Here I am again in the PET scan room (written at 6:30am), waiting the 2 hours until the contrast they injected me with makes its way through my body so they can detect any cancer cells floating around. Am I afraid? Of course. Not so much for the test. this is probably my 10th or 11th scan in three years so I’m used to lying still with metal hovering just inches over my face and body. No, I’m always scared to hear the results (they haven’t exactly been positive most of the time). I also am seeing my laryngologist this week and that scares me too. Mostly because I don’t really want to know how close or non-functional my vocal cords are.
After cancer, I don’t really trust my body. Before each diagnosis, I have felt great (minus an occasional sore throat). I would love to rejoice each time I get clean results or good news, but even when/if I do I am hesitant and suspicious. Will I ever get that trust back? I doubt it. Will I let it control me and take away my joy? I won’t let it. Yes, I believe the fear of cancer coming back will always be there, but even if I don’t trust my body, I will always trust in God who created it and has a perfect plan for me.
All of us have our hesitations and fears but there are many things we cannot control. happiness is based on our outside circumstances but joy comes from within, from trusting our Creator has a plan although it may be different from ours. Fear is ok but don’t give it the power to control you and rob your joy. Life is for the living!
I’m not wearing any metal for my PET scan, but one thing I am wearing is Bobbi Brown Treatment Lipshine in Rosy . It’s a gorgeous warm pinky brown color that looks great on ALL skintones, not quite a full on lipstick, but also not quite just a lip gloss. One thing I’ve learned is to live for today and today I choose to have a Rosy outlook on life!
The other day I was in line at DSW (for those not familiar, it is a huge designer shoe warehouse). I was the only one in line standing behind the big sign that said ‘Form Line Here’. The sign stood about 5 feet away from the line of registers. As the customer in front of me was finishing up and I was getting ready to step forward, a man literally ran up from I don’t know where buying three pairs of shoes and stepped up to the cash register. The cashier started ringing him up thinking he was next in line. Hello? Did I look like a mannequin holding up the sign? The store wasn’t even that busy at the time and I was literally the ONLY ONE STANDING THERE with one pair of shoes! First, I wanted to yell at him and to physically push him out of the way. