From Tracie: October 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Free Wendy's Burgers in Orlando!

You all know my secret - we eat a lot of fast food at our house. I grew up eating at Wendy's, and it is still a favorite of mine, so I was excited to hear that Wendy's is traveling across America with a new cheeseburger.

On Monday the Tour of America will be in Orlando giving away free Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburgers and Frosty desserts.
40% thicker beef, fresh toppings, a buttered and toasted bun...
You know you want one!

Location: Cranes Roost Park (274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701)
Time: Monday, Oct. 31, 4pm – 9pm. 

There will be trick or treating and costume contests at the park that evening, so bring your appetite for a good burger and a bucket to collect candy! If you arrive between 4 and 5:30, you will get to meet Wendy - not someone dressed up in a Wendy costume, the real Wendy Thomas! I will be there too, so stop by and say hi. 

If you are feeling left out because you aren't in Orlando, and you want a cheeseburger, check out the Tour of America schedule and see if they are coming to a city near you. 

Legal Stuff: I am being compensated for my time by Wendy's and The Motherhood, but the opinions and love for a good cheeseburger and Frosty are all mine! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happiness Is A Big Bubble

Katarina has discovered the secret of making big soap bubbles.

(Does this make you think of Glinda the Good Witch flying into Oz?)
Holding A Big Bubble

Happiness is a giant bubble.
And if it pops? You can always make another one!

What is making you happy today?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Words Find Light

The pain is too much.

The hurt too deep.

The questions too many, and the answers too few. 

It becomes too hard to put on a smile and show the world that everything is fine, when it so obviously is not fine. 

The words hide deep within.


I am convinced the stress of the last month has driven the words right out of me. I sit, staring at the blinking cursor, and can't type. I hold my journal and pen, and can't write.

It is a dark place when words fail you.

Today Katarina had words. A poem. A story. She wrote and typed and emailed. I sneaked a look at her, and saw the pencil tap tap tapping on her pad. She erased furiously, then wrote more.

After she fell asleep, I help her pad in my hand and felt the weight of her words. The lightness. The hope.

I opened my email and read her story beginning. Not deterred by a blinking cursor, she had typed sentence after sentence, ended it with a big I LOVE YOU! and signed it with her full name.

The passion and excitement radiated off the screen, and I felt it shine within me. For just a second, in the darkness, I felt hope break through. And I caught a glimpse of my words. Still there. Waiting.

This was a five minute stream of consciousness. 
If you want to participate - write for five minutes and visit Fadra. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*Updated* Asking For Prayers

Earlier this month my mother-in-law, Judy, shared her story of being diagnosed with breast cancer. A lot has happened since then, and I have gotten so many kind messages and emails inquiring about her and asking for an update.

After further scanning and tests the doctors are concerned that the tumor in her breast is close to rupturing. Because of that, she will be going in at 9:30cst Tuesday morning to have a mastectomy.

During the surgery they will also put a port in her chest to give her a hormonal treatment that should slow the growth of the tumors, and possibly shrink them.

She will also be getting a special shot, because the cancer has spread through her blood and into her bones, to strengthen and slow down bone breakage. Especially in her spine where she already has fractures in her vertebrae.

After recovery time from the surgery, she will have the radiation they previously planned, on the large tumor in her lower back. We now know it is the size of a grapefruit, and growing. It is causing her extreme pain, and interfering with her mobility. The radiation should shrink it, which will ease some of her pain.

The doctors have not yet addressed what will be done about the two smaller tumors further up her spine, or the suspicious spot they found on her thyroid (although they did say that the spot on her thyroid might just be a cyst), but we are hoping the hormone treatment will shrink them.

The doctor stressed that none of this is a cure, but it will give her more time, and he wants to give her every chance.

Surgery is always a scary thing, but we are holding on to the positive thoughts that taking out the tumor in her breast will help her to be able to better fight the other tumors.

My family has felt so overwhelmed and grateful for your support and prayers since she shared her story here. So I am coming to you again, my blog family, to ask you to pray for her today as she has her surgery.

We believe that prayer and is powerful and miracles do happen. Thank you.

I spoke with Jim on the phone. She is out of surgery and doing well. The surgeon thinks that he was able to get the entire tumor. He found a lymph node that looked suspicious, and took it as well to biopsy. The port is in place. 

She will stay at the hospital tonight and should be going home tomorrow. 

Thank you so much for all your prayers today. I know it made a difference. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

We All Live In A Yellow Submarine

Yellow is my joy color. Last week I had a particularly yellowy day. 

