Monthly Archives

May 2011

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Redistributing Problems x2

I’ve still been thinking about the post from yesterday, the whole concept of redistributing problems. I started thinking about everyone I know, and the stories I’ve heard or witnessed. I have very special friends who have lost a child, who’ve lost their mate, who are seriously dealing with cancer and all kinds of treatments. I turned on the TV this morning, poured a cup of coffee, and the first images I saw were people sorting through rubble trying to find loved ones in Joplin, Missouri after the devastating tornado. There was a girl some where around college age who was searching for her cousin. Her cousin was sucked up through the sunroof of the family car, just having left his high school graduation. I couldn’t help but cry for them. Tears before 7:30am is unusual for me, but it was cleansing tears. I’m sad for all of the victims and families, and at the same time I’m so grateful for my life. All of those stories make me incredibly grateful for my situation. I’m healthy, I’m alive, Danny is healthy and alive. My parents and my brother are healthy and alive. In fact, all of my family is healthy and alive. It definitely puts things in perspective, when horrible things happen to people you love, and it effects me even when it’s strangers. My tumor is a bummer, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s something that I deal with, every day, but the majority of my day is filled with happiness and laughter. My stress level is low, or at least I try to keep it that way. I have everything at my fingertips. I’m in a wonderful place both emotionally and physically. Thinking about other people’s stories, helps me focus on all of the wonderful things…

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Redistributing Problems

I heard a saying last night which has me thinking. It was said to a close friend. She was told the statement, “If you were to take all of your friends, in fact, all of the people you know, and gathered everyone’s problems, put them into a bucket and redistributed them, each person would wish to have their original problems back.” Danny and I talked about that concept later, and I don’t know if it’s true. My only real problem is my diagnosis. I would gladly take the tumor back before I wished it redistributed to someone else, but if it was to evaporate I’d be thrilled! I wouldn’t want my tumor back. Problems are relative, certainly, but the person who originally made that statement either didn’t have any real problems in their life, or they were just trying to make people grateful for what they do have. Interesting concept though.  I don’t think any of this is making sense, sorry.

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This little guy paces back and forth across my window ledge at work, all day, everyday. He’s so cute! He struts his stuff, checking out his reflection. Either that, or he has a massive crush on me 🙂 The only problem is that Bingie my cat already thinks I’m his girlfriend.  And he loves white meat.

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Yawn Waves

Sorry I’ve been very sparse with my postings. We’ve been preparing for Danny to take off for his training in Portland. When it rains it pours, now Danny has a possible job opportunity in Wenatchee (just a possibility not an actual offer). We’ve been scrambling to play with the hypotheticals of both positions. The difference between living in Seattle and Wenatchee, the difference in pay and most of all the difference in medical benefits. I find that I’m not sleeping well with all of the changes, and uncertainty. I’m trying to keep my knees bent, but it’s exhausting. I’m working on taking it in stride, focusing on each day, but at the same time we have to analyze every detail to make sure that we’re making the right decision. A career change, a location change, a huge lifestyle change, any one of those things is overwhelming let alone all three. Last night I could barely sleep with all of the thoughts racing through my mind. I try to quiet them down, but there’s a lot to do, a lot to analyze, and I’m sad about the possibility of doing long distance. I’ll miss having Danny around. It’s as simple as reading our books before we fall asleep at night. I love talking to Danny, we’re always laughing even when we’re trying to fall asleep. I know that there’s always a phone, but a phone doesn’t hug or give a smirk when I miss the door jam as I’m walking. Anyway, with all of this stress I’ve found a new way to fall asleep. It’s kind of an old new way because I’ve done it before, but forgot about it. I start by laying in bed with my eyes closed. I pick a person, a friend or a friend of a…

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Ramblings

Oops. I’ve misplaced my camera cord, which is the only way I know how to download my photos. Pesky little thing, snaking away like that. I have a few photos from over the past several days that I’d like to share, but oh well, it wasn’t to be. Do you ever feel like you need distractions to get outside of yourself? I do. If I have too much time to think, or spend too much free time on the internet, I can tend to punish myself and Google my life expectancy. Now, why in the world would I do that?! It just seems self destructive and insane. I already know the numbers. I have a median survival rate of 4 years (according to the WHO). I know that people can get hit by a car tomorrow, but that’s not the same thing as having a mark on your head to get hit by a car and die within 8 years (the car analogy is a poor one anyway, it’s not like this thing is going to strike me dead all of a sudden – it will be a deterioration). Some people have told me to ignore this tumor, just to live my life but I feel like that’s short sighted and completely impossible. Danny and I have talked at length about this tumor, our lives, and how things are going to be different because of our situation. I don’t shut down when I’m afraid, I still live my life. In fact, when I’m really scared, I want to do everything all at once. I want to read my book, pull weeds, trim plants, hug my parents, visit with friends, run with the girls, talk all night with Danny, think about all of the wonderful people in my life and soak…

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Technology Break

Happy 33rd birthday, Kaal! Today is my brother’s birthday. He has been my partner in crime, my protector, my personal comedian, a rock, a kind soul, and a best friend. All the best to you, my crazy bro! XOXO Sometimes I need to take some time off from technology. I spend my extra time reading, and sitting on the patio watching the birds. I garden, and take pleasure watching my plants grow. I laugh with Danny and take things slow. I find that there’s never enough time in the day to do all of the things that I need to. But, truly, there are so many things that I can safely put off for a day or several. I’ve literally been watching my plants grow, and with that, I’ve been watching my adopted bunnies nibble on them. Last night, after my nap, I went to the window to look outside. There were two little gray blurs sprinting around my garden playing “tag.” I’m not sure if they were siblings or if it’s mating season….they all look alike to me. Either way, it was hilarious, and I’m hoping to see baby bunnies soon. That’s possibly the best. I adore little furry things. I just want to pick them up and cuddle them, and then put them in my pocket and save them for later.

