Have to say thank you to Muriel of the Heart Failure Clinic follow up team. They phone me on a monthly basis just as a general follow up monitoring how I am doing.
My regular phone check up actualy was yesterday. We chatted and I told her of how I was feeling, not very spry. She was concerned and called back this morning as a follow up to the follow up. Muriel urged me to go to the hospital to get check out. I have to say I was less than enthusicastic about this but realize the medical professionals do know more than I do. (inspite of what I seem to think some time).
I also thank the staff at Seven Oaks Hospital emergency department for the wonderful care. Tests ect. were done and I have pneumonia, huh. Well I guess that does explain much of how I have been feeling.
I fooled Santa, he only leaves presents for the good boys and girls. I was blessed with many wonderful gifts. I treasure and appreciate everyone. In saying that I am including the many kind and loving Christmas cards and greetings I received, be they received through the postal service, email or right here on the blog. I do thank all.
But, one of the many wonderful gifts I received was a book. This book touched me deeply. It is written by a man that knows he is dying. Randy Pausch in fact knows he has but months to live. The book titled “The Last Lecture” is written by Prof. Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. To really describe the book I am taking a great liberty here and am copying directly what is written on the inside jacket cover.
“A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture”. Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question” What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave – “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” – wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think). It was a summation of everything Randy has come to believe. It was about living.”
The actual lecture is over an hour long but worth the watch.
I have also attached a copy of the youtube message he gave to a university graduating class. This is only 7 or 8 minutes long and again worth the watch.
His attitude and thoughts mirror my own in so many ways. His are presented in a professional manner as opposed to my rambling style. But our messages are the same. Live life, appreciate the time we have,, make the most of it. Time is our most precious asset. We need to see how precious it is and not just waste so much of it.
I sit here with a feeling that is hard to describe. Maybe awe or wonderment would be good words to describe it. Another year, 2009 is coming to an end and I AM STILL HERE. I think back over the past 4 or 5 years. There were indeed many many times when I never thought I would make it this long. I suppose it must have largely depended on my mood of the moment which too often I still allow to be determined by how I am feeling that particular day. I am getting better at it. I know attitude is everything. A good strong positive attitude will carry you far and through much. I do know that and try to work at it, but it is at times easier said than done. I realize that when my attitude is suffering a little it is indeed time to retreat to the meditation chair. That chair does wonders for me.
What did 2009 give me. Well there was that heart attack and that wasn’t very much fun. There was that stomach virus thing, diarrhea for 3 straight months, well that wasn’t very much fun. Finding myself continually have to adjust my thinking to accept reduced physical limitations, that is no fun. Hearing of the passing of a high school friend. Geesh, what kind of a year was 2009?
Well there are always 2 ways to look at everything and I look at 2009 as being a great year.
What did 2009 bring me:
Hey, 2009 is the year I survived my 5th heart attack, now how great is that.
Three straight months of not feeling well and having diarrhea. It was a wonderful learning experience for me as a person. Spirits sagged after what seemed to be endless days of not feeling well. I tried to comfort myself with thoughts such as there are so many that have it so much worse than I. That actually did work for a while, but as it dragged on, I found myself thinking more and more. Other people have it worse, well that is too bad. But I don’t care right now, I am feeling like crap and am sick and tired of feeling this way. As I knew I would I eventually got over it.
Well what did I learn from that. For me 2 very big things. Actually, I already knew them but I obviously needed a reminder or to have them re enforced in my mind.
What was I reminded of. So very often I write about the importance of attitude. Now I do believe every once in a while when feeling sick we are indeed entitled to a poor me DAY but that we should indeed try to limit the poor me to a day or two. I had this thing long enough that it became obvious that at least to some extent I could at least help determine how I would feel physically through the day. On days my thoughts went to poor me, I physically felt worse than I did when I got on top of the attitude thing.
Secondly, it gave me a better understanding of or empathy for what others are going through. I had this thing for 3 months. Imagine having like a mild flu that last for 3 months. It wears on you, it wears you down. There “MAY’ have been a few days when I became a little “CRANKY”. I realize there are so many that have it so much worse than I did. They are entitled to the occasional “cranky” day and who know how much more.
I do believe the Good Lord will present us with opportunities to learn and grow as people. These opportunities may come in the most unexpected ways. I will call this flu like thing I had the flu. Doctors did tests and were unable to determine what was causing my symptoms.
When I am presented with a “challenge” of what ever sort it may be. I do look for opportunities to learn and grow from it. I don’t always see what ever lesson it is that is there for me to learn. But I do look.
