Monday, September 15, 2014

BATTLE OF THE BANDS XXIV AND THE BIG 'C' BLOG HOP or 'BLAME IT ALL ON MY ROOTS, I SHOWED UP IN BOOTS'

'BLAME IT ALL ON MY ROOTS, I SHOWED UP IN BOOTS' BATTLE OF THE BANDS XXIV AND THE BIG 'C' BLOG HOP








I hope you’ll all bear (or should that be bare, I never know for sure) with me because today’s post might be a tad bit long. I’m combining my BATTLE OF THE BANDS post with a post for ‘The Big C Blog Hop’, so let’s get started. One little bitty thing first, please try to visit other participants in ‘The Big C Blog Hop’, you can find the list HERE. As always I hope you will make an effort to also visit everyone participating in BATTLE OF THE BANDS, at last count there were 10 or 11 participants. You can find a list of BOTB participants at the site of Stephen T. McCarthy, also known as the sexiest man on the planet, but clicking HERE


OK, BOTB first…As the title of this blog posts suggests I simply cannot get away from my roots, even when those roots lead to favorite singers who tend to be a bit genre bending. Take one of my all-time favorites for instance; ole’ Willie Nelson. Most of you think of him as Country, and justifiably so, but he has covered a lot of the ‘old standards’ and some gospel too.

Today let’s take a listen to something from his ‘Stardust’ album (Did ya guess that it’s one of my favorites?). Here’s Willis croonin’ ‘All of Me.



Now for a little jazzier version (and done by a girl, whadda ya know?), Miss Sarah Vaughn with the same tune.



 You guys know what to do next and how to do it. Leave me your vote in the comment section and give me your why. Next, mosey on over to STMcC’s site and see what he has selected for his BATTLE. Check out the other participants and should you feel the urge. join on in with your own BATTLE,  be sure to say so in your comment so I’ll scurry on over to your place.

I’ll be back on the 21st with my vote and the final tally. Maybe I'll even tell ya a little bit about 'All of Me', the song not the real me.

NEXT ON TODAY’S AGENDA…



Those of you who come by here regularly know how fond I am of talking about myself, so my contribution to ‘The Big C Blog Hop’ was a monumental effort. It’s difficult for me to be specific, but I hope it will somehow manage to be inspirational and/or uplifting. The big question in life isn’t what we have to endure but, how we make it through.


It would be nice to think I was not the only weirdo on the planet who spent more than a few minutes trying to predict how I would react if I was ever told I had cancer. Whether that’s the case or not, it did turn out that all of my personal predictions didn’t even come close to the reality of the situation.

I walked into a strange doctor’s office one afternoon feeling like I was pretty much at the top of my game. I felt good, and thought I didn’t look to bad either. I went to see the doctor for a routine check-up. OK, maybe it wasn’t completely routine; I was experiencing some symptoms that I thought were probably normal changes in my body, but felt that since I hadn’t had a check-up in years, now was as good a time as any. When I made my appointment, I was told that the doctor was too busy to see me, but I could have a going over by a PA, and if there was anything out of the ordinary they would make a follow-up appointment with the doctor when he had time.

The long and short of that arrangement was; after exactly five minutes with the PA doing a physical exam, she ran to get the doctor. Within twenty minutes of my entering the office ‘at the top of my game’, this doctor whom I had just met, informed me that he was doing a biopsy, but was certain I had cancer.

To say that I was in shock was most definitely an understatement. I left that office with the promise that they would call after they had made an appointment for me with a specialist in a distant city. I was afraid to go home. I was afraid to tell anybody. In some remote part of my brain I felt ashamed that I had cancer. Now, how crazy is that?

The first person I did call was a dear friend, who had gone through her own cancer ordeal just two years prior. She was sympathetic and offered encouragement; the biggest encouragement I got, was that she was still alive on the other end of the line. I kept repeating over and over in my mind that cancer was not a death sentence and yet somehow I just knew that ‘I was going to die’.

