Hope and Fear


As we near the end of October, the official month of Breast Cancer Awareness, please pause to remember the many woman and men who are affected by this condition. https://siteman.wustl.edu/treatment/cancer-types/breast-cancer/risk-prevention-and-

Breast cancer in America is the most common type of cancer diagnosis, second only to skin cancer, among women. Over the course of their lifetimes, about 1 in 8 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Among American men, the odds are about 1 in 1,000 of being diagnosed with breast cancer. https://www.bcrfcure.org/breast-cancer-statistics Yet, thanks in part to the October month of Breast Cancer Awareness, education has increased, and research funds have continued to rise allowing improved quality of lives. Today, breast cancer is often treated as a Chronic Condition. Women and men live longer lives and are often cured!

I cannot begin to put myself in the shoes of someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I don’t know how it feels to stare the unknown devil in the face or to wonder about my tomorrows. But, I do know the fear of the possibility. I know too, how it feels to lose someone to this disease. The sorrow and deep absence of a loved who is no longer with us. The pain and struggle of children whose mother disappears forever.

Many years ago, a friend of mine, a former college roommate was diagnosed at a very young age. Thankfully, she was cured! https://www.bcrfcure.org/ Today, she happily lives and works in the same town she grew up in, the one where she raised her son from toddler to young adulthood. She lives productively, giving back to the community, thankful to be alive each and every day.

In the years between, I’ve brushed the arm or touched the hand of many others who have lived with breast cancer. I saw the fear in the glass of their eyes while feeling hope through the warmth of their skin. With cancer, hope and fear seem to coincide.

Like every woman should, I practice a monthly self-breast exam. Still, I was surprised when my doctor discovered a lump during my last annual physical. It was about the size of a small green pea, she said. The size that rolls around your plate next to roast beef and mashed potatoes during a family dinner. Although I had a normal mammogram a few months earlier, my doctor smiled cautiously while scheduling another.

During the next few weeks, I followed my doctor’s orders by having a second mammogram. The technician performed it before asking the radiologist to do yet another. I was taken into the next room where an ultrasound depicted even better pictures. To my relief, everything was determined to be normal and they sent me on my way.

About a week later, while driving my cell phone rang. The speaker blared from the seat next to me, “Your doctor would like you to see a breast specialist.” Shaken, I pulled into a parking lot where I was able to jot down a name and address. Upon returning to my office, I looked up the doctor’s referral. My computer screen highlighted the words, Cancer Surgeon. Air left the whole of my inside. Quickly, like a bright red balloon floating across a western sky only to land atop a desert green cactus. “P.O.P!”

Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, I absorbed palatable emotions as each new person stepped through the door or waited for their name to be called aloud. Some women were alone while others held hands of supportive boyfriends or husbands. Arms of chairs were clutched tighter with knuckles turning white. Smiles of strained were seen here or there while ears listened to gentle whispers. Occasionally tired heads lay on soft shoulders for comfort. Arms all around. A sisterhood was felt between women who had never met before. Bonding and empathy. Soon, each one would be pronounced cancer free, or they would begin one of the most difficult journeys of their lives.

Fear and Hope….

*After the “Breast Specialist” examined me and reviewed all of my records, I received fantastic news, “Cancer Free!” Still, I don’t take anything for granted. I will continue to do monthly self-breast exams, see my personal physician regularly, and never miss an annual mammogram screening. They are proven to be one of our best defenses in the world of early breast cancer detection. So if you are a woman, especially over forty, schedule a mammogram today. Please don’t wait until tomorrow.

 

 

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Lavender – An all rounder


I’ve always loved the scent of lavender oil, dabbing it on my wrist or pouring a few drops into my bath water. Surprisingly, I learned the herb has several medicinal properties, including treating a few Chronic Conditions. Please visit Sally’s blog post to learn more!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

medicine womanI doubt that there are many of you reading this post who have not come across Lavender in your lifetime. It is a beautiful plant in the garden and its perfume has been used for centuries as part of many cultures bathing rituals.

Its botanical name is Lavandula Officinalis and you will usually find it called English Lavender or garden Lavender. In fact its name belies the fact that originally it was found in Mediterranean region as well in Africa and some parts of Russia.

lavender

The Romans used daily in their bathwater and also as we do today, in small sachets placed between layers of clothing to keep them fresh smelling and to act as a natural deoderant. A few centuries later, as hygiene took a back seat in the Middle Ages, it would be used in oil form to kill bed bugs and lice.

Certainly few warriors went into…

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Sweet Love


O lady, there be many things

  That seem right fair, below, above; 

But sure not one among them all

  Is half so sweet as love. 

