Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Wise Fool

I can weave in and out of traffic jams and get myself home with a smile on my face.  Proud that I didn't just sit there like a fool.  I am the Queen of shortcuts.

When I was waiting for the Dr at the Tom Baker Cancer Center I was reading the NKJV of Proverbs 18. What stood out for me was about the fool. A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart.  The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.  He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.  A fool's mouth is his destruction.

Gasping for breath between my foolish and wise thoughts about what I'm going to do and what I'm not going to do on this journey with cancer I am reminded that there is no short cut when dealing with cancer.  As a wise fool of the 21st century after listening to a wide spectrum of for and against traditional vs natural medicine which if you've been following my blogs, has sent me off the deep end emotionally.  Two weeks has past and I know I need to call the Radiation Oncologist with my decision and start walking on water with Jesus, as my faith and tour guide.

I said "I'm calling to tell Dr. C. about my decision to go ahead with radiation.  I'd like to have the initial preparations completed before I plan a trip then begin the sessions when I return."  The secretary said she'd send an email to the Dr. then get back to me.  His suggestion was to get it all completed before going anywhere.  It's important not to leave it any longer.

Realizing that I had been stalling for time and driving myself crazy with indecision as well as thinking I could take a short cut seeing the Dr. already said I didn't need chemo I thought I could beat this without radiation as well.  I am grateful that the final thought that helped me in my decision was:  I had put up such a fight to save my breast that when the Dr. said "If you're not going to go ahead with radiation it would be in your best interest to call the surgeon and have your breast removed."  I didn't like that answer.

Thinking about short cuts I was reminded of this memory:  My first job at 14 years of age was in an Italian restaurant in Calgary called the Prairie Dog Inn.  I really enjoyed my life as a waitress until realizing that the income would not support my spending habits.  I worked there for nearly 4 years at the south and the north location.  

One time at the south location I put in an order for pizza. Our pizza orders were made on a separate slip of paper.  My order read as:  1-8"+12" Anchovy.  After picking up the main dishes from the kitchen I went to get my 8" and 12" pizza.  To my surprise the pizza cook was running out of room on the pick up counter as he proudly displayed 8 - 12" Anchovy pizza's.  I was further shocked when the owner told me that I had to pay for the pizza's.

My order I was told . . . . should have been on two slips of paper, reading 1-8" Anchovy and on the second slip - 1-12" Anchovy

Who the heck likes anchovies?  Back then I thought they were disgusting. I couldn't even stand the smell of anchovy's.  It was not a popular choice for a pizza topping except for that day!  The customer got 2 - 12" anchovy pizza's for a good deal and I got no deal.  I have no recollection as to where those other 6 pizza's ended up.  I know where I ended up - I eventually resigned and went to AVC to upgrade my education and take a business course.  I got honors on the adding machine and typing.  My second job was as a secretary for Atco Industries.  Eventually resigning from that job for better pay at Alberta Gas Trunkline.  Then I married an Italian and became his secretary.  I did all the paperwork while raising our three children.  My husband gave our son all the builders to which he worked for.  Now our son runs his own painting/woodworking business so we can enjoy retirement.

Enjoy retirement?  Well not right now.  God willing, soon very soon we'll enjoy our retirement once again.

Ending off with a good deal . . . . 

My husband came to Canada from Naples Italy in Sept 1974.  He got hired on his third day here and has never been out of work.  Now he doesn't want to work, although he shows up to help our son on occasion. January 2017 marks the first time he's received notice of a deposit into his bank account (for Canada Pension Plan). He tells his family and friends that he's won the lottery.  He gets X amount of money each month for the rest of his life. Now that's a good deal!

As I focus on gratitude and look at radiation through the eyes of faith may your eyes take a fresh look at how far you have become on your faith journey.

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Living by Faith not by Sight

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  II Corinthians 5:7

I have an endless number of books in my home.  I chose these two to read a thought for the day before heading off to bed.  I'm fearful about the consequences if I choose to say no to radiation.  I'm fearful about the consequences if I choose to say yes to radiation. I've been praying a lot and reading the bible for comfort. It truly is amazing how much God loves us and wants us to trust Him. These books I chose have readings that were the encouragement I needed.

May they also inspire you through any difficult decisions you need to make. 

This is taken from the book 'Echoes of Eternity' by Hal M. Helms

January 26 - Do not fret yourself with things too high for you - with concerns over which you have no control.  Such fretting only robs you of peace and wastes energy (I know!). Focus on the things for which you are sent. Don't fritter away the days and hours with idleness. Claim the high calling I have given you, and quit yourself like a man.

Those who walk with Me must sometimes walk in shadows.  You must be prepared for silence as well as speech.  I do not always explain what I am doing, and I want your unqualified trust in Me.  If everything were absolutely clear, you would be walking by sight, and for My own reasons, I have called you to the walk of faith.  Faith grows in shadows, but shrinks in the light.  You will understand this better when all becomes clear.  In the shadows, practice praise.  Go steadily on the path I have laid out for you, and be of good cheer.