Here’s something funny; never before in my life had I really – I mean really considered that I was going to die. It’s not funny in the ha, ha, sense, but more in the really odd sense. Let’s face it, my brain kept telling me over and over, everybody is going to die. Life is terminal. But, once someone says you have cancer, you are forced to face the inevitable, sooner than you had planned.

I felt as though I had a lot of decisions to make and yet the most important decision of my life (whether or not my body would turn on me, and my cells mutate into what we know as cancer) was completely out of my hands. Being the type of ‘control freak’ who insists on choreographing my personal destiny, I decided I needed to see exactly what I could control here. Trust me when I say, there wasn’t much. In the end I settled for controlling my attitude.

I made a decision that cancer wasn’t going to take ‘everything’ from me. I decided to be as positive, even if in a morbid sort of way, about every aspect of this that I could. I tried to focus on the positive – easy task, because there wasn’t much there.

In the end I found myself consoling many of my family members and encouraging them to be positive for me. I even had an experience or two of encouraging my doctors. I had some moments of resentment and sorrow. I would find myself crying at odd times, and for no apparent reason (ha! as though I really had no apparent reason), but for the most part, I never doubted that I would beat this cancer into dust, and force it to leave my body one way or another.

I suffered traditional treatment – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It took me years to recover even partially from the treatment. Today I’m still fighting conditions that are a result of chemo and radiation, and finally having some success. I was declared cancer free two years after the initial diagnosis and have done a lot to insure that I will never hear someone again say to me that I have cancer, but you never know for sure.

After my oncologist declared me cancer free he finally ‘fessed up, and told me that my cancer was more advanced than he had initially let on. He also told me that I survived because of my attitude. I was a pain in the ass to the nurses while in the hospital, because I insisted on doing everything my own way and in my own time, but he confided that they all agreed, they had never seen anyone so determined to live.

I’m still determined to live, and live my life, my way. I hope that my way is in accordance with God’s way, because I have no doubt that it is He, who really calls the shots. I live by the motto that ‘Attitude is Everything’, and in my experience, nothing could be more true.

As a postscript you might want to know that I have been cancer free now for fourteen years.


 






 

62 comments:

  1. Wow, what a story! Good for you for being a fighter and a being determined to keep on living. YEAH!

    As for the songs, it's Sarah Vaughan all the way!

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    1. Thanks Bish. Got you down as the first vote for Sarah.

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  2. Excellent message about attitude. I totally agree with your mantra. Most of the problems people have are rooted in negative thinking.

    Both versions of the song are very good, but I've got to go with Willie on his upbeat country approach. Don't like the hokey jazzy sound of Sarah's arrangement though I probably prefer her voice to Willie's in most instances. In this song Willie gets it dead on right.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Obviously I agree about attitude, unfortunately, I still have time that I need a swift kick to remind me to have a good one.

      Another surprise from you. I really expected you to vote for Sarah. Are you trying to tell me something? Ha, ha, ha.

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  3. Have you seen the movie, "All of Me" with Steve Martin? If not, I recommend it. It's hilarious. That's when I was introduced to your song selection. I'm not a Willie Nelson fan, so I'm going to have vote for the jazzier version by Sarah Vaughan. This may even be the one they used in the movie. I don't recall. It sorta has a jazzy flare, if I remember correctly. Now, I want to say a word of congrats on your big news of being cancer-free for 14-years. God certainly has a plan for you to keep you around for so many years after getting shell shocked with such horrible news that many of us can only imagine and fear. But, I think our attitude can either help or hurt us. I'm glad that you decided to not give in to fear and stayed positive. God bless you!

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    1. Not sure if I've seen 'All of Me' , with Steve Martin; it sounds familiar, but I'm not sure. When it comes to Steve Martin some of his stuff is real funny and some 'not so much'.

      Got you down as a vote for Sarah and the jazzier version.

