One thing this article doesn’t touch on is that for people on disability under the age of 65 don’t even have the option of Medigap. People like me are not guaranteed coverage until we turn 65. And, if we do get approved you have to state what your current health is excellent, good or fair. I have over 20 tumors in me, one attached to my liver, 7 that are being measured because of their size, so I am at the fair level. What does that equate to? Approximately $12,000 a year. They won’t actually tell you the exact amount, which could be higher, until they review your case. And, the best part is that they don’t cover any Part B. So, basically it does me no good because chemo treatments are covered under Part B. Besides, who can afford $1,000 a month? It’s more than my house payment.

My Lymphoma Journey

More an article for an American readers faced with choices on medical plans than Canadian readers (where medicare largely covers these treatments). Better education is always good, and the catastrophic nature of diseases like cancer, and the associated costs of some treatments, makes this particularly important.

The problem of insurance gaps in cancer patients.

View original post

Creating Art Out Of Sand

ImageIt seemed like a simple task. All I needed was one of those kits that have a bucket, a shovel and a few tools, the kind they sell at Walmart every Summer, and some sand. That’s it. Simple enough. How hard could it be to build a sandcastle anyway? At least that is what I used to think up until a couple of years ago when l I signed the family up to take a sandcastle building lesson.

That day I learned that it was a lot more complicated, but a lot more of fun as well. The tools, while still simple, were not at all what I had pictured in my mind. Mark had a full size shovel, some paint buckets and for sculpting, a plastic fork, knife and spool; with a few modifications to the fork and knife.

It was about that time I also learned that building a sandcastle wasn’t just dumping a bunch of sand in a pile and packing it down. The best sand seemed to be right on the edge of the water and a few feet down. Mark dug a hole and scooped out some sand and made some sand pies. Kind of like making mud pies when I was a kid. However, it is not always the best place with the waves crashing in and filling the hole with water.

Next we had to scope out a good spot to build our castle. Then we learned how to mix the sand, make and stack the patties and sculpt. Seems easy right? Well,  you have to make sure there is nothing in the sand, like seaweed. You have to make sure you shake the patties to get the air bubbles out, then once stacked make sure it is solid enough to carve. And, that it doesn’t get too dried out while you are creating you sculpture. Otherwise it will crack and crumble.

ImageAs we were stacking our patties I learned another key component to building a sandcastle; the story telling. Mark was really great at story telling and it made the day   more entertaining. The next thing I knew we had sandcastles in the sand. While they may not have been the prettiest ones on the beach, we definitely felt like we accomplished something. More than that Kat and Christina had a lot of fun and it was a great bonding experience.

Mark said it just takes practice to get good. Sounded like a great excuse to make more trips to the beach the next year. Overall, I have a much greater appreciation for the art work I see when we are strolling along the beach. Kat started college in Corpus this year, so it gives us more opportunities to go down and play in the sand. Who knows, maybe we will get good enough to enter an amateur contest one year. For now I just leave it the professionals at the annual Texas Sand Fest they have in Port Aransas.

If you would like to learn more about Mark, he has a blog with photos of others enjoying playing in natures sandbox.

Ugggh, Coffee Please!!!

My friends at Spirit Hoods posted the above photo on their Facebook wall. I decided to repost because it described exactly how I felt. But, I guess that is to be expected when you are sleep deprived. So forgive me if I ramble today, my head is a little foggy.

After four hours of sleep, I found myself driving down the road on the way to the doctor’s office for an appointment I scheduled a few weeks ago. All the while thinking, What the heck was I thinking? I am so not a morning person. My sleep deprivation is a result of anxiety I guess, have a lot on my mind these days.

If you read the About Me page, then you already know I have been fighting cancer, GCT,  since 1998. I have never been in remission. My tumor re-growth usually occurred within months of have a debulking surgery. I have had several surgeries and each one has more and more complications. Last year I underwent a treatment of Avastin through a clinical trial, which was working, but the doctor’s had to take me off of it in October because I needed to have an ER Surgery for a hernia. After the surgery were several complications which caused me to ousted from the program. You can’t miss more than 8 weeks between treatments. It was the first time since my diagnosis that a treatment actually worked, so I was devastated. Now they want to try another treatment they refer to as BEP .  This treatment can effect lung function. Therefore, I have to be admitted into the hospital for four days each cycle. That side effect alone is a little scary. And, since I am no longer in a clinical trial, my medical cost will increase significantly. Insurance only covers 80 percent. So I have been thinking about the medical bills. I almost passed out on Saturday when I received the bills from both the hospitals I had been admitted to recently. On top of everything else, I my left brain wants to clean, organize and label everything so that Kat and my husband can find things while I am out of it or for the just incase scenario.

Most people hate when I mention the “just in case scenario” and respond with “think positive”. However, I tend to have this “I do, but I also live in the real world” mentality. And, truth is my right brain is lives life, plans for a future and doesn’t think about cancer . My left brain, which unfortunately is on overload right at the moment,  knows I need to be prepared and I need to prepare my family.

