First Round….Done!

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit:zazzle.com

My ex-husband has now passed round one in his fight against rectal cancer.  He has finished 6 weeks of chemotherapy that came in pill form, and that he was able to self administer from home daily.  During the 6 weeks of chemotherapy he also had radiation 5 days a week for almost 6 weeks.  The purpose at this point in his treatment was to shrink the tumor so the surgeon can get better margins in order to bring the 2 ends of the colon together after the colon is resected.   Amazingly, he has completed both treatments with very few side effects, and has kept his positive attitude intact.  Any health care professional will tell you that faith and determination are very important in the fight against cancer.  I have seen it myself in my 30 years of nursing. Once a person gives up, death will soon follow.  I can list at least 5 people I personally know who are battling cancer, and have the most unbelievable will to live, that it just is heart-stirring to watch.  He now will take about a month off before surgery to allow the colon to heal from the radiation.  At that time round 2 will begin, and things will get a little rougher.  Any abdominal surgery comes with risks, and as the surgeon explained, it is harder on the body than open heart surgery.  There is a chance that he may have to have a colostomy bag if the surgeon can’t get a “good seal” when the tumor is excised.  This, or course, is not the best outcome, but if it allows the whole tumor to be removed then it is a fair trade-off.  Often times they can return and have the colostomy reversed once the colon again heals.  My daughters were curious about a colostomy, so we spent time watching a video on You Tube of a very brave young girl showing how she changes her bag.  I was in awe that she had such self-confidence to “put it all out there.”  unfortunately these things are not comfortable things to watch, but it helps to show the reality of the situation.  If it does happen, it will become another routine part of  his life, just like brushing his teeth or shaving.  At the end of the day, if it means many more years of quality life, then bring it on!

The sad part of enduring this treatment is that he had become very weak during work one day, and had to go home to take a nap.  He has retired from police work, and has a job as an armed security guard.  He worked different positions in various companies (though the security agency he works for) and had become the supervisor of security in a local hospital.  He enjoyed the job very much, worked the day shift, had weekends off, and it came with the perk of a few extra dollars an hour.  (which still was a face slapping salary in the first place in my opinion)  Anyway…..the minute he had to leave that day he was demoted from being a supervisor at the hospital, sent to another facility to work, for less money, AND put on the 11-7 shift, working weekends again.  I am so angry with this company for jerking him around like this! It is discrimination in a very blatant form in my opinion.  I have tried to look at it from a business side, but it still comes down to punishing him because he has cancer.  I am sure that they are hoping he will quit so they can hire someone else at 10 dollars an hour!  The real crappy thing is that they provide no benefits to begin with….no insurance, no sick time, and minimal vacation time! Shame, shame, shame on them!

After surgery he will have to endure another round of chemotherapy, this time more intensive.  A port will be put in, and he will receive chemo through the port that will infuse over a 24 or 48 hour period every week for 6 more weeks.  This chemo will not be as kind as the pill form, but he has a good support system in place to help his through it.  I think at this point the final fight will begin, but it will hopefully be a straight path to a cure ♥

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I’m Want to be a Salt of the Earth Person Too

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

Aunt Doris, Erna, Grams and cousin Cher

(My aunt Dorrie, Grams, great-aunt Erna and aunt Lois)

       When I sit back and just reminisce about my childhood, most of my fondest memories revolve around my family and extended family.  I count myself blessed that I grew up surrounded by men and women who are what some people would call “salt of the earth” people.  Wikipedia describes salt of the earth people as “humble and unpretentious people.:  The Collins dictionary describes them as “a person or group of people regarded as the finest of their kind.”  They are hard working, uncomplicated, decent, dependable, and add value to those around them.  Wow, how can anyone lose when these people are in your lives as your ego and psyche are being formed?  I grew up in a small town of 1,000 people and most of my extended family lived somewhere on Hickory Street…with some a few blocks away “on the east side” of town.  I find this so funny now that I’ve grown up that we referred to it as the “east side of town” because our town was only about 10 blocks wide in any direction you looked.  Family was very important, and a holiday and vacation never passed without a get together.  As a child, you not only had a mom and dad, you had aunts and uncles who would step in and fill those shoes, especially if we were getting in trouble.  They all took responsibility for each other, and there was nothing that they wouldn’t do for each other.

