Quote

“Imagination is not something we merely do in our spare moments, an idle act but the very faculty that makes us who we are. Think about people that deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From Within.”`~ David Naimon

Letter-c Day 36

Another Friday, five weeks have passed thus far. It seems much longer than that to me.  Got the phone call from the oncologist office confirming my appointment on July 7th along with the social distancing questions, have I had any exposure and have I been tested for COVID-19. She said she would be calling again 48 hours prior to my appointment to confirm the information is the same. I don’t know about you but I am so over the questions for everything being done more than once.

I prepared one of the side dishes from the Cancer Fighting Kitchen Cookbook last night. It was Basil Broccoli though I did tweak it slightly. In their version, they had either grape tomatoes or red peppers. I’m a huge fan of both so I did both. Why not?  The fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and basil made the dish incredible. It was visually attractive and tasty, that’s a win.

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I’m using the left overs in a frittata today, going to add some mushrooms and kale. I can’t wait until our window opens for eating. We’re also doing the intermittent fasting, we only eat during an 8 hour window, the remaining 16 are all liquids with no calories. Which is great for me since I drink my coffee and tea straight. I’m a purist when it comes to both beverages.

Let’s discuss the next on our list of culinary helpers for the letter-c battle.

Apricots are anti-inflammatory and potassium rich so they help re-balance our bodies chemistry especially for anyone whose electrolytes have been depleted because of dehydration issues. Also their iron content is beneficial for oxygen transport, keeping hemoglobin and energy levels steady. That’s a good thing when you are in treatment or having heart issues.

Argula promotes detoxification, it’s a cancer pathway inhibitor. Greens (cruciferous vegetables) are in general a reducer of cancer but argula has an extra bonus it contains sulforaphane which slows the enzymes that increase cancer progression. The chlorophyll in argula also limits the damage from carcinogens created by cooking on high temperatures when we grill meat, fish or chicken. I know I always loved having my meat charred on the edges but now knowing the danger I’ve chosen safer methods for meat prep.

On the crochet front the band is complete and I’ve switched to the magenta color from the rose to work on the body of the shirt. Once I get a few rows up with the double crochet cluster I’ll share a picture.

Olyvia and Amanda ( my granddaughter and daughter) did a video call with me.. Amanda discussed Olyvia’s new school policies for the fall. Many of the parents are in an uproar about the proposed plan of children attending 2 days and doing 3 days distance learning and these days varying week to week. How would anyone arrange the necessary daycare and would the distance learning actually happen.  She says they need a better plan this one is nuts.

My daughter is also a teacher and she knows all about chasing students down to do the work in distance learning. It was challenging enough but add in the parents who didn’t follow through checking to make sure their children did the work the situation became a night mare. Amanda home-schooled her first-grade daughter and chased down 75 high school students every day for her classroom assignments. Kids didn’t respond to email or text messages.  Parents saying the work was too hard when she called them because the child wasn’t doing the work.

Amanda said after I told her that I was hoping to go to Maine but don’t dare,  “Mom, it’s too dangerous for you to be exposed to people from all different places just to get to Maine from here because there’s no way you can do 10 hours without a restroom. And then once you’re am in Maine, same issue it’s more than just being with John and Debbie, it’s also who has they have been in contact with as well. ” She didn’t have to remind me, I had already considered all the risks.

After the video call, I read for awhile in the diyMFA and basically took a much needed break.   I think the disappointment of not going to Maine really is hitting me harder because I just couldn’t get into a creative mindset let a lone any mindset. I know it’s the right decision health wise but I miss my son very much.  So, after dinner, I decided to vege and watch a Hallmark movie while rolling yarn skeins into balls before crashing. Pretty much a no-brainer day. Sometimes, we just need them.

I know I’ll get to Maine… just not next week which made me think of Blue Bayou.  One of the nicest part of going to Maine besides seeing my son is watching the boats on the ocean. John lives on an island on the coast of Maine. From time to time Billy Damon ( a friend of my son) sends me sunrise and sunset pictures as he goes out to collect his lobster traps. I love seeing them. In this picture you can see the lobster traps as well. Maine has the best seafood ever.

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“I’m going back someday
Come what may
To Blue Bayou
Where the folks are fun
And the world is mine
On Blue Bayou
Where those fishing boats
With their sails afloat
If I could only see
That familiar sunrise
Through sleepy eyes
How happy I’d be”~ Linda Ronstadt

 

Bloom or Fail

Bloom or Fail

the lonely pink roses left to decay
abandoned like the lovers of life
twas their last brilliant performance
a lifeblood of wisdom that only lingers
in peaceful  circles of garden fame until
denied by the next profuse array.
Their demise demands another bloom
but in a moment of inspiration
or maybe sheer desperation
the roses defiantly gathered their petals
for an encore to remember defying
the honeysuckles rise to glory

Letter-c Day 35

As promised I would share what I’m learning about culinary helpful tools with the letter-c battle. Today, let’s discuss almonds and apples.

