Cancer is vicious!

One of my dearest and oldest friends is dying. I don’t even know what to say or think. All I really know is that cancer is vicious.

My wonderful friend is 63 years old. At one time, I’d have thought that was really old. Now, not so much. She is a single mother. She raised an amazing son. She is a partner in her own business. She has many friends spanning many years. She is beautiful, smart, witty, loyal, compassionate.

Her journey to death began with a diagnosis of stage IV anal cancer in April 2015. While she was told that it was incurable, she began the horrible process of chemotherapy. Despite all the mouth sores, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, exhaustion and so many other challenges, she managed to hold the cancer at bay. But too soon, she began to lose the battle.

She became too weak, physically, to continue with chemo. She wasn’t able to eat and kept losing weight. She kept trying. Trying different foods. Trying different medicines. Trying to force herself to get better.

Finally, the doctor told her that she wasn’t going to be able to take chemo anymore. It was time to face the final part of her journey. She went into hospice care. That was about six weeks ago. For a while she maintained something of a “normal” life. She continued to work. She talked with friends on the phone. She had a few visitors, although she wasn’t comfortable with having most people see her at this stage. She carried on with her usual determination and spirit.

Now, just in the last week, she is tiring. She no longer wants “visitors”; she’s only comfortable with the people who have walked this journey with her each day. She tries to keep her pain under control. This means a lot more sleeping. She doesn’t bother to eat. She is afraid.

My wonderful, spirited, strong-willed friend is afraid. She’s afraid of the things this cancer is doing to her. She’s afraid of leaving her family and friends. She’s afraid of what death will be like. She’s afraid.

For now, all I can do is hold her hand. Give her her medicine. Try to make her comfortable. Listen when she wants to talk. Try to be supportive to her son and brother. All I can do is be there. I wish, oh, how I wish, I could do more.

Proud but confused

I had an experience Saturday that has happened before but I find myself wondering. First, what happened is that I was in a fast-food restaurant and someone came up to me and told me that he admires my bravery for wearing the shirt I had on. It was a t-shirt that said,”One Tough Mother” on the front and “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” on the back.

Now, I feel validated to have had not one but two people, in two separate locations, at two widely spaced times come up to me and tell me that they admire me for wearing the t-shirt that speaks up for common sense gun laws. By the way, the first time it happened, I was wearing a shirt that said “Be Nice to Each Other It’s Really All That Matters” on the front and the same “Moms Demand Action…” on the back. It’s good to know that some people are looking at the message I’m wearing. It’s even better to know that some people agree with the message. And even better than that, is that some people feel so strongly about the issue that they are empowered to speak to a complete stranger about the issue.

Still, the part that troubles me is that these people think I’m “brave” because I am wearing a t-shirt with a specific message. Brave? How? Am I somehow risking my life, my health, my loved ones because I choose to wear a message that I have strong feelings about? I certainly hope my fellow citizens have not sunk to a level wear it is dangerous to wear a t-shirt with a message with which they may not agree.

My reason for wearing these t-shirts, and for ordering another which hasn’t arrived yet, is that I feel the message needs to be repeated, shared, repeated, spread, and repeated until the laws in this country are changed and enforced to protect innocents from the danger of injury or death from guns. I think that perhaps, if everyone who believes that we need to change the laws to protect the innocent from slaughter wore a t-shirt like mine, we’d see these shirts everywhere.

So, I’m happy that people speak to me about my t-shirt’s message. I feel validated by their words. But I’m not brave. No, the children and teachers in every school every day who have to wonder if this is the day that a crazy person comes in to kill them with a gun, they are the brave ones. The members and families of the LGBT community who have to fear that going out to a public place could result in their deaths at the hands of a maniac with a gun, they are the brave ones. The members of law enforcement who face the insane and uncivilized law-breakers while trying to keep or make us safe and find themselves out-gunned, they are the brave ones.

