To know you are dying – things I have learned

March 10, 2014

Just random thoughts as they came to mind and in no particular order. Will add more as they come to mind

I have learned a lot in this whole dying process.

– to know you are dying sucks

– to know you are dying can be a wonderful eye opening experience

– no matter how strong your faith, your beliefs may be, there are times when it will waiver, fear can set in

– you realize how wrong you can be. Those you knew would be there for you can disappear from sight

– support can and will come from the most unexpected people

– the world does not revolve around me, irregardless of my condition and nor should it

– dying is a very lonely experience

– you need to feel useful, that you are making a contribution, that you have a purpose for being

– distractions are often needed. If left on it’s own the mind tends to wander and not always to the best of places

– I see life differently. Many things that would have bothered me no longer do. But, if I feel I am being treated unfairly I will no longer tolerate such

– life is a precious gift. Appreciate and make the most of every moment

– take no one and nothing for granted

– work on developing your own personal relationship with God

Humbled, honoured and grateful

March 10, 2014

I am humbled and honoured. Here in Canada, maybe else where also, I am not sure. February is designated as Heart and Stroke month. Very special people give of their time to go out canvassing door to door requesting donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. That money goes to fund research and is used in countless ways to promote good health and make the lives of those with heart issues a little better or easier.
I was reading on their web site, that every year they are able to get about 70,000 people to volunteer their time to go out and do this door to door canvassing, a major fund raiser for them. Bravo to all, I say.
Now something I want to point out, this is Canada. The month of February can be very cold and stormy, not the weather you would typically choose to be out in. Particularly this past February. Records were broken everywhere for the extreme cold. Yet into that cold out went those special volunteers.
Have I ever mentioned how lucky and proud to have the family that I have. There are so many I could write about but today I want to acknowledge one in particular. My cousin John Howdle.
Now anyway you may look at it, John is a fine gentleman, an all around really nice guy.
I am not sure about years gone by but I do know that this year John became one of those volunteers. John and team raised over $600.00 for the Heart and Stroke foundation. Now as I understand it, volunteers are asked to dedicate their time and efforts to someone past or present who have dealt with or are dealing with heart or stroke issues.
I am so very touch, humbled and honoured that John would choose to dedicate his efforts to me. I just don’t have the words.
OK, John I admit, I was. Happy and proud to have you as a cousin even before this wonderful gesture on your part. This is like the icing on the cake.
Bravo to all of those 70,000 volunteers. A big thank you from all and a very personal thank you from me

Appreciating time

March 9, 2014

Haven’t been on the computer much over the past 4 days. My brother has been in town and have been trying to spend as much time with him as possible. It is unfortunate he is here for medical tests but hey I will take visiting time however and whenever I can get it.
He also has a very serious heart condition. Now it sounds straight forward, he needs a valve replacement. In today’s world that is a common enough procedure. Not so with him. They have determined his existing valve has calcified becoming very brittle and fragile. The slightest touch and it may shatter sending maybe millions of little pieces into his blood stream. Very high risk of a stroke. They are doing all sorts of tests to see if he qualifies for an alternate procedure. He needs the valve replacement so we have our fingers crossed for this alternate procedure. I believe it is called a TAVI.
Vi is struggling. It has been a month and her surgical incisions haven’t healed. More than that it is more and more obvious the procedures didn’t work. Her ability to walk is if anything a little worse than before it was done.
I am hanging in there. Certainly glad it is warming up. The cold air is just brutal on my breathing.
Spending a lot of time trying to make plans. It was suggested I try and make weekly and plans for a few months ahead. Mini milestones I suppose you could say. Things for me to really look forward to and strive or push to reach

