Christmas, December, and Random Thoughts

Well, here it is December 20, 2014. My last post was Veterans Day. Guess it goes without saying that I’ve been busy. School is going very well – I made the President’s List of Scholars, and Phi Theta Kappa, as well as holding a 4.0 GPA. Classes resume January 12, 2015, and I’m looking forward to it. Judging from the fall semester, I can guess that my posts will be sporadic at best. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for all I do – working part time at the writing center at school, as well as for Event Operations Group at college sporting events, taking care of Mark and Ryan, doing my schoolwork, spending time with the grandkids and kids, and stealing an hour or two every so often just for me. However, I’m loving it, and wouldn’t change a thing.

Its still really busy here with the holidays, along with my first colonoscopy December 29th (price of middle age), and catching up on the major housecleaning that simply gets pushed aside with my schedule. So this post will cover quite a few things that are on my mind, just to get them out there in case I don’t have time later. First off, let me wish each of you the best of holiday seasons, whatever holidays you celebrate, and the greatest of New Year’s, and thank you so very much for reading my scribbles whenever I have time to put them out there. You may not realize it, but it means a great deal to me that each of you think enough of my thoughts to spend your time reading what I put out.

Secondly, I have some Christmas wishes. For all my dear friends who have entered my life because of the monster called cancer – I’m so very blessed to have each and every one of you in my life, but I still hate and despise cancer. But each of you holds a special place for me, and for each of you I wish peace – whatever that may mean in your life. For all who remember me “way back when” – TLBYAKY (those who this applies to will understand). For all who are on the academic road with me, or are helping my journey – y’all ROCK. For all those who have entered my life for any other reason – multiplied blessings to you all, and thanks for allowing me a little shard of your world – it means a lot to me. One special wish – to all who have experienced loss this year (and there are many) – may you find peace and comfort in the memory of your loved ones, and know I’m here if there is any way I can help you.

Next, although I really wanted this to be its own post, I don’t want to miss it so I’m including it here. December 27, 2014, is a very special day for me. No, not because its the day I turn 51. Because, if he were still here with me, my daddy, Alan McLaurin Shipley, would be 100 years old. My original plan was to get a bottle of his favorite, Old Grandad, and toast to him, the life he lived, and the memory that keeps me company day in and day out. But – I have a colonoscopy the 29th (as mentioned before), and I have to start preparation for that on my birthday, so alcohol is out. Daddy, I’ll toast you New Year’s Eve, even if its only with a cup of coffee – Happy Century Mark!

This year has had its highs and lows for us all. Some of us have had more on one end of the spectrum than others, but that’s okay. In just 11 days, 2014 will be a memory. Some of us have memories that are painful and raw, memories of loss, memories of negative life events. Some of us have truly wonderful memories of this past year, that we will gladly take out and thumb through in the recesses of our minds for many years to come. However, all of us have the opportunity to take the 365 days of memories that encompass 2014 and learn from them. If there were mistakes – and we all make them, it is part of being human – learn why they were made and how to avoid repeating them. The loss of loved ones – remember the good times, they help our loved ones live on with us, even if they are no longer here. The world events that made us sigh, shed a tear, or simply shake our heads in disbelief – see what you can do to educate those in your little corner of the world so that this world is a little better, a little nicer, a little saner. Because you see, January 1, 2015 is a new, blank canvas for each of us. Our painting of 2014 is nearly complete, and the possibilities for 2015 stretch before each of us, waiting to see which ones we will grasp, and which ones we will let slip by for whatever reason. Let us each see just how beautiful and varied our canvas can be.

Multiplied Blessings to each of you, and may the joy a child feels in this holiday season infect each of us, no matter our age.

Thanks for your time in reading this – I truly appreciate each of you.

Posted in advocacy, awareness, cancer, compassion, death, family, friends, holiday, humor, illness, life, respect, support | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts from a Veteran, on Veteran’s Day

I had this blog all written in my head. Knew exactly what I was going to say, and how I was going to say it. Yesterday, it all changed. Every single solitary word.

