Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still Pluggin' Along.....

I'm still working on listing this website stuff, but should be totally done (hopefully) by the end of the week. I want to get back to making my beads and then making jewelry with them.....I miss the creative aspect. I don't consider fiddling on the computer creative, although I suppose it would be, if I was creating actual websites for people (or me) and knew HTML. What a mysterious world that is to me. One day I would love to take a class and become more knowledgeable about the the ways of the computer world. You might as well be speaking to me in a foreign language! To me, I open the program..sign on...read my email.....go to a few websites.....read a few articles.....and that's it for me! I know my computer can do a zillion more things I am totally clueless about and I'm envious of those who DO have that kind of knowledge. I won't take the class though until the chemo brain fog subsides, as I'll learn something and then forget it the following day......if not sooner! I know my limitations! So I'm just farting around getting my things listed to sell and when I'm done I'll be posting the website address, so you can hopefully send it to all on your email list, who will then send to their email list etc etc, as word of mouth is the best advertising of all. I have an appt at Moffitt next week for my 4 month post BMT check up, but because of my "sneak peek" of the labs from the postponed appt I'm not expecting any surprises. I am excited about going though for a couple reasons.......Mom and I are going up the day before the appt because I have to be there at 8:00 am and to do that from here we'd practically have to get up in the middle of the night and leave, so going up the day before and staying in a hotel so it'll be less stressful. But I'm excited because Mom and I are meeting up with my friend Kala who I met at Moffitt when Kate and I went to "Art Therapy" during my BMT. She is a Volunteer at the Moffitt Cancer Center and an artist who does beautiful work and she has also branched out into making jewelry too!! We are going to meet at her studio and then go for some Thai Food. I'm also looking forward to seeing all the doctors and nurses who were involved in my BMT journey, as I developed a relationship with them and want to give them a big hug and tell show them what a great job they did (ME!). Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up as a "follower" please. Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cancer.......The Gift of Clarity

