Another (Back-of-head this time) Battle Scar

I’ve never really had the chance to view the back of my head – who does? – to see the roughly-13-years-old 3″ scar left after my brain biopsy which ruled out a 5th relapse of leukemia & discovered neurotoxicity (causing both some speech difficulty – certain letters sound clearer than others when I talk – & imbalance so I need to walk a cane) on my brain stem as a result of harsh cancer treatment. On July 17 this year, my sweet Mom helped me hold up a couple mirrors to see the mark. (I label it a mark of triumph because it’s one of many scars I have that represent the years-long leukemia battle I victoriously defeated.) This then came to mind:

Twinkle twinkle lengthy scar

Back of my head’s where you are. 

Up above myself so high

Caved in like valleys, oh my!

Twinkle twinkle lengthy scar

Looking like train tracks you are.

The End


“Makin’ Some ‘Cents'”

Mr. Smarty Pants

                      Mr. Smarty Pants

“I want to go home!” little Mr. Smarty Pants yelled after we left the store in Northville to go out to lunch. 

“Sorry, home slice,” replied his sister of 4. My plans on my half birthday on July 30, 2015 where I turned 31 ½, took a turn for the wonderful. I always acknowledge the time my half birthday rolls around every summer because having a bitter cold January birthday in the dead of winter makes me feel 100% justified to do so. Now I was enjoying the meal with my sister and, for the sake of this intelligence-themed post, three quarters of her remarkable offspring. 

A’s to the men’s,” the oldest brother replied at the end of my prayer (spoken while his Mom took his sibling to the bathroom) with his own take on my “Amen” at our favorite Thai eatery. 

In the vehicle following a scrumptious midday meal of pad pak with added eggplant & 2 containers of extra brown sauce, the two brothers with their younger sister in the back seats spoke of the girl’s change. 

Now, a number of schoolchildren are thought to lose their zest for learning, if you will, during the summer. Stories taught, math lessons learned, science experiments explained – supposedly out the door. Not true, however, in this particularly astute guy. 

His sister was found to possess two coins with the equivalent of half a dollar. A second barely flashed before the 6-year-old spouted, “Amy should get all of it cuz it’s her birthday!” Mr. Smarty Pants had quickly put two & two together & joined in the half birthday line of thinking. 

He continued, “Get it? 50 cents! Half a dollar is 50 cents!” 

And later at my house when I mentioned dishing up ice cream, the boy exclaimed, “You get half a scoop & we get a quarter!” (He generously gave more to his aunt aka the birthday girl.) 

A’s to the men’s to that!


The End

Stick with what You Know aka . . .

. . . Don’t go overborad.

 Several years ago I learned a lesson from a wise speaker saying, in so many words, that one shouldn’t deviate from their natural gifts but, for the best outcome, stick with what works.

These dance videos, here & below, showing the smooth moves of my oldest nephew and my obvious “dancing deficiency,” illustrate that lesson coming to life.

This video doesn’t exist

Here’s a list of things I’m pretty good at versus stuff I’m just plain not any good in:

Stuff I’m Bad at

  1. Anything business-related, like figuring out banking account situations
  1. I know absolutely nothing about types of cars, all I can tell you is the color
  1. Driving directions, because since I no longer drive, as a chronic passenger I never pay any attention to how to get to where we’re going

4. Walking around – since I no longer am blessed with the luxury of balance, my mindset has changed from “just walking somewhere” to “getting where I’m headed without falling over”

5. Remembering every day to pray to God & devote my day to Him, or else everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, falls apart

Stuff (I think?) I’m decent at

  1. Public speaking, which is so fun for me because you hold the crowd’s full attention, where you can make every sentence meaningful
  1. Interacting with children – as an aunt to a large handful of boys and girls (5 boys, 2 girls, and one on the way) – I think the kids enjoy spending time – playing all sorts of games from ping pong to dolls to store – with Aunt Amy
  1. Grammar & spelling words – as a former multiple-times spelling bee champion, I think my love of reading has greatly helped my exposure and thus proper usage & correct spelling of words in the English language
  1. Writing – I believe God knew EXACTLY what He was doing planning my life, because although I don’t write for an organization that also includes travel as part of the position – which I’d hoped to do before cancer came beating loudly at my door – my desire to write things is fulfilled right here on my blog
  1. Not taking myself too seriously – by doing silly videos, sometimes poking fun at myself, I hope to encourage other people to be thankful to Almighty God for their abilities & blessings
This video doesn’t exist

Problem & Perspective

I embrace the lesson in my devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young about dealing with difficulties.

“The problem can be a ladder, enabling you to climb up and see your life from My perspective.

Viewed from above, the obstacle that frustrated you is only a light and momentary trouble.

