February. What can you say about February?

Ah, February. The month of hearts and cupids. Chocolate and flowers. Cold and miserable weather unless you live in Texas! If you have a special person in your life, I hope you engaged in an activity pleasing to you both. Hallmark Cards and your local florist certainly appreciate your business! I have taken it as my responsibility to look up and see when the Valentine card was created. It turns out that we have Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts, to thank for the tradition of a machine-printed card. I don’t know if a Howland later moved to Missouri and started a greeting card firm. Before Esther let the machines do it, handmade cards were the mode of expressing lovers’ feelings, sometimes quite racy for the era!

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to turn to a more serious subject…just for a bit.

I’ve had reason to think a lot about my cancer experiences this month. I don’t usually talk about it much here, but it seems that I’ve known so many people either diagnosed with cancer or suffering a recurrence lately and I’ve received so many cards and emails noting that family members or close friends are struggling and I just want to talk about it.

I saw my oncologist during February. We talked about how far I’ve come and how he feels as certain as he can be that my form of cancer will not return. But the path from 2007 to today was hard. It continues to be a challenge. Radiation and chemotherapy do some weird things to your body. In my case, I get angry about the aftermath, then I get weepy and I finally come to grips with the fact that it is what it is. I am unable to eat solid foods (except pasta in butter), nothing with spice – even pepper. That leaves supplemental drinks, yogurt, smoothies and fortunately, ice cream and cheesecake. I can eat chocolate if there are no nuts in it. So there are a few pluses – but what I wouldn’t I give for just one day when I could have a Southern breakfast with orange juice, a Mexican lunch with a margarita and an Italian dinner with a glass of wine. But, “if only” doesn’t get you far.

It’s a problem that every person who learns of it for the first time says, “Have you tried…?” Yes, I have. I simply lost almost all of my ability to swallow. The good side is that I lived solely on a feeding tube for over 8 months. I couldn’t swallow ANYTHING! It was one of the best days of my life when therapy eventually helped me at least drink and that very uncomfortable and bothersome tube was removed. I woke up in the recovery area and my first question was, “Did they take it out???”

I also cannot hear well. That in and of itself poses a great challenge at work, where life is all phone calls or meetings. I miss hearing song birds, children’s voices or my wind chimes. I hear certain frequencies – the annoying ones. Every squeal is painful…and I work with a LOT of women. Let’s face it – you get more than one woman in a room and you will eventually have squealing and cackling. I have to flee the premises at once or possibly face assault charges.

So, as Dr. Kerr (my “homeboy”) and I talked, I realized that things are what they are. I’m NOT going with the “When life hands you lemons…” thing. I hate that. It’s so simplistic. Cancer and your “new normal” after cancer are not simple. You are forever reminded.

Another thing that isn’t simple, either, is the spy ring I seem to be running online. (See how quickly I segued back to fun?) Really. Everyone has spy names – you know, like Secret Agent007, or Agent86 and Agent99. Surely you’ve heard of MI5 – or is it MI6?
I always seem to be posting things such as, “Barbara0527 got card from ri17.” Then Sophie54 will send a card to Dogma7911 or Lama2. And just this month I recruited Agents frosch07, Stess29, m0424647, Anne82 and epei001. Really – I feel like Miss Moneypenny! Keeping up with these characters is challenging and I quite often don’t get updates exactly right, but I love them all.

Dallas has a new bridge. Yippee. I don’t want to get political or anything, but it’s really crazy. I call it the PCV-pipe arch with cobwebs. There have been parties and fireworks and speeches this week, but I just can’t see it making the next “US Bridges You Must Visit” coffee table book. I’ll give it this much, it is beautiful at night when the lights are on and you can’t see the vast network of power poles and lines that surround it. Of course, I may be a bit biased against it because it’s taken away my best route to/from work. Here’s a short video – you can make your own decision as to whether this bridge will bring people from “far and wide” to view it.

Really exciting news for me – my wonderful, super and persuasive sister-in-law just booked two reservations for a train/coach journey from Alberta to Vancouver! We’re not going until August, and I’ll try not to bore you to death about it until then, but I AM SO EXCITED! I’ve been talking about it for around three years, and she made it happen. So many postcards to look for…

As usual, the postcards that were put in my mailbox last month were so much more entertaining than the cards I sent! I thought I was cutting back on the sending, but I don’t really see that from “Flew out in February!”

As always, enjoy the cards that I am happy to share with you!

04 March 2012

February Fabulous Finds!


~ by Wheeler on March 4, 2012.

2 Responses to “February. What can you say about February?”

  1. I did understand from your profile you had conquered some challenges. Now I read you have to overcome challenges everyday. The little mix up’s are just who you are and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Girl I take my hat of for you with a very deep bow, stay who are I admire you for that.

    I’m thrilled with you for the trip you’re going to make.


  2. Sorry forgot to say, if something sounds a little quirky to you. Blame the fact that a Dutch girl is trying her best at the English language;-))

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