Tag Archives: reading

Half Way Done!

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Today was number 7 of 15 radiation sessions, so I have basically reached the 1/2 way mark. Thank God because I can now see the finish line to this first phase of what I am sure will be a long treatment.  Tomorrow I also have my ultrasound led biopsy to re-stage the tumor in my collarbone and neck.  I just want to get that analyzed and then start on treatment to get rid of it.  The pain it causes is never ending, and I am weary from it.

The steroids are making my legs very weak.  This happens often because the drug makes you have a decrease in muscle mass.  I am trying to do some weight lifting to protect the muscles in my thighs, but it isn’t easy.  Walking is slow and there are times I find it hard to have the strength to go up a step.

Emotionally, I have settled down with a positive attitude and trying not to waste my thoughts in fear or worry.  I find my moments of quiet prayer, reflection, and meditation are life saving. My family has been so helpful and loving.  Everyone has been helping out so things are running smoothly.  It has allowed me to just focus on getting well, and getting through this.

I am reading a lot, and will be posting a review on a book I liked shortly here.  I nap when I need to, take my meds, and be sure to eat healthy in frequent small meals to help with the nausea.  I was put on an anti nausea med yesterday which helps so much.  I as also given vicodin to try for the pain.  I have to stagger it with the tramadol because it really doesn’t work on its own, but it is helping me sleep.

That is about all to report for now.  I will be writing about my biopsy next time so those curious can get a blow by blow account of what they do.  Enjoy your day.  XO

The Road to Recovery

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Some of you may know that for the last few months I had been dealing with some medical issues.  The silicone implant I got when my reconstruction surgery was done 5 years ago, ruptured and was causing me pain.  I had it removed in December, but then I was lucky enough to get a staph infection which left me in the hospital for a week.   It hasn’t been a very nice start to 2016, but I am finally drain free, and IV through my port free!  It feels great to be able to sleep on both sides, shower normally, and wear my normal clothes.

I am also excited to get back to posting everyday.  Currently I am reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  It’s a big book at 973 pages and I am only on page 304.  I am enjoying the story line, but it is wordy at times which annoys me.  I want to scream “Get to the point!” when reading those areas.  It also doesn’t help that because I still have to be on pain medicine, I get sleepy, and reading those small words tends to relax me after 10-15 pages.

I have many books on my ‘To Read’ list that excite me.  I love the feeling of having so many options of new adventures, new characters to meet, and new topics to think about. I feel that is the best part of being a true book lover. The anticipation as you hold your next book. The questions that swirl through your head such as ‘Will I like this book, Will I grow to love this main character?, Will this be a journey I will always remember?’ All of these things and more make reading such a fantastic way to relax, unwind and unplug from today’s world with all its problems.  In a good book, you can escape to a better time, or immerse yourself in an adventure you wouldn’t have the courage for here in reality.   I love the escapism reading gives me.  While I am in the story world I don’t have cancer, I am not in pain, and all my fears go away.  That is the best part of reading.

I have learned to be patient with my recovery process.  The Dr. told me it would take 6-8 weeks to feel myself again, and another 6 months for my skin to look and feel good over my chest wall. I have had three major procedures to the area and it is going to take some time for my body to heal, especially with my weakened immune system.  Reading this long, chewy, book is helping me recover and teaching me patience at the same time.  I hope you are all reading something for yourself.  Not anything work related.  Something for pure enjoyment.  Let me know what you’re reading in the comment section.  I am always looking for new titles!

Barb

Books I Read for Comfort

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I love to read.  I have loved reading since I was 9 and could ride my bike to the library downtown three times a week during summer break. Throughout my 41 years since, I have read thousands of books and there are a few that have become my favorite. The favorites are books I have read multiple times because when I read them, they calm me, make me happy or feel safe.  Through breakups, bad times as a teen, whatever the case may have been, this beloved group of books has seen me through tough times.

When I became a mother, I didn’t have the need to run to those comfort books as often, and they became the “books to read when you don’t have a new book”. When my oldest, Kait was in second grade, that now famous boy wizard entered the literary scene.  Kait and I read the books together.  We would go to the midnight book reveals and race home to begin reading that night.  As she grew older, we would discuss plots and search for hints by rereading the earlier books.  We watched the movies as they came out, and would either praise how close they stayed to to story line, or tear them apart for leaving major plot lines out.  Harry Potter became our shared obsession and it bound us together in a special way.

My two younger girls didn’t get this incredible gift.  They watched the movies first, then read the books.  My youngest *gasp*, didn’t want me to read the books to her because she wasn’t into them!  That did depress me for a few weeks/months/ok years, but I’m in a good place now.

While I was going through chemotherapy and radiation, I was incredibly fatigued, and at times nauseated.  My joints ached and my vision would get blurry after reading for 25 minutes.  The one thing that helped get me through the day, or sleepless night was having Kait read Harry Potter to me.  Sometimes we would go in order, and other times we would just pick a favorite. Kait has many creative talents and one of them is picking up foreign accents easily.  She would read the story in a British accent and I would close my eyes and be transported to a magical place where there wasn’t cancer, or pain. Listening to these books gave me a better sense of comfort and relaxation than any pain killer did.  It had the added bonus of bringing forth years of happy memories I shared with my daughter.

