Is our wine being ruined?

I started shying away from California wines when reports of arsenic in them hit the news.  It didn’t affect me too much, the Italian wines have been my favorite for years.

Then, one of the annual California burning events occurred, and I watched the fire-fighters trying to subdue the wildfires by dumping massive amounts of fire retardant on the fires.  I understand the chemicals are a necessary evil – the fires must be stopped, but it made me wonder about the long term effects of those chemicals.

They have to end up somewhere, and being dumped all over the state means they will get mixed into the rains that eventually fall, work their way down into the ground water, and will in some amount get into whatever crops that are growing there.

So, I stopped drinking the California wines.

I had enough chemicals pumped through my veins during chemo, I’d like to be able to enjoy a glass of wine and not worry about it being toxic.

Then Australia started burning, and I do like their wines.  I have to now consider putting them in the same category as the California wines.  I’m sad that I may not be able to support their economy for a bit, especially after what the county has been through, but a person has to put her own health first, right?

Now, just the other day I just saw a news report that a chemical plant exploded in Spain.  GAH!!  My favorite four dollar Trader Joe’s wine comes from Spain, I can’t help to wonder if it will become tainted too.

OK, World, we get it, bad things happen, but can you please settle down and stop tainting our wines?  A person needs to be able to relax in peace, don’t you know.

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all my readers – 2019

As 2019 wraps up, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back on my writing this year, and to thank everyone who clicked over for a visit, and read my ramblings.

One of the cool things about blogging, is being able to see stats on visitors to your blog.  I really enjoyed this year being visited by people from many continents and countries.  I was amazed at how far my blog has reached.

It’s funny, I haven’t quite hit 100 posts yet, but I feel like I’ve written much more than that.

Here’s my 2019 in numbers.  I wish I would have done this last year too, it’s fun to look at.

# of posts:   21 (well, 22 after this one)
A big drop off from last year.  I sort of took a break from writing, the whole cancer thing had overwhelmed me, and there was too much inner turmoil from thinking about it all the time.  It was a nice sabbatical, and now I’m back to writing with all that turmoil behind me.

# of continents:   6
6 out of 7.   Every continent except Antarctica. That’s amazing.  I am global!  Thanks, y’all!  🙂

 North America
South America
Europe
Asia
Africa
Australia


# of countries:   17

USA
UK
Canada
Ireland
Indonesia
New Zealand
Australia
France
India
Ecuador
Hong Kong SAR China
Chile
Greece
Philippines
Sweden
Jamaica
South Africa

 

I was very privileged to be published by a wonderful site,  Mission Remission a couple of times this year.

Chemo Fog – Chemo Fog
Shedding friends – Shedding Friends

I’ve made great progress on my book, and am working to dedicate more time to my writing.

Thank you all for taking the time to pop over & read what I had on my mind.  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful 2020!

Wrangles & Tangles

As a kid, I remember sitting, wincing in pain as my mom tried to rip the hair straight out of my scalp. “OW!!! STOP! THAT HURTS!”  Every.  Single. Day.  She said she was brushing the tangles out of my hair.  Brushing tangles, medieval torture, let’s not debate the semantics.  It was life as I knew it.

As an adult, I’ve sat and watched my sister-in-law work out the ‘wrangles’ on both her daughters.  They never complain as loudly as I used to, but the wince is there.  I can see it.

I always figured those wrangles and tangles came from doing what kids do, playing hard, having fun, not really worrying about life.

Now, here I am, 2 1/2 years after my hair started growing back, it’s gotten fairly long again, and I’m plagued by the Wrangle-Tangle Monster!  And I have no fun what-so-ever to blame it on.  I sit at my desk at work, and the wrangle-tangles just happen.  It doesn’t matter what type of shirt I wear, hoodie, not hoodie, collar, not collar, cotton, poly-blend, they happen every single day.

