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Sometimes the big things in life are overwhelming; looking today for the gifts of the small.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I usually find when things feel too big or feel like they are spinning out of control, if I slow myself down and start with really appreciating the little things in life, I get re-centered and renewed. I have been hit hard by too many losses of people I love in the last 4 years and part of me would love to lapse into either escapism or depression. My soul hurts.

But I also know that I will be of no good to those I love if I allow myself to fly off center or wallow in my feelings. I am grateful to life for the lessons that I have learned about feeling my feelings and but not letting them overwhelm me past the amount of time I need to feel them. Life is the here and now; focusing on the current moment, and enjoying the time we have with those around us in the present, is very important to fully participating in life and being available to reach out to others.

Today I took stock of the beauty of the little things that surround us daily; the beauty and serenity of nature. This is my photo journal of my day:

I must remember to live in the moment. There are no guarantees about anything; the present moment is the time to live in, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the beauty of the world, cherish those we love, for these are the moments that we have to do such things. My brother's health, my dear friend's health, my progressing neuropathy... these are all unknown outcomes which will unfold in their own time. They may be the unfolding we expect, or they may have surprising outcomes, there is no way to predict.

Tonight I am taking stock in what is real, and taking time to express my love to my family and friends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 6/27/2010 9:11AM

    "Taking stock in what is real." I will walk with those words in my heart today.
Your photos also resonate and replenish... And the one of Stella's eye was amazing. Such a gentle soul.

Hugs to you... Diane

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MCGS62 6/26/2010 11:15PM


I know you don't want to "wallow" in public but holding it in can be just as counter productive. Don't hesitate to e-mail me. I owe you at least that much. You've helped me and a lot of us plenty of times. You can wallow or vent or scream at me any time you need.

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OLDERDANDRT 6/26/2010 5:16PM

    You are so wise!! Thank you for imparting your wisdom as these truths are so easily and often forgotten.



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LMB-ESQ 6/26/2010 9:03AM

    How centered you are. I really admire that in you. You have every reason to have your soul hurting. I'm glad you are handling it well. And I certainly hope you get some respite from all of this loss. Enough already. emoticon

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SUNNY332 6/26/2010 8:44AM

    Beautiful blog today, my friend. I enjoyed talking this little gratitude walk around your garden with you.


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    Chris, your attitude is very appropriate. We need to ensure we celebrate all that goes on around us. Good or bad theses are the trials of life and each of us learns our measure. So soak up the beauty, the past and the future. See yourself loved in your family's hearts (and reflected in Stella's eyes!).

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STARLASUE 6/26/2010 7:11AM

    AHH Sweetie - love your attitude. I don't know why some people just seem to get hammered all at once with so many things. Know that you are loved and we are sending lots of prayers and positive energy to help you on your way.

May your special angels surround you love and healing light so that your burdens not make you too weary.

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ROOBYBEGONIA 6/26/2010 1:59AM

    I think about you a lot - oddly, I had been thinking about you all day on the day you posted about your brother.

I've picked my guitar, and my commitment now is to have a garage sale to pay for it, and the lessons with the teacher I've chosen. "Inspired by Chris."

I lost my brother in 2006 and it very nearly destroyed me. I put a friend in the hospital a year and a half ago and she never came out.

When I think about how how strong and brave you have been in the face of your tragedies, I feel like a complete puss. I also know how hard it is, and how many tears you shed.

Life is so fleeting! LOVE HARD. PLAY HARD. LEARN.

I sat on my Mayoral Bench the other night and watched a daddy yellow finch sit on one of my roses while his mate pecked for seed and thought of you.

I love you, honey.

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    Beautiful photos!

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GRAMMACATHY 6/26/2010 1:48AM

    Stunning pictures and a very uplifting blog. Thank you for sharing. Also, thank you for your kind words on my blog. We really do need to remember the beauty and grace around us.

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MARY1313 6/26/2010 12:39AM

    Thanks for posting this. After I read about your Brother and knowing that he is going through what my Brother is, I just lost it. But you have helped me put this back into perspective. You and your husband are so cute. And I would know Stella's eye anywhere! thanks for the beauty you reminded me of.


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WATERMELLEN 6/25/2010 10:48PM

    You are surrounded by beauty and love. Thanks for reminding me to treasure the small stuff! (not that either of these things IS small . . . )

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W82GOWHEE 6/25/2010 10:26PM

    Thank you for a lovely blog and reminder to live our lives now.