Thomas brought home branches full of little yellow flowers. 
Branches of Yellow

I found these in the store (on sale, even!) and had to have them...
because we ALL live in a yellow submarine. 
We All Live In A Yellow Submarine Notebook

A lollipop full of yellow, lemony goodness. 
Tart and sweet at the same time, a lot like life. 
Yellowy Sunshine

Finding yellow all around, joy in the simple things, and letting the sun shine in...
that makes me happy!

What is making you happy today?

Friday, October 07, 2011

TV and Chips and Fragments, Oh My!

All the fragments floating around in my brain in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....


Today I am grateful for freshly sharpened colored pencils, and sketchbooks of clean paper just begging to be decorated, and books, and insurance commercials that make me laugh.


This is an important potato chip story. Thomas found a new (to us) brand of chips on sale at the grocery store the other day. When I opened the bag, I was so shocked at the lack of chips, I had to take some pictures to show you.

That sad bag of chips wasn't even half full!
And it wasn't salt and vinegar flavor, but I can't really fault the chips for that one.  


Are you watching new television shows this year? I am watching Pan Am, and loving it! It is making me think about my childhood dream of becoming a flight attendant. Yes, that was on my dream job list, along with bookstore employee and librarian. (I did the bookstore employee thing for a couple years...that is how Thomas and I met!)


I want to thank all of you who left such beautiful and supportive comments on my mother-in-law's post about breast cancer this week. Our whole family is touched by your kindness and your prayers.


If you have fragments floating in your brain, type them out and link up with Mrs.4444

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Breast Cancer: This Is Judy's Story

I have typed and retyped this introduction more times than I can count, and I don't seem to have the right words. But that is okay, because today is not about my words. It is about the words of my mother-in-law. A little over two weeks ago she learned that she has breast cancer, and today she is here to share her story...

Judy, my mother-in-law, but I just call her mom.

About eight years ago, I had a mammogram. There was a spot, but due to a misunderstanding with an idiot of a doctor, I chose to ignore it. After four years, I found a new family doctor for me and my husband, Jim. This doctor treated me for Jim's problems, and treated Jim for mine. I resumed my hunt for another doctor, once again ignoring the spot in my breast.

Three years ago, the lump in my breast began to grow. Then it started showing on the outside of my breast. I was not going to let this dumb doctor even see it.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was in a little family restaurant in the Pensacola area. I saw someone I thought I knew, but had not seen for probably 30 years or more. It turned out to be my first cousin Tommy and his wife, Karen, whom I had never met. We sat and talked for hours, and then Karen told me she had two mastectomys. I told Karen of my situation, and she recommended a family doctor. I made Jim and I appointments one hour apart.

Dr. Buckley saw me first, and was taking my history. When she ask me when my last mammogram was, I told her I needed to talk to her about that. I told her about the large lump in my right breast, and that it had started growing on the outside. She took one look and said "Oh My God, You have cancer."

I lost it. I was hoping it was a cyst. She wanted me to have another mammogram. I told her about Karen, and said I wanted to go to the Angel Williamson's Women's Center. She made me an appointment that day and also set me up with and oncologist. Needless to say, my husband did not get to see her for his appointment.

Dr. Angel Williamson was my angel. So caring and so kind. I had the mammogram and an ultra sound. I was told I had a very large tumor.

Then to the oncologist. He told me I did not have a breast, just a large tumor. Next came the scans and biopsy and frozen section. No one would tell me anything. I called Dr. Williamson and told her I was going to have a nervous breakdown if someone did not tell me something. She told me I did not have time to have a nervous breakdown, that I could have one later on down the line, and she sat me up with a PET/CT scan.

I have to tell you here that I have been disabled since I was 30 with crippling arthritis and I have had four back surgeries. I cannot tell you the pain I experienced laying on my back for these scans. The doctors even prescribed 30 mg. morphine. Didn't do a thing. After the scan, the pain was so bad, I could not move from the waist down and the nurses had to literally put me in my wheel chair.

Karen and Tommy and Pastor Ken Cook came to the center, and sat with me and Jim the whole time I was having the PET/CT scan. What a blessing I received when God put these people in my life. I fully believe God arranged my meeting with Tommy and Karen for a reason. They invited us to church, and the church has rallied around Jim and I during this time.

Back to the cancer. We got the results that day, and it was not good. The pain in my back was due to a large tumor. Why did no one find it during all these surgeries? Well, it does not show on an MRI - a PET/CT scan is the only way to find it. We also found out that I had the most common type of breast cancer, but because I chose to ignore it, it had spread. In addition to the large tumor at the bottom of my spine, I also have two smaller tumors in my spine.

