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"Look at me when I'm talking to you!"

“Hey, leave some for me! – And LOOK at me when I’m talking to you!” 

I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers… Kahlil Gibran

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.  — Kahlil Gibran

“Yow!” I mumble each morning when I step from the bed. “Yow, yow, yow, yow” is my morning mantra as I hobble ducklike across the room. By about the sixth step, I remind myself that the ankle pain will be gone in five or so minutes, and for the rest of the day my body will feel ‘normal.’

Attempting to hold the hairbrush, I struggle to detangle my rapidly-thinning hair. My fingers feel like lobster claws, and I remember my Aunt Lulu’s deformed hands. I hold the brush with a loose grip and ponder bobbing my hair to ease the morning struggle. (Is there a barber in the house?!) A new style would not affect the hair loss – each day a week’s worth seems to slough as my thick hair turns into my mother’s. I also think of those who lose their hair thanks to chemotherapy, as I have a token sample of one of the side effects.

I can thank chikungunya for the painful joints and hair loss. Every single morning, I  ponder those who suffer with pain all day every day – and night. I always think of the quote from Kahlil, and yes, these challenges have been great teachers. My struggles seem quite tiny compared to others’ – like the escalating crisis at Playa El Matal.

The past few days and nights have  brought dramatic changes to El Matal.

The high tides from the past few days and nights have brought dramatic changes to El Matal.

Pat moved out of her home on Monday, October 26.

Pat Godkin moved out of her home on Monday, October 26.

Pat's Home.

Pat’s Home.


Some of you have asked about my friend Julie’s health, and she has good days and not-so-good days as she nears the end of (second round ) chemotherapy treatments. She is no longer on dialysis, though the chemo knocks her into severe anemia, and she often needs transfusions. Recent tests suggest that the cancer is gone – Hip-hip HooRAY!

Just this past week Julie wrote with this story: Everything is okay here except that I spent Tuesday night in the hospital. Tuesday morning i started trying to pass out. I could hardly stand up and ended up on the floor. Jim drove me to the hospital where they scrutinized me up the ying yang and found that I was really anemic. It was to the point where my brain was not getting enough oxygen. I even had blurred vision. So they kept me all night and transfused me. It was scary but I am okay now. I am just glad that it was not something else. The darn chemo really knocks down my bone marrow. Just one more treatment in 2 weeks then hopefully it will rebound.”

Where shall we go, Babs?

The Magic Carpet – ready to transport my friends to tranquil settings. Where shall we go?

Last week I learned of another friend’s battle with cancer, and my empathy now stretches to the foothills of California where ‘Babs’ faces her own dragons.   “Began week 5 today of radiation, and tomorrow will be the 3rd chemo treatment. It is strange the way my hair is falling out. We found out later that I have pitikea and not shingles. And what they thought was pneumonia but wasn’t. This is a lung cancer. One that the radiologist thinks he can eradicate. How bout when you leave the coast you make a trip up here and I can hop on the magic carpet…” She has often been wistful for a ride on the magic carpet, and her recent comment definitely grants her a first-class ride. ” …I think sitting in the warm water off the coast somewhere in your neck of the woods, or close by, would be very relaxing. 🙂 Are you game? “
We will be discussing itineraries, food and beverage selections and entertainment options.   I think we can pull a few magic tricks out of the hat, and maybe a rabbit or two as well!   Barbara, you have been brave and valiant, and I hope that the upcoming flight helps you soar back into wellness!

"Just let me curl up and stay perfectly still in a nice peaceful location"

“Just let me curl up and stay perfectly still in a nice peaceful location”

Because of my nephew’s broken back (See: When the World Outside My Window Goes Insane) I have followed Arash Bayatmakou’s story with rapt attention. Arash proves that one should NEVER give up, and I am very proud to know him thanks to WordPress.  Prepare to be inspired:

With my friends facing the crisis from the destructive waves, I am in Jama and will  be back with updates and more photos.  The next high tide hits around 3 in the morning, so think of my friends when you’re starting your day.

Linda's home...

Linda’s home (green)…

May these trees help protect Linda's home tonight.

Will these trees help protect Linda’s home tonight?

Pat Godkin was forced to move out of her home.  Thanks go to the kind neighbor who opened her home.

Advancing tides forced Pat Godkin from her home. Sometimes bad experiences remind us of the ‘best’ side of our fellow man.   A kind neighbor opened her home to Pat, and friends pitched in and helped Pat move.

Thanks for your support and thoughtful comments regarding the crisis at El Matal.   Those on the front line told me that the highest tides will not hit until later this week.   We’re hoping that Mother Ocean will grow weary and take a very long siesta.

More soon, Z