Sunday, August 30, 2009

Update on Chris and birthday wishes...

This is from Mary today:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is at home in Santa Barbara. He was released from the hospital on Wednesday. He spent the rest of the week getting reaquainted with his life. He does have some energy but not a lot. He had enough to make waffles and O.J. for breakfast his first day home. He is taking it easy and enjoying Margaret, Greg, his sister Meg ( who is staying with them to help care for him) and the many friends who are dropping by to say welcome home.

He had his 48th birthday today complete with homemade chocolate cake that Margaret made for him. All his family and friends came by to wish him well and he had a very nice day.

He had not needed any blood products since he has returned home but if and when he does he will get them up in S.B. There is a visiting nurse who comes by every 3 days to take his blood and run it up to S.B. to have the labs run on it.

Margaret and Chris are looking at a phase I trial (very risky) of a new drug that Eli Lilly is just starting to develop. It has only been tested on laboratory animals and in one human trial involving 26 patients all with different kinds of terminal cancer. He has been invited to be part of this study but it is not very hopeful that it will help cure him. It might even hasten his death.

They know that he has about 2 months maybe 4 at the most to live without treatment. They are still looking out there for alternative as well as other more proven treatments for AML M5 leukemia. If you find anything that looks promising please don't hesitate to email me.

Thanks for all your prayer of support over the last couple of months. They mean a lot to the family and to me.

Lots of Love,



Please join me in sending Chris birthday wishes filled with warmth and kindness.

Love to you all as well,


Thursday, August 27, 2009

EarlyBird Special for YogaEasy with Yolanda Pettinato Workshop

Just wanted to let everyone know that we've decided to offer a special $55 early-bird price for the Oregon Food Bank charity workshop that Yolanda is offering here in Portland, Oregon on October 10, 2009. For more information just visit her site here:

Please come join us for this special event that benefits people in our community who need our help. I promise, a day spent with Yolanda is a life-changing event!



Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Drizzle but no Fizzle


It rained today during the one hour I was supposed to teach Can-Do Yoga in the park. My loyal student and friend VJ showed up and we waited 15 minutes to make sure no one else was coming to do moist yoga. Then we went over to visit our friend Wendy who is recuperating from her surgery. We only stayed a short time and practiced a very short meditation together, but I hope it was a boost for her. (she said it was...)

My two yoga classes went well yesterday and I'm looking forward to the meditation and yoga classes tomorrow. With every class I discover more about my teaching and how much more I have to learn. Letting go of striving for perfection in my teaching is liberating and fun. I think my best classes are the ones where I can laugh at my mistakes and the class can join in. We still manage to follow a path into relaxation together and that is what I call a successful class.

I feel a lightness within me again that has been missing for a while. It is no accident that this is corresponding with my return to regular yoga classes. I have kept up my home practice but I gain so much from my interaction with others in yoga class. The energy we build together is sustaining. I don't know any other word for it. Sustaining enough that even though I have some worries in my life (see below) I am managing it with greater equanimity.

No news about Chris other than the family is looking into Reiki healing for him now and still anxious to hear if anyone else has had any luck with treatment for AML-M5 Acute Leukemia. Leave me a comment or email me if you have any ideas.

Much love and equanimity to you as well,


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Managing discouraging news....

Here's the news from Mary about Chris:

Hi Everyone,

Well we heard the results from the bone marrow biopsy today and they were not good. The leukemia cells in his bone marrow were still around 70%. They had been at 90% before he started the last round of chemo with the experimental drug (Ribovarian). The doctors said that the results were not good enough to continue with another trial. They also said that the leukemia cells did look different or had changed some since before this last round of chemo. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Dr. Torito is going to look into another different experimental procedure or drug trial that may be happening in the U.S. She said that Chris might have a chance getting into a new trial but we have no time lines on when that could or if it will ever happen.

So for now, they are going to be sending Chris home in a few days and we will see. If anyone has any information on other leukemia hospitals, treatment options, or alternative leukemia treatments please feel free to email me.

Thanks for all your prayers and support,



Rumi - Guest House

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

This quote from Rumi helps me during times of difficulty or stress. It reminds me that we don't always have to treat each sorrow as if it is the end. Like a guest that moves in and then moves out again, everything is fluid and with it's own purpose. I can manage sorrow better when I keep in perspective that this moment is a fleeting one. No one knows what the next moment will bring but it will surely come, and with it comes the possibility of renewed hope and joy. With the next breath we discover how lucky we are to still be breathing.

In the end, all we have is the possibility of the next breath and the certainty of the current one. "In this breath, all is well."

Namaste dear friends,


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Six Word Saturday

My six word Saturday from Cate at

I am now in this breath.

Here's the story. I was stressed and exhausted this week. Not myself at all. I went to the lake where I've been teaching CanDo Yoga, practiced some healing yoga and then tried the following breath meditation:

I began looking down on myself from above and watching myself breathe. With each inhale breath I heard my internal voice saying, "I am now" and with each exhale I heard, "in this breath." This made me feel totally balanced and relaxed. I hope it works for you too.

