Author Archive

Transition to Cancer Survivor

This morning I read an excellent post on the transition from patient to survivor (http://quivervoice.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/picking-up-the-pieces). How do we go about our lives during/after a bout with cancer?

Nancy's post prompted me to review what I wrote in Fine Black Lines and I'd like to share that with you. Be sure to read Nancy first!

"Several years later, thinking that I had always handled my cancer well, I reread my diaries, absolutely shocked by how much my present perception of what I had experienced differed from what I had written at the time.

"And I realized how similar I was to the women who join our support group hoping to learn how to deal with their newly diagnosed cancer. How arrogant of me to think they should be where I am now. How essential it is that each woman ultimately find her own way. How important it is that I tell my story as it really happened, not as time has softened it in my memory.

"And yet, as some come with their terror, I see myself and others shrinking from recalling our early horror, trying to convince ourselves we were different from them.

"And when others come with a strong sense of denial and a most determined bravery, I feel great sadness–seeing the cloak of innocence they wrap so carefully around them, unaware how much it has already frayed."

(Excerpted from FIne Black Lines: Reflections on Facing Cancer, Fear and Loneliness, Copyright 2003, Lois Tschetter Hjelmstad. See http://ow.ly/gumLP)

 

 

 

Thinking of Your Mom?

As you and I wait for the FREE Kindle book download for The Last Violet: Mourning My Mother, Moving Beyond Regret, on May 7 and 8, I'd like to share two other excerpts from that book:

http://www.loishjelmstad.com/can-you-visit-your-childhood-home

http://www.loishjelmstad.com/you-can-run-but-can-you-hide

I wrote the first part of The Last Violet while my mother lay dying in home-hospice. It was a very confusing, frustrating, haunting time. After Mother died on Mother's Day 1995, I continued to explore our relationship and my grief in an effort to better understand her – and myself. 

I would like for The Last Violet to become a way for you to explore your relationship with your mother – living or dead.   

All my love, Lois

Kiss and Run?

The first day of May. May Day. When I was a child (a day or two ago), I followed the Midwest first of May custom of fashioning small napkin baskets, then filling them with candy and a flower or two. Step Two: I would sneak up to a house, ring the doorbell, deposit a basket on the step, and dash away. The recipient's job was to catch me and kiss me. Such fun! Such warm excitement for a nine-year-old! Such fakey, slowed-down running….

Today I will make a basket for my love, ring our bell, grab him and kiss him. He can't run anymore and I certainly don't want to miss the kiss.

I'd like to reach out to you, dear reader, too. So in seven days you will get your special May Day/Mother's Day gift:

FREE on Kindle on May 7 and 8!!!  http://ow.ly/vfH8E Only on May 7 and 8.

THE LAST VIOLET: MOURNING MY MOTHER, MOVING BEYOND REGRET

By the way, this is my 100th post. Another celebration is in order, don't you think? Maybe not. I've been lax lately.

Do you have memories to share about May 1? Have you read The Last Violet? Have you lost your mother?

 

 

I Can Breathe Again

Dear ones –

Yesterday was emotionally taxing, as well as physically draining. Not totally surprising.

Les and I got up at 4:15 a.m. (four hours earlier than usual, I’m embarrassed to say, but we are old) and readied ourselves for the trip to the hospital.

The registration and prep time seemed very much like same old, same old of prior excursions.

The surgical waiting room seemed same old, same old, too. I worked a Jumble, a Sudoku, and five crossword puzzles. Almost two and a half hours passed.

Suddenly the puzzles could no longer distract me. When the familiar fear that perhaps Les would not come out of this surgery jammed itself back into my consciousness, I grew faint and almost threw up. The physical reaction was as unexpected as it was powerful. I began pacing the floor.

Several minutes later, the doctor came out and gave us good news – although it was more difficult than he might have expected, the procedure had gone well.

I exhaled.

I spent the night on a hard chair by Les' bedside overnight and listened to the music of his breath. This afternoon we came home – he with a sore chest and I with a very relieved, but bruised heart.

Only time will tell if this newly-minted biventricular pacemaker disrupts his heart failure sufficiently for him to have a decent quality of life. We are cautiously optimistic.

But I grow ever more aware of mortality – especially his. 

Thank you for your prayers, cards, good thoughts, hugs, and other support. 

Much love, Lois

 

 

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day 2014

I sit in my office this afternoon, working on the promotion for my FREE eBook of This Path We Share: Reflecting on 60 Years of Marriage. There is lots to do – find places to post, make a list of tweets to tweet, write copy.

But I'm distracted. Les is having his third heart procedure tomorrow morning. We have to leave home at 5:30 (we who seldom get up before 8:00). Earlier this afternoon I made copies of his current medications, Living Will, and Power of Attorney. I reduced them in size by 50% so that they fit in our wallets. I washed up some clothes for him to wear to the hospital. I packed my overnight bag.

Les has steadily become more ill since his last surgery on November 4. We are hoping this one helps him breathe better and lessens the swelling in his feet and ankles and increases his energy. But we are only cautiously optimistic.

You can pray for us or send good thoughts.

And on February 14 or 15, you can download a FREE ebook of our marriage, even if you don't need or want to read it, in honor of my beloved Valentine. (You can also download a Kindle PC for your computer if you don't have a Kindle yet.)

Thanks for everything. Love, Lois

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BT4P0SI