Battle Scars… Flaunt Them Baby!!!

If you’d asked me my thoughts on this subject shortly after surgery or even five years ago, my answer would have been much different than they are now… My scar is HUGE and though I’m not going to roast in the summer to hide it, I’ve still downplayed it like it wasn’t there. Ashamed of it and embarrassed.

I don’t know if it’s age or just a new found confidence in the past year or so, but I’ve swung completely the other direction. I’ve even entered contests for the best scar and story (didn’t win, YET, but determined to kick butt someday!). I will mess with you, if you ask (in fun, not in a mean way) and will make jokes about it. All in all, it’s become a way of breaking the ice and lightening the atmosphere.

Some can hide their cancer scars, but as you know, even if you can’t see them, they’re ever present and life changing. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with sharing it, but there’s amazing freedom in owning them. Not only do you feel free, but you will undeniably help someone else dealing with the same thing.

There’s no doubt, it’s scary, but worth it! Be brave, flaunt it (as long as it won’t get you arrested) and feel the power it gives you.

Have a great week and remember that you’re far stronger than you think you are.

Hugs!

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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

Dracula: Dead and Loving It – The Weekly Belly Laugh

If you’re a fan of Mel Brooks, this is a movie for you! If you’ve never seen any of his movies, where have you been??? Twisted fun and often making fun of other movies, his movies are irreverent fun that you never forget.

This one is starring Leslie Neilson, Steven Weber, Peter MacNicol and Mel Brooks (of course) as Van Helsing. If this movie doesn’t get you laughing, you might need your pulse checked because it’s a nonstop laugh-fest.  Amy Yasbeck plays Dracula’s love interest Mina and she’s her usual comedic genius (she doesn’t get near the recognition that she deserves, in my humble opinion).

Grab yourself some popcorn, a mirror, garlic and a stake or two and get ready for fun! This one won’t keep you up at night and will tickle your funny bone.

Have a great week and ALWAYS remember that laughter is the BEST medicine.

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”  ~Milton Berle

Happy Dancin’ in Technicolor

I don’t know if it’s age or what, but I’m blown away by just how many people live their lives miserably because they’re living in black and white. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic movies in black and white, but life is to be lived and seen as Dorothy did when she opened the door in Oz… Absolute Technicolor!

Not sure where people went wrong, but many are walking around skulking and grumbling; instead of kicking up their heels and experiencing it. Some, I think, watch far too much news and see only the negative in the world. Others, I have to wonder, just enjoy the negative… Myself??? I’m sitting here giggling over the possibility of jazz festivals and wine tastings. What makes us different because I, too am a grown up, but I love life and live it.

Some say it’s because I’ve lived through cancer (others say it’s a midlife thingy, but what do they know???), but I’m thinking that it’s just a matter of seeing life differently. We all know that the world has its bad, but some of us make a point to create good, create magic. That makes a HUGE difference!

We could leave this world at any given moment, so wasting time on complaining and being sour is or should be criminal. Don’t wait on a cancer diagnosis, divorce, or some other crisis to be what it takes to open your eyes. Life is a ride and vivid with color, don’t allow your life to slip by without noticing. If your complaint is that the world is full of bad news, then you’re just looking in the wrong places because there are sites out there full of “good news.” All you need to do is look for them.

And a piece of advice… Do the “Happy Dance.” You can’t be in a bad mood when doing the “Peanut’s Dance.” You think I’m kidding??? No way. I do it all the time and don’t care where I am. Did you know that doing it in the grocery store will always cause another person to do it and smiles every where? My challenge to you is to be brave and just do it. I’d do it with you. Just do it, you know you want to.

If you want to be happy, be.  ~Leo Tolstoy

Weekly Belly Laugh

As a true believer of laughter being the best medicine for about anything, each week I’ll be posting a comedic movie recommendation. Some will be new and others older, but all are a mood improver (in my opinion, for what that means).

(Oh yes, to my cyber stalker… There will be a post script just for you)

This week’s Belly Laugh is actually an action movie, but I was amazed by the humor in it. Those that know me well, know that from the moment that Tom Cruise came on the scene in the 80’s I was NEVER a fan (an understatement in a BIG way), but in the past couple years he’s won me over with his sense of humor. This week’s Belly Laugh is Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and I was blown away. I haven’t even seen the rest of the Mission: Impossible movies, but this is a RIDE!

I love Simon Pegg to begin with, from Shaun of the Dead and Paul (Yes, I watch some low brow humor, get over it!) and he’s a riot, as always, but the humor that came with the rest of the movie shocked me. Somewhat a “Murphy’s Law” thing happening here and any of us that have had a HUGE URGENT project, will get it. Tom’s expressions when things go wrong are gold and the comments made by the entire cast are perfect.

The action is farfetched, but do we REALLY watch this sort of movie for reality??? I think not. This is a wonderful escape from reality and a joyride for those needing a smile. I give this four stars, but I’m easily impressed. Definitely worth the time.

Next week will be diving into a Mel Brooks classic…

Until then, keep smiling and freaking out those wondering what you’re thinking.

