A Journey with A Purpose. . . Part II

Journey

In our last episode, of what I now would like to call, Does this Lymphedema Make me Look Fat?  (ha-ha, you’ve got to laugh at yourself or this whole life thing wouldn’t be any fun.) we learned about three lovely characters that you will get to hang out with if you don’t catch your Freckle Gone Wild fast enough. 

I love my puns, don’t you?

If you missed the first installment please read it here.  

Your life changes, in an instant, when your physician tells you, you have cancer and the first thing that comes to mind, (my mind anyway) is “Get it the heck out of me already! What are we waiting for!” and so they do –remove it. Which brings me to another thing you must become accustom to when you have Melanoma – surgery.  You must be prepared for surgery and a bunch of them – it not a one and done scenario – No Siree’ Bob.  You have entered the world of multiple surgery land and once you enter there is no going back.

Why? You may indeed be wondering.  Well, I will tell you.   Contrary to popular belief, it is not as simple as removing the afflicted spot, it’s more of a let’s take a chunk out of you, and because it is such a large chunk we need to replace it with a skin graft.  Therefore, you get the 2 for 1 deal the first go around, skin removal for your skin graft as well as removing the afflicted spot, plus or minus 3 or so inches.  Yeehaw!  

Are you still with me? 

This surgery requires a few months of strict bed rest in order for the skin graft to take.  I must admit that my thought process was along the lines of that I would finally get a vacation, albeit not the vacation I really wanted, but a vacation nonetheless.  I, until this moment in time, worked 60+ hours a week, I am a A-Type person, so keeping me down is a bit difficult but in a crazy way I thought laying in bed would afford me the time to do things I had been neglecting – my creative side.    Oh Boy was I wrong.

Six months into trying to get my darn leg to heal, I was ready for another surgery, as is the standard procedure. A series of surgeries to remove the skin graft so that, because mine was sitting directly on my nerves pinching them.  My point is, now that I have rambled is you get to have a bunch of surgeries, a half a dozen or so.   Sounds fun right?  Thus bringing us to yet another new change in your life –you get to finally have ‘people’.  Yes, that’s right your own entourage, only yours consists of not body guards and manic fans, yours consists of physicians, surgeons, and therapists.

Photo as my leg is today, two years and a half a dozen surgeries later.  The original freckle gone wild was the average size, nothing spectacular, nothing to write home about. It was on the lower portion of my leg, the smaller chunk missing. The upper chunk is my most recent surgery, in which a small, pea sized lump reoccurred underneath my skin.  The point being, a small thing becomes a large thing in an instant.  (Yes, it hurts like hell, 24/7.)   I cannot, for the sake of vanity, and the fact I am just one person, show you the large chunk missing from my inner upper thigh – but let us just say it is resembles the lower portion – it could be it’s twin.

Leg

I went from one primary doctor, once a year, “Gee your fine” visit to, 1 Surgeon, 2 Oncologists, 1 Dermatologist, and 1 Physical Therapist.  I also enjoy hanging out, on a regular basis, with a plethora of technicians, lab personnel, nurses, and various and sundry others who all know me by my first name. In visiting your entourage, you will need assistance, especially for those long days of waiting in between lab visits and oncologists visits as they schedule them all at once.

 

Chair

 

I, for the sake of having to be driven to my appointments (Did I mention that driving long distances is out of the question?) I schedule nearly every appointment back-to-back.  I still streamline everything I do.  I cannot help it, it’s what I do – streamlining, efficiency, work smarter, not harder attitude.  Do it right the first time and there is no need to do it over.  A lifetime of streamlining organizations still sings loudly in my heart.    In as much as you need to get around, I use either my wheelchair (NASCAR has nothing on me!) or my cane.  Both use to disturb my soul, as there is something inside of me that refuses to be put down, set aside or be told that I cannot do something, but then I realize these are simply tools in which I use now to get something accomplished.  I use the wheelchair for sitting at the stove for cooking long meals, since standing is not an option. Someday, when my ship comes in,you know the one with the boatload of cash on it, I will redo the kitchen so that it is more user friendly, but for now, I shall simply, Improvise, Adapt and Overcome any obstacles that stand in my way.

