Monday, October 23, 2017

The Greatest

Hello Darlings

Well today DID NOT go according to plan.

Nope...

No chemo...

No bell ringing...
I had a feeling it was going to go down like that but I had high hopes that it wouldn't.

And once again poor Dr. Angel had to calm me the hell down and explain it all to me why it was going to be ok.

The good news is that I am going to be just fine.

And I had prepared myself for the possibility that my body was not recovering as fast as it should with all the chemo and radiation.

I went up to the Cancer Center to get my bloodwork done and to wait for a chemo chair. It was such a busy day up there I had to wait over an hour just to get my bloodwork drawn.

Then I moved into the "waiting for a chair" area.

Just before the nurse was to access my port I mentioned that my platelets had been low last week to one of my infusion nurses. She got to looking. And sure enough just before the nurse accessed my port it turns out that my platelets had gone even lower than last week.

Damn

So my oncologist Dr. Rockstar told me via the nurse to go downstairs and talk to Dr. Angel and see what he wanted to do about it.

So downstairs I went.

Except he was across the street in the Gamma Knife Suite.

So when Mohammed can't go to the mountain, the mountain has to go to Mohammed.

Apparently in this scenerio I am the mountain.

Except I have changed it to:

When the Angel can't go to the Princess, the Princess goes to the Angel...

That's how wonderful Dr. Angel is----when he knows he has a panicky patient on his hands he makes sure he can talk to that panicky unicorn princess patient even if she has to go on a guided tour of the hospital.

I am doing my very best to make sure I am his most memorable patient and that he will be so happy to not have a woman who demands so much of his attention that is not his wife or girlfriend.

So over to the Gamma Knife Suite to my doctor I go...

Luckily I had SweetJess (his nurse) to guide me.

SweetJess was marveling at the fact that I wasn't more tired because my hemoglobin is also very low. I told her I felt great.

But on the way over to the hospital I got out of breath and it was wearing me out...

um....

yeah...

you need red blood cells to carry oxygen and I was marching over pretty fast

this might be a yoga week for me...

I told her I felt stupid being so out of breath from a fast walk when I do powerful yoga and I spin a lot but she explained that my hemoglobin levels are in the very low range and it was not abnormal to be out of breath and fatigued.

And at that very minute all I wanted to do was go home and take a nap...

My amazing Dr. Angel explained that it was ok for me not to have these last two doses of cisplatin because they had been given to me when I was having the higher radiation doses. He was now giving me a radiation "boost" with a smaller field so while the cisplatin might have helped it was not crucial to my getting well.

Whew...

And he also gave me permission to have Gertie the Hernia removed because he knows she is bothering me...and she is getting bigger. 

As I was sitting in his office looking at all of his many many degrees and achievements I was feeling very very blessed that God had given me an angel to cure me.

Because even though today was somewhat scary and sorta disappointing I am grateful I still got to have my radiation and that I am in the care of the best radiology oncologist in town.

So I took today for what it was....not a bell ringing day but still progress in conquering El Diablo.

Sometimes I feel like my cancer journey is a road trip.

I have a destination to get to.

But I don't know the way to get there and there are several routes to take and there are pitfalls on all the routes.

And there are no Bucees along the way to make things fun.

I just have to get in the car and drive.

And every once in a while the GPS tells me we need to re-route because there is a danger ahead or that I must detour because the route I am on is no longer an option.

So I re-route.

I go on a different path.

And I can't get mad that I have to take a new path because the other routes are not an option for me any longer.

And today I learned that I can run out of gas (I took an almost 2 hour nap when I got home) and that I need to keep myself fueled for the trip ahead...

and there is "road food" along the way so I decided a Whataburger Jr. was what I deserved after all of the marching about the hospital...

And I have to accept that my vehicle is needing a little more gas than usual thanks to my low hemoglobin so I might have to alter my workouts and I am eating as many iron rich foods as I can (despite the Whataburger).

I have 4 more radiation treatments to go.

I can see my destination ahead of me.

Dr. Angel says he will be watching me closely and in 4-6 weeks I will get a CT scan that will hopefully usher in my new boyfriend NED (No Evidence of Disease) and the demise of El Diablo.

A year ago my body was telling me there was something very wrong.

I was bleeding and I felt terrible and I was in pain.

I thought I was in menopause and my fibroids were just acting up.

In a million years I never ever thought I had cancer.

It didn't even cross my mind

But here I am a year later and I know all kinds of things about cancer, and ports, and radiation, and now hemoglobin.

But what I have really learned is about myself.

I am stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I never ever thought I had the strength to go through all of the needles and surgery and radiation and poison being put into my body and all the scary things I have had to hear and face.

I'm a girl who is terrified of cockroaches and heights.

And I have done it without a partner to hold my hand and love me though it.

You don't know how strong you can be until you actually truly have to be strong.

And I am not only stronger than I ever thought I could be but I also have more fight in me than I ever imagined I possessed.

I heard "you have uterine cancer" and the first thought I had was "I will beat it".

I have a warrior spirit in me that I used to think only came out on the bike or the yoga mat but I see now that all of that exercise was preparing me to fight and be strong.  And that it why I continue to spin and practice yoga almost every day so that I can keep the fight going.

I know I am a fighter.

I will battle on despite all the setbacks and the very real scary thing that is my particular cancer.

The survival rates are very very low with my cancer.

They are in the basement.

But no soldier goes into battle thinking he will be defeated.

And so I battle on with victory as the only outcome I see.

I won't let the past results of other warriors define me.

I will battle El Diablo with Dr Angel and Dr Rockstar as the generals in charge...

Until cancer I didn't know how patient I could be.

I have had to wait on things that normally would have driven me crazy.

I had to wait almost 3 weeks until we got a diagnosis of cancer.  For 3 weeks I was in limbo.

I have had to sit around the cancer center and wait endless hours for bloodwork, lab results, and infusions.

I've spent endless hours in the doctor's offices and at the Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza.

I've learned to handle scary news better than I have before.

Almost a year ago KuteKaren and I were in the car headed to a cute little hospital to get my labwork done for my cute little hysterectomy.  The "normal"  hysterectomy that I was going to have at the fancy lady hospital.

I pulled over and took my doctor's call and listened as she explained that the pathologist found abnormal cells and that it was quite likely cancer.

I listened to Dr. Gorgeous give me the news and I looked at KuteKaren and I knew I had the strength to handle it and I had a wonderful friend to help me through it.

I heard "abnormal cells"

that was followed by another conversation with Dr. Gorgeous where she said "the pathologist thinks it is cancer"

and that was followed a few days later by her telling me it WAS cancer

and then I met Dr. Rockstar and I took in all she had to tell me

and then I learned it had spread

and then I learned it was in lymph glands

and then I heard "chemo"

and then Dr. Angel told me "radiation" not once but twice.

All conversations I never thought I would have and I pray that none of you reading this ever have to have with your doctor.

The "old" me would have just started crying and would have wished it away.

But you can't wish cancer away.

So I knew that my only choice was to listen to what my doctor's had to tell me and do as they said.

My Aunt Jane and KuteKaren and TwirlerGirl and JayVee and GOTT and GOTTESS have been my rocks through all of this.  Along with many many friends.

But i tis a fight I have had to do alone for the most part. 

No one can take chemo for me...or lie on the radiation table as my proxy.

I have to do it.

And the girl I was 8 years ago would have run away from it all.

But the girl who had the strength to walk away from a bad marriage to build a better life for herself doesn't run.

She stays.

And she fights.

And she wins.

When something wants to take EVERYTHING from you, you will fight.

I have two incredibly precious reasons to fight hard---my son and my daughter.

And I fight hard because I know I am not done doing what I must do here in this world. I know that my future is ahead of me---one filled with love and laughter and travel and so many good things.

I may have had a setback today but I can still fight.

Low hemoglobin might keep me from having all the energy I need but I still have a lot of fight in me.

Life is a road we travel.

And to me a road with twists and turns and new things to see around the bend is far more interesting than a long straight road with nothing unexpected.

My road is filled with bumps and turns...and it is a wonderful road.

I discover something new with each turn and bend...I learn more about myself and I fully believe that God is shaping me into a better person than who I have been.

And he has for me a future that is one that the "me" I am now fully deserves.

I'm not looking for a life with a rich guy that can give me things.

