Sunday, May 25, 2008

made with love

One of my responsibilities at work is to make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. I make tuna, egg and turkey sandwiches as well. When I make these sandwiches, I make them with extra care as I always imagine the child that would be eating one of them. Some children do not like what the cafeteria is serving for the day. As an alternative, they always have a selection to choose from these main items . One day I was running behind, and needed some help from one of my co-workers. She was just blobbing the peanut butter & jelly on the bread. It wasn't getting spread to the ends evenly. I had to bite my tongue and count to ten. I was regretting that I asked for help. I then shared with my co-worker that to some of these children, this might be the only good meal they get during the day... these sandwiches have to be made with love. I got a smile from her and she then started to spread the peanut butter & jelly evenly across the bread, from end to end. I smiled back and thanked her. Later, as I thought about "our moment" together, I thought about the different scenario's the interaction between us could have taken. When you have seven women working in a kitchen, you learn real quick how we all have our own ideas how things should be done. I learned something as well... I believe the turning point was the moment of me biting my tongue and counting to ten, the way you say something to someone is how it is usually received. The receiver is either open to hear it or they are not. I only hope that when I am the receiver, I have an open ear and can hear what is being said.

Most importantly! When doing anything with love, it smooths everything over.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

For Life

I’ve discussed many of my feelings in regards to Charlie’s cancer. Feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, despair, and helplessness. Feelings of being overwhelmed and triumph. I know I am not the only one who has felt feelings like this. With cancer, everyone around the individual conflicted by this evil sickness is plagued with feelings of complete uncontrollability. We all feel that we can’t do anything to help our loved one, except simply help him (or her) get through it.
Our daughter has decided to participate in Relay for Life this year. I thought it was a great idea; she feels that it’s a way in which she can help her dad, and others in the future, and now. She also feels that it is in memory of the people she’s lost in her life: her Papa Pete (my dad) and her Gram (my great-grandma). She gets to raise money for Cancer research that will help find out more information about CANCER. So many people have been kind in donating to this cause.
At the relay event, our daughter will get to take part in her team’s 24 hour walk. Each participant of the team walks for an hour, so that someone is walking for the entire twenty four hours. Since school has been going, she hasn’t gotten to devote her full attention to raising funds, but she’s excited non-the-less. Now that school is out, she has a lot of plans to make this relay a success, in honor of her dad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It has been more than a poster

My son Rob is in the Air Force. While living in Nebraska, he is unable to be here with us at this time, while his dad has been having chemo treatment. Robert knows how much his dad loves the sport of boxing and sent him a poster to put up in the hospital while he had his treatments. While looking for a photo of Charlie's all time favorite boxer of Muhammad Ali, he felt this one best depicted what he wanted to get across to his dad the most; he felt that Muhammad represented his dad looking down at his cancer (sorry Sonny). It all started when I printed this post that Rob published on his blog and brought it to the hospital for Charlie to read, it brought tears to his eyes. I let Rob in on what he did without even knowing it. I told him that this photo was one of his dad's favorite's. This is when Rob decided to track a poster down with this image on it to put up in his dad's room. He sent it to his sister and she lamented it, and then gave it to me, and my aunt and I taped it to his hospital room's window. It was the first thing you saw when you walked in the room. Charlie knew at this time what his son had seen in the photo, himself conquering cancer. What Rob did not know was the story behind the photo and how it all worked itself out in his dad's decision to keep going with the chemo treatments.

I heard time after time when a nurse or our doctor would walk in, either them commenting on the poster and/or Charlie telling them about his son, who couldn't be with him right now because he was in the Air Force. He shared with the doctor and nurses what his son had seen in the poster concerning his cancer and you could see how proud he was telling this story. I then would hear Charlie ask them (whoever it was he told this story to), "Do you know what Muhammad was saying to Sonny Liston in that photo?" Only one young nurse did (who was a man). The nurse told Charlie, "Get up!" (You could see Charlie eyes light up and knew they had something in common). Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston title matches are still one of the most controversial boxing matches in the world. The second match only lasted 1 minute and 42 seconds before Muhammad Ali knocked down Liston with what would become known as the "phantom punch". While Liston layed on the ground, Ali stood over him screaming to get up while photographers snapped this now famous photo of the scene.

As we've gotten through the last chemo treatment yesterday, Charlie let me know that he has decided to keep fighting if his scan shows he still has cancer; he will do whatever it takes. Charlie brought up the subject of the poster his son had sent him and what Muhammad was telling Sonny Liston. Charlie wants to fight; he is ready!

I told Rob about the sequel of events involving him and his poster that he sent his dad, I could hardly get the words out from being emotional.

Note ~ Charlie now weighs 133.8 pounds. H
e drove for the first time on Monday and is now able to walk around the block. He has a c-scan this Friday to see where his cancer is at. We will find out what the results are next week. He still gets tired very easily, but is listening to his body and doing what it is telling him to do.

I want to Thank everyone for their prayers, positive thoughts and words of encouragement. For squeezing my hand from very far away and letting me know that you are here. For holding me in spirit. For being my cheerleader and rooting me on. For lighting a candle on your desk. For not commenting, but caring enough to read about my husbands battle with cancer and our journey in this together. Your words and just knowing that you are there have carried me when I didn't think I could take another step. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It means more to me than words can say.
Thank you ~ Thank you...


Sunday, May 18, 2008

I pray for each and every bag that is hung

As the oncology nurses hung the chemo bags, I noticed that there would be a huge production of getting covered up (They called it "smurfed down", because everything would be in blue). They would put on a gown that would go past their knees and the sleeves would go to their wrists. They would also put on not one, but two pairs of gloves and safety glasses with a mask. It almost made me feel like I shouldn't be in there while they hooked him up. Charlie asked them in the beginning of his chemo treatments why they do this only with the chemo and not the pre-med bags. They explained to us that it was mainly because of OSHA and the safety precautions they had to take with the chemicals. This nurse (he was the only one like this ~ not thinking about what was coming out of his mouth and how it was coming out) even went on to explain how potent the chemo was and if it got on their skin it would burn and what they would have to do if it did, what it did to the cells good and bad, blah~blah~blah. Basically... as I listened to this nurse, I watched my husband's eyes get bigger. I cut in by saying, "I thank God for this chemo." My husband and the nurse just looked at me confused. I continued, "This chemo is my husband's only chance to live. If I could kiss the bags I would. I find myself praying over each and every bag that is being hung. I pray that the pre-med will help with infections and any nauseous that might occur. I pray that the chemo will kill and destroy every cancer cell that has formed in my husband with a vengeance. I also know what the chemo does to the healthy cells and organs. I thank God that He formed our bodies with such loving care that the cells would turn around and produce even more healthy ones." They just looked at me. All the nurse could say was, "Yes, you're right." My husband only reached out and held my hand.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The purple scarf ~

Before Charlie went into the hospital, I shared an idea with you about knitting a scarf with my Knifty Knitter, picking someone who left a comment that they wanted one and with a request for a certain color. Someone had asked if I would post a photo of the scarf when I was done. Here it is and it is on it's way Tricia (I might add here ~ I went to her blog and she is knitting a shrug type sweater... geees! And I was feeling pretty good about the masterpiece I knitted with my trusty gadget! ;D). To my surprise, I really found this quite enjoyable! Although I also found it interesting as I ran my hand across the yarn and was feeling it, the thoughts that were running through my head. I was thinking, 'It has to be soft, not itchy, and it has to be the right shade of purple.' As I continued with this thinking process, I started to get a little nervous as my thoughts started to take off with, 'Was it the right shade of purple? What if she hates this shade?!' I then came across this yarn by Berroco and knew it was the right one! The color is YORN SOFTY PURPLE POSSIO and is it soft! I don't know about you but I can see this scarf with a jean jacket or a brown suede car coat. Oh! Don't forget the pretty earrings!
Can you see it?

