DCIS Surgery Update

Thank you to all who commented and sent me emails wishing me good luck and prayers for my DCIS surgery yesterday; it means more that I can say. This is the best thing about the connections made in the “bloggosphere;” we become our own *ohana and cheering squad.

Yesterday’s DCIS surgery went very well. Many thanks to:

  • the friends and relatives who emailed me with messages of love, hope and support; it meant the world to me.
  • My metaphysical teacher and my Reiki teacher who sent me plenty of healing Reiki.
  • the nurse who kindly and patiently went through all my paperwork with me.
  • the nurse who laughed her head off over a boob joke I told her.
  • the radiologist who carefully inserted the tiny wire in my breast as a marker for the surgeon; his kindness and care made all the difference.
  • the nurse who carefully took my vitals and hooked me up to the jungle of wires and such and made me comfortable.
  • the anesthesiologist who told me with a smile that he would be watching over me all during the surgery; it comforted me so much.
  • my ***surgeon who took the time to sit with the Crankee Yankee and me to kindly reassure us that everything was going to go well and that the outcome would be fine.
  • the nurses who wheeled me into the OR and made sure that I was comfortable.
  • the post-surgery nurses who took care of me, fed me, and reassured me.
  • my wonderful Crankee Yankee who waited all day for me, worried for me, and took care of me once we were home.

And then there are all of you who took the time to contact me to let me know that they prayed for me, sent me positive energy, and kept me in their thoughts. The knowledge of this was a warm and comforting blanket all around me. This is true and lasting kindness.

I believe that the words we hear both in our conscious and subconscious take root in our minds and hearts, making us believe that truly: ***”all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Thank you so much.

*”Ohana is an idea in Hawaiian culture. The word ʻohana means family in the Hawaiian language, but in a much wider sense, to include not only one’s closer relatives, but also one’s cousins, in-laws, friends, race, and other neighbors.”

**I had asked my surgeon for a favor: when he finished the surgery and while I was still sedated, would he please whisper in my ear the following:

  1. “Everything went well; I got it all out.”
  2. “You are going to heal perfectly and be well.”

He did and I am grateful to the heart.

***From Wikipedia: “Julian of Norwich. Our Lord God shewed that a deed shall be done, and Himself shall do it, and I shall do nothing but sin, and my sin shall not hinder His Goodness working. … It behooved that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Advertisements

Choices

A friend of mine sent me this the other morning. As I am going into surgery for DCIS and a lumpectomy this morning, I found that these choices were very helpful as well as comforting.

“Losing Energy” is all about the negative choices we make each day that can hurt us, slow us down and keep us uneasy or depressed.

“Increasing Energy” is all about the positive choices we can make every day that can enrich us, encourage us, help us and keep a clear view of our lives.

I hope that you get as much out of these as I have.

Losing Energy – A List of Choices
accidents
addictions
allergies
anger
being controlled
being scattered
being unbalanced
being unfocused
boredom
broken boundaries
busyness
claustrophobia
compromise
conflicts
crisis
criticism
emotions
excessive self-review
excessive phone use
failure
fear
feeling threatened
feeling victimized
fights
guilt
having too many people around
high expectations
high humidity
high temperature
impatience
inertia
insults
jealousy
lack of sleep
lack of stimulation
laziness
lengthy meetings
life changes
long ‘To Do’ lists
loss of esteem
loud noise
low self worth
manipulation
medications
negative encounters
negative news
negative self-talk
nosy people
not knowing
overeating
over-stimulation
overwork
pain
perfectionism
physical changes
poor diet
procrastination
resentment
sadness
shame
shyness
sickness
stress
tardiness
technology
unfinished business
unscheduled events
worry
Increasing Energy – A List of Choices
acknowledge yourself for something done
align yourself
appreciate someone
be more accepting
be near or in water
breathe more deeply
brush your teeth
celebrate
center yourself
comb/brush your hair
complete some tasks
create or appreciate art
cry
cuddle with someone or something
dance
daydream
do puzzles
do rituals
do something different
do things differently
dress up
drink more water
drive
eat
enjoy quality time
enjoy something pleasurable
enjoy the sunshine
exercise
forgive someone
gardening
get hair or nails done
give to a charity
go shopping
go to a show
ground yourself
have a massage
have a relaxing meal
hold hands with someone
hug
journal
laugh
learn new things
light candles
listen to or play music
meditate
play
play with pets
pray
read
relax
receive compliments
reorganize
retreat
say ‘I Love you’
shower/wash your hair
sing
swim
take a holiday
take a nature walk
take time for yourself
take vitamins
visit a friend
walk barefoot
write a self-appreciation list

Sometimes We Are Standing on Our Own Hose

A dear friend and I had breakfast together the other day. We were talking about many things (you know, “*Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–And whether pigs have wings.”).

