Friday 29 January 2010

My First Home

It is the real beginning of the real end.

My first home and an especial love of my life is leaving this world. It may take a few weeks or it may take a few days but how I am going to miss her; my Mom, the person who probably still cares the most for me in this world.

Angelique and Josephine and Domenic spent the day with Mom on Wednesday along with Mickey and Dwain and Taylor and they had a lovely time.

Angelique, Nadalene, and I spent the evening and we had a wonderful time and Mom was in good spirits. Mom kept saying how she would talk to Domenic and he would laugh and how happy that made her. And that little Josephine; of course full of life and love for great-grandma and how when Mom fell asleep; Josephine said ‘wake-up.’

But then Mom had to swallow some pills and that took a lot out of her. Fentanyl came in to play but it just didn’t help ease her breath or panic fast enough. It is hard to watch your mother struggle.

It was a very hard day for Jacquie yesterday as when I left her house with Colette and Wahid we went on to visit Mom and she had to stay home. Yes she phoned a few times and Mom rallied herself to say ‘Is that Jacquie, tell Jacquie not to worry.’ And Jacquie said she wouldn’t but of course she did.

Our family has always been a survival unit with our parents agreeing in all actions to care for us kids and for us kids agreeing (not in all actions) to take care of our parents. When I went to Shelly’s last night it was to a hard scene as Mom was disoriented. And at the same time it was beautiful to see her children all around her focused on her completely.

Harry was gone to get new medicine. Jeanine had been there all day and was talking to the nurses and getting all the information we needed. Suzie was upset and crying of course it is all so much. Mickey who has been there every day taking care of Mom while Shelly is at work was taking care of Mom and trying to help her. Colette and Joey were holding Mom’s hand and rubbing her back. Shelly was taking care of all Moms’ needs too and just putting herself out there. I sat back in a chair and watched.

When Mom settled I sat beside her and held her hand. She said ‘Who is that?’ I said “It is your Renee, Mom.” And Mom said ‘Oh my Renee.’

And how hard for us all that our mother whom we love and cherish above all others must face anguish and despair. She will endure pain and fear and suffering and she will fade before our eyes.

And yet we will hold her gaze in our hearts and in our prayers knowing that it would be disrespectful to avert our eyes even for a second. Our gift to her now is our undivided attention.

My mother’s wealth is her family. Mom is very proud of the bonds that her children have. And believe me, we have them. Mom would be the first to say that the wealth of her children could not be given a price and that she was proud of each and every one of us.

Shelly and Peter have set up a lovely room for Mom where she is so happy and comfortable. Where she says she eats like a queen. I will never forget that you have done this for Mom Shelly. Thank you.

We gather everyday now, we her adult children. We gather to her bedside which has become Holy Ground. You are our first home, our greatest champion.

I love you Mom. xoxoxo

Thursday 28 January 2010

But Sometimes

but sometimes when i’m standing
at the kitchen counter after dinner
and i look out the window at the dark
thinking of nothing,
something swims up.
tonight this:
your laughing into my mouth
as you were trying
to kiss me.

~~ Deborah Garrison ~~

*artwork by Jane Ray

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Wednesday's Women No. 39

Pattee and I talked last year about joining a gypsy caravan. You see Pattee is a vagabond and loves to travel. I love to jump on and off things so I decided to join her.

Sonia had joined and made us a trio and now kj has also joined and made us a foursome. Pattee knows that I am never cooking but I will read the tarot cards to make us some money.

Pattee will make me lobster and garlic butter and all kinds of specialty dishes so I won’t have to eat hard cheesies all day.

Sonia has made me a screaming banshee doll and I think she should be in charge of making voodoo dolls and love potions as they go hand in hand quite often as the couple ‘love and hate’.

kj will make a perfect pickpocket as I don’t think people will see that coming. She can be really nice and say ‘hey what’s happening and then just slip her hand in their pocket.’ We should be able to keep a good supply of lobster just off of her takings.

I thought you might like a little peek at us over the next week.

Pattee will do all the cooking and will help us outrun the authorities.

I will read the tarot and the palm and charge people a small fortune.

Sonia will make voodoo dolls and love potions.

kj will do all the pick-pocketing as if there were no tomorrow.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Then And Now No. 2


March 13, 1998

Gwen died today, I couldn’t believe it. She died of cancer and her funeral is Wednesday. Mom called and she was so upset, I went over right away. Dad was crying too. Jacquie and Suzie and Peter came over and Mom and Dad felt a lot better after that.


