Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

My Family and I at a Fundraiser Benefit in my Honor
It is a personal mission for me to spread the word that November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. I was only forty-one years old when I was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in February of 2004. Hearing those three scary and life altering words, "you have cancer" is something I'll never forget. My twin sister was by my side as we anxiously waited for the call about my lung biopsy. When the phone rang and I heard the doctor say, "sorry to have to tell you that you have lung cancer,"I found myself repeating the words out loud." My loving sister turned white, fainted and fell to the floor. How could I have lung cancer? I am fairly young and have never smoked cigarrettes.

I've learned a lot about the disease of lung cancer since then. It doesn't matter if you smoke or not. Lung cancer can hit anyone for different reasons. Although smoking is a major risk factor for developing lung cancer, there are other risk factors: Exposure to radon gas or Asbestos, being around second hand smoke and air pollution. I'll never know exactly what caused my lung cancer but I'm sure it was a number of risk factors, including parents that were heavy smokers throughout my childhood.

It was a long hard journey to endure but I was willing to fight as hard as I could for my life. I had surgery to remove the middle lobe of my right lung. I went through a grueling five months of chemotherapy and eventually radiation therapy. I was told I had a 20-25% chance of surviving the first five years because the cancer had spread to a couple lymph nodes. I am happy and grateful to say that I'm seven years cancer free and doing great. Odds of the cancer coming back are very low now that I passed the five year mark. I am a example of how any of us can beat the odds of any life-threatening disease.

According to the American Lung Association, "lung cancer kills more men and women than any other cancer." I hope you will help me in my crusade to spread the word that November is 'lung cancer awareness month.' Hopefully in my life time, they will find better and less evasive treatments and a cure.

Sincerely, Linda Rogers aka Twincess Diaries

Saturday, November 12, 2011

GBE2-NATURE Versus NURTURE

In my GBE2 writing group, we were given the prompt of NATURE Versus NURTURE. I found this topic especially fitting for me as an identical twin.

I'll begin my story by defining Nature and Nurture. Nature refers to genetics, while Nurture refers to Environment. Using my twin sister and I as an example of both terms will bring them to life. Proponents of the Nature concept would believe that Laura and I are alike because of the genes we were born with. For example: Laura and I both enjoy singing and writing because of our genetic make-up.
Proponents of the Nurture concept would say that Laura and I share similarities because of the family we grew up in. For example: We both have a passion for singing and writing because it was nurtured by our family environment.

Now that we have the fundamentals of the Nature versus Nurture theory out of the way, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the differences between my sister and I, and throw both concepts out the window.


Food: Sis LOVES Green Peppers. I find the green ones too strong and pungent. I prefer the yellow, orange and red ones because their mild and sweet.
  • Laura also loves sour kraut which I can easily live without.


Cleaning/Organizing: Laura is more like Oscar and I'm more like Felix. I don't like messes or things to be unorganized. I think everything should be in it's place. In Laura's defense, she's not a slob or anything as dramatic as Oscar but she doesn't get bothered as much as I do when it comes to issues about cleaning. I actually wish I was a little more like her and able to walk by things that need cleaning or organizing once in a while.
Public Speaking: I'm a proud sister when it comes to my sister's public speaking. This is a talent that she nurtured on her own. At first, she was nervous speaking in public but after doing it awhile, she came to enjoy it and become very good at it. She does motivational speeches for companies, Speaks on 'Violence and Abuse' at local treatments centers and does a interactive talk for agency, staff retreats. Her speaking is powerful and touches the soul with her outgoing personality. I do not care to speak in public and thinking about it scares me to death. Although I'd probably be good at it once I got use to it, I don't care to foster this talent in myself.
Physical differences: (not too many) I'm an inch taller than my sister, our noses are slightly different, and her feet are a little bigger than mine. (she thinks her foot size changed after having children). I will now digress with a similarity. Sis and I have always gone up and down in weight, and oddly enough, we both seem to be close to the same weight each time it changes. Seven years ago when I went through chemotherapy and lost weight, sis did too. I think it's because were so close that she lost her appetite right along with mine. Kind of like when a husband gains weight when his wife is pregnant.

Being a twin is such a gift from God. I can't imagine not having my best friend to go through life's ups and downs with.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Exercise to Boost Your Health After Cancer

Cancer patients undergo tremendous stress - emotional, physical and mental. From diagnosis to treatment and recovery, cancer drains patients of energy, often causing them to fight just to lead a normal life again. Once cancer is gone, patients are Hell-bent on preventing the cancer from sneaking up again. Leading a healthy lifestyle becomes priority.

Research suggests that exercise benefits cancer patients and survivors regardless of the type of cancer they have or had, from a common cancer like breast cancer to a rare disease like mesothelioma. According to WebMD.com, exercise can lengthen the survival rate for cancer victims and help prevent cancer from recurring for survivors.

According to the New York Times, recent studies suggest that exercise may even be a form of treatment in and of itself. As little as two and a half hours of exercise every week may lower the risk of dying from cancer.

Being overweight after treatment can shorten survival time or increase the risk of recurrence. An active lifestyle can help combat weight gain by improving muscle tone and cutting down body mass. However, it’s not necessary to engage in intense workouts - it’s more important to avoid being inactive. Even light cardio, like walking, is better than not doing anything.

Exercise helps to improve a cancer patient’s or survivor’s quality of life overall. Aside from the obvious physical benefits, exercise can also help improve mood and self-esteem, increase energy while fighting against fatigue, and lower the risk for other diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Brisk movement increases blood flow throughout the body and brain, helping people to think more clearly and sharply. Exercise is also linked to combating depression and lowering stress and anxiety - all side effects of dealing with cancer.

However, it’s not recommended that every single cancer patient hop on the treadmill immediately following treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation can be highly draining, causing anemia and fatigue, which lower energy. It’s not safe to start an exercise regime if you’re feeling weak - wait until your energy returns and slowly work up to a regular workout schedule. Also, treatment can weaken the immune system, so avoid public gyms until your white blood cell count is back to normal.
Written by David Haas
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Guest Blogger

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's a Twin Thang

If your a twin or know twins, you will understand this video. If your not a twin or havn't had a lot of experience with twins, then you might think this is really weird.

My twin sister spontaneously videotaped me, doing a food demo on Pumpkin Seeds. (no cheat sheets). Notice how she doesn't think twice to tell me to: "Suck it in."

This is a perfect example of what it's like to be a twin. We are close enough to always be real with each other. After watching this spontaneous video, I noticed how funny it was that I quickly lowered my fat gut under the counter when sis tells me in our twin language, to "suck it in."  See video and hope you laugh like we did.
http://stoopinitinthesuburbs.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-twin-sister-doing-demo-on-how-to.html#links

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog Hop/Thursday Writer's Post-Thrills and Chills-Halloween Style

I was asked in my Writers' Post Group to publish something about "Thrills and Chills"-Halloween Style. I hope you enjoy my Halloween Blog.


Baked Pumpkin Seeds


INGREDIENTS: Pumpkin Seeds, Olive Oil and Salt or Seasoning of Your Choice Ex: (Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix, Popcorn Cheese Salt, Lawry's Season Salt).


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate pumpkin seeds from the fleshy fibers. In a colander, Wash, Drain and Dry Seeds with Paper Towel.


2. Spread Olive Oil on Bottom of Baking Sheet. Spread pumpkin seeds evenly, in a single layer. Sprinkle seeds with seasoned salt of your choice. Bake 20-30 minutes or until Golden Brown.  Stir pumpkin seeds once during baking process to help them brown evenly and prevent burning. Let seeds cool before eating. 


3. Enjoy and Have a Happy Safe Halloween, Ghostly Blogger Buddies.


My Niece and Nephew Carving their Pumpkins
Cooking my Traditional Pumpkin Seeds
Jack-O-Lanterns Light the Dark Night
Pumpkin Seeds Flavored with Ranch Seasoning and Salt
 





                                          

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kathy's Smile

This week in my writing group/Monday Madness, we were given the prompt "Witchy Woman" for inspiration. I'm writing about the first thing that popped into my head. I hope you enjoy my story:

I was so nervous the day I met Kathy and the rest of the gang.  Fresh out of college, I had stars in my eyes. I was green as they come as a new upcoming professional in the Social Services field.

I will never forget being introduced to the seven residents I would spend the next three years of my life with. Before that front door opened, I had such excitement about it but so many worries that I might not work out. Maybe they wouldn't like me, what if I couldn't connect with them? So many thoughts, but most of all, something deep in my soul Knew this job was going to change my life and it did.

Each and every person I met became so special to me and made me a better person. I worked with "adults with mental disabilities" and believe me, they taught me so much more than I taught them. Everyday my friends lived and worked "life to the Fullest." They were involved in so many social activities and events that most "typical" adults either take for granted or are too afraid or embarrassed to try. Each person I worked with became family but one special lady found a part of my heart that I never knew existed. It would be too difficult to describe all the wonderful attributes that made Kathy so amazing. All that really matters is that Kathy was my friend. We connected in a place that had nothing to do with mental capacity or IQ. We were two women who had a blast together and loved each other unconditionally. Our relationship was one of the most beautiful connections I've ever had the honor to have in my life-time.

Other than the two of us singing songs in unison to the radio for the other six residents, one of my favorite memories of Kathy is about Halloween. Every Halloween I brought my gang to a Halloween Party with all their work friends. All Staff and Residents dressed up in costume and I was always a scary witch. I never lived down my costume choice.When Kathy got in a silly mood, I knew what was coming from my buddy. She nicknamed me "Witchypoo Linda." Sadly, Kathy lost her courageous battle with cancer but I can still hear her calling me "Witchypoo Linda."
I will never forget her~

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monday Madness-Talking in Your Sleep

Talking in Your Sleep

We were asked in our Monday Writing Group to share a story about talking in your sleep. Here is my story:

As an identical twin, I have many interesting stories to share and this is one of them:

Mom put her five year old, identical twins to bed one evening. Later that night she heard noises and stirrings coming from their room. She opened the door and peeked in. What she witnessed was something she never thought possible. Her daughters were talking gibberish to each other and searching for something under their respective beds.

Mom had known her twin girls to have the same dream before but never the same dream at the exact same time.  This was even a bit unsettling for a mom who was use to dealing with some mysterious, inexplicable twin behavior.

Eventually, after quietly observing the twins in their mystical search, she whispered, "time for bed Linda and Laura, I found it." The incomprehensible chatter and curious searching ceased and both girls went back to bed.

I still wonder after all these years, what Laura and I were looking for. How is it that we could have the same dream simultaneously.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-Crepe Myrtle Tree

A Full Moon and it's Effects

Is Lunar Lunacy for Real?


I decided to write about the fascinating topic of the Full Moon/Lunar Lunacy Theory and it's effects on people. I've always been intrigued with this lunar enigma, so much so that I wrote a paper on it in my college days. Does a full moon really affect people's moods and behavior? Research hasn't proved this theory but as someone who has worked in the Counseling Field, I have experienced it. As a Crisis Phone Counselor,our phones rang off the hook during a full moon. We had to make sure to staff many counselor's to be able to handle the plethora of phone calls. We had calls from not only the chronic callers but many new callers as well that had never used our anonymous phone line before.

Wikipedia explains that a full moon happens "when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the earth." Many researchers believe that the gravitational changes that occur during a full moon may affect a person's physiological make up which can cause changes in behavior. During my research on this topic I found an article in the "Scientific American." It talked about the Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder believing that the brain is the "moistest" organ in the body which makes it more susceptible to the full moon's unfavorable effects.

Research has not always supported the claim that we act luny during a full moon. There are those on both sides of this debate. During my research, I found proponents of the lunar lunacy theory have either experienced the erratic behavior personally or have witnessed it because of working in a particular field. It doesn't matter to me whether or not research backs up this theory. I am merely intrigued with the "what if's" of this lunar enigma and as I noted earlier, have witnessed it as a phone counselor.

Here is a list of fun facts and intriguing effects of a full moon, per my research from "Scientific Magazine."

