Straight from an email to me this morning: “Thanks for using Headliner to promote your work. We are all about collaboration, and happy to help you reach new audiences.

In that spirit, why not invite some of your friends to Headliner? Whether they’re artists, writers, or small businesses, our community has almost 200,000 content creators that will help your friends reach new audiences on the social web – fast, free, and easily.”

Oh no, you didn’t!

Ahhh! Toilet talk!

Ahhh! Toilet talk!

Yes, I did. Confession: I either took out the plastic white hat in the toilet in my hospital room used to help measure intake and output aka Is and Os, or I’d just scoot to use the back of the toilet to avoid the (annoying, I thought) plastic hat and make up the number of CCs (cubic centimeters) I filled the hat. Frankly, I was young and too embarrassed to let the nurse or nursing assistant know just how often and how much I easily filled that little white container from all the fluid constantly running in my system.

BUT DON’T DO THAT! Be completely honest. Do as I say, not as I’ve done. They (“they” is referring to nurses or nursing assistants who empty the hat in the bathroom) see it all day long and you will not, I repeat will not, ever break the record for the most frequently filled up toilet hat. That’s a promise.

The last two things in purple and grey (which is the British spelling and far better way, I strongly believe, to spell the latter color, with an “e” instead of an “a”) have nothing to do with this post except for the fact that they also talk about the subject in question aka the throne. These two different rhymes were each on a sign in the bathroom of the cabin my family rented a few summers up north in Michigan when I was a kid. I think now is as fitting a time as any to share them. 

All you people with septic tanks,
We give to you our heartfelt thanks,
For putting nothing in the pot,
That isn’t guaranteed to rot,
Kleenex is bad,
Matchsticks too,
Cigarette butts are taboo!
No hair combings, use the basket,
There’s a darn good reason why we ask it!

If you sprinkle when you tinkle,
Be a sweetie and wipe the seatie!

The Problem with Happiness by Greg Koukl

The Problem with Happiness by Greg Koukl

My first blog entry 34 days ago on May 23 mentioned having both good and bad days. Today’s was the latter, thank goodness only for a short while. Without “flirting with the idea” (whoever read yesterday’s post understands the reason behind the quoted phrase) of delving into specifics, a major experience I had my heart set on doing fell to millions of teeny tiny utterly invisible to the naked eye one thousand percent not-gonna-ever-happen pieces. For the better. I see sharper, like we all do, with hindsight bias. I was thankfully saved from a day of the deepest despair with the following two things.

First, my mind luckily hit pay dirt upon recalling a quote from the best movie ever – my friends all agree on this one, and pointing out names is terribly tacky, but notably my male friends Matt and Jeremy – and my all-time favorite since kindergarten days, 1965’s The Sound of Music. Christopher Plummer played the character Captain von Trapp and stated in one self-reflecting scene that “Activity suggests a life of purpose.” I couldn’t have said it, or rather stated it in a movie, better myself.

The second mood-boosting source is an article emailed to me earlier today from a very wise friend. Anyone with a beating heart aka ALL PEOPLE I advise to read it for some jerk-you-back-into-reality perspective. I know I needed to hear it! Click the above posted link.

Focus: HOPE

Focus: HOPE

Focus: HOPE is a remarkable organization in Detroit “dedicated to intelligent and practical solutions to the problems of hunger, economic disparity, inadequate education, and racial divisiveness.” I was one of two students chosen in my high school to participate in Focus: HOPE Journalism Olympics. The selected students from area high schools were allowed to roam the streets of Detroit around Focus: HOPE and do interviews and gather material for a story to write about the wonderful organization. I was chosen as a finalist in the writing competition and enjoyed lunch at the Focus: HOPE awards luncheon at a table with former local NBC television news anchor Emery King! I love all things words and cool phrases jump out at me like an out of nowhere flash of lightning. I was therefore quite delighted to hear Emery King say “I’m flirting with the idea of becoming a vegetarian again.” “Flirting with the idea” was much cooler than saying something drab like “I’m thinking about it” and right up my love-of-language alley! Mr. King also intrigued me by the way he salted his food: he shook salt from the shaker into his hand and then proceeded to sprinkle salt over his meal with his fingers. (I guess it doesn’t take a lot to amuse me.)

