Western education 2013

Saturday, July 31, 2010


.... I read Sylvia Browne's latest book..... she is a psychic.... and a really good one.  I saw the book at the library and picked it up.  I put it back down and walked away.... and then walked back and picked it up again.  Lately, whether you call it instinct or intuition, it's about following that inner voice as it leads you to discover something you wouldn't necessary go consciously looking for.  The book spoke to me and appealed to the positive changes in my life that would not have happened without this crazy cancer journey.

Friday 30th July

Everything happens for a reason, so I have been told and truly what I believe in life to be true.  The word has come down and I realize with resignation that it is time to create some sort of closure in my life this week before moving on to the next step.  I am going to clean out my locker - it is symbolic and accepting of what I have known for a while... I am unable to perform my duties as a technician in my place of work because it requires me to lift heavy equipment, cable pull etc.  I am devastated and the tears come easily - it has been 17 years since I was hired straight out of school.  I was able to support my family as the breadwinner for all these years and took incredible pride in my abilities.  There is no doubt that I was good at my job, it is just an aspect of my new reality that I have limitations.

Mark has been good to me all these years, as a friend and as a boss and I will miss his easy candor and quick smile.  He is not sure what to say.... what can you say when you are sitting across someone who can't seem to get a sentence out without the hitch in a quavering voice and the tears.  Men are always uncomfortable with tears but he sits there quietly and offers encouraging words when I finally turn to face him.  We head out to our offices and I borrow the spare locker key from him.... not sure what happened to mine?  I re-use the cardboard box that is in my locker from when I cleared out my desk a year ago and start to sort out the paperwork, saving the project drawings that I had been working on - I will leave it with Bruce to finish it up.  I have filled a couple of containers with parts and connectors that I have sorted through to be put back into stock or into someone else's tool box.  Mark has made coffee and it seems as if all the cream in the fridge has gone bad as I study the lumps swirling around in the cup.  I decide to have it black and realize that I was likely drinking bad coffee masked by good cream all those years!! :)  Cal comes in and gives me a hug and kiss and hangs out while he considers the task I am undertaking.  He doesn't grill me but after some joking, he pulls out a collection of pocket protectors and offers me one.  I ask him to sign it for me and voila - Mark, Bruce and Cal are signing away with the black sharpie I have just deposited into one of the pencil containers.

I am introduced to my replacement who comes over to shake my hand.  He appears to be quite friendly and comfortable with his new co-workers.  He should be, they are an incredible group of guys whom I will dearly miss working with.  I can see he is listening to our conversation and who wouldn't be when the girl you are covering for all of a sudden shows up!!  Wish you all the best. Bruce and I wander over to the back shop - ah, my work bench is filled with equipment that Bruce is working on..... *sigh*.  It is a private conversation, just one of many we have had over the years.  I trust him implicitly - a good friend and confidant.  I will miss working with you!!  Hugs and best wishes are exchanged and it is time to go.  Mark comes over and picks up the box which is full - you can see the tampon boxes tucked in and Jeff has mentioned to me about Tampon Tuesday earlier when he noticed them and we all got a good laugh when I mentioned that I do attend and always with a huge box of them from Costco.  I carry them in to the events without the guise of a plastic bag.  Mark pops the box into the trunk and we talk for a little bit but I can see he has to leave.  I will miss you.

There are more tears when I get home,  I wipe them off and then decide that tomorrow will be the first day of the rest of my life.  I will go into rehab and work in another position, one that I am looking forward to... see, there is always a silver lining in every storm cloud.  As for the rest of my co-workers that I have been unable to see today.... please know, that I am sending you each  best wishes and hope we bump into each other sooner than later. xox We are heading out on Sunday to the cottage from Cottage Dreams.  Thank you to my close neighbor friends whose laughter and support has been incredulous.  No Sue, there will be no more tears this year or even next.  I love you all.  M xox

Thursday, July 22, 2010

..... trying hard to get back in the groove

..... trying to regain the strength and shape I have lost over the past year and with all the best of intentions - I started at the local gym with a gift membership.  I started with cardio and was doing just fine until the personal trainer came by to see if I was interested in just having a free evaluation.  She also indicated that she was a cancer survivor of 15 years.  I thought that was great, she would understand and realize some of the issues I was faced with.  In short, I stretched per her instructions and have now slept with an amazing amount of pain in the shoulder that according to the massage therapist may have suffered an injury to the rotator cuff.  In the past few weeks, I have come across a number of people who have also been injured under the guise of a well-intentioned personal trainer including a doctor!!!  What irked me the most, besides the injury, which will be confirmed by ultra sound sometime this week, was the fact that she put the sales squeeze on me and pulled the guilt card when I told her I could not afford $500 a month..... of course I told her, my health is important but I also attempted to tell her that feeding my children was just as important.  Why was I trying to explain myself?  Why did I feel obligated to answer her when 'no' should have sufficed?  She felt that it was in my best interest to just forget about my cancer journey and put it behind me and then she questioned why I was not working.......  wrong approach and frankly she just knows nothing about me or my situation.  Every journey is as individual as every woman that goes through it.

