Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beat the Summertime Heat!

I used to love summer, but CML (chronic mylogenous leukemia) has changed that. Now summertime means more days of feeling crappy! It seems that either CML, or the treatment for CML, makes the heat intolerable.

I still love gardening and the great outdoors, spending time at the local watering hole and enjoying outdoor activities with our grandchildren, but this can cause exhaustion and flu-like symptoms with minimal exposure to the heat.

Even getting into a hot car can cause a headache and nausea for me, and dancing in the summertime is always a challenge!

My number one line of defense in the summer, is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water (sports drinks may be a good idea, too)and my number two, and favorite line of defense is my chilly pad, also known as "Nana's Rag"!

I do not go anywhere without my chilly pad; it is my constant summertime friend. I actually have several of them so that I can rotate them to avoid stinkiness; one for the garden, kinda' dirty, one for dancing, and one for "going out on the town", this year I think that I am, going to try the ball cap, too, and see if keeping my head cooler will help with the summertime blues!

It is not often that I endorse products of any kind, but I promise that you will be amazed at just how cool these clothes are, and how much they can help you beat the heat.

Keep in mind these signs of heat stroke during this time of year:

The major signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:

               1. Nausea
               2. Vomiting
                3. Fatigue
                4. Weakness
                5. Headache
                6.  Muscle Cramps
                7. Dizziness

Let us all have a great summer whether you are sheering sheep, planting and harvesting your garden, dancing, fishing, bike riding or rock climbing, please try to stay cool, and healthy!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Time to Ride the Silver Hair Train

A little over four years ago I was diagnosed with chronic mylogenous leukemia. I had no idea what that meant, but I did know that cancer is never a good thing. While I had a million questions and scenarios whirling around in my head, the most prevalent question running through my mind was, "Am I going to die?"

Well, we are ALL going to die "some day," so my next questions was "What do I need to do to live?" The answer to that question was that I would likely have to remain on a daily dose, of  a specific type of chemotherapy, for the rest of my life.  I can do that!

Simple enough, right? What I did not realize at the time,  was just how taxing a potent medication can be on your body. My life saving drug wreaks havoc, in many ways, and today I am going to discuss one of them.

This particular side effect of Dasatinib, otherwise known as Sprycel, is not life threatening, but can be life altering. It is a side effect that strips the color, not only out of my body; which is apparent through my pasty white skin, but out of my hair, too!

Yup, my whole head of hair is now void of any color! I am not sure whether it is white, silver, or some strange combination of the two, but after speaking with my oncologist and my husband, not to mention my internal conflicting thoughts, I have decided to let it grown out and show its' true colors!

This is going to be a process that is easier said than done. Every single morning I wake up and look into the mirror; and what I see is a bit frightening, yet a bit fascinating, too. I have always admired men and women that rock their gorgeous white/silver/grey hair and always wondered if I would ever be able to do the same.

Be careful what you wish for, right? I now have my chance; I have made my decision and I am just going to go for it! No blending, no dying, no more harmful chemicals on my head. I am not sure how long this process will take, or exactly how this is going to work, or look, but I promise to share my progress with you.

I know that many people will think that I am nuts, and I may come to that conclusion myself, some where down the line, but for now, I am rocking the Pepe' Le Pew look!

And that is all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Gratitude: Silent But Listening

It has been many months since I have written any thing; other than my mother's obituary. During this time, much has transpired. So much in fact,  that I have nearly been rendered speechless.

I waffle between having nothing to say and having so much to say that I am fearful of becoming either a total recluse, or a completely opened up, fire hose. I am not sure which is worse!

Throughout this entire period of time, what I found most heart warming was despite my absence, the love and support that I felt from friends and family was what got me through each and every day. It also became very apparent that the amount of love and support came in many different ways, from many different areas of my life.

"Friends" become friends in many ways; some we are lucky enough to grow up with, others' we meet along the way. Some we have never even met face to face, yet they are there, cheering us on. These special friends, that we have never met face to face,  are often people that share a special bond; for me, that bond is CML, also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia.

Another group of friends come from sharing a passion; My number one passion is my family, but my second passion is dance. My extended dance family has been a huge support, always there to share my laughter and my tears. This is my happy place, my place that transports me from grief to joy and I am so blessed to have found such a great, creative outlet, with so many wonderful people!

And of course, the love and support from family is nothing short of miraculous; even from long distances their presence can be felt; I don't know how many times just hearing the breath of a loved one, through the phone, gave me strength.

I also thank God for all  my children; they were able to be with my mother, when I was not. They are strong, caring and wise individuals and I am not only eternally grateful to them, but so very, very proud of them, too.

And then there is my husband; the man that supported, helped and stood by my side through-out the entire three and half month ordeal. He encouraged, allowed and helped me care for my mother during the last six weeks of her life. He also jumped on board the monumental task of preparing my mother's home to be sold. This was all done in stride despite the fact that we both wished to be home. Once again, I am extremely grateful.

I am also grateful that so many understood my utter and complete silence, yet contined to send their loving support. I was so fragile during this time that even the kindest of words, with the best intentions, a touch, a hug or a glance held the possibility of sending me over the edge.

I understand now, how important reaching out to someone in a difficult situation can be, and that just because you do not hear from them, does not mean that they did not hear you. I also understand that just knowing that people care, gives you strength.

I want to thank each and every single person that sent their love, support and concern to me during this time and let you know just how much your words, cards and encouragement meant to me.

I may have been "silent", but I was listening; and I am grateful and blessed.

Bricks for the Brave!!