Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well, I guess I can't deny it now!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The South

That's a Southern accent you've got there. You may love it, you may hate it, you may swear you don't have it, but whatever the case, we can hear it.

The Midland

The Inland North

The Northeast


The West


North Central

What American accent do you have?
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nurturing Differences

Learning has always come very easy to me. I was an early reader and I loved going to school. Until recently, I had a mind like a steel trap for details. Unfortunately, that's all changed... but I digress. I'm also a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator, so getting me to do homework was challenging for my parents. When I finally settled down to do my homework, I did well and actually enjoyed what I was learning. Heck, I liked learning so much, I became a librarian!! My grades weren't always the best once I got into higher grades, but that had to do more with my own laziness than my intelligence.

Today, as a parent, I'm faced with a much different situation. (Debra is facing the bigger impact of this, but she can write about her feelings around this on her blog if she chooses to.) Sofie is struggling with homework and many aspects of learning in first grade. I witnessed it first hand when I was helping her do a simple math work sheet a few nights ago. The frustration on her little face was so sad to see. She has only had homework for a few weeks now, so this is the first glimpse we're actually getting of the struggles she's having with learning. Sofie is a very bright kid. She grasps so many things. This is the same kid that told a teacher in kindergarten that your eyes dilate when you go into a dark room. (Never mind that the teacher was only looking for an answer like, "you turn on a light" or "you look for monsters" when you enter a dark room!) I hate to see her get so disheartened around schoolwork.

Many of you know Sofie's story. Her early life was challenging for many reasons. Her strong spirit is probably what kept her going. I can only hope that same spirit stays strong during these first few years of school. I know Debra has done all that she could to make sure Sofie's had the best resources to encourage and assist her learning since an early age. She has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), but just how beneficial this will be for these particular issues is yet to be seen.

Debra and I are not professional educators by any stretch of the imagination. We're just concerned parents, with great intuition, who think there's something going on that's not getting identified. We've both commented to each other that we suspect dyslexia or her vision problems are hindering her learning.

How do you take a child with such individualized learning needs and allow her to succeed in a setting that's geared towards group learning? How do you nurture and assist someone you want to succeed without having any idea how to teach her? I really want to be a hands on parent in all respects, I just don't want to let her down or discourage her. All you wise souls out there, any tips?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bald is Beautiful

Well, I did it...actually, Sharon did it. My hair is gone and it feels great. I was sick of waiting, so I did a pre-emptive strike on Sunday. Pictures will be posted later, so go ahead and rev up those funny bones for any witty comments!!

Friends are also offering hats for the winter. I've gotten a very cool leather beret from Angela and a co-worker just crocheted a really cool wool hat for me. Since the weather has been warm this week, I've been hatless. It's really interesting the smiles, nods and general comments being bald elicits. Some have just been blatant and asked if I'm finished or starting chemo. I love that people are so forthright. I smile, nod and comment back. I'm all for human connection, whatever way it comes.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Up to speed

So with all the previous posts, most can be up to speed on my life. I'll try to post more regularly. Ever since my writing workshop, I have been looking at the world through a writer's filter...I just need to WRITE!!

Post Thanksgiving Blahs

Previously posted November 25, 2006

Yesterday, I was feeling sorry for myself. No one called to check on me. I just felt super lonely yesterday. My parents had called the day before, but I had been out at my best friends giving thanks and eating WAY too much food!! By the time I woke up Friday, all the tryptophan had worn off and I was in a funk. Sofie called to ask if I wanted to go see the penguin movie. We chatted, she cheered me up a little...just being who she is...Debra and I chatted about how we'd make the transition, which was going to be at the movies. After making the plans I hung up, and just keep going lower and lower. I kept postponing showering and that just kept me laying on the couch, watching good, bad and indifferent TV. Maintaining a cheery, positive outlook can be a bit daunting for someone. Today was as real as I could get, however it was real and alone.

My mood has shifted dramatically since Sofie, Debra and I saw Happy Feet yesterday. Sofie is soooooooo damn cute. She sat between Debra and I. At one point, she stretched her arms out and put one on my neck and one on Debra's neck. She keeps trying to reconnect Debra and I. She's said she wished we all lived together. Apparently, her little mind has amnesia from the disagreements that Debra and I had while we lived together. We're much better friends than partners. Boundaries are kept and Sofie tries her best to breakthrough and bend those boundaries. I assume she'll get that it's for the best one day. :-)

Today, Sofie and I are taking my cat Boone over to Debra's to see if and his sister Gracie might be able to live together again. Since we separated them a year ago, they've both become incredibly needy and whiny and cry-y. Poor babies. I just hope they can live together and be happy again. I'll miss Boonie's cuddles, but I will not miss the incessant crying that occurs after I've been gone for the day.

