Anything is Possible

HDu_AnythingIsPossibleI’m at home this morning while Hook waits at the hospital for the case manager to stop by and give the okay for a Tuesday release.

Over the weekend, the doctors were able to contain the blood clot by putting in a filter of sorts to prevent the clot from rising further up the body.   That was the non-invasive procedure I’d mentioned in the last blog.  Blood clots are common for people with pancreatic cancer.  As a preventative measure, Hook will self-inject blood thinners daily once he’s home.   He did these in January for almost a month, right after the December surgery, and it’s a procedure he’s comfortable with already.

Hook feels 100% better.  He looks better, has color in his face, and he seems to have twice the energy he’s had in a long time.    He certainly seemed to have a good appetite in the hospital which is not the gourmet place you want to find yourself hungry.

I wish I could tell you for certain how much time Hook has left, but we don’t know.  No one does not even the doctors.  He could have three weeks, he could have three months, he could have three years.   Everything depends on how well we self-manage his diet and exercise and stick to holistic methods of treatment as much as possible.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and thoughts but especially your prayers.  A special thanks to my friend, Linda Lou, a cancer nurse who has been guiding and helping us to interpret information at each new turn.   Linda Lou has been the voice of reason since all of this started almost a year ago.  She’s been a trusted medical confidant to my family for over 20 years, and it’s her advice that led to my father living 10 more healthy years.  Had he listened to his oncologist, he would have been dead in six months with chemo in his veins.  When my father did pass away in 2011, it was from natural causes and not cancer, and not one ounce of chemo ever entered his body.

Anything is possible.  I know this because I’ve experienced it.  And I think that if my husband is willing to get his head out of his ass and open his mind to something more than just data that he can experience the impossible, too.

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Hook the Comedian

HDU_StevenWrightComedianIt’s a Saturday and I’m laughing to myself because I only have the cat, Gatita, as company.

Hook drove to Port Aransas yesterday morning for a long weekend of fishing and to enjoy a time of de-stress before he begins a new round of chemo treatments in another week. I worried that he shouldn’t be driving alone because he’s been so tired lately. I asked multiple times if he wanted me to go with him, afraid he might get down there and realize he was too tired to drive back.

After asking for a fourth time if he was absolutely sure that he didn’t want me to go, he said, “Well, not if you’re going to bitch all weekend about how you don’t want to be there.”

With my index finger pointing at his face, I said, “Okay, I’m not going to be offended by that but only because you might still have cancer. Otherwise, I would kick your ass all over this kitchen.”

Can you feel the love?

I kissed Hook on the cheek afterwards and let out a sigh because the thought of driving four hours to the coast and four hours back was not enticing. I’m trying to finish my first book: The Mystery Behind the Masters. Raise your hand if you think it’s a book about golf. It’s not. It’s a how-to book for professionals considering a master’s degree as a component of a career change.

It’s hard enough to stay motivated when writing creative fiction. Imagine what it’s been like for me to finish that piece of sleeping material.   But, I’d put so many hours into writing it last Spring then I’d set it aside when everything started happening with Hook.  I’d expected to finish it late last year so I could move on to a creative fiction story I’d briefly outlined.  I didn’t want to give up on The Masters project just because I’d lost interest.   It’s a critical read for anyone contemplating additional degrees, certifications, or licensing for their career or hoped-for career.  Plus, it’s targeted to my Hook The Talent consumer audience.   Oh my goodness, I sound like a commercial.

Anyway, I’d finally gotten my mojo back with the first draft written and now I’m in the editing phase.  I’d been coveting a long weekend that would allow me to think/drink/breathe this book while editing, talking to myself, and drinking massive cups of coffee. When I write, my work is spread out all over the kitchen table with piles of paper everywhere. Notebooks lie strewn in varying positions on the sofa, fuchsia sticky notes plastered on stacks marked READ TODAY, yellow sticky notes on stacks marked READ SOMETIME, and red pen marks on stacks that mean READ RIGHT NOW.