In other news:

Chris had his bone marrow test on Friday and we should know by Monday if the cancer is in remission or not and whether he can go forward with the transplant. I'll fill everyone in as I get the news. Mary told me that he is so thankful for all the prayers and good wishes from you all. Thanks so much again.

My friend Wendy is healing from her surgery and at home. I saw her for a moment on Thursday and she looks very weak but beautiful. I am so thankful that she has pulled through this so well.

I'm teaching 7 classes this week of meditation and yoga. YIKES! I've been averaging 3 a month this summer! I'm covering Simon's classes for him this week and really looking forward to it. In any case, I should have lots to blog about after this week...

And finally, here's the link for the YogaEasy Benefit Workshop that Yolanda Pettinato is giving for the Oregon Food Bank on October 10, 2009. Ya'll Come!

Hugs to you all,


Monday, August 17, 2009

Be like a cabbage and roll...

My Russian cousin Luba is visiting today and making cabbage rolls and pelmeni. Yum. The house smells wonderful and she has been cooking up a storm for hours. I've been a diligent sous chef but she outlasted me and I'm taking a break while everything boils to blog.

Here are the pics:

Cabbage Rolls


Meat filling for both:

The gorgeous chef... my cousin Luba!

My very inferior Chicken Olive Surprise...

I wish we had taste-o-vision. You'd be so happy right now!

I hope you are having a making memories kind of day too.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Totally Random Sunday is back... and update on Chris..

First the silly:

Visit here to play:

Koalas Shark Shoes

You've been RANDOMIZED!!!
Visit here to play:

Visit at least 3 other blogs today and randomize them in their comments section. Send them back to me here using the link above and come join us here with the Mr. Linky so we can see your Totally Random Sunday posting if you choose to post your 3 Words of Randomness...

That's how we play!

I wish this post was only about silliness but that's not how life is unfortunately:

The sobering update about Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is not doing well. He had a set back which started yesterday afternoon. His gallbladder has an infection and the doctors are still observing him as to whether or not to do surgery to remove it. He is still at the bottom (0.04) with his white blood cell count and a surgery will be very risky. If they decide to do surgery it won't be until Sunday or Monday.

They have him sedated with compazine and morphine and he is NPO(no food).

Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Riding the waves of breath.

I don't know why but it seems lately that more sad or difficult things are happening to people I care about. My sweet friend and yoga pal Wendy is in the hospital after an emergency surgery last Sunday. Her boyfriend called me this morning to tell me about it and to ask for prayers and healing for her too. She still hasn't pulled out of the woods and needs our help. Her name is Wendy Caroline and she is such a kind and loving person with hugs and good wishes for everyone. Please join me again in sharing your loving-kindness and support with my friend Wendy.

I am personally working on balance right now. Balancing the stress of life with the joy of being alive. I balance on the pinnacle of each breath in and out. Inhaling the sweetness of life and exhaling the stuff that is not good for me. Each breath is a ship sailing over the waves. I know I will come home safe and sound into the harbor but every ship has a few storms to get through right? We can all make it into safe harbor as long as we keep afloat, watch the compass, and don't let ourselves be engulfed by the storms of life. Anyway, that's what I'm working on these days.

How do you find your balance during times of difficulty? I'd really like to hear about it.

With love and gratitude that your ship is bobbing along with mine,


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I've gotta run to go pick up Mary's little cuties in a few minutes so this is a quick one:

Talked to Mary and while Chris is doing okay right now, he is finding it hard to just be in a waiting pattern. Little words of support and knowing that he has people all over the world cheering him on really helps. If you post a little comment on the bottom here, I'll post it in an email to him and we'll really get him pumped up to keep fighting.

That's it...gotta run for Fun in the Rain Day with kids.



Monday, August 10, 2009

Updates and Musings.

First here's the latest update about Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your continued prayers of healing for my brother in law Chris. This week has been somewhat uneventful.

He finished chemo two Sundays ago and is still getting the experimental drug to soften the Leukemia cells. We have been watching his White blood cell count drop down to zero and are still waiting for it to bottom out.

He is doing well. He had to have Zofran( an anti-nausea drug) last week but has been O.K. since Sunday morning.He is eating well and his Colon is fine this time around. He is able to walk the floor and do 2 laps slowly. He really enjoys the visitors. He said it make the time pass by more quickly.

We are in the wait and see mode. This is probably the hardest part. We are all trying to keep Chris in a really positive mind frame. We should know by the 24th or 28th what the bone marrow biopsy says (Pray for complete remission). Then with his sister being a perfect match we will be on to the transplant.

Thanks again for all your support and prayers keep them coming!!!!!!



KEEP FIGHTING CHRIS!!!! We are in your corner!!!

On to the musings...

I think I'm losing my mind. Literally. I've lost whole chunks of my memory, I have extreme difficulty remembering faces and names (not just a little but ALL THE TIME and even people I know well!!!) and now my ability to string together concise intelligent sentences is going kaput. It's disturbing but even more so a little sad. Especially the memory loss. I was looking over photos today on Facebook that a friend posted of my old alma mater Indiana University in Bloomington and I recognized almost NOTHING. 4 years of my life... gone. Maybe it would be different if I were there but I doubt it.

I find myself living more in more in the present but I still harbor a bit of sadness that I can't conjure up the memories of the past.

I have the shadows of memories though. The warm feelings about people I love and care about even if I can't remember the story about how we used to go shopping together or even tag-teamed boyfriends with. I have the nuances of the memories and I guess that will have to be enough for me but for just a moment, in this moment, I'm a bit melancholy for the memory Jan who is missing-in-action. Just know, you matter to me because you made a difference in my life... even if I can't remember how! And to put a positive spin on this, I'm the best friend EVER to confide secrets to because within a few days I'll totally forget you ever told me! ;-)

Hugs and happy memories to you all,


Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Saturday that Garlic Ruled...

Just a quick note:

I took my parents and cousin to the North Plains Garlic Fest today. I still reek but it was fun. Garlic Ice Cream? Nope, couldn't do it. We did have extremely yummy grilled corn with garlic butter sauce though.

We also had a relaxing CanDo Yoga in the Park this morning. My friend Wendy was supposed to take a turn teaching, but she wasn't feeling up to it today. A noisy bullfrog accompanied our class and it was the perfect yoga music.

I haven't heard from Mary recently but last I heard Chris was feeling really strong and positive.

Sending hugs out to you all,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Great news!!!

This just in from Mary...

Hi Everyone,

We just got the news that Cindy Chris's sister is a perfect match for the bone marrow transplant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All Chris needs now is to be in full remission so keep those prayers coming!!!!!!

Love to All,



I have to admit I was most fearful that a perfect match would not be found, but this is a dream come true. IF (and I admit it's a big if) they can get his cancer in remission, they can go forward with the transplant and Chris will have a good chance at a complete recovery.

It is nothing short of miraculous that we are at this point already. I am so grateful for the continued prayers and love that folks keep sending to the Bernal family. In a time when many people are suffering with their own financial, job, and family problems I am so overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit of people who take time to care about people they've never met. Whatever the world is lacking it is certainly NOT lacking in human compassion and kindness.

Much love to you all,


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Let the baby-sitting continue...

Nothing new to report about Chris other than this is the only round of chemo to date that has actually made him sick. The doctors are optimistic about this because they think that may mean that it is finally working and the experimental drug may have worked. Keep those prayers and healing vibes going please!

Had a great time yesterday with the kids. I took Mary's two and my own to a local indoor rock wall to climb. They were the cutest climbing monkeys I've ever seen. I'd write more but they are coming over in a minute for day two of silly fun.

Hope this finds you healthy, happy, and overflowing with gratitude for whatever life has on offer.

Much love to you all,


Sunday, August 2, 2009

News from Mary about Chris

Here's the latest from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

I am here at UCLA with Chris. He is doing well. He is eating solid food again and some color has returned to his face. He has stopped taking the cell softening drug and started the chemo so I need everyone to just pray and visualize the Leukemia cells dying and that he goes into complete remission. He was running a fever last night but they go it under control by the morning.

All the girls (sisters) have been tested for the bone marrow match and the boys (brothers)are being tested today. We should know in about 2 weeks if there is a match. That is the other thing that I am asking people to pray for.

We have the hotel room through Monday and then they are full so we have to go back to Santa Barbara, but I will be coming back next weekend. I will update you as I get new information.

Thank you for all your love and prayers. We find peace and comfort knowing that everyone is sending us their love and support.



Saturday, August 1, 2009

Six Word Saturday and why Q-tips are verboten..

It's time again for six word saturday ala Cate at Here it is:

Pain in ear and in rear...

That's right, I have a throbbing right ear AND I've been a pain in the rear all week about trying to get people to blog about, send healing thoughts to, and pray for Chris Bernal at UCLA. Click here please for info about Chris and his family:

Now, I have a confession to make about this pain in my ear.

It isn't swimmers ear.
It isn't air pressure ear.
It's stupid girl ear.

That's right. I'm the stupid girl who uses Q-tips exactly how they say you shouldn't use them. IN MY EAR! For years I've dug around in my ears for wax like an archeologist searching for a new mummy. There is always the motherlode of wax in my ears... like I could start a candle factory amount. Okay, I know that's Too Much Information but I'm turning this post into a public service announcement. STEP AWAY FROM THE Q-TIPS!!! Do not use them at all, because frankly, if you can't shove them into your ear what else are they good for?

Ahhhh, I feel so much better now.

Hugs and slight ringing in my ear love,