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SCOOTER4263 6/25/2010 9:42PM

    I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head there.

Whose eye?

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CLEVAGAL 6/25/2010 8:59PM

    I love that picture of you and your husband cleva xxx

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VALERIEMAHA 6/25/2010 8:18PM

    Stunning in its simple beauty, Chris. You have touched on the essential nature of life.

As an ancient Yogic scripture says:

Lead us from the unreal to the Real,
From the darkness to the Light,
And from the fear of death to the knowledge of our undying Consciousness.

Love ALLways,

Comment edited on: 6/25/2010 8:20:09 PM

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MTNCLIMBER88 6/25/2010 8:17PM

    What a beautiful blog. You are such a strong and incredible woman, and I am so thankful for the reminder to live in the moment and cherish what we have. Sometimes in our darkest hours we forget how much we have to live for...

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IUHRYTR 6/25/2010 7:54PM

    Great photos. Is that Dad? Present moment happiness is elusive for many people as worries about health and bills and other things weigh them down but as you discovered, if we take time to notice life around us we are unusually blessed by its beauty. -- Lou

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So Worried About My Brother

Friday, June 25, 2010

I am still reeling. My brother called last night, frightened and anxious. He was just diagnosed with a very aggressive form of prostate cancer, and will be going for CT and bone scans next week to see if it has metastasised. He did not say anything about Gleason scale, but he said his PSA count was an unheard of 125 - sky high. The biopsy results did not look good.

He is scared and angry. He is just about to celebrate his second year smoke free and had been very pleased with his recent lung x-rays and he has been planning his retirement, looking forward to getting back into his jewelry making. He feels betrayed by this and angry - a very normal first reaction to such a scary diagnosis.

He is also scared. We helped Dad through his chemo and radiation treatments, and Gino is scared to go through that, and scared by the specter of death. I feel sad that we live so far apart, and grateful that I do have summer off so I can spend time with him when he needs me to be there.

I am hoping that next week's test results will show that the cancer is contained, as treatment options and survival rates are much better if it is. I am so worried!

Gino and I on my 8th birthday in front of our grandparent's house.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAWRTIAN 6/27/2010 2:22PM

    Praying for you and him both Chris!!!

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MISTYBLUE23 6/27/2010 11:45AM

    sorry to hear this news..Ms.Ely and I will send prayers and thoughts of good outcomes for you and your brother.
warm regards Jc

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MEOWMAMA3 6/27/2010 9:13AM

    Oh Chris, more bad news for you...this has been some rotten stretch for you. I'm sure you'll be a big inspiration to Gino to stay positive and fighting. Where does he live? Keeping you both in my special prayers. emoticon emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/27/2010 9:07AM

    I am just catching up with your news here. I am so sorry to hear this. I can't imagine what your family is going through with this kind of news. My thoughts and positive vibes are on their way. emoticon

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MCGS62 6/26/2010 10:44PM

    Don't give up hope. If they caught it early enough the treatments can be effective. Our thought sand prayers are with you. emoticon

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PLSOCK 6/26/2010 8:15AM

    Sending prayers and positive thoughts to your family.

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STARLASUE 6/26/2010 7:09AM

    Prayers ascending for your brother. Sometimes they are wrong so let's hope he isn't as bad as first blush.

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    Chris, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. It seems you have had way more than your share of bad news lately.

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GRAMMACATHY 6/26/2010 1:50AM

    Our prayers are with you and your brother.

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MARY1313 6/26/2010 12:34AM

    Oh My Goodness! My Brother has found out that he has the same aggressive prostate cancer. His PSA reading was 185!!! He has been taking hormone treatment that makes him have horrific mood swings and effects his ability to make good decisions. they also did surgery. Perchance, did your Brother take any Testosterone treatments? My Brother did and he says that aggressive prostate cancer is a well known side effect but he was never told.

His doctors are going to do a blood test that will tell how much it has metastasized. I am terrified for him as much as he is terrified for himself. He is in tears every time I talk to him.

there may not be any chemo treatments for your Brother. That isn't the way they are treating my Brother's anyway. They will decide on radiation when they see how much the cancer has metastasized.

this is my only surviving family member. He lives in Las Vegas and I live in Alabama. 2300 miles apart. I am just devastated. I work part time and I cannot afford to go and see him.

