The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

#30memoriesin30days Day 28

Michael D. Butka
Michael D. Butka

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The past twenty-eight days I have been sharing all my positive memories. Life is not about only the happy times. Life provides challenges to help us grow as individuals and families. Today memory’s is about the good, the bad and the ugly side of cancer.

The GOOD is the support of family and friends. A husband, Michael D. Butka, who is at your side daily, taking a step down in his job so he could be at your side. A daughter, Tyna Butka, who helps you see the beauty in yourself when you hair is all gone. A son, Michael J. Butka, who is serving his county in the Air Force still calls you to let you know you are loved from a distance but there beside you in spirit.

Tyna Butka
Tyna Butka

Friends, Devine Derry Dames Red Hat Society, who take you out to breakfast on the day you decided to remove what hair hasn’t fallen out on your pillow each day. A decision is made they will have the honor of shaving my head.  A friend, Lynn Anderson, even decides to shave her own head in support of you. Even though you tried to convince her not to, because the holiday season was approaching.

Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson
Linda Bowman, Lorraine Wolfham and Lynn Anderson

A Medical team that is caring and supportive each step of the way. Some of that team were the same ones who cared for my mother in 2000. They remember her and shared those memories with me providing a comfort I’m not sure they fully understood they provided me.

The BAD is the many days of illness from the chemotherapy side effects. You have not energy to even lift your head off the pillow, to smile, to even visit with your loved ones.


Radiation Therapy
Radiation Therapy

The UGLY, is seeing your hair in large clumps on your pillow when you awaken in the morning. Having to deal with the cancer in your body, feeling like you have no control over what is going to happen to you.

YOU DO HAVE CONTROL of your mental attitude. I grab that control and held onto a POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE during one of the rest times in my life. I helped me stay the course, to endure the discomforts and remember that life is full of surprises, good and bad, that make you stronger for it.

Treatment Complete
Treatment Complete Ringing the Bell of Success!


I AM more than A Survivor. I am a stronger woman, mother, wife, sister, and friend who will remain positive no matter what life offers.

I remember the loving support more than anything else from my cancer adventure. That is the way I will always want to remember that time in my life.

June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig
June and Tyna Butka choosing a wig

Here are a few poems I wrote during my 2005-2006 Cancer Adventure



Cancer Fear

May the fear, sadness and anger

Be subdued by the comforter

A Positive Mental Attitude


Mind Wandering after Diagnosis



Time-saver efforts

Energy conservation

How many doctors

What diagnosis

What options



Waiting forever


Bio Feedback


Chiropractic adjustment

Doctor appointments galore

Inner strength

Self confidence

Husband’s acceptance

My acceptance

Body image

Surprise breakfast calls

Head shaved

Friend support

Wig choice fun





Cancer List


Mutilation                                           Surgery

Poisoning                                            Chemotherapy

Burning                                                Radiation

Fatigue                                                 Sleep

Nausea                                                 Hydration

Vomiting                                              Medications

Diarrhea                                               Diet

Anger                                                    Acceptance

Sadness                                                               Short lived

Hair loss                                               Wigs

Low blood count                              Isolation

ONCO Study                                       Care-giving

Positive mental attitude                               Healing




Rise early, take meds, shower and check e-mails

One hour later eat, take more meds and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Forty-minute drive to chemotherapy

Check in, labs, results, doctor appointment

All before a four-hour treatment

Medication one hour before eating

Trying to keep food down

To prevent nausea, vomiting

Maybe a week without symptoms

It starts all over again

Unexpected surprises occur

Cards, people visit, daughter calls

A stuffed animal from a friend or two

A smile from across the room

Can you remember their names

Marge, Janet and Monica are a few


Radiation End Nears           


Six more boosts to go

The end is just so

The time just flew

Enjoying morning hue

Travel thirty minutes to and fro

Five times a week

The radiation did seek

Excitement of journey’s end

Fear did suspend

Happy days here again

Self-time around the bend



Waiting for Treatment End


Here I sit glancing at faces

Reading, thinking, glaring spaces

Radiation treatment number fifteen

Nineteen more waiting in between

Sad eyes, smiling eyes, quiet eyes

All waiting to say goodbye

The ringing bell

The end does tell



Cycle of Life Season of Death


The season of life overlaps

The season of death

Death is a release, a flight home

Sufferings end, pain free

You can walk again

Trapped in a body is a

Death in itself

To be free is the life of hope

Comfort measures are for the family

Our comfort is to be free

We suffer for loved ones at least

Through one cycle of treatment

But when is enough, enough

Quality verses quantity of life

Can only be decided by thee



Regaining Self


She found solace in her photography. It was her way to deal with her cancer. The treatments had ended. She was waiting to find out if she was in remission. The wait is the worse part of cancer or any illness. The not knowing takes a toll on even those with a positive mental attitude. She was of the belief in a positive attitude, focusing on what you can control, not what you can’t is the best way to recovery.


