COLONOSCOPY – POLYP GARDEN

Fresh from the colonoscopy 2 weeks ago, I received results: two polyps… 

Benign adenomas, precancerous, come back in a year… *Sigh*…

It was disappointing learning of the polyps since it has been only one year since the last colonoscopy and my results were clean then, so I was hoping for a repeat of that. But instead two tiny polyps still sounded alright, I could live with that. They would be biopsied and results would arrive in a few days. So my results today showed the polyps were “benign adenomas”, or precancerous polyps. That is not good, and what the heck does “precancerous polyp” mean anyway?

Polyp Phases

Phases of a polyp

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I’m guessing mine was at “severe dysplasia” stage, as it was benign, yet still precancerous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything I’ve read about adenomas is that it will take between 2-10 years for one to develop into cancer. For a polyp to form and become precancerous within one year tells me that my polyps were under unusual conditions to become precancerous so early. This year has been unusually stressful, and unfortunately I have an unusually poor way of handling stress, ie. I hold it in. I convince myself it could be worse, I can handle it. This explains my “polyp garden” colon and why my resistance to growing these little guys is so low. This also explains why for survivors of colon cancer we have to stay on top of our maintenance exams (scans, colonoscopies, blood tests). I need to stay on top of my tests, I need to manage stress better. I’ve been doing the former exceedingly well, yet there’s more progress to be done on the latter.

In May 2016 my oncologist noted on my CT scan results a spot in my liver that he wanted to watch, and told me to have another scan done in three months. No worries, I thought, it’s too soon after chemo treatments, it must be something else. I did not worry. During the summer we started a new business, had Matt’s daughter and her fiancé move in with us, we had a series of financial difficulties and some personal issues come up all at once. I began losing sleep and obsessing over order in my house, an effort to keep some sort of control over a huge period of change. I (all of us) began feeling overwhelmed and out of control. We all worked from the moment we woke to bedtime every day for months straight with no breaks just to keep ahead of bills. I was on top of everything, I felt I was handling it, but was exhausted all the time. It was a miserable, stressful time for me and my family, and I began to worry about my health. I’d had a tickle in my chest for months. Thinking back about what my oncologist said about the spot in my liver, I could not let go of the fear that cancer had come back and settled in my lungs and my liver. I had no money to get the follow-up scan, and decided it would not hurt to put it off for a month or two until we could figure out our finances.

The fear overwhelmed me and I believed I was sick again. I worried for Matt, my parents, my friends, I dreaded telling them I was going to die. I worried about going through all of the diagnosis, treatments, months of uncertainty and sickness again. If this disease could come back so quickly twice, it must want me; I must be doomed. Things got extremely desperate and I could not shake the fear of not knowing. So I scheduled the scan and results came back clear.

I celebrated the good news, as did everyone around me. I had not made my concerns public, but my family knew. And yet the fear came back. The tickle in my lungs was still there, and I began to wonder how much of my chest the CT scan covered? I had not had a blood test in a while, and realized it was time. I was only a week or so off my schedule, so I scheduled the blood test and met with my oncologist. The blood test came back clear, the oncologist hypothesized that the tickle was coming from a new allergy. Again I felt better, but there was still an insecurity in my mind. No spots in my liver, no sign of disease in my blood,… the colonoscopy should turn out healthy too, right? With all the stress over the summer, what would it take for the cancer to come back? Where would it? After the first occurrence of cancer in 2012, it was only 2 1/2 years until the second occurrence in 2014. It has been about that long again, and I was inconsolably worried.

The colon prep this time around was miserable because I had a cold, too. Ugh… no fun. Coming off of the anesthetic the first thing the GI said to me was he found two small polyps. He did not think they would be problematic, but they would be biopsied all the same. The fact that the results came back precancerous is a red flag that I am not doing enough to manage stress.

The moral of the story is, I’m glad that I am being so closely monitored, that I have great health insurance (thank you Obamacare), I’m glad that at this stage the polyps could be removed with no incident. I am safe again, for now, thank goodness. I will continue practicing stress management, continue getting enough rest, exercise, good nutrition, laughter, and

I will continue with my maintenance exams.

