More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally 🙂 I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing:

Week in Review: Week 59

It is a sunny but still windy and cool day here on Long Island. I have a day filled with running errands, cleaning out my disgusting car, taking the dog (and me) somewhere for a walk and change of scenery, then a quiet evening with a movie and early to bed. The best news this week, I doubt I’ve ever mentioned my ^&%#! insomnia here, but it’s been EVEN worse since the surgery – as though things have shifted around and when I lay down something presses on my bladder and makes the worst ache if I do not wake up immediately to get up and pee. And getting in and out of bed is still enough of a process that it wakes me up even more, UGH. But the GOOD NEWS part is that just two nights ago I was actually able to lay for a little bit on my side again! I’m a side sleeper, but I’ve only been able to be on my back since the surgery 3½ weeks ago, so WHAT a relief to finally have a little bit of normalcy and comfort. In Medical-Land, so many things seem to take so much longer to return to normal than you think they should. So Yay.

I went back to work this week for a full week. My wonderful officemates Tori and Jen had decorated my desk with balloons and banners and there was a little “nest” of goodies on my desk – they are just the sweetest. I’m so fortunate to get to spend my work days with them.

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While I’m not feeling especially energetic, I’m powering through and trying to walk every other day. My baby step regimen is:

Week 1: Walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back for a total of 10 minutes

Week 2: Walk 6 minutes out and 6 minutes back for a total of 12 minutes

Week 3: Walk 7 minutes out and 7 minutes back for a total of 14 minutes

You get the picture. Monday will start Week 3. I’m very slowly working up to walks of 20 then 30 minutes. I may back-slide during chemo, I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel then. But at least it’s a schedule that I’m adhering to. And I am walking S-L-O-O-O-W. My heel still hurts and that keeps me slowed down as well. Caleb likes the walks when we’re somewhere he can be offlead and sniff around at his leisure. In his old age he’s gone pretty deaf so I can’t let him offlead when we’re anywhere near anything, like a road or people or other dogs, cuz he just doesn’t hear me calling him. And I think there’s a little senility as he just sort of wanders off and then loses track of where I am. Because it doesn’t seem to occur to him to turn his head to the right or left to look for me. It’s sad to watch someone you love get old.

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A dear friend did this cross-stitch for me, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” That was a lovely surprise to get in the mail this week.

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Caleb: Master of His Domain. He needs a good bath and haircut. But he loves the big tuffet that his Uncle Russell got for him.

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And just to keep this at least a LITTLE fashiony…here is a try-on of an outfit I ordered from Old Navy…that sadly will be going back. Old Navy plus size sizing is so all-over-the-place. Sometimes things are ginormous on me and sometimes they’re way too snug. These are really soft rayon blush cropped pants in a 3x and I couldn’t even zip them up. Part of that could be a little vestigial swelling still left around my abdomen and hips, though they’re feeling pretty normal again. And the top was also snug around the same area, while too loose in the bust. I’m really short on warm weather outfits and the flurry of ordering and returning continues until I hit on a couple wins.

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My niece sent me this book by Sarah Addison Allen – has anyone read it?

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This is a pic my daughter just sent me from while she was here and walked down a bit of beach to see the sunset. It’s just a nice memory of being with her and being OUTSIDE after being cooped up in the hospital for so long.

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So, in other news, I have had both the radiation and chemo consults with my “original” team – the doctors associated with my surgeon’s office. On Monday I have a consult scheduled with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to see what, if anything, they would do differently…and then I have to make the decision of who to go with so we can get this show on the road. It’s hard to make the decision because I can already see that I will not necessarily be comparing apples to apples. So wish me luck!

And Great News – I’m actually doing a photoshoot tomorrow! Yippee. Will feel good to be “blog productive” again. So you can look forward to a springy outfit post later this week.

Thanks for all your comments, emails, and kind words – I really appreciate them.

Looking Forward…And Gratitude


A little different kind of post today. Again, it’s just “here’s what I did this week.” 

I was diagnosed with uterine cancer (not really a soft way to say something like that). There are some little (figurative) side bumps but overall I am told that if you have to have cancer, uterine is a good one to have. Theoretically, this afternoon’s total hysterectomy will remove all the cancer and I’ll be good as new – better even cuz No More Bleeding. But…they’ll have a better picture of everything once they open me up. 