You would think today and right now are the same, but in a writer’s world today is tomorrow and right now is today. Now you understand the need for coffee.

My paper mess annoys Hook. It annoys me, too, but less than it motivates me to keep focused. Hence my secret relief that Hook desired a fishing weekend alone which gave me the physical space I needed. Gatita was relieved, too, because it meant she could sleep on the beds and the sofas without some male voice yelling, “Get off!” every time he caught her breaking unexplained house rules.

Hook doesn’t know it but when he’s not here, Gatita’s favorite thing to do is dig her claws into his leather lounger, kneading the same area over and over again. She pokes little holes into the leather with her claws leaving what looks like pock marks in the corner of the seat of the lounger. Hook felt them one day by accident and he took off his glasses to peer more closely while feeling around for them.

“Has Gatita been on this lounger?”  he asked.

“What?” I said, shaking my head and avoiding eye contact, “She knows you’d scream at her if she did that.”

That’s me telling the truth while not telling the truth.

I was laughing earlier not because of Gatita and her dirty little secret to silently ruin her master’s favorite lounger. I was laughing because I remembered something Hook said to me towards the end of last year.   Something to do with me briefing his people on his hospital stay.   Something that was uncomfortable for him to talk to them about so he asked if I would do it instead, but then he tried to tell me how to say it.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll be subtle about it.”

Hook snorted, “You’re about as subtle as a nuclear weapon.”

“Yes,” I said.  “and even that isn’t enough sometimes.”

Still, another good one by Dr. Hook . . .

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A Note From Hook AGAIN

The Good Professor Speaks:

HDU_HealthyGuideWell it looks like I’ll begin the final leg of my cancer treatment – back to a six week regime of chemo infusions. That entails chemo once a week for two weeks then a week off (party week!).  This treatment is normal after surgery to make sure if any cancer cells have escaped they can be dealt with.  Last time I went through this my body seemed to handle it quite well so I’m hopeful it will be similar this time.   Indeed I actually gained about 20 lbs over that time period which also included radiation and chemo in the form of a pill.  So I’m hopeful I’ll again put on some pounds.

Hooks for Hook was a nice success with students (and faculty and staff) raising about $300 purchasing these hooks for anywhere from $1-$5.  They sell these hooks at tackle stores that can be attached to fishing caps.  Remarkably I’ve been seeing students still wearing their “hooks” to school.  Anyway the money raised will go to fund one student per semester to conduct research at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve.  Our goal is to create an endowment large enough to use the interest to fund the students.

Finally I need to thank all of you that are wishing me well in a diversity of means and ways, and especially my wonderful wife.  All this support has made my job of getting completely well again so much easier.

Editor’s Note:  Hooks for Hook has raised over $800 so far.   Unexpected and heart touching to us both.

Regime, Regimen, Regiment

I had no idea there wHDU_Regimenere so many spellings for regimen which I’ve always spelled regimenT (militant) but which Hook spelled regimeN (training) until spell check suggested he use regimE, the original French spelling (political).   Since Hook is half French and since I often feel the need to politic my way through his medical appointments, regime it is.

I missed this last appointment with Hook because I thought it was another routine visit like his last one with the surgeon when all the sugar propaganda was shared.  When I attend any of Hook’s appointments, I write out my list of questions in advance, laying a strategy of when and what to ask so we get all of the information instead of only the information the doctors willing share.   Maybe Hook’s decision to agree to the additional chemo may not have changed even if I had been there to fling questions at the doctor until he cried, “uncle,” but I know I would have understood more of what I understand very little of at all.   What can I expect of myself when I didn’t even know there were three spellings of regimen.

For today, I’ll resist the urge to continue writing my misgivings about this latest diagnosis.  Instead, I’m satisfied to have Hook’s contribution to this week’s blog.  I hope you are, too.

MichAGAIN Program

HDU_MichAGAIN

SXSW 2013: Dave Guzman, Mary Joy Guzman, Hook, and me at the MichAGAIN event.

