Downsizing: The White Elephant


White Elephant

“I wanted to give you your first white elephant,” my mom’s kooky friend said as we unpacked the wedding present.

And she did.

We found the elephant so homely, we never put her on the wall.

But we’ve never gotten rid of her either.

“We gave her away, didn’t we?” Cliff asked at dinner a year or so ago.

“Yes, I’m pretty sure we did,” I answered.

But in our attic downsizing project this summer, we found her in a dusty corner in her original box.

It’s funny what a lot of years will do to you.

Now I see her charm. Her whimsy. And the skill it took to make her.

Cliff found the perfect spot, high above a cabinet in our downstairs bathroom. She won’t have to be a working towel rack; she can just be Elephant Queen of the Powder Room. She deserves it after how we’ve treated her for the last 37 years.

What about you? Any treasured white elephants in your life?

White Elephant!  Where did the expression come from? From real white elephants! Read it here on Wikipedia.

White elephant

My Cancer Story: A Gulp and a Cookie Celebration



When I went back to my oncologist and surgeon, Paola Gehrig, for my post-op check up a few weeks ago, she announced that all systems are go. I don’t need to return for six months.

I asked some practical questions and then said, “Now may I ask a more serious one?”

“Of course.”

“If I hadn’t had this surgery, what would have happened?”

“Your cancer was early stage, but it was definitely not just a pre-cancer. It was moving into the uterine wall. It would have metastasized in two years.”


After the appointment in oncology, I celebrated life with a cookie on the terrace of UNC Hospital. The day was gorgeous, cool and dry with a breeze that tossed the cookie wrapper into the air. Not your usual fare for late summer in North Carolina. I’m a frosting girl, and I ate that treat as slowly as I could.

If my cancer has a purpose, the interior one is (I think) to be more appreciative and to whoop it up more.

But the outward purpose is clear. I’m now using my writing to advocate for early detection of endometrial cancer. I’ve been healthy all my life, and I felt fine. Look how close to death I maybe was.

Please help me spread the word.

My Endometrial Cancer page is an archive of all of my posts. This post  includes an interview with my doctor, Paola Gehrig. Dr. Gehrig highlights those early and often quite subtle cancer symptoms.

For those of you on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus,and others, a simple way to help spread the word is to share my endometrial cancer page or individual posts. Thanks!



Relief from Hot Flashes: A Book Giveaway



Front Cover_Elkins

 Hot off the press!

Relief from Hot Flashes: The natural, drug-free program to reduce hot flashes, improve sleep, and ease stress

Here’s what the publisher, Demos Health, has to say:

Whether going through menopause or suffering from the side effects of breast cancer treatment, hot flashes are an uncomfortable and often embarrassing aspect of over 25 million women’s lives. Based upon a decade of his own research and proven to reduce hot flashes by 80% on average, Dr. Gary Elkins is finally offering his revolutionary, step-by-step, 5-week hypnotic relaxation therapy program to the public.

How do patients describe Dr. Elkins’ hypnotic relaxation therapy program?

“It’s like a spa. It’s wonderful…It’s my “me” time. Sometimes I have trouble calling it hypnosis because [it’s] just helping us relax our bodies…helping you get control over your own body.”—Sally, program participant

“Control is the key thing. You can control your body, your temperature, your attitude, anything, you can control it… You don’t have to go through a hot flash. You can actually stop it and make it go away.” —Linda, program participant

With five accompanying audio recordings to guide readers through relaxation practice, Relief from Hot Flashes is a new and innovative program, emphasizing deep relaxation, which will help every woman overcome hot flashes without the potentially harmful side effects of hormone treatment, including:

•A personal hot flash diary to track frequency, severity, and daily triggers of hot flashes

•Questionnaires and forms to help rate and improve quality of sleep

•10 Essential steps to successful practice of hypnotic relaxation for hot flashes

•How to relieve other symptoms of menopause and improve your mood, relationships, and quality of life

Front Cover_Elkins


Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of Relief from Hot Flashes, simply enter a comment by October 15 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Three Years! Happy Anniversary Friend for the Ride!


Friend for the Ride in the Sand

Happy Three Year Anniversary to Friend for the Ride!

I like to write her name in the sand.

I write yours in the stars because you’re the world’s most wonderful readers.

Since the blog began, with the help of guest posters, I’ve published over four hundred posts. 




Thanks to those of you who leave sparkling and insightful comments. One reader recently wrote me: “Never thought I’d get so hooked on connecting with others this way!”

And thanks to everyone for reading!

Happy fall and on to Year Four…