Sunday, May 27, 2018

Moving ahead...

I'm determined to make sure this blog doesn't become all about cancer, but since that's such a big part of my life right now, it's going to take a balancing act.

So how about we start with happy things this time around?!

Little by little we are making this apartment our home. Thanks to Tina, we were mostly settled in with what we had by end of day one. But since we'd brought very little furniture, we've had to do some shopping. I've scored great deals at a furniture consignment store, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, IKEA, Amazon and my latest favorite: Wayfair. Both of our kids gave me gift certificates to Wayfair for Mother's Day! They know me so well πŸ˜‚ I've always loved "nesting" and doing my best to create a calm, restful space to call home. The process of doing that this time has proven to be quite stress relieving in the midst of all the medical and insurance drama, and it just makes my heart happy to make things pretty. The world could use more pretty things, don't you think?! 

Have y'all heard of the Marco Pollo app, where you create video messages and form little groups with whom to share them? Our kids got us going on this, and we have a family group which is SO FUN! It's so nice to hear that little ding on our phones and know that either Jon or Tina has posted a short video. You know, grandparents can sit and watch a cooing baby face for a really long time, totally mesmerized by their beauty! Or laugh at the silly antics of the older grandchildren. What will they think of next!?

And because I am the quintessential grandmother, of course I have to share some adorable photos of my adorable grandkids 😘

Adalyn is as besotted with her baby sister as the rest of us. Aren't they absolutely precious?! Counting down the days until I get to see them!

I think they are going to be best friends, don't you?

I've mentioned the pool which the kids love (and Papa too!). So refreshing on hot days! I've not been in yet, but it's only a matter of time. Once I start feeling better and gaining some energy, I'll be joining them.

Simon loves, loves, loves to help Papa with projects. I ordered a set of Eames style mid-century modern chairs from Amazon and picked up a Tulip style table from IKEA for our dining nook, and Simon was Papa's #1 assistant on assembling those. I'm going to have to get his picture with a pencil stuck behind his ear like one of his favorite cartoon characters, Handy Manny. (The chairs around the table in the background are extra folding chairs we picked up for when we are more than four, and they are seriously the most comfortable folding chair I've ever sat on.)

And I'll finish up the cuteness allowance with this picture of Betsy, in her favorite spot in our apartment: the walk-in closet. Girl not only likes to play in there, it's where she takes naps (her choice!). Such a funny, sweet girl  πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’— Love how each of my grandkids is so different and unique and special. 

Today Ivan and I celebrated our 39th anniversary by going out to breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi's, a lovely restaurant with some great gluten free options. I had the lightest, fluffiest, best waffles in my life! Usually gluten free baked goods tend to be heavy, but I really don't think I've ever had a better waffle, with or without gluten!

I'm so deeply grateful to be this man's wife as he continues to love and cherish me in sickness as well as health!

And then we came home and I'm hunkered down as day-four-after-chemo side effects hit. At least it doesn't seem to be as bad this time and I'm hoping the trend continues. 

But backing up... We left off last week with me in limbo regarding chemo when our insurance still hadn't come through for us. Ivan continued working the phones for hours on Thursday, Friday, and Monday but it wasn't until 9 a.m. Tuesday we learned I'd been approved for chemo -- which was scheduled for 9:45! To be honest, we'd been disappointed so often we weren't expecting the approval and had to rush around to get ready and out the door pronto! But we made it, and after meeting with the nurse practitioner first (since the oncologist wasn't in that day), chemo recommenced.

I felt better prepared this time, after a "chemo class" the week before, where the physician's assistant walked us through each of the side effects I'd struggled with the first round, and how we could mitigate and deal with them. I'm already experiencing fewer and less intense side effects. I think it also helps that I'm getting less chemo (they really blast you the first time and then ease up on subsequent treatments). Plus I'm not on antibiotics like I was last time which, along with the steroids they give you to offset other side effects, created the perfect storm for a horrible yeast infection in my mouth. I won't lie, I was a big baby for two weeks until the appropriately named Miracle Mouth Rinse finally cleared that up. 

But the biggest factor in experiencing fewer and less intense side effects is, I'm convinced, that I'm not packing and moving across the country right after a chemo treatment, so MUCH LESS STRESS. I'd highly recommend that no one else try that daring feat, because it almost

In other medical news, I had a brain CT scan on Monday. Fastest test yet, at just about five minutes. I told Ivan they must not have found anything to scan. "If I Only Had A Brain" from the Wizard of Oz immediately came to mind πŸ˜‰ Since we haven't received a call about the results, I'm assuming everything checked out okay.