I hope you like it Tricia!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sending you a warm Thank You!

If I could send all of you a big Thank you card for your words of encouragement and let you know how much they have provided me with nourishment through this difficult time, I would. I have reread your comments from time to time and they have kept me going. Your words have helped me to suffer patiently. THANK YOU From the bottom of my heart!

Charlie barely got through his five day chemo last week in the hospital.

The night before he went into the hospital he had mentioned to me he was dreading this chemo treatment. I tried to reassure him that this was the last one in the hospital and he was almost done. Monday in the hospital, as soon as I got Charlie settled into his room, Steph (one of our oncology nurses who has been with us through this whole ordeal) asked me how things were going and confided in me that she had felt Charlie had lost some of his fight. I had mentioned to her that Charlie was hallucinating a lot lately and also about his falling. She looked concerned and had gotten our Doctor on the phone, walked out of the room and came back in telling us that they were pulling Charlie off of the pain med he was on. Later on, Charlie had fallen asleep and woke up briefly while Steph and I were talking. He started to hallucinate while she was in the room. She looked at me and asked if this was what I was talking about? Long story short, our Doctor walked in our room at the tale end of him hallucinating witnessing this for himself. He asked me if Charlie had been having headaches and I told him, "No." Steph told me to tell our Doctor about Charlie falling the previous week. Our Doctor was a little concerned and mentioned a brain scan if the hallucinating didn't quit with the change of pain meds. *Note ~ the hallucinating and falling (which was one time) has stopped. That was just the first day.

As Tuesday came, Charlie seemed a little down which I thought was understandable. He was tired too. Then Wednesday came and PoW! During the day he seemed quiet, but he was also sick and slept through most of it. He tried to eat a little dinner and then we took a walk inside the hospital. On the way back to his room, he let me know he didn't want to finish his chemo treatment, he wanted to go home and that he was tired. He was done with it... I just didn't see that one coming. We talked our way through it and I stayed with Charlie in the hospital for the rest of his chemo treatments. Charlie's guard was down, he was was weak and fragile. It was so hard seeing him like this and it scared me. I spent a lot of time just crawling into his bed and holding him. He got through it and we got to go home!

One of the side effects to chemo is feeling anxious and not being able to sleep, and even though we had gotten a couple of prescriptions to help with that, it was still a rough weekend. He weighed 124 lbs. Saturday and was very weak. Monday and Wednesday of this week, my mom came and helped me which was a great comfort to both Charlie and I. Thank you mom!

Charlie said he didn't want to do his chemo treatment Tuesday. I told him we were to close to the finish line to stop. He didn't think the two chemo treatments that were left would make that much of a difference. I told him it could be the one that did. He had his chemo yesterday. We have one more next week. Charlie's spirit is up and he has gained two pounds. I am so proud of him!

Big exhale ~ Remember to
breathe Angela

Again ~ Thank you! I really do appreciate all of your comments. They mean so much to me!
(((bunches of warm hugs to you)))

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Down Up Down... Up

It all started with me getting tired of waiting for the elevator to travel from the first floor, up five floors and then stop for anyone getting on or off a different floor. I decided to start taking the stairs every time Charlie wanted something. As I was taking the stairs, I noticed how out of shape and out of breath I had become. I haven't been able to take my daily walks or go to my swim class lately and I feel it is starting to get to me physically, as well as emotionally. I really enjoyed my exercise routine I had going and I felt it had not only helped me to relieve stress but it also helped me with my depression. Taking the stairs makes me feel like I have some control in my life!

I have noticed the Doctors also take the stairs... it is good to see that they are practicing what they preach.

*note ~ I had to giggle... when I was leaving the hospital, I noticed a security guard watching a screen with multiple windows showing every room of the hospital and one of the windows were of the stairs. It occured to me that he might have seen me taking pictures of the stairs. LOL! The security guard must have thought, 'What is that lady doing? CrAzY!'

Monday, May 5, 2008

This Week...

