Category Archives: volunteer

Day 17 – 40 days of writing – procrastination, anger, and trying to let go

I have had my paperwork to fill out for my upcoming oncology appointment for over a week.


It was on the floor for several days, then I put it in my work bag to take and complete on a break, but it still is in there. It is not filled out.

I have to fill it out this weekend. 

I want to avoid this whole thing. It is all encompassing. It permeates so many things.

***

An email sent to explain why I have to turn over some of my volunteer efforts and how I would like to see them handled gets forwarded without thought to the information contained within. People   who see that email decide it is OK to come up to me and tell me the email has been forward and mentions of things like “your condition” and “your health issues” permeate the conversation that she thinks is acceptable to have in front of my son. 

I want to know why everyone thinks it is appropriate to think it is a good think to talk about this in front of a child. 

Others have done this, talking about my cancer in front of my son.

And they can frolic away thinking they have been so good and noble and all because they got to tell me they are concerned while I am left with a concerned son, who has since started throwing up at school (again)… something I believe is tied to stress and concern.

And I want to yell at these well meaning but stupid people; “Why the fuck have you decided you can make this more complicated for me and then think you are so dammed just and gracious?”.

They are so blissfully unaware. I have to let go but as I deal with a son who I am trying to convince that I will be fine and nothing is wrong and because he dwells in silence from not understanding what is going on has no idea of what questions he needs to ask and I can’t know what I need to address.

I don’t know how to tell these people that they have been wrong in how they handled this. I am not even sure that I should. I know that if I would do something so thoughtless that I would want to know. but I don’t know how to be gentle about it.

I wonder if this is about displacing the anger at the way my body has betrayed me towards others. It is hard, and confusing, and ever so extremely frustrating.


I recognize it goes both ways, allowing what will continue I mean. Do I allow myself to dwell in my reactions or do I allow them a lesson learned so that they can learn from their experiences. 

Who needs the most of my energy?



How do I travel this road gently and with grace?

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Day 10 – 40DOW – tired

I’m tired.

I am lucky.
But, I’m tired.
Part of me feels like I should want to scream.
But, I feel tired.
Another part of me wants to curl up and sleep through this… wake me up when it’s over.
I got my paperwork for the oncologist and I left it sitting on the floor by my bed.
CONQUER
CANCER
It reads.

I am curled up on my bed staring at it. 
It looks so optimistic.
Wondering if I’ll get turned away because I don’t have any “films” to bring with me, just my sad little 2 page pathology report.
Are the 18 days I had to wait going to get pushed to more.
This waiting is painful.
I’m trying to be patient.
And grateful.
And I am…
Really.
The sweet notes and efforts are so unbelievably touching.
But I’m also angry.
At myself.
And scared.
For my loved ones.
And tired.
So very, very, tired.

Day 8 – 40DOW – gratitude

I’ve been sick the past few days. Fever and runny nose, you know that route, right? 

The thing is that when you’re one week post op, you shouldn’t take risks, especially as I move on. Couple this with a change is what I will call discharge. I called my super awesome GYN. He had me come in to make sure everything was ok.


He was not with a patient when I walked into the back office area. And he must have seen me stepping on the scale. I heard him say, the good news is that you look good. I smiled and told him that I was indeed feeling better, but we had different ideas on what good meant. We laughed. He came over and said that he was really glad I called, that most patients would just dismiss the fever as being the cold, and that he was really, really glad I called.

When he came in to see me, I got to ask the big pressing question in my head which, ironically has nothing to do with cancer.

Can we take out that IUD you fought so hard to preserve at my last biopsy, and if you do, can I keep it?

When I go back next week we will remove my IUD and I will get to keep it. I figure that since I actually kept my cerclage (it is a link to a link, so if you don’t want to see the knot that held me shut, you don’t have to click all the way through and just stop at my picture of Squink) that I wanted to keep my IUD as well. Symbols, if you will, of the two times my cervix failed me… or rather, of when we failed each other.


This exchange actually led to a very interesting discussion of complementary medicine. I really have a wonderful gyn.

So, gratitude… yes. Aside from whomever is coming to see this blog (and it averages about 1 person per post (which may be me since I am writing this) I haven’t really told many people in the grand scheme of things. I have told my family, not all of them just the close and a few extended (a couple of cousins, though not all… I suppose I should do that tonight… though if truth be told the cousins I haven’t told are part of the group that thought letting me know that my grandmother had passed away via a public Facebook post was appropriate… so, I figured I could return the favor in some way). 

Anyway, I sent out a bcc email to some folks who mean the world to me and who did not know. While I did not hear back from everyone I emailed, I was delighted with who did respond and what they said. I did send it out to a few males, I heard back from two. That was a surprise, they wrote these sweet gentle notes and considering that they are not sweet gentle men, I was touched. 

I also told my fellow board members of an agency I serve on the board for, they were amazing and supportive. One bought me what she called her Catholic cancer kit; a statuette and booklets/cards of Saint Peregrine, some chamomile tea, and Holy water from Lourdes. 

People who have chosen to reach out with messages of support and love have been so treasured. Phone calls, emails, letters, notes, offers of lunch or dinner and other… I feel so much comfort in their messages and offers of time and help.  One (one of my guy friends) even saucily wrote that they would rather look at pictures of food than hear the news I had just given…

For you k…



I am so very lucky that I am not alone on this experience.

Being swallowed by the essence of life…

Volunteering.

It is considered on of those important things to do to lead a happy life.

I would agree, though if you are one of those who claim it is about (solely) reciprocal altruism… I would disagree. But that might be good for another post. 