Continuing to deal with insurance stuff. Ivan spent another hour and a half on the phone yesterday as we are still trying to get assigned the primary care physician we want. He's been calling for three weeks about this, and every time we're told it's being handled and within 72 hours he can set up an appointment. And every time he calls the doctor's office, he's told we are not on the list yet! So frustrating, you have no idea. We've asked for a case manager with AMBetter so we don't keep getting booted around, and going through the same rigamarole every single time, but we were told they don't do that. But somehow (?!) Ivan ended up talking this Friday to the same person he'd talked to last Friday (coincidence? I don't think so! Thank you Jesus!) and when he pointed out she'd failed to follow through on a single promise she'd made, I think she felt guilty enough to go the extra mile and call the doctor's office herself and talk to someone in billing.

That meant Ivan was finally able to make an appointment, but not with the PCP we wanted because he doesn't have any openings until July. Ivan had been scheduled for an endoscopy in April because our doctor in Indiana thinks he has ulcers, but we naively thought it would be better to wait and get it done here (since, you know, life was a little crazy between me starting chemo and trying to move cross country at that point). We had no idea it would take more than two months to get this handled! He has an appointment to see another doctor in the same practice as the PCP we want on June 6th, at which point he'll get rescheduled for that endoscopy and hopefully we'll find out what's going on. Ulcers? Gallbladder? Something else entirely? We just want to know what's going on so we can address the issue.

Today was a perfectly beautiful day here in Las Vegas, with a high of just 81. Sad I wasn't able to spend more time outdoors, because the intense heat arrives this week and I don't think we'll have a break until fall. We've been told by many here that this Spring has been quite mild, and that last year this time it was already up around 110! I'm grateful for God's grace in easing us into the hotter climate. I recall our years in Florida back in the 80s when I'd get the kids up early to go grocery shopping (most of the big stores were open 24 hours even back then) so we could be home and back in the air conditioned apartment by 9 a.m. Pretty sure that's how I'll survive Nevada summers too! 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Waiting is not my strong suit

Warning: Long post. You might want to make a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine. You might be a while, if you make it all the way through this post. And be prepared for a lot of VENTING.

So much has happened in the past month and I've had neither time nor energy to write. In fact, I've felt pretty miserable most of the month. My hope that the side effects would be confined to dry mouth, nausea and the occasional headache was just that: a hope. Reality set in four days after chemo when a bunch of stuff hit at once. I won't go into details but let's just say there wasn't a part of me that didn't hurt. I lost 13 lbs in two weeks. The trip to Nevada was, without a doubt, the WORST trip ever; I couldn't even keep water down. It took me a week to recuperate and be ready to move into our apartment.

God granted energy and a mostly pain-free two days that allowed me to help at least a little with the move last Friday and Saturday. But honestly, the bulk of what was accomplished was due to our daughter who was a woman on a mission! On Friday she helped Ivan unload the pod and then, while I slowly unpacked kitchen boxes and put things away, she whipped through, organizing the bathroom, bedroom, big walk in closet (that's serving double duty as both closet and storage space) and started on the living room by unpacking and putting books on shelves. Later that evening Ivan and Kyle picked up the couch we'd found at a furniture consignment store. Saturday Tina took me shopping (this was our third outing specifically looking for furniture) and we found some nice big, tall end tables at a ReStore. Do you know how hard it is to find nice big, tall end tables?! What's the deal with all these tiny, short tables being passed off as end tables today? The arms on our couch are 27" high, and it would look downright silly to put little 20" tall tables next to it.

Sunday I started feeling yukky again and that lasted through Tuesday morning. Ugh! As if feeling physically ill wasn't enough, the emotional fallout of this week has been intense. Our insurance, AMBetter, has been an absolute nightmare. I was supposed to get a CT scan, but the morning of the appointment, it was canceled because they hadn't received approval yet. And Wednesday I learned they still hadn't approved my next chemo so that, too, was canceled for Thursday. Ivan has spent SO MUCH TIME on the phone, it's ridiculous. Every.single.time. they start out by telling us we're not in the system. Ivan persists and "Oh, yes, here you are!" happens. But that's about it. I know the people we're dealing with are just the worker ants and they're all taught to sound sympathetic and helpful, but the truth is they are just giving you a run-around and nothing actually gets done.

