Sunday, April 15, 2018

With a Little Help From My Friends

This blog is about my current condition with my back/hip...I will not be discussing El Diablo or anything about that right now...the jury is still out on that and so for now DO NOT ask me about my cancer or what is happening...I will let you know when I have something to tell...so let it go and let's focus on getting me over this hump right now...thanks!

Hello Darlings...

It's been a rough couple of weeks here for me...

actually pretty much a rough month...

I have NEVER

and I do mean

NEVER

N
E
V
E
R

been in such pain

And I am pretty sure I did it in yoga...

yup...

I yoga'd too hard...

(and yes it is possible to yoga too hard)

About a month ago I felt a little twinge in my back.

NOTE: IF YOU FEEL A TWINGE IN YOUR BACK DO NOT IGNORE IT

but I went on and kept doing my spin and yoga...

and one night I did a stretch and in the middle of said stretch my brain said "um...not a good idea because I felt something there...hey Anice are you listening to me because you just did something to the spine down there and now spine is sending me a signal that you messed her up"

I ignored the message from my brain...

NOTE: IF YOUR BRAIN SENDS YOU A MESSAGE THAT MAYBE YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING STUPID WITH YOUR BODY MAYBE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUR BRAIN

Now if you are a regular reader of this blog you know what followed was rest, a visit to a hip specialist, a shot in my hip and then all hell broke loose.

My amazing Aunt Jane surprised me with the gift of a ticket to see Garth Brooks at the Rodeo.

Now if you know me you know I HATE country music...

make that DETEST country music...

I only like Garth...and the Dixie Chicks...and Garth's wife Miss Trisha Yearwood...

that's it...

and it has long been my desire to see Garth

NOTE: IF YOU ARE GIVEN A TICKET TO GO SEE GARTH THEN YOU DAMN SURE GO SEE GARTH...TRUST ME IT WILL BE THE BEST CONCERT OF YOUR LIFE

when I found out that Garth would be at the rodeo this year I told Aunt Jane that my reward to beating El Diablo would be to see Garth.

And when tickets sold out in seconds I gave up hope of seeing him...

but she and her friend Susan surprised me and Aunt Jane took me to see Garth.

But by then my hip hurt so much I could barely walk.

But I loaded up on pain meds, borrowed a walker and by damn I went to see Garth.

And I cried when he came out and I went out of my mind...he was the most entertaining singer I have ever seen...and he had as much fun doing the show as I did watching him...

And Miss Trisha was there.

And I cried when she came out and I went out of my mind.

Because I love her...and him...and her cooking show.

I know Trisha and I would totally be besties.

We love Garth
We like to Cook
We are blondes
we like to eat

and I know we would spend hours just gabbing and eating and having cocktails and laughing...

because she is awesome...

and one day I want a man to love me like Garth loves Trisha...

damn that man loves that woman and it shows...and it is sweet as hell...

So after I totally lost my mind (and thanked God through the whole thing....I thanked him for Garth, for the rodeo, for Aunt Jane, for pain meds, for my walker, for surviving cancer so I could see him...) I came home the happiest little Stage 4 UPSC survivor ever....

and then my hip got worse...

but 5 days later The Cutest Boy in the World was having a fraternity Mom's weekend and his 20th birthday...

and there was no way I was missing that

because last year for his birthday I was just trying to live and this year I wanted to celebrate

so Aunt Jane cancelled her plans and went with me to the weekend so that I could be with my son.

I booked a handicapped accessible room and in the hotel designer's wisdom said room was as far from the elevator as a room could be.

Mind you by this time walking was hell and sitting was impossible.

But I loaded up on pain meds and got myself to the mom's dinner where apparently I now own the title of "Mom Who Has Son Who Looks Most Like Her"...

he's my clone...

thank goodness it's my looks he has and not my brain

he got that from his dad

I speak glitter
My son speaks science

I made it through the dinner but the next day I was unable to do anything...I will spare you the details but basically I wasn't helping myself with trying to walk the halls (even with the walker) and I was destroying my body...

It was hell coming home but I made it and then spent the next few days crying and screaming and needing help to eat, feed my cats, bathe and take care of myself and doing the simplest of tasks.

And by screaming I mean that I literally could not hold back the guttural screams that escaped my mouth when I moved and I was in so much pain I could not function.

I finally gave in and realized I needed to be in the hospital under the care of professionals.

I called Dr. Angel's office for help because after many calls to Dr. Rockstar's office I was pretty sure the girls there were not understanding that I was in a serious pain and needed help and were not telling her (and yes there will be a serious discussion with Dr. Rockstar about this).

Dr. Angel's office and staff are like him---they work to help the patients as much as they can and as fast as they can. So I asked  HeavenlyHeather (the receptionist) to call and after talking to me she went running to Nurse Kim who literally talked me off the ledge and told me what to do.

God bless those women...they are loving ladies who take good care of their people...

So armed with knowledge from Nurse Kim I called Dr. Rockstar's office and informed them I was heading to the hospital (that resulted in them hopping like bunnies and finally telling her what was going on and admittance orders being sent) and I called KuteKaren2 and she fetched me and took me to the hospital.

I spent 4 hours in admitting waiting on a bed.

I spent 4 hours in admitting waiting on a bed while lying on a couch with my legs up in the air.

KuteKaren2 didn't care that I looked a fool and Heavenly Heather ran over from radiology therapy to check on me so she could tell the #AngelTeam that I was going to be ok...

I had to wait for a bed because apparently I was not the only person in need of a hospital that day.

They told me that they might put me on a floor other than 3 Jones for gyno.

I said "No"

"I will go to 3 Jones"

"Mimi is there and she will be my nurse. I need her. And Adam."

(Mimi was my nurse when I had my hysterectomy...we bonded...I have always thought about her and asked for her when I had my hernia surgery. She was not there but I had the awesome Adam to take care of me. I love my nurses. They are angels.)

So FiNALLY  they had a bed and I had the longest and worse ride of my life--the wheelchair ride up to 3 Jones was total hell because sitting was total hell. Poor KuteKaren2 tried her best to distract me and to get the guy pushing my wheelchair to get me up there as fast as possible but Memorial Hermann is a very large hospital that is like a maze so it takes a while...

As we passed the nurses station out of the corner of my eye I saw---

MIMI

and then ADAM!

I got to the room and threw myself on the bed and went into my "lay on back with legs straight up" position for relief (right there that should have been a clue that we were dealing with a torn disk).

KuteKaren2 got me calmed down and settled in the room and by then I was begging for some pain relief....

and in the commotion of me getting into the bed and settled in the door opens and

MIMI WALKS IN

Oh thank you Jesus in heaven...

KuteKaren2 sees her name tag and we both say a little "yay it's Mimi" which totally confuses Mimi.

I tell Mimi "I thank God for you...I pray for you...you won't remember me but you made an impact on me and your care for me was beyond amazing"

Later she tells me that she wasn't supposed to take a patient that day because she was charge nurse and they were very busy but the nurse who was to have me was overwhelmed by her patients so Mimi took me on. She had no clue who I was but did tell me once she saw my name again she remembered.

So God gave Mimi to me...

Thank you God...

What followed was a night of trying to manage my pain and get me to a state of comfort so that I could just breathe without crying.

Unfortunately all drugs make me itch and since it was in a pump I was dosing myself and over did it a bit but once I found the right amount to "give" myself and they gave me Benadryl I was ok...but for a while there I was in pain and like a dog with fleas.

Finally they got my pain managed and then it was time to see why the hell I couldn't sit, stand or walk...

First they give me to the orthopedic department.

I meet cute Dr. Aggie

He was a doll and tells me I get to have an MRI.

And so I got the MRI.

At 2 am in the morning.

Not kidding.

2 AM IN THE MORNING

They loaded me up with pain meds, ambien and anxiety meds and loaded me in.

3 hours later they returned me to my bed.

Thankfully I slept the whole time.

(and it took 3 hours because...well I am not sure because I was sleeping...something about the machine not working and needing to be restarted but I was drugged out of my mind so I have no clue what happened).

Dr. Aggie says it's not my hip and I get another MRI

That one was done at 8 at night...

45 minutes with me drugged up again (I do not do well with closed spaces...very claustrophobic)

So after 2 MRI's, lots of pain meds, several days of nursing care and them handing me over to the neurology department it turns out that my "possible torn labrum in the hip" was...

drumroll please...

a torn disk between L4 and L5 and it's literally hitting the nerve to my hip unrelentingly.

The news was delivered to me by Dr. Adorable.

I love her.

She gets to be part of #teamunicorn

She's a resident but I plan to keep her around a lot.

When I asked her why this torn disk was causing me so much grief and I knew plenty of people who had torn disks who went about business as usual she informed me it was an "impressive" tear and that it was because the tear was hitting the nerve I was in constant pain.

There ya go.

