Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Spring And A New Cat

I just realized, after receiving a nice note from Good Cook, aka Linda, that I had not updated this blog since last August. Spring represents new beginnings, and since that is where I am in many ways, I thought it a good time for a post.

My husband passed September 27, 2017 at our home with my daughters and myself in attendance. To say it was a peaceful passing would be a lie, as I'm not sure there is such a thing, but with glioblastoma it could have been much worse. We made it through. He is safely on the other side.

After 36 years of marriage, I find myself alone for the first time since I was 27 years old. I was very different at 27. I was young and the world was before me.  My friend, Trish McGregor of Synchosecrets, read my chart sometime during the summer of 2017 saying it looked like the beginning of October as being a time when my life would open up in a big way. She was right. By the beginning of October, my life was a gaping wound that included any and all possibilities.

So, the first thing I did was get a kitten to keep me company. Inky is a brat but he is also sweet and warm with soft fur and the ability to soothe. There are many nights I'm grateful for his little beating heart next to me on the bed. (Not so grateful in the morning when he walks on my head at 5:30 a.m.) Lucy, our 13-yr old lab, is out on our property with my daughter and her husband. Happy as can be on 5.5 acres.

I was warned to not make big decisions during the first year as I may regret them. But not making moves is not my way of dealing with life. I know enough about how the brain works to know that staying in our condo in Portland by myself for long periods of time would not be healthy. Not for me, not for my children. So I sold our vacation home at Tahoe and will move back to my hometown. It was at Rich's memorial in Reno at the end of October, that I realized my friends, my siblings, nieces, nephews, and cousins help fill that gaping wound left by Rich. We raised our family in Reno, and my husband worked over 25 years at the local power company. Our history is there.

My little home in a brand new 55+ community should be finished in July. I am in walking distance to an amazing jr. olympic size lap pool, beautiful clubhouse, workout center, and people moving in that are up for making friends and remaining active. 68 is the average age, so not much older than I am now. Pickleball seems to be a big draw, although I'm not sure how to play it. There is a full-time activity director and the calendar seems full. I can be as involved and active as I want, or can hang with family and old friends. Either way, it is time to move forward.

I know no other way.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Long Overdue Update

I just received a very nice comment from Susan from a post I wrote last November regarding my husband's illness. Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

It has been a difficult year. My husband had a regrowth of his tumor in December and had a second surgery in January, followed by more radiation and chemotherapy. He has just not been able to recover much and is now on Hospice care, which we started last week as new tumor growth was detected behind his right eye. Inoperable.

Glioblastoma is unrelenting for some people, and others seem to do well with the standard of care, or keto diet, cannabis oil, etc. For my husband, nothing has worked and he is now well into the 12-15 months they give you at the start of this horror show. Any time from now on is a gift.

We've bought a beautiful property out in the country for a family compound and our younger daughter and her husband will live there permanently, with my older daughter and I visiting on weekends, summer, etc. For now, we have set up a first-floor room where he can look out the window at a beautiful scene and still be able to navigate to a downstairs bathroom. Our three story townhouse in the city is not navigable.

My life has taken a turn and I am now facing a future without the rock I have always depended on in hard times. I'm lucky to have wonderful family and some really great friends, but the one person, MY person, is slipping away.

I can only hope that the terrible diagnoses of GBM that Senator John McCain was just given will bring new energy to fighting this disease, because they have been using the same stuff to fight it for 40 years! But we continue to wage war, rebuild whole countries on our tax dollars, while we are still using the same standard of care for a quite-common brain cancer that is 100% fatal, sooner or later.

I will try to write and keep you updated, those of you still out there, and I send blessings to each and every one of you to give your significant other a big hug today. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Heading Home

It has been a whole year since I've been to Tahoe.  It was October of last year that we left for Portland, intending to move more of our life to the city closest to our children. At that time I started an Intention Board (previous post) for a boat to keep in the San Juan Islands. Our intention was to sell Tahoe and take up a new adventure. Well, that didn't happen. We're actually quite grateful that we are not now worrying about how to take care of a boat as our life circumstances changed. Living in two places is difficult enough.