We are all a work in perpetual progress, hopefully becoming a bigger and better person every day. To wake up EVERY morning and set goals and be determined to make this a better day than yesterday is the goal. To make YOU a better you than you were the day before is the goal. When you are diagnosed with cancer, one of the many gifts you receive from it, if you are OPEN & CHOOSE to receive it, is the gift of clarity in seeing the big picture. Now don't get me wrong, I'm as guilty as the next person of losing that focus from time to time, we're only human after all, but the ability to keep clarity in the forefront of every day is a true blessing. Since I have been diagnosed and gone through the torturous bone marrow transplant and lived to tell the tale, it has made me so aware of living each and every moment as best I can and being the best person I can possibly be. I'm talking about the inside stuff. Only you know what your core is feeling. You can pretend to be happy or nice or whatever and delude yourself into thinking that's the way you are, but only your soul knows exactly what your true intentions are. This is what you putting out into the Universe, not the playacting stuff. Cancer has given me the ability to really know myself and my core and my intentions on a soul level and that in turn guides me to be a better person each day. Am I making any sense to you? I hope so. You know how the ole saying goes "why re-invent the wheel" ? I say this because I don't want YOU to learn this lesson the hard way......accept it as my gift to you. Do some meditation, get quiet within, and have a nice long conversation with yourself. Ask questions and LISTEN for the answers as you do have all of the answers, we usually just don't get quiet enough within to hear. Ask for guidance and strength to follow through. So getting back to my "cancer" gift of clarity, I just wanted to share that although cancer SUCKS big time, if you open yourself up to the lesson, there always is one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Yay......posting 2 days in a row! Whoa......that hasn't happened in a while. I'm taking a break from "computer work" (well that's not really true is it?..... as I'm writing on it now)........but this isn't work, talking to you. I was referring to fiddling around on these websites I am putting together which between chemo brain and just plain being moronic when it comes to computers, it presents quite a challenge most times. So.... as I was saying, I'm taking a break to eat a peanut butter sandwich. I am currently addicted to Peter Pan honey roasted peanut butter on toast or a bagel, as my mid morning and mid afternoon snack (hey it could be worse, it has protein and is fattening) AND of course, I'm watching my UF GATORS play Ole Miss right now. Go Gators. Just a side thought....I LOVE Football!! Many women I think, may not care for it that much, but I guess I grew up in a football watching family (Mom & Dad) so that I learned to love the sport too. My mom, right now, can tell you who plays where, how they're doing etc etc!! It used to be just Sunday and the Pros but since Linz went off to college, I've added College Football so NOW it's Saturdays & Sundays. Oh what a busy schedule I have (wink wink). It's kinda nice to not have a deadline in my life right now, seeing as the last 6 weeks were dictated by a "schedule" of events, so I am enjoying this down time of picking and choosing what I want to do and when I want to do it. I thank the Universe everyday for providing me with that opportunity. I need to take some time and catch up on long overdue emails to Tam (my wonderful cousin in Wichita), to Sam (to thank her for my birthday card), to Wendy, to Colleen, to Kathy (my sis in law) and Kala (my artist friend who was brought into my life at Moffitt), so I'm thinking after the game I'm gonna do just that. Again, another thing I am grateful for is having these amazing people and MORE in my life and I need to nurture these relationships. I really didn't have a topic per se, for this entry, but the above just gave me food for thought, and believe me, I have alot of things I want to talk to you about. But back to relationships.......why else are we here? On the big Life Scoreboard do we measure a successful life by how many things we own, or what we can afford to buy, or where we've gone on vacation? and on and on and on? Nope, I don't think so. I think we will be asked....."how well do you think you did in the relationship dept"? Did you tell your family and friends that you love them? Often? Did you do all you could to let that person know they are special to you? That you are glad they are in your life? Those are just a few of the many questions, I feel we will be asked when meeting face to face with the Creator of the Universe, and I want to be able to answer them in the way I would like to be able to answer them. I think it is true that ALL people come into your life for a reason (yep......even the cranky person in line in front of you at the grocery store), some people come into our life for the whole duration, and some are meant to share our lives just for portions of our journey. Some even come in, go out, and then come back in......all serving a higher purpose. It is up to us to nurture these relationships if they are important to us. So I will take the time RIGHT NOW to tell you ALL that I am so thankful you are in my life, whether you are family, friend or just stumbled upon my blog and left an anonymous comment, I appreciate you. Having you in my life feels good. Again, because it is a new feature on my blog, please scroll down and sign up as a follower if you are reading this, as it helps me to realize I'm just not talking to myself!! LOL......I hear they can "lock you up for that" (hee hee)

Friday, September 26, 2008

WHEW......Finally Catching my Breath...

Sorry it's been a week guys, but that's what happens when you run out of gas! I have been metaphorically stuck on the side of the road, just sitting there, waiting for the gas tank to magically fill up and it happened today. So yay...back to active life again :) The crash was just a culmination of 6 weeks of craziness between cleaning out the garage, Lindsay coming home for a week and helping with her move, the garage sale, making jewelry for the show, and then the show itself. I came home Sunday late afternoon and just crashed. I tend to forget I am only 3 months post BMT (which is a good thing really) but then again, I really do need to take it somewhat slower than I have been these last few weeks, and I intend to do just that. I have soooo many things I want to write about, that it's hard to know where to start, so I'll just give you the show thoughts right now, but many more are brewing in my head. Some cancer stuff and some not. The show was a success in many ways and I'm glad I did it. Again, I couldn't have done it without Kate and Mom for sure, and Greg, my brother pitched in and transported the tables and tent for me which was a big help. Putting together the show was alot of work, both physical and mental, but I enjoyed it and didn't get all stressy or anything.....it was just a constant. I must have been running on adrenaline (or fumes) those last few days though as when I crashed I really did crash.......I mean I had NOTHING left in the ole tank!! I met lots of really really nice people at the show, sold some stuff, and started a customer list for emails......so I met my goals for the show. I wore a scarf on my head and my australian cowboy hat, but that doesn't really hide the fact I'm bald, which turned out to be a real conversation starter!! LOL........ when we did tell my story briefly, I got so many hugs and best wishes, it was great. So I basically received validation on all levels this weekend.....that people loved my jewelry, bought my jewelry, took my cards to go to the websites, about 6 people wanted to have a home jewelry party and I received compliments on how well I looked and am doing post BMT. I couldn't have asked for better results. I've posted a few show photos and when I am through listing items on my website I'll post a link here so you can take a peek. Thanks for hangin in there with me and I'll post again tomorrow. I've added a few new features to my blog if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page you'll see them. You can "subscribe" (PLEASE DO IF YOU READ MY BLOG) to it and will be notified when I make a new entry (I think that's how it works!) and there are a few other options down there, that I have yet to figure out!! I wish I was a "techie" :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Down to the Wire....