Torn disk hitting nerve.

Apparently the neuro department was fascinated with my situation and gleeful that they stole me from ortho.

I told Dr. Adorable that I am a magical unicorn and that she could be part of the team and that I promised I would never bore her.

So I got to go home after 6 days and was given steroid meds and after a week I saw the neurosurgeon.

He did all kinds of strength tests.

And he checked my reflexes and sadly on my left side when he banged my knee with the little hammer it didn't move.

That is not good.

And then he had me stand behind a chair and try to stand on my bad leg and bend it while holding up my right leg and my leg crumpled under me.

That is really not good.

And now I am going to stop discussing what transpired between me and the neurosurgeon

Because you see as well meaning as most of you are there are some (many) of you who feel bound to give me your opinions on my condition.

And right now I need to trust my doctors.

I need to trust in what they are telling me what needs to be done.

And I need to trust that God has put me in the hands of who I need to be in the hands of.

So I am not going to say yet what my treatment is but I will say it is likely some surgery.

When it will happen I do not know.

What exactly he will do is something we are still discussing.

Who my doctor is is known to me and a few who need to know.

I learned through my hospital stay that sometimes I say too much...let too much out publicly.

Sometimes there are too many questions...phone calls when I am trying to be attended to for pain (yes please I love you all dearly but if I go in the hospital again please do not call the hospital and ask to speak to me...it seemed each time some well meaning friend called I was being attended to medically or was in so much pain it was really not a good time for a chat....)

I use this blog to get my feelings out but right now this particular medical crisis is one that I feel I need to sort out with myself, my team of doctors (including my oncologists because I am still a cancer patient) and my family and closest of friends.

I'm usually an open book but right now I need to keep the book a bit closed because I just can't have all the "you should go to him" or "you shouldn't do that!" or "you need second opinions from so and so" etc...

I had a discussion with my Aunt Jane as we left the neurosurgeons and I told her that I believe God has me on a path and has a plan for me and I need to trust in Him and trust that all has gone down as it should because it is part of His plan for my life.

I can go to many doctors and get many opinions but what was explained to me was pretty black and white and my anatomy is what it is.

Everyone's body is unique and different so hearing what your cousin's boyfriend's uncle had done to his back won't help mine...because it is MY spine and MY body...

I have to be in control here and use my own judgement and feelings on this so right now my judgement says that God is in control and I'm gonna follow God.

All of that being said I do have a point here and it's not so much about my condition itself but rather what I have learned about myself during all of this.

1) I can handle a lot of pain but at some point pain cannot be managed by my sheer will...

2) I am a warrior but no one can fight a war alone. You need an army. So I am building an army. We are gonna be #teamunicorn and for once in my life I will openly and honestly accept help from my friends because I am going to need it.

3) MRI's at 2 AM are annoying

4) my body is strong but sometimes it breaks...

5) hospital food is crappy but MH does make a damn good egg white omlette

6) God has a plan for me...it is not the plan I made but He is in control...I have to trust Him

7) nerve pain is far worse than surgical or muscle or joint pain...

8) I will never take walking, sitting or standing for granted again

9) nurses rock...and MH has the best ones in the whole world and I was so blessed to have the ones I did to take care of me...each and every human that attended to me was amazing and wonderful and I love each of them very much...

10) I can't change what happened to me so I have to move ahead...yes I hurt and it's been hard but whining about it endlessly does not change my situation or my spine...so I have to stay positive and look forward and move on the path.

So I will go back to #2 for a minute because that has possibly been the most impactful thing of all for me.

I've had to lean on friends.

Without KuteKaren2, Aunt Jane, Marvelous Maggie, Downtown Julie Brown, Super Sandra, Dreamy Deanna, my babes EthanBae and JohnBae, SuperSusan, SuperSuzanne, Marvelous Muffet, SweetLisa, GOTTESS, GOTT, TwirlerGirl, KuteKelly, HeavenlyHeather, MarvelousMichelle, and my AtomicBlondeTrish and so many I am sure I am forgetting I could not have made it through all of this...

I have needed help eating...feeding my cats...getting dressed...getting to the hospital...keeping my spirits up...getting groceries and cat food for me...bringing me treats to keep my spirits up...holding my hand seeing the doctors...

I have needed  a lot of help...

and if I have surgery I will need even more help

So I truly know that it takes a village to raise me and care for me...

I have needed the help of my doctors offices as well as my friends...and all the nurses who took care of me...

I don't ask for help easily.

I like to be the helper not the one being helped.

I'm the one who wants to jump in and take care of things and make things better for others.

But right now I am at the mercy of my body and I can't drive...lift or carry things...walk very far...stand very long...sit for very long...

I can't do much at all

So my friends have had to do it for me.

I can't tell you how humiliating it is to ask someone to bring you your toothbrush when you are stuck in bed but honestly I couldn't get up and walk far enough and stand long enough to do it...so others had to do it for me.

I've had to have help bathing and getting dressed.

Not easy for me (but lucky for me I am not modest so there ya go)

Asking someone else to help is hard for me to do.

But I also know that since I am someone who likes to help that others do to.

They feel helpless to change your situation so they want to help you by doing things for you.

I get that now.

I need to let my friends do things for me because it helps them too...it's acts of love and service and that means so much to me.

So I am learning...

and I will need to ask for more help so get ready...

I don't have a partner and the cats can't do anything for me other than snuggles and cuddles so I need my friends to do things I can't...

So when the time comes I will reach out and ask for the help...

and if you know me I will be specific about what I need...

and I can't tell you how much it means to me and how much I appreciate it.

I once said that friendships are like a garden...
you have some plants that bloom a short time and then go...
and others that bloom annually...
and some are vegetables and fruits and they nourish me...
and some are flowers and they add to the beauty of my life...
and some are trees and they shade and protect me...
and yeah there are some weeds...

Right now my friendship garden is in full bloom.

And right now all of you are the rain and sunshine in my world along with all the plants.

The plants are nourishing me as they do in real life because they give off oxygen and I need oxygen right now...and each plant in my friendship garden is giving oxygen and feeding me and making my days more beautiful.

My doctors are part of my garden too and so are my nurses and the techs and office staff that help the doctors...I guess they are the herbs and medicinal plants that help me stay healthy...

And God is the gardener...he is tending to all of it...

So thank you all for your love and support and prayers and help...

I need all of it.

And I am so grateful for all of it.

When a plan is made and things are clear I will let you know more.

For now keep blooming and flourishing in my garden of love and friendship...

Because as the Beatles say

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Inspiration Song: "I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends" by the Beatles...because these days I can't do things alone...I need help

Bye darlings...sorry to be harsh on the medical stuff but right now I need to sort things out for myself with my doctors and those closest to me. When I know more I will let YOU know more...

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)

hello darlings...

it's me....

Princess Whineypants

aka

She Who Complains A Lot

aka

The President of the "there is something wrong" club

aka

"that woman who blogs and bores us with all her medical issues"

yep...

that's me...

I have a few more titles but I will save them for another occasion...

So your Magical Unicorn Glitter Princess here is still dealing with a nagging hip.

I did get some answers...

sort of....

So I went to go see Dr. Joint and he was out on spring break.

So I asked if I could see Dr. Needles in the Knees but she too is out on spring break...

But luckily Dr. Hips was in (he specializes in hip pain) so I got to see him.

KuteKaren came with me...I needed a driver and she's a good set of listening ears...she often goes with me to these "I need to meet a new doctor" meetings so she is the perfect wingman.

Dr. Hips orders Xrays and then examines me.

He pulls up the X-Rays and I say: do you see cancer there?

Him: no, I don't see cancer

Me: ok then anything else you say is just fine...just as long as you don't see cancer.

He thinks I have torn my labrum---the labrum is the ring of cartilage that cushions your hip joint.

Damn

So he suggests the first line of defense is to get a cortisone shot in my hip.

KuteKaren and I go downstairs to see if I can get it done and there is a waiting room full of people who look like broken toys.

And sadly the doc who does the injections---
is out on spring break

He said I needed to see an "interventional radiologist"

Ha!

I know one of those...

she's a beautiful badass of a doctor...and a yoga instructor so yeah she is not only the most gorgeous creature who is smart and badass and bendy but she can fix you and teach you how to do a good down dog. (my students are obsessed with her instagram because she is such a rockstar of a human and her dogs look like toys...seriously they love her).

So I call Dr. Yogi and she can't do it but hoped her hubby could (sadly he could not but he tried) and all the docs she called---

were out on spring break

(I'm beginning to hate spring break)

But then my WarriorTwinTrish got involved and she found me a doc who could stick a needle in my hip. She never gives up and we have both battled the beast that is Uterine Cancer and both have the same docs, both cold capped to keep our hair, we are both blonde and we met at spin class. Not kidding. How perfect is that? I call us "Dr. Angel's Atomic Blonde's"...he is slightly terrified that one day we are going to force him to be in the same room with both of us...she was good preparation for him so he was good and ready for the Unicorn Glitter Princess...