This is taken from 'His Princess Bride' Love letters from your Prince by Sheri Rose Shepherd.  Sheri too is on a cancer journey.

I will never leave you - My Princess - I know you live in a world where many relationships come to a bitter end, My love.  But I am not man; I am your Lord and your Prince.  I will never leave you or forsake you, My beloved Bride.  As long as you walk with Me, you will never walk alone.  I am with you wherever you are, and I will never abandon you.  If ever you doubt I am here, just ask Me and I will reveal Myself to you in a very special way, I will do whatever it takes to prove My faithfulness to you.  You can trust your heart in My care.  I will not let you down as long as you look up.  Love Your Prince who will always by Yours.  

Psalm 23:4 - Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.  

My Faithful Prince - Thank You for being my one true love. Thank You for being the one who walks in when others walk out of my life.  What a comfort to know I am never alone because I am Yours.  Your faithfulness is the foundation of my very being. Please, my Lord, open my spiritual eyes that I may see You, that I may feel Your presence and never doubt You are with me. Love Your Princess who wants to be close.  

Psalm 27:10 - Even if my Father and Mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.  

Like a lot of us, I'd really like God to sit on the bed beside me and tell me what choice is the best for my situation.  After listening to all the comments for and against taking or not taking radiation I know God walks with me on this.  The first thought for the day sure brought encouragement to my heart that this is a faith journey. Yesterday I chose the study which is about faith as well.  I find it astonishing how I was guided to these books. Remember this, those who earnestly seek God, will be rewarded.  Our reward:  confidence and assurance. 

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Leaning not on my own understanding!

Proverbs 3:5 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (NIV)

It's all coming back to me now . . . . 
When my son was born in 1983 we had many challenges to deal with.  He got a cold at 2 weeks old and then allergies to milk when I stopped breast feeding.  Then he got croup as a toddler.  What ever medicine they gave him caused bladder issues.  Then we had to deal with that.  Oh yes, how could I forget the ear infections!  He was in the hospital a few times. What ever they gave him for asthma caused severe leg pain.  When they suggested puffers.  I said "No thank you!"  I used homeopathic remedies for asthma as he got older.  He was hospitalized to have teeth pulled plus extra tooth buds under his gums dug out.  When his allergies got worse we took him for tests.  

I insisted that we remove the carpet from his bedroom and replace it with linoleum.  All his stuffed animals gone! Curtains gone.  His room was dusted everyday.  Floor was washed everyday.  Blinds and walls every month.  I wanted to protect my son from all harm.  Do you think I was stressed when my husband came home from his job smelling like lacquer. Spraying chemicals 6 days a week, and not agreeing with much of what I suggested. There was no internet then, I'd take my children to the library and find books for me to read as well.  I took my job very seriously as a stay at home mom. My husband said "You need to let go, don't take things so seriously!" 

When the Dr asked for my help, I helped.  Imagine helping to hold your 6 yr old while the nurse puts a tube up your child's penis to get to the bladder to see what was going on!!  Then for his bladder issues they wanted to do surgery. That's when we said "No thanks."  Then upon meeting the specialist at some point to follow up after a couple of years.  The Dr. said they were discovering that the surgery does not solve the issue after all.

Now my son sprays lacquer as a full time job.  He is married with two boys.  He plays soccer. He lives with man's best friend in his house.  His beloved dog.

That was then . . . .  this is now . . . . 

When I'm listening to one share their story which seems to be very similar to mine, I just want to offer a little help.  Like most of us do.  We really don't want to hear their solutions, suggestions or opinions.  I fully understand that.  I know because that's exactly how I felt when I began the journey with cancer.  

Here we are, my husband and I worried about the breath of life given to our grandchild #7 having to live on oxygen for a month (then what?). Seems we have more questions than answers.  With my husband retired he has more time to think.  Just this morning we were talking about our worries about the situation and the uncertainty of life.  I said "We seriously have to let go and trust God." 

This initiated an opportunity for an open and honest conversation with each other.  My husband shared about how God is helping him let go of the fear and stress with my choices on this journey with cancer.  And I shared with him that I was committing to spend an hour with God each day to lean not on my own understanding. Otherwise with our emotions being the center of our universe there was no room for God.

Today I began a bible study at  home with me, myself and God.  I am ready now.  I know in my heart that I must lean on God for compete direction.  I chose a study book in my collection called, 'Believing God' by Beth Moore.  Turns out it was the best choice.  It's about faith.  

First days homework, is to claim this:  I believe God is who He says He is.  I believe God can do what He says He can do.  I believe I am who God says I am.  I believe I can do all things through Christ.  I believe God's word is alive and active in me.

So here I am caught in the act of believing and acknowledging how God equips, strengthens and gives us great power to overcome our emotions.  When I trust in the Lord with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding life can be peaceful in the midst of the storm.

Lesson learned:  No matter what we do, the choices we make, we create our own stress or own mess! We are here to love one another.  We are here to listen and to learn.  We are to live our life on purpose,  We are to let go and trust God.

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Human Nature vs Nature of God

Who is going to win?