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Life In Limbo

I feel like I’m in limbo. During this past year, I kept thinking, “If I can just [walk/run/talk/read] make it one year, I will have conquered this. I’ll be back to my regular life.” I kept my scope on the one year mark, always working toward a better future. I was reeling, just trying to function and progress. Now I don’t know how to navigate. I feel like I have completely different challenges, like, what to do with my life. I’m enjoying doing presentations. I’m enjoying my job. I’m enjoying trying to be healthy and running, but I want to challenge myself further. I just can’t seem to figure out which challenge to take on. It has to be sincere, and from the center of my heart or I know I won’t finish, or give it enough effort. Maybe the challenge will present itself, and I won’t have to even think about it, kind of like the brain tumor. That was certainly a monumental gift of a challenge. Somehow I thought that if I could survive the first year, everything would fall into place and my life would make sense. Instead, lately, I find myself sitting straight up out of a deep sleep, my heart racing, the previously subconscious notion of death bearing down on me. I can not ignore the reality of this diagnosis, and yet I don’t want to obsess over it. I can say that, and yet, at the same time my body knows what my mind doesn’t want to admit, I’m scared. I’m in a new phase. I’m out of survival mode, I’m in a grey area.

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Tearful Presentation

  The presentation in Friday Harbor was incredibly emotional. It was powerful to scan the room, see my brother, my mom, my sister-in-law, my Carol, Libbey & Mary, Danny’s mother, Susea, and other familiar faces. I had everything organized, the timing of the photos for the slide show, note cards, even blog posts, but quickly it was thrown out the window. I became overwhelmed, and for the first time during a presentation, I cried.  It was embarrassing to be so vulnerable, but the eyes upon me had compassion. Some teared with me. I love to share my story because I’m grateful for my life. I want to empower people. I want to help them find their smile. My goal is to encourage the audience to ignore other people’s expectations, and to never give up. I often can’t believe what an incredibly extraordinary life I have. I’m so happy to be alive, and I want to share that joy, my perspective, with others. I don’t know exactly why those who teared up felt emotional. It could have been empathy for me, or it could have related to their own life. Either way, I was thoroughly touched. I share because I want to impact lives in a positive way. The Rotary in Friday Harbor gave me a huge gift. A gift of support, kindness, patience and love. It was not the seamless presentation I was trying to accomplish, but the fact that they connected emotionally was everything I was hoping for.

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Friday Harbor Rotary Presentation

I’m headed up to Friday Harbor today with my mom. I have a presentation with the Friday Harbor Rotary, and I’m really excited. It will be fun to see familiar faces, and hug people that I haven’t seen in awhile. One of these days I’m going to video record a presentation to share here on the blog. I’m not too crazy about watching myself, but I’m sure it’d be a really helpful exercise. For this presentation, I was wanting to revamp my whole process but I just couldn’t pull it together. My mind is often cloudy and I feel like the synapses aren’t firing at the optimum level. Sometimes my brain feels like Homer Simpson’s. I still feel like my brain is grasping for connections, and my thoughts don’t work as seamlessly as they did before the surgeries. Last night, as Danny and I were talking about this frustrating little situation, he reminded me that I’ve only had one year to recover. It’s hard to be patient though. It’s easy to feel like I’m plateauing, or even regressing. Sometimes I feel stupid. I do fine talking in conversations, the problem is the thoughts swirling in my head when I’m trying to organize large scale ideas. My inability of mental organization is incredibly foreign. I used to conquer all kinds of difficult mental tasks. I loved a challenge, and excelled at schooling. Now I feel slow, and inept. At times I still feel like a guest in my own brain, trying to navigate through thoughts. It’s hard to explain. Brain trauma is hard to explain to people. You can’t see it. A lot of times, people can’t tell the difference between Jessica before and after. I have a hard time when I’m exhausted or stressed, and that can be isolating and…

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Mom’s Cake or Lack Thereof

Friday’s birthday cake baking didn’t go exactly as planned. This is a photo from my camera phone. It’s blurry because I instantly started tearing up. As the angel food cake came out of the oven, I burnt my finger on the rack and I lost my balance. The cake was not completely cooked and the top started shaking as if it was built with jello, quickly jumping ship onto my running shoes. I think the cake would have survived my lack of balance, but in my haste to get the batter in the oven I accidentally filled a cheesecake pan instead of a bunt pan. Oops. Sometimes I feel like the character Romona, in the Beverly Cleary’s children’s book series. It’s frustrating to not even be able to use utensils right, or do what you used to do easily, or have it take so many times to get things right. It’s like one side isn’t talking to the other. I hate complaining about it, and I hide it, but life is hard. It’s hard to try and get back. I was able to make a lemon filling with fresh lemons which was the saving grace. I took the cake from the pan and stuffed it, spoonful by spoonful, into a ramekin. I cut out the center and stuffed it with the lemon filling, then grated lemon over the top. Not too bad in a pinch! I was thoroughly upset with myself, but now that I’ve had time to look back the whole thing was incredibly funny! I had the best of intentions and I was trying so hard to make her the perfect cake, but sometimes all you have is just a great story.

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