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How polyps are removed, a retractable wire loop severs the neck of the polyp.

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Little bastard

MY HUSBAND, MY WIFE

I awoke this afternoon to a call from Matt at the grocery store, asking what else I wanted besides the items on the grocery list he had. He went down the list and told me what they had, what they were out of, and how the quality was. What he couldn’t find he asked a nearby produce clerk while I listened. Shop completed, he thanked the clerk and told me he’d see me at home soon.

It was just so cute!! I felt so proud and happy. He’s taken my role with grace and no complaints. And it’s hard work, I know, I’ve done it for 6 years in various living arrangements.

This is the job I do for Matt regularly, but in my absence, my husband makes it happen!

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CARING FOR THE PANCREAS

How to care for the pancreas

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Happy pancreas

Since learning of high blood sugar results from my annual physical, I looked up articles on caring for the pancreas.

The internet says, what pancreases like:

–      Fresh lemon juice first thing in the morning, then throughout the day (acidic fruit, yet the body treats it as alkaline)

–       Lots of fruits and vegetables

–       Lean foods, low fats

–       Beans, brans, fibers, gelatin, pectin, agar

–       Green tea

Dr. Yeh reminded me told me to eat a healthy diet and stay active. The American diet usually means heavy dinners, but this is not always best. Try to spread dinner out to smaller portions over a longer period.

Then, my mother-in-law heard on the news that everyone in America is pre-diabetic (I assume, besides those who are diabetic already). REALLY!? Why don’t you hear about this? And why would I not believe this stat? Even some of the healthiest people I know still include candy in daily diet, sugar drinks, alcohol, refined sugar and carbs. Kids trick-or-treat, have birthday cake, pop, candy with terrible ingredients and are rewarded with doughnuts larger than their heads… no wonder we grow up to be diabetics. frowny-face-high-blood-sugar

And most people aren’t “the healthiest people”, yet they live long, comfortable lives, assuming they don’t die from diabetes or cancer or vehicle accidents… Maybe this news of “high blood sugar” on my annual physical blood test is not so alarming. Maybe I can not panic about it.

So, with that in mind, my revised diet strategy is *less* ice cream, alcohol, sugar at snack time. Less quantity of food per serving with more small snacks. At least to start out, and then move into a more refined diet plan. Then I will live a long, comfortable life, assuming I don’t die from diabetes, cancer or some kind of vehicle accident!scoop-of-ice-cream

The result?

So far, after a week, I feel better! Less gas, less diarrhea and discomfort at night. That’s the biggest difference. I still eat a little too much quantity at dinner (I am quite the cook), yet compared to the previous extravagant meal and dessert routine and glass(es) of wine with accompanying discomfort, I do feel much improved!

Of course, few will argue that food is a culture. It is my culture. Matt & I eat well and we feed people who visit us very well, like *good* food. Anything in moderation, and so that is the key with this new diet plan: moderation.

Pancreas: What say you? I guess I’ll find out at the next annual physical!

ANNUAL PHYSICAL

Meeting the new primary care physician for my annual physical went well, but some discouraging results…

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New primary care physician!

Recently I changed my primary care physician. Matt and I met Dr. Susan Yeh last year when I made an urgent trip to the doctor due to one of many bladder infections I had been getting since the 2012 rectal cancer surgery. My nurse practitioner, Cathi, was not available then, but Dr. Yeh was. I was in amazing discomfort, so we could not afford to be choosy. We learned that Dr. Yeh (pronounced ‘yay’) had a specialty in colon issues (!!), AND she is covered by my insurance plan (!!!). What a jackpot!

I saw Cathi for my physical once again after that, and my feeling was, as a cancer survivor, that I am a vastly more complicated patient this year than last, particularly my colon and rectum. Time for a change. I would miss Cathi, but I needed Susan.