Ever had an unexpected moment when your emotions were surprisingly stirred up?

This is my moment:  The personality and character of a person (I had never met before) at a gathering in a friends home stirred up some deep wounds within me due to a past memory of grief from childhood.  The next day at another gathering another person (I knew from childhood) presented more grief.  The grief was caused only by their personality which brought out my human nature. Hatred, judgement, self defense, anger and a hardened heart.  I could sense that the dance with anger was about to begin then the fight or flight response, ready to jump into action either by holding back (not being myself) and run away when things got too uncomfortable.

He/she who angers you, controls you!!  That's a quote I've been listening to with my BrainTap Technologies head set.  

Let me clarify, the person I didn't know could not anger me but feelings of sadness began.  The person I knew I could easily become angered.

I soon became aware that I was struggling and became quiet after each encounter.  That is how I deal with emotions I don't know how to deal with. I found myself heading to bed listening to my BrainTap headset again for 45 minutes just to shut off my brain chitter chatter.  It helped and I was able to fall asleep.

In the morning I shared with my 'Positive Psychology' daughter that I was experiencing negative emotions.  She asked me to consider looking at the root cause of what I was feeling.  Feelings of abandonment and rejection came to mind. In dealing with breast cancer I knew I had no room in my head for any more emotional upsets.

This week I've been doubting my choice of no radiation and this emotional crisis pops up!!!

"Really God what is this all about, why did this happen now, what else do you want from me" I inquired?

Looking back:  I was discouraged.  I was feeling sorry for myself, I was blaming, complaining, defending and justifying my thoughts and behaviors, plus the emotions that were stirred up brought 'poor me' back to life.  Poor me was lost in a pot of negativity.

This negativity from past memories reminds me that I have the freedom to choose.  I have NO control over others and how they choose to be.  It's totally up to me on how I deal with my emotions.  I am accountable for my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health - period.  If I want to be healthy then it's up to me to discipline myself and take action.  I can choose who I want to be in life and how my behavior will be, which is all impacted by the choice of foods/drinks that I intake and my perception of life.

Will I choose human nature or God's nature?  Choosing God's nature will have a positive impact on how I grow and mature in unconditional love, forgiveness, and peace.

Human nature wants to win though.  If all you can do is all you can do then all you can do is enough. At the end of the evening, the human nature in me just wanted to say good night and call it a day; ie: no emotional or physical contact.  But that's not what happened.  The nature of God took over and one gave me a hug and the other I offered a hug. That was all I could do.  Accept a hug and offer a hug.

Looking ahead:  Now I need to go and pray for clarity since acknowledging how I'm feeling and find a way to wash away my negative thoughts and emotions.

Tools to grab at:

1.  A 21 day detox with Dr. Caroline Leaf which I did a few years ago.  Dr. Leaf said it takes 63 days to create a new habit.

2.  Create a success story of my life as I have read in:  Thrive in Overdrive - How to navigate your overloaded lifestyle by BrainTap Technologies founder Patrick K. Porter Ph D

Quoting from page 245 of Thrive in Overdrive:  If knowledge is power, then may we share the wealth imbued upon us in this information age, and may we no longer be satisfied with being told what to think, but rather strive for new and better ways to think.

Lesson Learned:  My daughter asked me "After acknowledging your complaints do you feel any better or do you feel like you are lost in the mess?"  My answer:  "I feel lost in the mess of my negative attitude" I said.  "OK then Mom start making a list of gratitude so you can stop complaining." Then she surprised me by saying that I was rejecting myself by doubting my decision to not do radiation.

At some point we must TRUST GOD.  Know that when we have prayed for help in making a decision and we have been guided we can trust that our decision is correct even when someone else is filling us with their negative comments and discouraging us with their opinions.

I told my daughter that I had prayed for God to send me an encourager, a coach, a cheer leader - someone to help me on my journey with cancer (one who wouldn't touch my husbands bank account) as I looked for guidance to heal on this new journey, someone who wouldn't tell me that I would fail but that I would indeed succeed with all the changes I've made with my thoughts, my diet, my exercise, my positive attitude, my willingness to change, my willingness to be accountable.  We were in her truck driving around the city, I turned and pointed to her, smiled then thanked her for listening to me, sharing that I didn't really want to be a burden to her. Her positive psychology response:  My thinking I was a burden meant I had issues with not being worthy.  Really - how many lessons do I STILL have to learn?  

The night of that prayer I had a dream that I was speaking again. I had been speaking to small groups of women over the last three years and I gave that up in the Fall.  I'm scheduled to go to Saskatchewan in May.  Through self doubting I began to think about cancelling in May as well. In order to deal with my discouragement God sent me the encouragement I so needed when I needed it. I got my notes, started practicing. For the first time since August!!  I prayed, then cried and sang my intro song.  As I practiced I updated it and practiced again thanking God for His gift of healing.  This is all part of my healing journey with human nature and getting to know the 'future me/true me' filled with the nature of God.

When you can't sing, HUM until you can sing again!

With Love and Encouragement,

D o r o t h y


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Laughter is GOOD Medicine

Proverbs 18:21 - Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  And those who love it will eat its fruit.

