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...



Sunday, December 31, 2017

This is Me

Hello Darlings...

I went to see my favorite movie of this year the other day: "The Greatest Showman". I went with GOTTESS, GOTT, and GOTTSON.

GOTTESS and I cried through the whole movie....every number made us burst into tears. The beauty of the songs, costumes, choreography and styling made us cry happy tears...and GOTT as usual thought we were cute---if not a little freaky for it...but he's used to it with us...

If you are not familiar with the movie it is a musical fictionalized account of PT Barnum's life.

And if you know who Barnum is you know it was a circus of freaks and oddities that brought him fame and fortune.

There's a point in the movie when the Bearded Lady sings a song about being "different" and it really resonates with me as I often find myself thinking I am strange, unusual, and different.

I joke that I am a magical unicorn warrior princess...but that is how I see myself: magical in that I have overcome things I wasn't sure I could, a unicorn in that I am a rare being for all my odd combinations of talents and faults, a warrior because I have battled something that literally has been trying to kill me and a princess in that I like me some sparkle and glitz and princess-y things...

It's taken me 53 years but I finally actually like who I am and I embrace my uniqueness and differences.

Do I love my fat dimpled thighs?

no...

make that:

HELL NO

but I've never had skinny thighs so at this point in life I have accepted it and along with my big fat booty and I will deal with them.

I gained weight for a few reasons:
1) I was ill...my body was fighting cancer before I knew I had it so my metabolism was not working properly
2) then I had chemo and the devil drug Decadron made me think that I was literally starving all the time...I basically turned into my cat Zulu (who thinks he is starving if he can see the bottom of his bowl)
3) I like to cook and I cook good food
4) I like to eat...and I like to eat good food...and I like to eat the good food I cook

I'm never going to be thin because my metabolism is basically running at the glacial speed of a sloth.

And I am never going to give up enjoying food because unless I live on a diet of water, lemon slices and AIR I will gain weight...

So I have accepted my curves and am trying to embrace them...

I have also accepted that I am a crier.

If you know me you know I can be set into tears at the drop of a hat.

Things that make me cry:
beautiful things like art and fashion
sentimental movies
my students performing
my children achieving their goals
those damn "save an animal" commercials
The Color Purple
The Greatest Showman
The Lion King
Aggie football
Game of Thrones
cute animal videos
babies
chemo
fear of dying
lonliness
Hallmark commercials (but not the movies...weirdly I don't watch them)
bullying
seeing my children when they come home
the song "She Used to be Mine"
and the list goes on and on and on...

I cry...

it's just part of me...

Hopefully the next man who I let into my heart will fall in line with the old saying:
"find a man who ruins your lipstick and not your mascara"

This year I cried a lot...over so many many things but mostly for all the crap I have been put through with this damn cancer.

I've been tested beyond what I thought I could stand.

And some things pushed me to my limit:
the thought of losing my hair (so I didn't)
being told I was Stage 4 and not 3 (so I had more treatment)
my first chemo (handled it like a boss)
fear of dying (oh hell no)
missing my workouts (I need to sweat)

No one ever has a year where every thing is sunny and rosy and nothing bad happens. I had to fight cancer. Other friends have lost loved ones or their homes (thank goodness God knew my plate was full and I was spared those things).

Illness is one of those things you have zero control over.

Because cancer gives zero "f'cks" if you are young or old, fat or skinny, rich or poor, gay or straight, married or single, blonde or dark haired, pretty or not so pretty, or whatever the hell you are.

Cancer is gonna get who cancer is gonna get.

Other than my weight I have lived a fairly healthy life and yet here I sit battling a Stage 4 cancer that most do not survive....or at least not for long.

I've tried to live life as a good person...I try to be good, kind, loving, helpful, giving, supportive, friendly, compassionate, wise, discerning, and just generally try to be a person who does more good in life than bad...that gives more than she takes...that loves more than she hates...and that helps more than she hurts.

And yet I am alone and I have cancer.

(Oh please oh please oh please do not message me that I am not alone...we have been over this...friends and loved ones are very helpful but for me it would have been so nice to have had a man to hold me the nights before chemo when I was terrified or who would have kissed me and told me I was cute in my cold caps or would have held my hand when the doctors told me all the bad stuff. 

 And 99% of you who tell me I am not alone---are not alone yourselves. So please...don't....there is a difference... and if you have someone you love you have no clue what it is to be alone and ill....because if you became ill you would not be alone...and if you are alone and blessed not to be ill you won't get it either)

So I am alone...and I have cancer...

but it doesn't define me...

it might anger and sadden and frustrate me but it does NOT define me...