She and her dog would take daily walks around her new surroundings. They had moved across the river to another southern New Hampshire town after the completion of her treatment. Her husband’s and adult children’s relief when the house sold can best be described in her daughter’s statement; “Now there won’t be a third death in this house. You are going to survive.” Her mother and nephew had both died in that house. She was the caregiver of her mother when she was dying of cancer. Eighteen months later, on Halloween night, her nephew went into cardiac arrest. CPR was immediate and non stop even when the ambulance arrived within a matter of minutes. The hospital doctors told the family that unless he was at a hospital where cardiac surgery was performed, her nephew couldn’t have survived. He was in between two cardiac surgeries. The doctor had said he was doing well two days before.


She had felt the presence of her mother and nephew. She had smelt their scent when their spirits were near. This provided her with comfort. She had been aware of spirits surrounding her since childhood. The eldest female of her mother’s line all had the gift. The gift was being able to sense the spirits, of being aware of another dimension of support from past family members. It was how she knew when things would be fine or when a rough patch was ahead. She would hear a voice or smell their scent when they were near. She had felt alone during her cancer treatment because the voices and smells had left her. The support of her family couldn’t give her the same reassurances that the support from past family members could.


She knew this happened to her mother during treatment as well. The chemicals in the body prevented the gift from getting though. She felt the gift would return as it had with her mother. The voices and smells were there supporting them both and guiding her mother home. Her photography played an important part in her healing and getting to know her new surroundings. The comfort of focusing on something concrete helped her stay positive. She had remembered coming to the town of her new home as a child to visit relatives but could never remember the specifics of where or who, only that the visits stopped when she was six years old. She decided that if she became familiar with her surroundings, maybe the fifty-two year old memories would return.


She spent the evenings with her husband, watching their Monday shows. After eating they would watch the recorded shows. At nine o’clock they would watch their nightly shows together. This routine varied slightly during the week. After watching the recorded shows she would watch her shows on Lifetime Movie channel or Food Network channel. Her husband would watch the recorded late night’s shows from the night before.


She was having what she calls a “down period.” She would have very little energy and slept almost around the clock except to take out her dog. She had been doing this through most of her treatment. She would spend a day walking and photographing then having to sleep a few days away. She kept hoping that it would resolve once treatment had finished. She was trying to stay positive. She was hoping the gift would return. She was hoping to feel the past family support again. She is still waiting. Five years later. Why isn’t what we have enough?


This post is 10 year since my last treatment for cancer. I want people to remember to look for the positive in life and in death. Yes, even death can be a positive, when one in trapped in a body that causes pain daily and doesn’t allow you to walk. It set you free to walk without pain. Death doesn’t mean you want it to come before its time but the understnading that when it is time you will greet it as a old friend and release yourself to freedom it offers with grace and dignity. Life is a cycle we all go through, we are born, we live, we die. What we make of that time is what we choose to be remembered by. I want to be remembered as a person who met life head on with a positive mental attitude, strength, love and caring for all who touched my life. Even those who touched it briefly in a time of crisis.


Day Lilly
Day Lilly

2015 New England Geneablogger Bash

Manchester By The Sea


This beautiful cove greeted my niece Abby Junkins and myself as we near or day’s destination. The 2015 Geneablogger Bash hosted by Elizabeth Pyle Handler and Steven Handier.

Heather Rojo Wilkinson’ Blog Nutfield Genealogy 12 Sept 2015, provides a group photo of those in attendance:

Russ Worthington- Family Tree Maker User, Erica Voolich- Erica’s Adventure in Genealogy, Barbara Matthews- The Demanding Genealogist, Elizabeth Pyle Handler- From Kentucky to Maine, Pam Carter- My Maine Ancestry, Diane MacLean Boumenot- One Rhode Island Family, Pam Seavey Schaffner- Digging Down East, June Stearns Butka- New England Roots

Also in attendance was Elizabeth’s husband, Steven Handler and my niece Abby Junkin’s (my ride and photographer of the day.) We missed those who were unable to attend.

We participated in a pot luck meal of New Jersey Cooler Corn,Rhode Island Pastries, , Maine Red Snapper Hot Dogs, Homemade Boston Baked Beans, just to mention a few dishes of the day.

Boston Baked Beans


Conversations about blogging, books, possible cousin connections and plans for future endeavors were happily creating memories for future blogs, while watching the active harbor of kayaks, sail boats, motor boats and listening for the train that stops a short distance away in West Manchester.

Thank you all for the great past and present memories shared.

A stately greeting
A stately greeting