January 2008

Today as I sit here contemplating my life, I seriously feel like hopping a plane to a far away island and never looking back. I am so sick of the bullshit. I have far too many responsiblities, too many open ended situations with almost no answers for any of them. On top of this I’ve had the flu for a week, and am still dealing with the remaining cough and feelings of exhaustion. The week prior to that I was racing around preparing for my grandma’s 81rst birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma! 81 is pretty amazing! The two weeks before that found me waiting for test results to see if I had cancer. I do not. I am beyond grateful.

Today I’ve had enough of the bullshit. I am tired of being responsible for so many situations. I’m equally tired of waiting for the ellusive answers I need on more fronts than I care to think about. There are questions, so many questions, more concerns, and some very real wall scaling challenges in my life. Today I feel like packing it in, heading for the airport and saying that’s it. I’m done; I want off this freaking carnival ride.


If you read my last post, you know that the last couple weeks I have faced some seriously scary health moments. During the time I was waiting to have my biopsy (which later became an MRI and ultra sound ) I went to see The Bucket List with two girl friends; neither of which knew I was waiting to learn if I had cancer or not. Maybe not the smartest movie to see while waiting for test results but I truly wanted to see the movie. The movie is fantastic, emotional and hilarious. There were scenes that made me cry and scenes that were laugh out loud funny.

The movie reminded me of what my parents went through with each of their diagnosis and in that respect the movie was sobering and sad. Yet it was also life affirming; these men were striving to make the most of the time that remained and they did some amazing and beautiful things. They did things they’d dreamed of doing, but had never found the opportunity or money to do. As I waited for my own tests I had a lot of time to think about my life and what I’ve accomplished, and what I still want to do. Gratefully my test results showed me to be completely healthy and I am feeling blessed. Yet while I waited to hear I thought about what would be on my own list.

My current bucket list
Tahiti – French Polynesia visit at least two islands, maybe three.
Publish my book on healing grief and relationships.
Alaska – Take my grandmother on an Alaskan Cruise and go dog sledding.
Return to the Hawaiian islands and buy a condo.
Marry a passionate, loving man who loves me, our families, animals, God and understands my journey.
Consider adopting a little girl.
Treasure my family and friends.
Greece – visit the greek islands with my future husband.
Italy – See more of the county I fell in love with.
Russia – Visit the historical domed church in Moscow, and see the country.
Croatia – Visit the former family homeland of someone I’ve loved.
Return to Micronesia and visit Ponape again and see Palau, which I missed the first time.
Canada – Visit the french portion of the country.
Go back to the UP of Michigan where I camped as a child with my grand parents.
Caribbean – travel through some of the caribbean islands
Learn to dance.
Take a painting class.
Go to as many Yankee games as possible.

What’s on your bucket list?

If you were visiting my site last week then you know I mentioned I was facing some scary challenges. At the time I didn’t feel up to mentioning what was going on in my life; but today I will elaborate. A couple weeks ago I received a letter in the mail saying that there was cause for concern over my mammogram. Of course that freaked me out. WHO IN THE WORLD SENDS OUT A LETTER FOR SOMETHING LIKE THAT? ISN’T A PERSONAL PHONE CALL IN ORDER?

Due to the fact that I had moved the letter was forwarded, so that cost a few days and the letter arrived on a FRIDAY AFTERNOON. Fortunately my doctors office was still open and I was able to call and speak to someone there. But, the doctors office had NOT received the report. To say that I was frustrated and afraid would be a major understatement. The mammography office was closed for the weekend and I was left stunned with a weekend of no answers ahead of me.

On Monday am I went to my favorite place, the beach and sat until the office opened and then called. The mammography office said they would fax the report to my dr. The Dr’s office says they didn’t receive it until approximately 3 pm. The mammography office says they faxed it immediately. Who knows where the snafu happened, but I was left sitting for more than six hours waiting and wondering. Finally at 4:30 pm I sat down in the Dr’s office and heard more detail of what was happening with my body.

The Dr said with the results found; two very tiny spots on the same breast I would need a biopsy; especially since both my parents had died of cancer (not breast cancer). I was stunned. I waited the prescribed number of days…. too damn many I can assure you… for my scheduled test. After I arrived with my mammography films and signed in I sat with two good friends, who I had asked to come with me. I focused my energies, prayed and waited.