After the cat experiment, we'll head over to a friends house for a post wedding celebration. Sofie really just wants to go for the pool(hot tub), but that's the negotiations we all make when we have 6 year olds living in adult worlds.


Previously posted on November 6, 2006

Yesterday, I completed my first round of chemo. Today, I'm feeling great. I'm at work, trying to stay on top of some projects. I decided that it was time to send out a note to my colleagues that I work with on a daily basis. Below is the note I sent out. Should update most on how I'm doing. I'll really try to write more. I can say, the writer in me has seen a thousand possible stories just by sitting in the waiting rooms in various treatment spaces at Duke. I know each person there has their individual stories and I'm itching to create those from my perspective.


Hello All,

I wanted to send out a note to everyone to make you aware of some things and ask your assistance, too. I'm not a person who keeps things close to the vest, so I'm just getting this out for those who have been afraid to ask questions. (BTW, feel free to ask many anything you want to know about what's going on!) As many of you already know, I'm currently undergoing treatment for endometrial cancer. Actually, the surgery took care of the cancer, so I'm theoretically cancer free. I'm just being treated aggressively since I'm *so* young!! ;-) The treatment is considered adjuvant, which basically means they're making sure nothing escaped the hands of the surgeon and went cursing through my veins to other locations in my body!! I've already finished 25 radiation treatments and an internal radiation procedure. Chemotherapy started yesterday.

With all of that said, I just wanted to warn you of some changes that will be occurring shortly based on the chemotherapy I started yesterday. The most noticeable change will be my big bald head that will grace the presence of the office in a few weeks. I've chosen not to go the wig route, so I'll be donning hats of different sorts. I've already purchased the hat I'll wear on casual Friday's. It's a ball cap that's emblazoned with "NO HAIR DAY" on it's front. Make all the jokes you want. I've already been asked by a few if I'm getting a tattoo on my head. My initial response was maybe I'll turn my head into a globe since it's so big!! Someone else asked if I had considered advertising on my head. Help offset the costs of all this stuff. Nah, not for me. So, with the baldness being a shocker of sorts, I just wanted to give you a heads up. (For the folks in EMEA and AP, I can always send photos so you won't miss out on this lovely experience.) Extreme fatigue, nausea and pain are often associated with chemo as well.

The other big thing that will happen is a phenomenon called "Chemo Brain". There have actually been studies done on this particular side effect. These are the cognitive side effects that go along with Chemotherapy. Big ones are forgetfulness, lack of concentration and difficulty multitasking. Who knows what will effect me. I'm letting you know this so if you ask me a question, do it in writing!! Walking over to my desk and asking me to follow-up on something w/o written back up will often result in nothing being done. (This is something I'm already experiencing from the other therapies I've had.) Don't avoid me, just remind me. I may forget words, heck I may even forget names. Just know, I'm still me and laughing will be the key to getting through all of this.

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers( or whatever you do.) It's all appreciated very much.


That's it for now. Peace, love and wellness.
Previously posted September 21, 2006

If I were into sports, I'm sure there's some metaphor there!

I've survived week one of Radiation. No side effects to note yet. The process takes no time at all, but it occurs each day. I'm getting blasted in 4 different spots for about 10sec each. When it's over, I joke to friends that I've just gotten microwaved.


Two weekends ago, I started a Women's Writing Intensive workshop led by my friend Zelda. I've heard from way too many people that I need to write more. A psychic has encouraged me for several years to write. The last time I saw her, she encouraged me to pay attention to the synchronicity of Zelda entering my life when she did. OY!! Damn psychics!!

Since I've been living in a tunnel and not writing anything, I only had my blog to use as writing samples. I was really nervous about sharing such personal stuff with 3 women I didn't know. So, with breath held, I took a big leap of faith and just did it. The response was really good. Of course I'm a "raw" writer. But everyone was encouraging and one woman said, "I'm hooked, I want your blog address." No WAY, but it made me feel good.


Started back to work on Monday after being out 2 months. UGH. Let me just plow through the days, weeks and months until I'm finished with treatment.

The long road ahead

Previously posted September 5, 2006

Well, dear readers, it's been awhile since I last posted. To do a quick catch-up: Six weeks ago today I had a hysterectomy. To the shock of my surgeon and pretty much everyone, cancer was present. So, just like that, I'm dealt a new hand to deal with. Stage IIIa endometrial cancer at 40. Whew.

