THE ART OF HAPPINESS

I think I failed to mention that when I was first admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with AML, they also found a subdural hemorrhage on the left side of my brain. What the “H-E-double hockey sticks” does that mean? It means I had a bleed in the front, left hand side of my brain. Kinda scary. Before I came to the hospital, I had a weekend where I was really sick and violently vomiting. My doctor thinks that is what caused the bleed. My doctors have been watching me closely. I have been getting regular CT scans and MRI’s of my brain and the results have shown that the bleed stabilized. Yesterday I started getting headaches again and this prompted another CT scan. The scan showed a trace of new blood on the left side of my brain. They watch me very closely because if I have low platelet levels (which means my blood doesn’t clot very well) and I have a bleed, then we have a problem.

Unfortunately, Camp Summerlin (the fond nickname we have here for Summerlin Hospital) doesn’t have a neurosurgeon so I have been transported (yes, in an ambulance but they don’t turn the lights and sirens on) to Valley Hospital. Valley Hospital is an older hospital but there are good doctors here. Camp Summerlin is only 3 minutes from my house. Valley Hospital is probably a good 15-20 minutes away. It just makes it a bit more inconvenient but if they can get the bleed and headaches under control, then its worth seeing the neurosurgeon here. I am told I’ll only be here at Valley for a couple days in the Surgical ICU unit and then I can be transported back to Summerlin. I can get back to everything that I know and am used to.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, you just have to go with the flow. Treatment plans, timing, medications can all change on a daily basis so you have to have an open mind. Its ironic (well not actually ironic because I do believe everything happens for a reason) because I have had a couple lengthy conversations with my GI doc about a book called “Zen: The Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss. It is a short book – around 50 pages – and a wonderful read. Its not a foofy, feather-filled book about how to make your life better. It is based on the ancient practice of Zen, modern day illustrations and scientific research that shows how you can truly find happiness for yourself. I highly recommend it because it forces you to look at your life and the Universe in a completely different way than what society has taught us to look at and react to life. I have found the book very comforting during the past week and I have found myself re-reading portions that really speak to me. I was starting to get angry and upset that I was sick and stuck in the hospital. This book gave me a different perspective. I really didn’t want to get this news on my CT scan and I didn’t want to have to come to Valley. But today, I was not upset. I feel positive about what the outcome is going to be and when I will be able to speak with the neurosurgeon.

FALL

I’m going on my second month in Camp Summerlin (as my walking buddy Ilene called it.) I am going to be here for at least another month until we find out how my bone marrow reacts to the second round of chemo. Then I get to find out where my treatment and journey will take me. I am on Day 4 of chemo and that is going well. I actually feel almost too good. I feel like I could just take the darn port out of my chest and head on home – resume business as normal. (I actually almost did pull my port out yesterday by accident. It scared the $hit out of me. I’m always pretty careful because it is a needle that goes straight into my chest. I was getting up from my of-so-comfy hospital lounge chair and I stepped on my own darn lines that connect me to the pump.  That gave it a pretty nice tug. I pretty much freaked out but my nurse checked it out and it’s a-ok. Its just a little angled now but no permanent damage and it still works just fine.)

Anyway, back to the topic of conservation, we all know that I can’t just bounce back home. However, I am craving the sense of normalcy, having responsibility and enjoying the weather. I miss the everyday stuff with my kids, cuddling with my dogs and just having control over my life. Its now reached the 70’s outside – beautiful, perfect fall weather for Las Vegas. Its my favorite time of year and I can only see it from inside from my hospital room.

Gru the Bulldog

Gru the Bulldog

And...now Gru is tired.

And…now Gru is tired.

Fall and winter are also my favorite time of year because of all the holidays and traditions that Dave and I have put in place for our kids. Once I had little ones of my own, I found it very important to try and instill holiday traditions into our lives. For example, every year we go and pick our pumpkins at Gilcrease Orchard.  Gilcrease Orchard is great. Its been there forever and is very popular during the Halloween season. You pick your pumpkins off the vine, get all dusty and dirty from hiking through the patch and enjoy homemade apple cider and pumpkin donuts for your effort. Throughout the year they offer seasonal fruit that is all U-Pick. I know this is all normal for my Midwest friends and readers but its sure not the norm for here in Las Vegas!

Pumpkin Patch pic 1

 

The kids had a blast this year but I didn’t get to go. Dave and his dad took the kids. I was bummed because I couldn’t go but so glad we were able to keep up the tradition. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces from all the pictures Dave took. It made me feel like I was right there with them.

 

Pumpkin Patch pic 2

This is certainly a time of patience – something I haven’t always had a lot of. Its often said, but very true – “All things happen for a reason.”