I’ve spent 11 days in the hospital now between my two visits…and I have to tell you, your world can get Very Small Very Fast. In here you lose so much control. There’s no privacy, you live eat sleep (and shower!) on THEIR schedule. So I’m so so grateful for family friends and coworkers who reach out to me daily, who visit and bring distracting gifts and snacks and stories from “the outside.” I’m grateful to my ex and his family for taking care of Caleb all this time. I’m grateful to my daughter who is flying home to take care of me when I get out of the hospital. I’m grateful to my work for being so adamant that I take care of myself even though this was the worst possible time for me to not be there.

I’m grateful for kind nurses who dig thru linens to find me a soft gown, or who apologize when sticking me for blood One More Time. I’m grateful to have a window beside me. 

I’m grateful to have the “good” cancer and to have a dr with all kinds of fancy titles and experience and recommendations.

I’m grateful to have people who love me. 

And I am looking forward to going HOME soon…and feeling the air and sleeping in my own bed with the lights out…and to leaving this bizarro winter behind me and moving into the rebirth of spring and new life. 

I’m feeling a little adventurous…like I want to sew flowers all over a dress…or just wear something a little crazy! You’ll just have to keep reading to see what I’m going to do next.

Thanks for hanging around in my absence, friends. 

xoxo Bettye

Gratefulness

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I have to confess: I am not a positive person. My glass is not half-full. I do not easily see “the bright side of things.” Or rather, for every “good” I also see the “bad.” I see both. Everything HAS both. I don’t wish to be more “positive” if that means ignoring the negative. I hate being told, “smile, it’s not so bad,” or “look at the bright side.” To me “look at the bright side” means “ignore the dark side.” I’m here on this earth to experience *everything* – the good and the bad. Events, emotions, all of it. I consider myself a realist. I want to study the bad AND the good….and only then can I form an educated response or plan. Only that feels responsible to my “self.”

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So a holiday like Thanksgiving can be challenging for me. Sure, I can come up with a list of things I’m grateful for. But as I’m making up THAT list in my mind, I’m ALSO making the list of things I’d like to change, to improve on, to better.

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I know I have it better than SO many beings on this planet. I have a home, an income, I have my relative freedom, no one is going to kill and eat me. But I wish for so much more. There are things I’ve lost that I long for. And sometimes that wishing and longing, especially at a time like this, makes me feel ungrateful.

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So I’m going to really make an effort to make a practice of being grateful. I might do some of it here. You guys will keep me honest if I forget, okay?

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I am grateful for friends who support me, laugh with me, continue to ask me to be a part of something. I am grateful for my dog Caleb who has been a part of my heart for so many years and who keeps me company and keeps me active. I am grateful for family who, while they live far from me and I don’t often see them, I trust would help me if I really needed it. I am grateful for a job that not only helps me keep a roof over my head and food on my table, but also allows me some creativity and to work with really special people. I am grateful to be born into a country where I have freedoms and options as my birthright. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for a strong, brave, independent, healthy daughter.

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Last Saturday I was grateful for a beautiful day spent with friends…and the ability to travel to interesting places. After a trip to a museum, we stopped at Cedarmere, the charming Roslyn country home of 19th-century poet, newspaper editor and civic leader William Cullen Bryant. On this day the foliage was really outstanding and we all took pictures of the trees, bridges and buildings. I wondered if you’d enjoy seeing some pictures of locations we go to to shoot – what do you think? Yes or no?

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I am most certainly grateful for the people who help me with this blog as well as the people who read and follow it and post comments. That’s my friend Linda in the photo above who has photographed several sessions for Fashion Schlub, including this one. Linda, I’m so grateful for all your help!

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I would like to end by wishing friends and followers a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have things to be grateful for.

What I’m Wearing:

  • Old Navy black&white striped swing dress, 3x (most comfortable dress on the planet!)
  • Maurice’s cropped jean jacket, 3x. Sold out, similar here
  • Mustard yellow rayon scarf, don’t remember the brand, from Marshall’s
  • Target red faux converse sneakers