January 26, 2010

What I can’t believe now is how na├»ve I was. Like I can’t believe she died? She had cancer for Christ’ sake!


March 18, 1998

Gwen’s funeral was today. Mom took a nerve pill before going to the funeral so she could stand it. Gwen was her best friend, as well as being her only friend she had left who was still alive.

Nadalene made Mom supper and bought her a hyacinth plant and a beautiful card. Mom was crying. Nadalene was showing Mom her pictures from Europe and it was a nice visit. But my heart felt like it was breaking for Mom. Nadalene drove home and was telling me how important friends are for seniors. I started crying in the car (just like I’m crying in bed) when she told me that in her University classes on the elderly they say that if a parent tells their children they are depressed; magnify that by a thousand, because they just won’t tell their children until they are at the end of their rope.

God please give Mom and Dad a restful night as I know they are both very upset.


January 26, 2010

I see that it is so true how we want to spare our children no matter what. We want them to be spared what we cannot spare ourselves. But of course that can’t work. I think by trying to spare them they would worry more. I believe it is much better to be honest and state how we feel and then we can move past it and so can they. They don’t have to wonder if we are hiding things from them.


January 2, 2001 (two thousand and one)

I am grateful that I like my children and I like my husband. It is 7:31 p.m. and I am in bed, I started my periods today, and I both look and feel like death warmed over. (Is that right? Mom always says that and now that I’ve written it out, I don’t know what it means.) Anyways, I’m exhausted. I always feel like I do nothing for me, but I just realized I said ‘I’ thirteen times in this short block of sentences.


January 26, 2010

I definitely know what death warmed over is now. And I am still about ‘I’.


June 16, 2001

Major beliefs that have shaped my life and been drilled into my head by my Mom and Dad: love one another; treat others as you want to be treated; do not judge; if you have something nice to say to someone then say it; and no one is better than you and you are no better than them; and finally, there but for the grace of God go I.


January 26, 2010

These happen to be the same beliefs that I have drilled into my own children’s heads. I think they are good ones.

Monday 25 January 2010

M = Angels And Goddesses

Michael is the great archangel whose name means ‘Who is as God.’

Michael is the chief angel who is the deliverer of the faithful. Michael grants miracles, fosters mercy, repentance, truth, sanctification, blessing, immortality, patience and love to mankind. Michael is protective of those who are just and good.

Michael is also known as the angel that strengthens our spirits in difficult times. Michael is a protector and helps us with our courage and our worthiness and self esteem. He helps us in our commitment and dedication to our beliefs.

It is commonly believed that Michael was the angel that Moses communicated with in the burning bush and that Michael also saved Daniel from the lion’s den. Michael is also one of the five great angels along with Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, and Metatron who assisted in the burial of Moses.

Michael inspires truth, patience and love in the human heart. In the Roman Catholic tradition Michael is considered to be the patron angel of policemen and makes sure to guide and protect them while they guide and protect us.

Michael is known to gently lead our souls to heaven. He is chief in the order of virtues, chief of the archangels, prince of the presence, angel of repentance, righteousness, mercy, and sanctification.

In Muslim lore Michael is described as being covered with saffron hairs of which each of them contain a million faces and mouths and as many tongues which, in a millioin dialects, implore the pardon of Allah. Christians invoke Michael as St. Michael the benevolent angel of death, in the sense of deliverance and immortality and for leading the souls of the faithful into the eternal light. To the Jews, he is the viceroy of heaven.

Michael is most famous for leading God’s army of angels against Satan. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls there is a one piece of the book entitled ‘War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.’ Here Michael is called the Prince of Light and he leads the angels of light in battle against the legions of the angels of darkness. Michael wins this battle with God on his side.

Medusa did not always turn everyone to stone.

Medusa is the original serpent Goddess of Female Wisdom and she is of the Libyan Amazons. She was also known as Metis in those days. Her blood was said to have the power to create life or bring on death.

Medusa was symbolized by two black swans that faced in opposite directions. Medusa was known as a full moon goddess who brought rain for the crops. In later myths she was a beautiful Gorgon Queen who guarded the Garden of the Hesperides containing the tree of golden apples in the land of the setting sun.

