Double Rainbow

Have you ever seen a double rainbow?

Mom and I were able to witness this colorful sight tonight.

There is a saying: "It takes both rain and sunshine to make a rainbow." I use this saying when I hope to inspire someone. My philosophy is that good things and bad things happen to us all in life, but at the end of our challenges, something positive always follows. Call me silly, sentimental, crazy, who knows, but that's how I feel. Each time we are presented with a challenge, use it as a stepping stone, and not a stumbling block.

I find that many times I am able to help others by my words of wisdom, but sometimes I fall short when it comes to helping myself. Why is this? I guess as you move forward in life you gain wisdom slowly but surely.

Remember to grasp your rainbow and look forward to the pot of gold on the other end.

Love to all.

Picking Passion Fruit

It's a drizzly Tuesday morning. Mom needed her morning fix, so out we went into the drizzly day. While mom enjoys her cigarette, I venture off into the folliage to pick passion fruit. There is nothing more peaceful than being one with nature. Mom watches as I gather up the passion fruit, but is concerned about my shoes getting muddy. It's quite commical. Here I am 45 years old, and my mother is scolding me about getting my shoes dirty. I laughed and commented to not sweat the small stuff, and to remember everything is small stuff. Needless to say, I passified her and washed my shoes off before returning into the house.

We returned into the house only to start watching Extreme Mindblowing Hotels. Since I had just picked Passion Fruit, it kind of went hand in hand. One of the Hotels was the Nordic Inn located in Crosby, Minnesota. It was meant for the ultimte Viking experience. It was a Rowdy, Robost and Romantic setting. There seemed to be a lot of "PASSION" expressed in the making of this establishment. See, what did I tell you, the two events of my day went hand in hand. LOL You have to find fun here somehow!!

Another event that made me laugh was a story told by one of the residents named Kook. We are always eating it seems here at the Fisher House. I guess you could call it comfort food. That's probably why I've put on so much weight. Well, we were talking about how sometimes we will make an attempt to get some exercise. The hospital isn't that far down the hill, but it is a hike on the way back up. Several of us have to make a midpoint stop and take a breathier. This is where the story cracks me up. While walking back, Kook was getting quite exhausted. She needed a break, but her husband (Owen) told her to continue. Knowing she enjoys her food, Owen pulled out some crackers to entice her and told her Auntie Tina would have something for her to eat if she kept going. I could hardly stand it, I laughed so hard. We told her that was so messed up, and wrong on so many levels. She shook it off, and we chalked it up to another story for the books.

We have had to find comic relief while here at the Fisher House due to the severity of the situations. Kook and Owen lost their first born child while here, and it is good to see they are coping with their loss. It's never easy to move forward when presented with a challenge like this, but they are an inspiration to us all. Thanks Owen and Kook for making me laugh and showing your strength to us all. You are both loved.

I'm looking forward to making more memories and sharing any sorrows. Life is such a gift. I hope each of us takes the time to tell those you love how much they mean to you.

Oahu Blackout

The darkness came upon us last night. Oahu lost power to over 900,000 residents. Mom and I went out onto the porch to see the extent of the power outage. It was wide and far. We could only see lights at the hospital and airport. I know they have backup generators, so this must have been the reason they retained power.

It was an amazing sight to see. We are so used to looking down at Waikiki and seeing lights for miles to come. The clouds loomed over us and it was just pitch black. The Fisher House was unprepared and only a few people had flash lights with working batteries. We were able to round up one Coleman lantern which was electrically charged, but that didn't last long. Since no candles are allowed in the home, we all seemed to retire to bed early and looked forward to the morning light.

Good night!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family:

The morning started out by having Breakfast with Santa. Tina and I arose to start cooking breakfast bright and early. The residents from both houses came up here and were given presents from Santa. Several of us couldn't resist and had to take our picture with Santa. You'd think we were little kids or something. Remember, it's all about the youthful spirit, not the age. It was a wonderful time. Later that evening, a group of families came in and brought Christmas dinner. We all enjoyed the evening and then vegged out for the night.

