Something Special Coming…

This site means the world to me, along with all that it stands for. I’ve created it to support those going through cancer and the people that love them. To give hope and humor to what often feels like a hopeless situation.

In the coming weeks there’s going to be a few changes to the site and what it offers. I’m going to post more frequently with posts offering inspiration, fitness and so much more.

Getting all creative and coming up with a fun saying that will bring smiles and adding it to T-shirts, mugs and other goodies to show we have a lot more “spunk” than anyone can even imagine.

And as a lover of food, will also share recipes that will add taste and comfort to your life.

So hold on to your hats… We’re in for a ride. 

Advertisements

What the Heck?!?!

I’ve noticed in the years since I was diagnosed that this time of year (End of May and into June) there are a lot more people getting their dreaded diagnosis. Whether it is a first time or recurrence, I see a rush this time EVERY year. Can this be coincidence or am I just taking notice because this is about the time I was nailed? I don’t know, but this year it has been hitting unusually close to home and well… I’m taking it personally!

These are my friends and loved ones and loved ones of my friends! I feel like I’m going to war all over again! This time I’m wanting to get all up in cancer’s face and showing the vicious side that it gave me in my own battle!

We can’t fight the battles for others, but we can hold their hands, give them a hug and especially not walk away when it feels like the world and their body has turned on them.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Take no one for granted and especially remember live for now!

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day and remember those doing battle (whether on the battlefield or in a hospital room).

Hugs!

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

Regrouping Can Be a Good Thing

I’m sorry for not writing, but the past two weeks have been a challenge to get through… Two weeks ago, I had a client from my day job; die right before my eyes and that is an experience I am in no hurry to repeat. I’d never dealt with anything like this and though I thought I was fine, but that was before the Boston bombing. Once that happened, I had enough anger for ten people and was at a loss to how to deal with it. Sleepless nights and being ready to bite someone’s head off at a moment’s notice that had everyone on edge, didn’t earn me points with anyone.

Losing a sweet client right before my eyes and having to take control of an impossible situation was difficult, but as a runner, Boston hit me right in the gut. See, I could have lost my leg and I know the fear I had at the thought… The pain of those that lost their legs was just overwhelming and broke my heart. Feeling like I should be doing something, when there’s nothing obvious was devastating and seeing so many that seemed complacent with their attitude toward the event upset me even more.

I needed to step back and away from the majority of it all, but could only do that after the last suspect was off the streets. It seemed that once that happened, I was exhausted and just needed rest. So, that is exactly what I did this weekend. I escaped into running, gardening and as little negative as possible.

Sometimes we all need to step back and regroup after challenging times… It doesn’t make us weak or unfeeling, it makes us wise. An individual can only go on adrenaline so long before we shut down and that’s the last thing anyone needs.

If the events of the past week have worn on you, don’t be hard on yourself if you just need to escape for a bit. Sometimes we just get too much information in this age of nonstop information. It’s healthy to take a moment to breathe.

Just close your eyes and breathe, so you can take on life’s new challenges with a smile.

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”  ~Hans Christian Andersen

 

 

 

Beware of the Snake Oil Salesmen!

One of the aspects of the cancer experience that seriously burns my butt is the con men that come out of the woodwork with their “miracle” cures to cash in on your misfortune. These nut cases actually believe the nonsense they spew and offer hope for something simple to make everything “right” again.

It blows me away how some talk as if cancer is one disease… The “butt wipes” are so ignorant that they are a menace and danger to others! I didn’t like radiation any better than anyone else, but there was proof that it worked and that has strength, at least for me. No one knows what causes my cancer, so how the heck will they know that some crazy diet will make everything better?

Sadly, there are many that are grasping for hope and getting taken advantage of by these fools and you need to beware of the so called “miracles.”

Just don’t throw away what has the best chance of working for something that has no proven results, just because someone is making promises. This is cancer and as much as we want promises, there are no guarantees. The best of doctors won’t make those sort of promises and no one should. If someone does, walk away. They are likely after your money and don’t care about your health.

My thinking is that bad things do happen to good people and we can spend all of our time wondering what we could change or do to get through it easier or we can dive into the battle. Life is about balance. Eat better, exercise and do what it takes to get better…

For me, a little ice cream made the battle easier… But it didn’t cure me (insanity did that).

Have a wonderful week and be better…

Modesty and the Loss There Of

iStock_000020837312_ExtraSmallNo matter how conservative and modest you might be, going through a medical crisis like cancer can cure you. After who knows how many surgeries, radiation and all the goodness that goes along with it, and some rude comments from ignorant people, I got over the embarrassment and became a little “in your face,” about the experience (for better or worse).

Let’s face a few facts… Having more male nurses and aids after surgery and being told that you can’t walk to the restroom because your doctor hasn’t cleared you to walk, with or without crutches puts you in the unfortunate situation where a bedpan is required. Now, I don’t know about you, but I had spent all of my thirty-seven years being told that you DON’T pee in bed and suddenly telling me that I CAN in a bedpan created a complete disconnect… I couldn’t go at all. Lost track of how many times these poor guys tried to get past the issue, while I was bargaining to try to sneak into the restroom, just so I could go (which worked wonderfully, when I was free to get out of bed).

Then there was tag team bandage changes where a group of medical students were observing and all taking part in the process… It’s fascinating listening to the doctors instructing the up and coming doctors on my freaky cancer, but modesty goes out the window. Not to mention, having an infection that made my leg look a lot like a geyser going off repeatedly… Yeah, good times. 😉

After such things, you tend to get over any issues you might have with getting easily embarrassed. Even now, I don’t hesitate to share it because, besides being funny, I might be able to help someone else dealing with such struggles. I went from terrified for anyone to see, to “Hey, look at this!”

Don’t be embarrassed by what you’re going through, you just might be surprised at how many people know EXACTLY what you’re going through and they will likely be glad to offer advice and or help.

No matter how bad things look and negative the situation, sun can shine through it and you will have opportunities to smile, even of you don’t want to. I lost my best friend to lung cancer and she found a way to crack jokes to the end and even in the end, she brightened the world.

Be the light that brightens someone’s world…

“Freedom lies in being bold.”  ~Robert Frost

Channeling Rainbow Brite

Image

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

Pain Sucks… And You Live With It

ImageThe whole time I had cancer growing inside me, it was painless and I’m glad for that… From what I’ve read, if your cancer gets to the point where it hurts, it’s a very bad thing. That said, I never hurt until they “fixed” me. Now I know the way the weather is going to go before and more accurately than the weatherman, but that’s okay.

A nerve was removed and I can’t feel the skin on the back of my calf, which makes for adventures in shaving and there’s nothing quite like having an itch, but being unable to feel yourself scratch it… But that’s okay.

Radiation has made my leg so dry that there are times that it scabs over, but that’s okay, too.

It’s all okay because I have a working leg and am living a wonderful life, despite cancer. I can live with pain. I can live with numbness. I can live with dryness. I’ve been living with this for close to ten years…

I can live with all of this because I’m alive to live with it. Pain hurts less when you look at the alternative.

It’s amazing what we can live with!

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.”  ~Erica Jong, How to Save Your Own Life, 1977

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