Happy Birthday to Me!

Living with a terminal illness, I have a new appreciation of birthdays.  My 54th is today.  54.  Wow.  Where has the time gone?! 

I don't dread birthdays anymore: I welcome them, as so many aren't here to celebrate anymore.  They're actually bittersweet somewhat, with feeling blessed to have another, but wondering if it will be my last. [This brings to mind an article I wrote for an online magazine, Celebrating Our Lasts.  The online magazine is no more, so I wanted to share it with you here.]

I am acutely aware that this may be my last birthday.  That's not being morbid, that's being realistic.  Yes, my scans have been stable.  Yes, I look like I'm doing well.  I don't look sick.  The reality is, though, that I'm tired/exhausted more than I used to be.  I seem to be sleeping most of the day all weekend, every weekend now, not just a Saturday or Sunday every once in awhile.  I feel "sick" more often than not.  I haven't done the grocery s…

Celebrating the Lasts

I wrote this two years ago, and it was published in an online magazine, which is no longer.  It kind of ties together with my birthday post that I'm working on right now, and brings to mind my relatively new philosophy of living in the moment.


Two years ago I was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  As more and more time passes, I find myself wondering, "Will this be my last...?"  When we're born, our firsts are celebrated.  Our first step, our first word, our first food, our first ride in a grocery cart (yes, I remember making a big deal out of it the first time my son rode in a shopping cart at Giant), our first day of school.  As we get older, we make note of our first kiss, our first boyfriend/girlfriend, the first time we drive a car, our first taste of alcohol.  We don't celebrate our lasts, though.  Oh, I think we would, if we knew it was the last time.  We do celebrate our last day of school, and our last day of work, but for most of o…

Viva Las Vegas!

Today is Thursday, January 31, 2019.  As I sit in the infusion chair at the hospital, receiving my life-extending medications and reading the results of my most recent echocardiogram and CT scan (both stable), I reflect on the few days I just spent in Las Vegas.

To set the mood, watch this: Viva Las Vegas/Elvis, then come back here.

You watched it?   Fun, right?   Nothing like a little Elvis to get you in the mood!

Now,  here's my adventure:

I was invited to attend the national field meeting of the biotechnology company that manufactures the medication that I take.  Of course I jumped at the chance.  To spend time with the people who make the meds that are keeping me alive.  Well, it's just surreal, amazing ... well, you get the idea.

The plane ride out wasn't so great.  I made the mistake of having a crab omelette for breakfast, along with a mimosa, after not eating anything since breakfast the day before.  Big mistake.  Although it was very tasty, it…

Mindfulness/Living in the Moment

You may remember a recent blog post of mine about attending a mindfulness retreat.  I had what I learned there in mind when I recently traveled on an airplane.  So, I guess this is "mindfulness flying".  I challenge you do this the next time you fly.

As we're waiting to taxi down the runway, I hear the engines rev up.  I watch the other planes come and go.  As our plane starts to taxi to and then down the runway, I watch the scenery passing by. 

Then we stop and wait.  All of a sudden, the engines rev up again, but more powerfully than before.  It's a powerful feeling as the plane accelerates.  As we become airborne, I watch the ever changing scene out the window, gazing at the horizon and noticing how beautiful it is. Now we're airborne.  I'm looking out the window, seeing the blue of the sky, and the white fluffiness of the clouds.  Do they look like cotton balls or maybe cotton candy? I wonder how they would feel if I were able to reach out and touch …

Mindfulness Retreat

Today I attended a mindfulness retreat at a yarn store.  It was the perfect combination -- yoga, journaling, and knitting.  As soon as I saw it on the calendar, I knew I had to go.  It was held at a local yarn store about 50 minutes from me.  It's the same yarn store that I attended a yarn tasting at a few months ago (you might remember hearing me mention that in Every Shawl Tells a Story).   I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to take part in the yoga portion of the day, but when I inquired, I was assured that it would be fine.  I don't get to that yarn store very often because it is kind of far away (any drive over thirty minutes tires me out these days), but when I do, I always find what I'm looking for, and I always feel welcome.

Upon arrival, each participant chose a seat and a journal.  All of the journals are handmade, the paper inside thick and decorative.  We started with talking about what mindfulness means.  Very simply, it means being in the mom…

Every Shawl Tells a Story

I started knitting years ago, before my cancer diagnosis.  I started off with scarves, then added in blankets and scarves.  I took some classes at the local yarn store to learn new techniques.  I don't knit anything complicated; just basic geometrical shapes.  Rectangular scarves, infinity scarves, square blankets, rectangular blankets, triangular shawls, rectangular shawls.  Before my cancer diagnosis, I knit scarves for myself, for my family, and to sell at craft fairs.  So, those early items don't necessarily have a story, except that I wanted to learn a new technique, maybe.  The items below all have a story.

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Pattern:  Pamuya
Yarn:  Yankee Dyer Yarn Yankee Sole II in the Pool Party colorway.
The first shawl that tells a story is this one.
The yarn was gifted to me from a wonderful couple, a coworker and his wife, to help me through chemo treatments. Boy, was this the right gift. You all know how relaxing and de-stressing knitting can be. Havi…