We received many Christmas blessings. The best Christmas present is the love from our family. During these tough times, we are truly blessed to have such support. I couldn't give my mom the care she needs without the help from all of them.

Even though we are not with our own families, the Fisher House residents have become a family unit also. We have all pulled together to help support the emotions of one another. I was shocked to see how giving people can be. Mom and I were received an anonymous card with a gift of $100.00. It brought tears to my eyes. How thoughtful and giving of someone who probably needed it themselves. Thank you God for blessing us so generously.

These are just a few gifts we were blessed with from the Fisher House:

$100/Card (Mystery), $20/Card/Dried Mango (Maggie), Earrings/Necklace Sets (Kook & Owen), Shirt/Pants/Perfume/$100/Walmart Gift Card/Candy/Slippers/Neck Massager (Fisher House Management), $25/Card (Ella Bivens), Gift Bag with Goodies/535th Airlift Squadron, Wooden Box/Inspirational Book (Jace)

We received several calls from friends and family on the mainland: Jessica/Charles/Jerone/
Scott/James/Craig/Jay/Brian and Hector.

When we closed down for the evening, I massaged mom's legs and rubbed her back. I am so blessed to be with her right now. Thank you God for this opportunity.

I miss all of you and know you all were showered with love. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Merry Christmas once again and may you all have a Blessed New Year.

Special Friends

Today I spoke with Sophia Peterson. It is always such a pleasure to talk with her. While living in Washington State, my children bonded with our neighbor Sophia and she quickly became their adopted Grandmother. Sophia's grandmother (Sophie) came from Switzerland and her grandfather (Columbus Sinclair) was from Michigan. They had a homestead in Silverdale Washington. Her father's side is from Youngstown Ohio. She has always had a special fondness for Jessica. Jessica use to be her sidekick around her house and would help her with odd chores and just be her companion. Sophia has held both Jessica and Charles close to her heart. I was amazed to hear she is now 80 years old (July 23). The stories she has to share are always memorable. We talked about Sophia's two sons, Ken and Marty. We also talked about Snowflake, Sophia's cat who was pure white. Jessica and Charles adored her. Sophia continues to enter into the Fair and as usual has won another ribbon for her baking or gardening talent. I am so pleased to have her as such a special friend. Thank you Sophia for being a part of our life and extended family.

I received several other calls today, just checking up on Mom and I. Inez, a long time friend called from Kansas and informed me her daughter Chelsea is driving. How can this be? It seems as just yesterday she was in diapers. My how time flies. I also received a call from my good buddy Jerone. Jerone is known as Papa to most of my Walmart friends in Pensacola. He is always there to lend a helping hand or just give advise to keep you on the straight and narrow path. He has been a blessing in my life and I am lucky to have such a wonderful man to call my friend.

Today I was asked to take Tina Mahlum (A Fisher House Resident), to church. I just dropped her off since the service is done in Palo. Tina is a cancer patient who Mom and I have become very fond of. She has a giving heart and doesn't allow her cancer to stifle her life. She lives life fully everyday and is very unselfish. It's an honor to be her friend. Thanks Tina for your strength and love. After dropping Tina off, her daughter Jace and I went to the Swap Meet to locate some last minute Christmas gifts. As usual it was packed, hot, but lots of fun.

Several conversations arose today and reminiscing resumed once again. For some reason, a conversation was brought up about an incident that took place when I was a child. We lived in Vallejo California. The lady who lived behind our house decided that her dog poop was easier to flush with water down her hill to our house than to pick it up. Needless to say, an argument arose between my mother and her. In the process, she decided to bite down on mom's arm. Mom told her to go ahead you cannibal, because I'm gonna beat the shit out of you. The cops were called and they regained control of the situation. We chuckled at the silly things that you remember in life and how you should have fun with every moment.

I spoke with Jessica today and was tickled by a comment made by my grand-daughter. The family traveled to Greenville South Carolina to attend a family reunion. Brianna told her mom that she had to take the special chocolates that great-grandma and grandma sent her. How cute! She always has such a way with words. I was also pleased to hear that Nate wore the Polo Shirt I sent him and received several comments about it. I love to give and have those who receive the gifts to be happy with them. Apparently this time I succeeded. Enjoy guys!

Until tomorrow, I hope everyone has a wonderful day and is ready for Christmas. God Bless!

Chamorro Barbeque

Today Mom and I enjoy a relaxing day around the Fisher House. Early in the morning while watching the sunrise, mom, myself and several residents here at the Fisher House decided to have a barbeque. Mom was recently sent fish and octopus from Guam and so we decided it was time to cook it up.

A Chamorro menu was discussed and this is what we came up with:

  • Red Rice (Hineksa Agaga)

  • Barbequed Ribs/Barbequed Chicken (Tinenun Gatne/Tinenun Manok)

  • Octopus (Comsun)

  • Beef Kelaquen (Kelaquen Katne)

  • Cucumbers in Soy Sauce (Finadeni Cucumbers)

  • Fried/Barbequed Fish

After we ate, we relaxed a little more and then Mom, me and Tina made a flower arrangement. It was a beautiful bouquet made of red, white and purple flowers. It was a refreshing addition to our bathroom. Every Tuesday, an older woman by the name of Margaret comes by and brings fresh flowers. It just makes the Fisher House a little more warming.

The day ended with most of us overly stuffed and ready to make an early retirement to bed. As usual, mom and I finished the night by watching tv and dozing off to bed.

Good night everyone!

Christmas Carolers

Today started out by me cooking breakfast (no laughing please). I cooked bacon and eggs. Mom also had some rice and coffee. I was so glad to see that she had an appetite. Lunch consisted of a turkey, lettuce, tomato and cheese croissant along with Cheetos and a Pepsi. The evening concluded with her having rice with finideni (a Guamanian sauce), and Thai noodles (something called Pate?), and to top that off, a chocolate cake and water. Mom actually astounded me in the amount of food she consumed. Go MOM!

I did eat as usual, but I have started a workout regime which I hope will maintain my weight if nothing else. I decided instead of me sitting around while mom smokes, every time I take her outside I have to do some sort of exercise. Today I walked back and forth the full length of the parking lot until she was done. There have been times I have stood outside and done jumping jacks. I told the residence I may look silly, but anytime they are ready, they can join me. At night, I am trying to do a series of sit ups. I love food, so I am hoping my calorie intake is less and that I will start burning some of this fat off. Wish me luck. I've gained about 50 pounds over the past few months, and it isn't getting any easier to lose at my age.

After dinner we were graced by the presence of Boy Scout Christmas Carolers. It was so festive to have them sing for us, and before we knew it, we caught ourselves joining in. It's amazing how many groups come to the Fisher House to support the needs of the families. The needs range from emotional, physical and financial. It is such a blessing to be a part of this extended family. Thank you God!!

God is the reason for the season, and I want to lift all of my family and friends up to him. He is a forgiving and loving God and he has a plan and purpose for us all. Live and love life and give thanks for each day.

I hope all of you have been good boys and girls so that you receive many blessings. I love and miss you all. I did hear from a few of you today to let me know you received my package or card. I was surprised with the promptness of the Post Office. That only took four days. Good job!

You are all in my thoughts and prayers. Keep it safe during this holiday season. Love to you all.

Cosmic Flood Light

As of yesterday and today, mom has not been feeling well. Her body apparently feels weak and very heavy. She told me it seemed as though it felt swollen. Luckily we have a handicapped shower, so when I am bathing her, she can sit down. Even though the doctors have recommended a little walking, she finds it very difficult to stand up for any length of time. I wish I could take her pain away. It just breaks my heart to see her hurting.

The weather has been very rainy and windy the last couple of days. As I take mom out for her fresh air (cigarette break), we spend our time talking about the wonders of life. As we watched a helicopter fly through the air, it brought back memories of my father. We talked about how dad used to have to ride a helicopter to service generators on majestic mountaintops. We also talked about how my brother (James) and my father used to go spear fishing on Guam when we were kids. So many fond memories have been rekindled. It's already been 18 years since dad's been gone. May he rest in peace. We sure do love and miss you dad.