  • Mental Health issues seem to worsen during full moons. Schizophrenics in particular show the greatest deterioration in mental well-being and quality of life.
  • There is increased admissions to psychiatric wards and hospitals during a full moon.
  • Suicides and Homicides increase during a full moon.
  • Phone lines at Phone Counseling Agencies, ring off the hook during full moons.
  • The word "lunatic" actually comes from the word "luna" (Latin for moon) and has connotations that a full moon causes deviant behavior.
  • A full moon triggers physiological changes in epileptic patients which can induce seizures.
  • There is an increase in crime during a full moon.
  • There is an increase in police calls for domestic disturbances during a full moon.
  • Eastern European women notice a problem with their menstrual cycles during a full moon.
  • There is an increase in traffic accidents during a full moon.
  • During the Middle Ages in Europe, the term, "Transylvania Effect" and/or "Lunar Lunacy" was used to describe how a full moon could transform people into Werewolves or Vampires.
  • Hospitalization for gastro-intestinal bleeding in males tend to increase when there is a full moon.
Are you a believer in the Lunar Lunacy Theory? If so, let me know your story of how you came to witness and believe in it. I've had many people in different fields, share their story with me. Let's chat! 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thanks for the "Tell Me About Yourself Award"

Thank You so much Sneha Sunny for nominating me for the "Tell Me About Yourself Award." I appreciate it.

The rules of this award is that:
1. You need to tell 7 things about yourself
2. You'll have to pass this award to 15 bloggers.



Seven Things About Myself:    Let's do this!


1. I'm an identical twin
2. I'm a lung cancer survivor and never smoked :-(
3. I'm helping my twin sister raise her children
4. I have a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology
5. I was an extra in one of the worst movies ever made. It 
    was called "The Comeback" and starred Robert Urich and         
    Chyna Phillips. 
6. I sang for weddings when I was younger
7. My passions are: Writing, Cooking, Singing, Gardening, Power Walking and spending time with friends           
    and family.
 

The second rule is to pass this award to 15 more people. So, here's my list...

1. "Stoopin it" in the suburbs
2. Wine-n-Chat
3. STRONG AND CONFIDENT LIVER CANCER SURVIVORS
4. PiNkYs ViCtOrY and Company
5. Janel's Pancreatic Cancer Angels
6. always thinking
7. Breast Cancer is my Bitch
8. LUPUS AND CHRONIC ILLNESS
9. Poetry in Motion
10.My Meddling Mind
11.Ducks 'n a Row
12.blackswanpoetry
13.Retire In Style Blog
14.Life in My Little Corner
15.My life with Anxiety and OCD


Now it's your turn to tell me 7 things about you and pass this award to any 15 bloggers..

Thursday, September 15, 2011

None of us has the Right to Judge

I found myself saddened by what I learned about bullying on the "Ellen Degeneres Show" today. She had Chaz Bono on as one of her guests. If you havn't heard, Chaz is one of the celebrities that was chosen to be on "Dancing with the Stars" this season and some viewers are upset and want him boycotted off.
One of the reasons I like Ellen and her show is because she's intelligent, funny, down to earth and genuine. She doesn't pretend to be something she's not which was probably a big motivator for her to come out many years ago as a lesbian. She knew this decision to "come out" was not going to boost ratings of her then, t.v. sitcom or win her any popularity contests. It took guts and courage to say she was gay in a society that seems to be uncomfortable with anything that isn't understood by the majority.
Ellen's interview with Chaz was very touching and educational. She asked him if he knew, how being picked to be in "Dancing with the Stars" would cause such uproar and controversy. She did a great job of using her gift as a comedian, to bring out how ridiculous it is that people are trying to get him off the show. I guess some viewers are saying that having Chaz on "Dancing with the stars" will be dangerous and bad for our children.
If you havn't been brought up to speed, Chaz, who use to be known as Chastity, struggled for years with his sexuality. He said he never felt or identified himself as a woman. As the years passed, it  became harder to ignore it.  He underwent gender reassignment surgery last year to become a man. Just like Ellen, it took great courage for Chaz to come out as the transgender person he is.
One of the most poignant moments of the interview was when Ellen talked about the problem of bullying in school. She said that as adults and role models, how do we expect our kids to quit bullying when we're doing it ourselves. "Shame on us," Ellen said, "Shame on us."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you on 9/11/01?

Today is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country. It is one of those days in history when you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing.
On September 11, 2001, I was up early to do my daily power walk before going to work. I had my AM/FM radio headphones on as I headed out for the hour workout. I was listening to a local radio station (Cities 97) that played upbeat music and ensured a fast pace.
About a block into my walk, the radio D.J's were relaying information they were getting about the twin towers in New York. They were in a state of confusion as were most of us, listening or watching. Updates continued to pour in and people tried to figure out if the first plane crash was an accident or something worse.
Tears streamed down my face when it was confirmed that America was under attack. I ran the rest of the way home so I could be with family as events of the day unfolded.
September 11, 2001 is a day that Americans will never forget.  We lost our naive innocence but became more alert in matters of national security.
My heart will never forget those heroes who lost their lives because of pure evil. I am proud to be an American as I watch the accounts of how strangers pulled together that day, helping one another.
The terrorists may have attacked us that September day but they can never take away our bond as proud Americans.
God Bless the U.S.A.

I Won the Liebster Award

What is a Liebster Award? It's a prestigious acknowledgment passed from blogger to blogger. Basically, it's a list of your favorite blogs. It has been passed to me and now I must pass this honor onto five other bloggers. If awarded the Liebster-You should link back to the person who gave you the award.

I would like to thank Laura Rogers. http://www.stoopinitinthesuburbs.blogspot.com/

My five nominees for the Liebster award are: http://www.allthethingsishouldhavesaid.blogspot.com/
                                                                         http://www.debisalwaysthinking.blogspot.com/
                                                                         http://www.everythingsusanandmore.blogspot.com/
                                                                         http://www.oz-girl.blogspot.com/
                                                                         http://www.stoopinitinthesuburbs.com/

Pass it on to your five favorite bloggers

Sincerely, Linda Rogers- http://twincessone.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 25, 2011

College Boyfriend is an Inspiration

My college boyfriend has overcome something very debilitating;Alcoholism. I had no idea when we met that he was struggling with addiction.

The night we met, he was drinking but I thought nothing of it as many students at the party were partaking in libations. We met at a "famous couples" party in the dorms. I was Joannie and he was Chachi from "Happy Days." The party was a group blind date in that you had no idea who your date was, until you saw him in costume.

I was excited to meet this guy but also a little apprehensive about the "blind date" concept. What made it easier was knowing all my buddies were in the same boat.