I am more than my illness...

This year I have survived:
5 rounds of chemo (the 1st of 6 was in 2016)
hours in a freezing cap
25 rounds of radiation to my pelvis
3 brachy treatments
30 rounds of radiation to my neck
4 infusions of cisplatin
4 blood transfusions
a hernia surgery
countless blood draws
a million needle sticks
hours in waiting rooms
CT scans and a PET scan
more nausea pills than i can count

It's a lot to handle.

My stomach looks like a road map to hell...no one will ever see me in a bikini again...

I am battered and scarred...I look like a broken doll...

But those scars might be visible but they do not define me.

When we have to face our toughest challenges...our darkest fears...our highest mountains and hurdles we see what we are made of.

We transform from human to warrior...

Sometimes it is facing poison in your veins....or water rising in your home...or watching a loved one die...or saying goodbye to a marriage or relationship...or overcoming an injury...or surviving a business setback...

A warrior emerges from the shadows of the doubts we have about ourselves.

So as I see myself and define "this is me" on the last day of 2017 I am:
stronger than I was a year ago
battle scarred and weary but not defeated
hopelessly in love with the hope of finding love
devoted to my children and friends
prouder than ever of my students
sentimental and sappy but good with it

I am sparkly and I do not color inside the lines and I can't be put into a neat little package that defines me or confines me...

I have wings to fly because my Angel doctor gave them to me as he tries to cure me...
I have a song to sing because Dr. Rockstar made sure I stayed alive
I have tears to cry because I have love in my heart
I have strength that can only come from having been weak

I would hope that the most beautiful thing about me is not my face, or my green eyes or my hair but rather my loving heart...

I would hope that the strongest thing about me is not battling cancer but HOW I battled it...

I am weird and wonderful
I am odd and sweet
I am a glitter unicorn warrior princess

and no one can change that in me...nor can cancer...

My armor is rose gold and studded with crystals...my shield is golden and shiny to reflect the bad stuff away...my weapons are love and faith...

I survived a year that many would not have...because a lot of women die from El Diablo.

I vowed on New Year's Eve last year that I would see this day---December 31, 2017.

I am here....and I will see many more...

Thank you all for these last 365 days of love and support and reading all this word vomit I do and all my endless complaining and whining...

and thank you for letting me be me...

This is Me...

and I like Me...

she's not perfect

but she's Me...

Inspiration Song: "This is Me" from "The Greatest Showman". The music and lyrics are by the team (Pasek and Paul) that wrote "dear Evan Hansen" and "LaLaLand". Kesha does a very beautiful cover of the song but it is Keala Settle's performance from the movie that does me in every time. If you have not seen the movie---go!

Lyrics...because they are so powerful:

THIS IS ME
by Pasek and Paul

I'm not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one will love you as you are
[Pre-Chorus]
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
[Chorus]
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am great, I am proof
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
[Post-Chorus]
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Bye Darlings: Happy New Year to you...may 2017 be in your rear view mirror if it was a tough one to get through and may 2018 be better...



Saturday, December 23, 2017

Poison

Hello Darlings,

Today is an anniversary of sorts...

December 23, 2016 I had my first chemo treatment.

I barely slept the night before.

I was so scared...no, make that TERRIFIED...

I had no clue how it would feel to have poison poured into my veins...if my port would work...if I would get sick...if the cold caps would work to keep my hair...if it would hurt...if I could do it...

So with a lack of sleep and a lot of fear I got into my friend SweetShari's car (along with my giant rolling ice chest full of the cold caps) and we headed off for the cancer center.

Getting around with that giant ice chest was not easy...it looked like we were about to have a big picnic in the cancer center.

When I put my first cap on I remember thinking:

there is no way I can do this for 6-8 hours...it is so cold...no it's not cold it's FREEZING...why am I doing this...wow do I look stupid...everyone is staring at me...oh this is cold....FREEZING...if this is this hard how hard will it be when they start the poison?

(you have to put the cold cap on an hour before they start the Taxol)

But I adjusted to the caps and then a nurse called me in to access my port.

"Access my port" is a phrase I NEVER thought I would say.

I sat in the chair and she uncovered my newly placed port and asked me if I wanted Lidocaine.

"yes"

or maybe I said: "hell yes"

I had no idea what it would feel like and I didn't want to feel it any more than I had to.

Lots of gloves and draping later and a shot of lidocaine and a little "punch" to the port and I had a line in for the poison.