So today I took myself down to see Dr. MoreNeedles and he stuck a big needle in my hip (guided by ultrasound) and shot in some lidocaine and some steroid.

I was hoping the lidocaine would numb me up and give me some relief but alas it didn't...but in a sense it did because I hurt but not the way I did earlier.

I am still in pain and this will take a few days if it works. If it doesn't it's another treatment and then surgery if that fails.

But I like Dr. MoreNeedles so I am having faith it's gonna work.

The mornings are the worst...

my knees already hate me for getting them up and walking but the left hip is basically screaming the whole time (or maybe that is me---because yes I have literally screamed out loud so loudly that I worry the neighbor will fear I am being attacked and send the police)

it hurts like a "motha"

(and no I do not mean moth...I mean the very bad word)

It took me 7 minutes to make my coffee this morning because the pain was so bad.

And I have a Keurig people so it shouldn't be that hard!

Anyway....let's hope this stuff helps my hip because I am not happy being away from the bike and my mat.

I need Revolution to keep me happy.

And I am missing my Glitter Man who is Jason Wimberley (using a real name here because he is a celebrity) who is coming to town to teach cycle classes and I was booked front row for his 90 minute ride on Saturday but I have been banned from the bike. The dude trains my favorite drag queen and celebrities, he high kicks during class and does the splits....he dances for us...he jumps on my bike and gives me sweaty kisses...and he loves me and I love him and he is one of my favorite humans in the world...

and I have to miss him and his class...

(excuse me I have to cry a little more right now...be right back)

(ok I am back...mascara running)

and when I don't exercise I can basically only live on air and water and lettuce and lemon juice...I need to workout to be able to just eat like a healthy person...I'm not even asking for pasta and bad stuff here....but even clean eating won't let me drop weight if I can't ride and flow

not kidding

not
kidding

so

not

kidding

and kiddo is coming home for spring break and he likes mom's good cooking...

I don't think he wants "air gumbo" for dinner...

and...

and this will be shocking to some of you...

especially those who know I hate country music...

I have a ticket to Garth Brooks for the Sunday show.

I
WILL
NOT
MISS
GARTH

I have waited almost 30 years to see him

and I finally get to with my Aunt Jane (and my sweet Aunt SuSu who gave me her ticket so I could see him because she knows I love him so much).

Last year when I was having chemo and it was announced that Garth was coming to the rodeo I told Aunt Jane "oh how I want to see him"

(in reality...and this is truth...in my head I was saying "I hope I live so I can go see Garth"...I never told her that)

Last week she called me and gave me the news and I cried...because it's Garth...

So bad hip or not...I'm gonna see Garth!

I've been fighting for the past 16 months and believe me I will cry through his concert because when I heard he was coming all I wanted was to live so I could see him...I needed something to fight for and he was one of those things...he was on the list of "what to live for".

What was on the list?

I'll tell you...

my kids
my Aunt Jane
my family
my friends
my students
GOTT, GOTTESS, GOTTSON
spin class
yoga
my instructors (MelV and KuteKim on top of that list)
JayVee, TwilerGirl, AngelAmy, KuteKaren and their kids
my #rideordie crew I met at Revolution who are now family
Dragon (and ok Zulu but he's a pest)
musicals
Tommy Tune Award nominations
watching children sing
getting do to Legally Blonde
seeing Hamilton and Dear Evan Hanson
and
Love---that I would find love before I die
and
seeing Garth Brooks perform

yep...that's what kept me going...

that's what I prayed for every time my veins filled with poison or that I laid down on the table and got nuked

so my hip be damned I will go see Garth on Sunday...

(oh and in the middle of it the nominations are announced for the high school musical awards so there will be that...)

I can't believe I am falling apart like this...it's like I am made of glass...

I have stage 4 UPSC
my knees are shot
I am in full blown menopause (and all that goes with it)
my eyes are terrible so I have contacts (for distance) and readers to see everything tiny
I'm overweight
my blood pressure is a tad high (but fully controlled)
my hair is thinner (but still here so not really complaining)
I have wrinkles (but my creams and botox help)
i get insomnia sometimes
I'm hot...then cold...then hot
and now my hip...

I feel like I need to be some little old granny lady with a sweater on and a cane that eats dinner at 5...

I'm 53...

not 83...

My body might be broken down but my soul is young and alive and wants to see the world, fall in love with a man who thinks I am worth the risks, do years more spin and yoga, and live life to the fullest.

I'm not ready to accept my AARP membership (I haven't...not ready to admit I am there yet)

I'm not ready to feel this old...

Thankfully my hair is not grey so I have that going for me...but not much else...

I don't need to parade around in a bikini but I would love to not hide when I go to the pool...and I still have a lot of life left in my stilletto collection and I'm not ready to wear old lady clothes yet...but don't worry you won't see photos on Instagram of me in a barely there anything....

I'm young at heart but my body sure isn't cooperating.

And frankly I'm not sure how to fix that other than exercise and Botox...

I used to think 50 sounded so very old.

And then I turned 50.

And yes, it sounds so damn old.

But I also know that I may be trapped in a 53 year old body but I am not 53 in my heart and head.

They say you are only as old as you feel....

well my body feels 80 but my heart says 35 and the brain says 40 (I loved being 40)...

A few weekends ago I had a little reunion with some girlfriends I knew in high school. We escaped to the hill country and sat around drinking a lot of wine and coffee and had good cries and girl talk. I even brought a silly mask that we put on that briefly made us all look 100 years old but then freshened our skin like a facial. But honestly as I looked at my beautiful friends I did not see age...I still saw those girls that I thought were so beautiful in high school that are even more beautiful now. These were girls who's beauty I always envied and who always caught the eyes of the cute boys. Their beauty was and is in their eyes and smiles...and yes in the few gentle lines in their faces that tell their age and lives well lived and loved. I love them dearly and more than ever. And for that weekend I wasn't old...I was back in high school and we were having a slumber party.

So my body might betray me but my heart never will...

age is a number...

life is to be lived and not counted...

beauty is beauty and it's not always about makeup and enviable figures and lots of hair...

beauty is in the soul

and my soul is eternal...

I just wish my hip was too...

Bye darlings: Inspiration Song; "I'm Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) by Garth Brooks...#becauseGarth

Bye Darlings---my body is aging but my heart isn't...I'll fight it as long and hard as I can...I didn't survive cancer to become a lonely old woman with no life...and I'm not ready to act like one either...Princess Whineypants is signing off for tonight---she wants to become Princess WineWearingPants...

#garthbrooks #garth #uterinecancer #uterinepappillaryserouscarcinoma










Sunday, March 11, 2018

Hips Don't Lie

Hello Darlings

well you know how I said I wanted to stop blogging about my cancer and my health?

Best laid plans...

But at least this IS NOT cancer...just a medical thing

My hips...specifically my left hip...is killing me.

And by killing me I mean that I have cried and screamed in pain trying to walk across my house...

My knees bother me regularly but I have never had joint pain like this before.

It starts in my hip and radiates down my leg.

I can't get comfortable...

Standing is unbearable...

Walking can be "it hurts but not awful" to "I can't take one more step"

Sitting is uncomfortable...no way to sit and not feel it.

Laying down is the only time I am not fully in pain...I'm at about 2-3 on a pain scale of 10 when I am in bed...otherwise it goes from 5-9...

9

not kidding...sharp dreadful "what the hell is that" pain.

I consulted Dr. Google about it...

I mean why go to a real doc when I can just get on WebMD or see what Google says...

And let me divert to WebMD for a moment---whenever I used to consult WebMD I would always get a list of answers and of course "cancer" was there.

It always made me think I had cancer...

And I always said "WebMD" always thinks I have cancer...maybe I have cancer!

But when I consulted it with my symptoms when I was bleeding and having the pain and my body felt off the last symptom on the list was Uterine Cancer.

And all those times I consulted it thinking I had cancer it was the one time I didn't think "I have cancer"....

because when the little voice in your head says something really really scary you can silence it by pretending nothing is wrong...

I'm not very good at quieting the scary voice so of course the minute all this pain started my head jumped to this:

OMG I HAVE HORRIBLE PAIN AND IT IS FOR SURE THE CANCER BECAUSE MY CANCER WAS IN MY PELVIS AND THIS IS IN MY PELVIS AND THEY RADIATED MY PELVIS SO NOW I PROBABLY HAVE BONE CANCER OR JOINT CANCER OR LYMPH GLANDS WITH CANCER SO BIG THEY ARE PRESSING ON MY JOINT SO IT IS FOR SURE CANCER AND I AM DYING BECAUSE DR ROCKSTAR SAID IF IT COMES BACK IT IS A BEAR TO DEAL WITH AND DR ANGEL SAYS WE DO NOT WANT A RECURRANCE BUT HERE I AM AND IT IS CANCER AND ALL THIS PAIN IS CANCER AND THE CANCER IS EATING ME UP AND I AM GOING TO DIE

yes....

that's EXACTLY what I said in my head about 50 million times over the last 5 days I have been dealing with this.

So I consulted WebMD and cancer didn't show up as an option

(whew)

but my brain just goes there anyway...

honestly I am pretty sure it is just bursitis of the hip but I think once you have had cancer ANYTHING that goes wonky with your body you will assume it is cancer.

I plan to go see Dr. Joint tomorrow (my orthopedic surgeon) and see if he can't fix me up so I can walk and most importantly spin and do yoga again (yes that is more important than just mere walking).

I've been dealing with this for 5 days and I have definitely learned something about myself and not just that my hip hurts like hell.

This little adventure in pain has taught me that not only will I always assume that my cancer is back but I also have learned I am super stubborn.

I should have called the doctor by Friday at the latest...but nooooo...

you see in my head it was cancer and I didn't want to hear it...

also I was afraid I would have to have an MRI and no way did I want that...

and I felt I could just use ice and heat and stretching and rest and it would go away...

but no...

still as bad...

maybe worse...

I'm very stubborn about these kinds of things so I end up messing myself up with it.

And as for resting---y'all know I hate that...

I live for my hustles and flows (my spin and yoga) and it does so much for me...everytime I walk into Revolution Studio I am instantly happy and ready for some good sweat and time with my friends there.

When I am away from spin and yoga and Revolution I am depressed...

literally...

I NEED to sweat and ride and move...

So not being able to for 5 days is making me cuckoo...

And I don't do well with sitting around...

So yeah, I am stubborn about going to see the doc and I need to workout to be happy...and cancer is the first thing I think is going on when something goes wrong with me...

which ultimately leads to the biggest thing I see about myself through all of this:

LOSS OF CONTROL

yep...this has caused me a loss of control and I am not dealing with it very well.

you see now that I have had all that cancer stuff I need to feel in control of my body again...I need to feel like my body is well and whole and healthy...

and there is NOTHING I can do about this hip pain other than to take pain killers (not an option I like at all) and occasionally I can find a position to lay or sit in that gives me a few minutes relief from the throbbing stinging burning pain.

During all of my cancer treatments I had no control---I couldn't control the pain, I couldn't control the nausea unless I took pills (which I hate), I had no control of my schedule--my life was planned around treatments, I had no control over the way I felt after chemo and radiation...all of that was in their hands...

I couldn't do what I wanted for a year...

I couldn't really live...

I just EXISTED to be treated...

so I was NOT in control of my life...

I was fighting to live but everything was out of my control...

I couldn't force my body to do anything...the chemicals and radiation could coax it to but there were no guarantees.

So here I am once again out of control and at the mercy of what a doctor can do for me and for the short term what I can do to manage the pain.

I often quote Maya Angelou---she was such an incredibly wise woman.

Maya said "you can tell a lot about a person from the way they handle a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights"...

In other words---how we handle frustrating things we have no control over...

well...for me...

FRUSTRATION...

with all except rainy days because that just makes me want to climb into bed.

Seriously people I don't handle being out of control well at all...and I just toss the tangled lights and I throw a grade A incredible fit if my luggage is lost...

So once again my body is teaching me lessons that I never wanted to learn.

How to be patient..deal with pain...stop being stubborn about seeing the doctor...and how to handle it when I can't go spin or flow or do anything...

All I have done today is try to sit in my chair (it hurts to sit) and eat...

that will do WONDERS for my diet..

I've hardly burned any calories today (half of what I usually do on a Sunday) and there is nothing I can do about it except whine because my hip literally starts screaming at me if I move around much.

And I have had about 138 hot flashes today so there is that...

I

am

pissed

This is NOT what I like to do and really I just want to scream (in pain and in frustration)

When I found out about the cancer I did ask God "why me?"

and

"why has this happened to me?"

but I came to turn that around and instead of feeling I had something put upon me to burden me I now say:

"WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS?"

My cancer has taught me a lot and now this situation with my hip is also teaching me...

about my body...my patience...my stubborness...

I told KuteKaren, JayVee, and Twiler Girl that I just want a month without medical stuff being in my way.

I realized I got it during the month of February...I didn't have to see doctors, get my port flushed, no scans, no poking, no blood draws, no medical stuff...

But here is March and in a week I see Dr. Rockstar for a checkup and that CA125 level is very very important.

And then in April I have a PET scan and I see Dr. Angel who will either be smiling and happy or have that worried look on his face that tells me he has to say something he doesn't want to...I love him endlessly but I really prefer happy smiling doctor to one who looks like he's about to say something he does not want to say...

so all of this is hanging over me and I'm here just trying to get back to spin class...

because I can't do anything about the other stuff but when I get on the bike or my mat I can forget what is wrong and lose myself in the movement.

I'm trying to take each hurdle I am forced to jump over as a chance to learn.

I'm 53 and I do not yet know much in this world...and I feel I have so much more learning and living to do.

Life is never a smooth flat road.

There are hills...

curves...

hairpin turns...

mountains...

valleys...

speed zones....

stop signs...

We all travel our road and the journey is ours alone...no one else's road looks like yours...

Mine was a fairly smooth flat road for many years...

then I hit upon some unexpected turns in the road and my marriage felt like I was constantly traveling up a hill with the brake on and no power...

then I divorced and the road became one of the unknown...with some speed zones to keep me from going off the edge and some curves along the way...

and then there was the big stop sign of cancer...

I couldn't keep traveling on the road I was on...I had to stop and reset my course and find some unknown roads to get me where I needed to go.

This little thing with my hips is like a speed zone...I need to slow down so I don't get stopped.

I don't like it one bit but I can't do anything about it except let a doctor fix it for me.

I'm trying to take each day as a lesson...a way to learn more about myself and my life and to find appreciation for things I never knew I wanted or needed and to let go of the things that will not make my life better.

I have re-evaluated what i want in a man to love...

I have learned who my real friends are...

I have learned that family is not only who shares your DNA but is also those who step up without you asking...

I have learned that I can't control everything and that I have to look at changes in plans as a chance to do something better or different...

I still wonder if it is the cancer as I sit here and write this.

I wonder if there is something terrible to be found lurking inside of me.

I'm tired of my battle but I will not stop fighting...but there are days I do want to lay down my gear.

I keep asking God to show me my purpose and to please let me find someone to share my life with.

I want to know what real loves feels like before I die.

I want to have some happiness in life that extends beyond my time with my kids or students or watching them on stage.

I want to know what it feels like to be loved and appreciated as the woman I am now.

I want to go to bed at night with someone next to me who will hold me when the fear comes creeping in.

I have friends who have been divorced less time than me that are engaged or are in serious relationships. But none of them have had cancer. They got love and I got Stage 4 UPSC.

I'm a good person and worthy of love.

I can cook a fabulous steak, be charming at a party, dress appropriately, carry on a conversation, tell a good story, and I am not unfortunate looking...and I love hard and deep and passionately and with my whole heart. I love my friends, students, family and most especially my kids with everything I have in me.

I've been told "he" is out there...but every time I find myself facing yet another medical crisis alone I feel like "he" is a myth (and I am grateful to the friends who fill in "his" place and listen to me cry or drive me to the doctor).

Sometimes I worry that the loneliness of battling this alone will ever make me give up.

I live mostly for my kids...and the students I call my kids...but I need more purpose in life than that.

My kids are grown...my students graduate...

I need more in life than coming home and sitting in my chair...and thankfully my love for Revolution fills hours each day toward that but in the end it is still just me and the cats.

And days like today where it would be really nice to have someone help me walk or finish the eggs when I'm crying from standing at the stove are hard...

I talked to a sweet friend the other day who has had a lot of loss in her life. She is divorced and she has faced medical challenges. When we talk we so often echo each other's feelings on how hard it is to lose our main purpose (for both of us being moms was our most important job and all we ever wanted) and how hard it is to be alone.

I want so much for her...and for me...

and there is a part of me that fears I might meet someone great who can't handle the cancer...or sitting through a high school musical.

And I need someone to do both because the cancer might never fully ever be something I don't have to worry about and as for the high school musical anyone who knows me knows my whole heart is on that stage with those kids and that I am never happier than when I am standing in the wing watching a show and seeing the kids I love so much do their thing...

So here I am riding alone in my little car that is my life and the back of my car is filled with books of all the things I have learned along the way and yet with each turn I see a new book I need to fill with the knowledge of how to handle things.

I'm ready for someone to take over driving or at least ride shotgun and navigate and handle the music.

