Three Years Ago…

This I write in memory of my husband, “Jer”.

I love this video short because it reminds me that, in death the soul is freed and often it IS better that way, considering the struggles those that have passed suffered in getting there.Tomorrow it will have been three years since my husband passed. I miss him still. I am reminded of all the good times…as there were many. My mind has opened up a lot since then and my perspective on the value of time has changed. I cherish every minute, even if I’m having a pretty difficult day. It’s exhilarating to get the natural high of working out, or sharing an activity that helps other people feel good about themselves too,  even if it’s just for an hour of a day. Why? I do this because I have this day, at least so far, to live. I am thankful for that!

Often I think of how, back then when he was alive how there was so much, aah, seemingly wasted time focusing on the small stuff, the petty stuff that really did not matter at all. That, of course is one of my learning curve regrets.

Recurring thought as time moves forward on this helps me to realize that while in the “best of times” there still, in retrospect can be far too much time or energy spent on negative thoughts, disagreements, or things that were not meant to be changed. I believe it to be true that, the more we focus on something the more we lean in towards it and in doing this, can transform it to become our reality.

The learning of this sort of wisdom seems to only happen by living and doing, and not by listening or studying. While we believe we are learning it as we listen or study I honestly must admit that unless I had lived it I thought this was something other people did.

I have learned too that in starting over a lot of letting go must happen to proceed forward in a healthy, optimistic and hopeful fashion. “Progress” is a big word. For me the giving away of a lot of material possessions, downsizing to a home with less square footage on a smaller lot, …and a smaller more compact car have helped tremendously.

Another thing that has helped me is to continually make new goals and when I complete or accomplish one reward myself by making 2 new goals in it’s place. Even though opening myself up to new projects and activities has evolved slower than I would have projected, the truth is that I really am in no hurry.

Still, tomorrow, September 11th, cancer stole my husband, my love, my partner, and for that I grieve. We had done all the treatment possible and even some that were none FDA approved and quite debilitating. Some of them gave us false hope providing a momentary reprieve, then an onslaught of brain cancer exploding in the brain requiring laser brain tumor removal (radial-cranial surgery). All of this cost a lot more money than our insurance, or we, had, by the way, which after it was all said and done became a major stumbling block in moving on in life (for me).

The brutal reality is cancer, like so many other forms of disease does not pick and choose or discriminate. It steals the young and old and everyone in between. One can be a model of health and fitness and become cancer’s next victim. Their families suffer right along with them and afterwards are left to put back the pieces of our lives. It is no easy task when going about the steps to become whole again but I believe it is doable. Support groups, pets, travel, family, exercise, going out for coffee, telephone conversations, and walks with friends are all things that help.

Thanks for reading this and watching the little video!

What A Difference A Day Can Make

lindsandistairs

Linds & I On The “Stairs”

On this day, 21 years ago I got the most valuable gift of my life~ my daughter was born. In retrospect, at 34 I actually thought my life was pretty much complete. Contrarily, I had no idea the extent of how empty my life truly was. I had no clue of the many joys of having a child that would last over, hopefully, my entire life.

The story is she was to arrive on my birthday, two days earlier. Her Dad & I rushed to the hospital and everything was going as planned, on schedule. At a certain point the Dr offered I might benefit from an epidural, or spinal block to make the process less painful. By that time thoughts of natural childbirth had gone out the window, I accepted.

The contractions stopped and we went home and waited. Two days later at 7 pounds and 11 ounces it was Lindsey’s debut. Even though we didn’t get to share the same birthday this day (today, my daughter’s birthday) is more special than any day including my own birthday.

If not for our choice to have this precious child I sincerely wonder where I would be today. She is the light of my life and today I am full of joy for the quality individual she has become. Happy Birthday and I love you Lindsey!

December, The Meaningful Memory Month

First December Visit

First December Visit

I swear, this is going to be the last time I post a picture of myself looking pretty devastated at my husbands final place of rest. This one in particular, hair smashed down in the windy December afternoon with a Holiday floral arrangement pretty much shows it all.

Jer was really big on the Holidays. He went with the nickname BigJer he said because he had big dreams. I know it was because he had a big loving generous heart of gold. Anyway, as long as I’ve known him making the Holiday Season and Holidays meaningful and fun with bar B Que’s and gifts was very important for him.

Any special event, whether it be the Rose Bowl, a birthday, or other Holiday you’d find Jer bar B Queing for 20, even if it was only the three of us. As I am sure many of his friends and family remember while in Sacramento his Bar B Que was the best! One friend even stated that when he died he wanted to come back as Jer’s dog, so he could snack on the fantastic Bar B Que left-overs … pretty funny.

