No More Empty Fortune Cookies!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cancer, Life, and Friendship

One day you're just plugging away at life, paying bills, cooking dinner, folding laundry...The next you're making plans for what will likely be your final visit with a very, very dear friend. One who you'd never expect to be dealt such devastating news.
Life is crazy like that, with its twists and turns. And cancer has no social, moral, or ethical boundaries. It doesn't care that you're still young. So very young. It doesn't care how vivacious you are. It doesn't give one single fuck about your plans, your dreams, your desire to make those around you happy for all the days of your life. It will cut you down without a second thought about the contributions you make to society, and it won't even give you the chance to kick its ass. It just silently goes to work killing you without you knowing it's even there, until it's just too late.
I'm mourning my friend, M, right now, and she's not even gone yet. I'm mourning the fact that I moved away and haven't seen her since then. I'm mulling over the fact that I once saw her every single day and we shared laughter and tears, gardening tools and meals...We took walks and drives, we pampered our wives and commiserated with each other about how our houses needed cleaning...
We bonded, like fast friends do. We weren't just neighbors, but very close, very dear friends. And she always made me laugh, and always knew just how to brighten up a day.
I think about the situation she has been dealt, and I'm pissed. It's just not fair! NOT FAIR!
She was always the one to say, "I need to go exercise, gotta keep healthy!" or "I'm eating this now because I read that it is good for our health."
Ever since I got the news on Wednesday, I've been doing some research. I wanted to know what it is that we're up against. We already know that aside from the large mass that was found, the CT scans and subsequent biopsies showed more in her lungs and even more in her liver. I know that this means we're looking at stage III, likely stage IV disease. The prognosis, at least as far as I can decipher from what I'm reading, is poor.
"Surgical excision remains the cornerstone of therapy. There are no long-term survivors of stage II or III disease; therefore, early diagnosis and treatment remain crucial."
"Five-year survival for all patients with this melanoma is only 3 to 22%."
I'm frightened for my friend, M. I'm frightened for her wife, P. I'm saddened that this is happening to them, the sweet, caring, loving, nurturing people who spent every birthday, holiday, and random celebration with The Wifester and I. The ones who took care of our pets and plants and who left "Congratulations" balloons in our living room for us to come home to after we flew to Canada to get married. And the ones who were there for us through our difficult times, too. When we told them of my diagnosis with my eye disease, it was M who cried and asked me, "Are you going to be left in darkness?"
And now it is me, crying for her, but the darkness she is facing is so much bigger than my loss of sight. I don't know how to support her through this. I don't know how to support P through this. If we still lived next door, I'd pop over and do laundry, cook some meals, wash some floors...
But I'm in Ohio, now, and they're still back in Tennessee. I want to go see my friend, and hold her tight. I want to tell her that it will all be okay and that she is strong enough to fight this thing. I truly hope that she is. But I'm frightened, as I know she is. As I know her wife is.
How do you support someone who is probably dying, much sooner than ever anticipated? How do you support her wife of 20 years?
I can't imagine. And I'm so flipping pissed off that of all the people in this world, this had to happen to them.
It's not right. It's not fair.
Fuck you, cancer!

Friday, January 23, 2015

An Open Letter To Davidson Academy

A situation regarding a private school back home, in Nashville, has my blood boiling right now.
You can read more about the situation here.

An Open Letter to Davidson Academy in Nashville, Tennessee,

I'm writing in regards to the Copeland/Bullard situation: The two fathers whose children were denied their opportunity to visit your school because of your policy about homosexual parents.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not disputing a private school's right to set their own standards and guidelines. But I do dispute whether or not this is what Jesus would do. I also dispute your right to unjustly discriminate between one type of "sin" vs. another.

A friend of these fathers called your school this morning and explained that she was divorced, due to her infidelity within her marriage, and that she now lives with her boyfriend and her children. She was welcomed to come visit the school to discuss an opportunity for her kids.

Your letter, declining this family, pointed to your school's admissions policy. The policy, outlined in your handbook, requires all students, parents, guardians, teachers and administrators and staff to "manifest lifestyle conduct and actions which project an image consistent with the expressed purposes, missions and beliefs of the school." So where was that policy when the young lady called saying she had been unfaithful to her husband and was now living outside of wedlock with her boyfriend?