I want a life with a man who will think I am the most precious thing he has and the things he will give me will be worth more than any object.

I'm not looking for an easy life...I'm looking for a rich life.  And by rich I mean one filled with love and joy and things that can NOT be bought.

I keep moving toward my future...my destination right now is a cure but ultimately I will never get off this road of life.

And I don't expect that once I am cured that life will be easy.

There will be fear of cancer returning and many other pitfalls in life.

Even though the interstate might get me there fastest, I want a life where I get to see things I can't see when I am driving 70 mph.

So I am going to keep on the road, accept the detours as they come, re-route when I need to, and I will stay strong and have stamina for the road ahead....

I like the "me" that I am...

Cancer has messed with the wrong woman...

Inspiration Song: "The Greatest" by Sia.  Because I love Sia. And because the words to this song are an anthem to me.  And because even though I may be running out of breath---i've got stamina.

LYRICS:

"The Greatest"

Uh-oh, runnin' out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
Well, oh, I got stamina
And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, I need another lover, be mine
Cause I, I, I got stamina

Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no
Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no

I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive
I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

Well, uh-oh, runnin' out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, runnin' now, I close my eyes
But, oh, I got stamina
And oh yeah, runnin' through the waves of love
But I, I got stamina
And oh yeah, I'm runnin' and I've just enough
And uh-oh, I got stamina

Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no
Don't give up, I won't give up
Don't give up, no no no

I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive
I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive
Bye darlings---whatever road you are on find the beauty in it...if I can find strength despite cancer anything is possible...


Sunday, October 22, 2017

I Have a Dream

Hello Darlings,

this blog is just a rambling collection of my thoughts before what I hope is my last chemo...there is not much here but random musings on how I am feeling tonight...but I have to get it out and this is therapy...

Well if everything goes according to plan tomorrow I will have what I hope and pray is my last chemo infusion and my 26th radiation treatment.

If it goes according to plan...

and we all know that El Diablo likes to mess up my plans

El Diablo has been disrupting my life for over a year now.

And I am terrible with disruptions to my life and my plans.

But I have learned great patience thanks to my cancer.

I'm normally the sort of girl that if ONE thing goes wrong in my plans it throws it all off.

I was never one who could just easily roll with the punches.

Now I make plans but I allow for a lot of wiggle room.

So last week when my chemo got cancelled due to low platelets I asked the nurse if I could still have the chair to eat my salad and I ate...and then I headed home (after checking with radiation to make sure I was still above their threshold). The day did not go according to plan so I had no choice but to roll with it...and I got a bonus because no chemo meant I could go to Marvelous Mel's spin class.

I can't control my platelets...my body is going to do what my body is going to do.

We can't control everything in our lives...most especially how our body functions.

I didn't plan to have cancer...no one does.

and trust me know one would ever ASK to have cancer and invite it in...

But as I have said before I am GRATEFUL to my cancer for the lessons I have learned from it.

And one of those lessons is in being flexible...

and to not be mad or upset when something doesn't go according to plan.

So hopefully tomorrow WILL go according to plan and I will get the chemo.

Because I need it...

it is boosting the effects of the radiation and El Diablo must be vanquished 100% or else I will be in trouble again.

Dr. Angel is doing all he can to make sure that 7 weeks from now when I have my CT scan that when he searches for my cancer he will find NONE.

No
Evidence of
Disease

I've heard it called "Ned"...

I want Ned to be my new boyfriend...I want to live with Ned the rest of my life...

I mean I'd like a real boyfriend too but I also need Ned in my life...forever

I've tried my very best to handle my cancer as positively as I can.

I've tried my best to live my life like I don't have cancer (other than my million trips to the medical center)

I've tried to treat my body well with healthy food and lots of exercise so that my body can function as if it isn't sick

But I can't control my platelets and so tomorrow is out of my hands....

(But let's go ahead and pray really really hard that they are good so I can get the cisplatin)

I've learned I can't plan out my life...because if I could and did plan my life I would not be sitting here alone in my adorable house (there would be a man I love here with me) and I would not be still struggling with my weight and I most certainly would not have cancer.

My life is going to happen as it will happen...and I hope and pray it is a long life because I will have beaten El Diablo for good.

Sometimes I dream of my future...

I dream I am healthy
I dream I have a love to share my life with
I dream my kids are happy and healthy
I dream I get to travel
I dream that I do a lot of yoga and spin
I dream that my students do amazing shows
I dream that I don't celebrate holidays alone
I dream that I get my port out
I dream my neck is not sore and red from radiation
I dream that I never have to have chemo or radiation again
I dream that pizza and Whataburger are diet foods that make you lose weight

I dream....

I dream because I believe I have a future ahead of me...one full of life and love and friends and family and fun

To me planning is something concrete and a dream is a fantasy---a wish your heart makes (thank you Walt Disney)

But we all need to have those things we dream....the fantasy of what may yet be

So I have my dreams...and I pray they come to be.

Life is not easy for anyone.

Life is a series of struggles strung out among everyday living.

My struggle right now is to defy something that is trying to kill me.

Some days that struggle is just to get into my workout clothes.

Some days that struggle is getting on the radiation table.

Some days that struggle is not putting chocolate mousse in my cart at Whole Foods.

Some days the struggle is to not get sick from chemo.

Some days the struggle is with carbs.

Some days the struggle is to get out of bed because I am so damn tired.

Some days the struggle is to find a pair of pants to fit a boy for the play.

Some days the struggle is to not let my fear get to me.

Some days the struggle is to not let the cockroach that found its way into my kitchen make me lock myself up in my room.

We all struggle.

We all have detours in our path.

I am not special...

I am not any more brave than any of you could be if you were in my shoes.

And we all know I am not brave when it comes to cockroaches.

The fact that I fear radiation less than I do a damn bug must say something pretty silly about me.

So let's add that I dream that all cockroaches are eradicated to my list of things I dream of.

If you have never had cancer it is hard to imagine being in my shoes.

And trust me my shoes don't fit all that nicely so you don't want them...

If my cancer was a pair of shoes then it would be a 5" stilletto covered in crystals with an ankle strap and have red soles...and they would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

because I am the sort of girl who has a cancer that is costing my insurance company so much money I am terrified I will get dropped and my cancer is pretty hard to walk in just like 5" stilettos.

Right now I just want to wear a pair of Keds and walk in those shoes and take these damn sparkly princess cancer shoes off.

I dream of the day that I wake up cancer free...

And I live each day as if I am...

Because cancer is part of me but I won't let it define me...

I won't let it rob me of my dreams

I won't let it keep me from finding love

I won't let it stop me from working out

I won't let it make me live in fear

I live to live

I live to love

I love to love

I love to live

Tomorrow I will go to the 29th floor of the MHMP and walk through the doors of the cancer center. It is a place that still makes me shudder when I see the words "Memorial Hermann Cancer Center" on the wall outside the elevators.

I will sit among people who are so much sicker than me.  People who's cancer is killing them.

I will have my blood drawn and it will show whether or not I get to have chemo.

And yes I said "get" because it is not a given so I'm going to look at it as a gift.

And if all goes well I will have my port accessed and I will have poison put into my body to kill my cancer.

And if that happens...

I will once again ring the bell...

I will ring it in celebration that one part of my journey is done and that my dream of being cancer free is closer....

and I will go downstairs and have radiation put into my body to kill those cancer cells...

and on Friday I will ring the bell down in radiation....

to mark the end of all my treatments

because my dream is to never need to have the Trilogy machine spin around me again...

IF it all goes according to plan...

and that is the plan...

And then I can plan my future...and dream of it coming true...

Inspiration Song: "I Have a Dream" by ABBA....the words are pretty perfect for me right now...and I believe in angels because I have one (Dr. Angel) and because my dreams are helping me cope with all of this...and I am pushing through the darkness...

Lyrics:

I HAVE A DREAM

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream
I'll cross the stream, I have a dream

Bye Darlings---dream your dreams...my dream is health and wellness...and my angel Dr Angel is going to give me my future...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beautiful Trauma

Hello Darlings...

One year ago all hell broke loose with my body...

One year ago the bleeding started....

the heavy bleeding...

the "this can't be normal" bleeding...

the "why is this happening in the middle of a cycle" bleeding...

