Monday, July 21, 2014

So Ready For Thursday

It's almost Thursday!  I can't wait to see my family, Mr. J and his little A's.  I am so glad today was busy and that the day sped by so that I wasn't counting down the hours like I've been counting down the weeks and now days.

Mom called me this morning to make sure I was ok because she noticed that I skipped fabulous friday; I informed her that I was just fine.  I only did it because last week was cloudy, rainy and I pretty much just worked and read a book, so nothing too exciting and no pictures. I am better than fine because I only have 2 more days of work before going to SLC!  We are having a mini family reunion full of fun, food and lots of laughter!

I have seen so many accidents from bikes and mopeds that I don't think I'll ever get on one again.  Unless of course it is in my cycle class which I enjoy 3 days a week.  Today I saw 2 pretty bad accidents from slamming on the brakes of a bike.  Who knew a bike could cause so many injuries.

I'm not getting tired of lobster rolls, sand, humidity, sunsets, the ocean or the cool temps here.  However, I am more than ready for a week of lots of hugs, Mr. J's lips and time with my family!  I'm off to do a little packing, a shower and then a chat with Mr. J to end my day!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another MVY FF

1.  I'm homesick for Mr. J.  This morning he sent me a text that said, "I miss you."  The next text, "Even more than I did yesterday."  Word's don't begin to describe how I feel about this man!  Our hour long skype date tonight, without any frozen moments was awesome!  I have horrible internet here, but the house on the property has great internet, so while my clothes were drying I had a Friday night date with Mr. J!  It was fabulous, but not as fabulous as it will be in 13 days when I get to see him face to face!
2.  My 5 day stretch wasn't all bad, but by the time I was finished with it I was ready for a break!  It has been so nice to have 3 days off in a row.
3.  Wednesday I skipped my gym class so that I could spend the day exploring the eastern part of the island.  I first stopped off at a farmers market, browsed the oldest general store on the island (I love general stores), went to a flea market and a fishing village, enjoyed a toasted coconut ice cream cone up at the cliffs, took random pictures of nuns and mailboxes (because I have this weird fetish for mailboxes) and went to the supermaket for sale items; chicken and strawberries.  Talk about a busy day!

4.  Thursday I slept in for the first time since I think I had chemo.  I actually had gotten up at 630, went out to the couch and turned on The Today Show.  I vaguely remember turning it off an hour later.  When I woke up it was noon on the dot.  I had to check 3 clocks to make sure I was seeing the time correctly. I was bummed I missed my cycle class, but had a brisk walk later in the evening.  I usually only sleep in until 830 at the latest.  It felt good though.  I figured since I had wasted my morning, I might as well waste the rest of the day at the beach.  It was overcast and cool so I only spent an hour at the beach but it's always relaxing at the beach.
5.  Today I went to cycle, chatted with my gym friend Susan, talked to mom, Tristen and Grandma Betty on the phone and then went to the beach to see the sailboats race.  It was from a distance but was still pretty awesome.  I also enjoyed the sunshine!

6.  Summer to me is lemonade and popsicle's, but since I haven't gotten any popsicles, I make crystal light lemonade and then freeze it to slushy stage.  I'm a succor for anything that resembles a snow cone. I might add I did see a snow cone shack on my way back from the beach today, but I didn't want to turn around.  Next time for sure.
7.  Sunday was my first day teaching primary!  I have 2, 8 year old girls.  They are going to be so fun.  I was so impressed by one of them who knew every detail about the story of the manna.  I also played the piano for the first time.  They are happy to have a pianist, which I always love.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book Review: Survival Lessons

I love our library here in Oak Bluffs!  Have I mentioned that; I know about a hundred times.  I walked to the library yesterday, it's only 1/8 of a mile from my place.  I thought of myself being like a New Yorker and walking every where, except I'm on an island where it is quite and I can still walk every where.  On my walk I saw a beautiful periwinkle hydrangea, took a picture of it and sent it to my mom telling her I was sending her flowers.  She text back telling me it made her day.

I love to go browse the shelf with new books.  One of my Bingo spots is to read a book with a blue cover.  I found a book with a blue cover among the new books called Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman.  When I picked it I didn't know that it was written by someone who had breast cancer 15 years ago.  She starts out saying that she was writing this book because she wished there would have been a book like this when she was diagnosed.  It is only 83 pages and I read it in probably less than an hour, but it is chalk full of good stuff.  When I finished the book I was glad that I've put forth all of the principles in the book in my life even before I was diagnosed with cancer.  She starts out saying, "There is always a before and after.  My advice, travel light.  Choose only what you ned most to see you through."  The titles of each chapter sum up her book:  Choose Your Heros, Choose To Enjoy Yourself, Choose Your Friends, Choose Whose Advice You Take, Choose How You Spend Your Time, Choose to Plan the Future, Choose to Love Who You Are, Choose to Accept Sorrow, Choose to Dream,  Choose Something New, Choose to Give Into Yourself, Choose to Make Things Beautiful, Choose to Forgive, Choose to Claim Your Past, Choose to Share, Choose Love, Choose the Evidence.

I love the last 2 paragraphs.  Her oncologist told her that "cancer didn't have to be my entire novel.  It was just a chapter...Your sorrow will become smaller, like a star in the daylight that you can't even see. It's there, shining but there is also a vast expanse of blue sky.  All the same, somethings stay with you forever.  You are a different person now.  You know it and I know it.  You're not the same.  You're a survivor.  Congratulations."

And so it is with me, cancer isn't my story, it is just a chapter. One that I admit I'm fearful of having again, especially because I have been having some of the same back pain I had when I was diagnosed.  BUT, I'm stronger than I was before and if it comes back I'll deal with it.  For now I look forward to the future, spending time with the man that I love and living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chemo, 1 Year Later

Over the past 5 1/2 weeks I've been playing last years event's out in my mind over and over and over again.  My mind still boggles at the thought of what I went through just 1 year ago.  This week I've been thinking about today and how 1 year ago today I started the process of chemo, which would 2 weeks later take my hair, leaving me bald and glamour-less feeling.  This was a day, that will likely always be an anniversary of sorts.  A day I will always remember traveling the 40 minutes to chemo on the freeway, looking at mom and being choked up say, "I feel so many people praying for me right now."  I've been on the verge of tears all week remembering those dark moments of a year ago, having some fear that the cancer will return and humbled by the love that my family and I received by so many wonderful people in our lives.

It seems that I have angels on MVY in my ED who have lifted me up since I've been here.  One of our secretaries and one of my patients yesterday have had ovarian cancer 3 times.  The stories of these women have shaken me a bit, bringing me some fear of the beast returning.  But these women have also shown me what courage looks like.  Each have told me that they are living their lives to the fullest, having chemo when needed and not worrying about what might happens to them in the future. Both of these women were positive for the BRCA gene, which I wasn't.  I had a patient last week who was a 10 year breast cancer survivor.  I asked her when she stopped playing the diagnosis and events every year.  She said that she didn't remember, but that eventually the fears go away and so do the memories of exact days things happened.

This morning while I was still in bed I got a text from one of my nurses that said, "Happy 1 year anniversary of starting chemo!  You've come a long way.  So happy you are here this summer!  See you tonight."  And from another nurse I got this text, "Just wanted to say you are awesome and you should be so proud on this 1 year anniversary.  I'm in complete awe of you and after seeing my dad go through chemo for the past few months.  You always go to work with a smile on your face and I just think you're a very strong and brave person, so enjoy this day."  I work with some amazing people and am so grateful for their friendship.  Tonight they took me out to Sushi to celebrate this milestone.  It was a fun night with yummy food.  They brought me the most beautiful bouquet of white flowers with a teal ribbon in honor of Ovarian Cancer!
Today I finished the Walk series by Richard Paul Evans.  I loved the last 2 paragraphs which said, "None of us know what experiences we'll face or who we'll meet along our road.  The best we can do is set our hearts on a mark in the distance and try to make it.  For some the road will seem long, while, for others, it will end all too soon.  There will be days of clear skies and pleasant walking, and there will be long, bitter stretches trudged through storms.  But either way we must walk.  It's what we were made for.  I suppose that the trail never changes as much as the traveler.  When we are young, the road seems so sure and firm.  We tell ourselves that we have tomorrow-then we waste our todays in fear of what might be and regret of what wasn't.  And we miss the truth that the road is an illusion, and that there are no guarantees of a new day-there never have been, there never will be.  In the end, it is not by knowledge that we make our journeys but by hope and faith: hope that our walk will be worthy of our steps and faith that we are going somewhere.  And only when we come to the end of our journeys do we truly understand that every step of the way we are walking on water.

