Friday, June 29, 2012

Quote for a Friday...

"Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time." 
~ Asha Tyson~

Enjoy the view on your journey...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What is your heart's desire?


What is your heart's wish?
     My heart wishes for a home ... peace and quiet ... serenity ... serendipity.  My heart wishes for joy ... happiness ... laughter ... uncontrollable giggles.  My heart wishes for miracles ... answered prayers.  My heart wishes that all your wishes come true.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oreo Zen


Not a current picture of the Zen Master
2009
     Tropical storm Debby blew through here over the past few days, bringing rain [beyond the cats and dog kind, more like horses and cows] and wind. There is a roof leak in the front room closet ceiling, but otherwise, we came through it unharmed. We acquired a small being... a puppy that had been left on a sinking boat in the storms for two days with no food or water. [Some people just don't need to have dogs.] He is six weeks old, black with a small spot of white on his chin, and a "blue pit." We've named him Bear. I'm afraid he might be the size of a small one when he grows up.



     I was sitting on the back patio this afternoon, thinking about the meaning of life. Grateful to finally see sunshine. [One of those deep thought moments, don'cha hate 'em?] Oreo jumped up on my lap while I was listening to the babble of the water fountain next to me, so I asked him what he thought was the meaning of life.

     He gave me a look that said "What? You don't already know?" and then jumped to the chair next to me to curl up on the cushion so he could ignore me comfortably.

     It dawned on me then that he was giving me the answer.

     Patience, silly grasshopper. The meaning of life comes with patience, because all good things come to those that wait.

     He waited patiently for me to return, and I did. I waited patiently for him to forgive me for leaving him behind, and he did.

     My life of late has been filled with impatience. I've been angry, frustrated, depressed and stressed. I want things to happen yesterday, and I'm forgetting that they already have. Things happened yesterday. And the day before that, and the day before that. All of those things that I couldn't wait to happen... did. All of those things I can't wait to happen now... will.

     With patience.

     Ahhh, yes, silly grasshopper. Now you understand. Everything happens, no matter what we do to speed it up or slow it down. Life happens. Being impatient only makes the wait more uncomfortable. Go curl up on the bed and take a nap. You will see. When you wake, you will find that today has happened, and soon tomorrow will also. There is no need to rush the moment. Enjoy it, because soon it will just be a memory. When you spend all your energy trying to rush the day because you want what tomorrow holds, you lose what today offers. To keep going when the going is hard and slow... that is patience.
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
~Tolstoy~

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Post-Op Report...

     The VAIN3 was so thick and deep in the back vaginal wall that he had to laser it until the wall was almost paper thin.  At one point the wall tore because it was so thin and he had to create a small flap and suture it.  I'm healing well, and he feels he got 95-98% of it.  Time will tell.  I will have to have exams every six months for several years, and then yearly for the rest of my life if there is no indication that it returned, although there is an 80% chance that it will return and/or spread.

     My nagging worry now is that when the vaginal wall tore, some of the cancerous cells could have gotten into my abdominal cavity.  I'm telling the nag to shut up for now, but I will have to be extra vigilant about annual physicals.

     One thing that he also said which I thought was interesting was regarding smoking.  I'm not a "smoker" as in a steady-pack-a-day-habit.  In the past two years, I have probably smoked one pack total as an occasional "I cannot deal with this stress right now" release.  This morning doctor told me I needed to stop, and stop immediately.  In his twelve years of experience with this kind of cancer, not a single "non-smoker" has ever had it.  For some reason, the carcinogens in cigarettes cause this cancer to accelerate, which is probably why I went from mild dysplasia in December 2011 to VAIN3 (actually called Cancer 0, it is the worst possible short of Vaginal Cancer Stage 1) in March 2012.  Those four months in Texas were the most stressful for me, and while I wasn't a frequent smoker, he said all it takes is a few to flip the switch on my immune system.
Stop Smoking
     He won't need to tell me twice.  With as much as he removed ~ even though it was much less than the third of my vagina that the Texas surgeon wanted to remove ~ I'd like to keep what I have left and know that  with the high possibility that the cancer will return even if I don't smoke... I don't need to push my luck.

What belongings do you wish for?

Belongings. Belong. Be. Longings.

There have been so many things in the past weeks... months... years that I have wished for.  Physical things.  Emotional things.  Spiritual things.  Material things.  

So many things I have lost in the past weeks... months... years that I wished I could get back.  Friendships.  Furniture.  Finances.  Stability.

My first thought was for all the things I've lost.

Then it was just to be.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.  To be in a place where no one knows my name.  No one knows my face.  No one knows my past.  To be able to erase who I was completely and disappear.  Wipe the slate clean.  Start over.

Mom makes me promise I won't do that.  But that promise is only with her, for as long as she lives.  After that... all promises are void.

I long to be me again.  To feel secure.  To feel comfortable.  To not feel like I have to question and doubt everyone and everything.  To not be this person who doesn't [can't] trust.  To not be this person that is afraid to open up to anyone [everyone]. 

