White Apple Passion

White Apple Passion
for Health & Passion in Life

Sunday, November 11, 2012

MY HERO...my Dad...

* My Journal * I have said this before and I will say it again....my dad is my hero.  He is my hero for simply being my dad.  He is my hero because he was truly an honest man on this earth.  He is my hero because he took care of us...my family.  And very importantly towards the end of his life, he fought so hard and stayed so faithful in the care of my mother as he was very ill himself.  He was so wise and still is.  What I mean is he has been gone for five years now, yet he is still taking care of Mom because of the way he financially planned his last years. Dad made sure Mom with her Alzheimer's condition would be cared for in the nursing home.  He knew this is what he needed to do...for her and for the family.  What a blessing.  I thank him for that.  I always had a good relationship with my dad.  In his last years, Dad and I developed an even closer bond during all the struggles with Mom and his own health.  It was truly special.  I miss you Dad.
    As I look at him as my hero...my dad...he is also a hero of our country.  My dad served the Navy in World War II.  He never talked about it much until he wrote his memoir late in his life.  It was astonishing to read, but more astonishing to me that he never spoke about it. I had no idea Dad was inches from losing his life when his ship was hit.... there were more disturbing stories.
    Today, I salute my hero...my dad...but I also salute our many countless heroes of our country...those who have passed and those still with us. Thank you for your service.  God bless you all.  Let's celebrate all our military heroes on this Veteran's Day.  That's a good thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Please...Think Pink..."AND then some MORE"...(a special prayer for Emily)

* My Journal * Here it is again...October...Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  This is my second October as a breast cancer survivor myself.  So once again I am reminding everyone of the importance of annual screenings.  I can't emphasize enough of this yearly habit to imprint into our lives.  It's a "little" annoying procedure to schedule that is truly life saving.  Many of us are "living proof"!  This year I would like to extend this reminder to more than just breast cancer.  I apply this to include screenings for all types of cancer and more. As I say this, I also want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all who are suffering in pain with their own health challenges.  This includes family and friends who are agonizing in emotional stress as they support their loved ones in a health crisis.  Yes....we all know someone.  I think of many individuals I know myself who need support, positive thoughts, prayers... maybe a hug.  I still think it would be nice to be able to wave a magic wand, and "presto"...the "bad stuff" magically disappears... everything is good.  I guess it's never that easy.  Again, my prayers go out to many, and just recently I want to also wave that magic wand with positive energy and prayers to Emily Mayfield who was, just this month, diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Emily is an admirable young lady, (many will tell you so...as she attains a wonderful "demeanor" including an inspiring attitude).  She is also a Kansas-State College student who is the daughter of some very dear people, Bruce and Liz.  Bruce has been a friend since junior high school days and I adore his wife, Liz. I hope and pray every day for Emily.  I think we should all come together this month for Emily, and for others in need of our thoughts and our prayers.  Let's turn the color pink into a beautiful rainbow!  Wave that magic wand!  That's a good thing.

Emily's story--

Thursday, September 13, 2012


* My Journal * I have now been living through several months of feeling better than I have felt in probably years.  I keep feeling some sort of sense of relief inside of me.  The extreme anxiety I was living with seems to be evaporating into no more than a small stream instead of a swift and flooding river.  I still get that tight feeling at times...it is manageable .  I truly believe this all started nearly a decade ago when I helped move my parents into senior living housing.  That was when my mother's Alzheimer's condition was "kicking" into full gear of complete hard to manage chaos.  This led into severe stress on my father that streamed into several years of him battling critical illness.  I was working full time.  Bryan and Amy were young in elementary school.  Mom and dad were needing lots of help as well as tender loving care through such a difficult stage.  This was getting hard. And it was dragging into years of unsettled stress with little room for rest.  Finally, it all seemed to come to a head when I got the breast cancer diagnosis in May of 2011.  Fast forward....I'm doing well as I try to get more sleep, eat healthy, exercise, practice yoga, and not allow myself to feel guilty when I'm not being productive.  Then there is Mom....my dear mom who I love so much.  She has been living in the Alzheimer's unit of the nursing home for nearly five years.  Mom's disease has taken on so many twists and turns experiencing many different stages of the cruel illness.   I have gone through my own stages of when and how I visit her depending on my emotions.  I used to visit Mom mostly during meal times to help feed her.  Meal time in the Alzheimer's unit can unravel into many unsettling and chaotic situations.  I have been cursed, hit, yelled at, and spit on by patients my mother lives with when visiting.  I sometimes get a bit tired of the chaos.  Mom is getting thin because her disease is now causing her to forget how to swallow.  She doesn't really understand the "concept" of eating. Recently I changed my routine and I have been visiting my mom after lunch.  Several months ago we started hospice for mom.  Since then, Mom has been placed in her bed after lunch to sleep or rest for the afternoon.  The people caring for her are focusing on keeping mom comfortable.  Now when I have been visiting, it's just her and me.  I go into her room while she is in bed.  It is much quieter.  These are some tender moments with her.  I sit on her bed next to her.  Mom is awake part of the time and we have conversation.  These are not normal conversations.  She talks and I talk to her.  Her words are not words.  Sometimes she will say a real word or a name I recognize.  Once in a while she can actually recite a small sentence.  Basically our conversations make no sense at all.  I respond to her abbreviated sounds.  I ask her questions. She comes and goes in these "jibberish" exchanges, not always aware that someone is near her.   Yet, sometimes I'm able to make her smile.  I find myself stroking her hair, rubbing her back, and holding her hand the way she used to do for me.  When she was well, she was always there for me and comforted me in my times of need.  Today, as I try to feel like I'm comforting her, I think in return she is once again comforting me.  God bless you mom.  I love you.  That's a good thing.

Monday, May 28, 2012


* My Journal * It has been a year since my little hair ball in my life began and unraveled with the news of being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Finally, after months of not being inspired to write, I'm back.  I must say my emotions have taken on many twists and turns that at times seemed uncontrollable.  I still don't quite understand my brain, but at this point my brain seems to be thinking in a better light....all the while being blessed with continued good news of my personal health.  I am a lucky patient in this "arena" for the fact that my continued care and treatment for cancer is all for preventative measures, as I "kicked" the "big C" early on.  I still get frustrated at myself for not completely diving into this good news and dwelling on it.  But as I say that, I am not going to completely blame myself for continued times of feeling depressed or anxious.  First of all....I am HUMAN....then there's the "thing" about being a WOMAN and throwing in that..ugh..."AGE FACTOR".  Yep...I do believe my hormones have gone completely "out of whack".  Adding fuel to the fire is the medication, Tamoxifen in which I am taking every day for approximately five years.  My cancer was classified as estrogen receptor-positive (also know as hormone sensitive), which means that they have a protein to which estrogen will bind.  These breast cancer cells need estrogen to grow.  Tamoxifen works against the effects of estrogen on these cells.  Continued studies have shown successful results.
So here I am...one year later. I recently went for my annual mammogram.  I have been getting mammograms every 3 months but only for the breast treated for cancer.  This time I had the pancake flattening test for "both"....Yeehaw!  and Whalaaa......It's official! I passed....I have a "clean slate". Cheers to one year later!...and how 'bout a margarita and "toast" to a better summer!
And obviously, that's a good fun thing.