Patience, patient.


I don’t think I have any more cancer in my body, but because we cannot be sure, there is more to be done, and I need to be patient.

For the last three days or so, I’ve been distracted by my drain, which developed a clog, slowing the flow of fluid from my thigh, giving me a scare, and making me very uncomfortable. Since last night, I was having lower abdomen pain,  8-9 out of 10 on the happy-to-sad-face scale. I saved it all for my appointments today with my oncologist and my surgeon. Let’s face it. I’m ready to be off antibiotics, but I need to finish the course. My scar for the lymph nodes is healing, the knee is fine, I’m just hot, bored, antsy, and a little bit cranky thanks to being under house arrest. My second surgery was August 31, so we’re looking at nearly a month with a drain dangling from my leg. It’s gross, don’t even think it isn’t. My surgeon unclogged it. I will have it a few more days, continuing to log the fluid. If it continues to slow its flow, it can be removed in a couple of days. No photo. You’re welcome.

There are good things to think about. Like, here I was this morning at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua  with John and 16 years ago to the day I was there resting from giving birth to Sophie, who aced her APGARs and just about every test since. I cannot thank John enough for convincing me that becoming parents was what it was all about. It is.

Now I’m home here with Charlotte, who takes a different tack on life than her sister. She’s got a cough, so she keeps her distance. I ask about homework and the papers she was to turn in, and she give me a peek into her day. Both girls play their cards close. In that way, they are not like me at all. I’m a spill-the-beans-all-the-time kinda gal.

So, because of the discomfort this morning, I was depressed going into my oncology appointment. We talked about a couple of clinical trials that would be appropriate for me, but they are on the Mainland. I wasn’t feeling positive about any of it. Traveling should be for fun and a change of scenery. One of the trials hasn’t opened yet, but it may any day now. The doctor said the window is usually within 98 days of surgery for someone like me to participate. He’s going to call me a month from today for a phone appointment to see what we’ve decided — and that day, October 22, is our anniversary, 20 years!

It’s limbo time for me. I’ll be getting in touch with the clinical trial principals to see if I might be a candidate with them. That’s where I am. Thank you for your support. I should look at it as another month to heal, get stronger, and get a few things done in my life.



Thoughts Become Reality

One of my dear friends from childhood named Sue, someone with whom I can spend a total of 15 minutes with every five years and still have a perpetual connection with (thanks to Facebook and perhaps thanks to our spirits), often gives her friends daily spiritual vitamins upon which to reflect. Today it was something from Marianne Williamson:

On Meeting Limits with Unlimited Thought
Our power lies in meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thought. It is not what happens to us, but what we choose to think about what happens to us, that determines what will happen next.
If our circumstances tempt us to think thoughts such as, “I’m such a loser,” “I will never have another chance,” “It will take forever for this situation to right itself,” or “I hate whoever is to blame for this,” then miracles, though they are programmed into the nature of the universe, cannot make their way into our awareness. They’re in the computer, but we’re not choosing to download them. With every thought we think, we either summon or block a miracle.
It is not our circumstances, then, but rather our thoughts about our circumstances, that determine our power to transform them. We choose in life whether to live in victimization or in victory. We have power either way – power to use against ourselves, or power to use to free ourselves. The point is that we always have the choice, and it’s not always as simple as it appears.
– Marianne Williamson

This hits on several areas in my life. First of all, I think it is a miracle that I have such a great husband and these two lovely daughters who care and love me so much. I do not love myself as much as they do. I should. I need to work on that constantly.

Secondly, while it is such a gift to be a freelance writer and to write articles in my shady and private backyard office, it gets a little tough when the checks take a long time to come in. It’s not that stable. That’s why I am a substitute teacher (believe me, having the summer off with my family has been GREAT! School starts Friday. Yay!). So I’m happy to be writing, it helps me stay relevant as a journalist, and it keeps me in touch with my community and people who are important. But honestly, I feel like I need a miracle every month to stay solvent, which is why I still send out my resume. There must be a few hundred versions of it out there right now.