I just want to be... left alone to heal.  To rebuild.

Belongings come and go.  I can testify to that.  I once had nice things, but no longer.  And they really don't matter anyway because in the end... you can't take them with you.  All you have are the memories, and right now... that is what I long for.  Happier memories.

Ephesians 6:13

"13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

     Recently I've been facing some unexpected evils... in the form of people I thought I could trust... people I thought were friends... people who hurt me... broke my trust... caused me pain. People who lied to hurt someone I love because they saw a way in... saw a way to manipulate me through my fears and worries. People who took advantage of me and the fact that I want so much to believe that there are still good people in this world.
     
     The day of evil came and I stood my ground. But not against who they wanted me to, not against who they expected me to. I almost ... almost ... lost everything because of their lies. I almost made a mistake and had someone I love put away for a long time because of their lies, tricks and deception.

     I stood. But I will never really trust again, and never really believe again that there are good people in the world. I will always keep everyone at arm's length from now on. 

     I will stand with God, but I will stand with only the ones that I love and can trust at my side... and that is a very short list.
Take a stand.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Everything...

"For every setback, disappointment and heartbreak, Cindi, ask yourself, "What does this create the opportunity for?"

And therein you will find its gift.

Everything has a reason,
The Universe

And if you look close enough, Cindi, that reason will always be love, healing, or happy dancing, if not all three."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I was...

I WAS...
someone who trusted
someone who would give you the shirt off my back if you needed it more
someone who believed that people were ultimately good
someone who believed that random acts of kindness would grow love in the world
someone who hated to take, but was always willing to give
someone who struggled with asking for help, but would drop everything to help someone else
someone who just wanted to make a difference in the world even if no one ever knew my name.

I AM...
someone who was betrayed
someone who was used
someone who was abused
someone who was stolen from after I opened my home to homeless "friends"
someone who was lied to and is being lied about
someone who no longer trusts
someone who no longer believes
someone who never again will open my home, my house, to help others
someone who will never again give freely

I AM....
someone who hates this person they have made me
someone who hates those people who have hurt me
someone who hates this feeling of distrust, fear, and loneliness
someone who will survive no matter how hard they try to destroy me

I WILL BE...
someone who is better than them
someone who is wiser
someone who will take this lesson, learn from it, grow from it and change because of it
because

I AM A SURVIVOR
I AM A FIGHTER
I AM SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT GIVE UP
I AM SOMEONE WHO WILL NOT TURN INTO THEM
I AM BETTER THAN THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY HAVE HURT ME NOW
I AM BETTER
I AM



Friday, June 8, 2012

Pick your battles...

"You'll provide what a person needs most: an understanding heart and maybe a hand to hold, too. This you'll do without cause or motive other than to release the compassion inside you. 
Pick your battles. Only go to the mat on important matters."

     I wish I had read this on Thursday when I needed it most.  Sometimes my horoscope is like that.  Day late.  Dollar short.  Most of the time I don't read my horoscope until late in the day or the next, just to see if they were close to being accurate.  It's a roll of the dice most of the time, and just like statistics, it all depends on what you want to hear... or know.  Interpretation is in the mind of the reader.  

     Yesterday I took actions based on what someone told me was 'their' truth.  Because I wasn't in the room when events occurred and only heard their side of the equation.  Their side of the bell curve.  I made choices that in retrospect... I see now how I was manipulated into believing they were telling the truth.  Because I couldn't imagine someone lying to me... about that or anything else.  I didn't grow up in a world where lies were a way of life.  Where deceit and manipulation were normal.

     I feel now like I grew up in a bubble.  Maybe even on another planet.

     I don't want to change who I am... or what I believe... but feel now that I don't have a choice.  I don't want to live a life of paranoia, being suspicious and distrusting.... but feel now that I don't have a choice.  Because I don't know anymore what is the truth and what is a lie.  I don't know which way is up... or down... east... or west... north... or south.  I don't know.

     I don't know why someone would do something like that to me when all I've done is tried to help them.  When all I did was welcome them with open arms.

     But they did.  And it hurts.  And it has changed me whether I like it or not.

     It has changed me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Delights...

     Jamie Ridler Studios has posted a worksheet for finding Delights for Each Sense.  These are some of mine...

I love the taste of…
Any berry sorbets
Sharp cheddar cheese
Homemade salsa with cilantro
Fresh brewed unsweetened ice tea
French onion soup





I love the sight of…
The full moon low in the sky doing a slow dance with the setting sun
Rainbows when it is still raining
A clear night sky and the millions of stars twinkling hello
Puppies and kittens






I love the feel of…
Freshly laundered sheets after a cold bath in the summer
Rain on my face
Salt spray and sea breezes
Trooper leaning against me to reassure me that he is my soul dog


I love the smell of…
Desert sage after a rain
Harvested onions drying in the fields
Alaska snow
Wet dogs after a bath
Warm homemade bread just out of the oven

I love the sound of…
Mom laughing
Rain on a tin roof
Henry snoring at the end of the bed
A quiet, drama-free home

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Trust yourself...