I believe laughter brings life.  Our perception and our opinions speak life or death.  What is your perception of life going to be today, no matter what's going on?  What fruit will it produce, a sour or a sweet taste that lingers on and on.

Today we rushed out the door to go see Dr. H and give him a group hug to say thank you for calling us just before Christmas with the good news that chemo was not necessary and also to listen to his explanation of why anti hormone pills would be prescribed for 5 - 10 years!!

We arrived 15 minutes early so took a short tour of the district before heading into the pay parking area.  When we headed to the basement the room was full of people waiting for their appointments. Several people were coughing.  I headed over to the receptionist.  Once again she gave me the forms to fill out.  I took them and answered a quick no to each question then returned the second double sided page blank.  I re-read the section that the nurse fills out 'patient declined to answer questions'. Yesterday I wrote 'patient refused to answer questions'.  Declined is a more friendly term, isn't it?

We waited 1/2 an hour and saw no one called in.  I could feel my blood sugar start acting up as I had rushed out the door without finishing a full breakfast.  I brought my food and espresso with me and left them in the car.  I was tired of standing up in the hall way, not wanting to be near germs.  So I went to the receptionist and asked when I was in line to see Dr. H.  She counted up to number four. So I asked if I had time to go to my car.  She excused herself to go ask the nurse.  The nurse said it would be 45 minutes to an hour.  We went to the car only to find my espresso spilled in the bag with my food.  I took the bag to the washroom, cleaned it up then ate my food.  

While my husband paid for more parking after 45 minutes had passed.  I went downstairs to see where I was in line to see Dr. H.  It would be another 30-45 minutes.  We went back upstairs to see about changing the appointment.  We could reschedule for Feb 8th.  Asking for the receptionist upstairs to hold onto that we went downstairs again this time with a volunteer named Anthony.  He was going to show us the cafeteria.  My husband said to Anthony "I don't like going down I like going up."  Anthony broke out into laughter.  I didn't know my husband was so funny.  Things must get pretty serious around there.

We had no idea there was a cafeteria.  First we asked why so slow today with the receptionist in the basement.  Anthony was still with us.  The receptionist said there were intern Dr's from the University helping out today and that Dr. H was not there.  "Excuse me, we came here to see Dr. H.  We love Dr. H and only want to see him for a group hug (as my 5yr old grand daughter would say).  If he's not even here we'll just reschedule my appointment if that's ok?" we asked.  No problem.  (The receptionists were laughing when we said we wanted to give Dr. H a hug.)

My husband said to Anthony, let's go see the cafeteria first Anthony, seeing we are down - not up (the laughter began again) and asked if they had pasta fagioli (bean soup)there?  Well Anthony hysterically broke out in laughter.  He said "I don't think they have pasta fagioli here!  He took us to see the cafeteria then we asked if he was able to do the stairs as we both would like to use the stairs. As we made our way to the receptionist upstairs with Anthony still laughing about pasta fagioli we changed my appointment to Feb 8th and asked the Filipino receptionist if she'd ever had pasta fagiole?  She had never heard of it.  Then I told her it was an Italian soup and shared the story about a festival in Italy in celebration of a patron St.  St Anthony.  A pot of pasta fagioli was made to serve those who were in the parade as the three day festival began. Sharing that it was as popular as pancakes for breakfasts in Calgary during the Stampede!!!

As I was sharing this with the receptionist my husband was talking to Anthony.  He asked him if he spoke Italian.  He used to speak quite a bit he said but not so much now since his Nonna passed away. Anthony loves pasta fagioli.  That's when I realized Anthony is Italian.  Of course he knows what pasta fagoli is!!

Death and life in relationships are due to the power of the tongue.

As we left the Tom Baker Cancer Center at the Holy Cross we were laughing.  We experienced that laughter is good medicine.  When we got in the car and started our drive home my husband apologized to me about being so negative with his quick reactions in giving his uncalled for opinions about my choices.  It is very hard for us humans to let go of control and still control our tongue.  

I hope you find a reason to smile today.

Quoting Albert Einstein:  Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. 

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Speaking from the Heart

Life is Fragile . . . . Handle with Prayer . . . .  01.17.17

On my last blog I began with a visit to my daughters house to see grandchild #7.  When I left her house she was getting ready to take the baby to his appointment to check out his jaundice.  Turns out he turned blue at some point.  So they sent him to the Children's hospital.  My daughter or son in law stayed with him 24/7.  We helped out with the other two grandchildren the best we could with many snuggles and cuddles as we prayed for their family.

Today I went to my appointment at the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic. My daughter that teaches positive psychology asked me why I was going to the appointment if I already decided not to do radiation.  "I don't know. That's a very good question.  I never thought about it like that.  I guess I'm going just to see what they have to say."

Upon arriving I was to fill out paper work again!!  This time I chose not to fill out the second double sided sheet of questions because there was an option for the nurse to check "patient refused to fill out questionnaire". When I took it to the receptionist I told her I wasn't going to fill out page two.  She said "That's OK the nurse will go through it with you."

