Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wednesday was the last day of the quilt show for the Tallahassee quilters at Tallahassee City Hall.  Carolyn, Isabelle and I drove into Tallahassee to see the show.  It was also the beginning of the quilt show at the Museum of Natural History.   It is amazing the talent of these quilters.  Some were subtle colors and patterns loved and recreated for centuries, other vivid and bright with new patterns more like stained glass windows.  The stitching done both by machine and by hand was exquisite, the corners perfect.  We walked and oohed and aaahed, smiled at our favorite patterns, wedding ring, log cabin and applique.  Jeanne Brenner, a very talented gardener, stain glass artist and quilt maker had two that caught my breath.  One was a pattern with Bird of Paradise.  The other was influenced by the beauty of Greek marble tile work.  Such treasures these ladies and their magic with thread and cloth.

My great grandmother was an avid quilter.  She had her favorite patterns and as a child I loved the appliqued flower quilts tat she had made.  Her last quilt made as she lost her sight is a dark log pattern using scraps.  She finished the top, but it has never been finished.  I had always hoped to get it to my sister in law who does quilting, maybe some day we can work that out.  Rather then making it into a single quilt, I would like to see it divided into four and either into pillows or lap quilts.  That way each of the great grand kids could share in this last piece of her.

Thursday I went to the Y and started working on the machines, I did not see my trainer Cindy, but she has shown me the machines and taught me the correct positions and muscles to focus on.  Instead another trainer came up and started assisting.  I am not sure how that works, do you use whoever is free, or are you supposed to stick to the same trainer?  Michelle was very helpful in showing me stretches to do in between sets.  She explained the muscles are now warm and so stretching them out will help with the second set.  She showed how you can use the same machine differently for each set to expand the workout.  She was full of information.  So much so, I had to at one point stop her, tell her how very much I appreciated everything she was sharing with me, but it was too much.  I can only take in so much information at one time.  Then it was time to head for chair yoga and I left having only completed about half of my workout.  

It was a small group for the chair yoga, but it is an half an hour I look forward to after the cardio work out.  To sit and stretch and for those few minutes of that day be surrounded by people like me.  People with cancer, but in our group we have something in common, so we are normal.  I like that.  I am trying to get to a place where this cancer is like my hepatitis C, just another chronic disease.  Honestly, I don't think at this point I have as much to deal with on a day to day basis then people with diabetes or heart disease or high blood pressure. 

I think I am more affected in my mind with this cancer then in my body.  Yes, I get tired easier, but I am also older and I see this in all my friends.  I take one pill in the morning.  My friends with blood pressure or cholesterol issues or diabetes, etc. take a lot more medication then I do.  I look thin but perfectly normal.  I need to get the negative thought of "cancer" out of my mind.  I need to quit thinking of myself as someone with cancer, and just get back to living a normal life.

The funniest part of this, is that I almost want to hold on to the cancer because it makes me special.  I have always been different, but this disease took that different and instead of being odd, I was special.  I think I can be special with out a chronic disease.  This cancer is just a part of me now.  Something that will tag along with me for the rest of my life, sort of like a monogamous remora clinging to it's shark or whale, dancing through life together.  The larger animal providing protection, the smaller fish cleaning the larger one.  I wonder if they ever even notice each other, or if they are both so busy with their own lives that they do not even think of each other.  That would be a good place to get with this cancer.

I have been able to do that with the hepatitis.  The problem with the cancer is that for the last two years so many can'ts are put on you.  You can't do that, you have cancer.  Maybe that is why I find so many people with cancer on anxiety medicine.  People who do too much, or do not do anything.  They are either giving into the can'ts or they are trying to do as much as they can until they will have to rely on people.

To impose on them for the basic needs in life that comes when the cancer takes you to a place where you need help.

And yet, for a week, I have done only the bare minimum.  The weather has been amazing, but i am not outside, I am inside.  I have been very tired lately.  But I know it is a mental exhaustion, not a physical one.  That I am depressed as I struggle with the negative thoughts of being inadequate.  I need to now say, "If you love me, then quit putting your limits on me."  Cancer has become for many of us, just another chronic disease to live with.  Just another pill in the morning.   Just another check box on a questionnaire.  

I am not sleeping because of the depression.  I am not sleeping because I am struggling with finding my place.  I am struggling with what do I want to do.  Do I want to try and find a part time job.  I would have to say that the other job promised me, appears to have disappeared into the economy.  Such is life these days.  I think I might need to start looking for a job.  I don't mean volunteer work, which I am already involved in, but a job.  Just something part time to fill the gap I have where my work used to be.  Something so when I lay my head on my pillow at night I feel accomplished.

I am sure that if I could get out of this crazy place I have walked into, this place that feels a lot like depression and mow my yard, clean my house, work in my gardens, that I could have that feeling of accomplishment, but making myself get up and out, even with this glorious weather is harder then I could have imagined when I am not getting enough sleep.  

Thursday after my chair yoga while I waited for my floor yoga class I went back into the cardio room and finished working on the machines and then did another mile on the elliptical walker.  That morning I had only walked half a mile.  I try to do a mile each time I go because it helps cardio, but it also helps build your bottom muscles.  I have not bottom to speak of.  In fact I look pretty flat from the back, but this machine is actually making a difference already.  OK, a little bit of difference, but my pants don't look quite as saggy these days.

One of my favorite parts of yoga class is that it is not the same routine each time.  She mixes up the positions, and often spends more time on moving positions rather then static positions.  It felt wonderful having just focused on strengthening my muscles and now stretching them out, building a different kind of strength.  

