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Thursday, November 17 I met up with a friend as early as we like to meet. It was a few hours later than most people would call early, but we both stay up late and always get our eight hours of sleep. As I drove to his house, in the distance I saw fog in the valley, the dark coloring of the mountains with a very distinct line and the snow level above. It was beautiful! My friend claims he doesn’t know how to cook, so on our way to the mountains, we stopped at the Sultan bakery for breakfast. He says they have the best bacon anywhere! I don’t eat bacon, so I’ll take his word for it. We split an omelette and he ate the bacon. I hadn’t told him that I ate breakfast on my way over. We made it to the trailhead before noon. He can’t believe that I’ve lived in the area since 1987 and have never been to the scenic Hot Springs. As we got closer, we got higher and higher until we passed the snow level. Neither one of us had any idea we would be hiking in snow. The report said that it’s 2 1/2 miles from the parking lot. We had no idea how cold it would be until we got out of the car. We quickly got our layers on so we could start hiking to warm up. We talk a lot and take a lots of pictures.
When we got past public access, we entered the trail onto private property. To go to scenic Hot Springs, you must contact the owner pay through PayPal and agree to certain rules. There is no emergency access and being on their property is your own responsibility. We saw the cameras, but didn’t look for other cameras. We assumed they were also by the Hot Springs but neither of us cared.
There were five other people already there when we got there. Nobody seem to care that everyone was naked. Three of them left, then the other two, leaving the whole place to ourselves. We both wished we would have gotten there earlier to have more time before our deadline to be back to the car before dark. Beautiful sunset! Beautiful day!
One of my mentors recently said “Bite off more than you can chew and chew the hell out of it.” My thoughts are “Bite off more than I can chew and just keep chewing, just keep chewing”. Then I hear Dori singing “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
Its been awhile since I’ve set any big goals, other than waking up tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t take a terminal diagnosis to make you appreciate waking up every day! I’ve been relatively happy when I wake up, most of my life, but it escalates every time things have gotten bad and I didn’t know if I’d make it thru the night.
One of my coworkers posted a thanks and plank challenge on facebook. “I’m in!” Immediately after typing it, I wondered what I was getting myself into. 30 days of thanks and planks. Great for the first week! By day 30, it’s a 5 minute plank! Is that even possible? What (tf) are we trying to prove here?! I work with mostly physically fit people, so it’s a challenge I accepted and I’m going to meet! I love the competition!
On Halloween, a friend changed her profile picture to a picture of the 2 of us when we were at a bodybuilding competition. I was helping the competitors and she was the guest poser. It got me thinking about competing. I wondered why I stopped, even though I loved it. Then I remembered the cancer that was trying to take over my body for the last 12+ years. I did compete several times with active cancer, but it was a competition for myself more than competing against others. I let it get to me when 2 guys I knew from the gym, told me I should be embarrassed that I wasn’t as competitive as I should be. It had always been my goal to win, but it turned into something to help me plan on being alive for.
Thanks and planks. Join me?! It’s a 30 day goal. You can do it! Catch up or start on day 1.
This next part is scary. I believe that if a goal doesn’t scare me, it’s not big enough. Over the next 25 weeks, aside from continuing to write my books, focusing on my coaching clients and speaking engagement(s) -(I’m expecting more than the only one currently on my calendar!) and continuing my daily cancer treatments, I will be training for another bodybuilding competition. I’ll decide after the first of the year what class I’ll compete in, but my training focus will be in bodybuilding.
I don’t have a posing suit. All the others fit the double D’s. 25 weeks from now, my cute little boobies might look like deflated balloons. They’ll still be cute to me!
I don’t have a gym membership.
I get winded walking up the stairs, how am I going to do cardio?
Being on my modified ketogenic diet for the cancer, how will I modify it to get me to my goal, while continuing to live?
How can I deplete my water at the end without causing a kidney problem?
Those are a few of the questions swirling through my head. I know I have the answers for all of them, I just don’t know what they are yet. It’s a big goal for me! It’s giving me something to live for, but I’m also training to be in the best shape of my life, so far!
Come on! You can do the plank challenge with me! I’m also challenging you to set a 25 week goal. Let’s achieve them together!
Love, gratitude and blessings
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Okay, so not quite Halloween, but the Saturday night before. I’m sorry I’ve been away for awhile. My arduous teacher has been hanging around a lot over the last 5 months. It’s not like I haven’t been doing anything, I’ve just been spending extra sauna time and night hikes in the woods instead of telling you about my adventures. I still have to tell you about the 11 mile hike that gps showed was 14, and the 8+ mile hike, both having about 3,600′ elevation gains. Not now tho. It’s after 3am. I need to check my blood sugar and maybe eat again and go to sleep. I’ll tell you about the blood sugar issues someday too. Something shifted for me this week. Things seem more “together” than they’ve been in a long time! Aside from the fall carnivals at the elementary school, I don’t think I’ve been to a Halloween party since before my 20 year old son was born. Tonight, one of my best friend’s and I went to 3 Halloween parties. There was food I could eat at all 3! We danced a little at the first one. Oops. Nobody else dressed for Halloween. I met people who took the same class that I took last year, so we’ll be able to practice on each other. I gave the dog lots of butt slappins. I’ve never met a big dog that didn’t like butt slappins!