Ivan's been calling daily since May 4th, trying to get us assigned the primary care physician we want (who is in network). That still hasn't happened! How hard can it be to put our names on a specific list?! He's been calling multiple times a day since Wednesday and it's been so frustrating! We did learn Thursday that a big part of the problem is that the folks at AMBetter were looking at our old policy in Indiana and saying I was no longer a client. Duh, no I'm no longer a client in Indiana, but I sure am in Nevada! (None of the call centers are in Nevada; he's talked to people in several different states but none of them our own.)

Today Ivan spent at least two hours on the phone. He was on hold for 20 minutes the first time and then they hung up on him. That's happened several times this week. He's learned to immediately ask for a supervisor because those who answer the phone have no authority to do anything anyway, so it's completely useless talking to them. With some coaching from our daughter we are learning how to deal, and today Ivan asked for the supervisor's full name and for her extension in case the call got dropped. The upshot of that call is that we learned the two tests the doctor ordered were being held up because the person reviewing them had flagged them as requiring "peer to peer" review. But no real news on why the chemo is being held up.

Ivan called our contact at the doctor's office and told her about the peer to peer review requirement, and a few hours later she called back to say that had been handled and I'd been approved for both tests! So some progress. I'm thankful my oncologist is being proactive and jumped right on that, once he knew. Would have been nice if AMBetter had communicated that with him directly. We only found out because of Ivan's persistence in calling and calling. We're all hoping that Monday we'll get approval for the chemo. Our contact at the doctor's office said that now I'm in the system, things should start moving along.

If not, we're prepared to keep calling AMBetter AND file a complaint with the Nevada Commissioner of Insurance. We've already filed one with the Better Business Bureau. Is the tactic by insurances companies to make it so difficult that people just give up? That's not gonna happen here! My husband is like a bulldog and he's not going to let it go until there's resolution and I can resume my treatments. It's ridiculous that it should be this difficult to get approval for a treatment that literally has life or death consequences. Tuesday I'm rescheduled for chemo IF I get approved; that day marks four weeks since my first treatment...they're supposed to be given in 21 day cycles.

Aside from all the insurance drama and my low energy levels/continuing bouts of intestinal problems, we're loving Las Vegas! It's dry! It's warm! Tina totally scored when she found this apartment for us. It's in a gated complex so it's secure. People are friendly. The grandkids love the pool! (I haven't been in it yet; just watched from the sidelines.) Ivan likes working by the pool; he takes his backpack with files and computer, and sits and makes calls. There's hardly anyone at the pool during the day, so it's a great "office" space for him.

The apartment is small (one bedroom, one bath) but there's tons of storage so I can keep most of my junk hidden, which I love (clutter is my enemy). The main living area is open concept, with the living, dining and kitchen all opening into one another, but the spaces are delineated which I also love. It's just the right size for us, right now. I don't need -- nor want -- a big space to clean. It's not ideal for entertaining, but then I don't anticipate feeling like entertaining much this coming year. Treatment is supposed to last 15 months, without any pauses. And of course, we are currently in the midst of a big pause while awaiting insurance approval for treatment.

It's absolutely wonderful to be close to Tina and her family! In Indiana we were an hour away and with our busy schedules, we typically only saw them once or twice a month. This is so much nicer! And I found out we don't have to wait until September to meet Eisley in person! I knew Jon was coming to visit next month, but I had understood it would just be him and Adalyn. But everyone is coming! Doing the happy dance!!!

So we moved last weekend, and this weekend Kyle and Tina move! They closed on their house this week, and their pods get delivered tomorrow. We'll keep the kiddos here and plan to wear them out with lots of pool time! We want to hand them back to their parents absolutely exhausted and ready to sleep like little logs. Because I'm pretty sure Kyle and Tina will be ready to sleep like logs themselves! Moving is not for the faint of heart.