Take your life as a chance to learn...

untangle the Christmas lights or just get new ones....

go buy whatever was lost in the luggage and move on and enjoy your vacation...

and go dance in the rain...

because if you can handle a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas lights you can handle just about anything...

including cancer...

and hip pain...

because if I can do it---anyone can....

Inspiration Song: "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira...because my hips are telling the truth that there is something wrong and the pain is real...i hurt...hopefully tomorrow the doc can fix me up...

Bye Darlings---listen to your body...and remember that life's journey is about learning as we go...and sometimes the winding roads are a lot more interesting than the smooth flat ones...






Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What You Want

Hello Darlings...

Here it is...

February 27, 2018

it's an anniversary for me...last year I called it a birthday but really in light of the cancer I'm reserving "birthday" for my "no more cancer day" and I am back to calling today an anniversary...

it's the anniversary of my freedom...

7 years ago I asked my husband for a divorce

a friend of mine (who ironically shares this date with me as her day her divorce was finalized) suggested it is my....

FREEDOMVERSARY

I LOVE IT!!!!!

So it is my Freedomversary...my 7th Freedomversary....

and I could not be happier...

even if I am still alone.

I poured myself a glass of champagne as I started this blog...I am celebrating.

Now you might find it odd that I would celebrate the day I left my husband but if you have followed this blog over the years you know that every year on Feb 27 I celebrate the fact that I am no longer married to him.

As I have said before he is not a bad man.

He's the father of my children and without him I would not have those two incredible humans to love.

But he's not the man for me and I know now that it was temporary and not my forever love.

When I was young I had a privileged life.

I had everything a child could want and most importantly I had a nice home, good healthy food on the table and two parents who loved me very much.

I had Barbies and Dawn dolls (remember them?)

I had a pool to swim in and a trampoline to jump on

I had dogs and cats and a big back yard

I lived on a ranch with plenty of room to room

I had sweet friends and they all had nice families

I didn't really want anything---except for dolls...I loved dolls...

As I grew I often got the things I wanted---I made cheerleader, I won at cattle shows, I got to go to my beloved camp every summer, and I got into the college I wanted to go to: Texas A&M

I had boyfriends and then I met a man I thought was like my dad: he was older (7 years to the day), handsome, funny, had great friends, and was very smart.

We were alike---and we were so very different.

But I saw him as my future so I molded myself to fit into what I needed to be to be in his world.

Basically I was Elle Woods applying to Harvard to chase Warner down...but thankfully I did not have to get into Harvard...

We married, spent many years as a couple and had kids...

and what was a puddle of difference between us soon became a pond...then a lake, and finally an ocean...

and I knew that what I wanted was to NOT be what he had...and I am pretty sure I had become what he didn't want as well...

If I am ever lucky enough to find love again I will not mold myself to become something I am not...I will not make myself over to fit into someone else's idea of who I should be.

I will be me...I will be who I am...

and who I am is:

complex
diverse
ageless
creative
liberal
loving
selfless
strong
childlike
giving
tempestuous
strong willed
messy
sparkly
talkative
curvy
loud
gentle
fierce

and

much more...

I cry at musicals and movies and sing in the car...

I dance when no one is watching and I dance even harder when someone is...

I talk to myself and tell myself I can do what I think I can't

I have faced a killer and lived to tell about it

I love lilies and animals and children

I can drive a truck and shoot a gun

I can cook like a chef but my knife skills are terrible and I hate to bake

I have clutter but my closet is organized

I love baths

I only like the rain if I am sleeping

I drink dirty martinis and wine and champagne and a lot of diet Dr. Pepper

I hate kale but I love greens

I am terrified of cockroaches and heights

I have friends of all ages, sexes, lifestyles, and careers

I love to spin and do yoga but I detest all other exercise

I am a rule follower but I get lost following directions

But mostly...

I
AM
ME

and I am ok with me...

and after 7 years of being on my own I know what will and won't work for me...

and cancer has refined those feelings so that what I once thought that I needed I now realize was only a want...

I need a man who is willing to take a chance on a woman who might die...and that's a big ask...

I need a man who isn't scared of my cancer and isn't afraid to face it if I must again...

I need a man who will sit through a high school musical and understand that my whole heart is on that stage---not in the costumes but the kids themselves...

I need a man that will know when I say "I can't" I really mean: "will you help me"...

I need someone kind, gentle, and understanding but who also is strong enough to know that I am a warrior and I cannot be tamed but I can be his...

I need a man who will know that when I am crying my eyes out and screaming and raging that it is only a war with myself that takes me to that point...that and unfairness in any manner...

and I want...yes truly WANT a man who knows I am worth fighting to have and keep because that man will become what I need...

what I want is a love that is equal...

what I want is a man who sees my soul and not just my blonde hair and green eyes

what I want is a man who will understand that I am a puzzle worth solving

what I want is a man who knows that I can be on my own but I choose to take him to love

my ex was never any of those things...but he is a good man...and thankfully now he is someone else's man

I am a magical unicorn princess

I am me...and I need someone who wants the me that I am...

so I celebrate 7 years of freedom but mostly I celebrate that during this time I have found me and I love me...

I'm not everyone's cup of tea but I am pretty sure I am someone's glass of champagne...bubbly and fizzy and special...and sparkly...

somewhere out there is a man who will get to be the man I choose to love...he will be what I want...

I don't know who he is...where he is...

I may know him or I may have yet to meet him...

but I am pretty sure that I deserve another shot at love and I deserve it to be with someone who when I say "I need you" he answers with "I am yours"

we all want love...

we are human

and sometimes what we want isn't what we need...

I had that before...

now it is time for me to have what I need...and it will be what I want as well

if you are alone, like I am, this is what I want you to take from this:

YOU ARE WORTHY
YOU ARE JUST WHO YOU NEED TO BE
YOU DESERVE SOMEONE WHO LOVES YOU FOR YOU

not the idea of you
or who you could be

but who you are...

you deserve love...

and I love you...

thank you for spending my freedomversary with me...

I don't regret leaving him...I don't regret being alone...I don't regret that I have waited to find someone so that I find the RIGHT someone...

I've had 7 years to ponder all of this...

I think 7 years is good...and I hope next year on my freedomversary I can say I am cancer free and in love...

it's what I want...

it's right in front of me...

I just have to open my eyes and see it all before me...

Inspiration Song: "What You Want' from Legally Blonde the Musical...because Elle thought she wanted Warner...but what she needed was to find herself and love herself and be someone even she wasn't sure she could be. Yes, she fell for Emmett and he was who she needed but the person she needed to love most was herself...and she did...and so did I...

Bye Darlings---I'm tired of being alone but I'd rather be alone than with the wrong person...and this time has given me time to love who I really am...and right now I love myself enough to know I deserve a man who knows I am a magical unicorn princess and I am worth all the sparkle...


Monday, February 26, 2018

So Much Better

Hello Darlings...

It has been quite some time since I blogged...but January and early February are my "busy season" getting ready for our spring musical and I was working pretty much non-stop and all my creativity was being poured into our show "Legally Blonde". Along with all of this work on the show I was blessed to get some good news regarding my cancer so here's a little update on all of this...

a few months ago I posed the question:

How does it feel to be told you are cancer free...

and at that time the answer was:

I don't know...

And now I can tell you:

I DO KNOW

I know how it feels...I know how it feels to have my savior doctor tell me that my scans are good and that I have a future and life ahead of me...

and it feels:

INCREDIBLY AMAZING

it feels like the joy I had when I found out I was pregnant...

it feels like the relief I felt when my babies were born healthy

it feels like the rest of my life is in front of me...

it feels like it is my second birthday...

it feels like I can make plans...

it feels like I have been dead for 15 months and now I have come alive...

I can't believe how very blessed I am by God and how good He is to me...

I can't believe how lucky I am that Dr. Angel saved me and that I somehow ended up sitting in his office...and how that beautiful man took an angry belligerent patient that did NOT want to go through radiation and cured her despite the fact that I walked out of his office the first time swearing I would never go through radiation...

God told me that he was my angel...and Dr. Angel truly is...and I can never express my love and gratitude enough to him because he made sure I could have a future...he worked hard for it (like he does for all of his patients) and his staff also made sure they did all they could to make me beat this stuff that was trying to kill me...

Every single member of that team saved me---from the sweet wonderful receptionists to the amazing nurses and techs, to the physicists that calculated how much radiation I needed during brachytherapy.

I had a team and my doctor was the coach and we all fought El Diablo together.

So when he told me that my scans were good I cried...

a lot...

many
many
many
tears

when he showed me the scans I asked him:

"are you saying YES that these scans are good?"

and he said:

YES

and I said:

"are you happy with these scans? Like are these good scans? Are there no scary blobs there that we should worry about?"

Dr. Angel just smiled and said he was happy with the scans and they were better than expected and that I could feel good about things.

and that there were no scary blobs I should fear...

