The last movie I saw in the theater was Sex and the City... until tonight. Tonight I went to the movies in lieu of Halloween festivities... and saw one of the most beautiful, touching movies I have seen in a LOOONG time... It was... beautiful... that's the only word I can use to describe this film... beautiful... A story of needing to be loved... just beautiful. I will buy this movie when it becomes available. Go see it.


Something new to worry about...

I went to physical therapy today... and had a very nice deep tissue massage in my calf muscles. I am happy to know there is more of that in my future! I also had my left foot taped in a way that is supposed to give support to my non existing arches... but... my appointment was right after work... and I wore the same sneakers all day... so I was a little self conscious about whether or not my feet would be stinking from the day... before my appointment I changed my socks... but the PT guy had me take shoes and socks off to do the massage and tape job... so... either they didn't smell too bad... or... the PT guy is very nice and has honed his skills at covering up his reaction to things... I mean... we all have foot odor... some worse than others... but...having someone rub my feet is not part of my regular routine...but I am thinking it should be! (with enough pressure to not tickle!)

OK... so I didn't get to publish this last night... so I am doing so today... I am actually not at work today, taking the day off to spend time with one of my friends who is scheduled for a minor medical procedure tomorrow... has to do some prep for it today... she is a bit nervous so we decided to hang out. So... here's an update on the tape job... my foot feels so much better with it taped. so much better. That's encouraging. The back part of the tape job is a little tight and is hurting my heel a little, but that irritation is better than the pain. I want this feeling all the time!


I'm Back...

I'm home... after a great weekend visiting my family. My mom is quite the sneak though... yesterday, when I was blogging, she was 'resting.' (Conveniently during the intermission of our second scrabble game!) Well... in yesterday's post I revealed that I had one of the Q's that she did not know about... after blogging I went downstairs and hung out with my dad for a while... a few minutes later I hear my mom... laughing... no... cackling... "Ha ha ha... someone has the Q!" She yelled! Uh! What???!!! She read the blog!!! Cheater cheater! She was pretty pleased with herself. I was not pleased.. Granted, it didn't really impact the remainder of the game... but still... that's against our game "norms" that are in place at our house! We played a total of 4 SUPER Scrabble games... each of us won 2 games... which is a nice way to leave it... I suppose... although the competitor in me would have been happy with my 2 victories out of the first 3 games... but it truly isn't about the winning... it was just really nice to be able to have that time with my mom. Time... is worth way more than 6 points on a scrabble board (T-1, I-1, M-3, E-1).

It was great to get up there and to spend time with mom and dad... I feel a little guilty because mom and I were so focused on scrabbling that dad was let out of the loop a bit... but Fathah and I had some quality time too... Love you guys!


I come home to relax and....

I come home to relax and my mom puts me to work... moving this and that and the other... truth is, I don't mind at all. There are a few things she needed/wanted to have done before the holidays and has been thinking how to best get them done. Now she doesn't have to think about it... because it is done. Yahoo! I like being able to help out when I can.. but I will say I was a littl tired! I think she added a few tasks just so that she could pay me back for kicking her butt in the first game of SUPER SCRABBLE!! We had a good game... we added a new rule along with the other alterations that have been in place in our rules for years... we played that if you can replace the blanks with the right letter and then use the blank for yourslef. This prooved to be very important in the game... Very exciting stuff. We have a second game started, but are taking a break... adn right now we are neck and neck... she is about 14 points ahead I think... but... I just drew one of the Q's... but don't tell her! That puppy is worth 10 points on its own and if I can get it on a quadruple space I am golden!!! ha ha ha!



I got my PC back today!!! Yahoooooooooo! I am so excited. Soooo excited... did I mention I Was excited?

I am heading to see my parents this weekend, but I may get a chance to blog while I am there. I am off to hug my PC!


