Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Borrowing Mom's Rose-Colored Glasses...

This morning I wrote a post on Facebook. 

"Although most " cancer" posts are meant to spread the word and encourage, some are tough to swallow and actually do not help. I know the intention is in the right place, but sometimes it may be best to block me and others who are experiencing it first hand. Those who are living with it don't really need to be reminded of some things. I'm not ungrateful, just keeping it real."

I kind of stirred things up with this post, received some apologies and decided to clarify a bit more.

"I certainly didn't mean to stir things up with this post. Let me clarify that encouraging posts are always a welcome sight and appreciated to keep me moving in the right direction."

Facebook is interesting. Like many other things in life, there are both positives and negatives. Messages can be interpreted in many ways, causing waves of emotions from all those involved. 

Yesterday was one of the not so good days for me. I was beyond exhausted, having stomach issues, and just all around feeling gross. I went to bed early last night and when I got up this morning, I saw a post. Determined not to have another bad day, I said what was on my mind. I'm not one to beat around the bush. If I believe in something, I will speak up. 

For quite some time I have seen a post circling on Facebook that has bothered me when I read it. It's sad, and heart-wrenching...a definite downer. Although people are encouraged to share the post to honor all those affected by the Big C, it would seem more honorable not to post it. I know I am not alone in my feelings, as there are others out there fighting fierce battles as well.

Obviously I'm not in charge of telling everyone what and what not to post on social media. We are individuals, with individual ideals, thoughts, motivations, and connections. I just felt the need to bring some attention to the situation just in case you never really thought about it before. If you want to keep posting those downers, then so be it, it's the real deal...I'll just keep growing the layers on my skin. 

Never is it my intent to make anyone ever feel bad. As I noted previously, I know the intent of the posts are only done with love. I just ask that you really reflect on what you're posting and how it may impact others.

Now, I'm going to abruptly change the subject. I am not a sports person. I did not watch the Superbowl, but I did change the channel and see the end of the halftime show. I enjoyed it, especially at the end when this was actually gave me chills.

I later found out that not everyone was a fan of the halftime event. Many were insulted and voiced their opinions. I was ignorant to the entire controversy, neglected to see how it could have been offensive, and enjoyed what I saw.

The Halftime Show was one event that stirred lots of feelings, probably all accurate regardless of where you stand.

Reviewing the entire show online, I don't love it as much as I did the first time, but there were glimmers of energy, talent, unity and love that I did like.

It just reminded me that we can always take away something positive from every situation, sometimes we just have to put on our rose colored glasses and search a bit harder.

"See everything through rose-colored glasses and be happy with the little things in your life." 

Dedicating this post to my Momma who excels at putting on her rose-colored glasses. 

I also need to wish my Memere a very Happy 94th Birthday today. You can read about my mem on last year's post


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A decade plus 2...

I've told the story before, but every year I still like to relive it and tell it again. Twelve years ago tonight we got a phone call saying this little man was born. I knew instantly he was meant to be our son, as he was born on my late pepere's was meant to be. 

Although it seems like a short time ago, it is also hard to remember life without this guy. E is chuck full of spirit. He is also strong willed and kind-hearted, stubborn and sweet, smart, perceptive and funny. We can sometimes be like oil and water, but there is always love and it is always a privilege to be his Momma.

When I look at how fast it's gone by, it brings tears. We have a middle schooler, 4 years away from driving and halfway to age 24. It seems we have such a short time with these little beings. I'm going to cling to this time as long as I can.

As I looked through old pictures, I found these from 5 years ago that pretty much sum up our E.

Happy 12th birthday to the boy who made me a Momma. I love you bunches! xo

Previous birthday posts, (which are pretty much more of the same): 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010   

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Moments instead of milestones...

Four years ago, on this date, I had my mastectomy surgery to "rid" my body of the Big C. For the past three years it was a milestone for me because I was considered to be cancer free. With each passing year, I felt a little more reassured that it would not reappear. Mid June of this past year I obviously discovered I was wrong. Not only did it reappear, it seems it may not have been completely gone in the first place and has made a beastly return, attacking me physically and emotionally. The Big C and all it brought with it has changed me, and upon its return, it has continued to trigger my metamorphosis.

I can come up with quite a lengthy list of the negative changes, like surgeries, scars, and side effects of chemotherapy, but who wants to listen to that. Instead, I will mention, again, the ways that the Big C has done me some good. (Now that just sounds ridiculous, but it is true.) It has revealed some things that I may have otherwise never seen. 

It has made evident the loving people I have in my life who continue to shower daily blessings upon me. 

I know now that I am more of a fighter than I ever thought I could be. 

I'm more grateful for the everyday, mundane moments in my life. 

I am a positive person because that is how I was parents are two of the most positive, faith-filled people I know. 

My brothers are sensitive humans like me. 

My BFF soul sister is truly like no other (I did know that already though). 

I'm more appreciative of the everyday moments with my children, even if it's during a battle to do math homework. 

And, I'm more in love with my husband and it continues to grow deeper on a daily basis.  

Of course I'm still a work in progress, like all of us, and I continue to try to improve.

I try not to get caught up in the trivial things, like dirty clothes on the floor, messy rooms, or...math homework.

I try to have more faith and not freak out with every twinge of something going on in my body. One of my doctors said to me, "You can actually have some things that happen not due to the cancer." Good point. A headache could just be a headache, not specifically due to the yuck in my brain. I'm still trying to do my best to find the peace.