Well it's basically "D-DAY" for me and the art show countdown has begun! Thought I'd take a few minutes to check in as I know I won''t be writing for the next few days as I'll be busy with the weekend craft show and probably crash and burn when I get home both days, so no computer time will be on my agenda until Monday. It is from 10-4 both SAT and SUN, so Monday I will be a blob of humanity I'm sure. It's a crappy thing, but when I am "out of my routine" it really kicks my ass. I'll be getting up early on both days to have the time in the morning to move.....my first 2 hours awake are horrid as I am so stiff and achy and until I get a heating pad on my back and neck and the meds kick in, I can barely hold a conversation or move! What a fun person I am in the mornings! So I have to give myself those extra 2 hours in the morning to resemble a somewhat normal person before beginning my day. Being the perfectionist I am, I look around at what I have to display for the show, and I'm like....I need to make another watch......or bracelet or a whatever.......so there comes a time, when ready or not.....I just gotta stop and today's the day. I have too many other things on my gotta get done today list , like going for groceries to make sandwiches and get snacks for the 2 show days, get the cooler from the depths of the garage and clean it out.....if I wrote here what is on my "to-do" list for today I would run out of internet room! I'm excited that Kate, my sissie, is coming up to help me with the show and of course, Mom will be there and Ashley will help to set up for the show with us. I have to pick up some rental tables, make some signs.....oops.....starting to list my massive list so I'll STOP NOW!! LOL.....I crack myself up with so much on my plate, but ya know what? It's all good. I don't have any cancer cells right now (do the cabbage patch), so I feel invincible at the present time. I can do anything I want. Yeah for me!! Well this is a quick one I know, but "duty's calling" and I'm almost ready to move for the day so time's a wastin! My main objective for doing this weekend festival is not so much to sell stuff although that would be awesome, it's more to generate a mailing list for my websites as that's where I plan to do the majority of my business..... on the internet. I do plan on approaching boutiques and spas and other places about carrying my line at some point, but that's down the road in my business plan. For now, I just want to get out there and pass out my business cards with my websites name and address and start to make a customer base per se, to direct traffic there. I'd like to schedule doing shows every few months and also get people to sign up for hosting Home Jewelry Parties. So selling my things at the show would be icing on the cake, but with the economy the way it is right now, I'm not expecting big sales at all. Perhaps doing a show or two around the Holiday.....Nov and Dec.....would generate more sales. When I have my websites up and running with lots of items listed, I'll post a link here from my blog. Wish me Luck!
Peace & Love

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Line up for HIGH FIVES People........

Now, in my feeble little chemotherapy ridden brain, (no more comments here please hee hee) all of my friends, family and those new people in my life who wandered have into my blog and have commented (you're in the friend category now) are all lined up in a row......sort of like the wedding party at the reception, when you are greeting your guests.