I find that people who practice this kind of discrimination in the name of Christianity are far more detrimental to the ideals of Christianity than the people they rally against.

It turns my stomach to think of those sweet children being shunned because someone in an office couldn't get past their own insecurities.

It turns my stomach to read stories like this, stories that make me roll my eyes and think, "Yep, there goes those awful, hateful, ignorant Christians again. Why does anyone even bother with them anymore?"

It turns my stomach because my heart and my soul are full of forgiveness, hope, and love. The opposite of what I see being portrayed by so many "Christians" today.

And it breaks my heart for that family.

I hope you and your facility can objectively reassess your own positions, and ask yourselves, truly, what would Jesus have done here? Because the Jesus that I read about and studied most certainly would not have done what you have done.

Thank you for your time,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Peace, man

There's a certain peace that has entered my life. I don't know if it comes from my age, exhaustion, a quiet resignation, or simply a side effect of a wisdom, of sorts, that I've developed after years upon years of spinning my wheels, and burning my candles, and running in circles. But whatever brought on this peace, I welcome it. I don't have to fret over the outcome of your life anymore. Not for long, anyways. And I don't have to fix everything for everyone anymore, that's not my task to take on. Sure, I still worry, and I still get sad and angry and all those weird kinds of emotions bubble up to the surface now and again, but they're supposed to if I'm going to be a living, breathing, human adult. And speaking of living, breathing, human adults, I finally feel like I just may be one, most days, that is. There are still those moments that I feel like curling up in a ball and holding my breath until I pass out or screaming at the top of my lungs, "That's SO NOT FAIR!!!" But instead I take a deep breath, I exit the room, and I compose myself. Most of the time that works. Watching those in my life struggle can be difficult. I reflect on the times that I have been in similar positions and remember how distraught I have felt in those moments. It's not easy to see your way out of a very deep, very dark hole. But once you make up your mind to climb up that seemingly impossible wall, you find yourself on the ledge with blue skies and steady ground ahead. At least that's always been my experience. I can't make anyone else understand that, because no one could make me understand it until I experienced it for myself. Much like a migraine or a bad gallbladder attack, you can't truly convey the way it feels to someone who has never experienced it. Some may think they understand it, but they won't truly until they've actually felt it. And, I guess, that's just how it is with personal growth. Peace follows, and since I am, and always have been a hippy, that peace is divine to me. It's butter on my bread.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

You never see an obese 70 year old

After a couple of years eating a mostly plant based diet, with some chicken and fish now and then, and regular use of dairy, The Wifester and I decided last month to go all vegetarian, she's actually doing vegan, that's a bit much for me right now, but maybe I'll try to aim for it in the future *baby steps*. I'm not sure I can give up cheese, though. Mmmmmm cheese...
But I digress.

This all came about after watching Forks Over Knives. If you haven't seen it, it's quite compelling! I even switched from dairy milk to coconut milk for my coffee. I'm pleasantly surprised by that one!

Anyway, I am really struggling with losing weight, even on the plant based diet. And, I'm embarassed to admit, that I actually struggle to get enough exercise because my weight and size makes it so difficult for me to have the stamina I had even just a year ago. I am considering weight loss surgery (lap band).

Even on the mostly plant based diet, I've fluctuated over the last year, losing 30 lbs, then gaining 45...

I'm 41 years old now, and I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I was a fat toddler, a fat grade schooler, a fat middle and high schooler, and now I'm a fat adult. I worry that won't live long enough to be a fat senior citizen.

I feel like if I could just lose enough weight to have more energy and more mobility, I would be able to exercise more and help myself lose more weight. I struggle with the guilt of "taking the easy way out" on this, but I also feel like my life is dependent upon me being healthier and losing this dangerous weight. What are your honest thoughts on that?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hasta luego, Tia

Over the course of the last couple of months, my blog has become a place to pay tribute to the ones I love who have passed much too soon. It's depressing and I hate it, but today, sadly, I am yet again here to do just that.

My sweet, funny, fun loving "Auntie Rosie" passed away last week. She had suffered from M.S. for many years, but ultimately, what got her was a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).
She was only 64.