When Medusa was caught making love with Poseidon in Athena’s temple; Athena put a curse on her and turned her hair to snakes which caused any who glimpsed her face to turn to stone; another case of a woman cursing the other woman instead of the God.

Myth also tells of Medusa’s demise at the hands of Perseus who gave Athena Medusa’s head to wear on her shield.

*artwork Medusa by Arnold Bocklin

Friday 22 January 2010

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 38

*artwork D by Kathy Olivas

Thursday 21 January 2010


Do you touch wood for reassurance, just to be on the safe side? I did for a long time. I would say knock on wood or touch wood and then proceed to do it. At one point Robbie’s wife Eva even made me a wooden ring. It broke from wear. I don’t know how that has fallen to the wayside, maybe I realized wood wasn’t going to save me.

Do you make sure not to place your newly bought shoes on a table? Absolutely, new shoes, old shoes, baby shoes, slippers, anything worn on your feet. That is the one superstition I was raised on ‘Never put shoes on the table it is bad luck.’ If I even see shoes on a table that someone else has put on there I will take them off.

Do you cover mirrors in a thunderstorm? Now this one I don’t do and actually have never heard of it.

Do you let the other person come down the stairs first before you go up, so that you don’t cross on the stairs? No, and I never knew this was a superstition either. Funny how this one seems weird and yet shoes on a table are almost criminal.

Do you open the front and back doors on December 31st to let the New Year in and the old one out? No but I somehow remember my Mom talking about this. Also that it was good luck to bring a lump of coal to someone’s home on New Year’s Eve so they would be warm. We also heard that it was lucky to have someone with black hair or dark skin come to your house (I guess they were to symbolize coal and that you would stay warm.)

Do you say if this happens than that will happen? Yes, before Christmas when feeling like a total bag of shit I was rolling around in bed. I kept moving the covers and said if I happen to break the angel that Jacquie gave me on my side table then I will be dead in six months. I flip the blanket and move my walrus body and sure enough I hear the angel fall. I decide not to look and just assume it broke and that I will be dead soon. Get up in the morning and the angel has lost her head and half of a wing. Josephine is over and sees the angel and tells me ‘Grandma don’t worry, Grandpa will fix it.’ So she brought it to Grandpa who fixed it as good as new. If only I could be fixed as easily.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

The Art Of Disappearing

When they say ‘Don’t I know you?’ say no.

When they invite you to the party remember what parties are like before answering. Someone telling you in a loud voice they once wrote a poem. Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate. Then reply.

If they say ‘We should get together.’ say why? It’s not that you don’t love them anymore. You’re trying to remember something too important to forget. Trees. The monastery bell at twilight. Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store nod briefly and become a cabbage. When someone you haven’t seen in ten years appears at the door, don’t start singing him all your new songs. You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time.

~~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~~

*artwork by Renee Nault

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Then And Now


January 5, 1998

It snowed all day. Mom called at 9 p.m. for Angelique to pick up Pepsi for Dad. I think it was pretty ridiculous that she had to get Pepsi at night in a snowstorm, with a car that has no winter tires. But did I say that, No! Would it have been disrespectful? ‘He preferred to be, rather than to seem good. ~~ Sallust 86-35 BC ~~’


January 19, 2010

I would like Mom or Dad to call for anything and it would not be ridiculous; even in the shape I’m in now I would walk to get the Pepsi in a snowstorm.


January 13, 1998

I was just talking to Mom and told her of a dream I had last night. In the dream I dreamt that Jacquie didn’t want Mom to see me anymore, so Mom asked me not to come around. I was so surprised that I struck my hand out and pushed her in the chest. So I told this to Mom and Mom says ‘Fuck that.’ I started laughing. Then Mom and I were both laughing and she said she won’t be around forever, and that she’ll die sometime. You can’t imagine how those words hit me. I couldn’t even believe my reaction. I started sobbing, almost as though my Mom had just died.

I told Mom that she is the person who gave me my wings, and that besides my children, she is the one person I love more than anyone in this world. I admire her so much. It seems that the older I get, and realize who she is as a woman; I admire and love her more.

I would say that my Mom is fair, loves children and they love her, truly believes that there is always room for one more and practices that. Kind, beautiful, in style, modern, gave me a love of music, open-minded, does not gossip, can keep a secret, tolerant, fun, strict, caring, strong, and much much more.