-Oliver Wendell Holmes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Wendell_Holmes_Sr.

lady-antique-in-love      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*photo of painting courtesy of Google Chrome

 

 

 

 

Word Cloud – Pets


After reading this, I hopped on over via Mavimet’s link to discover a variety of templates, allowing you to design via your imagination. During these stressful times of “War and Peace,” why not have a little fun? Thank you, Mavimet! 🙂

Mavimet's Weblog

I found a free site that makes word clouds out of the words you choose.  You can pick the colours and sizes  of the words and the shape of the cloud.  There are some limitations on the free clouds and you can choose to pay to remove the limitations – I like this free one just fine. You can find it at Tagul to try it yourself.

Of course, my first cloud has to be some of the many pets I have had over my lifetime.

pets-word-cloud

Most of these pets have been mentioned at some point in my years of blogging here, so some of them might find their way into the related links below.

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Penny For Your Thoughts?


Long before I knew what growing up ever meant, I had two maternal aunts who were never far from my side, always ready to show me the way. My mother was one of four sisters, one slightly older followed by two younger half-sisters, several years younger. There was never any deviation between the four girls. They loved and fought with the gusto of any sisters, full blood or not.

Upon my birth, my mother’s little sisters, suddenly aunts of mine were only five and seven years of age. Throughout the years, we more or less grew up together, and I often thought of them as big sisters, more friends than relatives. We had a bond, often whispering to each other our innermost secrets and dreams, or wishes for the future which of course changed as the years went by.

When my little brother was three, he needed open heart surgery, one of the first to be performed at U of M Children’s Hospital https://kimgosselinblog.com/2013/10/30/loving-mother-infant-heart-surgery/. I went to stay with my grandparents during this precarious time, including several visits afterward whenever extended follow-up was needed. My aunts made my life magical during a stage in my life that could have easily turned traumatic. They took me under their wings, played with me like a baby doll, and made me feel safe and secure. I remember sharing a room with them, where we slept together in bunks of two while listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks, on their phonograph over and over again. One of my aunts had to climb down the ladder to move the needle over every time the 45 record ended. Up and down, down and up. And, every afternoon, as soon as the two stepped off a giant yellow school bus, another of them would scoop me up before plopping me inside the front of rattan bicycle basket where the three of us rode off into the woods. There, we often sat on the rough of a fallen log where they made up stories while braiding my hair. Sometimes a snack or two was shared while we hunted for woodland treasures, caught frogs or waded in the clear of a bright blue stream among slippery silver minnows. 

The Chipmunks, as seen in the live-action/CGI ...

My aunts, of course, grew older before I did until one day, both of them had boyfriends. By then, I was simply a pest they wanted to swat away. Their sweethearts used to pay me to run across the street where an old neighborhood store sat on the corner. “Buy yourself anything you want,” they said. Suddenly, a shiny silver quarter was stuffed into my pocket, allowing me to purchase handfuls of penny candy. “Take your time.” Far too soon, I was back in front of them carrying a little white paper bag. Bazooka bubbles of gum smiled and popped directly in front of their boyfriend’s faces!

Bins of candy on display at Murphy's Candy and...

When my parents traveled for work, one or the other aunt would often babysit, staying for a weekend or more to wrangle me and my four younger siblings. They attended high school by this time, and I thought they were so cool. One day, I wanted to be just like them! We often shared my mom and dad’s king-sized bed, where I listened to whispered worries in the light of the moon. Treasured secrets never to tell….

Years later, when I married, one aunt was a bridesmaid, while the daughter of the other was my flower girl. Tragedy struck on one of the happiest days of my life. The aunt of my little flower girl had a seizure at the reception and was quickly taken to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. She adored children, especially babies, and rooted me on during my monthly struggle with infertility. Nearing her end, she said, “Come’on, Kimmy. Hurry up and get pregnant! I want to hear the good news before anyone else. Promise me!!”

My aunt passed away in February of 1986 at the age of 34. Three months later, when my EPT tested positive, I dried my tears, hopped into my coveted canary yellow Chevette and drove to the cemetery. There at her gravesite, I bawled my eyes out while sharing my blessing. Yes, she was the first one to hear.

Penny for your thoughts?

Are You Seeking Purpose In Life?


At any given moment, our inner emotions palpitate, leaving us with an ambiance of the unknown, scattered. What is our purpose in life? We may seek joy and fulfillment through random paths, hoping to make positive impacts on the lives of others. A legacy of sorts, lasting long after we are gone. We wish to touch the soul of a single person. One or two, three or four…maybe more. Those who are tall or little ones so very small.

Our earthly map is shrouded, consisting of paths winding round and round, meandering through peaks and valleys, climbing up and down. Or, it may be akin to the sea with waves rolling atop a current, cresting at high tide when all seems on our side. The point is, nothing is black and white, yes or no, wrong or right.