I will add your Brother to my prayer list my friend. If you are a praying woman, will you Pray for my Brother Mike?


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DRSUNSHINE1 6/25/2010 8:05PM

    Best wishes to you and your family in this trying time. You will be in your SP family's thoughts.

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SLEEPYDEAN 6/25/2010 7:34PM

    My heart goes out to you, as I went through this with my (under 60 year old) dad within the last two years. Hoping that he is able to get a treatment option that is best for him, and that will help him beat that terrible disease.

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WESTCOASTGIRL1 6/25/2010 6:34PM

    emoticon emoticon Sending you heartfelt positive thoughts and my prayers are with you both.

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LADYNETTIE 6/25/2010 6:19PM

    Gosh, how awful for him and you. I am thinking of you and sending positive and healing thoughts your way. If you need any support, just holler.

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ROOBYBEGONIA 6/25/2010 4:09PM

    I am so sorry. :( He must be scared out of his wits, and you for him.

Big hugs to you and yours, honey.

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OLDERDANDRT 6/25/2010 3:18PM

    Oh my, my friend. I am so sorry to hear about your brother!! I will be praying and sending positive thoughts to you and Gino and the family. Take care. It's good you have the summer off and can spend time with him.

emoticon emoticon emoticon


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~MISS_TEA~ 6/25/2010 2:21PM

    My thoughts are with you sweetheart. I am so sorry you are going through another hard situation. I think you have had your fill recently. I will be sending out positivity to your family. I am hoping for the best for you. emoticon

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FICTIONRUNNER 6/25/2010 12:33PM

    He's lucky to have you there to support him. Sending Reiki for both of you.

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CELLOSONG 6/25/2010 11:34AM

    I'm so sorry--I'll certainly keep him in my prayers.

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GOSPELCLOWN 6/25/2010 11:00AM

    I can read the love in your blog! Be all the support that you can be. I have Gino in my prayers.

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IUHRYTR 6/25/2010 10:49AM

    Prayers for you both. Please keep us updated. -- Lou

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SIRIRADHA 6/25/2010 10:17AM

    You and Gino are in my thoughts and prayers. emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 6/25/2010 9:45AM

    This has been a tough year for you-prayers and emoticon

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SORGIN 6/25/2010 9:32AM

    Hugs and many prayers to you!

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EPIPHANYANGEL 6/25/2010 9:21AM

    prayers emoticon

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DTHEO523 6/25/2010 9:10AM

    I am so sorry to read this! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! emoticon

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RUNTRILAUGH 6/25/2010 9:03AM


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GERBALMAMMA 6/25/2010 8:55AM

    Praying for Gino!!!

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Disappointing Diagnosis

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The long story, which perhaps I will tell in a future blog is that I was almost killed in a car accident when I was 17, and had serious head/back/neck/hip injuries. I have been in pain for the 43 years since the accident; I have learned to deal with it and enjoy my life in spite of the discomfort.

Over the winter, I have been having increasing pain and numbness in the big toe of my left foot, enough that it frequently keeps me up at night. It has been a weird combination of numbness, sharp pain, and a kind of electric pain - hard to describe. I was thinking that it might have something to do with my bunion pinching a nerve, or ingrown toenail, or from the time I peeled off the bottom of my toe in an accident. Or, if it could be from the L-5 damage I have.

I finally got in to see a podiatrist, and the diagnosis is an unhappy one. It is from my L-5 injury, and the damage may be irreversible. I got a prescription for a topical medication which has an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and a nerve medication ($85!) which I am to apply for a few months. If it is successful in treating the pain and numbness, the damage will be considered 'reversible' although what it will do is go into remission - I can expect repeat performances of what I am currently experiencing.

If my toe does not respond to the medication, the nerve damage will be considered irreversible, the pain and numbness will get increasingly worse until all pain goes away and my toe becomes permanently numb. Numb may sound better than pain, but I'm not so sure about that.

I am not willing to just accept what the podiatrist has to say without pursuing some other avenues of treatment. I will go back to my chiropractor, and also check out other treatments such as acupuncture. In the mean time, I am applying the medication and trying to remain optimistic about it.

In the big picture, it could be worse. I have friends who have cancer, a friend with MS, lost a friend to ALS - in the broad spectrum of things, a toe that loses all feeling is not league with things that are much worse. But, I have to admit to being sad about it and I would like to not be in so much pain.