I stopped by Publix and bought myself a couple of pink roses and a piece of wild salmon.  Carried my treasures out to the toy, put the top down and headed south.  The weather is simply glorious here.  


A little too cool in the mornings, but by mid day 80s and lovely.  I need a heavier quilt at night, and the animals snuggle around me to share the warmth.  I love that.  

Thursday night was our first rehearsal for Sin, Sex and the CIA.  Not all the parts are cast, but we did a read through and it is a fun play.  I am looking forward to working with this group of talented actors.  George King and I rode together into town, he is trying out for the part of the marine.  This is our first time working with this Director so we don't know how everything will work.  It is a little confusing so far, and I am not crazy about driving to Tallahassee a couple of times a week at night, but it is a small part and I won't have to go to every rehearsal.  I will go to those in Monticello, and I will start memorizing my lines now.  I am not sure how long it will take me to get this down.  

Yesterday I worked opening night serving dinners at the Opera House.  There were 2 adults, the rest were kids, mostly those earning hours for their bright futures scholarships.  The kids were great.  Polite, nice, intelligent kids, between 10 - 15.  Some of them I know through the plays at the Opera House.  This was their first time waiting tables, and they were nervous.  They tried very hard.  We had 42 people for dinner and 12 servers, so each table had 2 kids to take care of it.  They did a great job, and what a lovely evening to get to work with these kids.  I did not stay for the show.  After we finished cleaning everything up I headed home.  I wanted to get to bed early, but still didn't fall to sleep until late, but the show is 3 hours, so if I had any chance of going to sleep early I had to wait to see the performance.  I will wait to see the show the last weekend as planned.

Today I have done like so many days this week, just moved slowly as I am so tired.  I need to get more sleep.  I think I will lay down and try to take a nap, at least read a little and rest.  I have no plans for tonight so I hope to get to bed earlier.

I am still wrestling with so many negative thoughts in my mind.  Thoughts that I have allowed to be there.  I am not the same person who used to deal with the unhappiness at home by being so busy that I didn't have to go home.  But my life is not the same, and I have responded by choosing to do, but not at such a fevered pace those things I enjoy.  I am not saying that i will never have cycles of being too busy, but now, I have no reason to escape by doing too much.  

And the part about anxiety and being difficult.  I am not as stressed as I was then.  People have learned not to push me so hard and with that, I do not jump.  I will always have to watch to be the best I can be.  That is who I am, always wanting to be better.  But since most of my friends do not see this negative behavior and if I would simply quit listening and maybe spend more time with my friends who do not feel so inclined to make these judgements about me.  Maybe I will be able to sleep again.  I will never not have these loving people in my life.  But I must relearn how to be their friends.  Where they do not project on me these things.  People not so willing to simply say things that to them are simple facts of life, but for me are extremely hurtful.  

This is my life, not theirs.  This is not theirs to work on, this is for me to do.  And now that cancer seems farther and farther away from who I am, and now just another part of me like my eye color, here is something new to focus on.  Liking myself.  Not being Kathleen with cancer, but just be Kathleen.  To take the pressure off of myself of always being up and helping people to feel less uncomfortable around the person with cancer.  To just be a person.  A new twist on this journey.  Re-inventing myself again into someone who has cancer and is not cancer.  A person who likes being who she is.  There is not a lot to change, but what needs to be changed is at my very core.  To believe more in myself, my words instead of theirs.  Who cares what they think.  OK, I do.  But they will have to change their own minds, not me.  And it will be easier to live my life with less stress worrying about trying to make up for a few incidents.  I am a good person.  And I have things to do, places to go and time to do it.  Well, who knows how much time.  I don't know anymore then anyone else, but that is a huge gift in its self.

It is a glorious summer turning to fall weekend.  Last night the sky glowed with the colors of fall, vivid against the blue skies shading into dusk and dark as I drove home from the Opera House.  The weather is ideal and I feel a little hopeful as the seasons move us through our lives.  Autumn is often the time of reflections as we anticipate the coming of winter and time to hibernate and rest.  Let our insides like the bulbs nestled deep in the soil, rest and form what will be in Spring the glories of the continuation of the species.   I look forward to this time to reflect, and in the next season to spend time quietly forming the buds of the new, that will become the flowers, fruit, seeds, spores and the greenness and pastels of spring.  

Yes, take this time to reflect and nurture so that next spring, 2 years from the beginning of this journey I will be able to adorn my heart and soul with lovely new thoughts like flowers in the spring.  


  1. I love what you said about cancer being just another part of you, like eye color; to be just Kathleen, not Kathleen with cancer. If you can accomplish that, I believe you have accomplished something really big.

    My great-grandmother made a quilt top that my grandmother finished for me when I was in my 20's. I LOVED it when she gave it to me, but now that I'm almost 60, it means even more. That she took the time to finish that beautiful quilt for me means everything, the ultimate gift a grandmother could give to her only granddaughter.

    I'm wishing you well, with sweet sleep and wonderful dreams.

  2. Combine that with a good abdominal exercise program and your abs will show up faster than you thought possible. Another big myth is that you need to do a ton of sit-ups.

  3. I found your blog through Ms. Moon.
    I've had Hep C for over 40 years now and it is beginning to take its toll. My mother passed away from Hep C and cancer of the liver just a few years ago. Your attitude is great and I love the way you are continuing your life regardless.