Saturday, June 21, 2014

Cancer Cannot Silence Courage ~ An Update

Today is my birthday ~ I am 74 now. Last year on my birthday, my husband and I drove up to Tehachapi Mountain and had a picnic. It was green, cool, and beautiful up there and we had a lovely day. 

When I was 59, about this time of year, I had breast cancer. It was caught early, it wasn't aggressive, it wasn't easy, but I survived. Today's header is a quote from a list of things called What Cancer Cannot Do. I got it in the cancer support group I attended at the time. You may see some quotes from it in future posts. The author is unknown.

Neither my husband nor I want my blog to be about his cancer. So in the future, I will continue with my regular stuff, Samson, pictures, old trucks, rust, fences, and all that. Yes, Tex, I am hoping to get to your fences. I also have a little secret that I don't want to share just yet, but that I know you will enjoy once I do. My secret has four legs, need I say more?

It was lovely up there on the mountain last year. Here's hubby at the picnic table. That's when he took the picture of me, below, that I have used this entire year on my blog. But I digress, because I want to let you know that I'm writing this to calm myself down. 

So far, I have been able to hold it together, but I lost it today - I'm writing this on Friday. I thank Dee for her mantra. I figured out a few for myself early on: This is about my husband. I will not think about myself now. And: One day at a time. And: Smile. OK, but then when things don't go well, when memories of Happy Birthdays appear uninvited, and so on, what do you do? I guess you can always sit down and write about it. 

The update on my husband is as follows (as we used to say in our bureaucratic writings at UCLA): 

To clarify: He is not getting intravenous chemotherapy. He is getting a targeted chemo treatment, called chemoembolization. Embolization is a procedure that injects substances to try to block or reduce the blood flow to the tumor. The only cure for this type of cancer is a liver transplant, so, if successful, this procedure can buy time. It can also be repeated later. This I read, but reading about this type of cancer is too depressing, so I am back to my one day at a time mantra.

He had this done on Tuesday. I was at the hospital until 3:30 in the afternoon. He was not doing well, but I thought he would get better in a day or two.

As I write this on Friday afternoon (after a huge crying spell) after talking to him on the phone, he is still in the hospital, 125 miles away. He sounds so bad, it is breaking my heart. They would call me to let me know if he can come home today, but not likely they said. No one called.

He is in a lot of pain. He had bleeding, but that stopped. Now the reason he is not being discharged is the pain and also the nausea. He can't keep food down. I hope they will keep him until these issues clear up or at least become manageable. He said the doctor told him, in simple terms, that the extreme pain comes from the tumor fighting the drugs. Or something to that effect.

So how am I? I'm glad I finally cried. I wanted to as soon as I came home on Tuesday night, but after all that driving, I was just too tired. 

But when I heard my husband's voice for the fourth day sounding so awful, sounding like I have never heard him sound before, I just cried and cried. I think it was a good thing and I am ready to move on and deal with all this again. 

Finally, and this should have been at the top:

Thank you so much for your comments, your good thoughts, your prayers, and your friendship. I have not been able to focus on reading your posts, but now as I'm writing this, I know I will come and visit you soon and that it will do me a lot of good. Thank you so much, I am so glad to have found so many good people on the blogs. 

Samson Says: Thank you everyone for being so good to my mommy. And, don't forget, I will soon have a birthday of my very own (hint, hint)! 


  1. Hipp hipp hurra på din födelsedag!! Varma grattiskramar!
    Tänker på dig o din man. Djäkla sjukdom att man inte kan knäcka koden. Vi kan fara upp till månen men inte få fram ett vaccin som typ influensasprutan.
    Jag hoppas allt går väl och att han mår efter omständigheterna bra.
    Hmmm blir det en kompis till Samson??
    Vi har haft en ok Midsommarafton utan regn , lite kyligt dock!!

  2. Happy Birthday beautiful Inger, your photos are beautiful I can imagine how that birthday was and the joy that it brought to you. Like everything in life we must hold on to those good times because life as we know it throws those tests in there and we get through them because that is what we must do.
    I am sorry your husband and you are going through this and I do understand some of those difficulties and feelings of extreme helpless that go with all you are going thorough emotionally. You are so very strong Inger and I know you can do this cry when ever you need to.
    My prayers are with you and you have many friends and support here and do not forget that. Lots of HUGS my dear Inger. xoxoxox B

  3. Happy Birthday, Inger.. and hugs from Florida to you..
    I am so sorry to hear your hubby is having such a hard time with the chemo treatments. i had hoped the type he is having he could avoid this. I am so glad you cried. cry when you want and as much as you want.. crying is good for the soul and helps us cope.. wish i were there to comfort you in person.
    i know Samson will hug you lots.. and i know this is even harder to cope with because of the hospital so far away.... my curiosty is killing me about the 4 leg secret. cat? dog? donkey? llama? can't wait to hear... don't worry about commenting on blogs, just hang in there until hubby comes home. and we all like to get an update on him...

  4. first, happy birthday to you, dear inger. second, i am glad you had a good cry. just releasing that pent-up emotion is cleansing - and can actually be strengthening. third, samson, give your mom lots of hugs and good care.

    i do hope your husband can be stabilized. bless him in this battle!