We were also talking about how we as people often mess up both knowingly and unknowingly. My friend mentioned that when she was young and in training to be a nurse, she was watching a surgery in the operating theater. At one point the doctor doing the surgery yelled for “suction! More suction!!

As she watched, an older surgical nurse looked down at the floor and noticed that the doctor was in fact standing on the hose. That was why there was no suction.

This story made me laugh and made me think; don’t we all sometimes stand on our own hoses? Think about it; there we are, running our own marathons through life, doing all we can to keep everything right, and so on. But the harder we try, the more we push, the farther back we fall.

From “Alice in Wonderland,” here is the treadmill we often find ourselves on: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” 

It seems that the more we chase our dreams (or just live through each day), the more there will be demands on our time and resources. We have to make a conscious decision to step off the treadmill now and then.

This reminds me of being a child again, riding in the back seat of the car. Dad would be driving, Mom sitting beside him, and now and then she would turn her head to me and smile. I wasn’t driving the car; I was just a passenger. There was no pressure on me to be careful, to choose the best route, to get to some place on time. I was just along for the ride. And at that time, it was just fine.

Years later, when I was driving my own car, things changed. I could no longer daydream; I was driving and had to pay attention. I had places to go, work to do, chores to perform; I was in the process of carving out my own life. Like many other people, I rushed to work, rushed to perform my job well, rushed to get home, rushed to clean, cook, maintain my car, feed the cat, and so on.

There were many, many times I sabotaged myself. I rushed here and there; always on the move. I remember my grandmother telling me to slow down and to enjoy my life. I always agreed with her, but still I couldn’t just slow down. It was as though I felt responsible for keeping the world turning.

I didn’t realize it then, but I do now: I was stepping on my own hose. The Penn-Dutch have a wonderful saying that I should have had tattooed on the palm of my hand back then: “We grow too soon old, and too late smart.”

Ain’t that stepping on our own hose!

*From “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll, (from “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,” 1872)

 

A Letter to the Medical Profession

Dear Medical Profession,

I really wish that you all would kindly remember that we non-medical people do not know what you know.

For example, when a person is preparing for surgery (as I am this coming Monday), it’s a good idea to have them speak to one person, not two or three. As you know, prior to surgery the usual prep is to stop taking certain medicines and/or herbal remedies. As you also know, patient records are available in your hospitals, and you can check what meds/herbals the patient is taking.

Why am I bringing this up? Here’s why: I had two people call me and go through my meds. One said to stop taking multi-vitamins. The other said it was all right. One said to stop taking aspirin. The other said it was all right. What is wrong with this picture?

Also when speaking with said patient, please remember that you are dealing with a person who may be fearful about their surgery. Please also remember that they are not familiar with all hospital policies.

I know and appreciate that you are hard-working and good people. I also know that you are often over-burdened with your job. Things happen that are not your fault, yet you get blamed for them. This is not fair; I get it, and I don’t wish to be part of the problem.

All I’m asking is that you please put yourself in the shoes of the patient who is bugging you with questions and concerns. Please know that most of us appreciate all you do, and are grateful for your help.

But when a person is facing surgery, they may just be scared and want reassurance. We are apt to make you repeat things, ask you annoying questions, shout at you when you don’t deserve it, and generally make asses out of ourselves. As you know well, patients are often not patient.

We have watched too many doctor shows where “routine” surgeries go badly. We have talked with people who have had bad experiences at hospitals. We are scared, and we then act like whiny kids because we are scared.

I know that this is a lot to ask of you all. Just please remember that we patients do not what you know, we don’t know how things work in a hospital, we are nervous and a little understanding goes a long way.

Sincerely,

Your patient

 

 

What If the Worst DOESN’T Happen?

Are you a worrier like me? If so, then you know how worries can consume you, make you fearful and keep you from sleep. It doesn’t matter if you fear a house fire, a flood, a tornado, a plane crash, a deadly disease, losing a loved one; it’s all in the same bucket of fear and worry.

It can take over our minds to the point where all we do is worry. Someone a lot smarter than me once said that worry is like rocking in a rocking chair. Oh sure, you’re doing something, but you’re getting nowhere.