I remember that it was October 17 because when I finally called the doctor I remember having to tell the nurse when the bleeding started.

October 17

The beginning of so much change for me.

I would not be diagnosed with cancer for almost a month...

Because it took 10 days before I even called the doctor...

and then when I did it all got set in motion...

and what I thought was menopause turned out to be so much more.

(Ladies promise me if you start bleeding and it's heavy you will not wait 10 days to call your gyno...or if you start bleeding when you shouldn't...or if anything is abnormal....do not wait...do not pass "go"....do not collect $200...GO STRAIGHT TO THE GYNO...and husbands if this happens to your wife you make her go!!!!!!)

I've learned a lot in a year...I've learned words I never knew....I've said words I never expected to say.

Things like:
Radiology Oncologist
Pharmacology Oncologist
Gynecological Oncologist
Access my port
Sim (simulation for radiotherapy)
Radiotherapy
Taxol
Carboplatin
Cisplatin
Cold Capping
platelet levels

I've spent more time in 6400 Fannin than anywhere else in this city other than my home...

I've had more hospital bands placed on my wrists than I have jewelry...

I've been poked with more needles in this last year than the cumulative totals for the 20 years before...

I've had my blood pressure taken, my blood analyzed, and my temperature taken more in this last year than I ever have...

I've had had 5 CT scans with contrast and a handful of others to check radiation placement...

I've had a PET scan...

I had a full hysterectomy on November 28, 2106 and on November 13, 2017 I will have surgery to repair the hernia I got because I didn't follow my doctor's orders not to lift anything after the hysterectomy...

I've had so much bloodwork done that Dracula would have been happy to drink what they take from me...

I've had 6 rounds of Taxol/Carboplatin and 4 rounds of Cisplatin...

I know the layout and people in the Radiation Therapy office so well I can pretty much help myself to where the gowns are, weigh myself, and if not for needing someone to lock my mask down on the table I might be able to put myself on the table with no assistance.  I know each and every human in that office by name and I can tell you things about them personally because I have spent so much time there.

I know almost every nurse up in Infusion therapy by name and I'm friends with my nurses who work with my surgeon....those ladies even stayed late to watch me ring the bell after my first chemo sessions were done.  I also know the receptionist and most of the ladies who check me in by name as well as the ladies who take my blood.  In other words----I've been there a helluva lot...

I gained 30 pounds thanks to chemo and thanks to eating clean and doing spin and yoga regularly I have lost almost 50.

Those are the PHYSICAL things that have happened...

the emotional has been so much more...

I realize that each day is such a gift now....I had always assumed I would glide into old age with no issues and then have to beg my children not to put me in a nursing home.  I know now that it was never intended for it to be that easy for me.

I've had this struggle for a reason....I've grown so much from it that I have now had master classes in: gratitude
asking for help
living each day with love
being strong
getting poked with needles

I still wonder how different all of this might have been if I had had a partner to go through this with.

My Aunt Jane has been an incredible supporter and helper to me and I literally do not think I could have survived this without her constantly being at my side and helping me through all of this.  She has been the most amazing human and I'm so happy that despite my being sick we have gotten to spend a lot of quality time together since she is "my person" and the person I am closest to other than my kids.

But I do wonder if having someone to hold me at night when I cried or to hold my hand when I get poked or to kiss me when I woke up from surgery would have made a difference.

I think it might have helped zip up some of the fear...

but who's to know...because I have walked this path alone (other than friends and family)

but this illness has caused me to re-evaluate just who I want in a man and to share my life and time with...I now have a different set of what is important...I also know that what I now seek is not a compromise but rather a re-aligning of my priorities and what matters...

my illness has also taught me that sometimes even strong things break....and that it's ok to be scared but you can't let it rule you...

I've learned to appreciate all the things my body can do---like yoga and spin....and each time I find myself in downward facing dog I am glad that my body allows me my practice on the mat so that I can release the emotions in a physical way...I have cried it out on the bike and on the mat...both are equally fulfilling...

We all grow in a year....time doesn't stand still...

we lose people to death and to friendships expiring...

we grow or shrink physically depending on our age and activity level

as our bodies age we need more care and more meds and supplements

we see our kids grow older and their lives change

I've had a lot to deal with in this year but I have also had incredible joyful things:
my daughter graduated from college
my son is attending beloved TAMU
my student's musical was nominated for many awards
and
I'm ALIVE

So a year ago I was beginning to transform...I feel like during this past year I have been a caterpillar that made a cocoon and I am still in the cocoon....that I am not yet ready to emerge as this new person...

I still have 8 more radiation treatments and one more chemo...and then a waiting period of 6 weeks until I have a scan that will reveal my fate...

I feel like on that day...the day that Dr. Angel tells me that my cancer is in remission I will emerge as the sparkling glittery unicorn butterfly that I am waiting to be...

I thank each and every one of you that reads these blogs and supports me...

a year has changed and shaped me...not the cancer....but each day that I have lived that has molded who I am in the cocoon...

so next time you are struggling with something don't look at the struggle as what is shaping you but rather how you handle and deal with it....don't look at the time spent dealing with it as time wasted but as an opportunity for growth.

It's often said that God only hands us what we can deal with...that He knows what we are capable of and what challenges we can face.

If that is so then He must think I am one helluva badass woman...because He has put a lot on me to deal with.

I'm grateful...yes I said GRATEFUL to God for giving me cancer.

It has made me a better human.

It has made me learn so much more than I would from just a hangnail....

I've met amazing people on journey---I have new friends and have had the most incredible medical care that anyone can have.  And my doctors and nurses and the techs have been the most amazing humans I have ever been blessed to meet.  They are so dear to me.

I've had my optics on life change...and they have changed for the better.

I've let my mess be my message (thank you #robinroberts)

I used to see friends and celebrities that fought cancer and admired their strength so much...I never expected to be one of those people but I can honestly say that I admire my own strength through this because it is strength I never knew I had.

I look at my body with more love these days.  I hate Gertie the hernia but she's about to be made to disappear so I'll no longer have her to complain about.  My body is far from perfect but it's not too bad for an almost 53 year old woman with cancer.  Some day some man will see past the scars and the dimpled thighs and the thickness and see that I am a warrior who's earned her battle scars.

I firmly believe that having a positive attitude about all of this has made the biggest difference of all in how good I feel now.  I think that deciding that my only option was to fight and live was the best medicine of all for me.

So when life hands you something harsh find the beauty in it.

Cancer is not pretty...

but my cancer has been beautiful...

Inspiration Song: "Beautiful Trauma" by Pink....because all of this has been my beautiful trauma...and at the end I will be a glittery princess unicorn butterfly and will be more beautiful than I ever hoped to be...

Bye Darlings...one year has shaped me....how has it shaped you?  Kisses....


Monday, October 16, 2017

Stronger (Than Yesterday)

Hello Darlings...

I'm blogging again today because I need it...it's been a day....

I made a huuuuuuuuge mistake yesterday....

I was bored.

So I googled.

I googled my disease.

Not a good idea.

Bad idea.

Very very bad idea.

I've done it before and ended up hyperventilating and crying...

But last night I was bored and found myself googling things....and looking on a cancer network forum board...

let me tell you there is very little hope when you see some of that stuff...

so after I had a little cry I shut down the computer and took a shower (this was after publishing last night's blog)

It lurked in my mind but I decided to compartmentalize it and decided that I would confess all to Dr. Angel today and let him calm me the hell down.

And he did...

I won't go in to all he said to me but suffice it to say he made me feel better and I've found my faith and strength again.

He told me to stop googling my disease.

Since he is in charge of me, I will obey...

I knew better than to do it. 

I did it before and it freaked me out.

I know that no good can come from seeing the results of old studies and that most women with my form of cancer are a good 20+ years older than me and not in as good health (other than cancer) as I am.

But it's like Pandora's Box...and I just had to open it and see what was inside.

I told him that GOTTESS mom had survived my kind of cancer. She is a 20+ year survivor. She's a total badass of an amazing woman (that's where GOTTESS gets it) and that cancer wouldn't have dared mess with her.

Dr. Angel told me that cancer is going to lose to me too because I am also amazing and formidable.

I love that man...

I do my very very best to stay as positive as I can about things but I am only human and every once in a while I break my diet and I succumb to fear and get really really scared.