But I must admit 2012 Thanksgiving was difficult with only good memories of my husband, instead of his physical presence. As the month changed to December, two days ago I got a pit deep in my stomache with memories of recent December’s, how difficult they have been and then previous wonderful, even magical December’s gone past. The month of December happens to be the month with all the special dates involving my late husband and our most memorable memories inside it’s days. He had driven to our secluded location in Washington State to help me pack what we could of our stuff, including our cat, Oreo into the back of the Jeep Comanche truck December 8th. December 9th was the day Lindsey & I actually arrived in Sacramento to live with Jer and start a new life together. December 24th, 2012 is what would be Jer’s 59th birthday, and Christmas, the day Jer always made the most special with our creative outside lighting, the tree just right and an overload of special food and gifts. December 28th, would be our wedding anniversary, the date we married.

As I fight back the tears (I know he wouldn’t want that) I know that this is the month to celebrate all of those good times, fun things we did and appreciate all the wisdom, among other things he has left us with. Not many people with a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma stage 4 after a deadly siezure due to a brain tumer could withstand all the grueling treatments he tried and live enduring as much pain as Jer did as long as he did. How he achieved that I still wonder. I know, in my heart he did not go until he was completely ready, refusing the powerful drugs until the very last 4 months so he could keep as clear a head as he could manage.

I know as well, as it becomes 2013 in a few short weeks it will be time to begin again, with a new year and start thinking of developing new dreams and new traditions …

Realizing I am not yet over the shock of accepting the word “widow” yet, I visit his grave and say prayers for God’s will this December and the power to carry that out.

A Little Over 10 Weeks Ago

We met online, on ICQ to be exact in the late days of 1999. After many inspiring chats I purchased a web cam so I could see this mystery man’s face. My daughter & I lived in an isolated area, a temporary spot while the dust settled from a marriage which had fallen apart, so there was really only one place to buy this web cam; Radio Shack.

My daughter was barely 8 years old and always asking questions upon questions about everything. We fooled around with this new toy and made our own little greetings. I got an awesome series of her and her girlfriend, Samantha, running back and forth behind me in the first few days that was actually a lot better than the straight faced personal profile video I was attempting to make.

A long story shortened, my future husband, and best friend appeared in the screen, and I on his for the first time. Truth is I was first shocked, because he was tan and had piercing blue eyes that looked like the sky and the ocean at the same time. Later on he admitted he was surprised as well at the image on his end, for other reasons.

As we went on in daily life we decided to meet halfway between the far reaches of Washington State, where I was and Sacramento, where he lived. This destination was Bend Oregon, where he was delivering an entertainment system to his son, who lived there at the time.

Jer said “look for the guy in the red Jeep truck towing an empty trailer, that will be me”. I replied “I’ll be the one wearnig purple in a blue land yacht”. 9 hours later we met in a parking lot. He didn’t say much about his son, but I learned a lot about his life as we drove in lines of traffic, mostly motorhomes looking for a restaurant, where we could stop eat and get to know each other. There happened to be a motorhome convention that weekend in Bend Oregon, which became our biggest obstacle to getting around those first few hours.

A month later my new friend came to where I was at, my daughter in the care of her Dad at my house, and we went on the ferry to British Columbia from Port Angeles Washington. Some friends of mine lived there and we spent the first night there. Next day I took him all the way over to the San Juan Islands to a place called Doe Bay which,, when you stand on the beach if you look directly across the Queen Charlotte Straights you can see the property on an island my Pop obtained about 54 years or so ago.

We enjoyed the natural Hot Springs and with snow on the ground stayed the second night in the little cabins there. A long hilly drive we wound up taking the long way back to my place because the waters were too rough for the little ferry that was the short cut to get to my place. Adding anohter 3 hours of driving time and an additional ferry boat ride, then 45 or so minutes more driving, and we were back.

I tried to keep it a secret from my daughters Dad but I was pretty sure she might have told him I had a new friend.

The next time he came for a visit he cooked up a Bar B Que on our back deck that could be smelled from miles around. The neighbors commented on it for weeks to come. And, we ate the food he prepared, some of which I froze for weeks as well. Oh yeah, and he had worn an awesome pair of cowboy boots too, the first thing to come off after he arrived. Those boots became the talk of our little home after this visit my daughter poking fun at them, and him describing them. He also totally revamped my computer system adding security and other things like a back up and separated drives and a new sound system.

