Posts Tagged ‘cancer

09
Mar
16

in passing…

I promised a dear friend that upon her passing from cancer, I would post this image in her honor. She felt it symbolic of her departure. George Weaver/She Kept a Parrot, RIP

image for George Weaver-empty-chair-growth-freedom-photography-swittersb

09
Jul
15

Heed the warnings……

skin-freeze-cryo-cancer-SwittersB

A few years ago, I wrote about Moles & Malignant Melanoma in response to the abuse of my skin from too much sun and tanning beds in the old days. I have consistently cut back on intense sun exposure. I rarely lay in the sun and take the expected precautions with sunscreen, clothing and head gear. Yet, recently I had unusual skin activity on my forehead, nose and neck. The spot on the neck was most troublesome in appearance and irritation. Today, I visited the dermatologist and in short order, after a full body once over, the can of liquid nitrogen was produced and without much fanfare he commenced to freeze (‘burn’!) two spots on my forehead (previously frozen), two spots on my nose and one on my clavicle (this one was/is troublesome). My face and adjacent area suitably on fire, the doctor proceeded to warn me, yet again, to take better care of my self. 

‘beware the Ides of March.’ Shakespeare, 1599 (Julius Caesar)

Vanity, foolishness, just plain carelessness are my standards of skin care. The doctor joked, as he froze the spots, that he hoped I didn’t have any photo shoots/family portraits coming up in the next few weeks (the spots take 2-4 weeks to heal). The pre-cancerous cells are usually/eventually replaced with newer, healthier cells. I must, you must, do better in the great outdoors!

The doctor remarked that my problems were not just from some recent activities, but rather from a lifetime of recreating in the sun. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

05
Jun
14

A State of Mind, A State of Being………..

From the Daily Mail/UK: 12 y/o Athena Orchard recently died from a cancerous tumor on her spine. After her death, the parents were tidying her room and moved a mirror leaning against the wall. On the back of the mirror they found a long list of positive phrases the young girl had posted to the backing of the mirror. 

A young girl, fighting or enduring cancer, the mind struggles and seeks positive input. She kept this secret for a later discovery for those left behind? Also, for her own passage through that ordeal? Today, for us? A state of mind, day by day, to make a choice about life, and perhaps death.

athena orchard's mirror

07
Oct
13

Photography: Movement & Clarity

fountain cancer wing portland SB

 A lovely fountain in the foyer of a hospital. You pass this fountain, coming and going, to the cancer/critical care units above. I wonder how many people stop to contemplate the quiet beauty while their minds and hearts are full of realities that blur ones ability to focus, to see, to look beyond.

31
May
12

Every Day In May Challenge Final Topic: Achievement

Distant landmarks that stood off in the distance. The final gates off a ranch. They seemed so far away, but eventually through a circuitous route across the landscape I finally reached them. It felt wonderful and at the same time I hated to close them behind me and leave. Maybe I will go back.

“Achievement, exploit, feat are terms for a noteworthy act. Achievement connotes final accomplishments of something noteworthy, after much effort and often in spite of obstacles and discouragements…” (some dictionary)

Awards based on accomplishments; building things; completing giant tasks; successfully implementing new concepts; retiring from a long, notable career; helping raise wonderful children; mentoring others………  All the above are achievements. But, of late, there are four  notable ones, of which I am most humbly proud, in admittedly varying degrees of emotional intensity.

First, my oldest son and I spent the final hours with my father as he lay in a hospital bed dying. He had had a stroke days earlier. We assumed he would survive but be disabled. We didn’t know that the strokes were continuing and he was in the act of passing. As I entered the room and stared at my once invincible father I noticed that labored, gasping breathing. I didn’t understand really what I was looking at. A nurse walked up and said ‘you know what is going on don’t you? What I asked. Simply put, staring into my eyes, she said ‘he’s dying now’. She walked past me out of the room. As if I had been handed a script seconds before the curtain was to rise, there I stood on life’s stage. Ill prepared and stunned. I knelt beside him looking at his face. I held his hand, something I had never done before. I rubbed his forehead and hair, again something I had never done before. I told him I loved him. Need I say it. He passed on into that stillness. In the room you could only hear a ticking of the clock and the normal bustle in the hallway of a hospital, through the room’s closed door. My son and I stood there and took it in. My dad, the warrior, the rock was at peace. 