They moved me to a bed for the infusions...

I thought "yay! A bed!" but I came to realize I was more comfy in a lounge chair so that first infusion was a little hard as it was not comfortable to lay down with the cap on...

When it came time to start the Taxol I started to cry...

So did SweetShari...

I was so scared...and looking at that bag with poison warnings on it was terrifying...my nurse had to be in a special gown and coverings so that he did not have any contact with the Taxol.

I looked at him and said "you can't touch this and yet it is being poured into my veins..."

For about the first half hour every time I looked at that bag I teared up...

I kept thinking:
how did I get here?
how is it that I have this horrible scary cancer?
how am I having chemo?
why I am here today and not prepping for Christmas?

It is a very surreal experience to have chemo.

Cancer feels very surreal.

Surgery is one thing...I have had surgeries before.

But chemo was something else...

When you have chemo it makes it feel even more real...because chemo is the thing that most people associate with cancer...that and radiation (and lucky me I got BOTH)

So the poison began to drip into my veins and I kept praying it was going to work

We kept changing out the caps and then Twirler Girl came with lunch and tapped SweetShari out and took over the care and maintenance of me...

I don't know what I would have done without Twirler Girl and her diligence at setting the alarm and changing the caps...had I been alone I could have never done it. 

Between her and Aunt Jane I have a head full of hair...and I don't look like a human emoji...

But that first infusion was a doozy...it was scary not knowing what it would feel like both during and after.

And I had not been fully aware of what the devil drug Decadron does to you---it makes you the Energizer Bunny for about 24 hours and then you crash hard...but only after eating half the contents of your refrigerator and no carb is safe around you.

(the eating part lasts for days...better than throwing up but so not fun gaining weight each round of chemo)

So a year has passed since that fateful day...

I've had to face so much more this year than just the chemo...but you all know all of that...

What I do find as I look back on that day one year ago is that it changed me...and not just by killing cancer cells.

It takes a great amount of fortitude to sit in the chair, have your port accessed and then have chemicals put in your body that are toxic.

And a great amount of faith that it will work.

Anyone who has ever had a chemo infusion will tell you that you look up at that bag of poison hanging on the pole next to you and you pray with everything in you that it will cure you.

Every time they started the drip I prayed...I prayed for healing...I prayed it would give me a life...

And I sit now on the precipice of possibly being free of the disease---for now or maybe forever....and I am grateful for those drugs that helped to get me here.

Last Christmas I was sick...the kids were worried about me and I was doing my best to hold it together for them.

On Christmas Eve I felt ok but come Christmas Day I was so tired and felt so awful I just wanted to sleep.

This year I feel great...and I want to spend every minute enjoying the time I have been given with my family and to make memories...because this horrible disease can take me from them if I am not cured.

I want my kids to spend these next two days happy with their healthy mom and not worrying about me.

God has given me a gift...the gift of time...and I plan to enjoy that time.

Over this past year I know that each and every one of you has faced some sort of challenge...some are harder than others but we all have challenges. It matters not if they are big or small, easy or tough, or if you are facing death or just facing the in-laws.

Challenges...

And it's how we face them and get over them that sometimes defines us...

I faced this damn cancer like a boss...a badass cancer kicking warrior woman boss...

And I am a woman who is terrified of heights and cockroaches...but I did not let this stuff undo me...

I do not know what else God will have me face in my future but I can tell that He must have a lot of faith in ME because he has given me plenty to handle over time. Because He only gives us what we can handle...never more...

I'm not sure what my next hurdle is..the next bump in the road...the next surprise around the corner...

but I do know that if I can sit and have poison dripped into my veins while wearing a cap that is -25 degrees I can pretty much face anything...

I see friends who have had challenges that I could not handle well at all handle them with grace and so much dignity. Friends who have lost children....who have lost partners/spouses....friends who have lost their homes...who have lost their jobs...

I lost a year of my life fighting something that was trying to kill me.

I entered a ring to battle an opponent that defeats more than he loses to...that fights dirty...that kills more often than just maims...

El Diablo has not a care if you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, gay or straight or bi, pretty or ugly, Christian or not, fat or skinny...El Diablo does not give a shit...

El Diablo is going to get who he wants...

But El Diablo is not going to get me...

Inspiration Song: "Poison" by Bel Biv Devoe...oh yeah your forgot about this one, didn't you? Well I had my share of poison...and one year later it looks like it did it's job...