I got home the other day, and went to brush the underside of my hair, “OW” I hollered to no one in particular.  That hurt.  Stupid wrangle-tangles.  I again wondered what causes them.  I did not have to deal with them at all my entire adult life, and even though I can’t really recall, I do feel like the teenage years were also wrangle-tangle free.

Does hair need to get to a certain age for the wrangle-tangles to be worked out?  Perhaps it’s age, not length, that does it?  Did chemo take away some sort of protective barrier that my hair had produced to save me from scalp-ripping pain at every brushing event?  If that is the case, how long will it take for that protective barrier to come back and rid me of the Wrangle-Tangle Monster?

Check back in a couple years, I’ll let you know if I have the answer.  😉

 

Do you ever think about your hairbrush-hair?

Not a typical topic of conversation, right?!

It may have been the first time since losing my hair, I’m pretty sure it was, the other day, I had to clean the hair from my hairbrush.

I’ve never really given the act much thought before, just grabbed hold of whatever the brush had collected over time, yanked it out and tossed it into the trash can.  Not this time though.

I remembered when I stopped using the cold caps, and the hair came out in massive clumps.  I remember that I had wondered then if I could donate those clumps like that.  I remembered balling it up, using both hands, and putting all that hair into the trashcan.

I looked at what I had now, a small clump of brown hair that easily fit in the palm of my hand, the individual strands swirled around each other.  I wondered what someone would discover, if they took some old strands and did a side-by-side analysis against the new strands, would they find any changes?  Would someone be able to identify pre-chemo and post-chemo strands?  The thought intrigues me, not enough to research it, not enough to take it any further than this post, but, it does spark my curiosity.

I did the same thing with this small clump of hair that I had one with that massive one…only this time it didn’t fill my trashcan.  This time, I don’t think anyone even noticed.  This time, I didn’t have to dump the trashcan to make room for something else.  I’m pretty sure that the next day, I didn’t even notice it being there.

 

 

 

 

 

Our page is gone

I am a bit troubled.  A bit heartbroken.

When my wonderful mother-in-law passed from ovarian cancer, we researched to find the best cancer research foundation to honor her memory.  We found OCRA – Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.  We looked into how much of the donations went to ovarian cancer research, it was the right place for us to forward donations from us, and those from our loved ones.

We created our own tribute page, uploaded the perfect picture, one from my in-laws 50th anniversary Alaskan cruise, and I sent it out to the world.  It was included in the obituary, and I linked it on my blog.

Today, I went to update my blog a bit, sort of organize things a bit better, and in doing such, I clicked on all my links, to make sure they were still active.

I clicked on the link to our tribute page, the one we had titled “In Myrt’s Honor.”  Gone.  The link did go to the main OCRA page, but the tribute, the picture, the counter showing the thousands of dollars we raised for the cause in Myrt’s honor was no longer there.  I searched the website, to see if I could find a way to see the page, and if the fundraising counter was still active.  Also gone.

Gone but definitely not forgotten.  Never forgotten.

I had gotten emails from the site, informing me they would be making updates, I guess I never thought the history of our tribute page would disappear though.

I have updated the link on the side of my blog, with the main webpage, for anyone that would like to donate to an ovarian cancer fund.  I still believe in the work the organization does.  If you donate, feel free to add “In Myrt’s Honor” to your donation, to honor a great lady, Myrt Klein.

 

Link to the OCRA website, in case you want it:

https://ocrahope.org

Our original donation page, because I can’t bring myself to delete it:

http://support.ocrfa.org/goto/InMyrtsHonor

We miss you every day.

IMG_0079

 

 

 

What do you write?

What do you write?

It’s a common question, a simple question, but one I’m not yet accustomed to answering.

“I have a couple of blogs, on one I write about my experience with breast cancer.”

Sitting in a room with other published writers, it seems to be a bit insignificant.  “I’m working on a book, but I’m not there yet,” I say..wondering if I’ll ever finish it.