Now I think of this “flu” thing I had. No at no time did I ever consider it to be more than some sort of really annoying virus. I never thought of it as life threatening or anything of the sort. Yet, with time it wore me down and I “MAY” have become a little “CRANKY” some days, I just wanted it over with, enough is enough all ready.
My thoughts turned to those that do indeed have it so much worse than I did. Through out it all I did know I would in time get better, there was al light at the end of my tunnel. There are so very many terrible diseases that can and do strike so many down. Many suffer terribly month after month and for them there is no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope of ever feeling better. How it must wear them down. I have a much better understanding of the “cranky” day here and there.
Back to my flu thing. I don’t know what it was. What I do know is that, I learned two life lessons from it. I do know that as this become clearer and clearer in my head, the flu went away. It seemed to come out of no where and disappeared the same way, suddenly just gone. Coincidence possibly, life lesson learned definitely which make me grateful to have had the “flu”
As I write I do try to encourage the positive attitude. That is so very important both if you are the one that is ill or if you are with someone that is ill. Or just in life in general. Life is not always easy, living while knowing you are dying is not always easy, living with someone you know is dying is not easy. An occasional cranky day is understandable. To many such days and you are hurting yourself and all around you.
I have more to say about my year, but in my usual rambling style have rambled on enough to tire myself right out. Part 2 will be coming
I hope and pray all my blogging friends and anyone that may read this have a wonderful Christmas.
I hope and pray it is a safe Christmas for all as a severe winter storm seems to have hit a large part of both Canada and the US.. If you are driving, please drive carefully our winter roads can be treacherous.
I hope and pray all will take even just a moment to recognize the day for what if really is. The celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.
I am going to let everyone in on a little secret, well maybe it is not a secret to many. There are times when I can be a be a real doofus. I often pray many times throughout a day. Sometimes it is in what I consider like the formal or traditional prayer manner. Many times though it is in a more relazed almost conversational tone. I have my own little Christmas tradition. Ever year as early as I can on Christmas morning, I say a little prayer, just to wish Jesus a happy birthday. As do so many of my prayers it starts off in the traditional manner but seem to then drift to the conversational.
Well I did this, this morning. Now I know it takes my head a longer time to wake up than it seems to be for my body. That is my excuse anyway. When I am in this conversation mode, it feels many times that it is like I am talking to a dear friend. Well this morning the last line of my prayer was, “May you have a very happy birthday and many, many more.” That thought hadn’t even finished rolling through my head and it hit me. Wishing Jesus many many more birthdays, geesh. Told you I can be a doofus. Glad there is a sense of humor in Heaven.
I have a challenge for any and all that may read this and when ever they may read this. I challenge you to say your own little prayer in what ever manner you choose. But when it comes to ending the prayer, don’t say the amen or what ever word you may use. Instead leave the prayer open and therefore ongoing. Carry on through your day, remembering you are still in prayer. See if you conduct yourself differently than you would normally? Please let me know.
Have been taking live easy the past few days, not feeling so spry. I suppose it is my immune system isn’t what it once was, I seem to be very prone to chest colds etc.. That is what I have now. Nothing serious just a chest and sinus cold. Poor Vi has it even worse than I do. Ah, well this to shall pass.
I am sitting here with a heavy heart and bluntly a confused mind. Yesterday, I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of a young lady that I truly admired. I never had the pleasure of meeting this young lady, who in my mind was my inspiration, my hero and role model. I am having a hard time here. Please go back and read my posts of I believe May 11th and 14th/09. There I wrote of Kendra McBain. Kendra, kindly blessed me with a comment after one of the posts. Kendra fought the good fight living life as it was to be lived. My deepest and most heart felt condolences to the family
My mind is confused. I think of Kendra and the way she lived her life and then there is I suppose what you would call the flip side to the coin. In the past month or so I have learned of the suicides of 2 teen or adult children of acquaintances of mine, plus third very serious attempt. Now, I didn’t actually know any of them with my connection being through the parents.
I read in the newspaper today of a small remote community in Northern Manitoba. Five teens have attempted suicide in the past 3 months.
The past few days here on the blog have been: heart breaking, heart warming and inspiring all at the same time.
Heart breaking as I read of the struggles the pain our blogging friend Joy is going through.
Heart warming as I see others stepping up to offer loving words of support.
Inspiring, I read of how Joy is dealing with the circumstances.
Inspiring, I read the comments left by my dear blogging friends. I read as they share their stories, their struggles and of how both they and their families survived. I thank God for that. As, I am now blessed to have them all as friends right here, I am such a lucky man.
