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

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Grabbing that Mojo

As I’ve often pointed out, it takes a while to adjust to your post cancer self and that’s fine… Take your time. When you become what you’re meant to be, you’re going to ROCK! Learning to live life can be a bit of a unique experience and can shake those around you up, but again, that’s okay. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be “hell on wheels,” but in a good way. 😉

Try new things, stop waiting on tomorrow, and just kick everything up a notch. Try that zip lining, travel, become an artist, or whatever you feel calling you. It’s doesn’t matter too much what you do, you’re friends and family may think you’re a bit nutty. Mine are quite confident that I’ve completely lost my mind, but I’m good with that.

Think about what you’ve always wanted to try and as long as it’s not illegal or over-the-top dangerous (if it is dangerous, don’t blame me!), get out there and live it!

Make this week count and fill me in on some of your adventures. For me my next adventure is Pretty Muddy Mud Run and eventually I’m wanting to do a Zombie Run (imagine a mix of obstacle courses, running, and flag football, with just a touch of The Walking Dead.

Have fun!

“Put a grain of boldness into everything you do.”  ~Baltasar Gracián, translated from Spanish

 

Getting Your Bounce Back!

iStock_000011459857_ExtraSmallJust because surgery and treatments are over, doesn’t mean you’ll feel like your old self again… No matter how much you might want it. There’s going to be a new “normal” and time needed to adjust.

Now, don’t panic… The new normal isn’t necessarily a bad place to be. You may not like it at first, but be aware you are now likely headed to a better place. It takes time and sometimes a new stage of “treatment” that you likely hadn’t considered… Psychological.

When you think about it, it really is a form of PTSD. You’ve been doing battle for a long time and it takes time to leave that mindset.

I was in treatment for close to a year. From diagnosis in the beginning of June; radiation all summer; surgeries in June, September and December, and physical therapy through April; it was May before I stopped having some sort of treatment nearly every day or week and then there was nothing, no safety net or someone to hold my hand.

After treatment, you experience fear with every scan and that’s normal. Over time, with each clear scan, you get where you can handle it better. You never get where it’s completely easy, but it does get MUCH easier.

There are support groups (online and on site), as well as psychologists trained in post cancer needs. There are always places to look for people that are just like you and know exactly what you’re feeling and dealing with. You just need to look for them. I wish there were so many when I went through my treatment. I did use The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivors Network (CSN) and it was unbelievably helpful, but truly needed more.

I struggled for close to a year on my own and was nearly at the breaking point before I gave in and sought treatment for the depression. No one wants to admit to depression and honestly, I was at the end of my rope, but I didn’t want anyone to think I was “weak.” Now, the kicker… I went from wanting to drive my van off a bridge one night, to my first belly laugh in likely two years or more and all in just twenty-four hours of starting the medicine.

It has taken me a while, but after nine years, I no longer need the meds and feel amazing! Better than I have in YEARS! I survive scans well and try to reach out to other Liposarcoma survivors, so they don’t have to go through the process alone (we are a rare breed and it’s often difficult to find the support we need).

So, to wrap this up… Don’t expect that just by being cancer free is going to make you feel “normal” again and that is fine… It’s normal, so to speak, to not feel normal. It’s all a part of the healing process.

The new “normal” can be the best part of your life, if you just give it time. Bouncing back will happen.

Hang in there and if you have questions, you can contact me through this site.

 

“Fear makes us feel our humanity.”  ~Benjamin Disraeli

Channeling Rainbow Brite

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Fully involved in my training and preparing for the Pretty Muddy event in September and have decided to do a whole rainbow themed outfit. From the wild socks to flashy shorts and t-shirt, I should stand out well before the mud flies.

As you can likely tell, I’m a kid at heart and love color passionately… I believe that life is all about the color and we shouldn’t worry about coloring in the lines all the time. Sometimes it’s all about the living and experiencing. Too many years were spent staying within the lines and when cancer struck, I realized it was all for nothing. I had wasted most of my life, living by someone else’s standards of “good” and “grown up” and it was killing me.

It all changed over that year of treatment and in the years that have passed since it has snowballed to the point that I LOVE my way of living and thinking! My friends are real, my life is bigger and the colors are vivid! Also, I love to color and paint like a kid, again.

This is how we should all live, true to ourselves and channeling our own Rainbow Brite (or whatever you love). It shouldn’t take something like cancer to bring us to life… Live a beautiful life, run your races (Pretty Muddy is pretty awesome!), and be something more.

Joy is in the living.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

What the “HELLO” is Normal???

D4-A003_C098_0221B5In recent weeks I’ve had conversations with other survivors about what is our new “normal” and is it even close to what we once thought normal was? There is no simple answer, but with that you have to understand there is no such thing as normal in even the best of situations. Those people we so often look up to as role models to what type of life we want are just as messed up as the next, some just tend to hide it better than others. There is no such thing as normal… Let me repeat that. There is NO SUCH THING AS NORMAL! Get over it! Accept it! Live with it and most importantly, love it.