Then she told me about how many people she knew had been affected by breast cancer, and asked me for my website.

It reminded me why I put myself out there, and share my story.  For others.  To help.

#FCancer

 

The Big, Bad Card Company – exploiting cancer?

CANCER-FREE

Huh…  Wow…  That’s something I wasn’t expecting to see.  

I had gone into CVS to buy a card.  Right at eye-level was a card with that sentiment.  

I was for a quick second impressed – they are finally making it easier for people who want to send something to their friends, but don’t know the right words. Maybe take away some of that, “what should I say” anxiety, and give them a card that they can mail.  I finished reading the inside, closed it, and there it was.  The symbol.  Made it look all legit.  I glanced around at its neighbor cards in the rack.  There were a few other cancer related sympathy cards, with different sentiments.  All proudly displayed the American Cancer Society logo on the back of them.  

There were also some placards with information in this section, mostly just saying “American Cancer Society,” but none had the information I was really looking for.  Something, anything to show me how much of the proceeds of this card go to a cancer related cause.  Research, charity, anything.  There was no information.  I glanced at the back of the card again, and read what it said.  “Hallmark is proud to support the American Cancer Society.”  But it didn’t say how.  It did instruct me to find out how at cancer.org/ourstory.

I set my hand basket down on the ground, took my phone out and snapped a couple pictures of this card, including the back side, which had the logo, and the website.  I figured I’d do some research when I got home.  

Back at home, I went to the website.  It was a donation page at the American Cancer Society.  Nothing about the big bad card company.  I went to the big bad card company’s website.  Searched for American Cancer Society.  Nothing.  Found the card on-line, looked to see if the on-line info offered any information about charity or donations.  Nada.  

I went to the ‘contact us’ section, and sent them a note, including this question:

Do any of the proceeds from the sales of these cancer cards go to support any type of cancer research?  If so, how much?  Is it a percentage?  If so, what is the percentage.

They sent back this:

Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

We do apologize but, we do need a bit of information from the card to look into this for you. If you can look for what is called a SKU letters and numbers on the card this would help. The SKU number should be printed near the printed price on the back of the card. We would also need the price of the card as well. Once we have this information we will be able to find this information for you. Hope to hear back from you soon.

OK, I get it, you get thousands of questions about your line of cancer cards, you may have hundreds of cancer related donations and you want to be sure you give me the exact correct answer.  Lucky for me, that bar code was plainly visible in the pictures I took.  So, I responded:

Hello and thanks for the response. 

The SKU number is 09200 54677 6 and the printed price on the card is 4.99 

Thank you. 

Finally, I got an answer back:

Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

In response to your question, we send $0.22 per card from our Mother’s Day cards. For more information, please visit https://ww5.komen.org/Hallmark/

We appreciate your interest in Hallmark and hope we were able to help you.

Well, let me start with this.  If someone thinks this is an appropriate Mother’s Day card, you are wrong.  While being cancer free on Mother’s Day is a fabulous thing, I’d like my  card to include something about being a mother.  That’s why I get the day.  

It also makes me wonder….how do they ensure their donations go to the right place?  Are there other cards that make it into the ‘$0.22 goes to mom’s day’ bucket?  Maybe not just the cancer cards?  Is Komen even a good place to donate?  I have heard mixed reviews in the past, but never could find out how much of what they get goes to cancer related charities.    

Who knows.

But…I guess at the end of the day, $0.22 goes to a cancer cause.  Do with that information what you will.  

For those of you still on the fence about what to say, what to do, how to bridge that awkward, ‘what do I say to them’ phase of your friend’s cancer journey – let me put this out there for you, there is a fabulous website, Ticking Off Breast Cancer – 

http://www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com

Click on the ‘For Friends and Family’ tab.  This site has great advice if you are at a loss.  And hey, once your friend has finished their treatment, “Let’s go celebrate!!” is a great conversation starter.  

As always…F*Cancer!