I voiced my concern to my mom today about the cancer returning.  She reassured me that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and that good things are in my future.  She sent me a text this evening that said, "Just a thought, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.  Grandma Betty has had cancer at least 3 times and she is 86.  Love you, celebrate life, and the good things there in."  Great advice from a great mother!

Friday, July 4, 2014

MVY Week 3 FF

1.  This week I worked Saturday and Tuesday.  But I'm about to embark on a 5 day stretch starting today.  The last 2 days that I've worked have been rather busy and I'm told this is the busiest weekend on the island.  Let's hope for a good 5 day stretch.  I've met some very nice people in the ED and work with some of the best people.  We all get along so well.
2.  Sunday I got 2 callings; 1 to play the piano as they haven't had anyone able to play in 5 years and the other is to teach the 6, 7, 8 year olds in Primary.  I'm excited for this calling.  I haven't taught Primary since I was 18 and graduating from High School.
3.  Sunday I had dinner with some people in my ward including my new friend Melanie.  We had dinner at her house.  She has a pool which is heated and where I'm sure I'll be spending a lot of time this summer.  It was fun to sit and chat with these people outside with a cool, dry temperatures and a little wind.
4.  Mr. J can't believe that I haven't sat on the beach since I've been here, so Monday I took my new beach chair and my book to the beach.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable, but would be more enjoyable with a friend.  I stayed out max 1 1/2 hours but got a sun burn on my chest that has hurt up until yesterday.  I'll be wearing sun screen from now on.
5.  Wednesday after I went to the gym I got a call from Melanie inviting me to come swim.  There were two other ladies from the branch there with their kids too; Lisa and Leah.  I had also met them on Sunday and am sure we will all become great friends.
6.  Yesterday I went to the library and got more books, movies and cd's.  I got a few recipe books because I love a good recipe!  I was so excited to get the latest Walking book by Richard Paul Evans!  My Aunt Leslie had it in Phoenix, but I didn't have time to read it before I left.  These are always fast reads and super enjoyable.
7.  Cherries have been on sale this week, which I have enjoyed so much.  I'm a succor for any fruit, especially summer fruit!
8.  I got a new dress yesterday!  I ordered it on and got it yesterday.  It is hot pink and white chevron print and perfect for the summer!
9.  I miss Mr. J a lot.  I can't wait to see him and my family in 3 weeks!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Adult Summer Reading

I'm so excited to have found a library that has an adult summer reading program, because you all know my love for summer reading programs.  It goes from Today through August 31.  It's a book bingo!  If you read 4 books in a row according to different categories you get a five dollar gift certificate to the local chocolate store, plus you get your name put in for different prizes.  What I like most about this program is that it gives me an opportunity to brach out from what I otherwise might not read.

Books I plan on reading and their categories:

*Read a book set in the summertime:  Final Jeopardy by Gillian Flynn who also has a new book out called Gone Girl.  Final Jeopardy also takes place in MVY.  I saw this author on the Today Show.
*Read a book with a one word title:  Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  I found this by a FB feed about books that are coming out as movies in 2014; as well as the one below.
*Read a book on a school reading list:  Alex and the terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.
*Read a book with a lion, a witch or a wardrobe:  The Witch at Blackbird Pond.  I remember reading this as a kid and have wanted to read it since knowing I was going to spend my summer in MVY.
*Read a book that was make into a movie...not quite sure about this one
*Read a book based on a true story:  Devils Knot.
There are other categories like Read a play, a book because you like the cover, a book with a blue cover, a book by a Vineyard author.

It's suppose to rain tomorrow and Friday, so I'm going to go to the library in the morning and stock up on books, movies and cd.  Our library has a great selection of all 3.  And so my summer reading program begins and continues!