After all that whining - sorry emoticon, I do have to end on a positive note.

Rhymes with toes, but smells much sweeter..

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARLASUE 6/26/2010 7:13AM

    I would definitely check into acupuncture and even Reiki as complimentary therapies to assist you in dealing with these issues. Sending more prayers your way.

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SCOOTER4263 6/25/2010 5:23AM

    My husband is disabled due to back problems. When he experiences numbness and other issues resulting from L4/5 compression, he finds that using that Hang-Ups thing - hanging upside down from his feet - helps a great deal. This is it:
(Plus, if you use an inversion table, you also get free access to the line, "I'm just hanging around.")
Acupuncture also helped him a great deal, and is something certainly to consider.

Comment edited on: 6/25/2010 5:25:15 AM

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CLEVAGAL 6/25/2010 3:49AM

    I have nerve damage in my right big toe. It can be very dangerous as you cant hurt yourself quite seriously and not realise....theres not much more to say then whats already been said. Love to you Chris....Cleva xxx

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TISHTOES 6/25/2010 3:08AM

    So sorry. Hang in there. You have a great attitude. Count those blessings and keep it all in perspective.

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MEOWMAMA3 6/25/2010 2:11AM

    Sorry for the bad news. Seems like you've gotten lots of great advice here. Your positive attitude always stands out as your most powerful weapon against adversity. I love the ending of your blog! Keep up your spirits and good luck with a second opinion. P.S. I got hit in the eyebrow by a line drive foul ball at a Triple A Giants game in 1981 that severed the nerves in the front right quadrant of my skull. I was a true "numbskull" for many years but the nerves did grow back...very slowly...and I can still predict rain by the itching over my browbone! Maybe you'll be able to predict the weather with your toe! (Sorry, feeble attempt at humor...)

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    Sorry to hear the bad news. Nerve pain is really nasty business. Has your chiropractor tried spinal decompression to relieve the pressure on the nerves at L-5? That may be something worth checking into. I had some issues at L-5 and chiropractic coupled with spinal decompression therapy worked wonders for me.

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MARY1313 6/24/2010 11:35PM

    you go girl! just what you are doing is what I read over and over for people with injuries, to exercise, stretch and stay as limber as you possibly can. this is your body and I like the way you trust it to tell you what to do! what's more natural than that?


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~MISS_TEA~ 6/24/2010 10:58PM

    SO sorry you are in so much pain! Much love to you. . .and I will be keeping you in my thoughts! I am hoping for the best for you!

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LAGREBE 6/24/2010 9:50PM

    I am sorry. I will be sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

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MARY1313 6/24/2010 9:50PM

    podiatrists are not bone specialists. Go to a ortho doc and get that diagnosis. Plus, a topical thing will not work if it's in your vertebrae. You may even have gout for all he knows. Podiatrists are on my bad list after one nearly crippled me with bad surgery and surgery that wasn't even the right thing even if it had been good. The united states doesn't make them adhere to the same surgical rules that surgeons are required to either.

I have been praying for you for some time now anyway, so I'll just add this to the list!


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PUDLECRAZY 6/24/2010 9:46PM

    Thank you so much for your support and ideas. 'Alternative' medicine is usually my first line of approach as I do not tend to do well with many prescription medicines and don't like the approach of treating symptoms only. I have a very strong belief that our bodies have a cellular wisdom and can heal with a holistic approach; supporting the skeletal system, providing good nutrition, exercising, visualizing, and staying positive. I am not against using conservative doctors, although among the 'traditional' medical profession, I prefer D.O.s to M.D.s.

Like a few of you have mentioned, I do not like the term 'alternative' medicine, yet it is hard to discuss medical treatment without using these terms as they are so ingrained in our culture. In many ways, 'alternative' medicine IS the 'traditional' medicine as much of it has been used for many years before 'modern' medicine.

There are many ways to promote healing. Personally, I see a chiropractor and an Alexander Technique therapist, as well as a physical therapist for my injury related pain. I also stay flexible and keep my range of motion through yoga. I have not yet tried acupuncture, but I think that may be in my near future.

Pain has been part of my life for many years, but it does not control me.

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TWINS2DEATH2030 6/24/2010 9:21PM

    I gotta say my family will be praying for you. Now on to a opposite note I really dislike the term 'alternative medicine'. Medicine in every form does not work for everyone, some work for one while the same doesn't for another. It is just like eating and fitness habits, there is no 'one method works for all'. I am glad you are open to other options other then strictly chemical/ synthetic based. Other then that you truly are an inspiration and a beacon of hope for us all that even in our darkest moments there is always light. I will pray that no matter the outcome you stay strong physically and mentally and persevere.

