Sunday, October 22, 2017

Second Chances -

This month, Pinktober, I've been determined to NOT reflect on my cancer journey. I began the month wearing my cancer ribbon and pink quartz necklace, then on Oct. 3 I took it off. Because I no longer needed a reminder, nor to remind anyone else of my journey.

Yeah, cancer sucks. And the journey has been hard. But it's been rewarding - even though I didn't ask for the hard or the reward.

And today, I'm reminded of my own spirituality and the place my cancer journey holds in this. So I'm sharing this today - My God is a God of Second Chances, and yes, third, fourth, fifth. My Higher Power isn't going to sink my ship, and I'm not going to either.

Second chances - what a gift!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yawn -

I'm going to begin with an apology - not apology. Life is calm right now, and I am taking glory in not having anything out of the ordinary to write about.

I go to work at the hospital, serve my patients - counseling those with cancer and those who care for them, and I try to give them a moment of respite in their otherwise crazy and emotional lives.

I go to school, serving 65 students, most eager to learn, and try to instill enough confidence in them that they can tackle my assignments with some trust in my system and in themselves.

I come home - and I have enough time to work on a project, read a book, have lunch with a friend, be a grandma/sister/daughter, and still have a moment or two for Scott.

Life is calm, and I guess not really boring, but peaceful and orderly and full. And I'm not gonna mess with that.

PS - Down 12 pounds - finally.

Friday, October 6, 2017

End of Life Article - Correct Link -

Here - written by my cousin's daughter - and we didn't discover our connection until after our interview.

She did a good job with the story - can be a very very sensitive topic.

Thanks Kelsey for the opportunity!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sequencing - I am doing it! Damn Cancer After-affects -

One of the biggest mind-glitches I've had these past five years post-cancer treatment, has been sequencing. That is - remembering order, number, style, type, and particularly - groups of these. I found this out shortly after I began receiving chemo - I couldn't remember dates, times, appointments, and even when I was writing them down, I wasn't sure if what I wrote down was correct. Almost as if I was dyslexic - except for this was in my mind - I doubted my ability to write things down correctly and then read them back correctly. This loss, and very aware concern, continued - I could possibly remember the first three numbers of a phone number (area code), yet even if I knew the entire number, I would doubt myself in moving that number from mind to phone, having to look at the written number for assurance multiple times.

Do you know how many times we use number sequences? Goodness - phone numbers, addresses - directions, passwords/codes, times - particularly appointments and commitments, department codes and numbers, and I could go on and on, because I have not been able to remember them - and dang, that has been so frustrating.

And how do I tell someone who didn't know me before that this loss is not natural? I've apologized more than once for my lack of ability - even apologizing to the time-keeper payroll admin, for my lack of correctness in filling out time sheets - either missing days and times and/or entering or not, the correct department code. As well, keeping a work schedule, where patient visits cannot conflict with other appointments, has been difficult, and apologizing to my admin for having to request do-overs and reminders has been a tad humbling. (And this doesn't even cover the sequential order of stories, recipes, step-by-step instructions - which I'll elaborate on another time, along with my self-prescribed rehabilitation.)

Admitting this fault to another person/s took great soul-searching, honestly, because this isn't me, and did I want to bring attention to the "not"? But I reached out, once I gave myself permission to do so,  once I saw that this type of task was debilitating - and embarrassing. And folks have been so very kind and patient.

This is all to say that just in the past month the fog is clearing. I can remember a serious of 6 numbers now! I can remember an entire phone number (if I have always known it), and I am getting better at checking and re-checking data before I send it (and - more than that - recognizing where information is wrong).

Ya'll - numbers and data have not been my strong suit - ever, but, I am beginning to see improvement. I am amazed I recognize this - impairment and improvement. I have chosen to be consciously aware of my cancer journey - always hyper-sensitive to my changes, and I am so grateful for this step.

It feels so good to see the fog continuing to lift. I am almost me - in so many ways, and I have to congratulate myself, and give myself permission to acknowledge my growth.

Can you believe, that cancer treatments can cause such debilitation that even 4.5 years later there are still changes being made in my cognitive well-being? Amazing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

4 Years 5 Months - and Counting

Made it through my FINAL chemotherapy appointment today! Five years ago this week I began chemo, and today I was give the nod to "move on with your life." Ha! Like I haven't been! But - the goodness is this nod was official. One more nod in 7 months from my radiation oncologist, and I'm off - or - 5 years cancer free, No Evidence of Disease, and doctor's appoints will be fewer and further between.

All of this commotion gives me cause to reflect and look forward - mostly in my own quiet celebratory way.

Hallelujah - almost there.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Elevator Pitch -

This week I've been teaching my students how to consolidate their research into a 5 floor elevator pitch. You know - when you're on an elevator, someone asks you who you are, what you're doing, where you're going, what you're presenting on, and you have approximately 5 floors to answer that question.

My students need to be able (well, anyone) to verbalize what their research papers are about, in a succinct, precise, brief, clear approach - no humming, full of confidence, and hopefully, do that in 3 floors, with 2 floors left for feedback!

As a college professor, that's been easy for me to do: "I teach Freshman and Sophomore writing and a Folklore, or Cultural Studies course." Bing batta boom, message sent, plenty of time for questions and conversation.

As a chaplain, an introduction is horrible. "I'm a chaplain, a clinical chaplain, at a major hospital. I work with those who are dying, or have received a diagnosis that has rocked their very foundation." Beautiful - but what does that mean? "When we face any major upheaval in our lives, our entire being is traumatized. My focus is to help those who are in this situation as they question their beliefs, their values, their life's purpose." Or - "I listen as others sort through their thoughts and feelings."

But I had a friend awhile back who said to me, "Ronda, who are you? What do you stand for? What's your life purpose?" Yikes! Don't pin me down! I felt cornered, caught, tied down, and then stuck in that spot until I could give an answer. And my life is not one that is static - I am constantly on the move, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and to be asked to put myself in a box just about caused me an anxiety over-dose.

Today I attended a meeting at UVU (where I teach), and while one of the presenters talked about the Inclusion initiative at UVU, my elevator pitch to my friend, and to ya'll came to me.

"My deepest desires are to make sure that every person has a place to land where they can feel safe, share their story, and be heard." "I am one of those safe places."

There you go - that's what I've worked for and toward, all my life. My academic world, my professional world, my chaplain world, my interpersonal world. These are the people I'm attracted to, and quite often, they are attracted to me. Put the message out - verbally or silently, and it will be heard.

I came home from this early morning meeting quite happy - feeling at peace. I did it! I created my elevator pitch, defined my "mission," and expressed my deepest emotions, all in the matter of 5 floors, or a lifetime - depending -

What's yours?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Circumstances -

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - while it rings true to me, I wonder if it's just a little too simplified. Yet I know that whether circumstances reveal or the refiner's fire unveils, once we're down to our essence we're pretty exposed to the realities of the world and how we work in that world.

Thanks,, for sharing this thought with me today.