Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014; Be Thankful and Mindful

There is no doubt that life is often full of adversity, turmoil, sadness and stress but despite the struggles, I pray that each and every one of you finds something to be thankful for. For those of you with family and friends; take the time to embrace them.

For those of you that have endured a loss, I pray that you find some joy in your memories. I know that the holiday season will be rough, so do the best that you can and be gentle with yourself. For those of us that are in the lives of others that are suffering through the holidays; be kind. Allow them their “moments” and share in their laughter, and their tears.

I have so much to be grateful for that my cup run’eth over; I have an incredible husband, three beautiful children, a wonderful daughter in law and five amazing grandchildren. In addition to my immediate family, I am blessed to still have my dear mother to cherish, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family, a multitude of very dear friends and extended family.

I have friends that I have known most of my life, friends I have met through dancing and my dear CML family; for all of you, I am grateful. I wish you a day full of laughter, thanksgiving and good health!

Be thankful for what you have and mindful of others less fortunate.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

When Someone Close to You Dies

This has been a tough year; one filled with loss. I have endured the loss of my father, CML sisters and brothers, a neighbor, and the loss of my dear, childhood friend. While each and every one of these losses has left a hole in my heart, the death of my childhood friend is intangible. It is a loss that I cannot wrap my mind around, so please excuse the likeliness of a post, which bounces all over the board.

I am not certain why I feel compelled to share this raw emotion with the world, other than to shed light on the importance of relationships, and the harsh reality that life always ends in death; always.  I believe that the ultimate decision is in God’s hands, but that doesn't mean I like it, or understand it.

I am fortunate to have a handful of true friends, you know the kind; the ones that you do not speak to everyday, but are always there in your heart; time and distance meaning nothing, as they are a part of your soul, and that is that. I am grateful for each and every one of you.

My childhood friend was all of that and more; he was the one person that has been in my life, for as long as I can remember. We were nine months apart in age, he being the “oldest”, a fact that he reminded me of constantly, until we hit the age of forty! Lol From that point on, I reminded him that he was the oldest! Lol

As life would have it, we shared ours’; our parents were best friends. We shared birthdays and holidays, school days and skipped school days, we shared our inner most secrets, fears and desires. He and I were together when my seven year old sister tragically died in a car accident; we didn't only share happy times, we shared tragic ones, too. Oddly enough it wasn't always what we said to each other, it was often simply the presence of each other, which mattered.

Losing him is like closing a major book in my life; not a chapter, but a book.  It is the book on the shelf that my entire life has been built upon. It is the book, that no matter which chapter I chose to visit, I could share it with him because he has always been there; always. He helped me write that book and he was the only other person on this planet that knew what was written on those pages; we shared and built our lives, side by side.  He was the spine of that book and I never imagined that he would be taken so soon. He was barely 56 years old and I am having a difficult time accepting the fact that even though I will always have our memories, I will no longer have the option of opening my book and revisiting my life, with the one person in the world that was there while it was developing.

Of course, I am fortunate enough to still have my mother, brother, sister and friends, but having a childhood friend without boundaries is a little different, it is that understanding that is gone and will so be missed. I still have so many questions to ask, and experiences to reminisce and contemplate that I am simply heartbroken; as so often is the case: I want one more day!

On the other side of the coin, I am extremely blessed, grateful and happy. I have a wonderful husband that I admire, love and appreciate more than words can say. We have four remarkable children and five amazing grandchildren. I have friends and family that love and support me, and a life that is sometimes challenging, but always rewarding, full and worth living.

 I am discounting none of this, but despite having it all, I still suffer from sadness, and that is OK. 
Sadness and grief are a part of life; an essential part of life. The only way to avoid heartache is to have not experienced joy; to live in a box and allow no one to penetrate your heart. For me, this is not an option and I realize it is because of the life that we shared, the memories that we made, and the time that we spent together growing up, that I am paying the price; the price of heartache for having the privilege, of having someone so special in my life. Without all of the joy, the pain would not be so severe; and I am honored to have been given the opportunity to have such a great partner in crime, to maneuver through childhood and into adulthood with; our friendship will always be cherished.
The most difficult part of losing my dear friend is the reality that we must all face the world without his bright light; his sense of humor and his unrelenting desire to help others. He was not through living and I know in my heart of hearts that God is probably having a difficult time convincing him that he really is where he is meant to be.

My heart not only breaks for me, it breaks for his devoted wife, his parents, his sister and her kids and a sea of friends that he has left behind.

Some things are just so hard to accept......Live, love and make each moment count.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Current PCR; Down, But Still Not Great!

Looking back over the past year, it is not a wonder that my head is reeling and my emotions are all over the board. Last year I was dealing with pain; pain in my hips, feet, back; muscles, joints and nerves. This year I am dealing with a bouncing PCR. I just cannot seem to get it under control; kind of like life.

Last year I had the good fortune of celebrating two negative PCR results. This year I have had PCR results ranging from .432 to .134. I cannot seem to achieve the coveted >.1% to save my soul, despite my maximum 140 mg dosage of Sprycel.

My latest test result was slightly better than the one before at .19, down from .28. I am trying to give my blood the benefit of the doubt by factoring into the equation that I was off of Sprycel, for seven days, due to a mild case of pneumonia, during that time. I will see my oncologist on the 19th of December and will have another PCR test, and I guess we shall go from there. I am praying another drop, preferably below the .1% mark.

On the upside, the increased dose of 140 mg of Sprycel seems to have alleviated all of my pain symptoms! Within the first five days of starting the higher dose, my pain disappeared; while I still suffer from fatigue and minor pleural effusion, I am now able to go about my day, relatively pain free; this makes for a much more enjoyable life. This pain free existence is the main reason that I am reluctant to switch medications. The fear of the “unknown” verses the facts of the “known” are a mental struggle that I try not to engage in. I know that if my PCR does not continue to drop, that a change may be in order, but for now, I am sticking with the plan.

The PCR roller coaster of life continues….But I will never give up hope!

Bricks for the Brave!!