Dr. Yeh performed my latest annual physical, and I felt in good hands. What a relief. I could ask questions about my digestive quirks that I didn’t know who else to ask, and she could give me answers – even more, a whole range of “could be’s” relating to my body since the cancer treatments. Why are my stools runny at night? Why so much gas? What are the lumps on my belly, and what’s with the stitches poking through my skin? Since she understood the procedures used during my surgery and treatments, she could ascertain what was going on in there. Then she spent extra time with me to catch up on everything she should know of my history. 

When she went over my blood test, I scored high on blood sugar, possibly for the 2nd, 3rd year in a row. That’s not a mark you want to score high on. It’s not in the “pre-diabetic” range, but still, it’s high!

What the hell? This sucks! What’s happening to my poor body?

I can’t deny that other people my age and older (even younger) all over the world are going through this same reality check at this time of life that our body parts are wearing down. Things aren’t working ‘like they used to’. Yet my expectations of my own body are high. Higher than high blood sugar! I’m very discouraged! Especially after recovering for the last year from a major illness!!

Dr. Yeh tells me, with age it’s expected that things may not work as well as they did before. For different people some things wear down earlier and some later. Eyesight, hearing, memory, joints, liver, hair gets grey… Things wear out. It depends on family genetics, personal habits, environmental factors, etc. It is the pancreas which processes carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and it produces insulin in response to regulate sugar in the blood. Then, in a matter-of-fact tone, her advice is to keep eating a healthy diet, lots of fiber, but not too much to cause gas, and stay active.

Huh, that’s it?

I drove home slowly, a bit dazed at my new mortal imperfection.

Oh my god! My pancreas is sick!?

I could not stop thinking of it after leaving the appointment. My mind was going over and over all the naughty sugar trysts over my 40 years of living:

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– all the trips to the 7-11 candy isle during my babysitting years…

– all the overeating of sugar, cake, ice cream…

– all the alcohol over the years…

Sugar highs, eating till I was ill, movie candy, Ben & Jerry’s by the pint, late night Voodoo Doughnuts… I’m not sure how I am not 300 pounds today! Oh, what have I done?!

What can I do? Will my poor pancreas forgive me?

GUEST BLOG – Finding Beauty in Cancer

Friends of Kimberli – Finding Beauty in Cancer

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Finding Beauty Photo Shoot

This is a blog written by Kimberli Ransom, a professional photographer diagnosed with breast cancer. I met her because of our mutual friend Dan Betenbender. Dan told me I should connect with her, which I did through her blogsite, and possibly offer resources or support from my own experience with rectal cancer.

As with other cancer blogs I follow, Kimberli’s has a beautiful strength and openness and a desire to share her feelings, experiences and how she copes very creatively. I like her blog because she writes about a rich set of friends who share their expertise to help her express her fight. They contribute photography, fashion, poetry and other media. I think she is really giving her immediate community an opportunity to participate and learn, like a large-scale art project. An opportunity where all will come away with deeper connections with each other, and a deeper understanding of their feelings toward life and mortality. Really cool.

This post, The Real Thing Shoot, is a collaboration with her friend Paige, a photographer, shooting one of Kimberli’s chemotherapy sessions, and particularly capturing the tension, emotion and humorous moments between Kimberli and the hospital staff. Paige had had a major illness herself and had lost a family member to cancer, as well, and was particularly astute in capturing the light moments and the anxious moments. It is too big to add here on my blog, but very worth visiting her blog.

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Kimberli with staff

Teamwork very well done.

GUEST BLOG – Living With Chemo For Life

Living With Chemo For Life – Belle Piazza

I signed up on some email lists for cancer blogs after my diagnosis. There are so many stories out there. All of them come from some pretty harsh realities, and some really expose the heart of the writer. I remain on these email lists because I get to continually learn new levels of inspiration and compassion by reading them, yet I would not voluntarily read them had I not had my own story.