And on a completely unrelated note: I got tired of shedding like a dog and had Ivan shave my head. It was a bit traumatic which caught me by surprise, but once it was done, I was fine. I already had a bunch of scarves but also bought two cotton beanies. The beanies are easier and cooler, but I'd really like to find a pattern to make the twisted turbans. All the ones I've found for sale are polyester and I want 100% breathable cotton. I'm looking at these turbans online and thinking "how hard can it be to make one?" Right?! Has anyone ever made something like this? Any hints or tips? I don't want anything too ornate {i.e., no big bows on the top of my head or large fabric flowers on the side of my head}, just a simple turban with a twist at the top. I started searching patterns but haven't found what I'm looking for yet. As warm as it is already, there's no way I'm putting a hot, sweaty wig on this summer. I'm all for soft, cotton turbans and beanies, occasionally dressed up with a scarf. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Great Big Welcome to Eisley Laine!

Our fourth grandchild, Eisley Laine, made her appearance on May the 4th; she's a true Star Wars baby! And crazy coincidence but Jon and Natalie chose a space theme for her -- how cool is that?!
It wasn't an easy birth and I'm so proud of how Natalie soldiered through and delivered her naturally, despite the complications they ran into throughout the long labor.
Everyone is enamored of this little cutie! And how could you not be?! She's totally adorable!

Does Jon look a little solemn? I think the enormity of being daddy of two may have just sunk in. Haha!

We won't know for a week or so, but we're hoping for another red head!

Baby burrito!

She's got the most adorable outfits. Lots of polka dots which I'm completely obsessed with (have been collecting polka dot fabric for years and one of these days I'm going to make myself a polka dot lap quilt).

 And girl can totally rock just a diaper too! 
Good morning world!

Adalyn has been waiting and waiting and waiting for her baby sister and can't get enough of her!

The quilt they're on is the one I made for Eisley. At the end of the post I'll include a few pics I took before I mailed it.

And is it just me, or do you want to pretend you're Rosemary Clooney and start belting out the song "Sisters" from "White Christmas", too?

We are hoping I'll feel up to making the trip to visit this sweet little addition to our family after chemo and before surgery, sometime in September. It's wonderful seeing photos and videos and FaceTiming but Nina wants to hold and snuggle this cutie!

And now here are pictures of the finished quilt.
The concept was a little girl floating past a window, holding planet "balloons".  Adalyn's quilt has a lot of purple in it and that's the color that kind of ties the two quilts together; the pretty sparkly purple fabric I used for the border worked really well with the background fabric.

I "auditioned" several color fabrics for the hair but the orange popped on the background better than the others (and as I mentioned, we're hoping for another redhead!).

Ivan had the fun idea of adding the Disney Pluto sticking up from behind one of the planets, as a nod to the Pluto that is no longer considered a planet.

I was insane enough to decide to do a two-sided quilt this time around! Jon and I both love the Apollo space program so I did a whole cloth appliqΓΊe of an astronaut and then embroidered the line details with blue thread. The flag is a patch I bought online.

I had the background fabric already. Actually I had all the fabric I needed to make this quilt, except the front background and the black I bought to do the binding. It took far longer than it should have due to being sick so much since the beginning of the year. I mailed it the day before she was born and it arrived the day they came home from the hospital. Talk about cutting it close! 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Boarding a Speeding Train

A friend at church who had breast cancer a few years ago described it as getting on a fast moving train she didn't want to be on, and couldn't get off. What a great analogy!

After being in a holding pattern for so long, these last two weeks have felt like I was caught napping and then had to run hard to catch the last car of the train as it sped out of the station. I made it -- barely -- gasping for air and my side hurting. No seats left in the car so I stood, clinging to an overhead strap as my legs adjusted to the sway of the train, before I started edging my way up to find an empty seat.

Right now, in this moment, it doesn't feel like I've been able to find that seat where I can finally rest and catch my breath. We're just hurtling down the tracks and I'm clinging on for dear life, one strap forward at a time.

I had already scheduled an appointment with an oncology surgeon in Ft. Wayne before we decided to for sure move, so I kept that, and am so glad I did. After a pretty rough experience with an oncologist in town, who didn't look at the PET scan and didn't read the whole report, I still wasn't exactly sure what was going on with my body. For this control freak, that freaked me out! Dr. Rachel Hayes, on the other hand, spent an hour and a half with us, going over the reports, answering all our questions, and doing both an ultrasound and breast biopsy right then and there. She was puzzled as to why the mammo and two ultrasounds I'd had done here in February showed clear, when obviously something was going on. She found the mass immediately during the physical exam, confirmed it with the ultrasound, and followed up with  a biopsy.