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/24/2010 8:45PM

    Pain.. argh... and not being able to feel part of your body is not comfortable at all. Sorry to hear that you have to deal with this. Are you going to go to alternative medicine as well? You have the most positive attitude though.


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IUHRYTR 6/24/2010 8:26PM

    What you are experiencing is a part of life that you shouldn't feel bad about talking about. Pain is no fun to live with. Neither is the thought of a more extreme measure than the ointment. I admire that you are still so upbeat about things. And the rose is beautiful. Be strong. -- Lou

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VIDABONITA 6/24/2010 7:59PM

    Sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but this is only one doctor's opinion. Absolutely get a second opinion and pursue other courses of treatment. Hope when all's said and done that the damage is reversible and that you'll be pain free soon.

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LMB-ESQ 6/24/2010 7:29PM

    I'm sorry you got bad news. But I'm glad you're pursuing other types of treatment too. Too many people just take as gospel what their doctor tells them without question and they give up. I'm so glad you're not!

And I think it's okay for you to feel a little sad. Nobody likes to hear that their body is changing in a not so good way. I hope you find something that works quickly!! emoticon

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AIRIESING 6/24/2010 6:57PM

    This is what happens when you open yourself to others! Here you've been so supportive to me, it's time I heard you emoticon You sound so incredibly positive, I know you'll figure this out. I agree with another writer to possibly seek out acupuncture and perhaps massage therapy. I've had success with massage for a childbirth related injury and (although I don't know personally) so many people swear by it! Take care, Airie

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LADYNETTIE 6/24/2010 6:45PM

    Have you tried acupuncture? I know it's an alternative thing, but some people I know swear by it, especially for pain relief. Can't hurt to try anyway. I understand your feelings about things could be worse. At least you survived and are still around to enjoy the joy and pain of life. Makes me think of the blessings I have in life as well. Thanks for sharing and hope you have better days ahead with your toe.

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MCGS62 6/24/2010 6:05PM

    You're taking the a good approach by doing both holistic methods and continuing to apply the medicine. I've had great success with my chiropractor. Having a positive outlook and appreciation of the natural beauty around is also in your favor! emoticon

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GREEKGAL1 6/24/2010 5:57PM

  I hope the problem is reversible and you don't have to live with the numbness. As you say it could be worse, but you are entitled to feel sad. Good luck and stay strong. emoticon

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JAZZMINE 6/24/2010 5:56PM

    I am sorry to hear about your discomfort. I would suggest asking your medical doctor to refer you to a neurologist!


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Sisterhood of the Sparkling House

Monday, June 21, 2010

Okay, so Greg Mortenson started his Three Cups of Tea to build schools in Taliban controlled areas of the world, someone started the 29 Day Giving Challenge, right? I want to start The Sisterhood of the Sparkling House (men can join) - a site where people can commit to house cleaning at least one day a month for someone with cancer. Any ideas how I can go about doing this? I have drawn in another person to this on a local level, but would love to somehow organize this on a national or even international level. I know; it's a little grandiose of me.

I'm thinking: local organizers can have a list of green cleaning supplies and help coordinate volunteers and days of cleaning. Is this crazy? Possible? Unmanageable? I am here to say that it is totally gratifying to scrub and polish someone's home while they are having their chemo treatments.

Thoughts on how to go about organizing this on a larger scale? Right now I am just organizing locally.

Tomorrow is my cleaning day. Stella and I went out picking fresh black raspberries to leave in my friend's refrigerator for her and her husband to come home to.

Honestly, I think Stella is proud of her contribution to the raspberry picking!

Well, I'm not posting to toot my own horn, I am really looking for some ideas about how to expand this.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCGS62 6/24/2010 6:15PM

    My sister in law has cancer. she is doing well at the moment but I do remember her saying something about some one cleaning her house. I don't know if it is volunteers or through the hospital. I'll check on friday, her birthday dinner, and get back to you.