Living With Chemo for Life, I learned about today, quoted verbatim in another blog that I follow by Doug 2.0. Belle is a stage 4 rectal cancer survivor. Doug has been following her because she lives close by him, and because she has a beautiful talent for expressing herself through writing.

I wanted to post that blog here because even for me it helps to illustrate the roller coaster of feelings involved in a cancer struggle. She uses poetic analogies that most people can relate to themselves in a down-to-earth tone. I really feel the edge and the optimism that she is riding during her fight, and this is something that inspires my day and my outlook, and I want to pass along here.

By Belle Piazza

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“I’m going to run your CEA again to check on it, it’s risen quite a bit.”

“How much did it jump?” I ask my oncologist.

“It’s 70” (up from 19 at the beginning of the summer) Don’t get hung up on a number he tells me, but I know better and I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Increases in my CEA have always corresponded with growth of my cancer.

“I frequently hear from friends “I don’t know how you do it?” To which I think to myself, “I don’t either”. It would certainly be nice if there were a handbook for cancer patients telling us how to manage the myriad of emotional challenges we go through. I don’t see the challenges any different based on your staging of 1, 2, 3 or 4; but rather they are amplified as your number gets higher. Not to minimize those dealing with stages 1, 2 or 3; the feelings of fear and anxiety are every bit as real and overwhelming as they are for those of us with stage 4. It’s just that when you hit stage 4 (and there is no stage 5 to progress to or through), you’re pushed further yet.

“When I was first diagnosed my doctors thought I was a stage 1; possibly stage 2. My surgeon always suspected stage 3; but she couldn’t find a diagnostic test to confirm her suspicions; which turned out to be right. After surgery I was deemed cancer free and almost made it 3 years before the spots on my lungs were confirmed to be a recurrence of my original rectal cancer. When I heard the words “recurrence”, “chemo for life” and the dreaded “3 years left” my knees buckled and I fell to the floor. I had to have a nurse call a friend to give me a ride home. And then – silence.

“Tell me where you want to go” my friend said as we drove to the drug store to refill my Lorazepam script. “We’ll go wherever you want – we’ll get a room at the resort and go get massages, we’ll go to the bar – anything – where to?” But again, silence. I just wanted to go home. Caring friends all willing to talk surrounded me – but I was at a complete loss for words. I just wanted to stare at the walls and pretend none of this was happening.

“I’ve almost come to the end of “3 years left” and I’m still here. While not cured, and with my cancer slowly progressing, I’m cautiously optimistic that I still have a year or two left. And while I’m woefully unskilled to write an instruction manual on how to live with stage 4 cancer, I’ll try to offer some help and advice for those who have the misfortune of following in my footsteps.

“When I first joined The Colon Club there were a handful of members I looked up to. Bradyr, Justsing and of course Gaelen. There was Jessica, the young mother who fought so valiantly to live for her newborn daughter. There was Starbuck who just wanted to be a twenty something woman experiencing all life has to offer. Bill Llib – father, husband, Boy Scout troop leader, friend. All fought, all died. But it was their courage and determination that gave me strength – and still does. If they can do this, then so can I; even if “this” meant dying. We all need heroes. None of these beautiful people considered themselves heroes or ever wanted to be heroes. But I needed heroes to light the way for me and this is the role they played.

“For those with stage 1, 2 or 3 you have hope – hope that the disease is gone from your body forever; hope that someday your life will return to what it was pre-cancer. Knowing that life will never be the same, but hope that it can still be good. I have hope too, but hope takes on a different meaning when you’re stage 4, on chemo for life and running out of options.

“I hope that in the end my pain will be managed and when I do become incapacitated that it won’t last for long. I hope I’m not confined to a hospital bed for an extended period of time – that my passing is quick. I hope that my children and husband don’t suffer needlessly and endlessly. I hope that people remember me as a person and not a person who had cancer. I hope and I pray for strength. And somewhere in a deep dark pocket of my mind, I hope for a cure. It’s crazy, I know – but even those of us looking at grim futures still have a glimmer of hope that a miracle will take place. And really, is that any crazier than people who religiously purchase lottery tickets every week – convinced that one day their number will come up? Hope takes on many varied forms.

