Monday, June 11, 2012

A grand vacation!

It's still early June but I already have some stories of how I spent my summer vacation. It was just 10 days, though at times it seemed longer. And now that it's over, I'm wondering how it went so quickly.

The vacation was time off work to be Grandma fulltime to grandbabies Dodge and Logan while their parents took a cruise that I had won for them last year in a church raffle. Given they are two years closer in age than my own two children were, Tom and I really didn't know what we were in for. My goodness -- what a lot of work these two little guys are! It was all I could do to focus on getting them fed, securing naps, entertaining them and getting them in bed at night before I collapsed.

Dodge and I did get flowers planted in pots on the deck during Logan's morning naps, but it took three days to accomplish what I could have done in one by myself. One day I escaped to Home Depot by myself while Tom kept an eye on two napping grandsons, but the whole time I was in the store, my ears picked up the sound of every other toddler there with a mom or grandma.

We finally got them delivered back home and bathed and ready for bed the Sunday night their parents came home. I was never so happy to be back in the office for a rest that Monday morning, and I'm still catching up.

When child-rearing got tough, my mom always liked to say, "Those are the joys of being a mother." Now I know better than ever, "Those are the joys of being a grandmother."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Good medicine!

Too often this blog has focused on my medical journey. Today it is about what makes all that worthwhile.

Tom and I are in Cancun for a week's vacation. We figure this is the fifth or sixth time we've been here, but the first time it has been just the two of us. What took us so long? The times before were all great, and we're remembering a lot of those times now, but we haven't taken enough vacations by ourselves. Not surprisingly, we have been talking about making this an annual event.

At the same time, we're talking about creating new family memories. At the pool yesterday, I asked the parents of two little boys how old their sons were. As the little guys, aged 2 and 4, played in the pool, I could see our grandsons having fun with us on a future trip. And their parents would love to come back to the place where they were engaged.

Sun, sand, water, warm weather, good food and drink, each other for company and no pressure to be anywhere at a particular time -- all make for a wonderfully relaxing time.

Wish you were here -- but we're kinda glad you're not!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Did you hear the one about....?

My grandson Dodge has been telling me the funniest joke. It's funny because he is not quite 27 months old and has only been talking about a month, but he went from just a few words to telling his first joke in no time at all.

It started one day when he was visiting and there had been rain with thunder, so he had quickly learned a new word. We talked about how thunder goes "boom!" and he enjoyed saying it with gusto. The next time I saw him, rain was nowhere in the forecast, but he looked at me with the orneriest grin and pronounced, "Hear funder, boom!"

Of course that made me quickly exclaim, "There's no thunder!" And that sent us both into a burst of giggles at the funny joke he had made with grandma.

My surprise at his new display of humor made the joke that much funnier. I had figured it would be another year or so before his talking progressed to the joke-telling stage. The inevitable knock-knock jokes can't be far off now, and they will be the funniest jokes I have ever heard.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reaching out for support

You never know whom you might touch when you send a message out into the social media universe. I was recently led to fellow blogger David Haas, who advocates for cancer patients to find strength and healing in support groups. At his request, I am sharing a post he wrote for this blog. I hope it helps someone in need of its message:

Support Helps on the Way to the Cure

If you have been diagnosed with cancer whether it is skin cancer, Leukemia, or even a rare disease like mesothelioma then you need to understand the benefits of having the support of others at your aide. There are a myriad of cancer survivor groups all over the world and with the advent of the Internet they are closer than ever before. If you are recently diagnosed, going through treatments, or are a cancer survivor you should recognize how well support groups help individuals going through trying times and how much of a benefit survivors can provide to others.

Doctors Agree
One irrefutable truth that most doctors can agree upon is that understanding and support can help those with cancer get through their tough times. Understanding what is going on during treatments and even being well versed the adverse effects of treatments can be beneficial. Peers going through the same or similar treatments can ultimately serve as a wonderful archive of knowledge and tips. Knowing what to expect is a great way to aide one in the fight against cancer. Friends and loved ones are able to provide a unique unrivaled support, but being able to discuss the specific, intimate details about an ailment with someone who has the same issue can be a great way to gain insight and help on the road to recovery.