Therefore, my lovely readers please do not dismiss the power of the sun, the damage that even the loveliest of tans can bring. Take care of yourselves, inside and out.  Feed you soul delicious food, exercise to feed your spirit, meditate to feed your mind and live in gratitude.  Despite my limitations I find joy in everything I do, every breathe I take and am truly grateful for this life of mine.  

Bloom Where You Are Planted, and Watch Your Life Flourish.

~E

 

PS. For those still waiting for my 101 First Last Date’s book to be completed, I recently received it back from my editor and so it I shall write my little heart out to make it a memorable read.  I do believe, the cancer is behind me now, as it certainly is no longer welcome in my home. And for those who are also following along with my goal of getting back to being in shape before I turn the Big Five-O, this past surgery threw me for a loop but I am back on it and with a bit of due-diligence the scale will stop saying One at a time in no time at all.  Yes, I will post photos when I reach my goal, but for now, I shall just guide you here to what my goal is – a long ago photo.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch. . .

Locks of Love

 

Last November I decided to grow my hair for those who have to suffer through the horrors of chemo, as I have been blessed to not have to endure such sufferings.  Since November, I have had three more surgeries and in as much my attention has been elsewhere and not focused on the length of my locks.  It is most definitely longer, significantly so, the bottles of shampoo and conditioner I run through vouch for such things, but I really had no idea, until this photo. . . November on the left, yesterday on the right. It speaks for itself.   The lingering question is, shall I continue to grow it until the end of summer first thought, or shall I keep going until the end of the year as the more I can give the better it shall be?

Thoughts?

Remember, even though it may seem as though you have nothing to give, the smallest of gestures will lift your spirit and fill you heart with warmth as giving is far better than receiving.

~E

A Journey With A Purpose. . .

Spring

Spring has arrived and so with it the sun.  The sun beckons us to bath in all its glory, to soak up its warmth in order to shed the harsh winter from our souls and for millions this is precisely what they shall do – bask in its glow.

While the sun is beneficial and replenishes our bodies with the vital nutrient Vitamin D, there are ways to be smart about your time spent under the clear blue sky.  All I ask is that you think before you head outside for the day at the beach, at the lake, lounging poolside or simply being outside for any long duration, as you can get too much of a good thing.

My journey with cancer has been something one doesn’t really hear about, breast cancer takes center stage as the mainstream cancer issue and rightfully so as 1 in 4 women will encounter this disease.   Melanoma however is a giant, silent killer and ironically enough, preventable, easily detectable and curable if caught early.

If however you, like myself, choose to ignore all that is said about frolicking in the sunshine, then the greatest hurdle you shall face, isn’t the cancer itself, but your life after multiple surgeries, and procedures.

The spot on your leg isn’t that bad, it’s always been there.  It’s just a freckle.  It’s only a mole.  One sunburn is no big deal.   I thought that too, and you may indeed be correct in your thinking that it is only a freckle, a mole, and it is harmless, but don’t take your word for it, as unless you have a medical degree in such subjects go to your physician and ask – that is painless.

What happens when you don’t? You can expect to become tremendous friends a new way  of living.

The Shower Chair:

Bath

It’s a lovely thing, provoking images of senior citizens who have lost their stability.  The simple fact is that once your lymph nodes are removed your body has no way of removing the ‘lymph fluid’ and so it pools up where ever these are lost.  The lympatic system is pretty remarkable as it is “an extensive drainage network that helps keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends the body against infections.”[1]   Your ability to stand for even the briefest of showers will cease as the swelling that occurs is tremendous, of course if you are in love with shades of purple and red then you have nothing to worry about.  However, I do not care for the pain that accompanies the shades of purple and red so I sit, with leg extension as downward is no longer an option – ever.

