My heart will be blessed with the sound of music

My husband and I were curious about La La Land and the rave reviews that came with it. We love musicals and also recalled the “La-La-Land-wins-oops-doesn’t-win” Oscar awards. Because we don’t go out to movies often, we will buy ones we want to watch from iTunes. (So locked in, I know.) Thus, La La Land was added to our library and we watched it over the weekend.

I was intrigued by the direction of the movie, the cinematography, how Ryan Gosling learned how to play piano in six months, and the mix of retro and current times. (By the way, why don’t they use their cell phones to communicate?) The movie was very entertaining, but I was not moved, as I thought I would be.

I guess for me, emotions are a necessary part of music. The singers, instrumentalists, the dancers…they feel the music, pour that out to me so I also feel. They can be super-fantabulous singers, sing the pants off anyone, but these days, when singers are mixed to perfection, the emotion is polished out. I don’t hear the voice that’s in desperation or hear the joy bubbling out. I want to hear a performer that is absolutely committed to the song and it’s words, whether deep, profound, or completely silly and comedic.

After watching La La Land, I decided to watch The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews. I haven’t seen it in many, many years, but the songs are ingrained. I still loved it and I had forgotten that the songs were originally written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Musical geniuses!

When I was younger, the songs I liked were Do-Re-Mi and My Favorite Things. Yesterday I found a renewed appreciation for the intro song, The Sound of Music. I hope you all can have a place where your heart can be refilled and I’ll leave you this time with this:

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I’ve heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I’ll sing once more

Make you feel that way

If you can’t already tell from my constant quotes of music lyrics, I love music. Music spurred me on as a kid, sang songs all the time. Any songs. They can be quite fun to sing and could be applicable in life. For instance, commercial jingles…

Don’t give me that so-so soda, the same ol’ cola
I wanna rock n’ rola – I wanna pop (pop, pop)
I wanna taste pizzazz, all that great taste Shasta has
I wanna Shhhhhhasta!

…or TV themes…

Dance your cares away *clap clap*
Worry’s for another day
Let the music play *clap clap*
Down at Fraggle Rock!

and whatever old tapes my dad might have had hanging around.

What a wonderful life
Livin’ the life I love, oh yeah
Well I’ve got neighbors, I’ve got friends
Just about anywhere the rainbow ends
It’s a wonderful life, life’s good to me
-Elvis

Music is a way for me to express how I’m feeling without conversation and with more feeling than the spoken word. It causes me to cry, yet picks me up, makes me laugh, and inspires me.

These past few months were up & down in emotion. I had the opportunity to volunteer at Keck Medical (up), saw some old friends & made new friends (up), have frozen shoulder (down), started physical therapy (up), fell down the stairs (down), last MRI scan/blood tests clear (up), disability ran out (down), insurance ended (down), received notice for jury duty (oh), teeth cleaned (up), discovered a cavity (down)…

Today I can laugh at myself falling down the stairs. I was tired and completely missed a step. It was not funny when I slammed down on the steps, rolled, and rammed the wall with my shoulder. Is “thump” an onomatopoeia? If not, it should be, because all I heard was THUMP-thumpthump-THUMP. I ended up with the biggest bruise I’ve ever had in my life. I also laugh at the cavity, because it’s the least stressful thing. However, I’ll re-evaluate when I actually get in the chair.

It’s hard for me to admit there are days when I have breakdowns, since I am known as a positive person. My prescription of anti-seizure meds was changed by my request, in order to wean off of it, but the pill I take now is humongous. It’s the size of two joints of my pinkie. Granted, I have small fingers, but I was so tired of taking pills, stressed about insurance and the sight of this ginormous pill made me break out in tears. You know what? That helped quite a bit and I felt better! I was able to get back and be okay about it.

I watch a lot of survival shows – love ’em. You have to “embrace the suck,” as they say, and the number one thing is keeping your mental game going. The most successful people are the ones who have that positive, from-the-core, tenacity to keep going. If you think it’s possible and that you can do it, that is half of the solution. I also watched Living on One Dollar on Netflix quite a few times and it’s incredible how others (less fortunate than I) can survive in such rough environments. I am very lucky & feel blessed to have what I have, feel the urge to give when I can, and thank God for every day.

