Tag Archives: cancer

Book Review – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot…..

It’s over at A Reason To Read.……..

www.amazon.com

 

Sit on your b.u.t.t. for Life………..

Yesterday I posted about the Walk for Life happening in Delhi on Sunday, February 7th. I am sure some of you pulled out those calendars and marked the date, got your tennis shoes out, rallied friends and neighbors, and probably even went for a quick warm-up lap around the block. Heck, you probably have your pledge sheet completely filled out. (Show off. ) For the rest of us, not so much.

If you are anything like me, this things are great in t.h.e.o.r.y. Signing up is easy – it is a certainly a cause that has affected all of us in one way or the other – and it even sounds like fun.

But what if…
I am tired that day
A child is sick that day
It starts too early
It starts too late
I need to wash my hair
It’s raining
It’s not raining
It’s hot
It’s cold
It’s crowded
The sky really is falling
and on, and on, and on…..

Some of you even thought you were off the hook because the 8,000 mile commute is just a tad too much of a commitment. Nay-sayers.

Well, have I got the solution for you. While some of the less sane more dedicated among us Walk for Life, (there is even talk of some over-achievers people Running for Life – whatever), the rest of us can Sit on Our B.u.t.t.s. for Life.

There is a way to make a difference from that chair you are sitting in right now.

Log on to the payment gateway in the CanSupport website: www.cansupport.org or www.walkforlifeindia.org .

There are no two ways about it. Cancer is awful and we all know just how bad it can get – parents lose children, children lose parents, loved ones lose loved ones. Families suffer. Friends suffer. Strangers suffer. It stinks.

Unfortunately, many, many Cancer patients in India are left completely without any medical, psychological, and family support – they are left to battle in the fight of their lives without any help at all. In a word, they are often abandoned by their family, their friends, and their country. It is devastating to hear the diagnosis of Cancer and it is unfathomable that someone would have to face it alone. But that is just what happens. Families are overwhelmed as much by the cost of cancer treatments as by the stigma associated with the diagnosis. So they simply step back and retreat.

And even though early detection can mean all the difference in survival, most cancers in India are discovered much too late for effective treatment. People here have just not had the opportunity to learn enough about the disease to prevent it and fight it.

So CanSupport steps in and helps where others cannot or simply will not. They educate, they coordinate, and they hold hands and hearts.

So yes, even from that comfy chair, you can make a difference. I do have my tennis shoes on but I am ready to use the keyboard if I trip on my laces standing up. 😉

P.S. And I promise not to bug you about this again – have no fear, my blog is not turning into a Jerry Lewis Telethon – but unless you are buying pashmina scarfs or carpets, a little bit of money goes a long way in India. You truly have the chance here to ease someone’s suffering without sacrificing too much yourself. Thanks for thinking about it!

Walk for life……..

THE WALK FOR LIFE IS in Delhi ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7th

Come WALK and make a difference in someone’s life.

Join CanSupport’s ”WALK FOR LIFE” and

STRIDE against Cancer down Shantipath,

on Sunday, February 7th at 9am.

Register early on the website, www.cansupport.org or

Registration desks will be at ACSA, AES, The British School, WHO, Khan Mkt, The French School, The Am Center and more…  the last week of Jan & first week of Feb

WALK on your own or form a group with family and friends.

RUN ahead of the Walkers with a new running club called “RUNNINGANDLIVING”.

Registration Fees are: Rs.250/- for adults and

Rs.100/- for students with a valid ID.

There is no fee for children below 12 years of age.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE- WALK FOR LIFE!

For more information or to Volunteer please contact:

Catherine Bali

natcatbali@aol.com

All CanSupport Services are free and aimed at the less privileged.


Where’s my pumpkin……….

The Canadian Ambassador recently hosted a Thanksgiving Ball at the Canada House in Delhi. I have not gotten dressed up for a formal affair in a while, so I felt a little like Cinderella. I just needed some helper mice and a fairy godmother. Luckily I had an outfit I could wear.

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The night was actually a fund raiser for CanAssist. The meal was authentic with turkey and, dare I say it, gravy. There was also stuffing. Yum. I got to enjoy a real Thanksgiving meal while helping people with cancer – yes, that is a win-win.

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If you ever move to Delhi – this is the woman you want to know.
She can tell you where to get your hair done, who to trust with braces, where to effectively donate your
time and energy, and she will tell you about fun things like this Thanksgiving ball.
She is a Delhi Rock Star!

