Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Yet another rejection

I was raised to always do the right thing. Now, while I know that's always the best choice and the most positive thing I could ever do, I don't always do it. I'm human. I make mistakes. Some of them are humongous and I own them, even though I'm not proud of them but sometimes, making the right choice isn't as easy as you'd think. Sometimes, others make the choice for us.

The future has been on my mind a lot lately. There are so many things I want to accomplish before I leave this world. Being the responsible adult that I am, I've also been thinking about ways to leave my husband well taken care of in the event I am the first to depart, that's why I made the choice last week to apply for some life insurance.

Funerals are expensive and it seems no matter how much you prepare ahead of time, there are always unexpected expenses that arise after a person dies. Even when deciding on a low budget funeral or choosing cremation, there are expenses that will be incurred. And while most people think they have enough coverage, most of them do not.

My ceramic urn
Last week, we attended the death of an uncle and that's what started my thought process. I began to wonder, should I die in the very near future, if my husband would be able to give me a proper burial. I don't want anything fancy, in fact, I've already mentioned my desire to be cremated. I've even picked out my urn - it's a lovely turquoise ceramic container, complete with scuffs and scratches. I bought it at a props sale held by my former employer. Many of the items on sale that day were from past passion plays the drama department had put on for huge audiences in downtown Atlanta. I felt blessed to snag a piece of history and also felt inner glee knowing that piece of pottery would one day hold my cremains.

Anyway...talking about death and funerals can be quite depressing so I'd best get back to the subject matter for this post.

Two well-known insurance companies sent me mailers last week. Both of them offering insurance policies at reasonable rates. One of them claimed no person would be turned away regardless of their medical condition. The other had an application attached to it and said they'd base their decision on the answers provided by the consumer. I wanted to do the right thing, truly I did, so I filled them both out and sent them off. Crossing my fingers, I hoped one of them would approve me.

Yesterday, I received a letter from the company that had provided the questionnaire. I'd answered the questions truthfully and to the best of my ability, so I wasn't surprised as I began reading the first line after the letter's salutation - "We regret to inform you, based on the answers you provided to our questions, that we will be unable to offer you insurance coverage because of your history of cancer."
Handcrafted in Italy, look at the detail!
Well, how do you like them apples????

With that rejection in hand, I wondered if the other company would hold true to their word and offer to provide me with coverage no matter my health condition. Time will tell.

It would be nice if the insurance companies would do the right thing and provide coverage to anyone willing to pay their premiums. So what if I had cancer! Sure, I'm no dummy. I know it could come back at any time, but hey...I still need insurance coverage people.

So what's a girl to do? I have my urn and that's a plus. Hopefully, I can get coverage before I kick the bucket so hubs won't have to sell all his belongings to make sure I have a nice funeral. Oh well, if I don't get it, I'll just tell him to bury me in the backyard, there are lots of places back there that would be perfectly suitable. I especially like that big oak tree on the corner of our lot...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A reminder of the brevity of life

Early this morning, I received word that an uncle had passed away. The news was expected as his health had been rapidly declining for several days, but even so, it's never easy to hear the news.

Just a little over a week ago, I'd had the opportunity to stop by and visit while on a recent vacation. I was shocked at how much he'd changed since the last time I'd seen him. We enjoyed a nice visit and talked about a mutual love of ours, painting.

All over his living room walls, Uncle Joe had displayed his artwork. There were acrylic paintings on handsaws as well as framed works of art. As I glanced around the room, I could see he took pride in his work but he also made a point to paint what was familiar to him. There were several of the paintings that caught my eye but in particular, the paintings of covered bridges. I mentioned this to him and we talked about some of our favorite bridges in and around Georgia.

He told me he wanted me to have one of his painted saws and explained I'd have to find one that didn't already have a family member's name on the back of it. Apparently, they'd all placed their mark on his works anticipating that one day, after he'd left this earth, they'd have the chance to claim their favorites.

I was unable to find a piece of his art that didn't already have someone's name etched on back. He saw the disappointment in my face and said he'd find one. In the meantime, he said, he wanted my cousin to bring me several of his blank saws. He knew I'd find pleasure in painting them. As my cousin brought the handsaws into the room and lay them beside me, Uncle Joe said, "I want one of your paintings, too." It made me happy that he'd want one of my pieces of art and I made a mental note to complete a piece specifically designed with him in mind.

Just two days ago, I'd completed the painting I was going to give Uncle Joe. I'd worked quickly after we'd returned from vacation in hopes of getting it sent off to my aunt so she could show him before he passed away. Now the completed painting lies in the middle of my dining room table. He'll never get to see it and that makes me extremely sad.
My acrylic pour painting mountain scene





On my cell phone, I have a saved voicemail Uncle Joe had left me. It was from a few weeks ago. I'd sent him a card in the mail telling him I was thinking about him and that I loved him. He responded by calling me and telling me the same. I'm so thankful I kept the message.

I listened to it just a few minutes ago and it made me cry. My uncle had called to check on me and ask how I was feeling when he knew very well his days were numbered.

Oh, the brevity of life! I'm reminded of it every day. Since my parents' deaths, and the recent deaths of several other friends and relatives, I can't help but remember the verse in the Bible that says we're just a vapor...here for a little while and then gone.


A saw I painted for Uncle Joe
The older I get, the faster the years fly. I don't like to admit it, but pretty soon, I'll be part of the oldest generation left in my family. I wonder if my children and their children realize how fast the time is going. Time grows ever precious with each passing day.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Instant weight loss


It's been a while since I've written and while I never meant to go that long of a stretch without writing, that can only mean one thing - I've been doing well and I've been busy!

For the past few months, I've focused on a new hobby, acrylic pouring. It's a process where you create paintings without the use of a brush at all. By mixing the paint with a combination of pouring medium, water, silicone, and other ingredients, you pour the paint onto the canvas and manipulate it by moving it back and forth. As the paint settles, it often changes forming a new painting until it's finally though moving. It's a very unique and fulfilling process.

I made so many paintings that my office began to get full of them and so I started an Etsy shop at the insistence of one of my daughters. There I was able to sell many of my paintings and jewelry but after about a month, I got tired of the hassle of packaging and mailing off my art so I closed shop and decided to start giving my works away. To me, that was much more rewarding.

Yesterday, instead of painting, my husband and I left early in the morning to head to Atlanta for a doctor's appointment. We knew traffic would be heavy and it would take over an hour to get there, so we gave ourselves enough time to have an enjoyable, unrushed ride.

When we arrived, the waiting room was packed and we knew it would be a while before I was called back. About thirty minutes passed before my name was called.

The nurse took me back and as always, began with vital statistics. I hate that they always want to weigh you first, but I stepped on the scale as she instructed. I could tell by the look on her face that I'd gained weight since my last visit. She looked at me and before she was going to open her mouth I said, "You know, I can lose that weight in an instant." She quizzically looked at me and I continued, "I couldn't decide whether to wear the lightweight prostheses this morning, or the heavyweight ones. I chose the big girls which weigh about 4 pounds." She smiled and said, "Really? Well I can deduct that amount from your chart." I smiled the biggest smile and replied, "Would you really? That would be awesome!" And she did!

When I received the paperwork with my statistics on it, she had entered a 4 pound loss in weight. I was so happy she hadn't counted the weight of my false breasts.

The appointment went well and we returned to our side of town only to head for 2 more appointments. It was time for my to reorder my compression sleeves for Lymphedema and it was also time for new boobs! The insurance company allows me to get new sleeves every year but boobs and bras are every two years.

After completing those errands, we took time out for lunch and then headed back home. It was a good day and I was thankful my hubby could accompany me on this trip.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all lose 4 pounds as quickly and easily as I did today? I am thankful the nurse was sensitive to my plight. I wonder if other breast cancer survivors have been through the same scenario...

For those with breast cancer, mundane tasks like grocery shopping can be a challenge. Before cancer, grocery shopping was a pleasurable ...