Foot Results

I went to a physical therapist today to get my foot evaluated... I went to the same office where I had done PT for my knee, so that was good. I feel very comfortable there. I did not have the same PT guy, however... but the guy I do have is very knowledgeable about feet... and he gave me a pretty thorough evaluation. Bottom line... my flat feet are causing a lot of problems... my flat footedness is pretty extreme. So... the knee pain that I had begin feeling.. oops did I mention that before? the inside of my knee had started bothering me, and I knew it was because of my foot bothering me. So... this issue that has caused pain in my left foot is present in both feet and I need to deal with it. As part of my evaluation I learned that some of my calf muscles are so strong that it is a bit detrimental because it isn't allowing my foot to flex as much as it needs to to compensate for the flat footedness... so ... I need to have some deep tissue massages on both of my legs to try to get those muscles to release a little... I will learn some new exercises to help the muscles/ligaments. And the good news? He is not restricting my activity... he said that it appears that I know my body well (Thank you for realizing and appreciating that, new PT guy... completely validating!) and said that if it hurts or starts to feel that I am heading towards pain, to stop or change what I am doing. yahooooo! He also said that chances are he will want me to get new orthodics, but he doesn't want to do that yet... (I have had orthodics in the past, one set that were great and another that sucked... so if I could get a good pair, I would be happy about that!)

I had a lot of fear and anxiety about the appointment today. Fear #1... the idea that pvns may have contaminated another part of my body... Fear #2... that I would be told to really reduce my activity level... and mentally that would really bother me right now... it would feel like I was once again losing control of my physical being/ability... and Fear #3 was that I was going to be told that there was nothing wrong and that I didn't need to be there...and that they would think I was a crazy lady.

So... those fears... make me realize how differently I see things... B.PVNS, (before pvns) I would have gone into this appointment confident that there was something wrong and that it would be easy to fix... but since pvns... my mind... really makes me be hard on myself, question myself... I knew the mental effects of pvns would hold on longer than the physical ones... and this is just one example. I haven't slept well for a few nights... because of having anxiety about it. That didn't happen to me B.pvns... this is just another step towards recovery.

I did not go swimming tonight. I just needed to take this information in... process it... and let it be ok. That may sound dramatic to some people, but... I need to take care of myself mentally and physically and that's what I needed to do today.

I need to say a special hello to a woman in upstate NY, K... who, on Friday, will be seeing the same doctor I see for pvns. I feel good knowing she is in good hands! Also, I want to say hello to Dawn, a new blog buddy in Scotland! And... to another new blog buddy in VA. It really means a lot to me to hear from people who have found and follow this blog. I realize that the bulk of my blog is no longer about PVNS, but... pvns is never far from my thoughts and it still greatly affects me. So, Thank you to you all who follow the blog, and to those who have taken time to reach out to me. hearing your stories makes me feel great and knowing that I am not alone in what I have gone through is nice. (Not that I am glad that other people have gone through this torture, but it helps knowing other people truly understand.) Hang in there all my PVNSers!


Monday Monday

After a great weekend the workweek started off pretty well. In addition to hiking/working on Saturday, yesterday my girl Sara and I got together to work out and hang out. We met at the gym close to her house. She had switched her membership there from the gym that is closer to my house a while ago, but had yet to step foot in there. So... yesterday, we met at her gym to do weight training for our arms. She has been running, but hasn't spent time at the gym or done weight training in a while and has set that as a new goal for herself. We had a good workout, my triceps are sore today, along with my abs! Then we headed into Portland to do Back Bay. She ran it and I walked... I wasn't able to do too much, but I did about a mile and my foot bothered me... so I stopped, plus it was COLD! Then we had lunch at one of our favorite places and got some important things done that Sara needed to do. As always, it was great to spend time with her.

Then I decided that this was the week that I would return to working out before work... but... when the alarm went off this morning, after a restless night, I decided that was not going to happen. I beat myself up about it for a good part of the day, just disappointed that I couldn't do it... but... I did go this afternoon... I did weight training with my legs, a short half mile on the elliptical and then hit the bike for 20 minutes... so not a fabulous workout, but it felt good. (My girl Sara told me to stop beating myself up and to stop the negative self talk... reminding me that I wouldn't talk to a friend that way, so I need to not tell myself those things.... she's right.... I know...)

Tomorrow I have the appt. with physical therapy to see about my foot. It has been sore, but not painful like it was... so I am wondering if they will tell me I am a nutcase. Oops... negative self talk again... I wonder if they will tell me my foot is fine and that I just need to listen to my body... but I know something isn't right. So my plan is to not go to the gym in the morning... to go to the PT appt tomorrow afternoon, then go swimming tomorrow night. That's a good plan.

