Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Words are like bullets....

"Words once spoken are like bullets fired - they can never be recalled."

What a great quote written by my dear friend April from her blog.

Keep it up boys!

Team with worst odds of winning Lord Stanley in the NHL has started the season pretty well!  Keep it up Predators!   One game at a time.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Today Chris and I made a quick trip to Benton's Shooting Supply for some target ammo. As you can tell, the picture is of bows.  No crossbows.  I swear if Norman Reedus would create a "Daryl" line of crossbows he would make a fortune!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Why Shea Weber is the best NHL defenseman.......ever.

1. He's an Olympic gold medalist. (We'll ignore it's for Canada.)
2. He is courteous by picking up the puck for the referee every time.
3. He has the hardest slap shot- it has actually went through the net once.
4. He's a Captain.
5. He's a dog owner.
6. He owns a big dog.
7. He can pick up an opponent with one arm and put them to the ice.
8. He's seems like a mentor by patting teammates on the head in the "huddle" after a score.
9. He's an invisible man.  Who knows anything about him?
10. He plays through pain.
11. He's cool enough to be a Captain but can loose his cool when need be.
12. He stays out of trouble off the ice unlike Cain and Seguin.
13. He stays on the ice with blood on his face.
14. He doesn't have a Facebook page.
15. He has the fastest slap shot which he proves at each All Star Game. (Well, second.)
16. He's a Norris Trophy Nominee.  Three times.
17. He's a class act after he's lost the Norris Trophy. Three times.
18. He's never on Twitter.
19. He's cocky when need be. Think arbitration and contract negotiations.  (Please write a book someday.)
20. He's stuck in Nashville for the rest of his career. (Please write a book someday.)
21. He has the best playoff beard.
22. Instead of teammates battling his battles he battles his own.....and their's when need be.
23. He rarely takes cheap shots. (We'll ignore the Zetterburg incident. )
24. He never screams at the refs.
25. He is a true defenseman. (No Karlson there.)
26. He's made it just fine without Suter.
27. He doesn't dive.
28. He may never win the Lady Byng trophy but he will win the Norris....and Lord Stanley.
29. He's respected by his peers.
30. He's got a great check.
31. He can skate backward.
32. He can skate forward.
33. He can skate.
34. He could play in a movie.  Think "Youngblood" and "The Cutting Edge".  No " Mighty Ducks".
35. He can push someone against the boards and they can't move.
36. He gives to the community. Not sure how much exactly. He's the invisible man.
37. He shot a puck from a waaay up in the stands of Bridgestone and hit the net.
38. He can score. He can assist.
39. He has a sharing nature. He doesn't hog the puck.
40. He's #6.  My lucky number.
41. He's large physically.  Imposing.
42. He has an Angry Shea which rears from time to time.

And...He.......He........There has to be more. My brain is tired.  I'll think of others tomorrow. Or better yet. Add your reasons in the comments on why Shea Weber is the best NHL defenseman ever.

Shea Weber is a boss.

The only thing that would have made Shea Weber
even better?  If he was American. HA!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NHL All Star Game

"Hey guys, did you hear?  The 2016 NHL All Star Game is going to be here in Nashville!"

Prepared under the Circumstances

Throughout the year I try not to be the woman defined by her breast cancer.  I slip at times but for the most part am able to put aside the Big C experience.  But October comes and with it Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I’ve never been one for rallies and walks and the such.  Even before my breast cancer diagnosis.  Since 2010 I’ve participated in one regional and two local events/walks.  For some reason I’m so crazily uncomfortable.  Perhaps it’s my shyness.  Perhaps it’s that a deep part of me doesn’t want to face the fact that those events are for women like me.  That I’m one of “those”.  

So the month is here.  October.  “Pink-abulous" month.  There are many memories and thoughts swirling about in my head.  Mostly from a survivors perspective.  Having watch loved ones and friends battle the disease and some die from it I also have the loved ones perspective.

Death.  The one topic that should have been on my mind and family’s mind more than anything during 2010.  But I never thought about it.  I absolutely never ever thought about dying.  Which is fortunate in a way for no one ever asked me if I was ready to die.  At least I don’t remember if anyone did.

