Every Purrr is a Prayer

To Lois, with love from Walter and Mimi (and me):

Walter wearing a tie“I’m staying out of the sun in honor of you, Lois. Every purrrr is a prayer.”


May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Click Here to Learn the Signs and How to Protect Yourself from this Disease.

 

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Everything in its Time…

…but I hope that time is soon.

I’ve written about one of my best friends here in the past before. Laurie has been through a series of heartbreaks in the last few years, but it looks like things are turning around. Fingers crossed, knock wood, please God. Please.

Sand storm

Her husband has been through two major health setbacks, and I do mean major. He had a benign brain tumor that slowly had taken away his ability to function in life before it was diagnosed and removed, days, if not hours, before certain death. A few years after that, doctors discovered he had colon cancer. It took three years for him to be cancer-free.

Laurie’s brother, Monte, wasn’t so lucky. He, too, had been diagnosed with colon cancer, sometime between Dave’s brain surgery and cancer treatments. He developed an infection after the initial surgery, which postponed chemotherapy and allowed the cancer to ravage his body. He died last year, a few months short of his 50th birthday.

Her mom had died only seven months before Monte.  Laurie is heartbroken and emotionally drained. Her reserves are depleted. She finds joy in her children, who thankfully are healthy, happy and on the right track, both in college, both sharp as tacks. Yes, they no doubt carry scars from the years of their dad’s decline, not to mention the trauma that followed, but Laurie and Dave are good parents, there to support them.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from Laurie telling me Dave was interviewing for several jobs, and the interviews were going well. One lasted 75 minutes, and he was called back for a second interview. He hasn’t worked in seven or eight years, and that’s hard on most men. He wants to work, wants to contribute to the family income, wants to be a vital part of the community in that particular way.

Vorsicht Rutschgefahr!

This job sounded perfect for him. I was so excited, and I believed he would get the job. Moments ago I found out he didn’t, which has crushed Laurie. I told her how sorry I was, that I had thought this was it, and at least we know he interviews well, a very important part of the job hunt.

I suspect that piece of good news isn’t important to them right now, but soon, I trust, he will take hope in it.

I always interviewed well, but I remember a period of time where I was getting this close to several jobs, and inevitably I’d get the call: “I was up all night trying to decide, and finally I chose the other candidate. I’m so sorry. If we have any other openings or she doesn’t work out, I’ll call you.”

The first time, the rejection only stung a little. The second time, I was discouraged but had other interviews in the works. The third time, I admit I wasn’t even able to be upbeat when my prospective employer called with the disappointing news. I couldn’t summon the strength to say, “I understand, and I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the job. I hope we meet again sometime,” or something equally trite yet professional. I did say thank you, of course, but I was feeling deflated and overwhelmed, and it showed.

At some point after that, a former employer called and offered me a job with his new business. Okay, the story doesn’t have a truly happy ending here. It was the dream job from hell. Shortly after I accepted the position, but before I recognized the reality, I got a call from one of the companies I’d interviewed with, asking if I was still available. Given the opportunity to go back in time, yeah, I would have taken that job. But hindsight and so on.

I believe Dave will get a job. I pray it’s something he’s happy with, at least content with, for the time he is there. Yes, I’d love it if he could find something he was passionate about, but right now I believe he’d take a job that was less than his dream position, as long as it was rewarding in some concrete way.

Timing is everything. Persistence is critical. Hope is a gift we must make use of every day.

Remind me of this post in the weeks to come. My own job hunt is underway.


Photo Credits: (Desert Trees) © Nico Smit — Fotolia; (Leaves) © Marion Neuhauß – Fotolia; (Sunrise) © Pellinni – Fotolia

A few quick thoughts about this thing called blogging…

The best part of blogging is meeting all the wonderful people I’ve connected with in the last two years. There’s a certain anonymity about writing a blog that I think allows us to open up in ways we might not feel comfortable doing face to face.  Through that, we gain friends and support. Friends we may never meet but who we care deeply about just the same.

About image penA few days ago I wrote a post about skin cancer, a cautionary piece about this serious disease. Through it I’ve been reminded of one former co-worker who lost her eight-year-old son to that disease. It was an extremely rare case, and they had the best doctors in the nation caring for him. As happens so often in someone that young and otherwise healthy, it was also a very aggressive case.

She’s doing well now, has re-married a fantastic man, but never had any more children.

Cancer sucks.

I also have a new follower, Jo, who is in her twenties and has been living with melanoma for 11 years now. Please check out her blog, Melanoma Jo, to learn her story. I understand from one of her posts that she is part of an upcoming BBC documentary. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Thank you to all of my followers, new and “old.” I try to check out everyone’s blog from time to time, and I apologize if I don’t get to yours right away. I will see it soon! If you leave comments on my blog, I’m certain to get back to you more quickly. That is, if I can link to your blog through your gravatar. That’s often the only way I have of finding you, so I encourage you to list your blog(s) there.

See you in the blogosphere!

Image Credits: (Alphabet background) © flas100 — Fotolia; (Pen) © artender — Fotolia; (Blog typewriter keys) © Marek Uliasz — Fotolia

Pale is the New Black

One of my blogging buddies, loisajay (I know many of you are already acquainted with her blog, …on pets and prisoners…) has been fighting skin cancer since the beginning of the year. Or longer. She’s had multiple surgeries, tons of chemo, and a few other treatments I don’t know enough about to describe. It’s been icky.

sun-312708_1280

If you’ve spent any time in the sun, you need to know about skin cancer. Here’s why: skin cancer can grow inside you without developing too much evidence on your skin. If you’ve had any sort of procedure for skin cancer, even if you didn’t require additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, you are at risk for that cancer spreading anywhere in your body.

I am not a medical expert, so I went to a few well-established medical sites to get some solid information, such as the Mayo Clinic site and the American Cancer Society site. I encourage you to take a look (for both sites I looked up and linked to the information on melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer.)

Here’s a direct quote from the Mayo Clinic site:

The first melanoma signs and symptoms often are:

  • A change in an existing mole
  • The development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin

Melanoma doesn’t always begin as a mole. It can also occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin.

Why is this important? Because women and men my age grew up in an era where worshipping the sun, and getting as tan as possible, ruled. Today, many are paying the price.  It’s high, especially if it’s melanoma. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is a less common, but more serious cancer than most skin cancers.

Apparently, the risk is increasing in people under 40 as well, especially women. Tanning isn’t the only culprit, but that does greatly increase your chances of getting skin cancer.

I don’t want to scare you unnecessarily, but I do want you to be aware of this risk. If you spent hours cultivating a tan as a teenager (or any other time in your life), check with your doctor about your risk factor and what you should be doing now to stay ahead of this disease.

I’m thrilled to say Lois had made remarkable progress in her battle against melanoma. I just wish she’d never had to face it in the first place.

Thanks to Lois for her help with this post and for suggesting the title!