I recall conversations with my mother when I was a young girl in her pre-teens. Growing up in a third world country where poverty is very much in your face, and you are most definitely on the “haves” end of things can be distressing. My mother volunteered often and I recall asking her about poverty. She counseled me by telling me that it was our duty to help those who needed our help. That has stuck with me ever since.


On Friday I attended a work related conference and was fortunate to have an organization that I work with represented at their program fair. I shared the organization with people I had met throughout the conference that had mentioned they wanted to work with a good character development program.That organization is called Release The Fear


Saturday, I got to help another organization that I belong t,o a women’s membership organization (JLP), and we do really wonderful things in the community. Squink and I spent yesterday morning helping the committee tasked with training our brand new members what things we have done in our community. Here I am at the Arizona Science Center overlooking the Rosson House Museum (both projects the League has worked with):



We followed that with another volunteering excursion by taking Squink out for his first ever fundraising effort by setting up a popcorn sales table at a local Safeway.


I was/am so proud of him! The other scouts that were supposed to show up, didn’t. Though the city was deluged with a rather amazing rainstorm (floods and downed trees kind of storm). As Squink and I drove tot he location we talked about not going, but we also talked about fulfilling our obligations and we decided that it was best to go and see what the store said.  They obviously told us to go ahead and set up.

Squink had one marvelous experience there. He met Keith. Keith was a retired photographer from the Arizona Highway department. They used to use his photographs of ruins and petroglyphs to create papier-mâché reproductions of them and how they were often featured at the sate fairgrounds. He also told Squink about his years as a door-to-door salesman in Indiana. Keith spent some time giving Squink pointers on how to be a better sales person. Keith did not have cash and we couldn’t take credit cards. So he said he would get cash back after his grocery purchases. Sadly, the rain had caused problems with the credit machines and the cash-back option was not working. When he came back, he told us that he could not do it, but that he had been planning to go out to dinner and had decided that he would now stay home and eat what he had on hand and watch a movie and use the money he was going to use to eat to buy a bag of popcorn. Keith used the scooters that the grocery store has to get around and had walked in using a cane. When Keith parked the scooter as he got ready to leave, Squink went up to him and asked if he could help him to the car. Here is a picture of the two of them walking out the door.




It was such a sweet experience, two friends (thank you Ronnie and Angie) stopped by and purchased some pop-corn too!


CUB SCOUTS

You can help him meet his goal of selling a minimum of $1500 by clicking on this link:
http://www.trails-end.com/All/b/6479672011?ie=UTF8&title=All+Products


If you are prompted to select whom you will support these are the things you need to know to make sure Squink (aka Josef S) gets credit.


Type in the council zip code of 85016

Look for the following once the scouts name field populates:


Josef S – Blair – Pack 0324 – Villa Montessori School

Make sure that you click to support Josef S – Blair – Pack 0324 – Villa Montessori School
 (you might get the option to choose the Grand Canyon Council (but Squink wont get credit)

If that is too complicated, just leave a comment or get a hold of me and let me know what you would want and I can work with you.

Now, this reminds me of a few other things that are coming up.

Biltmore Prep Hermosillo Exchange Program

Squink has decided that he wants to participate in an exchange program with a school in Hermosillo. It will be the second year this occurs and he is so excited about the opportunity. However, as a part of that he has committed to securing $1000 in tax credit donations for the program to help offset the costs related tot he program.

Here is the Facebook page for the program: https://www.facebook.com/BPAExchangeProgram

And you can contact me (again by comment or email) if you have questions or want me to email you the form in another format.


For information from the school about this tax credit go here: http://biltmore.creightonschools.org/apps/cross.jsp?wREC_ID=2676&crossPath=/apps/pages/index.jsp%3FuREC_ID%3D181276%26type%3Dd  There is a link to download it in PDF form or the link to the online donation.

The link for the on-line donation is:
https://secure.edlio.com/ssl/forms/tax_donation/english_v2/index.jsp?ech=creightonschools.edlioschool.com&cross=1

PLEASE Make sure to enter Biltmore Prep and also to specifically mention the Hermosillo Exchange Program

Amount: * $
Any amount up to the maximum allowable 2014 tuition tax credit as follows:

Single or Head of Household: $200.00
Married Filing Jointly: $400.00
Married Filing Separately: $200.00

School Recipient: *
Biltmore Preparatory Academy

Program Preference:
Biltmore Prep Hermosillo Exchange Program


If you do donate, please (please, please, please)  let us know so I can let the program organizers know that you are donating as a direct result of his efforts so he gets the credit for his efforts. I don’t need to know the amount if you don’t wish to share that information, but please make sure I have the name you put on the donation form (so that they can cross check).


For the above fundraising efforts, please feel free to share this with people whom you feel are inclined to help Squink raise money to go to scouts or his exchange program.

###


RELEASE THE FEAR

So, I have mentioned a few of the programs that I work with that if you want to support, I would be grateful.


One of the more exciting is that in addition to the School tax credit above you can also do a Working poor tax credit (yes, I believe that you can do both but check with a tax accountant/specialist!!!!)

Release the Fear qualifies as a provider of services to the working poor. Which means that you can use the following tax table:

Taxpayers filing as “single” and “head of household” status may claim a maximum credit of
$200. Taxpayers filing as “married filing separate” may claim a maximum credit of $200.
Taxpayers that file as “married filing joint” may claim a maximum credit of $400.
Source: http://www.azdor.gov/About/FAQs/CharitableTaxCredit.aspx
DONATE to Release The Fear ON-LINE HERE: http://www.releasethefear.org/donate.asp or get ahold of me for other ways. Make sure you mention in the comments that you want the tax credit and that Blair sent you.

And for that Women’s organization, you can make a charitable donation here:
https://www.jlp.org/?nd=donate_summary or get ahold of me if you would like to donate another way.

What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good. ~ Aristotle