About Me

My photo

I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Intentional Love


I don’t remember how I found Kara’s blog. What caught my eye was the title of her book. The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard.

I then found her Facebook page. Mundane Faithfulness.
Kara is dying. And she is dying with grace. She recently wrote a blog post about Intentional Love.

It was about her daughter’s deliberate gift. A friend of mine once told me that love is a verb. It is something that you “do.” I remember reading Eat, Pray, Love when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Part of Elizabeth Gilbert’s message was not to ask “What can I do for you?” Rather, find out what someone needs, and do it.

That is the gift we can give someone in need; someone who is hurting. The gift of intentional love.

 
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

I Believe

I believe in the magic of Christmas. Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the entire year. There is something magical about the day; an evening that wakes to gifts that weren’t there the night before. Even long after I learned the truth about Santa Claus I knew that Christmas Eve was still very special. I still go to sleep anticipating the “good” that the morning will bring. I still wake with the excitement of new beginnings Christmas morning.

This year my husband and I decided to keep Christmas simple. Simple, in terms of what the world knows for the season. Our Christmas is always extended over the week between Christmas and New Year’s. We’ll spend one holiday with his family, the other with mine, and somewhere in between we’ll exchange our own gifts. Some years we are elaborate with our gift giving to each other. Other years we just stuff a stocking for each other. This year will be a combination of stockings and a couple small gifts (when we get around to our day together).
Simplicity this year meant a few decorations to make the house look special and festive. But instead of running around like crazy and trying to do too much we took the time to be with friends and family. Each weekend during this holiday season we have gathered with different friends or family to just enjoy each other’s company. One weekend was a dinner, complete with a smoked turkey.



Each weekend has brought us something special; time with friends. Time that we cannot get back. But also time that we would never trade. It is those times that have meaning and make memories. While gifts will wear out or break or fade, no one can take those moments, these memories, away.

Our celebrations will continue this week with some more gatherings. They will be filled with laughter and love. Most of all, they will be filled with the magic of Christmas.



If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Boston Herald


As you have often seen me write, I wonder why. What is this all about? Mine is a story of healing. It is a story of hope. It is a Lifetime Television Movie. Yet I wonder why and for what purpose it all has meaning.
Recently I was reminded that for “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” – Luke 12:48 ESV. Yes. Much has been given. Therefore much is required.
And then I met Herald.
My dear friend Shelle introduced us. I kept wanting to call him Hal or Henry, but I knew that wasn’t right. With a twinkle in his eye he said, “Think of the Boston Herald. It’s even spelled the same way.” But Herald is not from Boston. Throughout the evening we shared our stories. How I met Shelle. How my time with her was continually extended. How our friendship grew. The fact that God allowed me to be with her during the passing of her mother. None of which was meant to be in the original scheme of things. Yet God provided her with a friendship that she needed at the time; a friendship that I didn’t understand at the time. Now I do.
As my own story unfolded Herold pulled out his “smart phone” and pulled up a Bible verse. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”  – 2 Corinthians 1:3 & 4 ESV
I still don’t get it. I still don’t understand “why me?” I am not an angel. I have so many doubts of my own. I question so many things. But not my faith. I believe in God and His purpose. But why would He choose someone who cannot reconcile her own beliefs, let alone reconcile this journey? I lived against the odds. I celebrate the hope and the pink ribbon. But I am conflicted with the truth that is my friend Linda.
She will die.
Within the next few days. Within the next few weeks. She will not be alive when I walk in the 2015 Boston Avon Walk to End Breast Cancer. I don’t get it. I truly don’t understand. Yet, for Boston Herald, I know that I have been given much. Therefore, much is required.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

50 Thankfuls

Today is the last day of November and the first day of Advent. Here in the U.S. we celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Many of my friends spend the month enumerating 30 Days of Thanksgiving in their social media posts, so I think this blog post is only fitting.

I turned 50 in July. I chose to make it a week-long event so that I could celebrate with loved ones. I was lucky enough to have two birthday parties. Each of them equally special because of the friends and family who were there. One of my sweetest friends that I’ve known for over 30 years gave me a card that explained “How to Turn 50.” One of the items is to make a list of 50 things you’re thankful for. So here goes:
1.     God.

2.     My faith. While it’s not always strong, it has always been there.

3.     My husband. He’s been there through it all. He has lived our marriage vows. I love him more today than I did yesterday.

4.     My parents. Not only did they give me life, they gave me adventures that can never be replaced.

5.     A road trip that took us from Connecticut to Oregon.

6.     My siblings. I have an older brother and a younger sister. Each is a friend. And I share a unique bond with each of them. Individually. There is nothing else like the bond I have with my brother. And there is nothing else like the bond I share with my sister.

