Perceptions…

Hot Air Balloon 0734Before cancer we tend to be naive about life and death… We know, logically that everyone dies, but we often never seriously think it’s going to happen anytime soon. We know we’re not immortal, but we don’t want someone to tell us that it could happen and it could happen sooner than we want.

That was my life until my family doctor had to burst my bubble…

From there I went straight into “rabid dog in corner” mode and it was UGLY! Anger was my friend and fear added to that created a blind rage that carried me through most of my treatment. It’s not generally recommended, but it was all I had.

I read books on finding hope and the Bible, as well, but found no solace in either. I was beyond reason, just wanted a way out, and didn’t care how I found my way out.

During the early days of cancer, fear consumes us and we want relief that seems to be nowhere. I don’t know about you, but I wanted concrete answers and guarantees… Which no one will give you. It was a vicious circle and this can often be the case.

If you’re newly diagnosed, you often are looking for guarantees and hope, which no one can give you (even for those without cancer). Once you’re in battle, you need to focus on that and try not to allow setbacks destroy you.

I’ve also noticed that those fighting a recurrence have a different mindset… More of the seasoned veteran going back into battle and this is overwhelmingly inspiring to someone like me. I’ve watched friends with this “kick butt” attitude live a vibrant life with cancer.  These individuals can be amazing and encouraging to the new fighters.

There’s also those post treatment that are still trying to gain their footing in life after the battle. Living with the fears of it coming back and adjusting to the fact that their life isn’t what it used to be and will NEVER be what is used to be (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). Long term survivors should reach out and guide these individuals, as it’s (in my humble opinion) the most difficult part of the cancer treatment process because you feel like you’ve been just thrown out there on your own.

The long term survivor (which is a group that I’m always grateful to be a part of) comes to realize that life, though different, can be more vibrant and beautiful than it ever was before cancer. This person often feels that they have a responsibility to reach out and help those in the other stages of the battle. That is where I am.

I find no more joy than helping other survivors maneuver the race and sharing the “spark” that gives hope to others.

This is my perception and I hope that it helps and inspires…

Thank you for visiting and being a part of my world.

 

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”  ~Ivy Baker Priest

 

 

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Training Tuesdays

Welcome to Training Tuesdays… What the heck is “Training Tuesdays” you ask and what does it have to do with cancer??? Well, I’m going to tell you… During treatment and even during any time of stress, exercise can keep you going and at your best. Training and just walking carried me through my treatments and helped with fatigue in a major way.

I dealt with radiation, the fatigue that came with it and found that even 20 minutes a day helped with my energy levels. It also serves as a mood enhancer, so helps with the depression, as well.

Of course, you should ALWAYS get your doctor’s approval before starting a new exercise program, especially during cancer treatment.

Each week I’m going to offer advice on the benefits of exercise during cancer treatment and beyond, as well as my insane antics training for my first mud obstacle race.

Feel free to ask any specific questions you might have on exercising during cancer treatment.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

016This week was for new experiences! Have never been to a game with our local baseball team and so this was a great new adventure! Dayton has a nice little stadium in Fifth Third Field… Actually the perfect set up for a family outing. I was there as a driver for our local Senior Center. Everyone had a great time, though I don’t think the warning not to hang over the rails applied to this group. 😉

The game began and the players took the field… Is it me or are athletes looking younger and younger? In a good way, of course! And maybe I’m easily entertained, but the flames on the screens were just too cool!

I have to admit that before cancer, I’d NEVER have went to a game and didn’t expect to have a great time, but truly had a fabulous time!

If you’ve never had cancer, don’t wait for a life changing event to go experience life and if you have had cancer, it’s time to live! Besides, there’s something amazing about nachos at the ball field and you don’t want to miss that!009

If you happen to be in the Dayton area… Check out a Dragons game, you won’t regret it.

“A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.”  ~Humphrey Bogart

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. 

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