Cleaning for a Reason.

Image by

Image by

Unfortunately, breast cancer and I are not strangers. She and I have never had direct contact, but she has gotten up in the grill of some of my favorite ladies. For starters, my mom, who is a 6 yr survivor. Both my maternal and fraternal grandmothers. My mom’s sister. My mom’s niece who was my first cousin. Pam. I adored her. Two second cousins (sisters) on my dad’s side.  My dear friend Patricia who had Inflammatory. I’m still not over that one. My dear dear friend B who has dealt with it twice. A co-worker.  My sister-in-law lost her mother to breast cancer at way too early an age. As you can probably guess, I am always looking over my shoulder to see if she’s caught up with me since she’e been so cozy with many of my family.Animated Pink Ribbon
And that’s just breast cancer. Let’s not talk about my loved ones who have battled lung cancer, ovarian cancer, brain cancer, lymphoma, colon cancer. Cancer. Cancer. Cancer. I’ve watched these friends and family go through all sorts of treatment. The illness and treatments are so disruptive to family life, and it can be hard to keep up with little details like cleaning the toilet and dusting the shelves. Well, through a friend (thanks, DS) I found out about a blessing of a service. It is called Cleaning for a Reason.  CFAR (my made up name, not theirs) is a nonprofit which offers free professional housecleaning and maid services to improve the lives of women undergoing treatment for cancer. Any kind of cancer, not just breast cancer. To qualify for Cleaning for a Reason, a woman undergoing cancer treatment is put in touch with the foundation to become qualified. The patient’s doctor supplies a statement to the foundation, who in turn contacts the local cleaning service who then sets up an appointment with the patient for her first free cleaning. The service is available once a month for four months. There are cities and towns all over the country that participate. For more information and to see if help is near you, go to

I hope you will share this information with your friends and family by email, Facebook, and Twitter. Maybe write your own blog post to get the word out that there are people who want to help make a cancer patient’s life easier. And if you know of an organization, group or individual who is supporting those going through treatment, post it here in my comments. This information can be of invaluable help to those who are hurting, and literally, fighting for their lives.


The Pink Ribbon
Visit The Pink Ribbon!

I wrote about The Army of Women here, if you want more information on breast cancer research.  They need women to participate, whether or not you have had breast cancer. 

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.


Susan Nelson. 1966-2009


For those of you who have followed Fat Cyclist and his family as they cared for Fatty’s wife Susan, here is a detailed look inside her life. I wish I could have known her. She sounds like she would have been one of those friends who elevates you to better things.


All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

“Don’t say she lost.”


Susan, the wife of Fat Cyclist, died last evening.  Here are his comments:

It is worthwhile to live
and fight courageously
for sacred ideals.

O blow ye evil winds
into my body’s fire
my soul you’ll never unravel.

Even though disappointed a thousand times
or fallen in the fight
and everything would worthless seem,

I have lived amidst eternity —
Be grateful, my soul —
My life was worth living.

He who was pressed from all sides
but remained victorious in spirit
is welcomed into the choir of heroes.

He who overcame the fetters
giving wings to his mind
is entering into the golden age of
the victorious.

Composed by Norbert Capek in Dresden Prison in 1941, shortly before he was transferred to Dachau concentration camp, where he died in October, 1942.

 RIP Susan.

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Fat Cyclist update.

I have written about a blogger named Fat Cyclist before.  His wife Susan is fighting cancer and I’ve been reading about their struggles for the past year.  Last Thursday Susan began being in so much pain that serious measures are being taken to make things bearable for her.  If you are moved to do so, I ask that you spend a moment in thought for Fatty (that’s what he calls himself) and Susan; also their four children at home.  You can read the latest on them at


Early Tuesday morning update:

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Lana Thrailkill Mason 1957 – 2006

Three years ago today I lost a dear friend.  And today I want to say her name out-loud to honor her memory.
Lana. Thrailkill. Mason.
Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

Diva Lana coming in for a chemo treatment.

I called her Lana Lana Lana.
She answered back Paula Paula Paula.

Lana was a wife for more than 20 years, devoted PTA and team mom, wonderful singer, boisterous laugher, lover of life, generous lemonade stand supporter, loyal friend, gracious hostess, giver of gifts, gentle soul, life of the party.  Would you believe that the day she went into the hospital for surgery to remove part of her lung that she arrived in a tiara, hot pink feather boa and magic wand???  When I think of Lana, I think of passion and cantagious laughter and a smile that crinkled her eyes into little slits.  She was in no way perfect, but she was perfectly fine for me!

She didn’t smoke but was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2004.  She fought with all her might, displaying grace and dignity along the way, but the end came on July 2, 2006.  Her mother’s birthday.

Ruling from her throne.

Ruling from her throne.

During her illness I kept a website for her at  Do you know about caringbridge?  It is a free site dedicated to helping folks with terminal/chronic illnesses and/or receiving treatment to have one central place to disperse accurate information.  During the year and a half of Lana’s illness, interested parties could go to her site and find out the latest on Lana’s treatments, how she was feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, if she felt well enough for phone calls, etc. When she died I was able to put out an alert almost immediately so friends all over could be informed at once instead of having to make dozens of phone calls.  She had over 12,ooo hits on her site when she died, which tells you how many friends she had and how loved she was.

Go Girls for Lana.

Go Girls for Lana.


There were several friends and family who wore the Go Girl Ring for Lana.
That’s another post for another time, so stay tuned. 




I think one fear many of us have about dying is that no one will notice that we are gone, or that we were ever here.  Arthur Miller wrote in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.”  Lana, attention continues to be paid.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.  That your dear friend Jan doesn’t think about you.  Or Evie, or Curtis, or Patrick, or Trey, or Gay, or Kathy, or Brenda, or Paula W……………………………….

I miss you, Lana Lana Lana.  I hope you, your dad, my dad, Brother Cox, so many other loved ones, are having a joyous sing-a-long today.  I can just hear ya’ll.

To read more about Lana’s journey:

To see videos I made in tribute to Lana:
Lana scarf  queens3  hello2  goodbye 
When I Get Where I’m Going
Brad Paisley (feat. Dolly Parton)

When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my granddaddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

[Repeat chorus]

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I’m going
And I see my Maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah when I get where I’m going
(written by Rivers Rutherford)

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.

Fat Cyclist

Ok, please don’t be offended.
That is the name of a blog I read.
Fat Cyclist.

Again, I don’t remember how I found this website but I am a regular reader.  Not to read about his cycling, which is interesting but not my thing.  I read to find out about his wife Susan who has been fighting cancer.  Fatty has taken his love for his wife and cycling and raised a ton of money for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation.  All while taking care of Susan and their four children, working full-time and dealing with what Life has thrown at them.

This morning, Fatty posted that Susan is not doing well.  They had a rough day yesterday.  Please join me in praying for Fatty, Susan and their family.  And if you would like to help him raise money to fight cancer, read more on the website and see if you are a fit for anything.  If you have friends who actually like to ride bikes, forward this post on to them and see if they would like to join Fatty.

This is some of what is good about the blogosphere.  Thanks, my friends.

All photographs and writing property of LoneStarLifer. 2009.