Online Support Groups
Online support groups have become more prevalent as the Internet has become a bigger part in the lives of many. The Internet is now readily available wirelessly all over the world. Many smart phones and cellular devices have access to the Internet. This means for those battling cancer that support is always available. Anytime you are near your phone you can visit
websites, send emails, and keep up with others. There is no longer a reason to face the hardships of cancer alone. The support of friends and loved ones important, but having someone in your corner that personally knows what you’re going through is unbeatable. This is a great way to know what to expect and to be able to talk honestly and candidly about what you are going through with others that will be both knowledgeable and sympathetic about what you are going through.

Thanks, David. Nicely said!

All A'Twitter

When I started this blog three years ago, I was amazed at the ability blogging gave me to reach out to audiences beyond my immediate target of family and friends. My initial purpose was to keep well-wishers updated on my cancer treatment, and it was therapy, too, to write some of what I was experiencing. It did that and more as friends shared with friends and people I never expected would be interested told me they appreciated what I wrote.

Lately I am astounded by the potential of Twitter and Facebook to carry the written word farther and faster. I am such a novice but, with some patient coaching from a work colleague, I am trying to learn how to speak Twitter.

It starts with declaring who you are, which is an interesting exercise in itself. My Twitter handle is @maryyost, and here is where I landed for my profile:
Advocate for hospitals and wellness; serial cancer survivor; former journalist; wife, mom and grandma living a blessed life!
There is something powerful about summing up who you are and what you stand for in a few words. It even gave me the option of sharing my blog site, which is nice! For me, the profile statement is a reminder that anything I post in this blog or Tweet about should fall somewhere within those attributes.
This morning I am feeling very blessed indeed. Indian summer is here, the weekend stretches ahead of me, I got to spend time with my daughter, mom and grandsons last night and my health is good. That's certainly something to tell the world!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gym dandy

My surgical sabbatical is fully over now. The final sign I was back to normal following the removal of Cancer 2.1 came with my return to regular, early morning workouts. If I thought I was going to ease into it, all I had to do was glance at my long-time gym buddy for inspiration.

Rosalie and I share more than our gym visits. We are work colleagues whose offices are adjacent. We are both in our late 50s -- at least until her milestone birthday in December! And we are both cancer survivors who have faced recurrences with great success.

There was no way I could wimp out on returning to our workouts, knowing Rosalie would be right there beside me despite the chemo treatments she has been undergoing since mid-summer. I had quit our morning routines during my chemo treatment in late 2008 and early 2009, but Rosalie has kept right on, bald-headed and determined.

She was the first one I told about Cancer 2.1.  She was in the hospital dealing with her own recurrence that morning in late July when my oncologist told me my latest CT scan showed a suspected new tumor. With her trademark sunny disposition and positive outlook, she comforted me with confident predictions for a quick return to good health.

Rosalie's treatment results have been wonderful and her outlook is as cheery as ever. It's easier to drag myself out of bed at 5 a.m., knowing she will be waiting. And if I don't show at the gym, I will still have to pass her office later at work. I couldn't have a better reason to exercise!

Monday, September 5, 2011

What not to wear

I finally accomplished something I have been wanting to do for months -- purging my closet of things I don't wear and, more importantly, shouldn't wear.

It has taken me way too long to come to grips with what looks good on me and what doesn't. Earlier this year I started paying more attention to necklines I feel better in and identifying the styles that just don't work; noting what pant lines flatter and which don't. I still don't have my optimal color palette worked out, but I'm getting closer.

To finish the job, I hauled everything out of the closet yesterday and promised myself only those items I feel good in would be returned to the hangers and shelves.  Some I knew as I took them out wouldn't be going back in. Some items I had to try on again and still debated their future.

About 100 pieces didn't make the cut. Many of the pants, tops, skirts and suits got good use, even though they were not my most flattering styles. A few were barely worn and probably shouldn't have been bought in the first place. Hopefully they will be just right for someone else. I know some good charities that will be happy to help find them a new home.

Next goal is to apply this same discipline to other parts of my life. Life is too precious to squander by doing or thinking or saying things that don't reflect well on me.