The Wall

What non-cancer humans do not realize is that once you have been diagnosed with cancer it is as if you were hit with a cancer-firing-squad bullet. And from then on you consistently are taken to “the wall” where the cancer firing squad stands and aims directly at you. This is done during the countless follow up check-ups that you will need to participate in the rest of your life. And you pray, sweat and hope you will never get hit again.

They aim and you wait for fate and chance. Sometimes quickly, and sometimes in slow motion you receive a miss, heaven forbid a nick or scratch,  or please no, the cancer bullet once again.

But each time the one at the wall

feels very much all the emotions

of standing at a true firing squad wall…

just waiting.

These past few weeks I have been placed at the wall several times. It began with a minor check I did not even have to do but did to be thorough.

At first the outcome was told to me that it was a miss which flooded me with exhaustion and relief only to be called back a week later to say there was a nick and I need to return. Blindfolded again I return to the wall; sick with terror and trepidation.

I wait the long wait at the wall; blindfolded. And once again I am told there was a miss which again exhausted me and flooded me with relief and tears.

Only to be called back again to say there was a possible nick and I would have to return once again to the wall.

Each time you stand with your blind fold on alone at the wall and so many thoughts fill you head. You pray fervently. You can’t help but wonder how many times fate and chance will be in your favor. You wonder what you did wrong to deserve being in this circumstance in the first place. You wonder if you are important enough to get passed by the bullet.

I am thankful for modern medicine and tests to save my life.

But I wish all those standing on or behind the firing squad side would be a little more sensitive to us who are forced to face the wall each time. It is terrifying for us and it involves our very lives.

It is just a job for them–unless they got struck by the bullet and have to stand by the wall, too. And then they would know what we go through each check up.

Be kind.

We have no choice but to trust and hope the aim is poor.


10 is a magical number!

Ten years ago this past August, on the night before school started, I stood high on that white beam splashing last minute paint over this huge surprise for our local elementary school.  I could not wait for them to see my gift; what had grown inside their school while they were away for summer vacation!

For that entire month I worked on it, I thought of their faces when they would come! And I still think of their faces because every single year it is new for some.

There are over 65 hidden treasures lovingly chosen with the children’s curiosity in mind. I wanted them to experience nature to the fullest so I brought nature inside! The bark includes butterflies, worms, lady bugs, squirrels, a baby owl, song birds, carved sayings, jewels, a CTR ring, a magic rubbing rock, the mascot doggy reading up on the tree house platform with a rope and necessary items for the tree fort, and a magical little door underneath where the school brownie lives who secretly does mischief. You can sit underneath it on a bench and imagine…            anything…



This year the night, before school began I wrapped Gilbert’s trunk with streamers and hung ribbons from the branches in honor of his tenth year welcoming hundreds of children and their families into SCHOOL; the fabulous place to grow and learn.

Seeing it in person is so much MORE  amazing!

A piece of my soul is in that tree…

I am so proud of it and how it makes people feel.

Sometimes I go and visit just because I miss it…

(The tree is named after my Uncle Gilbert who was one of my art inspirations who had one of his eyes shattered when he was a young child when hit by a truck, then went blind in his good eye later in his life before he passed away. He cherished nature and his art showed that love and sensitivity. His artistic spirit lives on in this tree…)

Is there organic police?

My heart races and my palms sweat the exact minute I put on my nervous smile, take a red cart and walk right into Trader Joes. I am not kidding.

Who do I think I am?

I feel like I am walking right past all the lines of people through the airport security metal detection scanner without waiting my turn, taking my shoes off, or my wallet out of my pocket and not stopping. The alarms are ready to scream any second and I will be found out.

I literally feel like the security camera has zoomed right on me and the Trader Joes’ FBI is watching me from one of those dark rooms upstairs.


Body Fat Percentage?


Recycling bags?”

We have a fake. Send down the decoy.”

I fake smile and nod to the patron next to me and pick up packages looking like I am reading the ingredients with things they are selling that say things like this:

I am really only  there to get some type of chocolate covered something or dried yum. So I slowly inch my way over to all of those cookies and treats on that high shelf over “Soycutash.” (If I brought that home my family would laugh like it was some kind of joke then dump it down the disposal!)

I don’t think I have ever lingered longer than…6 minutes tops. I know the Trader Joes’ plain clothed police wearing crocks, jeans, and a flannel is going to find me, surround me and publicly  embarrass me by checking my purse for Burger King Ketchup packets or heaven forbid non-organic broccoli stuck in my teeth.

The check out at Trader Joes is the final obstacle to cross.  It’s not normal. Where is the moving belt, that is wet from raw chicken juice from the person in front of you, at the check out at a regular grocery store? Trader Joes does not have one of those belts! Another thing is bells are always ringing. I jump each time, then smile like I know exactly what that means because I’m a legit member, right? I do the Hawaiian shaka sign.

Keep calm I am nearly out! Their checkers can sniff an imposter and use guilt to make us buy one of their reusable Trader Joes bags.  If you don’t they will stare at you to see if you sweat and if you do they push the button under the cash register which will shine the big light on you and everyone stops in the store to recognize you are non ORGANIC and do NOT belong! Then the entire store will carry you out back and dunk you in hydrogenated oil that is sitting out back in the dumpster.

I ask for paper. I’m not a rookie.

I made it out alive again today. Pecan Pralines and Milk Chocolate S’mashing Smores with Graham Cracker and Marshmallows are always worth the risk.

As I quickly got in my car, checking behind my back I noticed someone hiding in the bushes way in the corner of the parking lot smoking. They had a reusable bag to show they faked legitimacy, too. Probably first timer.

I am okay about owning Lucky Charms and Oreos. I eat healthy I promise. But I can’t afford organic foods. And I have no idea what Cacao Nibs even are. But sometimes I have to take a huge chance, take that walk on the wild side and enter Trader Joes. Because the treats are calling to me…and I feel such a rush when I get out alive and drive away…and not in a Prius. I’m such a rebel.