13 July 2010

The pain in my hands and wrists has been steadily getting worse which is now being eased with pain medication.  Since I am not good at sitting for any period of time, I have continued to move and try to keep as active as possible.  The pool has been a tremendous help with keeping me moving in a gravity free zone.  My feet are still in pain and every morning I hobble out of bed after spending most of the night stretching out the aches that plague my limbs, feet and hands.  The new medication I am on reduces the swelling and the pain making it easier for me to function.  I am not comfortable taking the muscle relaxants unless I absolutely have to, so instead, I am seeing a massage therapist that specializes in lymphatic massage.  This friday I will be getting a full body massage as well as a lymph massage to try and encourage the muscles to relax.  I keep moving everyday, whether it is in the pool or doing some light gardening to keep myself.

17th July 2010

A wonderful baby shower for a girl whom I have known for most of her life and whom I love like one of my own children.  The years have flown by.  I love you so much and I am looking forward to meeting with your sweet little Payton when she makes her appearance in September.

It is a quick trip to the second venue of the day and I find myself with my classmates from my college days.  Jeff is the host for this second annual event.  He lost his wife to breast cancer and I am deeply saddened for this lovely soul who now spends his free time working.  He has been an invaluable resource and support for me and I am excited to see him.  He recounts memories of his wife re-growing her hair as he admires my thickening mane.  Her cancer returned within a year of treatments.... we are never really sure if it will ever come back but know that worrying about it will not keep it at bay.  I chat with my classmates and note that the children are bigger and we are all a little grayer.  Thank you my friend for your incredible bravery.  You are often in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

Monday 18 July 2010

A great friend, who has always been like a little sister to me has come to visit with her children.  I can tell she has something on her mind but hours go by before she lets me know that she has found a lump in her groin.  She found it 8 months ago and according to her Doctor..... well, he lost all of her results including two ultra sounds and two blood tests ..... then made it impossible for her to make an appointment when she questioned him.  I made a phone call and had her in for a blood test an hour later!!  No one should ever have to put up with that kind of poor medical care!!!!!  Never mind the fear ripping through her when she relates the early death of her Mother to lymphatic cancer and her Grandmother's death from breast cancer.

Tuesday 19th July 2010

..... sometimes when you follow your instinct.... it will lead you on an unplanned adventure.  After Art Therapy, I went home to pick up Lydia and go to the Library.  Neither one of us had lunch, so I suggested McDonald's.  We had just sat down in a booth looking into the play area.  Lydia wanted to go and sit in there and after a little urging, we changed locations.  The lady sitting in the seat kitty-corner to me recognized Lydia as being a classmate of her son.  They are recent transplants from across the ocean and minutes into the conversation, I realize that England is missing her and the little boys chasing my daughter through the tubes.  We let them know that we were going to the library and since they had no card and had never been to our local literary establishment, I invited them to tag along.  Minutes later, I had two lovely young boys, thick accents and all giggling in the back seat with my daughter as their mother and grandfather followed behind.  By the time she got all of their cards, i had the boys signed up for the reading program and Lydia was showing them around.

I know a lot of people and I am grateful for those who know me and who have offered friendship over the years.  One such graceful and loving soul walked up to me and hugs later and a quick catch-up, she tells me that her Relay for Life team made a dedication candle bag in my honor.  Hard not to tear up and be so deeply touched by such a loving gesture.  As we were talking, the lovely companion I had brought with me interrupted and asked me to help her.... she had already lost her library card and was distressed.  I found it as she opened her wallet inviting me to search :)... she apologized to my friend and I introduced them.... small world.  Looks like I just introduced our recent transplant to a prospective new boss.  She called me an Angel and you could see from her excitement that she had a really great day.

22 July 2010

I am still trying to gain some more energy and strength but am frustrated with my two steps forward... somedays I take 3 steps back.  The pain tugs at me 4 hours after I have taken the pain killer/analgesic but this morning the bile coming back up from the upset it causes makes me withdraw from taking another one and so I am up this morning..... early.  I am not hungry but decide to make a cup of coffee and glance over to the pool which is still cloudy.  Note to self... stop going to that pool and spa place... bad advice - I have donated enough money to the cause.  I putter around, read the paper and finish up a sewing project but I still find myself agitated and frustrated.  I want to return to my life, and I will eventually do just that but for now I know I have to be patient.

I get asked if I am enjoying my summer.... I have to answer yes, it sure makes up for last summer but by no means is it a party till you drop kinda season for me.  I have slowed down considerably - there will be no Ladies by the Pool party this year as it has been traditionally for the past 3 years.  We are looking forward to the Cottage Dreams cottage that a very kind and thoughtful cottage owner has loaned to us fee free for 6 days in August.  I have sewn an outfit for Lydia's dolly in preparation for our visit.  With no money and creeping into debt, we will make the best of it.  I just feel bad that I cannot give my children the vacation I know that we all need but hey, this sure comes really close.  We are grateful for the kindness of strangers and have been so amazed by how many have come to our assistance.

My girlfriend got her blood tests back.... it's not bad, but a CT scan is required to check her chest etc.   I am thinking of her as she begins her testing and I am praying that it is nothing....  she is a brave soul and will take what comes her way good or bad and deal with it.... I will always be there to guide her, like the big sister she has come to see me as.

Well, as I am putting this blog to bed.... I highlighted it and promptly erased it!!!  Thank goodness for the  'undo' command.  Wish it would work for the lottery ticket I won and promptly lost this afternoon.... at least I still have the chocolate bars I bought at the same time.