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Life with Pumpkin

8 Aug

I’ve done enough yapping the past few days and am going to give you guys a break.  Please try not to applaud too loudly.  ;)

If you came here looking for spiritual inspiration or encouragement, you ain’t gonna get it today.  {grin}

If you came here looking for a smile, you might get it – but only if you like cats (especially a fluffy orange and white one named Pumpkin).  If you’re a hater, you might want to move along.  Just sayin’.

This is my current fav of our furry friend.  I think.

I love it when he curls up like this and goes to sleep.
Just one big ball of fur.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t stay that way long
because I usually run for the camera.
Then he gives me this look.
You know, the one that says, “seriously, mom, the camera agaaiiinnn??”

Sometimes after treatments, he will climb up on the bed and rest with me.
After a few minutes of me squirming around, I usually get the evil eye that says,
“um, I know you had chemo and all, but could you PLEASE be still?”

This one is called Introspective Pumpkin.
I think he’s plotting revenge on me and my camera.
This might actually be my new fav pic over the one at the top.
What do you think?

He spends much of his life in a sleeping position.
At least until I wake him up with the sound of the camera clicking. {grin}

Usually, when he’s had enough, I get the truly evil eye.
He means business with this one.

But I always try to squeeze in just one more picture.
Is it just me, or does it look like he’s cursing me in his head??

Proof positive that Pumpkin thinks he’s human.
I’m certain he’s planning how he can steal the pancakes from the griddle.
Just look at that concentration.

So, that’s the latest on Pumpkin.  He sure does make us smile and laugh a bit.  Home you’ve enjoyed this little trip down Pumpkin Lane.

Happy Day, Friends!
♥ Rachel

Random Brain Activity

2 May

My brain was a random mess yesterday.  Like a big ‘ole pile of spaghetti squash, my thoughts were all jumbled.  I’ve been trying to solve a technical problem at work and it has me so pre-occupied I can’t concentrate on anything else for very long without my thoughts wandering back to the thing I can’t get to work the way it is supposed to work.

Because my thoughts are such a wild, out-of-control, random mess, I though today’s post should be just as random.  If you’re going to take the time to read my blog, I want you to get the FULL experience.  :)  I don’t want you to miss out on anything around here.  So, welcome to a post where each thought is not related to the previous or next thought!

Speaking of spaghetti squash – have you eaten it before?  Do you like it?  I want to try it, but am not sure of the best way to fix it.

Did you know that the two highest paid doctors are radiologists and orthopedic surgeons?  I knew orthopedic docs make a ton of money.  I’m certain my husband and his parents – with eight joint replacements between the three of them – have put our orthopedic doc’s children through college.  Radiologists surprised me, although I can certainly understand it because they have to be very skilled and highly trained.  Which reminds me, I need to introduce you to a very special radiologist friend who helped me a lot during my testing and diagnosis days.  But that is a post for another day.  (See, I told you my thoughts are all over the place!)

Facebook now makes it possible for you to indicate on your Life Events timeline that you are an organ donor and gives you the opportunity to share that with your friends, which will hopefully encourage others to become organ donors, too.  There are 114,000 people in the United States who are waiting on an organ donation.  Each donor has the potential to save 7 lives.  Amazing.  To learn more about this new Facebook feature, go here.

My favorite song of the moment is Rascal Flatts “Changed.”  I love virtually every song by Rascal Flatts.  I think that’s because when Barry and I started dating, he introduced me to their music.  They had two hits that played often – Praying for Daylight and Everyday Love – and when I hear them it takes me back to those days of new love and all that is good and right with the world.  :)  Anyway, back to Changed.  It’s good.  Really good.  And their faith is woven all through it, which makes me love it even more.  This is not the official video (obviously) because I don’t think they’ve released an official video yet, but it will let you hear the song if you haven’t heard it already.  Love it!

