White Apple Passion

White Apple Passion
for Health & Passion in Life

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

* My Journal * Wow...it's October of 2013. I am now a two year breast cancer survivor. I am still under the watchful eye of my surgeon, and as long as I continue to take the cancer drug, tamoxifen, I am in the care of my oncologist. This is only for preventative measures to try and avoid a cancer recurrence.  (I don't know how much longer I will be taking the drug...possibly up to five years.) My medical appointment schedule keeps getting more spread out as I keep receiving "all-star" check-ups!  I would say I am in a "nice place". 

Because of my position, I have gained a high respect for Breast Cancer Awareness month--Pink October it is!  This makes for an attention getting notice for everyone to plan your screenings and check-ups. I like to extend this month of awareness for not only a reminder of breast cancer screenings, but also for preventative and testing procedures for other cancers. I have said this before and I will say it again... and again....I am alive and healthy because of tending to my annual screenings. 

As well as continuing the fight against breast cancer, October is also a wonderful month to reflect on the concept of giving and supporting the needs of others. With that said, let’s continue to come together... make a donation... run in a charity race....maybe volunteer at an event .  Let's make a difference....Believe in the “Power of Pink”.   I do BELIEVE! ... 
And that’s a good thing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Dance Recital's Beautiful Moment...(and it's not about "the" dance.)

                                                                                                          (Photo by Kim Pluenneke)  
   * My Journal * This past weekend was spent tending to Amy as she performed in three dance recitals over the course of two days.  I definitely had a most precious "feel good" moment... a moment, I will indeed cherish forever.   What captured my heart?  No…it was not about a breath taking lyrical dance, or an inspirational ballet with exquisite precision.   It also wasn't about watching the priceless "little ones" performing in their very first recital...(although I must say nothing gets cuter). It wasn't even about the joy of witnessing Amy and her peers flow across the stage with maturity and grace.
    What I am talking about is simply and perfectly captured in this snapshot.  A slice of life beyond precious. It's true.  A picture really is worth a thousand words.  To see the "older" girls taking time, connecting, and sharing with the "little" girls.  Does it get any better than this?  I don't think it does.  (If only the "rest of the world" could "have" what this picture reveals.)  I believe this to be a most endearing moment....to treasure....always and forever.  And that is truly a good thing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MY GUILTY VERDICT... (please forgive?)

    * My Journal *  For some time, I have been at odds with myself when I make visits to see my mother in the Alzheimer's Unit of the nursing home.  Wouldn't you think to see my mother having a "good day", (relatively speaking), that I would be pleased for that "good day"?  You would think....but I am not.  And wouldn't you also think I would be happy when one of the caretakers tells me of Mom's success with the latest  "feeding".  As the aide gives me this "good news", I find myself falling into an internal slump with disappointment.  Whenever one of Mom's "helpers" approaches me in excitement with a  "good" report, I seem to have to pretend that so called "good news" makes me "glad".  Nope.  As I smile at the aide with the "good news", inside I am not feeling glad.  I am not feeling happy. A repeated feeling of discouragement that I can't control hits me. ...and hits me again and again.
    Am I crazy....has the devil latched my heart!!?  Maybe.  Don't get me wrong.  I haven't always felt this way.  It seems to be another phase of this Alzheimer's journey.  I just quietly think, every day Mom has a "good day",  just prolongs the agony of living life in such a pathetic state that I see her live, day in and day out... turning into years.... a life....dare I say....not worth living.  Yikes... I did say that!  Let me pause...............this feels wrong... am I just being selfish, insensitive, cold?.... but again I can't seem to reverse my thoughts.
    Only recently, my visits with Mom have been practically intolerable for myself.  Mom, the victim of this disease, has gone through her own unpredictable stages of chaos. Many of which parallel my own emotions as a winding roller coaster turning upside down at times.
    I have been a regular visitor to the John Knox Village Alzheimer's unit for over five years now.  I have gotten to know many victims of this disease where my mother is in this place called "home". This disease can bring on numerous annoying habits and irksome behaviors with these unfortunate human beings. Mom has auditioned habits that are so disgusting, I can't even write about them.  The latest that I CAN write about seems to be the hardest for me to bare but mentioning may sound only silly unless you were to witness this for yourself.  The first time I became aware of this behavior, I did not know what "it" was. I kept hearing a very loud grinding screeching noise almost sounding like styrofoam twisting and breaking, worse than the sound of finger nails scratching down a chalkboard.  The noise is heard all through the unit. Then the discovery.....this mysterious and disturbing turbulence is my mother grinding her teeth.  OK....if you can handle ten sets of fingernails scratching down a chalkboard, and NOT stopping.... then....no big deal.  As for myself, I can't even fathom toleration of this.  I just want to get out of there.  I sense a feeling of suffocation  and I also feel like I'm losing my mind with intolerance.  Then I think, if only it could be "over".  There I go again...thinking bad and unrelenting thoughts.  But is it bad?  Is it wrong to wish my mother to move on to a better place?  That seems justifiable....tell me I'm right?  Even so, I do stand before the judge and declare myself "Guilty".  I am guilty that I keep wishing for the end to come.  Not that I am looking forward to it....of course not.  I am guilty for finding myself growing with less and less inspiration to visit Mom in her state... and now that she has this new "tick" about her, I seem to simply dread it.   I am guilty for not being grateful for Mom having a "good day" or eating a "good meal".  Someday it will finally be over, and then crazy me will be yearning to hear her grinding teeth one more time.
    I recently saw Robin Roberts being interviewed.  She theorized, "No matter how old you are when you are going through a hard time, you still want your "mommy"."She is right.  I truly believe I lost my mom many years ago to the horrible disease that has overtaken her life.  There have been so many moments I have wanted my "mommy".  But as I visit her, only a shell of her sole exists.  Robin Roberts lost her Mom when she was to start her bone marrow treatments.  What a painful time in life.
    I can not overturn my feelings and my guilty verdict, but I do know I need to dwell and focus on the mother my mom will always be to me.  What a blessing my mother has been.  My mother, JoAnn Moll Bryan has been an amazing human being.  One that is "oh" so kindhearted, loving, and generous.  Her life has been simple and pure.  How nice.  She has always been loyal to helping others and being there when in need.  Her life has never been about her... never never selfish, only generous.  She has been a devoted mother, committed wife, and faithful friend to many.  I do indeed miss my "mommy".  However, her sweet demeanor still comes through now and then at the nursing home. That is good.  She is very loved there. That is also good.
Dear Mom....I Love You....and God Bless You!!!
And guilty or not, that is simply a good thing.