Because I'd gone from having undetectable swollen lymph nodes (found only by accident when I had a CT scan to check for blood clots in February) to having hard, fixed and palpable nodes 2-1/2 months later, Dr. Hayes wanted me to see a medical oncologist asap. So a few days later I met with Dr. Dolly Quispe, who also went over my records and then slowly and methodically laid out what their recommendation was for overall treatment: 6 rounds of chemo because I'm HER2+; two of the chemo drugs are targeted specifically at the HER2+ cancer cells and should reduce it by 40-70%, the other two drugs are more free ranging so I can expect to lose my hair among other things. But chemo first means less surgery down the road. After surgery I'll receive radiation. For a year I'll be on Herceptin, with time out for surgery, and then an anti-hormonal pill. Both Dr. Hayes and Dr. Quispe strongly urged me to go ahead and start treatment before moving because this is an aggressive cancer.

I communicated with my oncologist in Nevada who said to do what I needed to do, and after seeing some physical changes plus the pain was getting worse, I decided to follow the recommendations and begin treatment here. I had my port put in last Friday and my first chemo this Tuesday.

Moving things up like that -- since I hadn't planned to start treatment until after we moved to Nevada -- put me on the fast track to getting all the dental work done so that was even more intense the last two weeks. Six crowns and a difficult root canal later and I was all done, just in time for them to put the port in. Ivan was worried about the procedure to put the port in and I told him it was a breeze compared to all the dental work I'd had done! My mouth (well, gums I should say) are still a little ouchy after having so much done so quickly. My port area is tender to the touch but doesn't hurt.

I was kind of a wreck leading up to Tuesday, over-thinking and over-planning -- and I still missed something. Isn't that the way it usually happens? Both of us misunderstood the parting information when I left the hospital last Friday, thinking the envelope we carried home had some of the cream I was supposed to put on the port area one hour before treatment. On the way over to Ft. Wayne on Tuesday morning, I went to find the cream and instead pulled out a prescription for the cream :( Oh well, es lo que hay. At the hospital they gave me an ice pack to put over the port which helped with the numbing just fine.

I'd been told to expect to be there 6-7 hours, but it was more like 9 by the time I was checked in, saw Dr. Quispe one last time, got labs done, and then finally began the round of chemo. I understand future treatments won't take as long, but the first time they really hit you with it. At least the two drugs targeting HER2+ cancer; one was an hour long, then an hour observation (it will be 30 minutes each next time) and the other was 90 minutes and will be 30 minutes from here on out.

I hate to be bored and idle, so I'd gone (ahem) maybe a little too over-prepared. I'm still working on Eisley's quilt, and had managed to get the binding machine sewn onto the front, so I took it and worked on hand sewing the binding down on the back. Would have gotten it finished too, if they hadn't given me an injection of Benedryl half-way through to counteract possible side effects. It didn't make me go to sleep, but it did render me incapable of doing anything other than lying back with my eyes closed and reminding Ivan of things that needed to be done. Hahaha! Poor guy didn't even get a break during my most drug induced state. [I was able to finish the binding the next morning, and would have been done but have decided it needs a wee bit more quilting in the border.] I also took my Kindle loaded with three new books, and my iPad and earbuds, none of which even made it out of my bag. I was happy I'd added a fleece throw because it was cold in there! I had the baby quilt over my legs and the throw snuggled up around my arms and neck. Ivan sat next to me, working on his computer and making phone calls -- except when I reminded him of something he had to do, that is ;)

So far no really bad side effects. Yesterday I had a splitting headache most of the day. What finally helped was an hour and a half in a dark room with a cool gel eye mask on. That brought it down to a dull ache, which I can live with. Some nausea, not too bad. At least not bad enough to open the box of anti-nausea meds which have a big yellow warning label on front "MAY CAUSE HEADACHES". Thanks, but I don't need any help with that! And they were right about the fatigue. I honestly didn't think I'd notice being even more tired than I already was, but I do. I made one short trip out yesterday to get some things at Walmart. I've had a really dry mouth, and they recommend Biotene mouth wash, plus I picked up some "just in case" meds because I know there are side effects that don't manifest until 24-48 hours after chemo. Other than that quick trip, I stayed home and worked on handling some business stuff. If this is as bad as it gets, I'll be super happy!