My Mom is not tolerant of liars, thieves, or fools. And if Mom has something to say, believe me, she will say it. She is also the best grandma in the world.

You can’t die Mom, because I couldn’t handle that. I love you!


January 19, 2010

You are going to die Mom and I realize that because of you and how you have raised me; I will in fact be able to handle that.


January 19, 1998

Angelique drove me to Mom and Dads. I went to clean out the storage room. Mom is getting a dresser and Good Will is coming tomorrow to get all the junk. It didn’t take too long and I was able to bring home a few pictures Mom and Dad gave me.


January 19, 2010

Funny brought home a few more pictures just the other day when we were all cleaning out Mom’s apartment. And just as it was a breeze to do then, it was a breeze to do now.


January 27, 1998

Mom is really upset. Gwen her best friend has cancer. Since Mary and Auntie Gloria have died, Gwen is her only good friend left. Jacquie and I went to Mom and Dad’s house so she could talk about Gwen. We played cards and when we left Mom said she would not be able to sleep that night.


January 19, 2010

Mom is still here and I am still thankful. She has outlived her friends; I wish I could say the same about myself.


January 30, 1998

Dad’s birthday today, so I bought him a t-shirt.


January 19, 2010

My Dad would have been 84 on his birthday and I can tell you people if you don’t think smoking kills you would be wrong. It is the main contributing factor in my father’s death and it will be in my mothers.

Monday 18 January 2010

L = Angels And Goddesses

Laila is the Angel of Conception. She is in charge of conception and appointed to guard the spirits at their birth.

I once read about Laila in a children’s book, don’t remember the name of it but it was written by Howard Schwartz. He stated that Laila brings the soul and the seed together and sees to it that the seed is planted in the womb. Laila serves as a midwife of souls.

While the infant grows in the womb, Laila places a lighted candle at the head of the unborn infant so that it can see from one end of the world to the other. Laila also teaches the unborn child the entire Torah as well as the history of its soul.

It is believed that when the person is ready to take leave of this world that Laila will lead it from this world to the next.

Lady of Beasts is the Goddess who is surrounded by members of the animal kingdom. This Goddess’ main role is supporting life on earth. Lady of Beasts shows her kinship with animal totems as a driving force for fertility in the natural world and she is able to assume animal form.

Once upon a time the Lady of Beasts did not have to disappear; at one time she was valued in the feminine as the bountiful Earth Goddess. Around 700 BC the continental Celts began to move into the British Isles bringing with them a culture which valued the more masculine attributes of war, kingship, and heroic exploits. Even though there were still powerful goddesses around, they were becoming subordinate to the gods.

Lady of the Beasts was seen as a threat to the Christian brothers and was eventually downplayed to the point of being a fairy.

Friday 15 January 2010

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 37

*artwork B by Dilkabear and D by Kay Nielsen

Thursday 14 January 2010

Times Three No. 14

Hard times, hard times!

Imagine being a loving daughter who sees your Mom almost every day or at the minimum five out of seven days. And then you are dependent on Transit rides for your wheelchair to get you to and from the hospital so you can see your Mom.

Imagine being a loving daughter who wants to get that same Transit ride to the hospital everyday but you are on chemo that is making you terribly sick and are on pills that make your anxiety go through the roof. And then you are lucky if you get to see your Mom once every few weeks.

Imagine if that is the best mother in the world and she is dying and you can’t get to see her. Imagine that you felt the same way when your 25 year old son was a few floors below you at the same hospital you were in and you couldn’t get down to see him; not because of the Transit but because you were getting chemo and radiation and were sick as a dog and when you felt slightly better which you did everyday and went to see your boy it took everything to be able to get there and then you suffered for hours both physically; but mostly mentally.

Hard times, hard times!

Imagine that it is not easy for our darling Jacquie.

Jacquie whom when she gets to heaven God will say ‘well done,’ is not being well done too.

Jacquie feels like a lot of things are getting away from her and she is being left in the dust. Many of us with cancer feel this way especially when we are feeling super ill to boot. And just so you know it always feels especially personal.

Together strong Jacquie.

Wednesday 13 January 2010


Follow truthfulness even if you think it may harm you, for truthfulness never harms but instead saves. Do not lie even if you think it will protect you. Lying never protects, it only destroys.