Once my girlfriend's and I walked into the party room in the dorms, we scanned the room looking for our dates. I finally saw a guy that looked like Chachi. I think he saw me too but was chatting with his friends. I finally mustered up the courage and walked across the room and introduced myself. "Hi, are you Chachi?" "yes, are you Joannie?".

He was a little shy but I found that appealing. He had a cute, boyish face and once we broke the ice, we had a strong connection and attraction to each other. He was my type and I was now very excited to see what this night would bring.

John and I ended up dating on and off for the next four years. I say on and off because I realized after a few months, he had a drinking problem. Unfortunately, I was "in love" and kept getting back together with him throughout my college career.

John eventually graduated from college, although it took him longer because of the heavy drinking. After college, he moved to Arizona with his brothers who were also addicts. His life went downhill from there and soon he would be a homeless man. He would dumpster dive for his food and was hanging out with other addicts. He was dating a woman with dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug addiction. He relates that it was common practice for her to scream throughout the day and night because of  her schizophrenia.

Eventually, the years of hard core drug use and heavy drinking caught up with him physically. He started passing out due to high blood pressure and eventually began suffering seizures. At the worst point of his disease, he found himself in the hospital twice, near death because his liver was now shot. He had cirrhosis of the lliver and the toxins were building up in his esophagus until it finally burst. He almost bled to death twice and this is when he chose to get help for his disease.

John knows that it's a miracle he's alive. I am so proud of the changes he's made and he is an inspiration to me and those who struggle with addiction. He's even back to running a marathon  he use to do before the addiction robbed him of this passion.

Through the years, I was kept updated on John's life and struggles. I sit here in joy and gratitude that my dream came true. That my college boyfriend would sober up and start living. I lost my mother and brother to this insidious disease, and John knows full well, it could have been him.




Friday, July 1, 2011

My First "Relay for Life" Walk to Fight cancer

 Friday, June 24, I participated in my first "Relay for Life" walk. My neighbor and friend Tom and I, put a team together to help raise money for the Amerian cancer Society.  We called our team, "The Foxgate cancer Fight Club" after our street name. Our  team consisted of family, friends and neighbors who all hope and believe there will be a cure for cancer in our life time.
I was diagnosed with non-small-cell lung carcinoma which is a less aggressive type of lung cancer. I was diagnosed in February 2004.
Tom was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme tumor, an aggressive form type of brain cancer. My friend was diagnosed in August 2004, just six months after me.
 Tom and I have supported eachother through the ups and downs of the cancer journey. Putting a relay team together to fight this disease brought us even closer. We both know that every day is gift from God and hope to continue to have long and happy lives.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life is Great/God is Good/Great News to Share

What a relief blogger buddies :-)

Before I share my Awesome news, we have to go back to December of 2010. As a lung cancer survivor, I went in for my yearly catscan. I was pretty calm as I was almost seven years cancer-free. This particular scan showed a spot on my right lung which is the same lung that Had the cancer in "04". I had gotten spots two other times and they had disappeared by the time I went back for the follow-up scan so I wasn't super worried but there is always nervousness when you get an "ify" scan. 

I went back for the follow-up scan in March 2011. My oncologist who is usually very upbeat and laid back, looked very concerned as she told me that the spot they found in December was gone but now I had four new spots and one of them was pretty big. I fell apart when she told me and found myself blurting out the "F" bomb and telling her that the cancer can't come back because my life is so wonderful and sweet. I know it was a little uncomfortable for her as she's never seen me cry and break down the way I did. The next step she said was to set up another follow-up scan in three months to see if the spots changed. Obviously, the best case scenario would be that the spots would either disappear or get smaller which would mean it wasn't cancer.

The last three months of waiting has been really tough. I can't thank my beautiful family enough for putting up with my ups and downs and crabby outbursts. You really start to think about the what if's and really face your mortality with this cancer journey and questionable cat scans.

My follow-up scan was this last Tuesday, June 14 and the appointment for the results was This Thursday, June 16. I brought my twin sister for moral support and I know she needed to be with me as much as I needed her. We held hands as the oncologist said, "Good news Linda, your catscan was normal." Laura and and I held each other and did some whoo hoo's, cheers and some dancing. There were never more beautiful words. 

I am so grateful that I am still cancer-free and can continue living my lovely life. I live with my twin sister and her two beautiful children and take a lot of pride in helping raise her kids. Just remember that life is a gift and every day God gives us, is a blessing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tribute to Dad and all who Graciously Serve

Dad on bottom row, far left with his comrades of the 489th Bomber Group
 

I am a daughter



and a veteran's biggest fan



Dad was only twenty-two



what a brave, courageous man



He fought the good fight



so we could live free



All those in uniform



sacrificed dearly for me



His missions were flown



over Germany and France



So we could enjoy freedom



and have half a chance



Thirteen missions flown



by the eighth Army Air-Force



Halesworth, England



would be there 'said course'



Many close calls



would threaten their day



They kept persevering



and made sure to pray



Remember to thank those



who fought despite fear



Not only on Memorial day



but everyday of the year






















































































Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Twin Sister Pretends to be me with my Date


Twins can be Sneaky

I was a ninth grader attending Grandview Middle School. I was dating a nice boy that I'd had a crush on since the 7th grade. Dating at this age basically meant, meeting up at activities like: rollerskating, basketball and football games or co-ed parties which were supervised by parents.

Tom caught me at my locker after lunch one day and asked me if I'd meet him at the Mound Highschool basketball game the following Friday night. I excitedly accepted his offer and we discussed details. I would meet him around 6:30PM in the upper corner of the bleachers where the ninth graders always sat.

I thought about the date with Tom all week long. I was having a hard time focusing on anything else, like my homework. What would I wear? My hip hugger pants or my bell bottom corduroys? What would he wear? I loved when he wore that t-shirt with the peace sign on it. His arms looked so big and strong in that. I hope he wears his brute cologne, it smells so sexy. Would he put his arm around me? I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about him and our date night.

The week dragged on and I felt like the weekend would never come. Finally, my alarm went off, it was Friday. I took a shower and got ready for school. I felt a little under the weather and had the sniffles but nothing that would stop me from going to school and going on my big date. As the school day went on, I was feeling worse and worse. When I got home, I fell into my bed and decided to take a little cat nap. Hopefully resting for an hour would make me feel better. When I woke up, I felt even sicker. I told my twin sister that I didn't think I could go to the game. I asked her if she would let Tom know I wasn't feeling good and would call him tomorrow. It was really depressing watching Laura getting ready for the game. Why did I have to get sick tonite?