When looking for purpose in life, seek splashes of color scattered among the otherwise mundane. Chances are it’s right before your eyes.

*photos courtesy of Google Chrome

Independent motion – can you help?


Please visit Sue’s blog to read her full post. Try to imagine your life without mobility. Surely we can all help her son to get the word out…or even do more. 🙏🏻

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

What would you give to make a dream come true if you woke to find yourself living a nightmare?

What would you feel if you could never again walk on a beach? Or go out alone in the snow…feel the stillness of a wood or cross a field?

And then, you found a way…

In 2009, my son was a successful young man with a bright future… until he was stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack and left for dead in an alley.

He was found almost immediately by passers-by who saved his life. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Nick was being prepared for emergency brain surgery. We were allowed to see him, for a few minutes, to say goodbye. He was not expected to survive…


Over the past couple of years, many in the blogging community have come to know my son and know…

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Infertility, Changes in Nature.


 

Long before marriage I knew pregnancy might be difficult for me. I lived with a Chronic Condition called, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycystic_ovary_syndrome, which often causes infertility. My husband was aware and soon after the wedding, held my hand during medical consultations and accompanied me to doctor’s appointments where together, we decided on our first course of treatment, a low dose fertility drug. Squeezing my hand tightly we were ecstatic to learn a tiny heart might soon beat under my own within about four months.

Upon leaving the doctor’s office it was on to business. Thermometers, temperature charts, and pens and pencils were suddenly prized possessions, placed neatly in the top drawer of a nearby nightstand in order to chart monthly ovulation cycles. Whenever it was time, I telephoned my husband. We followed the ups and downs of my temperature chart to a T! Still, month after month it was not to be.

Eventually, I visited my doctor for another routine consultation. “It’s been nine months,” he said, matter-of-factly. “I can only keep you on this drug for one more cycle. Go home, relax and forget about it.” I left his office in tears. Fertility options were extremely limited back in 1980’s. I could only move on to an extremely powerful fertility drug with lots of potential complications or adoption. My husband and I had discussed adoption but knew it might take years to receive a baby.

That same weekend my husband and I traveled from our cozy bungalow on the west side of Bay City to northern Michigan for business, leaving my temperature chart at home. Our car crested a hill where the blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Traverse_Bay, greeted us in the most beautiful of azure colors as far as our eyes could see. It was late spring, nearing summer. All four of the windows of our car were down. We giggled free as the fresh air blew our hair every which way. Scents of one season were ending while simultaneously, a new one was beginning. Nature was changing. Tall emerald pines danced among splashes of fruit trees on either side of the road with flowers budding into delectable delights of rosy apples and bright red cherries.

While my husband attended business meetings, I relaxed by the pool, read books, and drank sparkling water amid the peace and serenity of new surroundings. Six weeks later I learned I was pregnant. I was about to become a mother. The greatest gift to me.

Yes, nature was changing…..

*photos courtesy of Google Chrome

Automated Insulin System Approved for People with Type 1 Diabetes


For years we’ve been informed about research trials regarding the Artifical Pancreas. Our hearts skipped beats in learning it had positive results in well monitored, hospitalized patients. They literally did not have to take insulin. These patients could sleep well through the night without setting an alarm to get checked or worry about not ever waking up! Our son has long been approved as a possible recipient of the Artifical Pancreas here in St. Louis. We’re still praying this day will come. It seems to be coming closer, don’t you think? Blessings to all who live with type 1 diabetes together with their families who love and support them each and every day.

Openhearted Rebel

By Julie Fidler, Natural Society

Life is about to get easier for people with Type 1 diabetes, now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new automated insulin delivery system.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, so patients must inject themselves multiple times a day with insulin, or use an insulin pump. It can be easy to inject too much or too little of the hormone, depending on what and how much a person eats, and if they exercise. [1]

High levels of blood glucose (sugar) can lead to organ damage, but injecting too much insulin can lead to a dramatic sugar drop that can cause unconsciousness or coma. [1]

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Coming Home


The beauty of nature comes to call

Whispering my name in the breath of fall

Follow me…follow me…follow me

Wisps of hair toss around my face

Foliage and fauna snap in this new place

Down a rocky slope, grab a green of rope

Hold on tight, behold such sights

Splendor at the bottom of a hill

Nature leads me back where I belong

To inner peace and birds of song

A rock of shale is my new chair

Toss a limestone pebble here or there

Say a prayer, breathe the air

Forests, streams, and heaven of sky

Never question how or why

Beating of heart begins to slow

It is now that I do know

Nature is home to me.