Sunday, June 26, 2011

It won't slow me down...

But I should tell you that the pain I have been having the past few months has increased.  It is near constant, but often takes my breath away and completely stops me in my tracks.  I have had tests that are inconclusive.  A likely cause is cancer, could be from extreme trauma to my abdominal cavity...a ton of surgery, boiling chemo poured in creating 3rd degree burns on every surface, iv chemo pumped inside, adhesions galore, more surgery, cancer...etc.  The pain is located in the same area where the fluid (ascites) has been building up.  It isn't as large as last sept when I looked so pregnant, but it is definitely there.    Please continue to keep me in your prayers.  I have felt the power of prayer and witnessed its miracles.  I continue to press forward with GREAT HOPE...and am living my life to the fullest each day.  I know each day is a gift...and that perspective has changed everything.   I have more ct scans and tests early in July.  For now, I am trying to gain strength and health so that my body will be ready if I need surgery again.  I hurt...but feel SO much better than I did 6 months ago.  I am not writing this to complain...just to keep you updated.  I'm still raising my own kids.  I'm NOT in a hospital.  I'm not on a feeding tube.  I'm not hooked to iv's.  I'm not on chemo.  And I'm STILL playing tennis.   I am so LUCKY!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

And they NEVER told me...

Most of you probably don't know this, but when we lived in Cleveland, OH...we spent 2 years living as some of the ONLY "Gentiles" in an exclusively Hacidic (or Orthodox) Jewish neighborhood.  We adored living there! 
They were clean, respectful, fantastic neighbors.  We loved learning about their culture and religion.  They firmly followed their beliefs...and people from all around would come to our neighborhood after sundown on Friday evenings to Saturday evening (which was their sabbath.)  This picture isn't the best...but is what we saw from our front windows each day.  On their Sabbath they couldn't drive, or even close their car doors.   You would see them walking to temple in groups.  The men in black suits, with black kaftans (or top hats), and long beards.  When you saw the women, they would have their hair covered, or wear a wig...with long skirts and sleeves.  They strongly valued their modesty.  They walked several times a day to temple and study of the ancient scrolls in Hebrew. They couldn't cook on the Sabbath... or turn on their heaters, or even turn on or off a light.  (Their lights would be in timers or they had blackening shades they would put on lamps so that they didn't break their rules.)  They loved having token "gentiles" (US) nearby...because if something needed done on their Sabbath...they would call us.  It gave us many opportunities to see firsthand how they lived.  They would have their Shabbat dinner like clockwork on Friday evenings...and you could see them from through their front windows going through their ceremonies.  We were invited several times and it was a wonderful experience. 
Passover and other holidays were simply amazing and I will have to post later to explain it all.  There are times of the year like Sukkot that they have to build Sukkahs (temporary shelters like forts) and live in them for 7 days to commemorate the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters.   When we first moved one warned us what was going on and I woke up one day thinking I was in a dream.  It is hard to explain how unique this subculture was.   I could go on an on about this... but...We gained such respect for them and the adherence to their faith...and I think they gained the same respect for our faith and devotion. much as we were around the Orthodox Jews and spent time with them...none of them ever told me what my names means to Jewish people.  I just learned by chance that a "Shanda" is a shame of great proportions."   Awesome.  I now am trying to remember if they ever laughed behind my back.  How come they never told me.  That is worse than having spinach stuck between my front teeth at a dinner party.

Grateful for Good men in my life...

I am grateful for a good husband, who works hard, but is a fun, caring father.  My girls adore him and he is smitten by them.   I think Larry had a good Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shattering the Illusion that cancer makes people Fragile...

I just got my plane ticket and I am offically going to a week long young cancer survivors kayaking retreat in Vail, Co.  It is through an amazing organization called First Descents.  I was accepted a few months ago, but worried that I might not have the health to be able to go.  I decided I'm going...positive thoughts!

Here is their story: n 2001, ten young adults took to the rivers of Colorado in whitewater kayaks. For seven days, they learned the basics of the sport, eventually conquering Class III rapids before the week’s end. They were there to prove themselves and to prove a point: that cancer, no matter how aggressive, dormant, advanced, or invasive, would never be stronger than they were.

I am going July 31-Aug 6th...and I am nervous, but SO excited.  My body is weakened, but still strong.  It is trying to heal... and has been rallying for me.  This will be something that I do just for me...and I can't wait!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I pulled of a TRUE surprise!

I haven't been blogging much lately, because I have been busy LIVING!  I count my blessings daily for that and so much more!

The last few weeks I have been busy planning a big SURPRISE party for my mom's 50th bday.  She has been my rock this past year and has kept my life running and raised my girls the past year when I wasn't able to.  Her big birthday was the perfect opportunity to show her how much she means to me and so many of her friends.  All of the pictures I took didn't work because in all my preparations...I forgot the memory card in my camera. 

She got out of the car..looked confused, then cried...HAPPY tears.  It was awesome.  I was so grateful that many of her friends were there to make it so special.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Soaking up the Sun...

Can I tell you how amazing it feels to sit and weed my flower beds...hear my kids giggling as they run through the sprinklers...and feel the sun on my face?  Amazing day full of simple pleasures!

I have symptoms returning and am in pain...but compared to last summer...I have no complaints!  Life is GOOD!