{If you are reading this in email, you may need to hop over to my blog to watch the video.}

And lastly, here’s a new pic of little Pumpkin head.  He hasn’t made an appearance here in a while, so I thought you guys might like to see what he’s been up to.  As you can see, he’s up to the same thing he’s always up to – lying around.  He’s very good at that.

Have a lovely day!!
Rachel

Our Little Pumpkin and His Big Fear

21 Mar

You guys know our little Pumpkin.  He’s our cat.  All 14 pounds of him.  I guess referring to him as “little” is a bit of an oxymoron, huh?  :)

He’s looking a little nervous here. He’s been living in our bedroom for 4 days.  Why, you ask?  Because of the ceiling fans in the other rooms.

It seems he has a ceiling fan phobia.  What’s really interesting is that we’ve had ceiling fans his whole life (he’s 9 years old).  He used to sit under the fans with his little whispy hair blowing in the breeze and not be phased a bit by them.

During the winter, we reversed the fans and turned them on.  This is when his fear seemed to surface for the first time.  We couldn’t figure it out at first, we just noticed that he was staying up in the bonus room a lot.  I carried him downstairs a few times and he would quickly jump out of my arms and do the low-belly-crawl back to the bonus room.

We finally realized that he was looking at the ceiling fans, so we turned them off and he was fine.  We thought maybe they made a high-pitched noise when in reverse that bothered his ears, so we just left them off for the winter.

We just turned them on again (in the normal direction) now that the weather is warmer and WHOOSH!  There he goes low-bellying it across the floor to the bedroom and under the bed where he stayed for the better part of 4 days.  Fortunately, his food, water, and liter box is in the master bath so he had access to them without having to leave the room.

We picked him up several times and gently carried him within sight of the ceiling fan, but the minute we relaxed our grip on him, he jumped down (leaving claw marks on my arm) and slid back into the bedroom.  He would sit at the door of the bedroom like he wanted to come out, but couldn’t.  It was pitiful!

I even tried using yesterday’s Bible verses on him, by reminding him that God did not give him a spirit of fear and that He commanded him to be a strong and courageous kitty.  I’m not sure he really grasped what I was trying to say based on the blank stare he gave me.

We had been turning off the ceiling fans hoping he would at least come out into some other rooms and only had the one in the den running.  So, yesterday, we turned the last running ceiling fan off and brought him out.  He stayed for a minute and went back the bedroom!  But then a little while later, he slowly made his way back out to the rest of the house and has stayed out with us.  So I guess we won’t be running our ceiling fans anymore.

So what’s the moral of this story?  It’s really Pumpkin’s house and he just lets us live here.

So here’s my question for you – has anyone else encountered this with your cat (or dog for that matter)?  How did you (or did you?) manage to get the cat and the ceiling fan to live in peaceful harmony?

Have a wonderful Wednesday!
♥ Rachel

It Was Just One Hour of Sleep

14 Mar

But it feels like I gave up a whole night. :)

I have been dragging all week.  Granted, it’s been a busier few days for me than normal, but still.  I think it’s related to that one itty, bitty hour of sleep I lost Saturday night.

I am deeply fond of my sleep – every single minute of it – as Barry would attest to by my inability to wake up even with the alarm clock going off beside my head.  :)

For some reason, this time change has worn me slap out.  I haven’t slept well since the time change because I think my body is so used to it being dark for several hours before I go to bed, that I’m finding it hard to actually fall asleep when it’s only been dark for an hour or two.

And I’m not alone.  I put this question on Facebook yesterday:  “Is anyone else really missing that hour of sleep we lost on Saturday?”  The responses were unanimous ranging anywhere from Yes, to Definitely, to Desperately, to …ummm YESSSSS!

