Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Everything Happens for a Reason

I still get the shivers when I think of this. Megan had been sent to Iraq. I worked 24/7 in order to keep sane during this time. I was making art, teaching art, selling art. I was accepted into a group art show that was being displayed in Cologne, Germany.

I had put in for a week's leave of absence WITHOUT PAY to go and see my show and partake in the ceremonies and was planning on visiting local schools and see how they taught art. My school denied me the leave. I had been there 10 years and I was devastated. I had a place to stay and had been studying German in preparation for this huge event in my life. It was the one ray of light in a world filled with fear and images of death haunting me in the free moments I allowed my mind to wander.

I was angry, bitter, and I remember crying from a spot inside my heart that was bottomless and full of pain. I had given my soul to my job, never asked for anything, and they told me the students needed me there, so I was denied my request.

Then I got a call from Megan. The Army had granted her a weeks furlough home. It was during the week I would have been in Germany.

I felt like I just had experienced a bolt of insight. Things happen for a reason. Often you may not understand it, or know why it happened for a very long time, but there is indeed a reason for everything in our lives.

I know that even more so now, as Megan's cancer has radically changed our relationship as mother and the most positive of ways. No matter the outcome, we are learning to love, respect, help, and understand one another. We are learning to be in control of our lives, and not be victims. We learn to appreciate the smallest of things....the laughter of a child, the blaze of a warm fire, a pot of chicken soup with people we love. Cancer and the fragility of life has given us this fine gift.

I am not a saint; sometimes it is really hard to stay focused on the positive all the time. When I speak to Megan and she is sick for days on end, barely able to get out of bed, I sometimes crumble and lose sight of the good.

Megan is sick again, on antibiotics and was given her treatments yesterday. She has not been out of bed much the past few days and a few of us are helping out with Alanna. The cancer is still disappearing, but it was hard to hear Megan say that 90% of all people who have LMS have reoccurances/metastises. I don't want to think that and I want to believe that she will be in the 10% that won't. I will focus on that 10%. So all of you who do read this, please pray or meditate that she WILL be that 10% who will beat this nasty beast.

And the photo...when Megan was on leave she visited school and talked to my students about being a soldier. Here she is tan, healthy, strong. And she WILL be that way again.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

New York Times Article

I have not written for a while here. Life has been busy, I have had Alanna more than usual as Megan has not been feeling well. She has days where she is ok, days where she feels great, and days where she can't get out of bed or stop throwing up.

Alanna has had her days too. There is no way that this is not affecting her in some way, seeing her mother so sick. Thankfully she has a great daycare center to go to a few days a week, and she spends time with people who give her tons of love. So far we have been able to keep things as even keel as possible.

She is still too sick to work as there is no rhyme or reason to her getting ill. She still has some money to live on for another month or so, and we might have to figure out how to regenerate some more help financially. So many people have been so kind...and I am so appreciative. You have no idea how much all the support has meant to our family. My friend Karen called me today and wanted to know what she could do, and I told her that just making that phone call to me meant everything in the world. It has been a really rough winter for all of us, and the kindness of others has been what has kept a smile on my face when I thought that impossible.

I read the New York Times article today from the sunday magazine on Women in the War. I think everyone should read can go to nytimes. com and at the bottom go to Magazine and the link to the article "The Women's War". I could not finish it as I was so upset and knew too much already--first hand from Megan about the sexual harassment and abuse.....Megan said she never went anywhere without a knife out of fear of ANY man..not just the "enemy". She did file harassment charges a few times against one of her commanding officers, and they were "demoted" as a result, but it sounds like she was lucky, as this is not often the norm. The article touched the tip of the iceberg and did not cover other abuses of women, pregnancy in the miliatry, and the diseases that women come home with.

I cannot write more about it as I will get too angry and need to keep a positive focus for all concerned.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Don't Happy

I just got off the phone with Megan. She had her treatments yesterday, and has been very sick for the past 24 hours, but still keeps going. We talked about relationships, about children, and about aging, and we agreed that the only way to live life is to be happy.

I was just talking to someone recently who had gone to a seminar at the Omega Institute...and she had taken notes all weekend long about improving the quality of one's life etc. At the very end, the teacher ended it with "all that matters is that you are happy". With that she tore up the weekend's worth of notes, and on one single piece of paper, wrote "BE HAPPY".