I am sooooooooo looking forward to this weekend... I am heading to see my parents and can't wait. I haven't been up there since school started. I am excited to bring a present for my mom... I found a game that I think she will enjoy and I will enjoy too... I bought Super Scrabble! It is like regular scrabble, except the board is bigger, there are more special high points squares... up to quadruple word score... exciting!!! When I originally saw it, I knew I needed to get it for my mom. I debated about waiting to give it to her for Christmas, but decided I can't wait... we need to play it! I enjoy playing scrabble.. not so much because of the game itself, which I do like... but Scrabble is a family tradition... my mom and grandmother used to play for hours and as a kid I used to try to play with them, and they helped me of course. I think playing games is a great way to spend time together. So... mom... Game On! (I just bought a new can of whoop ass that I am ready to break open!)


A Fall Hike

Today I got to spend time with one of my friends. It was a really nice visit. We had agreed that we would have lunch together, but also do something outside if weather permitted... and did it ever! We decided to go for a hike, up a trail just outside of Freeport, Maine called Bradbury Mountain. I had never hiked it before. When my friend suggested it, I was a bit nervous, wondering if I could do it because of my recent foot pain, but also wondered how my knee would do with an incline. The hike wasn't long, only 2 miles round trip, but I did it!

My knee tolerated the hike well. My foot is sore... but in a sick way I am happy about that because I am going to physical therapy this week and want to be able to show them where it really hurts... so I am going on a walk tomorrow, too.

It was really nice to spend time with this friend today... we met in college, worked together for a few summers following college, then certain events unfolded and we were out of touch until about 4 years ago. Things happened that put distance between us and it has taken some time to get that connection back. Today I really felt that bond; it was nice. We talked a lot about dating/relationships. She is a single parent and I have so much respect for how hard she works at that and how well she has done. It adds an aspect to the dating scene I do not face. She is a strong person... very strong.

We have some similar things going on right now... our heads battling our hearts and it was nice to relate to each other...

Something about today made me feel like a grown up, and I am not sure what that was... obviously I know that I am a grown up... but I think that my friends and I are still very much young adults... we are crazy at times and still do whacky things expected of people younger than we are... but today, sitting on top of that little mountain ( a hill by Rico's standards!) I felt lik I have a pretty good handle on my life... my priorities... who I am... and it felt good.

The view was BEAUTIFUL. I think that our timing was good... although the prime foliage window has closed, I think that the leaves will soon be gone, and it was a perfect day to be up there. (then I had to go to work on the turnpike...)

What a nice day... Hope you are all enjoying this fall!



This was a crazy week. It's funny that a 4 day work week often feels longer than a regular work week. Overall the week went well. I got to do a lot with my students and also got to spend time with friends. I had class, met with my book group for class, and voted. I voted using an absentee ballot. When I moved in the spring I didn't register to vote in the new town. So, this week I registered and voted the same day. Part of me thinks that I should have waited until election day, to be a part of that tradition, but in a lot of ways doing it this way was more convenient for me. I told my students that I had already voted and they didn't understand how I could vote ahead of time. They were all very curious about who I voted for, too. It reminded me of when my parents voted.... they would never tell us who they voted for. We always wanted to know. They never told.
Watch this youtube video about voting... it's pretty cool. Click Here

Get out and vote... no excuses.


Good News??

There is no stress fracture in my foot... it has felt ok today and yesterday... I was lazy all weekend and ate bad food... today I did go to the gym and did 45 minutes on the bike.... I want to try to go for a walk to see if it flares up again...


P.S..... PT..

I got a call late friday that I have been scheduled for PT on Oct. 21!

I am going to call and get an earlier appt. That is crazy. If it still hurts by the 24th I want to get referred somewhere. So not starting PT until the 21st is unacceptable. There will be some phone calls tomorrow.

Grumble grumble.

Cheers my friend! Spectacular!