In the dark it’s more likely that you notice light
In the light more likely that you notice night
Hungry, more appreciation for that meal
Dead broke, more appreciation for that skrill
A bad day’ll make you really notice ones that’s good
And that’ll make things a little better understood
Times I feel I wanna shout, man it’s real that way
When I think of things that make you feel that way
-Blackalicious

Ooh hoo ooh hoo, hoo ooh ooh

Recently, I have been fortunate enough to get a good MRI/blood test, get into physical therapy to build up strength, get a physical with my regular doctor, meet some really cool neighbors, visit the Apple Store to see friends, get an eye exam and order new glasses, have visits with some family, hang out with a nephew…it’s been really good. Now I have to follow up with a bunch of insurance things.

But today? I don’t feel like doing anything.

Yes I said it, I said it
I said it ’cause I can!

Today I don’t feel like doing anything
I just wanna lay in my bed
Don’t feel like picking up my phone
So leave a message at the tone
‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything

Nothing at all
Ooh hoo ooh hoo
Hoo ooh ooh
Nothing at all
Ooh hoo ooh hoo
Hoo ooh ooh

bruno-lazy-song-gif-bruno-mars-23250061-360-203

 

 

 

Another day, another year

Hope everyone had a Happy 4th!

Today is two years from the day where I found out I had a brain tumor. Actually, it went from a stroke to MS to a brain lesion of unknown type until the brain biopsy. I checked into the ER July 5th and after all the testing, waiting, scanning, waiting, I slowly was given pieces of information through the the morning of July 6th. Time passes slowly or quickly based on perspective of the individual. It’s weird, because it feels like a long time ago, but at the same time, I feel like I just found out. It’s a mixed emotional bag.

That said, I feel ok. I’ve gotten used to the I’m-so-tired-must-take-a-nap-everyday. If I sleep well, I have more energy to do things. I still prefer to stay inside and be my naturally introverted self, but I recently attended a baby party and was proud of myself for not being a twad. Is twad even a word? I bet on Urban Dictionary it is. Hey, don’t look that up. Whatever it says, I didn’t mean that, because I know how UD is.

Next scan is in a few weeks and I’m already thinking about it. I consistently get anxious, due to waiting for “good” results and also due to the nasty contrast medium that goes into the IV during the scan. That stuff burns my arm because they poke too hard through the vein. (I have teeny tiny veins.) I can also taste it going in, it gives me a slight headache and I get nauseous. I’ll probably never get used to it. Typing about it makes me feel better, haha.

What else makes me simply happy? My family & hubby & friends & you guys who give me the time of day to read my thoughts. There’s Netflix & being able to catch up on shows, I have never seen (Park & Recreation, for example). I remember my kiddie moments by buying old TV show episodes on iTunes…shows I haven’t watched in many, many years (Duck Tales, Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter). I enjoy shopping off Amazon. Need toilet paper? Dish soap? Bottled tea? iPhone cord? I’ve shopped at Amazon since forever, when they were mostly books, but I dug it. This is from 1999.

Amazon Order

Also proof that I have been a Machead for a long time. Woohoo! (I’m not bashing on PCs, they do rock at gaming.)

I’m going to go floss. You know where I got my floss? Good guess!

 

 

When things end…

I’m not good with endings. I do love happy endings, but as we all know, that doesn’t always happen.

For instance, I was afraid my computers bit the dust, but they were fixable. I don’t like when a TV season ends or has a finale. I don’t like cliff hangers (I’m looking at you Star Wars.) I don’t like that this is Kobe’s last year and Lakers are tanking, playing without grit.

I ended my chemotherapy in February. However, it’s not really an “ending,” since I have to go in every few months and have that MRI/blood test to make sure that the tumor has not grown. It’s more like an intermission in a play or musical, and at this point, I don’t know how it really ends. Things can turn on a dime.

Within the past month or so, my friend’s dad had an exam and his brain cancer seems to have returned. My friend that I met at the UCLA Radiation waiting room is fighting another cancer.