Now back to that scenario in a minute.....but first....a backstory

For a month or so now, I have already had on the calendar, a Moffitt Cancer Center 3 month post BMT checkup for Wednesday 9/17 (yesterday). About 10 days ago I had to go to an independent lab and have 5 vials of blood drawn for every test under the sun and to drop off a 24 hour urine collection (always a fun thing to collect). The lab was to fax the results to my Doctor at Moffitt. Well, being the absolutely crazy woman I am, I was just too dang busy with this upcoming weekend "craft festival" I have a booth in, to spend practically a day and a half going to Tampa and back, and I need the time to get ready for this show, which by the way is a whole lot of work!! So on Monday I called Moffitt, and said I needed to re-schedule due to auto problems (true story, my Jeep is in the shop.....although a partial fib, because Mom was gonna drive anyway). I was speaking to the nurse of Dr. Ben, my doctor at Moffitt, about all this. Anyway she tells me that Dr. Ben is only at Moffitt one day a week and his next opening wouldn't be until Oct.8th, and then my blood and urine results would be inaccurate having been taken nearly a month before, so I would have to have them re-done. So my request to re-schedule, is just a pain in the ass for them I'm sure! So she says, let me contact Lab Corp and have them fax me your results and if you are ok we will re-schedule for Oct.8th BUT if I see something.....ANYTHING, I don't like, I will just overbook/doublebook you for the following Wed. but expect to do a bit of waiting since I would be squeezing you in. I told her that worked out fine for me and to call and let me know what's up and when to put it on my calendar, after she got my lab fax. Within a half hour, the nurse called me back and we verbally went over my results and I had her also fax me a copy (I have a copy of ALL my labs, tests etc. since Day #1).

SO now back to my feeble little chemotherapy ridden mind

You are all lined up in that wedding reception type line because I am going down the line

My blood is PERFECT right now!
Liver and other organs just SUPER!
NOT a CANCER CELL to be found in either blood or urine!
A MIRACLE is happening!

Even though I have been so busy getting this show stuff together, I would stop during the day and do the "cabbage patch" and sing..... "I'm doin good" and "I don't have any cancer cells" (you must do these in a sing- songy way) and then the most important of all...."Thanks God, for these awesome results" (not sing-songy)

So needless to say I don't have a Moffitt appt until October 8th.. YIPPEE!!

Thank you ALL for sending so much love and support my way because if I was in this alone, I know the results would be different. I truly believe that having you all saying prayers & sending your positive thoughts and wishes, plays a huge role in all of this as it makes my outlook positive, increasing my endorphins, and creating a positive and healing atmosphere in my feeble little chemotherapy ridden brain! (kinda catchy little phrase huh?)

If you notice the time stamp on this entry it's EARLY for me to be writing (started around 8:15 am) because I have a really full day ahead of me and if I didn't do it now, the day would slip away and another day without an entry would go by, and I don't like that much. I feel like I am getting to "talk" to you when I write here. I feel guilty I haven't written more lately, but it's due to the show, and I'll get back to my daily or every other day ramblings after this coming weekend.

So THANK YOU for everything
I am a really happy person right now

Love and Peace to all

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Cancer Movie

Hi Everyone
Just wanted to share this little clip with you. It pretty much sums up the whole "cancer thing" for me.

Be back soon............gotta upload jewelry photos I took today FINALLY!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on Blood Counts.....

Today I had an appointment to have my twice a month blood work done at Dr. Nair's office. As I've said before I have now "graduated" to only seeing him once a month and having blood draws every other week. Quite the change in the ole routine having been to the office once a week for well over a year and actually seeing the doctor every other week. I'm a big girl now!! :) Actually I did gain a pound at the "official weigh-in" today so I'm up to a strapping 94 lbs. now. I was hanging at 96 for a month or so and then got down to 93 (please don't tell my mom....wink wink) so at least it's back on the way up. I think I'm going to add the dreaded Ensure or Boost although the thought of it makes me cringe after drinking it during the transplant phase of all this. Looking at the bottle kinda gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I really need to put on some weight. It's one thing to be thin and healthy looking, but I am not. I look like a cancer patient. LOL...I crack myself up. What a weird sense of humor I have. I had to laugh today at the doctors office too. I just must be in one of those moods today. Every time I go it is the same routine. I get called in......go back to their little "cubbies" where they ask me questions, take my temp and blood pressure, draw blood and then we wait for the results. So today when the gal was asking her questions that I have heard for how many visits now......(let's see every week for the last year and a half equals how many visits.....ah shit....you do the math). Anyway, the questions are how is your appetite? Are you sleeping? Do you have constipation or diarrhea? Do you have mouth sores? Tons of questions to which I answer fair or no. But it made me think..........sheesh..........I tell people about my bowel/bladder regime on a weekly basis!! Now how many of you have THAT come up in conversation weekly? Anyway, today it just tickled me. My labs were good today even though I have been back on the Acyclovir once a day. It brought my platelet level crashing at one point and he stopped it for 2 weeks. I did take it 2x a day but now only take it once. My WBC are 5.0 (normal 4.1)...........RBC are 3.62 (normal 4.20) so they are a little low which makes me anemic and tired (what else is new?) and the platelets came up ONE point to 128 with being on acyclovir for 2 weeks. Those are the babies that are last to grow and told me it could take up to a year to be in the normal range which is 140. So that's that my friends! Peace