I am starting radiation on Tuesday, but it will only shrink the tumor, hopefully 80%. There is no cure, but the radiation will ease my pain, so I will not have to be on morphine any more. (The doctor has upped my morphine to 60 mg, for now) I was told that after the radiation, they can extend my life a few years if I take chemo. But that the chemo will not cure it, and there is no use in having a mastectomy.

I urge all ladies to have that mammogram!

Please, please don't put it off like I did, and go through what I am going through. Ignorance and fear kept me from having mine. One thing I know for sure, and I fully believe it, God is bigger than this cancer and whatever His will, it will be the right thing.

I am asking for prayer for me and for my 82 yr. old husband Jim, who is standing beside me all the way. I see him growing tired and I pray God will give him strength. Jesus is my Rock, and Jim is the love of my life.
Judy and Jim
Thank you for being supportive to my mother-in-law today, as she shared her story.
If you notice something different or strange about your breasts, please get it checked out immediately!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Happiness is Meeting Friends

In the last couple of weeks I got to spend time with some friends who, until then, only existed in my computer and telephone. Yes. You might call them internet friends, but they are real friends. Sisters of my heart. And I am blessed to have them in my life.
Tracie and Jackie 
Women who love you exactly where you are.
(even when it means driving two hours to pick you up for lunch)

Women who have been there through celebration and mourning. Tears and laughter. 

Di and Tracie
Women who share their hearts, and their cameras (and photography tips), and their laughter.

...and if you happened to be eating dinner at the Animal Kingdom, and heard a loud rendition of Let's Go Fly A Kite coming from a table across the room, that was totally us singing, and we were having a blast!

Two visits from far away friends.

Hugs and laughter.

That makes me very happy.

What is making you happy today?

Monday, October 03, 2011

Flying Plastic Planes and Avoiding Secret Military Agents

I'm laying on my side of the bed, minding my own business and almost asleep, when suddenly - Thomas jumps across the bed, flipping over in mid-air. He lands on me, attacking me with his arm.

"What the crap? What are you doing?" I yell, "Why are you attacking me?"

"I did not attack you. I was the one being attacked."

"I certainly did not attack you."

"No. I was being attacked - in my dream."

And thus begins another installment of Thomas wakes Tracie up at 3am to tell her his crazy dream....

Setting: An airfield. 

Thomas is there with a group of guys. An old friend of ours, Chris, tells everyone that he has an important mission, and asks who can fly a plane. Thomas volunteers for the mission.
(I laughed, because Thomas hates flying. In response to my laughter, he said, " my dreams...I can fly planes,"  which made me laugh harder, probably due to sleep deprivation.)

Chris instructs Thomas to go to Pensacola, Fl (to the intersection of two real roads - that don't actually intersect).

Thomas, "I know those roads, but they are in different places. Did they move all the roads?"

Chris answers, "Yes. Yes they did."

Thomas walks out onto the airfield, grabs a Cessna, and takes off. He flies into the tops of trees. (At this point, Thomas told me that this is the main problem he has flying in dreams, he can't seem to avoid treetops.) He looks at the airfield, and sees the plane he usually flies sitting down there. Quickly, he lands the Cessna and tells Chris that he will have to fly his usual plane.

Made of plastic, it is about four feet big - a Fischer Price plane. It is yellow, orange, and pink.

Thomas climbs in, and sets off for Pensacola, without problem.

He lands his plane on an old helicopter field, by the light of a full moon. To the right, there is a plateau with a switchback road. He has to get to the top. Once he gets there, he realizes it is a covert military base, and there are soldiers everywhere. The soldiers are kicked back in lounge chairs, watching something on a large outdoor movie screen.

Using his powers of stealth, Thomas makes his way behind one of the lounge chairs. The soldier sitting in it looks back, but does not see Thomas. Deciding he needs to blend in better, Thomas removes his shirt, lays back on the ground, and stares at the moon.

A GI walks up and asks him how he is doing. He answers, "Fine".

A female captain walks over and asks him how he is doing. "Fine" he answers again, thinking to himself, "She doesn't believe me. She can tell I'm not a real soldier, because I'm fat." He knows he is in trouble. Quickly, Thomas darts to the edge of the plateau and jumps, landing safely on the ground. He can hear hundreds of soldiers coming down the path after him.

He doesn't turn around to see how close they are, instead he runs straight for the Fischer Price plane, climbs in, and starts to take off down the runway. Thomas is up in the air when he senses something move. He turns, and sees a face behind him...and then an attack.

It scared him, and he woke from the dream.

The End.
(of the dream....and possibly of my sanity!)

I'll be taking a nap today, what about you?