As you’ve probably heard almonds are a healthy and a good source of fiber but did you know almonds are also an anti-inflammatory. Eating almonds with their skins increases their antioxidant power. Almonds also help regulate blood sugar if you’re diabetic.

Apples are also an anti-inflammatory. Lab tests indicate apples keep liver, breast and colon cancer cells at bay.

Cancer Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070601181005.htm

I was reading one of the mask series on Silver Birch Press by David T. Pennington.  A line in his post really struck a chord with me relative to COVID-19. He hopes our children feel as naked without a mask as we do without clothes. It’s hard to imagine this may be a reality for our children and grandchildren. Their lovely smiles hidden by masks. I know  I can see some of their sparkle in their eyes but it’s just not the same. I’ve noticed meeting people in public right now even socially distanced a sense of awkwardness and discomfort is present. Have you noticed it as well?  Our futures are dependent on the success of a vaccine that will constantly have to change as the virus mutates. And there’s the added fear that it may or will spread to all of the animals, so our food source will be impacted as well. I don’t know about you but I’m scared for our future generations as well as for us.

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It’s been years since I updated my bio. Originally, my focus was raising awareness of domestic violence through poetry but over time it has evolved into so much more. Writing is/ will be my primary focus but I think the topics of the Letter-c (cancer), everyday life, crafts, cooking, witchcraft, and book reviews will also be part of my blog. So that’s on today’s agenda.

I have 80 rows of 122 rows on the lower band (rib) of the crochet sweater I’m working on. I was happy to see Michaels is open again, Joann’s should be as well or at least soon. I really want to stock up on my cotton yarn supply so I can make some sweaters for the grandchildren. I’ve made them an abundant supply of scarves and hats that should cover them for a lifetime and more. I can’t sit and watch tv without my hands doing something. I crochet during our critique night in my writing group to reduce my fidgeting.

I’ve made great progress reading diyMFA by Gabriela Pereira. She brings to the reader’s attention how many little things that undermine our writing that I didn’t realize were. I’m guilty of writing in between laundry and cooking. The point she makes is that our mind doesn’t settle into a writing mindset focus so we make more mistakes or are less productive. I’ve been testing that theory this week by setting specific time slots aside. I’m finding I am getting more words on the page. I still have to work on minimizing filter words. Rome wasn’t built in a day, I’ll get there.

I really wanted to go to Maine especially since the one year anniversary of my losing my grandson to be with his Dad. (Johnny died on July 1st, 2019 in a fluke dirt bike accident.) I’m very concerned about the exposure I’ll face by traveling and being in a different place with people that I don’t normally co-exist with on a daily basis. I love my son, we’ve been in hell together with Johnny dying but I can’t throw caution to wind now when so much is at stake with my health. I’m already immune comprised after the previous cancers so my concerns are real with COVID-19.

I have my first face to face with my oncologist who specializes in gastric cancer on July 7th. My cancer was discovered by a gastroenterologist during a endoscopic procedure to remove a bile duct stent.I’m very concerned with all that is at stake with my health that the risk is too high. I love my son dearly but I do have to balance my needs as well as his.

It also brings me to my song choice for today. I would do anything for my spouse, my children, my grandchildren and friends but I won’t put myself in harms way. Love is more than instant gratification.

 

 

 

“And I would do anything for love
I’d run right into hell and back
I would do anything for love
I’d never lie to you and that’s a fact
But I’ll never forget the way you feel right now
Oh no, no way
And I would do anything for love
Oh I would do anything for love
I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that
No, I won’t do that”~ Meatloaf

 

Letter c- Day 34

I began a food journal to help determine the foods that irritate me the most. Is it just the specific food or is it because of what I had with it or prior to having it. So many variables to consider but necessary if I’m going to enjoy food without pain again.

Like dinner yesterday, I burped, continuously and tasted asparagus for three hours. I can’t imagine why asparagus with nothing on it would irritate me. I love asparagus so it’s not like I’m introducing a new food, its one I enjoy frequently. Did it not agree with the stir-fried rice? Or was the grilled cauliflower steak? I don’t know. But I do know what taste kept recoiling. So much to learn.

Tonight, I’ve had the shoulder pain but no heartburn thus far. We had turkey, basil, swiss shard sandwiches, with olive tapenade dressing instead of mayo or mustard,  cucumbers and an ear of steamed corn. I did have to make a mad dash to the bathroom. That I think may be related to the butter on the corn. Fat is a huge trigger when you don’t have a gall bladder.