Anypumpkin, the night was great fun. I didn’t stay past midnight because I am not
21 anymore and don’t have that much energy. But it was a blast!
My pumpkin was waiting and took me and my tired feet home.

Call backs…………..

My youngest daughter crawled into bed with me last night. I snuggled next to her and brushed a few hairs away from her face. She looked so peaceful and I wondered if this was the day that our lives would change entirely. Forever.

I got  a call back on my mammogram. They wanted to see me again. Earlier this week, I went in for my yearly exam. I have been going since I was 35. A great grandmother, a great Aunt, and an Aunt with breast cancer will send you to the big squeeze a littler sooner than later. I have never been called back. I have always checked that box and moved quickly on. That was, until this week. Until the summer that I am moving across the globe away from my entire support network (only minus my husband and kids).

It seems there was some extra tissue showing up on my left breast. Not enough to increase my cup size – just enough for a follow-up squish. If they had said it was on my arse, I would have believed them immediately – but seriously, extra tissue there? Not exactly the phone call you want to get. Ever.

Of course, it was the scheduling receptionist who called me to let me know. She had no (helpful) answers. Just available time slots and locations. Next week. As in 6 days and a weekend later. As in no answers later.

Yeah, that is not going to work for me. Something about moving back out of the country soon (8,000 miles away) and hoping for answers sooner than later. Her final offer – call back tomorrow – maybe something will open up. Okay then. I will call back tomorrow.

Honestly, I almost forgot to call back. I was distracted with a day at the water park with my kids and our neighborhood swim team and my dad’s birthday and my aunt and my cousin visiting. Dinner out with my family. Fun. Full of life things. Luckily on Friday it all worked out and I got to go in (again) before the weekend.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep great last night – except for snuggling with an Angel – it was not that peaceful of a night. I try to be good and not worry about something until I know what to worry about – but it is hard impossible not to imagine the possibilities. I saw my daughter sleeping next to me and wondered what she was dreaming about – I wondered if I would see her high school graduation, her wedding. A little dramatic, sure. But a possibility. Ick. I also thought about not being sick. And prayed for strength whatever happened.

Anymammo, I was given an “overbook” appointment which meant there was a. very. very. good. chance. I would have to wait for a. very. long. time. It turned out that I didn’t have to wait that long. The technician was great. She informed me that I would absolutely talk to a doctor before I left. I would leave with answers. I still don’t know if that made me feel better or worse. I have done this too many times to know that needing to see the doctor is not a great sign. While she was doing my exam, I saw my original film up on the light board. With a big circle around it at the top of my boob. That made me feel worse. It wasn’t that they did not get a good image and just needed to redo it – there was really something there. Circled nonetheless. With my name on it.

And the picture confirmed that my boobs are sagging. Well at least my left boob is. Just as an aside – really – if you are little bitty – you should not also have to sag. I am just saying – really, it’s not that fair. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, life ain’t fair.

When the technician was done, she told me again that I would see the doctor. Before I left. Today. I might also need a sonogram. I was torn between asking her a litany of questions and not wanting to know one more detail. Luckily for me, I have a couple of friends who have made it to the sonogram phase of a mammogram screening and still managed to walk out of the door minus a diagnosis of cancer. So, I did not completely panic. I was sent back to the waiting room. And waited.

And waited some more. With a lot of other women in gowns that opened in the front. I think we were all pretending and trying to be totally engrossed in our reading waiting material while our stomachs churned and our minds wandered and wondered.

I mean seriously, there is a room full of women – statistics are sure to say that at least some of us were in danger – who’s to say who it would be? We looked and did not look at each other and flipped empty pages.

Meanwhile, my husband called me with questions about what was happening at my appointment. When I did not have any answers yet, he moved on to questions about coming here to be with me and questions about school and questions about moving within India and questions about renting our house in America and holy crap – too many questions – I know he was nervous. Unfortunately, he was talking to the newly appointed President of the Nervous Club – the mammogram chapter. He was also probably trying to distract me. But distraction would not come easily today. They called my name and I hung up on him. Gotta go honey. Sometimes life needs to just happen one question at a time. Today I needed one question at a time.

The nurse walking me back simply said – you are getting a sonogram. You will see the radiologist. This way please. She did not look at me. That did not help.

I waited in the dark room by myself for about 10 minutes. And came up with a whole new set of possibilities. Some good. Some not so great. The radiologist walked in and introduced herself. She was lovely. Very soft spoken. Very gentle. Very aware that I had by passed nervous about 2 days ago and moved straight on to wondering what the possibilities really were.