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Something I Wanted to Share.....

Hi All
I'm too tired right now to articulate my thoughts and share them (some of them, like Lindsay leaving for Las Vegas today, I'm not even ready to touch>>>BOO HOO>>>)..... but I came across this today and loved it, so I wanted to share it with you.

A Mirror is only as good as the reflection in it
An appreciative heart attracts more of what it appreciates
Adversity does not build character, but reveals it
Worry just enough to be prepared
Melt the icy fingers of fear with the sunshine of hope
A good way to forget your troubles is to help another with theirs
The sweetest grapes are picked from the vineyard of friendship
Being in a good frame of mind helps your immune system
People don't care what you think until they know how much you care
Don't be so busy adding up your problems that you forget to count your blessings
We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails
The seemingly impossible large issue can always be broken down into smaller possibilities
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift.....
that's why it is called The Present

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Garage Sale Day #2

And I thought I was tired last night!! HA Today we got up at 6:00 am and started the garage sale routine and thank the stars it's finally over. Please oh please, if I EVER say I'm going to have a garage sale again, take me back behind the shed and shoot me. I haven't had one in soooooo long that I had forgotten how much work is involved in running one. I had all the help in the world today and we were very busy so we made some money from our unwanted items, so that's good. It's the picking up afterward.....boxing up what you just took OUT of boxes to give to the American Cancer Society's thrift shop. The aftermath is the killer! If I could just go in the house after it was over and then it all disappeared, well, that would have been great. But no........it was all there, just staring me down, so we tried to make quick work of the clean up. Ash, Linz, Anthony and especially Kevin were VERY helpful, moving the bigger items, going to the trash dump and Kevin even trimmed my driveway of branches today, which was a gigantic help to me because I just don't have the strength or stamina right now to do the things I used to. I'm working on it, just don't have it right now. I have 2 weekends till my ALL DAY craft show, and it will probably take every second of those 2 weeks to get ready for that. I think I am a crazy person!! Taking all this on at one time.........sheesh. And in the middle of those 2 weeks I have to drive to Tampa and go to Moffitt for my 3 month check-up. Fingers crossed and say a prayer that all is well and on course. My sissie and friend Steph will be coming up to help me with the show along with my mom, so that will be a huge help. Again, something I couldn't do without them! It still rates underneath the bone marrow transplant help though!! LOL. I am so dang tired I'm surprised I can type legibly (thanks spellcheck) and I plan on doing NOTHING but watching the GATORS slaughter MIAMI tonite in football. Everybody do the Gator Chomp now....good job. Peace Out!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Garage Sale day #1

