Writing Through Cancer: When life hurts, writing can help. Weekly writing prompts for those living with debilitating illness, pain or trauma.

Stories—the small personal ones that bring us close as well as those of the larger world—foster compassion.  In the telling of our personal lives, we’re reminded of our basic, human qualities—our vulnerabilities and strengths, foolishness and wisdom, who we are…, through the exchange of stories, [you] help heal each other’s spirits.

–Patrice Vecchione, Writing and the Spiritual Life

Growing up, I was a shy child. As the years went on, I came out of my shyness a little, but as I grew older and started getting serious about life the shyness reappeared in certain situations.

I think we all go through an awkward phase as a child, I’d say I hit mine around the sixth-grade or seventh-grade. The summer I turned twelve years old, I shot up over six inches in height. Mom thought she was purchasing stylish glasses for me, when truth be told, they were the ugliest glasses I had ever seen.

Anyone with an opportunity and a mean streak took it upon themselves to let me know how gawky and goofy I looked in those glasses. As I got taller, I was the second tallest girl in my class and the first girl to develop in all the right places. I was taller than everyone in the class. That just added to the fire.

Another thing that added to my “nerdy” status is that I developed allergies as a child. I grew up when they didn’t know how to treat allergies. I was always sick, had a lot of food allergies and did a ton of throwing up after meals. Not so easy to make friends when you are literally the snotty girl, always scratching and have the ability to vomit at the drop of a hat. Kids can be so mean. I was sick so much, mom thought I needed to see a doctor daily. The ironic thing about mom running me to the doctor constantly, was that the brain tumor I have has been there since I was a child. I was sick, but not for any of the reasons she was taking me to the doctor.

All of these, should have been good things, but the kids I grew up with saw a vulnerable girl they could hurl their latest ammunition at. It was like some bully kept a book and said “let’s pick on her today.”

One stupid new girl decided she would target me on her own. I became her pet project at her new school. She took particular dislike to my glasses. I was called “Four-Eyes” so many times in the eighth-grade that I decided to let her foolishness stop bothering me and decided to kill her with kindness. Sometime in the night-grade,  the bullying stopped. The new girl, never turned nice through four-years of high school, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t let her get to me.

I took my classes, did my school work and survived high school. Most of us do. What you have to remember about bullies, is that they are just jealous or sometimes it could be as boy or girl who is sweet on you and doesn’t know how to handle their own feelings. Be patient growing up, God will get up through it! I went to college away from everyone I had known for years.

After graduating high school, the shy girl came flying out of me again. Nursing school put me into situations I didn’t know how to handle, so I did my best. If I was uncomfortable in a situation, I worked my way through it. After I was married the first time, I ran into people here and there. What I noticed the most, was they acted like we were life long friends. God says to forgive and I have forgiven.

Doctors are not kind to new nurses or old ones at that. My first nursing job, opened my eyes to how crude the medical profession can be. You would not believe, what goes on behind the scenes, at some hospitals here in Georgia. In all my life, I did not realize how ugly people can be to one another. I grew-up quickly.

After my first husband and I divorced, one of my first jobs as a single woman was at the local jail in my hometown. The saddest part of that job, was seeing more people I went to high school with in jail than on the streets of town. A few were hard to believe, but others I had seen in trouble for years. I dated a deputy for a while, and he got a bit stalkerish. Someone in jail, that I had known for years, stood up for me. He did the right thing and said something when the time was right. I never got the chance to say thank you! Thank you, Joe! I know he’ll never see this, but at least I have said it.

I went through many jobs, that finally lead me to the career I was meant to have. I stayed with that career until I was forced into retirement by a nasty brain tumor called a gangliocytoma. I would later discover the tumor was just a symptom of a genetic disorder called Cowden Syndrome. Sine that diagnosis, I have survived Thyroid Cancer and I am dealing with breast cancer. Every month, I am in some doctor’s office being probed, prodded or x-rayed.

Note to all doctor’s that do lumpectomies, tell your patient’s about the fluid build-up possibility and the possibility of acting like a leaky pipe under your arm. It would make life after lumpectomy less stressful.

I’m getting tired, but I refuse to let this mess get the best of me. God has a plan for my life, otherwise I wouldn’t still be around. It is not my place to question that plan. I have tolerated this breast cancer episode better than things in the past. Either I am tired of fighting, or learning how to give it to God finally. I’ve prayed about the subject. It must be sinking in.

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Daily Prompt: Cringe-Worthy

Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone ;else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?

What makes me uncomfortable is seeing anyone think they have the right to attack someone, in public, for whatever reason.

I wouldn’t call the feeling I get, uncomfortable. It leans more toward anger than uncomfortable. As Americans we have rights. In my book, one right should most definitely be; the right not to be attacked in public unjustly.

I feel more uncomfortable for the person doing the attacking. Not only is what they are doing embarrassing, it is just not nice. The reason/cause of the attack doesn’t matter. It, flat-out, is not right!

