That Scattered Feeling

lighthouseIt’s been close to thirteen years since my diagnosis and as a whole, I think that I’ve done
pretty well…

Three surgeries…. Done, done, and done!

Radiation… Thirty-five and a lovely glow!

Infections… Staph, strep, and one that I never remembered the name, treated and done!

Depression… Treated and done with!

Scars… Went from devastated to entering contests for best scar and story!

Focus issues… Well, there are great days and then… I just love vanilla ice cream.

I can’t blame chemo brain because I didn’t have it, but I’ve been told that any long term crisis can create issues with concentration and focus. Before cancer, I never had issues with attention, but now I struggle to finish a book (And considering I read four to five at one time, it’s a miracle any are finished) or complete some projects. Organization is also a significant issue and I’m hoping that downsizing and decluttering my life will make a difference.

From what I’m reading this is all normal or our new “normal” and we just need to adapt.
For me, it’s become a struggle to keep track of important documents and this can often be disastrous. I’ve lost important papers that ended up costing outrageous late fees or worse. Everyday I struggle with this.

Downsizing and decluttering has become my hope to making it easier. I find that if I’m dealing with clutter and too much going on, I practically shut down and accomplish nothing. I’ll distract myself with the computer and basically do nothing, but veg out. Which is NEVER a good thing.

So, I have found that there are measures we can take to assist us staying on track and I’m going to share them with you.

  1. Try to eliminate as much paper and clutter, as humanly possible. I love recipes, but now only print when I KNOW that I’m going to make it within a couple of days. If not and I truly want to keep the recipe, I find a way to save it to a document and save it on the computer (make sure that you periodically purge these files, as to not waste computer memory).
  2. Start making a concerted effort to finish books and smaller tasks (one thing at a time!). This is one area I’ve been seriously pushing myself to small victories. It feels good when I complete one area and not juggling fifteen others.
  3. File, file, FILE! Don’t just lay it down, give it a home! Whether it be the filing cabinet or the trash, deal with it!
  4. Turn the computer off (This is my weakness and my greatest struggle). Walking away from the computer is a gift to yourself and allows you time to focus on the world around you.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve been through a lot and it takes time to get your footing with this new life. You may always have an issue with feeling scattered, but you can live with that and it will be fine.

We will get through this and feeling a bit scattered is a small thing in the scheme of life… We may never get rid of the feeling completely, but we can try to control the areas that add to the stresses we live with.

I’m a long way from being on top of it, but I’m moving in that direction. It’s taken thirteen years to grasp that what I’ve been doing isn’t working and that changes have to be made to make my life easier to deal with. I’ve been trying to juggle multiple blogs instead of choosing one and making it wonderful and all have suffered, but now I’m going to focus on this one and my passion for survivors. I’m going to focus on you and hopefully, something wonderful is about to happen. I’ll admit my failings and share my insanity, so you’ll see that we’ll all be just fine in the end.

I hope this has offered a little assistance or comfort in your life…

Have a wonderful week ahead.

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How to Keep the Christmas Spirit When Surrounded By Humbugs!

10830194_10205365862971082_7081847154313349889_oAnyone that knows me well knows that I’ve adored Christmas my entire life, even when it’s been difficult. I’ve had a Christmas tree in my bedroom since I was ten or younger and decorated multiple trees, any given year. When I was a teenager, I was often called “The Christmas Kid” and I prided myself on such things. If I couldn’t afford gifts, I’d make something or even just send a card… Just so my friends knew that I cared. That’s what matters, anyhow.

It’s always been that way, so I struggle when people say they don’t want to celebrate due to financial or other difficulties. I made it happen, even while going through cancer treatment and being pretty broke, so I don’t particularly buy into the excuses… It’s NOT about money or gifts and if you are thinking that way, you’ve missed the boat.

This year has been an unusually difficult one, but I haven’t allowed it to damper my mood… Even with people making it challenging, I’m still not losing my spirit! I refuse to allow it to happen and neither should you.

I think part of what makes this all possible is that I believe in Santa. How can I STILL believe in Santa, you ask? Well, it’s really quite simple… Believing in Santa is a state of mind and feeling sort of thing. Santa lives within us, as we share love and joy during the season (or the whole year). There’s magic in that and all that comes along for the ride.

I believe most of the problems with the world would be solved, if more people felt this way. At the very least, there’d be A LOT more kindness in the world, if more took this stance (and likely a great deal less road rage).

My challenge to you is to stop telling yourself that Christmas is for the kids because that’s simply not true. Christmas is for everyone. It’s not about gifts. It’s not about what you give, not receive and I’m once again, not talking about gifts, but the time and kindness you share. Get out there and start sharing kindness.

Also, just because you might be in treatment or having challenges, understand that if you allow yourself… You CAN feel the magic. I promise.

Be safe, be blessed and know that I appreciate all of you.