“While living with stage 4 isn’t where any of us want to be or choose to be – life can still be enjoyed – tremendously – in between chemo treatments and side effects. And while we often feel we are the only people in the world suffering, there is tremendous pain in this world caused by things other than cancer. Hunger, abuse, disease, poverty, oppression – the list goes on. Sometimes we all need a reality check and to acknowledge that many people suffer – daily – to a greater extent than we do. When my surgeon first told me that my pathology report showed cancer in 27 of the 38 lymph nodes she had removed, I completely fell apart and asked her “how could this be any worse?” – to which she softly replied, “there is always someone worse off than you are”.

“And so it goes. Chemo weekly. Scans quarterly; more frequent when trying a new chemo to see if it might work. Managing the myriad of side effects and assaults my body takes from the treatment designed to extend my life. Still, in between it all, there are many opportunities to live life. Granted I don’t live life the way I would have had cancer never entered my world. I’ve been detoured down roads I never would have otherwise traveled. Some of the roads take me to scary places, like the dark forest in The Wizard of Oz with mysterious creatures lurking in the shadows ready to attack. Some of the places have flying monkey’s trying to pull me apart and frightening voices screeching in my head. But other roads take me to wondrous places – like The Emerald City or the beautiful poppy fields. Last year one of the roads even took me to Kansas City!

“Whatever road you find yourself on, always look ahead. Identify heroes to help guide you, walk with you and show you the way. While hope may take on different forms, always have hope. Live life to the fullest extent possible. Surround yourself with people who support you, love you and inspire you. Life is short and for some of us it will be shorter than others. Coming to terms with that doesn’t happen over night, but in time, we adjust to our new reality. It’s not what we wanted, it’s not what we chose, but it’s the cards we’ve been dealt. Sometimes we just have to put on our poker face and make the best of a lousy hand. It doesn’t mean the game is over, it just means it’s a little more challenging.

“When my kids were little and it was time for a play date to come to an end, I always gave them the “5 minutes” heads up to let them know it was almost time to go. They acknowledged the 5-minute warning but when 5 minutes was up and it was time to go, my son would usually have a melt down. He didn’t want to leave the party – he wanted to stay and have fun. At times I have the guilty feeling of behaving like a two year old myself. I know that soon it will be my turn to leave the party and go home. It will be time to go – plain and simple. I’ll kick and scream and fight and throw a tantrum and do all I can to stay just a little longer. But even two year olds tire of this routine and eventually succumb to their destiny, pack up their toys and go home.

“When I was in my 20’s I was an avid hiker, backpacker and long distance cyclist. I taught aerobics for a couple of years and I went through a period where I was obsessed with West Coast Swing and Country Western Dancing. It was always something. Friends who were less active marveled at how I could decide on a moments notice that it was a good time to join a group of friends and backpack through The Grand Canyon. What they didn’t realize was that I didn’t achieve that fitness level over night – it took many months of training and ongoing work to maintain that fitness level. The benefits were great, but it took commitment and hard work.

“I like to think of stage 4 survivors in the same light. I didn’t reach this level of acceptance or coping overnight. I could behave like a two year old and have a complete melt down every time I get bad test results; but really, that just takes too much energy, which I don’t have. So I cry a bit, spend some time alone soaking it all up and processing it and then I do my best to move on. Some days are harder than others. It’s like hiking through the Grand Canyon. You find yourself halfway down the trail, tired, hot, sweaty and running low on water. You can sit there and cry and hope a donkey passes your way without a rider – or you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off and begin putting one foot in front of the other towards the river – where you can take off your shoes, rinse the dust off your face and replenish your water supply. Since donkeys don’t travel on most of the trails we hiked, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached my journeys end. I hope I can find the strength now that I found back then – on the trails and on the remote bike rides. And I hope that when I reach my final destination I find the relief, the peace and the comfort that each of my former travels blessed me with.”

