Welcome to Life Through Bifocals

Life is not always clear and easy to figure out. So grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and let's see what we can see.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings...are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?
We are having an anniversay soon, July 1st is our 41st wedding anniversary, not sure what we are doing at this point but we will be celebrating.

2. June is National Iced Tea Month...are you an iced tea drinker? If so, how do you like yours (sweet, flavored, etc)? 
Image from Google
I do like iced tea, Raspberry flavored is nice, with a bit of sweetener. But I will also drink iced tea with Lemon.

3. When were you last nervous?  Looking back, was the 'event' actually nerve-worthy?
Tuesday, as in yesterday.  We had a test to see how many of the cancer cells we have killed.  We killed a lot!  Was it nerve-worthy? No, we knew that God was in charge and whatever the results were, we were going to be happy.  Still, I'm human..... a struggle I deal with every day.

4. The bristle toothbrush was invented in China on June 26, 1498...not sure how that date was pinned down so precisely but, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being sick to your stomach and 1 being not at all, how nervous do you feel when you're headed to the dentist?  Do you see your dentist twice a year?
  9!  I really like our new dentist, he is very kind, but everytime I show up he finds something that needs to be fixed and it takes time and drugs to do.  I go twice a year, now....that I like our new dentist. 

5. What's making news in your town this week?

The weather. We are having a heat wave, day time temps in the 90's, hazy and humid.  There are lots of warning at night for thunder storms and to look out  for your neighbor and pets. 

6. Curtains, drapes, blinds...your window treatment of choice? Are there any bare windows in your house? Is that by choice or because you haven't gotten around to covering them? 
Drapes, to be more exact, room darking drapes.  It helps to keep the house cool.  I do have one window with nothing on it. it's a small window in the bathroom. We are up so high and in the woods, no one can see in.

7. Summertime is officially here (in the Northern hemisphere anyway)...what one song is a must-have on your summer playlist?

"Wipeout" by the Surfaris, and, well just about anything from the Beach Boys. Their songs scream SUMMER

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We are in the single numbers as we count down our Chemo Therapy.  One more week and we will 1/2 done!  We are very happy and we are kicking Cancer's butt!  Thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers on our behalf. 

OK so now it's your turn.  How would you answer these questions about summer

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday One Word

I know that on Wednesday, it's suppose to be Hodgepodge Day, but Joyce had some excuse about travelling, house cleaning, getting together with friends and being generally busy with life.  She gave herself a "Snow Day" and so there is no Hodgepodge.  The perfect  time to type up my One Word post on Joy.

I have Joy in the husband of my youth. Come July 1st we will have been married for 41 years.  We are High School Sweethearts and we still act that way. We still hold hands in public and often show Public Displays of affection.  I still light up when he calls my name and my nick name, SWMBO. It stands for "She Who Must Be Obeyed."  He has been the care giver to me in the past and he does not leave when the going gets hard.  He sticks close by and takes over. I cannot imagine going through this alone.  How do people do that?? He has given me over 41 years of Joy.  He is my rock.

I have Joy in my doctors.  Dr. Shah has said to us more than once that he doesn't treat lab results but he treats the whole person.  Do they have fight still in them? How do they look? How do they sound?  He decided to continue with Chemo even though I have a kidney infection and am on antibiotics for it.  I'm so glad that he did that.  This whole Chemo thing is exhausting and the thought of posponing it for a week was depressing.  I'm glad he opted to keep on target and press on.

I also have Joy in my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Nguyen, who keeps looking for problems that may come up but problems that I can't feel.  He is the one who found the kidney infection and got me on the antibioticis. He explained that with my current compromised immune system, I cannot tell if I'm sick, so that is now his job.  We have a plan for me to call him if I suspect something is wrong and it's his job to find it.  He has a very strong accent but I must say I am learning to love this man.

I have Joy in our oncology nurse Lisa. What a ray of sunshine she is!! She tells me I'm not nuts when I ask her if my Chemo Port (called Pebbles becasue she is one bump in the road to recovery) can pop out of my skin and be rejected by my body.  She told me no, it does move however as I stretch and bend and that can make it feel like my body is rejecting it.  She always laughs and teases us.  She is kind, loving, and remembers what we like and need from week to week and gets us answers when she doesn't know the answer right away. She is a must in this walk through Multiple Myeloma Cancer.

