The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi ”

Gandhi

I have been working on a children's book called The Secret Adventures of Scruffy MacMufiin and a CD called Dog Vacation for the past year. Both projects are about the senior shelter dogs and cats that my husband and I have adopted or fostered over the past decade. What a fun and surprisingly arduous project! Big, BigThanks to Tim Ouimette and Jon Cobert who co produced the CD and Kathleen Kent for giving me suggestions and courage to write the book!
Dog is Love           Senior shelter pets Rule!

Diagnosis Cancer in the time of Covid 19

My Post Op Journey Hello Sit Ups  

I started doing them again. First time since surgery in May.

Fantastic! I've never appreciated or enjoyed them this much!

https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Sit-Ups   (lol)

Rebounder  mini trampoline

So good for your lymph system and so much fun!

https://www.hsn.com/products/urban-rebounder-trampoline-wresistance-kit-and-5-workou/9537436?sz=3&sf=HF0185&ac=&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=shopping%20engine&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Bshopping%7CM%7CGeneric%7CHealth%20%26%20Fitness&utm_content=1309518491685021_pla-4585444528344672_9537436

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Rebounder&docid=608046641892101179&mid=6F5B15C635FFEBA9B4476F5B15C635FFEBA9B447&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Yoga

As I begin to workout again after surgery one of the best things I have done is join Namastream.com

https://app.namastream.com

Bike Riding

Get those legs going. Focus.

Swimming

Great workout without the stress on your back or knees.

It feels great to move and reclaim my body.

I let stress take me off the path of healthy diet and exercise about 20 years ago.

Diet and physical activity are listed as the number two possible contributors to cancer.

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes.html

Good news:

This is all stuff I can control.

My life is my responsibility.

(Don't get me started on toxic relationships.The main one being with myself.)

I read this often:

"Just one week after he graduated from Yale Law School, while he was training for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Seun Adebiyi was diagnosed with lymphoma and leukemia. This forced him to put his Olympic dreams on the back burner as he rethought his life plans. 

Adebiyi knows all about mental toughness and resilience. After experiencing firsthand the difficulty of finding stem cell donors (the odds of finding a genetically compatible donor is less than 17 percent for those of African descent, compared to 70 percent for Caucasians), Seun took it upon himself to found Nigeria's first national bone marrow registry--the second ever in Africa. 

And Adebiyi did eventually participate in the Olympics, carrying the torch for Nigeria in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Today, Adebiyi is cancer-free, and he made the decision to become an entrepreneur. He's currently a self-employed, freelance attorney with InCloudCounsel, a legal technology company that automates and enhances high-volume legal processes. 

Here, according to Seun Adebiyi, are five ways to develop unbeatable mental toughness. 

1. Never confuse who you are with what you do. 

The most common mistake people make is to confuse their self-worth with their accomplishments. Says Adebiyi, "I remember when I first missed the Olympics--fracturing my spine from overtraining just months before the 2000 Games. It was my first major setback as an athlete, and I completely crumbled mentally--all because I had made the mistake of tying my self-worth to my sense of accomplishment." In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. 

2. Master your inner dialogue. 

What you say to yourself matters more than what the entire world together says about you. When he was fighting leukemia with intensive chemo and full body radiation, Adebiyi refused to wear a hospital gown. Instead, he wore workout sweats and did walking lunges up and down the linoleum hospital floors, pushing his surgically attached IV pole next to him. Says Adebiyi, "Doctors and nurses looked at me like I was crazy, but I never accepted their perspective that I was a 'cancer patient.' In my mind, I was an Olympic hopeful who just happened to be overcoming cancer." 

3. Learn to live in the moment. 

Let's face it--sometimes life just kicks you in the teeth. Trying to avoid suffering is like trying to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat without getting wet. When the storms of life start tossing you around like a toy, you need an anchor--something you can cling to when all seems hopeless. According to Adebiyi, "That anchor was my breath. I just focused on surviving from breath to breath, and repeated the following words over and over like a mantra: 'This too shall pass.'"  

4. Fortify your village, then build a moat. 

In many African countries, there's a popular saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." This is true in life as well. Learn to pick your associates carefully. Find those handful of people who will support you no matter what, invest your time and energy in strengthening those relationships. As Adebiyi explains, you may also need to distance yourself from the toxic people in your life who tear down your self-confidence. "This might involve some painful conversations, spending less time on social media, and ending a few relationships," says Adebiyi. "But trust me, it's virtually impossible to master your inner dialogue and develop inner resilience with someone whispering doubts in your ear." 

5. Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. 

As someone once said, never let a good crisis go to waste. Often, the biggest opportunities for personal and professional growth are found in times of upheaval and uncertainty. The time to "hurricane-proof" your life isn't when the shingles start to fly off the roof, but when the sky is still blue and sunny. Suggests Adebiyi, "Work on your self-image, inner dialogue, present moment awareness, and key relationships now. It doesn't take much: You can practice visualization/meditation every day, affirm your key relationships, and minimize negative influences with just a few minutes each day." 

And when life comes knocking, you'll be ready to rock". 

New song:

https://soundcloud.com/soundqs/best-day-ever-final-mix

The Serenity Prayer 

God grant me the Serenity to

Accept the things I cannot change.

The Courage to change the things I can.

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

 

The Serenity prayer is one of the most important tools I've ever learned. It is a north star during troubling times.

A guide to help me know where I am and what I can do to get to where I want to be.

I cannot change that I developed cancer.

I can change how I eat, how I live, how I think, what and who I allow in my life.

My body is amazing! It heals it self. But it also needs a little help sometimes and that's where western medicine comes in.

I start Immunotherapy today. One half hour, once a month, for a year.

It is supposed to be GREAT! A real game changer for people with Melanoma.

There are possible side effects but many people don't experience them.

I am gonna be one of those people.

I'm scared but am trying to change my thoughts about it and welcome this as the necessary help I need to kill any remaining cancer cells.

We all know how the story ends but if I can get a few more chapters, I'll be grateful.

Here we go.

One Day at Time.

This is a song on my WOW, I wish I Wrote That, list!

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp=yhs-SF01&hspart=Lkry&p=I+hope+you+dance+youtube#id=0&vid=53ae4ba7a678a6198256280cc2d7175f&action=click

"Knock Knock." "Whose there?" "Mortality." 

"What the. ...?" Eyes wide. Jaw dropping.

"Sorry but, You have the wrong person." I say sternly.

"Are you Kathi McGunnigle?" it asks, glancing at a tattered scroll.

"Yes." I respond hesitantly.

"You're on the list." It says, kindly, looking me in the eyes.

"Listen, you are really early. I wasn't expecting you for 20 or 30 years.

I think there's been a mistake. I'm too young and I feel really healthy."

Looking down at the list, looking back up at me, it shrugs it's shoulders.

There is an awkward pause.

"NO, I AM NOT GOING WITH YOU! I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TO DO.

I still have songs to write and sing!

I have a young dog to raise!

My husband and I haven't been to Greece or the Rockies yet!

I want to meet Paul McCartney!"

There is another awkward pause.

"Ok." it says. I'll swing back around later."

Here's where I run to an Oncologist.( NYU Dr. Anna Pavlick https://nyulangone.org/doctors/1255332839/anna-c-pavlick)

Here's where I change everything.

Now after surgery,(thank you Dr. Erica B Friedman) I start Immunotherapy.

No chemo. No radiation. (Yay)

My part.

I am committing to a raw diet for the next 90 days, at least.

I've been told developing cancer isn't my fault BUT I think you are what you eat.

I want my body to be inhospitable to cancer so I will flood it with cancer fighting veggies

https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/

and step up my spiritual practice of SGI Buddhism. www.sgi.org.

Maybe it's me just wanting a little control.

I have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

This is my blog about my experience with Metastatic Melanoma.

It is meant to help others and myself go through this journey together.

The support and kindness of everyone has meant EVERYTHING to me.

So strange to be going through this deeply personal health crisis while Covid 19 exploded and the tragedy of

George Floyd's senseless murder and subsequent uprising. I wish I could go to the protests. I am there in spirit.

https://youtu.be/oy6m22zYki8

 

 

The World Outside What Would Gandhi Do? 

I have had to limit my exposure to the world outside because I need to heal.

But some things slip though. Somethings, I can not turn from as much as I would like to not know.

Words can not adequately express my sadness and disgust over the recent murder of, yet another African American, George Floyd.

My heart goes out to his family and all African Americans who live with this awful, ugly racist environment in the United States. I despair over the cruelty of some human beings. I feel a wave of shame to be white and an American. But, who I am is not the color of my skin. I am the contents of my heart.

Why are these racist idiots allowed on the police force? I am so glad people have taken to the streets. I'm a practicing Buddhist and I would like to eliminate ALL violence BUT I can't help but think Maybe the violence will catch their attention and demand a change in who is hired to be a police person. But I sure don't want to see innocent business people or bystanders hurt. I am with everyone on the streets in spirit.

But then I chant

Nam Myho Renge Kyo

www.sgi.org

and think

What Would Buddha Do?

What Would Jesus Do?

What would Gandhi Do?

What Would Martin Luther King do?

What Would Nelson Mandela Do?

If they changed unacceptable racist behaviors and environments through non violence, so can we.

But we need to rise up and demand change.

They will not give it to us.

We need to unite. For real.

I love my Buddhist practice because it includes and values EVERYONE.

www.sgi.org

I am going to enjoy this beautiful day in my garden, with my husband and my pets,

so grateful for my health and my life, but with a very heavy heart.

 

Surgery and post op recovery: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi. 

I was too overwhelmed to write.

It all went well but OMG, it is heavy. It hurts.

The first two days all I did, all I Could do, was pray and let people care for me in ways I've never done before.

Lets just say All self sufficiency and privacy went out the window. My nurses were so kind.

Their names are:

Maryl, Shawn, Alisa, Austin and Valerie. THANK YOU.

I went home after 4 days. It was tough. I had to go the the ER the second night because I had developed blood clots in my arm where the IV had been inserted.

It's all getting better, day by day.

  But, wow. Surgery goes first on my Never again please, list.

The Waves Of Love The Winds Of Change 

The Waves Of Love

The outpouring of love and help since my diagnosis has been very uplifting and beautiful.

Old friends, new friends, family and strangers. I can never thank you all enough.

I can and will pay it forward.

Life is a 'we" program.

Just when I was questioning whether I had made any meaningful bonds during my life, getting cancer showed me that I did and that I was loved.

Truly amazing. So helpful for healing.

I thought what I went through last year, helping my special needs dog, Loki, was the most powerful experience of human kindness I had ever known.

But, now, my experience with cancer and the people who have helped me is on par with that and even more intense because it is saving my life.

And, making re-evaluate EVERYTHING.

The Winds Of Change

My date with cancer was on the books for a long time.

My doctor says it is the result of sun damage from childhood.

But humans are complex beings. We are physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.

I think there is more to my developing this dis-ease.

I think I had a big hand in creating an environment that allowed the cancer to flourish.

Poor reaction to Stress

Allowing toxic relationships to stay in my life

Bad Diet

Not enough exercise

Fighting to Live

I am using traditional oncology doctors and immunothereapy

PLUS

Hypnotherapy with Althea at Universal Intelligence

https://www.facebook.com/althealock/

A plant based diet

I'm following Chris Wark at

https://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/

and Caren Hartglass at

https://responsibleeatingandliving.com/

I was a vegetarian for many, many years. Recently I changed to a meat filled Keto diet that I loved and lost a lot of weight on.

But I can't help but wonder if it wasn't the final brick that crushed my failing immune system, allowing the cancer to proliferate.

SGI Buddhist  Chant Nam Myho Renge Kyo

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp=yhs-SF01&hspart=Lkry&p=nam+myho+renge+kyo#id=1&vid=97520e0b3460a14277f1e144b3900af5&action=click

Not On My Watch

I was surprised how easy it was to get overwhelmed by the stress of life and to collapse into bad health.

BUT,

I will never let this happen again. Any of it.

Not the bad health habits as a way to numb out stress or toxic relationships.

My health, physical, emotional and spiritual, is my responsibility.

And there is plenty I can do to make it better.

I am not a victim.

Detach with love or with a hatchet.

Just let go of bad vibe situations and people. Quickly.

I don't have to fix it, figure it out or rise above.

I only have to save myself.

See The Buddha nature in everyone. Forgive everyone, everything.

 

This is my mentor and beloved friend Nona Hendryx's song

"The Winds Of Change".

I was lucky enough to sing on the first recording.

II think it is one of the BEST SONGS Ever written.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-Lkry-SF01&hsimp=yhs-SF01&hspart=Lkry&p=NONA+HENDRYX+Winds+Of+Change#id=3&vid=d5c9913695980e95fe3a0c43b895b823&action=view

 

 

 

.

 

 

Ready Set Go! 

Dr. Erica Friedman will be doing surgery tomorrow morning on my left leg to get rid of the melanoma that has unfortunately spread to my lymph.

I'll be glad when this poison is out of my body.

Thanks to Everyone who has showered me with love and support.

I am ready for battle!

Check out our version of "Lean On Me" and I Won't Back Down"

www.soundqs.com

Girl Crush Girl Power! 

Gril Crush : When one is blown away by how AWESOME a gal is! Nothing romantic.

I have two Girl Crushes!

1 My new Oncologist Dr. Anna Pavlick She found my primary melanoma! She is sooo smart, very funny and LOVES dogs! She is going to save my life!

She is a total ROCK STAR!

2 My Oncology Surgeon, Dr Erica Friedman She is very, very smart, very comforting and is gonna get this cancer out of my body. She is gonna save my life.

She is a total ROCK STAR!

Wow, am I lucky to have found them. They are like friends and sisters on steroids.  I feel so grateful to them both and to my friend Dr. Paul Finger who introduced me to Dr. Pavlick.

Driving back home after I first met Dr. Pavlick, I felt hope for the first time since this nightmare started. My amazing hypno therapist, Althea, told me to look for signs. (She could also be a girl crush)  I saw two graffiti signs in the most difficult of places, on a bridge, on the top of a building, that said ANNA!

(I actually experience this weird kind of seeing their name thing EVERY TIME I consider adopting a dog!) Honestly. But that is another post.

The universe is guiding me and letting me know I'm in the right place.

My surgery is set for this coming Thursday May 7th. My favorite day.

 

 

Poison Into Medicine Hope 

SGI President Ikeda states: Buddhism teaches the principle of changing poison into medicine. Therefore, no matter what difficulties we may encounter, we can take them on with a positive attitude. All we have to do is keep pressing forward with deep confidence in the Daishonin’s words, “When great evil occurs, great good follows” https://www.sgi-usa.org/study-resources/core-concepts/changing-poison-into-medicine/

Hope

I met with Dr. Anna Plavick of NYU today and it was terrific.

She is terrific.

I feel Hope for the first time is 6 long weeks.

Exhausted. Must sleep.

 

Behind Door Number 2..... 

Drum roll    

Nothing

I was hoping the PET scan would reveal where the primary tumor is residing. But it did not.

Wow. I was warned about this subset of cancer patients that struggle to find their primary cancer.

This seems so unfair and rotten. It should not be allowed. That and kids getting cancer. And dogs and cats.

I do have another malignant lymph that needs treatment or surgery.

I have been told it is stage 3.

I'm not looking on the internet.

I'm going for an MRI of my brain and second opinion at NYU.

Praying. Eating Vegan. Playing ball with my dog Loki.

Watching Will Farrel movies with Tim.

That's all I got.

Any suggestions?

I'm gonna learn from this and beat it.

It's my 15th sober anniversary.

It's not the usual gift but I'm sure I'll benefit from it.

Thanks Cancer.

Now hit the bricks!

Be an advocate for World Peace. Donate to www.seedsofpeace.org Download my song World Peace For Christmas as my thank you!

NY Musicians For Peace

I got so sick of all the recent tragedies of racism and violence, sick of feeling powerless, sick of standing in my living room yelling at the tv, that I asked some of my friends to raise their voices with me for brotherhood and peace. We share this powerful message with you, written by John Lennon, in the hopes that you will raise your voice with us and share it with everyone who wants a world that is color blind and nonviolent.
Thank you:

 Tim Ouimette, Gary Schreiner, Jon Cobert, Sammy Merendino, Alex Alexander, Will Lee, Ira Siegel, Leon Pendarvis, Lisa Ratner, Ed Xiques, Rick Kriska, Ken Jioffre, Loiuse Baranger, Art Triggs, JC Santalis, Keith Anthony Fluitt, Darryl Tookes, Holly McCracken, Ada Dyer, Sandy Farina, Eugene Ruffolo, Russ Velasquez, Sheryl Marshall, Emily Bindiger, Janie Barnett, Cindy Thrall, Erik Boyd and all the rest who were there in spirit. I am honored and moved by your talent and heart. 

Thank you for singing out with me.                                               Nam Myho Renge Kyo
                        "You May Say I'm A Dreamer. But, I'm Not The Only One." John Lennon