For now, all I can do is vote, vote, vote! All I can do is write my blog and letters to the editor of my newspaper, and post on Facebook. All I can do is speak up whenever and wherever I hope to make a difference. All I can do is wear my t-shirts proudly and hope my message reaches someone who can make a difference.

 

Historical day and night…

I am so proud to be a Democrat today.

Yesterday, June 22, 2016, the House Democrats staged a sit-in to try to force the House Republicans to vote on various bills regarding gun control. This, only a little over a week after our latest mass shooting.

At approximately 11:45 yesterday, the House Democrats began a sit-in to force the House to vote on various measures to make our citizens safer from gun violence. This sit-in was led by none other than John Lewis who took part in the sit-ins of the 60s to fight for equal rights for African-Americans.

While the sit-in didn’t result in a vote it did something for me.

First, my Representative, Bobby Scott, was part of the sit-in. That confirms my belief that he is the right man for the job and cements my vote for him.

Second, it tells me that some of our Congressmen and women are listening to us. That they were willing to take a stand (seat) to force the issue is heartening in a very disheartening time.

Finally, it gives me hope that like other seemingly lost causes (equal rights for African-Americans, women, and gays) this too can end positively and with a better quality of life for all of us.

Thank you to all of those who were willing to make a stand. Thank you for listening. Thank you for trying to take action. Thank you for not giving up.

Yes, I’m angry…

Yes, I’m angry that the most basic common sense gun laws couldn’t get past the Republican Senate. But, what angers me even more is knowing those same, thoughtless, NRA bought and owned Senators will be back in place after the upcoming election. We can dream of a huge backlash from the voters; record-breaking turnout for the next election; a complete eviction of these Senators who care nothing for what the People of the country want. Yes, we can dream, but that’s all it will ever be.

All the rejected bills would have done is stop suspected terrorists of buying a gun and closing the background check loopholes. I guess that is too much to ask of the gun owners in this country. Or is it? I hear about honest gun owners who support back ground checks and keeping guns out of the hands of terrorist and the mentally ill. Maybe it’s not the gun owners who drove this. Maybe it is simply the price being paid by the guilty Senators who are owned by the NRA and the gun industry.

My Senators were not among the pack of spineless, selfish, mindless idiots. For that, I guess I’m glad; except that it leaves me with not much I can do to change the status quo. I’m left dreaming. Dreaming that voters whose senators did this will do what is needed to change the next vote.

We’ll do NOTHING…

Here we go again. Our country is experiencing an epidemic of mass murders at the hands of insane gunmen. For now, I can say “men” because, so far, women haven’t joined the fray. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time, though. As has happened every time, the public has united in tears and prayer…and arguments.

Let’s look back at this trend. For me, I think back to what seems to be the first (although it probably wasn’t) at Virginia Tech, April 16, 2007, 33 dead. Now let’s see where we went from there. Dare we dream that our government and citizens rose up in outrage and took steps to ensure this couldn’t easily happen again? NO!

  • Blacksburg, VA,  April 16, 2007,  33 dead
  • Omaha, NE,  December 5, 2007,  8 dead
  • DeKalb, IL,  February 14, 2008,  5 dead, 16 wounded
  • Binghamton, NY,  April 3, 2009,  13 dead
  • Killeen, TX,  November 5, 2009,  13 dead, 30+ wounded
  • Huntsville, AL,  February 12, 2010,  3 dead, 3 wounded
  • Manchester, CT,  August 3, 2010,  8 dead
  • Tucson, AZ,  January 8, 2011,  6 dead, 14 wounded
  • Seal Beach, CA,  October 12, 2011,  8 dead
  • Oakland, CA,  April 2, 2012,  7 dead
  • Aurora, CO,  July 20, 2012,  12 dead, 70 wounded
  • Oak Creek, WI,  August 5, 2012,  6 dead
  • Minneapolis, MN,  September 27, 2012,  5 dead
  • Brookfield, WI,  October 21, 2012,  3 dead
  • Newtown, CT,  December 14, 2012,  27 dead
  • Santa Monica, CA,  June 7, 2013,  5 dead
  • Washington, DC,  September 16, 2013,  12 dead
  • Killeen, TX,  April 2, 2014,  3 dead, 16 wounded
  • Isla Vista, CA,  May 23, 2014,  6 dead
  • Marysville, WA,  October 24, 2024,  4 dead
  • Charleston, SC,  June 17, 2015,  9 dead
  • Chattanooga, TN,  July 16, 2015,  5 dead
  • Roseburg, OR,  October 1, 2015,  10 dead
  • Colorado Springs, CO,  November 27, 2015,  3 dead, 9 wounded
  • San Bernardino, CA,  December 2, 2015,  14 dead,  17 wounded
  • June 12, 2016. Orlando, FL,  June 12, 2016,   49 dead, 53 wounded

