Friday, April 20, 2007

A little catching up.

When Cameron flipped my truck over the hill, not only was he grounded for a month, I also pressed joy riding charges on him. Nothings been done yet other than a preliminary hearing where the judge explained to Cameron how important it is that he not get into anymore trouble at home or school before coming back for court. Cameron's been suspended from school twice since then and the court ordered an investigation on me. The guy from children's services came out and talked to us, asking a lot of nosy questions and then before he left he said he was putting in his report that there wasn't a problem in the home but rather at school. I'm thinking they'll tell me one thing and do another. It's one big mess and once again, this is what I get for asking for help.

On top of that mess I've been sick. Last week I spent two days in the hospital getting a blood transfusion, some platelets, potassium, and magnesium pumped into me. They said either I'm losing blood or my body has stopped making red blood cells.

 I couldn't rest. They were taking my vitals every 15 minutes through out the night and the nurse was chewing gum and popping it loudly. I asked for something to drink and didn't get anything until the next evening, even though the Doctor had me on a liquid diet. I was tired and frustrated and ended up signing myself out against the Dr's orders.

They could only use my right arm for the IV and to draw blood and my veins kept collapsing. My arm and hand are still sore and bruised. I went back to the Dr yesterday to get my results and to get more blood work. My blood pressure is low and my platelets are low, and the Dr said something was definitely going on, yet they don't want me back until next month? Makes a lot of sense! @@


In Memory of...

The following was written and read by Poet Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of English Nikki Giovanni at the convocation held the day following the tragedy at Virginia Tech:

We Are Virginia Tech

We are Virginia Tech
We are sad today
And we will be sad for quite a while
We are not moving on
We are embracing our mourning
We are Virginia Tech
We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly
We are brave enough to bend to cry ...
And sad enough to know we must laugh again
We are Virginia Tech
We do not understand this tragedy
We know we did nothing to deserve it
But neither does a child in Africa dying of aids
Neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by a rogue army
Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory
Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water
Neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of night in his crib in the home its father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destablized
No one deserves a tragedy
We are Virginia Tech
The Hokie nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds
We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid
We are better than we think
and not quite what we want to be
We are alive to the imagination and the possibility
We will continue to invent the future
Through our blood and tears
Through all this sadness
We are the Hokies
We will prevail
We will prevail
We will prevail
We are Virginia Tech

Saturday, April 14, 2007

copied from the cancer crusade

Just when the caterpillar
thought the world had ended,
it became a butterfly.


Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing "survivor's guilt" and trying to define the term "survivor" in these weekly affirmations, and we've gotten some very thoughtful and thought-provoking e-mails as a result. A reader named Gail brought up an interesting concern that we had heard survivors discuss before, but we'd never thought through it enough to consider it for one of these weekly affirmations. Gail's question led us to think long and hard about the subject, and we decided that it is not only appropriate to this column, but also something that we'll bet many readers have struggled with. So here goes.

Gail wrote: "Since my surgery (mastectomy) and subsequent reconstruction, two of my friends had mastectomies. However, my friends needed radiation and chemotherapy, and they suffered all that those treatments have to offer...I always feel incredibly guilty when I see these women (and those like them) who have undergone so much more than I have. I don't feel the right to call myself a survivor when, in fact, my battle pales by comparison. Have you ever
come across this problem?"

Gail's question reminded me of other survivors I know. A friend of ours refuses to walk the "Survivors Lap" at our local Relay For Life because she says she "only" had a small skin cancer removed from her arm. Another says she doesn't feel like she has the right to call herself a survivor because she "only" had a lumpectomy and 33 radiation treatments. My own husband says that he's not sure he's a "real" survivor because he "only" had his kidney removed while I had surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Children who have a certain type of leukemia often undergo more than 2 years of chemotherapy. I have a friend who has been living with cancer for 14 years and has undergone months and months of chemotherapy and other treatments about 10 different times. My own mother recently completed 35 radiation treatments for breast cancer, and my father has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo a surgical implantationof radiation "seeds." My best friend had a mastectomy with reconstruction, chemotherapy
and radiation treatments.

The simple fact of the matter is that, with a disease as complex as cancer (and remember that there are more than 100 types of cancer), the possible treatment variations and combinations are infinite! Also, suffering is subjective. What I think is painful, you might find merely uncomfortable. What you find intolerable, I might think is little more than annoying. If we were to require a certain type or number of surgeries and/or treatments in order to be considered survivors, or if we were to engage in questioning how much or how little one has "suffered," what would be the magic number or degree, extent or level of intensity? The answer is, of course, that we cannot go there. It's a pointless exercise and a waste of time and energy, and I don't know about you, but I don't have
any of either to spare!

If you have had a doctor tell you "You have cancer," you have suffered a psychological blow like no other. You have experienced an emotional trauma that no one who has not had cancer can comprehend. For me, being given the diagnosis was the very worst of the entire cancer experience. When I look back on my surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I am acutely aware that - while they certainly were no picnic - they were not nearly as awful as the day
my doctor told me I had cancer.

If you survived that day in your own life, you are a survivor, because being a survivor is not about how many or what kind of treatments we have. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with our bodies. It's about how big our spirits are and how we carry ourselves in the face of fear and danger. It's about grace and dignity and courage and heart.
I really believe it's just that simple.

By the way, Gail, happy anniversary,
you survivor you!

Dear God, please help me remember to celebrate myself, to look back on how far I've come and all that I've endured and achieved along this difficult journey, even if it just began yesterday. Remind me that it's okay to be proud of who and what and where I am today. No matter how my story ends, I am a survivor. Amen

Roger and Kathy Cawthon
The Cancer Crusade



Click the link above and watch The Survivor Movie.