Sara and I had some quality time together last night. It was great! We started out at a place that we go to a lot in the summer and we sat outside while we ate dinner and listened to some live music. It was nice. Then we went to one of our favorite spots and it was really crowded. The sox were on the televisions and people were into the game. We fought our way through the crowd and found a place to sit. As usual, I got noticed...and got lots of stares... no worries... one man in particular stood out ... he was standing up, near where we ended up sitting and when he saw me he froze.. like a statue with beer in hand and just stared. I looked away from him at first, but then kept staring... so I reflected his pose, pretending to hold a beer and stare at him... he smiled and came over and apologized, asked if he was being rude. I told him that I was used to his reaction. He asked how tall I was and asked if he could buy Sara and I each a drink because of his rudeness... that was a nice gesture. In the midst of our conversation he told me I was spectacular... That was kind of sweet. He wandered over to us throughout the evening to chat, and was very respectful. He was way old, but still fun. There were a couple of other interactions with staring people, including one guy requesting a kiss, but the obvious answer to that is... No way man!

The best part of the night, though, was just hanging with Sara... even before we hit the town, we had some time at my apartment to just get caught up... I love our friendship and that we can be so open with each other. We need each other's support and are always there for each other. She is on board with one of my new personal missions... and will hold me accountable. (Shh... it's a secret!)

Friday night I had some time with another friend, and met her boyfriend for the first time. It was fun. We went to her house, made dinner, then had a bonfire in her back yard. It was so nice outside that the weather was perfect for a little fire. Overall, a very good weekend. I worked today again, but am off tomorrow and am going to do nothing. Well. I need to do some school stuff and some class stuff... but I will relax a lot.



Girl Time

I am very excited... my gal Sara and I are hitting the town tonight. we haven't done this in a while. The original plan was to meet up in the late afternoon for a late lunch/early dinner, but plans change... and we aren't going out until later. It's all good. I am just happy to be going out with her. She had been traveling for work and our other recent visits have involved other people, which is fun, but there's nothing like a night out with one of your best gal pals. Adventure is guaranteed.

I worked today at the toll booth and had my ego boosted. For some reason I got a lot of compliments today... not sure why, I had to be there at 5 a.m. so there wasn't much effort in my appearance, that's for sure! I was told that I needed to call my boss to report that I had the best smile on the turnpike... that my skin color and complexion were "muy bonita" etc. etc. The highlight of the day however, was seeing an old friend. I had been walking into the break room, building, and someone knocked on the door. It was a guy who had done his student teaching in the school where I work..and then he worked there for a year and left for another position... this was probably 7 or 8 years ago that I had last seen him... He recognized me when I was walking and wanted to say hello. How sweet is that? I always enjoyed him. When I first met him he was so enthusiastic about teaching and today I got the impression he still is. He is this really adorable man. He's probably 7 or 8 years older than me, I admit I had a bit of a crush on him when we worked together, but he was in the midst of a divorce, and his stature is such that I assumed that my height would be intimidating to him. My thoughts on that have shifted since then, but...i don't know... He is such a good guy. I remember how good he was with the kids and how excited they always were to go to his class. He would set up mysteries for the kids to solve, scientifically of course... called " the deadly chicken of science." It was great. I asked him today if he still does it and he said that the rubber chicken has pretty much lived it's life and is now quite fragile. Too funny. It was so good to see him and I was happy that he took the time to stop to say hello. He said that he remembered I worked on the tolls and he has often looked for me when he has been going through the toll booths.

So that was nice. I kind of needed that today... proof of the existence of good guys. Long story....

Anyway, I think my girl Sara just drove in... gotta run!



X rays & PT

Well... the doctor isn't sure why my foot hurts... so sent me for a xray and also I will return to PT for a couple of weeks to see if it gets better. I shared my symptoms with him, along with a long explanation of having had knee surgery last summer because of PVNS, which this doc had not heard of, though he didn't come out and say that... told him I had returned to being very active after years of inactivity... and said that there was a part of me that worried that this could be pvns rearing its ugly head elsewhere in my body... His question was... is your foot really bothering you that badly or are you just afraid of pvns... I suppose it is a legitimate questions, but jerkface.... I told you in my long shpeel (did I spell that right?) that the pain had occurred over the summer and I took it easy for a while and it went away and now it's back and has been back for a few weeks now... So... doc... I am here because the pain is interrupting my workouts and my ability to go for a nice walk...

