Chemotherapy Eve by Rose Klix

    April 8, 2010 I stood at the window staring into the black night, on the edge of a deep end, afraid of drowning. If I didn’t take the plunge into the best medical advice for this era, I would risk dying younger than I planned. That night, I revisited another fear:


     In 1968, I had enrolled in the required Aquatics class at Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. I learned swimming strokes in the shallow water and almost enjoyed paddling around.
One day, the instructor demanded we gather at the deep end and line up. When prompted, everyone but me jumped in. The churned water splashed against the sides and brought my attention to the six-foot mark. I subtracted a height of five-foot-four-and-a-half inches. Nope. Water would be over my head.
Fellow students eagerly returned to the queue for another chance to swim. I edged to the back and continually stationed myself at the end of that line. The instructor’s assistant stood by with a hooked rod to rescue us, if necessary. No comfort for me. I likened his tool to a fishing hook to skewer and drown worm bait.
Once the teacher thought everyone had jumped, she instructed us how to dive. After the other twenty students individually dove and swam to the ladder, she dismissed them to the locker room.
I was caught sucking air. Gills didn’t appear. My heart raced.
In the diver’s stance she’d taught us, I stood last with knees bent, arms overhead, thumbs interlaced, fingers and head pointed down. I took several deep breaths and held one, but could not thrust myself into the water. Legs threatened to fail me. Breath returned with a gasp. Tears streamed down my face.
The instructor stepped towards me. I cowered, because surely she intended to shove me over the edge. She said, “What’s the matter with you? You just jumped. Go ahead. Dive.” She gestured at the swimming pool.
My head shook with panic, but this also served as a negative answer. I didn’t tell her I’d crept to the end of the line. I thought, “If I dive, I drown. If not, I fail the class.”
After I perched for what seemed like hours, she pursed her lips, groaned, and glanced at her watch. With a disgusted wave she dismissed me to the locker room. I didn’t argue about the “C” final grade.


     I thought about following the doctors’ instructions tomorrow. Fear again surfaced. The surgeon’s answer had been mutilation to remove the tumor. The oncologist convinced me I must face being poisoned with chemotherapy. Poison and mutilation are the twenty-first century’s best options?
I valued my life and wished I did not have these harsh choices. Medical science already failed me by not detecting the problem early enough to give complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies a chance. My preference involved gentler energy work.
I struggled with trusting medical treatments. Dad had died of lung cancer nine years before. Surgery and chemotherapy didn’t save him and diminished his quality of life. My mother and Jim, my only sibling, both suffered fatal heart attacks last year. None of my birth family was physically present for me. Spiritually, they called me to join them. Instead I chose life and decided to depend on my husband Rob, son Scott, and friends to remain supportive.
I spent a few hours re-reading all the documents the cancer clinic provided me. I also reviewed some recommended computer links. The more I read and highlighted side effects, the less I was prepared. Dire results might last the rest of my life.
Months ago I prayed for this life lesson to be removed from me without surgery or chemotherapy, if it was God’s will. I thought His answer came from the guidance I received about CAM therapies. I mentally chastised myself. I should have been more diligent with self-help much sooner.
I’d been paddling around for a couple of years in the shallow end of CAM. Once this serious medical need appeared, I ramped up my efforts for two months. I practiced all the physical, nutritional, spiritual, and emotional support known to me. But they were too little, too late.
When at first I refused to dive in to medical advice, I still survived. But my body didn’t receive a passing grade on the MRI. The tumor grew anyway. I surrendered to surgery.
Defeated, I faced also submitting to chemotherapy. Tears found familiar channels over my cheeks. I looked out our window into blackness.
I thought I’d had enough life-altering events for one lifetime. My desperate prayer on that eve was to ask all my spiritual guides in the light to assist me. I whispered, “Help me through this life lesson.” I wanted to learn as gently as possible, repair my cellular damage, and look forward to the next third of my life, God willing.
“I’m willing. Are you, God?” Silence answered me.
As I contemplated the darkness, I heard Rob snore and smiled. He wouldn’t let me face this alone.
I couldn’t stand forever staring at the night. I needed to dive in, but wanted to strap on flotation devices. Could I be strong and enlist the clinic to support my CAM plan?
The computer cursor blinked and I resumed my research for what I intended to incorporate. Many tools were already in my arsenal: energy work, crystals, positive affirmations, essential oils, antioxidant foods, supportive family and friends, an iron will, and future plans. I pledged to be disciplined in using all available to me on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis.
For positive affirmations, I said, “I am strong and healthy.” I promised, “I will smile, laugh, and sing. I will encourage others and gain encouragement from those learning from cancer as patients, caregivers, and survivors. I love life and I’m not done yet.”
As I crammed for my first treatment appointment, I hoped to weather the stormy days as well as the fair sailing times. I remembered that on the day I discovered the tumor, Rob and I sailed on a cruise intersecting Tropical Storm Erika. We survived then and will again.
With heavy tear-ravaged eyes, the bed called me to sleep. I resigned my search. Rob stirred when I pulled back the covers, crawled under, and tucked them under my chin. We dozed into tomorrow.