The second party. There were pizzas, q-doba buffet, tons of deserts and lots of alcohol. There was a magician who did things I’ve never seen before. I keep going over the things he did in my head, trying to figure out how he did what he did. There was a woman who started talking to me after the Magic show. She was telling me how much of each desert she had eaten. I told her that I don’t eat carbohydrates. She was trying to convince me that it’s okay because it’s Halloween. I gave her the short version of how I manage recurrent melanoma, mostly with nutrition. She said she has autoimmune disease. I said “You have implants, don’t you?” The shocked look on her face probably meant that I was the first person to ask her that. I attempted to tell her about breast implant illness. She interrupted, saying she’s okay because hers are saline and she recently changed them out anyway. She said she sees a naturopath who helps her with autoimmune issues. Again, I said. If you have poison inside your body, constantly poisoning you, how’s your naturopath going to fix that? the ? It was obvious she won’t listen, but I planted a seed.
The third Seattle Halloween party.
…I fell asleep. To be continued…maybe.
Love, gratitude and blessings
•••••• insert negative adjective here.
When life sucks, it’s time for a new perspective. Okay, to be clear, when some parts of life suck. Saturday will be 12 weeks the tumor on my leg has been open. I’m still believing it’s a drain for all the bad stuff to flow out. Buddy dog. Jake, Anna and Jordan. And a few other things, but I don’t want to share too much negativity.
I’m currently not qualified to jump at my home drop zone. Going there, is tough because there’s nothing I want or need more than to jump. Okay, there’s something. Oh, there’s someone too, but jumping is high on my list. Since I can’t jump, when the opportunity to fly came up, I jumped on it!
We’re familiar with the area, and know better than to fly thru some of the clouds. Sometimes, mountains look like clouds. After accidentally flying thru clouds on a birthday skydive, I know they’re soft and fluffy. Mountains, not so soft and fluffy.
Up, up, up. Decrease power. Roller Coaster! He called them maneuvers, I called it Roller Coaster.
I didn’t have to ask, but we did not do maneuvers over the poop pond. Hat island looks so little out there in the water.
Again, without prompting, we flew right over my house. It’s just south west of the wheel.
I’ve always said I’d rather get out of the plane high than at lower altitudes. This is especially true, around 3000 feet, where I can see and count cows, cars and people.
We had a conversation about perspectives. Right now, I’m sitting on a couch in my living room. I’m feeling the heat From the TDP lamp, hearing the ozone generator and the time clicking away on the clock. I’m aware of the room I am in. It’s not the same for me in a commercial aircraft, but in a little plane, everything changes. Not only am I aware of my surroundings inside the plane, but the vastness of everything outside of the plane. The water, the mountains, all the homes and cars, the largest volume building in the world, right next-door at the Everett Boeing plant.
That corn maze seems to take forever when you’re in it, but so small from 2000 feet. 50 years!
What’s big? Small? What’s important? It’s all a matter of perspective.
I had so much fun!
Love, gratitude and blessings
Filed under: Death, Gratitude, Hope, Love | Tags: Belief system, Choices, Inspiration, Japanese Gulch, Love, Mukilteo, Perspective
Last night when I got home, my son Cameron and his girlfriend Rayla, were about to leave to take Buddy into the woods for his last hike.
I still remember Buddy’s picture on the PAWS website, six years ago. Immediately when I saw him, I said “That’s my dog!” Cameron and I went to see him that day when I got off work. It was just before closing, so they told us to come back the next day. Buddy was scared. He cowered in the back of the kennel. His neuter surgery had gone bad and they had to open things back up to clean out the infection. The staff made it seem like that’s why he was scared. I was concerned he could be a fear biter, until we got our Rottweiler Keta, out of the car to meet him. He followed her around the play area and seemed so excited! He was leery of us, but loved Keta. We went back the next day and brought him home. We only had Keta for 6 more weeks until her kidneys shut down from bone cancer. She had broken Buddy in. He was afraid inside the house, but excited and loved going for walks in the woods. Over the years, Buddy continued to be afraid of certain people, mostly men wearing baseball caps, but always men who were smoking. We could rough-house with him outside, but if anyone touched him inside the house without warning, he’d pee. It took several years for that to stop.
I’ve always wondered what happened to him before we met. I had a goal to prove to him that some people are good.
Five years ago, Buddy appeared to catch a squirrel. I thought he broke its back. Buddy was gentle, but dropped it when I screamed. It crawled away, dragging its back end. It died as it reached the other side of the driveway. Buddy cried. He seemed disappointed it didn’t play with him. When we saw the third squirrel dragging its back end, my partner took it to PAWS. They have a wildlife center. They told him that local squirrels had been getting a raccoon parasite that attacks their spinal cord, paralyzingly their back ends.