I realized I was starting to feel better and by 7:15 I asked my dad if he'd drop me off at the game. I walked into the gymnasium and started for the bleachers. My eyes were searching for Tom and the rest of the gang. Half way up the bleachers I could make out another girl sitting next to my boyfriend. "Does he have his arm around her?" I was freaking out. Once I got up close and looked, there was my twin sister sitting next to Tom. By this time, Laura and her friends that knew about the trick, started giggling. I told Tom that Laura was sitting next to him, not me. His face turned beet red as Laura got up and I took my rightful place. I still hear about the trick Laura played on Tom and I at every class reunion.

© 2011 Linda Rogers

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Dog's Sixth Sense Warned Me

My Furry Angel

Although I wasn't there at the time Joey was adopted, he and I became best of friends and were connected at the hip. I had moved into my twin sister's home when I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Too sick to work, he and I spent every waking moment together. He made the difficult days of chemo and radiation tolerable with his kisses and loyal companionship. He often laid in bed with me especially when the chemo had proved to be too much and I didn't want to be alone. My furry friend even accompanied me to radiation once a week. All the patients fell in love with him and looked forward to his smiling face in the car. A kiss from Joey gave them a needed boost before and after their treatment.

Chemotherapy was getting really rough for me as the drugs they put in your veins have a cumulative effect. Simply put, this means that with every treatment, you become sicker and sicker. Unfortunately, I was one of those people that became incredibly nauseous from it. I couldn't hold down most foods for the life of me, except for crackers and icecream. I was on a medication for the naseau which didn't help and gave me constipation.

My older brother Dan was over, helping Laura pull out patio furniture for the summer season. I was very weak from the several weeks of chemo. I noticed Joey was following very close behind me all day. He seemed upset and I tried to figure out what was wrong. He even tried to get in the shower with me that morning and he's usually scared to death of water. Till this day, we have to bring him to petco to get bathed. I figured he sensed I was weak and wanted to be there for me if I fell. (Can you tell I think my dog is a genius?)

I was sitting on the throne and realized I was very constipated. I was in excruciating pain and felt light-headed. I got up slowly and walked out to the deck to get Laura. I said, "Laura, something is wrong, will you follow me back to the bathroom?" She noticed immediately that I was white as a ghost. The last thing I remember was Laura and Joey looking at me on the toilet. My next memory was hearing Laura screaming, "oh my God, Linda, please wake up." My darling sister was attempting to throw me over her shoulder. As I came to, I said, "don't even think about it sis, put me down and just walk me to my room." I asked Laura what had happened and she explained that I passed out when I sat on the toilet. She nervously told me that I quit breathing and she caught me as I passed out and slumped over. She was screaming for me to wake up. I was now laying in Laura's arms on my bed until the paramedics came. Three EMT's walked in my room and started assessing the situation. As I started explaining what had happened, my beautiful dog jumped on the bed and layed his head in the nape of my neck. The two women and one man were very choked up seeing Joey's display of loyalty and love. Joey knew all along that something wasn't right with me. He whined as I was lifted into the ambulance.

The medical term for what happened to me is called, "neurogenic shock or circulatory collapse." It is brought on when the body is in severe physical or emotional pain. I had never known what it was like to be constipated until this event. Let me tell you, constipation is not for sissies.

To this day, Joey and I have a deep connection that can never be broken. He and I are best friends and I can't imagine life without him.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Asking Forgiveness for Bullying a Classmate

Kid's Can be so Cruel

Bullies have been around forever, at least since children have been gathering together. When most of us think about bullies, we imagine that big strong boy that intimidates and picks on everyone. This is not the only face of bullies. Bullies can actually be typical people that are usually very kind and loving. Here is my story of how I became involved in bullying someone in middle school. A memory which I am very ashamed about.

I was a middle schooler and riding the bus to school. I was sitting next to one of my best buddies and chatting away. About Half way to school I heard some commotion going on behind me. It was three kids teasing Linda. Linda was moderately developmentally disabled. She went to school with the rest of us but everyone knew she was slow. She usually kept to herself except for a good friend of hers. His name was Mike and he was also developmentally disabled. He was also integrated into the school system but went to special classes. That is where he met his good friend Linda.

I saw that three kids were trying to make Linda eat a sandwich that had fallen out of someone's lunchbox and onto the dirty floor of the bus. Eventually, it wasn't just the three people bullying Linda but now many people were getting involved. Several kids, now began yelling for Linda to eat the sandwich. The chanting became louder and louder. My buddy and I were feeling uncomfortable about this scene and sad for Linda but we just sat there and watched. Soon, the whole bus was cheering for Linda to eat the sandwich. Peer pressure in middle school is real and Lisa and I soon found ourselves uttering the words, "Eat the sandwich, eat the sandwich." That poor girl did eat the dirty grimey sandwich. I would be haunted by this despicible event for many years. That is until...

I was a highschool senior and enjoying everything about being seventeen. One spring day, my friends and I went to a local, fast food joint. Hardee's had become a place that many highschoolers hung out after school and on weekends. This particular day as I waited in line, someone caught my attention. I had to look close, but soon realized it was Linda, the girl from middleschool that was so shamelessly bullied. My heart sank as I recalled that day on the school bus. Here she was now, cashier at Hardee's and doing quite well. My mind was reeling about whether to say anything to Linda. Did she even remember me? I almost burst when I got to the front of the line. I ordered a hamburger and fries and she politely thanked me when I gave her the money. I couldn't hold it in anymore. I said, "Linda, I don't know if you remember me but...Just then, Linda interrupted me. She said, "I remember you Linda, we went to middleschool together," and smiled at me. I told her I was very ashamed that I teased her on the bus that day back in 7th grade. By the look on her face, I could see she remembered the event I spoke of. I said, "Linda, will you forgive me, I was just a foolish kid?" She didn't even hesitate and said, "yes, I forgive you." I was very choked up at this sacred moment, to be forgiven. Before we said our goodbye's, she said she wanted to introduce me to her husband. She ran back to the kitchen and up walked this good looking young man with a name tag on his shirt that said, "Manager." Linda, this is my husband Mike.

I walked out of that Hardee's, humbled and more grown up. Linda and Mike taught me so much that day.

