A Humorous Look at the Bright Side of Cancer...
And There Is One


June 17, 2013

Visit To The Oncologist

06_17_2013_haagen_dazs_rocky_road_cancer_funnyTomorrow morning, I have a little six-month followup visit with the oncologist to go over the results of the “tumor-marker” blood test I had done last week. I’m even more nervous for this test than the mammogram I had done last month.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing that we don’t have any Haagen-Dazs in the house right now. Or maple bars. Or Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Caramels. Or Bit-O-Honey….

By |June 2013|Uncategorized|

June 13, 2013

Getting Back In The Saddle


Photo by Abel Gage

Living life to the fullest? In my last post, I went on and on about all the things that I like to do and it’s true: I have been happy with my writing career, my retail nursery, my piano-teaching. But, there’s one little thing that I have avoided like the plague ever since I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer: playing the organ.

I used to play. Used to be pretty good at it, too.

I was never really taught how to play the organ. The church where I attended as a teenager had a nice, older couple donate a little Baldwin, so I jumped right in and hacked around a bit until I got the hang of it.

That was it: I was hooked. I played for church, I played for weddings, I played for fun.

Then came chemotherapy. I stopped playing the organ cold turkey.

A week ago, I found out that Sarah–one of the interim worship leaders at Bethany Covenant–was leading the Praise Band for the last time. I begged Randall, the worship and arts pastor, to put me in the band somewhere. He already had Heidi playing the piano. I couldn’t exactly shove her off the bench. “I’ll play the synthesizer, Randall, as fill. If that doesn’t work, I’ll sing ‘Ooo-la-la’ in the background. What do you think?”

He emailed me back right away. “How about doing it on the organ? I can set some synth type sounds for you on it, and we can push the console over by the piano so you can be part of the band. Let me know what you think.”

What do I think? I think a big, fat gulp. I can’t do that anymore. My feet… neuropathy from chemotherapy… I’m uncoordinated… I can’t get back on that thing… I’ve had nightmares about falling off the bench…

I emailed him back, “I’d love to.”

I’m happy to report that I played on Sunday morning with the band. And I didn’t fall off the bench once. I even managed to sing and play the pedals all at the same time. Go me.




By |June 2013|Uncategorized|

June 11, 2013

Living Life To The Fullest

06_11_2013_flowers_celebrating_life_cancer_funnyLast week, I called one of my friends, Heidi. It had been a long time.

“So, you’re feeling good then, hey?” she asked me.

I almost answered with my typical, “I’m tired all the time… not back to my regular self… that chemotherapy destroyed me—in addition to saving my life—and….” but at the last minute, I changed tack.

“I’m feeling great,” I answered her cheerfully.

“You still so busy?”

“Yes, piano lessons, writing books, public speaking, now the garden stand. I’m crazy, but I love all of these things.”

After we hung up, I got back to my dishes. They weren’t going to hop up out of the dishwater, rinse themselves, and hike back to the cupboard where they belonged.

I thought about what Heidi had said as I rinsed yet another plate. Yes, I was crazy busy and should probably cut something out, but I couldn’t help myself: I’m alive.

I thought back to my chemotherapy days when I kept thinking to myself over and over, “I say ‘no’ faster, but I also say ‘yes’ faster.”

I think I still tend to do that. For example, on Facebook the other day, I saw that someone was looking for an exchange student host. Normally (before cancer) I would have pursued that. Now? I’m most emphatically going to say “no.”

I’m going to say “yes” to taking care of my family, running Wayside Wisteria, writing books, encouraging others that are going through cancer treatment right now (that call me at home), and gearing up for our new kitchen. Is that selfish? To want to do all those things? And not take care of the Japanese exchange students?

I think not. A person can only give what a person can give. When they can give it.

So, right now, I’m going to go out in the yard, sit among the flowers, and be thankful that I’m able to live my life to the fullest.

By |June 2013|Uncategorized|

June 1, 2013

I Am Old… I Mean Old-Fashioned

Yesterday, I read on Facebook that one of my friends was going to make the plunge and “get rid of her land-line.” This seems to be the latest trend.

Right away, I thought to myself, “I would never do that. What if someone at my house was having a heart attack and I needed to call 9-1-1? I did not want my loved one to die because a) my battery was dead (like it always is), or b) my cell phone was nowhere to be found (a regular occurrence).”

I think I’m old-fashioned in other ways, too. I have stacks of cards (handmade and store-bought) on hand so that I can be ready in the event of someone’s birthday or loss of a loved one. Sending letters and cards seems to be a lost art nowadays.

While I’m admitting how old–I mean old-fashioned–I am, I have a hurricane lamp and candles I use every single day, wash my dishes by hand, and still garden and can on a regular basis even though it sure would be easier to buy stuff at the store.

By |June 2013|Uncategorized|

May 27, 2013

Keeping the Dream Alive

05_20_2013_gardening_wayside_wisteria_trellis_cancer_funnyLast week Monday, Allen & Rose (I’ve talked about them before) came over and installed some trellises that Allen built. I even helped.

I started my retail business, Wayside Wisteria, back in 1999. I am sporadically open every year or two when I manage to get my act together.

My business definitely took a hit (just like me) when I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. Kind of hard to run a business when you’re fighting for your life.

Now that it’s been four years and I’m still around, I thought it was time to make another go of it.

What can I say? I’m just keeping myself — and the dream — alive.




By |May 2013|Uncategorized|