Inspiring, The loving kindness and caring contained within the human heart is shining through. Here on the blog, yes, I have had comments left by different family members. Yes, I have been honored by being able to meet in person with a couple of you my blogging friends. (always happy to meet more) The vast majority of us are strangers in the “real” world or physical world having never met. yet somehow, strong bonds of friendship of caring for each other have developed. I suppose cyber friends would be an applicable term. Ah, friends are friends, I don’t care what is or how the connection is made. I continually see the kindness coming to myself, YES. But, it all goes far beyond me. It extends to all that honor us by entering our little blogging community. I think of our young friend Joy. She comes to us with a heart filled with pain and fear. She came as a stranger but did that stop or even slow down the immediate out pouring of love and support, NO. I am so proud of all of you my blogging friends, I am so proud of the loving community we have become. All are welcome, all will be received with loving support. Many have visited the blog, some staying only for a short visit others staying for longer. All have received so much love and support. Joy, welcome for as long as you choose.
Christmas is fast approaching. It is a season of love, love of all. My dear blogging friends your kind loving hearts have given me a greater Christmas gift than I could have imagine. What greater gift could there be than seeing loving hearts in action.
My mother has been fighting cancer for 2 years now. The cancer started in her bowl and is now in her liver and lungs…and is growing.
When i am at work i am fine. But as soon as i get home and see her my heart begins to ach and i feel like i am dying inside slowly.
People always say that i am brave, but really i am not. I am sick of the uncertainty .. of fearing the worst after each CT scan . Of watching my mother in pain!
Its not fair. You have a mother for a reason. To take care of you, to guide you through your life, to feel the joys and sadness with u. To love you just the way you are.
Its been 2 years of her fighting and she is tierd. I cherish everything about her- they way she smells, the way she smiles, the way she hugs me when she thinks i am sleeping. To think that someday i will begin to forget the way she looks or the way she speaks is unbearable for me.
I dont know how anyone who has written on this blog is coping with actually loosing someone when i can not even cope with the possibility of loosing my mother.
I am scared, that sometimes i lay awake next to her while she sleeps, listening to her breathing.. taking in the sound of her lifes breath. To not hear that sound anymore will kill me.
I am 22 years old and have an older sister who is now married and is not there anymore. I have a younger sister who keeps to herself and a younger brother who does not understand.
Last night my mum asked if she could sleep in my bed. As she lay next to me she said that she was not scared of dying if that was what God had in store for her. She said that she was scared to leave my younger sister and brother behind when they are still so young. She told me that if anything happens to take care of them first always. I promised her that i would and that she need not worry.
It took everything i had not to cry as she spoke- but as she feel asleep- i stayed awake listening to her breathing.
Fear can destroy you.
Cancer will kill you.
But faith will cure you!
… i am strong for my mum. She will never know how i feel about her cancer. She thinks that i am strong and for her i am. I will fight with her for as long as God gives her. And everyday i will thank God and pray for just one more day.
<strong> Hi Joy, I thank you so very much for taking the time to share your feelings with me and all that my read this.
Joy, your comment has touched me very deeply and I am struggling with a response. It is like I can feel your pain through your words and my heart goes out to you. Please know you, your mother, brother and sisters are in my prayers.
I have said it so very many times and I will say it again. In a situation such as you are in, it is indeed so much more difficult for the family. You are forced to sit back helplessly, so very badly wanting to do something, anything to help your mother, but knowing there is nothing you can do. That is nothing you can do in the way you would like to be able to, take away your mother’s pain, restore her health. It is heart breaking. What you are feeling is so understandable. Know you are not alone in feeling this way it is a very human reaction.
Dealing with grief or fear of a pending loss is a very personal and individual thing. We all react to it and we all show it in our own ways. I can only imagine your brother and sisters feel much as you, but are dealing with it, showing it in their own ways. Can you reach out to them or other family members for support?
Bad things can happen to good people and I can’t explain why. I hope you can find some level of comfort in knowing your mother is not afraid. She has placed herself in the hands of Our Heavenly Father and is prepared for His will to be done. Really what better place could she be, than in His hands.
Your mother sees you as the strong one, the one that will hold the family and everything together come the day when she is gone. I am sure that provides her with a level of comfort, easing her worry about leaving you all behind. Speaking for myself I know this would indeed provide me with a great level of comfort making the time so much easier for me.
