Wow, how long has it been? Was I hanging with Angelina?

Hey, I originally wrote this in March but wasn’t ready to get back in the saddle. My hands are completely numb most of the time, so I’d say traction is calling!

NOT! Sorry if you only clicked to read about her, you know, Angelina Jolie. She’s been in the news a lot lately, AH-gain, but this time she hasn’t adopted anyone, she’s tried to avoid getting ovarian cancer. Something I wasn’t able to do.

In case you’ve wandered, that’s where I’ve been, not with Angelina, but on a journey she can now avoid. I was diagnosed last July. Did the whole chemo thing and now I’m in remission. And yes, I know the stats, 20,000 a year diagnosed, 14,500 die, so about 30 percent make it. Not odds I’d take to the casino but when those are the only odds you get, you take them. And, as my doc says, “somebody has to be the 30 percent!” I’m fine being in that group.

Yet as I’ve learned some wisdom from others fighting the cancer battle, folks in late stages of the shitty disease, nobody has a lock on time, you could die today, it’s just with cancer you often know the time frame a bit better. They also tell me everyone should have a bucket list, write your dreams down, then do it.

Once again it’s all about perspective. I thought I’d have a crappy spinal column as my life challenge, not feeling my foot for the last 25 years was my cross, but life has other plans, I’m a person that got to hear those dreaded words, “you have cancer”. AND I’m still living, every morning when my feet hit the floor I remember what a lucky girl I am.

As for Angelina, it will be good if she can bring some attention to the cause, especially if she can bring money to it. Most of the treatments are 30 years old, not a lot is new in ovarian cancer, unlike breast cancer, with research and new treatments, outcomes get better. There’s still way too many women dying from both but ovarian deserves some more attention.

It’s good to be back, thanks for reading.

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The first signs of Spring, broken bones

Wow, what a long winter…..and yes, it is not officially Spring but one step out into the world and the first thing you notice in addition to huge piles of melting parking lot snow, is every other person seems to be wearing a cast or a sling from their time in the non Olympic events of snow and ice walking!

These are just a few of the first signs that we are headed out of our caves, looking for any sign of crocus and daffodils, birds chirping, dented car fenders, clogged gutters, dirty cars, crater pot holes, anything that can tell us we are headed in the right direction, we survived, we have made it thru. It felt like an endurance race this year, it felt like it took the discipline of doing traction to keep the winter blues at bay. Every few days another storm, another arctic blast, another blow to the idea that next week will be short sleeve weather. Heck, at some point you found your self giddy only wearing three layers and wondering what your reflection would look like without ice stuck to your scarf. Dark, cold days, traction had prepared you for non fun events, preparing for tomorrow when today wasn’t a bowl full of cherries.

Who knew looking out at the icicles hanging from the roof would be entertaining when you sat in traction. Or watching the fir trees sway in the snow and wind would remind you of sitting in the same place watching the same trees sway on gloriously warm, blue sky days.

Come snow, sleet, rain or heat, traction always has a story to tell.

Number 12

  • It is hard for me to believe that December is here, 12/2013. Wow, from my perspective this year flew by. I am not sure I even blogged 12 times this year, but I did traction at least 12 times and then some, I thought of things to write about 12 times and didn’t write another 12 times. I had pain bad enough to offer it up for a worthy cause at least 12 times and I felt sorry for myself 12 times 12 too.
    I am still here though, and I’ve probably said or written that 12 times, but on days like today that is an accomplishment. I’ve not let self-pity win, I’ve found joy and remembered it often. I’ve read at least 12 articles on how to cope with chronic pain, strategies to help, but few ever do and none make it go away but 12 times 12 I’ve moved on and said, what the hell these are my cards. I was not born into poverty, or lost my family in a natural disaster or famine or war. Hopefully, I’ve said thank you at least 12 times. I’ve found reasons to be happy and reasons to be mad. but sad isn’t where I like to live.
    At the end of another 12 where I do live is pretty darn good, I overheard my great-niece tell my sister that she loves me, this from a two and a half-year old person, that felt great, worth a hundred reasons to move forward.
    I thank you for reading this and hanging with me, 12 times over and over, I owe you.

  • The perfect gift for cervical spondylosis

    Three years later with this little blog and four years later with sticking to traction altogether and my neck is still attached to my head and my hands and arms still move! Truly time to celebrate……what do you get for a fourth anniversary for traction…..it seems like there’s a good joke there that is currently escaping me!