Second, I spent the better part of the last five years tending to my mom, who was tortured by cancer, hoarding, depression and finally spent the last five months of her life in our home dying of the cancer. I, not alone for sure, saw that through to the final breath. My sweet mom.

Thirdly, as my mom was dying, her sister and best friend was also ill. Dementia, reclusiveness, hoarding and heart disease brought my Aunt into my life as my mom died. There was no one else to care for my Aunt. My wife and I adopted my reclusive Aunt and spent over a year gaining her trust. We gained admission into her home, into a chair unearthed from her mountains of  stuff and finally we gained admission into her heart. In the end, we spent those final months as she slipped ever deeper into dementia. Again, I was there for the that final grinding, long, gasping ride to the quiet end. The clock ticking in the silent room.

I am proud of those three achievements because it was how it use to be long ago. It was a challenge and it was mentally exhausting. But, in the end, they passed with someone holding their hands. It was spiritual and challenging. I hope it is not morose or maudlin. It is intended to be the passage, the journey we all move through….eventually.

 

Lastly, the Every Day in May Challenge. It has been a very positive and enlightening experience. When Chadd VanZanten of How Small A Trout corresponded with me, I was immediately impressed by the topics list. Yes, much of it was fishing related and I relished the opportunity of giving up a little bit of me that others really don’t know under the cloak of SwittersB.

But, other factors became entwined whether Chadd knew this would result or not I don’t know. Life intervened for me. More strife, more stressors, more distractions. To make the daily posting and to be challenged to write outside the box and try for something different perhaps was challenging and I have to say rewarding for me. 

So, why the attachment of the seemingly heavy stuff above…the deaths of my loved ones. Well along the way of this Every Day In May Challenge quite a few topics and writing efforts renewed my faith in the spiritual value of the outdoors in healing, renewing, focusing the mind and heart. Being at one with self, nature, God, and the past. Peace of mind and of heart. It was a heck of a lot of fun too! 

Thanks to all the fine bloggers that participated and added energy and motion to this fun project. Hooray for us!!!

Well, Hooray for Me Too!

06
May
10

Sharon Margaret Muncy At Peace

Sharon Margaret Muncy (3/25/1923 to 5/6/2010)

Not the forum to highlight the passing life of your mother. But, I have a need; indulge me. Maybe it will help. Even for a brief few moments. In the future, being on the water will distract. I haven’t been on the water in almost eight months. For the past five years, my mom’s life became a repetitive series of appointments for chemo, transfusions, blood draws and lab work. On and on it went with diminishing probabilities and possibilities. Finally, in December, this dynamic, strong woman was declared to have devolved into a hospice status and we brought her into our home. I won’t go on about the mental aspects for the patient or the family in a drawn out wasting of life. It is full of so many twists and turns for all involved. Most of you know some aspect of these life altering events in your own life. No, I just want to say the toughest woman I have ever known and loved fought until the end. I will miss her spirit and strength. As my mom always said, at the most challenging of times…’kid, things are looking up’. Yes they are mom, indeed. Love you mom.

Peaceful Run (Janet Miderska)

15
Mar
10

Moles & Malignant Melanoma

Today at work, I noticed a young lady was wearing one of those support boots one wears after surgeries or sports injuries. I asked the usual ‘what happened to you?’ She hesitated, then offered an interesting story with flags for us all…she was bitten by a hobo spider on the ankle. Her leg swelled up and she headed to the ER. The ER doc looked at the bite and was concerned, but when he looked at the mole on her ankle, he was more than concerned. This young lady had noticed that odd mole on her left ankle for some time and was a bit annoyed with the occasional itch. A followup to a skin doc and tests confirmed the suspicions of the alert ER doc: a malignant melanoma. Invasive surgery resulted and so far they do not believe there was any permanent nerve damage or cancer. Time and rehab will tell.

A young (27 y/o) lady, not a sun worshipper, developed a mole on her ankle and but for a spider bite probably would not have received the immediate attention and successful intervention. Visit a skin doctor re any suspicious moles or skin oddities.

‘Malignant melanomas take the lives of more than 8,000 Americans a year, or about 13.5 percent of the people diagnosed with the disease, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports. Other forms of skin cancer are rarely fatal, although squamous-cell carcinoma can metastasize and result in death. But the situation isn’t bleak. If detected early, 99 percent of all skin cancers are curable.’ Skin Cancer




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