When the nurse arrived she weighed me then took me to room #3.  "So, I'll assume nothing has changed, that's why you didn't answer the questionnaire?"  "Yes", I replied.  "Very good then, I'll check off that you weren't willing to answer the questionnaire."  Excellent idea I thought. She asked me if I had any questions about today's visit.  No, we were here to learn about radiation.  Then she left the room saying the Dr would be in soon.

As we waited for him I began to read Proverbs 17.  One Proverb per day as suggested by our Pastor. What stood out for me was verse 22 - a merry heart is good medicine, a broken spirit saps a persons strength.  No kidding!  My broken spirit was being as merry as it could be while sitting at the Tom Baker Cancer Center.

In comes a young Dr.  The name on his badge was not the same as the one I had the appointment with.  When he said what he'd be doing - check my breasts - I asked "Will you be doing it and then the other Dr because I'm not willing to do it twice?"  He left the room then came back with the head Dr.  So now I had both of them there front and center as he learned how to check breasts for lumps!

With four people in the room, me, my husband and two Dr's one would have to sit on the examining table.  So I got off when they were done and sat beside my husband.  We listened attentively for one hour about the statistics, the good and bad points about balancing the pro and con choice in choosing or declining radiation.  Turns out we both asked great questions.  So the Dr. thought.

I had done a lot of research over the past five months and talked to several women who were dealing with breast cancer.  I had already made up my mind before going to the appointment and when I told my husband I was thinking about not doing radiation.  He was shocked.  His comments to me were very discouraging.  I had to go listen to my 'BrainTap' Technologies head set for a full hour to help me deal with the discouragement.  I walked into that appointment hoping my husband would learn something to help him understand my thoughts and he did.  Isn't God amazing.  I always pray for a messenger when he won't listen to me.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with the Chemo Dr. who will go over the pro's and con's about taking the anti hormone pills for 5 years.

One thing for sure - 100% guarantee - I am going to die sooner or later.

Over my life time of 62 years, fear has robbed me of . . . .  peace, joy, fulfillment, contentment, happiness, open and honest relationships.  Fear has planted a seed of doubt.  I think it's about time I put a stop to this emotion called fear.  Making a decision and living with it helps one get unstuck.

The Dr suggested I take no longer than a week to think about it . . .  just make a decision and live with it which I have already done.  I just need to tell him within a week.  Oh ya I was given a new pamphlet to go over and call back if I wanted to participate in a new study for the next five years.

I'd like to spend the next 5 years travelling, giggling, watching funny movies, just being me as well as hugging and kissing my grandchildren.  I'm going to start living each day as if it were my last.

On the way home we saw a couple of Philippine guys stuck on a side street in one of those 'car to go' for two. I suggested we stop and help them out.  So we did.  Then another guy pulled over and I invited 3 high school boys walking down the street to help out as well because there was SO much snow.  It was fun.  A good way to create a merry heart I thought.  

When we came home my husband went to help our son at work and I went to pick up my daughter and new grandson at the Children's hospital as they were discharged.  Some taxi driver I was!  My merry heart turned into a broken spirit again and I could feel my strength being sapped!  As I drove I began to say some 'I Am' statements but it didn't help very much.  The tears started when I walked into the hospital.  It was difficult to say thank you and good bye without chocking on my tears.  My daughter couldn't get out of there fast enough, saying "let's get the heck out of here.  I've had enough of this place."

One night I encouraged my daughter to create some 'I Am' statements to help her get through her discouragement.  I cried as I gave her a few examples for herself.  When I started crying today she teased me asking if my 'I Am' statements helped.  No I cried.  I guess her 'I Am' statements didn't help her either.  I think one must acknowledge their emotion first. Let the tears roll then create an 'I Am' list.

My daughter ended up driving me home first then went home with the baby on oxygen.  She said she wasn't much help for me today.  And what help was I to her, I responded.  It all just seemed so overwhelming - both of our situations.  She said "Overwhelming is not sufficient enough to describe her time in the hospital with her third child."  Even though the situation was scary, she was grateful that it happened after baby had been home a few days because at the Children's hospital she and baby had a private room.

We gave our hugs and kisses and went our separate ways as she headed home after six days of being separated from her family and her home.  I was feeling sad and she was feeling relieved.  We face timed 4 hours later.  You could tell the children were so happy to have their Mamma back home and the first thing they did was show me their baby brother. He'll be on oxygen for one month.  Another situation of more questions than answers.  

Life is fragile, handle with prayer 24/7/365.  As you deal with your story each day, know it is worth telling.

With Love and Encouragement,

D o r o t h y


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seize the Day

When it comes time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . . . Henry David Thoreau

I went to my daughters house to see my three grandchildren.  While I was there, news that her husbands Aunt passed away from cancer.  Oh my gosh!!  That was so fast.  I only met the lady once and I couldn't stop crying.  It was on Boxing Day that she had told her family that there was nothing more the Doctor's could do.  Her brothers and sisters had planned on driving the three hours to go see her in the hospice the next day.  