    It’s just a brief stopping point to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going with this thing around my neck and my ten pounds of water. Who knew such a simple, silly contraption could save me from not being able to use my hands….I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I’d wake up every morning with my arms completely numb, so heavy and hurting like crazy, gratefully I rarely wake up now with some tingling in the hands and immediately know it’s a sign to put in some more time in traction. I was told my neck was that of an 80-year-old person, only thing was, I wasn’t 80! I’ve listened to music, read, prayed and complained here but the time has passed and I’m still hanging. Happy Anniversary, here’s a toast to traction……100 year old neck here I come!

    Q and A

    For some people so much of life is hard. People who don’t know that first hand should be on their knees saying thank you. So much of life is something we can’t comprehend, are we meant to ever understand. Are all the mysteries answered in the end? Is there a big question and answer session after we die, or is there more mystery, more discovery, more waiting to understand?

    Some days, some times life is very predictable and simple, get up, go to work, come home, do what you need to do for the next day, be with family and go to bed and do it all over again the next day if you are lucky enough to do so. Other days your life experiences its own collapse, its own tsunami, its own personal September 11th. Your life blows up, maybe it just starts out as an ordinary Wednesday but by the end of it your life feels gutted, gone forever what ever you held most dear. Every day someone somewhere experiences that kind of pain, that kind of fear, that kind of despair. If you don’t know that, start counting your lucky days.

    Just been thinking how much we all take for granted or how some folks just don’t seem to get it. They seem careless, not care free. They don’t seem to cherish the moments, the people who matter….maybe they don’t ever think about it….but some day their life will implode and they will be left on the side of the road wondering what the heck just happened. Hold tight to what you have, look up and say thanks to what ever you believe in and love more, do more, be more….we only go around once and the clock is ticking.

    Tram courage, Traction courage

    Traction has given me courage…….who knew…….Recently I was in a tram going up the side of a snow-covered mountain in the “last frontier” state of Alaska as I chatted with an older gentleman attempting to distract me when I realized I wasn’t afraid. I had a peace about me, it wasn’t new, I’ve felt it before, just not in the air…I’m not a big fan of heights. He seemed to sense this in me and chatted all the way, looking at me with his kind eyes and weathered face, almost saying, just keep looking at me and you won’t notice what is going on around you. Before I knew it we were tethering to the dock at our destination. The ride was fast and worth it. Beautiful snow-covered vistas, one after the other. A few years ago I would have never made the attempt, I probably would have never considered it.

    Today when I was sitting in traction I realized it was one of my better days…the traction was easy, without much thought I had hooked myself up and was looking out at my pretty view….since I’ve moved I sit next to a window and I’m looking out near the treetops…it’s a sunny day and maybe the sun reminded me of Alaska…..although, Alaska isn’t known for its sun shine the views were filled with blue cloudless skies over the snowy mountain tops matching my color blue sky view today.

    Traction has been a journey, to still be at it……and to still have the condition that leads to doing it…….for that not to change, for that to be my unforeseeable situation….it gives you courage over time…..you deal, you have pain, you feel ‘not good’ a lot of the time…..you struggle to find a place to be content and happy and when you find it you have survived. You have strength you didn’t have because you had to find it….you had to change, you had to make it better in a way that you could.

    Traction, again,……I owe you.

    Green Grandma

    My Grandma wasn’t Irish, but her birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and every year she’d wear her dress covered in shamrocks and any green pin or necklace any grandchild would give her. My Mom would buy her green and white carnations and her giant cake would be covered in white and green icing. I’m thinking about all those birthday parties today and all the fun. It was a great way to celebrate a Grandma kind of Grandmother. Her birthday and Christmas were the few exceptions you’d ever see her without her apron, and not a half apron, a full apron. The kind you could easily get lost in when you got a hug. She was the kind of Grandma that had a candy drawer and made your favorites when you came to her house. She was a Grandma out of a book on “How to be a Grandma.” She had the most beautiful hands. When my Mom got a new piano as a gift one year she finally convinced my Grandma to play for us. Prior to that she’d only sit at the dining room table moving her lovely fingers to the imaginary keys. I grew up hearing stories of Grandma’s beloved father giving her a piano when she was nine years old, yet I had never seen or heard her play the piano until that moment and I would never again.

    Thinking of you today Grandma, I miss you and all that you were, but as long as I’m alive you’re alive in me.
    Happy Birthday!