Ever heard of having an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’?  It takes work but I’m trying:

Thank you, God, for my stronger painless neck! I especially noticed the change last night riding my exercise bike & was immensely relieved; I could look upwards to my cell phone in my hands without discomfort as I pedaled for 20 minutes!

I attribute the cause of my

Colossal Neck Relief 

(where up until very recently I found it difficult to look upwards without extreme soreness & weakness)

to:

  1. Sleeping On My Back (I changed my sleeping position from curling up on my right side, therefore tucking my head down which highly disturbed my neck on a daily basis, to making an effort to sleep on my back which includes me using a long pillow on my right side to remind me not to roll over)

&

  1. Monthly back & neck adjustments by my enormously skillful & remarkable chiropractor Dr. Paul Stiles in Novi, MI. I strongly recommend the incredible Dr. Stiles to improve faulty back, neck, & other conditions. Stiles 8-19-17.JPG

 

Cough-ee

C affeine

O stensibly

F uels

F or

E ssential

E nergizing

Friday I got a Keurig coffee maker for 20% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I also got Paul Newman’s organic medium roast coffee & gluten free caramel creamer, that’s about as healthy as I personally can get it & still enjoy the flavor a lot. Keurig coffee maker 7-14-17.JPG

The machine is so easy! All you do is pour water in, put the pod in its place, & press “brew.” . . .

That’s about the extent of my attention span making things in the kitchen. Cleaning is easy too, there’s nothing to it.

7-14-17.JPG As my energy level’s clearly decreased over the years due to continuing effects of my eight-year cancer combat, I’m thankful for the obvious energizing boost from my fairly newfound love of coffee, including the Keurig coffee maker I bought yesterday that makes drinking my latest beverage of choice simple – & cheaper since I won’t have to shell out nearly $5/visit for a cup of joe outside my home!

Bear with me – (based on what I learned from my nearly-decade-long cancer journey) I’m trying to offer Valuable Insight For Parents Raising Children Facing Long-term Illness

1. Give your child, if they’re probably around the minimum age of 10 – I was 13 when I began fighting years of illness so I’m just giving my best guess for ages here – Room to Breathe! Endless hovering makes your child feel even sicker & draws unwanted attention (I hated that).

2. Don’t try to force your child to attend groups & camps with other kids dealing with the same sickness! This will Not in any way, shape or form make them feel better. I wanted nothing at all whatsoever to do with stuff like that because 1, I was nowhere near comfortable discussing my own personal disease at my young age & 2, Going to camps with other sick kids would mean embracing the illness, which was the VERY last thing I wanted to do. I remember thinking, “What do you do? Just talk about how sick you are?” I didn’t want to dive deeper into the world of my sickness when I was a child fighting leukemia; far from it! I wanted to be as normal as I could.

3. Give your kid a notebook & pen in case they feel, like I did at the time, like writing out the things they are going through & what they are feeling. I know I always felt a lot better after writing down my thoughts & feelings, which I mostly wrote as rhyming poems. Writing is a remarkably effective release, that I later read in a psychology book in college even has a term, which is “writing therapy.” It truly is indescribably therapeutic.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Single Silly Dosage of Self-Deprecating Humor

 I was at home on the laptop Saturday evening & commenting how repulsed I become hearing a person hack up crap from their throat when they’re sick.

“C’mon, like we haven’t listened to you a thousand times when you’re sick,”  immediately countered my Mom.

What a line! And to her only daughter for Pete’s sake! (All right, there’s actually 3 of us, but still . . . )

“Oh, puh-lease!” I shot back to her obviously absurd comment to me. “That’s an understatement because you’ve heard me being sick

at least a thousand times! . . .

 I put the “ick” in sick!”  

  

  

A Superb Phlebotomist Who’s Excellent with Patients!

Halfway through my leukemia battle I met this precious gem, who I’m blessed to call my unbelievably special, very bright, & remarkable “little sister”! She’s been a spectacular support & friend through it all. I love you SO MUCH Leah! (Side note: In answer to a question Leah continuously asked me as a toddler whenever my gut became ill: “No, I’m not gonna fro up.” 😉)

Tenth Time of “The Sender” Similarities

The second page of the fortieth chapter describes cancer-treatment fatigue well. “Charlie felt pretty good, considering the short walk down the hall tired him a bit.” “The hall” was a dreaded term for me on the hospital cancer floor. Continuous daily suggestions to get out of bed & walk down the hall were not times I wanted to partake in, feeling so weak & lousy from all the nasty strong drugs pumped into me.

