spiralflames: (black_cat)
http://mischkeroadshow.com/shows/
Mischke.

TD, (Tom, Tommy) Mischke. used to host a late-night local talk radio program. he wasn't political- his programming would be about anything and everything: interviews with people from authors and musicians to baseball players, occasional improvised manic beat-boxing raps, stories about "big time Minneapolis" and "good old St.Paul." he had a cast of regulars who'd call in almost nightly: greatgreatgreatgreat grandma, calling from her nursing home. undertaker fred, who'd want to sing an old-time song with him. a catholic priest who was raising money for an orphanage. jim the cabbie, who seemed to be more than a few sheets to the wind and who every couple of sentences would say "hey mitch!"...never actually knew what mischke's name was, and somehow never quite believed anyone was listening. i'd tune in on the way home from work, and got used to hearing his voice most late nights. i somehow always imagined tommy in a darkened studio with only a single light burning, talking about his home town. he was family. he'd tell stories, we'd listen and nod, and it was good. hanging out with mischke was like talking to an old friend- you'd meet only seldom, but when you did, you'd be Yourselves again in no time and not question it.

https://youtu.be/bBux_DMBvxE poem

once (twice?) he left the air for months- no explanation. when he came back, he talked about his depression. it surprised me- someone so inventive, so sharp? now we're smarter- we experienced the shock of robin williams' death. and we know inner life and outer life diverge.

but tommy came back. KSTP changed its format altogether (i think they're running a sports station now) and Tom went to work across the river at WCCO. it was on at a different time, i was working, so i lost track of him. after awhile, he left that broadcast, saying he was just radioed-out.. didn't know where his future lie, but he didn't think it was in nightly talk radio any more. here's his farewell:

https://youtu.be/80uXvn2NOIE farewell

so. fast foward a few years. my sister karen texts me: "nan! there was something from mischke on my FB friends feed today- he's got a podcast and he's asking people who have had a terminal cancer diagnosis and survived to write to him! do it!!!"

so i did. feigned casual, told him i was 10 yrs cancer-free from stage IV ovarian cancer, where i'd found out there was a 15% chance of me making it alive 5 years.

he wrote back.

i suggested coffee, figuring he'd want to know if my story was what he was looking for. "nah, too noisy for a recorded interview. can you come to my place, or can i come to yours?"

i said i'd go there- my cat freaks out with strangers who come to the house, and i didn't want him (cat, not mischke) latching on to my leg with teeth bared as i tried to talk about Serious Stuff. so i drove to his house in Good Ol' St Paul. comfortable house. comfortable man. we sat at his dining room table, set with a glass of water on each side and a recorder in a flowerpot in the middle.

i talked, high-speed and close to non-stop. he'd ask a question and i'd be on to another part of the story. he was easy to be around, and i've had almost 10 years to think about my story.

there were two questions he asked that stopped me short: (interestingly, neither made it into the edited broadcast) 1) you were sick for such a long time...that makes me wonder, didn't you care about your life? 2) you don't mention having much of a support network throughout all of this...

i don't remember the answers i gave. they should've been simple: 1) fear trumps everything in my life. i was terrified and felt i might lose everything from my life on down to the dishware. once this got started- and trust me, i KNEW i was sick- there'd be no retreat. 2) i felt totally abandoned by the people i loved most, and whom i thought loved me. parents? scared. sisters? absent- also scared. my biggest supporters were people i hardly knew, who in a way had the least to lose- my nurse friend patti in kentucky. bob, who i'd met online years ago and who i'd get together with to watch movies. then, there was the time factor. by the time i got out of the hospital and started my chemo, people were DONE with me. i went through that alone. nobody ever offered to bring a meal or clean my house.

the next morning, i wrote mischke a long email: (lightly edited for continuity)

dear tommy-
warning: brain dump ahead...

i've been thinking over yesterday's talk with you. part of me wishes i could do it again- part of me wishes i could've responded more thoughtfully and been more profound, since that's probably what you were looking for from someone who'd been to the moon and back...but so it goes.

