Tag Archives: writing

Health Update

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I wanted to be open and honest with all of you, as I have been.  I do not know how much longer I can keep up with this blog.  Typing has become challenging with only one hand, and now that it shakes and is weak, typing is hard for me.

My health is declining.  I am still awaiting to have another MRI to see if the whole brain radiation worked or not.  The MRI should be within the next 2-3 weeks.  Part of me knows it didn’t work.  I have bad neuropathy in my toes which is only a side effect of the brain tumors;  My right eye is closed more than my left which it never was, and it hinders my vision when I am reading; my head feels full and heavy and I get sharp pains frequently in the areas that I know tumors are. I have a lot of weakness in my legs and walking is difficult.  My balance is off and my legs are shaky. My right arm has become even more  numb with a big increase of pins and needles in my hand and fingers.

I am unable to do much anymore.  My days are spent on the couch since I can no longer drive, and walking for any distance isn’t a reality. I am not telling you this for pity.  I tell you this because part of my journey when starting this blog last year, was to be honest about my life with breast cancer, and what I would be going through.

I don’t eat much anymore because I either have no appetite, or I am nauseated too much to eat.  The nausea meds don’t work anymore.  The fatigue is debilitating.  I fall asleep constantly and  feel tired all the time.  I feel like jelly inside, and dead.

Emotionally I have good days and bad days.  I’m afraid although my faith is keeping me strong.  My worries are for my three girls and my husband. I don’t want to leave them.  My youngest who is just 14, is especially sensitive and is constantly telling me to not leave her, and how she can’t lose me.  It kills me.  What do I say?  How do you answer that? I think she’s beginning to accept that I am not going to see 80, because the other night she asked me to always be with her even after I die. I told her I’d find a way to be with her always until she was an old lady and ready to come see me in heaven. Things like this leave me empty and in tears, but then I pray and I am comforted and my strength is renewed.

OK so there will be some changes on the blog I want to make everyone aware of.  I am no longer going to do book reviews other than possibly a book I read.  I may not post as much as it depends on the shaking in my hand. I will let you know as long as I can.

If the tumors have not responded to the radiation, there is nothing left to do.  I don’t know what the effects or what the progression will be. I have been told I could have seizures, strokes, confusion, loss of hearing, and loss of speach.  If I reach the point that I can no longer type or communicate,  My oldest daughter will keep you update on what is happening and will let you know when I pass.

I ask for your prayers.  I remain hopeful there will be a iracle and I go into remission for a long time. Thank you for your support and kind words. xo

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Guarded Thoughts

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When I started this blog I wanted two things from it.  I wanted it to be a place where others fighting cancer, or those caring for a loved one with cancer could come to learn, share, and find a common voice in this scary, crazy world that is cancer.  I also needed it to be a place where I could express myself.  A journal, where I could let go and write about my fears, worries, feelings, and experiences.  To somehow make sense on what has been thrown at me and my family for the past 5 years.

I think I am doing ok with the first part, but I find myself being very guarded with the second.  I have had a lot of shit happen to me the past 5 years.  More than most experience in their lifetime.  There is so much that I have not mentioned yet, and thoughts I have not shared or confronted even.  I think I didn’t want to bother people with my depressing mindset at times.  I worried that if I truly wrote what I was going through that day, or what thoughts kept me up the night before, it would make me seem as if I was looking for sympathy and that is the last thing I want.

I just need to get these thoughts that have plagued me for so long out.  Writing is cathartic for me.  It has always been my safety net.  As a teen, I would write about the struggles I was having with my mother, or about the boy I had a crush on. Mentally it calmed me down, and helped me make sense at what was scaring me or upsetting me at the time. My journal was the best listener, and growing up I felt like I wasn’t listened to much. Even now I feel as if no one really listens to me.  I try to share my fears of dying, or what will happen if my cancer progresses again, and all I get is the positive pep talk of how strong I am and how I could live another 20 years.  That’s all well and good, but sometimes I just want my fears to be heard you know?

