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Saturday Air


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Good morning to anyone hanging out here today!

It is a beautiful sunny day here in Michigan. It is quite cool but will get to 70. Nice.

We do something at Gilda's Club sometimes just to get adults and children that come to the support group to think and share about their cancer and/or care giving experiences as it releates to this disease.

Because children aren't apt to sit and have a discussion like this, we usually introduce a topic through a play game. Then, as they play it feels quite natural to talk about the topic at hand. One day I was helping with the children's grief support meeting and we had a game that the kids thought was huge fun. We had them lie down on great big white sheets of paper, and we traced their body shapes on the paper. They could sit up and help trace their legs, and then we would have them lay down and we would finish up with the torso, arms, and head.

The game was for them to write their name on this little person outlined on the paper. Then we asked them to think about when they thought about the person who died. Then we invited them to draw on their 'body' where they felt it when they thought about this person. Remarkable sharing would happen. Some would draw a red heart, and then put an x inside of it. Others would draw butterflies in the tummy part. Others scribbled black lines in the head part signifying that their heads hurt. It was a wonderful exercise to get them to play out their grief. They looked at it as a fun game, and we knew that they were getting feelings out that they might not have ever done.

We never did this with adults, because that would just seem silly. LOL. But in my group we get asked questions that evoke remarkable discussions. Last week it was to share ONE positive thing that they learned from their care giving or cancer experience.

What a remarkable group of people we are! Those of us living with cancer, and those of us caring for us. Surprisingly a lot said they felt gratitude, in spite of the tough stuff that went with it. Another one was that they were surprised that when they allowed someone to care for them (bring a meal, give them a ride, mow their lawn are some examples) they realized that both parties got great benefit from this. The biggest one was the joy they felt in knowing that the caregiver felt joy in knowing they made their day a little easier.

I remember one in particular that touched my heart and hers. She wanted to give me a pedicure. I felt strange about this and didn't want her to do it, but she insisted that she really wanted to do this for me. She soaked my feet, massaged my calves, feet and toes with oils, and when she was done, painted the toes with a pretty bright pink! It was wonderful. We talked and shared things that we probably never would have if that hadn't happened. And we were touched in ways that we will never forget.

I am curious if there was something like that for you? Both as a survivor or as a caregiver? If so, I'd love to hear what it was!

Judy in MI

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We are out and about today. Jim is driving and I am along for the ride. We are at one of his friends projects. He is restoring a house for his daughter that is on the National Historic Register! I will try to include a picture, but I am not always the best at compressing files. I love historical places and love that people will take the time to restore rather than tear down.

Judy, the closest I can probably come to your experience is when I was going through chemo and even though my 3 sisters were all busy with their jobs and families, someone always made time durig tbhe week to stop and visit, take me on an outing to Meijer or drop by some food to try and temp me into eating. I was not much fun during this time. I had to ride an electric cart, carry a grocery bag to vomit into, and ate almost nothing they brought me. But, they did it anyway. I watched Dr. Zhivago with my 11 year old niece. She sat through all 3 hours of it and me getting sick all over myself when I could not jump up to the restroom fast enough. I felt very cared for and loved during a very tough time. It made it bearable.

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Judy I think the idea for the children's game is such a good one. I have several grandchildren going through a divorce right now and am thinking that "game" could be used for all sorts of things.

I am not a person who accepts help from others easily (I think there are a lot of us out there) - but when I was first diagnosed I was just floored by the generosity of several people. The woman who owned the pet store where I bought my dog food heard about my dx and contacted me wanting to clean my house. I didn't accept her wonderful offer, but am still touched that someone who really didn't know me at all would want to come clean my house! Another woman, a friend who is an artist and a knitter, made me a unique and decorated cap for each day of the week, and then some. I never went to chemo or radiation that I didn't get nice comments on my one-of-a-kind wool caps. The wife of an attorney I used to work for years ago, brought a complete homemade dinner more than once - she never offered - she just showed up. I wasn't always able to eat it, but my husband was thrilled. Even though I did consider two of these people friends, none were close friends. I am still in awe of their kindness and compassion. Some of my "closest friends" I didn't hear from until treatment was all over. I think partly because they know me, and partly because some people just don't know what to do or say. Awhile back I read the book "Dying Well" by Dr. Ira Byock. It surprised me - it's main theme to me seemed to be more about the importance of allowing family and friends to take care of you and be there for you maybe more for their sake than for yours. A tough thing for some of us to learn, but I'm trying.

Our weather is really nice today - mid 70s - but it's going to get cooler next week again and maybe rain. I wouldn't mind so much but it slows down my tomatoes! :( My husband is working on the RV. We haven't used it in almost a year and we are going camping for two weeks over July 4th - at least that's the plan if work doesn't interfere.

I had lunch today with an old friend of my mother's. She's almost 90 and can be kind of cranky, but she was my mother's best friend, and the only one left, so seems kind of like a last link with my mom. Today she just insisted on going to Red Robin -- (her diet would completely blow holes in any theory about people living healthy lives into their 90s based on the food they eat). I never ever eat at Red Robin - not because I don't like it, but because I like their food too much, especially their french fries. But she insisted, so what could I do? LOL I think we ate two baskets of fries between the two of us and now I am sooooooooo full.

I think I need a nap now.

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Diane, I agree with you on two things at least. #1 - Red Robin fries are the best! LOL.

The other is the point you made about this. "Some of my "closest friends" I didn't hear from until treatment was all over. I think partly because they know me, and partly because some people just don't know what to do or say. "

I agree. The kindest and deepest care came from people that I would call very friendly acquaintances. It surprised me. They gave much more than even my family did in terms of kindness and care! In fact there are two women that I thought I was quite close to that have not called me in three months. I think they don't know what to say or do, but still it hurts. But I understand.

It amazes me what this disease does to relationships.

MI Judy

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know what I wanted to say to you Diane on the post I wrote for today. Sense I am here again I will put it here. Many of my neighbors are in their late 80s. You would be surprised at how some of them eat and how most of them get around. My old father in law in Louisiana turned 90 in march and he still gets around really well. Cuts his 7 acres with the tractor several times each summer. One lady here where I live will be 93 next week. She uses a walker or a cane all of the time but she still gets around great and for the most part looks much younger than she is. She takes her little dog for a walk almost everyday. That is she walks and the dog rides on the seat of the walker lol :!:

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