Prayers I remember.  Before my surgeries but after no discussion.  I’m wondering why.  Perhaps my family and friends knew my deep faith in Jesus and the promises of His Word and thus no worries for my soul. Maybe they saw someone who was tough and strong enough to see herself through.  Maybe they thought I’d bring the subject up if I needed or wanted to talk about it. Maybe they were afraid if they asked I might say I’m not ready to die.  Maybe they didn’t want to face the fact that I might die and their own fears of what that would mean in their life.

For example I overheard Chris talking to someone about my cancer last year.  I never knew until then that Chris would wake up in the middle of the night and touch me.  To make sure I was alive during my hard nights.  That I was breathing.  I never knew.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me.  Talk about it with me.  Chris said he didn’t know.  Perhaps he was afraid of the emotions the discussion might bring.  But I know one thing, when I heard him tell someone this tidbit of information from our breast cancer experience I was….disappointed.  I didn’t realize that perhaps in the middle of that treatment year did I not only ignore death but also ignore the need I had for deep conversation.  When I heard him tell that story I suddenly had this deep, uncontrollable, weird yearning to go back in time.  To go back to one of those nights.  To know that he had those moments of weakness.  To know he loved me that deeply and had his own fears he was battling.  And besides that?  To be his comforter.  To hug him and tell him it was all going to be alright.  No matter what. 

I’m guilty of this as well.  I’ve had sick family and friends.  I’m not sure I have really talked about death and fears of such with anyone.  Maybe it’s fear?  Fear of the unknown myself or fear of what emotion may be opened up.  Maybe it’s fear of saying the wrong thing.  Of not having all the answers.  Maybe it’s fear of upsetting the person.  Or of bringing up a subject they don’t want to talk about.  Fear of prying.

Before every procedure the question from the admissions nurses was “Do you have a living will?”  “No” was my reply.  The nurses would usually look at me in disbelief or in a disapproving way.  I guess they thought I was crazy not to prepare under the circumstances.  But I didn’t worry about death nor did anyone else.

During my life I have always loved deep conversation about life, death, the universe, and so on.  I can remember being little and spending the night with my neighbor Marty.  She and I would have these amazing conversations about faith and life and the world and the universe  and God and the Bible and we were probably only 9 years old.  I remember conservations with my mom about the same subjects.  Especially brought on by my brother’s death in 1979.  In her deep grief somehow my momma was strong enough to put aside her pain to comfort a little girl scared about her brother Gary’s death—was it painful, did he suffer, what was he doing right then as we talked.  Mom and I had great conversations such as those.  She gave me a deep peace of death.  Perhaps from those lessons I developed the ability to not think about death during that hard year.  But then again….maybe I was in denial about the whole darn thing.  Maybe deep inside my heart was saying that I won’t die.  It won’t happen to me.

Is it a disservice to those we love to not talk about death?  To make sure they are prepared.  To make sure they have the opportunity to talk about death and explore the possibility.  To have their affairs in order.  I know looking back it was a great loss to me personally to not have had talks.  Not related to the condition of my soul. Just that I would have loved to have those talks about life, death, the universe, what we’d do in Heaven, meeting our parents and brother again especially with my sister Lynette and my niece/friend Jennifer and Jamey, and my other nieces, my husband.  What deep and loving conversations those would have been!  At times I yearn to go back for this as well.  I missed so many, what would have been precious conversations.  That’s biggest loss of the whole cancer experience.  Not remembering the pain of what was but thinking now of an emotion and experiences I missed out on.  An emotional bond and connection which might have been intensified within me and within my family and friends.  

I was prepared under the circumstances.  For death.  But looking back nothing else.

A few of my nieces. A few of my favorite people.

Friday, October 10, 2014

This is what breast cancer feels like

Yes, there are symptoms for breast cancer.  Though each cancer is unique and shows in different ways.  Not all are found with a lump you can feel, not all show on a mammogram, one type will even have a red rash on the skin which no one thinks of cancer when seen.

I had several of the "main" symptoms of breast cancer.  Number one being a mass.  However I stupidly ignored that lump.  One reason?  The mass I felt (and could actually see) had popped up about three months or so AFTER my mammogram.  My mammogram which showed the lump was in  March of 2010.  The previous year, 2009, there was no lump on the film.  Surely something serious would have shown a year before?  Or so I told myself.

Another reason I ignored the mass?  I'd had about 5 biopsies over 15 years due to family history.  I had grown numb to lumps.  Had them, been there, done that.  Though looking back it felt very different that the other perfectly round, mobile lumps which had been removed.  This was a mass, a heavy tumor in my chest that would not move if you pushed with all your might.