The lymph system as remarkable as it may be, is a one way street, and the only way to get it flowing is to actually move. Gravity is no longer your friend.   So you must move, which then leads to swelling and lovely purple and red hues.   AH, but there is a solution…

The Compression Garment:

Stockings

Again, reminiscent of someone’s grandmother, this lovely accessory is a must as it keeps the pressure on to keep the swelling down.   Simple moving from one area to another requires forethought as without some sort of pressure garment ( I have several) you won’t be moving very far without tremendous pain, and of course your new friends purple and red.   Which leads me to your other new friends.

Mr. & Mrs. Multiple Pillows.

Pillows

You must, for the majority of the day, keep your leg elevated, as downward is no longer an option. Sitting at a desk is no longer an option. Driving a car any distance is no longer an option.   Mr. & Mrs. Multiple Pillows go where you go.   Dining out must be thought out as finding a spot to rest your leg on is a priority (when I go, I choose a booth as I can rest my leg either sideways or stretch underneath the table and rest it on the other side.)  The thought process to going anywhere is more than I had thought – I no longer venture anywhere.   Mr. & Mrs. Multiple Pillow will become your sleeping companion as well – as elevated (above your heart)  is where your leg shall always remain.

 

Think lounging is a good thing?  It may indeed sound tempting especially if you are typical and have a hectic work schedule but lounging for more than an hour, does not work either, as the lymph becomes stagnant and therefore you limb becomes tight as it fills with fluid and has nowhere to go.  So you move, and move you must. Walking works, to a degree, riding a stationary bike works too, to a degree…what really helps is manual lymph massage in which you spend a half hour working to drain the lymph into other regions of your body.  I have found that hanging upside down for a half hour, every few hours or so, three to four times a day, helps manage the pain, the swelling and the most fascinating aspect is I can feel the fluid move – the lymph nodes in my neck take the brunt of the excess which causes pain but this subsides.

Can you imagine how you could get work done like this?  Every few hours having to move, adjust, elevate, hang upside down, readjust and begin the process all over.  The compression garments work, to a point, but when the system is overloaded it simply overflows to other regions and thus the cycle begins again . . .

I shall stop there, but will write again on the other best friends you will have if you ignore moles, freckles, spots, or believe that one or two sunburns isn’t a big deal.  It may or may not happen to you. I do not, in anyway believe for a moment that everyone who gets a tan, or a sunburn will end up with cancer but for crying out loud heed my words and be smart in the sun.

If you do that, then my journey will have been for something.

 

~E

 

[1] http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/body_basics/spleen.html

Time is Money, or Lack Thereof

med423095

 

“There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to increase its profits.”  Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman was the 20th Century’s most prominent American economist and frankly, if you have taken a business class you will know his viewpoints on business, economics, and capitalism.  I would like to tell you that this line of thinking is no longer prevalent in 21st Century society.  I would like to tell you that Corporate American has figured out that how they conduct business, how they treat society as a whole, not merely their individual consumers is their first line to ‘increasing profits’, but alas I cannot.

Example: 

I filed for Social Security Disability insurance (a system in which I paid into for nearly thirty years) in 2012.  Under their own definition I qualify as it has been nearly two years from the date of my first application (May 25, 2012) and I have subsequently undergone six surgeries and thus meeting all three definition criterion.

 

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work.  We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.  (emphasis added)

 

Bogged down with those who intend to defraud the system, Social Security Disability is subsequently overburdened, thus leaving those of us who play by the rules out in the cold, as we wait for some sense of decency from those in charge.  I continue to wait for a hearing, which I am told can take up to 15 months, it has been 9 since I appealed their denial of benefits and will be a total of 2 full years in May.  Nearly three years is a long time to wait for the money I paid into the system in case such a calamity occurred.

