Category Archives: Menopause

My Cancer Story: Afloat!

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noodles

Thank you all for your lively and encouraging words. Your replies to this post about my endometrial cancer touched  me and sent happy healing energy through the Web.

As soon as I was diagnosed, Friend for the Ride helped keep me afloat!

I knew I could tell my story here.  My goal is to get the word out about endometrial cancer and to comfort others who face this form of the Big C.  Posts coming soon! Once a post goes up, the link will be added to the page at the top of the blog.

I knew too, that I’d have fun taking photos for the blog, and that Cliff, my wonderful assistant through all of this, would help.

Here’s one he snapped of my first meal, a liquid one, after surgery.

 

That’s a refreshing  mojito in the plastic glass. (They do, I must say, fail to add rum at UNC Hospital).

I got great news from the oncologist last week when the final pathology came in. No further treatments.

My body is mending, although I have a new understanding of what folks mean by post-surgery exhaustion.

My appetite came back yesterday. I’ve always thought it might be useful to have no appetite, but you only have to lose it to know the joy of its return.

But back to you all.

As a friend wrote to me two weeks ago:

So much love!

XOXO
Barbara

Top Photo: I gave out the orange floats during a children’s sermon at church a few months ago. I snapped the photo knowing I would use it for the blog in one post or another. Didn’t have a clue that post would be about a topic so serious and a relief so deep.

Grandma Update: MY Trucks

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Trucks

 

In the months before Mazen was born, I was touched to receive some Grandma presents.

Note the set of matchbox trucks and cars above.

Vroom!  Vroom!

Maze is now twenty-two months. My clever grandson has learned to attach “MY” to his nouns.

MY apple.

MY Elmo.

MY shoes.

MY firetruck.

So I tell him these are Grammie’s.

But I’ll share.

I just bought a bigger set. I let Maze help me unpack them.

You can get twenty way cool cars and trucks for sixteen dollars.  That’s less than I pay for Supergoop CC Cream to cover my age spots.

Trucks

These shiny vehicles are more fun and easier to use than the CC cream too.

The trucks are my favorite, maybe because Maze is now deep into trucks.

“Big truck,” he yells when we spot one on our walks.

I’d like to say it was menopause that sparked my passion for trucks.

How well would that fit with the theme of the blog? Estrogen takes a nosedive, and your enthusiasm for trucks skyrockets.

But no doubt my new found love for trucks was sparked by another M word.

I’m thinking of getting the emergency vehicle set next.

I’ve got to perfect my siren sound first. Maze does a better firetruck than I do.

MY challenge!

MY summer project!

MY new goal!

maze-and-the-firetruck

 

PS. It’s lucky that Maze can do a great siren. He’ll be playing on this giant firetruck on the playground of his preschool in the fall. Wee-ooo, Wee-ooo.

Lady-go-lightly

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 A post by writer Frances Wood:

With today’s revealing styles, the average woman shaves some 414 square inches of leg

That’s what the ad said.

What it didn’t say was that today, 45 years later, I’d still be using the same razor on legs that maybe have a few more square inches on them. Width-wise, not length-wise. I’m not so skinny as I was at 18.

That girl who took this electric razor to college, did she realize she was creating memories?

I don’t think so.

She was thinking about classes and boys. About a new roommate-who-wasn’t-her-sister. And boys. She had no picture in her mind of the woman I am now.

But I can see her so clearly.

I see her 414 square inches of legs, and her short skirts, and the ski sweater her Arizona-based grandfather bought because he was convinced she might freeze to death back in New England.

She almost did. Well, her legs almost froze, because of those skirts.

But the sweater…

I still have that, too. And when I touch the still-beautiful wool I feel an immensity of love so much bigger than 414 square inches.

That love, and the usefulness of the razor, have kept me going (and feeling pretty) throughout my life.

The girl I was then didn’t know she was creating memories. She didn’t know she was saving love to warm the woman I am now.

I am so grateful to her.

1968, Edward's wedding

Photo Top: Ad for Remington’s Lady-go-lightly, circa 1968.

Photo Middle: Frances in the dress she made for her brother’s wedding.  Not shown are the shoes she dyed to match.

Photo Bottom: Frances now, still sporting lovely shades of blue. She’s the author of When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Daughter of Madrugada, and Becoming Rosemary. To learn more about Frances Wood and her writing, visit her website, Frances M. Wood.com. 

frances

 

Garden Blessings, a Cancer Diagnosis, and a Giveaway

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Pink Zinnea

I’m a reluctant gardener.

Perhaps because I can only grow zinnias and marigolds.  For real. All other seeds fail me. Perennials, except for a few, refuse to reappear in the spring.

But this year the gardening muse took over, and I planted zinnias galore.

I even dragged pots out of our shed and created a porch garden of zinnias and marigolds.

Blooms abound.

Never have blooms looked more beautiful.

Because a month ago, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

And the life that I sometimes grumped about and worried about and wondered about became the life I wanted to hold onto with every ounce of my being.

As surgery approached last week, an unexpected joy showered over me.

The bold colors of my zinnias shouted, “Notice us!” And I did.

Pizza on a neighbor’s patio became the best I’ve ever tasted.

The riverwalk on our new trail in Hillsborough felt like a grand wilderness adventure.

I was scared and nervous, for sure, but this worrier took on a type of calm.

Grace in its finest form.

I’m through with surgery. I need a few weeks to catch my breath. Then I’ll tell my cancer story.

Hope you’ll come along for the ride!

This morning, I was well enough to go into the garden and pick a bouquet of zinnias.

Never has my garden been such a blessing.

I love you, zinnias!

Giveaway: Anthologist June Cotner is offering one reader a copy of her gorgeous new book, Garden Blessings: Poems, Prose, and Prayers Celebrating the Love of Gardening (Viva Editions, 2014).  For a chance to win, simply enter a comment  by August 15 saying you’d like to be the winner. Thanks, June!

Cover of Garden Blessings

Here’s what the publisher says about June’s latest collection:

Our gardens grow us, and this collection of readings takes us down a path of pleasure. The overriding intention of Garden Blessings is to provide a heartwarming, spiritually focused collection of uplifting prayers, prose, and poems that share a common joy and appreciation for the love of gardening and the many blessings that gardens bring to our lives. June Cotner, a best-selling inspirational author, has gathered a bounty of garden blessings here, offering gems of wisdom that remind the reader and gardener in all of us just how much we learn from our gardens.

Me again: You’ll want your own copy, and the book makes a great gift. Here’s the Amazon link.  I do think this is one of the loveliest book covers ever! I had fun photographing it a few weeks ago on an old pedestal that usually holds a stone frog in my garden.