It’s SXSW (South by Southwest) week in Austin, Texas, and during the interactive portion of the festivities, my brother, Dave, & his wife, Mary Joy, and Hook & I, all attended the MichAGAIN event sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development group.  It was part of the Pure Michigan campaign to entice former Michiganders and wannabe Michiganders to give the great state of Michigan a try, employment-wise.   If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a Yankee, a Michigan girl born and raised.  For those outside of the U.S., you like to call all Americans, “Yanks” or “Yankees.”  Inside the United States, only people who live north of the Mason-Dixon line are considered Yankees.

March 2013 marks the 24th anniversary of my debut onto the Austin scene from Michigan.  Someone should alert the press.  Even so, on the way to the MichAGAIN event, Hook and I talked about the possibility of moving to Michigan for a few years.  It was just an idea, one that I’ve toyed with on and off for the last 24 years except now my roots have grown even deeper in Austin.

Editor’s Note:  Hook hails from the great state of  New Jersey and has been in Austin for 28 years as of 2013.  He’s also a Yankee. 🙂HDU_PureSaginaw

On behalf of my home state, give Michigan a try especially if you’re a career changer.   The Michigan Economic Development group created a program called Michigan Shifting Gears and Shifting Code which supports new and seasoned talent with the career shift they need and want — a new beginning in a new state.  The beauty of Michigan can only be experienced by dipping your toe in one of The Great Lakes, walking in fresh air surrounded by evergreens, or responding to HIs and HELLOs from strangers because, well, that’s the Michigan way — very friendly — kind of like Australia

Michigan’s economy is becoming healthy again just like Hook’s body is becoming healthy again.

MichAGAIN.   HookAGAIN.   AusAGAIN (Hook’s return to Australia).

Austin to Australia in August is still on.

p.s.  Right hand over my heart and scout’s honor:  Hook’s “wonderful wife” quote was a surprise to me, too!

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The Sugar Nazi

HDU_SugarThe ABBA songs ended.   No more ABBA and no more sugar in the Hook household.

Hook is convinced I’m obsessed with sugar and I’m convinced he has selective hearing.   At his final appointment with the surgeon last week, Hook mentioned to the doctor that he’d had a glass of wine the other night.

The surgeon said, “That’s great you’re able to enjoy wine again.”

Hook interpreted this to mean that he should be drinking wine, that he should be drinking it every evening in fact.  He’d stopped at the store on the way home from the doctor’s office and picked up a bottle of pinot noir along with a bucket of ice cream.  There was an assortment of real food stuffed in the grocery bags like cereal and vegetables but I was convinced that was just to throw me off the wine and the ice cream.  I watched Hook unpack the Pinot as I tried to stare a hole into the bottle.  When I saw the vanilla bean ice cream, I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“You bought ice cream.”  I said as I tried not to lunge for the Texas-sized bucket of frozen sugar-in-a-box so I could flush it down the toilet.

“[He] said it was a good way to put on weight.” Hook replied.

The surgeon had also remarked on Hook’s ability to eat ice cream especially since he was worried he wasn’t retaining enough calories.  Hook understood that he should be eating ice cream every day.   He feels certain that that is what the surgeon meant.  I had to wonder what language they were speaking until I remembered that my husband only spoke English and then sometimes not even that language.   I hadn’t met Hook at this last appointment because I thought it was just a routine visit.  I didn’t know the surgeon was going to be mind-fooding my husband into believing he could eat and drink anything he wanted.

Is Sugar Evil?

I’m not a sugar nazi.  Really, I’m not, but in addition to agreeing that no one deserves cancer can we all also agree that processed sugar is neither necessary nor healthy for the body?   Even though Hook desperately needs to gain weight, there have to be better ways to do so than through ice cream and wine.   Hook is and has always been a healthy eater so I do not begrudge him these small pleasures.  Instead, it’s my fear of sugar and how it interacts with those unfriendly C-cells of his that may still be lurking in his body.

Whether sugar is the evil of all cancer is still up for debate.  A layman like me gets confused with all the conflicting information from doctors and nutritionists and whatever else is floating around the web:

  • Some might say, I should listen to the holistic, wellness guru of an unknown, unverifiable website:   Holistic Website Here
  • Others of you might think that the Mayo Clinic remains the voice of reason, except their own comments on sugar and cancer are also without author.  For all I know, some pro-cancer freak hacked their system to write, “Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow faster.”   Random, unidentifiable articles on a Reputable Website Here.
  • Or worse, the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center which says it’s okay to eat sugar so long as it’s not more than “six teaspoons per day.”   Do you think that’s a typo and they meant per hour?  If not, we’re all in trouble:  Scary Sugar Website Here.

If you’re wondering, ‘Why do you care?  Didn’t they remove the cancer?’

We don’t know.   We expect to find out on Monday the 18th when we meet with the fist-bumping oncologist to review the CAT scans taken last week.

I asked Hook if he wanted to comment on this blog since I felt we had differing opinions on the sugar topic.

“We agree on what to eat.”  He said.

“We do?” I asked, an incredulous tone obvious in my voice.

I could hear him sigh from the other room as he answered, “Yes! Why do you keep asking?”

“Because you keep eating processed sugar?”  I hope that was the right answer.  It feels like it was.

Silence.

I’ve never bore children but something tells me these circular conversations might sound familiar to some of you moms out there.  Who am I kidding.   Anyone in a relationship has had these conversations, has these conversations, is probably having these conversations as you read.

My vote is this:  Cancer or no cancer, stay away from sugar.  Six teaspoons a day?  Talk about sugar nazis.

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Sometimes We All Need a Little ABBA

I’m listening to ABBA’s Dancing Queen right now because last night, Hook and I watched Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  By the end of the movie, we both wanted to hear more Mama Mia!  How many people would be willing to admit that out loud to the world?  If you live in Texas and you run into Hook, feel free to let him know that you know that he’s an ABBA fan.  But shhh, don’t tell him you read it here or he’ll forbid me to blog any moHDU_ABBAre.

The Priscilla movie was recommended to us from a reader (thanks Lisa Grantham in Texas) who answered the Where in Australia – Part II.  She also recommended the Great Dividing Range and the Springbrook Glow Worms for Hook’s science fetish.   From Karin @KandKAdventures in Canada, we got recommendations to enjoy Sorrento and Mornington Peninsula which are a 3 hours’ drive from Melbourne.

I wanted to watch the movie because it was filmed in Australia.  It’s about some colorful queens who travel across the country in a bus to do singing shows.   I decided not to tell Hook what the movie was really about otherwise I’d never have gotten him to agree to watch it.  About twenty minutes into the movie he asked, “Are those men dressed up as women?”   Ah, the working mind of a Ph.D. 😉

ABBA To The Rescue

Woah, did somebody have a meltdown last week?  I’m not sure where that came from except the deep recesses of my heart.  Those thoughts have been lingering, hovering, waiting for that camel with the last piece of straw.   But think of it this way, especially if you’re a guilty party:  If I smack your face because you offend my husband and everyone else with candy at least you’ll know why.  Knowing me, knowing you, we’ll both get over it.   (Gosh, I’m thoughtful.)

I’ve spoken my peace on this for now.   At some point in the future, I will write in length about how I believe (have always believed) that each of us must own the responsibility for our own health.  We owe it to ourselves but also the rest of society to treat our bodies like the temples they are.  But just not today, okay.   I’ve reeled in an SOS on your part.   I’m overdosing on ABBA over here in Austin, Texas, by the way.

ABBA was Swedish or something not even from Australia but once those songs take root in your head, it’s hard not to want to don lamé and dance around the living room.  What?  Not everybody does this?  Liars.

How ABBA Can Work for You

A friend recently found out her husband has prostate cancer.  Although the removal of the prostate is becoming more common, if you’re the spouse hearing this news, it’s a shock and not a good one.  The WHAT IFs alone can push you over the edge.  I wish I knew exactly why it was that I trusted everything would work out for Hook.  Or, why I trust that whatever happens, we’ll figure it out, we’ll manage.   I think when you accept that you really have no other choice (accept, don’t accept), you go with what will make you less crazy.