Bye Darlings...Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it...I am so grateful this year to feel well and have my kids and family around...a year ago I did not know if I would be here...and yet---here I am...thanks to some poison...




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Angels Among Us

Hello Darlings!

So how does it feel to be told you are cancer free?

What's it like to be informed that El Diablo is El Gone-o?

Um....I don't know...

I'm not exactly there yet...

but I am so close I can taste it.

Over on the cancer board forum that I sometimes read they call it "Dancing With NED"...in other words No Evidence of Disease (NED).

I can't wait to dance with NED!

He will be my new boyfriend...

I'd like to start with a tango...and then maybe move to a foxtrot and go from there...

Me and NED could be the new power couple on Dancing With the Stars!!!!

But I am not QUITE at NED yet...

Let's put it this way:

I'm in the ballroom with him
and he is eyeing me from across the dancefloor
and he is making his way toward me
and I am giving El Diablo his walking papers
and I see NED heading my way

So I'm close but we have just a little bit more waiting to do before I can take NED by the hand and we can start that tango.

I saw Dr. Angel today...

I love that man...

truly love him...

he's the sweetest doctor I have ever had and he knows just how to handle me and has a good sense of humor.

So he took me into his office and pulled up my scans on his big computer screens.

He points to a scan that has a very scary black blob on it.

He says "I bet even you can tell that is bad"

I remind him I only speak glitter and that it's all blobs to me and that the black mass is scary.

He laughs and says "this is your OLD scan" and then goes on to show me the new scans (still just blobs to me and I realize I am glad my life does not depend on MY ability to read them) and tells me that the lymph nodes that were cancerous have reduced in size a lot and that there is no new evidence of disease.

That got a little scream of joy from me and a big hug for him...

and then he says the word I dread...

the word I was afraid to hear...

he says: BUT

I looked at him and said "it's always something isn't it?"

So the BUT was that although the glands have shrunk they are still on the large side of "normal" and we don't know if they are free of cancer yet.

So he says I have to have a PET scan in 6 weeks.

I tried to negotiate to have it done tomorrow but he vetoed that

Apparently we have to wait just a little longer to see if the treatments worked and if the lymph nodes go down some more.

I have total and complete faith in Dr. Angel and that he cured me so if I have to wait I have to wait...

He did say that he might want me to have the lymph glands taken out.

okie dokie

well....I'm being a little flip about it....it's actually fairly serious surgery because they lymph glands are right by my carotid artery so there's that...

He called the surgeon and they decided they will decide in 6 weeks...

okie dokie

In the meantime I get to enjoy my life...have a much better Christmas than last year and continue to recover from the Gertie the Hernia removal surgery.

Dr. Angel said I looked good and healthy and could not feel the lymph glands when he felt for them and he was amazed at how good the skin on my neck looked because it did not look one bit like I had radiation.

(that's because I used Rodan + Fields "Soothe" cream on my neck and it was a miracle cream...if you know anyone who will be having radiation please tell them to find a friend who is an R+F rep (or me) and get the Soothe line to protect their skin. He's now going to recommend it to patients...)

So for now...

GOOD NEWS!!!!!

OK people it's time to dance...that's all of you...so right now get up and do some dancing because I don't get to dance with NED for 6 more weeks so I need all of you to dance with me now...

Dance like Snoopy....or any of the Peanuts...
Dance like Ren in Footloose
Dance like Fred Astaire in anything...or Gene Kelly...
Do the moonwalk like Michael Jackson
Walk like an Egyptian...
Be Cyd Charisse and vamp it up a bit...
Dance like Napoleon Dynamite did for Pedro...

just DANCE!!!!

(you there in the back just standing there with your arms crossed---I said to DANCE DAMMIT)

I know I did...I danced all the way to my car in my high heeled booties....

I've waited for this since April when I finished chemo...
but then I had to have radiation

I've waited for this since early September...
but then there was the pesky lymph glands in my neck and more radiation

So now I get good news.

So
Now
I
Get
Good
News

I was freaking out on the way to the doc so I called Twirler Girl and had her give me some moral support. She's fought hard along with me to make sure I am ok (and that I got to keep my hair). She had a good feeling about it but I was nervous. I've been tired lately and had some tummy issues (I see now that was all STRESS) and I was freaked out because Dr. Rockstar's office called and said I had an appointment with her on Monday so I was totally convinced she was seeing me because it was bad news (as it turns out it was just a coincidence that I got the call about it this morning...but it was a scary coincidence...)

Then I freaked out on my Aunt Jane...

And then I had to wait an hour and half for my Dr. Angel so basically I was put in time out and I calmed the hell down.