Once your perspective has been heightened, you can look away from the problem altogether.”

Plotting to Stay Positive

Thumbing through my old green notebook, I came across 2 pages I’d written when I was just 23 back on May 3, 2007, less than a week after graduating from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Looking over this piece makes me sad because I was trying so hard to squeeze out a positive point hidden among all the hardships I regularly faced in the world of fighting cancer.

Highlighted in yellow & written sideways on the left margin of the loose leaf page, either “Twist” or “Twisted Tales” was planned to be my title for the piece. Under the title was going to go the explanation: “A Positive Spin on Experiences of a Decade of Battling Cancer.” Note that my current comments are in black ink while the rest is displayed in purple.

♦ Number 1 in my list was “Transporters called me a ‘boy.'”

My twist to make that positive said “At least they knew I was human.”

(FYI: Hospital transporters are people who take hospital patients to different doctor appointments within the hospital.)

♦ Number 2 said “People say stupid things like . . . ” (There were so many I couldn’t choose just one, but once I was told by 1 man how his friend lost a limb from the same infection I was fighting at the time, and another time I had a nurse who made me feel awful and ashamed when she flippantly referred to my lifesaving bone marrow transplant as a “Dracula cocktail.”)

My twist to make that positive said “The majority had good intention.”

♦ Number 3 “A large smelly dog jumps onto your bed”

My twist to make that positive was “It beats a kick in the face.” (Looking back, this “positive twist” makes me both chuckle & sad simultaneously, because I tried with all my might to make sense of each of these difficult moments.)

Other points in my unfinished list, lacking the positive twist part, include:

4. “Treated like product on assembly line”

5. “Stuck in place for hours with bald head when unexpected visitors come over” (This is when people dropped by unannounced at my house, which was awful because I wasn’t ready or confident then to show my bald head to just anybody, which meant I’d be stuck – in the bathroom, my bedroom, the basement – with no way out until the person left.)

6. “Take lots of pills”

7. “IV pole” (It never left my side, I even had to shower with the IV pole.)

8. “Central lines/IVs”

9. “TPN” (TPN is intravenous nutrients when you’re too sick to eat food through your mouth; TPN was hard on your insides; at the hospital it’d hang on my IV pole, but at home on TPN my mom or sister would have to carry it in the backpack for me because I was way too weak to carry the heaviness of it)

10. “Hat in Toilet” (so annoying was the ever-present plastic white container, called a hat, in the toilet to help measure intake and output; half the time I’d just make up a number of CCs I peed for the nurse to record in my chart)

11. “Nurses constantly wake you up to check vital signs” (this meant hardly a wink of sleep despite extreme exhaustion)

12. “Docs stare at you” (during early – like 6am – rounds, doctors would finish talking about your current health status & plans for future treatment in your room, and then just stare at you in your hospital bed, making you feel intensely uncomfortable)

13. “Referred to by hospital #” (which makes you feel like a worthless piece of meat)

“The Squeaker Speaker X2”

by Amy 7-23-15

“She’s gonna take a long time,” the 3-year-old piped up the second the car door shut. “She’s gonna get something for her & for Judah.” 

And in a slightly softer voice, possibly because his parents have told him in the past not to talk in such a way, Henry continued “I hate it.” 

In reality, the boy’s Mom, my extraordinary friend Jessica, was back from the store in under 5 minutes. I was visiting the entire family for a week out of state, & Jess along with her youngest son, daughter, & I were running a few errands. I stayed in the car with the children on the warm July Wednesday. 

Youngsters, I’ve seen many times in the past, pretty much reprimand themselves – which can be quite amusing – when they know they’ve done something naughty that their parents wouldn’t approve. Likewise, Henry went on speaking in his honest-yet-endearing-little-boy-style: 

“My Mom doesn’t like when I say that.” 

Now rewind to a short while earlier in the day while in the process of leaving the house of Jessica’s marvelous Mom:

Upon exiting from the cemented front porch & waiting in my friend’s vehicle in the driveway with her youngest daughter who at that time, had yet to come anywhere even remotely close to bonding with her Mom’s longtime friend, I uttered 2 words & accidentally made the toddler cry – loudly. 

“Hi Lilah,” I said after twisting around in my front seat to look at her in her car seat directly behind me.

“BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” wailed the cutie instantly. 

Again, young Henry arrived on the scene to add his always invaluable, innocent & inevitable 2 cents. 

“Don’t say hi to Lilah,” Henry’s squeaky-like-a-sweet-&-lovable-chipmunk voice commanded to me.

But no, he wasn’t done defending his sibling. Next followed the adorably age-appropriate “threat” from the protective boy as he crawled into the driver’s seat & attempted to scare me into silence: 

“Or I’ll beep the hoh-en (horn).”

The End