I had a moment of weakness thinking I would like to know more about my disease and instead I poked a sleeping bear.

and the bear woke up...

So after I dried my tears thanks to Dr Angel settling me down I told him I was going upstairs to get poison in my veins (he laughed at that) and I headed upstairs.

I got my bloodwork.

Got my port accessed.

They put me in a chair.

and then I see my oncology pharmacologist and she is discussing something intently with my nurse.

Damn

They were discussing me.

She motions me over.

Damn

Apparently I have low platelets.

Like really low.

Not super low but really low.

Last week they were low.

Now we moved into the realm of "really" low.

Damn.

No chemo for me.

Which should be a good thing because I get a break from the devil drug Decadron but after just crying my eyes out (and my mascara off) to Dr. Angel about my fears of this disease getting me I don't want to miss a second of treatment.

ONE damn cell left can kill me.

But my platelets are low and they are too low for chemo....but not too low for radiation. (thank goodness)

So at least I get to stay on my radiation schedule and radiation is what is driving the train right now.

My pharmacologist (I call her Dr. Sweet Meds...because she is sweet and gives me the biiiig meds) told me that I need to be careful not to cut myself or to fall.

Apparently low platelets can be dangerous if you hit your head you can have a brain bleed.

I think I will pass on that thank you very much...

I suggested I wrap myself in bubble wrap and ask the football coach for a helmet and she didn't laugh at that but instead said "if you fall down call 911 and get taken to the ER"

oooooooookaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy

So prayers up for my platelets please....

so now that I have thoroughly bored you with an update on my mental, emotional and physical state what can I offer you in the way of my blogish wisdom?

Well basically it is that we all have stuff that troubles us and whether it is a hangnail or cancer it disrupts our functioning...

and we have to hit the reset button and find a way to get back on the horse and start to ride again.

And we have to find our inner strength to face it and beat it.

Today my coping mechanism was to cry to my doctor.

He hit the reset button for me.

But not everyone has a Dr. Angel to fix it all for them.

Sometimes we get back on the horse and other times we have to find a new horse to ride.

I have a dear friend who tomorrow will have a hysterectomy.

She had 5 miscarriages and sadly no children.

Her body has been put through a lot and now it is time for her to say goodbye to her uterus.

She doesn't have cancer but her girl parts have given up and decided to rebel against remaining inside her.

But unlike many of us who have a hysterectomy later in life and after having children, she is having to say goodbye to the dream of having a child of her own.

so it's not just her girl parts she is saying goodbye to.

Her strength amazes me.

I would not have had her strength at her age (she is under 40) to go through it.

She is very brave.

And my heart aches for her loss...because she would have made a great mom and she's a good friend.

She's not just setting the reset button...she is having to reset her life with a new reality.

A reality that is heartbreaking but I know she is strong enough to survive and come through shining.

It won't be easy....her body AND her heart must heal.

And the body part is much easier than the heart part.

I see my own struggles but when I see hers I not only feel her pain but I admire her for being stronger than I know I would have if I was in her place.

I said goodbye to a cancerous uterus that served it's time inside me and provided me with the two most beautiful humans I have ever seen (my kids).

I wanted it OUT because it was causing me pain and suffering and was trying to kill me.

Her uterus is causing her pain and suffering and heartache....

I rode next to her in spin class tonight and marveled at how hard she rode and tried to send her love and strength with each pedal stroke.

We don't know just how strong we are until we are forced to be strong.

Many of you have said you admire my strength.

I PROMISE you would be just as strong or stronger if you were in my shoes.

When you are facing something that seems insurmountable you have to just DO IT and start climbing...

We all face our personal Everests...mine is cancer....my friend's is her uterus...another friend is facing rebuilding her home...people in Puerto Rico are just trying to get power and water...

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I told the following to GOTTESS:

I am on a 6 inch ledge on a steep cliff.  There is no way to climb up because it is a sheer rock face. I was dropped on the ledge and didn't climb there.  I can't climb down because there is no foothold. I have no safety net and no safety line. There is a tightrope that leads somewhere but I can't quite see where it goes but it is a taught line and goes somewhere. I can't go down. It's a deep canyon full of rocks. I must get on the tightrope to get off the ledge because I can't stay on the ledge. I have to get on the tightrope and I am terrified of heights.  I have to get on and walk. And I have to look ahead because if I look behind I will lose my balance. and if I run I will lose my balance. So I have to walk slowly and carefully until I get to the other side...

I had no choice...I had to get off the cliff...and I am still walking that tightrope that leads to who knows where....

We get on the tightrope and walk because we have no choice....

So no matter what you are facing you are stronger than you think you are...

So you face what you have to face and if somewhere in the middle of the struggle you need to hit the reset button JUST DO IT....there is no shame to starting over again...

But face what you must face and don't hide from it.

I hit the reset button on my strength and treatment today

Dr. Angel set me back on the path and said what I needed to hear to keep going...and so when I went upstairs and my treatment plan was disrupted I was strong enough to face it and move on with my day and accept that it was going to be ok.

And tomorrow I will wake up stronger than yesterday and will face the tightrope I am on with a renewed strength and I will climb on the radiation table and let the Trilogy do it's magic and I will be one step closer to being disease free.

And tomorrow my sweet friend will lay on the operating table and lose body parts but will not lose the essence of the incredible woman she is.  She could use your prayers so if you are the praying sort please lift her up...

And tomorrow we will all wake up to the struggles of our life....and we will find a way to be strong and overcome them...

Because you are stronger than you know
and braver than you know
and tougher than you now

and if you have to hit the reset button do it...just don't give up...

Inspiration Song: "Stronger" by Britney Spears...because we are all stronger than yesterday...

Bye Darlings---I learned a lesson today...reading stuff can make me weak...I need to depend on my own strength to get me through and not some internet studies that are years old...






Sunday, October 15, 2017

Clean Up Woman

Hello Darlings...

How was your weekend?

Mine was just fine and dandy until I decided to tackle a clean-up project.

I decided it was time to tidy up the bathroom and get rid of a lot of "old" stuff.

A few months ago I read a post by Glennon Doyle (she's a mommy blogger who I follow on FB) and she posted a photo of her bathroom and the complete state of torture it was in because she decided to surprise her wife by getting their bathroom organized.

But somewhere in the middle of the process she lost interest in it and became overwhelmed and begged her wife's forgiveness and suggested maybe they just move.

I laughed my arse off at that post because I have been there and done that many times....

started a project just to become overwhelmed by it and then abandon it...

yeah...

many
times....

many
many
many
times...

and today was no different...

I got to looking at the clutter of bath products surrounding my tub and realized that I kept buying stuff because I had no clue as to how much I already had because it was hiding all around my bathroom.

So, like Glennon, I got it all out...

and then...

YOGA WORKSHOP

oh thank you sweet baby Jesus in the manger I had to leave the mess and go to a yoga workshop

(btw the workshop was beyond amazing and although I still hate Warrior 1 and 3 I am more in love than ever with Warrior 2...I call it the sexy bitch pose)

I had managed up until that point to collect a trash bag full of old (like so old they no longer smelled good) bath products and other "why did I think I needed this" stuff and disposed of it.

At one point I am pretty sure I believed that each of those bath products would change my life or at least make my body feel better....but 6 year old body scrub needs to be let go with some dignity or dumped in the trash...

So I came home and worked some more on the bathroom and realized that for once in my life I am damn glad I don't have a man.

because if I had a man he would have seen the trash bag full of bath products and he would now be stepping around land mines that are bath bombs and bath salts.

The bathroom is still a diorama of bath product chaos

I have abandoned it to write this blog

because I have ADD

and I need to step away from it lest I just decide to throw it all away

so I mixed myself a martini and decided to let my brain fly for a bit by blogging because all of this actually has a point and it's not just that I am glad that there is no man to hold up a jar of bath scrub and say:

"really?  really? you paid $30 for this and never touched it?"

(the ex would have done that)

So let's update the "bucket list for a man for Anice":

has a job
nice smile
kind eyes
tells me I am pretty
likes red wine and martinis
won't be grossed out by my love of very rare meat
is supportive of my spin and yoga addiction
brings me lilies
has a sense of humor
knows who Khaleesi and Groot are
doesn't mind that my body looks like a roadmap
understands that my kids do and always will come first
cleans the kitchen after I cook
likes travel (especially to warm destinations)
will watch musical theater
ISN'T JUDGEMENTAL ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF BATH AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS I OWN

yeah...that's pretty much it...

if you find someone who fits that bill send him my way...the first and last items are very important.