Unfortunately, while I wait, (tick, tock, tick) I have bills to pay.

Which brings me to. . .

PNC Bank has, as of the first of the year, put into place a $7.00 a month charge to keep a checking account, unless one meets certain requirements.  According to PNC Bank:

“There are several options to fulfill requirements to avoid the monthly service charge of $7.00:

  • $500 average monthly balance in Spend and/or Reserve
  • $500.00 aggregate direct deposit per statement period into SPEND account
  • Use only ATM, online banking, mobile banking or other self-serve electronic methods to make withdrawals, deposits or cash checks
  • Proof of active enrollment in a qualifying educational institution (expires 6 years after the account is enrolled in the PNC Student Banking program).”  (https://www.pnc.com)

When I realized this is a new rule, (as of 2014) I first emailed PNC Bank to see what they could do to temporarily wave this monthly fee as I am stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  Through email I received, the above-mentioned rules to abide by in order avoid the monthly fee.  I then spoke with the manager at my local branch as was again told that I must meet the above-mentioned rules in order to avoid the monthly fee.

So, my friends, this is how Corporate America works, I continue to wait for a hearing for disability which could take place as early as September, all while PNC Bank will continue to withdraw  $7.00 a month from my account as their hands are tied in acting as a social responsible entity.

Milton Friedman was indeed correct “There is one and only one social responsibility of business — to increase its profits.”

 

The Facts: I have stage three melanoma cancer, I have had six surgeries to remove said cancer since February 2012.  I can no longer walk, sit or stand without tremendous pain, which subsequently leaves me with periods of cognitive impairment.   As of this moment, my goal is go an entire year without surgery.  It’s good to have goals.

 

~E

The Humble Waffle – A Love Story

no egg waffle

Love has occurred in stranger places; this love story begins in a hospital and ends in the kitchen.

We all know my last go around with surgeons, scalpels and hospitals was not fun, as no surgery is ever fun, but six to remove recurrent cancer is no shindig.  This last surgery left me with the sense of impending doom, oddly my first diagnosis two years ago did not as death never crossed my mind.  Apparently, six surgeries and a host of physicians stating that cancer has come back changes one’s life perspective.  Who Knew?

As I recovered from the horrific surgery I knew I could no longer ‘cheat’ on my diet as there is an entire section of science devoted to nutrition and disease — eggs, cheese, dairy and animal protein of any kind had to go.  All animal protein and sugar make cancer grow.  Most people will scoff, shake their head and refer to any study that suggests such things as ‘junk science’ and they are free to do so, but understanding the research and the money that drives the cancer business (and all other diseases) is an eye opener and all I would suggest is one read scientific white papers, research studies, not websites that lean one way or the other.  College libraries are where you go to read such things.  Anyway, back to our love story.

My lover and best friend clearly stated that he was not going to lose the best thing that has ever happened to him and so he proceeded to create the no-egg waffle.   Waffles have always been a part of my Sunday mornings, ( I would make them for my children), and  most Sunday mornings are spent lingering over the newspaper, coffee, and waffles.  The dynamic of our relationship is based upon taking care of each other, we understand what the other needs, and so it works.  It is simple really; a woman must take care of her man in order for her man to take care of her — no rocket science going on.  I highly recommend the book His Needs, Her Needs, to grasp this concept of mutual understanding and commitment.

His need to create a new version of our beloved waffle was, in my opinion, truly romantic, as it is a gesture of love — straight from the heart. Most Sunday mornings are still spent lingering over waffles, coffee and the paper, but the waffle making has changed a bit, he now makes them as I can no longer stand that long to create delicious things, and this is fine with me as it reminds me that love stories can happen just about anywhere.

Here is his recipe. They are the best tasting waffles I have ever had and because I no longer eat straight out sugar I heat some strawberries until soft and use that as my ‘syrup’. (Yes, that is the waffle I ate this morning and yes, it was delicious.)  Also, please take into account he is an engineer when reading.