  5. Happy Birthday, Inger, and know that we are behind you when you need to vent. Writing it down is an excellent way to confine the worry and express the grief that we feel. Sending healing wishes and energy to you and your hubs. So glad they have new procedures. Those meds are strong. My fingers are crossed.

    My birthday happens soon too (in about a week) and now I know why I liked you so much. Our birthdays are close.

    Crying is an emotional outlet we should not stifle when there is grief. It helps get out what we are holding in. Now what's this four-legged news. . .hmmm. That could be a lot of animals. You're getting good at the cliffhanger.

    I will try to email over the weekend.

  6. Happy Birthday to you. May God bless you.
    Talking helps and the blogger world is for us to talk about ourselves and encourage each other. So whenever you need to vent, please do. Most of us have our email addresses on our blogs. Please don't keep any hurt emotions and keep hurting. Please share.

  7. Inger I hope your year to come is filled with remarkable discovery. What we learn on life's journey is not always joyous , but it adds to us and makes us the person we are.

    You are remarkable and strong and must allow everything to happen in its time.

    I will hold your dear Husband in my heart as I do my daily work. These current trends in LC therapy are a remarkable godsend. Working away from poisoning the body.

    It is a hard journey and one I have no doubt made better and easier by your love and strength together.

    Looking forward to meeting the new surprise.

    Personally I hope the brays

  8. I know you are having a hard time. You shouldn't feel badly about the emotional aspect of it. As you say, the relief you get from crying is positive. I envy women that. When my wife had her brain tumor, it was very hard and of course that particular method of stress relief is not available to men. But we struggled through it, and it ended positively.

    Your pictures are very beautiful. You have a real flair for photography. Keep your spirits up.

  9. A Very Happy Birthday, dear Inger!
    Really you are a very courageous, inspiring and lovely person.
    I am so sorry to hear that your husband is having such a hard time with the treatments. I hope with all my heart that he will be well very soon.

    Love your portrait and all pictures of Tehachapi Mountain too.

    Lovely Samson, I am looking forward to your Birthday! I know you will be very glad with the secret of four legs.

    Dear Inger, sending you both many loving hugs. "Carinhosos abraços" in Portuguese.

  10. A tea kettle that couldn't let off stream would explode.

    Don't explode.

    Your friends want to be here for you. Still, the fear, anguish, and grief are all yours to feel.

    But telling a friend or two will help in some small way.

    Your husband is where he can get the best of care. Cancer does not play fair. And sometimes it is not possible to take a day at a time -- some days it is down to inch by inch.

    I wish you the easiest birthday possible. Special days are the worst when you and the one you love are facing a grim trial.

    Most have hard times with cancer treatments. May the treatments and the after-effects get progressively easier for him.

    It is fortunate you have Samson to hug. I know I used to hug my huge dog, Hercules, upon coming back from the hospital as my mother battled cancer.

    He groaned as if to say, "All right I'll let you, but if someone comes through the front door, I am going to be so embarrassed!"

    Take care of yourself and whatever recharges your emotional batteries, do those things.

    My heart and prayers are with you. Roland

  11. Dear Inger, I'm so glad that you had that good crying spell. So much anguish is released from crying. We never look at crying as a blessing, but it is.

    Happy Birthday even though your world is having some difficulties at the moment, but it will pass.

    I'm sorry that your husband is having some pain from the treatment. Hopefully he will soon be pain free. I'm sending some healing and caring prayers.

  12. My thoughts are with you all Inger ...- keep your strength up ... there'll be plenty more birthdays.

  13. Inger first let me apologize for being such a bad friend.
    I have not looked at posts yet and Sandra sent me your post.
    I am so sorry from the very depths and breathes of my soul. I mean it. I remember that you were concerned about something, but didn't want to say then I went into surgery.


    Well i just want to say a couple of things.

    1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU - I know it will be a tough one.
    2. It is okay and good to cry.
    3. I will pray for you both.

    Would you please send your address so I can send a card - they meant a lot to me at a time like this.

    I am so sorry you two have to go thru this.

    Love and hugs, sandie

  14. Inger, crying is natural, a relief from held in troubles. Too many miles away, and phone calls can be so hard to accept, I send love and care across the miles, that this will pass, and a medical miracle will show .keep sharing with us, and you have love,support and prayers right here. Hugs. Jean

  15. What can I say? You KNOW what is in our hearts!!

  16. Courage does not mean you never break down and cry. You need to do that. Courage is having a good cry, then getting on with the fight. You have courage in spades. You are in my thoughts; you know that. I'm holding both of you in my heart and hoping they can relieve his pain soon.

  17. Inger you are such a super person ~ your day at a time methodology is a good one. Things turn themselves around . You my friend are a strong woman ,having your .husband back home when he is ready ,will start that healing process for you both.
    I hope you treat yourself to a little time in nature for your birthday . Look forward to hearing more about your "pawed" surprise !
    Hugs and Happy Birthday,

  18. Happy Birthday dear. Praying for your husband and for you. Tears can be very healing. Please take care, you are loved.

