Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

Unsafe At Any Speed

In Real Life on March 14, 2016 at 11:02 am

One thing recently that I have found very handy are these little carts at the grocery. Not having good balance anymore and my stamina waning for long walks through the grocers, I have taken my place in the army of folks who drive through the store on motorized carts.

My first go-round on one of these has now become a deliciously hilarious memory for my sister Denise and I. You see I have not driven ANY VEHICLE in more than 14 years. Not sure when I gave up driving, but it was after I had a panic attack behind the wheel of my car while sitting at a street light behind a Ryder rental truck, and visions of the Oklahoma City Bombing filled my head and I literally could not move.  They came and pried my white knuckled fingers off the wheel and then sat with me til I regained my composure.  I resolved never to drive again. I did not think I could be trusted, and I might harm some other human being.

So I have been the passenger in vehicles for many years. A passenger who enjoys just looking at the scenery passing by. I am rarely if ever paying much attention to where I am going. I am not looking forward, I am looking side to side to see what I can see, and of course at this point in time, it is an ingrained habit.

I am now in this little motorized cart, and certainly it is not going that fast, but it is still a moving vehicle and at first, I pay attention, because I have never drove one, but it is simple enough, button forward is forward, button back is back, let go and it stops. I got this.  But then, as I feel relaxed enough, I forget I am not merely a passenger, but driving this thing,  and I am not paying that much attention to where I am going and my sister Denise is behind me trying to keep up and at the same time watching me come within inches of people and certain disaster.  Also take into consideration that I am pretty much blind on the right side due to the cancer, and must turn my head almost completely to the right to see anything on that side, since the left eye is the only eye that sees things clearly.

I am now in the aisles with the large refrigerated units with people and doors opening this way and that, looking at all the golden cheesy goodies within, and suddenly I remember I am driving just in time to come within one inch of an old man standing at one of the doors. He looks down at me like I am the devil incarnate, and my sister and I both break out laughing as I apologize profusely. He probably thought we were both nuts.

I still have to remind myself continually that I am the driver, not merely a passenger. Denise still watches me pretty closely and she reminds me as well.  There is an ornery side to me, however, that wishes I could just go nuts and run everyone down.



Letting Go of Resentments

In Deep Thoughts, Faith on March 13, 2016 at 5:13 am

Three times in the past few months I have been confronted full force with the selfish ugliness of human beings. These were not merely passing insults or minor annoyances, but faith shaking, mind-boggling betrayals of trust and love. Every day my first prayers have been to have forgiveness in my heart and to remove any resentment I feel. But I weep. I weep bitterly over them. My mind goes over and over them in some vain attempt to understand them, but I can make no sense of them, and the pain returns every day.

I hate ruminating over past hurts. It is a waste of time, and I know it. Maybe these hurts are still too close and fresh and unhealed.  I had resolved never to speak of it in the open, never to write about it, because it may come off as vindictive and petty and I should just get over it, and I know in time I will, but I also know that these 3 events were life changing—relationship changing events that tore out pieces of me and left large wounds.  How much can I say honestly without wounding many others?  My standard way of dealing with things like this that confuse me is to write it down, analyze it, find my own fault or blame in it, and vow to change what I can in myself, which is all I can do really to remedy the situation.  But the resentment and anger remain and haunts me.

Anger. It has always been my greatest sin.

I am generally a very direct person. Some say I am blunt. I am not passive aggressive. You know if I am angry at you. You never need ask. I take responsibility for my actions and admit my wrongs. But I find myself writing this in a passive voice, skirting around things, protecting those who, in truth, I do not believe have really earned any protection from me. In fact they deserve to be exposed for the evil they are. Evil.  Strong word. But after some time of analyzing their actions I can see it no other word that truly describes their actions.  Thoughtless. Cruel. Selfish. Are these not evil?

What would it change if they were all exposed? How much of my own analysis of the situations are tainted by my own overwhelming sense of hurt and betrayal? How do I let go of the resentment?

I pray.

I pray everyday. Lord Jesus, take this anger from me and replace it with your Peace. Let me be an instrument of your peace. Remove all hatred from me. Holy Spirit, fill me. Use me as a blessing. Guide my words and my thoughts. Eternal Father, let me be an example of your love. Soften the hearts of those who have injured me, and allow them to see their own errors. Give me a forgiving heart. Free me of all anger.






“My Boys” (And a few girls)

In Deep Thoughts, Faith, Real Life on March 6, 2016 at 6:01 am


I often say I am Nanny McPhee who has not yet finished her “lessons” to her charges.  This is generally said because I also am blessed with a “fang” in front. (of my own making, when I was a child, my front baby tooth fell out, (as they always do,)  only out of curiosity I explored the subsequent hole with a toothpick, and it broke off, and the piece stayed there til the new tooth came in around it, pushing the piece of toothpick out and causing the tooth to move forward and for some unknown reason, grow continually, albeit slowly. I have had to have the tooth filed on occasion over the years, but have not done it in some time so I kind of look like a combination of Nanny McPhee  and Ollie of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame.

