Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Released

Two years ago, my non-smoking husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thankfully, it was found early, during a CT scan for kidney stones. It was a small spot, and surgery was done to remove the middle lobe of his right lung. 

Today, Dr. Newcomb released Bill from his care. Bill is now considered cancer-free. I admit that I tended to almost hold my breath in the days before these cancer checkups without even realizing it. My feeling of relief today is absolutely overwhelming. 

Despite my relief at my husband's happy prognosis, my heart still aches for all the cancer patients, especially the young ones, who fought valiantly, but did not ultimately survive their disease. Cancer doesn't "discriminate" on the basis of age, gender, race, religion, or anything else. It is past time to get priorities straight and increase funding for cancer research. Looking at the high cost of treating cancer, wouldn't it make more sense to spend the time and money on prevention, early detection, and less expensive, more effective cures?





  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Curly!

I once thought that the hair I was born with would be the hair I would have most of my life, changing only when I became gray. I was wrong. 

My hair always had a slight wave to it, even when it was almost down to my hips in high school. But, it was never what one would call curly. 

It is now. I don't know if it is the effect of anesthesia, age, hormones, or going on thyroid medication, but now I have curls. My bangs are now ringlets. This is definitely new to me. 

Due to a strained rotator cuff, I decided to stop trying to dry my hair straight for a while to help my injury heal. I just shook my head, put in a little leave-in conditioner, and walked out the door.

I think my blow dryer is retired for good. I love not having to fuss with my hair. I like the fact that even if I sweat, or get caught in the rain, my hair dries and looks fine. I love not using hair spray (unless I want to) and I love not having to constantly worry about how my hair looks.

Not Your Mother's Kinky Moves Curl Defining Shampoo  $4.99
Not Your Mother's Way to Grow Leave in Conditioner      $7.99

Hair Freedom                                                                Priceless


 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's Coming Back!

It's coming back. My voice, that is. I have been allowed to do some limited vocalizing and light singing over the past two weeks. I have to stop immediately if anything feels strained or uncomfortable. At this point, I can vocalize for 3-4 minutes without this happening. 

When I first tried to vocalize in my speech therapist's office, I only had about 5 notes and a wobble wide enough to drive a truck through. I was concerned that the voice I regained might not be "my" voice. I might not have a sound that would be pleasing to the ear. My speech therapist encouraged to keep at it, a little at a time, every day.

Today, I got to church early and vocalized a little using our keyboard. Recording my effort on my iPhone, I was very happy to realize that I have most of my notes back and that the wobble is much improved. I am not yet back to "solo" quality, but, after 4 months, I am thankful for what I have regained.

My voice still tires easily and there are slightly husky spots. I am not going to push it. I do not want to set myself back. But, it was a joyful experience today to be able to sing a verse or two of the hymns and join in on the Doxology and Gloria Patri.  

Thanks to all of you who have endured my unhappiness during my silent period. I have really appreciated the support and encouragement. I continue to ask for healing prayers until I get my full voice back and can do what I love to do most. 



 

Saturday, May 09, 2015

BroomStick Betty

This moniker was hung on my mother by my brother-in-law, Barry. when he was a teenager dating my sister. Of course, to be fair, she started calling HIM Barry Bird first! 

The nickname stuck and became the genesis of a new hobby for mama. She began to collect witches. This was the era of the Kitchen Witch, and she had several of those. She had witches brought to her from all over the US and even from other countries. When she passed away in 1990, most of her friends chose one of her witches to remember her by. I still have one hanging in my office, a stuffed one with white hair, striped stockings, and pointed black shoes. 

If I was out with her and we saw a witch of some kind in a store or holiday display, I would shout MAMA! I think mom got a kick out of it. I remember mama expressing her disappointment when she found out the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard of Oz was Billie Burke, more known as a comedienne than the elegant, beautiful, Glinda. 

Even after almost 25 years, I still miss BroomStick Betty. I miss her singing. I miss watching her cooking in her witch filled kitchen. I miss her encouragement and her belief that I could do most anything I set my mind to. 

So, this Mother's Day, I will raise a glass of sweet tea and remember the best of my mama, BroomStick Betty, a true original.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Amy Graduates From College!

Today, my niece, Amy, graduates from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in English Licensure. I am quite proud of her and her choice to be a force in (hopefully!) saving the English language by teaching it to the next generations.

Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday she was the baby who made me literally jump for joy the day she was born. The toddler who tried to get into the refrigerator to get more cherries for her fruit cocktail. The little girl who would sing the songs from Anastasia with me. The teen who would go with me to Tinseltown to see operas filmed at the Met. 

Amy has always done life on her own terms. No one is forcing her into any molds. She is dramatic, witty, smart, and enthusiastic. Someone posted a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that made me think of Amy on this graduation day. 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else 
is the greatest accomplishment. 

Congratulations, Amy. Your Aunt KK and Uncle Bill are proud of you. 

Now reach for the stars.    

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Graduation

Yesterday, I officially *graduated* from speech therapy. I don't have my full singing voice back yet, but my *new* speaking voice is working to take the stress off of my vocal cords. I was truly surprised to hear the difference between my voice when I first walked into Lisa Lamb's office in Dominican Plaza, and the voice I had at my last visit yesterday. 

My new voice is slightly higher pitched than my old one. It is a little softer, but I can increase the volume when I really need to. As I work to regain my singing voice, I find myself extremely protective of what I have worked so hard to regain. Now, I put more thought into what things are worth using my voice for. At this point, I am not able or willing to try to spend time arguing over any but the most important things. I am not going to stress my new voice to speak over loud voices or noises. It is just too precious to risk. 

I am finding that this affects the way I interact in group situations. Thankfully, I usually have a good book on hand and can be quiet and enjoy gatherings from a distance. I want to save my voice for teaching, ministering, and encouraging. I want to continue to rest it enough to heal my singing voice completely. 

Today, I will raise a glass of sweet tea and toast the therapist who helped me speak again. 

Thanks, Lisa!