Here I am today, crying again as I type this blog entry.  My consultation appointment for radiation is next week.  My emotions are very sensitive once again.  As soon as my husband opens a conversation about cancer I start crying.  It was so nice not to think about it over the holidays.  

The quote from David Thoreau, I took from my new desk calendar - Seize the Day.  A friend who I used to celebrate birthdays with, dropped it off for me to put under my Christmas Tree over the holidays.  This quote inspires one to do some thinking about how they live life.

Now I will tell you how this friend found out about my situation.  She had a dream about me one night.  When she got up in the morning she went to my blog.  Knowing that I'm a blogger.  She discovered that I was on a journey with breast cancer.  It had been several months since we had seen each other.  She sent me an email to encourage me.  

This was the end of of November when she found out.  This initiated a plan for me to create a FYI letter to those who did not yet know about my situation. In this letter I also asked for prayer.  So I did a mass mail out, by snail mail and email.  This next FYI explains why I did what I did. 

When my Nana passed away Jan 18, 1985.  I couldn't talk about it. Nothing was said at her funeral about her life.  I regret not having had someone say something about her precious life.  My loss was enormous. She was my best friend.  She was my encourager.  She was my go to person.  I remember going to babysit at a bible study the following week. I was frozen. I couldn't voice what had happened.  I hid my feelings.  I believe this was how my journey with depression began.   I still miss my tea, cookies and conversations with her.  I clung to her belongings for years.  Her house had to be sold, no one had the money to buy it.  I was there every day until it was sold.   

One thing I did, in memory of her, on each anniversary of her death I requested from our minister to acknowledge my Nana in front of the congregation bought a bouquet of flowers to enjoy.  I dedicated a book I wrote,  'Are You Ready' in memory of her in 2011.

When it comes my time to die, I will discover that I have lived life to the fullest.

Death is part of living . . . . Being a young stay at home mom back then I imagined that when it was my time to die I would teach my children how to die because I had taught them how to live.  Dealing with breast cancer has stirred up many past memories.  With not being ready to die though, my mind could not create a FYI to my children about how to die.  It's on hold until I'm ready to die.  In the meantime as I live life to the fullest, I believe it is best not to do life alone.  Hence I am talking to those who understand what I'm going through so that I'm not doing this stage of my life alone. Living life to the fullest pushes me to find tools to do the best that I can through the many down moments that I face.  It is very encouraging to know that my God is greater than me, I invite more of God into my life and less of me so that I can be filled with hope, assurance, confidence, courage and commitment to discover that when it comes time to die I will say 'goodbye until we meet again'.  

Getting back to my friend who gave me the 'Seize the Day' calendar.  She has a sister who is dealing with cancer.  During my research days in the Fall I thought I'd like to eventually talk to her sister because she is alive and has gone to top cancer treatment centers and searches out natural treatment as well.  But I kept postponing calling my friend to ask her for her sisters phone number because of not wanting to break down emotionally. With my friend finding out . . . . she suggested I talk to her sister.  We have been texting since Dec 13th.

Today I picked up the phone and called her.  She lives in Saskatchewan (Baby it's COLD outside -44 C going to -60 with the wind chill).  She is an encyclopedia of information.  We are both aware of our bodies and balancing the act between medical and natural treatment.  We are going to be breast friends as we pray together and encourage one another over the phone; heck I could write another book!! As I was talking to her I saw a bird fly near my window.  It's cold out here too -14 C. I so much wanted to take a photo but I was on my iPhone so I couldn't.  I found a blog with photos of birds, and the woodpecker that was at my back door. This blog is written by a gentleman named David, in my hometown.  This is the link -calgarybirder.  

May you seize the day as you live your life on purpose.

Bible Verse - From the book of Matthew Chapter 6 Verses 25-27 NIV - (New International Version) Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

My Prayer:  Thank You Dorothy for seizing the day!  Thank you Dear Lord for those that have crossed my path. Thank You for the Angels that you have surrounded me with.  Thank you for being my source of wisdom. Thank You for being my tour guide and baggage handler.  Thank You for those who speak from the heart.

With Love and Encouragement,

D o r o t h y          

Monday, January 9, 2017

I am grateful . . . . .

. . . . . I am grateful for our friend who dropped off a book by Joel Osteen, 'The Power of I am'.

Before I get into my 'I Am' statements I'll share with you why our Swiss friend said to my husband "Dorothy's going to be just fine", when they went out for beer and wings one night.

He was painting a house in Calgary.  The owner asked him to go to their neighbors house to see about doing some work at their house as well. When he saw the nice car they had he said "You must be an engineer?"

"No, I'm a surgeon at the Foothills Hospital."

Knowing that the neighbor just got back from a holiday to Korea.  He made the connection because my husband had told him that I had to wait for the surgeon to get back from a holiday in Korea.

He said, "I think you're the Dr who took care of my friends wife."

"What's her name?" the Dr. said.

"Dorothy Sessa."

The Dr. replied, "Oh yes, her surgery was this morning, she's going to be just fine."

Isn't that cool?