A new fascination of mine is star gazing and moon watching. Last night the moon was bigger and brighter because it was closer to the earth. They say it's like a "Cosmic Flood Light". It was absolutely spectacular.

Since the weather was so bad, we spent the rest of the day chilling out and watching t.v. The Christmas Holiday is so closely upon us, I can't believe it. I hope everyone has been good little boys and girls.

May you all have a wonderful evening and know you are loved!

"Bear"-ing Gifts

My brother called today to ask for help from mom. He wanted to know how to make Ritz chocolates, and Spanish peanut clusters. Mom was glad to help and I'm sure it made her feel special knowing even at our age, we respect her and need her. I hope they turned our yummy James.

I attempted to craft some Christmas Cards with a local stamp-in up representative who came to the Fisher House, but my allergies got the best of me. I sneezed my way back to my room, and took some badly needed allergy medication.

As the day went on, I felt better and off I went to take care of Christmas business. With Christmas quickly upon us, it was time to put some packages and cards in the mail today. I am "Bear"-ing Gifts to those I love. According to the post office they should arrive on the mainland by Monday. I was glad to get the majority of my items shipped, but I'm sure I will find a few things that will be straggling in the next few days.

If you haven't gotten in the Christmas Spirit, get a move on it. Remember:

  • You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

Give of yourself and share the love!

Happy Holidays.

It's A Bird, It's A Plane...

Today was a long day at the hospital once again. We thought it would be a quick trip to the lab, but unfortunately it turned out otherwise. Mom was not feeling well over the weekend and she needed to have hydration and magnesium.

I was able to bring mom to the Cozy Chemo Corner today and then leave for my dreaded pap smear appointment. I decided after eight years I should probably check things out considering mom's history. I don't believe ovarian cancer is hereditary, but it is a silent monster, so I wanted to be on the safe side. Remember ladies to get your well checks done periodically. Don't take any unnecessary chances. This is just a friendly reminder.

One of the downsides of the Chemo Corner, is that there is always a large bowl of chocolate sitting on the counter for all to consume. Well, I couldn't help myself, so I partook of the goodies. Today I ate, okay I'll admit it, several dove chocolates. If you are not aware of it, they always have a promise written on the inside of the wrapper. I wanted to share some of the promises I received:

  • Love is always the perfect gift.
  • Happiness is celebrating the little things.
  • A helping hand is sometimes the best present of all.
  • If old acquaintances be forgot, give them a call and remember.
  • Add a little sweetness to your day.

The last one was something I had already done, otherwise I wouldn't have had so many promises to share. LOL. As I ate my dove chocolate, I fondly thought of my daughter Jessie. If I recall correctly, she too loves dove chocolates. I wish you were here to enjoy them with me. I love you girlie.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...Mom and I loved hearing and watching the birds and planes as they flew in the Hawaiian skies. Mom commented that Guam does not have the friendly birds like they are here in Hawaii. Hawaiian birds are adapted to people and will come right up to you with no fear. There were several birds perched in the front lawn basking in the sun, while others poked at the ground looking for food. It was quite a treat to listen to such beautiful music as they chirped their tunes. Twin, a young resident here at the Fisher House sadly left us today. We vowed to watch the planes this afternoon and think of her. Mom and I both wished it were us on the plane heading home. We know that all in due time we will rejoin the rest of our families. It will be a day of happiness.

The night ended with us relaxing. I actually started addressing my Christmas Cards and getting my packages ready to mail to the mainland. Can you believe Christmas is upon us already? Where does the time go?

Have a wonderful evening and to all a good night.

Radiology Therapy

It's been a couple of days since I wrote last, but we have received good news which is worth sharing with everyone.