And most importanly I have Joy in Our Heavenly Father - God!  He put all these wonderful people in our path. We trust Him, so we trust those He sent us to.  He is with us every step of the way and although I have some days of depression, anger, frustration and pain, I Know that I am in good hands.
On those days when I'm feeling down, I remind myself of these things and I find my JOY again.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


View of garden, well most of it.
YUP, we finally got our plants and seeds in our little garden in the ground.  It's been a long drawn out plan partly due to the weather, (we had frost warnings up until the end of May, then we had so much rain no one wanted to go out and plant) and then due to my illness we just didn't have the energy.  But we are now planted. We are due for rain tonight so that is good!! No watering needed.
Green Pepper bud, hope it becomes a real pepper
We have tomatoes, green peppers, peas, radishes, carrots, cucumbers and strawberries.  Most of the garden is in the backyard in the fenced in garden but we had some extra plants so we planted them in pots in front of the house for comparison.  We'll see how that works out.
The front yard planting.
I didn't do a weekend review mostly because of side effects from my latest Chemo had me going from the couch to the bed all weekend long. Not very interesting to blog about.  I also may have a kidney infection that may interfere with Chemo this week.  That has me bummed, this thing is long enough (total of 16 weeks of chemo) and the thought of adding weeks to it because it has to be interrupted has me feeling frustrated. The antibiotics are working I think because I managed to do 1/2 day at work and then even helped Hubby with the last of the garden planting.

I am looking forward to showing you pictures of the first fruits of our harvest. Until next time, God bless you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I love Wednesday!  It's mid week Bible Study time, it's closer to the weekend and the Hodgepodge is ready.  Come play along!

1. What do you think makes a good dad?
There are a lot of things that make a good dad. First I think just being there is important.  I mean, there are a lot of men who father a child then bail out on every day things like feeding, diaper changes, playing, reading and all those things.  So many children grow up without a dad. The men just leave. I don't know why they leave, they just do. Sometimes the child is ill and the men can't deal with that so they run away. Sometimes, the men are just cowards and will not own up to the children they create.  So I think the first thing that makes a good dad is "Be there!" Be there for the good, the bad, the everyday!

Photo of my dad. 
2.  What's something you learned from your own father?
My own dad had lots of problems, but he loved his girls.  He put a swing up in the back yard and loved to push us on it.  We lived across the street from a ball park and we went to watch games (local little league) and he also played with us there.  In the back of the ball park was a skating rink where he went with us to watch us ice skate and get us some hot cocoa and a hot dog to warm us up.  He loved his girls.

3. It's your birthday-what kind of cake will we be having?
Death by Chocolate - is there any other kind of birthday cake?

4. When you're faced with a big decision are you more of a go with your gut type of person, or are you someone who reasons it all out, weighing the pros and cons? 
I have learned to trust my gut feelings.  I have learned that they are often right. I will weigh the  pros and cons just to be sure, but even when I do, my gut was right and I have had time to really think and more importantly pray about the big decision that I am about to make.  I also bounce my feelings off my Hubby who is a very wise man.

5. June is National Dairy Month. What's your favorite dairy item? Most often purchased dairy item? 
Heavy cream and cheese.  We buy them a lot.  

6. Explorer Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910....what's something you've recently discovered or something you'd like to explore?
I don't know about something I've recently discovered but I would like to explore more of the walking trails around our town. There is a list on the town's website and I would like to walk them all with Hubby and the dogs. 

7. Are you typical of your generation?
"My Generation"!! I'm part of the Baby Boomers - part of the 76.4 millions babies born between the years of 1946-1964. They made up almost 40 % of the nation's population at the time. That's a lot of people, so am I typical?  I have a lot in common with the rest of my generation, I share the same mile stones in history. JFK, walking on the moon, Martin Luther King, the sexual revolution, "flower power", Civil Rights Movement and long gas lines. We were the first to grow up watching TV. I remember the small black and white TV in our living room (we only had one TV set) and it signed off at midnight with a picture of the American Flag and the singing of the National Anthem. Then it was just a test pattern that showed  until morning.  There were just a few channels so we all watched Bonanza, the news, and Leave it to Beaver. We grew up with a phone, only one, either in the hall or in the kitchen with 25 feet of cord and on a party line!  Baby Boomers went into the Peace Corps after high school and got involved in all sort of campaigns, civil rights, disability rights and so on. So am I typical? I am forever bound with the others who lived and grew up as I did. I am married, I have taken care of both our children and our parents at the same time. I worked full time while doing that and going to college, all at once.  I have taken up causes and worked to help others, so I guess in some ways, I am typical of my generation.  And I'm proud of that.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
Rain, Rain and more Rain!  At least we don't have to water the veggies garden or the flower boxes.  Good thing we have a few good movies to watch.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Lines, No Waiting

I didn't make the title "Living with Cancer" because I have NOT yet learned to live with it. I am in the very early stages of learning to live with it.

I’ve been learning a few things along this path that we are on at the moment.  I Thought that I would share with you some of it. My warped sense of humor really has me laughing at these. I know that Cancer is not funny, but life sure is!!

1. There are no more lines at the doctor’s office. 
NONE! If I call in because I don’t feel well, I get right in… As in “Mrs. Millette, how long would it take for you to drive here?  OK, then we will see you as soon as you get here.”   Once I show up, I’m whisked down the hall and into an exam room.  I may not even have to sign in at the front desk to collect my labels, someone has them waiting for me when I show up. I'm moved along so fast it makes my head spin!  I'm in, out, and sent on my way at warp speed!  Now we all know why we wait at the doctor's office now don't we....

2. I no longer wait at the lab either. 
As soon as I show up at a lab, they move me to a room in the back so they can take my blood or some other fluid!  There are lots of fluid that labs want to look at.  I have a large collection of "Hats" to collect body fluids in and then move to some larger collecting receptacle for the lab to have. Trust me, no one person needs that many "Hats for fluids". I'm all set thank you very much.

3. Every time I show up some doctor wants my blood.
I walk into a room and roll up my sleeve so that they can have some before they even say anything.  Sometimes I start to unbutton my shirt because they want blood from the Chemo Port (AKA Pebbles). You know people, I wouldn’t feel so tired if you left me some of my own blood! 

4. I have a new meaning to the phrase “Washing my hair”.
 Since it now sits on a towel inside out drying while I do something else.  That one really cracks me up. You have to dry it inside out because you really want the cap to be dry when you put it back on so it looks really funny and don’t use the blow dryer or the curling iron any longer. 

So these are just a few of the things that we deal with every week and how they make us laugh at what is happening to us.   Having Cancer is not fun, dealing with cancer sure can be……

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend Review

I want to thank you all for the kindness you have shown me over the past several weeks. Your comments have been uplifting and oh so kind. I have met some wonderful people here in the blog world and I am thankful for you all.  One is never sure how the news of cancer will be received and although I know that I am not responsible for how the news is received, I still don’t want to offend anyone or scare anyone.  I am blessed to have such great readers who encourage me and lift me up to God in prayer. Thank you all. I have good days and bad days but so far the good days out last the bad days.  I am learning that some days I press on and some days I lay back.  

OK- Weekend Review.

Well, our weekend started out WET as we had the remnants of tropical storm Andrea which rained on us all day Friday into Saturday.  Then the sun came out and it was beautiful!!
Local shops have the plants that grow best in our area, the owners also have the  knowledge of how best to care for them.

After some housework we headed out to get some plants for the garden and flowerpots.  The local shops are the best and we have a beautiful one here in our little town.  We picked out some tomatoes and sweet peppers for the vegetable garden and some yellow and tangerine Portulaca's for the front of the house.

The Portulaca freshly planted in the boxes in the front yard.
After putting on a more-than-generous amount of bug spray to keep all of them away, we headed out to tackle the areas that we wanted.  My flowerboxes were easy to clean out and plant but I didn’t get enough so we went back on Sunday to get more flowers.

Hubby tackled the veggie garden.  We didn’t have a garden last year and it was badly neglected so he spent a lot time cleaning up and digging it up.  The plan was to get them in the ground on Sunday, but you know what happens to plans right?  Right, we didn't get the veggies in the ground.  We have tomatoes, sweet bell peppers to still put in the garrden and we have strawberries already in there.  Do we want lettuce, cukes, or what..... we scanned the garden books we had and decided on nothing yet. We will keep thinking about what else to add to the veggie garden. I did get the rest of the Portulaca's into the ground.

Also on Sunday after worship, we got to meet our newest grandniece, Evelyn Ivy.  She came up from Texas with her parents to visit the New England Family up here and we got to join in.  She is so cute and just such a happy baby!!  What fun to sit around, eat, enjoy good company and hold a sleeping baby.  Boy does she sleep well too! The best part of course is when the baby is fussy, back she goes to mommy! She, of course was not fussy at all.

Walking around the yard, most of our plants are not in bloom yet. The season got off to a late start with all the rain and cold temps and we have more rain coming tomorrow night into Tuesday.  But still, it's green and pretty around here. 
The Lilac's finally did bloom at least and the smell is wonderful!!
I love those weekends when stuff gets down, laughs are everywhere and the sun shines.  How was your weekend?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What Cancer Does Give You

A chance to try on a new hair style and color.

My daughter helped me pick this wig out.  She is very honest and I needed that.  She may not come right out and say "That's terrible and I will  NOT be seen in public with you." But she did tell me that one wig I tried on made me look like I was in the Witness Protection Program.  OK that one went back in the box.  

Even my 4 year old Grand daughter who was with us helped out. I tried on one wig and asked her what she thought.  She looked at me, looked at the floor, shuffled her legs a bit and said "Well, it's OK" in a very quiet voice and then added "You're not going to wear it to the house are you?"  I took it off and told her I though I would leave it and try on another to which she smiled and said "That's a great decision Grannie!"  So very helpful don't you think?

So here is the new look.  It's been a while trying it on, taking it off, trying it on again.  It's emotional and I've learned that I'm more attached to my looks than I realized. But it's time to face the mirror and the world with hot red hair.   

So when Cancer takes away what you know, put on something new,  something exciting and face the world with a smile. And know 'This too shall pass".
Plus, Hubby likes it----- a lot!!!
The dogs don't care.
And I just may keep the style when all is said and done. So I get to try out new hair sytles. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Joyce comes up with the questions, we come up with answers. Sounds easy right?  Well some of these questions are pretty hard. 

1. Have you learned more from success or failure? Explain.
WOW, right off the bat here is one question that is hard to explain.  I learn from both success and failure. Success makes me feel good while failure makes me feel sad or embarrassed or even stupid but I have learned from both. I guess I remember the failures longer because of the stronger emotion attached to them.

2.  What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents? If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?
I grew up only with 2 grandmothers. One, my maternal grandmother was Meme'. The other, paternal grandmother was Grannie. When our children were small my mother was Memere and Hubby's parents were Pepere and Memere Dot. Our grand kids call us Pepere and Grannie.

3.  You're invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish will you bring to share? 
Well it would have to be something with pineapples but what, I just don't know off the top of my head but I would look to Pinterest.

4. Besides Jesus, what one person's life story do you think everyone should know about?
I think it's important to know the history of the USA. So learning about our founding fathers and what they did for this country is important. The choices they made, cost them dearly.  I think it important to know the cost of freedom.

5. "Don't sweat the small stuff." Agree or Disagree? Why?
Agree!  Now that I have Cancer, I have a brand new view of what is important and I have learned that most stuff is small stuff and I am learning to let it go.  I don't have the energy to care about the dishes in the sink, the rugs that need to be vacuumed or the dust on the table.  It will get done, when it gets done.  Time cuddling with Hubby comes first. Time cuddling with my kids and grand kids come first.  Time with the friends I love and who love me are important to me now. Fighting Cancer is important to me now.

6.  June is National Rivers Month. When were you last on a river? What's the prettiest river you've ever seen? What's a river you'd like to see? 

We took a ride down the Merced River when we were at Yosemite National Park, man that water is cold!!! I guess because it was in Yosemite it gets the vote for prettiest river. I would like to see the Mississippi and take a paddle boat ride down it.  That looks like a great ride.

7.  Speaking of rivers-paddling, fishing, swimming, or bird watching safely from the shore? Which activity would you choose? Yes-you have to choose. 
Paddling on a river taking photos of the nature around me sounds like a great relaxing way to spend the day, especially if Hubby is with me.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I have now completed 4 weeks, 1 whole month, of Chemo!! 12 weeks or 3 months left to go.  So far - so good. I am reminded daily of just how blessed I am.  I not only have a God who loves and cares for me but so many people have also been caring for us. First of all I have a Hubby who goes with me to every appointment (and let me just say there are LOTS OF APPOINTMENTS when you have cancer). He also has taken on more household chores than he count and still makes me smile and laugh at what is going on around me.  I have adult kids who care and lookout for me. Our daughter went with me when it was time to get a wig.  She helped me select a nice one. She also made me Ginger Water that I use to calm my stomach when it gets upset.  She also keeps me laughing and cares for me. She is close by so when I need her, she is here for us.   Our son flew in from San Diego, CA, for a few days to check on all of us. He approves of how we are doing!  Prayers, emails, cards, calls and so on remind me that no one fights Cancer alone.
I have learned a lot and I'm still learning things like live for today, cast my cares on Him and don't sweat the small stuff.  

OK, see some of these question are really thought provoking.  Your turn.....

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Only in New England

It's often said that if you don't like the weather here in New England, wait a few days, it will change.
They are so right!  In just one short week we have all 4 seasons!

The start of Memorial Day week May 25th
Yup, that's snow. Parts on NH had a few inches on snow while other parts (like us) had really cold rain/sleet mixed together.  Really! And we had frost warnings (good thing we didn't have our garden in yet) Sure looks like Winter here!

By mid week
Rain, not just a nice spring rain, it was more like a fall rain, temps were below freezing at night and only up to the 40's and 50's during the day.  Yup, felt more like fall around here.

By late week
Our Bleeding heart bloomed.  A sure sign of Spring! Finally!

By weekend
We had temps up into the 90's. AC was put in the windows and turned on. 

It took 2 days and 6 loads of wash but the sweaters, socks, flannel pj's and fleece lined jeans have been replaced by t-shirts, shorts, cotton pj's and fewer sweaters (I get cold easy).

What's will all this crazy weather?  What's it like at your place?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weekend Review

It's been a while since I did a Monday review of the weekend but this weekend I had a blast and wanted to share it with you.

Our oldest child, our son, came to visit us for a few days!  He wanted to check on us and see first hand just how we are doing.  It was great to see him. It's been way too long. Even though he is over 6 feet tall, married and has a wife and children of his own, he still answers to "Little Gerry". He never did like the sound of  "Jr." I now think of my two guys as a Gerry Sandwich with me in the middle.  I love that.  He brought with him a painting and cards made by our grandsons. Don't we all love kid art?

He came in on Thursday evening while I was teaching my class, so he and Hubby got to go out and share a meal together.  It was great Father/son time for them both. They like each other and get along well so having some one-on-one time was great!  They then came to my class for the last few minutes of class to see me work.  It was great to look up and see that smiling face looking back at me. No matter how old he is or how tall he gets, he is my "Little boy". I think all moms think that way, right?  Our kids are always our kids even though they are grown, with kids of their own.

Father and son at the local Dairy Queen.  

We got to spend all day Friday together, talking, catching up on his life with his job, the  wife, and the boys (2 grandsons). We got together in the evening with our daughter and her family and had a cookout complete with playing with the girls a great game of "I spy with my little eye"  Since the youngest is 2 years old she couldn't pronounce "Uncle Gerry" so she calls him "Uncle Dair-wee."  So bloody cute.  He got it on video to show his family later. Our Son-in-Law did the cooking and boy can that man grill!!

This is whats happens after a big Momma Breakfast! 

Saturday, I got to cook my son breakfast! That may not seem like much to some, but at my core I'm a mom.  Our children are all grown up and have children of their own and our son lives on the other side of the country so being a "MOM" from so far away is not easy.  I loved making him eggs and bacon and watching him enjoy it. We talked about the all the meals he would eat and never feel full, or gain weight.  He has a son now that has taken over that job.  I loved having him here, even though I knew it was a short visit.  Afternoon, myself and my "Gerry Sandwich" went to see Iron Man 3.  I really liked the movie and it was fun to have him sitting between the two of us like when he was little boy and we could just look over and see his smiling face.  It was so comfortable for him to be there.
Brother and Sister getting some "face time" with the family on the west coast.  I love technology that allows us face time.  

It was followed up by getting pizza and hanging out at the house while our daughter and girls came by to spend time to visit, get caught up some more, face time with the son's family still back on the west cost and hear all the stories of what is going on in their lives.

It was over way too soon.  He had to fly out Sunday morning so that he would have time to readjust to the time zone and be ready for work on Monday.  I know that his family missed him.  We did have a blast with face time so that we could hear and see each other. and  the cousins did spent a good amount of time sticking out their tongues to each other - COUSINS!  What fun.

This starts a new week.  Sunday we spent the time trying to cool down the house, (Son brought temps in the 90's for us) worshipping God together, and looking forwarded to a new week.  Up! I feel blessed!!

Thank you God for lifting my spirits and getting me to laugh!  I love my kids, my babies, my children.  They both have turned into great adults!
How was your weekend?