For the past 6 weeks, I've been healing and dealing with the road ahead. I've determined my attitude will be one of the best things I have going for me. Some friends fear I'm in denial, but I assure you all, I know this is *very* real. I ride an emotional roller-coaster everyday. What I choose to do is live in the moment and do life as usual.

The road ahead is pretty long. Five weeks of radiation five days a week, a possible surgical procedure after that, then wrap it up with 6 sessions of chemotherapy. YeeHaa. Well, bald is the new sexy, so we'll see how my big head presents itself post head shaving later this Fall.

That's all I'm going to write for now. Still processing it all.

Quick Check-in

Previously posted on July 29, 2006

Wanted to let everyone know how I'm doing from the surgery and what happened. On Tuesday, a total abdominal hysterectomy was done due to the fact that endometrial cancer was present and accounted for. Ovaries and tubes are gone along w/ a few nodes. Pathology report back next week. Worst case scenario is radiation, but surgeon thinks it was all contained in uterus. Exhausted. Incision was vertical, so the toughest to heal. Will post more when I can.

Much love to all.

Emotional release...FINALLY!!

Previously posted July 20, 2006

My, oh, my. It does feel good to cry. I can't even remember the last time I had a really GOOD cry. I was pretty emotional when Debra was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, but still not a full blown cry...just weepy.

Today, the floodgates opened up.

I've had Sofie with me for quite a bit of time over the last few weeks. For the most part, we had a great time. I love that kid so very much. After I dropped her off, I immediately started to cry. Those cries quickly became sobs. Fortunately, I needed to drop her snakes(not real), clothes and blankie off at Debra's house, so I sat in her living room and just sobbed for about 15 minutes. After getting it together enough to drive, I proceeded to work.

Down the road a bit, the waterworks started again. I then called my best friend...who is a source of much of my laughter. I cried into the phone, "I command you to make me stop crying!!!" She asked why I was crying? "Because I'm having surgery on Tuesday and I might diiiieeeee!!!!" She laughed, and assured me I wouldn't die on Tuesday...maybe she'd kill me after I bossed her around a few times too many post surgery. Mission accomplished, I was laughing hysterically.

So, why the water works now? Because I'm human. I love. I feel. I experience.


Previously posted July 12, 2006

I am having SUCH a hard time concentrating on anything these days. My mind wanders here, staggers there. I think I'm on-line too much and my mind is now forever surfing something! It doesn't help that I'm librarian who's job is to search ALL day!! But I digress...

A very cool thing happened today. Some of you know I hate my current job. I work for "the man" and really don't like corporate america. It's soulless and soul-sucking. I want to work in an environment where I can be excited about what I do...or what the organization does. On Friday, I had a "non-interview" with the Program Director at the up and coming Integrative Medicine clinic/facility/?? at a local university. She took time out of her extremely packed day to chat with me for 1 1/2 hours! She loved me. She loved my background, my enthusiasm, my commitment to the program and my personality. She just loved me. Unfortunately, I don't really fit into any of the current jobs they have available. I knew that going to this meeting, but I wanted to go anyway. I'm glad I did. She really wants me to have a place there. Today, she emailed me for a writing sample. Unfortunately, any writing I've done in the area she wants is owned by a now defunct company who has no presence anywhere! I told her I'd be happy to write something on a topic of her I wait patiently.

There lies the rub...I think I suck at writing. I get writer's block big time! I've got to move past this. I enjoy writing, especially in the health field. I just have to get and maintain a confidence about this. I trust it will all work out because that's the way it's supposed to work.

Coming up for air

Previously posted July 8, 2006

It's been awhile since I've posted. Mainly due to life being hectic, but also having to do with a lack of words coming to me. I'm still dealing with both issues, but wanted to post something!!

Surgery is scheduled for July 25th. Still lots of unknowns. Will the ovaries stay or go? At my age(40) it's better to keep them. However, if there's any cancer, they go!! Will it be laproscopic or a larger cut? Apparently, that depends on the size of my uterus...who knew? So, all of these decisions will be made on the table based on criteria the surgeon and I discussed. If A, then B. If B, then C. You know the drill.

Sofie and I are heading south for a visit with Nana(my mom)today and to attend the birthday party of my longtime friends kids. It'll be an overnight with a return tomorrow so we can attend a pool party with other single moms who are lesbians, and our kids!! Should be fun, as Sofie is quite the dolphin...and charmer.

Water Works

Previously posted June 19, 2006

Some know that I'm in a year long program studying Polarity Therapy. I know most folks have never heard of Polarity Therapy, so I'll just briefly describe what it is. Polarity therapy is energy-based body work that works with the nervous system, chakras/elements, nutrition, self awareness, movement and other means. A session can be transformative and healing. The focus is primarily on self-awareness leading to self-healing.