Some of my earliest memories include her and several of my mom's other sisters gathered in the kitchen, aprons tied on tight, laughing, dancing, singing, and cooking. I learned a lot from each of those women. And I learned that when they spoke in Spanish, I needed to pay special attention because it was about to get really, really, interesting!

Auntie Rosie was the youngest of all the siblings, and she and I had that "baby of the family" trait in common. I always looked up to her for her humor, her spirit, and her constant, enduring smile.

Life is always followed by death...we can't stop it, it's just the way it goes. I guess all that we can do is make sure that each day counts.

Hasta luego, Tia Rosie. I'll miss you bunches!

Rosa “Rosie” M Lozada

Patriot Guard Rider
Albuquerque, NM, 07-05-2014
The husband, NMPGR Ride Captain has requested a flag-line as we honor our Rosie…

She was born October 26, 1949 in El Paso Texas. She has lived in Nashville Tennessee, Irving Texas and ultimately moved to Rio Rancho New Mexico where she passed away. She was predeceased death by her Father Guillermo Palacios, Mother Nieves Flores Palacios, Brothers Tony Palacios and Freddy Palacios. She is survived by her Husband Joseph Lozada; Children Cynthia West, Jose Lozada, Enrique & Stacy Lozada, Eva Rios; grandchildren Steven Smith, Adam West, Zoe West, Alexis McKillip, Raymond Young, Anthony Lozada, Jennika Lozada, Jorge Rios, Vivian Rios, Jesus Rios and Ana Rios; Brothers and Sisters Willie Palacios, Henry Palacios, Anita Benavidez, Maggie Sapien, Dolores Romero, Manny & Elaine Palacios, Jenny & Dennis Lucero and Phyllis & Jim Schleicher. She also loved her many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews that made her life happy and full of joy. She is being cremated at Riverside Funeral Home and a memorial gathering will be on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at Sister Jennie Lucero’s home, at 12 noon. Friends and Family are welcome. Call or text for the address.

Rosie was one of the greatest sports fan ever! She was a fan of the NY Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks and pretty much anything sports related on TV.

She was a member of the Red Hats Society and Patriot Guard Riders. Rosie loved life, family, and friends, dancing and always dreamed to go bungee jumping. She loved everyone she ever met and always had a smile on her face. Heaven has a new Angel.

6565 Paradise Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM
TRAVEL TO: 5953 Avenida La Barranca Pl NW, Albuquerque, NM (1 mile)
FLAG-LINE: 12:30-1 PM
Billy “Bam Bam” Crain - SRC -
Large bike flags will be needed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tomorrow is promised to none

There's something amiss in the Universe lately. I miss my Sally Sue terribly, and at the same time I love this Elsa Pup like nobody's business! It's amazing how quickly you become attached.

As much as my heart aches for my Sweet Sally Sue, I am at a loss for how my poor cousin must be feeling right now. Her wife passed away on Friday.

You may remember her from my Get Whitney On Ellen campaign.
Whitney suffered from a blood clotting disorder, Factor V Leiden, which caused her to suffer from multiple blood clots over and over again. Her body had developed resistance to all of the blood thinners, and specialists struggled to find a treatment that was efficient at keeping her blood from clotting. She survived multiple pulmonary embolisms, which in itself is quite impressive. Most people don't survive one, let alone the many she endured. She was given the poor prognosis last year, when doctors told her she likely only had a few months left to live. She lasted much longer than they expected. She was funny, friendly, and kept a positive attitude and a smile on her face, even as she faced the last few days of her life.

My poor cousin and her daughter are now left without a wife and without a mother. My heart breaks for this young, beautiful couple. They celebrated their one year wedding anniversary on the 16th, and Whitney passed away on the 20th.

I was inspired every day by Whitney's ability to make light of a terrible situation, and to face it with a smile on her face. I was inspired by her ability to always find the positive and accentuate it.

I hope you'll take just a moment of your day and send my sweet cousin, Lacy, and her daughter Marlee, some peace, love, and positive energy. The coming days are going to be a struggle for each of that that I can't even imagine.