Not sure why I decided to go off on this particular physical flaw of mine at the beginning of this post, I guess because it has always been an embarrassment to me, I have never known what I might have looked like with straight teeth, and it is the one thing that pops out (pun intended) at anyone meeting me for the first time. I watch as people watch me talk and I see their eyes go continually to this mouth of fang, and wonder how much of what I say they are hearing or are they just mesmerized by my snaggletooth.

So yea, back to the Nanny McPhee analogy. Over the years, online I have met many young people. I play online games and of course it is very hard not to meet them if you are a gamer. I have also had numerous encounters with young people in the real world, as well.  Because of my own troubled youth, I have always felt “called” to help young people through some of their more difficult times in life, in some way if I can. I have even felt that God leads to me kids (or kids are led to me) that need special guidance or encouragement.  Most of these kids have been boys, but I have had a few girls too.  I have, however, always called them “My Boys”.  Most of them even over a course of 20+ years have kept in touch with me and though they are grown now do still come back for advice, or encouragement, or commiseration from time to time.

During this time, as they have in their time discovered I am dying, they have sent me so many kind notes and letters telling me how I changed their lives, how much I taught them, and what I meant to them during those difficult days, I have been blessed to know that I made a difference. This is such a special gift to me. I could of course hope that some word or help that I offered was of some use, but to hear from them has so touched my heart over the past couple months, and I am so very thankful.

I don’t even care that I did not get rid of my fang.




From the Outside Looking In

In Deep Thoughts, The CANCER on March 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm


I have always had the ability to stand outside myself and watch myself objectively. When I was a child it was a sort of coping mechanism. Daydreaming, removing myself from either unpleasant or boring situations by being outside of it.  Throughout this process of cancer and dying I have done this, and done clinical assessments of what is going on inside me. I also live in this body, so I have the unique ability to feel everything that is going on, all the myriad of minutiae of symptoms and changes, I feel or see immediately and acutely. I am curious of the causes. And as a clinician I run down the list each time. Medication induced? Tumor? Tiredness? Stress? Just old age? Paranoia?

I do see myself deteriorating. Small symptoms show up and become a part of my daily life, and I adjust. Cancer is a disease of continual adjustments. Life changes daily. I remember when I first got arthritis it was like that with my hands. I had to learn new ways of doing things. Sometimes I would hurt myself trying to do things the old way, and my hands just would not move that way anymore. I laughed about it, because I forgot for a moment my hands were all gnarled with joints slowly freezing in place. I do that now when I forget I can’t see on the left side, and plow right into something, or I forget my left thigh muscle has wasted down to a sliver of what it once was, and I try to stand alone on it, and begin to go over like a felled tree.

Of course most of what is happening has to do with the Brain Tumors, and there are 4 of them, so it is a fascinating and complex puzzle to me to figure out which one is causing what.  I have what I have chosen to call “spot headaches” –short duration pain in my head in one spot or another. Nothing like the initial headaches which were my whole skull and so devastating they sent me to my knees in pain. Kind of a reminder from the tumors they are still up there, and they are still growing. The one giving me fits lately is close to my left ear. The other is just at the top of my head on the right.  The largest one, the one on the cerebellum of course, is always making itself known, since it is on the “little brain” that controls so much of what we do.


When you think of the tumor on my cerebellum, and the subsequent swelling, you can see why it took my reading and writing on the onset, and why with the swelling diminished, I got it back. I do see it slowly being taken again. I am slower with my words, and I am not sure how long it will be before I will not be able to write again. Walking is a daily adjustment. I am never sure if I will be steady on my feet or completely wonkified. No wonder it takes so long to learn to walk. So many areas of the brain control some portion of it.

For those who are truly outside of me, my family and friends, I am sure it appears that I am doing fine, for the most part, and on most days I feel I am.  I try to push through the exhaustion, although this current round is pretty darn intense and is winning the battle.  I develop various work-arounds to persistent changes and symptoms to live and do as much as I can.  Some are more successful than others. I do tell my sister Denise everything. I don’t want her blindsided by something sudden that we had warning signs about earlier.

Other ways I feel I am on the outside looking in, is with other people’s reactions to my Cancer, and my imminent death.  Some people are in total denial. Nothing I relay about symptoms or how I am feeling has anything to do with the fact that I am dying, but in some strange way is just normal aging. Some are full of pity, some compassion. Some are obviously uncomfortable with all of it and avoid the subject entirely.  I think death is harder on other people than on the one doing the dying.  I think it is a constant reminder of their own mortality. I find it interesting that we all know that death is certain. We all die. But we are all in a kind of denial about it til it is smack in front of our faces.

I am still at peace with my own death, and blessed in some way everyday by it. Some goals have changed, and these I leave in God’s hands, He has His plan and timing.  And that is perfect.