I thought about some of the things I feel are important for everyone that is taking this journey with me to be aware. Herbs, vegetables and fruits play significant roles in battling cancer but the hard part is knowing what does what. So while your joining me I’ll help you get familiar. That’s what friends do.

Let’s take this journey alphabetically.

Allspice is a digestive aid as well as being helpful as antimicrobial. In case you don’t know antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganisms or at least slows them down. It is especially helpful in the upper (small) intestine. Allspice is great if you feel bloated or gassy or have indigestion. It does more than season meat, soups, vegetables and baked goods.

Writing the vignettes has opened doors to memories I hadn’t thought about in such a long time. I don’t know if this collection of vignettes will eventually become a memoir. At this point, it doesn’t matter, I just need to get the words on the page. There was a garden I used to sneak into at night. I weeded and pruned by flash light because it broke my heart to see it neglected every day on my way to school. I knew an elderly woman lived there. In retrospect, I should have gone to the door and simply asked if she minded by if I puttered in the garden. The reason I didn’t was because I was afraid she would say no. One night, I saw her come to the window and watch then disappear. I took that as consent because she didn’t call the police. The following night the outside light in the garden was left on. Under a tangled mess of honeysuckle and wisteria were irises, lilies, violets and muscari all competing for sunlight. The hostas were so thick they were killing themselves. I borrowed my grandfather’s pruner, and loper to get things back under control. I found joy working there alone at night, listening to my small transistor radio with Motown artists like Dorothy Moore crooning songs. I didn’t accept love existed but this woman did. I believed in what was in front of me the sweet smell of fresh turned dirt and the flowers blooming. People on the other hand were cruel and destructive. I couldn’t imagine loving anyone like the song Misty Blue.

Her voice was beautiful even if I didn’t believe the lyrics. Joe Simon did the song first but at that time I preferred her rendition.  Listening to them now I actually enjoy his version more because it’s so calming

They’re both talented artists. We don’t have artists today like we did during the Motown period. Music fills so many voids in our lives and helps us get where we need to be.

 

Letter-c Day 33

I did indeed sleep last night as I had hoped. The c-word weighs heavily on a person as I’ve indicated. Yesterday, finally feeling like the doctors and I were on the same page was like having a weight taken off my shoulders. Even my hubby commented how well he slept last night. We both needed reassurance that we’re all on the same page. Now, let’s kick this damn cancer’s ass.

Pam will be pleased I picked up the ingredients for two of the recipes in the cookbook she sent me. On the menu for this week is basil broccoli, stir-fried bok choy with shiitake mushrooms and kale, green apple and pineapple smoothies. Vic is going to swear I’m trying to kill with veggies. What a way to go 🙂

I’ve completed half of the front band on the shirt I’m crocheting with the cotton yarn. I’m liking the feel of the yarn. I’ll probably do more down the road with this brand. I’m curious what other crocheter’s think of Lion’s Brand Mercerized Cotton Yarn. 24/7 cotton is on the label. The color I’m doing the band is rose and the body section will be magenta. I’m going to do the sleeves in rose as well. I have pink jeans that I think will look awesome together once I finish.

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I wrote my blog entry but didn’t have the energy to work on my vignette so that is definitely on today’s agenda. Two instead of one, if I’m lucky.  I know Tuesday night is a designated writing time with my writing friends on zoom so I can easily do one then. There’s something to be said seeing others writing at the same time.  It’s truly motivating.

We did the weekly trip to the grocery and tonight’s dinner is just a turkey wrap with fresh picked lettuce and basil from my garden and left over grilled cauliflower, so I can focus on my writing. Woohoo!

Dinner came out awesome yesterday. I turned the head of the cauliflower side ways and cut it into one inch slices. I used a pastry bush and coated it with olive oil then seasoned it will fresh chopped garlic, oregano, basil, and coarsely ground black pepper and then grilled it until it was fork tender but not mushy. I like it sprinkled with small traces of sharp cheese. Yummy!

Yesterday, I did learn something that you may not be aware. I know I wasn’t.  Prilosec is the most effective one hour before a meal. My doctor had written me a script for a higher dosage than on the shelf and I was taking it one hour before bedtime because of the reflux. Come to find out it works more efficiently taking it before the dinner meal or the largest meal. I tried it yesterday and I didn’t have the awful bile backwash that I was experiencing when I laid down. I had a little sensation like heartburn but nothing as painful as the reflux followed by vomiting. Nor did the doctor think to tell me it was the most effective way of taking it. He apologized and said, he thought pharmacists typically do so it didn’t cross his mind. Well, another lesson learned. Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks.