(An advance excerpt from book “Cruising with Breast Cancer.” Publication date not yet established.

www.RoseKlix.com

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Pruning Rose

As you watch the video, I invite you to read my poem printed below. I celebrate survivors of breast cancer. Today is the first day for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this year. http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-awareness-month
I salute all cancer survivors, empathize with those struggling, and mourn anyone who lost their battle this lifetime. Unfortunately, there are far too many who are touched by cancer.

Pruning Rose
by Rose Klix

Roses thrive with careful pruning,
send out shoots a foot longer than the ones cut off.
Then their blossoms blush with a youthful newness.

With my doctors’ help, cancer pruned me.
They stripped away my control
and attempted a complete removal of my dignity.

They replaced my once noticeable femininity
with long scars and promised to rebuild my breasts
after my physical healing was complete.

But proud, I stand with the Amazons, who chose
similar transformation for better archery skills.
I am readied to fight for my life with chemotherapy.

I endure side effects and digestive discomforts.
People say I look good in spite of skin blemishes.
Even on my worst days, my husband takes care of me.

Today my crown is devoid of hair. My friend and I cry.
I’m not ready for my world to view a GI Jane style.
She encourages me to shop for feminine sassy hats.

I am not strong. I am not brave.
I am a survivor, who refuses to hide.
God pruned me. He expects I will blossom more fully.

– written in 2010

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Fresh Gift

            Pretend a magical power gives you a present. I imagine a royal blue wrapped box with embossed creamy roses. The satin ribbon crosses and meets under a huge multi-layered white bow with matching azure edges.

            You just blew out candles on the birthday cake. Or maybe you heaved a deep sigh, because the wedding ceremony was a success. The celebration has taken your breath away.

            One humble box is piled with all those from friends and family. Everyone tried to out-do each other by buying the most unique, expensive, appropriate presents.

            A simple gift took little thought without hours of shopping or tons of money. The contents brimmed with something you probably never think about, a necessity for every minute of each day.

            I prayed, cleared my mind, and filtered out all but clean thoughts. God filled your decorated box with fresh pure oxygen, free of toxins, void of disease, like Adam’s first breath and the air He supplied the Garden of Eden and for centuries before industry and pesticides.

            Look inside and fill your lungs to sustain life and assist healing. God’s gift is decades-long inhalation followed by a happy smile.

            Breathe deeply. Inhale His love. Exhale to release any heavy burdens. God will cleanse and recycle them into hope and peace.Image

Chocolate Time

Image            Any time is chocolate time, but for these months the store shelves are full of chocolate choices. Seasonal aisles are overloaded.

            Chocolate bunnies. I can’t get chocolate bunnies out of my mind. Easter will soon be here. I don’t care about an Easter basket. Can I wait until after the spring holidays to buy discounted candy at the drug store? I want a small rabbit now just to tie me over until sale time.

            Drug store – that’s a good place to find my chocolate fix. Chocolate is like a drug and so yummy. I wish it didn’t go straight to fat. I just want a nibble. Before I know it the ears are gone and then the tail, and then I start on its cute little paws. I hope there aren’t too many other candy embellishments for eyes or a bow. I just want chocolate – Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate.