My husband, who is also a veteran, is diabetic. He has what is known as diabetic neuropathy, which simply stated means he has no feeling in his feet. None. Step on a nail – nothing. Step on hot rocks? Nothing. So Sunday morning, when he evidentially kicked a piece of furniture, breaking his toe and tearing his toenail, nothing. I looked down, and his toe was bloody. Having been through intensive wound care with him, I knew the drill. Clean it, watch it, wait if we thought we could, but the second it looked reddened or very pale, call to see what plan of action we needed to take. Well, yesterday morning, the toe was very red, and appeared to still be bleeding (just a little), so I called the VA and got the phone care nurse. She heard “diabetic” and “injury” and said “come to the ER”. I told her it was a 2 hour drive, and she was a broken record, “come to the ER now”. So, we hurriedly finished breakfast, loaded up, and hit the road. I emailed both my instructors to inform them why I was not at school, and figured that this would be an all day affair. Boy, was it EVER!

We checked in around 10:20 am. About 40 people in the waiting area with various medical conditions. Of course, those with chest pains, flu-like symptoms, high fevers, obvious broken bones, copious amounts of blood were immediately treated. I am very familiar with ER protocol – the more life threatening the situation, the faster you get seen. He was triaged about 11:45, blood taken, and we were told to return to the waiting area. With that many people, the amount of time made sense so while it was annoying, it was not really concerning. About 1 pm, I went to the little snack bar down the hall in search of food. Nada. Got us each a soda, went to the vending area and got us each a bag of chips. Figured we would be seen soon, and then go get a substantial meal. ****Side note**** The canteen (cafeteria) at the Memphis VA is not run by the VA, and is open for breakfast and lunch (until 1 pm) Monday thru Friday.**** At 4 pm, we were called back and put into a room. At 6 pm, I asked if at least my husband could be fed, as he was diabetic and had not eaten a meal since 8 am. At 7:45 pm, a tray was brought with a personal pizza, fruit and a drink, so that helped him. Right before the tray was brought, we asked (again) what the hold up was, as we had been in the exam room nearly 4 hours. What follows is the explanation.

The Veterans Administration has literally hundreds of open jobs – for doctors and nurses, mostly in emergency and in patient hospital situations. Pay is on par with civilian hospitals. No one is applying for these jobs. So, they remain unfilled. My husband was the 87th patient checked into the emergency department yesterday in Memphis, Tennessee. There were 2 doctors in that department. TWO. There are supposed to be SIX. But there were TWO. Let that sink in for a minute. 87 divided by 2 is 43.5. If each doctor only took 10 minutes with each patient, and never looked up or stopped (and lets face it, doctors have to type orders, answer phone calls, and they still have bladders!) that is 7 hours and 15 minutes worth of work!!!!! That does not include the patients who came in after we did. So, if there were 86 patients ahead of us, our wait time should have been 7 hours – if doctors only took 10 minutes per patient. Let’s be honest, folks. If I’m having an appendicitis attack, a heart attack, a stroke, seizures, bleeding profusely, have a broken bone (or two), have pneumonia, the flu, panic attacks, allergic reaction – whatever – do you want your doctor on a stop watch???? Oops, Mrs. Smith, your 10 minutes is up, NEXT???? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! That flies in the face of quality medical care, and any doctor that would do that would not have many patients in a very short period! So, the answer is get more doctors, right? They are trying. Many medical students today are going into specialties and do not want to be ER doctors. Studies show – questionnaires filled out by doctors who would be applying for these unfilled positions, nurses who would be applying for these unfilled positions – that these qualified people, who could provide care for our nations Veterans, DO NOT WANT TO WORK WITH THE VETERAN POPULATION! Those who do hold these jobs are routinely cursed, called foul names, belittled, physically assaulted by VETERANS – and are told they have to take this abuse because the patients are VETERANS. PTSD is used not only as a diagnosis, but an excuse for a patient to give a nurse a bloody nose! Also, these studies show that these doctors and nurses have said “they do not want to work with trained killers, and all veterans are trained killers”. REALLY??????? Yes, I learned how to defend this nation in boot camp, as did every other veteran – but this is a viable excuse??? What, are we supposed to get out of the service and just DIE OFF????? WHAT IF A VETERAN SHOWS UP AT YOUR CIVILIAN PRACTICE, WILL YOU DENY THEM CARE???????? But, I digress – back to the explanation. So, that is why you have been waiting so long to see a doctor – but a third doctor is coming in at 8 pm to help eliminate the backlog of patients.