Waffles with No Eggs

  • 2 cups flour

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • 3 tsp sugar

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2-¼ cups almond milk

  • 5 tbsp Olive Oil (for the good fats, moisture, & waffle release) or vegetable oil

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup of silky tofu (to smooth it out, add protein, structure)

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • ¼ tsp of yeast

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  1. Combine the dry ingredients

  2. In a separate bowl mix together the milk, oil, water, vanilla, tofu.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix together gently.  Use whisk to break up clumps

  4. Let the batter sit for a 10 minutes to give it time to puff up.

  5. Once your waffle maker is *fully* hot & ready to go, depending on the size of your maker, scoop the batter in and enjoy!

Recommend you use a little spray on olive oil on waffle maker to release easy.

Enjoy!

~E

The Gold Standard of Living

IAM

Someone asked me what my thoughts were about hoarders and whether or not this is a new phenomenon or something that we just did not discuss prior to the reality TV era.  I explained that it has always been around, just like any other addiction whether it be food, drugs, alcohol, or what-have-you in as much, the person who conducts their daily life  in such a manner views themselves (on a deep emotional level)  as unloved and unworthy.

Addictions are our brain’s way of compensating for the unfounded notion of not being loved, and this is (usually) followed by a devastating life event—whether it is a death in the family or simply growing up surrounded by dysfunctional adults.  The unwillingness to let go of this unproductive behavior compounds the problem.  As with any addiction, there is usually a deep-seated issue that does not let go — the victim mentality prevails.  While I have never been a hoarder, frankly I am not a shopper, so the whole hoarding business is a bit odd to me, nor have I ever understood the notion that more than two pairs of shoes is essential, yet I have had addiction issues, and therefore I am able to speak about how to overcome them.

My family dynamic was such that my father and my grandfather fell under the category of ‘functioning alcoholics’, as they both struggled with their own inner demons on how to function in this world, let alone how to raise a family.  Not to say neither men did not have their bright points, as my father was a wonderful person, a marvelous businessman and what I remember of my grandfather (he died when I was a small child) was a man who could also escape into his music as he was a fabulous violin player and man of unwavering convictions. (He was on the LAPD) Memories of childhood spent with my grandparents consist of wringing out clothes with my grandmother on a large manual wringer as there was no luxuries of conveniences — a washboard and a wringer.  A modern washer existed but I do not recall using it, possibly, she was teaching me a work ethic in scrubbing the clothes, wringing them out and then climbing a ladder to hang the lot on the cloth line to dry in the mid-day breeze.  I digress.

Growing up surrounded by men like this created the thought process that this was how life was suppose to be — father figures who stopped by from time to time, when it suited them and the notion that children must be seen and not heard, preferably neither seen nor heard.  Thus, began a lifelong issue of this twisted view of how life is supposed to be.  Are we to put blame on these men or the women in my life as they taught me how to smile even though there is seldom anything to smile about — of course not.  Parents can only teach what they know and so to blame someone else for the issues you may be having is rarely worth your effort and frankly keeps you in the victim mode, and this most assuredly will not gain you any happiness.  There comes a point in which you must put aside the demons you have taken on from your parents as they are not yours to carry, life outside this mindset is simply amazing, and one must take the first step to ditching them.  Moreover, that first step is acknowledging the fact that your parents may not have had all the answers, and that you are your own person.

infinity_pools_640_24

I was lucky enough to experience the death of my marriage (divorce) and the death of my father at the exact same time.  Lucky?  How can you possibly view this as lucky, you are wondering.  Well, I see it this way, if these two things did not occur at precisely the same time I may have never learned the lessons I have in terms of how to what I like to call the Gold Standard of living, a place in which no matter what life throws at you, nothing ever gets you down — happiness prevails.  Thus, the possibility is great that I would still be stuck in abusive relationships all while desperately looking for the answers in all the wrong places — at the deep end of a bottle.

