Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life is a Puzzle....

Tomorrow's chapter of Black Beauty is Life is a Puzzle.  Little Miss   always wants to know the title of the next chapter and then she tries to guess what it's about.  This title was a little too abstract for her.

Frankly, it may be a bit difficult for me to decipher as well.  Life really is a puzzle and sometimes putting the pieces where they belong can be challenging and somewhat overwhelming.  Sometimes the pieces just don't fit together and you have to adjust them accordingly.    

Other than during the first week after treatment, I have physically felt really good this past cycle.  Perhaps it's due to the lower dose of steroids or my (almost) daily walking regiment...who knows?.  With this relative feeling of normalcy comes a bit of bitterness, frustration, and focus on my life BC (Before Cancer).  I'm not going to say I'm consumed by these thoughts, but I must admit I did a bit of wallowing over the past week or so.  The climax of this wallowing was this past weekend when I attempted to wear some "real" clothes.  My daily uniform has consisted of yoga pants and t-shirts for the past 4 months.  Yoga pants are dangerous because they stretch even when you've gained over 15 pounds.  Then, whack, reality slaps you in the face as you try to squeeze into jeans or stretch a skirt over your enlarged hips and butt.  So, that paired with the new chemo side effect of acne, and I pretty much wanted to put my yoga pants back on and wallow for the rest of the was not pretty.  This is what I would refer to as one of my momentary Falls from Grace...there was nothing graceful about it.   I don't share this because I want people to feel bad; the last thing I need right now are guests at my pity party.  I just think it's important to keep it real.  And the reality is, I had a moment.

And then, I got a good swift kick in the bum, and it's over.  I have to consciously choose not to be a victim.  Being a victim and jumping on the "poor me" train would allow the Big C to win and that is not ok.  I need to focus on seeing this as an opportunity to feel loved, to see the compassion of those around me, to educate others, and to embrace moments...the little ones and the big ones.  These moments cannot be wasted on feeling bad for's not worth it, it doesn't change a thing, and really, there are more things in my life for which I should be grateful.

And then after my butt kicking, I read this status update by a friend on facebook. 

"A body will carry us through life. A beautiful soul will make us live forever. Sometimes it is easy to look at the body recycling and feel sad. The greater way and lovelier ability is to appreciate the soul occupying said body. A body is just that. A soul is an energy that nothing can crush. Celebrate the soul and sadness seems small." 

  By the time I went to bed last night, the puzzle pieces were finding their places and starting to fit.  I was never so good at putting puzzles together, especially on my own.  It is even more evident now that when trying to maneuver the pieces to fit properly in the puzzle of life we may have to look outside ourselves and embrace all that surrounds us.  

"There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle."
Deepak Chopra 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blue Eyes..

Little Miss helped me test the lighting before I took some head shots for someone today.  In the first picture, I'm not sure she was all that aware of what was going on.  By the last one, she was ready and struck a pose. 

I never get tired of taking pictures of my blue eyed girl.

"Blue eyes
Baby's got blue eyes
Like a deep blue sea
On a blue blue day
Blue eyes
Baby's got blue eyes"
-Elton John

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day...

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty." - John F. Kennedy

"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened." - Billy Graham

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Deja Vu

According to Wikepedia, Deja Vu is "is the feeling of certainty that one has already witnessed or experienced a current situation, even though the exact circumstances of the prior encounter are unclear and were perhaps imagined."  

This past Thursday, I embraced the camera with my bald head thinking it was the first time I'd done so on my blog and then the next day I thought, "hmmmm, why do I feel like I've already done that?"  Must be Deja Vu...ah, nope, it felt like that because I did already post it...GEEZ!  I did a search on my own blog and found this post from over a month ago.  Let's just blame it on the chemo brain, shall we?  Do you think it would be ok if I used that excuse even after my infusions are done?  

So, I apologize for the redundancy and  I hope that I can come up with some new material soon so I don't have to repeat myself again. 

And, some unrelated photos from today...

“It's like Deja Vu All Over Again” 
-Yogi Berra

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Hope your Saturday is Incredible!

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Happy Birthday to...

 It someone special's birthday today
Be Happy!
Get Excited!

And, put on your polka dots!

It's time to wish my mom a very Happy Birthday!