Though it is hard to practice at times, I strive to be happy through the sorrow, pain, and loss that I feel in my life. I know it means growth and meaning for the large picture that we may not always be able to see.

Tonight I found great happiness in saying "I love you" to her, after sharing some silly stories about school or Alanna. No matter how hard it all is, we end the conversation with a smile and with love. Because in the end, that is all there is.

Tonight's picture is a bit morbid. It is a picture that someone in Megan's platoon took of her while she was taking a rest in the heat. I guess she put her dog tags over her eyes to keep out the light. The strength of the hot desert sun in Iraq is splashed across her face. Her scars show in such harshness......but they too have faded slowly with time.

This weekend is a peace march in several places...perhaps I will join one. Patti


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Good News

You know Ms. Jolie, you don't have that much over my daughter, save for a few bucks and your health. I was in the store the other day, and one of the magazines on a rack had a shot of her on the cover. At quick glance, I saw my daughter staring at me. I was rather jolted, and went over to look at it closer. I covered up a few parts, looked closely, moved back, laughed, and smiled. I am sure that the people in the store thought me a bit odd, but at this stage in my life, do you think I care????? To me, my daughter is the true hero, a true star. Megan, I hope you read this.....because it comes from my heart.

Yesterday was chemo/rad day and she had to go for a PET and a CT scan. The good news was, the cancer in the rectum did not show up on the PET, hopefully meaning it was caught early and the chemo has eradicated it, and the tumor in the stomach is continuing to shrink. The doctor thinks that another few months of chemo will do it.

I was overjoyed. Things have been really rocky in my life, and to hear this was a balm to my soul. She has a safe and sweet place to live courtesy of Julie, which she can afford with help from us and the generosity of donations from all you folks. She still has some healing and cannot work. Last night she was vomiting, and today is in pain. But the baby is in child care for the day, she is warm, safe, and loved. I told her to heal and maybe I will stop home and bring her the "hell of a soup" I made last night. My food is always made with love and healing.

Larry took this digital photo a few weeks ago. Megan looks radiant and would never know how sick she is. She carries herself with strength and dignity...I should be so strong.

Love you girl! xxxmom

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Settling In

Larry took this recent photo with his Rolliflex camera. He really captures the essence of her in this. She is such a beautiful child..though a spitfire at times. But hey, you have genetics involved and the women in her life are all strong wild women.

Megan is finally moved in and in the process of unpacking and settling. She got the awful illness that I am still battling for 10 days now. Thankfully she is not working, and hopefully it will be over with by Tuesday when she goes for her treatments. She will have another PET scan I think on Tuesday, to see how everything is progressing, assuming Medicaid will OK it this time. I keep visualizing the cancer cells being killed off, and her being on a steady road to recovery.

Her little house is sweet, Alanna can run and jump without fear of curses and violence from downstairs neighbors, they can take a bath or shower without fear of running out of ceilings are falling in. They are in the woods, in quiet, and not too far from anything. A few friends of mine live close by, and Julie's family still lives on the property in case there is a problem. And it is all good.

I am thankful for friends, for family, for the generosity of you all out there, and for my greater power and love that exists for all of us. Each day I learn an important lesson, and each day I live my life to its fullest.

In peace, in love, Patti

PS I am a bit behind, but I am writing thank you notes to all of you who have been so generous to Megan!!! THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mostly Moved

It has been a long week. Long for me and even longer for Megan. She had to move out w/in three days and somehow managed to pull it all together in spite of the chemo and radiation. When I left her in the new house (THANK YOU JULIE!!) she was sick with what I have (some nasty lingering thing) and could hardly move. I have not been able to reach her, so I hope all is well.

This weekend me and perhaps some of my friends will help her clean, set up the house, and make it cozy for her and Alanna. It is a sweet house, with plenty of room in it for the both of them, and it is even partially furnished with vintage and antique furniture.

When Megan and I walked in we recognized so many things from having lived with Julie a few times in the course of our adventurous life. It gives a feeling of warmth and memories of a more innocent time. I would like to say less stressful, but our life was always stressful in one form or another.

I hope it works for everyone concerned, and may she have more peace and comfort than where she was last living. I hope it helps out Julie too....having someone take care of the place until it sells.

A photo I took of Alanna the other night reading a photo magazine with Larry. SHE LOVES BOOKS....LOVES books. I wonder, is it genetic or environmental? I suspect a little of both.