So, at 10:15 last night, after 12 HOURS wait (6 in the waiting area,, 6 in an exam room), we saw the doctor. A very nice young man, who told us that we should have had an x-ray, but since we hadn’t he wasn’t going to make us hang around but rather treat his toe as if it were broken. And, yes, the blood was from the toenail, and clean it well, and put the bacitracin that he was sending us home with on it would clear it up. And that the toenail would most likely fall off, not to worry, but that if it became red, streaky or turned very pale to get back in there pronto! At 10:45, the oral antibiotic prescription came down from the pharmacy, we signed our travel pay papers, and we headed to the car. 12 hours and 31 minutes since I had dropped my husband at the door of the emergency department.

So, yes, it was a long day. We posted updates on Facebook until both our phones died. We both received personal messages, texts and calls expression dismay (and even outrage) that we were having to wait that long. We were outraged ourselves – until a really wonderful nurse named Terri explained why.

Today, missing another day of school because of sheer fatigue, and watching to make sure hubby doesn’t have a reaction to the antibiotics, I am still outraged. But in a different direction. Yesterday, actually last night about 8 pm, the direction of my outrage was changed. America, shame on you! YOU – the citizenry of the United States of America – are letting your Veterans down. You want cushy medical practices, fat bank accounts, and no problems. You don’t want to care for those of us who offered our very lives to protect yours. There is a bill in Congress that would mandate that the VA pay for veterans to go to local hospitals and doctors out of system if they are closer. I say this will NOT solve a thing. Those doctors who refuse to work for the Veterans Administration because they do not want to care for our Veterans, will not want to care for our Veterans in their private practices. So, our Veterans will continue to be seen by those few doctors who give a damn. Who are willing to get past the fact that some of these veterans are addicts, homeless, angry, sick, alcoholics, and in general pissed off. Who are willing to realize that the reasons behind a lot of the anger is simply they feel like they mean less than nothing because they have been in a waiting room for 12 hours in pain. Who are grateful for the service so willingly given. Who realize that we, as veterans, have earned our medical benefits, but that for much of the population, we have not, nor will we ever, earn the respect our voluntary sacrifices deserve. How many doctors practicing medicine RIGHT THIS MINUTE learned their skills using the GI Bill???? How many MEDICS, now civilian, disdain jobs in the Veterans Administration system? How many VETERANS are quiet about their service to avoid being SHUNNED, or LOOKED DOWN UPON, or DISCRIMINATED AGAINST????

How many of you have seen the “true story” military movies? Do you realize that “true story” means some of your fellow Americans LIVED THOSE NIGHTMARES???? My great-aunt, Irene Eby Wise, was a nurse in World War II. One of her fellow nurses committed suicide in the South Pacific. Her coworkers had to just go on and do their jobs, because the war didn’t stop just because of their grief. Many of that generation are now gone. This past Saturday, I had the honor of speaking with a 94-year-old Navy veteran of WWII, a Naval Quartermaster. When I told him I was a Navy veteran myself, he THANKED ME. I’m in tears just typing those words. I was a peacetime sailor. My life wasn’t ever really on the line. And this man, who was on SHIPS that were TARGETS for the JAPANESE – THANKED ME!!!! A man I truly respect lives daily with the memories of the horrors he saw in Somalia – horrors Hollywood has depicted in “Blackhawk Down”. Thank YOU, Al. I can never understand what you go through, but I can also never ever thank you enough for what you have done for this nation. Another friend battles cancer, yet his service in the Submarine Fleet remains a proud accomplishment. Thank YOU, Senior Chief Mike Terrill. How many others – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines – am I blessed to call friend? Thank you ALL. My husband – without your service, I would not be blessed to have been your wife for 30+ years, and mother to our awesome kids, and grandmother to our awesome grandkids. Thank you, ASM3 R. M. Hudson. I love you. Yes, I signed the same contract as all these. To my nation, the United States of America, I say it was my honor, and my privilege to serve you. To those citizens of this nation who want “someone else” to care for those who were willing to die for you – step up! Freedom isn’t free, but bondage doesn’t cost a dime.