(that's what I call the scary lymph glands that have cancer---the blobs---because all I see is blobs. He sees cancer and no cancer. I see blobs. But that's ok---I'm pretty sure if I asked him if he thought sequins or crystals would work better on a costume he would call them blobs...we have learned to adjust to each other's language)

So for several weeks after that fateful day I was super happy and feeling super glad.

But then the fear started to creep back in.

I made a mistake and looked at a cancer forum and then joined it. For a while it was nice trading information with the ladies on the board but then the reality that some of them were dying or died got to me. And hearing a lot of horror stories about Stage 4 being so deadly and all the recurrences and well, it started to make me feel like the cancer wasn't really gone but just hiding.

That's the thing about fighting cancer...you hear something that feels "good" and then there is something there to burst your bubble and make you question it all or allows the fear to creep back in.

I'm pretty sure that for the next few years every twinge I feel or every time I am tired or don't feel 100% I am going to worry that it is cancer.

I'm going to be scared to death before every scan and I will worry until he tells me it is ok.

I'm going to be worried that each time they draw blood for a CA125 marker that it will come back elevated and might mean the cancer is back.

And I don't know how to fight that fear...because it is a new sort of fear.

I'm not sure if this is true for all but for me each day that I wake up I am grateful to be alive but I also worry that it is the day I will find out I am no longer in remission or free of evidence of disease.

Cancer has shaped me...
it has changed me...
it has rearranged me...
it has pulled me in and out of darkness...
it has remade me...
it made me a new me...

So I decided to get off that scary forum, quit asking Dr. Google for answers and have decided that I need to live each day as the gift it is...

I've been eating clean (except for the week I was working all day at HBU and had to eat college cafeteria food...cookies happened...cookies happened because the rest of the food was so bland and bad).

I've been exercising almost daily (except for said week at HBU for the show and the week before)...and I am going to complete a challenge to do 60 spin and/or yoga classes in 60 days...yes that is a lot of sweat...but I set out to do it and I am just 2 classes away (I've got 2 days...it will happen)

I'm losing weight (intentionally) and feeling pretty good...

I'm a bit tired but I did burn the candle at both ends right on the heels of hernia surgery that was right on the heels of blood transfusions that were right on the heels of more chemo and radiation...but I love my students and I loved our show and I loved being there even on the 16 hour days...

But all told I feel SO MUCH BETTER these days...especially when I look at the past year.

I'm not sure how I will ever deal with the fear...I think each time I get a clear scan it will help but honestly it is going to be difficult to impossible to put cancer behind me.

I had Stage 4B...and it tried to kill me...

because Uterine cancer is so silent...like many of them are...

But the problem is with my cancer (and Ovarian) is that many of the symptoms mimic menopause and pre-menopause.

What I was feeling could have easily been written off as just part of my body aging...

or maybe thyroid issues...

or stress...

so
many
other
things
than
cancer

and then the truly terrifying part for me is that once it was found it had traveled but only because I am basically an Oompa Loompa (nice and short...let's call it "fun sized" shall we?) my Dr. Angel was able to discover that there was cancer in the lymph glands in my neck.

I'm one of the lucky ones...

it was found
I am under the care of the best doctors
my treatments seem to have worked

I can't ask for much more right now...

So while "you might still have deadly cancer" dances somewhere in the nether regions of the back of my mind I plan to move forward...

I get to celebrate birthdays---mine and my kids

I get to keep spinning and doing yoga...and I am closing in on 600 spin classes and 300 yoga flows at Revolution so hahaha to cancer, and radiation, and chemo and blood transfusions and 2 major surgeries and bad knees and living in a theater for 2 weeks ever year...

I get to enjoy my home

I get to love on my kitties

I get to be a mom to my children and a "mom" to my students and Mama Bear to my Revolution peeps...

I get to wake up each day and hit the floor and see what kind of trouble I can stir up to make God say "I'm not ready for her yet" and for the devil to say "I don't need her here..."

I look forward to travel...
to musicals....
to being with students
to grandkids (a long long time from now)
and
maybe
I can look forward to love...

It would be nice to have someone to go with me when I see my son or daughter...to cook for...to come home to after a long day...and if I am really lucky he will sit through a high school musical and understand why I find such magic there with my kids...

We just did Legally Blonde...it was one of the best, if not the best, shows I have had the privilege of being part of.

The kids were amazing and we had a blast.

Our beautiful and sweet leading lady (Elle) came down with the flu the week of the show...and I ached for her knowing that the show was riding on her shoulders and that she felt terrible.

Our last show was a struggle but somehow she nailed it.

I learned a lot about strength from her...from a beautiful 17 year old young woman...

I watched her bravely go out there and sing her heart out for 4 shows even though I know all she wanted to do was be in bed. But she willed her body to go on and her voice to sing out.

During one quick change my heart broke...she looked so tired...and she was pushing herself to be the best she could...it was our last show...the show we were judged on...

she ran backstage and the girls changed her into the "bunny" costume (a leotard and ears) and I handed her a cough drop and water...and held out my hand for her to spit the cough drop in..

I wasn't afraid of getting sick...she needed a mom backstage and I love her so by golly spitting out a cough drop in my bare hand was what we were doing...

she climbed the stairs to her entrance spot behind a door and adjusted her costume and ears...she smiled a weak smile down at us...my heart was breaking...

she put her hand on the door...

and instantly I watched her go from sick young lady to Elle Woods...she stood up straight, opened that door and made her entrance...

and in that moment I saw strength beyond her years...

and I will admire her for it until I breathe my last...

I've seen my kids do it before...my SashaFierce (I call her that because she is more beautiful than Beyonce and has all her fierceness) had to get out and be Belle and sing a song called "Home" just hours after learning her beloved grandmother had died...she did the whole show with a broken heart and sang a song about home knowing her grandmother had been called home...

17 year old girls can be stronger than we know...

I am stronger than I knew I could be....

we don't know how strong we are until we have no choice but to be strong...

There is a song in Legally Blonde the Musical that Elle sings when she finds out she got the internship...something even she wasn't sure she could get...

and then she sees her name up on that list....and realizes someone knows that she exists...

and that is her name in black and white...and she realizes it's time to fight...

she tells her ex that it is better than the times they had together...

she calls her mom...

she vows to be early and dress as she should...

and she believes in herself...

when I saw the musical on Broadway 10 years ago I sobbed during that song...it struck a chord with me and deepened my love for the character...so when GOTT announced we were doing Legally Blonde I finally had my dream show (thank you God for letting me live to do it) and I knew I was going to get to hear that song sung again on the stage by a beautiful young woman...

and every night I snuck into the wing on stage right and watched "Elle" sing that song...and each night I sobbed with pride for that sweet girl singing it, for the character of Elle, for me and for every young woman that faced a challenge she didn't know she could not only meet but could beat...

because sometimes we can be and do so much better than we thought we could...

I was challenged with cancer...I had to fight...and I wasn't sure I could...that I could handle the treatments and survive...that I could beat Stage 4...

the odds weren't good...

Elle Woods had to get into Harvard with a fashion degree...but she did...

I had to beat Stage 4 with my beat up body and no partner (but the best aunt and friends in the world)...and the best doctors in the world...

I had to go up against El Diablo...

I've never had a bigger challenge...

but there, in black and white, on my precious Dr. Angel's computer screen was my scan...

and it was clear...the scan was clear....

and I had won the fight...

or at least for now I had...

and the feeling of hearing him tell me that my scans were good was so much better than I had imagined...

so so so much better...

it was like being told that I am loved...so very very loved...

because I loved myself enough to fight
and my friends and family loved me enough to support me
and my doctors loved me enough to try to cure me
and God loved me enough to say "not yet My child"

and I am so much better than before...

Inspiration Song: "So Much Better" from the musical Legally Blonde the Musical. It's my favorite song in the show...it has been one of my favorite songs from ANY show for a long time and when I hear it I feel like Elle...the Broadway version is wonderful but for me, from now on---the best version of it I will ever hear was sung on the HBU stage this February by a brave and beautiful young woman who I love like she is my own...because to me she is so much better than any Elle before...

Bye Darlings....cancer feels terrible....but being on the other side of cancer is so much better than I can ever say...







Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Let There Be Love

Hello Darlings!

I'm just a blogging little fool these days...I think it is because I need a lot of self therapy so here we go...

I FINALLY got back on my yoga mat tonight.

It's been 10 long weeks without yoga.

I didn't realize just how very much I missed it until I did my first downward dog and it all came rushing back like a warm hug in that very warm room.

For me yoga is not just exercise for my body. It is also a workout for my soul. I do a lot of working shit out on that mat.

Speaking of my mat---my poor beautiful pink mat has been neglected for so long that it refused to open up...it kept wanting to curl back up.