I worry about Kat, her schooling, and her future. I worry about who is going to take care of my puppies like I do. I worry about all the things that need to be done around the house. I worry about my husband and how he is going to handle things. I worry about loading him up with expenses that I will exceed our income at a minimum by 400 percent this year. And, I worry about  being stuck. Stuck in a rut because of the effects of chemo. I really want to get back into the real world and have a job again, but then I worry about who would hire me with all my cancer problems. I worry about being in a bad space with my brother, he is not speaking to me at the moment because I had the audacity to talk to my father about how I felt about his decision-making after college. Because I was worried about him.  He in only 26, I am 45. My father says I need to quit worrying about everything and everyone else, but it is a little hard to. Anyway, I guess I just worry, so therefore tend to be sleep deprived.

Anyway, sorry for ranting and rambling one, but I do want to say one more thing. If it were cold enough here, I would so rock a Spirit Hood because they are about feeling young, having fun and animal conservation. We all need a little of that now and again. Who knows, maybe I still will when the chemo makes my hair fall out. After all, if people are going to stare I might as well give them something fun to stare at. Oh, they also have a blog at the link above if you want to read it.

Well, I guess I better go, Jake is letting me know it’s feeding time.

I forgot I had that!

Today I grew tired of my new vacuum cleaner hanging out in the living room. My house isn’t very big and not huge on storage. Or at least I thought so until I cleaned out my coat closet by the door.

It is amazing how much one can accumulate over time that can become buried and forgotten if not cleaned out on an annual basis. What I found in my closet:

  • A mini refrigerator I used to have at work in 2006
  • An Art board, portfolio and carry case I used for some drawing classes I took in 2006
  • Autographed Fenton glass cat I had put away for my niece Kat several years ago.
  • A basketball, we don’t have a net, so not sure why I have a ball
  • Husband’s lost softball glove
  • Husband’s expensive pool stick hasn’t used in years.
  • Roomba-quit using it when I had to put in carpet for Jake (see Jake’s story for explanation)
  • Tons of Home Interiors stuff I am not currently using
  • Two life jackets for my puppies
  • Pee pads from when Jake was a puppy (makes we want another puppy)
  • A tank of helium from 2009
  • A cot
  • Fold up cooler I could have used on my shopping trip to Canton, TX
  • A 4×6 silk rug I forgot about
  • two black lamps, base only,  I haven’t used since 1993, I don’t know what happened to the shades.
  • boxes of miscellaneous stuff
  • Some old coats that have got to go, way out of style or don’t fit

There was some other stuff, but I think you have the idea. I think I need to clean out the closet more often. I feel a little bit like a hoarder. Who am I kidding, I do have hoarding tendencies, but only with some things not all. Now I have to figure out what I am going to do with the rest of this stuff.

I have two dogs that are amazing animals. Both adopted. Both saved from having to go to a shelter. We found them before they had to suffer in a cage all alone with no one to love them. Sabrina’s owner didn’t want her back and Jake was on the side of a road.

A few years ago I wrote an article about shelter animals. It was probably the hardest article I had ever written because it broke my heart walking into the different shelters and not walking out with a car full of puppies. I call all dogs puppies regardless of their age. It was also astonishing to learn how many animals were euthanized every year and how much it cost. That year the shelter in our area spent over $250,000 of the tax payers money to do this. Money that could be spent in other areas if only people were more responsible pet owners.

Someone once said my Jake was “just a dog”. Like a dog doesn’t know what is going on around them or has feelings, but that person is wrong. Jake is a loving, caring, feeling, living, breathing creation of God with a ton of emotion, personality, loyalty and love. Even pets that are abused and abandoned still have the capacity to love unconditionally.

In addition to unconditional love, pets are good for your health. WebMD even has a nice little slide show, 27 Ways Pets Improve Your Health that highlights all the benefits of owning a pet. So here’s to a healthier you in 2012 – ADOPT A PET! It’s a win, win situation for you both.

dogdaz

The Shelter Pet Project is a public service ad campaign focused on spreading the word that pets in shelters are wonderful and lovable, and encouraging potential adopters to consider the shelter as the first place to find a new best friend.

View original post

Journaling Old School

Hello! I am Becca. First and foremost, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. As a teenager I kept a journal. However, I am new to  blogging. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get here, but here I am.

When I was younger, before the Internet, I used to journal my life in an unusual place, my mattress.  When I was alone and lost in thought in my room I would pull back the sheets and scribble some random thoughts or write poem. I had the same mattress for as long as I could remember. Eventually I ran out of space and had to submit to writing in a spiral notebook. The only sad part about both is that they are long gone. The mattress eventually found its way to the dumpster. The notebook of poems I think is lost somewhere in my father’s garage amongst my younger sister Sharon’s junk. At least that is where my father last remembered seeing it.

Sharon stole it from my belongings when she was visiting our mother in Virginia and took it back to California with her without my knowledge. She copied the poems and passed them off as her own. I knew she did this when I found a wadded up piece of paper on my dad’s desk of one of my poems in her handwriting addressed to her boyfriend. I felt violated because they were my thoughts and my words about something that was important to me. That is when I decided to leave things in my head. I wish I had them both, the mattress and the notebook, back because so much of my childhood memories were scribed in, or on, them. Nowadays I don’t mind putting my words out there. Not  because I don’t care if someone steals my thoughts and uses them as their own, but because the written word will be around longer then I. And, because my family is scattered all over the world.

So, this blog is a documentation of my thoughts and my life. It is a place that, hopefully, will be around for a long time. A place that my family and friends can look back on long after I am gone and know who I was, why I was and how I loved them.