This Sunday Truman and I will be the Australian Cattle Dog breed representatives at the Wisconsin Dog Fair. It’s from 10-4 at the Alliant Energy Center. If you stop by my booth I’ll let you show Truman his flash cards so he can read for you. This breed is super smart and he’s eager to show you just how many words he knows. If you’re a dog lover this is the place for you. Here’s the info.
The other night I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items and of course I walked past the Halloween candy. I saw that they had my favorite kind (which are mini-Snickers) on sale!!! So, I stood there staring at the bags of candy for 2 minutes trying to decide if I should buy some now or wait until Halloween day, my rational being that if I wait to buy the candy I won’t be tempted to EAT the candy. But the sale was too good to be true so I grabbed a couple of bags and went home with the candy. I thought if I put the candy in the freezer it would be out of sight-out of mind and I would have no problem with temptation. Yeah….right. At 10pm I was downstairs ripping open a bag a mini Snickers. Couldn’t just stop at one, either. Nope…had to eat about….oh….I don’t know….FIVE, maybe?!?! Note to self….in the future….stick to your original “buy the Halloween candy on Halloween” plan.
I’m such a sensitive person that I get psychosomatic symptoms even when my pets get sick. Truman has chronic pancreatitis. He gets little flare ups now and then…like tonight. Pets are like kids. You can just tell when they’re not feeling quite right. For Truman, I just boil some chicken and white rice and make that his meal for a day or two and he’s fine. He also gets half a pepcid before he eats and that seems to help. I feel for him though since I know his tummy feels oogie right now. Kind of makes my tummy feel oogie too. Chili the cat is also sick. Last week she stopped eating, then she seemed like she was in pain, then she had an “accident” in Truman’s dog bed. A trip to the vet indicated she has a bladder infection. So, she’s on antibiotics for a week. Giving meds to a cat isn’t always the greatest experience. She’s really good about it though, maybe because she knows I won’t stand for any of her sassiness. I just wrap my left arm around her, pry her mouth open with my left hand, pop the pill down her throat with my right then rub her chin until she swallows it. It’s over in less than 10 seconds. I give her props for being cool about taking her pills. After three days on meds she is back to her old self….scratching on things she isn’t supposed to and then making up for it by curling up in my lap and purring like she’s the happiest cat in America.
Summer in all its celebrated sunshine and spectacular certainly has its place and as a born and bred Midwesterner, I know I could never live in a part of the country that does not experience all four seasons. But for what it’s worth, Autumn, since the day I was born, has always been my favorite season. My birthday is in the middle of October. Right in the middle of Autumn’s splendor, when the leaves are all peach and full of fire red and orange and yellow. It takes my breath away, no matter how old I get to experience the boldness of Autumn and its affront to winter. Its upstaging summer in color and degrees. Its wisdom. Its acceptance. Its glory. I readily admit I am a sad, sad sap. Autumn has the ability to move me to tears. I take heart in knowing I share the feelings of great song writers like the Mamas & Papas with California Dreaming or Johnny Mercer with Autumn Leaves. But my favorite of all is Barry Manilow singing When October Goes. If you have never heard this haunting melody of Autumn you might want to grab a tissue before listening to this song.
October is breast cancer awareness month. Many of you may know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease. I do. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. I remember the day she told me the news. It stopped me in my tracks. I did not know what to think or how to feel. I could not put myself in her shoes for the journey she was about to travel. I was frozen with fear. My mother was not. If she was she never showed it. I was not there the day of her surgery. She had a lumpectomy. My dad called to say the doctors thought they got it all but she would need to undergo chemotherapy and radiation.
When the chemotherapy started my mother got very sick from it. The first round left her completely incapacitated on the bathroom floor. There would be many more rounds of chemotherapy in the months to come. Each treatment left my mother violently ill afterwards. I made many trips back home to Michigan while my mom was going through chemo. She was always happy to see me even though it was hard for her to get out of bed. Through her nausea she never once complained. Not once. When the holidays arrived and she was still going through chemo, she decorated and wrapped presents and even cooked a turkey. She did these things on the days she felt better. She wanted to focus on the meaning of Christmas…not the meaning of cancer.
When her hair fell out she never once complained. She bought a new wig and she looked beautiful. My mother has black hair but her wig was auburn. She said she always wanted to be a redhead. One day it blew off in a windstorm and she joked that people might have thought it was a squirrel running down the street.
After the chemo sessions were over she had radiation to look forward to. She was happy this happened in the winter months since the burns from the radiation prevent you from wearing support garments. She was burned. She was in pain. She never once complained.
Radiation was finally over, her hair started to grow back, her physical strength started to return. But the one thing my mother never lost during her cancer was her inner strength. In fact, she became an inspiration not only to me but to her friends and people she met at the grocery store or while shopping at the mall.
My mother kept a journal during her journey with cancer. It wasn’t until she was cancer free that she showed it to me. As I sat down to read it, the tears started to flow. From the day she was diagnosed to the day she was proclaimed cancer free she detailed what happened to her every day. How she felt inside as she pulled into the parking lot of the hospital to receive round 2 of chemo and how sick she knew she would be in just a few hours. She wrote about how she saw my father cry more in his life than he ever had. She wrote about her wonderful doctors and nurses and the people she met who encouraged her and gave HER the strength to continue when she felt she couldn’t. She wrote about her faith and her prayers. She wrote about her cancer. And she never once complained.
If you or someone you know is dealing with breast cancer I wish you peace, courage and recovery. Most of all I wish you strength. The kind of unimaginable strength that will lead you in becoming that beacon of hope and light to everyone you touch. Just like my mother is to me.