Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Summer's End - Already

How fast it has flown by.  One more week till Labor Day and Two years since diagnosis day! Amazing.  I am continuing to enjoy a very blessed life full of friends, new adventures, and cherishing memories of the past.  Most of the summer has been spent at the lake - enjoying the Adirondacks and friends and family.  The "cabin" is being well used and enjoyed.  John's family, my family, friends, a wonderful blending of people and reuniting of families.  So fortunate to have this little bit of heaven in the wilderness.

Last week we had ALL of my KIDS - all the boys, a daughter in law, and a significant other!  So much fun.  The boys reverted to adirondack adventures from yesteryears - summers at Lake George.  Having two ladies to "observe" the antics with enriched my enjoyment.  Dr. John watched it all go by preparing incredible dinners every night.  The differences in our families was apparant!  SOO much fun and more memories to add the books.  My heart warms when I realize how fortunate we are to have had that time together - to PLAY.

My health continues to be good, and I wish this cancer thing would just go away.  The heavy cloud covers everything I do - it does makes me enjoy more intensely and this is good.  It is hard to think of the "next" time to "do it again"  when I feel some limitation of time - but I don't really know and wish I didn't worry.  Two years is longer than we expected,  and it doesn't seem to be turning yet!  We are making more plans for adventures - but the time frame is shorter.

a weekend trip to the Cape with Will, KA and  their friends Victor and Victoria 

at the Lake with all the boys and more.

  Johnny and I on the sunfish - he caught on quickly!

David taking the sailfish over the sandbar.

KA, Will and Baby Anderson!!
Tyler and J'mie

This week is truly a highlight of my MY summer.

Of course, life is not full of just bliss and reunions - although we would all like it to be.  Sadness has befallen me with the news that my trusted companion of the past 12 years - through thick and thin - Gracie has Cancer herself.  Signs came on quickly.  She is walking slowly, has difficulties with steps, and reminds me so much of exactly where I was two years ago - almost to the day.  Sadly, her prognosis is about what mine was originally,  Hers has little likelihood of changing.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

Willie Nelson - I woke up "still not dead" again today!

Every Three months I go through "the change." or more correctly said, the fear of the change! I have a PET scan to see if there is any growth in my cancer - indicating a resistance has built up to my current treatment, Every three months I get exceptionally moody and inward. I suppose it's another "side effect" of this road I am on. Tuesday I had an appointment with my oncologist about the Pet Scan the week before and it is all good. I get the reports of the scan on the internet before I see the doctor - so, of course, I read them, don't fully understand, panic a bit, and withdraw even more. This time was no different - but once again, all is well, continuing on the same course, and we can make plans for the next three months! - and that brings us to the end of October when (drum roll) . Baby Anderson is due to arrive. I have also been given a reprieve on going to the doctor - I just need a blood test in a month and don't see the doctor for TWO months. John and I are spending a bunch of time at the lake with family and friends. It's a wonderful place to retreat to - and it's fun to share.
Karen Meyer with Carolyn and Ettienne D'Otreppe

Karen flew in from Scottsdale on a whim - hadn't seen her in maybe 12 years.  We picked it right up and moved forward!    I find that so refreshingly amazing.  Lesson here, though, if we are NOT intentional about our friendships,  they won't maintain themselves.  Be a friend and be spontaneous!

I am concerned that her jeans were so worn out - I am looking for iron on patches to send to her!

If I don't write for awhile,  I am trying to forget I have Cancer and live a "normal" life.  I always love to hear from YOU - my inspirations to keep it upbeat but real.  Enjoy the end of summer - and then we get the FALL!  Except for the shorter days - so beautiful.

Monday, July 17, 2017


More side effects to contend with! I've mentioned swelling and nausea and many others and now I have the white blood cell to contend with.  I guess it's common to have a low count and have to skip Chemo - but I have felt so good that it totally surprised me.  I had to go off of it for a week,  and each week is precious.  The count came up, minimally but enough to resume treatment.  As well as attacking the cancer cells, the chemo attacks the white blood cells and compromises my immune system!    When you are given a short period of survival if you "do nothing" doing nothing is not something I want to do.  Don't want to eat up that time.  Doing "something" has worked well.  This is uncontrollable - i can't change my diet, walk farther, breath deeper, take a vitamen...  Of course, I fear that old slippery slope in my future and wonder - fear - that any change is the beginning.  

 Monday I have the pet scan which is the bottom line on knowing what's going on with my treatment. I can't study for this test, it is what it is. Keep your prayers coming and fingers crossed. I will let you know how it goes. 

 Meanwhile, I continue to live a wonderful, active life.  John and I went on a river cruise last month which was devine.  We have spent and will spend more time at the lake this summer - what a relief from the incredible heat we have been having.  A trip to the cape... plans for Austin, Maine...  it is a busy, fun summer planned.  

With Will and KA and ??  at the Cape

Thanks for traveling with me on this bumpy road. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Not an easy Month

This has been a roller coaster of emotions,  probably made more dramatic with the reality of my own diagnosis in the background.  the highs higher and the lows,  well, you get it.

David E. Anderson Sr.
My perspective is MY perspective, we all have our own.  The loss of David resonates with me on many different levels.  During the funeral times, I was mostly focused on the boys and their reactions,  trying to be there for them when needed but let the grieve together and alone.  Then I identified with the loss, thinking about my own diagnosis five weeks after his,  the parallel that aren't parallel.  But similarities make me aware on a much different scale.  And then came the whammy of having to deal with my own grief with the loss I was married to, had children with, and lived the better part of my life.  I, too, feel a hole in my heart and a blank space where there always was a supportive partner.