a few things, tho, because you asked me 2 questions (when i let you get a word in edgewise...(nervous much? radio celeb, recording...aiee!) that threw me a bit, and that's what i wanted to address tonight.

first, you remarked that when i said i'd been sick so long ("woman" problems, lack of energy, depression) that it almost seemed like i didn't care. not true at all- i'm the only one that keeps my life going, and i'm all i have. part of it was that lonnnnnng and minuscule down-swing..there was no drama, just "issues"...and i'd been taught not to complain, because i wasn't Interesting if i did, and who else was going to pay the rent? i've built up a sweet little world here- business, piano, cat...but it's all hinging on me to keep it going. nobody else can teach my students- pay my bills- take photos with my eye and camera, make the music i've made. so it seemed reasonable that my greatest fear was losing my life. i'm a suburban girl. i wouldn't do well being homeless. sometimes i'd get on the road and just drive and drive- as long as i was in my car, i'd feel enclosed and safe from that scary "what if."

so i cared. i cared a lot. i was just plain terrified.

the 2nd Q was when you said you hadn't heard me mention a support network too much. you're right- i felt like i was in this totally alone. which, to me, i was. people like to do safe, colorful things to "support" people- banners on FB, 5-K runs to raise funds. happy, productive stuff. they don't want to visit people who haven't taken a shower in awhile because they're too weak to stand up, and nobody knows what's wrong, and they can't be "hopeful" because there aren't any more platitudes to offer. when someone WOULD get in to see me, i'd see their sad faces...omg, she looks AWFUL! well yeah, i did. i'd been in bed for 6 weeks and in the hospital for a month. good to see you, could you help me to the bathroom? thanks for the candy, but i really can't eat it, and what i NEED to do is get to the bathroom. i couldn't subject my friends to that.

i also found that people want to hear about you....twice. the first time, it's shock, info-gathering, and suggestions- special foods, books, treatments, clinics. oh...and stories. who in their lives got better because of, got worse in spite of. after that, when nothing has changed? silence. i would've liked someone to come and not talk, bring a book or something and watch bad tv with me. nobody got it. you want company, not talk, and for GOD'S sake not advice.

scuze me, dammit, i'm crying now. there was still and always an expectation that someone i was going to "beat this" to "figure it out" to buck up, little buckaroo, listen nan, when my MOM was sick once, she...

i couldn't do it. before surgery, i was too sick. afterwords, i needed to come back to my Self and my writing and my music. staying at the nursing home for three months helped that happen. i don't know how it was determined that i could stay there that long, but i did, with one last complication from surgery, a huge pelvic abcess/infection, which landed me in the hospital for another 7 days over halloween, with 21 days of IV antibiotics and tests after that. grim.

but finally before christmas i was home. nobody really volunteered to sit w/me through chemo- later, i made plans for a celebration at the end of my 8 months chemo- then at my last appointment, dr boente said, as long as this is going so well, let's really kill this thing- and go for another year.

party canceled.

in january i went back to work, scheduled chemo on tues and thurs, and taught piano lessons after that. buck up, little buckaroo!

damn. i'm bawling like a baby. yesterday's chat w/you was a weird deal- almost like a job interview or coffee date where you put your best foot forward and don't want someone to think you are still obsessing about something that happened ten (TEN!) yrs ago. "but aren't you SO GRATEFUL to BE ALIVE????" someone might ask. well shit yes. but they can't know how scary it is. how sad you are, how you can't let yourself think about how hopeless this seems, how..hell..you should've cleaned your house better, you didn't KNOW you were gonna be gone for 6 months! it was 7 years before i even got a kitty- i was afraid to take responsibility for another little life when i couldn't be sure of my own.

so mostly, i don't talk about what's inside. it wouldn't make any difference if i did or didn't. i don't know what i'd do if cancer did re-appear- boente said, "if we get it all, and your numbers are low, then we might talk about a cure. if it comes back, then you're out of chances."

