Tuesday, April 14, 2015


My last treatment of chemotherapy is over!!!! Yay!!!

I'd break out the champagne, but alcohol hurts my tummy, so I'll settle for juice in mineral water.

I had it on Wednesday, April. 8th, accompanied by my friend, Joanne. I guess the expression "chemo brain" really applied to me that day because when the nurse asked me if I had taken all my pre-treatments medications, I replied (looking like a dear in headlights): "Medication? Was I supposed to take something? What color pills are you talking about?" I even had to call my daughter at home to verify the name of the little white pill shaped like a house (I can never remember the names of all my meds!) that I did remember to take in the morning, even though I had forgotten all the others and was supposed to take two of the little white houses! Oh dear! But thankfully they were able to give me what I missed through IV. The treatment itself went fairly well except for a very intense moment of nausea and dizziness as they were giving me my Benadryl. And then I really got loopy, started talking like I was drunk - my tongue felt like it was twice its actual size. After that, my friend Joanne and I started cracking up! What a sight we were - AGAIN!!
But that passed and before I knew it, I was saying good-bye to the dear staff in the oncology department who have been such a big part of my life since December. I was so happy that my blood cell count was up and that the treatment did not have to be delayed, that I decided I'm gonna do it in style and celebrate by wearing a cool wig to the hospital. We all had a great laugh over this and as it happened my oncologist who was working that day, came into the chemo room right at that moment. She burst out laughing and couldn't stop saying: "This is so good! You look so good! We have to get a picture of you like that and put it in the waiting room to encourage the other patients!" I remained in my wig for the rest of the treatment and every now and then Joanne would start laughing and say to me "How do you expect me to have a serious conversation with you with that wig on! Really, you look like a rock star!"

Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. Now I have to rest up and take the meds for the side effects. I am still having some stomach issues and achy bones, mouth sores etc. but it's not too severe. I'm especially tired and ever so looking forward to joining my Aunt Violet who is presently in Florida and invited me to come down for a week. I'll be leaving in exactly one week, on Apr. 21st. Hot sun, warm water and sandy beaches - here I come!!!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The value of a smile

On Thursdays Rachel and I had the habit of going to free skate. I would pick up her skating friend Amber and we would go so they would have time to practice their figure skating. Being in the morning, usually the only other people present for the 1½ hrs were senior citizens and parents with preschoolers. This is our second year participating in this free skate so we know pretty well the regulars, although we've never really chatted with them. One man in particular, a senior, was almost always there. He is a fabulous skater and would weave in and out of the others, doing funny moves on the ice. This year he would have the habit of greeting me when he or we arrived by a nod of the head or a wave or quick hello as he skated by. He would do the same when leaving. The last free skate before Christmas he came up to me and shook my hand, wishing me a very Merry Christmas. I was touched by this and often remarked to Katherine that we always greet and say good bye to each other but have never actually met or talked together. This has been made even harder due to the fact that apart from a couple of times, because of my tiredness caused by chemo this year, I usually have skipped the skating part and sat and read a book while watching the girls do their routines.

Well, this past Thursday was different. It was the last free skate. My regular friend was there once more. However, this time rather than waving from a distance, he actually came up to where I was sitting in the bleachers and shook my hand. He said he just wanted to thank me - thank me for my smile. He said that every time he would come to free skate and would wave to me and I would wave back and smile, it just made his day. My smile encouraged and warmed his heart. Needless to say, I was very surprised. I responded by thanking him and then mentionned to him the reason I was no longer skating very often with the girls - because of my cancer and chemo. Now it was his turn to be surprised. Then he proceeded to tell me about his wife who had been sick and whom he nursed and took care of for the last year of her life. He shared that he had been with her the day she passed away. He added that some time afterwards, while he was here at the arena for free skate, he just started weeping, and felt overcome with grief. That was when he decided to seek the help of a counsellor. With this help he was able to work through and overcome his grief for the loss of his wife. One of the tidbits of advice his counsellor had given him was to find some way to invest in other people and somehow make their lives better. In doing so, he wouldn't be focused on his own pain but could focus on someone else in a positive way. So he shared that each time he would come to free skate, he would do so with the intention of cheering someone up, or making them laugh; some way to make their life a little happier. WOW! And when he greeted me and I appreciated it and smiled back, that just blessed his heart also. That was why he wanted to thank me.

He went on to skate and have fun on the ice, I went back to my book and watching the girls. But this time, when it was time to go and he saw we were leaving, he came off the ice, directly to me and said: "I just want to give you a hug". And that is what he did and wished me well for the rest of my treatment and for a great summer. I was blessed!

I was reminded of that verse that says it is more blessed to give than to receive. What an example of this in this situation. He gave, which encouraged me to give back and we were both truly blessed. So smile at someone today - you'll never know how much it could meet a need, warm their heart and be a blessing for them.