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Gary and me in HBOTHyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mentioned in last Saturday’s story) involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. The thought with this treatment is that breathing in pure oxygen will aid the body in healing. I asked several of my different kinds of doctors their opinion about me getting HBOT, and every one of them advised me not to. I went anyway, to Oxford Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Center in South Lyon, Michigan, with hopes of improving side effects from nearly a decade of treatment for leukemia. I was lying down inside of a horizontal clear enclosed chamber (shown in the picture above) a couple years ago for 80 HBOT treatments, several years after the end of cancer treatment. The chamber is totally silent unless you’re watching a movie or communicating to the HBOT technician through a little device. I thought it was THE BEST think tank I‘ve ever experienced! I came up with some great material for public speeches in there.

Before HBOT, I never felt safe cooking on the stove so I never did. Due to my imbalance caused from neurotoxicity (speculated to be caused by a combination of a certain kind of chemotherapy I had and cranial radiation but the doctors aren’t exactly sure) on my brain stem, I felt like I’d most likely fall over onto a hot burner and get injured. Since HBOT, however, I feel like my balance has improved enough to the point where I can happily cook on the stove anytime I want to and feel safe doing so.

There’s another thing about HBOT. The treatment requires commitment and discipline, because 80 mornings over a five-month period I had to travel to the HBOT center and get the treatment. Gary was my Hyperbaric technician and the only reason I made it through all those times. Cheerful Gary administered my HBOT and he was THE BEST!! Combining his skill on the job with OUTSTANDING patient relations, I looked forward to seeing Gary more than being sealed inside of a chamber where the only thing patients are allowed to do is drink water and watch movies. We talked and joked around before and after my treatment, making the monotonous schedule easily bearable. My favorite thing Gary did was stand outside my clear chamber and pretend to swim up with his hands, indicating that my roughly hour and a half of HBOT was almost done. After “swimming” up, he would then flash his hands to show me about how many minutes were left until he would pull me out. HIP HIP HOORAY FOR GARY!!!!

Jesus Loves the Little Children

The subject of the story with Aunt Amy

The subject of the story with Aunt Amy

“I love you, Grandma,” said her 4-year-old kindhearted and obviously affectionate grandson. Sporting a matching navy and yellow Nike zip-up sweatshirt with warm-up pants, the boy spoke to his own mother’s Mom in the backseat of his family’s white Suburban.

My sister, along with her four young children, plus Grandma and me after Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (a treatment I had after cancer treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room), rode around the day prior to South Lyon’s city-wide subdivision garage sales searching for goods at pre-sales.

Galatians 5:22-23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

In addition to my charming nephew clearly demonstrating the first fruit of the Spirit, a deficit in the final one was evident earlier that day as well. The Suburban sat parked in the driveway at a sale while his Mom was browsing.

Spats occur between all siblings, and in this particular quarrel, the youngster expressed his rage in a physical manner. Arguments arose among the two oldest brothers, the 4-year-old and his older brother, in the rear seat of their car. Unable to restrain his anger and exercise self-control, the boy hauled off and slapped his older brother multiple times. Moreover, still in the moments of his aggression, the enraged little one kicked at the Grandma he adored.

After their Mom finished perusing the current sale, she was informed of her second child’s naughty actions once returning to the vehicle. As parents of their four growing children, my sister and brother-in-law are raising remarkable offspring. Together they are successful in their efforts to bring up Jesus-loving, bright, caring and disciplined kids.

“What do you think I’ll take away from you for acting like this?” his mother asked sternly.

A few seconds lapsed while the young boy pondered what could be taken from him as punishment for his bad behavior. An upcoming game in his first ever soccer season, riding his bike outside with his brothers, going to the fun Awana program at a nearby church … all possible consequences but apparently none more important than the aroma surrounding his 4-year-old physique.

“My deodorant?”

Eat & Be Merry . . . & Mindful

Try to Put Healthy Foods in your Mouth

Try to Put Healthy Foods in your Mouth

You truly are what you consume. Every bite you swallow can and will help or hurt your current state of health. I know that for me, I stay away from highly acidic foods because they damage my mouth with cuts and sores. Spicy foods irritate my stomach, so I stay away from those. I also refrain from eating hard-to-digest foods like too many nuts over a short period of time. Eating foods that cause harm to your body take a much much longer time for your body to heal when coupled with cancer treatment, because of a weakened immune system.

Another thing to watch out for: on the flip side, eating TOO healthy with graft versus host disease (a condition after a bone marrow transplant where your new bone marrow rejects your old bone marrow) can boost your immune system and trigger GVH. Be conscious of how what you eat affects your body.

You will quickly find that eating better for your body makes you feel so much better overall. Also, and this can be challenging for me a lot because good food makes me so happy, food is better eaten in smaller amounts, not big portions, because you need to leave room for digestion.