They put me in the back exam room and I realized it might be so that no one could hear me scream....good or bad....

But my precious Dr. Angel walked in with a smile and I knew he was happy....

and if he's happy...

I'm gonna be happy...

So now I wait.

This is what I plan to do with my extra time I have now...
time that I don't have to sit and worry about my cancer...or endlessly go to the Med Center...

I'm going to:
costume Legally Blonde
finish my Christmas decor (a few things left to do)
organize my closet better
file all my medical stuff I have just piled up
finish my Christmas shopping
cook glorious food for my kids
enjoy time with my kids and family
have fun with friends
return to Revolution (Dec 30)
spin and do yoga as much as possible
take great naps on weekends
take a carload of stuff to Goodwill
blog more for therapy
continue my diet but enjoy some treats
organize things in my house that have become disorganized this year
sleep peacefully
pray more each day

and be damn grateful for the life I have been given.

I can wait 6 weeks to hear I am clear of cancer...

Cancer has taught me patience (except not about missing my workouts...I am impatient to get back to my bike and mat).

I've learned so much through this journey and I have discovered so much about myself.

El Diablo was the hardest thing I have ever had to battle.

I had to do things I never thought I would do to kill this cancer. Needles and tests and exams and laying dead still on a table while radiation is aimed at my body...

I've said it before and I will say it again---you never know how strong you are until you are tested.

I've been through deaths, a divorce, raising kids----but this tested me like nothing before.

And I didn't realize until Dr. Angel told me that things were looking good at just how much all of this has been weighing on me.

I was terrified of dying...of leaving my children....of dying before I really knew what it felt like to be loved and love again...

And now to think that I can actually dare to hope to have a future....to maybe share a life with someone....to see my kids get married and have children of their own...

Life is never predictable or what we expect it to be.

You can't plan your life and guarantee that it will all turn out exactly as you planned it.

No one has that kind of control.

We are tested and challenged...

We have unexpected joys and blessings...

the road is never straight...you have curves and hills to negotiate...

Life is unpredictable.

When I was a little girl I thought I would grow up, go to college, get married, have 2 kids and some pets and live a happy life...

and that happened...

but I never imagined a divorce, losing my parents so young and cancer...

little girls playing with their Barbie dreamhouse don't think about those things...

But as an adult as I saw my marriage unravel and then as I saw my health deteriorate I had to face challenges that no little girl imagines she will have.

I had cancer...

(I'm pretty sure it is gone so I am going to claim it)

And an Angel and a Rockstar and God made it go away...

I don't know why I got so lucky...how I got to be the girl who had cancer and kept her hair and doesn't look sick and got to have a future...

Why me?

Why am I so blessed?

I have no clue...

But I'll take it!

Now excuse me while I go and practice my tango...I want to be ready when NED comes to get me for that dance...

Inspiration Song: "Angels Among Us" by Alabama...yeah I know they are country but when my kids were in middle school and GOTT was directing the choir they always sang this song....and for me my doctors are my Angels...and one LITERALLY IS...

And here is the chorus to the song...it speaks to me so deeply now:

Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.



Bye darlings....I have been blessed to have angels in my life and most especially now when I have needed to be cured but also to show me love and guidance and patience...angels surround you and me...open your eyes---they are there! I have no clue why I am so blessed---but it must be the angels who surround me....and the Angel who cured me with God's help and love...





Sunday, December 3, 2017

High Hopes

Hello Darlings...

It's the holiday season...

I'm hoping to get my Christmas present on December 7.

I have a scan tomorrow...and on the 7th I see Dr. Angel and hopefully he will tell me that I am clear of my horrible cancer.

Wouldn't that be like the best gift ever?

(it also means I won't be endlessly blogging about my cancer....I can move on to other things...like food...and diet...and exercise...and being boyfriendless...yipee!)

I long for normalcy...

I am very ready to not see the Medical Center for a while...

I can't wait to not have a month where I am poked by needles or scanned by some sort of machine...

I live for the day that I can realize it has been months since anyone cared what my hemoglobin count was, or what my blood pressure is (currently excellent thank you spin, yoga, good eating), or if my CA125 count is under 20.

I look forward to maintenance: just having the occasional scan and going in every 6-8 weeks to get my port flushed...

Oh that will be lovely...

So I am in a 4 day anxiety ridden rollercoaster....

Tomorrow I get the MRI of my neck...

then I...

W
A
I
T

and wait and wait and wait...

it's less than 72 hours but it will feel like 72 days...