So the bathroom is at about a "6" if "1" is total wreck and "10" is perfect condition.

I totally get where Glennon was coming from....she (and I) went into it with a passion to get the room cleared of mess and clutter and unused stuff and halfway through we are overwhelmed and just want someone to come in and decide the rest for us.

So as I abandoned my project to drive across town for my yoga workshop I got to thinking about how we sometimes need to clear space in our lives so that we have room to grow...

to expand...

to add new things...

to make room for something else...

And cancer has cleared A LOT of space for me.

Cancer has shown me who my real friends are....

Cancer has shown me how damn strong I am....

Cancer has shown me that "impossible" is not a word I plan to ever use...

Cancer has shown me what REAL fear is (and cockroaches still count as a real fear)

Cancer has shown me that being a survivor is my only choice

Cancer has shown me what really matters in life (hence my letting go of a guy who has blue eyes and drives a big ass truck)

Cancer has cleared space in my life so that I see my life and what's important

what I need to hold on to and what to let go of

And WE ALL NEED TO DO THAT

We all need to clear out the clutter of our lives and get rid of what no longer serves us and keep what does and maybe find things that were missing that turn out to be just what we need.

So like the 5 year old bath scrub and the old razors some things just need to be tossed out...

Sometimes the clutter is physical (like the bath salts)

Sometimes the clutter is in our head---like when we have "stuff" that is blocking us from moving forward in our lives....or we are hearing voices telling us we are not strong enough or good enough or able to do something...

sometimes the clutter is in our relationships---like when I stayed too long in my marriage...or when we hold on to friendships that are more struggle than love...

sometimes the clutter is in our day when we have things we need to do that we have put off.

Whatever the clutter is we have only these choices:
use it
get rid of it

there is no in between.

yes, you can hold on to something if you KNOW you will use it but like the bath salts unless you know you are going to pour them into a hot bath in the next few months they why hold on to it?

So either trash it or give it away.

As for our relationships that are clutter we only have two choices:
fix what is wrong (and don't put off fixing it)
or
end the relationship

there is no in between

Now I know I have to go back into that bathroom and finish what I started....it's not going to disappear....so I pledge to you when I publish this blog I will go back and finish...

and I want each of you to examine what you need to clean up and make a step toward doing it---whether it is a bathroom or a stale friendship.

When we make space in our lives by getting rid of what is no longer serving us we have room to expand...

we have more room for those in our lives who matter (why waste time on the needy friend when you could be having a blast with the girls that want to enjoy YOU)

we have more time to love those who love us

we have more space to try new things

we have more strength because we aren't draining ourselves on other things.

I'm cleaning up my bathroom so I can enjoy my space more....so I can see what I have and celebrate it....so I can have satisfaction knowing that my tub is my sanctuary...

(and yes, I had so many bath products----things I BELIEVED would make my baths better----that cleaning up has taken a lot of energy)

I got rid of a husband who made me miserable and I made him miserable.  He is now very happy with his girlfriend and she is nice to my kids and gives him things I could not.  I walked away from him so that some day I could have space for a man who fulfilled me in ways my ex could not.  I have not found that man yet but I have high hopes he is out there and one day I will look into his kind eyes and be so very happy I was brave enough to walk away from someone else...

I have space in my home for a man to share life with me....but sadly I do not have the closet space so that will have to be negotiated.  Maybe I need someone who wears a uniform or is a doctor so that he isn't a clotheshorse that needs the left side of my closet for all of his suits...

I start each day with more joy than I had before cancer because I now know just how much of a gift each day is.  I took my days for granted before.  Now I look at each one as a chance to share myself with the world and do some good.

I have cleared space in my days so that I can exercise....spinning and yoga do so much for me that I need time each day to devote to them.  In turn it creates space in my life because I am healthy (other than a bit of pesky cancer trying to kill me) and I have met so many amazing people through my spin and yoga classes.

I have space in my heart for all those who I love...and that's where making space is a bit different.

Sometimes we need to clear space so there is room for others but in our hearts we don't have to---our hearts can infinitely expand to hold all we love....

We need to clear space for the new and hold space for those that fill us up.

So I have a little exercise for you....you want to try?

I'm going to ask you to do two things.

One is an act.

The other is in your head.

For the act: go to your closet.  Select an item you have not worn for years. Something you have held on to but wouldn't put on right now.  Maybe it doesn't fit. Or maybe it is no longer your style but you paid a lot for it. Or maybe it's not quite what you hoped it would be.

Now take it off the hanger and set it to the side and donate it.

Give it to someone who will wear it.

Doesn't that feel good?

And freeing?

Maybe you find a few more things.

I'm not asking you to go crazy...just to find one thing.

Now here comes the harder part.

Sit down quietly for a moment and look inside the "closet" that is your head.

Find something you tell yourself that is not serving you.

Find something you have been avoiding....or someone....

Find something that is taking up space in your brain and won't go away.

Now get rid of it.

Clear it out.

Stop saying or feeling it.

Call the human that you have this blockage with.

Do the thing that is scaring you or holding you back.

Make space in your brain to fill it with something that is worthwhile...
that fits....
that serves you...
that brings you joy...

Clear out the clutter and give yourself room to grow....

It's not easy...but it is worthwhile.

So now I am gonna go back and finish the bathroom. 

I don't want to have to set a bomb off in there....

and you find space in your life for the good things...throw out the bad stuff....and have some "me" time in the hot bath in the space you created...

Inspiration Song: "Clean Up Woman" by Betty Wright...because I am a clean up woman...cleaning up my life and my bathroom....

Bye Darlings---after the tub area I am hitting the drawers and makeup next week...pray for me...






Monday, October 9, 2017

Burn It Down

Hello Darlings!

Full Disclosure: I am writing this blog once again under the influnce of the devil drug Decadron.  Anything can happen folks...let's let it fly...

So today on the blog I want to talk about change...starting over...new beginnings...and second chances

Not long ago my beloved yoga teachers KuteKim, CuteCarissa, and BeautifulJess have been helping us to focus intentions toward being accepting of starting over and new beginnings and it has really resonated with me.

One time KuteKim read a passage that she got from her mentor and my yoga goddess SoulSisterSarah. The passage was about how fires will often burn up a forest...even the tallest and strongest of trees.

When I took my family to Yosemite National Park I recall the park ranger saying that fires can be very scary and hard to manage but they can also be a good thing because it lets new growth start and nourishes the soil.  They do controlled burns in the park occasionally just to do this. They use a controlled burn to stop out of control forest fires and, in the case of certain trees like Sequoia, the heat helps the cones open up to disperse the seeds.

It never occurred to me that a fire could be a good thing so that was an eye opener.

And as KuteKim read the passage while we sat in meditation I was reminded of what the park ranger said and how the fire I have been through might just make space for a new beginning.

I've often said that hard times, like my cancer and hard struggles we face as humans, are like fine china and a kiln.

Fine china, before firing, is simply clay and minerals (and in some cases bone ash) but it is soft and unfinished.  It goes through two firings---one to harden the clay (and it turns out the china shrinks some) and then a second firing in the glazing kiln to make it beautiful and shiny.

For me the first kiln was the first round of chemo (the terrible Taxol and carboplatin) along with 25 rounds of radiation to my pelvic area and 3 brachy treatments.  And yes, I lost weight and shrunk a little...

the second firing is this round of chemo (cisplatin) and the 30 rounds or radiation to my neck...this one is making me shiny and beautifully strong...

I had to pass through the fire so that I could emerge as a new me---stronger and healthier and an even better warrior than I was before.

And if you are a Game of Thrones fan like me I feel even more like Danaerys Targarean because she was unburnt by the fire and flames and yet grew stronger and more powerful (and got some pretty badass dragons in the process).  I am the Mother of a Dragon...I am the Unburnt...

I've always thought of fire as only serving the purpose of warming or cooking and that wildfire only sought to destroy but the truth is that fire can, and often does, make things better...that by burning it down we can build it back up.