Coming down off my ‘Nice’ high horse, I’ll admit there is something in public that makes me cringe and want to point something out to another person. I never do it, but I feel terrible for even thinking about it.

I’m embarrassed to start with, that today’s society has a named things like “muffin tops“, “whale tales”, “tramp stamps”, and “bro-pants”. It is just sad that our society thinks it is OK to dress the way they do out in public. Since when is it OK to wear your pj’s to the grocery store?

As a woman, when I see another woman or girl out in public dressed as if they should be wearing “Spanx” from head to toe makes me cringe.

I am uncomfortable being shown the top of someone’s rear when in public. Call me old-fashioned, I do not care! Whatever happened to having a little mystery in your life? Do you have to show all you goodies off, every time you are out in public?

Next time you think you are ready to leave the house, take a second look. Think about the people who will be looking at you once you leave your home. Have a little mercy, please!

 

Daily Prompt: Wall to Wall

What do you display on the walls of your home — photos, posters, artwork, nothing? How do you choose what to display? What mood are you trying to create?

We love antiques, flowers, pictures and signs. Each wall is different. We have tried to give each room its own personality, but coordinate wall color and house style; where our budget will allow. We want our home to feel lived in. Every room in the house is well used and comfortable.

Putting a name to what we tried to create, would be comical comfort. Our signs make you giggle, the atmosphere and furniture make it comfortable.

Our pooch,Maggie, agrees with the comfortable part. She sleeps wherever she sits down.wait…..she is a dog, they are good at that.

Of course there is my step-father James, he falls asleep the minute he sits down when getting to our house.

Check the pictures out tomorrow. Had plans to take new pictures today, but my body wouldn’t cooperate this afternoon. Run a few errands, I have to sleep. I’ll update post in the morning. Show off my miss-matched wall decor. We may not be for a Southern Living Magazine write-up, but we like it!

Daily Prompt:

If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?

Cloning is an interesting topic. The medical profession has come so far in the past 20 years, I wouldn’t be surprised if cloning were not around the corner.

I thought and thought about this prompt, but couldn’t come up with a thing to write. Now, as I go to sleep, it hits me. I hope you enjoy.

If it were possible to clone myself, who would I assign my daily responsibilities? Well, after getting my mother’s medication ready and calling my sisters; I’d pack bags for Barry and myself, get Maggie‘s dog food bag, medication and leash, and we would disappear.

I wouldn’t look back or think twice, but we would disappear to a deserted island and live our lives out. Of course, Barry would have his camera, I’d have my sketch pad and Maggie would have her flashlight. We would be set.

We have been through so much in the past few years, we need a break. It may be a good idea to clone our family to take our place, so no one comes looking for us.

Mom would water the plants. Oops, I would have to see my sweet daddy one last time.Just for spite, if my step-son were around, I’d give him a tooth-brush and assign him bathroom duty.

Running away would be better than having a clone!

 

Daily Prompt: Earworm

What song is stuck in your head (or on permanent rotation in your CD  or MP3 player) these days? Why does it speak to you?

My favorite Christmas Song has been in my head all morning. I guess I can understand the reasoning going on inside my lopsided brain.

My life is in God’s hands. He has a plan for all of us and it is not ours to question. There is a reason He has me enduring these medical issues. I’ll never know why, I’ll just be myself and fight!

The lyrics to the song from the “Sound of Music” are cheery and have a peppy little tune. The song lyrics are about going from sad to glad and I really need to keep my attitude in the glad place for the next few days.

The urologist will be going over my MRI he ordered after his incidental findings during my kidney ultrasound. So you can see why a glad attitude could be a huge benefit over the next few days. 

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My Favorite Things by Maria
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudel
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

[Repeat all verses]

 

Daily Prompt: History of Language

Write a piece of fiction describing the incident that gave rise to the phrase, “third time’s the charm.”

Barry and I sat attempting to put a table together, we had purchased. The directions appeared to be useless and there were a million parts to organize into one table. We were starting to have regrets.

He got a bit angry with me for making a suggestion, so I got up and left it for him. Before leaving, I handed him the directions and strongly suggested that he read them, from cover to cover.

After a while, Barry called me back to help. I  went willingly. He may be grumpy teddy bear when being told how to do something, but he really just wants a little help and doesn’t know how to ask for it.

I like to think God was working on his heart when he got grumpy and then called me back for help.

The first thing I did was ask if he had read the directions, yet! When he giggled and took the book from me, was God whispering in his ear to listen to his wife?

We worked together for an hour and the table turned out perfect.

Is this where the saying, “third time’s the charm” came from?

First, we tried together.

Second, he got angry and I ran off.

Third, he asked for my help, read the directions and the table is perfect.

God works in mysterious ways! Was He telling Barry to ask his wife for help?

Daily Prompt: Turn, Turn, Turn

For many of us, winter is blooming into spring, or fall hardening into winter. Which season do you most look forward to?