7.     My cousins. They are my “other siblings.”

8.     My grandparents. I am fortunate enough to known all four of my biological grandparents. In addition to that, my father’s step-mother will always be Grandma Ellie.

9.     My in-laws. I actually like them. I have a friend in my mother-in-law. My father-in-law has been a father when I needed one after my own father passed away.

10.  Extended family. Whether related by blood or “adopted” along the way, you know who you are.

11.  My friends. I have friends that I have known since childhood. You know my secrets. I have others who are newer, but still equally loved.

12.  My BFFs over the years. One I’ve known since I was six. Another I met when we were in the 5th grade. Another I met in college. And still another I met in Law School.

13.  My animal companions. I grew up in a house filled with animals.

14.  Alexander Puff – the first cat who shared our home with me and my husband

15.  Horatio – cat number two. That one that touched my soul and I will never be the same.

16.  Maria – cat number three. While my husband is her “person” she took the time to take care of me while I was sick.

17.  Kiwi – the delightful kitty who has never grown up. We call her our forever kitten.

18.  Music.

19.  Playing the flute.

20.  Being a part of “Trinity Unlimited.”

21.  Drama. And Drama Club in high school.

22.   The ability to read. Which lead to:

23.  My education.

24.  My law degree.

25.  My law license. It took a little extra time, but was worth it.

26.  And along the lines of being able to read: my Bible.

27.  My career. I am fortunate enough to have a job that combines my experience, knowledge and passion.

28.  Consulting. I had the privilege of working at many different colleges and meeting many different people. And some lifelong friendships were made along the way.

29.  My colleagues. I work (and have worked) with some of the greatest people I know. They are caring, compassionate, and truly live what they believe.

30.  My home.

31.  A beautiful fireplace.

32.  A comfortable bed.

33.  A large refrigerator.

34.  An indoor grill.

35.  An in-home “gym.”

36.  Training for the Avon Walk.

37.  My history. I have no regrets because I would not be who I am today without the experiences I’ve had.

38.  Seeing a man not only land on the moon, but step on the moon.

39.  Living in the U.S. While we have our problems, it is still a country that allows me freedom.

40.  Travel. I have been as far west as Hawaii, as far east as England, as far north as Alaska and Canada, and as far south as Venezuela. There are still places to see on my bucket list, and I am lucky enough to think I may get to see them.

41.  Good food.

42.  My husband loves to cook.

43.  Enough money to cover our expenses.

44.  Television. Yes, I’m a TV junky. And I love having “on demand” media through my cable provider, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

45.  Social media. Not only am I able to stay connected with family and friends, I have reconnected with very special friends from high school.

46.  Fiber crafts – being able to knit, crochet, and do counted cross stitch.

47.  Of course, my health.

48.  Actually being 50.

49.  The twists and turns of fate (which brings me back to #1).

50.  And most of all, this journey.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Friday, November 21, 2014

National Caregiver Month


Dedicated to the true caregivers in my life.
Caregiver –

-       a person who gives help and protection to someone, such as a child, an older person, or someone who is sick. [Merriam-Webster]

-       a person who cares for someone who is sick or disabled. [The Free Dictionary]

-       a person who cares for someone requiring support due to a disability, frailty, mental health problem, learning disability or old age [Wikipedia]

I have never thought of myself as a caregiver. I am a friend who can, and is able to, help out another friend in need. However, I was recently referred to as a “caregiver” by a volunteer at the hospital. At first I was startled by the description and almost protested. But I have learned to just accept the labels those around us have given me. Even one of the doctors refers to me as Linda’s daughter.
My mother often refers to me and my sister as her caregivers. I guess. I suppose. I think of my mother as my mother. And the time I get to spend with her is precious and limited due to our geographic distance. I am lucky enough to live within driving distance and we get to see each other about once a month.
But when I stop and think about my friends who are true caregivers I realize how little I know about their reality. My friend Linda (from law school) cares for her husband, Peter, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. My friend Tina is her mother’s primary contact for all of her medical needs. Even my own cousin is the caregiver for her parents; living with them so that their daily needs are met.
November is National Caregivers Month here in the United States. I encourage you to look around and see who in your community is a caregiver. Is there something you can do to lessen their burden? Maybe stay with their parent(s) or spouse so that they can have an afternoon at the spa to get a massage. Maybe make a meal for the family. Maybe do their grocery shopping and errands one day. Maybe clean their house. It doesn’t have to be any of these things, but you have a gift that you can share. Think about how you can use your gift to give that caregiver a well-deserved respite.
I still don’t think of myself as a caregiver. I think of myself as someone who can give of my time to help a caregiver. What can you do this month? Better yet, can you give of your time once a month? Caregivers need more than the month of November.