To the outside world, our life may not have appeared to resemble fun or joy.  We had a choice to cry or not cry.  Sometimes we cried, but mostly we endured in whatever way we knew how.  It was enough to make a person want to sing Take a chance on me while begging for their life.

Whatever may be on your plate in terms of trials and tribulations, find something to hold onto.  For me it was faith—that’s God for those of you not in the know—and a lame sense of humor and today, a little ABBA.

Lame in my lamé .   Now off to dance to some Waterloo and how many of you want to bet the Hooks end up dancing our way all the way down to Australia!

Note from Editor:  When I think ABBA I think Australia because of Muriel’s Wedding — doh!

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Who Deserves Cancer?

There’s something that’s been bothering me that I’ve been pretending doesn’t bother me and every time it comes up, I get a little more pissed than the last time it came up.  It would seem that if I just wrote about it here that this might relieve some of the tension or perhaps help me to think out loud what the issue really is and how to address it.

For clarity’s sake, I’m going to call the big C by its real name of CANCER instead of my preferable ‘candy.’

Don't SpeakWhen People Say Certain Things

Hook had or has cancer. We don’t know if he still has it. We don’t know if the surgeons were able to remove all of the tumor from his pancreas. We won’t know anything until a CAT scan is done, and we’re not sure when that scan will be approved – in a month maybe.   We wait in limbo, again, but we’ve gotten good at limbo.  Although we don’t welcome the world of the in-between, we accept it.

From the time Hook was diagnosed eight months ago, people have said out loud to me or to someone else, “Well, he smoked.”  Or, they’ve referenced a story about how a loved one of theirs had cancer, too, and they’ll add, “But they didn’t smoke,” or “My <relative> died of <some type of> cancer and they never smoked a day in their life.”  Sometimes if they don’t know me or my husband, they’ll ask, “Did he smoke?”

Implied Meaning

When someone says these things or I hear them secondhand or I read them in a message, a barrage of emotions and thoughts start pumping through my mind and my body. It’s difficult for me not to see that person in a whole new light, a dingy hue of ugly.  Do they mean to be tactless, without compassion, gross? I don’t know. I hope not.

What I do know is that we all have certain things that we find intolerable. For a good majority of the population, smoking and smokers fit into this category. Until cancer hit, Hook’s smoking never bothered me. I knew he was a heavy smoker when I married him.  It was an irrelevant point for me.

But now, trying to force Hook into quitting this deeply ingrained habit of his was an undertaking almost as big as the cancer itself. There have been stormy arguments full of screaming and yelling, cajoling until the wee hours of the morning, quitting ultimatums given over and over and over again.  At one point, I threatened to inject chemo into his head if he didn’t stop smoking.  Hook found out the hard way that his addiction to smoking was bigger than he was.  So big he wasn’t able to admit it was ever an addiction, an addiction not a whole lot different than any other drug.

I’m not blaming smoking. Cigarettes didn’t make my husband smoke them. Hook chose to smoke. It was a very conscious choice. He has stopped by the way. Hook has been smoke free for almost 90 days now after having smoked in large quantities for about 30 years.  It’s okay to clap. I do every day.

Regardless whether a person smoked or didn’t smoke, no one deserves cancer. Is that what you believe?  Do you believe that Hook deserved to have cancer?  Or worse, that’s what he gets for smoking? That’s what he gets because he knew smoking causes cancer.  That’s what he gets and he deserves to die a wretched death for choosing to smoke or he deserves to survive a damaged life.  Is that what you believe?

Every time you say something like this, that’s what you’re suggesting even if you don’t realize that that is exactly what you just said.

Do You Drive a Car?

If you drive and you get into a car accident and mangle your body, is that what you deserve?  Driving causes accidents (we have the data) and by driving as much as you do, you could be in accident and every time you CHOOSE to get on the road to drive, you are purposely putting yourself in harm’s way.  And don’t say you have to drive because nobody has to drive. You’re not addicted to it are you?  It’s not like you feel you’re going over the edge if you don’t drive do you?

You have other choices yet you choose to drive. And before you say that driving isn’t a disgusting habit that harms the environment and which people find offensive, then you haven’t talked to a bicyclist lately.  It’s not the best example but it will suffice.

Yes, I know it’s hard for you to filter your thoughts and not to wonder, But what did he think would happen?  I get that you might think that and I thank you, those of you who didn’t say that out loud, I thank you for sparing my feelings to the obvious.

A normal person, a good person, a decent human being catches themselves. They hold back before that cruel, heartless thought moves from their brain to their tongue and to my ear.  Because if we’re going to be judged on our faults, then:

  • Those who drive deserve to die in an accident.
  • Those who consume processed foods of any kind deserve to die of clogged arteries or a heart attack or heart disease or <pick something>.
  • Those who drink milk or eat eggs or consume dairy products of any kind deserve to die of a digestive tract infection.
  • Those who color their hair deserve to die of leukemia.
  • Those who eat salt deserve to die from complications brought on by a stroke.
  • Those who never exercise regardless of weight deserve to die of varicose veins.
  • Those who drink more than 1 soda a day deserve to die of complete and utter stupidity.

I made up the varicose vein one but stand fast by the soda thing.

Can We All Agree On One Thing?

I don’t want to be upset about this anymore, and I don’t want people to say these things anymore.  If these cruel thoughts enter your mind (and we are all guilty of having thoughts we wish we never had), resist the urge to speak them out loud.  Please.  Especially if you’re talking to someone who’s loved one has cancer.

Resist the urge to blame a man’s weakness for not giving up this one vice. I’ll even agree that smoking is a disgusting vice.  There, I said it, okay, are you happy and will you shut up now?  The smokers know it’s disgusting (not really).  You don’t have to tell them that.   Actually, every time you do, you insure their dedication to continue smoking because smoking is linked to some inner rebellious I-never-grew-up feeling of doing-whatever-the-hell-I-want-no-matter-the-consequences.  Don’t believe me?  Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.

We all have our vices. Every single one of us. You are far from perfect. You are not without flaws or weaknesses. If you think you are, I’ll gladly spend the day with you and happily point out all of your flaws.  Trust me, it won’t take me but a minute to see them.

My husband did not and does not deserve cancer.  No one deserves cancer, not smokers or milk drinkers or processed food eaters.  And drivers don’t deserve to die a fiery death just because they choose to drive a big, clunk of steel 80 miles an hour down a highway or 18 miles an hour down a neighborhood street.

Yes, smoking is the leading cause of cancer. Yes, if you smoke, you increase astronomically your chances of getting cancer.  We all agree on that.  Can we also all agree that NO ONE deserves cancer?

Thank you.

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The Great Australian Exploration

When I started this blog back in April 2012, my purpose was to share with readers how the Hooks were preparing for a life overseas, what we were doing to get our lives in order, and how incredibly AWESOME this whole experience felt.

A few short months into it, the blog morphed into a How to Pretend You Are Somewhere Other Than Where You Really Are.  Lately, I’d been wondering whether to kill the blog altogether with a radiation zap instead of letting it stick around like a slow chemo drip.  But then I had a revelation — a three pints of Shiner Bock revelation.  I didn’t even know I had the capability … to drink that many pints in one sitting!

Where the Re-Exploring Began

Earlier this week, I hosted a series of career exploration workshops for a corporate client.  Talking about exploration energizes me because exploration is about discovery.  Exploration is about creating new possibilities.  Exploration is about having choices.

This is where I am, or this is where we are, Hook and I:  We’re creating new choices for ourselves.

Candy or no candy, we can still explore Australia.  Just because we’re not physically down under doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to learn about the Aussies and Oz and to find out why Australians are fun, fun, fun.  For me, learning is next to doing and doing is all that much closer to being.

And maybe, just maybe, sometime in the future, Hook will begin to contribute his own thoughts on this whole Hooks Down Under saga.  Until then, let me share a sense of who Hook is by asking you to click on this link:  Scroll to Page 2 or the 4th page in the link.

Take the Australian Poll

Below is my Australian Topics list, a list of subjects I want to write about, a list which is subject to change as my cycle changes and as the wine supply in the house goes down:

Oct 14th:  Australians Are Fun for a Reason

Oct 28th: What is Halloween Like in Australia?

Nov 11th:  Muriel’s Wedding & More:  The 10 Most Known Australian Faces

Nov 25th: An Australian Thanksgiving

I wrote an entire year’s worth of topics and attached dates to them, but there’s no need for me to torture you with the entire list all at once.  I wrote this list down because in my exploration workshop, I asked all of the attendees to write down their next steps and to commit a date to each.  Then I had each participant shared what they wrote with the class – what next step were they committing to and by when – thus making their workshop mates an immediate accountability group.

It’s no secret that by writing something down, we not only increase the likelihood that we’ll actually do it, but we get clarity and confirmation of what we really want.  And by sharing this clarity with others, we strive harder to meet our goals than we would have if we were the only ones who knew of them.

You are my accountability group.  And to show you that I’m serious and not drinking while I’m writing, I’ve created a poll for you to use to vote.

Vote for the topic you like best or recommend your own topic.   Why?  Why not.  Srsly.   You get a chance to have some input which I may or may not take into consideration (remember:  the cycle) but more importantly, I’ll let others know what voters said (or, I think the poll will automatically show you but I really don’t know — I’ve never done this before.)   And to all those outside of the U.S. who are reading, don’t let us Americans be stingy with our suggested topics.  Have your say! 

Yes, more than just Americans are reading this.  We’ve had over 1000 hits to this blog from 15 different countries including the U.S.   Apparently the world loves the wounded.   Who knew?

This poll is a blatant ploy to get you to inspire me to remain connected, to remain on track of Australia, and to keep exploring.  It’s genius!  If you were trying to get me to coach you, I’d say, “Absolutely!  Let me send you my pricing schedule and you can tell me which option you’d like to start with!”

I need to keep Australia as tangible as possible and this is the only way I know how to do it.  I want Hook to recover and get his health back so we can explore Australia together.  As I wrote in a previous post, I have more time to research Australia before we ever get there but up until now, I haven’t researched anything.  I stopped reading all of my Australia books.  I stopped going to Aussie websites.  We stopped renting movies about Australia.  I don’t know that I’ve really believed it was still within our reach.  Hook believes it, and now he’s the one who talks about Oz all the time.  “When we’re in Australia …” he says, but I stopped saying that a long time ago.

God took my silver lining with him to Australia and now I’m going to recreate it.

The Hook Candy Update

All is well so far with Hook and his pancreas.   Radiation and chemo treatments will temporarily end this week so the oncologist and the surgeon can determine by way of CAT scan(s) whether Hook’s pancreas can be removed and is ready for removal.

If the CAT scan next week shows a shrunken pancreas, then the doctors will probably recommend that Hook’s body take a drug rest for the remainder of October.  No radiation zaps, no chemo drips, no chemo pills.  All of this would be in preparation for surgery in November.  If the scan reveals something other than what the surgeon would like to see, then, I don’t know.  We would go back into treatment I suppose.   We.

I remembered the other day, at the beginning of this medical journey, that our oncologist told Hook he could do his chemo treatments abroad.  The doctor said, “It’s an option.  But is that how you really want to remember Australia, strapped to a chair receiving chemo?”   For all we know, the Aussies might do that for fun, those crazy, cultural convicts.

How the Exploration Panned Out For My Clients

During one of the workshops, an attendee was so overcome with emotion, she left the room to compose herself.  This is not unusual, and in fact is quite common — the welling up of tears when we start talking about change, real change, real differences we want to make in our lives.  When we talk about dreams and desires that motivate us or circumstances that have altered our hopes, it’s a wonder we don’t all burst into tears every day.

What could have been is gone but what could be is still up to me, to you, to all of us.

Come explore Australia with the Hooks Down Under.   Be my accountability group.

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