About 2 years ago, Buddy’s back legs started getting weak. His right leg was worse than the left, but both atrophied. We were told he had degenerative myelopathy. It’s like ms in people. Recently, I researched ms and parasites and found several articles stating that the ms patients they tested had an unusual amoeba in their blood. I’m pretty sure we aren’t supposed to have amoebas.
They say there’s no way to cure degenerative myelopathy, but regular exercise can slow the progression. I wondered how long I could help Buddy and keep him alive. We continued our daily walks in the woods. As time went on, Buddy’s legs shrunk more and his walking was increasingly worse. It was so bad in March when I had my surgery, I thought he might die during the time I wasn’t able to drive. He looked happy though. He ate every day. He drank water. He pee’d and pooped, although it didn’t appear he had any control over when he went. Most days, he’d drag himself out the back door and down the two steps to go potty in the back yard.
Aside from my doctors in Mexico and my neurosurgeon who put me back together after I broke my back, I believe all the medical doctors I’ve seen over the last twelve years, wrote me off shortly after meeting me. Last year, a doctor at a walk-in clinic, knowingly prescribed a narcotic I was allergic to. The pharmacist told me he didn’t want me to take it, but the doctor did. He said that if I took it, to sit in a chair with my phone and if I had breathing difficulty, to call 911 immediately. Seeing the open tumors on my neck and bottom of my left foot, was he trying to help me with pain or help me die from an allergic reaction? Even though I wasn’t ready to die, I felt like he could come in handy when the time comes that I am. I was angry that if I didn’t know what I do, that doctor could’ve been my end. Why should anyone have the right to decide when someone else will die?
Why should I be the one to decide when Buddy would die? I know it’s considered humane to put a dog to “sleep” when they’re in pain. How do you know of a dog is in pain?
About a month and a half ago, Buddy started drooling a lot. I asked my neighbor, who is a vet. She said if we had put Buddy down a year ago, it wouldn’t have been too soon. The drooling in a non drooling dog is a sign of pain. Someone else told me that in the wild, an animal wouldn’t let the others know it was in pain, because they’d leave it behind. How could I know if Buddy was too miserable to keep going? I’ve been so sick at times over the years that the people around me gave up on me. I guess I just wanted Buddy to make the decision and die on his own. Cameron wasn’t ready. When his friends were killed on July 30th, I really didn’t want to make that decision.
Last week, we had a family meeting and decided it was time. The first available appointment at our vet, was this morning at 10. Back to my first paragraph…
I asked the kids if I could go with them. Our plan was to get Buddy in Rayla’s car, drive to the woods and then, I don’t know what. Cameron enticed Buddy to drag himself to the front porch. He picked him up to take him down the steps and driveway to the car. Buddy started peeing as soon as Cameron picked him up. He held him still until he stopped peeing. I went back inside to get towels to dry Buddy off. Before I got back, Buddy ran down the driveway, dragging his back legs behind him. I washed the porch and sidewalk off with the hose, while the kids dried the pee off of Buddy. We all cried on the way to the woods. It’s only 3 blocks. Buddy wanted to walk, but Cameron picked him up. We barely got past the trailhead when he put Buddy down by a favorite peepee tree. Pretty sure most dogs pee there. Buddy dragged himself around it, sniffing what his friends had left.
Cameron wanted Buddy to have one last walk in his favorite places. We’ve walked in Japanese Gulch several times a week and often daily, since we moved here 17 years ago. Cameron taught me to hike in the dark without headlamps, being careful to feel what’s under my feet. It has helped greatly with my other hikes. In the gulch, I could also see the dogs, which helped as long as they stayed on the trail. In the dark, we mainly took the same trail. There’s a spot we call “the lookout”. On full moon nights, we’d go to the lookout and howl at the moon. Buddy would howl with us, while Lucy the bulmastiff, just looked at us like we were crazy.
Last night, we walked as far as Cameron could go, then stopped to rest, lay on the ground with Buddy and talk. We heard our friends Debra and Cooper. Buddy sat up and started whining, wanting to see his friends. Cooper is a rambunctious puppy and Debra always has treats. I yelled “Cooper” once, but with all of us crying, didn’t yell out again.
It was getting dark by the time we got to the lookout. Buddy wasn’t interested in howling. We really weren’t either. We decided to take a shortcut because the chance of falling is higher in the dark and even higher while carrying a large dog. I cried nearly the whole way, watching the love Cameron and Buddy shared. It was only a mile. It was a mile I’ll always remember!
We all got up this morning, knowing what the day would bring. We all tried to hold back the tears, but didn’t. Rayla drove. The vet and staff were great! I wouldn’t want their jobs. I won’t go into the details, but Buddy died with all of us holding him. We showed him that regardless of what happened before we met, some people are good. He knew we loved him.
It’s only been 13 hours. Every time I’ve walked thru the kitchen, I expect to have to step over him, but he’s not there. I’m tired and crying again. It seems this year’s theme has been loss. I hope this is the last one for awhile!
We LOVE you, Buddy! Thank you for teaching us so much and loving us back.
Love, gratitude and blessings