 
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Older Than Disco


I’ve been reading a lot of “lists” about lifelong friends, soul mates, and BFFs. But they all reference 21st century friendships. The lists include Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I’d like to take a moment and tell you what a true lifelong friendship looks like. I’ve taken the liberty of modifying several of these lists.
Let me start by telling you that my literal lifelong friend and I have known each other for 44 years. That’s right. Long before the turn of the century. Before social media. Even before cable TV and VCRs. So here goes:

1.     The fact that no matter how much time or distance separates us, we always pick up where we left off when we get together again.

2.     She has befriended my parents on a first-name basis. After all, we were adopted into each other’s family.

3.     We are able to communicate with just a look; finish each other’s sentence; or state a one-line movie quote from the 1970’s that has each other burst into laughter because we “understand” what that means. Yes, all the inside jokes are still funny.

4.     She has witnessed fashion faux pas and bad haircuts, and she still hung around. In fact, our friendship is “older than disco.”

5.     We hung out together when our parents had to drive us to the movies and before we could buy alcohol.

6.     We were there for each other through that one heartbreak that we made too big a deal over. And the one that we are embarrassed to admit we ever dated.

7.     We are comfortable with silence, and personal space is meaningless. We can sit cuddled up together on the couch not saying a word because we are just happy to be in each other’s presence.

8.     We never keep tabs on who owes what in terms of drinks or gifts. At the end of the day we know “it will all work out in the end.”

9.     Our husbands watch us with a bemused look on their face because we have known each other longer than we’ve known them. Plus, they are getting a look inside of who we were as children; someone that they will never truly know.

10.  She has never judged me when I made a bad decision. She was there to support me through my darkest times. She loves me no matter what.





If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Opposite Ends

On October 30, 2007 I sat in a surgeon’s office as she told me and my husband that I had breast cancer. Seven years later I found myself at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with my friends Linda and her daughter Tina as we navigated our way through appointments and difficult conversations. I watched as both nurses and doctors explained options and prognosis in neutral tones; explanations that palliative care does not cure. It only delays the inevitable.

I was impressed by the neurological oncologist who gently examined Linda and then discussed what was happening. While his voice was calm his face betrayed his concern. He listened with his eyes when Tina and I nodded our agreement to one of his suggestions.
The team is made up of at least three oncology doctors, one who is the primary team leader. The team also consists of two oncology nurses. One nurse is a nurse practitioner who works with the primary oncologist. She also works with my oncologist, so I have known her for almost seven years. She sat with Linda; completely focused on her while she delivered the most difficult news. In the end we all knew that the decision to move forward was the direction we will go. We will continue with the next round of treatments.
Before the nurse practitioner left Tina asked her how she could possibly do her job every day. As she shared that every patient is different, every journey and outcome unique, I was struck by the fact that in that room, at that moment, Nurse had two of her patients with her. Patients who are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Being involved in Linda’s life has changed me. I still love the pink ribbon and I smile at the “Save the Tata’s” teams during the Avon Walk because they bring hope. However, while my story is one of healing and hope, Linda’s is not. For me, it is no longer about saving a woman’s breasts. It is about saving a woman’s life.


If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Statistically Speaking

Recently a friend contacted me because she was called back after her annual mammogram. And she was scared. As we talked she quoted statistics to me. I wanted to give her a positive response and say that everything was going to be fine; that she had nothing to worry about. But I couldn’t. She was scared because she knows my story. What I did say was this: “Its ok to be scared. You are right; the chances are that everything is going to be all right.” (But if they are not, I’m here for you).

That got me thinking about some of the key facts that are often shared during the month of October. In 2014, there will be approximately 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer (this does not include Stage 0) diagnosed in women here in the U.S. And about 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.
The 5-year survival rate is often quoted, but all that means is that you are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. These rates are excellent for early stage breast cancer.

Stage
5-Year Survival Rate
 
 
0
100%
 
 
I
100%
 
 
II
93%
 
 
III
72%
 
 
IV
22%

Unfortunately all this tells us is that at the 5-year mark, chances are you are still alive. This doesn’t tell you the chances of recurrence or your chances of metastasis. Statistically, 20-30% of all breast cancer that is limited to the breast (early stage) will metastasize. For women who are first diagnosed with cancer in their lymph nodes as well as the breast, 30-60% will metastasize. These statistics have remained relatively unchanged for decades.
Statistically speaking, we need a cure.*

Resources:
American Cancer Society. www.cancer.org
Breastcancer.org www.breastcancer.org
Healthline www.healthline.com
National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov


*A cure for one cancer is a cure for all.

