Thursday, September 21, 2006


today, in the midst of my gym work-out, my iPod experienced what appears to be some sort of terminal processor error. i cannot reset it with control 'keys' nor find any place in which to stick a safety pin. in retrospect, this has probably been coming on for over a week given problems syncing with my newly repaired iBook etc.

it seems sick somehow, but i cannot help but be amused by the continuing technological revolt. it begs the question, 'can Schadenfreude be self-referential?' or is this merely a reflection of the increasing daily awareness of an 'old-new' mantra of mine, 'life is too short...'

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Paula’s Press Release Volume V

there has been much sorrow and loss of late, though some has been accompanied by the privilege of reflection and sharing. i owe an entry about Grandma's memorial service, i know, but for now i delight in presenting some good news. attached please find Paula's most recent 'release.' for those who may not know, Paula is my 30-year old cousin diagnosed this last Christmas eve with an inoperable brain tumor...

Celebrate Life pin
Originally uploaded by jacquichris.
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.
(Johnny Nash: I can see clearly now)

Normally, I have religious type songs popping into my mind at critical points in my life these days. Today, it was Johnny Nash’s Bright Sun-Shiny Day that jumped into my mind while driving home from Mayo Clinic’s Gonda Building. I take my last chemo pills tonight @ 10 pm. This will end my final round of chemotherapy, and will be the end of any scheduled treatments for my well-attended to tumor.

Throughout my treatment, I have had many obstacles. I was unable to drive from January through July. The Mayo Clinic computer server went down my second day of radiation and I had to wait over one hour to finish the treatment. I had nausea and vomiting throughout my chemotherapy, although the doctors had assured me prior to taking the medication that I probably would have no side effects. I had a bought with serious depression in May (nothing new, but never fun). My medical insurance was cut through my workplace (luckily I had Pat’s insurance coverage to back mine up). I had chemo-related anemia. I had an anaphylactic reaction to IV iron. I had to go through 4+ hours of mental testing to be sure my brain was functioning correctly (it is, by the way). I did, however, get diagnosed with ADD/ADHD tendencies (surprise, I know). Pat found out he has sleep apnea and was getting 0% REM or deep sleep. My computer was in for service more than it was available for my use at home. Pat returned to coaching football and teaching math (football takes him to Rochester for practices and meetings 7 days a week). I had a “negative encounter” with a friend’s dog. Oh yeah, I also was blessed with the stomach flu last week.

Although there were obstacles, there were many sun-shiny days as well. I have made so many new friends, found out so much more about myself, my husband, and my children than I ever thought I could. I have also learned that I need to take time for myself and to do things just for me. I have become a true Christian, believing that there is a higher power guiding our every step here on Earth. With typing the last sentence, another song has barged into my brain. It is the song “Earth and All Stars” (p. 558, Lutheran Book of Worship, Augsburg Publishing House, Mpls). I won’t type all of the lyrics, just the refrain, which says, “He has done marvelous things, I too will praise him with a new song”.

The picture of the pin at the beginning of this note is what I received from Mayo today, signifying the end of my chemotherapy. Dr. Buckner mentioned last week that patients receiving IV chemo get a pin when they complete their treatment. I said “Where’s my pin? I want a pin.” He said “I shouldn’t have said anything”. So today, I marched right on up to the chemotherapy unit desk and said “I want my freaking pin”. Not really, just kidding. I did go up to the desk today, but I asked quite politely if I could possibly have a pin since I was finishing chemo tonight. They graciously brought one out and placed it in my hand. I cried. I haven’t been able to set it down or let it out of my sight since I received it this morning. What a blessing to have made it this far and still be as spunky as I always have been. I really am seeing clearly now.

I will continue to have MRI’s and blood tests every 3 months for three years. As far as anyone can say, there shouldn’t be any tumor growth that will need attention for many years. Please pray for this to be true.

You haven’t heard the last from me yet, I’ll continue to send updates every once in a while. And PLEASE, continue to send me your updates as well.

My love to you all,


Monday, September 18, 2006


i broke with a migraine the day after Labor Day that only appears to be letting up right now. my computer died on the 7th and had to be sent in for repairs. this tipped me over the edge of the cliff of nervous breakdowns, but TraV helped me levitate back right up until he made our dinner with rancid butter on the 11th... happily, neither of us ate much before discovering the problem, and the thought was so kind as to outweigh the resultant hunger.

i flew out on the 12th for 2 days of interviews for a tenure track faculty position at UTK. it was a great trip although the daunting schedule (2 1/2 15 hour interview days) combined with raucous debauchery in the hotel (no, not mine) left me totally dead.

on Saturday, i got up, packed, lifted my hex on the loud hotel inhabitants and drove from Knoxville to Nashville. i arrived with a couple hours to spare before my Grandma's memorial service. the service and dinner were wonderful and joyful celebrations, in their own way, of a spirited saucy lady. (more on this hopefully to come.)

Sunday morning, the remaining family met for a long brunch, filled with enough laughter to leave my cheeks and stomach aching. then back to Denver and crashing at TraV's. it is silly how we miss each other when apart but that brings its own pleasure.

today i raced home, beating the FedEx driver by a mere 5 minutes. newly functional computer in hand - the processor had to be replaced - i spent today unpacking, cleaning up after the cats and trying to sort through the files on the loaner computer, jump drive, external back-up and laptop.

this has, quite unfortunately, left me very little time to study for Talk Like a Pirate Day. happily, i lucked into a tutorial that has brought me up to speed.

tomorrow i look forward to shiverin' yer timbers, you salty sea dogs! but fer now, i'm off to lash my moors and put this buxom wench to rest...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


everyone has their own personal emergency morale infusion (PEMI) resources.

this is mine.

sure, it is a ridiculously silly TV commercial. it wasn't previously available online, so i would have to wait for the right time slot and watch watch watch for it.

until now.

the good people at Good Times have hooked me up for which i am incredibly grateful...

so i am sharing the wealth.