so i don't know if my life is "changed" or not. people seem to expect that it has. it makes them relieved when i say yes, when what they're really thinking is "wow, i don't think *I* could go through all that." we all go though "that" in one way or another. sometimes we make it, sometimes we don't. one wednesday, you have an ice cream cone. the next weds, someone aces your car and you're a quadriplegic. it's all one cosmic crap-shoot. i'm thankful for my life- i'll never take any sweet moment, any sunset, any ice cream cone in august, for granted again.

but then, mischke, i've always been that way.

thanks for letting me babble. don't worry, i won't bug you regularly. but i thank you sincerely for the serendipity of asking me questions, and i hope the surface responses to your questions didn't bug you too much.

best to you,

nan

Td Mischke responded:

I am happy you wrote. It's something I too would have done after such an interview. Don't apologize. I think you're going to very much like the show in its edited form. In fact, I'm sure of it. All that time with you gets edited down to the real essence of it all, which is about 15 minutes. Same with the other two people i interviewed. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the presentation, I believe.

i wrote back:

Thanks, Tommy. That all brought up some stuff I really hadn't processed before, which surprised me...I wrote through 12 journals in about 2.5 years after I got back home..and really thought I was "done"...guess I wasn't. Thank you so much. (btw, won't be really "done" til I'm in the ground, and even then, there are people who deserve haunting) (as she puts the grown-up, civil mask back on and prepares to teach little fingers how to play.) Someday maybe I can play Brahms for you.
Take care.
Nan

dumped

Aug. 7th, 2010 03:22 pm
spiralflames: (freedom)

rockford, MN...steeple, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


i got dumped... by my oncologist :-D

went in for my official five-years exam. afterwards, the np said "well i guess we won't be seeing you again...we don't keep people around once they reach 5 years."

!*!*!*!*!

i was amazed..i'd thought they'd check me out once a year...but nope. she said they'd see me once more, since this is 5 years from my surgery, not 5 years from the end of chemo.

and then i'm done. i fucking beat the crap out of stage IV ovarian cancer.

i'm overwhelmed, literally, with gratitude. i've been crying off and on all weekend.

spiralflames: (fuck_cancer)
i told the women at Idisi that i am 5 years cancer-free this month, and that the statistical probability of that happening- a stage IV OvCa person making it to the 5-yr mark= was about 10%.

then one of the women told me, actually, you're about a 1000th of ONE percent. i said ??. she said she'd asked a doctor once, how many women make it PAST the 5 years. dr's reply? "WE DON'T HAVE STATISTICAL DATA FOR THAT. WE DON'T HAVE RECORDS OF ANYONE MAKING IT PAST FIVE YEARS."

thank you, THANK you for my life.

lily after rain12, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (goddess)
dr visit today.

CA-125 (normal is 0-33) is at 4.4. FOUR-POINT-FOUR.

they said i could start coming every 6 months for a check-up. (i have been going every 3 months since i quit chemo)

i
am
one
of
the
FIVE PERCENT
OF
WOMEN
WHO
HAD
STAGE IV
OVARIAN
CANCER
who make it
to FIVE YEARS
past their
initial diagnosis
FIVE
F8CKING
PERCENT.

and i am determined to hang around for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng time.

thank you, THANK you for MY LIFE.

spiralflames: (Default)
and i feel fine.

i've been reading 'end of the 0's' posts, and thought about writing my own. i realized i didn't have to do it- not only the decade, but my entire life, literally split in two in 2005.

before 2005, i didn't know i had cancer.

in 2005, i was diagnosed with Stage IV Ovarian cancer, which resulted in 51 days in hospital, surgery, and 3 months in a nursing home physical rehab unit recovering. after that was 20 months of chemotherapy.

the following fall, 2006, i was diagnosed with stage II thyroid cancer. that treatment was easier, and most people didn't even know I'd had it.

Since then? loving my life, day by day. a wonderful man in my life who makes me happy. taking spirituality seriously. embracing photography, going to alaska in 2008.

embracing my Path as a LifeGuard- being there for my friends, my family, when they need me.

and sleeping better than i've ever slept in my entire adult life.

this summer, summer of 2010, i will be (WILL BE!) one of the 5 percent of women who survive 5 years beyond a Stage IV OvCa diagnosis.

