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Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

I keep finding odds and end photos on my computer and I always say “I really need to get that blog post written and loaded”…..but I never get it done.  So I’ve decided to just post some pictures with some explanation.  They will be totally unrelated…but that’s OK with me!

Here goes…

Last year, during the whole cancer business, one of my 8th grade girls brought me a breast cancer awareness bracelet….

I thought it was incredibly kind.  She also bought herself one so that she could show her support.  Wow!  I have pretty amazing students!  Kylie moved to Las Vegas a few weeks after she gave me the bracelet but now every time I wear the bracelet I will think of her.  (yes, I am the pasty white arm on the left!  She was also about a foot taller than me too!)

In July, (I think), Mom, my sister and my niece got together to make jewelry.  We try to do this at least once a summer because we all love to do it!  So here’s our creations!

we always make such a mess!  LOLOL

Mr. Elroy makes me laugh….here are some of my favorite pictures of him.  Some were taken with my phone so they aren’t so good….

He often sleeps like this…and in the middle of whatever I’m working on…..and I have to check to see if he’s still breathing because he looks dead…..

2 different naps ….2 different days…..same old pose….

One night….while working at my computer desk, it got kinda hot….so I turned on the fan….and this is where he put himself….between me and the fan…and again, laid right on top of the paperwork I was working on…..crazy boy cat!

I LOVE cat paws…..these are Goldie’s….and they are HUGE!

I knitted this little sweater for Kaylore….It actually fits her perfectly and I think it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen….if I do say so myself!!!!

This summer I was invaded by tiny ants…..I planned an ant massacre…..and it worked!!!  You can find anything on the internet!!!

I helped JW with his back to school backpack by embroidering his name on it……

It came with a wallet and everything…..and I think he liked it just fine!

It’s hard to believe he’s in 1st grade already!  Wow!!!

Ok….I think I’m all caught up….Oh Wait!  I almost forgot to celebrate!

Last week I went in for my yearly mammogram (and the first one since my diagnosis and surgery) and I’m proud to announce that ALL IS GOOD!!!  No reason for extra pictures, or procedures!  I’m so very extremely thankful!

Until next time!

JoAnn

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Today…

 

Today is my birthday.  The last 12 months has been a roller coaster ride that I don’t want to ride again.  I’m grateful that I’m still around to add another candle to the cake.  I see people every week that have lost their lives to the same disease.  I’m grateful for all the friends and family that helped make this past year bearable.  It’s not something I want to do alone.  I’m thankful for my friends who let me cry….while I heal emotionally.  I’m thankful to be here to teach another year and make up for what I couldn’t do last year.  I’m thankful for a loving God.  I’m thankful that I can exercise and grow physically stronger.  I’m thankful to be able to look forward….not just day to day.  I’m thankful….very thankful.

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I almost forgot that I started this post.  You won’t see one for July because I haven’t done NEARLY as much as I did in June…..does baking count?  LOL

 

Each summer, I challenge myself to do at least one project around the house per day.  It doesn’t have to be big….just has to accomplish SOMETHING.  I’m also a list person but have discovered that if I make a list of the things that NEED to be done in the summer….I find myself resisting and actually do less.  Weird, I know, but that’s me!  So I have decided to make a list of the things I’ve accomplished AFTER I do them.  It’s much  more rewarding that way!  Here’s a running tally of my lists since I was out of school, May 25 to the last day of June.

1.  Painted Bedroom walls, ceiling and trim (still need to paint doors)

2.  Purchased new bedroom furniture, including mattress (this took a LOT of shopping)

3.  Purchased new linens for new bed

4.  cleaned, painted and purged bedroom closet

5.  cleaned and purged the dresser and chest in the guest room and moved into my new furniture.