(My uncle Shelly, Cousin Mosey and some of us “younger kids” banned to the front room)

Looking back, each and every one of my extended family members worked hard for the possessions they owned.  Many times they would share the cost of bigger ticket items, especially if is was something that everyone was going to be able to use.  They lived within their means, and I really think they appreciated the things they had.   The men and women of the family loved to fish, and it made economical sense to purchase an outboard motor to use on our annual family vacations every year.  So they all pitched in and bought that beloved boat motor.  I can vividly remember it all oiled up and wrapped in an old blanket ready to be hauled to Wisconsin for everyone to use every year.  The men would get up at the butt-crack of dawn to fish, and then the ladies would go out in the afternoon or early evening.  As kids we usually didn’t go out in the boat unless it was for a quick “ride around the lake” to look at houses that we knew we would never own.  We would sit on our assigned bench in the fishing boat, snuggly strapped into our moldy smelling orange life jackets, trying to dodge the spray coming up from the boat as it went faster and faster. You were usually soaked by the time you got back, but it didn’t matter, because you had no other worries in the world at that age.

hot game of cards at Christmas

(Aunt Doris, uncle Shelly, Grams, my mom, aunt Lois and great-aunt Erna)

Then there was the tiller that the “men” combined their money to buy.  Everyone had a garden somewhere, and a tiller just made the job so much easier.  So instead of one person buying one to use, they decided it would be easier to buy it together, and each spring everyone got to use it to start their garden.  If I close my eyes I can see it as clear as a bell, big, noisy, and brown and white.  It truly took a strong man to use it, as it was a beast.  But that’s what these salt of the earth people did.  They shared, they loved, they respected each other, and they passed down that respect and strong sense of family values to their children.  My mom and dad have passed away, my grandparents are gone, my great aunts and uncles are no longer here, but rest assured they, and my Aunts and Uncles who remain, have left behind a legacy of what it meant to be a “salt of the earth” person.  I cherish the memories that these people gave to me, even though at the time they were just going thorough the motions of every day life.  Did they know that the actions they displayed would affect so many of the next generation?  They set the bar high for those following them, but out of honor and respect  I will try to be true to my roots.  I will always treasure the things I have, I will try not to covet the things that others have, I will work hard for what I need in life, I will love those people who are close to me in my life, I will not hesitate to help someone in need, I will love God and my country, and  I will always try to  remember that family comes first.  For there would be no greater honor than to be remembered as a “salt of the earth” human being ♥

My Conversation with Jesus

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit: thebigquestions.comThis morning while waiting for my daughter to get ready for school, I heard a song by Thomas Rhett entitled “Beer With Jesus,” and it really got me thinking.  I know the day will come when I will meet Him face to face, and wondered just what I would say to Him?  We all have had blessings, tragedies, trials and temptations in our lives, some more than others. I was raised in the faith, as a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church member.  Anyone not familiar with this, lets just say they are a close step down from the Catholic religion, but are Lutherans.  I grew up going to church every Sunday, going to Sunday School every week until I graduated from high school, and became a confirmed member when I was in eight grade.  Our family had a bad experience with our minister when my mom died, and one by one we left the church, finding another to take its place.  It was like leaving a good friend, but that friend had disappointed us to the core, so it was time to sever the ties that I had known for my entire life.  I am now considered an Evangelical Lutheran, which is not as strict as our Missouri Synod counterparts. We also raised our children in the faith.  I just think that having a relationship with God make you more accountable for your actions.  As I said before, my moms advise to me before my first date was to not be caught in a “position” with my date that would cause me shame it Jesus appeared at that moment.  I realize what she meant now, but it was really strange advise when you are 16 years old.