COLLABORATION: To Blog or Not To Blog

To Blog or Not To Blog

A collaboration with Tammy Schuman of Scooter Saga

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Scooter Saga – by Tammy Schuman

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Cancer4Me – by Michelle Dennis Lattanzi

I’ve reblogged posts from Tammy Schuman before, and I have followed Tammy’s Scooter Saga for a long time. She blogs from the perspective of someone living with Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), and she does a marvelous job of bringing her readers into her world of ups and downs living with ataxia, and the day-to-day challenges she faces as her disease progresses. Tammy and I have become friends through our blogs, reading about our own life journeys.

Recently Tammy approached me to do a collaborative post about two bloggers’ perspectives on what blogging is and what it does for us. Each of us wrote our own essays on the topic, and Tammy brought them together. Below is an excerpt:

To Blog or Not To Blog

TAMMY – I enjoy blogging, but never appreciated the varied ways it could be used. As I mentioned earlier, I started journaling on my sister–in–law’s recommendation and my musings morphed into a blog* (web log). Getting Skeeter changed my perspective and provided all sorts of laughable moments. It was a compatible context for serendipity, my smart mouth, and learning to deal with a disability… Read more.

MICHELLE – Since I was very young, I enjoyed writing. I have always found it a comfortable and easy way to express my thoughts. I’ve journaled off and on for most of my life, with no other goal than to think on paper. Writing is a great way to work out problems. By writing down my stream of consciousness, I can order my thoughts and analyze them, then sometimes a solution will miraculously appear!.. Read more.

It was incredibly fun, and a first attempt at a collaboration for both Tammy and me. Enjoy, and please let us know what you think.

MAINTENANCE

maintenance-cancer“Your annual exam sounds like taking the car in for maintenance.  They “flush the lines” and “blow the pipes”, then do some diagnostics.  The mechanic then tells you that your car may have a few dings and scars on the outside but still looks pretty darn good.  The engine is running well after their “tune-up”.  It may backfire once in a while and is a little slower going up a long hill, but it gets there.”

– Dr. Earl Schuman

I love this analogy because:

the human body = mechanics = plumbing = gardening, etc…

All systems are like, and can be used to explain each other. By making analogies like this, our great fears, such as mortality or failure, can be put into a familiar framework and therefore seem less scary.

I’ve mentioned Dr. Earl Schuman in previous posts. He is the family friend who has coached me through major life medical decisions, physical and emotional changes, throughout my 2012 colorectal cancer episode. He has regularly kept up with my writings and offered encouragement and advice, even with a busy work and home life.

Since I have earned good health marks and moved on to a more routine existence, I mistakenly assume that I must be far from Dr. Earl Schuman’s mind. Our original connection is through my dad’s cousin Bonnie’s college roommate and lifelong friend, Tammy, who married Earl (what, do you want a diagram?). Aunt Bonnie lives in California, and when I was diagnosed, word traveled to Bonnie who referred us to Tammy, a retired nurse, and Earl, a general surgeon in Portland, to advise me on how I should proceed. He did not have to help. But I came with no expectations and no clue! That’s where Earl shined!

I don’t know where to begin to thank Earl. Over the course of my treatments, Matt and I called in panic once or twice, plus a few times to run our research past him to see if we were on track making decisions about my treatment. I would email him updates. And then at times he would just check in. It was truly like having a guardian angel sitting by somewhere in the ethosphere.

Since achieving wellness, and even before, I have followed Tammy Schuman’s blog, Scooter Saga. She writes about life with Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA), from which she began suffering in her 40’s and which forced her to retire early from her nursing career because of loss of muscle control, balance, fine motor coordination. Tammy’s blog is a portal into a world where adapting to every-day surroundings with an ever-changing muscle control is the new normal. And then to do it with grace, gratitude and laughter makes it a true inspiration. Tammy makes her experience so easy to digest, everyone should read along with Scooter Saga! I’ve been able to connect with Tammy through her blog, and feel that I’ve become friends not only with Earl, but also with Tammy.

