Writing My Life

Now and Then


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My “Uniquely Boring Life”: Turning Point – CaNcER

G before his scope and scrape.

Step 1: Awaiting the “scope and scrape”.

Lives have so many turning points that I wonder what kind of map is created by all the crooked cow-paths. I think most people could fill a book based solely on the turning points that direct their mortal journeys. But today, I want to chat about our latest turn of events.

Enter February, 2017. G.E. learns he is a candidate for Type 2 Diabetes and must check his glucose once a day. I panic. This man has NEVER watched his eating as long as I have known him – 48 years. He doesn’t know what “nutrition fact” food labels are, and he is confused about problems associated with carbohydrates. But he surprises me by taking charge of his health, learns the devastating truth behind sugar, and bids farewell to his candy jars and ice cream bars. Yay for him. Yay for me. He loses pounds and lowers glucose readings.  I don’t gain weight. A plus.

In comes March 2017 like a lion, a monster, a devil. After a month of “spotting”, G.E. starts bleeding before, during, and after peeing.  The episodes are similar to menopausal women’s periods in that they last a couple of days. Stop. And start again. After two trips to the emergency room because we can’t get into a urologist until March 20th, he is diagnosed with Urinary Tract Infection. In spite of antibiotics, bleeding continues and possible kidney stones are blamed.

March 20th finally arrives, and the physicians’ assistant suggests weekly urine samples after reassuring us that many situations can cause bleeding, but most are harmless. Relax. The on-again/off-again bleeding continues – but NOT when urine samples are due. G. doesn’t feel well, and urination becomes difficult and painful. Third sample is filled with blood, and G. refuses to leave the urologist’s office without talking to the doctor.

April 13th. Gar undergoes a scope ‘n scrape. (This procedure has a long official name and a short acronym, but I can remember neither.) I face the urologist M.D. all by myself to learn he removed tumors in the bladder and a larger one in the urethra to send to pathology for a diagnosis. Our conversation continues like this:

Me: What do you think of these tumors?
Doc: Do you want me to be forthright?
Me (thinking – No please lie to me, and then make it so.): Yes.
Doc: I think they are cancerous.
Me (pausing to process): If it is, what can be done?
Doc: Probably surgery to remove the bladder and penis.
Me (thinkingI don’t care as long as he lives. How am I going to tell Gar? I am totally numb. I can’t even cry.): When will we get the results back?

April 20th. We receive the results. The doctor is right about the cancer, but it is more serious than he thought. “Crazy”, he says. So crazy, he refers us to Huntsman Cancer Institute. And Dr. Christopher Dechet. And so our lives turn. But the urologist was wrong about one thing: no penectomy.


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Apparently We Brought Ireland Back with Us!

I doubt we have had more than a handful of sunshiny days since our return from Ireland nearly two months ago! The republic knew how much I loved our visit and so the climate followed us to the western desert we call home.

Ireland comes to Eagle Mountain!!!

Ireland comes to Eagle Mountain!!!

Every cool rainy day reminded me I hadn’t posted the photo essay I have planned, and so now, as the sun is fighting against wind and clouds, I feel prompted to finish what I started. Sit back and enjoy the FACES and PLACES of the Emerald Isle.

Dublin – March 26-28, 2015


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I Miss Me

Every time I pull up my iGoogle page and see the last entry I posted on “Writing My Life” was in March, I am sad. I miss my written reflections whether anyone else does or not. I think about life and its crazy characteristics all the time, but until I record those thoughts, I don’t feel as if I’ve truly reflected.  Besides, those hit-and-miss ideas are fleeting.

So, with a few weeks off work, I hope to capture those momentary meditations before they take flight and confine them here. That won’t be easy because some are long-gone, but I know I want to record the follies of growing older. The process is really quite humorous.

For example, yesterday I was talking to G.E. as I finished combing my hair. When I started hair-spraying the styled coiffure, he yelled, “Stop! Stop!” and  tried to grab my arm.

“What?” I said, pulling away. And then I noticed the Windex in my hand. Can’t say the spray increased the shine, nor did it help my “do” hold up in this Windexheat, but maybe the ammonia brightened my highlights???!!!!