So... I am supposed to be getting a call today to schedule me for PT starting next week... and if there is something visible on the xray I will get a phone call from the dr. What does he expect PT to do for me? well... look at how I walk and help me strengthen the muscles, tendons, ligaments in my foot... and if that doesn't help after a couple of weeks then we will look at a bone scan and maybe sending me to a foot and ankle doctor or an orthopedist. If it doesn't improve I will demand to go back to my local ortho guy who helped with my knee. In the meantime... I am supposed to take it easy... but I can do activities that don't aggravate it.. I can swim.. if it doesn't hurt... I can bike, if it doesn't hurt... I can do weight training, if it doesn't hurt... ok.... but what about walking... that hurts! and I have to walk... oh well...

I have asked to go back to the same place I did PT before because I am comfortable with them and feel they would do a good job. And, I feel confident that they will let me know early on if they think I need more tests.

The doc said that he can't rule out pvns as a possibility of the pain.. I get that. But he doesn't know about it and since it isn't my ankle that is hurting I would say it is extremely unlikely that it is pvns... but those darn thoughts creep in.... I will keep you posted...

P.S... it's parent teacher conferences so that's why I can blog this morning!


Dr. Tomorrow...

This summer, amidst my working out, I had some foot pain... and I slowed down my workouts for a couple of weeks and it got better. A few weeks ago it started again... I bought new sneakers thinking that would solve it... and I have given myself some time to take it easy and break in the new sneakers.. and it hasn't improved. I can't work out, I can't go for a good walk... so I gave in today and called the dr. I have an appointment tomorrow morning... Am I nervous? A little... it is in my left foot, the same leg of the pvns knee... and my knee has started bothering me a little, but I think that's because of my foot and my walking differently... so I think if I get the foot thing figured out the knee will be ok... I would be a liar if I didn't say that the thought of pvns attacking another part of my body wasn't a concern... but I feel that the pain is across the top of my foot...and since pvns is a joint thing, I am pretty sure it's not something that major.

So ... we'll see what happens.

Tonight was parent teacher conferences... I had organized a potluck dinner for people who were interested... which ended up being about a dozen of us... I spent a lot of time getting things ready and I am glad I did. It was fun. The people that chose to participate are great people with positive energy.

I am looking forward to a long weekend. I do have to work a little, but will also be relaxing a lot!

I will keep you posted on my foot.


Setting Goals

In July, (Just after my pvns free news) my friend Sara and I had a great discussion about being healthy... and we re-committed ourselves to taking care of ourselves and each other. We have done really well with that. On Sunday, Sara met her first goal, which was to run a half marathon. that's her in that picture at the end of the race. Originally her goal was to finish it... but as she trained and realized she could run that distance, she decided to set a time goal for herself. She set the goal and yesterday she met that goal! Is she awesome or what? She does want to complete an entire marathon, but wanted to do this first to see if she really wants to do a marathon... and she does! She said she was glad she didn't have to run it yesterday, but said she felt like she was well trained for this race and thinks with more training she could do a full marathon...

Sara is the second person I am close to who has run a race of that caliber... My sister has run an entire marathon! I was there when she ran and was so proud of her. I saw how hard it was and know that I could not do it... I don't say that lightly... I have no desire to run that far, partly because of my knee but mostly because psychologically I don't think I am that tough... My sister did it and I have so much respect for that. 26.2 miles... wow... and Sara will do that someday too.

I don't have an event that I want to conquer as far as being healthy... my goal is to just eat well and be active... which is a great goal... but I do admit that having something to strive for... is a great way to measure that goal... But... I don't have any big goal in mind... but I do celebrate the little things, like being able to walk back cove or doing more things at the gym... but... maybe it's something to think about.

Anyway... Congratulations my dear friend Sara! You are amazing and I love ya!



"Faith is taking that first step even when you can't see the staircase..." I watched a show tonight that I had recorded this week... and one of the lines in it said that... I like that... and for some reason the image that appears in my head is a spiral staircase... not a narrow spiral, but a wide spiral staircase with small steps that go up and simply keep going, to what destination? The staircase is white with silveryish tints...I can see the color of the stairs and their railing, but it is dark...hmm... I like that a line from a show generated this image in my mind... I suppose it would take more faith to step down onto a staircase whose destination you couldn't see... so why do I picture it going up... I don't know.