Finally, being a triathlete is crazy. As a kid I loved to swim, bike and run around. I didn’t have my children until I was past 40, so I could do all kinds of things for a long time before they were born. But after they were born, I got sluggish and fat and that also makes your self esteem and soul turn to mush. At 50 I started to do triathlons. Do I train to win? Of course I do! Do I win? No. Not unless everyone else is out of town doing full-blown Ironmans or other endurance events. I try really hard to do my best. During my last half Ironman, which was Honu in Kona a few months ago, I struggled during my ride and my run. The self talk was all about “never again.” Thank goodness I had friends along the course who interrupted me with their cheers and support. I would have happily fallen into a lava tube to die. When I finished just minutes before the clock wound down, it felt like a miracle. And it was, woven by the voices of friends, the unbearable heat that I wanted to get away from, the desire to be done with it.

Reprogramming myself to understand that my thoughts control the gate through which miracles arrive is difficult, but it makes sense. If I want to attract something wonderful and fulfilling or even a conversation with someone I want to spend time with, I have to appear ready, I have to be available, and I have to be receptive.

Thinking positively. Peace.

Smile, and the Whole World Smiles With You

A year ago I wasn’t smiling on the inside, but I smiled on the outside when I parted ways with my confining corporate cube. I was worried, but I never let it show. My friends congratulated me on my leap of faith, which felt more like a free fall, a shove off the top floor.

I am so grateful for those of you who continued to give me support. It wasn’t an easy time.

A year later, I’m still breathing. I let the anniversary pass with just a comment to my husband. I was glad it was on a weekend. I didn’t give it much thought. I was busy preparing for my Lanikai Triathlon, in which I scored a personal record, a personal victory, a slam-dunk and nail-that-coffin-shut-for-good sense of closure.

On the bright side, last Fall I took the state’s substitute teaching certification course and have been spending time with public school students K-12 on any given day. I love the hours and I love that someone else makes a teaching plan for me so they can take a personal day.

On another bright side, the freelance writing assignments continue. I wasn’t sure how much writing I would get, but my assignments at Hawaii Business Magazine have kept me busy and relevant in the local market. I am having stories published by Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University, and am talking now with four more entities about writing for them. Freelance writing takes a lot of discipline. I can’t chuck it all for a bike ride, run or a go in the kayak if I have a looming deadline. And if I need to reach sources, I have to connect with them during normal business hours. With each article written the bonds of trust between an editor and I are reinforced. That’s important if I want more work!

Finally, the flexibility of freelancing and substitute teaching gives me more time with my family and it has given me more time to train for triathlons. I signed on with Boca Hawaii for training not only to challenge my body, but for encouragement when I’m feeling fragile on the inside. Last night one of my coaches asked me how I was doing. I told him I was tired. He said he could tell, gave me a little shoulder rub and a few encouraging words. The afterglow of a workout is uplifting, and I’m always glad when I go. There are about 40 of us in the Endurance Triathlon Training group and I know I’m not the only one feeling wiped out this week, but it’s all part of a great plan that will come to fruition on the Big Island next month for Ironman 70.3.

I am so fortunate. I have a supportive and loving husband, two brilliant daughters who remind me of my true worth each day, friends who welcome me flaws and all, and a growing queue of editors who take a chance on me and like what they see.

A year later my inside smile matches my outside smile.





Beach Baby

Barnacle Ball on the beach today. I touched it to see it was rubber. Didn't see any glass balls. It sure was windy! I was ready for anything!

Barnacle Ball on the beach today. It was rubber.

Took my girls to Sherwood Beach today in Waimanalo. It was quite deserted. The wind howled, squalls whipped in from the sea, and beautifully bubbly marine blue man-o-war were everywhere. The sun peeked through the clouds. I had to get some sand running in, my new favorite way to keep in touch with my inner whimpy runner.

We parked The Forever Van under the ironwoods and before I could shut the back hatch, Kid2 was up to her waist in waves, bobbing up and down, goggles holding down her curls and protecting her eyes from the salty sea spray. Kid1 followed with a boogie board that launched into the air like a kite while she tried to hold onto it in with the leash.

