Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The disappointment and unsettling news we received two weeks ago has slowly processed. Normal routines are quietly replacing the deep sadness we were experiencing. It is amazing the hit a body takes when emotionally shaken. It seemed every movement required extra energy. I personally did not have much in reserves. Dick was down in the trenches with me. I don't think I have ever seen him so affected. It was difficult to watch him so low.

Although I do not have the answers as to why things happen the way they do, I have a deep faith and belief that this is all part of a bigger plan. The break in treatment is allowing my body to be rejuvenated and healed in other ways. With that, I am now being given the opportunity to learn more about alternative therapies. My naturopath, Annika, is preparing me with an arsenal of supplements. The amount of research she has done is astonishing. Herbs and natural remedies can do remarkable things.

Tomorrow I have a class with a macrobiotic chef. She is going to show me that healthy eating does not mean giving up on entertaining ones taste buds. My own research has shown that a healthy diet is going to be one of my most beneficial natural cures.

It is interesting the response I receive when I tell people that I am changing my diet to complete vegetarian. Most responses are 'if I were you, I would just eat whatever I wanted and enjoy that part life.' Not so much. There is a definite fork in the road where you need to make that decision. My decision is to do all I can for me and the people that I love to extend my personal ride as long and as healthily as I can. I can't imagine telling Eileen I would rather eat steak and overdose on chocolate cake rather than spending more time with her. Need I say more?

Through all this, so many wonderful and caring individuals have reached out to us. This is truly one of the most amazing blessings we have received in our lives. We are so thankful for all of the support. Although I have not been able to personally write and acknowledge each thoughtful note or phone call, please know that your words have been received and are deeply, deeply appreciated.

phoe·nix Pronunciation: \ˈfē-niks\ Function: noun 4. a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The trip to Cabo San Lucas was glorious. The home was just as I had remembered from the last visit Dick and I enjoyed. The beautiful weather allowed for daily morning walks and sitting around the pool for hours taking in the healing powers of the sun. Evenings in the hot tub allowed for great conversation...and we never solved the problems of the world. I was blessed to be surrounded by two wonderful, caring and fun loving friends. A very special trip indeed.

Returning from Mexico was a busy time, as it gave me few days to prepare for my upcoming surgery. Knowing one is not going to be able to physically be involved in spring cleaning, digging in my garden and comfortably breathing in the fresh air of the season found me a bit melancholy. With that, the surgery was bringing me great hope in life...my own spring renewal.

This week started with diagnostics at Mayo; blood tests, pulmonary function tests and a final CT scan. Our meeting with doctor Cassivi was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. I packed my bags, finalized personal paperwork, gave Bert (our super dog) a hug and let him know I would see him in a few weeks. These past days have been very emotional. Leading up to this final appointment was torturous for both Dick and me.

We arrived for our appointment yesterday afternoon. Dr. Grothey saw us first...which I found surprising. This appointment was scheduled with Dr. Cassivi. The first words Dr. Grothey asked were 'how are you feeling?' How am I feeling? I am feeling great. I've been off chemo, enjoyed warm weather with friends...life is great! He asked again. My mind raced. Oh no....please, don't tell me surgery is off!!!!

My suspicion was correct. He explained to me that after further review of my most recent CT scans and the placement of one specific tumor, he felt the surgery would not benefit me. Doctor Cassivi joined in our conversation and was in complete agreement. Basically, what they told me is what I had been told last June. I am inoperable. They could remove some of the tumors. Unfortunately, they would have to leave most of the tumor in my pleaural lining. With that and the risks involved, they felt it was not in my best interest to pursue the surgery.

I was told to enjoy the Spring. Enjoy the feeling of being whole and healthy. Take a break from cancer. Dr. Grothey said he would see me in June and see if there were any trials we might find beneficial. In the end, Dick and I knew they were kindly telling us to go live life and continue with the positive attitude that has carried me through so much.

I know that so many of you have been praying for me. Although not directly involved, I am aware that you have been feeling anxious and concerned about the procedure. So much energy being given. Thank you.

I awoke this morning numb. Tears have been pulling themselves up from deep inside my gut. I've barely spoken a word to Dick. We just sit quietly together not knowing what to say or do.

Give me a few days....this lost feeling will turn around. I already have a plan. Exercise, yoga, meditation and hire a nutritionist to help me figure out how to make food that is good for you taste good. The most important thing I am going to do is wake up each day with a deep appreciation of having the opportunity of doing so.

Things happen for a reason. Although it feels like my life has been pulled out from under me....giving up is just not my thing. Hope, love and the power of prayer. That can't be taken from me.

My need (our need) for your prayers has not ended. Now, more than ever, I will be reaching out to you for your energy. I am always being asked 'what can I do for you'? My answer has not changed....pray, pray, pray.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mentally Preparing

Today was 'Target Tuesday'. Between Eileen's schedule, my heath complications and travel, we have not had an opportunity to enjoy our special day together in quite some time . We went out of our way today knowing this would be the last Tuesday we would spend together for several weeks.

It's amazing how good one can feel when no longer being pumped with chemo. The trip to Sacramento last week was a reminder of how it feels to live fully. It feels pretty darn good! The days started early and ended late...and I was able to keep up!!! Good thing, as I leave on Thursday for the planned girls trip to Cabo San Lucas. The trip to Mexico will be all about rest and relaxation. The plan is healthy eating, meditating, reading and soaking up the sun. (Okay, I might slip a Margarita or two in there as well.) I should be well prepared for surgery upon my return.

Planning for surgery is a very strange experience. When I had surgery last June, it was within days of learning that the cancer had spread. Being given time to physically prepare myself is quite difficult on the psyche. I don't know what is causing the most trepidation...the surgery or the recovery. I have a very good memory...and it hasn't forgotten the experience of a less complicated surgery.

My surgery date is actually April 16th. We misunderstood Dr. Cassivi when he scheduled time on the 15th. The 15th is meant as a final review of the procedure. We will be advised that day of the actual surgery time on the 16th. So....the 16th will be the day I would really appreciate your prayers. I am going to ask if you could also send positive energy and prayers to all of the individuals that will be involved in my care as well. Hey...I'm going to be sleeping and on happy drugs!

My blessings and well wishes to all of you. I wish I could wrap my arms around each and every one of you and thank you personally.