Kind of overwhelming, isn’t it? Total dead: 290  Total wounded: 228+

So, clearly we as a people of the United States chose not to do anything to change our laws in order to protect innocent lives. We chose, instead, to keep the status quo.

After crying over our babies at Virginia Tech, we did NOTHING. After expressing outrage and shock over Fort Hood in 2009, we did NOTHING. After expressing that this time we must do something when a movie theater became the scene of a massacre, we did NOTHING. After the sanctity of a Sikh was shattered, we did NOTHING.  After the tears and promises to our children following Sandy Hook, we did NOTHING. After the surprise and shock of a shooting on one of our military sites, Washington Navy Yard, we did NOTHING. After a second assault at Fort Hood (by then, most people probably didn’t even remember the first one in 2009), we did NOTHING. After the sanctity of a Church is broken, we did Nothing. And after every other mass killing in between those I’ve cited, we did NOTHING.

So, here we are again. Now, a nightclub is the site of the latest carnage. Here we are again. Praying, crying, expressing support and unity. And, arguing. Arguing about what is more important. What. Is. More. Important. The right to as many weapons, of as many types, with as much ammo as you can possible attain VS the right to live. The. Right. To. Live.

Is this really a debate? Really? Really?

Guess what I predict? We’ll cry. We’ll pray. We’ll eulogize the victims. We’ll praise the first responders. We’ll demonize the shooter. Then, we’ll just go on and we’ll do NOTHING.

We’ll do NOTHING because our elected officials will do NOTHING. They’ll do NOTHING because they are beholden, controlled, and afraid of the NRA and the small number of gun nuts who, for whatever reason, believe that their right to weapons outweighs my right and your right to live.

We’ll do NOTHING!

 

 

 

Thought for today…

I’ve been thinking about blogging for quite a while now. In fact, I’ve started several times but just couldn’t get organized. Finally, today, I decided that I don’t need to be organized or have a theme. I’m just going to post my thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc. Why not? It’s my blog.

So, today I’m going to write about how I’m feeling right now. First, I want to set the scene for these feelings. I am very happily married and have a wonderful grown son who just graduated from college with honors. He is getting ready to start a great job and is excited about his future. I have a wonderful sister who is like my twin and makes my life better in so many ways. I have terrific friends who are supportive and fun. That said, I also have my own challenges.

First, one of my very best friends is dying from stage IV anal cancer. I’ve been with her through this awful journey since April 2015. I’ve watched her fight knowing that she can’t win this battle. She’s suffered through chemo and all that brings. She’s been sick, tired, angry, and frustrated. We’ve had wonderful times together and I’ve held her hand as she prepares for the end.

With all that going on in my world, I’m also confronted by the current political drama and the latest mass shooting in our country. I’m frustrated, angry, sad, bewildered, and ashamed. I thought I’d continue with my feelings on these issues, politics and guns, but I think I’ll close for now.

I’m praying: for myself, for my loved ones, for my neighbors, for my country, and for the world. Love is what we need most right now.