This is what I haven’t been accomplishing with my blog.  I think I became so concerned about writing for readers rather than writing for myself.  And maybe that is what you are supposed to do with a blog; write for your readers.  Maybe this is how you get followers and become popular.  The problem is, I was never in the popular crowd, and I want to write for me.  I’m the only one who matters.  I don’t need approval or praise for what I write. I write because it lets me release the voices that are screaming in my head. I write because if I don’t I will explode, or suffocate, depending on the day.

I’m angry a lot lately.  I’m angry that I have to go through this, and feel like this everyday.  I’m angry that my brother-in-law woke up one morning and decided to strangle and beat the life out of my sister.  I’m angry that because of what he did, my family is now fucked up.  Two of my three girls suffer from anxiety, one so badly it becomes debilitating.  The stress of Kim’s murder, having my two nephews live with us, my younger nephew having to move to another relative because he is mentally ill and threatened to kill my youngest, and my marriage almost ending because of him, have all caused recurrences of my cancer.  I can pin point each recurrence to an event. I think as time goes by and the effects of what he did continue to poison our lives, the angrier I get.

This is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to what I deal with everyday.  I long for a normal, boring, happy life.  Does that even exist?  I know we all have problems, and I know there are people with bigger problems than mine, but is it too much to ask to just get a break?  Can we just have a few years where something bad doesn’t happen? I hate when people tell me “It could get worse”.  I run from that phrase because every time I or someone else says it, I swear something worse happens.  No joke.

I’m tired.  Tired of being sick, tired of worrying if my girls will be alright, tired of being in pain every day, tired of being tired. If reincarnation exists, I must have been a douche bag in my previous life.  I hope somehow, I can have some memory of this life when I move on to the next, because it has to be so much better than this. I know I am blessed on many levels, and I don’t take those blessings for granted at all.  It would just be lovely to have smaller problems, like needing a route canal instead of what I have on my plate.  Whatever it is that lies in my future, I will continue to hope and pray that it will be better than what has been in the past.

Barb

 

Writing is Hard

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There have been many times in my life, especially since my sister died, that I have said “I should write a book”. I have an idea book that I use to write ideas for story lines and things I think would make a good book.  Most of them have gone unwritten, and honestly, the most writing I have done is this blog!  I don’t know if it’s a discipline thing or the fact that I get busy doing something else, (who am I kidding, twitter isn’t my job) but I seem to come up with excuses why not to write.  Having function only in my left hand, means I can only type with one hand.  This slows me down, and most of the books I have started are handwritten because its faster to write. My latest book attempt is actually about my sisters murder but written in a different way.  The things my family went through, and the way we were treated by my ex brother-in-laws family are unbelievable.  Seriously, everyone who supported my family from the time of Kim’s death until the sentencing have been shocked by what that family has done.

Enough of that, I’ll only become enraged.  Anyway, besides the typing, there is the realization of how much I don’t know.  I thought I could just start writing the story from the beginning and off I’d go.  I never gave thought to editing; other than spell check, or outlining and organizing my plot and characters; grammar rules, of which I remember none of; how to write dialogue; and all the other things I can’t think of because I don’t know about them yet!  How does one learn how to write a book?  Maybe I should have majored in English instead of Sociology. I mean, what the hell have I done with a Sociology degree? Zip, that’s what.

Even writing this blog has not been easy.  It’s hard to come up with a new topic everyday, which is why my postings now have a few days in between.  It’s hard to find your “voice”. Writing is like acting.  Once you have decided on a style and your voice has been heard, its tough to keep it up.  Having stage 4 cancer that has metastasized to my brain and possibly other areas by now, leaves me in pain more often then I would like, and if I wrote about my true feelings this would be a very depressing blog, and no one would read it.  So I have to think of something to write that puts on my happy face and pretend I am feeling great.

If you are not a writer, or if you have never attempted to write anything but a college research paper, be careful the next time you think you could write a book, or comment on how easy it would be to be a writer.  It isn’t easy, and it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  You will never feel more vulnerable, or stupid in your life.  But, it is also very empowering, and freeing. You will learn more about yourself then you thought you could, and this new knowledge can be very cathartic.

My Attempt at Poetry

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Snow falling, floating and swirling through the sky.

Crystalline marvels, no two alike.

Clinging to branches to break its fall.

Once hitting ground, no beauty remains,

Buried under its brothers

To be swept away by the plow.