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ALLEGROVIVO 6/24/2010 6:23AM

    What a fabulous idea! All the suggestions already given are wonderful. It is so heartwarming to read your blogs, all the time. My best friend recently went through all the chemo, etc. and even just flowers for no reason here and there (even now, years later) just made her day. Your gift of time and hard work are absolutely amazing and may you too be so blessed by your generosity. Don't forget to take Stella with you when you can to visit any friends with or without cancer - she too will cheer up the cancer victims as you know.

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AQUAJANE 6/22/2010 11:25PM

    Great idea...but I'm also impressed you managed to arrive home with berries. Somehow mine always end up eaten on the way. emoticon

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MARY1313 6/22/2010 5:02PM

    Contact the American Cancer Society and see what they say, I am sure there are others out there doing this or that would like to do this, and there is a real need EVERYWHERE!!!!! And not just cleaning either, but maybe a group of ladies that get together twice a month and make huge amounts of casseroles and things that can be put into the freezer. I am thinking there are all kinds of things that would piggy back on this.

Great idea Chris!!!!

Also, you are right, Stella looks so proud!!!!


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JUST_TRI_IT 6/22/2010 5:25AM

    Phenomenal idea! You are a generous soul. I think that starting locally is a great way to start.. talking to the local cancer society perhaps? Perhaps start a blog?

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MARYMAC45 6/21/2010 9:41PM

    That is a great idea and I give you a lot of credit for thinking of it. I would check with the cancer society. When I was diagnosed, It was suggested I contact them for resources in my area (very rural) There was none. But the larger towns had a bit more. If you started this locally and drew up a plan, it could go nationwide. Just like the walks done in lots of town, many entrants are survivors. I bet there are enough survivors who would gladly help other victims in need of household help. Just be aware that not all people live alike. If they have been ill for a while, their homes may need a thorough cleaning by more than 1-2 people. So you would need to be prepared for that kind of situation. I took care of a neighbor 6 years ago who was 78 at the time. She went into the hospital for gall bladder surgery, and they would not release her to her home, because she lived alone. A nursing home was suggested. She totally refused to go there. For about 12 years I had been driving her to her doctor appointments. I took her for this surgery. When I came to take her home I found out the situation. I took her to my home for 3 weeks till she got back on her feet. Then I contacted the division of aging, who after an application & home visit, decided that she definitely needed help. But just sent a nurses aide to help with her baths. I was bringing her 2 meals every day. We tried Meals on wheel's. She tried it for a few days and didn't like it and she felt it cost too much. So you will have some people who will be hard to please. Most will appreciate any help. So take it all into consideration. It is a great idea. Good luck!

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ROOBYBEGONIA 6/21/2010 8:51PM

    I love Stella. :)

I had a black standard named Mona that LOVED raspberries - there were NO berries on the plants at her level and below - she'd gently pick them off and eat them!

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    Sounds like something good to do but the logistics of making it happen may lay within a project already out there. It could be added in tandem to something to make it easier for all.
Problem for me has been when one of my friends, family or myself has been down with the "stuff" it seems there were multiple people down. May be we run in packs here in the burbs! Anyway I would have enjoyed someone vacuuming my floors and I like to polish things...an odd enjoyment you may say.

Love Stella's smile!

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SCOOTER4263 6/21/2010 8:13PM

    I like it. A lot.

A friend of mine started a local database of folks willing to take shifts (mostly pro bono) to assist elderly people who needed 24 hr/day care. As I recall, she started by working with the guy who was developing the county website, and simply nosing around, doing a lot of talking to people at Meals on Wheels, H for H, Second Harvest and other groups like that.

I don't know where you live, but I get the impression that it's rural - we're *very* rural here. All this sort of thing is largely word-of-mouth, but once it "gets put out there" it gathers momentum rapidly. We also have a large Amish population, and they are very willing to help neighbors with tasks like cleaning (often for a ride some place or something similar) and have a sturdy "grapevine." Local politicians - town supervisors or similar - also can be of help since they know everyone and his cousin.

Hope this helps. And it's not grandiose - you just have to start locally to get a feel for the system, see what works, then branch out from there. This is one of those things that has the potential to change a lot of lives, on both ends of the broom.

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MEOWMAMA3 6/21/2010 7:56PM

    What a wonderful endeavor! I wish you good luck. I would look for grants, maybe ask for a spot on local radio to get the word out. Partner up with patients through local hospitals. I'll have to think on this, pretty tired right now. emoticon
P.S. What great photos! That Stella! She is a card!