Angels We Have Heard On High – Pentatonix

Chronicling the Journey…

016I started journaling in high school and have done it most of my life, as I’ve read that most “successful” people do and we all want to emulate our heroes. Many of our founding fathers did this and that was good enough to convince me.

Maybe you’ve thought about it, maybe not, but journaling your way through treatment and beyond is good for the soul. You need to express your feelings, even when you don’t want to share it with others. We need that release!

Not only will it allow you to express some of what you’re dealing with now, but it will give you something to look back at in the future. Right now, life seems daunting and the future is difficult to see, but a day will likely come that you want to look back. I have an entire file box dedicated to my cancer adventure (Even have my certificate for completing radiation!).

Again, right now you may just be in “survival” mode, but there’s generally a point where you want to look back. For me, cancer was the beginning of my life… Not pleasant, but because of it, my life became something “more” and worth living.

Life it to be lived and chronicled… What you experience may very well also help someone else and that makes it even more important. Don’t hold back, grab your journal and let it go!

Heck, have some fun… Buy a composition book, some pretty papers and create your own. There’s no limits, just let go.

Have a wonderful week and get writing (or you can even find apps for that!)!

Cheers!

iStock_000009824885_ExtraSmallAnother year has arrived and I have to admit that though I’m looking forward to it, I know that there are monumental challenges ahead, but with the events of the last couple weeks… All I can say is “Wow!”

I’m always blown away by how busy I tend to get between Christmas and New Year, but this year I wasn’t even trying or looking for more to think about. It just happened.

I’ve been approached about consulting, being a blogging ambassador, and speaking, again. I haven’t said much about these because I haven’t wanted to jinx anything (and basically, my head is still spinning at it all). I’ve had to apply for one of these, but they did approach me, so that is a good thing. There are a couple of other opportunities that I’m still looking at to decide if they are as good as they sound and will announce them as I know more.

Blown away is an understatement, as well as a little gun shy about all of this, but excited at the possibilities. It’s hard not to jump on them all, but in this day and age, you have to check things out before making any sort of decision. I still believe that surviving cancer has put me in a position that I feel I have a responsibility to help others with cancer and these could be a wonderful way to do more of this.

So, I’m sorry for not posting sooner, but have been trying to show self-control with my excitement. One of these opportunities could allow me to share new advances in treatments and this just blows me away! I want to offer hope to those of you that need it.

Over the next week I’ll be posting a couple times to catch up a bit on hope and fun.

Hope everyone has had a lovely New Year and holiday season!

See you soon! 🙂

Baby There’s an App for That!

My training has begun and I have to admit that some things don’t get easier with age… My glutes are screaming with quite a bit of consistency and my calves seem to be barking back, but it’s going to be worth it. Five miler by Thanksgiving and a half marathon next spring/summer are lofty goals, but my goals nonetheless and I’m committed (or should be committed) to making them a reality; hopefully helping and inspiring others along the way.

The greatest help I’ve found is an app for my iPad called 5K Runner. I know, leave it to me to find a way to find a tech toy to get me active and push me to achieve a goal. You can actually listen to your playlist while the little sadistic voice is calmly telling you when to run and when to walk. You have a choice in the voice of the devil (coach), so you choose your own tormentor. 😉

Beyond my new app, I’m looking at this whole process as my personal science project. Each week adding time and increasing speed, measuring results and making adjustments. Reaching the goal of my best 5k time ever and reaching for a half marathon by fall is no small challenge and I need a devil pushing me to go further than I believe possible.

It’s important that I achieve it because I shouldn’t be able to do any of it and I’m blessed to be able to do it, while so many in my shoes can’t. I’m doing this for everyone that aren’t able to or aren’t able to yet. Anything is possible and training through cancer treatment can be just what you need to keep it together and get through it all.

So if you’re looking for a great way to train, this is an excellent choice. If you do, let me know what you think of it.

Have a great week!

 

 “Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart.”  ~Gene Tunney

 

Filtering the Information

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer you want answers… You want hope. So you jump online and start searching for information on your diagnosis, but instead of finding hope, you find every worst case scenario out there. I remember actually about passing out from looking up pictures of the surgery, I was about to face. Was white as a sheet and wouldn’t have dared trying to stand up.

The internet is a great thing, but it’s also your worst enemy, at times. You seek out support, but you may also be finding people that are dealing with advanced stages of the disease and that can be hard when you’re newly diagnosed and uncertain about what to expect.

One thing you need to remember is that a lot of people that get through the tunnel and survive it well, don’t always stay active in support groups (which is unfortunate). They try to move away from everything to do with cancer, they want to forget.

This isn’t necessary bad, but for those that are seeking positive stories, it makes it hard. The people most likely to give you hope, have moved on. So when you are seeking answers, you often are hearing some of the worst stories possible and in turn being scared to death. I found this, so I try to be available for newly diagnosed individuals whenever possible.