      Appreciate your comments on the Bloghop essay. It wasn't easy for me to writel

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  4. My vote goes to Willie, I love his voice, and I'm in a cowboy blues mood. Stardust is one of my faves too. I also like Sarah Vaughn (I like jazz), but Willie takes it this time.
    Glad you're cancer free and you did it your way. Hoping the best for Melissa.

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    1. Another vote for Willie. Never thought of it as 'cowboy blues' but, it fits.

      Thanks for the good wishes. We're all hoping for the best for Melissa.

      I also hope things are going good on your home front.

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  5. First and foremost: Congratulations on kicking Cancer's butt!!!! I hope and pray it's for another 14-times-14 more!!!! Attitude is everything -- Chutzpah beats Cancer!

    Now for the BOTB: Alright -- this is a conspiracy! Much to my amazement and surprise, I voted for Willie over Sarah at StevieMac's, but I'm dammed if I'm going to do it again. I do really like Willie singing in this song, but it loses me in the arrangement. The two-step country bass and the drums and the perky vibe don't quite work for me in this song.

    Sarah Vaughn can sing almost anything and it sounds amazing. Her voice is incredible. This version gets a little loose and jazzy (at least it remains scat-free), but overall, I just find it much more compelling than Willie's. And there's no question that on pipes along, Sarah can sing circles around Willie.

    So while Willie's is entertaining, I 'm going with Sarah here.

    And admittedly, part of it might be my own chutzpah-filled, "You're NOT going to beat me and make me vote against Sarah 3 times in today's BOTB!!!" attitude. ;)

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    1. Interesting how that worked out, that one artist came up in three different battles. I haven't votes ANYWHERE yet (Mondays are real busy for me. I got this post up and had to run out the door), but I did look and listen to the BATTLES I could on my phone. It will be interesting to see how Sarah does overall.

      She gained another vote here for you, whether but sheer will or talent, will never know for sure, eh?

      Thanks for the congrats. Have to admit it was all in God's hands. He's even responsible for my stubborn streak.

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  6. "pipes alone" not "pipes along" ;)

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  7. Asking the same question as Cathy - that's the only version I know.
    Not a country fan, so going with the second one.

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    1. Now I think I would have fallen over in a dead faint, if you had voted for Willie. glad to see there are a few people I can predict. Ha,ha, ha.

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    1. Hey Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by and voting. got you down as a vote for Sarah. And, you are most welcome.

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  9. OK, I'm-a confess the fact that I'm not really a huge Sarah Vaughan fan. She could damn sure sing - had a strong, clear voice - but on my own personal score card I would rate her well behind Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. She could give Ella a fight though, because I've never been a huge Ella fan either.

    I think Sarah handled the song I chose better than she did 'ALL OF ME'. The sad thing though is that I think she had the potential to really nail this song big time. But instead of singing it straighter and maybe a bit more sincerely, she chose to "jazz-it-up" a bit too much for my tastes. In the beginning I thought: Whoa! She's gonna give Willie a run for his money when it comes to my vote.

    But by the time a mere two minutes and thirty-five seconds had passed, she had long "hammed" her way out of contention for my vote.

    I agree with Lee ("Stop the presses!" - Ha-Ha!), "Willie gets it dead on right."

    * * * * * * * *

    That truly was an inspirational blog post about "The Big Chop". Oh... is that supposed to be "C Hop"?

    Of course I knew a little of this story but not all those details. And more and more I am getting on-board with the importance of "Attitude".

    In my youthful days of craziness and partying with my infamous group of friends, our sort-of-unofficial-leader, "Torch", was known for the word "Attitude". He'd say, "Let's go here and do this." And we'd say, "How are we gonna get in there? They'd NEVER let US in there." He'd always respond to stuffs like that with one word: "Attitude!"

    And son-of-a-bitch if he wouldn't prove to us that it COULD be done with the proper "Attitude!" Now he never had to fight cancer, I admit that. But if he'd had to, I have no doubt that his response would be the same word it always was.