"We achieve inner health only through forgiveness-the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves." Joshua Loth Liebman

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Reflections

Warm breezes wrap me like a baby in a blanket
filling my senses with a glorious sweet smell
Once a dull brown hue becomes a beautiful bright green
as nature's whisper becomes a mighty yell
 
Flowers wake from long slumbers
opening their petals to the sky
Birds journey back to summer homes
dancing, chirping, long into the nigh
 
The swamp makes a grand entrance
with sights and sounds galore
the magical voice of the croaking frog
fills me with peace and wanting more
 
I hear a sad song, bittersweet to the ear
the bird is speaking a haunting shrill
is it a love song or a eulogy, I do not know
I do surmise it's the pleading of the whippoorwill
 
Buds pop up like a jack in the box
and like a little girl, I watch in awe
as nature springs back to life 
and winters cold grip begins to thaw

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Outsmarted by a Computer Hacker

Don't Give Out Personal Information

I like to think I have become somewhat savvy when it comes to computer do's and don'ts. Truth be told, when I hear of people that have been "HAD," because of giving out information they shouldn't, I think to myself, "why would you do that?" We all know there are scammers just waiting to hack our computers or trying to make money because we give them the information they need. I just didn't think that person would turn out to be me.

I totally blew it and here is where they got me. I started getting emails on my hotmail account about three months ago. The email was informing me that hotmail was working on updating their site. It basically said that I had to get back to them if I didn't want to lose my hotmail account. I had to fill out some form If I wanted to renew my account. I kept procrastinating on filling out the information, knowing they gave me a date with which to respond. Every day I got the same reminder that I needed to eventually fill out the form or no more email account. The number of emails I was receiving, got me anxious, because I obviously didn't want to lose my ability to send and receive emails.

Sunday afternoon I went to my local Caribou Coffee with my niece. We each ordered our favorite beverage and found a cozy booth to sink into. While she read her book and I read emails, I got an urgent message that said, my time was up to respond to the updated version of hotmail. I scrolled down and saw they wanted me to give them some information. I ended up giving out my password, my name and country. A voice in my head told me something was wrong, but all the emails I had received in the past, made me ignore the voice.

That evening, The phone rang and my sister picked up. I heard a serious tone in her voice as she spoke to the person on the other end. I wondered what the call was about and felt worried that something was wrong. It turned out to be dear friends of ours that wanted to inform me that my email account had been hacked. They explained they received a urgent letter which went out to everyone on my contact list. It stated something about me needing money so I could fly out to England to be with a sick cousin. My cousin needed a hysterectomy but couldn't afford the surgery. My friends felt the letter was a scam because they knew it wasn't my style to ask for money on-line. They also knew, if it was me, I would end a letter of this magnitude, with heartfelt thanks.

The least of my worries is, I can't log into my email account anymore and will have to set a new password. The worst part is, I'm embarrassed that I gave out personal information to some on-line con. I am also sad that some of my friends worried about me and some, so-called cousin. I am grateful for the phone call that alerted me to this situation. I never thought I would fall victim to these criminals but they got me when my guard was down. I hope this article will be helpful, so you don't have to go through the hassle and humiliation of being scammed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A St. Patrick's Day to Remember



Laura and Linda (I'm the on the right)
 I am proud to be of Irish heritage and don't hold back on St. Patrick's Day. It is an annual tradition for my sister and I, to go out to lunch for corn beef and cabbage. We go to our local American Legion for our favorite Irish meal. Jack, the chef there, starts cooking the corn beef at about 4AM and you can tell. The meat just falls apart on the fork and melts in your mouth. The inexpensive meal at $8.95, comes with plenty of food as you will see in the picture. The menu is: Corn Beef, Cabbage, Red Potatoes, Cooked Carrots and Raisin Soda Bread. You can't beat this price for all the food you get. If you are able to be part of the clean plate club, there is usually a nap following the eating experience.

St. Patrick's Day has a lot of meaning for me. I was diagnosed in 2004 with lung cancer (I never smoked) and had surgery to remove the tumour on this day. I can't believe that was already seven years ago. Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was going through surgery, chemo and radiation. I am so glad that is behind me, but take this day as a reminder. Love life and every day that you are on this earth as none of us knows when we will leave our loved ones. Be grateful, love eachother, don't hold back on telling people what they mean to you, don't spend time with people that don't treat you well, smell the roses, slow down, don't take the little things so seriously. These are just a few gems I have learned since my diagnosis.

This St. Patrick's Day has yet another special meaning to me. I will be with many of my loving Irish relatives. My late father's sister and husband, or my Aunt and Uncle, passed away recently. Philly and Dick had been very sick for the past couple of years. It makes sense, with their deep love for eachother, that they passed away, a day apart. They will be having their wake and funeral, side by side, just as they were, here on earth.

They were wonderful role-models to all of their nieces and nephews and other family members. One of the examples of their remarkable character and love for family, was back in 1972. This was the year my beautiful mother passed away from complications related to alcoholism. My father was also struggling with alcoholism and put himself into treatment right after the funeral. He knew he had five children counting on him and was ready to get help for his problem. My Aunt Philly and Uncle Dick took all five of the Rogers clan in, during the Christmas season. They gave us love and security and a Christmas we will never forget. This is an amazing act of kindness and christianity in itself, but understand that Philly and Dick had eight children of their own. Can you imagine the work that went into that Christmas with all those children. That is what they believed was the right thing to do for family. Take them in at their darkest hours and show them understanding, compassion and love.

I will never forget you Aunt Philly and Uncle Dick and I thank you for being there for me and my four siblings. You will be given a special place in heaven for all the love you gave your childen and extended family. I look forward to celebrating your lives with the rest of my relatives this evening at the wake and tomorrow at the funeral. You are forever in our hearts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Week in the Life of a Cancer Survivor

This is the newly remodeled cancer center in St. Louis Park, MN


Time to go for my follow-up cat scan

The life of a cancer survivor can be very difficult and challenging. There have been many ups and downs in my journey since I was diagnosed in February of 2004. Before being diagnosed with lung cancer, I hated going to the doctor. I was scared of needles and couldn't even stand the smell of a doctor's office or hospital. I never thought I would ever get a disease, especially cancer. When I would hear stories about people that were very sick, I always felt confident that this would never happen to me. Little did I know what lay ahead.