 
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rockin' the Pink Ribbon


There is a lot of backlash to the “pinking” of October. I understand it. Actually, I am getting a little tired of everything being pink; items being sold with a pink ribbon on them, and companies jumping in with pink promotions all in the name of “awareness.” However, I am not anti-pink. Nor am I anti-pink ribbon.
I appreciate the celebrities who advertise for a company promoting a pink item because I think they truly care. I just hope they’ve done their homework and know exactly how much money is going to the charity of choice. And how much that charity actually does for breast cancer research; both for prevention and a cure. Turning our disease into a money-making opportunity while pretending to care has got to stop. And companies that use their usual marketing campaigns but simply pink-wash the ad and say that it is “in support of” breast cancer awareness only trivializes the reality that is breast cancer. And it is hurtful to those who are dying of breast cancer. This is what is making everyone so angry.

I understand the anger, but I am not going to give up my pink ribbon during October. I am going to continue to wear my pink ribbon pin because for me the pin is a symbol and a badge of honor. It is also an open invitation. Wearing the pin lets people know that I support the cause that is breast cancer. When someone sees the ribbon they might choose to ask me why I wear the ribbon. It happens. The ribbon also provides an opportunity for someone to share, without my being intrusive.
I am not a brave person but my pink ribbon says, “Yes, we can talk about breast cancer if you’d like.” And so I will continue to wear it as a survivor, in support of others with the disease, and as an opportunity for conversation.

 
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grateful





Grateful: warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful. - Dictionary.com
Being grateful goes beyond being thankful. As I reflect on the years that have passed since my surgery I think of all the things for which I am thankful. In that first year, I graduated from law school, Kiley was born, and I passed the bar exam.
In the years since, we bought a beautiful new home, I changed jobs to one that is a perfect fit for me, and I have had the opportunity to travel. I’ve made many new friends, and reconnected with old. Along the way I have lost friends to cancer, and am losing a dear friend to this terrible disease. Despite the loss, I reflect on how blessed I am that God chose to bring these friends into my life. And I am determined to do what I can to help find a cure.
Often my thoughts turn to my husband and all that he means to me. Of course a husband is supposed to be supportive in sickness and in health; we took that vow almost 30 years ago. But I think of his tenderness, his fear, and his daily care. Where would I have been if I did not have him? Yes, he took me to every doctor’s appointment, but beyond that he has literally supported me physically, emotionally and financially. I am overcome by a deep sense of how much I appreciate our relationship.
It is only now that I get a glimpse of what my friend Diane meant by being grateful. It is not just a “thank you” to God for providing support, love and comfort during difficult times. Being grateful is a deep sense of appreciation for what has been given.





If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Friday, October 3, 2014

When You Need A Friend


As you know I struggle with the label "cancer survivor" because I do not want it to define who I am. I started this blog as a way to share my personal journey with family and friends. What I needed to say was too long for a status update. Over the past couple of months I have been struggling with the title I have given myself as the Reluctant Survivor.

Cancer does not define who I am. Though being a cancer survivor is part of my definition. As I state, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin and a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer, and a survivor. However, I could remove the second part of that definition and I would still be wholly and fully me.

I have discovered that this blog is more than who I am as a survivor. It is, in fact, my life after cancer. It is filled with my story of healing and hope. But it is also filled with joy, education, experiences and opinion.

I recently had an experience that challenged me to change the name of my blog and update my social media presence. I’m not going to do that. However, I did update my Twitter account to show my name, but still be @relucsurvivor.

What is most important to me is that I remain true to who I am, as well as be open and available to others. I will always be a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a best friend. I am also a survivor who wants to share my story of healing and hope. But I am also a survivor who understands and knows the reality of this deadly disease called cancer. And so I am also a survivor who will hold your hand when you need a friend.