I feel sorry for people who don’t like to read.  They are missing out on so much. God bless authors and books!

Book Review: Calculated Regrets by Thomas Jast

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The best thing about being active on Twitter, is the number of interesting, funny, caring, and talented people I have met.  One of these being Thomas Jast.  I had heard promising things about his book, but I’ll admit I was a tad nervous to read and review it.  What if it was really bad?  Would I then have to decide to be truthful and hurt his feelings, possibly ruining his career and sending him into a downward spiral of depression?  Or would I lie and pretend to love it, give it a good review and spend my life hiding from him because I didn’t want to read anymore of his books, all the while having people laugh at me for liking the crappiest book out there.

Well thank God I really did love this book! Phew! I feel so much better now that I can be honest and not ruin anyone’s life.  Calculated Regrets is the story of Alex Aberdeen, a pretty, 26 year old who doesn’t relate well with other people but who chooses to go into Human Resources.  It’s a yo-yo relationship with this main character throughout the book.  In fact, you could say that with every character.  At first you like Alex, then you hate her and think she is clinically insane.  Then you find yourself liking her again.  Alex’s boss Liz is such a mean bitch but then you feel for her also.  Her co-worker Kaylee , is a character that you find endearing.  Shes just an all around nice person, who befriends Alex, but does she have another motive?  Then there is Tom, who is the catalyst as to what happens in this story.  Can Alex trust her heart to him?

Calculated Regrets is a fast moving read that will leave the reader breathless from the emotional roller coaster they just got off.  I found myself laughing out loud at some parts and feeling angry at others.  I would put the book down, but then be pulled by unknown forces back to it.  I found myself  wondering what Alex was doing now?

Do yourself a favor and read Calculated Regrets by Thomas Jast.  You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be thankful I recommended it to you.  Happy Reading!

Barb

Getting Thoughts to Paper

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There is a story in my head that has been haunting me.  I have tried to put it to paper, but I am never satisfied with how it comes out.  It may be because I don’t know if I should be writing the story as it comes from my own life.  I worry it will hurt people who have already been through so much pain and, after 4 years, are just beginning to heal.  The thing is, I also need to heal and the only way I think I can do that is to write the story of what happened.

So, how do I start this?  How do I begin, and where?  There is a lifetime of memories in my head and I need to compress them to a page or two in order not to bore the reader.  Is it even possible to tell people about how incredible she was and how much she is missed in two pages? These are the writers problems I am starting to realize.

How does the writer get their thought out onto paper, or onto a word program?  Sometimes the words flow easily and it’s as if the thoughts in my head are connected to my hand by an invisible force.  Then there are the times that same force creates a barrier around my brain and prevents my thoughts, and ideas from meeting my hand.

My question to the more experienced writers out there is this: How do I approach a sensitive subject but one that will make a great story and get it out of my head?  When the subject is close to you, how do you decide where to begin or even if you should?  Please leave your answer in the comments section, your ideas will be greatly appreciated and valued.

Barb

Getting into Christmas

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I am working hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  Two months ago I started having some pain in my right shoulder blade that grew more painful and spread along the side of my chest and in my implant.  I had a breast MRI which showed my implant had ruptured. Great! Just one more thing fate dumps on me.  So, I went to a plastic surgeon who told me it was a grade 4 rupture (which I took to mean very bad) and would have to be removed. He explained that he would remove the silicone implant, then scrape away the scar tissue which was like an orange peel (wth?) and power wash the area with antibiotics.  I can only picture people in Hazmat suits facing a dark tunnel opening, with fire hoses, blasting away the leaked silicone at the mouth of the tunnel. My surgery will be on the 21st of this month, so now the race is on to complete everything before then so my family can have a wonderful Christmas.

Even though the tree is still not up, and I have only bought one present, I am feeling good that everything will be finished on time.

To relieve the stress of the day, my favorite thing to do is read.  I am an eclectic reader.  I love many different genres and what I read is determined on what I am feeling or going through at the time.  Currently I have been tearing through the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and I am on book 5.  My oldest daughter Kait is 21 and she is obsessed with the books as well as the tv series on Starz.  In between, I have also read The Cuckoos Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.  Galbraith is the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, author of the greatest series written: the Harry Potter series. Both of these crime/mystery stories were very good but a little to descriptive at times.  Especially in The Silkworm.  I found myself skimming through those parts to get back to the action.  All things considered, they were a good read if you like crime stories.

With only 15 days until Christmas I have to find a way to squeeze all I want to do in a small amount of time. Being on pain killers around the clock makes me very sleepy, so that’s fun to deal with!

If you are a fellow cancer fighter, writer. or a new author looking for a review, please comment and I will be happy to answer questions or share in your journey.

Merry Christmas !

Barb