I try not to look back and think about how my life could be without this just makes it all that more difficult to move forward. 

So, perhaps milestones tend to be too big to focus on, so I will choose to seek the moments instead. I will hike this mountain one step at a time and see where it takes me. 

Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dare to live...

When I go to my Energy Healer almost every week, I listen to Andrea Bocelli. This song is in my rotation of songs. It's powerful, both the music and the words. I dare you to listen to it and not be motivated to go out in the world and "Vivere"(live).

Since initially being diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2011, I've found that my love for music has actually become one of the crucial factors in my healing. Lyrics that I may not have paid such close attention to back before this nonsense mean something different for me now. With this recent diagnosis I'm even more inspired to cling to the words and the messages. 

Some songs get my cry on, some make me want to dance, some relax me, and some motivate me to kick some A#%! All of them are part of my healing and growth to carry on. 

Rachel Platten's song is a new favorite.
and then there is "Fight Song",
when one cannot resist the urge to belt it out along with her...when I'm in the shower...and no one is home. Otherwise I could inspire my family to move away.

Go listen to your favorite music, get inspired, inspire others and most of all, Dare to Live. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Checking in...

It's been almost two weeks since my last post, so I guess that means it's time to check in. Things are pretty much the same here, which is fine with me. We like routine, especially when it's uneventful. I just finished a two week cycle of my chemo pills and for the first time since starting, I did not have to take any anti-nausea medicine...whoop whoop.

I also visited my Natural Path Doctor last week and he is very pleased with my progress and response to both the chemotherapy and the supplements he has prescribed. And, in case you missed this on Instagram or Facebook, this would be a 2 month's supply of my supplements. I'm currently taking about 55 supplement pills per/day along with some liquids. Sounds like a ridiculous amount right? I agree, but this is part of why I'm going in the right direction. This doctor is helping my body to work better and respond to the chemotherapy in the best way possible. I'm so thankful to have him as part of my Team.

I've also recently started Vitamin C infusions and I should be at the therapeutic level by this week. We are hoping the Vitamin C will help to shrink the beast even more. 

My treatment is currently working. I am so very grateful.

Thank you for the continued blessings I receive on a daily basis. I couldn't do it without the loving encouragement I receive from all those supporting me.

Between all my appointments and my full-time job of kicking the Big C's butt, we are living life and enjoying the first snowfalls of the winter.

"The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now. 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

I can do hard things...

It's been a tough week to stay grounded around here. First there was the surprise loss of David Bowie and then yesterday on the way home from my Vitamin C infusion, 
 I felt like someone punched me in the gut after reading that another MBC fighter passed away. Stupid F$%&ing Cancer!

I became familiar with Holley Kitchen after my diagnosis in June. She was a fighter and a voice for all of us with this disease. She had a husband and two young sons. Her most recent goal was to make it to her son's 5th birthday in several weeks; sadly she did not. This seemed to happen so fast, and is really unfair and devastating. Not only am I completely heartbroken for her family, selfishly, it scares me so much. No two situations are the same, even when the diagnosis is, however, my story has some similarities, hits VERY close to home and crushes my heart. 

Saying this is hard stuff is a gross understatement. It's harder than hard!
So, although it's difficult to imagine I can, I'll hold on even tighter these days and enjoy each and every daily gift I get with all those I love. There is no better way to stick it to the Big C.

Holley became well known in the MBC community for this powerful video that she shared on Youtube.

RIP Holley, and in honor of you, I will keep fighting, kicking ass and LIVING with gratitude and joy.

Stage 4 Needs More.
When the breast cancer charities call you, I challenge you to ask them how much of their raised money goes to metastatic disease. I haven't found one yet that can answer this question. Maybe it's our job to educate them. Meanwhile if you'd like to donate to breast cancer research, thank you and the charity called Metavivor is a good one.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Finding peace...

When the doctor enters the room with a smile on her face, I know I can exhale a big sigh of relief.  Yesterday, that is just what happened. She knows to immediately give me the news as she walks in, as I sit there basically holding my breath. Her words yesterday were, "You have some great looking scans."

The spots are stable and I have some slight shrinking of a spot on my lung. There is also evidence of healing going on in my bones. Stable, if you didn't know, is the new black. I'm so grateful for yet another step in the right direction. 

So you'd think that I'd be doing cartwheels and jumping up and down with pure bliss today...I am not. I could not be more thankful for the news I received yesterday; it absolutely lifted some of the weight off my shoulders and reassured me that I continue to move forward and am meant to have more time in this world. But still, it's hard for me to find the peace. Some may hear this and think I "need to stop and enjoy the good news". To that I say, I'm slowly learning how to do just that. But often I find myself  in a constant state of protecting myself against these monsters. It's hard for me to rest and take off my suit of armor for a little bit. 

This doesn't mean I am not happy and excited about my news. It means I'm just not quite ready to ever put my sword down. I'm still trying to find the balance between being a fighter and just regular ole me. It's not easy.

I share merely to express my truth. Please don't feel bad or empathetic. So many of you are right in this yuck with me, cheering me on, sharing positivity, loving me and even offering to hold my shield while I put it down for a short time.xo

Thank you for helping me to find the peace. I will get there; I'm sure of it.