6.  cleaned and purged bathroom cabinet in preparation for new counter top

7.  purged tv cabinet, music case and book case in the living room

8.  assembled new tv cabinet

9.  installed new area rug in living room

10.  Helped disassemble the old Mr. Elm and cleaned up the mess after he was carted away.

11.  Balanced check book (had not been done since December…..used cancer as excuse…)

12.  knitted 1 scarf, 3 hats and finished a pair of mittens

13.  started cleaning garage

14.  walked/rode stationary bike 423.5 miles

15.  took a road trip to Iowa

16.  Took Parents to Dr. Appt.

17.  4 dr. appts of my own

18.  laid sod on new sewer line in the back yard.

19.  Did a bit of gardening

20.  Blogged

21.  washed all the winter scarves and hats

22.  Attempted to de-flea the animals (many baths, treatments and brushing….sigh…)

23.  Kept up the Etsy store.

24.  took lots of naps…

25.  Read a book

26.  Helped interview one of my new bosses.

27.  Watched and cheered for Thunder Basketball

28.  played with Kaylore and Karver and J. W.

29.  Ironed a basket of shirts (at least a dozen)

30.  Hemmed a dozen fabric napkins

31.  Stupidly agreed to serve on another choral directors board….sigh…when will I ever learn?!?!?!?!

32.  Spent a little time in the garden.

33. carted many bags of crap to the thrift store (and didn’t even go in to shop!)

34.  made breakfast for the nephews

35.  cleaned and purged linen closet

36.  Shredded 10 years of tax records.

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Remember this…..

 

 

Well…..It now looks like this….

Here’s all the things that happened in this room….

1.  Refinished 1958 wood floor (done by professionals)

2.  Painted walls, trim and ceiling (by me)

3.  New Furniture (Purchased after looking at every bedroom set in the city about 3 times)

4.  New Mattress, bedding and quilt (all purchased)

5.  New closet doors with mirrors (also installed by a professional)

6.  New Curtains and curtain rods (again…purchased)

7.  Purged LOTS of clothes and clutter (and it felt GREAT)

8.  Shoe Shelf (temporary fix….will be getting a bench that holds shoes to replace the shelf and chair)

9.  Created a new playground for the furry residents

 

Here are some things I need to finish….

1.  Paint doors….They are primed but the weather just go too hot to paint in the garage so when it finally cools down then I’ll finish that little job…

2.  Replace the shelf with the bench to hold shoes

3.  Replace the ceiling fan….It’s old and noisy….so I’ll be looking for a new one.

4.  Replace the door handles.  Some are original with the house some have been replaced but none match…It’s time for an update.

 

One day I needed some help so my friend Dawn came to help me position my furniture….That’s what BFFs do, right?

 

 

I LOVE my new cave!!  It’s more than just an updated room.  I think it represents the renewal and moving forward I needed after all the cancer crap.  The bulk of the work was done in 2 weeks (including the bathroom and couple of other minor projects).  I think I needed something new to prove to myself that everything was going to be alright again.  I am truly happy with my room and my life.  Thank you God!!!

 

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It seems forever since I’ve been on this blog.  I’m hoping since summer has arrived I’ll be more diligent and creative…..I’m ready!

Years ago I began an investment in a cancer insurance policy……and it ended up paying BIG….so….after I got myself out of some debt, put some in an investment acct and combined it with my national board money and my tax refund….I’m treating myself!

My first ‘treat’?!?!?  A new sewer line in the back yard…What ?!?!?!  you don’t think a sewer line is a treat?  Well…..NOW I won’t have to worry about having the line cleaned out…on a weekend….when the washing machine is full of wet laundry,…..believe me….it’s a treat!

 

Next, I decided the cheap rug in the living room HAD TO GO!!!!!  It was a cheap one from Walmart and it was gross, the wrong color, wouldn’t lay flat and was just down right UGLY!  But not anymore!  I had a piece of carpeting bound and put carpet pad underneath it and WOW!!!!  It’s like walking on a cloud!

I took this picture with my phone….it’s not really purple….it’s a lovely beige….