 Mom, We are so grateful to have you in our lives.
And we hope your birthday is filled with fun, joy and love.

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; .... she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” -Washington Irving
Happy, happy birthday Mom-I love you bunches!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


  Generally, I walk around (in public) with my kerchief on.  It's the quickest, most comfortable thing for me to do.  At home, I usually do not wear anything on my head.  In the beginning, my head was cold most of the, not so much.  I actually sweat...a lot! (I know, probably too much information, again).  

I'm pretty sure that the glances I get when I'm i'm sporting my kerchief are triggered by some curiosity of "what under there?"  So, I thought I'd give my loyal blog readers the real deal, the bald me.  If you're not interested in seeing the bald me, look no further.

Here I am...hairless...well, almost.  Right now I'm sporting the dandelion look.  E thinks it's ostrich-like.  But, I still have eyebrows, and for that I am so very grateful. ;)

Last night, Vic and I had another date night (yes, two in one month...unheard of around here).  I put my hair on for the occasion.

 And, just for fun, Little Miss put her hair on too. Oy, I think I have lipstick on my teeth, ignore that please.
 I think she looks pretty darn cute as a brunette.  

“Embrace love and compassion with all your spirit. Understand that they never hurt or offend, they just heal and empower.” 

I'm linking up with Emily today; she reminds us each week to embrace the camera.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life is Beautiful...

"Each day's a gift and not a given right

Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride
If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last"

Sometimes there are days when things happen that knock you on your ass, throw you for a loop and leave you standing there with your mouth wide open.  Although you may not always be directly affected by the situation, if you have that little thing called empathy and cry at commercials on the television, then chances are, you are impacted.  

When "bad" things happen, it seems our senses automatically get a tune-up; we become more keenly aware of the beauty in the everyday and are grateful for what may seem to be a mundane routine we are programmed to perform.   
We become consciously thankful for the rain that kisses our cheeks, the music the birds sing, the spouse that chews his gum like a cow, and the tight hugs we get from our kids.  

After the storm, the sting lessens and we go back to our day to day routine in the same manner as we have in the past.  
But, I'd like to think that these challenging life lessons make us wiser about how we experience our daily lives so that it becomes less necessary to be reminded to get a "tune-up".  Life is beautiful, go live it!

"Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future.  You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success.  Never again.  There is a better way."
Mandino, Og

Sunday, May 20, 2012

15 Pounds and Counting...

In case anyone was wondering what happens when your main diet consists of potatoes and bread, let me tell you.  You gain weight at an alarming rate!  Each time I go to the doctor's office, the nurse has to slide the bar a little bit further to the right.  This past time was the furthest it's ever been in my entire life.  So far, I have gained a whopping 15 pounds...seems a little fishy since I'm referring to this time period as "my cleanse".   I'd like to think that some of the weight gain is water retention, or maybe the steroids, but I think not.  I'm quite sure that a diet high in carbohydrates will do this to you.  My face is now delightfully round with less visible cheekbones.  

This too, is temporary...and, it's better than the alternative.  

I will think of this as part of my metamorphosis, just like 
The Hungry Caterpillar, 

who eats and eats and eats and eats....

but then emerges into a beautiful butterfly
Any change, even  a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Our butterflies have emerged...hatched...metamorphosized... whatever the proper term is, they've done it.  We did this last year for the first time and it is soooo fun.

 E loves it...I refer to him as the butterfly whisperer...

 Empty cocoons
Last year I posted a video.  You can find it here.

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Here we are, me and my girl on Mother's Day morning.  Let's just say that E was NOT in any mood for photos.  I couldn't even manage to bribe it's just us girls embracing the camera.  Thanks to Daddy for capturing the moment.

Thanks to Emily for reminding me to get myself in the if she could convince my son to do the same we'd be all set.

‘If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.’

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

4 down...

We are officially over the hump....only 2 more cleansings to go.  Whoop Whoop.  Dad kept me company, complete with his pink shirt.  He looks pretty handsome, don't you think?  It's not all that fun coming with me; I don't like to talk much during my infusions.  I'm not sure why-I think I am better able to distract myself by listening to music, writing a blog post, etc.  So sorry I didn't talk much Dad, but, I really did need you to be there.  I love you! xo

My BFF is doing a "butterfly" fundraiser at her studio.  There are over 100 butterflies "painting" her walls with a total of over $300.00 so far, all towards our Relay for Life Team.  It's not too late to make a difference.  I still have several "Thank Yous".  I'd love to send one to you.  For details, check out this post
Here's Little Miss' butterfly.