The show I watched is called "The Cleaner." It's plot revolved around William banks, a reformed drug addict who saves the lives of other addicts... supposedly based on a real man. He and his crew get hired to get people clean... this guy, Banks, he has an ongoing conversation with God... with whom he had struck a deal when he was at his rock bottom. He promised God that he would save people from themselves.... and throughout the show, throughout William's own challenges in his daily life and throughout his role in saving the lives of others, he talks with God.

Religion is one of those topics that is often taboo... like politics. Revealing your religion subjects you to judgement, not by your god of choosing, but by others... what with other people think about your religion? It's a topic that intrigues me. As a child we attended a Baptist church... and somewhere along the way stopped going... my memory says it is because the church encouraged my parents to have my sister and I baptized and my parents wanted my sister and I to be baptized when we had figured out through what religion we wanted to be baptized... pretty progressive, my parents. It's possible that that's not how it happened at all, but that's the scenario I have in my head.

As I got older, I was curious about other religions. Some friends I knew were Catholic and were involved in youth groups and went away on weekend trips together... but I questioned a lot of things about those friends... some of them made choices that I didn't perceive to be very... well... religious... they talked about what was forbidden in their religion and yet they were engaging in those very behaviors... I listened to a friend of my mother's explain and defend Catholicism from time to time and it often seemed to come up when defending something... it was odd to me that if religion was such an important part of people's lives that it was only referred to when conflict had arisen... yet... all the holiday decorations that referenced religion referred to peace and love... yet the two often seemed incongruent to me. My grandmother attended a congregational church and I would ask to go with her from time to time.

I would get distracted from the sermon and sense of community because before the service began I would sit quietly and listen to the other people in attendance. People were talking.... about each other... what people were wearing, whether it was appropriate or not... who had heard what about whom and ... people almost trying to one-up one another about something... I watched people and when I was caught looking at them I received a practiced smile of acknowledgement... and wondered why those people were at church... were they there as a way to get more gossip? Were they there to ease their guilt about their judgmental tendencies? Were they there because it was expected, or were they there to find God? It just didn't feel like that was what religion should be. I stopped going to church... but would attend Christmas Eve services with my grandmother when she chose to go... but I wasn't there for the religion.

In college I took a class on world religion... was fascinated by the commonalities and differences within religion. By that point in my life I had beliefs... but I was unable to find a religion with which my beliefs completely aligned. One summer when I was still in college I experienced a lot of difficult things...my first night returning to my summer job a coworker left his shift, uncharacteristic behavior, because he wasn't feeling well and died from a heart attack.... a woman coworker with whom I had grown close with the previous summer was diagnosed with cancer and was told she would die...my friends and I were driving around our town in the middle of the night and came upon a woman whose car was stuck in the cemetery ... she asked us to help get her car out and we offered to get the police for her... at which point she freaked out and we realized she was covered in blood, not mud as we had thought, and then she ran off.... come to find out, as the police relayed to us later, she had driven to the cemetery to kill herself, had tried to do it, then thought of her four year old son and couldn't do it.. she survived...then... as if that wasn't enough... I was working a midnight shift and a coworker, young guy who had just gotten married... was killed in one of the machines close to where I was working... These events unfolded in a matter of a few weeks...

That's when I really questioned God... at least a just god. How could God let my coworker get killed in a machine when he was so full of life and loved life so much yet save the life of this woman who wanted to die? Why was death everywhere that summer? Why did God let people suffer? It was a traumatizing summer, about which I did much writing and probably should have had therapy... but I couldn't find God in any of that. It wasn't the first time I had experienced people dying, but the other deaths had been more natural... older people... So I kind of gave up on God for a while.

In 1999, my beloved grandfather died, which still makes me cry. And I truly believe through his death came life... 40 weeks later my oldest nephew was born... to parents who had significantly struggled to start a family.... in the hospital after he was born, my sister and I had some time just she and I and this beautiful baby boy... We both looked at my nephew and his tiny fingers were intertwined, the same way my grandfather often intertwined his fingers while telling his stories... and something... happened... I saw my grandfather in my nephew somehow....and my sister saw it too... we both saw it and tears came down our faces... somehow knowing that Grampie had been watching out for that little baby the whole time. We asked each other if we had seen what we thought we had seen... I had to attribute that to God... I didn't know how else to explain it.