The last time I had this little dance of scan/go see Dr. Angel I had high hopes...

high high high high high hopes

I went in dressed in a twirly little dress and heels and my brightest happy lipstick on and champagne at home chilling in the fridge...

the champs is still there...

w
a
i
t
i
n
g

I danced into the radiation therapy department fully convinced that I was going to hear awesome news and that I was going to be free of all the treatments and I could schedule my hernia repair and finish out the last quarter of the year quietly...

but no...

God said "Ha!"

God had other plans for me...

because He wasn't done burnishing me with the cancer...

notice I said "burnishing" and not burning...

burnishing is polishing...

it makes things shinier....

glossier....

it beautifies an object....

and in my case, a person...

He has used my cancer as a way for me to grow and improve...

to smoothe away my rough edges and make me shiny.

I needed a little more under the lens of cancer to transform me into the Anice2.0 I needed to be...

or maybe it is 3.0 because I think of Anice2.0 as the me that left the ex.

In any case Dr. Angel and Dr. Rockstar and I were not done fighting.  We had more work to do.

And I am damn blessed because if Dr. Angel had not seen the cancer in those lymph glands it might have spread and my story could have turned out very very different.

So hopefully when I see my precious Dr. Angel on Thursday I will see on his face that there is good news....I know from the look in his eyes if all is well...

I know he is waiting and anticipating too...I was told I needed to do my scan in the same building as radiation therapy---that way he gets the scans quickly.

And one of the nurses I dearly love there (oh who am I kidding I love them all..) called me Friday to confirm I was having the scan and that I would be in on Thursday.

I told her we were going to have a dance party on Thursday so get ready to celebrate.

I have done as much as I possibly could to drive my poor doctors crazy with this second round of radiation and chemo, the unplanned stay in the hospital because of my blood being so bad I needed transfusions, and my insistence at having the hernia repaired.

I think they are ready to be bored by my case...

So for now I face 3 great challenges:

1) I have to get into the MRI machine and since it's my neck well...yeah....fun in a tube!  Yoga breathing will help and so will praying...I am claustrophobic so this will be a challenge. I have had an MRI before but it was my knee and I wasn't all the way in the machine...

2) 68 hours of waiting...work will help, I also see my hernia surgeon so there is that distraction and you might get a lot of anxiety filled blogs from me...

3) preparing myself to face whatever the news is: good or bad...

I'm going to go into it feeling as positive as I did the last time...I want to walk in there with all the hope in the world that the news will be good and that I will have a reason to celebrate.

The champs is still in the fridge....I will have a reason to pop that cork!

I can't dwell on the "what if's".

It does not serve me to do that.

I have to focus on what lies ahead for me in a positive outcome and what I can do to honor the gift of life I have been given.

Last night I had a belated birthday celebration with very dear friends. As I looked around the table and saw two of my oldest friends and their children I could not help but feel that the greatest gift was to be loved.

I am loved and truly nothing compares to that.

I want to share and spread that love and I want to be a beacon of it.

I want my kids, my students, my friends, my family, and all who know me to see me as a warrior who won but continues to fight with love...

I am not a perfect person.

I have made many many mistakes.

I have done many things I am not proud of.

But I will be proud of this fight and how I handled it.

I've had moments of doubt and true real fear but for the most part I have girded myself with the attitude that I must fight on and keep moving forward and face each challenge as it comes.

Every day we wake up and there are challenges before us.

Some might be as minor as running out of coffee (that's what Dunkin and Starbucks are for) and others might be as large as taking an important test or making an important presentation.

But if before our feet hit the floor we thank God for our blessings and we take a moment to say to ourselves "this will be a good day" (or if you are like me most days, because I am Christian, I say "this is the day that the Lord has made...I will rejoice and be glad in it").

If we START positive we will finish in glory...

And that is how I see this battle I have fought...

I started it with saying I would win...

and I will finish it (hopefully) on Thursday in full glory....

and maybe smothering my doctor in hugs and making him dance around the room with me....

Whether it is a day, a week, or a year (like this cancer has been) if we start positively and finish with joy then even if we don't come out on top we are still winners because we did all we could.

When my gyno called to tell me it was cancer I told her "I will beat it" and she said "yes you will".

When I had a day I cried to Dr. Angel that I was terrified of what I had read on the internet about my cancer he said he fully believed that I was going to be ok. And I believe him. I hold on to that.

So for the next few days fill social media with joy for me to keep me distracted. Pray for me and my doctors. Send up happy thoughts. Do good for others in my name. Share love as much as possible because we will all feel that in the universe.