Happy Veterans Day.

Thank you for your time in reading this – share as you see fit.

Posted in advocacy, anger, anniversary, awareness, cancer, compassion, death, depression, diabetes, disability, family, friends, holiday, hospice, humor, illness, insurance, judgement, life, lupus, major illness, malignant neoplastic disease, marriage, medical supplies, myths, respect, support, Uncategorized, United States Air Force, United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, Veterans Administration Medical Centers, Veterans Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Sitting here contemplating William Shakespeare, going over conversations that have happened in the last few days, and my brain does what it does – the writing light comes on. So, here’s a word for you to contemplate – perspective. From

a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
Compare aerial perspective, linear perspective.
a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent:
an architect’s perspective of a house.
a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista:
a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
the state of existing in space before the eye:
The elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.
the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship:
You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.
the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship:
Your data is admirably detailed but it lacks perspective.
a mental view or prospect:
the dismal perspective of terminally ill patients.
of or pertaining to the art of perspective, or represented according to its laws.

Busy word, isn’t it? I like 5, 6 and 7 personally, because those are the definitions in my mind. Lets add one more definition: Margie’s definition. The way you look at life.

So, a couple of my random thoughts. Thought one: Our perspective on life changes daily, and sometimes so slightly that we don’t even realize it. As we live, grow up, mature, and experience life in general, the things we experience can change how we see life. Perfect example of this – do you look at the world like you did at age 5? Age 10? Age 15? Age 20? Before you married? Before you had kids? Before you ever had a full-time job? You get the picture, and you know the answer. Life itself alters our perspective.

Thought two: People in our lives change our perspective. This is actually the paragraph that came into my mind while I was contemplating studying (note the contemplating – I’ll get there).  The reason is simple, and it stems from a conversation yesterday. I’m not going to spotlight the other person in the conversation, but when she reads this, she will know. I made a comment about having trouble dealing with my children’s ages (30, 29 and nearly 21 – it’s the nearly 21 that is (was) bothering me). She told me to stop and think about all those whose kids would never reach 30. Or 25. Or all the parents who would never see their kids reach 30. Or 2. It didn’t really sink in at the time. But, about a 27 hour time delay and this spotlight went on in my brain. Big mental face palm! She is SO RIGHT! I’m still here to see my kids reach these milestones. My daddy didn’t even see me reach 16. My mom didn’t see her second (or third) grandchild, or my 22nd birthday. My father in law didn’t see his grandson and namesake born. I can go on, and I’m sure you can too. But thanks to someone who, with her unique perspective on life, saw my dilemma and put it into a NEW perspective for me, I can go right back to just celebrating every day I am given, period.

Ordinarily, I would put the paragraph here about the perspective of the life altering or terminal patient. But not tonight. Tonight, I’ll let you write that paragraph in your mind if you so desire. If your perspective has been altered by a disease or illness, then I think that goes along with thought one. But I will ask you a question, which is the very question I had to ask myself. Does your perspective NEED altering?

Thanks for your time in reading this. Please share if you are so inclined. Now back to Shakespeare.

Posted in advocacy, awareness, cancer, compassion, disability, family, friends, humor, illness, life, major illness, support, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Curve Balls (it IS October)

Yes, it is October. That time of year when the United States baseball fans’ thoughts turn to the World Series. I guess the title is rather arrogant, since we haven’t ever really invited the world to play. I believe the games start tomorrow, so I’ll say best of luck to the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, this year’s competitors.