Now for a some of my first few powerful 'I Am' statements that helped me get through discouragement.

I am praising God.  I am on top of the world.  I am spending time with my grandchildren.  I am releasing toxins.  I am healing.  I am at peace.  I am walking.  I am grateful.  I am in my home.  I am full of love of family and friends.  I am full of life.  I am with my husband.

I sure didn't come up with those at one time.  I just kept adding to it and reading them aloud . . . .  I am driving.  I am smiling. I am getting better every day.  I am excited about my health.  I am moving my arm more each day.  I am enjoying my meals.  I am forgiven.  I am loved.  I am beautiful.    I am able to relax.  I am enjoying music.

Each time I faced discouragement I created new things to focus on.  I am able to let go.  I am grounded, growing and grateful.  I am flexible, fun and spontaneous.  I am kind.  I am enthusiastic.  I am able to sleep.  I am able to ask for what I want . . . .

. . . .  I asked my husband to take me to the hairdresser to have my hair washed and dried a couple of days after my first surgery.  I was going to say 'that's a first' but as I tell the story I remember another time when we were in Italy in 1976.  I wanted a perm.  He took me there, left me there.  I spoke ZERO Italian.  I certainly didn't like how my hair turned out.  Who could I blame for that, but my husband for not staying with me.

The second time which is now, I wish he would have left me there for some peace and quiet but it didn't happen.  The other hairdresser was a gentleman from Iran.  They both spoke English and enjoyed talking about soccer, politics and the economy.  I just sat there quietly and enjoyed getting my hair done.  Can you tell?  I'm the quiet one, he's the talkative one!!

When I get frustrated about the TV being too loud or when being interrupted when I'm trying to blog or when reading a book - it's up to me to find creative ways to deal with it so frustration doesn't turn into anger.  When the conversation is over I excuse myself and head upstairs to listen to my head set . . . . I Am grateful for my head set from 'BrainTap Technologies' which also is a tool that now helps me to relax my mind. Teaches me how to let go of negative thoughts.  Create a colorful powerful mindset in moving forward on my journey to healing.  Other times I grab my husband and say "Shut up and kiss me" then start dancing!! We both end up laughing.

In retirement it's challenging to let each other have their own space. Encouraging healthy boundaries leads to less frustration.  Being open and honest about our needs and desires creates a healthy relationship.    

May you find many powerful ways in dealing with the frustrations in your life.

With Love and Encouragement,

D o r o t h y

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Unto Us a Grandson is Born . . . .

Grandchild number seven . . . 

As the story goes my husband wanted me to keep my August 15th mammogram a secret until the biopsy results. Out of fear, I had cancelled the biopsy, now I had to tell him my secret!!  His response "I'm going to be tell our children, I don't like what you're doing."  

"I don't think so, if anyone's going to tell them, I am", I said! 

But how?  When?  There was so much excitement with a new baby, one week before the mammogram, and the announcement one week after the mammogram that another baby would join our family in Jan 2017. 

Our daughter tried something different.  She had what she called a revealing party.  Revealing to us that it was a baby boy with blue balloons rising out of the box.  At the end of the evening just before everyone left I chose to reveal my news and it wasn't shared with a party attitude.  They too didn't like what I was doing.  So the next day I booked another biopsy.

That was then and this is now . . . . the story of the babies arrival. 

Jan 6 - 12 noon - My granddaughter took me grocery shopping.  She's just about 5 years old.  She wrote out the list as to what her mother requested. She directed me to the grocery store and throughout the store.
It was fun.  My daughter has been very uncomfortable for 3 weeks wishing the baby would arrive asap.  

Jan 7 - 1 am - The new baby's brother and sister are sleeping, Nonno is sleeping and I've just received the news about the safe arrival of the baby. The three of them are snoring and I'm down stairs full of joy that I'm able to be present to enjoy this new blessing to the family.

When we were going through the fear that cancer brings, my daughter was sad that I wouldn't be fully able to enjoy the birth of her third baby.  As I helped tidy her kitchen and took one child out of the house to get the groceries I said "I could stay until hubby gets home", but she said no.  She thought I had done more than enough for her, then commented with a huge smile, "Nonna is back"! It felt good to help out.  I ended up going back a couple of hours later as she began consistent labor pains an hour after I left.  

As we give thanks to God for the birth of miracles in our family.  Eight days before 2016 finished celebrated 'no chemo'.  Now it's seven days into 2017 and we're celebrating again.  Celebrating the breath of life.  Our six grandsons and one grand daughter help us to sing, play, dance and especially laugh.  We love spending time with them and enjoy the one on one during sleepovers even though we don't get much sleep.

My granddaughter loves the iphone - listening to music, dancing and recording herself singing.  She usually goes through the photo's as well.  So does her brother who is 2 years old.  Well she found a photo of my incision when the staples were in.  When I showed her my owie which was covered when I got home from the hospital back in November she said she didn't want to see it when I took the cover off.  But this time she asked to see it, because I told her it looks much better now with out the staples.  She paused, looked at it then proceeded looking at the other photos.

