Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Quick update on Chris

Gotta run but this is the latest from Mary about Chris. Thanks everyone for continuing to ask about him and sending your prayers and love to him.



Hi Everyone,

Chris is back at UCLA medical center. He is on the 3rd day of chemo. He is trying a combination of 3 drugs with a new follow up drug. He will be finished with chemo by Friday and then be their for a month getting the follow up drug. He is doing well and I will update everyone as the treatment goes.

Keep the prayers coming,


and from the family:

Dear Family and Friends,

To keep you up to date on Chris Bernal, I created a CaringBridge website. You can follow Chris’s progress and show your support.

Visit Chris’s website in two easy ways:

1. Visit the CaringBridge website by clicking the link below.

2. Enter the website name, chrisbernal, at www.CaringBridge.org.

When you visit you’ll be asked to log in, because I’ve chosen to keep the site private.

Show your support for Chris
• Visit and keep up to date.
• Leave a message in the guestbook.
• Receive e-mail notifications when the journal is updated.

Thank you.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Making the world a better place.

My lovely friend Kavita from Bodaat posted about one family helping another in need. It is about this amazing woman named Braja and her seemingly infinite capacity for kindness and generosity. After suffering horribly from a car accident in India she is now seeking to help out Vijay, the injured driver of her car. Please read this post to send them whatever help (spiritual or monetary) you can.

So many people touching lives around the world. I woke up today with the blues (still missing my puppy and just a little melancholy) and now I find myself uplifted by this story of compassion and perseverance. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to reach out and help someone in this world who I will likely never meet.

But I do have someone in my life who shares the name Vijay with this driver. My student VJ who is kind, generous, and also burdened by physical challenges. VJ, who has shared with me that he is often in pain, and yet I'm sure no one who meets him would ever know it. He is always smiling, going out of his way to help others, and absolutely the most loyal friend one could have. VJ, in your honor I dedicate this post and my donation to this other Vijay in India. I pray that not only the money, but the tremendous spirit of his twin namesake here in Oregon helps Vijay in Navadwip reach all of his dreams.

In gratitude,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gratitude for breathing...

Hi everybody,

I'm okay. Thanks so much to everyone who sent me such comforting words after the loss of my poodle Sara. Each day is a little better. Bittersweet for sure, but better. I can see clearly now how poor her quality of life really was in the end, and it feels so good to have no regrets about what we had to do.

I feel the need for some abstract introspection though, so here goes:

Do you want to know the entry that brings the most accidental tourists on Google to my blog?

This one about forgetting to breathe.

I get several hits a month on this entry with search terms such as:

can your brain forget to breathe
seem to forget to breathe
you forget to breathe

Isn't that shocking? I was speaking figuratively in that blog but it seems that some people do forget to breathe in everyday life. This must be terrifying! Think how many times a day most of us take an involuntary breath in and out. The average respiratory rate is 12-20 per minute. 17280 to 28800 breaths in an average person's day. Now imagine if suddenly you had to rely on your consciousness for this work. If you LITERALLY FORGOT TO BREATHE at least 16000 times a day you likely would die.

Now don't you feel inspired to take a long slow CONSCIOUS deep breath and focus on how lucky we are to be alive on this miracle called earth? I know I do.

Inhale .... In this moment... Exhale... I am breathing.



Thank you to www.statcounter.com by the way for helping me track these things.

Monday, September 14, 2009

On being cured...

Hi everyone.

This has been a really hard weekend. Last Friday morning, Sara, my 16 year-old poodle, finally departed this world for a better place. She was struggling each day and getting worse so we had to do the most difficult thing I've ever done as an adult, and take her to the vet to be put to sleep. I sobbed and sobbed and I think I even scared the poor vet with my grief. This was so hard for me because I had so many attachments to Sara. She was there for me through all of the illnesses and trials of life and she was faithful and sweet. There is a huge hole in our lives right now and even though I'm so happy she is no longer struggling, I selfishly miss her terribly. Another client at the vet saw me crying and told me to look this up online to see if it would help. It is called The Rainbow Bridge and it did help.

I actually started writing this post on Saturday but I just couldn't publish it. The pain was too raw and fresh. I'm better now. I still hear her little toenails clicking on the hardwood floors and some phantom hacking coughs around the house but overall, I'm more in the place of peace than anguish.

Grief is such an amazing teacher. I've learned all over again what it is to love with abandon and to lose yourself in pain with equal fervor. How lucky we are to be alive to feeling such exquisite pain and joy. Pain is relative in fact, to joy. If Sara had just been a "dog" to me instead of a beloved pet I would have felt very little beyond a brief sadness at the loss of any animal. But this complete and shattering pain reminds me how lucky I am to be alive and to be surrounded by people I love and cherish. Sara is now "cured" as my daughter so brilliantly stated and I am moving toward being cured myself. Moving back into being whole.

Thanks so much for following me on my journey.



Monday, September 7, 2009

Long time no blogging...

Hi all,

It's been a while since I sat down to actually write something on this blog so here goes:

I have enjoyed the 3 day Labor Day weekend tremendously. RELAXATION to the MAX!
My little cutie starts 5th grade tomorrow at a new school and the tears and upsets in this house have been swelling in inverse proportion to the number of days left until school starts. Pray for my sanity.

Lots of family and friend drama (theirs not mine) swirling around me but I'm trying to stay sane and balanced throughout. I think I can, I think I can...

Still haven't managed to get one paid registration for the YogaEasy with Yolanda Pettinato upcoming workshop on October 10. Oh well, if no one participates I'll have Yolanda all to myself that day for a day of yoga and playing in Portland... ;-)

I want to publicly thank Kristina P., Kavita, Deanna, Sarah, Angela, VJ, and all the rest of my friends for continuing to support me and the Bernal family with your kindness. Forgive me if I'm leaving people out but I wanted to say "thank-you" to the folks who post, email, or talk to me regularly about this. It has been such a help.

Okay, my parents are coming over for dinner tonight and I've yet to figure out what I'm serving so I need to run but I'll try to post more regularly now that school will be back in session.

Giant hugs to you all,


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Update on Chris from Mary:

Hi Everyone,

Chris is back in the hospital. He has been having severe headaches for about 4 weeks and they started getting worse along with his vision being impaired. The doctors did an MRI and found that he had a burst blood vessel in the brain that is causing trouble for him.

The doctors feel like it is too risky to do surgery at this time. They would like to see if they can get his blood platelets to go up (they are currently down at 50,000 and normal is about 250,000) Chris's body is not making platelets because of the chemo. If they can keep the platelets up high enough the bleeding will stop. The doctors are also waiting to see if maybe his body will reabsorb the blood.

He may get out of the hospital tomorrow. The visiting nurse will come daily to do a blood draw and he will get platelets about every other day up at the hospital. He can be at home without being admitted granted no other complication occur.

The doctors asked Chris and Margaret to meet with the Hospice team and start to look into what they have to offer. The past 48 were a very difficult for them and Margaret is exhausted.
Any prayers for them are greatly appreciated.

I have not been able to speak with Chris since this last turn of events but I always tell him all my friend are rooting and praying for him. He always laughs and says thankyou.

I finished painting the house today and should be home by tomorrow night. Thanks for all the support.