BeautifulJess often reminds us it is ok to start over---to fall over is ok...to reset is a good thing...to come from a fresh place can make things better...just like the ground after a forest fire can start a new forest that is nourished from the previous one and and can grow fresh...

So often we just keep going and don't "reset" because we are busy...or feel like hitting the reset button is like admitting to a failure.

But it's not...

Sometimes bad things happen or things go awry so that things can actually improve and get better...

Not gonna lie----I was pretty angry when I found out I had cancer.  I didn't throw and break things but I sure wanted to.  Instead I poured myself a very large whiskey (I don't drink whiskey) and called my aunt.

But the first thing I decided (after a good swig of said whiskey) was that I had to own it.  I had to claim the cancer so it wouldn't claim me. I had to call myself a survivor from the start and never let the word "victim" pass my lips.

I also figured out that God didn't let cancer happen to me as a way to punish me.

I have cancer for reasons that are yet to be revealed.

But I have cancer for a purpose...

It might be so that my doctors could learn from my case...

It might be that I become an activist for my cancer...

It might be so I can spread the word about cold capping...

It might be so that through all of this I will meet people who I need in my life

It might be so that others will hear my story and go to the doctor and save their own lives

And it might just be that I went through the fire and fear of maybe dying so that I could start my life over in positive ways...that I can appreciate things I took for granted...that I can look at things differently.

Maybe I had cancer so that I could have a second chance and it was a way for God to refine me and perfect me. 

My journey with this cancer has led to revelations about myself that I never expected.

I never expected to be this strong about it.

I never expected to have accepted it as easily as I have.

I never expected that I could work through it and even get a nomination for the work I did while I was so desperately sick.

I never expected that my bucket list would change but it has...

nor did I expect that my feelings toward having a partner would change like they have---because I now seek an inner beauty in a man I didn't want or need before...and I now know that the man who will win my heart will be an angel of a human who can see past the fire I have been put through.  He also no longer needs to be a blonde blue-eyed man who drives a big ass truck.  A nice guy with kind eyes who drives a car is just fine...he just needs to be able to kill cockroaches.  That hasn't changed.

I never expected that I would calmly handle my treatments and other than a few tears I just pulled up my big girl panties and let them stick the poison in....or jump on the table and let the nuking begin.

I was terrified of chemotherapy.

Not gonna lie---it suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked

it
was
awful

I felt like holy hell all the time and was a bloated tired mess.

But I think I handled it like a boss and got through it with a few days of rest and a lot of love and support from all of you.

That kind of chemo is like having the flu

all
the
time

and just when you get over the flu you get it again.

for 4 months

4
months
of
the
flu

I was terrified of radiation and it turned out to be---easy...

I needn't have feared it because I have the most amazing and awesome (and kindest) radiation oncologist in the world in charge of my care but still I was scared I would get burned and things would happen to my organs.

This was radiation after all and basically it was supposed to burn up those cancer cells.

I never felt a thing (other than my full bladder I was laying on).

And now with this second go round of radiation I still feel nothing---except the mask holding me in place on the table and the straps that I hold that keep my shoulders down and keep me from moving.

That's it....no burning...no pain...I just lay there and let the Trilogy machine do it's work.

The other day when Dr. Angel felt my neck for my lymph glands he struggled to find them...that was the best feeling because he knows what to feel for and just where they are so they must be shrinking...

Apparently he doesn't want ME shrinking anymore because losing too much weight can mess up the radiation so for now I have permission to have my Saturday Southwell's Hamburgers fix...

because
I
can't
really
diet

Of course as soon as I am done with this I am totally going full on diet for the next 3 weeks because then hopefully it will be time to remove Gertie the huge hernia...

yeah...she's gotta go...

she's messing with me looking cute...

So through all of this I have had fire in my veins, burning radiation aimed into my body and a big fire in my belly to get through all of this like a badass warrior babe...

or a magical unicorn princess...

or both...

The other day I told my Aunt Jane that I felt like God had given me a second chance at life and with my body.

And therefore I better not blow it.

I need to spend the rest of my days taking care of this body I have been given a second chance with.

I need to love it more.

I need to fuel it with the best and healthiest things (with occasional lapses into Whataburger or pasta treats).  I realize that I must eat clean to maintain a healthy weight.  All my lovely steaks, hamburgers, pasta dishes etc have to be a once-in-a-while thing and not a once-a-week thing.

I need to continue to exercise and I need to do all kinds of exercise: spin, weights, and both power and flowy slow flow yoga....

I need to get more and better sleep

I need to spend more time with those I love because it is good for my soul.

My body got burned down so that I can grow into the new magical unicorn being I need to be.

And to NOT take care of myself...to let myself get diabetic or have heart disease or something else, is like spitting in God's face...

All of this hit home today as I was sitting in the waiting area of the cancer center. 

Next to me was a fellow cancer patient.

She reeked of cigarette smoke.

Reeked.

I almost couldn't bear to sit near hear and I have never been so happy to go get weighed and get my vitals taken as I was at that moment when I got to get up and move away from her.

I felt sad for her.

Smoking is an addiction.

A very hard addiction to break.

And yet here she is, a cancer patient, and she was still smoking.

Another lady I know from radiation admitted to me that despite having survived pancreatic cancer and now having breast cancer she can't quit smoking.

She told me Dr. Angel fusses at her for it.

I didn't fuss at her...I just hugged her because if hamburgers and pasta were like cigarettes I too would have an terrible addiction.

She's a very nice and kind lady. 

I want the best for her.

So I pray for her and I pray that she finds a way to put the cigarettes away and love herself enough to save her body from the effects of the smoking.  She works in a school cafeteria...her students need her...I am sure she is a bright spot in many lives.  She is in mine....and if you felt so led please pray for her...

I have a friend with anal cancer.

yes...we are gonna use that word.

She's magnificent.

She's my spirit animal and a mentor of sorts.

She's fought cancer more than once.

She's facing a terrible surgery.

Terrible
surgery

and yet she keeps a positive outlook on life.

She makes videos about her cancer and gives make-up tips.

Here she is:

https://youtu.be/tDYmBpjpWMM

She's not throwing away her second chance...she's making the most of it by spreading a message and telling us how to make our eyebrows look great...

watch...you will love her....

I do...

So as I sat there today next to the smoker I felt more empowered than ever to take better care of myself in life...

I've been given this second chance thanks to God burning down my "old" self...

It's been burned down...

and like a phoenix...

rising from the ashes....

or a shiny beautiful plate fresh from the kiln...

I will be a "new" me....better than ever and more ready to embrace life and all it has to offer me.

I have given a year of my life to Uterine Pappilary Serous Carcinoma (aka El Diablo).

Dr. Rockstar and Dr. Angel and all of the people that work with them have done all they can to give me back a life to live and love...

and so I will...

Because the soil is rich and fertile now...

and my roots are strong (and I am grateful to have hair that has roots that need bleaching)

and the trunk (my core) is strong with yoga and spin

and I am feeding and watering the tree that I am with good things

and like a sequoia the fire has opened up the seeds within me so they can spread and share my message (this blog)

and all of you are the birds that nest in me....the animals I give shade to....the plants that grow under and above and with me....

I stand in a garden of love surrounded by all of you

And I will spread my branches of love and thanksgiving and share it with the world...

And one day a man will come along who wants to rest by my tree....and he will take shelter with me...and he will not see the scars and the bumps but only see the beautiful tree that I am...

honed by the fire

grown strong from a second chance

a warrior who ran into the fire and not away from it

And I will be me

better
stronger
grateful

and I will not throw away my second chance....

I
will
own
it

Inspiration Song: Burn it Down by Linkin Park...it's my favorite of all their songs...(hint: Rev instructors I LOVE to spin to this song and it would be amazing to flow to)

Bye Darlings: the Decadron and I dedicate this blog to all of you who have come through the fire for yourselves and those who have come through this fire with me....we won't burn up....we burn down and rebuild...








Sunday, October 8, 2017

I Won't Back Down

Hello Darlings...

Well tomorrow makes for sort of a milestone in my cancer treatments---I will officially be on the "good" side of halfway through...I'm on the downside of it...I've got half my treatments behind me.

I have to have 30 radiation therapy treatments this time...

and 6 chemo treatments with Cisplatin infusions...

I've done 15 radiation treatments and 3 chemos...

halfway there...

and I still feel good and I feel strong.