Since then I have visited various churches from time to time... but never found one that "fit" me or that I fit into... I thought of myself more as a spiritual person than religious. I read the first book in the "Conversations with God" series by Neale Donald Walsh, (Which I HIGHLY recommend.) Many of the ideas in that book agreed with the ideas I have about God... Throughout my life I have felt closest to God when I am in nature... kayaking with moose, watching the sunset, hearing the wind blow the leaves... while being at peace... and I do believe that during those moments I am communicating with God. What I have determined however is that I don't define God in the way that most people do... I find it impossible for me to articulate how I define God, but it isn't this being who passes judgement on us all... but I believe there is something more than this existence. I have faith in that.

With all that has happened in recent months I realized that I do believe in God... because I have been so angry with God... and if that anger is so intense at something, than that something must exist... A few weeks ago I took a survey about religion... you can find anything online. It was a survey that asked questions about my beliefs and then, for lack of a better word, diagnosed me as a specific religion... actually it generates a list and percentages on how much you match which religions...interesting... the results don't need to be shared here, but I was intrigues by the results and am considering exploring some of the religions with which it suggested I would match.

I admire people who are religious, my mom being one of those people... my dad too, though he is more silent in his religion. Ironically my mother's strong faith was one of the reasons that I was so angry at God... for striking one of his/her most loyal subjects... has my mom's faith wavered through all this... I can't see how it wouldn't... but she believes... she has faith and finds comfort in that. My mom has more faith than anyone I know... she would step up or down without knowing where the staircase was leading, because she has faith that things will be okay. so how do we teach ourselves that lesson? We are taught to look both ways when crossing the street.... to test the temperature of the water before getting into the bath... to read all the fine print before signing anything.... are we naturally people with faith and do we teach ourselves to be cautious and not trust? Or are we naturally cautious and teach ourselves when and where it is safe to have faith? I don't know. Do we get to choose the areas in our lives about which we have faith and areas upon which we are foolish to bestow that faith?

Faith... in ourselves.... why does that seem so hard to have? I have faith that my friends can do anything they want, achieve the things they desire... yet when it comes to myself I doubt... doubt that my life will ever be what I hope it will be... does that doubt become punitive and end up pushing those very things away from myself? Would faith invite those very things to me? I don't know. What I do know... is faith, even blind faith, is beautiful... to believe in something, without questioning it... is beautiful.


Celebrate! Celebrate!

Good news... no GREAT news.... My mom met with her oncologist today... and in his words... he "believes the tumor is dying." The TUMOR is DYING... the TUMOR... not my mom... the TUMOR... the results of the catscan are positive... the tumor appears to have gotten a little bigger, but with this particular treatment she is doing, that is normal...(I hate that word!) When this treatment works, it causes the tumor to liquify and causes some of the cells to die which is exactly what is happening.

My mom was sooooooooooo excited on the phone... she was bummed because the cell reception wasn't better and she couldn't talk longer... but she sounded sooo good! I could tell as soon as she said hello... Momma's got her groove back!!! The first thing she said to me after explaining all this... sent shivers down my spine... she said..., "Kimberlee, we can be hopeful!" I asked her if she had read my last post and she had not... she hadn't been feeling like doing much the last couple of days so she hadn't read it... and that's what she said to me.... WE CAN BE HOPEFUL! Amazing...

Of course this doesn't mean that there aren't tough times ahead. She is still on her meds and still having times that she feels really crappy, but... she said today, if it's working... we're gonna keep going with what we are doing! She said if the week or two when she is off the meds means she doesn't feel good, that's ok.. she will deal with it...

Psychologically that HAS to make swallowing those pills so much easier! yahoooooooo! Yahoooooo! YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! How must Dad feel? I have the image of him, of all of us in the waiting room after her surgery... the devastation... and we weren't given much hope... but... we got hope baby! We got hope!



It's okay to have hope...

I had a good conversation with Rico last night. He is a person for whom I have a lot of respect and affection... not affection in the way some may think, but I just appreciate him in a lot of ways... he offers comfort that other people can't offer... not because other people wouldn't want to offer that comfort, but because other people don't understand some things that I am experiencing.