Remember Gus Portokalos, from MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING,  was convinced that Windex could fix anything. Now my Grandpa B. claimed the same of VicksVicks Vapor Rub – maybe I’ll use that instead of mousse. =)


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Just a Little Observation

With all the significant posts waiting to be written, I’m not sure why this silly idea worked its way up the priority ladder, but it has. Besides silly, it will be a short and sweet piece.

Yesterday, I found this addressed envelope sitting atop the shredder and couldn’t help but laugh at my type A husband.

Image

For as long as I can remember, I’ve watched him pull out a ruler before addressing envelopes. Who does this? I mean his printing looks like it could be one of the word-processing font choices on a drop-down menu – you know like “Bradley Hand ITC”. Only this script would be christened “Gary Hand GE”. (I can’t add “ITC” because the International Typeface Corporation didn’t design it, but I can include G.E. because Gary Eugene created the script, complete with “serif” – the little feet attached to the S’s. Hope you’re impressed with my fount of font knowledge.)

Anyway, this careful scripting says a lot about my old school husband and his preciseness. In general, today’s men do not print neatly, but Gar always has. In his mind, however, that’s not good enough for the Postal Department as the lines need to be straight, Hence the ruler.

I’m not sure where this habit comes from. I don’t think he’s read the high cost of illegible handwriting in the medical field; if he had, his scribble signature would be decipherable. Of course, Gar is not a medical professional; so that is irrelevant. What I do think, however, is that he a perfectionist in some areas, plus he does not want to risk late delivery of bills – which brings us to the other revelation about him. He HATES online bill-pay, and wishes I would abandon the practice. (I told him I will as soon as he takes over all the household accounting duties, which he is in the process of doing. YaY!) At any rate, he continues to mail bills or hand deliver them. Sheesh!

If any of you have received a note or card from my husband, you may remember that the envelope was addressed just as carefully as any of our bills. Feel honored. =) As a result, I have been thinking about hiring him out to address wedding invitations. Any takers?

I warned you this would be a silly post. I guess I could ask what writing about this says about me. But I won’t. And if a kind-hearted reader out there wants to take care of our car payment, you can send it to the clearly written address above.

Have a great day. R.


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I’m B-a-a-a-a-a-a-c-k! Sort of …

I cannot believe I have gone so long without checking in. I have either been super busy or super tired, but I am repenting. I have so many topics I want to post – here are just a few:

  1. 5 more loser writing contest entries
  2. Birth stories – highlights from bringing 4 great sons into this world
  3. Tribute to G.E. – a man who knows how to show appreciation
  4. Part 2 of my Grandma’s story – part 1 was posted MONTHS ago
  5. Tonz of adorable grandchildren pix WITH captions

That will do for now. I realize posting this list is not all that exciting for readers, but hopefully, it will serve as a BIG reminder to me. Let’s see if it works! =)

Photo compliments of some AWESOME contributor to Flickr.com.

 


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… power sentences that sort of define my life – years birth through 10 …

Dear Self,

I have been an absentee blogger as of late. September was a roller-coaster month, complete with ups, downs, upSIDE-downs, cork-screws, and unsafe speeds. I am happy I survived, and I welcome October.

Before September turned psycho, I responded to one of WordPress’ pretty cool daily prompts:

For each year you have been alive, write a single sentence about the most important thing that happened to you that year. If you don’t want to get too personal, write a sentence about the most important historic event, or event most interesting to you, that happened in the world that year.

I quickly realized that 63 “power sentences” would take a long time to write and read, and so I decided to write 10 a day. I wrote the first 10 before September sabotaged my efforts. I also thought it might be a good idea to reflect upon why that event deserved its “most important” status, but that would double the length and quadruple the thinking. Suddenly, the whole idea seemed overwhelming, and I ended up saving the draft.

I just stumbled upon what I wrote nearly a month ago and decided “what the heck, push ‘Publish!'” And so I am. Whether or not these are the most important events of the year, I don’t know and I don’t want to think about it any more.