The challenge this creates is knowing what to tune in and what to tune out. It’s impossible to turn out everything, but you need to keep a level head (which is hard enough in the beginning). As great as support groups are, they often have a lot of individuals that feel it their responsibility to “warn” others about EVERY worst possible outcome and I can tell you from personal experience, that doesn’t help when you’re first diagnosed.

When we’re first diagnosed we need to know that the battle can be won, that though it will be a challenge, it is doable. Worst case scenarios are easy to find, we need hope. So choose your quest for knowledge carefully. Know that being positive is important and finding a great team includes finding people that have gone through the battle and won. We are out there and we want to help.

That being said, I’m always willing to help survivors see the brighter side of the battle and the light at the end of the tunnel.

Have a great week!

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”  ~Christopher Reeve

13.1 Or Bust!

For some of us, life has to now have challenges constantly. I literally must live each day for the next challenge or I feel like I’m wasting this life I’ve been given. I don’t know if all cancer survivors feel this way, but I have a feeling that it’s not uncommon.

I’ve done a few 5K runs/walks and they’ve become easy and though I don’t set any land speed records, I know that I can finish. Now I need something that’s more of a challenge, something that I don’t know beyond a doubt that I can finish. That something is going to be a half marathon, next year. I haven’t chosen a specific event, quite yet, but it WILL happen.

Now I need to start getting rid of the “squish” and become a lean, mean, running machine (cliché sounding as it may be). The only way I can do that is have a serious challenge/goal and this is mine. I’m going to continue to challenge myself beyond that to doing a marathon when I turn 50 and being a fine looking “granny.”

A difficult thing for me is finding healthy food that actually tastes good, so I’ll share recipes that I find. I know that many go crazy over eating the “right” foods after having cancer, but I believe that life is all about moderation and enjoying the life you’ve been given and sometimes good food is just a part of enjoying life.

So brace yourself, you’ll likely be hearing about my antics in training and the new app I have on my iPad for running. I’m starting with 5K Runner and Lose it, as they seem to both to be effective in keeping me motivated, but will keep you informed on how I feel about them for the long run.

So as I titled this post, it’s going to be 13.1 or bust (and I’ll likely end up busting my butt somewhere along the way).

Have a great week and enjoy the life you’ve been given because you just might be the light someone needs to see…

“Jogging is very beneficial.  It’s good for your legs and your feet.  It’s also very good for the ground.  It makes it feel needed.”  ~Charles Schulz, Peanuts

 

Dealing with Bad News

The past couple weeks have been tough for me to get my mind around… I lost a childhood friend to cancer and it was the anniversary of the death of another friend, from cancer. Even when you know that it’s coming and the person has suffered so long, it’s still hard when they pass. It wakes your concerns and reminds you of everyone you’ve lost.

What it has reminded me of is how some survivors have a spirit of fight and sparkle right to the end believing that they have a chance at winning the battle, even when doctors and odds say differently. It’s nothing short of amazing. It’s this spirit that creates survivors that beat the odds.

With this it equally amazes me how some give up instantly and decide to seal their own fate… I’ll never “get” this. Even though I was completely “psycho” during my time with cancer, I couldn’t give up, it’s not in me. Life is too important to give up the ship without one hell of a fight (sorry if this offends, but cancer isn’t for the faint at heart). It’s a war with sometimes, many battles and rarely is it ever easy, but it’s worth the fight.

I’ve come to know some amazing individuals that have taken bad news and beat the odds, living wonderfully with cancer or ending up in complete remission. I recommend, whatever your diagnosis, NEVER give up… Life is ALWAYS worth it.

Have a great week and fight on!

 

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
~Author Unknown

 

The Evening Giggle… The Bucket List

Tonight’s movie recommendation is The Bucket List directed by Rob Reiner and it’s a movie that touched me as a sarcoma survivor and as a lover of good stories. There’s a wicked sense of humor that I think is often a requirement as a cancer survivor and a heart touching buddy story that will bring you to tears.

Two very different men dealing with terrible cancer diagnosis’s (if that’s spelled wrong, just overlook it, as it’s late and I’m tired), coming together to take on unlimited adventures from their “bucket list” and learning from each other’s differences. Roles played wonderfully by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, with heart and humor. Added sparkle brought in by Sean Hayes playing Nicholson’s assistant, Thomas.

There are some seriously crazy stunts  and sparks flying throughout, taking you from a hospital room, fighting for survival to racing cars and skydiving on a crazy road trip.

A movie with a lot of heart and soul, as well as great belly laughs. Just the pick-me-up a person needs, as well as inspiration to live our best and biggest life.

Enjoy!

“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.”  ~Terri Guillemets

GET UP!

Thought for the night:

Life is far too short not to dance EVERYDAY! Try to not smile, while dancing… Nope, can’t be done!

Feelin’ the music and bopping around as I write and it feels good.

Join me!