The essentials for a cancer vacation

My first thought—as we were hugging good-bye and someone said, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?”—was that it took something like cancer to motivate us to plan this sibs-and-mom-in-law vacation. Photo credit: Lonnie Johnson ...more

On National Cancer Survivor's Day, joy and sorrow

I didn't know it was National Cancer Survivor''s Day until a friend who is a  39-year– survivor of breast cancer posted it on Facebook....more

Surprised by love

While trying to resolve some email issues, I stumbled across a side folder of random email from 2014. The humorous. The heart-warming. The heart-breaking. An unexpected gift. Seeing where I was two years ago as cancer was taking my husband from me, remembering who was there with me, how God infiltrated everything with His unimaginable peace. ...more

How a cancer life is about not knowing

Gilda Radner, Saturday Night Live comedienne who died of ovarian cancer in 1989, had this to say about life:Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next.Six years after her death, a center to provide social and emotional support for cancer patients and caregivers opened in New York City. It was the first of several Gilda’s Clubs in honor of Ms. Radner — all with brilliant red doors. ...more

Am I an Athiest Christian?

Do I believe in God? I have no idea. I think the problem is I don’t believe in believing. I’m not trying to be difficult. I just don’t know what it means to say that I believe in something. What happens if I don’t? Does it *poof* go away? Do I believe in good and evil? Of the two, I choose good. Does that make evil weaker? Is belief like voting? Is belief off in the wings, waiting for enough of us to choose wisely? After the votes are in, will the winning belief take the stage?...more

What cancer taught us about paying attention

In a week of walks along the Deschutes River, I snapped several photos (is it snapped if you’re using a cell phone? shouldn’t it be tapped?). Photos of young guitar player on large boulder; beautifully-choreographed fly fisherman’s cast; fallen tree growing its own lawn.As many times as I’ve walked this portion of the river trail—hundreds of times—it seems there’s always something new to photograph. Like this rock sculpture. ...more

Comparing cancer to an extreme sport

I have two crazy friends—well, I actually have more than two, but these particular two are married to each other—who decided to run a first-ever marathon (Jim) and take on Pole Pedal Paddle alone (Michelle) as a way of celebrating milestone birthdays this year. Michelle, on the fifth leg of her race, pumped by her support team on the bridge ...more

Prescription for depression – cancer patient, caregiver or widow

It hung around way too late in the day before I recognized this no-energy-no-interest-in-anything blahness. That’s when I got out my script pad and wrote a prescription for mild depression: Go take a hike. Near a body of water.Part of the cure requires that the patient stop somewhere along the path to contemplate all there is to be grateful for: in my case, sound of water rushing over rocks, warmth of sunshine, the ability to move on my own two legs, family and friends to love, family and friends who love me....more

Nurses – from the cancer caregiver’s perspective

I remember the nurse – after the surgery where we learned the cancer had already spread – who brought blankets and pillows so I could sleep in the recliner next to Hubby’s hospital bed. Because I didn’t have the courage to go home and sleep alone in our bed that night....more

What cancer taught us about traveling lighter

What we didn’t realize during our wilderness years – the season from Hubby’s job loss through cancer – was this: The paring down and simplifying of our lives was for a larger purpose, for lighter travel over mountain trails and into barren places....more