            I’ll look for dark chocolate for a healthier choice. Isn’t chocolate supposed to ward off cancer? Yes, I’m sure there are healthy reasons for it.

            I don’t remember the first time I obsessed over chocolate. I must have been quite young. Or did I crave it from a previous life? Did I pick it directly from cacao trees? Did I know how to make chocolate? Was I a pioneer woman who craved chocolate? Did I have chocolate chips for cookies or chocolate powder to stir into milk? Was I a chocolate merchant or own a candy store? I’m sure chocolate has always been around me.

            The only times I really crave chocolate are Valentine’s Day or Easter. I wouldn’t want it so badly, if I wasn’t bombarded with its existence. Oh, pooh, I’m susceptible to advertising.

            Chocolate milk reminds me of Grandma Jennie Swinehart. When I stayed overnight with her and Grandpa, my breakfast was hot chocolate. She used unsweetened chocolate powder and added just enough real sugar. No saccharin or another sugar substitute in her kitchen. The mugs were thick ceramic in pastel colors and heavy for a little girl to lift. I dipped my buttered toast and slurped until told to be more ladylike.

            What a nice warm memory. Maybe that’s why I’m obsessed with chocolate. The time at Grandma and Grandpa’s was special.

Please enjoy my Rose Klix “kisses.” These were presented at my program for the Elizabethton, TN Book Club

When does Careful become Paranoid?

I’m careful about what I eat, drink, and breathe. Am I paranoid?
Sometimes I feel as though I am similar to Adrian Monk. You might remember him as the paranoid OCD detective from the TV series Monk.
Hopefully, I’m not quite that bad. However, being careful makes it difficult for me to socialize. I don’t want to insult my host/hostess, so I often just don’t participate or I find ways to politely decline the refreshments.
I don’t like the added ingredients of pesticides and hormone enhancements. Therefore, I purchase meat labeled without them. Also my fruits and vegetables are labeled Organic.
Why? I want to give my body a fighting chance. I experienced breast cancer and don’t want a repeat episode.
There is far too much of the cancer diagnosis these years. When my father was undergoing chemotherapy more than twenty years ago, I picked up a brochure in the waiting room. The explanation stated cancer is often caused by environmental factors like pesticides. I steamed, because I wished Dad could have avoided the treatments. I also knew this hidden enemy was in the very air we breathe and seeps into our water supply.
The medical profession knew back then! But producers are still allowed to sell products which poison us. And we pay more to obtain the cleaner variety! In the 21st century you’d think we wouldn’t continue to be bombarded with poisons.
So, I’m careful. I want to give my body a fighting chance even if I’m labeled as paranoid.
Be Well! It’s delicious.

An interview with my internal Gemini twins

It’s always a thrill to receive the first shipment of new books. Eat, Diet, Repeat has a special place in my heart. This collects my poetry about eating, dieting, family influences, and food in general. I realized during the compilation of this collection that I had some influences of which I was not consciously aware.

I’m a Gemini by birth. I’ve always looked at everything with at least two perspectives. I name my internal Gemini twins, Cassie and Polly. I’m interviewing them here today.

Rose: Cassie, I see you as me pictured on the left side of the book cover. The fat twin.

Cassie: Well, that wasn’t very nice. Who are you to call me fat?

Rose: Sorry. What’s your favorite food?

Cassie: CHOCOLATE!!! I hate carrots.

Polly: Of course you do. They’re good for you.

Cassie: Well, Miss Goody Two Shoes, who asked you?

Rose: Settle down. You’ll both get a chance. Polly you are me on the cover standing on the right.

Polly: Yes. I’d just hiked up to the fire tower. It was a thrill, because most of the time I had to drag you and Cassie. So we didn’t try such things.

Rose: I do feel better when I exercise.

Polly: And eat right.

Cassie: What’s the fun in that? You keep us from socializing.

I just thought you’d like to hear for yourself Cassie and Polly’s influences on me. Thank you ladies.

If you have any questions for me, Cassie, and Polly. Let me know.