When it was time for my appointment the technician told me, you don’t need a biopsy, you first need an ultrasound. Then you will need a follow up MRI to be certain there is even something to biopsy. That made sense to me and to the radiologist who came to speak with me a few minutes later agreed. The ultrasound was done quite quickly and showed only one spot that appeared to be fiberous tissue, this was a positive first step. They then did their best to work me into their afternoon schedule for an MRI. After waiting with friends another couple hours I was able to have my MRI done. It was a simple process, but pretty overwhelming and scary for me. I’m claustrophobic and I don’t deal well with loud noise; I also hate needles, the test involves all three. To be fair they offered me a medication to help me relax through the test. Knowing I had to drive 30 miles afterwards I refused. In retrospect I think it might have been a good idea to take it. Isn’t hind sight great, laughter….. I prayed and focused my energies and had my two friends praying for me as well. I made it through the test, shaken but not stirred.

Within a short time I was able to meet with the radiologist and view the films they had taken during my MRI. Everything was normal. The only spot that showed was simply fiberous tissue, a condition that many women with dense breasts have. It was a blessed moment; my two weeks of fears, concerns and prayers were over. I had felt from the beginning that there was nothing wrong and when I prayed about it, I received the same message; yet hearing from a professional who views MRI and ultrasound films daily for their job is the voice I needed to hear to put all concerns to rest.

It was a blessed moment for me, and I am very grateful. What the experience brought to me was a deep understanding of what my parents went through with their cancer diagnosis and tests; and a deep empathy for other women who go through these experiences and then face a very different outcome. It was a sobering two weeks, yet a life affirming time to realize that I am doing exactly what I love, exactly what I need to be doing.

If my experience had turned out differently and I’d been told I had only a limited amount of time left I knew in my heart I was living close to my priorities. I was writing, doing what I love. I was looking for a publisher for my book. I had created a blog site to help people dealing with grief and healing; and I was midstream into working with a web designer to get an official website up. The only things I would have wished for would have been more adventures, and a committed man in my life.

I hadn’t done badly for myself. My experience wasn’t like hitting the brick wall and seeing I needed to make serious changes to my life. I’d already had that brick wall with my mother’s death and then six years later with my father’s death. I had paid attention when I hit the brick wall the first time, making serious life changes and following my dreams of living overseas and traveling. I had done that for ten years and what a blessing that was. It gave me the courage to handle the losses I faced and the bone numbing grief I lived through for more years than I care to count.

So today as I write this, tears streaming down my face. I am grateful. Grateful that I have followed my heart, trusted my gut and created as many of my dreams as humanly possible so far. I have a ways to go.. the book still awaits a publisher, my website will be up shortly and I look forward to creating that lasting, loving, long term relationship in my life and I know with God’s guidance that too will happen.

In the meantime, during my two week wait for tests I promised myself no matter what the result came back…I would go to Tahiti. So later this year look for posts about my trip. I plan to go in the next few months.

Sometimes our lives become way laid by responsibilities and the challenges we face. For the last few days I have been dealing with personal challenges of my own. Which I will discuss further on a future date. For today I just want to say that this week has been a real reminder to me to always focus my life on what I love.

Fortunately for me I’ve found ways to do that. These days I focus my energies on my book, getting my new website up and ready to go, writing on this blog and learning how to live a simplier life near the beach again.

It isn’t easy and lately it has been damn hard and scary. But if I can take anything from this week that feels good it is the fact that I am doing what I love and I love the life I am creating for myself. I believe in what I’m doing, what I’m creating and that gives me so much joy and pleasure.

So for those of you out there, trying to figure out how to create the life you love, amid a job that stifles you, or a relationship that challenges you beyond what you ever dreamed, take heart. Take small steps; small steps lead down the same path of success I am walking, and small steps mean you are less likely to fall on your ass and make stupid mistakes. How do I know this? The voice of experience I can assure you…laughter.

There are times to take big leaps. I know I have made them. Accepting a job, sight unseen on the island of Guam. It was the BEST decision I ever made and I spent three amazing years there. Ditto for giving up a great job on Guam and heading for Hawaii. That one was dicey for a bit. I worked two jobs for a while until I found a full time job in my career field of the time…education. It did work, but it was rough for the first four months or so. That is why I say; take some small steps and get your balance and then when you feel really confident, leap into it.

It has always paid off for me. Doing what I love has brought me jobs where I found adventure, new friends, new cultures to explore and eye opening experiences that forever changed me. So this week while I face my own challenges I’m reminded that I’m leading the life I love. I take joy from what I do and what I believe in and besides family and relationships what could be better than that?

My dad Merl

May those of you in grief find peace in your heart in this new year. May the love of those who have passed touch you and allow you to know they are with you, watching over you and continuing to surround you with love from spirit. Many times I’ve felt the presence of my parents and I know their love is always with me guiding me and helping me when I need it most. May you have a blessed New Year!