We talked continuously, even as he drove back to California for the next few months and years to come. As a matter of fact, we talked until a little over 10 weeks ago, when he passed in the early afternoon on September 11th. We talked while we were together, separated, with other people, and even while mad at each other. Towards the end when he couldn’t talk any longer he spoke with his eyes, and body language.

I miss my husband, my best friend and not only lost his invaluable company but all of my very best dreams and visions of us growing older in this life together. There’s a vacancy in my life, and surely to our dogs I must look to be a crazy person talking to his spirit all of the time. Oh, I don’t just mope around feeling sorry for myself because I honestly believe he is finally free; free of pain, cancer, the “fight” and gravity pulling his ever so evolved spirit down from where it was going.

Finally Free rest With God

Our First Visit After Jer’s Headstone Was finished.

So, the fact that he enriched my life and many others’ as well is enough for me to believe there is good in every single moment, even the unpleasant.

We designed a company named JerSooz Enterprises, logos, a phrase to live by, or jingle; “Change Your Attitude Change Your Life”, websites, and made many friends. There were many ups and downs, usually caused by our differences, which we all have. Looking back it’s no surprise our biggest difference was my inability to understand why he was always in such a hurry.

I know the answer to that now, it’s because he didn’t have much time. Forget the should have could have ought to have and only if’s~ there’s no place in this life for all of that. That is in the past and we’re not going that way.

I would like to personally thank all of Jer’s friends from Avaya who wrote the wonderful letters and cards and sent the gift baskets. Mike and Laverne in particular sent the most fabulous one which included a baby fruit tree (we named it “Jer”) and all kinds of wonderful little treats. How did you know he loved fruit trees? I will remember you always because the basket is a much needed magazene holder in our living room. We will remain in touch for other reasons and again Jer has enriched my life by bringing you two wonderful people into it!

A little note, all apologies to Jer’s sister who asked that I photoshop myself out of this picture and send only one of the stone. To this I say it might be best if she go visit there and take the picture she desires … pretty certain he’s already gone to where he’s going and the stone’s not going anywhere.

May the love of my life rest in peace. I have gratitude for every moment we shared in our short time together in this life.

A Moment At A Time & Unknown Life Expectancy

Unknown Life Expectancy Unit

Jer Sooz & Ted

Two Years One Day After Initial Brain Tumer Removal Surgery

The first sign we had a problem was a seizure June 3rd, 2010. 4 days later surgeons removed a 2 inch tumer from my husbands right medial lobe. Lab tests showed it to be sent from skin cancer. 22 sessions of radiation, 3 months of chemo and 5, 5 day Bio-chem treatments over the past years and ! 3 months ago I rushed him to the ER.

What were thought to be two turned out to be 5 new tumers showed up in his brain. These were removed through radial-cranial surgery at Sunset KAISER Radiology-Oncology shortly after the trip to the ER. The 5 lasers did destroy the tumers, but when I asked the radial surgeon of the real prognosis his answer was “well, I can assure you no cancer will grow exactly where we removed those 5 from. It most likely will recur in the brain”. That’s all.

After that we drove home to Bakersfield discussing the days to come. We stopped in Castaic CA at Foster’s. As we got back in the car my husband said, “I am starting to feel that headache the surgeon said would be coming on and it’s a doozy”.

That headache never went away. As a matter of fact it became worse as the days passed. There was a lot of resting, dizzyness, steroids, pain medication … more resting. Trouble sleeping, difficulty focusing, memory problems visual and hearing impairments; only a few of what a day in the life of one very tough man suffered each and every day since.

He refused the morphine offered and used ever increasing amounts of hydrocodone. Now I understand why that decision, as, it probably shoud only be used in a hospital setting.

Living life with Cancer, knowing the end is going to be sooner than you’d want it to be, all the appointments, treatments, fears, and oh the cost of it all. It’s difficult to enjoy each day knowing every symptom we are rushing off to an appointment to treat is only a temporary fix for a side effect.

The reality that once discovered/detected, many a cancer has already infiltrated ones body enough to take a terminal hold. Every element of our lives had been shaken to the core. The quality of life issues accompanied by the financial hit we took went well beyond the pale.

I am writing this while my husband is still alive because he wouldn’t be if I had not been reminded he served in the military from 1972 to 1976. With “no options left” I called the Veterans Administration, who welcomed him to their care a month ago.

