Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Landslide over me...

I have an I-Pad and I am exploring it. So, one aspect is purchasing my favorite music and songs and creating a concert for me. One song done by Stevie inside of me. I hum the tune as I am learning the words.

I do feel that I was standing tall, just about coping with all the aspects of having a chronic illness. I could feel the sun; I could see the birds and hear them chirping. I laughed and I could create laughter. I had people around me. People who wanted to be with me and do things with me. Life had its problems but it seemed that I was able to cope.

Then there was a LANDSLIDE of health problems and they poured all over me and slowly I sunk beneath the earth. I was deaf to sounds. Laughter was now a stranger. People looked so distant, afraid to ask, "How are you doing?" I am an emotional person and the answer would have been emotional and teary. During that time of the Landslide my left hip fractured. I developed an major, life threatening infection in my mouth. I was in the hospital three times. I lost the ability to eat food through my mouth because the infection created a fistula and , and , This is the hardest by day I slowly lost my ability to speak clearly.

This limited so much of my more telephone calls to friends in Brazil. No more chats with friends, talking about nothing but laughing about everything. I am under the landslide. I have no thoughts of crawling out and that is because for the first time in my life I do not have me to take care of myself. Without speech, I am deaf to life and unable to call out for help. I am unable to do so much for myself. I have to ask people to make telephone calls for me...and not everyone is happy about being someone's puppet.

This landslide holds me down. I built my life around things that were comfortable and familiar and now without them, this landslide holds me down.
God bless us all. AMF

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Six Seconds...

Six that time two young Marines were killed ; however, their courage and bravery saved their fellow Marines from being blown up by terrorists. During those six seconds don't you wonder if they had any thoughts? Were they action driven? Did someone guide their hands with the guns and help them blow up the terrorists' truck?

You might be wondering why I am writing about Marines on this blog. It is the six seconds that got to me. Look what two people can accomplish in six seconds - these Marines saved over twenty soldiers, twenty men and women from death. And at the same time during those six seconds a truckload of terrorists were blown up and our defending Marines die a Hero's Death. I am not someone who supports war, death, killing but rather I am commenting on the two marines and their last six seconds of precious life.

Six seconds
...what have I been doing with all my six seconds. I do not think that I have done anything as monumental as the young Marines. I have slowly been bouncing back and forth and back and forth from a series of health crisis starting in October 2009 and continuting up until now. What I am left with is a healed hip, but I am still in Physical Rehab. A fistula (hole) on my neck that makes it impossible for me to eat or drink and a food tube which is the substitue. And my facility with language is almost gone because an infection destroyed my mouth. That's the one that blows me up! I have so many words in my head, so many unspoken stories and unasked questions, so many jokes.

I got a I-Pad from Santa and it has a program on it called "Speak-It" and I use the keyboard and the program provides me with a selection of voices...I choice "Heather" and whatever I write is spoken. I am practicing for the day, if it comes , when I cannot talk. That will be my first six seconds. I will have to act bravely as I pick up my I-Pad and start to use it because I have to. The first six seconds when the I-Pad is a necessity.

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where all my close friends have gone...In six seconds I did...I didn't like the reality but here it is: "They are living their own lives and being there for me when they want to be." I wonder if anyone but me really knows what each day feels like. I hear myself saying that if I could help someone who had all these problems I would....I would find out what they needed and in my six seconds I would do a great someone I care about.

Six seconds, such a short amount of time, but time during which a Marine unit was saved and time that I can use to help myself and time others can use to help me. 6-5-4-3-2-1 Six seconds.

I will be writing more frequently and I am glad I did this writing is a start. Remember to do things because they make you feel good. Smile and laugh at least once a day. AMF

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sleep Living

We have all heard of the terms: sleepwalking, living in your own world, being out of it, out there on your own. Well, yesterday, I heard the words "sleep living" in my mind! I felt I was telling myself something and I needed to grab onto these two words and then figure out what they meant to me. So right now, with you and my computer...I will find out.

As I write, I am hoping that the meaning of sleep living will become clear to me. I have had to alter my life since October, 2009 in order to fit in all the medical routines, appointments, and pill taking that are required in order for me to heal. What has worried me is that not one of my wonderful doctors has guaranteed that my mouth will heal and that I will be able to speak better and eat food and drink liquids. What do I do with this ambiguity...I sleep live.

I wake up in the morning, after going to bed very late. Therefore, I guarantee that I am tired and eventually as the week moves on from Monday to Sunday, I am exhausted. In this state of tiredness I live. I take my pills, use the food tube, go to doctors appointments, write, and exist. At this level of functioning I am alert; however, what I have done is I have distanced myself from life by popping in and out of tiredness. Are you following me? I function well. I pay my bills, write to people, handle business matters - all items that are not a threat to me.

Because I haven't wanted to be fully awake to what has been physically happening to me, I have kept myself just awake enough and tired enough to function. Nothing is too bad or too good. Things are just what they are. But let's look at what I have sacrificed!

I do not feel the vitality of life that I so love. My laughter is infrequent and often muffled. I choose to be alone because it takes less effort. And I have to push myself to do things. But since I have uncovered the concept of "sleep living" I can do away with it.

All I need to do is fully look at what is happening to me and just let it be. My therapist frequently tells me I ruminate...of course I debate this with see my form of rumination is sneaky, I think about my illness under the guise of planning what I need to do.

However, to break the hold that sleep living has on me, tonight I am going to bed at 11PM and waking at 8AM. When I wake up I am going to kiss my partner and cats "Good Morning", say a few prayers, listen to Joshua Bell and then jump into the shower and wash away all the pain, doubt and sleepiness.

Tomorrow, I will let you know if I awake from "Sleep Living" and find a more alive me.

God Bless all our something kind to someone you do not know. It's fun. Yesterday I gave a bakery worker a tip for being kind to me and attempting to understand me as I ordered. The money was nice but I could see on the young man's face that what touched him most was that I appreciated his actions and sweetness..........................amf

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lost and Found

I have been so lost for three months... I have been caught up in a world filled with doctors and more doctors, hospitals and needles, injections and medicine, diagnosis and prognosis. All creating a world of emotional turmoil and tears. I have been lost but now I am found.

Starting in October, 2009 , I have been in a position of learning about the health care system from the inside. I have been hospitalized twice; I am participating in a Protocol Stage I treatment for cancer; I have almost weekly appointments with doctors. I am now on a food tube and cannot eat or drink through my mouth because I have a determined infection; and on October 31, 2009, yes, on Halloween, I fractured my hip as I was walking...just walking. I have been on crutches since then...and will move on to a cane in March.

Throughout all of this I have seen the best in so many people. I have had the best nurses at MSKCC in NY. I have doctors now who care for me - me the person, me the human being. I fired a doctor. Does that amaze you? Well, everyone told me that I cannot fire a doctor since I am not his boss. But my logic was I fired him by throwing him off my health team and getting another doctor to take me on as his patient. If I am to survive I need the best and the kindest medical people taking care of me and now I can proudly say that my new medical team is made up of those people. Remember always that we are entitled to be treated skillfully and kindly!

I have found my friends interesting during this period...they came in close when they could and retreated when their own lives and fears demanded that they do this. My therapist, what a wonderful person and I love her dearly, kept me sane and moving forward, step by step. When I tripped and fell she reached out to me and helped me up with her words so that I could continue my journey.

She told me that sometimes people have to back away when people are sick. I had a hard time accepting that and I kept saying over and over again, "I just don't get it. I just don't get it." It was like a litany for me. I cried...I screamed...I begged... My therapist wrote to me on the computer and called me since I was not able to make my sessions. After asking her why my friends had all seemed to disappear I finally got bored with the question and since I trust her, I decided to accept what she had said and I moved off that question and moved on! It had been holding me back. She encouraged me to do things and to try to find ways to be happy and as hard as it was I did find those things ...slowly at first, but eventually they started to fall into my life.

My partner almost melted from the heat at home. My partner tried her best but had so much pressure placed on her by the situation and by me. I couldn't cope alone and I felt I was sinking fast...Too many things happening so quickly. I had a major infection in my mouth that required me to be hospitalized for 12 days; I needed to use a food tube and not eat; I had to infuse myself through a mediport with antibiotics; I fractured my hip; I couldn't drive; I went back into the hospital with a serious blood infection and almost died. There is so much more but to save your sanity and mine I will end the list here.

I had to update you on where I have been and why I hadn't been writing...but I also want you to know that during the last three months I had great moments.

I had joined Soldier's Angels in 2008 and I wrote to three soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan and sent packages. Giving to them kept me sane and helped to give my life a purpose. I also got involved with sending post cards and holiday cards to our soldiers. I sent packages to the wounded and I wrote to the President Obama about getting our men and women home. Involving myself in other causes gave my life a purpose and got me to stop, even if it were for a while, thinking about me and my health problems.

I am glad to be back and I have so much to tell you about and so many things to share with you.

Mariposa, mariposa you live your life with such abandon, knowing no fear
Mariposa, mariposa small at birth but large,colorful wings do appear
You enter our lives, as we watch you fly
You move from flower to flower, our eyes follow as you go by

Mariposa, mariposa make room for me
Teach me the gifts of nature that are yours by birth
Show me how to accept without fear what my life cycle is!
Mariposa, mariposa land on my hand, gentle one, I hold you safely.

I write about butterflies because I feel some kind of connection with them. Once when I was volunteering at MSKCC I was asked to speak to a man of 41 years of age who had terminal cancer. He could not speak but he could write and then I answered him. After asking me a few questions, he wrote: "I am afraid to die." Please accept this as truth... I paused before I responded and during that pause I saw butterflies flying around both of us. So my answer to him was that all things have a natural life cycle and just like butterflies we are born, we live and then our life cycle ends. He felt comforted by that and he put his head in my arms and sobbed and wrote: " I know what you mean." There is no answer to why some of us live longer than others. There are no words that can explain why someone is going to die. Some of us have faith and hope. Others believe what they do... I just believe in the butterfly and that I will die when I have learned all that I was sent to learn and I hopefully will be content.

God bless you all! AMF

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tears from th sky....9/11/2001

Where have I been since April 2009? Working on health problems and hearing new diagnosis. I have spent time whirling around as I attempted to absorb the information I heard. I have met new doctors in the attempt to stop the spread of the cancer that seems to have an affinity for my body.

But today I am again sitting here watching the television as the 9/11 Memorial Service in NYC plays out. The names are being read and I hear them and occasionally I look up and see faces and ages and I realize that since 2001 I have lived and continue to live...while over three thousand strangers who are now friends in my heart and prayers are gone. How lucky I am to be alive!

To you my brave and courageous friends
Who lost your lives that one, bleak day
When America lost its innocence
And you lost your lives.

Some of you rushed in to help others
Wanting them to live and to survive
Some of you called home to say, "Goodbye and I love you."
And most of you lost your lives and we miss you all!

Today it is raining...tears from the sky
Tears that we all shed each year
As 9/11 comes around

Tears from the sky
There is no way to say goodbye.

We have tried to rebuild what once was
Buildings, lives, families
Small children have now grown
Husbands and wives hold you in their hearts
Families and friends tell stories about you.

So many lives lost
So many tears still fall from the eyes
Of family, friends and strangers alike
So many years have passed
And you are all remembered

God bless you all
God bless America
You are all at peace now
But I wish you had lived

Tears from the sky
Tears from our eyes

I took a pause to write the words above because I have no right to complain really...I am alive! Peace to all..........God bless our country, our military, President Obama.

I encourage all of you who read this to volunteer...Soldiers Angels. It is a group of volunteers who adopt military personnel who are stationed far from home in the war zones. I have adopted four soldiers and I write to them frequently and send packages once a month. Each one has said in his/her own way that it is a surprise that we at home care about them enough to write. This soldiers are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are often so young and could use our help and support and I must admit I get soooooooooooooo much from my contact that I believe I am the one who receives the gift! AMF

Monday, April 27, 2009

Drafting and Drifting..