And tomorrow at about 3 pm CST pray as hard as you can that I will not freak out in the MRI and that my scan will be clear....El Diablo needs to vamos...

I used to not be fond of being challenged.

It usually made me mad and I made bad decisions because I don't like to compete (and lose).

I've had myself challenged physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually with this disease.

I have overcome all and I sit victorious ready to claim my crown.

(and we all know just how much I love a crown)

I will win this battle...and I have a strong feeling that Thursday will be the day that cancer lays down the gauntlet and admits defeat to me.

And I will put on the crown, declare El Diablo to be forever banished from my kingdom, and I will rule as the Unicorn Glitter Princess...

be ready for a whole lot of sparkle y'all....

Inspiration Song; "High Hopes" as sung by the one and only Frank Sinatra...Old Blue Eyes did it best and just like that ant I will move the rubber tree plant that is my cancer...

Bye Darlings---prayers please...It will take all my will to handle that MRI and then patiently wait to see my Dr Angel....



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Moment Like This

Hello Darlings...

At about 6:45 on November 28, 2016 I was being wheeled into the OR to have a fully hysterectomy to remove my cancerous uterus and other female organs (all contained cancer) and a few lymph glands that had decided to jump onto the cancer bandwagon.

For the last 365 days I have fought to survive what was trying to kill me.

I wasn't sure until the morning of the surgery that I was even going to get the lifesaving operation...when the hospital called to confirm on the Friday before I was warned "we might call to tell you to stay home".

I prayed hard all weekend.

I sent my son back to school and I waited....

No call on Monday morning so I reported to the hospital as I was told to do.  They had all my paperwork ready and sent me upstairs to the surgery department.

It was "Day Surgery" but that's where all surgical patients go.

They put me in a room, handed me a gown, and the waiting began.

My beloved OB/Gyn Dr. Gorgeous and her hubby who is also an OB/Gyn (Dr. Husband) stopped by to hug me, hold my hand, and wait to see how things were going to go down.

Dr. Husband demanded I be given the best room on the surgical floor with the best nurses and and put a lock on the room so my aunt would have a good place to wait and not in the uncomfortable waiting room.

I took selfies in my tiara, got an iv put in and begged for ice chips (big no to that one...although my most recent surgery I was allowed to have water up until 2 hours of surgery).

The told me it would likely be 3:00 or later for the surgery...

but LifeFlight kept coming and I knew someone needed the OR more than I did...

Aunt Jane and I kept ourselves amused by seeing if I could manage to stay in the bed without sliding down...it was a surgical gurney with a vinyl mat on it that would help them slide me onto the OR table.  Why we didn't just take it off until it was time to go I will never know.

We also didn't see the tv controller so we spent about 3 hours watching the "keep the patient calm with nature photos" channel until we found the remote and found some real tv to take our minds off of what was about to happen.

And LifeFlight kept coming...

and 4:00 came...
and 4:30 came...
and 5:00 came...

and I was the only patient left in that part of the pre-op area...

Finally somewhere around 5:30 my oncologist's resident showed up and announced that Dr Rockstar was rested and ready to go and that we would be getting the show on the road soon...

the anesthesiologist came in and delivered the news that I would not be receiving a pain block because all the painkiller docs were gone (I got it the next day).

Finally Dr. Rockstar arrived and I cried...because I knew we were going to finally get the damn cancer out of me.

She's the most amazing woman in the world.

Seriously...

at least to me she is...

because even though it was late and she should have been home with her family she told me "let's do this!" and said she was gonna get it all out...

By then it was after 6:00 pm...

They finally wheeled me down to the pre-op area...the anesthesologist was still trying to figure out what to give me for pain (I itch with everything)....

Dr. Husband showed up and I burst into tears...he told me Dr. Gorgeous was parking the car (he wouldn't let her see me because it would do no good for me to go into surgery crying my eyes out from the love I received from them...). He told me they were scrubbing in and wanted to be with me.

I still cried buckets....

Then he demanded that the anesthesiologist give me the happy shot and let me settle in...

I got wheeled into the OR, put onto the table and they started hooking me up to things and sticking more needles in me...

I remember the mask coming toward my face and yelling out:

"please fix me!"

before they put me under...

I woke up in horrific pain and them moving me into a bed and wheeling me to post-op...

It was after midnight...

Dr. Rockstar had worked on me for 5 hours.

Dr. Gorgeous and Dr. Husband had to go home but they were there for most of the ride.