And I Feel Fine.

spiralflames: (the_soul)
in today's mail: letter from my endocrinologist.

took me an hour to open it, since the clinic had already emailed me my lab results from the exam 2 weeks ago. in that exam, she'd had a bit of concern that my thyrogobulin was "creaping up." (the woman needs a spell-check.)

as a person who's had her thyroid surgically removed, nothing should be producing thyroid hormones. an upswing might mean that thyroid cancer was returning.

"normal" is between 2 and 35.

new test results: mine was SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER than the last 2 exams- my # was 0.5. that's zero-point-five, less than one.

tomorrow, i go in for a neck ultrasound. barring any weirdness, i think i am 2.5 years cancer-free from stage II thyroid cancer.

i am so blessed. and i LOVE. MY. LIFE.

wishing you the same.

first ice3, wright co MN, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

dr deets

Nov. 19th, 2009 09:49 pm
spiralflames: (sweet)

alaska: glacier and lake, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


have an alaska photo.
~
first: drs this week. oncologist this afternoon for 3-months check. i am currently 4.5 years cancer-free. dr weinshel came in, said "your CVC is wonderful, your CA-125 is NORMAL. GOD, i love my job." percentage of stage IV ovarian cancer patients who live 5 years beyond diagnosis? FIVE. hello? F*I*V*E.

i am so blessed.

earlier in the day, endocrinologist. she does nothing but crunch numbers. my BP was 120/70- fabulous. i scheduled an ultra-sound for next month. if that comes out well, i'll go to once a year for that.

i am SO DAMN BLESSED.
~
wishing you the same.
spiralflames: (anxiety)

alaska: cataract, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


before i start: i KNOW i'm being illogical, and i actually DO know i'll be All Right. i just need to see this stuff before me so i can know how silly i am.

FACT: i am ill. THIS IS TEMPORARY.

FACT: it's probably not serious, but i AM calling my primary doc tomorrow.

FACT: i fully intend to WAKE UP tomorrow.

FACT: just because i have chest congestion, it is NOT LIKE WHEN I HAD CANCER AND I WAS IN RESPIRATORY FAILURE.

FACT: whenever i take pseudoephedrine, i become EXTREMELY depressed as well as very negative and crabby. you KNOW this, so it's ALL RIGHT. nothing's HAPPENED. oh. except, your aunt committed suicide. it's OK to be a bit fucked up.
***
i really haven't been sick in 4 years, since i landed in the hosp for 51 days of medical hell with cancer. JUST BECAUSE I FELT LIKE SLEEPING IN AND AM ILL NOW, IT HAS **NOTHING** TO DO WITH THE TIMES I HAD CANCER.

sheesh. give yourself a break, and call the doc in the morning.

my temp is back down to normal. it's OK to be scared, sometime.

updeet

Aug. 23rd, 2009 11:08 pm
spiralflames: (heart)


more detail later- just a bit worn out.

2 topic sentences.

1) faculty meeting last friday. WE GOT PAID. he's now almost caught up with me. he owes me $200 or so, but has paid enough that i feel i haven't wasted my summer. tomorrow, the fall term starts. life will be interesting when people realize their kids aren't getting lessons if they haven't PAID. muahaha!

2) had bloods drawn fri for quarterly cancer-check. i get results weds. pray for good things. every 3 months i go without a CA recurrence gets me --------> much closer to safest.

3)adoring my new camera. insane numbers of photos uploaded to flickr.

