Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If You Want...







Several years ago, Jud and I took training to become non-denominational Spiritual Directors. It was a wonderful experience. We met a weekend each month for two years and our class was full of diversity in religion and, well, not men exactly. There were two, one male leader and a whole lot of wonderful women.







At this time,  I found a "don't miss" retreat concerning using the arts in spiritual direction and traveled to a beautiful retreat center on the ocean shore of Washington state, where we studied, prayed and played for a week. The leaders, Christine Valters Paintner and Betsy Beckman were terrific and now have written several books. Christine also has a blog and, this morning, I was again reminded of this poem.





  1. If You Want

    If
    you want,
    the Virgin will come walking down the road
    pregnant with the holy,
    and say…
    “I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart,
    My time is so close.”
    Then, under the roof of your soul, you will witness the sublime
    intimacy, the divine, the Christ
    taking birth
    forever,
    as she grasps your hand for help, for each of us
    is the midwife of God, each of us.
    Yes, there, under the dome of your being does Creation
    come into existence eternally, through your woman, dear pilgrim –
    the sacred womb of your soul,
    As God grasps our arm for help’ for each of us is
    His beloved servant
    never far.
    If you want, the Virgin will come walking
    Down the street pregnant
    With light and
    …sing. 

    -St. John of the Cross from Love Poems to God translated by Daniel Ladinsky



My final words to you...may you, whatever faith or belief you hold, give birth to whatever is sacred in your heart.

And thank you, during this terrible and wonderful time, for surrounding me with caring and hope.

P.S. I do have a pretty new "face"  on my blog. More about that very soon. I can't seem to get rid of the yellow. Susie Hibdon to the rescue!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let it Be



 Let It Be

Writer: LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be 
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be


And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be


And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be


Whatever your beliefs, may you have a gentle, peaceful day.
Let it be.

P. S. I just talked to Jud. He looks fine. He said that the biopsy was "no big deal." The worst part was the novacaine.  What a guy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanks

Dinner on the barge in Southern France

Thanks     
by W. S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Thanks to our friend, Pat Eldred, for sending the poem. We have returned to Mayo and Jud is going through a series of tests for final qualification for the clinical trial.

We are so grateful this season for all that our wonderful friends have done for us. I am especially grateful for my blog friends...my connection to love and comfort when I am alone, when I awake in the night, when I am not feeling well.

I am "saying thank you and waving" to all of you.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

...and how was Mayo?

I must tell you, Mayo was kind of a bust. As is usual at Mayo, we were scheduled early in the morning for a blood draw. (I am so aware of my use of "we." I originally put "draws," as if I had one, too! I feel so connected to Jud in this almost symbitic process). I am fine with the early morning tests and understand that it would help the doctor know how you were doing right away. At 10:30, Jud had x-rays. Then the long wait. We were supposed to see our (!) new doctor at 2:30. We were put in a room and a nice young research assistant came and signed Jud up for another study, a bank of people with pancreatic cancer. Good idea.

We waited and we waited. No one came into see us and tell us what was going on as we sat in the "little white box," both feeling quite anxious. So much depended on this. Finally, two hours later, the doctor arrived. He was handsome and dressed beautifully. However, there was no apology or explanation for being late. We would have understood if he had an emergency or another patient who took more time. He shook Jud's hand. He ignored me. I practically grabbed his hand from his side and shook his.

He scolded Jud for not having all of his materials there. Jud had made a special trip to his office in doctor in Minneapolis and hand carried it all in. It was all there. He knew little to nothing about the protocol of the study Jud was interested in. "She" will tell you, he said. "She" was the research coordinator. "She" didn't have a name. 

He was very negative that anything would help Jud. The longest anyone had stayed on this drug was four months. They had to stop because the cancer progressed or because the side effects were too great. He was very cold and negative about the whole affair. We could accept that this combination of medications could have little value, but please, please, just tell us in a kind way!
Finally the research coordinator came in. She was harried-looking but reasonably nice. Dr. S. left in a hurry, shaking Jud's hand. He tried to pass me and I again grabbed his hand. He refused to look at me.

Jud was accepted into the study ("It is your only alternative" said the doctor.) We will go back after Thanksgiving for four days. 

Jud went home and, after a little thought, he called the research coordinator and asked to fire the doctor. No one with a serious illness deserves to be treated this way.

Interestingly, this is our second rude doctor. Our first was at Stanford. When I read one of the Steve Job's eulogies, I discovered that he was his doctor, too.  I'll bet he was nice to Steve1 Our main doctor at Stanford, Dr. Albert Keung, was one of the kindest doctors I have ever met. 

 The Brothers Mayo

As we left Stanford, De. Keung said to Jud, "I will always be your doctor. You will always be my patient. Please call me at any time."

As it should be.

P.S. As is true of all major medical centers, members of my family have also had wonderful care at Mayo Clinic in my family. My brother was treated with such caring when he had esophageal cancer and today is cancer-free.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

...and how is Jud?

We drove to Rochester last night, home of the WFMC, as it is known to the locals... the World Famous Mayo Clinic


This picture was taken several weeks before Jud was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. We were both in good shape, having just lost weight on the South Beach diet. We felt very carefree as we went to a benefot for Jud's clinic. Several days laterm I attended my beloved Silver Bella, Five days after I returned, Jud was diagnosed with Stage Four pancreatic cancer.

Jud's current chemo quit working about the time we returned from our wonderful barge trip to Southern France. We are at the point that there is no known treatment that he hasn't usedand we have entered the world of clinical trials. We are here to see if Jud is appropriate for a clinical trial thst combines the hedgehog pathway inhibitor and a known chemotherapy, Tarceva. The hedgehog trial treatment tries to interrupt the pathway of the DNA that the cancer needs to grow. Nothing to do with cute little hedgehogs. It has shown some promise and we are hoping they will find him an appropriate candidate.