I have taken enough metaphysical courses to learn how to calm myself, force worry out of my thoughts, be positive and see the good in all situations. But when I give in to worry, it takes over like *kudzu in the south.

I realize that my cosmic reserves are already down; losing both parents in two years and coming to terms with that, and now breast surgery next week. I have let myself worry about my husband, my step-daughters and their husbands and children, my friends, our cats, the strays we feed and shelter, and so on.

But here’s the thing: statistically, most of our worries will not come true. Isn’t that a hoot? All that time and angst wasted on what might happen, but probably will not happen. I know that one of the best cures for worry is having some good plans in place just in case. A few posts back, I mentioned having a plan in place for pets—-just in case we do not outlive them. It’s the same idea as having an emergency kit in your vehicle—just in case. You may never need it, but you have it just the same.

So, all that being said, I am doing my best to riffle through the worst things I can think of that could happen, then immediately dial them down because in all probability, they will not happen. I also believe in negative and positive energy; you can let the negative energy into your head and be worried all the time. Or you can choose to attract the positive energy and be prepared but NOT scared.

Even to a veteran worrier like me, the statistics are comforting.

*From Wikipedia: Kudzu (/ˈkʊdz/; also called Japanese arrowroot) is a group of plants in the genus Pueraria, in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. They are climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines native to much of eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands. The name is derived from the Japanese name for the plants.Where these plants are naturalized, they can be invasive and are considered noxious weeds. The plant climbs over trees or shrubs and grows so rapidly that it kills them by heavy shading.The plant is edible, but often sprayed with herbicides.”

Kindness is Strength, Not Weakness

According to my mother, I came from a long line of strong women. As I grew up, I was constantly reminded of it. It was a common theme in my house to hear Mom say, “you come from a long line of strong women. Don’t let them down!”

This speech usually followed when I took the soft road rather than the rocky one with people. She felt that I being a pushover and, being the mama bear she was, she worried that I wouldn’t stand up for myself when I was on my own.

Mom did what she thought was right in my upbringing. Having grown up the last child in her family, so much younger than her brothers, there was little time or affection from her mother. Having divorced Mom’s father, her mother was a working woman who held down two or three jobs at a time, and did all she could for her family. There simply wasn’t time to relax; to be soft, kind, or pay much attention to this last child.

So Mom grew up knowing how to cook, clean, sew, get herself to school and become one of those strong women like her mother. She learned at an early age that you can’t trust most people, and that sometimes family can let you down. But, as she always said to me, it made her stronger and adapt to any situation.

The one thing she promised herself was that if she had a daughter of her own, she would lavish her with affection and give her the time she hadn’t had with her own mother. All this she did for me and more. But there was always that fear that I would be too soft to stand up for myself. So I was constantly reminded of that long line of strong women I came from.

Mom was what Dad often called a “ballsy dame.” She always ‘said it like it is.’ There was no flip-flopping with Mom; you always knew how she felt about people. There was no doubt as to where you stood with Mom.

Although I didn’t become the ‘ballsy dame’ Mom was, I found my own way of being. It took me years to realize that I could be soft but powerful, kind but firm, peaceful but not submissive. These are some of the truths I’ve embraced over the years:

  1. When you are kind when you could be mean or snarky, this is strength.
  2. When you realize your own part in an argument instead of blaming the other person, this is strength.
  3. When you deliberately choose kindness over knee-jerk anger, you show strength and character.
  4. Kindness is not weakness.

These days it seems as though everyone is on a hair-trigger; the least little thing can turn into violence. There no longer seems to be self-control or choosing not to engage; it appears many of us are devolving into the realm of ‘me first; the hell with you.’

Being nasty or rude or hateful to someone may give us temporary satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. In my life, I have said awful things to some people, and I regret this. All I can say in my own defense is that I wasn’t done growing into the woman I am now.

Do I ever get angry over stupid things? Of course I do. Do I say things I don’t mean? Yes, many times. Do I get frustrated over things I have no control over? Many times! Like everyone else, I’m human and I make mistakes.

But more and more I am trying to stop; take a breath, and ask myself if the easy rotten remark is worth it. We are all fragile inside our shells, and often react to defend a real or imagined hurt. I read the following a long time ago, and it still sticks in my mind:

“*They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

My hope each day is to keep to the high road and keep remembering that there is real strength in kindness and forgiveness. I try and fail, but sometimes I try and succeed.

*This statement has been attributed to Carol Buchner, Maya Angelou, and others. The essential insight is that a skilled communicator must be aware of the emotional valence of his or her words.

From Quote Investigator.