So this morning I allowed my mind to reflect on what I would say if I had a conversation with Jesus.  I imagine He and I sitting around my dining room table, deep in discussion about the things that have happened in my life.  I would first apologize for the sins that I have committed, some involving the top 10.  I am not proud of that fact, as I have committed some whoppers in my life, but not without regret and embarrassment.  I want Him to know that  I knew I was veering off the right path, and always held myself responsible for my slip ups.  I won’t blame anyone else for my mistakes.  It was me, and me alone who messed up. Then I would thank  Him for the wonderful blessings He gave to me during my years on this earth.  I have 4 of the most wonderful children that a mother could ask for.  I suffered 3 miscarriages and had a son die seconds after birth, so these 4 children are truly blessings. Perhaps He would explain that these babies were specially chosen to take the “fast track” to heaven, for heaven also needed sweet tiny faces among the rest of the angels?

I would then ask him why my parents were taken away from me before all of their grandchildren were allowed to know and love them as we did?  Why do some people live into their 80’s, and some are taken away at an earlier age?  I will want to ask him how he decides who is the next person to enter heaven?  I want him to know that at times it didn’t seem fair that often times the “good” people seemed to be taken away too soon.  I am pretty sure that at this point he would look at me, shake his head and remind me that it was not my place to judge who was “bad” and who was “good,” and he would be right.

I would then respectfully inquire why I have been  fortunate enough to fall in love several times in my life, but still find myself alone at this point in my life?  Every little girl grow up thinking that she will find that special person, fall in love, have kids, and live happily ever after.  Why does that happen for some, and not for others?  Why put a person in my life, let me fall deeply in love, and then take them away for one reason or another?  Maybe He will then take my hand and tell me that perhaps the best is yet to come, and the heart breaks I suffered will make me appreciate when “the best” enters my life?

After the questions end, and the conversation comes to a close, He will remind me that He was never far from my side during the times of deep and hopeless grief.  He will remind me that during those dark days He placed the appropriated people in my life to help me over the bumps in the road.  For never in my life have I truly been alone, as I have been surrounded by angels for protection and comfort.  He will remind  me to sit quietly and listen to the voices in my head while in deep reflection…for those voices are His, and He is guiding me will surety and truth.  He may also remind me that there are no promises in my life here on earth, as it is a temporary home, and I need to make the best of it, while recognizing that each experience, good or bad, is shaping my soul and strengthening my faith.  I need to remember kindness and compassion for my fellow-man, even when they disappoint me or are cruel.  And above all I hope He will  assure me that even though my life has been fraught with sins, and times of questioning of the faith, He has forgiven my weaknesses.  He will smile and tell me that it doesn’t matter how many times my faith was challenged, but more importantly it was better that I worked it out, and  found myself on the right track again. Then He will leave me with the most wonderful sense of peace and love. With tears in my eyes, and unconditional love in my heart,  I will then thank Him for sitting at my table,  assuring  Him that I await the day I can sit at His forever ♥

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

CREME WAFER COOKIES

 1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
( I always double the recipe)
Beat butter, add whipping cream and mix in flour.  Cover well and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll out 1/8 th inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out in circular shapes (I use the top from one of my McCormick short squatty spice bottles)
Coat each circle with sugar that has been placed on a plate or waxed paper.
Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet, and pierce each one 4 times with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, will be slightly puffed and feel “set” when touched.
(They are better if not allowed to get brown in color)
Cool and put 2 together with your favorite Crisco frosting.
(very pretty if you divide the frosting and tint each with yellow, green and pink)

There are lovingly referred to as the PIA cookies…yes the Pain in the A** cookies, because they involve more steps than I want to do, but they are worth the effort!