~~ the Hadith ~~

*artwork by Melody Sage

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Our Warning

My Mom is dying. Is it better to say my Mom is very ill? If it is, it wouldn’t be right because that of itself is not quite true; as it is more than that. I must keep this real in my own language and state that my Mom is dying.

Boy how we all love our Mom, we, who are so fortunate to have the best mother in the world and I mean bar none. If you think you know how much we all love our Mom than you need to rethink it again.

Mom has been in and out of the hospital over the last six months with different chest problems that are mostly associated to her COPD. At one point they even thought she had the swine flu, which she did not.

My Mom has been in Riverview since before Christmas and has had many tests, one of which was a Mugga Scan that is showing that the arteries from the heart are very weak as they have had to work quite hard for her lungs.

Part of the problem as COPD advances is that the body goes into a panic that it cannot breathe. This is very hard on the heart. After the scan they started my Mom on fentanyl to help trick her brain into thinking she is breathing better so that she does not panic which makes her much weaker that much faster.

So now my Mom gets fentanyl before she eats, goes to the bathroom, sleeps, basically moves period.

There was a family meeting before Christmas and everyone in the city went. I just stayed with my Mom in her room as I had no interest in going to the meeting. For me it would just be the same of what I have heard for the last four years about myself. ‘She is dying; we don’t know how long; etc. etc.’

Mickey told me that the medication was what they give to people in their last stages of life.

Joey said there would be no warning and that when Mom dies, she will just seem to fall asleep. For some reason I was surprised.

Let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want more than all the world your return. ~~ Mary Jean Iron ~~

Shelly was over and we were talking about it and I thought I better clarify. I had thought that we would have time to gather around Mom. Shelly told me that she mentioned in the meeting that we were able to be there with our nephew Sheldon and our Dad at the end and would we have that opportunity. They said no, that we may not even know Mom died right away, we may be talking to her and she will take a breath and just pass away.

Even still I kept thinking maybe we would have a warning and I realized that the fentanyl is our warning. This is the last stages; this is our gathering time; this is our warning; this is our time to gather around.

Shelly and Jeanine are taking care of Mom’s needs and meeting with the doctors and staff. Shelly will be having my Mom come and live with her. Mom is so excited and we are all excited. We are all happy that our Mom will be in a loving home with a loving daughter and Mom will have most of her children able to come and help her.

Shelly and I were talking the other day and I was just saying what a blessing for Shelly. Of course, Jacquie or I would have taken Mom in our homes in a heartbeat had we been able too, but that is not the case; so Shelly is the lucky one.

I said to Shelly ‘Mom was there to usher you into the world Shelly and now you will be able to be there to usher her on her return from the world.’ Talk about full circle.

We all believe that my Mom will live until she dies because that is just how she does it. And as long as my Mom is comfortable I hope this dying takes a very long time.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco

Monday 11 January 2010

K = Angels And Goddesses

Kakabel is the Angel of the Stars and rules over the constellations. He is also known as the Star of God.

Kakabel is a powerful angel and is considered by some to be a holy angel and by others to be a fallen angel. Whether in Heaven or Hell he commands 365,000 spirits and is instrumental in astrology.

Kuan-Yin (also known as Quan Yin in Vietnam; Kannon in Japan, and Kanin in Bali) is special to me because she is special to my darling muse Allegra.

Kuan-Yin is the Chinese Goddess of Compassion and her name means ‘She who hears the weeping world.’ Even after enlightenment Kuan-Yin was willing to keep her human form because of her deep concern for human life. She has never turned away from anyone’s cries, no matter how often she has been asked for mercy and wisdom.

Kuan-Yin encourages her followers to exercise compassion toward all beings and to live non-violent lives. Kuan-Yin is one of the most beloved deities in the Buddhist tradition. She is the embodiment of compassionate loving kindness. As the Bodhisattva of Compassion, she hears the cries of all.

Kuan-Yin is often represented as a many armed figure, with each hand either containing a different cosmic symbol or expressing a specific ritual position or mudra. This characterizes the Goddess as the source and sustenance of all things. When Kuan-Yin’s hands are cupped it is symbolizing the womb as the door for entry to this world through the universal female.