You know, curve balls come at us all the time, not just on the baseball field. Everyday life can throw some doozies! My grandson’s autism diagnosis was a curve ball – one that we will always have to deal with. My own son’s birth with multiple health and developmental issues – another permanent curve ball, if you will. Of course, there are the curve balls of our health. Cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, lupus, leukemia, fibromyalgia, lymphedema, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, and any other illness or even injury that causes a change in the pattern of our daily life can be considered a curve ball. Some are just little ones. Others come at us so hard and so fast that we don’t realize for quite some time what has happened. But, we deal with them as best we can, and like good hitters, make adjustments so that when the next curve ball comes we can knock it out of the park. Then there are the curve balls of life. Little things, big things, whatever they are they change our perspective of our world.

Yesterday started off as just an average Thursday. Two classes, normal day. First curve ball – first class cancelled. The instructor had forewarned us that she had a medical appointment that might cause our class to be cancelled, so it was a tiny curve ball. No big deal – just a slight alteration. The day plugged along at its normal pace, no real surprises. Algebra brought a little frustration to the picture, but not really a curve ball, just a slight change-up (didn’t know I was a baseball fan, did you?). Got home, sat down at the supper table, checked my phone and curve ball number two comes sailing in by way of Facebook – 95 MPH and right in the heart of the strike zone!!!! A lady who had joined one of the cancer groups about a week ago commented on a picture. A picture of one of our fighters who left us a year ago this past June, Becca White. If you check back through my blogs, you will find my blog for Becca, “Making Sense of the Senseless”. Anyway, our new member is none other than Becca’s MOM! This was a good curve ball, I assure you. Because you see, even though we lost our Becca, we have all continued to remember her amazing spirit, and contagious sense of humor, even in the darkest of days. So, in honor of Breast Cancer Month, a picture of Becca was posted, and her mom commented. I had thought when she first joined the group, and talked of her daughter Becca that she had lost to breast cancer, that is was a wild coincidence but the little voice in the back of my mind said “no, that CAN’T be Becca’s mom!” Becca is a common enough name, so I dismissed my little voice. Maybe I won’t be so quick to do that next time. Anyway – Becca’s Mom, I was glad you found us before I knew of the connection – I’m even happier now.

Third curve ball made my day even better – another of our fighters, who has kicked breast cancer to the curb, found out a couple of weeks ago that there were thyroid tumors, and that surgery was indicated. Well, the news came just a couple of hours after the last curve ball that the surgery got it ALL, and that there are no cancerous cells showing up on her tests! WOOHOO! Take that, you insidious rat cancer!


So, I’m not asking you to do anything with this blog. Just be on the lookout for those curve balls – they can really make an average day fantabulous!!!!


Thanks for your time in reading this – feel free to share if you so desire.

Posted in advocacy, awareness, cancer, compassion, diabetes, disability, family, friends, humor, illness, life, major illness, respect, support, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Short post – I have homework I need to do, but this is on my mind.

The words we speak – and the words we write – are ours, until spoken or published. Then, as feathers in a ripped pillow, they scatter as the wind would take them. Have your words hurt another? Have your words been the cause of pain to someone who turned to you for comfort and support? All I can say is before you rip open the pillow, check and see what direction the wind is blowing. You never know where your words – your feathers – will land.