This girl needs to keep her writing fingers busy, I’ve got vignettes to write. Truth to be told. Courage to be shared. This foundation feels strong today  Or as a friend of mine Kare Enga said, “I’m the captain of my ship.” Full steam ahead then. So on that note I’m going with Dylan today. Forever Young.

 

“May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.”~ Writer(s): Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Jim Cregan, Kevin Savigar

 

Letter-c Day 32

In case you’re new to my blog and wondering why I name my posts the letter-c. with the day.  I’ll save you time scrolling back thru my posts. I have malignant cancer cells in my bile duct. On May 14th, a biopsy was done when they removed the stent that had been placed in the bile duct to allow it to heal on March 8th after being aggravated by gall stones that had escaped when they removed my gall bladder back on January 8th. Yes, we’re talking about a six month time frame. I’ve had multiple blood screenings which thus far haven’t shown the protons that pancreatic cancer emits. The blood screens are helping the doctors monitor my liver numbers since haven’t gone back down to the norm. Which is also another warning that things are not right.

Today, I met with my doctor. The poor man had no idea how stubborn and determined I am to be active in every part of the decision of my treatment. A month ago, he indicated that his patients trust him. He scheduled an MRI and blood work before having me come in to discuss what he thought was best. I took the time today to explain where I come from. I told him all about my family history, yes there’s a lot of cancer. It’s not a question of trust. It’s because I made the mistake with my first and second rounds of cancer to not ask enough questions or to push for my care.

My first abnormal pap smear happened when I was 22. They did pap smears every three months. Every one was abnormal but they took a wait and see approach. I became pregnant with youngest daughter and then thr doctor said I couldn’t carry my baby to term because it was too risky. He recommended an abortion. Wrong! I changed doctors and carried my daughter full term. Then I had a radical hysterectomy followed by chemo. I was 24 years old and naive.

When I was 44, I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Once again, the doctor took a wait and see approach. That also didn’t work out well and I had to have surgery followed by radiation. Bonus gift from the radiation, I ended up with breast cancer. Doctor didn’t tell me how high the risks were because he felt it was the best choice. I wish I had known all the risks and been included in the decision but I wasn’t given that option.

I had two different doctors this time, a wonderful surgeon (woman) who talked openly with me about the risks of leaving my breast in tact and doing the lumpectomy. The other doctor (man) was pushing strongly for me to have both of my breasts removed because of my family history and the fact that I have the BRCA1 genetic factor. I was divorced, in the early stages of a new relationship getting cut up wasn’t something I wanted. I knew the risks but I also remembered how devastated my grandmother was after losing her breasts. It wasn’t easy for her. I was lucky the surgeon did an amazing job, all I have is a minimal scar. The chemo stole my hair, and I was sick for a long time. I was lucky. So damn lucky. That was fifteen years ago.

I learned a lot with each experience but the most valuable lesson was to be my best advocate. Good decisions are based on having all the facts regardless. I’m 64 years old and this is my fourth cancer diagnosis. My doctor listened today, made a phone call to an oncologist that specializes in gastric cancers. The oncologist added his thoughts to conversation. Gastric cancers are typically bile, pancreas,liver, small or large intestine and stomach. I go July 7th to meet the oncologist in person. During the conference call, we decided to do another blood screening because my liver numbers are important indicators. I have to schedule that yet.  On August 11th, I have an upper gi screening, colonoscopy and the endoscopic ultra sound. Three important tests to make sure all the bases are covered.

I came home today feeling less stressed because they listened, really listened. I don’t feel as afraid as I did. It’s a good thing because putting on a happy face is exhausting.

It was very warm today at 91 degrees.. Early this morning I watered my herbs and
veggies in the rail planters but this evening when I went to water the lower patio garden
I checked. They were bone dry. I watered the upper garden and lower garden. The
weather report indicates were in for very warm days for the next fifteen days here in Jersey.
I love the seasons but I wish summer hadn’t rushed the heat. I expect July and August too be hot but not June.  It was 97 degrees in Caribou Maine. That’s crazy. The last time that happened was in 1977 and before that was 1944. I hope the high temperatures aren’t going to be like this all summer.

In 1983, was the first time I heard this song by Eurythmics. The lyrics could’ve been written for me. I was looking for something, and it seemed like every direction something happened. I never found that something but I knew I couldn’t stop because I was so very unhappy in my marriage. My children were my world and I buried myself in them and stopped looking until they were adults. In 2003, I filed for divorce.The world was mine and I knew what sweet dreams really were. Being single was mighty fine and nothing to be afraid of at forty-seven.

“Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something”~ Eurythmics
It’s been 34 days since I’ve slept peacefully, tonight is looking good.  Even the strongest women get tired at times. ❤