I lost about all of my pre-cancer friends when I was diagnosed and was bitter and angry over this for a VERY long time, but I see this situation entirely differently now. I’m so glad that they’re gone and don’t even miss them. The friends I have now are gold. I don’t tend to get close to people, but that small handful that have forced their way into my heart are there to stay. It truly isn’t a numbers game, the way kids seem to want to think of it. One trusted friend is worth more than a hundred that will bail when you need them most. With a cancer survivor this is more important than with anyone else.

Don’t expect your old friends to “get it” because it’s doubtful that they will, if they do, be grateful. It’s important to get out and experience life and sometimes you have to do that on your own, but you survived cancer, you can do this. Become who you are, don’t look back and suddenly you’ll see that there are people that are going to start breaking down this wall you thought you built. People who like you are and not who you were. You aren’t that person anymore and that’s a great thing. You’re stronger and better than you were before cancer… You just may not see it yet, but you will.

We don’t go through nonsense like cancer for no reason, now we’re a light for someone else dealing with it. It’s our calling, our responsibility, as survivors. I like to think that the radiation gives me a brighter, warmer glow that draws people in. 😉 We all have what it takes to pull others through the darkness and show that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there, the more you help others, the brighter you and your future gets.

Have an incredible week!

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.”  ~Ben Sweetland

Becoming the Runner… Again

PM-Blogger-Badges_FNLBecoming a runner or should I say, re-becoming a runner doesn’t get any easier with age and wow, I’m discovering this fact more and more everyday! It’s not that anything is harder on a physical level; it’s the mental and day to day stuff. When I did this ten years ago, the kids were younger and didn’t have a better and busier social life than I did. Yes, I had cancer, but that seemed to push me harder. There’s something about a doctor questioning my ability to continue something I love after surgery that makes me want to prove them wrong (and oh how I did!).

Now, I’m working full time, running my own business, as well as having four kids going every direction imaginable. Nothing is easy now and spare time is a rare and very limited quantity. I have five possible days a week to train for what is likely the biggest event of my life, so far, the Pretty Muddy Women’s Run in Columbus in September and eight months to pull it all together.

If you’ve never heard of such an event, it’s a mud run/obstacle course and like none of the similar events because it’s only open to women. Not something for the girl afraid of breaking a sweat or getting dirty, we will end up likely covered in mud, but having the time of our lives.

The event was started by a couple business men that felt that their wives deserved a little “me time” with their friends for all the hard work they did (yes, there are men that appreciate what we do). 😉 It has grown to an incredible event where girlfriends get together and have a great time. It’s more than a mud run, it’s an exciting women only event where women can cut loose and have fun!

For me, this is another one of those “Prove it to the world” events and want other survivors to see that even a gal with a gimpy knee can do fun and incredible things. Believe me, if I can do it, most of you can!

Over the coming months I’ll be sharing about the event and my progress getting ready for it. Hopefully, I may inspire others to take control of their health and remember not to allow anything (even cancer) hold you back.

Be well and have a wonderful week! 🙂

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.”  ~Author Unknown

A taste of what’s to come:

Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Caregiver

The holiday season is a wonderful time to thank our incredible support teams. Let’s face it, they can make your life and treatments go a lot smoother (even if we don’t exactly make their lives easier, at times). There are countless ideas for thoughtful gifts that will bring a smile to any caregiver’s face, but I’ll just share a handful…

1) For the female or enlightened male caregiver, a massage gift certificate is awesome! A chance to take care of them with a little pampering.
2) For the male caregiver (or far more patient female than I am), a gift certificate for a round of golf is a much needed get away.
3) Books for the readers or gift cards for the virtual readers. 😉
4) Even something as simple as a coffee mug can be a wonderful gift. Fill it with either gourmet coffee, tea or cocoa. Heck, I’d like that!
5) A gift card to a great restaurant is another great idea and wonderful way to relax.

These are little things, but they count. You don’t need to do something monumental, but caring enough to do something is monumental.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday season!

Thoughtful Gifts for the Cancer Survivor

602578_388458464570763_746788322_nAs someone that has put up with the holidays while dealing with treatment, I can tell you that a little, well thought gift can be gold. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but there’s a few things that stand out.

Here are a few ideas:

1)      Soft cuddly blankets. Easy to find and when going through treatment, we often are cold.

2)      For those going through chemo, a soft hat to keep heads warm and look nice, without itching. For those struggling with hair loss, something nice is gold.

3)      Also hard candy is nice when taste is screwed up by treatment. Old fashioned lemon drops are wonderful and easy to find.

4)      ANYTHING offering hope. From signs with quotes, to books on the subject; we’re grasping for all the hope we can grab hold of.

5)      Gift cards are always a winner, but package them up in clever ways. My music rules, so iTunes gift cards were always great things.

These are just a few little things, but the main thing is not to avoid the friend with cancer because they’ve never needed you like they are right now. I can tell you first hand that it’s an awful feeling to see all of your friends bail because you’ve got cancer and they can’t deal with it. Be there; take them shopping, to lunch or anything that can get their minds off of treatment.

It doesn’t take a lot to be a friend, time and simply being there is the best gifts offered. 🙂

Have a wonderful week and see you soon!

Quick Thought for the Morning…

Remember friends, be thankful for everything because I guarantee that there is someone with much less that is thankful for all that they do have.

Have a wonderful day!

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