The Day My Ear Left Home – Skin Cancer Won

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Skin cancer – in my case Squamas Cel Carcinoma (video included) sometimes we don’t take it serious enough. During my hospital stays at Penn State Hershey Hospital when I had my liver transplant one of my doctors told me there were more people dying of skin cancer in the hospital than any other single reason. It was mostly from melanoma because it gets inside the body and it can’t be successfully treated. They make them comfortable. That is scary.

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I didn’t realize how attached I was to my ear until I knew for sure I wasn’t going to be able to keep it, after all these years. I had no choice. I didn’t really think about my ear all that much over the years except as a place to hang earrings or as a  place to balance the other arm off my glasses. Now What was I going to do?
     I had a surgery in September 2018 and a pie wedge was cut out and my ear sewn together, now smaller but still looking like an ear. A skin cancer had formed on the back side. I’m on transplant medication for a liver transplant and was told skin cancer was very likely due to a suppressed immune system.
     I had other cancers cut out of my forehead and top of my head years earlier, but the cancer grew back on my ear almost immediately. So now they cut off everything but the lobe!! At least I can wear earrings – later.

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     They did two skin grafts to kinda sorta make an ear so I can wear glasses, but trust me, it looks like an animal chewed it off. Now I’m have grieving issues missing my ear that I had not fully appreciated having.
     Now I’ll have to shave the side of my head and have 30 rounds of radiation – but no chemo. THANK GOODNESS!
     So I’ll shave both sides of my head, leaving bare a couple inches around my ear(s) which will leave me with a kind of Mohawk, cut short. I threatened my husband I’d dye is purple or green. It will be short enough to grow back fast. What the heck, will I ever act my age!!

NOT A CHANCE! That is no fun, and why start now?

     So, the moral of the story is: don’t think you don’t need sunscreen!! My son works on boats at a marina. He nixxed sunscreen because sweating and sunscreen don’t mix. But now he says he will change. He has to at least wear clear Zinc on his nose and ears.
     All the other people in the Dr office waiting room had bulbous dressings somewhere on their face just like mine. A man had one covering his nose. Oh dear!

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     Fortunately, I had a old pair of broken glasses. The left arm broke off and it was my left that was cut. They still balance pretty good with one arm, otherwise I didn’t know what I was going to do.
     I was given needles of lidocaine for these surgeries. They are painful, like a succession of bee stings. I can’t imagine a needle numbing my nose. Ouch!! It makes my eyes water just thinking about it. But I get a bunch of needles in my ear and in the skin on my head around the ear and on my chest where they did two skin grafts.
     The other weird think was HEARING the sissors cut through the cartilage, and hearing him sewing the stitches and pulling it through the skin! Fortunately the doctor was young (37) and good looking with a great smile. That at least helped the process.

Skin cancer is no joke. It’s amazing that some people still think they are invincible and bake in the sun or use tanning beds. I did, too, for one year 34 years ago and I got out of the sun a long time ago.
     My generation didn’t know. We used iodine and baby oil to bake ourselves like a chicken in the oven. I don’t think the word “ultraviolet rays” even existed in the 60’s and 70’s.
     I’m going to put a photo here to drive the point home to those of you who don’t use sunscreen and think you’ll be just fine, but I’ll use a healed one from the first stage of this cancer surgery. It was in two steps.

Step 1.  cut off the ear and cover with a skin graft taken from my chest. 

Step 2.  use the skin graft to sorta make an ear and
do a 2nd skin graft to cover up behind the ear so the new ear won’t stick to the open skin.

One last point. A few years ago a good friend of mine died because of cancer most likely caused the same way mine was. She had a kidney transplant umpteen years earlier and had been fighting cancer for quite a few years. She lost the battle. She was on the same anti- rejection medication I am on for my liver transplant. I’ve had one medical crisis after another, but I’m not done yet. I have a lot of living to do!

The Life of a Work-a-Holic

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I’m a workaholic. I get addicted to most everything I do – and I love it – except now I’m really busy because I don’t let things go – most of the time. And where are all the bloggers who have followed me over 4+ years. I guess they got bored with their blogs  Most people don’t follow through with things like this because their is no one to encourage them and they gradually stop. It was fun at first  watching to see how many people followed them, but they moved on.

I did some rummaging around pulling up, or trying to pull up, the blogs of past bloggers who have followed me. They aren’t there! The number of blogs still active, at least from early blogs is  . . . very  . . . very . . . small.

I now some people have lots of instant likes on their blogs, when I go to the WordPress reader that shows blogs that just posted, and I’d wager that their blog is the main thing they do on line and most of their views come from bloggers. Nothing wrong with that at all. But when I pull up an old post and go to the blogs of people who liked it – those blogs are rarely active anymore.

But this blog is but one site of many sites I have to tap into and maintain as often as I can. And I will continue blogging. It is a way to tap into my other sites, like my music website sonniquick.net 

From there you can see all of my Youtube music videos, or find my channel with a simple search of Sonni Quick Piano Improv. It’s also sometimes easier just to Google my name and see what comes up.

Most of the people who read what I write come from Google searches and I try to connect them with everything I do.  Quite oftenII have 2-3 devices open at one time so I can listen to music of other musicians I follow, write what every I’m writing at the moment and check in with business stuff.

I try to build my blogging friends, but it’s hard to go back and consistently follow their blogs, no matter how much I like their blog, but I try. And when do I do my own reading? When do I write music? I keep a very tight accept and keep going until I can no longer stay awake. Then I sleep for five hours and begin again.

Well, I better get back to work. Don’t forget to read some of my book chapters and subscribe to ITFO NEWS at my other blog – My Name Is Jamie – see ya there!

Bottled Note — Ricardo Sexton

Send me in a new direction, by my own To where “footsteps” tells me, I belong With dirt under my nails & drenched hair I’m unable to inhale, locked somewhere The dreams are all in foreign language As the compass spins around aimlessly Hopefully for the way back, the bandage To follow the storms, the […]

via Bottled Note — Ricardo Sexton

After I posted my newest blog post I noticed this new poem from Ricardo Sexton and it seemed to fall in line with what I wrote about and I wanted to share it with you.

BTW I just started new business under the name NEW DIRECTION which is in the beginning of his poem. Coincidental? I doubt believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. That is the law of cause and effect.

Keeping Time – Where Are Your Memories?

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I came across this quote today:

“Life is not the number of days you live, it’s the number of days you remember”  

I sat and thought about it for quite awhile. I have had quite a life. At 64 I think I can honestly say that I have aggressively filled it with lots of “things”. I never settled. I never let fear take hold. I lived where I wanted to live and I did the things I wanted to do. I dealt with adversity by attacking it head on. If I said I was going to do something I did, and if didn’t work out the way I hoped, it wasn’t for lack of trying, and I didn’t find excuses and justifications and made some other reason to blame.

Most of all, if someone thinks I shouldn’t do something and has nothing to add to the reasons why, than it doesn’t make me not want to do it. My motto – and I mean this – and I’ve told this to probably hundreds of people in the last 40 years:

~If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t watch me do it~

I don’t care if someone doesn’t like what I do. My life is my life. Period. You shouldn’t try to make people change because it is something YOU wouldn’t do. I don’t do that to them. It’s okay to express your opinion, just don’t expect me to live life the way you would.

I learned many people don’t do what they want because  of fear.

1. Fear of the unknown

2. Fear of failure

3. Fear of what people will think (other people don’t think about you as often as you think they do)  

There are also people who begin something new, but have no follow through. I know a woman – a talented woman – who began many projects, from writing a book, quilting, began a business and did all the preliminary research, created stained glass, even began painting her hallway, and on and on. She quit almost every project after starting enthusiastically.

Unfinished projects. Why? Her answer was, “I’m going to get back to them someday, maybe.” She had such a wonderful creative mind, yet had no confidence in herself. I think the answer was – if she was the one who chose to stop, then it wasn’t because she had failed. She could always begin it again, but seldom did. It was her choice.  She also told me one day, “I wish nothing changed.  I wish I could stay in my house and nothing changed. I don’t want friends, because you have to maintain friendships. If I have no friends no one will expect anything of me.” (and I don’t have to be there for them, either?) 

I thought I could show her something different – that she had value. I encouraged her to believe in herself. The end result – she believed a lie someone told her (I won’t get into that) and wouldn’t talk to me about it. It gave her the excuse to kick me out of her life, ( for the second time, and the first time lasted 35 years)  and she no longer speaks to me anymore. It’s been about 4 years now, I can’t “remember” exactly when. I’ve tried to unsuccessfully squash it down. 

Some people want to disappear. I will have no more memories of her to think about and that makes me sad. I don’t know how she is doing. Some people won’t stand up for their own life. She didn’t want to have a life beyond what appeared in front of her without any effort on her part. If you choose to believe things without finding out the truth you are taking the path of least resistance. Sadly, I’m not the only person she did this to. 

At the end of her life what will she remember? And she is my sister. 

I know my style of living is not for everyone. But I realize life is short and I’m going to die at the end of it. I have wanted to fill it up with memories so when I’m decrepit I can relive my memories. My memories of her are mostly of our childhood. 

My successes, my failures, my friends – many of them are all over the world. They live in my tablet and I can visit with them whenever I want. Except for limited family and neighbors, how many people are good friends who care about you, and you see them face to face? The internet opened up the world. 

Right now I’m making plans to meet up with a young Russian man in his 20’s during a visit to America in June, when I take the train from Harrisburg to Miami on down to the Keys. I make this trek quite often and have met some very interesting people. A man traveling who makes a living betting on sports – older woman who traveled the states when she was young, picking fruits and vegetables and loved it!

My Russian friend and I have been writing and sending pictures since he was about 15 and needed advice on how to talk to a girl in school. He was also learning to play the guitar so we talked about learning music. Such fun. He was just learning English and now speaks it proficiently. He had a goal and is making his goal come true. No, I don’t equate his being Russian with the politics of Russia with the United States. 

I started this post today because I read a quote and it started me thinking about my own life. These were the thoughts that came to mind. What do you think? How do you live your life? What do you think about taking chances and doing something new? Let’s talk about it.

As an afterthought here is music I recorded about Time:

Music, videos  and photos found here at my website

Sign up to my mailing list at that website to hear about new music and videos. Many thanks to you!

 

You Can’t Do Just The Ordinary Things

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I posted this on my other blog mynameisjamie.net as well because my project is about Jamie’s life as much as it is about my music. They are connected. One wouldn’t be the same without the other. 

You better be damn sure whatever project you are working on that you are in it for the long haul or you will fail, or you will give up.

Prison was the long haul for Jamie.

Writing a good first book and learning how to do it was mine.

I dream about finding someone in “the business” who recognizes this and has the clout and connections to do something about it. There! I said it out loud! I put it into the universe. Positive or negative, we create our own personal universe we live in. I have to trust myself.

It has been a couple weeks since I last posted, hasn’t it? I’m a little behind because life has gone into mental high gear. It is my nature to bite off more than I can chew, and then have look to chew very quickly.

And it is not only the ordinary things that have to be done. We all have a life to live. For me it is medical issues that try to get in the way. Through it I have made tremendous progress in the writing of, “Inside the Forbidden Outside.” The music and the music videos I began making a year ago and starting a YouTube Channel, Sonni Quick Piano Improv, cultivating subscribers, added greatly to the busy hours of my day.

Hours spent promoting and marketing the chapters and the music every day pushed my workday (unpaid at this point) to 16 hours a day, usually 7 days a week. This is no exaggeration. Writing slowed down and blog post writing also decreased. But the project as a whole was coming together and moving forward. The response has been overwelming. It’s exciting. Every chapter done, every music recording finished and every video completed by my inexperienced hands has been a source of joy.  And it came with inspiring comments with the connections to people increasing everyday.

I reach people through my music, to touch them emotionally about Jamie’s story. The music is the emotion of the story. It reaches out through my fingers. It is my passion. It is that passion for grasping life in your hands ant not letting go that separates the winners from the losers.

When you truly love to do something you spend every hour of every day working on it in some capacity. No excuses are good enough if you don’t see it through. I think the idea of writing a book with music was a good idea. I have not heard of any other book who combined the story and music together. If you only had one or the other you would have only half of the story.

This story I’m writing, if you haven’t read any of the chapters I’ve posted at this blog is not just someone’s experience living with the brutality of the American prison system – the Prison Industrial Corporation. It is about love and hope – failure and determination above all else, to take back his life. He was going to be a father to the son he has rarely seen. He wanted to go to school and learn things. He was a good man who was never given a chance from the moment he was born,

because. . . . he was black.. . . he was poor.. . . and he came from a southern state known for racism – and he had epilepsy.

The odds were against him. He was part of a family with four children, a mother and no father, so they raised themselves with little adult supervision. Mom worked hard to provide for her family, so how could she be there to raise them? I know that dilemma well.

Will this book help people to better understand what being in prison is truly about, and will they understand the psychological damage from grief, caused by loss? Will they understand the constant struggle inside the mind, trying to keep itself together, when what it really wants is to kick the walls and scream?

Will readers understand that? Because I know from talking to people ‘out here’ that many people don’t. The sheer number of people who end up locked in a cell that shouldn’t be is absurdly high – and then there are those who still think only the guilty go to prison.

Not every human being should be characterized and judged for the rest of his life because she/he went to prison. It is not the sum total of that person. When Jamie gets out of prison his identity should not be tattooed across his face – EX FELON. That is what happens to so many, making it so hard to survive. Even the ones who have been exonerated after decades in prison because the were falsely imprisoned have to live with that tattoo just because they were in there.

This book is the story of a great many men and a rising number of women. They are considered to be expendable people in this country which deems White Christian Americans to be a cut above all others as if skin color alone is the key to being a better person, except.  . . a better person knows how false that is and laughs at the notion that skin is the number one prerequisite for being a quality human being. Skin color isn’t even on that list.

What could the criminal justice system do to arrest and incarcerate even more people? There is no separation between good and evil. Money decides your freedom. Lock up people for any reason, true or false, and when they can’t make bail, lock them up anyway, for years! This is what lies in store for low income, minority people in this country whose guilt lies in having the bad luck of not being born in a good white neighborhood.

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I am writing this book because all of this pissed me off. Royally! What a choice of words. So much inhumanity was happening to Jamie and I couldn’t do ANYTHING about it! I had all of this emotion running through me. I had to channel it into something positive.

“I’ll write a blog,” I said. I asked Jamie if it was okay.     “Sure,” he said, “but who would want to read about my life?” But I knew it was an important story because so many people had the same story. I realized before long I needed to write a book. Only I had never written a book (or a blog for that matter). I knew I could do it if I honestly tried.

I worked on it for 2 1/2 years. I learned a lot. I didn’t know enough about how to write a book. Writing a blog and writing a book are two different ways of writing. I took some online classes. I read and read about writing. I started over. I wrote and rewrote and continued learning. I think I am now about 60% done with the rewrite have many good tracks of music.

It is a good thing I did not try to publish the first draft because it gave me more time to be better prepared. You can find all the chapters on this blog, even the first draft chapters if you do a search on the blog using the title of the book. You can see the progress if you are interested in reading it. The first draft has too much information and not enough story. This draft is more about the story and info to support it.

That is it for now, but there is another blog post almost ready to be published – about Jamie ‘s story. A little catch up from the past and why he is where he is now. He can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but he can’t see exactly what it opens up to. 

Until then…

The Reason For My Music Videos

Not much needs to be said here because the video says it all. I hope you stay on my channel and watch those you haven’t seen, subscribe and tap the bell to get notified when there is a new one  Your support of what I’m doing will determine how successful I am when I’m ready to publish my book.  Notifications like this, and my mailing lists are the way I will be able to tell people it is  FINALLY READY. I have a ways to go. About 40% more chapter rewrite and new music. Then it will be ready to edit. As a first time author I need to know if I dotted all the eyes and crossed the t’s. It’s been a fun journey  Thank you! 

Crazy Dreams and Sleepless Nights -YouTube Music Video

This is my most recent music video to go with a chapter in my book  “Inside The Forbidden Outside”.  Life has gotten enormously busy and staying on top of things as my audience grows has been challenging  I have so much appreciation for the people who make the connection between the story and the music who have expressed an interest in the book when it’s done. Does any know how to invent more hours in a day, because there is something that always suffers because of a lack of time to get to it.  What this tells me is that I am onto something good or if be looking for ways to fill my time instead of the other way around

It’s been hard to post ad often as I’d like to, and my numbers suffer because of it. I don’t have the time to go to the many blogs I’ve found and enjoyed. Please forgive me for that. It isn’t because I don’t want to.

There is so much swirling around in my brain of things that needed to be taken care of to clear the space to write. I’ll get back here as often as I can. Please share this with your own social media. Go to my blog mynameisjamie.net and read the chapters I have posted to see how Jamie’s life inside the book is coping with the challenges of prison. At that blog you can subscribe to ITFO News and get the occasional update on the book, music, videos and any news of significance.

You can also go to my music Facebook page : Sonni Quick Piano Improv – like and share with your Facebook friends. I need all the help I can get to reach as many people as possible. 😁

Have a great year!