(To my cyber stalker, yeah you… Now you’ll see just who I am and I must say, you’ll be surprised. I told you I was scary smart and pretty incredible. You might want to check out my other blog, it’s more your speed).

 I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.  ~Woody Allen

Wickedly Fun Ways to Live with Post Cancer Issues… Part 1

Cancer sucks and we all know that, but with a wicked sense of humor, it’s a lot easier to deal with. The load is a lot lighter if you can laugh about it…

When asked about my scar, I’ve told people that I was attacked by a tiger shark while diving off Maui (with a very straight face). The expression is priceless because even though common sense should kick in, they actually hesitate and say “Really???” and I say “No, it was cancer, but it’s a much better story, isn’t it???” This is priceless, as it keeps them from necessarily feeling sorry for me and lightens the mood. They quickly realize that if I can laugh about it, it’s not something I need to be pitied over.

Not everyone can do such things with their scars (or is unstable enough to want to), but mine is nearly a foot long, down the back of my leg and my thigh looks like it has its own butt cheeks (I kid you not!). I could avoid shorts in the summer, but I’m not so shallow to allow myself to roast when it’s 90 degrees outside.

Am I bad, oh yes I AM, but if you can’t smile, what else is there?

Just remember this formula:

Curious Stranger + Tall Tale = A Look that’s Priceless

Have a spirited week!

Perception vs. Reality

One of the funniest things I find about when I tell someone that I’m a cancer survivor is when they tell me how incredible I am for beating it… Clearly they didn’t know me then.

I went kicking and screaming through treatment, surgery, and recovery (at some points, quite literally). There are all the levels of grief you go through during the process, but I set up housekeeping in “blind rage” and stayed there for at least a year afterwards (think rabid pit bull).

I was lucky, not skilled… Having a great support team, an amazing surgeon that looked like Doogie Houser, and just plain dumb luck (considering how long I knew about the mass behind my knee, damn lucky is a better way of putting it).

When you see someone going through treatment, understand that they are just everyday people that are going through a life changing experience that they sure as heck didn’t ask for. I certainly was no super hero (I am now, you should see my cape), but somehow got through it all. Don’t assume they have it together, even if that is how they are acting. Survivors need friends and support, even if it’s just a hand to occasionally hold.

Be that friend.

50/50 Movie – A Users Guide to Surviving Cancer

I recently bought and watched the movie 50/50 and all I can say is “Wow! I needed that when I was diagnosed!” Now, I’m not saying that it’s 100% how I felt, but knowing that some of what this guy felt made me feel normal. When diagnosed, no one explained the emotional side of what you go through and how it changes you. Even when the doctor is explaining the diagnosis and how It’s heard is on the mark.

This movie touches on so many areas with humor, but you need to understand that it earns its “R” rating with a lot of language, but considering what is going on in this young man’s life, you kind of “get it.” Besides, I’m not one to swear (hate it for the most part), but after meeting my radiation oncologist with his god-awful bedside manner and him saying that 20 years ago, I’d have just lost my leg at the hip… I dropped the “F” bomb about the whole situation. To say I was under duress is a bit of an understatement. Face it, cancer sucks and people should allow for such things.

The humor of 50/50 will strike a note with many survivors… Your sense of humor tends to get a bit “whack” when going through treatment and let’s face facts, some of what you see in the movie has happened to many people. People bail on you because they can’t handle the diagnosis or some stay around just because they feel sorry for you, but there are those awesome individuals that will hold your hand while you scream in anger and laugh with you when you look back on it. They’ll smuggle you treats into the hospital and help you use your diagnosis to get out of events (yes, the guys admitted to doing this in the Special Features).

Speaking of the Special Features, you MUST watch them to meet the guy that was the inspiration for the movie. Seth Rogen actually stood by him through his cancer and their stories will make you smile all the more.

This is a great movie and will help any survivor realize that we all go through a process when we’re diagnosed and it involves all the emotions. That it’s also great to seek out help in dealing with these issues, but most of all it shows how a great friend can make the whole process go a lot easier…

Enjoy the movie and have a great week…

Here’s the movie website: http://www.50-50themovie.com/

 

Pardon???

Now tell me, if someone told you that you had Liposarcoma… Wouldn’t you be scratching your head, wondering what the heck they were talking about? I KNOW, ME TOO! Shoot, it sounds more like something that you pay to have done, than something that you get diagnosed with! Throw in the fact that I was diagnosed on Friday the 13th and you have the makings of some twisted joke.  Yep, that’s my life!

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a pleasant period of my life, but looking back I see the humor (I’m really sick and twisted that way). From the argument with the Operating Room nurse that included the whole head bobbing thing that I mock others for doing, to walking around with the ability to make water spray from my leg and actually saying that “I’m fine.” Yeah, I was an idiot, but a cute and entertaining one!

So when life seems bleak and without a boatload of hope, remember you can go further than you believe and when you look back, there will be moments that will make you smile.  If I can do it, anyone can.

“Every survival kit should include a sense of humor.”  ~Author Unknown