Letting Go

Hello world, it has been a while since I have posted. I have had a lot of things going on at the moment between health, family, politics and most important puppies. Through it all I have learned that sometimes I just have to let it go, but sometimes I just can’t.

Health wise I am in limbo. I can’t afford the treatment they want me to have. I find myself having to let it go when it comes to cancer. Otherwise, it will eat me alive. We are too rich, by the way anyone who makes over $27,000 and owns two cars is too rich, to get assistance and to poor to afford it. I find it ironic that Obama’s calls his health plan the Affordable Care Act. It should be called Forced Insurance Act because it fails to make health care affordable with or without insurance. It is only affordable if you don’t get sick. My brother called me and said he was excited the Supreme Court upheld this tax on the American public because I could not be turned down for insurance with my pre-existing condition. Well hell, what good is it when I can’t afford the treatment with insurance.

Speaking of brothers, I have learned I have had to let go of my hurt I felt in the past year when he got upset that I spoke with my dad about my concerns for him. Our relationship has improved just recently, but I find myself having to learn to deal with his new political views.  Which at times, remind me of a Dem’s talking point sheet. He says financially he’s conservative, but with social issues he is a liberal. I worry about  who is working for and the influence over him. It is more than being a democrat that bothers me about this individual. It is his underlying ideologies. But, my brother is 27, a grown man, and I have to let go of trying to protect him from the world.

Charger, white shepard

Love those ears.

Speaking of protecting, I found myself working and paying to save the cutest puppy ever. Well almost the cutest, second cutest. My Jake still reigns supreme in that category. This puppy is named Charger. He is not my dog, but I wish he was. He belongs to my husband’s friend. The friend didn’t have money for the vet bill and Charger had Parvo. He was going to let him die and I couldn’t stand by and watch it. After I nursed him back to health, my husband gave him back to his owner. Now my heart is breaking because I know Charger’s life would have been happier with us. He is cared for but it just the bare needs. He lives outside in the elements and at many times is left alone. I know that not every dog owner has the same beliefs as I do. They don’t all let them in the house etc, but still it is hard.  This has been source of contention between my husband and I. I love that puppy so much.  To keep him healthy I have been buying heart worm and flea medicine for him. And,  I sneak by with treats and toys at times. The only good thing is that the wife is starting to warm up to him and he is getting a little more attention. All I can do is educate them without coming across as a jerk to become better pet parents. In the mean time, I have to learn to let go.

Confessions of a Sodaholic

The popularity of reality TV has given rise to shows that depict families with unique story lines, swapping spouses, raising multiples and taming unruly kids. Others are about dating, weight loss and addictions.

From time to time I find myself tuning into one of those shows, A&E’s Intervention. The show has covered eating disorders, alcohol abuse and drug addiction. However, you will never see them tackle the issue of soda addiction.While addiction to soda does not create dramatic segments or interesting story lines, it still is an addiction and can have heath risk and withdrawal symptoms.

At 21 the though of having an addiction was not part of my mindset, let alone one related to Coke. Then one afternoon I found myself in the passenger seat of our car nauseated, curled up in a ball from stomach pain and on the way to the hospital. After a several hour wait in the Emergency Room waiting area and a head to toe examination by the doctor on duty, the doctor excused him self for a minute only to return shortly afterwards with a soda in his hand. He popped the lid, handed to me and said “Here, drink this.” It was that moment I realized I was a sodaholic.

Today, I can honestly say that I am still sodaholic. I started with Regular Coke, then Diet Coke to cut calories, and nowadays my drink of choice is Coke Zero. And, while I understand that soda has always been a vice and a pitfall health wise, I find myself consuming at least six cans a day. Yes, I know soda is not good for you, drink water, but I really don’t like the taste of water or tea. And, I didn’t put anymore thought into it, or at least not until today.