I look forward to seeing old friends, having lunches and dinners with people I've known most of my life. It's been hard going through what we have without the benefit of friends and family. We are lucky to have a couple of old friends in Portland full time, and a few friends that pass through when they are visiting their children that live here. But, for the most part, we depend on each other for social interaction. Great until one of you gets sick, and the other one needs use a shoulder to cry on, or a giant glass of wine over lunch. Our daughters are great, but they are dealing with their own issues with their father being sick. And they are busy with their own lives, which is how it should be.

So we're heading back to Nevada tomorrow. I look forward to the creek behind our condo and the smell of pine in the thin mountain air. Rich is feeling great and nearly back to his old self. He was unable to continue chemo because he just couldn't tolerate it. The doctor sent him home and told him to enjoy his life and bring back pictures. What this will mean in the long run is uncertain. But then, everything about this disease is uncertain. His tumor was unmethelated, which means the chemo was not going to be as effective, and since he literally quit eating and drinking for several weeks, it was clear he would not survive the "cure."

So we live in the moment, day by day. And tomorrow we're going home!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Glioblastoma IV

It has been some time since I've written here. I know my blogging friends have moved along, many no longer blogging themselves, but I have a renewed interest in writing my thoughts. Long gone are the days when I had nothing more to worry about than what would be an interesting topic for my blogging friends. Instead, I find myself caught up in life and death issues far sooner than ever expected.

My husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma IV in May, 2016. After a surgery that removed the mass from the right side of his brain, he was left with radiation and chemotherapy. It has now been five months and we are no longer able to plan years ahead, instead we plan only weeks ahead.

Glioblastoma IV is essentially a death sentence. Only 3-5% of patients live longer than 12-15 months. Of course, like so many others, we intend to be in that 3-5%.

I've finally given into Facebook because they have several support groups for this unfortunate disease. I find myself hanging around the only people that understand just exactly what this disease is, and can do, to the people you love the most. It takes everything from the victim long before it takes their life.

So I may use this forum for myself. To vent, to cry, but more importantly to connect with my writing once again.

I have a feeling I'm going to need it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Millennials are the generation born from the early 1980's to early 2000. My two daughters are Millennial. The largest and most diverse population in the United States, they came into adulthood after a protracted period of economic downturn. Unlike the way their baby-boom parents were raised, who often flourished in a  benign-neglect sort of way, they were focused on with intensity.

They were raised to think about what they would want to do for the rest of their lives, not what job would help them to keep up with the Joneses. Their parents, on the other hand, did just that.

One of the more interesting statistics to come out is that Millennials actually like their parents. This generation often chooses to live close to parents and families. 23% actually reside with parents now. One reason can be attributed to the job market, and corresponding downward pressure on salary and benefits, but not all of it. Millennials are close to their parents. They like and get along with them. Extended families are "in."

They are an optimistic group, despite the myriad of problems they face. Shaped by technology, they share more easily than other generations. They are creative and work better in teams and groups. They are not religious. They tend to identify more as Seekers.  (Which is right up my alley, having always been one.) What is weird, is that they are less sexual - yes, you read that right. Despite all the sex we see on television, they are less sexually active. They are also marrying later in life.

This group will fix our institutions, government, and infrastructure. They will redesign education.

Why do I think they will accomplish all of these things? Because each successive generation deals with the problems (or solutions) of the previous generation. Once we finally get out of their way, both politically and in the job market, they'll go about their business. They'll work with Generation X, who tend to be no-nonsense task masters, and they'll figure it out.

One word that continues to pop up in conversations with my Millennials, and may actually define their generation is sustainability. Unlike previous generations, they are less likely to own their own home, and they often prefer living in urban settings.

So, they may live with us in our big houses now, but when they think about their own home, it is not a McMansion.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Forty Years

(My husband and I with our lives stretched out before us.)

A few weeks ago a dear friend died, leaving his wife of 45-years and a young, vibrant family behind. He died way too soon. His funeral was last week. Attending were a myriad of people, bits and pieces of his life throughout his lifespan.