As with so many things in life there is a “BUT” that comes with that. It is so wonderful to be there for your mother as you are, BUT at what cost to yourself. You are in the midst of one of the most difficult situations in life. You do need to find ways to care for yourself. This may sound selfish, but trust me it is not. You are a brave and a strong young woman, though at times like this you may not feel it. We know that as painful and difficult as this is you will get through it, one day at a time, or even one hour or one moment at a time. Even the strongest and the bravest occasionally need a shoulder to lean on. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help, seek support. You don’t have to do this all on your own, please reach out loving support is there. At times like this others are often at a loss as to what to say and end up saying nothing, in respect of what we are going through. But, that doesn’t mean they are not there ready and willing to help, even if they can do nothing but listen as you get out your feelings. Please turn to family, friends, a clergy man. All I am sure will have loving, supportive, non judgemental ears. Return here to the blog and feel free to rant and rave expressing your anger, your fears, what ever you are feeling.
Now this is very easy for me to say and difficult to do, I realize that. But, I urge you when you are able, try to put aside the feelings of grieve, fear and dread. Your mother is still at your side, try to spend some of your time together with a heart filled with love. None of us know how many moment we have on this earth, the best we can do is try to make them count.
I and hope and pray you and your mother have a lot of time left to share in your loving ways.
Yesterday wasn’t the best day for Vi. She had a medical procedure done. Can’t remember the name of it off hand. The one where the tube goes down your throat to allow them to view the inside of your stomach. She says it wasn’t all that bad, they used medications to really relax her making her pretty sleepy. again waiting results.
Had another reminder my balance is “OFF”. I noticed the cover for the ceiling air vent in the bathroom was getting dusty. I decide to take the cover off and clean it. Not difficult at all. Question was how to reach it, being on the ceiling. It seemed like a no brainer. I could use the toilet as one step up and from there just step up and over to stand on the sink vanity. It worked like a charm. I was up and even got the cover loosened. That is when gravity took over. After a brief meeting with the opposite wall, I landed flat on my butt, with my back slamming into the edge of the toilet bowel. In a very “manly” way I am still going ouch, ouch ouch.
Earth Angel Henri arrived shortly there after and had it down in seconds. I am pretty sure he got it down so quickly because I had loosened it. lol. Geesh, I am a slow learner.
I know many are preparing for Christmas. It is the season to be jolly. I hope and pray all remember that. It is the season to be jolly. I have to wonder how many are totally stressing and wearing themselves out. Fighting the crowds in the mall, having so very much to do, so very much to prepare, so much work so little time. Tiring them selves out so very much that by the time the big day arrives they are actually to tired to enjoy it to the max.. I know some families may only be able to get together for one day. It would be such a shame for that day to come and you are just so tired to enjoy it. I pray all will just take a deep breath and relax. The day will come and it will go. It will be as wonderful. I can’t help but wonder how many on Christmas day after all the festivities are over, will just sink wearily back into a chair thinking: “well I guess that is that for another year” as opposed to thinking: “was this ever a great day.” How tired or stressed you are can have a lot to do with your attitude and your thinking on that day. What do you think about this? In asking this I am thinking only of the shared family time. I am sure I will be getting into the real reason for the day in the next few posts.
My thoughts seem to be going all over the place and hey this is my journal so I get to write what ever I want.
I have noticed over the past several weeks that if I click on the previous days post, it is being rated. It is being rated anywhere from 1-5 stars. Now I am not complaining as who ever is doing the rating is being very kind indeed. I do know that a while back I was checking through the wordpress system and I did come across something I hadn’t noticed before. In fact a section titled ratings. Out of curiosity I clicked on it but nothing seemed to happen. Obviously something did happen as individual posts are now being rated. Now I am fine with this especially as who ever is doing the rating is being so very kind. I haven’t email support asking them but I have poked around in the system and can’t seem to find out who is doing this rating and based on what criteria. Can anyone help me out with this.
I never proof read or edit any of my posts but I do use spell checker. I just did that, geesh, be glad I did.
Feeling good today, just really tired. Not sure why, I am certainly getting enough sleep. Will be definitely taking advantage of nap time today.
Vi is up in Thompson babysitting grandchildren and will be back I think it is Tuesday, huh maybe Wednesday. I heard that yesterday with the wind it was -60 up there. I am shivering down here with temps in the -20″s and 30’s. Ah, our Canadian winters.
Tomorrow is my birthday. Going to my brother Eric’s for supper other than that it will be a pretty quite day.I will spend the day enjoying my own company. Now that may sound strange or egotistical or something, but it isn’t if you think about it. Now, I am not talking about becoming a hermit or anything like that, but it is good to have some alone time. If you can’t be comfortable with your own company, how can you expect anyone else to.
Maybe it is an age thing or something but I have reached the point where a birthday is really just another date on the calendar. I suppose it is like a mile stone in the overall picture of our lives and should be recognized as such. i suppose I should really appreciate it as there have been very few people, if even anyone that ever imagined I would still be here. But here I am and still going strong.