Step One.  Know you are worth it.

Step Two.  Ditch those who do NOT bring about positive thoughts or actions.

Step Three.  Surround yourself with exceptional people.

My steps…

  1. After forty years of turmoil, (hey I may not be quick, but I sure am slow), I realized that I was trying to ‘fix’ my father, as I had taken on all of his unhappiness and internal demons as my own — I ditched them.  I realized that I was worth more than a dysfunctional / abusive marriage.
  2. I moved.  I moved across the country, thousands of miles away from Los Angeles.  In essence, I hit the “Ctrl-Alt-Delete” buttons and started anew.
  3. I met and surrounded myself with exceptional people, exceptional men and thus found a new way of conducting life.

My three steps took five years, from the moment I realized there was more to life than disrespect and dysfunction, to the moment it dawned on me that every time I got close to ‘normal’ I would throw a wrench into the situation in order to be back in my so-called comfort zone, even though my comfort zone was filled with drama and abusive men.

These things do not happen overnight but you must begin the process of achieving the Gold Standard of living.
Surround yourself with people who make your life better.  The Gold Standard of living begins with YOU.

~E

Five Advantages of being an Under-Thinker

Elizabeth Potter, c.p.c.:

Fantastic thoughts! I loved it and I must say I completely agree.

Originally posted on thefrontwindow:

I recently read an article that received a lot of traffic and comments on Facebook.  It was titled “18 Struggles that only Over-Thinkers will Understand.”  The author was a woman, and I dare say that her targeted audience was the female gender, as well.  Women, by and large, are the Over-Thinkers, whereas we men are the Under-Thinkers. 

Rarely is the male brain engaged.  I promise – this is true.  And here’s why:

1.  It saves wear and tear on the brain.  We all know the research that shows how that a damaged brain can take months or years to repair itself.  Thus, the female brain is in a constant state of repairing itself due to over use.  But the male brain remains essentially intact, undamaged and mostly unused, from birth throughout the life span.

2.  It prevents lots of arguments from being started.  Oftentimes a woman will expound…

View original 427 more words

Your Life House.

ThePotterPrinciple

I ditched my personal Facebook page a few weeks ago as nearly everyone on the newsfeed whined about one thing or another each day — rather unpleasant over the long haul.  My ‘Page’ however remains in tack a place in which I can post uplifting things, as this is my passion in life — peace, harmony, all that hippy stuff.  Minus the drugs as anyone that knows me can tell you that I find people who take drugs completely offensive and should be either, a) helped to figure out how incredibly stupid they are being or, b) thrown in jail and never let out.  I digress.

I found myself gravitating toward Google + and again, I find a running theme there, people complaining about their lives— women who post things about how bad men are, how one should never let a man hurt your heart, how real men do not do such things — a constant barrage of sadness.  Then there are those who complain they hate their lives, how their jobs stink, their boss sucks, and the traffic is insane.  They whine about their wives / husbands and life in general.  Above all, they express their hatred for their particular situation.  Ironically, though, they do not hate their lives or they would change it.

How do I know they do not truly hate their lives, simple, because for the majority of my life I ‘hated’ my life.  It was not until I actually had enough courage to listen to my soul, the core of my being that constantly whispered this in not how life is suppose to be, that I moved from ‘hating’ my life to loving every single breathe I take.  Not to say life will never have its troubles and disappointments, rather, it is how one reacts to these ordinary life occurrences and how one proceeds to move forward in a positive manner that true change can begin to take shape.

Building your positive life is akin to building a home, except you are the contractor and association with only the top architects, carpenters, painters, landscapers and interior designers will do— in fact you insist upon it.  Furthering this line of thought…

Think of process building as building a house, if you begin with a solid foundation you are more apt to construct a home that will withstand the ages.  Yet, if you begin with a faulty foundation your walls will be out of line and the more likely your home will be out of kilter for the short duration it is able to stand and the constant repairs will become a constant reminder of how you should not have skimped on the extra materials needed to do it right the first time.  Each phase of construction builds upon the last, thus it is vital to construct each phase with precision to avoid a leaky roof.