There are times that the nausea gets me and I have a little irritation in my throat (expected) but that's about it.

El Diablo is trying his best to get to me but my Dr. Angel isn't going to let that happen to me.

Every day that I have to pop a nausea pill I get a little angrier...because I hate having to take a pill to make me feel better.

I'm angry at all of it.

I have to spend time each day driving to the Med Center for treatment (except weekends).  The good news is that I love each and every human in that department so even though it's a pain in the neck and disrupts my day I am surrounded there by wonderful people who take incredible care of me and all the patients there.

Sometimes my treatments mess with my workouts.

You all know that is NOT OK WITH ME.

Last week I had to miss my fave combination of spin and yoga because my time was changed (and I needed to watch rehearsal) and so I had to cancel.  But I made up for it by doing some mighty beastly yoga on Friday night.

It's like an internal fight with me each day....will the cancer make me feel bad...will the effects of the treatment make me sick or tired...will the schedule of when I get on the radiation table keep me from other things?

yes...

all of that happens...

but in the big scheme of things we are trying to kill something that wants to kill me so I'm ok with it.

Don't think for one moment that I alone have challenges...

WE ALL HAVE CHALLENGES

Some might not be as big or scary as facing something that is trying to kill you but we all have challenges that take strength to overcome...

Like when you see a cockroach in the kitchen...

and...

it...

flies...

at....

you....

UM...oh helllllll to the no....

that takes guts, and strength, and bravery...

just to go running out of the kitchen.

To go find someone else....

to kill the cockroach...

Sadly I live alone and Dragon doesn't understand the command "kill the roach" so I basically have to find all my bravery to go back into the kitchen and kill the sumbitch before it makes babies in my cabinet.

For me it takes more strength to face up to a damn tree roach than it does for me to climb on the radiation table and put on the LaaLaa mask...

(have I told you I renamed the Hannibal Lector mask?  It's now LaaLaa from the Telletubbies....because it is yellow and  look like LaaLaa in it)

Flying cockroaches take lots and lots of human dignity away because most of us end up screaming and running around like a pit viper is after us and not just a 2 inch long disgusting insect.

So if you have faced up to killing a roach in your home you have what it takes to face radiation.

Trust me....

So the next time you think I'm all brave and stuff...

I'm not...

I
am
terrified
of
cockroaches

Cancer scares me a lot but it doesn't fly at me

If you are faced with a challenge decide if it is harder than facing a roach....

I bet the roach is harder...

it will make whatever you are up against easier...

I call it the "flying roach principal".

Because if a roach flying at you scares the holy crap out of you then there is your benchmark...

voila...

everything else is do-able

During my little journey with cancer I have had to face:
major surgery removing organs and body parts God gave me
infusions of a drug that would take my hair
freezing my scalp so the drug didn't take my hair
infusions of a drug that makes people ill
nausea from said drug
loss of energy
loss of strength
radiating parts of my body that are scary to get nuked
putting all my faith and trust in my doctors
needles
needles
needles
drinking things and having things shot into my veins
scans
scans
scans
having radiation shot into a very personal part of my body
having to be a patient in a "cancer center" where everyone looks so sick
walking through the doors of radiation therapy daily
laying on a table with my booty exposed
laying on a table with a mask locking me down
losing time to my illness

and you know what?

the cockroach still scares me as much as any of that

and so does climbing on a ladder...

I think the reason I can do all of it is because...

I literally have no choice

I MUST DO IT TO LIVE

You can face more than you think you can when you are told you have something that wants to kill you inside of you....

as I said to Dr. Rockstar: "That's not bunnies in there....get it out of me"

So many of you have told me I am brave.

Guess what?

You would be just as brave.

We warrior on because we must.

ALL of us have challenges...(and cockroaches)

And it is in how we handle what we are given that we find our true selves.

Some of my friends have been given the task of overcoming a flooded home.

I would cry my eyes out.

They have handled it like a boss.

Some of my friends are LGBTQ and have had to face the challenges of discrimination and judgment for their lifestyle and loves.

I hate that ANYONE would discriminate against someone for their sexuality but it happens every day....and I have unfriended people because of it.  I have unfriended them not because they are ugly to LGBTQ people but because they are narrow minded assholes.

My friends handle it with dignity and bravery...to become a trans man is not easy and yet I have watched one friend do it with such grace and love that it makes me proud he even sees me as a friend.  I love that man. He is brave.

Some of my friends have had other cancers.

I've watched them lose hair, get sick, fight like hell....

and in watching them I stored up strength for my own fight.

We all have lost loved ones.

That is never easy.

I cry daily for my parents.

I often think how proud they would be of me for not just being the whiny petulant princess that I normally can be.

I found my inner warrior because I know I have two angels in heaven whispering to me to fight on.

We find our strength and faith when we need it most.

Whether it is in fighting for our home, overcoming the loss of a loved one, or fighting to be our true authentic selves.

We fight like warriors even when we aren't trained to do so

Every day I wake up and thank God for the day...and I try to focus a minute or two on how I can show love that day...and then I pray for strength.

I am powerless against a few things:
sad movies
HEB jalapeno bacon
disco music
new lipsticks
bath products
holiday commercials
Whole Foods jalapeno hummus
a lover's kiss (been a while but I remember)
good red wine
children singing
my students on stage
my kids' smiles
kittens and puppies
a good rare filet
a man with a lovely smile
pasta

I can't fight against any of those things...they make me melt...and why would anyone fight against hummus?  or bacon?

I need more strength against bacon than I do to face chemo.

Not kidding.

And when you add in the fun of the devil drug Decadron that I am forced to take with every chemo I need all the strength in the world to not fall victim to it telling me to eat everything in the house.

Conversations with myself go like this:

I am hungry.
No you are not that is the drug talking.
Let's make deviled eggs.
No let's not it's 10 at night.
What can I put on toast?
Anice you don't need to eat you had dinner
Yes but suddenly I need chocolate
There is no chocolate in the house.
I bet I can find a Reese's
Put that Reese's in the trash it is old
Is there any ice cream in the freezer
No and there is no Halo Top either
How about I eat some pita chips and hummus
How about you eat a beet instead
How about that blue box mac and cheese that I hid...now might be a good time
You are hoarding blue box mac and cheese um that is a no
I know where it is hiding and I'm not telling you because I might need it
give the mac away to your son next time he is home and eat the beet
cheese...I have cheese...what can i do with cheese
you can keep the cheese in the drawer Anice
but I can melt it on toast
you need to drink water and go to bed and have toast in the morning

Yup...

that's what happens every Monday night after the Decadron.

I need to find a cockroach to stand guard at the entrances to my kitchen so I won't go in there...

then I would be too terrified to go into the kitchen...

because cockroach...

So you see what I am facing is not so much the cancer as the treatment to kill it.

The poison and the nuking and the effects are more frightening than the cancer is at times.

Don't get me wrong---I totally know my El Diablo (aka Uterine Pappilary Serous Carcinoma) is lurking and trying to bedevil Dr. Angel but Dr Angel is smarter than my cancer...and he knows how to fix Magical Unicorns like me.

I am strong because I have people who help me to be strong.

We all do.

So warrior on my friends....fight what you must...

even if it is a cockroach in your kitchen

Inspiration Song: I Won't Back Down by Tom Petty...because I loved him and because this song makes me feel strong...

Bye Darlings----we all have things we must face so find your warrior self and face them. I am not special.  You can all do this.  But I do think I need a boyfriend to kill the cockroaches in life...





Monday, October 2, 2017

What the World Needs Now (is Love, Sweet Love...)

Hello Darlings...

I have a heavy heart tonight...

so much going on in our country...and to top it off I had chemo and radiation today and now the demon known as Decadron is coursing through my body with a raging vengeance...

Decadron---he lies...

He whispers like a lover:
eat the cake
eat the ice cream
eat the cheese
eat the bacon
eat the pasta
eat ALL of it
because it won't matter...

lie...it puts on a pound on me even if I eat totally clean...

it's a demon...

it also makes me fidgety, fussy, antsy, and triggered...

So today putting that drug on top of all the heaviness of our world might make this an interesting blog indeed.

Remember---my blog, my opinion...