Even Pumpkin is suffering.  Just look at the poor guy – he curled up in a big ball last night and just crashed.  Of course, in full disclosure, I must tell you that he does this often.  :)

Interestingly enough, the University of Alabama conducted a study on the effects of the time change on people and came to some fascinating conclusions.  Now, even though I find it very hard to trust anything that comes out of the University of Alabama (because they are in direct competition with my beloved Auburn University), I find myself agreeing with the results of their study.  There, I said it.  I agree with something from the U of A.  :)

  • An abrupt change to a person’s schedule can increase their chance of having a heart attack by 10%.
  • The time change can mess up our body’s circadian rhythm which creates puts stress on body cells that are trying to adjust to the change.
  • This can even affect your immune system because your immunity cells have internal clocks that do not respond well to abrupt changes.

So, what’s a gal to do about this?  Professor Martin Young suggests easing yourself into the time change so that Monday and the rest of the week doesn’t hit you so hard.  One way to do this is to get up 30 minutes earlier on the weekend than you normally would.  He also recommends getting some sunlight in the morning, especially on Monday morning.  I’m not quite sure how we accomplish this without getting some type of sunlamp for our homes because it is pitch black in the morning thanks to the, you guessed it, the time change!

My question is this – what do we do now?  For those of us who did not ease ourselves into the time change, how do we get ourselves out of this sleep-deprived funk?

I think we should all go directly to bed, do not pass go, do not collect $200, and sleep until, well, until we wake up.  ha ha!!  Who’s with me?

♥ Rachel

The Pioneer Woman’s Pear Crisp

19 Dec

I felt pretty good this weekend, probably my best days since the last treatment.  The port area is still very sore, but seems to be getting better each day.  I have a lovely 2-inch scar that looks pretty wicked right now but hopefully will heal to something not quite so awful, plus an unusual bump just below my left collar bone that seems somewhat like an alien inside of me.  I couldn’t look at “the bump” for the first few days – made me queasy.  I can look at it now, and even touch it, but touching it is strange because I can feel the device just beneath the skin.  It’s so weird!

I’m going to tell you something that may shock you, especially if you know me very well.  I cooked dinner last night AND made dessert.  Please try not to faint.  :)  I so rarely cook these days, but as easy as it is to eat out, you can only do it so much before you get sick of it.  Sometimes you just want to cook and eat at home.

The dessert I made was The Pioneer Woman’s Pear Crisp.  If you’re not familiar with The Pioneer Woman, you should check her out.  She’s funny, makes some great food, and lives a fascinating life that she chronicles on her blog, ThePioneerWoman.com.

Here’s how my Pear Crisp turned out.  Please do not compare the photography to The Pioneer Woman’s.  :)

It was very good.  It probably would have been extra tasty with a little (or big) scoop of ice cream, but we skipped it.  The pears are much juicier than apples, so the crisp was a little on the runny side, but thickened up as it cooled.

If you want to try it, the recipe can be found at her website: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/10/pear-crisp-with-vanilla-ice-cream/.

It’s been while since Pumpkin has appeared on the blog and he wanted to say hi to everyone and wish you all a Merry Christmas.  Can’t you just see him thinking those things??  Yeah, me neither.  ha ha

Have a wonderful Monday!  You’ve only got one more Monday in 2011 and for many of us it’s our last one at work, so let’s make it a good one.

♥ Rachel

Walking on Sunshine

29 Nov

Most important things first: Our friends, Bob and Charlene, lost their home in a fire last Tuesday.  Please remember them in your prayers this week and in the coming weeks as they sort through everything, deal with insurance adjusters, cope with the loss of precious treasures that cannot be replaced, and begin the process of rebuilding their home.

I’ve felt better the past two weeks than I have since I began chemo on August 10.  So what’s different?

Source: ThinkStockPhotos.com

Exercise.

{GASP!} I could hear the air just get sucked out of the room.  Exercise???  Rachel, you must be joking.

No joke.

When I see Dr. Daniel tomorrow, I’m going to have to tell him he’s a pretty smart guy.  (I’m sure he’s been waiting his whole life for me to make him aware of this fact!  ha ha!!)  He told me activity/exercise would help with the fatigue.