  19. I'm so sorry lady. I have just learned it is ok to cry when we are really hurting. Don't be afraid to have those moments. They help you be stronger afterwards. My heart is with you.

  20. It is now my turn to give you a birthday wish and although it is a rough one for you and your hubby, please take care of yourself. It is very hard to see and hear someone you love hurt, Inger. We feel inadequate, helpless, small, like we're intruding. But we are not, my friend. Love and support is what you have to offer...never stop giving!...:)JP

  21. Happy birthday to you! I'm sorry to hear everything that you have to go through, sending big hugs to you all!!

  22. Sending you a hug for your Birthday, hope when he comes home you can celebrate your birthday together. Samson, be sure you give your mom lots of hugs and kisses today.

  23. Happy Birthday, Inger!
    I hope your husband feels better soon and then you can cry tears of joy. The other tears really do help a lot though.
    Sending good vibes and love.

  24. Dear Inger, happy birthday. I'm so glad to learn that you are saying calming and focusing mantras. Here's an old Irish prayer that came to mind as I looked at your photographs of your birthday last year. You are so attuned to nature and so this prayer belongs to you:

    May the road rise up to meet you
    May the wind be always at your back
    May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
    And may the hand of a friend always be near.

    May green be the grass you walk on,
    May blue be the skies above you,
    May pure be the joys that surround you,
    May true be the hearts that love you.


  25. I am sending you a birthday hug too and I am so sorry and wish I really could sit down and hug and cry with you. I'll keep your sweet husband in my prayers and you, too my friend. Take care of yourself as much as you can. God bless you both, Diane

  26. Still keeping you both in my prayers. As you know being a survivor, cancer cures are usually brutal but they have come so far these days with treatment. I do hope he is feeling much better soon and you can celebrate that 74th when he comes home. Know we are all there with you in spirit and are sending only good thoughts.

  27. Listen Swedish goddess -

    If I pop off in the next couple of years or so, I want your husband to have dibs on my liver. Its used, but I think its pretty healthy (well, except for the castlemans thing, but i think this liver can be salvageable). It does like its dose of tequila once in awhile (has to be silver patron;i know, I have one of those high-falutin' livers) but otherwise its pretty maintenance free. Seriously, I am an organ donor at death, papered and all...and I challenge your readers to become one too.

    Because I couldnt think of a more wonderful worthy man then to receive a new liver then your husband...


    ps actually, i think its absolutely permissable for you to have a Birthday YEAR instead of a BirthDAY. Celebrate LIFE xoxo

  28. Inger, I'm catching up on your blog, and don't know how I could say anything differently or better than those comments ahead of mine. Just know that so many like me are sending lots of love, comfort and prayers that you and your husband find peace on this journey.

  29. What a difficult contrast of feelings: happy birthday and very sick hubby! That combination might unsettle the best of us.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

  30. Happy Birthday, dear Inger. I'm still concerned about you driving home at the end of a long day. I wish I could take this sickness and pain from your husband and you and make it disappear.


  31. Happy Birthday! I am so glad that you had such wonderful and happy memories of your special day last year - channel those good thoughts and happy times!
    I am so sorry. I hate when bad things happen to my friends. I feel so helpless. I wish I had a way to make things better and take away the pain.
    Hugs to you. Special prayers for all of you.

  32. Dear Inger .. I'm late here but have been thinking of you both and Samson ... your photos and memories of last year are wonderful and so glorious to see.

    Life can be so challenging .. I hope you can be with your husband soon - somehow ... being together is so important and sharing the pain together, each other's too ...

    Birthdays are not easy when things aren't right .. and this year I feel for you both so much - it must be so, so difficult ...

    I love the Irish prayer and everyone's thoughts ... the airwaves are full of love and peace for you both ...

    Samson is also birthdaying soon .. and then those 4 legs that are coming ... you will be busy .. perhaps even baking dog-cup-cakes ..

    With many thoughts, much love and big hugs - Hilary

  33. Happy Birthday to you, Inger. This is a very difficult time for you both. It is good to cry and let out all that emotion. It helps with re-charging your energy.
    Wrap yourself with all the support you are getting from us all here in 'blogland'....we are real and are supporting you both as best we can from this vantage point.
    I know you will be fine and your 'mantras' will help you through this.

  34. Dear Inger,
    Happy Birthday to you. I know this is a trying time, as only you can know. Just know prayers are being sent your way.

  35. Hi Inger - I'm sure I commented - but it's got eaten ...

    I'm sorry you had an emotional birthday with the news ... and I hope by now things at the hospital have eased up ... it's definitely not at all easy.

    At least hubby is being looked after, but I'm sure he'd love you to be with him, as you would love to be him ...

    My thoughts to you all ... you and hubby and Samson ... and then yes your new four legged one

    With big hugs and I do hope you'll have some peace and quiet together ... with big and huge hugs - Hilary xoxoxo

  36. Hi Inger - thanks for telling me about the comment moderation - I hadn't taken that in .. but now can see why you're doing it ..

    All the best - Hilary

  37. Wishing your husband the very, very best. And you are in my thoughts and pryaers

  38. It is so sad that you have to be so far away from your husband. Thinking of you loads x


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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