Signed, Me

  1. 1948: I was born on Memorial Day – the original, static holiday, not the rotating date that allows for a 3-day weekend to welcome summer.
  2. 1949: I entertained family and neighbors with non-stop jabbering, punctuated by slapping my own chubby knee for emphasis – early indications of the gift of gab and future chubbiness.
  3. 1950: Mom gave me a sister, and then worried that I’d feel displaced. She spent many years making sure we both felt equally loved. 
  4. 1951: I underwent a tonsillectomy, and swear I remember receiving a beautiful “Storybook Doll” from Daddy, but practical Mom insisted he return it as she deemed the luxury as  UNaffordable! 
  5. 1952: Because I have NO sense of direction, my family calls me Amelia (as in Earheart), but when I was four my sister and I found our way back to our new house from Sunday School. (Maybe Connie knew the way, and I followed her.)
  6. 1953: I remember, or at least think I remember, owning a puppy that was killed by a car, but I took solace in the fact that the angels truly flew him up to heaven.
  7. 1954: I started first grade at a brand new elementary school, and Mom packed “exploding” 7-Up in a thermos that drenched the food in my Annie Oakley lunchbox.
  8. 1955: Second grade in Mrs. Quidor’s class was highlighted by the pet parade where my reincarnated puppy showed up so I’d have a pet to parade.
  9. 1956: Third grade brought the beginning and the end to my dancing career as I officially performed in a dance recital and UNofficially presented an original dance number in Mrs. Q’s “Little Theater.”
  10. 1957: I really fell in love with reading because I wanted to earn a gazillion paper fish to win Mrs. Jorgensen’s Reading Fishbowl competition.
  11. 1958: I knew my 5th grade teacher didn’t like me, and so I wouldn’t ask him if I could be excused to go to the bathroom even if it meant wetting my pants – which I did one time.
Important events that should have made the list:
  • 1954: My grandpa died, and I knew that would be the end of sitting on his knee, licking the paper after he rolled his cigarettes, and eating his pink wintergreen mints.
  • 1954: I almost choked myself to death the day I wore Mom’s yellow scarf around my neck. I took it without her permission and kept pulling the knot tighter and tighter until I thought I couldn’t swallow. By that time the knot was so tight and tiny that my teacher had to cut the scarf off my neck. I had some explainin’ to do!
  • 1956: My first trip to the brand new theme park DISNEYLAND. I fell in love with the place and dreamed of working there when I grew up.  


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… dreams – crazy works of fiction that entertain me all night long …

A dream is a work of art which requires of the dreamer no particular talent, special training, or technical competence. Dreaming is a creative enterprise in which all may and most do participate. – Clark S. Hall

No 50-w0rd-fiction tonight. Too tired to think right now. So I’m going to ramble a bit before hitting the hay.

I’m looking forward to beddy-bye time and another seven or eight hours of sleeping and dreaming. Even the weird dreams make me laugh – not at the time I’m wading through images like toothless wolf puppies who try to gnaw me to death OR teeth that tumble out of my mouth while I’m trying to teach a class OR showing up to school in pajamas or a robe that I can’t change out of OR teaching students that are totally out of control OR being stalked by an old boyfriend and I can’t find G.E.

I dream in genres, too. For example, I’ll experience end-of-the world dystopian dreams, a lot of sit-com dreams, a few scary dreams and occasional historical dreams. Most nights, though, I have drama dreams with amazing twists and turns that totally make sense in dreamland but turn bizarr-o once I wake up.
Of course, I’m leaving out those really entertaining details that make these episodes so unique.  But I’ll tell you about some of the interesting “stars” who make guest appearances – like David Letterman who drops by on occasion and Tom Selleck who comes around once in a while. When I dream about these guys, I’m close to my real-world age, but I’m a kid in many dreams, and when that happens, old friends from elementary, junior high, and high school join me. We have a great time!
My favorite dreams, however, feature loved ones who fly in from Heaven to remind me that they are still thinking of me so I will keep thinking of them. I always appreciate Daddy’s visits as well as seeing G.E.’s mom and dad and my grandparents. Most of the time, these dreams are very comforting, but sometimes I wake up extra lonely for them.
Wow. This post took a turn I didn’t foresee. There are only a few more days of August, and so I’ll wrap up this month of daily posting with a few more “mini-stories.” In the meantime …

Sweet Dreams!