My friend Susan and I Hauled it home in my car….and there was even room for her to ride inside the car too!  LOLOL

 

There are more treats to come….I’ll keep you posted!  🙂

 

Harvest has begun in earnest in Kingfisher.  I took this pic with my phone from my car….It’s not my family but it sure was pretty as I was driving by….

Dad is really missing being in the middle of harvest this year.  He had a stroke in March that affected his vision….by brother took away his combine license.  I’m just glad he’s OK with it.

J.W. is growing like a weed…..here’s what it looks like to be 7 years old….

He has his summer haircut….the whole baseball team has the same cut….boys….LOLOL

I have started knitting again….and I’m in love with these mittens…

I see many variations of these on my needles this summer!

Goldie kept me company while I was knitting…

And Elroy tried to help….until he fell asleep while trying to play with the yarn…..such a man! LOLOL

Rusty was not thrilled with his last bath….can you tell?!?!?

 

I am finally beginning to feel better.  It’s one of those things where you don’t know how bad you feel until you feel better!?!?!?  It has taken MUCH longer than I expected to get my energy back.  I’m actually beginning to feel like my OLD self again!  It’s a good feeling!  Each year I write a handwritten note to each of my 8th grade students….tell them how much I appreciate them and love them…..When I handed them out….I cried….because I feel like I cheated them by being gone so much and feeling like crap the days I was there most of the time.  They were SO sweet…and I got LOTS of hugs that day.  Sometimes middle school kids are awesome!  I’m ready for the summer to have the time to continue getting stronger.  But I’m also ready to begin a new school year…without the weight of cancer on my heart and mind.

Happy Summer!!!

 

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Another milestone!

After I completed my radiation and healed a bit I started walking again. My boot camp leader and friend, Steve, was very protective and made me start slowly. So I would walk a half mile, then I worked up to a mile. I stayed at 1.5 miles for quite awhile before I had the strength to get to 1.75. But today, I did a complete 2 miles!!!!!!! I’m so happy!!!!

I log my miles on a free app for my phone called iMapMyFitness. Here’s proof…..

I’ve also set a goal for myself to walk or ride my exercise bike 500 miles for the year. In March I hit 60.43 miles and almost 15 of them were walking. I started in late January but didn’t get serious until about mid February. My yearly total is right at 100 miles. I’ll keep you posted!!!

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36 days later

Yes, it’s been 36 days since my last radiation treatment!  There are days that I don’t think much about having gone through the whole experience…..then other days the mirror is a grim reminder of what I lived through.

I had a followup appointment with Dr. Radiation today.  Everything checked out fine.  I have some discoloration of the skin in some places and “scars” where the burns were the worst.  Dr. Radiation said it could take up to a year for all that to disappear but it WOULD go away.!

One of the nurses that got me started and walked me through the whole process is leaving to follow her husband’s job change (to Pennsylvania).  I really don’t know what I would have done without her.  She did everything she could to keep me going back and to ease the pain and discomfort.  I asked if she was going to work and yes, she is still going to be a nurse, helping cancer patients.  They will be lucky to have her.  She told me one of the interview questions she had to answer was “What is your greatest accomplishment (in her job)” …and yes….it was getting ME through the treatment.  My burns were so bad (she said I was up in the upper range of “bad”) there were times I didn’t want to come back.  She kept giving me different things to try to ease the pain. And hugged me when all I could do was cry.

When she told me that story…..I became emotional.  I guess being back in that place…remembering how horrible it was at the end….and how compassionate everyone was….just brings all those emotions back to the surface.  I guess I bury myself in the NOW so that I don’t wallow in the THEN.  But I never want to forget what it was like….that I fought HARD so life would be normal again.

There is still a bit of swelling that will go away over time.  The scars and discoloration will fade as well.  The surgical scars will always be there but they are fading too.  Life moves on and I’m happy to have a life that’s moving forward.

Thank you God, for all the people you sent my way!

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