I started this article sometime after the election; so where have I been all those months? Drafting articles, going to doctors, and hearing news about my status as a Survivor of Cancer. Well, since December, 2008 I have heard that I have cancer in my lungs, in my mouth and now in my kidneys. From each of these bangs...I went further into myself and you know what I found- a very small, lonely child. And now the article is edited and here it is, a few months late...what is late anyway? I hope you enjoy my thoughts and can feel my spirit!

The election is over! I am so thrilled that our President-Elect is Barack Obama. If this happiness and joy were the medicines that could cure, then I would be cancer free. Maybe if I start to accept that everything that feels good emotionally will help me to feel good physically, magic will happen. Wow, what a clear way to figure things out. Nothing complicated. If it doesn't feel good: it will add to the confusion of the cells in my walk away.

So...why don't I walk away? I always have a good reason and it never is really my own reason. It is what I was taught and what I have come to expect from others. It is all the little things I decide or believe I should do to make someone happy or make the world a better place to live in. No, seriously, I donated more money to Obama's campaign than six of my friends did. And I have less money. So why add more pressure to my life? Why, did I do that? I donated money because that is what a good citizen does.

It was only when Obama's commercials and political ads came on the Internet; when I saw and heard him speak, debate or just be interviewed, I just couldn't help I didn't want to stop believing that something good, something great could happen in my lifetime and I could be a part of it. This was a period of time that hard issues were happening in my life medically and emotionally, and I was hardly rocked . I could utilize my many moments of happiness and joy about a man I did not know but trusted a great deal I was so happy and excited about President -elect Obama... that I felt so healthy and so hopeful that my body was calling out "Healing Words". I felt that the joy I felt had a healing effect.

As I spent time involved in the election and in the results, I realized that I had not thought about having Cancer once. Occupying myself with things that are life enhancing, actually gives me a lift. I am trying to accept that I was put on this earth for a reason and the reason is to be joyful and happy. I have gathered a few new people around me who support this way of thinking and I can tell you that it is easier when you know you are not alone.

I have two doctors who support the medical practices of both the East and the West. And since this has always been part of my belief system I have gained a great deal of knowledge about myself. I found out in one session that I have learned to function at a high level of stress all the I never really feel stressed, even when I am. When I finally feel the stress I am really in a desperate emotional state. Imagine what this, year after year, has done to my spirits, emotions and body. So I am learning ways to reduce my stress before I am over-stressed which could impact my immune system, which could...., which could.... Got to go! god bless you all. Me

I found myself crying and the words, "Raining Tears" came into my mind. I am sure that they are probably words from a song or poem...but right now they are mine to use.


Raining Tears as I search to find my way, confused and confounded,
Through the pathways I must wander.
I try to make sense of this journey I am on
As I use life's lessons which I know will heal my soul.
And then I see the yellow daffodils that I planted.

Friday, January 9, 2009


I am not fluent in Spanish but I just understood a part of myself from the word, Chiquitita. I feel so much like a small baby chicken...slowing and blindly moving around...looking for a way to survive. I recently got two more unpopular reports about my chronic health problem -Cancer. More unpopular - because the reports were not good but they were not horrible. I just don't want to accept them. Cheep, cheep, cheep

Feeling like a little chick gives me the opportunity to shut off most of my human emotions and just keep my head to the ground looking for survival seeds. Chickens don't share, don't care, don't laugh and don't cry. The "don't list" is endless. And I can escape from my reality for a while. Sometimes when I get overloaded and overburdened I look for a way to empty my mind...being a chick might be it!

Chiquitita .....the title of a song from "Mam ma Mia". I truly suggest that you buy the DVD movie that offers the option of singing along with the movie or singing after the movie is over. I can tell you it broke through my down trodden manner and cheered me up. Music can do that! Basically what appeals to me is that inside each of us is that small child who still has needs. "Chiquitita, tell me what's wrong." I have always wanted someone to ask me that and now with all the constant medical diagnosis..........I do need to tell someone what is wrong. God bless our new President and his family. amf