This isn't the first time we have entered the world of clinical trials. Jud received SGRT (specific guided radiation treatment) at Stanford. We are so grateful for that treatment, in which the doctor radiated the area around the pancreas. Even though it did not stop the ptogression of his disease, he has had a much easier go of it, including less nausea, less weight loss and less pain than PC patients who have not received this treatment. We have been extremely grateful for this quality of life issue.

We will meet with the oncologist this afternoon and we will know more. On Saturday, we are on the road again, heading to a small town outside Washington, DC.  Jud is teaching at a conference that concerns integrity in medicine. We weren't sure he would make it but he is so glad to be able to participate as this is an rea that means a lot to him. I am taking a suitcase of craft materials and working on Christmas presents. Sounds like a grand time for both of us.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we decided which medical pathway would be best for Jud.

P.S. There are more trip pictures to come!





Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heaven on a Barge...




After three days in Barcelona, we took a train to Narvonne and then took a car ride to the Canal du Midi for a week long barge ride on the Caroline in the South of France.

We were met by our hostess and host, Uta and Uli, wo were originally from Germany. They had a wonderful bottle of champagne ready to toast us.


 Uli taught us the rules of living on the barge, like "don't put anything in the toilet that does go in your mouth first" and "when you walk on a moving barge, make sure that three parts of your body are touching the barge."


 The Caroline even had it's own goldfish pond with giant Koi!


We passed beautiful houses as we drove on the barge at five miles an hour. The more we rode, the more relaxed we became.

The most beautiful site was the scenery. These trees were called "Plain Trees" and anchored the soil. They were beautiful and were planted uniformly apart.


The skies were blue every single day we were on the barge.

Castle sitings were so much fun!


We also loved going through locks.


At the end of the day, Uta and Uli parked the barge and tied it to the side with a complex set of knots.


As the sun went down, we continued to perfect the art of relaxation on the Caroline.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Beautiful, beautiful cathedral...


At the end of a narrow pathway of stores we found a plaza and a huge church, covered with Gothic windows. This is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and St Eulalia. This picture does not do justice to its size. It was HUGE! We had a hard time getting my scooter in, finally entered at a door in the back and...


...WOW! I am sure this is real gold gilding!


It was incredibly ornate! 


There were about fifty little chapels around the exterior of the nave. They were created in a variety of styles over the 13th and 14th century. 


And here we have...St. Joan of Arc. My eyes were blinded by this time and I appreciated the simplicity.


These two tapestries and crypts were suspended way above our heads on a wall at the side.


A small door led to a beautiful courtyard which contained...



...thirteen geese! There is a legend that the thirteen geese will guard the Cathedral. Thirteen is also the age of St. Eulalia when she was martyred. 


Re-entering the church, there was a (relatively) smaller area where there were simpler chapels. I especially liked this one of the statue of the Virgin Mary against a mosaics of angels.


I also loved the Black Madonna and Baby Jesus. 
Why not?


I never tire of the churches in Europe. Whether they are enormous, ornate edifices or simple country 
buildings, my heart is always touched. Through beautiful art, mankind has always sought to make a connection with the Sacred. 
Me, too. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We're hungry!!!!


Our friends, Brooks and Karen have arrived in Barcelona and we have had a long, long day of shopping. Help! We are starving! Where can we eat? 
We decide to head back to the market, a half block from our apartment.



Oh, the market! It is huge and it is pristine. It buzzes with energy and you can eat prepared food from most nationalities or buy beautiful fresh food to take home. At this Chinese seafood booth, you can choose what you want and they will cook it right there!



This stands is resplendent will many colors of fruit of the best quality. It is nice to grab a few pieces and put them in out backpack for later. 



I have memories of "odors" at markets I have been at before...and I was pregnant! Not this booth. It smells like fresh chicken. 
These are plump free range-chickens and they are delicious!


This is our friend and traveling companion, Karen, and she is oohing and aahing over the olives. We have never seen so many kinds. The ones we tried were marinated in a liquor. 


Here she is again, showing us the Mexican vegetables. I had some squash with our meal. Fabulous. Served only with a little butter and a little salt and pepper. It was so flavorful in it's natural state. 


Our very favorite, the dried mushrooms. We bought some for our dinner (they were cooked on the spot and fantastic. We had to buy a sack to take back to our apartment. 



Well, I didn't get the before picture because we were too hungry. Here is Brooks. He just ate his whole plate of buttered shrimp. Huge ones. 



And here are the three of us...nice and full. We finish up the last bite and...



...head down the very narrow road that leads to our apartment.

Eating your way through Barcelona is a fun thing to do.
Try it sometime!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where In The World Are Suz and Jud Reaney?



Today we are in...



It is a land of great croissants...


and fabulous desserts.


There is a ton of energy on the streets. This is La Rambla street. It is like a three-ring circus. And look at the detail on those buildings.


We have a two bedroom apartment right around the corner from this beautiful store.


Needless to say, the four of us are in heaven!!!




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Beady-Headed Tea Fairy...


The Beady-Headed Tea Fairy would like to welcome you to our noontime tea.


I have dressed in my finest outfit and put my favorite linens on the table to invite you for a cuppa.


My beautiful cup has the loveliest shades of leaves and fine lines of red. Can you see the little lines?


It is Haviland China from France, very fine and beautiful.


What a cheerful tray! Even the teabags lend to the festivities!


Please come again next Tuesday. Maybe I will find us some French treats!!!

Linked to Tea Tuesday http://artinredwagons.blogspot.com/ and Teacup Tuesday at http://artfulaffirmations.blogspot.com/.