4) i treasure my friends here.

spiralflames: (OvCa)
well, i'm above-ground, so they're ALL the best day, but this one's been right up there.

first, started new office job at the Studio today. went excellently. life is pretty mellow there in the summer, so perfect time to learn their byzantine accounting/registration programs. the BiBo's office is separated by a (usually always open) door, so he's 6 feet away from the main reception desk. he'd slide his chair into the entry and listen every time i answered the phone. "i never realized, it makes sense to have an instructor answering the phone, you know everything about how things work around here!" well, uh, yeah. i spent most of the time trying to rescue one of his computers from death, partially succeeded. he seemed pleased. he's asked me to work on an info packet for new students. fun! i'll bring my laptop so i can keep a Word doc going without occupying his computer's space. life is good.

but now, the reason that LITERALLY it's the best day of my life so far: meeting (can't even call it 'check-up' w/ dr weinshel, my hem/on. (hematologist/oncologist.) my CA-125 number? FOUR POINT EIGHT, bitches. (this is the marker for ovarian cancer.) normal is 0-33. i'm UNDER FIVE. my pre-surgery number? ONE THOUSAND TWENTY SEVEN. die, you motherfucking disease. DIE.

four years cancer-free.

and after a coffee and a lovely salad, i found 2 historical cemeteries to take spooky pictures of.

damn. i am richly blessed.

wishing you the same.

happy blue spring, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

la vie

May. 23rd, 2009 04:09 pm
spiralflames: (healing)


dr visits this week. 1)primary to re-up rx- bp was 124/82. 2)oncologist to get blood drawn-- see dr next week. 3) baby endocrinologist for 6-month checkup- she said if ultrasound comes clear 6 months from now, i can see her only once a year. BP at endo was only 114/72!
~
some random keystroke at my parents' house caused their computer monitor's display to suddenly turn UPSIDE DOWN. what a weirdness! it was a relatively easy fix, but i'd never heard of that HAPPENING before. also in the world of computer: googling "minnesota wrongful termination plaintiffs' lawyers" for a friend took me to "susie belly dance" site which thank you JESUS was halted by my lovely Avast virus protection. "WHEEEEET! WHEEEET! WHEEEEEEEEET! A TROJAN HAS BEEN DETECTED!" thank you, Avast.
~
love to [livejournal.com profile] stef_tm just because.
~
a dozen new photos matted, framed and displayed on the walls of the miserably-failing Studio. evidently they're down to 380 students, from a high in 2003 of 1000. and no paycheck this week. if i had a full class of students there? i'd bail quicker than you could spell "IT IS ILLEGAL IN THE STATE OF MINNESOTA TO WITHHOLD PAYCHECKS FOR WORK ALREADY DONE."
~
first interview with Buffalo paper about running a weekly photo column. we'll see.
~
and life is good. wishing you the same.

lake calhoun, mpls MN4 (E), originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (scenery)


have to photos from tuesday's drive to buffalo. the Lake's finally starting to thaw- there was a thick fog coming from it. the second shot is right before sunset, a bit of fog, a bit of cloud, and the lake ice looking almost black.

today's good possibilities- the Studio's still running. it'll be interesting to see what happens w/ friday's paycheck. everyone was teaching today- all i can say is, there BETTER be money on friday, and some kind of notice as to when the missing paycheck from 2 weeks ago will be re-paid.

(edit: just got the mail- last week's paycheck was in it. yay! hope springeth)

one of the teachers is moving to germany, and i might inherit some of his students. he also put a note on the teacher's bulletin board for someone to take 6 of his private students- 6 blocks from my house. what a godsend that'd be if any of that came through. this school year has been financially scary.

tonight's choir rehearsal was especially good- the Braying Alto was missing, and i was able to sit next to a Tonal Alto. we're doing the 7 Last Words of Christ for good friday. the choir's really improved in the past year- singing better and stronger, especially with the addition of a handful of new male singers. it's possible to do 8 parts. w00t!

did some work on poulenc _babar the elephant_ today. i start rehearsal w/frank, who's doing the narration. that'll motivate me to get kicking. it's a wonderful piece.

i realized lately that i adore nature like never before because when i was fighting cancer, i missed three COMPLETE SEASONS. i was in my house for spring, in the hospital for summer, and in the nursing home recovering for fall. i refused to let my parents bring winter clothes when i left there to finally come home and resume my life- i didn't want to admit i had missed that much time. i came home on december 12, wearing a summer dress and sandals. now? every minute of every season is dear to me. i don't want to miss a single leaf if i can help it.

and..life is good.