I am working through these emotions, they will not be dealt with easily, nor should they be.  The boys are having their own transitions and concerns which I am not able to patch and make better!  Mother's instincts don't die, but I am doing my best.

And then,  three weeks later, as a total surprise, my dear friends, Christina and Gil Ahrens became my dear friend Christina.  One moment laughing and planning for the future, the next,  Gil was gone.

Gil Ahrens
Emotionally, these events have taken a toll on my psyche and perhaps my physical well being, for the moment.  The strength of a positive attitude is clear.  My last visit to the Doctor resulted in a recommendation for a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia - which turned out NOT to be there,  and a cessation of my Chemo for a week because the white blood cell count was low.

I need to bring back the positive power and get those white cells up!  I can do it, and will.  It's just so easy to fall into a pit of sadness.

Chocolate splurge on our "getaway"
I am very blessed with good friends who care, a husband who has great patience with me and keeps me busy doing some pretty fun things.  He is my strength and rock when I need it.  Although he doesn't understand some of sensitivities and over thinking of things,  he allows it,  which is all I could hope for.   Between these two sadnesses,  we were able to get away and have some glorious adventures.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Family Gathers

I am so sad to have this news for you all,  but David Sr. passed away the morning of May 28th.  He had fought a hard battle for two years with Multiple myloma and kidney failure.  He fought hard against the odds, keeping his spirit and positive attitude until the end.

David Jr,  Will, John and Tyler helped were and are being strong but feeling a great hole in their hearts.   He was a very good man who had wonderful words, stories and heart to share.  His obituary can be found here:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Anticiipation and Motivation

This has been a wonderful Spring.  Daffodils are up holding their heads up proudly in the rain today.  Their color is even brighter than yesterday.  I have had some wonderful trips seeing old friends with more to come.  My health continues to be good and my energy level as well.  The side effects continue, but I am adapting.  No more cowboy boots on these swollen feet! Another sad [paradox,  I am married to a fabulous cook and my taste buds have gone cofluie.  Oh well.   I have a lot to be thankful for.

For Example.....  John and I planned a trip to Dallas, intending to  visit my son John in the town he lived in.  Unfortunately,  NO FORTUNATELY,  John called while I was planning, to tell us he was coming to Boston for an interview!  I had no idea he had even put together his resume!  All went well and a month later, he arrived in Boston for his new job the day before we left for Dallas.  He is enjoying it, seems very happy, and making his way.  I am very proud of him, not to mention so pleased to have him so much closer.  I anticipate opportunities to spend more time with him in the future.  He is working for Perkin Elmer at a customer lactation with responsibilities for (P&E's) testing equipment.  I  think I have that close to right.

BUT WAIT,  THERE IS EVEN MORE!  I am finally able to pass on some other news that pleases me no end and gives me a longer term perspective on my planning that I have allowed myself  since the diagnosis.  Yep,  Will and KA are going to make me a Grannie in October!  Gotta stick around.  As you can imagine,  I get a little weepie when I think of Will holding his own baby.  I am so looking forward to this.

With all this wonderful news,  I also have a longer re spit between doctor visit and can,  for a few moments at a time,  not be conscious of the diagnosis because I am so lucky to be with great friends and family.   There is great anticipation in upcoming events as well as more motivation to keep positive and strong.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


After a little difficulty dealing with "side effects" John and I had an incredible week in Dallas.  We saw only a few old times friends, but I saw each at least twice.  Under the circumstances (mine), getting more than one visit in made us all feel the ongoing friendship.  Didn't plan it that way but am so grateful to have learned that.  

John and I were entertained like dignitaries visiting many beautiful, elegant, tasty, very Texas places in Dallas with a side trip to Mineola.  

Before the trip, I was experiencing some psychological sadness... dare I say anger... about many little things in my life.  Trying to work through them I realized that a lot of it comes from my growing anger, frustration, and lack of control on many aspects of my life.... I was and AM really, really angry at the CANCER.  

I have not made peace with that, but I my anger is counter balanced by the realization that this beautiful trip and another incredibly emotional ladies lunch would not have had the intensity if it weren't for the cancer.  Such paradox's and serendipity.

To complete the circle of feeling that this a global reality I am experiencing, I just received a new word from the labyrinth.  This is the 28th from me dear friend Suzan Zeder.   So appropriately, the word is COMPANION.  I can't pretend to summarize - her usage of words is too important.  Please read and enjoy:

As I walked this morning I carried the complexity of many conflicting feelings. I struggled to find a word wise enough to bring insight and elastic enough to hold all of the opposites I felt. As I walked everything was quiet, even the birds seemed to be thinking! Zack crossed his dog paws and pondered. Then I noticed my own shadow as my silent companion, growing larger or dwindling as the sun splashed over me. So, the word for today is companion. 
                  Companion: One with whom you spend a lot of time. 
                                   One with whom you travel. 
It occurred to me that all these conflicting feelings are really not enemies but 

          Sorrow is softened by joy
                      Fear is tempered by Courage 
                              Concern is leavened with Celebration
                                 Even Grief is comforted by Gratitude. 
As we walk with our shadow selves and with the memory of those we have lost, we often find ourselves caught between the conflicting ends of an emotional spectrum. Perhaps the best plan is simply join hands and hearts and to embrace the paradox of opposing forces so we may walk with grace through this liminal space. 

Summer's End - Already

How fast it has flown by.  One more week till Labor Day and Two years since diagnosis day! Amazing.  I am continuing to enjoy a...