    FAE, seems you and Torch live by the same motto. Too bad you two never met. Who knows what that might have been like.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I appreciate your comments about Sarah. Don;t want to say to much and tip my hand (like I'm sure you have no idea how my vote will go, ha!). I do want to say right here and right now how much I appreciate your blog post and all the great information you published about both Sarah and Willie. Especially all of the info. about 'Stardust'. (Man, I love that album!) Due to the time and space constraints, I pretty much went for the down and dirty cheap version of a blog post (here are the songs and here, are the artists, kind of thing), but you covered it all in a beautiful way. I hope everyone who stops by here, also has a chance to read your post and get all of that great background.

      Now about your friend Torch. (Am I mistaken or was he a redhead?) Perhaps he and I would have really, Really, REALLY gotten into 'trouble'; that or conquered the world, Ha,ha,ha! In the end our attitude is ALL we really do have complete control over in any give situation, might as well have a good one, if for no other reason than it keeps the rest of the world guessing - what we're really thinking.

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    2. Yeah, Torch was a redhead - in EVERY sense of the expression.

      Glad you DIDN'T know him "back in the day", because I would have lost my "sexiest man" label.
      HA!

      In all seriousness, you probably would have been attracted to Torch big time! Every new minute was an adventure.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Ya never know. could be and could be not. More often than not 'opposites do attract'. On second thought, I guess it's important to have some things in common, but if you're too much like your partner some serious sparks (and not the good kind) tend to fly.

      All that said, you know me, I'm always up for the next adventure.

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  10. Congratulations on kicking cancer's butt for 14 years. Here's to another 14 years! Thank you for sharing your story with us. You're a true fighter!

    And my vote goes to Sarah Vaughn. :)

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    1. Thanks Chrys, I intend to keep on fighting whatever it is I need to.

      Got you down as a vote for Sarah.

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  11. That's a shining example of what the power of the mind can do. Congrats on kicking cancer into the dust!

    Didn't know Sarah Vaughan but I'll vote for her.

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    1. Hey Nick, thank for you vote (Sarah thanks you too, I'm sure).

      Thanks also for your congrats. The mind is a powerful thing. It's up to us to use it wisely.

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  12. Congratulations! And thanks for opening up to share this story with us. One thing that's surprised me during my cancer adventures w/ my dad is how much the medical professionals encourage a positive attitude---they've seen for themselves how it works beyond any chemical treatment they can give.

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    1. As I said above 'Attitude IS Everything", and sometimes the only thing. I appreciate your congrats and thanks, this wasn't something easy for me to write, but I really wanted to do something to help Melissa.

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  13. Both Willie and Sarah do a righteous job with this song, but I have to go with Sarah here.

    Attitude is everything, and if you take the attitude that a disease (any disease) is not going to stop you, because you won't let it, you stand a much better chance of surviving it, as you have. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more about Willie and Sarah. You'll have to come back on the 21st to see where I agree MORE.

      You are most welcome.

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  14. I am SOOOO proud of you, Fae! I LOVE your attitude... It saved you life and your story will HELP and INSPIRE others, too!

    I hope and pray that if that day comes when I am told ... I handle it as determined and feisty as you... Life is a gift. Many times we do take it for granted because life can be so hard and stressful at times... Who hasn't wanted to chuck it all? I know there have been times in my life when I threw my hands in the air and screamed, " I GIVE UP!" But thankfully my stubbornness kept me going.

    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us!

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    1. Michael, you are so welcome. A great big thank you for working so hard with Melissa on this project. You are a great person with a wonderful attitude yourself. I agree with you 100%, Life is a gift and it's up to us to use that gift to the best of our ability. I only hope my story can do something to help someone else in even the smallest way. I hope this will help and inspire Melissa to keep up the fight and know that there are other pulling for her.

      My thank to you for the opportunity to participate in this Hop and the Anthology.

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  15. Wow, you sure gave cancer a KICK IN THE BEHIND with your feisty and determined attitude.
    Rock on FAE, rock on!

    And it's a definite vote to Ms.Vaughn - I LOVE my jazz. Simple as that.

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    1. Well Michelle you're not alone in your love of Jazz, it seems.

      Thanks for the encouragement. I intend to - rock on that is.

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  16. Part one: I recently read a post from a friend who is now dealing with chemo and all that lovely stuff. He said his brother beat Leukemia a few years back, and sat him down and told him, "You will come to a point one day when you have a talk with yourself whether it would just be easier to submit and die." I don't see him getting up, but he just had that weekend, volume one.

    In comics, the Kree call cancer the Betrayal, and it sure seems that the most successful attitude to beat it is to see it as that- a betrayal, one you can say piss off to, and fight your way to health. Glad that that worked for you.

    Part two: as I said to Mr. McCarthy, Sarah is great to those with a cultured, refined taste in music. Which means I vote for Willie.

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    1. Ah Mr. Martin, I see you showed up in boots also. I hear you loud and clear and counted your vote for Willie.

      I'll admit that the only time in my life that I considered driving up into the mountains and sitting down under a tree to wait for nightfall and hypothermia to take me; was during cancer treatment. About the only thing that kept me from i,was knowing what it would do to my family, if I gave up so easily. That, and my promises to God and Jesus Christ. Make no mistake, my stubborn streak and feisty attitude kept me going but it was Them who really pulled me through.

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  17. Have to go with Willie for this one, liked the second too, but Willie wins for me.

    Attitude does make a ton of difference and yeah the crap left behind can sure run amok in the body after the treatments. But hey, cancer free, awesome indeed.

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    1. Another surprise vote. somewhere in my mind I had you figured as more a jazz fan, probably your previous votes. Ha, see what I know? Nothing.

      Yeah, I'm left working today on the residue of cancer treatment, but I'm determined to beat that also.

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  18. This is my second stop (after Your Daily Dose), and this is another tough one, but in this case, I like both versions a lot. I have the Willie album, and expected to vote for that, but I find myself leaning towards Stevie Ray's mom.

    What? They're no relation? Huh! Well she still gets my vote.

    Larry

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    1. I read this quickly, on my phone, yesterday, and you had me going there for a minute, but only a minute.

      Glad to see it was at least a tough one. Sarah wins your vote in the end, eh?

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  19. I'm not hugely familiar with Willie Nelson, and only a little familiar with Sarah Vaughan. I'd probably pick the Willie version, 'cause it sounded more jaunty and when it first started I was intrigued, wondering where the song would go. But I do have a soft spot for the ladies of Sarah's era.

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    1. So, I'm a bit confused, but taking this as a vote for Sarah, right?

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  20. Love the tude!! Mine is getting me through this fight. Thank you so much for participating and sharing. Huge Hugs!!

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    1. Ah Melissa, you are more than welcome. I'm sincerely hoping this will help in the financial fight, the rest is up to God and you, but I have no doubt that YOU CAN DO IT!. Hang in there girl, there are a lot of folks pulling for you.

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  21. Glad you are cancer free and I hope you remain that way! As for the BOTB I'll vote with Willie.

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    1. Thanks Mike.

      for some reason I'm a little surprised that you voted for Willie, even though I read your post a few days back about his concert in DC. I have been fortunate enough to see him in person - State Fair in Colorado years back, with Waylon and Jesse. It was an awesome concert. One of my top ten.

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  22. I really like both of these for completely different reasons. I am voting for Sarah Vaughan, but only by a hair.

    Wow. Just wow on your cancer story. I am constantly amazed by the power of will. Or willpower. Or attitude. I suppose when you truly understand that it is the ONLY thing you have control over in this situation... well, it makes all of the difference. 14 years... congratulations!!!!!

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    1. Seems a lot of people felt this was a close race. Counted you in Sarah's camp by a hair.

      I'm a firm believer that our attitude is THE ONLY THING we truly have COMPLETE control over in ANY situation. We have so little choice in what life throws at us, but we can always choose how we will deal with it.

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  23. Congrats on having beaten the big C 14 years! My wife's now beaten it for 3 years, and while it's wasn't something that left her at death's door, it was still crazy to have to endure something that could have killed her were it not properly treated.

    As for the contest, I like Willie's version, but I could listen to Sarah Vaughan all day. That style of jazz just always melts me to the core. She wins this one pretty easily for me - on here, and on Stephen's blog.

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    1. Thanks Bryan. I am truly sorry to hear about your wife. It breaks my heart to know someone so young has had to deal with something so terrifying and horrible. After my cancer I worked at a Cancer Camp for kids as their Art Director. It was fun and rewarding, but I could only do it for one year. It broke my hearton a dialy basis to know what these kids and been through adn were still going through. When we got news of one of them passing, I went to pieces. It just seem so unfair that they didn't get a REAL chance at life and had to suffer so much. Of course there is the thought that maybe they are the really, Really, REALLY good spirits that only need to endure this life for a short time and teach the rest of us. Wow - don't know what got me off on that. Sorry, I didn't mean for this comment to be a downer. I am glad to hear that your wife beat cancer and that she is there by your side today.

      Seems a lot of people are expressing the same sentiments...they like Willie's version but.... got you counted as another one in Sarah's camp.

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    2. Another apology, because that comment was rife with typos, but I was a little emotional there, and didn't take the time to proof it, but just hit publish before I deleted it completely. I think you could' get my drift'.

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  24. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to confront such bad news. Cancer-free for 14 years, however, is excellent news!

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    1. thanks Teresa, I sincerely hope you never have to.

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  25. Wow, Farawayeyes. WOW! I just want to hug you right now. Everything you expressed is so human - denial of the fact that we're all going to die, and acceptance of the fact that attitude is REALLY the only thing we can control. And you immediately switched gears in order to best survive. You're a courageous, strong inspiration.

    BTW, I stopped by to say "hello" and that I've missed you. I'm so glad I did.

    The song battle is appropriate to the bloghop theme. I'm voting for Sarah Vaughan's version. I like her range or falsetto or whatever it's called.

    Take care.

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    1. Thanks for coming by Robyn and thanks for the BOTB vote.

      You know, you're the only one who connected the song "All of Me' to my cancer story. When I first decided to use this song, I had intended to tell a different part of my cancer story, and thought it was appropriate (you know the - why not take all of me...). Anyway, I switched gears (not an unusual practice for me), but still felt the song lent itself well to both my BOTB and the Blog Hop.

      So glad you came by. I am making more of an effort to be out and about, but keep falling behind. I had sworn off Blog Hops for awhile there, but decided that maybe that's what I need to get back into the swing of things and besides I really wanted to do something for Melissa.

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  26. Wow, I followed every word of your cancer fight. I'm glad you had such a positive attitude which saw you through. Wonderful that you've been cancer free for so long. Every day is a blessing, right?

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  27. Hi Fae - what a great story line of determination to do things your way, and do them yourself ... and so interesting what the doctor said ... your attitude made the difference - beat it: you would and you have done .. now for fourteen years and many more ahead ..

    Life is for living now ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks Hillary, you are so right, life is for living - right now!

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  28. Beautiful, beautiful post. It's taken me days to try and formulate a comment in response to the brilliance of your post, but I'm going to try my best. You are very inspirational and quite a remarkable woman FAE. I'm so blessed to be able to call you a friend. I couldn't agree with you more that God is the one who's in total control of our lives! And I wouldn't want it any other way, that's for sure.

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    1. Thanks Jen, I appreciate your support in all of my goofy endeavours, but especially in something like this.

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  29. Though it must have been a horrific experience, I'm glad your strength and determination got you through it! Congrats on your fourteenth year of being Cancer-free! Thanks for sharing your inspirational story, and stay healthy FAE!

    Oh, and Sarah Vaughn's jazz rendition of the song is my favorite.
    Julie

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