I am feeling apprehensive. Charlie goes into the hospital for his last five day chemo today. He has seven chemo treatments left and that is including this weeks. He is in pain still and it is hard for me to believe that by that seventh chemo, his cancer will be gone. I feel like there is so much riding on this last stay in the hospital. His weight had gotten to 128 lbs. and he has now gotten it back up at 135 lbs. It has been a struggle to keep the weight on though. He mentioned to me that he had fallen on Friday. He was taking a step up into his trailer and his leg didn't have enough strength to carry his weight up. He also admitted that he can't drive anymore. He doesn't think that he is quick enough to put on the breaks if he has to and he also feels like he is going to go to sleep. Charlie isn't putting up a fight on having to be dependent on others anymore. I know that makes it easier on me now and I have found him fighting me in the past irritating ~ though ~ I hate to admit it, I think I liked him putting up a fight. I noticed that he is sleeping more too. I know that chemo takes a lot out of you. If anyone could sit inside my head and hear my thoughts... I say things and then counter with facts, going back and forth constantly. I could drive myself crazy. sigh

Sunday, May 4, 2008


i was always putting myself
in my sister's place, adopting
her credulousness, and even her
memories, i saw, could be made
mine. it was isobel i imagined
as the eternal heroine- never
myself. i substituted her
feelings for my own, and her
face for any face described.
whatever the author's intentions,
the heroine was my sister.

its image on the mirror
~Mavis Gallant 1964

My sister Jessica called me when we discovered Charlie had cancer. I will never forget hearing the tone in her voice when I answered the phone. It was grief stricken, it came from the core of her soul and she was hurting for me. When our dad got cancer, we were in it together . We were there for each other, always. She expressed to me that she wished she was here for me now during this time in the same way. Circumstances have changed; she lives in the bay area, is married and has two little boys to take care of. I know that she would be here with me if she could. I have no doubt about that.

About two months ago, my sister called to let us know there had been an accident where my brother-in-law Erik worked. He had broken his neck in two places, his leg and fractured his lower back. I wanted to be there for her but was unable to with what was going on with my own husband. I felt so torn. I couldn't understand why all of this was happening.

My mom went to visit my sister recently and brought my sister's birthday gift to me back with her. With everything that has happened in both of our lives, it has been very difficult to get together. The top photo is the birthday card that she had given me and the poem is what she wrote inside. As I read what she had written, I started to cry. I have always felt like she was the stronger one, and the one that I drew from. I have always felt she is a woman to be admired for her achievements and qualities... she has always been my heroine!

My sister... I love and miss her.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fortune cookies that end "in bed"

Charlie's cousin took him out to lunch recently to a Chinese restaurant. When he came home, he pulled this fortune out of his pocket telling me with a grin from ear to ear, "Have I got one for you to read." I said, "What?! You always get the good ones!" I have to explain... we always end our fortunes with "in bed." I could honestly say more than half of the time when it is his turn to read his fortune, It is so good, I just know he is making it up. When he shows me what the fortune reads, I can hardly believe it, because it really does read what he has said. We do this all in fun. As he handed me the fortune he said, "You can add this one to your collection." I save them. As I read it, I got tears in my eyes and smiled back at him and said, "In bed." I couldn't help it! ;)
Charlie of course was not ending the fortune "in bed" and just loved what was written on it... me saying it made him smile though.

I have done another post that ended "in bed." This one explains how this all got started and involves my son. It is really cute. You can find it here.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

and the name pulled out of the hat is...

Congratulations Tricia!

Wow! That was harder than I thought it was going to be... I wanted all of you to win!

Thank you everyone that participated... that was fun!
We'll do this again. :)

Trisha ~ you had stated in your comment that you wanted purple. Let me know if you have changed your mind. If you could also e-mail me your address, that would be great!

Water under the bridge

“People who have lost relationships often wonder why they can't just let it be "water under the bridge." It is water under the bridge - the trouble is we do not live on the bridge but in the river of life with its many twists and turns.”

Grant Fairley

*Tonight I will post the name I pull out of the hat!