This is how it went down. After I called his Home Health Nurse who rushed to the house and examined him, she suggested it was time to call Hospice, as he was not responsive I finally did. They rushed him to a Nursing Home where he fell out of bed the first night, and again the next day fell en route to the bethroom. The nursing home (or should I call it “Place Mis-representing as a Quality Care Facility”) informed me Friday, his second day there I would have to begin paying $8,000 a month or find another place for him by Monday. A full tank of gas in my Ford Focus, looking for reasonable care, and nothing but places that resembled Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and worse.

If left to the processes of our supposedly best healthcare plan possible the end would have been without any dignity whatsoever and a lot of confusion, pain and agony. Or, of course we could have gone well beyond our means for sub-standard care, he would continue to suffer an agonizing and inhumane last few days, weeks or months and for the rest of my life I wouldn’t be able to afford to live.

This is an example of hard choices for ones who love those with a terminal illness, that have to be made right away.

Friends, know what your medical/health and legal options are, plan ahead on every level where health is concerned and be prepared. If you haven’t gotten the basic papers in order (the Advanced Directive, a will, or a Living Trust, the Power of Attorney and a Polst, if the ill one is at the home) while you are still capable do it now.

I say this with love and compassion. Sooz

Collaborative Cancer Research Can Save Lives Let’s Stand Up 2 Cancer

 http://www.standup2cancer.org/

Picture Of My Daughter With Cat In The Hat Got Me Thinking

Yesterday I went through all the wonderful pictures my daughter sent from Florida where she is visiting her family, on her Dad’s side. Along with the incredible sunrises, sunsets, grandparents riding the teacup at Disneyworld I came across one in particular that really got me thinking.

It is the one with her and The Cat In The Hat

Lindsey With One Of My Heroes- The Cat In The Hat

As a young girl I did a lot of reading.

We did not have a TV until I was in the 3rd grade so books were much of my entertainment activity. But I will never forget how much Dr. Seuss affected my imagination and inspiration about the future. In nearly every book of my Dr. Seuss collection were positive, hopeful messages, many of which, I think have contributed to my capability to live, love and enjoy life.

Not just that but his writings suggest we don’t take ourselves so seriously, and embrace who we are, big small, green or wearing a funny hat.

So, today I will share something many of us have long-forgotten … but will quickly remember upon reading:

My favorite Dr. Seuss quotes

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun But you have to know how.”

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles… …they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.”

Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks

And, my favorite Dr. Deuss quote of all time?

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Dr. Seuss

As we move towards the rest of the Holiday Season let’s all lighten up, take the time to read to a child and share our special memories found in reading books, let down our guards be human and enjoy life!

As another of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”.

“Every day IS a new beginning, I often start my day over many times.”

Quote made by me, Sooz (AKA SeattleGirlMakesGood)

Celebrating Being Alive; The Joy

Thanksgiving has always brought out the deep feelings of happiness, joy, and “belonging” in me. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it has always been the family gathering where most all of my family and close friends arrive every year with the sole intention of enjoying each other’s company … even if it is just for the one day.

This year we set the annual Thanksgiving tradition aside and tried something different. We stayed home and treated ourselves to a day off from our busy schedules and went to a well known and loved place called Hodel’s.

The food was great, the service perfect, cost extremely reasonable and guess what … there was no clean up after was all said and done. My husband & I spent the Holiday together and enjoyed a wonderful evening in the new home and for the day, at least there was only love, joy and happiness.

For, there are countless reasons for the joy and happiness this year. First, he has survived near death with an immobilizing brain siezure June 3rd 2010, had a brain tumer removal June 7th, which turned out to be sent by metastatic melanoma (stage 4). With the sensational Bio-chem treatments through a Dr. Gailani in Riverside, CA. my husband now has the diagnosis of being nearly cancer free.

After a 6 months left to live diagnosis I see this to truly be a miracle! It’s been nearly 1 year, so far and I am thankful for every moment, minute hour and day for this gift they refer to as living life. I love my husband! He is truly one of a kind and what we have, even in it’s non-traditional appearance is a good understanding and a good marriage. We are truly blessed.

7 months post brain surgery

Sunrise going over the Grapevine en route to Las Angeles.

Found in Courage To Change Pg. 325

November 20

Let me make this day a celebration of the spirit. There is a part of me that retains a childlike sense of curiosity, wonder,

enthusiasm, and delight. I may have lost touch with it, but I know it still exists. I will set my problems to the side for a

little while and appreciate what it means to be vitally alive.

Quote by George Bernard Shaw

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of

splendid torch which I have got to hold of for the

moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly

as possible before handing it on to future

generations.”

Thanks for reading this today, I write it with love.

SeattleGirlMakesGood

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,296 other followers

%d bloggers like this: