Monday, December 31, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the New!

Less than twelve hours and counting until 2008. I am scrambling to get things in order for the coming year, while in-between I am doing my chores. We are staying in this evening...no big plans. Just putting on our pajamas, lighting a fire, watching a movie and probably catching the ball drop at Times Square on TV.

The air has a chill in it today, but we didn't get the snow they mentioned in the forecast. It may still happen tonight, but that is okay!

So much has happened in 2007...good and bad. But the good definitely overrides the bad a million times over. I legally adopted my son, Sally and I set our wedding date, we bought rings, Sally changed her last name to mine, we went on a mini vacation, and most importantly...I am in remission!

A person looks at life and the world differently when faced with a life threatening illness. A year ago the docs thought they could no longer help me, which meant life could be over sooner than later. But I am thankful and am blessed for so many things, including:

1. My loving partner, the love of my life...who without her, my world would be empty. She has given me more than I can ever say. The deep connection we have is stronger than life itself. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift of all, our son.

2. My son, my 14 year old bundle of energy. He makes me smile each and every day. I never thought I would be a parent at this phase of my life...but miracles do happen. Thank you for taking Grandpa's name...you make us all very proud!
Jarrett William Boyarsky
3. My mom. What can I say? She has been there for me and with me through every joyous and sad day in my life. Not only is she my mom, she is a true friend. God truly blessed me with a "One in million" mom. I love you, Mom, with all my heart and soul.
4. My family. Past, present and future. I especially am thankful for my loving brother and godson/nephew. And to those who have passed including Dad, Grandma Jean, Grandpa Sam, and all the rest...I miss you with all my heart and soul.

5. My friends, from childhood through today. Dawn, Pat, Joan, Monique, Barbara, Karen, Kat, Joanne, Kristen, Drea, Tracey, Nancy, John, Sharon, Mary, Sima, Marc, Rich, Brian, my band members...just to name a few. I am blessed to have you all in my life. And those who have passed as well including Lorna and Ron, you are always in my memory.

6. My new family. Monique, Suzanne, Virginia, Patricia, Pat, Marie, Julie, Alfred, Janine, Jack, Jessie...and all of Sally's clan. Thank you for welcoming me into your family.

7. My four-legged family, past and present. Prince, Casey, Kandie, Dylan, Gizmo, Gabby and Goldie. They were and still are the best friends any human can have. No judgements, just unconditional love.

8. My doctors. What can I say? Dr. Rumore...you saved my life. Thank you also to Dr. Spiera, Dr. Cippola, Dr. Gudesblatt, Dr. Maurio, and Dr. Ruisi. God has blessed me with the most brilliant physicians on earth.

9. Genetech USA, the makers of Rituxan. For providing me with the medication, free of charge, that saved my life.

10. Donna Rosen, Judge Freundlich and the entire Suffolk County court system. You have given me the greatest gift of all...my new family for life.

11. The United States Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, past and present, for defending our freedom all over the world.

12. Last, but definitely not least, almighty God. The higher power within the universe. You have allowed me to wake up each morning, and gave me a second chance at life. I can play with my dogs, walk along the ocean, and most importantly...study to better serve you. You have guided me in a positive direction and have given me strength and courage to move forward. Studying to become an ordained minister and receive my doctoral degree in Metaphysics within the next year will be the way I give thanks for all you have done for me.

My wish for everyone is a happy, healthy and safe New Year. I look forward to writing much more in the years to come, and enjoy reading all of your comments. Please keep them coming.

Let me close my 2007 blog with a quote from Rabbi Harold Kushner:

"If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation,

you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude,

a feeling that nutures the soul."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Excited & Tired, All At The Same Time!

I am completely and utterly exhausted. I don't think I can type too much either. Let me explain!
Today we spent the ENTIRE DAY shopping for wedding dresses. Yes, ALL DAY! Mom, Dawn and Pat accompanied us and, whew, was that an experience. I cannot begin to tell you how many outfits I tried on.
Originally I only wanted to get a wedding suit. Then I decided to get a dress. But after today, I am actually going to wear a wedding gown.
Yes, you read that right. Now, for those of you who have known me for a long time, you must be re-reading that over again while your mouths drop. But for those of you who don't know me...I haven't worn a dress since 1998. You see, I wore suits with skirts every day to work until then...but when I turned 40 I decided I would never wear a dress or skirt again. Guess I was wrong!
At one shop, Sally walked out in this stunning gown and I started to cry. Everyone within shouting distance stopped and just stood there with their mouths to the floor. All Dawn and I could say was "wow!" She will be absolutely gorgeous on our big day...I can't wait!
Looks like I also had the "wow" factor with one gown. But the decision was sealed when Mom started to cry. I knew I had found "the" gown!
This is really the last thing we have to do, formally, besides mail out the invites next month. I cannot believe our big day is just a few months away. We have been talking about it for so long...and it is getting closer and closer.
Me and my honey!
Sally and I actually celebrated our eighth anniversary this past Thursday night at Cafe Testarosa in Syosset. It was fantastic...superb! We were laughing because we realized that we have to start counting our anniversary from the beginning again after the commitment ceremony. That is weird, right?
Let me just continue on the path to good health from this day forward. I haven't been feeling well lately, but I am trying to fight it. I can't really say what is wrong, except that I am dizzy very often. I have been off the Imuran for three weeks due to continuous dental work. Perhaps my body is weakening.
I had blood work last week, so I should know something right after the new year.
Here's to a happy, healthy and joyous 2008. May God bless each and every one!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silver Bells...It's Christmas Time on Long Island!

Christmas 2007 is winding down. It has been a hectic few days, but overall I have been feeling okay.

Dylan woke me up this morning with his famous bark, informing me that he wanted to open his presents! Whoever coined the phrase "dumb animals" never met our nine year-old golden! He had been eyeing the gifts since we put them under the tree last night, and as soon as I opened my eyes this morning, he wanted his!!!

Goldie and Dylan waiting to open their gifts!


This was Goldie's first Christmas, so we didn't know what to expect. But she was quite calm and enjoyed experiencing all the excitement. And of course, she loved her new baby!

We all exchanged gifts while holiday music played in the background. Sally even videotaped some key moments, especially when Jarrett and I danced around in our Santa hats. What a sight!


Matching shirts that say "Buy Me a Shot, I'm Tying the Knot!"

I personally delivered holiday cheer to our neighbors, and told them I have a lot to be thankful for this year. They were all very appreciative.

Pat and Dawn invited us to share Christmas dinner with them and their family, and of course, we had a wonderful time. I love the two of them so much! They are more than just friends...they are the sisters I never had.

Last night we spent Christmas eve at friends' of ours in Babylon. They have an annual holiday cocktail party/dinner, and we were so thrilled to be counted in this year. Especially since I hadn't seen them in almost 15 years! We reconnected this past fall, and I am certain we will never lose touch again.

The only thing I missed this holiday was having my family, especially my brother and my nephews, here for our annual holiday dinner. Due to circumstances beyond MY control, the family hasn't gotten together to exchange gifts. But perhaps it can still happen in the next week or so.
I did experience a very special moment today. Sally's Aunt Patricia called to wish us a good holiday, and she asked to speak to me. I have never met her since she and Uncle Pat live in Florida, and have not been able to travel. But she promised that they'd try to make our ceremony this April.

We spoke for just a few moments, but her words meant more to me than I can ever say. She said that even though we have never met, she loves me and considers me to be like a daughter. I could not hold back the tears!

I have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, and so much to look forward to in 2008. Better health and love of family and friends!

God is truly good!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oh No, Not Again!

Here we go again. I received a call from IMG, my long term disability carrier. We had been playing phone tag for several weeks, but I wasn't in a hurry to speak to them. It can never be good if they call.

Well, to make a very long story short..."my" representative feels that I should be ready to go back to work because I am responding to the rituxan.

Considering that I told her that I just had my last treatment in July, and am only now doing better is no indication of things to come. Yes, my docs are pleased, but we should not jump the gun. I said I would speak to my docs about it and get their feelings about it. And guess what she said?

To quote her exactly, "YOU know what is best for you, not your doctors."

You've got to be friggin' kidding me! I guess the fact that I am immunosuppresed has no bearing on sitting in an office filled with people that could be ill. Or, that I am taking it one day at a time right now.

According to the employee benefits representative, I had a change of definition for my disability. Even though I can not perform at my own occupation, I should be able to do any occupation. According to their labor market survey, I can do a sedentary job with no restrictions. Possibly even rehab employment. OY VEY!

I am the first one who wants to work and make money. Believe me. But not until I am given the green light from my doctors. They are the specialists that have saved my life and I will NOT risk listening to someone who is being paid to get me off of LTD.

I am still collecting from social security disability. They agree that I am totally disabled and there are no problems. Who needs this aggravation?

On another note, we lost a friend this past week. A friend of our son's mom. We met Michele over four years ago when Jarrett played little league with her son. It was a freak accident that took her young life, and the display of love and support from our community was overwhelming. I am honored to live in North Babylon.

May God rest her soul and bring comfort and direction to her grieving husband and two young sons.

Mom took me shopping for a wedding dress this week as well. Believe it or not, I am going to get a bridal gown afterall. As soon as I put it on, I felt special...beautiful...everything a bride-to-be should feel. Sally and I are going to look at a few more shops before I make a definitive decision, but I am almost certain I found "the one!"

Only a few more days until Christmas, and in just a little more than a week, it will be 2008. Bring it on!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The First Snowfall--One To Remember

It's December 2nd, and the NY-metropolitan area experienced the first snowfall of the season. It wasn't really a big deal for most, since it only left about an inch or so on the ground. But for us, it was a special time.
You see, this morning was the first time our little golden puppy touched and played in the icy cold substance. What a joyful and heartwarming scene.

Can you imagine what she must have been thinking? To be inside her head during that first step onto the cold ground would have been unbelieveable! The curiosity, the innocence...it was pure happiness.
Of course Goldie loved the snow. She must have gone to the sliding door about a dozen times during the day to let us know she wanted to go out and play. Once she realized she could "eat" the snow, she got even more excited!
To experience today's "first" with our puppy is a memory I will always cherish.
Each and every person needs to learn to slow down and relish the little things in life that bring us joy.
Isn't life wonderful?!