We have a place to live in Nevada!!! Tina spent so much time on our behalf, traipsing through apartment after condo after apartment... We put our application in on a 2 bedroom (which I never thought we could afford on our budget) but they got multiple applications and we were not chosen. So Tina was back on the hunt again and this time we got it! It's a one bedroom, one bath, but more than twice as big as our casita. I'm pretty excited because it ticks all my boxes: washer and dryer in unit, ground floor, no carpet (which messes with my asthma and allergies) and just under our budget. Plus it's got a gas stove which makes me very happy, as do all the built-ins in the living room and bath plus a large walk-in closet. Looks like we'll have plenty of storage. Big bonus points for Tina finding a place close to the clinic where I'll be getting my treatments: only a 12 minute drive! 

We aren't taking much in the way of furniture at all, so Ivan has organized a Upack pod to be delivered this afternoon and our small group buddies are coming to help load the heavier items. I think we'll get most of the stuff loaded tonight, and then throw in the last minute things Sunday morning. They'll be picking the pod up after we're gone. They leave it for three business days at either end, for loading and unloading. We won't see our pod until the 9th through 11th (dates flexible) so Ivan will take some bare necessities in the car. Our sleep number mattresses break way down without the air in them (but we'll send the bases in the pod), and I'm putting together a bin of kitchen must haves, plus summer clothes. Otherwise we'll be "glamping" for a week :) We did that back in 2012 when we moved into our casita, but this will be a definite step up, with running water, electricity and gas. And since we aren't taking much furniture anyway, we knew we'd have to do some shopping when we get out there. I've already been checking craigslist, IKEA and Tina sent me the link to a nice furniture consignment store. We really won't need much for that small space so I think we'll get it furnished fairly easily.

Ivan's driving the car out, and our pastor is going with him. What an incredible blessing! I was worried about him having to drive out alone. God is so good! And He is really using our church family to bless us in tremendous ways. Our landlords are friends from church and they told us not to worry about the furniture we don't want to take (95% of it); we can just leave it here and they'll rent it out furnished to the next tenants. It felt like a huge weight rolled off once we knew we didn't have to deal with hauling a lot of furniture out. Others have brought in meals, done our laundry this week, and just been encouraging in so many ways. A VSF tradition is to ask the departing family to choose a song for the congregation to sing their last Sunday and we picked "Be Thou My Vision", a long time favorite. Not sure I'll be able to sing it, though, since I'll probably cry through the entire service. We have loved this church so much; it's been a place of healing when we most needed it. And even though we've only been there a little over a year, we've developed deep relationships that I know will be life-long.

I waited too long to book my ticket and couldn't get a straight through flight until Thursday, May 3rd, so that gives me a few days to catch my breath -- maybe find that seat to rest on in the train? -- and be with dear friends from church. Hopefully that break will energize me and I'll be ready to unpack on that end and set up house keeping. On this end we've pushed hard the past three weekends, cleaning out closets and finally starting to pack in the past week (between various doctor and dental appointments). I wanted to get as much done as possible before Tuesday since we had no idea how I'd react to chemo. It's pretty exciting to think that by this time tomorrow our pod will be (mostly) packed and we'll have the time and space to deal with last minute things.

Other happy news: Kyle and Tina found a house this past weekend too! They've been looking since Tina got out there; knowing they'd sold their house here gave them the freedom to go ahead and buy rather than having to rent for a while. And they'll only be about 15 minutes from us! I think we'll be fairly close to our nieces and sisters-in-law too. Things are coming together, piece by piece.

If you pray, please continue to pray for us. It's just the beginning of this journey. We don't know what to expect and can only take step at a time, one day at a time. We've been here before, this launching off into the unexpected, and I know God will give us the strength to get through it, but it just feels like it gets harder, the older we get. I could move with one hand tied behind my back 40 years ago :) It takes a lot of work these days to do just the basics. And to be honest, I still haven't recovered from the big move back to the states. That was such a HUGE job that took months, and cured me of my collecting tendencies. I've not gone entirely minimalist (love books and fabric too much for that to ever happen) but I don't feel the need for a lot of things any more. They weigh you down, tie you down, in ways that seem burdensome.

What's burdening you right now? Do you find yourself on a speeding train too? Or are you tired of waiting at the station for the train to arrive? I love to hear what this community is up to, what's happening in your lives.