She said something about not being worried. About me? Yes, about you. I started breathing again. Out loud. Deeply. In sync with myself. Finally. Whew.

Apparently, I had a spot on the original mammogram. (Oh yes, I might have seen something about that in the other room – you mean the one with the. big. circle. around. it – and MY. name. on. it? I was a little distracted by this machine squishing me and by me not sure I wanted to know all the scoop – can you fill me in on the details, please?) That’s what was in the circle. A suspicious spot. But that spot did not show up today. Something about compression. She did the sonogram just to be sure. I am now clear for another year.

I am not unaffected though. I am reminded that life can change in an instant. It can come and go so quickly. Without notice.

Last night I was careful not to pray for selfish things like health. I did not want to be unrealistic. A prayer would not change what might already be. So, I just asked for strength. Whatever happened. Strength. I found it, and was blessed with a side dish of health, and I am grateful for it. Every ounce of it.

Expiration Dates and Calendars……..

We are now at the point in our adventure that some dairy products will be around longer in the United States than my family will be.

The other day, I went to the store to buy heavy whipping cream and saw that it expired on February 12th, 2009. That gave me pause. I am not sure why. But I paused. Hmmm. This has a longer USA shelf life than I do. Interesting.

Recently, I received an email from the new school with dates for my calendar. Not expiration dates – but welcome to our school dates – come join in the fun dates. Begin your new adventure dates. February has been oddly blank on my calendar for some time. My calendar is usually jammed packed and over-stuffed with lots of dates and times and things to remember. The going ons of life. February has been unfairly caught in the transition. It had a few birthdays penciled in, but that was it. No more. I now have 6 dates on my February calendar. A meeting at the school for Bear to set his schedule. A play at the school. A PTA meeting and a Middle School parents meeting. A date for a choral concert called Voices for Hospice. I have to say that is exciting – the kids’ new school is holding a concert to raise money for children with cancer. I have to say I am excited that we get to be a part of that. The life lessons are already beginning with this adventure.

And, finally, the Middle School dance. Hmmmm.

This also gave me pause. Bear is in elementary school now. But that plane ride across the ocean will transport him right into Middle School. I wonder if he will want to go to this dance. He has never been to one before. This is going to be interesting.

Now I lay me down to sleep….

Many nights, I will be honest, not every night, but many nights I say a prayer before I go to sleep. It’s always silently and it’s always while I am laying down with my eyes closed. And it usually while I am trying to get warm.

Somewhere along the way, I must have been taught that prayer time was really meant to be a time to be thankful.  I remember when I was younger (even up until high school, and probably even college), I would thank God for all the animals I ever owned. I could still recite you the list. I won’t bore you with it – but I could.

Even the goldfish that I won at the fair – who sadly did not live to see his first birthday – was included in that list for decades. You probably know that game that you play by tossing the ping pong ball into the field of glass bowls – if yours landed in a bowl with a fish – wah lah – you have a new pet. It is the stuff that Dr. Suess books are made of  – one fish, two fish. Anyway, I named mine Fred. And, I thanked God for him for many, many years.

Now, when I pray, I am not so worried about the pets. But I do pray for anyone traveling, anyone alone, anyone scared, anyone ill, and anyone who is not with us anymore. It is a weird combination of things. But it is my little mix of concerns for the world. A reminder to myself that I am not the only one with issues and that, really, my issues ain’t so bad.

This mantra of mine started when my husband started traveling more for work. I am not a big fan of flying (yeah – good thing I am moving to India) but I am even less of a fan of Number One Hubby flying. So when he started flying pretty frequently, I started praying more.

I am not Catholic – so I am not sure why I felt guilty about praying just for him – but it felt selfish. So, I started including anyone who was traveling – not just my hubby. Then my father-in-law got cancer and I started including anyone who was sick, not just my father-in-law. You can see my neurosis at work.

So, this Thanksgiving my night-time prayer will once again include many well wishes for those with concerns in this world and an extra thanks for all of my blessings.

Yesterday, my clever little Bear came home and showed me something he learned at school. He held up a glass with slurpee in it and said, “is this glass half-full or half-empty.” Bear, my dear, it is very much half-full – and it tastes yummy too – see how lucky I am.

I am off to count my blessings and to say a prayer that you have many blessings too. Happy Turkey Day – gobble gobble.