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on, to bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond. 

-Irish Blessing

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

11 years ago...

A very special little girl was born. The world has been brighter ever since.   

 Happy, happy birthday to my beautiful God Daughter, Miss E.  I love you so very much! xo

Dear God Daughter,

"May God forever light your way, may sunshine warm each happy day.  May faith and love be a part, of your gentle, kind forgiving heart.  May courage always see you through, all your days in all you do.  You are loved so very, very much!"

Monday, May 14, 2012


So, I went to PT today as I do on every other Monday morning.  I got my therapeutic massage and Marc asked if I had time today for him to wrap my arm.  Although the swelling is minimal and really barely noticeable, he felt the need to wrap it to try and get the swelling down.  I admire his determination and conscientiousness, however, I should have said "NO".

I now look like the twin sister of the Michelin Man...not kidding.


I told you....we even share the same hairdo for goodness sake.  Too bad it's not Halloween!  I'd be all set for my costume.  I'm supposed to try to keep this on until tomorrow morning...we'll see if I can have the stamina to deal with it until then.  But, thanks Marc for giving me something to write (and laugh) about...

I also had my blood work this morning and I'm all clear to have my 4th cleansing treatment tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.  Looks like we'll be over the cleansing hump soon.  This Michelin Momma was very pleased to hear that news. :)

The thing that got me over the hump was accepting that I had to do whatever I could to stay in the game.
Dennis Eckersley

Sunday, May 13, 2012


I entered a Motherhood essay contest on a blog .  I wasn't selected, but I figured I'd share here.  You can read the selected essays here.  Bring your tissues though, some are heart wrenching.  

Motherhood for me isn’t now what it once was, nor will it be in the future what it is today.  It does, however, consistently cause me to be filled with a humbling appreciation for the opportunity to hold the title of Momma.   

About 12 years ago, we tried desperately to have a baby. It seemed everyone I saw and came into contact with was pregnant. Everywhere I went, I would see pregnant bellies. I would stare longingly at them and it was as if they had eyes and were staring back at me. I had "baby belly" envy...big time!!!  All these women were experiencing motherhood in a way that I would never know and I mourned for the opportunity I would never have to feel my babies kick me from the inside out.  Two selfless young couples healed the hurt when they trusted me to be the Mommy to their babies and I am blessed and grateful to have the best job in the world, being Momma to my E and Little Miss.  I indeed was supposed to be a mother, but not to babies I would grow in my belly.  My babies grew in my heart.  They are my babies, I am their momma, we are a family and we love each other beyond words.  Now the “kicks” I get from the outside certainly make up for the ones I never got from the inside.

Motherhood is a fabulous combination of giving baths, doing laundry, making mud pies and giving an endless supply of kisses and hugs.  But it is oh so much more.  I have always truly believed that children live by the example that we as mothers set. This became much more significant to me in December when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  It seems easy to say that we should teach our children faith, hope, love, determination and perseverance, but to be the concrete example of this seems like an overwhelming task…a task that, at times, can be difficult and much easier to abandon all together.   This certainly would not be one of my chosen roles as their mother, yet, in some respects, it may be the finest lesson I am given the opportunity to teach my children.   When they are faced with adversity and difference, perhaps they will have the strength and courage to carry-on.  When they see others in need, perhaps they will be compassionate and giving.  When they see despair and hurt, perhaps they will show love.   And when they are in need, may they see this as an opportunity to hold onto hope, faith and the love and support of others.

So, I suppose there is a common theme with this whole motherhood gig.  There is the constant opportunity to engage in the lives of our children, whether it is to play a game of hopscotch or to show them how to kick cancer’s sorry butt.  We are our childrens’ first teachers, a humbling opportunity to help them experience all that life has to offer.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms, especially mine who still is my first teacher.  You have taught me so much and I continue to learn from you.  I love you to the moon and back mom! xo

Here is a recent "squinty eye" photo of the two of us.