He and I met while I was still riding my bike around the block - around 13 years old. Throughout the years we shared many memories, a lifetime of laughs, and a few tears. We've been a part of different groups of people, corresponding to whatever our interests were at the time. But throughout, we have remained friends. Separate, but somehow together.

As I've mentioned, a diverse group of people attended the funeral, but none more interesting than the group we were friends with at the beginning. The ones we were friends with while on the cusp of early adulthood. I had not seen many of these people for 40+ years. We literally lost touch for the bulk of our lives. We went from young and hot (a euphemism used by several), to grandparents in a blink of an eye. The middle years somehow cut from the whole, leaving bookends, instead of chapters.

We caught up on marriages, children, illnesses, and gossip. Was there really some question about the gun used in our friend's suicide 25 years ago? Could her husband have been the culprit? How is your sister? Did she ever marry that guy you hated? Seriously? They want to remove your entire colon? You talked to my ex-husband last week? I'm so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter....

On and on we tried to fill in the blanks. To match the face in front of us to the face we remembered. The twenty-something that had life stretching out before them, with everything still to come, to the face that has had its share of pain, strife, struggle, and joy. Grandchildren. Comparing numbers, you could see the pride we all shared in our little ones. Most were close to their own children and had good relationships with extended family. A few struggled with substance-abuse issues and one or two actually found themselves in really bad circumstances at some point in their lives.

(My dearly-departed friend.)

One thing stood out. None of us were unscathed. We all had something that we endured that put a wrinkle here or worry-line there. I guess that's what life is about. Dealing with the curve balls as best we can and enjoying the small things that life has to offer. Like old friends catching up on the years, sharing stories about the ones that are no longer at the table.

He would have loved every minute of it.

I hate to say this, but I might have to do Facebook.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Exactly Are Orbs?

I have noticed the subject of Orbs popping up with more frequency. What are Orbs? Are they living creatures? Are they people without bodies? Are they energy-sucking aliens? Are they angels? Or is there a more pedestrian explanation?

Orbs can be multi-colored or white, and show up especially well with digital photography using a flash. Some think they are merely dust particles, or water droplets. Some think they are an energy signature or craft of a high-frequency being. Some people believe they are ghosts. 

I'm not sure what to believe.

There is plenty of literature on the subject. In the film "Orbs: The Veil Is Lifting" on Gaiam TV, several guests shared their insight into the phenomenon. One theory that resonates with me is that we are multi-dimensional beings that have been in a trance-state that has us believing we are the center of the Universe. We are uneducated about other realms and other dimensions. We know very little about consciousness. Our ideas about the paranormal are shaped by Hollywood, not in-depth scientific study. All this may change, by the way, with the money and research being pumped into the field of transhumanism 'ala Google's Ray Kurzweil, and his seemingly unlimited resources. Not to mention the Obama Administration's $3 billion foray into mapping the brain. This research is bound to spill into the topic of consciousness.  

Carlos Castaneda, when queried about inorganic beings:

"They are possessors of consciousness but not possessors of an organism," Castaneda responded. "Why should awareness be the exclusive possession of organisms?"

He talked of "flyers" feeding on mankind's awareness, reducing the sheen on our luminous eggs (a membrane surrounding us from the moment of birth, once thick, but much thinner as it is nibbled upon until there is only a mix of self-absorbed ego and mania.) 

Orbs show up throughout history in paintings and frescoes. They are often depicted with halos or as cherubs. It was suggested the wings were added because the orbs were flying. One photographer found that after taking hundreds of pictures of orbs, some of her pictures became mists that seemed to consist of millions of individual orbs. She believes this to be inter-dimensional art. Many have mandala-like designs, some have "faces", or look as though beings are inside of them. 

The Orb that seems to be haunting Nasa's Hall of Fame Museum is interesting:

Very large multi-colored orbs have been reported by pilots, including President Obama's.

Whatever they are, they seem to be very curious and comfortable around humans!