"If you hesitate and question your instincts, you'll miss out on an opportunity. 
Instead, trust yourself and go forward. Clouds will lift. The sun will light your path." 

The sun will light your path.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Living in limbo...

     I keep wanting to put things back as they once were in this house that is still sort of mine for a time.  But I resist because it doesn't feel the same... doesn't look the same... and won't ever be the same.  I'm here on borrowed time, and know that the more I do now... the more I will have to do later when I have to leave this behind again for real.

     For real.

     The last several weeks have felt surreal.  I don't feel I belong here anymore, but am not really sure where I need to be.  When I was in Texas all I could think of was getting back to Florida.  Now that I'm here... something has changed.

     I have changed.  I have changed and I don't even know how yet, but I have changed.
I've been changed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Boys will be boys

No rain in a few days, but Henry still managed to find a mud puddle this morning on our walk.

Full Strawberry Moon

"The Full Strawberry Moon, the Full Honey Moon, the Full Rose Moon, what evocative names for this luscious, sensual moon. As we were encouraged to gather our supplies and images beneath the new moon, we were invited to consider the question, “What would I love to delight in this month?” Let this moon set you free to dream with wild abandon, to bust through any barriers that have been in your way. Fill your dreamboard with whatever stirs your spirit and catches your soul – without censorship. Let yourself experience the luscious abundance of this moon and fill your dreamboard to overflowing. Let the pictures drip off the sides of the page. Run wild with your dreams under this full strawberry moon. Post your dreamboard and share a link with Jamie Ridler Studios."


I thought of several things for this month's full moon, but kept coming back to the thought of
Strawberries
with their luscious sweetness
that is sometimes tart.
I'm in a place and time in life when I feel like I've become a ripe
Strawberry
Sweet... but also a little tart.
This is a time for me to restart my life.
Make changes.
Do things different.
I want to delight in the sweetness of new opportunities.

I wish I'd been able to see the partial eclipse of the full moon this morning.
How magical that would have been.
Perhaps tonight I will be able to get a picture of the full moon rising.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Sunday of Silent Inner Reflection

Moon reflected on the bay at low tide.
Crab trap in the foreground.
Boat off to the left.
Wondering just who I am these days.
Who I want to be.
Who I was.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Soap boxing...

     Earlier this week, I had laser surgery to hopefully remove the cancerous cells that have invaded my body.  I won't know all of the test results that were done during the surgery for another two weeks, or whether or not the surgery was successful.

     It still amazes me that so few women that I've spoken to about my cancer have ever heard of it, or knew that it was possible.

     The National Cancer Institute believes that vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that affects less than 2% of all gynecological cancers in women.  I believe that percentage is wrong.  I believe that more women get it, but because they don't get annual pelvic exams, it isn't detected until it gets to Stage IV when it has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.

     The information below is paraphrased from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America's website.  I'm sharing it not to cause panic, but to show how important it is for women to continue to have annual pelvic exams even if they have had a hysterectomy (partial or full) and have been told it wasn't necessary to continue the exams.
Fight like a girl... fight for yourself..

     The point that I really want to stress is that this IS a cancer that can spread if it goes undetected.  You must be an advocate for your own health.  Get annual exams especially if you have had to have a hysterectomy due to any kind of dysplasia.

Vaginal Cancer

There are a combination of guidelines set by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) to stage vaginal cancers.   These guidelines help doctors get an overall picture of the extent to which the cancer is affecting the body by taking into account size, shape and spread.

"The TNM system evaluates the size and extent of the tumor (T), the spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes (N), and whether or not the cancer has spread (M) to other sites, using the letter M to indicate metastasis. The combined summary of the categories TNM are reported as Stages 0-IV. The FIGO system, on the other hand, stages vaginal cancer based on the size and the extent of the tumor (T).
TNM Stage Grouping for Vaginal Cancer

The following are the TNM stage groupings for vaginal cancer:

Stage 0 Vaginal Cancer - Called carcinoma in situ (CIS), this cancer appears in the epithelium, the top cells lining the vagina. Women may also hear their doctors call this stage 3 vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN).

Stage I Vaginal Cancer - The cancer may have grown throughout the vagina, but it has not spread beyond the vagina. It has also not spread to the lymph nodes or other distant sites.

Stage II Vaginal Cancer - Doctors have discovered cancer in the connective tissue near the vagina. The disease has not spread to the wall of the pelvis or other areas of the body.

Stage III Vaginal Cancer - The vaginal cancer has spread to the walls of the pelvis and/or the nearby lymph nodes. No distant sites are affected by the cancer.

Stage IV Vaginal Cancer - In Stage IV, the cancer may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes. There are two ways to classify stage IV depending on where else in the body the cancer has spread to:

Stage IVA - The cancer may be found in the bladder, rectum or other organs located next to the vagina, and possibly the lymph nodes. Distant organs or sites are not affected.
Stage IVB - This is the most advanced stage, indicating the vaginal cancer has spread to distant sites elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs."