Getting The Strength Back in My Legs

Day 4~

Today I’m grateful for my legs.  The last year or so has been kind of a difficult one for my legs.

Once again, chemo seemed to wreck havoc on my body as far as my legs go.  Well…. let’s at least say my knees…. but when your knees aren’t functioning well, it affects the way your legs work!  After recovering from chemo, my arthritis kicked into full gear in my knees and the pain was beginning to be unbearable.

I was told 10 years ago when I had my knees scoped that I was bone on bone on my right knee and that I would eventually need a replacement.  Well….. I finally gave in this last August, after another scope of my knees in April wasn’t successful,  and had my right knee replaced.veins_legs

Recovery seemed to go a little slower than I had hoped, but for some reason, after we got back from our cruise last week, the swelling subsided quite a bit and I’ve been feeling so much better!  My physical therapist told me today that I was progressing more like someone that was 12 or more weeks out and I’m really only about 9 weeks out.  It’s amazing how much more you can function when that swelling goes down!  I was having a difficult time getting around on the cruise last week, but we did so much more walking than I had been used to.  Perhaps working those muscles out helped, but it took a few days with several hours off my feet to make that swelling go down.

Today I felt like I was walking fairly normal with very little and only occasional pain.  I’m finally able to get up out of a chair without having to pull myself up with my arms.  I feel like things are much easier for me to do and I feel encouraged about the upcoming Holiday season feeling like that I will be able to get a lot more done this year than I’ve been able to for a couple of years.  It’s a great feeling and makes me appreciate my legs and what they do for me!

Getting the strength back in them and getting back to normal activities is truly a reason to rejoice!  They say it takes a full year to get complete full range of motion and muscle strength back…. but I can tell I’m headed there and I’m grateful for that!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?


Grateful for Cancer? Well…. Yes! Thank You, Cancer!

I’m WELL over due for a post.  It’s amazing how I can allow little things to take up my time when I could be blogging instead.  Sadly…. I forget how much I enjoy it till I do it.

Today I read a post from a friend on Facebook.  It’s an open letter to her cancer fight that she just went through.  It’s so beautifully written and said so many of the things that I felt while I was on my own battle with cancer that I asked her if I could share it here.

Before I do…. let me first give a long overdue update on my own condition.  I am 18 months out past my last treatment.  I go in for my semi-annual scan/check up next week.  I’ve been feeling great in that aspect.  Though I’ve been dealing with some digestive issues (which I’m completely blaming on diet) and some bad joint pain (which is because of age AND chemo…..)….. I’m doing great!  We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first grand child which I’m SURE I will blog about shortly!  But really, life is great!

10.16-Be-GratefulBelow is the open letter my friend Lori Rees posted on her Facebook page.  It explains so wonderfully that even though going through cancer is not fun….. you learn so much and are truly blessed in SO many ways!  With permission, here is Lori’s letter:

An open letter to my Cancer:
Dear Cancer,
I am writing today because I feel like I haven’t told you how I feel about having had you in my life, and I hate to leave any relationship unresolved.
You came into my life when I least expected you. I had never felt more healthy-physically, mentally and spiritually. How ironic, right? Well, thank you for choosing such a time to arrive. My body had been building a fortress and I was prepared.
Actually, there are many things for which I would like to thank you.
Thank you for introducing yourself so clearly. I knew you were an alien visitor when I felt you for the first time. I knew I couldn’t wait to introduce you to my doctor, and take a closer look.
Thank you for allowing me to meet such amazing professionals at Huntsman, who gave me wonderful advice, re-assurance, and care.
Thank you for allowing me to meet other patients who inspired me and helped me along the way.
Thank you for showing me the kindness of complete strangers who offered hugs.
Thank you for re-connecting me with friends who reached out and encouraged me, and showed me such love.
Thank you for letting me accept help from my neighbors and friends, who cooked meals for us, mowed our lawn, and checked up on our family. That vulnerability is sometimes difficult to give in to. But I realized that accepting that love, support and help from others, is healing for all involved.
Thank you for showing me how strong a mother’s love is. My mother stepped in and didn’t allow me to lift a finger with laundry or housework. Thank’s Mom!
Thank you for showing me how important it is to do what I love to do.
Thank you for teaching me that being present in every moment is what I should always strive for. Every day counts. Every moment counts. Cliche? Maybe. But true.
Most of all, thank you for the realization that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was.
During our relationship, I never gave you any points or credit for anything. But I suppose I ought to have given you one. You get one point for my hair. I loved mine, and I miss it. I had worn short hair for 20 years, and one day, decided to grow it out. It took 7 years to get it long and luscious, and I was having fun with it. I am an actress, and I loved my “new look,” as I was just gaining my stride, getting back into the business. So you can chalk that one up, and know you knocked me down a peg, but you didn’t take anything else away from me. I can say that with confidence. You were never allowed to take away my optimism, my determination, or my spirit of adventure. And you certainly didn’t take away my talent.
So, who won? I guess it’s a matter of perspective. If your intent was to take my life, literally, or figuratively, then you lost. Big-time. But if you intended to show me a few things about myself and others; if you wanted to keep me on my toes, then you won. Either way, I get to be a better person for it.
So, as I say goodbye, know that I have no contempt for you. I don’t blame you for wanting to know me. I’m a pretty great gal! But I must ask you to respect my wishes and never return. I think we both gained all we could in this relationship. Let’s not make it messy, by dragging it out.
Lori Rees, Survivor.

Isn’t that beautifully written? I absolutely love it!  And I can relate to every bit of it (other than my treatments were with Cancer Specialists at IMC and my own Mom was too old to help…. though believe me, she would have if she could have!).  This is brilliant.  I wish my thoughts had been so clear.  If you are, by chance, interested in reading about my own battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma…. click on the “When Your Life Hits a Wall” tab at the top of the blog. When you hover over the tab, you’ll see many additional pages with all the updates.  I’ve numbered them so you can read them in order if you’d like.

While cancer sucks, as we all know…..  having a good attitude about the journey helps immensely! I’m so grateful that I did and that people like Lori can inspire us all to look at it with a positive attitude! Thanks for letting me share, Lori!  There are lessons in almost everything around us in life if we look for them!  As the old song says…. “Look For The Silver Lining”.

I Am Grateful! How Are You?

Knees, Knees, Knees!

New knees, old knees, sore knees……feeling better knees.

This has been a week of knees for us at our house.  My husband and I both decided it was time to get back into our Orthopedic surgeon to see what could be done about the knee pain we both had been experiencing.

John hasn’t complained a whole lot about his knee pain, though it’s been there.  Me, on the other hand…… yeah.  I’ve been complaining!  My knees have been so painful since I finished my chemo treatments its been awful.  Sitting for long periods of time, even with my legs elevated was still hard on them.  Walking or standing for any length of time was also painful.  It hasn’t been fun.  The rest of me has recovered really well since the chemo, but the joints have been painful.i-stock-knee-pain-shot-2

John had his left knee replaced about 10 years ago and thought maybe it was time to see if the other one was in need of replacement.  We shared an appointment with the Doctor to have him take X-rays of our knees to see where we were at after 8 years and see what our alternatives were for the pain.

He gave us both choices.  He told John he could try shots but that it wasn’t going to be a long term solution for him for playing ball.  Since it’s off season for Softball he decided he wanted to go for the replacement now so he would have time to recover and get it back in shape for softball in the Spring.

My choices were to try the shots; to try to see if scoping them would help again; but ultimately, the doctor feels that I need both knees replaced.  I’m bone on bone on my right knee (have been for 8 years or better) and my left knee cap is shot.

Since we are trying to sell our condo and move into a home within a month or two…. surgery was not an option for me.  (Silly me…. I was thinking it wasn’t a great time for John either…..)  I decided to give the shots a try, since I’d never done them before and had heard some good results with it.

Wednesday, I had my first shot in my left knee.  My insurance company won’t let me do both knees at once.  I guess they want to know if it’s going to help first before they pay for the other one.  The doctor wanted to use the Euflexxa gel on me but also gave me a little cortisone with the first shot.  Man!  What a difference it has made!  I can’t wait to get the approval to have the other knee done now!  I’ve been surprised at how having less pain in my left knee has helped my right knee feel better.  Even my neck pain has lessened.  I find that quite interesting!

I have two more shots in the series to go in the left knee, then hopefully we can do the other one right away.  I have felt so much better!  It will make trying to move and pack a whole lot easier, for which I am truly grateful!

John had his replaced yesterday.  He is doing remarkably well considering.  He is determined to get it functioning good as soon as possible.  All most to a fault.  I hope he doesn’t push it too hard!  Hopefully 4 or 5 weeks out from surgery, when we are hope to be moving, will be enough time for him to recoup to the point that moving won’t be too much of an issue.  And yes….. I am going to hire movers this time.  Even my boys told me I needed to.  We will still have plenty of work to do even with using the movers.

I’m grateful his surgery went so well and that he will have time to get himself back in shape for softball.  He may not be running the bases next year (they do allow substitute runners in Senior ball), but as long as he can play first base and hit the ball he’ll be happy.

It’s amazing what they can do for your knees now.  I’ll take my temporary solution of shots for now with the hopes that I can hold off a few more years with the surgery.  Maybe by then, they’ll even have better solutions!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

The Ice Man Cometh!

I’ve been having lots of trouble with my knees lately.   Swelling and lots of pain.  It’s nothing new, really.   I’ve had knee problems for years.  It just seems to be a lot worse since I had chemo treatments.

I read somewhere online that joint pain can be a side effectimage of chemo.  I’m wondering if that’s the case for myself since it seems to have gotten worse since I finished treatments.

I’m headed into the Ortho Surgeon next week to see if I may need to have them scoped and cleaned out again.  We will see what that brings!

In the meantime, today I am very grateful for ice!    Since I’ve been at a hotel the last couple of days I’ve had access to some great ice.  I was smart enough to pack a couple of zip lock bags so I could easily ice my knees

It has been very helpful.  I can’t imagine what people did before someone figured out how to keep ice cold.   Those poor pioneers!  I’m sure many of them could have benefitted from having ice around after a long hard day of travel!   We forget we are so blessed, don’t we?

Well….. You’ll have to excuse me.   It’s time to ice my knees again!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?

What a Difference a Year Makes!

After looking through some photos on my Facebook page yesterday…. it really hit me how far I have come in a year!  Last year at this time I was sporting hats and scarfs to cover my poor bare head and not feeling the greatest.  Today, I have a full head of hair again, and I feel great! (other than aches and pains that I think are normal for getting old)…….  No hats and scarfs needed!  It’s something to truly be grateful for.  I have a clean bill of health, and so does my son.  I couldn’t ask for more than that!

Many things have happened over the past year that I haven’t taken the time to mention here…. but I’m grateful for them.  Even the hard times.  They are always a time for growth and learning.

My family at Lagoon Amusement Park in Sept 2012 for Frightmares to see our daughter as the Bride of Frankenstien
My family at Lagoon Amusement Park in Sept 2012 at Frightmares to see our daughter perform as the Bride of Frankenstien in Monster Classics. I was sporting a hat back then!

My plan is to take some time during this month to post about some of the wonderful things that have happened that have touched me the last few months.  Hopefully I can remember them all!  I figured if I could post everyday for a year in 2011, I can certainly make a commitment to post once a day this month!  After all….. it’s the month of Thanks-giving!

Today…. I’m just grateful to be here.  To be alive and well and to be with my family.  Many exciting things are ahead for us, and many that have already happened!  Here’s to a grateful NOVEMBER!

I Am Grateful!  How Are You?


Grateful to Be Here

One year ago this last month, a wake up call came into my life.  This last year has been quite a journey.  While much of it has not been fun…. I have come through it amazingly well and I am just so grateful to be here!

No one EVER wants to hear the big ‘C’ word!  Not a fun thing…. but it seems it’s so prevalent in our world today.  It comes in many different ways.  Mine, gratefully, was a very curable kind.  But even so…. the diagnosis doesn’t come without some trepidation.

Grateful to Be Here!
Grateful to Be Here!
(photo courtesy of

Last week, at the ball park after my boys game, I was reminded that it was one year ago in June that we asked all the kids to sit down after the game so we could ‘break it to them gently’.  I’ve never really asked them what was going through their minds at the time.  I know they were worried and concerned.  I do remember when I asked my daughter if she could come over to the boys game that night, knowing that I had been in the Emergency room a few days prior,  she said, “Why?  Are you dying?”  On the night of the game, I didn’t have a diagnosis of what kind of Lymphoma I had…. just that I had it.  The doctor had advised me to wait till the biopsy had been done and I met with the Oncologist to determine what type of Lymphoma it was.  I had said that I could do some research on the internet about it and he suggested that I didn’t.  He said there are so many different kinds of Lymphoma that it will just confuse and possibly even scare me.  He thought it best to wait for a definite diagnosis. So I did.  However…. I know my kids did not!  They did some research online and I think it may have led to a little anxiety in them.

Gratefully…. I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Even though after some extensive testing it turned out to be Stage 4, I never felt doom and gloom.  I was confident we could kick this one.

My year has been one of many mixed emotions.  I’m so grateful that I was able to maintain a positive attitude and that I had a wonderful support system around me.  Perhaps the most amazing thing to me was that through social media. I was dumbfounded by the love and support that was expressed to me!  Because I made my journey very public through my blog…. I constantly felt the love and support that I needed.

I’m so grateful for friends and family that have seen me through this.   I won’t go into more detail here about my journey.   You can read more about it on this blog under the “When Your Life Hits A Wall” tab.  There are several entries there  that you’ll have to scroll down to read if you want to read about the whole saga.  🙂

I just wanted to express my gratitude for making it through.  For being here! For all the love and support that I felt from everyone, including my Father in Heaven.  Life is wonderful and I still have many years ahead of me.  I know keeping an ‘Attitude of Gratitude” will continue to bless my life and those around me.  Who knew that starting this blog would be such an important part of getting me through this?  Not me… that’s for sure!

You know how you hear to make sure you take to time to tell people you love them?  Well, this is one of those times!  I am so grateful for and love my family, friends, neighbors and even all of you!  You’ll never know just how much.  Thanks for sending me your energy and prayers.  All is well!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

The Journey To Be “Me”!

I have discovered the last few weeks that I am embarking on a journey to be me.  With the recent challenges I have been faced with…. it has been a real awakening to what’s really down deep inside of me.  A me that has always been there and longed to come out but maybe hasn’t known how!

With my recent diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I have done some real soul searching and praying.  There’s always those questions running through your mind…. “Why me?”  “Why now?”  “Why NOT me?” and many others that really start you to thinking.  Luckily, this is a disease that can be cured.  So I know I have a long life ahead of me.

This is me! I’m on a journey to find what’s deep inside me so I can share it with the world!

I have come to know deep in my heart this last week that this has lead me to the beginning of this journey of who I really am… and what I have to offer the world.  I’ve realized that I haven’t really ‘believed’ as strongly as I know I can of my divine worth, of my true magnificence and that I am truly a child of God….. and as such…. what a great inheritance I have and am and should be!

It’s amazing how the Lord puts people in our path for a reason.  I have met people just these last several months that are playing an integral part of this journey for me right now.  I had another overwhelming feeling from my Heavenly Father this morning that I am on the right path…. but it has only just begun.  I know there are many people that are and will help to lead me there, for which I am so grateful!

I have much to read and study and pray about and oh so much to dream about!  Part of what I am being counseled is to get really clear on what I want out of my life, both short term and long term.  This too has been things I have known and read about but haven’t taken the time to write and down and be clear about.  Oh…. I’ve attempted writing out goals and dreams…. but following through with a daily affirmation reading of them has not been very good.  Probably because I felt they weren’t complete so I needed to wait till they were.  I’m learning that it’s always a work in progress….. and that just getting started with it AND reading it everyday is going to make a huge difference for me.

I don’t know how long it will take me to become completely clear on what my specific personal purpose is.  I have vague ideas… but not sure they are right.  I know that by getting clear on everything I will be lead to an answer.  I truly believe the Lord is just waiting for me to ask!

In a crazy way….. I’m so grateful this challenge has come to me!  It has blessed me so much already.  I know I am taking the right steps to heal myself.  I know that my diet and supplements I am taking will help me to hyper heal.  I also know that I was lead to feel OK about taking chemo along with it.  I fought it for a long time because I also know that many people are beating the cancer fight without chemo.  But I felt I was lead to a peaceful answer for me.  Though I know I may have some tough days ahead of me…. I also know that most of them will be wonderful!

I also feel that this is a blessing in disguise to those around me.  I know that it will bring us closer in a way we’ve never been.

So…. as I embark on this journey to be me…. I hope that I can inspire many of you to do the same!  We all are so much more than we allow ourselves to believe and can give so much more to mankind than we have any idea we are capable of!  So…. join me in this journey!  I’ll try and keep you posted on what I’m doing to make that journey happen for me.  Perhaps it will inspire you to do some of the same things!

I am grateful!  How are You?

P.S.  If you are interested in hearing ALL the details of what my life has been like the last few weeks…. you can go to my page here on the blog called “When Life Hits A Wall”.  It’s right there at the top of the page you are looking at.  Clicking on that link will take you to my first journal entry where I tell everything ( and I mean everything….) about my experience.  I will also be updating those journal entries which you can look at by hovering over the “When Life Hits A Wall” tab.  It should give you options to scroll down to.  That way if you want to follow all the gory details you can.  It’s a pretty open book here.  Kind of crazy that I’m making it so public… but perhaps it will help someone else!

Green Smoothies — Give it a Try!

Since some of you may not be aware of my 30 Day Challenge tab at the top of this blog…. or even be aware that I was updating my readers with those challenges….. I decided today to link you to the update I posted yesterday on Day 30 of my Drink Only Green Smoothies challenge.

I think many of you will be interested in what I have to say.  If you want more information than the link I’m giving you, just hover over the 30 Day challenge tab, then the Drink Only Green Smoothies tab.  It will show you the date of each update that I gave the acronym of D.O.G.S. to.  Here is the link to the Day 30 post I wrote yesterday.

I’m so grateful that we gave this challenge a ‘whirl’.  Though we didn’t complete it entirely as planned…. it still made an impact on us.  (When I say ‘we’…. I mean my husband and I).  It’s taught me to be more aware of what I am eating and wanting to eat more healthy choices on a consistent basis.

I’m so grateful for the internets ability to link me to information on healthy eating and recipes to do so.  You’ll find in the link above of yesterdays post that I posted links within that post to a few other websites to give you more information as well as the giving the Basic Green Smoothie recipe we use.

If you are interested at all in making a change for the better for your health…. I would suggest incorporating Green Smoothies into your diet.  It’s a perfect way to start making a difference.

If you want additional information for another way of making a huge impact on your health…. follow this link on a post I made back in August for info on something that could potentially change your life or the life of someone you love.

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Facing the Facts

This is not going to be easy.  Not at all.

As a family, we don’t really think she is ready for this move…. but try as hard as we could to talk the Director of the Assisted Living center into letting her stay if we promised more family visits, etc, to see if that would perk up her attitude…. she pretty much said “No… I’m sorry.  I just can’t have her treating my Aids that way.”  So…. now we have reached a cross roads that brings us to a very difficult decision.