Posted in awareness, cancer, compassion, family, friends, hospice, illness, judgement, life, respect, support, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


I wrote this the night Emma passed away, and just realized I forgot to publish it.  MH

One word that has no answer sometimes. Why. Tonight, it has no answer. A beautiful little girl, just 6 years old, has left behind a grieving family, and thousands who prayed for the last two years that the monster that is brain cancer would relinquish its hold on her young life. That was not to be, and tonight, heaven has gained a smile as bright as the sun, a disposition equally as bright.
Cancer doesn’t like the question “why?”. Because it knows the more times that question is asked, the less times we as human beings are going to accept silence as the answer. I never got to meet Princess Emma, except through Facebook. Along with thousands of others, I cheered her triumphs, I shed tears over the set backs, and I prayed. Tonight, with thousands of others, my heart hurts. Tonight, I resolve to be there however I can for those she leaves behind. Her pain is over. For that, I am grateful.
Many of you know that I went to college so that I can learn, and be better able to help families who have to deal with cancer, as well as other life altering illnesses. I go forward, and now I take Emma’s memory with me. Fly high, beautiful.

Posted in anger, cancer, death, family, friends, illness, life, respect, support, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can you drive a manual transmission?

Well…..can you? I can, and do, every day. Even in the year 2014, I drive a car that does not have an automatic transmission. It has its challenges. Hills. Yep, But only hills with red lights or stop signs! Traffic. Yep. Your leg can get very, very tired holding the clutch in, shifting from first to second to first to second to first to second to third to first – you get the picture. But overall, driving a car with a manual transmission is fun. I’ll admit, my next car will probably have an automatic. But not because I don’t enjoy driving my stick shift, but because with arthritis, it may not be a good thing in the future, as well as I may have to get a bigger vehicle to accommodate hubby’s wheelchair, and a lift for that chair.

I know – you are reading along, thinking this woman writes about life threatening and life altering illnesses, and she is now extolling the virtues of the old-fashioned manual transmission. Well, hang on, I’ll get there. Back to my original question – can you drive a manual transmission? Many people under the age of 50 will answer that with a no. I have had people comment when I say I drive a stick shift that I must drive an old car, and the answer to that is no, my car is a 2012 model. But if you were in a dire emergency situation, and the only means of transportation available to you was a vehicle with a standard transmission – what would you do? Hmmm?

Think on that for a minute while I go on. I was driving home from school today, and the thought occurred to me – life has a manual transmission. Think about it – every last one of us starts in first gear. For the first year or so, we are trying to figure out how the clutch works. Once we figure it out, the starts can be really jerky, and we can kill the engine and have to start over. Then we shift to second gear. At first the transition isn’t smooth at all. Just like the first few times you shift from first to second, you haven’t quite got the gas/clutch coordination down, and it can be a rough ride. Stopping can be an interesting thing – especially if you forget that you have to depress the clutch, and you stall. Or if the stop is on an incline, and the person behind you gets a tad too close. But we figure it out, and get pretty good at it. We get to where we can even get to third, maybe fourth gear! (my car has six forward speeds – if yours has less, adjust my meaning accordingly). This is about the time we graduate high school. Once we graduate, we discover FIFTH GEAR!!!!! More speed!!!! But we are still accelerating. We still have to stop sometimes and start over, but since we have a good bit of practice now, we don’t stall out hardly at all, but smoothly get right back up to speed. Then, we finish college, and WHAM – SIXTH GEAR!!!!!!! The possibilities are endless. There is not a speed limit we cannot exceed! The world lays at our feet, and we can confidently take our manual transmission over any kind of terrain presented, knowing that after all this time, and all the practice we have, that we can get there no matter what.

So, here we are, cruising along. Sure, there have been those who never got their transmission past second gear, but not us. We are blasting along, pushing our RPM’s just as far as we dare when it happens. OUR CLUTCH GOES OUT!!!!! For those who don’t know, when a clutch goes out, usually if you can get any gear at all, its first. So we head to the mechanic, which for us is the doctor. Maybe its cancer, maybe lupus, maybe arthritis, maybe diabetes, maybe any number of other diseases or conditions. But we have to have our clutch replaced. For some of us, it is an easy thing. In and out in an afternoon, a trip to the pharmacy and we are back on the road. Others have had a little more extensive damage, maybe they drove with the bad clutch a little too long, and have to have other parts fixed as well. But they, too, are soon back on the road of life, maybe not as quickly, but they can still maintain highway speeds. But for some of us, no matter what is tried, the clutch simply can’t be fixed. We are told we have to live with (insert illness here). We have to learn how to drive our car with a messed up clutch. Some people can. They are so good at it that no one would ever guess their clutch has a problem. If they do it long enough, others may question if their clutch was ever messed up in the first place, because it isn’t visible. There are those who are relegated to just first gear, with an occasional trip to second gear. Still moving forward, just very slowly, and some days that taxes the limits of their ability. But they go on as best they can until the transmission simply gives out.