And I hope that you'll grab your loved ones and give them an extra big hug today, and cherish them with all of your heart, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

RIP Whitney. You will be missed.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

This post brought to you by Bob Marley

My mom used to call me a "worry-wort." She said that I worried too much about things that I didn't need to worry about. Maybe she was right after all.

Bob Marley visited me last night. Really. Well, at least in my dream he did. He was in my living room, and he was singing to me! I was just in absolute awe as he sang what seemed to be a hybrid of what I think is a White Stripes song and something else...what, I'm not quite sure, but definitely reggae. He sat across from me singing, "You've got to take all your worries and you write them all down. You write them all down, you just write them all down. You've got to take all your worries and you get them all out, you get them all out..." And I was smiling ear to ear and I said, "Yea, Bob! That's what I do with my blog!" And I pointed over to the side and there sat my laptop, with this blogger dashboard open, but blank, waiting for a post. And Bob said, "Yes, mon. You know the deal." And then he took a big hit off of an enormous joint and he handed it to me. In my dreams, I smoke pot with Bob Marley. I mean, how awesome is that?

I woke up with that little tune in my head and I thought, that's got to be a song I heard, so I googled the lyrics, but I can't find anything. The closest is that White Stripes song, Little Acorns, but it's not exactly that either. I suppose that's not really important here, though. The important part is that some nook or cranny of my brain knew that I needed to process some stuff and that this is where I usually go to do that.

There's so many worries going on in my mind these days.
I worry that I am responsible for Sally's death. I worry that I was negligent and didn't notice signs and symptoms that may have led the vets to diagnose her before she was in crisis, possibly saving her life, or at least prolonging it.
I worry that she suffered because I failed her.
I worry that Elsa is now in my care and that I'll fail her, too.
I worry that I won't be able to keep up with the pace of the new job I start on Wednesday.
I worry that I'll lose that job, and then have to go back through the application process to get my disability check re-enstated, which took four years. We can't go another four years without that check!
I worry that The Wifester is too burdened with me and my rapidly failing vision and that she's wearing tired of picking up the slack when it comes to driving, and taking the dog out at night, and picking up stuff in the dark corners, and getting the cobwebs that I missed...
I worry that I'll never get to see my family before my vision is all gone.
I worry that I'll never get to see so many things before my vision is all gone: states, parks, mountains, monuments...I want to see them all before I can't see anymore, and I know I won't get to.
I worry about this meningioma growing on my brain's lining. My brain!!
I worry about these hives I keep getting...
I worry about paying the bills each month, because there never seems to be quite enough money to cover everything.

I worry.

I worry that I'll die, having squandered my life away, never having made a difference or effected any meaningful changes.
I worry for the world we live in- for the children growing up in war-ravaged countries, in crime filled neighborhoods, in slums.
I worry about the puppies and kitties and horses and all the animals who don't have a home, who don't have food and water, and especially those who do have a home, but it is not a good, loving, nurturing one.

And don't laugh at me for this, but I honestly worry that I don't worry enough.
Case(s) in point: Sally.

On the way to the vet that first morning when she just had the fever, The Wifester was terribly worried, and I was all, "Oh, honey, she probably just has another UTI and you know that causes fever. She's a young, healthy girl. This isn't like Sunny..."

And when Sunny was sick that day, and we took her to the vet, The Wifester was terribly worried then, too, and I was all, "Well, I think she is showing signs of CHF, but that can be manageable, and I think we are catching it early enough since she just started showing the signs. I don't think she's dying right now."
She died that day.

I should have been more worried.

I should worry more about our financial futures. But I always end up just being happy that bills are (mostly) paid and we got to indulge in a few small luxuries. I don't need the biggest house or the newest fashions...I just need love, togetherness, and a few good meals that I don't have to cook every now and again. And puppy kisses. I need lots of puppy kisses in my life.

I feel better already, just listing all my worries. They're valid, most of them, but they aren't overbearing. It's probably natural to worry. And I need to allow those worries to be sorted out and filtered without stressing over them so much. I always say that I'm really a laid back, go with the flow kind of gal, and for the most part I am, truthfully. But even though I've learned to be able to adapt and go with the flow, that doesn't mean that I don't still worry.

How about you? What do you worry about and how do you cope with that worry?