but we seem to be getting through. Michael's
counts were still very low, although the shot did help spike the White cells....So the chemo dose was cut in half.
It still took the same amount of time to administer, but the strength was less. He is going to have all his counts redone again on Monday along with another booster shot to increase the White cells...So here is a little FYI:

White Blood Cells: Battling Blood Cells

Whenever a germ or infection enters the body, the white blood cells snap to attention and race toward the scene of the crime. The white blood cells are continually on the lookout for signs of disease. When a germ does appear, the white blood cells have a variety of ways by which they can attack. Some will produce protective antibodies that will overpower the germ. Others will surround and devour the bacteria.


The white blood cells have a rather short life cycle, living from a few days to a few weeks. A drop of blood can contain anywhere from 7,000 to 25,000 white blood cells at a time. If an invading infection fights back and persists, that number will significantly increase.

Because Michael's cancer is of the blood...The cells are large and take up a lot of space in the bone marrow, not allowing enough of these white cells or red cells to be made....So the shot helps the body to manufacture more...they just don't last very long.

BE WELL...

this years word...

Every year now for several I have picked a word to focus on....
this year: 

REDISCOVER 

is the word I have choosen...

It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence
that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us,
as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.
K.T. Jong