He and I are members of a club that neither of us applied to... but the initiation sucks and the dues are costly... the members of this club are people who have experienced the serious illness of a parent. There are many members of this club...and when you learn that someone carries the membership card there is an instant connection and it changes how you relate to each other. There is a woman at work, for example, with whom I have had a tumultuous professional relationship. In recent years it has improved because we have not had to work together closely. I had heard that her mom had been ill for a while, but did not know the details. Last year, when I learned about my mom having cancer I thought of her. She and I have had a few conversations since that time and this woman has been very compassionate. She herself is older than my mom, and her mom significantly older than mine, of course. But... having a parent be ill... has nothing to do with age. Last week this woman's mother died. It was hard for me. I felt badly for her of course, but it really hit home. She was out of school last week and returned on Monday. I saw her in the teachers room on Monday and shed some tears together. A bond I never thought I would have with her. My friend whose dad recently had a heart attack and complications from that heart attack...she knows that I know how she is feeling... it's not just something I could imagine... I've been there...am there... the fear of losing someone you love so much. Anyway...

Rico relates to everything going on with my mom... and at times I worry about re-traumatizing him because he has lived this already and I don't want to bring painful memories back to him... but there is also an aspect of this club that is ironic... in a strange way it is comforting to be able to offer support to someone going through something similar... some of the same fears and pain that you have experienced. I hope in ways that Rico can take comfort in the role he is playing for me throughout this journey... because it is comforting to talk with someone who understands. Unfortunately Rico's mom did not beat the cancer that had infested her body... Rico was a huge advocate for his mom as she was living with the disease. He was very in tune with all of the medical aspects of things and was really there for her. Rico and his mom shared a strong, unique bond, and can understand my closeness with my mother. Rico was telling me how excited he was to read the blog from the other day where I shared that mom had gained weight at her last appointment and that the tumor seems to have begun to liquify and parts of it are dying... He told me that his mom had never gained weight once her battle had begun. He said that in all his readings and in all of his experiences...someone who is losing the battle with cancer does not gain weight. He also said that his mother's doctors put more weight, no pub intended, in how his mom felt than they did in the medical results. So... there are good things going on for my mom right now...Rico and I both agreed that the good times are worthy of celebration...

I confessed something to him for which I feel guilty... and as I type this I worry about how this will effect my mom if she reads it... but it is part of this process for me... we all know how much I hate what my mom is facing and going through... how her body has been possessed by this damn disease and all...and everything my dad is experiencing too...I so want things to be as good as they can be and want the best possibilities to come to fruition... but I have been afraid to be hopeful... perhaps that sounds crazy... but while I have so been grateful for how well mom has been doing this summer... I have been on edge, waiting for the other shoe to drop... not necessarily even about mom, but just waiting for the universe to throw something else at me... so in my head and thinking, sometimes I don't dare to be hopeful because I think it will hurt more to fall further... if that makes sense.

But... Rico said to me last night... wherever the bottom is... you can't get lower than that...

So... does it really matter how high you are before you hit the bottom? Very good Rico... very good... and while the initial impact may feel more acute... the bottom is the bottom. So when you aren't at the bottom... look around and appreciate it...

Hope is something that has been scary for me for a while... I think that my fear of hope began with my PVNS journey. Things got so bad... that I really had gotten to a place where I thought the rest of my life would involve pain, depression, and anxiety... and every time I had any iota of hope, I was disappointed. So... I think my paradigms shifted... my optimistic nature was defeated... I became tired of disappointments and began expecting that the rug was pulled out from under me... I expected that... again and again... and a lot of times that happened... it seemed like I kept getting hit while I was down...

So as guilty as I feel about it... the truth is...my level of hope for my mom's health status has not been as high as it should be... could be... will be... because of fear of losing her... fear of hurting so bad from losing her... It is counter intuitive because I do BELIEVE that the energy we put into the universe impacts what energy comes to us... I also believe that sometimes the universe's aim is not always accurate... but that's beside the point.

The point is that I need to have hope... not because it is the right thing to do... but because there is hope... for my mom... for other people's moms or dads...for myself, for my future... and it really is okay to be hopeful... So... I am going to dare to have faith...

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