This morning I noticed diet soda on my Yahoo trend list, so I clicked on it. Unfortunately, it was an article about how people who drink diet soda is at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Makes sense right? after all soda is full of caffeine. Well, I decided to do a little more reading on the subject, so I googled drinking diet soda. Why did I do that! To my dismay I ran across a CBS report about a study conducted by the University of Texas.The UT study was spanned a decade of observing soda drinkers that were 65 to 74-years-old. The study found that the soda drinkers waist line grew 70 percent, yes folks, I said 70 percent more in circumference as compared to non-soda drinkers. Of course with more girth in the stomach area comes more issues with heart disease, which makes sense when you think about todays article and how it relates and cancer. It also refers to another study that shows how diet soda can raise blood sugar. Sorry all you diabetics out there.

Fortunately, I am not a diabetic. Unfortunately, I am a cancer patient. And while I do not know if my cancer is related to my intake of soda, we can all probably agree, it hasn’t helped. And, It’s not a wonder why I look like and apple now. Hello, my name is Rebecca and I am a sodaholic. But only for one more day.

Just One Person ….

Just one person is all it takes to make a difference in a person’s life.  Maybe it is someone you just met. Maybe it is someone you have known all your life. Or, maybe someone you have never encountered. But, one thing you do know is that they left their imprint on your heart.

Last year, around the anniversary of traumatic event in my life, I was at the bookstore and drawn to a book called “Heaven is For Real“. I am not a big reader these days and I can’t even remember why I was there. But, I was. And, there it was just sitting on the shelf calling out to me.

That was the day two people, whom I have never met Todd and Colton Burpo, touched my life. Todd had written a book about his sons experiences while in heaven. Now for believers in Christ and Christianity, although not unimaginable, it was still an amazing story. After all, it is not often one gets to walk next to Christ and live to tell about it. For the non-believer, it is a far-fetched story that was completely made up and coerced. For me, it was about hope, joy and peace.

Hope, because thirteen years ago, after several years of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were blessed with the news we were expecting. Thirteen years ago we were happier then we ever knew we could be. Thirteen years ago I went in for an ultrasound and saw my baby’s heart beat for the first time. But, thirteen years ago I was also diagnosed with cancer. And, Thirteen years ago I miscarried.

So how does hope, a book and a miscarriage relate. Well, if you have read the book you know, but if not I will tell you. While in heaven Colton met a girl, a nameless girl because her parents didn’t pick out a name for her, a girl we all learned was his older sister. A sister his mother had lost to a miscarriage. I was raised going to church and I have always believed in Christ. I also believed there is a heaven. But, I am far from a church-going, bible thumper and won’t profess to be, but I am a good person. Todd’s book and Colton’s story gave me reassurance that my baby is waiting for me. And it gave me hope that I would be able to hold her or him in my arms one day.

After reading that part of the story, I was excited. I had joy in my heart because I knew that she or he was not nameless and that he or she knew it. I had my son’s name picked out since I was younger and fell in love with the movie “The Never Ending Story”. I also had a love of music, even though I wasn’t great at it. My son’s name was going to be Sebastian Bach no matter who I married. When I got married, by husbands last name was Blizzard. When I think of blizzards, I think of cold and snow, so I wanted a warm name to go with the last name. I picked Summer Breeze. I was so happy I had names picked out and that my baby did not go to heaven nameless.

Finally, the book brought me peace. I have been struggling with cancer for thirteen years. I am on my fifth reoccurrence. I have never been in remission. With each reoccurrence my health issues have become worse and worse. While I don’t think about dying everyday, I do find myself preparing for “just in case”. And while I hope to live well into my sixties at least, I would like to see Kat walk down the isle, I can’t help but think people should not feel sorry for me because I going home to be with my baby. Feel sorry for my family that still has to wait to meet him or her.

I have been fortunate all my life, having people who have made a difference in it. Especially in dark times, and trust me I had a lot of dark times. But it seems that God has always placed someone or something in my path to keep me moving forward. When you come close to dying, you think about the people you have met throughout your life. Not only did I think about them, but I wondered if they even knew that what they did made an impact. So, I decided to reach out and tell them. In doing so, I learned that one of those people had been having a rough time. What he did was so simple he didn’t realize it meant that much to me. When I told him, I think he felt a sense of pride and it made an impact on him. Even if it wasn’t long-term, that day he smiled.

I know Todd does not know the impact he made on my life by writing his son’s story, but he did. He was just one person reaching out and making a difference. Do you have someone like that in your life and have you told them?

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.

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