But there is a whole other group out there. As soon as they could, they exchanged their manual transmission for an automatic. With cruise control. They blast through life, cruise set at 80. They laugh at those who still drive a stick shift. But all too often, their automatic transmission just stops with no warning. They are told the only fix is a return to a manual transmission – and they simply do not know how to operate one. Instead of trying to learn, they simply give up. They spend their days bemoaning all that they can no longer do, instead of seeing that if they took advantage of just first gear, there is still so much LIFE out there – illness and all.

So – I ask you again – can you drive a manual transmission? Would you learn if your life depended on it?


Thanks for your time in reading this – share if you so desire.

Posted in awareness, cancer, compassion, depression, diabetes, disability, family, friends, humor, illness, life, lupus, major illness, malignant neoplastic disease, respect, support, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I went to church this morning. Something I don’t do nearly like I should. Fantastic sermon – but one minor point stuck with me. Advertising.

The statement was made about watching people in public who wear t-shirts, and how what the shirts say also say a lot about the person wearing them. But the one shirt that stuck with the speaker also stuck with me. “Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”. In the context of religion, and behaving in a way that would glorify Christ, this shirt makes sense. But my mind being what it is, I have been turning this around all afternoon.

“Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do”. Let us put this in practice.

“I have terminal cancer, watch me go to dinner with my family”.

“I have a terminal brain tumor, watch me have a beer with a friend”.

“I have spinal stenosis, watch me pick up my grandson”.

“I have rheumatoid arthritis, watch me go camping for a week with my husband”.

“I have diabetes, watch me order a sugared dessert”.

“I am such a compassionate person, watch me cuss out the lady who parked in the handicapped spot who doesn’t meet my definition of handicapped”.

“I’m praying for you, watch me tell my friends how you are only sick because you are such a horrid person”.

“Don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do.” Okay. But why should the fact that one has a terminal illness mean the only way they can act is sick? Have you ever been sick for a long time – had a chronic condition? You get TIRED of being sick. You are more than willing to pay later for a brief respite – a short period of “normal”. Maybe that cancer patient knows that there is a really good chance that this will be the last meal out with his or her family – ever. Maybe that man having the been truly has nothing to lose. Maybe the person picking up his or her grandson knows that there may be a day in the future when that will no longer even be an option. Maybe the person with RA just wants a week without the pain and all the “I can’t’s” being in the spotlight. Maybe that diabetic has great control of his or her sugar, and deserves this one splurge. But I have to stop there. You see, all these examples can be misconstrued. These actions can be misunderstood. Before I address the last two, let me say right here – there are no cut and dried rules to terminal or chronic illness anymore!!!!! For those with any terminal or chronic condition, the new rule is “if you feel up to it, take advantage of every opportunity”!!!!! So for all those who will read these words that have to deal with the day-to-day of a life changing, life threatening condition, I say LIVE!

Now to the last two. I am a very forgiving person, but your actions speak louder than your words in these cases. Compassionate people do not judge. Compassionate people do not assume. Compassionate people do not do for others for any other reason than they feel it is what is the right thing to do!!!! So don’t insult my intelligence by telling me how compassionate you are, and then acting like the most judgemental, uncaring, inconsiderate jerk on the face of the planet! On the other front, if you are a person who believes in a higher power, God, whatever you term it, let me put this bluntly. I have never heard of a religion that has at its head an entity that condones gossip and backstabbing. Oh, and people do not get sick because they are horrid.