Often a goal from my nurse or my Mom would be for me to get out of my hospital bed & walk – accompanied by my constant companion the IV machine & somebody to help my broken body stay upright to take steps of course – down 3 doors, & a little more each day just to get my body moving until I could make an entire EXHAUSTING lap around the floor. I hated that! Not to mention the tangled mess of IV tubes all around me; 1 slip = potentially yanking out an IV line. Nothing was better after that than collapsing back into bed.

You’re more likely to get cancer again if you’ve already had the disease once, so sunshine is strictly limited since no one’s looking for skin cancer or any other ailments. Charlie spent “a few minutes” in sunshine, “only what was allowed,” so reading the latter quoted phrase sparked the memory.

One lesson in a letter from “The Sender” is that you can either live in “Vision” or in “Circumstance.” My spectacular Mom chose to live in vision, informing doctors while I was deathly ill in Intensive Care that I would go to college one day; the doctors, she told me later, would sadly shake their heads at the impossible thought she envisioned for me. Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with a God.” God gave me an incredibly special hardworking & encouraging Mom who never let me dwell on my sick circumstances but rather, had me always look towards a bright future. I love you so much, Mom, THANKS!!!!!

   

Did a ton of bricks just hit me? No, it was page 207 of “The Sender.” Although Charlie was experiencing the physical negative effects of cancer in many ways, ways like his weakness which was easily noticed by others, those close to him knew he was “stronger in so many ways. Ways that mattered. . . What he’d gained was immeasurably more valuable. What he’d gained was a heart and spirit that money can’t buy.” Same For Me. EXACTLY THE SAME.

However, even with the above paragraph in mind, it’s impossible for me to say “I wouldn’t change what I’ve learned from 8 years fighting cancer for anything” because of the hell on earth that I went through to get where I am. I mean, even if I never had cancer, I’d still be the smart person I was before I got sick. The side effects I live with now make life enormously difficult; I’d go with never having had cancer in the first place if I had my druthers, but this is where I need to trust All-Knowing God with my life’s plan because He Knows Best.

 

 

Doin’ Fine & Here’s Part 9 – of “The Sender” Similarities

On chapter 38’s page 194 “The Sender” writes in a letter “And I guess you grow up when you get cancer. . . Sometimes it’s God’s way of growing us up.”

Definitely. Cancer is no joke. You feel emotions & gain perspectives you’ve never had before. You experience an abundance of life well beyond your years. I grew up when I was 13 & underwent my first 3 rounds of chemotherapy. Growing up involves doing things you don’t want, but need, to do – like the plethora of unpleasant protocol associated with cancer treatment & also signing an advance directive with a living will on multiple occasions in case I died, even though I barely understood what the paperwork was that was being shoved in my face – as well as thinking about the important parts of life that truly matter:

including all of my different relationships with people & how I wanted to make them better relationships,

&

wanting to make each day a meaningful one – no longer flawed with conflicts now seen Clearer Than Ever Before as SO pointless & insignificant aka colossal time-wasters – with my very strongly renewed appreciation for the GIFT OF LIFE now that I had to fight so hard to keep mine.

I remember years ago feeling insulted thinking of the common line out in the world that says “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything,” because I felt like I had grown so much in wisdom despite not having my health. This line from the book is so true for every person: “But God will grow you up one way or the other and he seems to do it for his reasons, not ours.”

I’ve discovered firsthand that you never know how strong you are until you need to be. Had I known the extent of my multiple-years horrific cancer battle ahead of time, I never could’ve handled it. Too much! Referring to the little boy also battling cancer who became a friend of Charlie’s, “That little acorn needed to summon something inside of himself that only a cancer survivor can know. It’s a special sort of grit and faith and vision and tenacity.”

It’s unbelievable what people can handle when they need to. Like a line in the book, “It’s all about choosing despite how you feel” (“choosing” to . . . be positive rather than grumpy; be strong instead of weak; be a fighter & not give up, etc). With God & my family’s ceaseless loving encouragement & support, looking back I’m astounded at all the things I had the strength to endure throughout my 4 relapses with leukemia. Honestly, it’s hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that I actually did it. And AT THE SAME TIME successfully graduated both high school & college. All the glory of those immense accomplishments goes straight to Our Powerful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!