My last catscan in December of 2010 revealed a spot on my right lung. This is the same lung that had a tumour back in 2004. I have had two such scares in the past which ended up disappearing by the next scan. I thought I would write about this past week of my follow-up scan and appointment with my oncologist. Here is a glimpse into a week in the life of a cancer survivor.
Beautiful Anita
Checking in for the cat scan


This is beautiful Anita. She always welcomes me with a lovely cheerful smile and bubbly personality. I think she is the perfect type of person to greet patients that are undoubtedly nervous. Time for me to fill out some necessary paper work. They want to make sure they have information that will keep me safe during the scan. They ask questions like: Are you pregnant, do you have diabetes, have you ever had a reaction to the dye they put in the I.V. and other health related questions. I will now hang out in the lounge and watch a little t.v.

They called my name and the xray technician walks me back to a small room where I sit on a recliner chair. The first thing I tell the nurse is that I am a tough poke because of all the needles that have gone in my arms and hands these last seven years. Some time she'll lay a warm towel on the arm or hand that she's going to put the needle in. This helps get the blood flowing better and gives us a better chance of getting a good vein right away. On this day she tries putting the needle in my arm. It stings as she is pushing the needle further up the vein. Eventually she apologizes and says that she just can't get it in far enough. I told her the hand is usually the place that works the best. She see's a good plump vein, puts the needle in and thankfully this time it works. She connects a I.V. line to the needle so they can deliver a dye into it during the scan. She walks me across the hall and has me lay on the catscan bed. The machine tells me when to hold my breath and when to let out my breath. This is so they can get a good picture of the lung area. The xray technician comes back in the room after this first xray and shoots dye into my I.V. She reminds me that it is going to feel warm all over my body when the dye reaches my blood stream. She also tells me it will feel as if I am urinating when the dye has gone throughout my body. She always monitors things to make sure I am not having a bad reaction to the dye or that the needle isn't stinging me. When she finishes injecting me with dye, she walks back into the xray room where the machine tells me when to inhale and when to exhale. In all, the scan itself only takes about five minutes.
Yae, scan over

Oncologist appointment to get the results

Thursday morning I woke up with butterfly's in my stomach, knowing I will soon get the results of my catscan. I probably only got about three hours of sleep. Some days I have to take medication to help reduce my anxiety, but today I decide against it. On my drive to St. Louis Park, I play my favorite jazz station to help me relax. I pull up to the valet parking lane and I'm off to check in at the Frauenshuh Cancer Center. This new cancer center is state of the art and was newly constructed to keep the patients as comfortable as possible. Walking in the front door, I hear the sounds of a pianist playing relaxing music for those sitting in the lounge. After checking in, I go into the cancer lounge and wait. I grab a blueberry muffin and a can of orange juice from the mini kitchen. The food and beverages are free to patients and family and friends of patients. I sat in front of the healing garden movie screen. This screen shows differen't pictures of a real garden that sits outside of the lounge. It is meant to help calm nervous patients as they wait for their appointment. I sat in front of the screen and did some deep breathing and meditating. My name is called and a wonderful volunteer who is another cancer survivor, walks me to my room. On the way to the room, I see Joan, one of my favorite nurses. We give eachother a big hug and I proceed to go in the room to wait for my oncologist. As I'm sitting in the room, I hear a familiar voice. It's another favorite nurse of mine who has become a good friend to me. Melissa is a one of a kind person and has a huge heart. Her and I hug and she tells me that she will switch with the nurse that was scheduled to take my vitals. She and Joan discuss how they need to go get the rolling blood pressure machine, because the one in the office makes me panic. They all understand that I struggle with anxiety and I can't stand getting my blood pressure taken. Once they used the electronic blood pressure machine and I screamed and threw the cuff off my arm. I reminded Melissa to keep my blood pressure a secret and just write it on a piece of paper which I'll look at when I leave. She is very respectful of my ideosynchrosies and anxieties. After getting my blood pressure, she takes my pulse, temperature, weighs me, and checks to see if I am on any new medications. She finishes her duties and we go into our normal routine of catching up on our lives.

There is a knock on the door and I tell Brenda, my oncologist, to come in. Melissa slips out and it's time to hear the results. Brenda asks me if I have a cold as she heard me hacking. I told her I didn't think so. She starts going into the normal cancer assessment questions and I stopped her mid sentence. I told her I needed to know how the scan turned out and she could do the assessment later. She had a serious look on her face and I held my head in my hands and said, "Oh my God, what?" She said that the good news was that the spot was gone but now I had three more spots. Two on the lower lobe of my right lung and one in the middle.  She hesitantly mentioned that one of the spots was 6 centimeters. I found myself blurting out the "F" bomb and "This can't happen, I have never been so happy." She was very patient and let me cry. I have never cried at an appointment but I couldn't hold it in this time. She reminded me that the chances of the cancer coming back after almost seven years, would be rare and to try to hold onto that. She also suggested I make an appointment with the cancer therapist to help me through the three month wait until the next scan. Knowing how upset I was, she repeated that I sounded congested and that can affect a cat scan. When the appointment was over and I was walking out of the cancer center, I saw my friend, Melissa. She asked me how it went and I broke down. She held me in her arms and let me cry. She pulled me into a room and told me in no uncertain terms to listen closely. She said that the fact the other spot disappeared and now I have three new ones, says a lot. She said, "Linda, the reason the oncologist asked if you had a cold is because you sound congested. You get respiratory infections frequently and I can tell you that you have some kind of respiratory thing going on." She was so compassionate and reassuring and I thank her so much for that. On the way out, the valet parker, who is a gal I went to school with, asked me how it went. I again broke down and she too held me and tried to reassure me. I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful support system at my clinic. Since that appointment, I have noticed that I am hacking a lot, sneezing and sound very congested. Hopefully it's just allergies that gave me the three new spots. Please say a prayer that all will be ok. I hope I can get through the next three months with positivity and peace.
My nurse friends and I