Dear Beautiful yoga mat:
I will not leave you unattended for so long again...I love you and you are home to me. You have been soaked in sweat and tears and you never fail me. I promise to treat you better and at least open you up to breathe next time I have to take an extended break.
Love,
Me
The Girl Who Said She Would Never Love Yoga or Own a Yoga Mat

So earlier today I stepped on a long stainless steel object with a very sharp point today. Picture a very long tack with a rather large (in diameter) spike...

it hurt
a lot

it hurt a lot

alot alot

it went right into the arch of my foot

I'm gonna stop now because right now I know all of you are mentally feeling it...and you are cringing

the reason I mention it is because of stepping on said tack (when I dropped it I KNEW my foot would find it before my eyes did---yup my right foot found it) I was unable to spin tonight so I knew it was the universe telling me to do yoga.

My beloved friend who was supposed to teach messaged me she had the flu so I had no idea who would be leading the flow...

to my delight and utter surprise it was my darling JohnJohn...

thank you universe...this was meant to be...

JohnJohn became an instructor while I was on doctor ordered banishment from yoga so I have been waiting to take his class and the stars aligned...

After hugs and kisses I settled on my mat and child's pose was...ouch...

so I modified...

but class, and I, flowed on and by the time we hit savassanah I was back in my yoga bliss...

As class started JohnJohn asked our intention for the year and also said "what is your word for this year?" and went on to explain that it had taken him a bit to find his word.

Mine popped into my head.

2016 was HEALTH (I started the year wanting to figure out why I felt so crappy...it took until October to know why...)

and

2017 was SURVIVE

so as soon as JohnJohn said it I knew...

2018
would
be

LOVE

yes...LOVE

Because I want to approach this year and find so much love...

not just romantic love (but yes that is very important)

but also:

self love

love for others

love for those I struggle to love

love for things I do not love

love for things that make me want to run away

love for things that scare me

love for the sake of just being more loving

Now I KNOW I will not find a love for kale or heights or cockroaches...those are firmly and forever in the "hate" column...

But I might find a love for things that I don't think I enjoy...or things I like but won't commit to...

I think the love for others is easy for me...I am a woman who loves quickly, deeply, fiercely and easily.

But there are some I struggle to love and maybe what I can find for those people is not so much a "love" love but more of a tolerance and mindfulness to be more generous with myself or my feelings toward them.

(sorry...that will NOT extend to the current resident of the White House...he's right there with cockroaches and kale with me...)

I think sometimes we can show love to those we don't necessarily love...by being kinder or more thoughtful or less judgemental.

There are certain people who just push the "drive Anice cray cray" button...those are the ones that I need to find a love for. I don't have to love them per se...just maybe not let myself be affected by their actions.

In Matthew 5:44 the Bible says:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those who speak evil about you, and persecute you

I need to work on that...



lot

a lot 

a lot

alot alot...


yup...that's one I have got to put some time into...

That takes work...


and it is super duper hard to love someone who has wronged you...or said nasty things to or about you...


and there are people like that I will never love but maybe, just maybe---I can find a way to dislike them less and I can love them by praying for them to be happy and well (even that person in the White House)


as for kale and cockroaches---I don't think Jesus means that I have to love them...


(I do plan to ask God (a LONG LONG LONG time from now when I get to heaven) why He made cockroaches. I'm sure He has a reasonable explanation and I'd like to hear it...)


Now the one I might have the hardest time with is not romantic love but rather the self love.


Oh I definitely absolutely for sure want a nice man to love and to enjoy wine and movies with and to cook for and to sit on the couch and talk to and to travel with...


I want that so much...


I am sick and tired of being alone and you people are sick and tired of me whining about it...


I don't know how I will find that man---whether he drives a big ass truck or not...but he WILL know I like lilies and that he has to kill bugs for me.  I know he is out there. He's waiting for me like I am waiting for him. We just need to find each other...I need to find him before it warms up and the bugs come out again...


But I'll be damned if next January 2 I am blogging about being alone for another damn year...


Nope...THIS is the year I get to remember what it feels like to have a man tell me I am special and pretty...I went through 24 years of marriage of NOT hearing that very much so I have to reach waaaaaaay back in my memory bank to remember that but I do know that I liked it.


So hey---you---you man that God intends for me: COME FIND ME NOW


I'M READY AND HOPEFULLY NOT DYING ANYMORE


So yes, that part of love is a challenge...but self love---that one is a bitch to overcome.


I like myself just fine in many ways.


But I am hypercritical of myself in many ways.


I often see the flaws before the good parts...


and when I get down the flaws are magnified.


I'm the kind of girl who needs to work on taking a compliment.


you see---when you say something nice to me about myself I often find myself saying "thank you BUT" instead of just saying "thank you" and leaving it at that.


Many of us do that.


When someone compliments my appearance I often say "thank you but I wish my hair/dress/legs/makeup/body was not...(insert critical word here)


I need to just say thank you.


Like I do when someone tells me I have cute boots on...


(and maybe to that I need to stop saying how cheap they were...)


I need to accept a compliment and take it in and really ACCEPT THE COMPLIMENT. And by accept I don't just mean say "thank you" but take in what the person said and feel good about it.


I also need to not look in the mirror and see all the wrong or messed up things...and focus on what is good or I feel happy with. And maybe, like the Bible says about loving my enemies, I can find a way to like my flaws even if I don't love them.


I need to also find a way to love myself more by putting myself first sometimes. 


Oh that one is hard for me...so often I say "yes" to things that stress me out or make me rearrange my life or make me give up something I wanted to do for myself because I feel I need to give to others or be there for someone else.


Last year I had no choice but to put myself first. 


I was trying to live.


But sometimes I still did things that weren't necessarily in my own best interest.


And sometimes I don't just love myself enough to say "I can't" 


or 


love myself enough to say "I deserve this" 


I often don't think I deserve to treat or spoil myself (unless it is a Southwells Hamburger and then hell yes I am on board with treating myself).


I think a good example is me and avocados.


(yes, here we go again with avocados...)


I used to not buy avocados.


Because they are expensive.


So I didn't feel like I deserved avocados.


Because they cost almost $2 sometimes.


But I can usually stretch one large $2 avocado into several breakfasts or meals for myself.


One day, not long after I split from the ex, I was in HEB and there were some beautiful avocados.


I got ready to pass them by but then I thought:"I could really go for an avocado tonight"


But I looked at the price and got ready to push the cart by them and then I decided to grab one.


If I could waste stupid money on fast food why wasn't I worth spending $2 on something that was actually GOOD FOR ME.


yes, it was pricey but at least it was $2 well spent 


(as long as I ate the avocado when it was ripe...they are tricky little suckers)


So from then on I decided to buy myself avocados at times other than having a party or guest...I deserved the avocado


(that same logic does not apply to me and Starbucks...I don't get Starbucks...$6 coffee is something I can't enjoy but I can enjoy $12 wine...go figure)

The point of all of this and the avocado is that I need to feel I am worthy of treating myself to things that are good for me or make me feel good...

I don't need to go hog wild but the occasional massage or new purse isn't going to bankrupt or kill me.

I've tried to be better about it...I spent years not paying attention to my hair and then when I almost lost it I realized how dear it is to me. So now I have an incredible hairdresser who makes my hair look amazing and it's worth it to me to pay him to do so.

And I have bought some new clothes (and boots...) because I have lost weight but I also feel just as good about getting into something I already have in my closet because I loved that dress or skirt or top enough to have held onto it.

So I am working on ME...and LOVING me...

and not just loving myself enough to save my life but to actually LIVE my life...

and to LOVE MY LIFE

I give lovely freely to so many but the person I am most stingy with is myself.

But like the avocado...and I deserve the avocado...I also deserve my own love.

Love isn't just about romance...love is giving of ourselves to someone...and sometimes that someone needs to be ourself.

I want to spend this year spreading and sharing as much love as I can.

And I want all of you to help me do it.

So as sweet beautiful JohnJohn said: find your word.

My word is love.

Let's spread love nice and thick and spilling out everywhere.

Let there be an abundance of love.

Let there be so much love that there is an excess of it.

And let's all soak up as much of it as we can.

And let's all love ourselves a little more...even if it just means you buy yourself an avocado.

Inspiration Song: "Let There Be Love" by Christina Aguilera (spin teachers take note: I LOVE to spin to this song it is literally maybe my favorite sprint song ever). It's not necessarily about the kind of love I am talking about here but I love the song...

Bye Darlings...what is your word? Find your word! And if it is LOVE let this year be one that LOVE is what you do...let there be love...










Monday, January 1, 2018

From Now On

Happy 2018 Darlings!

Here we are on the first day of a new year...

For me 2017 was absolutely the crappiest year of my life (other than my daughter graduating college and getting our Tommy Tune nominations (high school music awards) and my Dr. Angel discovering cancer in my neck THAT NO ONE ELSE FOUND so I could be saved).