Daily, and in their own way, the two are making the world a better place, and reminding the rest of us to keep the scary stuff in perspective!

LOTS TO CATCH UP ON!

Ok, I have some catching up to do.

Working hard, both Matt & I, on our new lives here in the Pacific Northwest! It is important to impart that the health progress is great; Matt and I both feel in good health, happy, productive and optimistic about the future.

Michelle: Doing some restorative care – re-building strength and flexibility (fitness & yoga), which was lost during the last year of cancer treatments. Also, working as a tour guide of the NW corner of the state of Oregon for some income. Due for a one-year colonoscopy follow-up exam. Wish me luck!

Matt: Bought us a house, busily working on home improvements (not saying exactly where on this web posting to maintain some coveted privacy). Also, investment wheeling and dealing, a new-found passion of Matt’s!

Since being home in the lovely Pacific Northwest life has been extraordinarily busy and uniquely upside down. Here are the highlights:

mokume-gane styles

Mokume-gane styles

Selected and bought our wedding rings

No, we don’t have a date planned yet. We felt that commitment in our hearts will tide us over until we get to the plannin’ stage. We will be having a celebration, not necessarily a traditional wedding format. The wedding rings are this awesome mokume-gane design acquired from The Real Mother Goose Gallery of Contemporary American Craft in Downtown Portland. Mokume-gane is a traditional Japanese metal design process. It is a “marriage of metals”, and means “wood grain” in Japanese. We are both so excited to be wearing our rings, even before marriage!

Transitional living

Living in an RV on the street, the same one we lived in off and on for four years! Boy will we appreciate having a home! Especially a kitchen, storage space, space to set things down??? You know, the little things!

We bought and are moving into our dream home

Like the rings, we are both really excited about this place, and feel the hard work we put in to finding the right home paid off! It’s a terrible market to buy in. My advice, don’t bother. Kidding, if you are thinking of buying, just be prepared to look at a lot of places.

Yoga and fitness, getting stronger every day

Matt & I have started doing yoga on a regular basis, Matt has a daily routine, and when I am not working as a tour guide, we do yoga together. We can see results of our stretching, and always feel great afterward. Best part of our day!

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Account is past due: Still managing medical bills accrued from last year’s illness

Man, oh man. I can’t believe the utter pain in the a** this has been. But rolling along with the setbacks. I think the company, CoPatient, I recruited to help me dispute unfair medical costs from the past year’s medical disaster has decided I did such a great job that I didn’t leave any work for them to do.  Whatever, if they can win money back for me, then great, if not, then great.

All of these things, while exciting and demonstrate forward progress from where we were at this time last year, they are keeping me from publishing any new blog posts!

Arianna Huffington: Prioritize Beating Stress

Big Idea 2013: The Year We Prioritize Beating Stress

arianna_huffington_beating_stressArianna Huffington posted this article on her LinkedIn page that I felt eloquently summarized my beliefs on stress developed over the course of my cancer fight.

Ms. Huffington writes from a perspective that I believe is both balanced and realistic. She also holds a profound concern and optimism for the population, and uses her resources to make lives better. Here she identifies a problem which affects most people, then reminds us that to some degree we control the factors that give us stress, and to look for opportunities to improve our stress levels.

“Similarly, we want to use this moment — the end of one year and the beginning of another, and all the hopes, aspirations, reflection, and resolutions that are part of this interstitial moment — to summon the ingenuity we all possess in order to reduce stress.”

“The philosophy behind Less Stress, More Living is based on two truths: that we all have within us a centered place of harmony and balance, and that we all veer away from that place again and again. That’s the nature of life. In fact, we may be off-course more often than we are on-course. If we understand these two truths and prioritize reducing the destructive effects of stress in our lives, 2013 can be the year we reconnect with our own creativity, wisdom, and joy.”

Isn’t that just beautiful? Please read and enjoy.

Life may be out of your control, but prioritize beating stress. Realize that you have amazing control over your life.

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