Kuan-Yin is unique among the heavenly hierarchy in that she is so utterly free from pride or vengefulness that she remains reluctant to punish even those who deserve a severe lesson.

Kuan-Yin is the one who regards, looks on, or hears the sounds of the world. She is an enlightened being who embodies the attributes of an all pervasive, all consuming, unwavering loving compassion and makes herself available to everyone.

*artwork of Kakabel by Franz von Stuck

Friday 8 January 2010

Fantasy Friday BLD No. 36

*artwork B by Zdenko Basic and L by Andy Kehoe and D by Ana Bagayan

Wednesday 6 January 2010

50s Housewife Quiz No. 7

Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

All together gang. ‘Are you for real?’

This is how it went down in the Khan household.

I make the evening his twice a year and that is on Father’s Day and his Birthday. So Wahid is very lucky out of 365 days in a year two of the evenings are his.

Wahid never ever comes home late or goes out to dinner without me. Other places of entertainment he really doesn’t want to go unless I’m with him. He has more fun with me. Although, Wahid does love his horse racing on a Sunday afternoon.

We have always had dinner at 5:00 p.m. Wahid gets home at 4:45 on the nose and if he is even twenty minutes late I know he has gone to the hardware store to buy some welding gloves. And sure enough he comes in at 5:30 all smiles and I play the game of ‘Where the heck were you? We were worried? Did you meet someone? You smell good, is that cologne?’ He laughs his head off.

There is always strain and pressure in a job environment but it is nothing to the strain and pressure of raising kids and that was basically left up to me. So I was the one at work and coming home to more strain and pressure. He was the one who came home and was able to comfortably relax.

Make the evening his (Failed, unless twice a year counts). Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you (Failed, I would have a shit fit if he was going out after work, while I was at home). Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax (Failed and passed, I understand the strain and pressure from work and the need to be home and relax, but really, I would love that too).

Tuesday 5 January 2010

What Kinda Bone

On December 1, 2009 I had the gastroscopy where Dr. Doerksen assumed that there were cancerous tumors in my stomach. Until pathology came back they would not know for sure. On December 16th I called him to find out what was going on as I just couldn’t stand the bat problem. He explained that pathology was having some issues but ‘Yes, in fact there is cancer in the stomach.’

Over the past two weeks I have had more CT scans, bone scans, and blood tests.

Wahid and I were talking yesterday morning before we went to see Dr. Grenier and I was saying how I just felt totally Zen. I just felt whatever is, is; and like he always says we will just deal with it and go through the process.

I have been asking myself the last few nights if it is worse because now another nail has been added to the coffin or if it was worse when I heard almost four years ago. Of course, really none of it is good, but it is better for me now then four years ago. Not the cancer situation of course, but just the realization of this is your life and you have to make the most of it.

On New Years Eve Paula called and asked to move up my appointment on the 4th to 9 a.m. but also wanted to let me know that they still did not have the pathology report done, but that pathology had promised it to her by the end of the day.

Yesterday morning when Wahid and I went to see Dr. Grenier I was seriously expecting to hear her say there was nothing they could do. That wasn’t the case and so that is a good thing.

I received pieces of bone this time: a chip here; a larger piece there; one with marrow; one they didn’t recognize; and one dry and brittle.

Because it is almost unheard of for breast cancer or Inflammatory Breast Cancer to go to the stomach they have got to redo all of the pathology samples and compare them to the original tissue samples that were taken four years ago.

The question on the report is they do not know if the cancer cells are breast cancer cells or stomach cancer cells or even a totally new cancer that has spread from somewhere else. Is this a new cancer originating in the stomach or from another secondary source?

Funny thing, not har har funny, this is all coming from a family with absolutely no history of cancer.

No treatment can be done as yet and will take minimally three weeks to find out what type of cancer it is. Dr. Grenier believes that because I have Stage 4 cancer it is probably 70% chance that it is IBC but there is a 30% chance that it isn’t. Of course they would be treated completely differently so there is nothing we can do now. On the other hand, she hates to wait because in IBC it is just days to weeks to months that things escalate.

In the meantime I will have to keep batting off the bats and choking down the food.

It is not in my liver and so I am thankful for small mercies.