Am I a tad perturbed? You bet. Always. Because there are far too many people who are suffering – and far too many who are going through the motions of helping them, and actually not doing a damn thing.  So next time someone tells you they have an “invisible” illness – don’t diminish their life by putting expectations on how they should look, act, or what they should or should not do. Next time you see that young lady who looks perfectly healthy get out of the car in the handicapped spot, don’t judge her by her “advertisement” of health. Be a compassionate person – this world has enough pain and hate, it doesn’t need an extra contribution in that direction.


Thanks for your time in reading this. Feel free to share if you want to.

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We have all said it. “I’ll do it tomorrow.” “We will go tomorrow.” Well, what if you aren’t granted tomorrow. What if today is the last tomorrow you will have? I can hear you now, this woman has finally cracked, she has finally gone off the deep end from trying to do too much. No, I haven’t. Reality has stepped in and rang the wake up bell. Again.
I scroll through Facebook almost every day. Some days I’m on there quite a bit. But this afternoon, a post telling of the passing of a high school and junior high acquaintance caught my eye. Okay, it did more than that. It totally slapped me. It was my Ice Bucket Challenge with words. Seriously. He posted on Facebook on FRIDAY. Never a post about feeling poorly, hospital stays, nothing. Just nothing. Just gone.
You know, its hard to say goodbye to those who leave us. I always inwardly smile at the phrase “gone too soon”, because honestly, aren’t we all? Think about it, have you ever said “oh, good, it was time for he/she to die”? But when it is just like that, just that sudden, it shakes our very foundation. When someone has been ill, we have this little voice that begins to prepare us. When a loved one reaches a certain age, we begin to have that slight expectation in the back of our mind. But as we age, our perspective on dying changes. As we age, those who are dying are no longer of the older generation: they are our friends, our classmates, our spouses. There are still those of the older generation for me, for now. But it becomes increasingly more apparent that it isn’t that long until I am the older generation.
So, here I sit. Typing away when I should be getting ready for another week at college. I have a reason. I am challenging myself. There is no tomorrow now. It is time. I can no longer put off getting in better shape. I can no longer give myself excuses. Because, as I posted on my Facebook page, I want to read posts, many years in the future about how we (being my friends and family) lived a full life. I sure don’t want anyone posting about me being “gone too soon”.
Thank you for your time in reading this. Please feel free to share.

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Sometimes I shouldn’t read what shows up in the text box before I start typing. “What’s on my mind?” Hmmmmm. It’s very easy to say what’s on my mind. Compassion. The meaning: “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering”.  I truly think this world needs to re-learn this definition, and put it into practice. Watch the news for five minutes – and tell me that you don’t feel some sort of sorrow about the events in the Middle East; the death of a young race car driver; the latest child forgotten in a hot car. Granted, you may feel anger. You may feel irritation. You may feel impatience at seeing news that you think doesn’t remotely have an impact on your daily life. But do you feel compassion? Do you feel sympathy for those who have had to bury their children because of the acts of others? Do you shed a silent tear thinking of the families that will never again be whole? Do you add a name to your prayers at night that those left behind to pick up the pieces may find some comfort somehow, somewhere? I have to believe that most people are touched by something or someone in some way that they feel compassion. But, there are times when I question my own beliefs.

What makes me question what I know, you might ask. Well, that is the reason behind this. I see the same news stories you do every day. I see posts on Facebook. I see the cruel, unfeeling comments; the nearly inhuman response to the suffering of other human beings. “I hope he rots in hell” “He deserved to die” “I hope he never recovers from his guilt” “He/She should be locked up forever” “The parents should be locked in a hot car like they left their baby”. I can go on. I am sure I don’t have to. You have seen them too. People who post prayers and well wishes, followed by the most heartless, cruel things you can possibly imagine.

These are a tip of the iceberg. I’m not going to write a book about this – my previous blogs go over my feelings on judgement, sympathy, support. This is a simple challenge. Do you have compassion? Not when its convenient, but every day, even for those you don’t approve of or like? Well?

Thanks for the time in reading this – share if you so desire.

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