Jan 7 - 3 am - As I was finishing up with this blog entry- the 2 year old's cries called me.  He wanted to play (h)ockey with Nonno!!  I encouraged him that all would be ok, but it wasn't time to play (h)ockey because it's dark outside and everybody is sleeping. Soon we were all up and began to play musical beds as my grand daughter explained to me what her little brother needed.  Then I brought them downstairs to show them the photo of their new brother.  She was so excited, but the 2 year old, said "No baby!!" and continued crying. 

Whether you see yourself in the mirror with a sad face or a happy face know that you are brave and can face whatever life may bring your way.  For my grand daughter she was encouraged by her Zia (Auntie) to create a brave card for herself as mom had gone to the hospital in false labor 5 days prior. Now we've worked on a second card of bravery to help her through her tears while missing her mamma.

Thanks to a friend who wanted to encourage me through breast cancer, he brought over a book by Joel Osteen called 'The Power of I Am' which I am presently reading.  It became very helpful during my deepest darkest days that were filled with tears.  Creating a list of powerful 'I Am' phrases to focus on helped me conquer discouragement.  

As you get to know how brave you are in 2017, I wish you peace through it all as you discover ways of dealing with your tears.  

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Let's Get Wild

Breast Cancer has changed my attitude from sensible, careful, nice, reasonable, calm, controllable, gentle, mild, tame and orderly . . . . . to WILD.

We each will have a definition of wild.  My life has been tame, orderly and in control.  Now that the word wild has found space in my place.  I see bouts of spontaneity as I consider the thought "Why Not?". Together my husband and I spontaneously bought a RED fake Christmas tree for next year.  For New Years we bought a ticket on Dec 30th . . . . I wanted to go dancing and get out of the house!! 

As we searched for somewhere to dance on NYE we looked into four venues.  Three were sold out. The fourth venue choice we bought the last online ticket at 4pm.  We had no idea who we'd be sitting with but God sure did.  We were put with a Portuguese family.  I was a bit hesitant because I knew my husband well enough that he would totally engage in conversation with Mr. Portuguese and leave me out.  I was right.  But this time was different.  I gently (not wildly) made my way into the conversations. I had asked the Lord to help change my attitude so I could enjoy the evening.  Feeling left out has played a major role with 'past me'.  As I get to know 'future me' I am able to make wiser choices.    

'Past me' found it difficult to be with families that seem to have the perfect life, when I came from a broken dysfunctional family. I stepped into the mindset of 'future me', I let go of control and just let the evening happen. What a lovely fun filled evening we had.     

It was a buffet dinner.  The tables slowly began heading towards the buffet in another room. Realizing it would take quite a while to feed everyone, I excused myself and went to the buffet alone.  I could feel my blood sugar start to play it's game with me.  It was already 8:10 pm.  Even though I had a light dinner at 5 before we left.  Then suddenly my husband brought Mr. Portuguese to the buffet.  He too has Type 2 diabetes.  We enjoyed lots of dancing and getting to know this great family.  At the table was a very handsome young man.  He was the boyfriend of their 19 year old granddaughter. I asked them how they met.  

The granddaughter was visiting at her grandparents second home in Portugal.  This young man from Holland was visiting his Aunt and Uncle in Portugal in summer 2015.  They met at a party there.  For the last 1.5 years their long distance relationship has blossomed.  Now he was visiting her in Calgary for two weeks then he'd be going back to his life at a University in Holland.  

Of course I shared how my husband and I met on the dance floor at a Cabaret over 40 years ago.  And the grandfather shared about his life, being married for 50 years and how they came to Canada.  He lived in Edmonton (Northern Alberta where there are no Chinook winds) for close to three decades.  I asked how he likes the Southern Alberta winters compared to Northern Alberta winters, where it's very cold and stays very cold without the Chinooks.  It was an immediate response . . . . if he knew it was like that he would have moved here much sooner.  We shared the story of a Hungarian friend who moved from Edmonton to Victoria and he said the same thing after he moved, wishing he too had moved sooner.

When the clock struck midnight - we were on the floor dancing.  As my husband and I embraced we began to cry . . . . we were so thankful that we had another chance at living life to the fullest.  Then as we all went to sit down, on the count of 3,2,1 . . . .  we sang Happy Birthday to Mr. Portuguese who was celebrating his 76th birthday. 

Thank you Lord for a wonderful life.  My prayer for 2017:  Dear Lord, when I get grouchy please help me change my attitude and go with the flow.  

This in itself is a miracle because when things are out of my control my first response is to take control.  As breast cancer changes 'past me', I look forward to 'future me' living in the moment. When I let go and trust God I am able to guard my heart and live to the fullest.  Realizing that today could be my last.  As 'future me' knows that one day I'll meet my Savior, Jesus Christ, face to face, until then . . . . 

. . . . May you find yourself filled with many JOY filled moments as you get to know yourself.  May you feel the release as you let go and renew your life on your wild or tame journey.      

Happy New Year from our heart to yours.

With Love and Encouragement, 

D o r o t h y  &  V i n c e n z o