I have never written a poem before, other than in some elementary English class. I wrote it in 5 minutes and it wasn’t to be taken seriously. My DD2 told me it didn’t rhyme and people like poems that rhyme. Maybe that is true, but I have read many a poem that has not rhymed and have liked them very much.

I admire true poets. The ones who make words dance across a page like Tschaikowski’s Sugar Plum Fairy. They have a gift that allows them to create imagery with words.  While I will never be in the same class as a true poet, it was fun to go outside my comfort zone and try a new form of writing. I recommend all writers to try a style you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with in order to get your creative juices flowing.

Have fun!

Barb

 

Whispers to God at Night

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Hi God it’s me again.  I know you must be busy.  You must get tired of billions of people just asking for things every second of everyday.  Do you ever just want to yell at them to shut up? Or ask them why, for maybe one day they couldn’t just be thankful?  We are all needy toddlers screaming “up up up” constantly aren’t we?

I am thankful for each day you have given me.  I’m thankful for my beautiful daughters, my husband, and my 2 cats.  I’m thankful for being able to spend 44 years with my sister until her husband took her from us. I am thankful I have been blessed with some really great friends throughout my life.  For always having a home to keep me sheltered and safe.  For never going to bed hungry, unless it was Spanish rice night and then I’m happy I did go hungry. I thank you for my education, for all the different jobs I have had.  Thanks especially for giving me the chance to be a Doula and witness several babies be born.  Also for gifting me with an exceptional talent for sewing and being able to make some awesome clothes and handbags that made many people happy. Thank you for the ability to read, for books, for computers to use to write my thoughts, for smiles from strangers that brighten my day, or great haircuts that made me feel beautiful. Thank you for trees that graced the sky like poetry on paper. There are endless things I could list that I have been truly thankful for, but I wanted you to know some of the biggies.

I know millions want to be healed from cancer.  I know I have fervently prayed to you.  I had such faith that you could make me healthy again.  It’s ok that you couldn’t.  I know you are busy and I am sure that when I die, you will be able to tell me why you had to take Kim when I was already sick and going to go soon anyway. However, there are a few things I need you to promise me.  And if you don’t come through, lets just say I will not be voting for you in the next supreme being election.

  1.  You better exist.  Because if all this time I’ve been talking to myself, I’m going to be really pissed.
  2.  There better be a heaven, and it better be the greatest thing ever.  I want Kim and my pets waiting there for me and I want to look the way I did when I was 25.
  3.  You need to swear to me that my girls, and Kim’s son Matt will live long, happy, healthy lives.  No divorce, no death, no cancer, no homelessness, no more trauma.  That is the least you can do for 4 kids who didn’t ask to come into this world, and have seen more horrors than most adults ever see.  You owe me this.

That’s it.  There were only three so that should not be too difficult.  I also would like a sign that you agree to my terms.  If at all possible, could you allow me not to suffer very long.  I am afraid of the pain and the girls will be scared and feel helpless to see me that way.  This actually would go with number 3 of my aforementioned requests.

Thanks for listening.  Please don’t leave me.  I can’t handle this on my own.

Amen

 

 

 

Clumsy Me

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I fell this afternoon. I was taking out the garbage and when I stepped down from the garage door I rolled my left ankle and went down onto my right knee. I was scared I had broken my ankle and being alone what would I do? Thankfully I was able to put weight on it. My back twisted so that’s sore and my right leg hurts when I move my knee all along the outside of my calf.

I haven’t fallen in years. I felt stupid, and glad no one saw me. But I was also scared. Was my imbalance caused by a new tumor in my brain, or just me being clumsy? What if I really had broken a bone? Having cancer, you worry about every single pain, bump, or ache. Falling and breaking a bone is a possibility of bone cancer because it makes the bones fragile. What if I fell on my bad arm? I can’t even imagine the pain and damage that would cause. What if I wasn’t able to get up? How long would I lie there before someone found me?

My hubby says if I don’t feel better tomorrow, he is taking me to the orthopedic. My surgery is Monday and I really don’t need any more to worry about.

I am now pretty much confined to sitting on my flat ass, writing, reading a really good book that I will soon be reviewing, and watching hallmark Christmas movies. What a life!

Enjoy your Friday and be careful not to fall.

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