PS after reporting the 2 russian bot accounts, a few days later, both the accounts had been suspended by LJ. evidently they don't hurt you UNLESS you unwittingly friend them back. be careful- and report them if they appear in your journal. if you friend them back, they're a keylogger virus, and life becomes difficult for you.

buffalo lake fog1, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (fuck_cancer)

cream rose5, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


oncologist visit today.

i am officially three and three-fourths years cancer-free from Stage IV ovarian cancer.

jackie, boente's NP, made me a little nervous, tho. i think after all i've been through, she almost treats me like a colleague more than a patient..every once in awhile, a bit of 'bedside manner' (what's that? i know) would be appreciated.

here are the deets:

*my CA-125 is still excellent at 5.3. (normal is 0-31) it was up a few points from last time- she said it's variable, not to worry. i looked back and saw that my CA-125 had gone back and forth between 3-something and 7 for some time. check.

*she wants me to have genetic testing for a marker that would make me up to 60% more prone to breast cancer later in life. i'll do it, of course. it's just a blood test, and the worst that would happen would be if i showed positive, i'd go in twice a year for ultra-sound. it was a little anxiety-making talking about that, tho. i so wamt to be DONE with this. i have to face the fact that one way or another, it'll always be a 'program running in the background.'

*my white count was slightly elevated. ?? no symptoms here, no pain. they took more blood. since everything else read normal, i'm thinking the worst i might get out of this would be antibiotics. i guess they'll call me if anything shows up. me? i feel fine.

girly TMI warning )

i had a few scary "what if....." moments. i have to get over that- live my life- deal with things day to day.

i just want to be All Right.
spiralflames: (spiral_stairs)
good morning. have a photo of alaskan fireweed.

fireweed5, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


don't read on if sentimentality bothers you.
***
last night, i had a rather surprising emotional reaction. surprising, because it happened in a place i thought my cynicism had totally guarded me against: a church. (i know!) in the church where i sing, regular weds night rehearsals are now postponed because of lenten services. i teach too late to get to the pre-service rehearsal, so i just ducked in to the back of the church to hang out until the end of the service, so i could go to the regular choir rehearsal.

at the end of the service, the choir passed by on their way out. as they walked by, one of them put their hand on my shoulder and patted it. ( was sitting in the last row.) as the rest of them walked by, almost everyone either touched my shoulder or patted me. i felt like i was being blessed- it made me a little verklempt. it was odd- there was nothing going on, there was no illness or physical reason i wasn't up there singing with them- i was just LATE. it was one of those truly spontaneous, and totally unexpected, moments of grace.
**
now i have to get dressed and head out- first, to my every-three-months visit to the oncologist, where i am hoping that everything is still going well. then over to the Studio where i meet the flutist for the poulenc flute sonata for the first time. then coffee. then swimming. yay! day gets better and better.

OK, i'm off. wish me well for the dr. visit.
spiralflames: (OvCa)
serious Q.

Ovarian cancer is often called "the silent killer" because its symptoms are so vague, and are often thought of as being "not a big deal."

here are the symptoms of ovarian cancer. i'm NOT putting these under a cut, since all females should know this, and all males know females,

SYMPTOMS

Early ovarian cancer may not cause obvious symptoms. But, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include:

Pressure or pain in the abdomen, pelvis, back, or legs

A swollen or bloated abdomen

Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation, or diarrhea

Feeling very tired all the time

Less common symptoms include:

Shortness of breath

Feeling the need to urinate often

Unusual vaginal bleeding (heavy periods, or bleeding after menopause)

Most often these symptoms are not due to cancer, but only a doctor can tell for sure. Any woman with these symptoms should tell her doctor.
********************************************************************************************************

here is my question. if someone you know seemed to exhibit many of the symptoms listed here (you can see how so many of them could be SO many different things)..would you tell her and risk scaring the hell out of her? (and yes, a little over-sensitive here, since i am now 3.5 years cancer-free from state IV OvCa)
spiralflames: (goddess)

fresh snow on berries1, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


i am content, so there must be photographs. i admit the excitement about new-fallen snow was much greater LAST NOVEMBER, but it's still pretty.