The foundation of your life house is to discover who you, your passion, along with acknowledging any pitfalls that are in your path and which leads to understanding if you are indeed ready for Strategic Life Planning.  In order to begin building your foundation you must be certain you are ready to change your life for the better.

 The Potter Principle

External Personal Stakeholders — Anyone that is influenced or influences your life but is not a member of your household.  Examples — employer, colleagues, friends, physicians, financial institutions, educational institutions, society, humanity, laws and regulations and community.

Internal Personal Stakeholders — Anyone that is influenced or influences your life that is a member of your household.  Examples — YOU, spouse, siblings, children, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend, roommates.

Determine the Following:

Being completely honest answer the following questions for each Personal Stakeholder.  Listing each person individually and concisely citing specific details.

  •  How does each person affect your life and how do you affect theirs?
  •  How important is each person, ranking them in order — Important, Somewhat Important, Not At All Important.
  •  What role should this person have in your Strategic Life Planning Process?
  •  What do you need from this person and what do they need from us?

Once you have determined the importance of each Personal Life Stakeholder, you must determine the extent to which they will be involved in the Strategic Life Planning process, if at all.  (Collaborate, Consult, Inform, Ignore)

Important Reminder:  Surround yourself with people who make a positive impact and thus making your life better.

Key Life Participants will provide insight, positive engagement, positive reinforcement, love, honesty, respect and bring out the best in you.

Determining Key Life Participants is an essential component to the life building process. Deciding who, among you, will stay, or go is rather difficult, but more often than not the most important decisions are the most difficult.

- – - – - – - – - -

While you are pondering the above thoughts, I shall let you in on my ‘Life with Mel”.  (This title came to me the other day of how my new life is —I laughed.)  As we all know I had my sixth melanoma removal surgery on New Year’s Eve and the following conclusions were that Mel was still lurking about somewhere in my leg — thus a long pause, a silent prayer and a thought, ‘could this really be the end?’ crossed my mind.   Thoughts of how to live with Mel came next and it is what I have been doing these last few weeks — learning to embrace my new ‘normal’.  My lymph nodes are gone, leading to swelling in my entire left leg from the moment I stand up to the moment I lay back down again.  My new normal is wearing compression stockings, somewhere between your Grandmothers support hose and a tourniquet to keep my leg from swelling to the size of an elephant.   I gasped when I first saw the new girth of my leg, and frankly, if I wanted it to be that large I would have spent the better portion of my life engulfing donuts.  (Let us just say my left leg and my jeans did not find themselves compatible any longer.)  I have been diligently working to figure out how to live with the chronic pain that Mel has brought to this relationship, every waking moment of every single day.  I am the kind that goes inward for such answers, looking towards my mind and my soul as what is the right thing, while diligently reading every scientific paper I can get my hands on to understand Mel and his musings.

My last PET scan was a few weeks ago and the results are . . . . long dramatic pause. . . there is no ‘active disease’ within my system.  This is a great thing, but it is not to say that Mel and I have broken up by any means, we just have to search for him on a routine basis and hope that he shall remain docile.   In the meantime, I simply deal with ‘what is’ as this is my new normal, which is going to be just fine.  Here is the view what happens when one of hangs out with Mel, he is a brutal beast and a wonderful reason on why you should never, ever get a tan.  I am told that it will always be like this, a wonderful wavy pattern, as removal of melanoma is akin to liposuction, once the tissue is gone, its gone.

Mel

Moral?

Embrace where you are, if you do not like where you are then change it. You are the captain of your ship so steer it where you wish to go. Even I will not let Mel determine my ultimate destination, as there are so many places to go and people to see.