So in the past 5 weeks we have had:
a hurricane that destroyed many south Texas coastal towns
the rains from a hurricane causing devastating flooding in Texas
a hurricane destroy parts of Florida and cause damage there
two hurricanes literally destroying Puerto Rico
wildfires burning in the Northwest
Tom Petty may or may not be dead
and
a horrible man caused the greatest mass shooting in the history of our country

That's a lot...

a helluva lot

and on social media I see lots of finger pointing and blame and politics and ugliness...

I am no fan of trump.

I have made that clear.

But I'm not going to discuss him on this blog because that is NOT what you come here for.

I saw so much ugly on FB in the last few days about Puerto Rico and why they aren't getting help, and now today about the shooting.

Stop it.

Stop. It.

STOP IT

STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT

S
T
O
P
I
T

just stop...

and stop calling each other names...

I am no more a fragile triggered (ok the decadron IS triggering me but not my liberal stance) libta$# snowflake than all trump supporters are deplorable racist gun-loving people...

you can't put people into categories...

I don't want to get in to who says what...who tweets what...who supports what...

we need to stop degrading people or putting them all in one basket...

we need to stop doing that people...

stop calling each other ugly things because of our personal beliefs...

How about we take a day and just show LOVE?

How about we don't just "send prayers" but we actually HIT OUR KNEES AND PRAY

I pray every single day...

I have a list...

and I have extended prayer time when I am in the Trilogy machine getting nuked while wearing a mask that makes me look like LaaLaa the Telletubby.  It makes for some nuclear powered praying.

Puerto Rico needs our prayers---not criticism of the government here or there---people have REAL needs and those needs are not being met because it's a mess down there...roads are messed up...gas can't get to the gas stations so that drivers can get to work at the docks...

The families of the Las Vegas shooting need our prayers---not a discussion of who the kinds of people are that go to country music festivals or what the shooter was like politically...he was sick...very very sick...

I have friends in Houston who can't live in their homes that need our prayers...and one precious student had her sweet dog die due to the stress...

Right now there is a mom in Puerto Rico hoping that she got enough water from the water tank (where they have to carry their own vessels and fill up) to make it through the day.

Right now in Puerto Rico there is a man who needs insulin...

Right now in Houston there is a woman who lost all her children's baby photos in the flood...and they aren't digitally saved...

Right now in Florida is a bride who's wedding gown was destroyed in the storm...

Right now in the Florida Keys there are people who's homes were leveled and they have no place to live or work...

Right now in this country is a father who lost a son to a gunman...or a daughter...or a mother who will never kiss her child again because a crazy man shot them...

Right now there are people who were trampled in the rush to get away from the gunfire in Vegas that survived physically but will forever be scarred emotionally...

Right now there is someone in Montana that lost their long held family land due to wildfires...

Right now there is a man in Houston who doesn't know how he is going to rebuild his family home...

Right now in Rockport there are kids that have no school to go to...

Right now I, and many like me in this country, had chemo today to try and kill something that is trying to kill us.  I might have been the healthiest human on the 29th floor of the Memorial Hermann Professional Building today---and I have a deadly form of cancer.

Right now there is suffering...

there is pain....

there is grief....

there is damage...

there is loss...

there is fear...

there is death...

and there is hate...

so much hate...

so much blame and finger pointing....

so many nasty names called from BOTH sides politically...(one is not worse than the other)

I see things on social media that make my heart hurt so much when I see humans call other humans terrible things...

We need LESS HATE

we need MORE LOVE

What the world needs now is love sweet love...

it's the only thing that there's just too little of...

So my friends I want to present a challenge to all of us---just for the next few days let's keep social media full of love and hope (and go ahead and promote your businesses because we all gotta do what we do)

Let's see love...acts of love...

go out and do a random act of love or kindness

apologize to someone you hurt

forgive someone who hurt you

stop calling people names

and if someone does it on your post ask them to gently rephrase or remove

let's build some love in this world and stop name calling and finger pointing

Let's support each other and pull together...

I think God is sending us a signal that we need to love each other and stop the hate.

I hate our president but my saying so will not change him.  Nor will any of you telling me he is wonderful will change my mind.

and if I hate him, how does that affect YOU?

I'm only saying this because we all seem to take things on social media so PERSONALLY that we feel an attack on the person we support is an attack on ourselves.

I had a friend accuse me of hating on trump supporters on my newsfeed....I went back and checked and found none.  Why?  because I don't attack his supporters on my newsfeed.  I may pick on him but how does that affect you if you voted for him?  Why is my calling him a name personally offensive to YOU?

just like the football players on the sidelines---it might feel offensive to  you so don't watch football...but does it affect how you are able to go through your day (other than not watching football which YOU choose to do and no one forced you to).

We post these things on social media and allow our friends to say ugly and insulting things about the opposition and we don't defend them (I did today---a friend with an opposing view posted something and another friend attacked her and so I defended the friend with the opposing view and the friend who attacked graciously apologized).

Do you dislike me because I am liberal?

because I believe in gun control?

because I defend LGBTQ rights?

do MY personal beliefs affect YOUR day?

am I a bad person because of them?

NO...I am a good person...and if you dislike me for my personal beliefs we shouldn't be friends because you don't know me in the right way...and we all have a right to our beliefs...

you might think I am wrong for what I THINK but do I deserve to be attacked for it?

does anyone?

and why attack?

I have a dear friend who had to change her name on social media and block someone because the man literally spewed hate on every comment she made.  What's wrong with people?

Hating someone for their stance on human rights is like hating someone because they love the color purple---it only matters if that person attacks others for it....or if the purple lover paints everything purple (I love purple but we only need so much of it)

I can't fathom the demons that someone must have to bring 19 weapons into a hotel and plan to spray gunfire over people who are literally trapped in a venue.

I control my demons that tell me to throw glitter on people...but that demon is easier to control than the one that tells someone to kill...

I can't fathom what it must be like to return to what was once your beloved home and find it unlivable and your prized possessions and treasures destroyed...

I can't fathom telling my child to have fun at a concert and then learn he was killed...

I just can't fathom all this tragedy and hate...

So can we all try and be a little kinder?

Maybe not post something ugly about the political opposition 10 times a day every day...

what has happened in this country since August 24th has been hard to accept and live through...

I know many of you are so passionate about your beliefs and feelings but how about a day of healing?

How about a day where we see puppies and kittens and baby giraffes....and babies!

How about a day where we share love....and celebrate it...

How about a little less of the vitriol and a little more vitality...

How about we just love one another and come together?

Will a little more love make a happy ending? (Bonus points to you if you caught the song reference and yes I am mixing my songs here)

We need to find a way to approach things with more love...

I'm going to pledge to start each day with a meditation on love and how I can spread and share love each day...

I'm going to make my social media a happy place for a while with lots of food pictures and Dragon the cat photos and happy things...

I'm going to go to radiation and pray even more and harder...

I'm going to hug my students until they think I am a leech...

I'm going to tell my children just how loved they are even if they think it is mushy...

I'm going to support my friends...

I'm going to love harder...

love stronger...

love better...

Try it...come from love and not hate...

make peace with your posts

resist the urge to name call

and just for a day find love in all you do

be motivated by love

be moved by it

and let it shine through...

because the people in this country need it...

pray for those who need our prayers...

what the world needs now is love sweet love

it's the only thing that there's just too little of....

Inspiration Song: "What the World Needs Now" written by Burt Bacharach (ok I am a totally BB fan).  Dionne Warwicks version is lovely and the Glee version was very well done but my favorite by far is the Broadway For Orlando version (recorded for the victims of the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting). All my favorite Broadway stars...the video is pretty great too...

Video:

http://www.playbill.com/video/broadway-for-orlando-the-exclusive-music-video

Lyrics:
What the world needs now is love sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone

[Verse 1]
Lord we don't need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last until the end of time

[Chorus]
What the world needs now is love sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for everyone

[Verse 2]
Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are corn fields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen Lord, if you want to know

[Chorus]
What the world needs now is love sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for eve...everyone

[Bridge]
What the world needs now, Oh
Needs now
What the world needs now
Is love sweet love
Need a little love
All we need love, Oh
What we need is love


[Chorus]
What the world needs now is love sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love sweet love
No not just for some but for every, everyone

[Outro]
Ooh Love
Ooh Love
Sweet love

Bye  Darlings---prayers and love for all...we need it