A third reason I ignored the lump?  It was symmetrical in my right to my left.  I'd had a liquid filled cyst on my left upper breast for years.  The doctor would drain when it bothered me.  Otherwise it was not dangerous.  I'd always read that if you had symmetrical lumps-one breast to the other-generally it wasn't cancerous.  However, I did find later that most breast cancer begins in the right upper breast.

One should never ignore any symptom and never feel safe because you only have one.  I realize I knew in my heart it was cancer.  The lump in my left upper breast was "smushy" and would roll when mashed.  The right mass was solid.  It felt to me it had a "root" or something like that. And it grew fast.  Very fast.  One month no evidence on the mammogram film.  In just a few it was almost four inches and growing.  

I remember lying in bed about two months or so before my mammogram that would forever change my body and life and feeling the lump.  I'd tell Chris to feel.  He'd say no, I'm not touching it.  Perhaps I was in denial.  Perhaps I was putting to much trust into things I'd read in pamphlets.  Never linking all the things going on in my body.  

My symptoms were:

*Fever.  Common in some cancer but not all.  I ran low grade fevers for months with no thought it could be related to cancer.  It had become a running joke between Chris and I.  I’d have him feel my head and he’d reply your warm or nope, your cold as a cucumber.  When Chris said I didn’t have a fever I’d say “no, that’s not what your supposed to say.  What are you supposed to say?”  Chris would say, “your burning up.  Do you want me to take you to the emergency room?”  We still have that joke.

When I was doing my blood work a week before my mastectomy the pre-admittance nurse took my temperature.  She asked after reading the temp if I had drank a cup of coffee which I replied no.  The nurse said they'd not do surgery if I had a fever the next week.  I panicked.  How was I supposed to get rid of a fever being caused by something that needed to come out of my body??

*Lump.  I described the lump above.  One other thing about my lump: you could actually SEE it.  In the following weeks of the mammogram during the poking and prodding appointments before the breast was gone the doctors would look me in the eye and say in a condescending tone, "do you know you can see it?"  YES!  I told them YES I could see it.......  I’m not an idiot though they were fast making me feel so.

*Skin puckering or dimpling.  When you bend over your breast will likely pucker or dimple around the area of the lump if it's cancerous.  Mine did but I'd only recently noticed before the fateful day.

I did not have any visual changes to the skin or nipple.  Please be aware that one type of deadly breast cancer will sometimes have changes in your skin-some say an area will look like an orange peel.  However I did have change in size and shape.  That was due to the fact that the tumor was growing at the top of my breast thus making it larger and a different shape.  

*Fatigue.  I'd been tired that year.  Of course with me that is nothing new. I have always been low energy and love naps.  However fatigue is different than my laziness.  And looking back I can see that.

So there.  Those were my main symptoms.  I realize so much now that breast cancer is more than a mammogram-in more ways than one-for good and for bad but I’ll not delve into the new controversies surrounding the usefulness of mammograms.  Not in this post.  

The last thing I did with my symptoms?  The very last? The one last service my breasts could do for me and others. The one that many did not want to participate in when I told them to.  Feel my lump.  I’d have those I love feel my lump.  And I’d look at them and say, “This is what breast cancer feels like”.

In room for the night following my

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Age and Birthdays

Age.  I've never worried about my age, growing older, or telling my age. (I turned 43 yesterday by the way.)  As I talked about age and aging to someone close yesterday a comment was made about turning 50 and being thankful to have done so.  Many have not made it to 50.  So I'm thankful to be turning 43.  Birthdays could have ended for me in 2010.  And so, once again, a reminder it's "Breast Cancer Awareness month"!

My 43 birthday at "Painting with a Twist" with close friends.

Cousin Sarah and niece Amber.

Stacy. Hard at work.

Sorry Kasey.  Can't help with that.

Loved the hair dryer.  Wanted to take home.

Passion meter test.  I failed.  Michelle did GOOD tho.

Pretty cool Patty!

My final piece!

What it should have looked like...

My painting turned into a giant birthday card.

My cousin Sarah did great!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I've the Right...

 I've the right to say I hate pink, and ribbons and all such things combined.   I have the right to say I'm uncomfortable at candle vigils and money earning walks.  And I have the right to change my mind tomorrow and wear a pink ribbon in my hair while struggling to walk a mile holding a candle.  Why do I have that right?  Because I bear the scars.