~E

 

 

Secrets

secrets

The power of a secret, of innermost thoughts, dreams, fears of another, or of us — indiscretions, trips on the wild side, misdeeds, and actions that should not have been taken. We entrust our secrets to others and for those we do reveal our desire to share surpasses any chance that our skeletons will spill out of the closet if opened. Yet, do you ever wonder about the power you hold when keeping secrets of others?

I sit and write the true tale of Laura, a woman who precariously navigates the Hollywood dating waters, while she searches for her soul. As I do, I realize that she holds many secrets that possess the potential of breaking many lives.  The married men that swirl in the circles of the Hollywood limelight, those who are all powerful and yet, it is not their careers that would be in jeopardy if such secrets were to be spilled, it would be their private lives that would come crashing down around their feet — the quagmire of deception runs deep.

The more I write the more I realize the potential downfall of this tale, as our heroine sits on a virtual powder keg of best forgotten private thoughts and deeds.

What secrets do you keep? Would you ever tell? Is there a price for your secrets?

A Valentine Lost

A Romantic Beach

 Excerpt from 101 First Last Dates and Other Suspicious Activities

Eyes are windows to the soul—all these men had unwavering grief that dwelled just beyond the, hey baby’s and you’re beautiful’s.  While eyes may be windows to the soul, nothing speaks louder than watching a man sleep, as in sleep true self reveals itself — the façade that is built during waking hours evaporates as the body finds rest — peace consumes where fear once reined.

His soul glowed brightly after exhaustion took over — the man whose hopes, dreams, and wishes had been crushed by his former girlfriend disappear and the little boy who dreams of great things appears— as if by magic.  The hardness that consumes his waking soul fades and the true man appears, a gentle, kind, compassionate man who longs to be loved, yet is deftly afraid to take the wall he built around his heart down.

 “This isn’t your first rodeo baby.”

It began with Hey baby and a smile.  Whether Laura was out of her mind looking for a relationship with a man that was three hours down the coast, thus geographically unavailable, was besides the point — she was looking for one last round of excitement while her life continued to unravel at a tremendous pace.  The excitement would be waiting for her at the end of the 3-hour road trip, or at least that was the plan.

A proverbial hot summer Friday night in Southern California, a neon sign flickering Beer and Billiards broke through the darkness as the small voice asking what the hell are you doing was being successfully ignored — Laura drove into the crowded parking lot.

Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome met Laura in the dimly lit parking lot.  “Hey Baby, you must be thirsty after all that driving.”  Without waiting for an answer, he leaned in close, firmly planting his lips upon hers — the taste of booze lingered.  Continuing to ignore her inner monologue warning Laura to be careful, she laughed at his southern twang and followed him inside, where (conveniently) his buddy was waiting at the bar —tequila shots stacked up next to him.  They exchanged glances and nodded, apparently, Laura had passed the ‘bro’ test and proceeded to order a beer.  Several hours of drinking and conversation ended with her hauling them both back to Mister Tall Dark and Handsome’s house because neither were in any condition to drive and Laura had zero desire to drive 3 hours back up the coast.

She awoke to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air and that distinct southern twang “Morning Baby, you hungry?”  This was a pleasant surprise, a most unexpected twist — chivalry was alive and well.  The next year was spent performing the delicate emotional dance of enjoying the moment without getting attached.  Every Friday she would head down the coast to where Mister Tall, Dark and Handsome would be waiting with candy, flowers, wine and candlelit dinners for two — long romantic weekends, hot steamy nights,  breakfasts in bed, lazy Saturdays basking in the warmth of the summer sun—relaxed, uncomplicated bliss.

Somewhere along the line, it got complicated, very complicated — the gifts became intimately personal, conversations focused on the future and the wall around his heart that he had so carefully built began to crack at its very foundation.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, as did this. Laura moved across the country— he never said stay.  A month after she had moved she opened her mailbox and found an envelope postmarked California, it was from him, it read “I Love You Baby” — it was too late.

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