Besides all the stupid horrible cancer stuff I had to face I also lost my sweet beloved kitty Seringa. She had been with me for 14 years and she literally was the sweetest baby on the planet. She never fussed, she loved so cuddle in bed and I loved her so much.  Putting her "to sleep" because she had a cancerous mass in her pelvis (ironic, isn't it?) was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. And it was the day after chemo---so not only was I in emotional pain from the loss of her but I had the physical stuff from the chemo...it was not a good month...

Since I literally spent all of 2017 trying to fight what was trying to kill me (or dealing with the after affects of the treatments they were giving me) I am ready to start 2018 and have a better year.

I used to make the "usual" resolutions:
exercise more
lose weight
clean up my diet
spend more time with family
get work done quicker
be more organized
blah
blah
blah
blah
blah

Ugh

and when I would set a goal for HOW much weight to lose I always felt like a failure...because it was unrealistic and too much pressure...

As I enter 2018 I am NOT making resolutions...

A friend of mine, PetroGirl, suggested instead of RESOLVING we should be EVOLVING...

To resolve is to firmly set a course of action.

But that's just PLANNING...

Goal Setting...

and goals are good...they are always good...

but often we do the part where we set the goal but we don't set the course of action to achieve that goal.

So it does no good to say "I'm going to lose 10 lbs" if you don't know what you are going to do to achieve that goal.

Or to say "I will exercise more" and you don't join a gym or workout boutique and you don't set a schedule to actually go and workout...

I love that I have to book my bikes at Revolution---it makes me commit to going and it sets a schedule for me.

But to EVOLVE is to develop gradually..from a simple to complex form...

So for that "lose 10 lbs goal"---set your course of action to be one that allows you to develop slowly so you don't feel like its a "diet" but rather an eating plan...

a lot of people are doing the "keto" diet to lose weight and for a lot of people it works GREAT. It's the old "Atkins" diet given a new name. For me Atkins never worked and the severe deprivation of carbs to get you into ketosis just isn't me...but if you do it right (and NEVER cheat because the most minor of cheats will have you gain weight quicker than you drank that glass of wine) and you have your doctor ok it (because going into ketosis can be dangerous for some people) it's a great way to drop some pounds.  Google "keto diet" and you will get a lot of info to learn more...and please know that just because it doesn't work for me that I don't think it is a good plan...it is just not a good plan for ME

But to me that's not an evolution...that's a diet plan...

I do better with an evolution---where I don't suddenly cut out a bunch of stuff and change everything about how I eat.

So I lost 60 lbs last year (some of it gained during chemo)---which hey is another GOOD thing---by just cutting out some stuff but not depriving myself.

I cut out the "bad" carbs---bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes, sugar...and I did it slowly...the potatoes, rice and pasta went first...then the bread (I switched to a whole wheat health bread that comes in a smaller size loaf) and finally the sugar (which also means alcohol).

Do I still eat bread? Sometimes if I am at a restaurant with REALLY GOOD bread I MIGHT eat some...but sometimes I would rather cheat with a glass of wine. Otherwise I just have one slice of Dave's bread (green label)for breakfast or 2 slices with my lunchtime sandwich...

I allow myself potatoes or pasta once a month.

I do eat brown rice but in very low amounts and not very often. And usually with sushi or a poke bowl...

My diet EVOLVED into what it is...although to be perfectly honest it all went out the window this holiday season and I gained a few pounds back but sometimes you just have to eat:

tamales
prime rib
yorkshire pudding
cheesecake
shortbread cookies
gumbo
hamburgers
wine
wine
wine
wine
wine

hmmmmm....I see a lot of wine there...

and yes there was a lot of wine...

So if you are looking to drop a few plans MAKE A PLAN....and don't just cut out everything at once or you will feel deprived and can't keep going...whether is is cutting carbs, or eating less meat or red meat, or just cutting sugar take it slowly and just get rid of one thing a week.

For less carbs drop one "bad" carb a week but fill up with good healthy ones (google "low glycemic diet" and you will see which ones are "bad" and "good")

For less meat/red meat cut meat out of one meal a week to start with...or replace something you would normally make with red meat with chicken or turkey....tonight I made turkey chili---and I can't tell that it is not beef. I'm not saving that much in calories because you can get lean beef but I'm looking at the whole picture here and trying to cut back. After a few weeks on my current eating plan I plan to drop at least one meal a week that has meat and go meatless...

And sugar is a devil in a lot of places so start with the easy stuff---stuff you know has sugar in it---and go from there.

I never felt deprived eating this way because if I wanted to eat something I did---because it wouldn't wreck my eating plan if I did cheat. It just set me back.

And if fitness is one of your goals for 2018 don't just run to the nearest gym, workout like crazy for a week straight and then burn yourself out. Start slowly and jump in. Try something new. A lot of workout places offer a trial membership so you can try it and see if it is for you.

Or try Class Pass which gives you the opportunity to try several different places to workout and see what makes you happy.

Sometimes it is the exercise and sometimes it is the place you do it at.

There are a lot of spinning places and yoga places in Houston but for me Revolution is my favorite place because I love the people there so I don't go to the "big name brand mentioned all the time by celebrities" place because I am very happy where I am. Plus I pay less.

I expanded my yoga to include a second studio just because I needed a little flexibility when my schedule got crazy...so I cut back on a few other things so I could add in some other classes.

Explore what your city has to offer and give things a try. I never ever thought I would love yoga but I honestly do. I've tried Pilates a few times and found it hurts my knees and I watch the clock so that's one I don't do but I might revisit it again sometime...

And if gyms aren't your thing find a way to do it at home. Buy some light weights (you can do more than you think with just hand weights and a body bar). Subscribe to an online yoga program or something similar...just move!

No one becomes a marathoner overnight.

It takes training and it's an evolution of training that gets them to the point that they can run that far. You don't just start running and go 26 miles...

take any fitness goal the same way---start out slowly and then follow a plan to add in more until you hit a balance.  No one plan works for everyone...

I have some other areas I want to EVOLVE in...

I want to:
declutter my house
find love
sell some things I no longer need
get rid of some of the things I have in storage
shop less (for groceries and for "things")

So I have made a plan for some but not all...

I'm going to start with what is in my house and take it room by room, cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, closet by closet.

I won't try to do it all at once...if i do I will be overwhelmed.

I admire people who can just go into a room and reorganize it all at one time without stopping but I have ADD and I know my limits. So one thing at a time.

Once I have the house decluttered (and some things sold that I find I don't need) I will tackle the storage stuff...

which will lead me to shopping less for "things" because I am sure I will find a whole lotta stuff that I didn't realize I had..or don't need more of...

As for the groceries my eating plan will evolve into a meal prep plan so that on Saturday I can look at what my upcoming week is looking like and shop for what I plan to cook/eat and not make so many trips to the store.

As for the find love part---well that is also an evolution and that is one I need to figure out.

Online dating is a big hard "no" for me so I need to find other ways to put myself out socially and maybe I can finally meet someone now that my life isn't revolving around chemo and radiation and feeling horrible afterwards...

Goals are great...and so I have some...I plan to evolve to meet those goals...but I also know that a goal not met is not a failure but instead I need to adjust my planning and course of action.

So this is how I plan to evolve over this next year...join me in as many ways as you find are part of your evolution....be it diet, fitness, cleaning up your life and space or just growing...I will be part of your journey and you are part of mine...

From now on I know I have been given the gift of life...I have a second chance to live...to love...to express myself...to move forward...

From now on I will find ways to look ahead and keep going in that direction...

From now on I will be grateful that I have been given time to do the things I have put off or ignored...

From now on I will be ME...(see yesterday's blog---"this is me")

From now on I will evolve and become a better version of myself than I was the day before...

From now on I will take each day as a gift

From now on I will remember the warrior spirit and strength that got me through cancer and use it to forge through other trials in my life

From now on I will strive to be a light and not just live in the light...

From now on I will share my sparkle with love and not just by spreading glitter...

from now on I will shine from within...

from now on I will remember that love is a gift and I am worthy of that gift

from now on I will remember that the only person I am in competition with is myself....

from now on I will remember that my body is still healing and is not the same body I had 5 years ago so if I don't achieve as many calories burned in a workout, or don't push as hard IT IS OK.

from now on I will remember that deprivation is not necessary but moderation works for me...

from now on I will remember that God isn't done with me yet...He has more to show me and teach me and will continue to refine me...

from now on I will continue to use this blog as a forum for inspiration and change...and love

from now on I will remember that I am just me....and "me" is good enough...

Inspiration Song: "From Now On" from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. Yes I am obsessed with that movie and the music from it. But the words really resonate with me on this song about not being blinded by the light but to remember what matters...

Bye Darlings---what is your evolution going to be in 2018? Evolve, resolve, plan, set goals, reach out for more---but remember that you are YOU and a goal not achieved is not a failure...it just requires an adjustment in your planning...