I spent this past weekend in my Polarity class studying the Water Element/2nd chakra which is, you guessed it, the area that includes the reproductive system. There was much support from my class and instructor around the process I'm entering surrounding my hysterectomy. I've really come to terms with this. In fact, I've never had issues around it. My reactions are totally reactive to societies issues about hysterectomies. Interestingly, the communities that have the hardest time with hysterectomies are alternative healers and very own communities! There's sometimes judgment around removing organs and what it will do to your "womanhood."

I've spent much time thinking about this and over the weekend, I was able to tell my story, let it be heard and feel supported around it. My relationship with my reproductive system has always been adversarial, at best. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome at the age of 19. Basically, I *never* started my period without the assistance of pharmaceuticals. It was always a pain, wondering when/if I'd start my period. Sometimes I'd have *heavy* periods for weeks, sometimes I'd have NO period for YEARS. My reproductive system = bane of my existence. Energetically, I feel my dis-eased uterus is blocking my creativity. The 2nd chakra is your creative center, among other things. I have a colleague who told me that after her hysterectomy, she started painting. Her creative block was removed! That's the sense I get intuitively about my situation. This was a lot of words to just say, I'm really okay with the hysterectomy!!

Hysterical? Hysteria? No, Hysterectomy!

Previously posted on June 13, 2006

Today, I got the path results from my uterine biopsy. Not great news. The cells that had been there prior to my D&C this past Fall, have returned...and meaner. It's yet to be determined if it's cancerous, that won't be known until post surgery.

Hysterectomy, wow. I never thought I'd have a hysterectomy before my 41st birthday. Only having this news for 6 hours or so, I'm swirling with emotion. I'm sure I'll write more as the process unfurls.

Processing, processing, processing

Previously published on June 12, 2006.

I had the most wonderful weekend. I was responsibility free as Debra and Sofie are out of town for 10 days. I miss Sofie, but I know she's having a great time with old friends and family and Debra is getting her "gay male" fix. (When we lived in CA there were so many gay men in our lives...not so much where we are now) So, without all the responsibilities that come with family, I was able to have a weekend dedicated to ME!!! And it was just awesome.

First of all, since Thursday evening, after therapy, I've been waking up at 4a on the dot! Usually, I have no problems going back to sleep, but Friday-Sunday, I had a horrible time of it. With that said, just know that last night I had the best nights sleep I'd in a very long time. I attribute my Saturday and Sunday activities for that wonderful nights sleep.

Saturday started out with a session with my former therapist who I now use as more of a Spiritual guide. It was an incredible session. I've been struggling with a disconnect between my head and the rest of my body. I'm very aware of this and it's effected many aspects of my life. (This past week I had a massage, regular therapy and spiritual therapy and the ALL stated how I need to be more in my body.) Part of that disconnect involves a tightness in my throat. It's a very significant tightness that occurs when I need to cry or speak my voice. During the session Saturday morning, we did a guided imagery to get to the root of that tightness. Long story short, it ended up being "dark energy" which may sound ominous, but it's not. We all have it at some point in our lives and it is hard to get rid of. Through the assistance of this guided imagery, I was able to find out about that energy...why it was there, how long it was there, if it would was a very cool process. After the guided meditation, we talked about the significance of this. She said that dark energy usually shows up during times of healing and that makes sense based on the past few months. She also said that now that I've gotten rid of it, I should start noticing some very interesting shifts in the way I am. (I want you all to know, I am a skeptic by nature, so I believed it, while simultaneously having my doubts.)

I proceeded through Saturday with an awareness of the tightness that had been in my throat and the pain in my ears. I just sat with it, felt it and didn't try to analyze it.

Saturday evening, I hung out with my good friends Angel and her new girl, Annette, along with Sharon, Tracey, Cindy and Melinda. We had a *wonderful* time, laughing, talking and eating some wonderful SC BBQ that Angela prepared with love. I love moments like those. Hanging out with good friends, not a care in the world and lots of LAUGHING!! It really nourishes the soul.

I had a fitful night of sleep on Saturday, partly due to the processing my body was doing, partly due to the activity I had planned for the next day and partly to the INCREDIBLE thunderstorms we had overnight. I woke up at 4a again, went back to sleep for a little while then at 530a was awakened by an incredible CRACK of thunder accompanied by a brilliant FLASH of lightening. After that, I was up for the day. So with approximately 4-5 hours of sleep under my belt, I prepare for my Sunday adventure.