I like to think I am evolving into becoming a better or stronger person. Who knows? Maybe I am just flattering myself to make myself feel good. I do know my thinking has changed a lot over the past few years and is continuing to do so. Back on November 1st I had a blog party to celebrate an anniversary of “being alive”. As I think of it now, I wonder why do I need a specific date on the calendar to tell me it is time to celebrate. i suppose in practical terms, we all live such busy lives, we need a specific date planned in advance to set aside time for any sort of celebration.
For me I think it is sad that we need a specific date marked on a calendar to celebrate our own lives or those of others. What does that date on the calendar really mean? Really all I will be is one day older than I am today. Why does that one day really have to make any difference? Think about that. If you have a friend or family member that you make a point of calling on their birthday, why wait?
When I pray I speak to God, when I meditate I slow my mind enough to hopefully hear His reply. Now it really would be nice if during meditation I was actually able to hear His voice and get His message. Sadly, for me it just doesn’t work that way. All I hear is the silence of the room or possibly the music I have playing in the back ground.
What I do find though is so very often is that after the meditation even a day or two later a thought will just seemingly come to mind out of no where. It may be a new thought on some sort of issue I am dealing with. It may be a thought I have already had but suddenly see it from a slightly different angle. I can’t explain it I just know it helps me.
Right now I have two of those out of no where thoughts running around in my head. They have a lot of running room in this bowling ball head of mine.
I have heard or read a phrase that is to the effect: “No one said life would be fair or easy, just that it is good.”
Life is good, I have written that many many times. I just don’t have the words to really adequately describe how good it is.
In an email I had a question posed to me. If I had just minutes to give one last message, what would it be? My answer today would be simply: “stop wasting time on life, just live it”
Now what do I mean by wasting time on life? Maybe this is where the two thoughts rambling around in my head come together. Life is not always fair or easy, but it is good. I think maybe it would be better put to say: “life can be good and is as good as we choose to make it.” Life isn’t always fair it seems, other people aren’t always fair to us.” To that I say, accept it as a fact of life, the way the world works bad things can happen to good people.
Here is where I get to the wasting time part. (finally). Other peoples actions or attitudes do not have to affect me, that is unless I allow it to. Any single moment of time spent in any sort of negative manner is a moment of joy lost for ever. Ask yourself this, how much time on a daily basis do you spend with your mind set in a negative manner? This is the wasted time I am referring to.
Now, I can just imagine many automatically thinking to themselves. “Yeah, that is fine for him to say. If he knew what my life was like. If he knew all that I have to deal with, he would understand my situation is different.”
Everyone is going to think their situation is different, that they are being treated so badly that it is impossible to get any joy out of life.The actions of others reflect on themselves, affecting us only if we allow it.
I know, I know: “IT IS JUST NOT FAIR”.Look at the big picture of life and stop wasting time on the meaningless little things that sap our strength and deprive us of love and joy.
Being treated “fairly” is something I have had to deal with of late. I ask you this. Please take a moment and really think about your life. Think about both the good and the “bad”. Try to put the entire picture in prospective. Now I know if you have that negative mind set going on, it may even be difficult to see the positive or at least much of it. The perceived negatives may far out way any positives you see.
OK, now think about this and I ask if you think this is fair. I will be 57 in a few days. Now is this fair? I have a gimpy heart that I know could give out at virtually any time. Heart failure with edema, I need pills to make me pee. I have a brain tumor, diabetes, epilepsy, sleep apnea, carpal tunnel, peripheral neuropathy…. is having all of that fair. OK, you looked at your life and at mine. Want to trade places?
Life may not always seem fair, but it is so worth it. See past the little annoyances, let them roll off you like water off of a ducks back. Remember today’s big issues likely will have even been forgotten in a couple of months, so is it worth spoiling your day today. let it go.
Wow I am full of “sayings” today. There is another one to the effect: “The Good Lord will never lead us anywhere, in which He will not be there to help us through.”
I am a 61 year old male. At the age of 52 I was told by my doctor I am dying. For the past 4 years, I have done my best to deal with both congestive heart failure and a brain tumor, while knowing my days are indeed numbered. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences, I can encourage others faced with the same situation. I hope to also help the families of those individuals to have an understanding of the process and deal with the fear or dread of being around the dying.
I am not a doctor, not a man of the clergy, I am not a therapist. I am just me, Bill Howdle, I am merely sharing my thoughts and ideas. I write of death and dying, understand this is my personal prospective, based on what I am encountering.