have you ever re-read your own EllJay all the way from the beginning? mine's been in existence since 2003, and i'm up to january 2006 now. it's astounding how i avoided speaking about how terrified i was, how immobile i had become, how absolutely limited my life was, from the entire school year 2004-2005 until my disagnosis of cancer and subsequent surgeries in july 2005. i tried to hide much of it by forced-quasi-profound musical ramblings- i was still trying to give that damn recital despite me increasing physical discomfort. amazing. so much of it was so damn sad- i wanted to bitch about everything and anything, outside of HOW FUCKING SCARED I WAS THAT I WAS GOING TO DIE.

DO
NOT
EVER
SIT
IN
SILENCE.

if you are sick, GET HELP. if you have no insurance, things can work out. and any of it is better than dying.

GET HELP.

rainbow at rainbow mts3, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


the second photo is from the rainbow mountains. i never saw their full color, but it started to rain as we were driving through and this rainbow was gifted to us.

there are miracles on the earth, but you have to help them get started.
love to you all.
spiralflames: (fuck_cancer)
[Error: unknown template qotd]
when dr boente said "i'm thinking a few months of chemo and then you can forget about the word cancer for the rest of your LONG LIFE."

firewks/txt2, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (fuck_cancer)

wright county10, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


have a classic "over the river and through the woods/ to grandmother's house we go." photo.

today was my three-months check-in with the oncologist. every time i walk in there, i feel like a celebrity. my CA-125 is 4.3 (normal is 0-33). dr weinshel said "i'm absolutely ecstatic-- i don't mind telling you, the first time i saw you..."

"i was close to checking out."

"real close. i couldn't be happier for you. not too many people get a second chance."
***
then i saw dr boente, my wonderful surgeon. he came toward me w/his hand outstretched-- i was like, hello? what's with the handshake, i get a hug! (i think this dr is not used to beingn hugged..heheh) "i was just talking about you last week!" he said. and he gave me a classic head-to-toe 'once-over', i think just amazed at how strong i am, and how healthy i am now.

i told them both i was giving a benefit concert for their charitable arm, http://mnangel.org, in the spring. it is so awesome- in the classic sense of the word- to be healthy enough to be able to give back, even in a small way.

i love my life.

m'haha park10, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.

spiralflames: (photography)

lilies/hope, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


got a call from the endocrinologist's office today at (yawn) 8:30. results from ultra-sound are back:
THE TWO LYMPH NODES WE SAW LAST TIME ARE NO LONGER IDENTIFIABLE AND THE ONE LYMPH NODE WE WERE WATCHING HAS GROWN SMALLER. can we say YAY? (and the spiral goddess said YAY!) i could tell things were going well- in an ultra-sound, they move a thing that looks like an old-fashioned microphone over your bod, and then the tech clicks clicks clicks on his/her computer keyboard, which means he's found something picture-worthy. this last time, there were VERY few clicks..i kept thinking, all righty, he's not FINDING anything..and evidently i was right! :-D

thank you, THANK you for this life.
spiralflames: (solitude)

buffalo cemetery3, originally uploaded by spiralflmz.


three years ago today- thanksgiving 2005- my parents had thanksgiving dinner with me in the dining room of the nursing home where i had been recovering since the major surgery that removed a forty-two pound tumor from my gut, 2 minor surgeries, serious complications requiring spectacularly gruesome precedures (trust me on this- you NEVER want to hear one doc say to another "i'm sorry we only brought a SIX INCH needle.") in that nursing home i relearned to walk, gained strength, slept, watched enough TV to last a lifetime, cried enough tears to last twelve lifetimes (why didn't anyone think to tell me that this surgery had thrown me into immediate menopause?) and tried to imagine life Back Out There In The World.

today, three years later, i have my life back- except that now i never take a damn thing for granted. ever.
pity that it took stage IV cancer to teach me that, but evidently smaller reminders went unnoticed.

like the amazing [livejournal.com profile] samtosha, i will say, yet again, and until i can't say it any more: Thank You for my life.

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