Sunday's adventure deserves a little back-story as it involves my very first girlfriend from 16 years ago. As most people, I was a very different person then than I am now. Many heartaches and life lessons later, I've come out the other side a pretty self aware person. (Still tweaking, but feeling pretty good about things now.) So, Cathy and I were each other's very first girl lovers...I was 24/25 and she was 30/31 when we dated. So naive for lesbians. It was a wonderful first love experience, until it wasn't. It never became a horrible situation, it just fizzled out. Now that I'm in the process of recognizing patterns in relationships, fixing them and setting the ideal for "the" relationship, I needed to process a little with Cathy. We haven't spoken or seen each other for 4 years, although we live less than 2 hours from each other now. So, it should be interesting to catch up and see if we can heal a wound or two.

Cathy and I have been emailing for a little over a month. I contacted her after I started seeing my new therapist. We were discussing all my old relationships, my patterns, why/how these relationships ended...blah blah blah. I didn't have any answers for that particular relationship and I wanted some. I contacted Cathy and we commenced to emailing. I took a leap of faith on Friday and asked if I could come visit. I put the ball in her court, because I didn't want her to do something she wasn't comfortable with. She said yes, so Sunday morning I headed 3 counties over for a day of hanging out with her. I was so nervous!! Without going into all the boring details, we spent almost 10 hours talking. We processed our past relationship; we also talked about where our own paths have taken us, the similarities in our lives, as well as the different paths we've taken. It was an incredible day of healing. I feel there's finally closure on that relationship 16 years ago.

I feel so light and airy today. No tightness in my throat at all. Last night, I slept from 930p-6a without waking up ONCE!! It was a very restful night and I feel that I'm beginning a wonderful chapter in my life.

Mind - ??? - Spirit

Previously posted on June 8, 2006

I had a very interesting revelation last night during my massage...well, actually my massage therapist did. When I got on the table, face down, I felt like my shoulders were caving inward so nothing above my waist was touching the table. Doing the ol' "protect the heart my enveloping in" posture!! I mentioned that to Tracey, my friend/massage therapist, so she started pushing my shoulders down towards the table for quite sometime. She spent an inordinate amount of time grinding my mid-back with her elbows as well. That's an area I hold stress and emotion.

Meanwhile, we're having this conversation about releasing emotions and how I really feel I need to do some serious releasing. She has a great gift of intuition as well, plus she's my best friend Sharon's partner. Anyway, she kept getting hits on words like release, tolerate, body. While were conversing about these words she had an AH HA moment. Basically, she said that I know a lot about things...I can relate things to one another and see the big picture. I know about chakras and emotions and which effects what. What I DON'T know is my body and how it relates to all of this. I'm really tied into Mind and Spirit, I'm just missing the relationship to my BODY!!! With that revelation we talked about me moving more...or at this point, at all.

Moving my body might just be the key to the emotional release I need. I tend to be very "heady" and process and keep those wheels spinning. If I could convert that head talk to body movement, I think that will be a key to release and growth. I'll let you know!

Today, I started my new ritual of eating lunch at my desk and using my lunch hour to work out.


Previously posted June 7, 2006 - this was the beginning of a new chapter of my life and I didn't even know it at the time

Last Fall, I had a D&C because my uterus was lined with precancerous cells. So, 8 months later and a round of Natural Progesterone pills, my GYN did a uterine biopsy late yesterday. Last time, I barely felt it, so I had no apprehension at all. Well, once the procedure started, I sure wish I'd had the were with all to take Valium or something!! OUCH!!! Nothing like having a long sharp instrument threaded through your cervix for the shear purpose of ripping tissue from the walls of my uterus!!!

I got home from the procedure, took a Tylenol w/ Codeine, ate, laid on the couch, took *another* Tylenol w/ Codeine and called it a night. Woke up this morning just a little achy. Drove to work and proceeded to attempt to work. Let's just say, sitting at a computer is not the most conducive environment when one is in pain. Around noon, I left work, came home, took another Tyl. w/ Cod. and have been couched up all afternoon. Finally feeling a little better. Fortunately, I have a massage scheduled tonight, so I'm hoping that'll make me feel better.

Complex or Complicated?

Several years ago, over the span of about two years, I saw a Psychic and 3 different astrologers. (I was in an "all about me" phase!) Within the first 10 minutes of each session, each person stated quite emphatically that I was a complex person. Over those past few years, it's been a running joke with my friend Sharon that I'm really complicated rather than complex. So with those thoughts, I begin a new blog. I'm really trying to use this place to encourage, force, facilitate or whatever me to write more.

I have a blog that I've kept for some months that I keep private from most people. I'll start with posting some of those entries to catch folks up. After that, I'll write new stuff.