Part of me didn’t really believe him.  I mean, the guy has a medical degree from Johns Hopkins and all, but I just didn’t want to believe that he knew what he was talking about.  :)

The fatigue can be so strong at times that the thought of walking from the bedroom to the kitchen seems absurd.  I thought (with my vast array of medical knowledge), “how can I feel less fatigued when I’m using up what little energy I have exercising??”

Well.  I think he was right.

For the past two weeks, I’ve exercised every morning with the exception of 4 days surrounding Thanksgiving.  I’m not talking about a lot of exercise by ANY stretch of the imagination.  I’m talking about 15 minutes on the treadmill doing intervals of walking and running: 3 minutes walking, 1 minute running and repeat for 15 minutes.  Nothing crazy or ambitious by any means.

Every day that I’ve exercised, I’ve felt really good.  Actually, I’ve felt really GREAT – probably the best since chemo began.  I’ve had so much energy during the first half of the day that one morning last week someone called me perky.  Me!  Rachel Turner – perky!  Ha!!  What a riot.

I used to start fading around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon.  That’s when the fatigue would really kick in and I would feel tired the rest of the day.  Now that I’m getting in just a tiny little bit of exercise each day, the fatigue doesn’t really kick in until 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening.

I’ve also had zero nausea on the days that I’ve exercised.  None.  Not a tiny little hint of it.

What’s really surprising is that any exercise could have this big of an impact on cancer-related fatigue, much less such a small amount of exercise.  It was just three weeks ago that I was feeling the worst I’ve felt since treatment started.  It was the toughest round, the nausea and fatigue lasted longer and were more intense than previous rounds and yet, in just a few weeks with the help of a little physical activity, I feel great.

On the four days that I did not exercise, I skipped it because I was too busy (cooking, traveling to visit family, etc.).  I know, what an excuse, huh?  On those days, I felt more tired toward the end of the day.  It’s hard to know if the fatigue was from not exercising or the fact that I was busier than normal.  Could have been both things contributed to it, but I think not exercising had a major part in my being tired.

Thanks to Dr. Daniel’s advice and my own personal experience with the treadmill, I think I’ve found a way to make the last two to three weeks of each cycle even better than before.  If exercise can keep the chemo side effects at bay, I’m in!

However, I’m not sure Pumpkin shares my new enthusiasm.  His idea of “getting on the treadmill” involves lying down on the treadmill!  :)

♥ Rachel

Short and Sweet

22 Sep

This has been an super busy week for us and I’ve been a little short on time to write in this here little blog.

By the way. I just have to say how much I love you guys. I really do. You are so encouraging and kind and just all around wonderful. Thank you so much for coming here every day or every week or every so often and reading what’s in my heart and on my mind. Thank you for caring about me and how things are going with my cancer treatment. Thank you for commenting, sending emails, calling, and sending cards. I appreciate every single good wish you are sending my way and am forever grateful for all of the prayers you are lifting up on my behalf.

Ok, now where were we? Right, not having much time to write this week. The great part about that is it means I’ve felt well enough to be too busy to write! Yay!! :) I’ve probably felt the best the past two days as I have any days since the last treatment. That mild queasy feeling that is usually with me has not been around lately – woohoo!!!

Anyway, because I haven’t had much time to write, I thought today I would let someone else do the writing and share with you one of my favorite quotes by  Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I just love this. Who are we NOT to be everything we CAN be??

Just something to think about on this Thursday.

Oh, here’s a random thought, have you guys seen the movie, Invictus? It’s about Nelson Mandela’s first term as President of South Africa and how he and the South African Springboks rugby team united a country during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. It’s a really great movie, very inspiring.

I thought you might like to know that Pumpkin has been very busy this week, too. Busy doing what he does best! Is that a lot of fur, or what??

Hope you have a wonderful day!!