My favorite time of year, is when the air outside is cool and crisp. It is warm enough during the day, to enjoy the outdoors; but the nights are crisp enough to keep you snuggled under the covers, with that someone special making the moment worthwhile.

I love watching the flowers and the yard slowly wake to the spring sunshine. The leaves and buds slowly emerging from God’s green earth; as the birds start to buzz around like a swarm of bees. Each with a different song to sing.

I love getting the yard ready for whatever the season brings. Filling the bird feeders, putting out fresh mulch to protect the new flowers as they burst into our world with abundance of color.

Picking up the million little sticks and other things the wind has dropped into our yard. Bringing the porch furniture out, cleaning and touching up then paint as needed. Cleaning the wind chimes and hanging them in their proper places. Along with the bird singing, I love the mix the wind chimes joining in. It makes being outdoors so enjoyable.

Washing the porches down and organizing the potted plants and other decor to make our porches pretty enough for pictures and ready for serious relaxing. Then we have the grill porch. Need to get the grill cleaned and ready for the season. We love to entertain.

While I do all the above, Barry is handling lawn mower repair and weed eating. I’ll hire my sweet nephews to weed one of my flower beds.

We’ll need to get the fountain going. I’d like to find a small bench and plant another butterfly bush in that bed. The shrubs need a little pruning and I am hoping we can put a cement walk on the front this year. Barry will need to add hand rails to the steps if we get the walkway done.

If you cannot tell by my page of rambling, Spring is at the top of my list for seasons. Other than the allergy end of things, I adore the Springtime weather.

Dear Lord, I appreciate your gift of Spring. You did a great job! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Daily Prompt: Competition

What activity, task, or game most brings out your competitive streak? 

Board Games drive me insane. It doesn’t matter which one of them it is,I get angry thinking about them.  Just the thought of pulling a board game out gives my  competitive hormone the kick in the hiney it cannot stand.. Maybe it is the fact that I stink at every board game I have ever tried to play. Or it could be the no good braggers that I play with. Who knows? I’ll just continue to avoid them like the plague.

The only violence I have ever exhibited when playing, was with my ex-husband. He loved to play chess. I know how, but I stink. In one of his rare forms, when he was wiping the board with me, he went too far. I picked the board up and threw it at him. Needless to say, we never played again.

I’ve played Gin Rummy and Scrabble, with Barry, no problems. I do not think we’ll ever play chess. 

Daily Prompt: 180 degrees

Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

Right after my divorce, while on the job,  I was introduced to a guy by a friend and we started to date. I was never one to judge a book by it’s cover and to start off this guy appeared to be nice enough.

We dated a few months when I realized he was becoming a bit possessive and discussing our personal business with other employees that were totally inappropriate. I was taking the brunt of all the jokes and did not understand why.

It was approximately 2 days later;  when one employee shared the entire story with me. Later that afternoon, the nonsense started. My pager was going off 50+ times a minute and I actually caught him following me around town.

I turned the pager off and headed to my supervisor’s office. We had a discussion about the trouble I was having. I left my pager with her and went home. The next day, I received a call requesting my presence at a meeting.

When I got to the office, I was met in the conference room by his supervisor, my supervisor, the guy I had been dating and 2 lawyers.. I truly wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was informed that my ex-boyfriend would no longer be a problem, if he valued his job and they wanted to know what my intentions were. Other than being left alone to lead my life, I really did not want anything.

They sounded thrilled, asked me to sign some paperwork and I left. It wasn’t until later that it occurred to me that they were concerned that I was going to sue for sexual harassment. I hate to admit it, it never crossed my mind. I just wanted my privacy.

Not long after this meeting, I decided to make a change in careers. I did a 180 and got away from the nursing end of medicine for a while and went to work for a well known health insurance company.

I continued to have a few issues with my former boyfriend. When I actually caught him and could talk to him, I threatened calling his job. He left quickly and eventually left me alone.

I was enjoying the job I had for the longest time I held a lot of anger toward my ex-boyfriend and my employer. I learned to put everything behind me and get on with my life. I didn’t do anything wrong and I felt forced out of my job, because of the situation. It felt incredible to be able to jump right back into the workplace after basically being stalked.

I did a 180 in my career and didn’t act like I normally do in a relationship. My career would not be where it is today, if I had not made these changes. I thank the Lord for leading me in the right direction. I may have never met Barry, if all of this mess had not happened. Who knows?

Daily Prompt: Ghostwriter

If you could have any author –living or dead – write your biography, who would you choose?

Jeff Foxworthy

As a fellow Georgian and comedian, if anyone could write my autobiography, it would be him. He would see and instantly connect with my inner redneck and the words would flow onto his computer screen.

Disability aside, I was born in Winder, Georgia and I love everything redneck. The sad thing is, I know how or have done most of those redneck things I am referring too.

I will say, I have NEVER, nor do I ever plan to try chewing tobacco. I’ll admit I have a few cousins that chew daily!

I even participated in the redneck games in Middle Georgia. So, Jeff Foxworthy would be my choice. He could also make the not so funny parts humorous.