On Wednesday, we had an appointment with Radiology Therapy. Mom's Doctor was Dr. Sprague. A pleasant doctor who made us quickly feel at ease. She had reviewed mom's recent Bone Scan and was ready to unveil her discovery. According to the doctor, she wasn't 100% confident that the spot on the scan was truly a cause for concern. The spot was on the front portion of mom's vertebra, which was less worrisome than that on the back of a vertebra. She enlightened us about how bone cancer works. She referred to it like a mouse. It literally eats a hole through the area. If the spot was on the back portion, it could possibly lead to paralysis because once the vertebra splintered it could puncture the spine. Luckily, mom's spot was in the front which would not be so burdensome if it did fracture.

With this new determination, the doctor was hesitant to start radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is somewhat invasive. The radiation would have to be administered from the front and back of mom's body to reach the suspected site. The beam from the front would initially go through the layer of skin, the muscle, the bowel, and then finally reach the targeted spot. Due to the several layers, damage would be done to good cells and the bowel. Therefore, she felt at this time the procedure was not beneficial. If mom was having tremendous back pain which affected her walking or sleeping, she would re-consider. All in all we are stoked by the decision and we look forward to our follow-up visit in February.

I spoke with my little angel the last couple of days and laughed as usual at her innocence. Brianna asked very coy, "Grandma, once you are done taking care of great-grandma could you come back to Florida and take me to Walmart to buy me marshmallows". She said, "I really like marshmallows". I just chuckled and re-assured her that this could be done. Another treat we enjoyed was being serenaded by Brianna. She sang the 5 little ducks song. She is too precious. Mom and I talked again about how smart she is and how she brings so much joy to both of our lives. Thank you Breezy for your gift.

Stay Sweet and Live and Love Life Everyone!

Cozy Chemo Corner

I just love the caring, compassionate environment that is given at the Cozy Chemo Corner.

Mom was able to get Chemo yesterday, but not without a little drama at the hospital. As we were waiting to get her vitals done, a Code Red took place and the portion of the hospital that we were in had to be evacuated. If that wasn't bad enough, once everyone returned, it happened again. It was quite an event to witness the chemo patients trying to evacuate with their medical poles. I overheard the charge nurse say let's hope none of my patients become dislodged, or we will have a hazmat issue on our hands. It was quite exhausting. It took about an hour and a half before we were back in the hospital.

Mom spoke with Dr. Dietrich about her upcoming appointment on Wednesday. To my surprise I found out she was very anxious about the radiation appointment. She had assumed that because she was told she had cancer on the spine that they would have to insert a large needle in her back. I guess she had been concerned about this, but she didn't share it with me. Once the Doctor reassured her that she would just lie on a table and the radiation would be like an x-ray, she seemed much more settled. I was glad he relieved her anxiety. I wish she would have told me about her feelings though so I could have helped her get through her tough time.

After chemo mom was very tired she fell in an out of sleep from the time we arrived back at the Fisher House. She is such a strong woman, I am so glad to be her daughter.

Until tomorrow. Love to all.

Fishing Tips

I've said this before, but here I go again: It's not how we die, but how we live.

Today mom and I had some great conversations. We decided that although she was not feeling that good that we were going to take time to enjoy the beautiful Hawaiian skies. During the day, we marveled at the clouds and commented on how we thought it may rain later this evening. As the night wore on we gazed at the stars and the moon. Venus, Jupiter and the moon were aligned, but according to the news tomorrow will be even more stunning.

Mom proceeded to enlighten me about fishing tips. She indicated that the best time to catch fish is during a new moon or a full moon. How does she know this? When my mom was well, she loved to bask at the beach and fish. She loved to fish not with a rod and reel, but with a net (Tecken). That's what they call it in Guamanian. I love listening to her fishing stories. I will always remember the one about her and Jay competing to catch octopus. It's one of those that just tickles me pink. I would never stick my hand into a hole in a rock feeling for an octopus. Are you crazy??? She shares these fond memories with smiles on her face. I just love it.

These stories and the experience of just being, made for a fantastic day. It not only brightened my day, but hers also. These are the days that create the legacy that is left behind. Let's all remember to take time for one another. Love is the most valuable gift you can share.

I love you mom. Thanks again for the memories.