They told me later that Dr. Rockstar was like a maniac in the OR but she knew exactly what she was doing and she worked as hard as she could to take everything she felt was cancerous.

Except for two lymph glands.

The ones along for the cancer ride...

they were too close to my aorta and one would have left me with horrible lymphodema...and since she had to leave the one by the aorta she left the other one too...

I kind of like having my legs work and I really really love my aorta so I am glad she left them alone even if it meant I had to have chemo.

I finally was in my room around 3 am all I remember was my aunt Jane being there to greet me and my lovely nurse trying her best to keep me comfortable.

So that was a year ago today...

All day I have been reminded of what I was doing 365 days before.

And all I have done for the 365 days since was to fight this horrible disease.

For the past year I have fought cancer almost every day.

I had a nice little 6 weeks between the end of my first radiation series and my second.

Otherwise it has all been chemo, chemo recovery (X6) and then radiation and then the little break and then more chemo and radiation and then blood transfusions then a frenzied 12 days of working and then my hernia surgery...

It has been...

horrible
exhausting
nauseating
terrifying
horrifying
lonely
scary
frightening
painful

and hard as hell...

I am so ready for it to end and be behind me....

And in another 9 days I will know if I get to lay down my battle gear and be a real woman again or if I have to fight on...

The surgery was only the beginning of it....

We all have burdens in our life.

I know for certain that my troubles are minor compared to some and unbearable compared to others.

But life is not a competition to see who can withstand the most pressure and pain and strife in their life.

We have good days (and years) and bad days (and years)

Mine I have laid out before you in this blog....

this has been a bad rough year FOR ME....

I have friends who have flooded and either lost their homes or are having to rebuild their homes

I have friends who have lost loved ones and family members

I have friends who have gone through the breakup or divorce

I have friends who are ill or have a loved one who is ill

We all have things that are hard for us to deal with....

I have found throughout this year that my faith and will has been tested more than I ever thought it could be.

I have discovered I can do things and handle things I never thought I could...

you honestly don't know how strong you truly are until you have no choice but to face something and be strong.

in my case I felt I was as weak as a kitten but I discovered that I am as strong as a lioness...

One year ago I lay in an OR cut open with a surgeon doing her best to take out all the cancer she could find...I was on that table for 5 hours while she fought to clear out everything that was cancerous...

And I have been beyond blessed to have had her operate on me...and to give me the chemo....and to send me to Dr. Angel to give me the radiation...and to have the radiation...and to hopefully be cured.

It's been a year...

the hardest year of my life...

harder than the year I left my spouse...

harder than the year I lost my mother...

harder than I ever expected a year to be.

I am tired...

I am tired of fighting and of all that goes with the battle.

I'm ready to put my weapons away and find peace.

I'm ready to face each day not being afraid and to know my body is at peace and rest and that the cancer is gone.

A year ago I had no idea how hard the fight would be.

A year ago I had no idea what I was going to have to face.

A year ago I had no idea that I would have to do more than recover from surgery...

I'm ready for this year to be over....

I feel like 2018 will be a year where I rediscover who I am...where I get to enjoy life again....where my schedule does NOT revolve around medical things...

I don't have much to offer here tonight other than to commemorate the day that my life was saved.

November 28 will always be an extra birthday for me because it is the day that we discovered just how big a battle I was to face and it was the day that most of the cancer was eradicated.

We had no clue what she was going to find when she opened me up...

we thought I was Stage 3C

but thanks to the lymph glands in my neck I am Stage 4B....

that
is
terrifying

But I have faith in my doctors and in my body that I can overcome even something as awful as Stage 4 Uterine Pappilary Serous Carcinoma.

It will not get me...

It will not stop me...

and next year on November 28 I will celebrate another year of beating cancer....

so right now, wherever you are, if you are the praying type: please send up a prayer for me, for my  Dr Rockstar and Dr. Angel and Dr Gorgeous and Dr Husband, pray for all the men and women suffering from cancer and pray that someday soon cancer will be as rare as smallpox.

I have had a year of fighting....

and I am grateful....

some never get to fight....some never know they have to fight...and some die fighting...

I will not die...

I will win....

and I will shine in my victory like the surgical lights shone in my body while she took the cancer out...

Thank you Dr. Rockstar for saving my life...

Inspiration Song: "A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson....because what was a moment in my life has now become a day that will always define me...

Bye Darlings: if you have a day that your life changed remember to celebrate it and give thanksgiving...for me November 28 is one of those days...