I read an article yesterday that referred to a study that began in 1998, with people with grade 2 gliomas, like me. By the end of the study period, 55% of the 251 members of the group had passed away. What’s interesting is that it is intended to be a positive article. It stated that chemo may have prolonged the lives of some of the patients.

And it did…from 8 years to 13 years. Yes, it’s a significant difference worth celebrating, but 13 years? I’ve already used 2 of those trying to get through all the treatment, blood tests and scans. I have to keep remembering that no matter how much I learn or how many articles I’ve read, the numbers do not and will not define my life or any of my friends who are going through something similar. My doctors have been very good about keeping those numbers away and not using them as measuring sticks. I appreciate that so much. On top of that, I know a friend who had treatment and jumped back to work, another who jumped back into taking care of her kids and family. I also reconnected with someone who had thyroid cancer when I met her and I didn’t even know – she went through treatment almost 10 years ago and is still going through the check-ups. All these people do it like a boss. I can do that, too.

Grit. That word has a lot of different meanings. It can be a bits of sand, an irritation. It can mean courage and determination. It’s what you do with your teeth when you need to power through a bad situation.

My morale of the day for myself:
When you have grit in your life, grit your teeth and show true grit.

Happy New(ish) Year

December/early January is a very busy time for everyone. For me, there were five family birthdays, plus Christmas & New Year’s (they are all smushed closely together) and I really wanted to participate. Even then, I did miss some large gatherings. I was able to delay chemo for a week so I could enjoy it, then I got sick from all the outings, which resulted in delaying the chemo one more week. This coming Monday starts chemo week and I am very ready to feel like poopy-do-do for the next few weeks, because it should (hopefully) be the last in a long, long, while.

Some days, even though I am not on chemo, I still feel like poop. They told me it’s due to the cumalative effects over the year, so the more you take, the worse you feel. [Did I already tell you this? I can’t remember, so I’ll pretend I didn’t.]

It now takes a lot of effort when I venture outside and see people. Most of the time, I rather be in bed, sleeping, reading, or playing games on my iPhone.

Tangent: Games are an awesome outlet. I can pretend to be on the Enterprise and launch missions. I can play puzzles with Mickey Mouse. I can be in a clan and have wars with friends IRL. I can sell my transmog items for gold on the AH or deal Mage spells in a strategy card game with real people on the other side. My current favorite is to be in a Cantina playing with Star Wars character cards on a holo-table. Good for the brain, I say!

Okay, so bringing the train of thought back to the station: Holidays and birthdays are full of cheer. Just because I feel may feel like poop, doesn’t mean I should be a party-pooper. (See what I did there?)  I automatically want to be as normal as possible, answer a few questions quickly and enjoy the company.

However, there are days my thoughts are not always unicorns and rainbows. I tend to be an optimist, but with a shot of realism. I think about friends & family going through similar things, some harder than my situation. Occasionally my thoughts dwell on the statistics of people with my condition and I have thoughts on my own mortality. It sounds sad and morbid, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s okay for me to process these thoughts. The rainbows will be back, but if you are going through something, it’s okay to think about things and deal with it the way you need to, talk it out the way you need to…every one is different and copes in his/her own way.

It’s fine as long as I don’t go to the Dark Side…hahaha.
(Nope, haven’t see it, yet. No spoilers!)

You know, I started this blog to keep people informed, but there are many days that it helps me just as much. This post itself is very therapeutic. Thank you for being a listener/reader! Happy New-ish Year and may 2016 be awesome for all.

Always, I want to be with you
And make believe with you
And live in harmony, harmony!

RobotUnicorn

Stay on Target

Everyone goes through highs and lows, in varying degrees. It’s easier for me to be grateful in the highs, when there is plenty; naturally more difficult to be thankful in darker times, but that is when gratitude in the heart is ever important. It can carry you back up from the low.

I am thankful for so many, many things.

However, right now, my thoughts & prayers are with a friend who is going through major surgery today. I am very grateful to know him for many years – he is genuine, compassionate, fun & witty and will think of some joke or pun to tell once he recovers. So recover well & quickly, my friend! *hugs*

I will borrow the talents of Nancy and say:

HHHmMMM