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Littered Thoughts

image by google
Her mind becomes littered
with refuse of fear

Whilst bottles of anguish
pour "what if" in her ear

This wasteland of mind
holds her tight in it's grip

In tumultuous waters
she's like a lost ship

As the clock ticks closer
to her judgement day

Her thoughts become scattered
her peace is at bay

Turn trash cans of waste
into trinkets of gold

As you face the messenger
stand tall, brave and bold

It's a test of your faith
to face what they say

When results are announced
it's good news, she'll pray

A day in the life of a cancer SURVIVOR

Time to enter the donut hole


  Just an update on my lung cancer journey. Today I had my three month, follow-up, cat scan. I had graduated from every six months, to one year, but the last scan showed a tiny nodule on the lower lobe of my right lung.  This is the same lung that had a tumour 6.5 years ago.  I have had two other ify scans and it all turned out ok. The first time they saw something whispy on the lung which turned out to be pneumonia. The second questionable scan was a nodule just like this time. When I went back for the follow-up scan, the spot had disappeared. My oncologist says that with the amount of cat scans I get, I am bound to have spots show up from time to time. It is so much easier for them to say that, as I sit there trying to catch my breath.  I will be seven years cancer-free this coming St. Patrick's Day. I go in Thursday to meet with my oncologist and get the results of the scan today. I hope to be celebrating a clean scan on March 17. I can picture it now, me at a St. Patrick's Day event, drinking a cold libation to celebrate the mark of another mile-stone.  Here's to the Luck of the Irish.







Friday, February 25, 2011

Is that guy flirting with me?


It started as a typical week day for me. My alarm clock woke me from my slumber with some smooth jazz. I got dressed, brushed my teeth and hair but decided there was no need for make-up or any other beauty enhancements. I grabbed a blueberry cereal bar, slugged down an icy cold glass of milk and was out the door. I dropped Laura off at work at about 8:30AM and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed the gas gauge. The car was literally running on fumes. Thankfully there is a Holiday Gas Station one block from Laura's work place.
This is where an innocent trip to the gas station, gets interesting...
I got out of my car and started pumping gas. Have you ever had that feeling like someone is watching you? I started looking around the crowded gas station parking lot. HMMM, maybe I'm just a little off today. Just as I put the gas hose back in it's holder, there it was. Someone was staring at me. It was a very handsome gentleman around my age. He smiled and waved at me. He was sitting high up in a very nice "all- boy" kind of truck. I thought to myself, "Is he looking at me or is it the person at the gas pump behind me." I came up with many scenarios of what else he could be looking at besides me. Then I started worrying that if he was looking at me, it was because I did something wrong, like cut him off in this small parking lot, or perhaps, took the gas pump he was going for. I started making my way to the front door of the Holiday Station. Before paying the attendant, I took a little detour to the ladies room. I guess I had too much milk for breakfast. Walking out of the bathroom and down the canned goods isle, I nearly bumped right into him. It was the man that may or may not have been staring at me. He looked at me and gave me a really warm smile and kind hello. I reciprocated but continued walking towards the front of the store to pay the cashier. Now my mind was racing and asking many questions, like, "wasn't he on his way out of the parking lot?" "Is this a coincidence that he came back in the store and down the same aisle?" "Maybe he forgot to buy something the first time." I was now at the front paying for my gas and he appeared once again. He waved and flashed those pearly whites at me and was out the door. "Don't look out the door Linda, you'll look like a freak" I thought to myself, but I couldn't help it. I tried to be discreet as I peeked around the door. To my embarrassment, he had turned around as he walked to his truck to see if I would look. He waved and smiled. I said my goodbyes to the cashier and knew I had to go out to my car sometime. I rushed to my car, put the key in the ignition and looked around. He was now parked even closer to my car and gave me another smile and wave. He gave me a finger point to show me which way he was heading. I waited for him to pull out and then made my escape in the opposite direction. I was talking and laughing out loud on my way home, realizing I had been flirted with, at a gas station. I actually think he believed I may follow him to his destination. Maybe he was thinking of meeting up at a safe place like Caribou Coffe, unless he was an axe murderer and hoping I'd follow him to his isolated cabin. I prefer to think this handsome gentleman only had the best of intentions. A woman can dream can't she? No matter what this guy was all about, I have a great story to share and I must say, it felt really good having a man go to so much trouble to make sure I noticed he was flirting with me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dream that Prepared Me for Dad's Death


My Big Dream

Dreams have always been a big part of my life. They give me answers to my current and past struggles, they help me work through grief when I have lost a loved-one and they entertain me in my night life. The dream I am writing about in this hub is one that helped me prepare for my father's death. Dad had been sick for some time with emphysemia and I was having trouble coming to terms with his impending death from this disease. Here is my dream:

I'm over at dad's apartment watching t.v. I hear a noise coming from the kitchen and run to see what's going on. Dad is using his hands and pointing to his throat. It's obvious to me that dad is gasping for air and will die if I don't do something. I call 911 but something is wrong with the phone, so I pick dad up in my arms and put him in the car. I speed to the hospital but keep my eye on dad as he is fighting for air. I am so scared but keep telling him that everything will be alright. I eventually get him to the hospital. I am holding dad in my arms running through the hospital. I am running down a very long and dark tunnel. I keep repeating to dad that everything will be ok and I will get him help. As I'm running to get help and holding him in my arms, I am calling my family of four siblings. I am screaming and crying and asking them to come to the hospital because I think dad is dying. Each sibling I talked to, blew me off and had better things to do than worry about dad and this situation. I was so hurt for dad and very angry that they didn't seem to care. I keep searching for a doctor as I'm running down the hallway and hoping I will see one in time to save my dad. I eventually see a doctor in blue scrubs and beg and scream for him to help my dad. The doctor says there is nothing he can do, even though he hasn't even checked him out. I feel so alone and scared because noone seems to listen or care. I look down at dad after the doctor leaves us, and he is dead. The grief is more than I can bear as I sit on the floor, holding my dear father in my arms. Tears stream down my face and fall on dad as I cry out in sheer pain and sadness.

I woke up from the dream and ran into dad's room crying. I was staying with him at the time, due to his illness. I sat on the bed next to him and told him about the unsettling dream. In his calm, loving, dad voice, he told me that it was time to start preparing myself with his declining health and impending death. I just cried in his arms and told him how much I loved him. He knew I was in denial about how sick he was and gently gave me permission to accept it.

This dream also highlighted the fact that I was the primary child, out of five siblings, helping dad out, during his illness. I heard many excuses why my sisters and brothers couldn't help me. The excuses I heard the most were: "I'm married with kids and just don't have the time," "Your single, so you have more time on your hands." The number one excuse I heard during those difficult days, always involved using the spouse as the scape goat.