Redefined by Cancer

I was speaking to a long time friend about our recent cancer diagnosis-es.  We have known each other for about 20 years and both recently began our journeys as cancer survivors.

We both were struck how our lives had been redefined by cancer as we gabbed, catching up and discussing the latest about our conditions.

When we met 20 years ago neither of us knew the word metastasize or five year survival rate or waiting for the day you could say you were cancer free…   Neither of us knew the side effects of surgery to remove tumors, chemotherapy or radiation.  Now people ask us questions about these things and want our opinions.

I called my friend at the dinner hour.  20 years ago I would have said “I know its dinner time and you need to feed your family but I just wanted to say hi, lets talk soon.” or she would have said “I have to get dinner on the table, can we talk later?”

But we have been redefined.  Life is short.  Dinner can wait but friendships can’t.

Memorial Day 2017 Colorado Thank You to Our Military

 

You are likely to find me in one of two places on Memorial Day.   Either way I will be honoring my father and his service to his country in the United States Military during World War II.

Sam Y. Matsumoto

In odd number years you will find me at the Nisei War Memorial at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver, Colorado singing with the choir for the annual Memorial Day service.

 

The Memorial is engraved with the names of Japanese American Nisei veterans from the Rocky Mountain region who served in the United States Armed Forces and who are now at rest.

In even number years you will find me at the Bolder Boulder, an annual Memorial Day 10K  honoring United States military.   This is a run, jog or walk race.

About 50,000 people participate every year.

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The race finishes in Folsum Field in Boulder, Colorado. As you complete the race you enter the stadium where those who completed the race before you and other supporters cheer you over the finish line!

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Many participants wear a bib on their back with the name of the person they want to honor.

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Next year is the 40th anniversary.  Yes, I have been running since the beginning but those 40 year old race t-shirts are long gone.

I am grateful for my country and the freedoms granted to its citizens which are protected by brave men and women like my dad.

Photo shoot with Mom!

Henry here with the latest.  Mom’s church is making a new directory. She picked me to be in the directory with her! Here we are waiting for our photo shoot I was a good boy!

The photographer was excited to see me. He actually put me in front of another session.

The last directory mom had her photo taken with Rommy.

At that photo shoot the photographer was excited to see Rommy. When mom looked at the proofs Rommy looked handsome in all of them and there was only a couple where she looked OK.

After our photo shoot she looked at the proofs and with a big sigh she realized I looked great in every photo but she had her eyes closed or she was making a funny face or she had a double chin in the rest of the photos.  We get the pictures next month and I can’t wait to see how they turned out and to be on her desk at work!  (And in the church directory!)

Mad Maxx and Mom from her desk at her office.   Love the jeans Mom!

Rommy and Mom from her desk at her office.  You still look good in that color of red Mom!

Roscoe and Mom from her desk at her office.   Roscoe was rescued from the streets and he was found alone, a puppy of less than six weeks old. He really does adore Mom!

Monty needs a photo shoot too!  We can’t wait to be on Mom’s desk at work!

P.S.  Does anyone know what “work” is?

Little Free Library

 

Who did I happen to see this last week at the Little Free Library at the end of the parking lot?

An elderly man  neighborhood who walks over to get his books.  He told me he never went to the regular library any more.

Someone walking their dog, there are dog treats in our little free library.

And our mail delivery person!

All the cookbooks and I’ve put in there now gone. I’m going to add this one today.

This is a rescue cookbook from the thrift store. I never cook anything out of these books I just sit and read them over and over, they are like good friends.

Need to introduce my friends to others right?

 

LympheDivas Helping me cope with Lymphedema

Not a tattoo but a compression sleeve and glove to combat lymphedema.

Lymphedema was caused by damage from my cancer treatments.  I have to wrap my arm like this every night, applying compression to my arm to keep the accumulation of lymph fluid from swelling my arm into a scary huge mess:

Compression is 24-7.  During the day it is sleeves and gloves.  The sleeves and gloves suggested by my physical therapist are the same color and ugly as heck.  Note the seams on the fingers, makes typing a chore.

Discouraged I scoured the internet to find alternatives.  Ta-da!  LympheDivas, a comfortable and fun alternative.

Just working up the courage to wear one of these:

Lymphedema Treatment Act

Imagine you are told you have a condition that requires lifetime treatment.  The supplies you need are simple, some are expensive, but necessary to control your condition.  And then you find out your treatment supplies are consumed very quickly and must be replaced constantly.  And none of those supplies are covered by insurance.  And finally you realize if you don’t pay for all these supplies your condition will deteriorate and get worse.

There are many causes of lymphedema.  It touches people of all ages.

http://lymphedematreatmentact.org/