My Brain Tumour – meningioma

March 3, 2014

I realize there is something I really haven’t written much about, my brain tumour. The medical name for it is a meningioma. It is not actually attached to the brain but to the inside lining of the skull. There is only so much room inside your skull. Within the confines of that limited space in the skull everything is fitted to function properly. Now within that limited space if you introduce a foreign mass into that space, almost the size of a golf ball, it compresses a part of the brain. Affecting the function of that part.
I am not a doctor, this is all as I understand it to be.
My tumour is located about an inch above the Centre of my right eye brow. It is believed to be non cancerous because of the slow rate of growth.
It was accidentally discovered 12 or 13 years ago. I was hospitalized with all of my traditional heart attack symptoms. But with one big extra thrown in. While going through the usual chest pain business, I was suddenly hit out of no where with a wicked head ache. It didn’t slowly come on, it was just bang and it was there in full force. Hit me so hard and so suddenly it put me to my knees with projectile vomiting. Really no fun at all. The worst head ache I have ever had.
This brought up thoughts of a stroke. Spinal tap, MRI and I don’t remember what all followed.
I have memory issues for sure but there are something’s that just stick out in my mind. The doctor coming in saying: “I have some good news and some not so good news. You did not have a stroke. BUT, in doing the tests we did discover you have a brain tumour.”
For a while it was monitored closely looking for growth. It is growing but at a very slow speed that leads them to believe it is non cancerous. Now that is good. I was told with time it would have to be dealt with. That would be down the line in maybe 10-15 years.
Really I just at the time laughed it off. With my heart the thought of having to deal with something that far down the line wasn’t any sort of issue. Based on everything I “knew” I would no longer be here, so it was nothing to deal with.
What do I say. Here we are 12 or 13 years down the line and I am still here, for which I give thanks.
I am noticing things. I will get into that next time

Would you take a gift from God for granted

March 1, 2014

I put up a post yesterday. I had a bit of a message in mind but in my typical fashion found myself going on one of my big rambles. Maybe inside I have this thing, there is no point in saying something in 3 words if I can drag it out to 20.

i recognize I am not a writer but a rambler. I am not sure how accurate this is but my thought is if I just write the thoughts as they come, they come more from the heart, which is what I want. Way, way back I would put together these thoughts in this way and then go to it editing, proof reading…… I came to realize doing this it seemed I ended up with a post that was nothing like the original. Maybe being lazy had a part in it. This is my journal so I type what ever comes, up it goes for better or worse.

until recently I had not even heard the word impermanence. That is not to say I didn’t already have my own thoughts and feelings on what it means, those I am very familiar with. These thoughts have been evolving within me for these past years. Life is a journey and like all journeys there is an ultimate destination point an ultimate time when this journey will end. Here I am only referring to our physical life on this earth. I do not believe things end at that point but that is for another post.

The only thing each and every person has in common is we are at some point going to die. There is no getting away from it. It is a fact of life. The difference for each of us is we are on different time schedules. Deep down we all know this. We know it but don’t want to acknowledge or even really think about it. It is to scary or morbid or what ever. It is like the big elephant in the room, we know it is there but don’t want to talk about it.
It is something over which we have no control. All we do have control over is how we spend the time we do have, however long that may be.
A question, would you ever take a gift from God for granted? Every precious second we have on this earth is truly a gift from God. Are you taking that gift for granted?
Years back I first heard the you are dying words come out of my doctors mouth. Hearing that shook me up pretty good. I was not happy to be hearing that. It took me time to get my head wrapped around that idea. I struggled with it and have my times when I still do.
Over time I came to see his words as being a blessing, I am sure many find that hard to imagine, but it was.
It really opened my eyes to life. My own impermanence was laid out right in front of me. No way to deny it, it was there.
This was not like a light bulb suddenly came on and I saw the light. I am a slow learner when it comes to life lessons. It took time, praying, meditating, thinking, reading and yes blogging but that light did slowly start to come on.
Accepting my own impermanence in this world caused me to see things differently. I may not have control over when I leave this world but I do have control over what I do, how I spend the precious time that I do have. I began to prioritize things things. Simplify life even to the point of getting rid of unnecessary stresses.
If we could somehow come to accept our time is limited, we would value it much more. Appreciate every second as truly being a gift from God, while knowing that gift is for a limited time.
I believe it would be a life changing experience for all, if some how just for a day or so they could live with my reality. How would you spend your day if you statistically speaking knew you do not have a tomorrow. How inconsequential would those little daily aggravations become. Think about it. Please let me know