Push on with all your determination, and
just when you feel defeated and blocked,
throw yourself into the gaping abyss before you –
into the ever-burning flame of your own nature.
All illusionary thoughts, feelings, and perceptions
will die with your Me, and your Self-nature will appear.
You will feel resurrected, truly healthy, and filled with joy and peace.

~~ Bassui Tokusho ~~

*artwork by Philip Bishop

Saturday 2 January 2010

My Family

On October 24, 2009 my amazing and longest time friend on the blogs Julie-Ann Bowden held a contest. This is what she said then.

‘Would love to paint families of earth and heavenleigh angels. Somehow this is where I see myself heading with my art. In this I need to open myself up to painting requests. There is nothing more individual than real people, families, and friends.’

‘The paintings would be in my style and not exact or photographic, this may conflict with what people wish for and in this; is where the struggling comes from.’

‘Would you feel confident enough or like to be painted in my style of art?

Hell Yes!

On October 30, 2009, darling Julie-Ann had a draw and her sweet Charlotte picked out two tickets and I was one of them. Thank you sweet Charlotte.

Is anything more amazingly beautiful? Thank you dear friend, how I love it! I so love it. You have done us proud indeed.

Everyone my family: Don, Angelique, Domenic, Josephine; Wahid, Renee, Nathan; Nadalene and Charlton.

Now everyone, go and get your families painted.

*artwork by my dear friend Julie-Ann Bowden

Friday 1 January 2010

Sheldon's Gift

When Sheldon was near the end of his life it was very important to him that he be able to donate his organs.

Of course with cancer that was not to be. That made Sheldon sad as he wanted to be able to help others that were here. Sheldon knew that he had no more use for his body and hoped that someone else’s life could be made better.

Sheldon did not know that he would be able to help others when he died. But he did, as a matter of fact he helped two others and all of the people those two others touch.

When I was talking to the people at the organ bank after Sheldon had died and they said because he had cancer it would not be possible to use his organs. I let Jacquie know and she told me to get back in touch with them and see if they could use his eyes.

I called them back and they called Gil back. They could and they did.

Sheldon, our very own God, gave the gift of vision to two other people. Because of Sheldon two other people can do more than just see light.

The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber. Together with the lens the cornea refracts light accounting for approximately two-thirds of the eye’s total optical power and contributes most of the eye’s focusing power.

There are organizations located throughout the world to coordinate the distribution of donated corneas to surgeons. I don’t know exact numbers of people on the waiting lists but I know for example in just the City of Edmonton last year there were over 400 people waiting.

About two weeks after Sheldon died the Lions Eye Bank of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario sent Jacquie and Gil a letter in the mail telling them how Sheldon had changed two different people’s lives. Jacquie and Camille called me at midnight to let me know the news. It was joyous news.

Because Sheldon always thought of others before himself (it was ingrained in Sheldon) he was able to help two different people. They both received one of his corneas.

This is not a sample of the letter that Jacquie and Gil received but it is a sample of a difference having a cornea donated has made in a young girl’s life and also how truly grateful she is. The young girl is 26 years old and lives in British Columbia (I will call her J).

J was placed on a cornea waiting list and was told that she would wait for a minimum of three or more years. As it turned out she waited four. ‘They called me two days before the operation and said they had a cornea. I was so excited, but then I kept wondering what it was going to be like. The transplant took about an hour with me having a stay in the hospital for about seven hours.’

Within a day J could see the effects of the new cornea. ‘The next morning I took the bandage off of my eye, so I could put in the anti-rejection drugs in my eye, and it was the most amazing thing in the world. I could see. I started to cry. It hit home then that I received a transplant and that someone I didn’t even know gave me sight….it’s really hard to explain.’

‘The frustrating thing is you don’t know how to say thank you. You don’t know the people who made this possible. You wish you could tell them that they’ve made something good come out of their loved one’s death. They gave me back my life.’

Because of someone just as generous as Sheldon, J no longer has to hold back. She is able to lead a normal life.

Please, remember Sheldon and fill out your donor cards. Give the gift of God to others; as you would have them do for you, please do for them.

You made us all better Sheldon. You made us all want to be better.

I miss you every day Sheldon, every single day.

It is a new day of a new year of a new decade. Let us all be inspired by a young man who barely turned 25 before he died. Let us all be inspired by a young man who knew the true meaning of love.

Happy New Year.

Love Renee xoxoxo

*artwork by my dear friend Kathy Hare