I loaded down the chair with our beach bag of towels and slid my arms into the cords of my mini backpack — a giveaway from one of my races. Inside were our three iPhones, two wallets, my reading glasses and a bandana. We don’t leave our valuables laying around. When I run I honestly don’t even feel the bag or its contents bouncing around on my back. The wind is so intense I do what I can to keep my visor on my head. I watch the sand for the spots of blue, I look around at the people, I watch the waves and take my turns running in the water, on the mud, or on the soft, dry sand.

Twice my legs got entwined in man-o-war tentacles. By the time I finished my second of three laps, the girls had decided there were too many man-o-war, it was too windy, and here comes the rain. Argh. Who are these sissies? My parents had to pry me off the beach when I was little. Heck, I could stay there all day, everyday, if I had my way!

This perplexes me. How are these girls my children? If it’s raining at the beach, you get wet, right? But you’re swimming in the ocean! It’s so cool to be in the ocean when it’s raining! The fresh water trickles down your face and it is a weird sensation to taste fresh water when you’re floating in the ocean. They were wearing long-sleeve jerseys to protect them from the sun and stings. Neither had been stung, but they still wanted to get out. I was really disappointed. I was ready to sit in my chair and enjoy being at the beach, just as I have done for as long as I can remember. When I got hot again, I’d run back into the water. It’s the way it’s done. Swim, drip dry, repeat.

It’s fall break for my girls who now have demanding social lives and obligations beyond hanging out with Mom. I’m OK with that. I will admit going to the beach alone is a lot easier than going with an entourage. But someday they’ll be gone for good and I’ll have plenty of solitary beach days. I know I’ll miss having their whiny sandy butts bickering in the back of The Forever Van, sweeping between their toes with the mini whisk brooms, burping their demanding iPhones, while I sit in the chauffer’s seat, with the wind blowing full throttle in the windows, taking whatever conversations they have out and far away.

I’ll collect shells and take pictures and send them emails signed:


The Forever Mom.


Put a Child On a Plane

There’s this chasm growing between my 13-year-old daughter and me. It’s OK. I still remember being 13. My mother was much closer to me in age, so I am counting on this age difference between my first born and me to result in a smoother relationship.

Kid1 is better at this life game than I was when I was her age. She plays her cards close. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I allow people to use me, I trust until I am fooled. It’s kind of embarrassing, and I realize I must bury the bones of my past.

She’s in Rome with her high school orchestra and band classmates, her viola was part of her carry-on luggage, she’s got a less-than-iPhone in case she loses it, we tracked her flight from Hawaii to Dulles to Rome with the very cool FlightAware app. I hope I hear from her: a text, an Instagram, an email. I might not. So far I haven’t. She’s been in touch with her Dad and Kid2, and I’m relieved when they let me know she’s reached out. I sent her a text with little emoji hearts, an Italian flag, a violin, a jet plane, musical notes. Just me, trying to be playful and fun and loving.

Our first night without her was quite calm. No shower wars between the sisters about who has to go first, no bickering, no slights. Kid2 read a book after dinner and talked with me a lot. We will enjoy this time together, but we all miss Kid1.

When we were driving to the airport, it reminded me of the ride to the hospital to give birth. I cried because I was happy, but I cried because there was no going back and that the changes that would occur when this new person comes into our lives would be irreversible. Dynamics shift. Our personalities make room for another. Our hearts expand immeasurably.

The experience will be amazing for her. We’re curious, we wish we could watch as she enjoys a true Italian cappuccino, plays her viola with her orchestra, takes in the wonders of the Vatican and the ruins of Rome. Will she share all this, or will she keep these memories locked?

I fumble about for the right key.


This Just In: Developing Story


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Over the past couple of weeks I have been reading The Secret. A few years ago I watched the movie and a few months ago I felt like everything was going wrong so I decided to get all quantum physical … Continue reading

Me and MiniMe


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Do you ever wish you could step back in time and let your younger you in on a few things? I feel like I have that chance, sort of, with my Kid2, aka MiniMe. Yesterday, she and I had another … Continue reading