Comment edited on: 6/21/2010 7:57:26 PM

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CLEVAGAL 6/21/2010 7:51PM

    Chris, my advice to you is to go local and see how it works. I dont know how the welfare system works over there but here, I would be inclined to speak to the state cancer association/society who provide support and info for people with cancer or a specific type of cancer. See what they say and they may be able to direct you. Love the way you photograph what your doing. Im trying to do that more. I hope you have fun cleaning the house for your friend. Cleva xxx

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Stella's Happy Day; Well, Mine Too

Monday, June 21, 2010

There are people dismiss teenagers, or who spend too much time listening to the news and not enough time with teens and think they are just trouble. Sure, some of them are, but for the most part, I love teenagers for their newly emerging adulthood merged with their childlike approach to life.

Last week, during the sadness and turmoil of losing Mike's mother, having my teenage nephew visit infused that week with some much needed joy.

This weekend, we were blessed with a visit from our dear friends who moved to PA 5 years ago. Athena coordinated the Walter F. Anderson Award ceremony I wrote about in yesterday's blog, so we got to spend time with 4/6s of the family on Sunday. In those 5 years, the youngest child, Kobrin grew from an sweet eight year old to a sweet 13, the youngest daughter, Amidia, is in college, and the two oldest daughters have now graduated from college. We only get to visit once a year, so it seems like the children grow exponentially.

As much as I love teenage energy, Stella loves it more. She thought Kobrin was her new bestest friend!

Poodle Joy!

While Stella will confess to a love of teenage boys, Kevin had never met a standard poodle before, and didn't know how much fun they are. They wore each other out!

Big sister, on the other hand, enjoyed a spin on the Honda with Mike.

It was sad to have them leave, and I am looking forward to our next visit.

A great weekend was had by all, and Stella is sleeping in this morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 6/22/2010 5:09PM

    Oh the joy on their faces!!! that is just marvelous!!! thanks for sharing these pictures of pure love!


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STARLASUE 6/22/2010 7:50AM

    Great blog! Love the Stella stories.

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MEOWMAMA3 6/21/2010 8:00PM

    Sounds and looks like you had a terrific visit! That Stella dog...!!!
Did you know my embroidery business is Athena Embroidery Accents?

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WATERMELLEN 6/21/2010 7:17PM

    Love to see Stella's exuberance!! And: thanks for your kind comments on the grad blog. It's tough to see our kids who've worked so hard underemployed, but I've got hope that they will work it out eventually . . .

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ROOBYBEGONIA 6/21/2010 3:27PM

    Lol - yeppers, standard poodles and boys go well together! When Olive was about 5 months old, my son came home on leave for a couple of weeks. That dog is COMPLETELY crazy for men and boys now - she loves to romp and play. Once, a carpet cleaner, examining a spot more closely before he started cleaning the carpets, got on his hands and knees in the family room - Olive tackled him - LOLZ! Why would he be on the FLOOR if he didn't want to PLAY?

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    Great photos of Stella doing what she loves!


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GRACEC29 6/21/2010 12:24PM

    Hi Chris.....what joyful pictures! I've been a teacher for 28 years. My favorite years of teaching were with an Alternative Ed bunch of inner city teens. Boy...tough on the outside...but funny, creative, sensitive, smart, energetic, and vulnerable on the inside.

Stella seems like such an awesome dog. Makes me want to add a poodle to fam. Maybe someday.

Have a wonderful week! emoticon

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ALLEGROVIVO 6/21/2010 9:11AM

    Chris - Your blogs are AWESOME!!! Yes, isn't it amazing how people don't realize how much fun our standard poodles can be and are?! Recently, my great-nephew stayed with us and he actually said, he (meaning Louie) is annoying me - but my niece had NOT told me that my great-nephew was diagnosed with autism last fall which would have explained so much. Louie on the other hand, just left my great-nephew alone as they sense who loves them, just like we do. You and Stella are such beautiful people...yes, our dogs are human to us!

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LMB-ESQ 6/21/2010 9:09AM

    How cute emoticon And what a wonderful weekend you had.

I swear, Chris, you and Stella are making me look more and more seriously at poodles. I never liked them before, but Stella is sure making me change my mind!

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VALERIEMAHA 6/21/2010 8:34AM

    Stella and Pickles should meet! She may be too "high energy" for laid-back Pickles, though. LOVE the photo journal!!!


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NUTRON3 6/21/2010 7:43AM

    Have a great day today!

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