Whew.........I'm pooped! Set the alarm for 5:00 am this morning as you know how much work a garage sale is if you've ever had one and I am in such bad shape in the mornings it takes forever for me to be able to move around decently. Thank the heavens for heating pads is all I'm saying. :) It's especially hard to have one when you have a zillion items to put out and display. I wanted to put an ad in our local Pennysaver paper, which is a popular thing to do around here for a garage sale, and their deadline is Mondays at 5:00 pm. Well....last Monday was a holiday so I didn't get it in in time for the Wednesday and Saturday editions because the deadline was the previous Friday because of the holiday. So we decided to keep it a 2 day affair anyway and put up signs in strategic corners for today and knowing the Saturday edition of the Pennysaver will be out around 6:00 am tomorrow which will carry our ad. So the customers today came from street signs only, so we're expecting a larger crowd tomorrow. I think I sold a bit over $150 today so that's not too bad considering it RAINED for half of the allotted time! So I just set the alarm for 6:00 to get an extra hour of sleep since most of the stuff is still in the driveway covered up (our house is set way back on a lake so you can't see it from the road) and only some things will need to be put out, unlike today. Mom came over to help in the morning so there was 4 of us to pull it together......not too bad really. We even closed shop around 1 because it rained hard starting around then and we were tired of the tarps on....tarps off.....tarps on.....tarps off dance we had done throughout the day. Kevin came up tonite for the weekend too since Linz will be leaving for Vegas on Monday (still in denial here) so he'll help with all the heavy/man stuff tomorrow. My 94 pounds and stamina just don't cut it these days! Will catch you up on the final sales tally probably Sunday or Monday when things get back to the regular routine and the dust settles! Later (Florida) Gators

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Now it's.....Happy Birthday to Lindsay!.....

Hey All........Today 9/2 is Lindsay's 25th Birthday! Hard to believe I gave birth to her so many years ago. I look at the woman she has become and am so proud to be her Mom. She is and always will be my "baby"! We are 5 days and 29 years apart, so that makes her a Virgo like me and supposedly Virgos aren't supposed to get along with each other as we tend to be know it alls (who me?) and we are perfectionistic folks who always tend to think we know the best way to do things (who me?) hee hee BUT it turns out that some of the people in my life I have become closest to have all been Virgos!! So go figure. I do believe in astrology type things but that one doesn't hold any water in my book! It's been a really busy week starting with the garage ordeal of cleaning it up and making room for her "chit" to go in there. My house looks like a war zone because we figured the things she was actually packing and taking to Vegas would be lined up on one side of the dining room table and the "I'm not sure I have to go through it" is on the OTHER side of the dining room table so therefore, thankfully I have a pretty large table in the breakfast nook so we at least can sit there and eat or at the bar at the kitchen because every other place is packed with boxes and "stuff". She's only here a week before moving to Vegas so she's on a time frame to get a bunch of her own stuff done......see some friends she won't be seeing for awhile......and going through a MASSIVE amount of who knows what in piles. Sheesh.....it's wearing me out just thinking about it! On top of everything else going on I've committed myself to show my jewelry at a local but rather big "Fall Festival of the Arts" the 2nd week in September......I have a Moffitt Cancer appt. a few days before the festival.........I need to start 2 websites where I plan on selling my jewelry BEFORE the show so I can have the website name on my business cards at the show.....and I can't begin to tell you the endless list of misc crap that is also on my "to-do" list. So.......for a recovering cancer patient I'm not heeding the advice of "take it easy" very well these days!! I like being busy though, but want to PICK what I want to be busy with.......LOL......and some of these tasks are not my choice! Making beads and jewelry is fun for me......I can feel the endorphins for happiness helping to repair my body, so that's a good thing. It's like........oh, I have cancer?..that's right, I do! LOL I'm too busy right now to give it a 2nd thought so it's being put in it's place in a dark corner and being ignored for now, which is exaclty where it needs to be! Before I go, I want to mention that I have received comments on my blog from those who have just "happened" upon it. I want to thank you for joining me on my journey and welcome you to my "family". Although we have never met, I appreciate your replies and comments and it makes my day when I receive a notice that someone has commented. Your comments do not show me your email address though, so I can't respond back, so if you'd like email me at jrgaf@aol.com and I will be glad to email back and forth with you. If you have any questions re: treatment, the BMT or meds....anything I can help you with, please write and I'll be more than happy to help. If I can give back in any way, it's the very least I can do. Peace to all