My Mom has been living in an Assisted Living Center since she had her stoke 5 years ago.  She made the adjustment fine in the beginning.  Though she was very reluctant to do it…. she knew that none of us were in a position to give her the 24/7 care she needed…. particularly that first little while after her stroke.  But she adjusted well.  Like my sister said last night as we were talking…. it’s because she had someone else to take care of.  Meaning…. that she felt a big concern for many of the friends she made in her first Assisted Living center.  She wanted to make sure they got down to dinner and such and would go ‘pick them up’ on her way.  She was like a little Mother Hen to many of them.  Most of those people have passed on now.

Then we had to move her about 3 years ago.  She was needing more care and the facility she was in was forcing her out of her beautiful 2 room apartment.  She would need to move to another section of the building that was ‘licensed’ to give her the level of care she was needing.  Unfortunately, those rooms were very small!  She would have had to get rid of most of her furniture (which was one of the reasons she adapted to Assisted living in the first place, because her own stuff was around her).

Consequently, we checked out other facilities and found one that had a lovely room … not quite as big as the one she was in…. but much bigger than the cracker box we would have had to move her in at the first place.  Plus, they gave the level of care she needed.  We felt very blessed to find another place we were able to make a ‘home’ for her.

Now…. she is starting to show signs of getting dementia and seems to be treating the girls that work at her facility unkindly, so they say.  If only it was as easy as telling her to quit being mean….  then perhaps we could keep her there.  She is very demanding and wants things done her way.  She insists the girls stay with her longer than they should be, which cuts into time they need to be spending with other residents.  It’s a hard situation to be facing.

I hate to see my Mom like this.  When we were faced with the first decision to put her into Assisted Living….. she not only adapted well but had a great attitude about it.  She knew she could either be miserable or choose to make the best of it.  She chose to make the best of it and was a pretty pleasant resident to deal with.  This ornery attitude she seems to be getting, is very hard for everyone to handle.  If only she could ‘choose’ to be happy again…  Then again…. the recent fall she experienced would be enough to make anyone ornery!

I can see it’s time for me to do a little studying up on how to deal with dementia.  It’s so hard to see someone turn into someone they are not!  Her older sister had major problems with dementia before she passed.  We are just praying that she doesn’t get that bad.  Hopefully it’s just being a little forgetful.

My sister has been a Saint through all of this.  She’s been through more than any of us siblings have any idea about since she’s been in charge of Mom’s care!

Though I’m very saddened at the thought of having to move Mom again….. I’m so grateful for the time she’s had at both facilities!  They have been so good to her.  It’s just hard to face the facts that this is happening.  I’m a believer that everything is put in our path for a reason….. I just need to learn the lesson I’m suppose to from this…… but that doesn’t make it any easier!

I am Grateful!  How are You?

Healthy Body and Mind

Once again today I was reminded of how grateful I am for my health.  I’m actually reminded of that quite often…. but today for some reason….. it hit me again quite hard.

I work in the temple on Wednesday mornings.  We see many different kinds of patrons walk through those doors of all kinds of ages from young adult to the very old.  I’m often reminded as I see many of the patrons struggling with health and physical issues at how blessed I am.  I consider it an honor to be able to help many of these patrons with the things they need while they are at the temple.

I’m so grateful that I’m able to help them and that I really do consider myself healthy.  I believe that I try to take good care of myself… though there’s always room for improvement in that area…… but I’m trying to eat better and I’m taking supplements that have had a tremendous impact on my health.  I’m so grateful I know about them!

Life is so precious…. you just never know when something can come along to change all that.  I’ve been saddened by some recents deaths of some classmates of mine…. all due to health problems.  In my opinion….. it’s way too young to die!

I’m grateful for a healthy strong body and mind  (at least, I think my mind is strong!)  I’m grateful that my own family is the same way…. healthy and strong!  I feel blessed beyond measure!

I am Grateful!  How are You?