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!

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!

 

I love Myself

I love myself

I love myself

I think I’m grand

I go to the movies

and I hold my hand.

I put my arm

around my waist

and when I’m fresh

I slap my face!

 

A little ditty my mother taught me that my grandmother taught her .

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This was an early blog post 4 years ago. The writing on my other blog, My Name is Jamie, My Life in Prison, could get mentally overpowering so I started this blog where I could lighten up or write about other things

One day my mother sang this song. I should record it. It’s cute. I laughed and laughed because I could my short grandmother,  a flapper in the roaring 20’s, aging this song. Oh how she loved to dance. She met each of her 3 husbands on the dance floor.

So I thought I would share it again today. (smile)

  

The End Game – Poetry

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photo source: hepfi.org

The End Game

Lurking in back of my eyes
Tasting the smells, seeing the ghosts
No matter how often I’ve tried
It reminds me where I’ve been
And how many miles I’ve gone
I tied it up in a garbage bag
And kept on walking alone

Too late, it caught up beside me
And said hi, where have you been?
It’s time to pay the price dear
You can’t run away from sin
You made a cause, the effect is now
There’s no choice, you can’t get away
You chose to play, it’s time to pay
It’s your end game, take a bow

 

by Sonni Quick ©2018

Post liver transplant /cancer survivor/2012

Also follow:  My Name is Jamie. Life in Prison

Do You Live For Yourself – Or Others?

Do You Live For Yourself – Or Others?

 

Did you grow up in your hometown, marry young, buy a house close by and stay there for the rest of your life; or did you spread your wings and fly off, finding new places and new friends, living places you chose to move to as the opportunity presented itself and saw life as an adventure? Is one way better than the other? Look at yourself now. Did you do the right thing? Would you admit it to yourself if you didn’t? Would you go back and do something different?

I’m in my mid 60’s. I enjoy my age. I think I’ve acquired a bit more wisdom, and a heck of a lot of determination to finish life pleased with how I lived it. I climbed the mountains and survived – so far. As I look back on my life, each decade I went through was in a different place as well as a different way to survive, staying away from the conventional paycheck and instead relying on my ingenuity.

I know clearly where I was at each development of wisdom. Why me? What made me want to experience newness while the rest of my family felt comfort and security was more important because everything stayed the same? Someone I grew up with once told me she wished nothing would ever change. She’d stay in her house. She said she didn’t need any friends, they were too much bother. Was that her idea of happiness? Looking at her life now what effect did that have on our relationship? Not a good one.

What makes one person want to experience the newness that comes along in life? We have a choice to grab onto it or ignore it. Do we take the chance to make new friends or change careers, or perhaps begin a new hobby, and another person in the same family chooses the safety of only what is familiar, the comfort of routine and the predictability of sameness. Work the same job for decades even though they hated it? For the paycheck? It is worth giving up the possibly of finding a creative part of yourself just to stay in your predictable comfort zone?

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It takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round. There isn’t one perfect way that is good for everyone. I chose long ago to not live with fear of the unknown. Any day could be my last – your last. I would rather leave this life with a smile on my face with the possibility of a new adventure on the horizon. When do you stop living with anticipation? “What if I went there and learned how to do that?”

The real definition of failure lies in never trying; crawling into your routine until you can finally justify your actions by saying, “I’m too old.”

Long ago I developed a mantra and have told it to many people along the way who also have had people in their own lives who had opinions about how they should live their life, even though it wasn’t theirs to judge. “If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t watch me do it.” I don’t care what other people think about my life, especially when they don’t want to be part of it.

I’ve never owned a home, nor have I wanted to. I want to be able to leave when I’m ready, and I don’t want to have to repair the roof or other maintenance.

I want to be able to choose how I spend my day. Will I ever “grow up?” I seriously hope not. Life should be enjoyed. If you take care of yourself you have a better chance of not letting age bring you down where all you have to talk about with your friends are your medical problems. I will go out with a fight.

Every day you wake up is a day you can fill to the top with things of value. You are what you think. You attract people in your life who appreciate who you are.  If they don’t appreciate you get rid of them. They aren’t worth the trouble. The people I grew up with became people I couldn’t be around any more. Or rather, they couldn’t be around me. My mother told me more than once, “You scare them.” Inner strength and confidence makes some people uncomfortable. So I was kicked out of family get-togethers because maybe I’ll say something outside of the platitudes of talking about jobs and weather. I also hate gossiping about the perceived misfortunes of others.

Everyone has a choice about how they are going to live their lives. Some are waiting to die hoping for happiness later. I choose to be happy now – or die trying!

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sonniquick.net – my main music website. You can subscribe here to my mailing list for music and music videos

Waiting At The Amtrak Station

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Another month in the Florida Keys comes to an end and I’m waiting once again at the Amtrak again. It’s time to go home to Pennsylvania for a month. It’s become a way of life, going back and forth. I spend time with my son and two of my grandchildren and go home for a little piece and quiet and catch up on all the things I didn’t have time to do during the summer. Then I go back.

I love taking the train. I hate airports. I enjoy flying but the hassle of the airports is a turn off. I love being able to walk around or go to the dining car for a meal or the cafe car for hot or cold sandwhiches and drinks. The seats are big with lots of leg room and the restrooms are big. ( I should make a commercial!)

Right this minute I’m on my way north – been traveling for ten hours – 22 to go including a two hour layover in Philadelphia. That is my favorite stop. A huge historical building withwith  ceilings and quite a few restaurants and stores.

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I always meet interesting people. Today I met Vernita. (I took her picture before she knew I was taking it.) She said her name was biblical and she was the last of the line of women with that name.

We talked about faith – she a Christian and myself a Buddhist. I can appreciate someone who is sincere about what they believe without trying to say they are right and you are wrong.

I arrived at the station early this morning and so was she. We had a couple hours to talk – about her life and mine. She was traveling to meet up with her boyfriend who travels to job sites. Someone stole her phone at a cash register  and she was feeling vulnerablev with no way to connect. We will most likely never meet again but for a short time we were friends.

Sometimes we meet people and hit it off. We open up and talk like we’ve always known them. But maybe the next person, like the woman beside me now has no interest in sharing more than a few sentences.

What is it that draws us to some people and not others. This woman is going to New York so we’ll be traveling together until I get to Philadelphia and change trains to Harrisburg.

The train will rock me to sleep. Sunrise will be beautiful. I look forward to another great day tomorrow.

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