 
 
 



If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Funny How Those Feelings Go


Those of you who know me know that I believe in connections. I’ve written a few times about connections in this blog. But I’ve never written about some of the deeper experiences I’ve had with connections. I’ve talked about it with those that I know understand. And when I discuss it with my husband he will often give me a “what have you been smoking?” look or comment. Until and unless you’ve experienced a deeper connection it is difficult to describe. But I will try.
Some of you will identify with dreaming about someone and having a feeling stick with you the rest of the day. Others have had dreams of loved ones who have passed away and it almost felt real. In fact, at times it does feel real and you might say that you had a “visit” from Grandma or Dad.
But what about the touch or presence or similar dream and the person connected to it is still alive? You know, that sense that the person is there, standing in line behind you at Disney World. That happened to me in 1993. I had another experience whereby my friend was standing next to me in the line at the cafeteria when in fact he was on the other campus. When I shared the experience with him (because he is someone who understands) he told me that those times when I felt him by my side were the times that he was probably praying for me.
Then there was the time that I was on the phone with a long-distance friend and I felt their hand touch mine across the thousands of miles.
This experience is rare and I’ve only had it a few times. Two weeks ago it happened again. I had to go into Boston for my annual oncology check-in. I’ve been to the oncology floor at BIDMC so many times since November that the trip was routine. But I have to admit, it was a bit lonely riding into Boston without my carpool companion. The receptionist greeted me with familiarity and had all my documents ready, almost without my asking. Linda and I do not keep it a secret that I was treated at the same clinic she now visits on a routine basis, so I’m sure we are talked about. I posted a “check in” commenting on how it seemed strange to be there alone.
As I sat on the examining table I felt Linda sitting beside me. And later, after I was home, Linda posted that she would have gone with me. I know she would have, had I asked. But even more than that, she was there with me before she even knew I was making the trip.
Funny how those feelings go.

 






If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Raspberries


I love raspberries. Raspberries are my favorite berry. I’d say they were my favorite fruit, except that I love bananas as well. In fact, I could eat raspberries and a banana every day. I am fortunate that I can find Cascadian Farms frozen raspberries at my local grocery stores. They are handy to have around when fresh raspberries are out of season.

With 6.5 grams of dietary fiber per 100 gram serving, raspberries have one of the highest fiber content of any fruit. They are rich in vitamin C and are considered a low glycemic index food. And raspberry leaves can be used fresh or dried to make a yummy tea.

Most raspberries you see in the store are red, but there are also black, purple, blue and yellow raspberries. Now wouldn’t that make a colorful and yummy dish?

Best of all, raspberries are high in antioxidants, which are known to help fight cancer.


Enjoy!
 
 
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ice Bucket Challenge

If you don’t know, the ice bucket challenge is this: you must make a donation to the ALS Association or one of its affiliates. You have to donate at least $10 and have a bucket of ice water dumped on you or you donate at least $100 to avoid the pain of ice cold water over your head. If you choose the ice water you should record the event, post it to some form of social media, and “call out” some of your friends for the challenge. It’s as simple as that.

I understand donations are way up.

I was tagged for the Ice Bucket Challenge by my friend and Pastor. I had planned on making a donation to the ALS Association anyway, but thought I’d wait until I was called out. 




Here is a picture of the bag of ice that I am not going to put into a bucket of water and dump over my head. If you know me at all you know that I hate being cold. Even if it seems like a refreshing idea on a hot summer day. Not going to happen.

I like Charlie Sheen’s response to being challenged. 





While I don’t have his kind of money I do congratulate him on a job well done! And I would challenge others to give proportionately based on their own circumstances.

So, while I am purposefully avoiding the icy challenge, I am not avoiding the cause. Can I challenge my friends even if you don’t see me getting soaked? I hope so.




If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.

Another Disease of the Brain

The following is a guest post from my friend, Linda McKay Brewer.

Tonight, I went out to what we had hoped would be our vegetable garden. Every year on Memorial Day weekend, Peter and I would plant the garden. In the early years the garden was carefully planned, with exact spots for beets, carrots, yellow and green beans, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. Every day Peter would inspect, weed and water, and pinch bugs. And soon we would be picking splendid fruits of his labor. I quickly learned how to can all those vegetables and we enjoyed many a tomato and relish throughout the winter and into spring.

But as this disease takes its toll, the garden has as well. You can measure the stage of the disease through the garden's success.

Time was the first challenge. Peter wanted to plant too early. And of course the frost won. The following year's plants would be growing only to be weeded out. This year the garden, despite the help of caregivers, is just weeds. Chives thrive in a tangled mess, but tomatoes that once grew 50 pounds from 6 plants were a rare jewel. Squash rot on the blossom, cucumber growth is stunted, and peppers have gone. Marigolds grow on the edges as does the mint.

In this tangle of weeds where the bright red cherry tomatoes pop through when least expected, I see what is the Alzheimer's brain. A tangle of weeds, with rare moments of clarity as bright as a ripe tomato. This year we will visit the farm stands to enjoy fresh vegetables. Next year our gardens will be wild flowers. And I will weep for what was.

You can make a donation toward research and a cure by visiting www.alz.org.




If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor. And on Twitter @relucsurvivor.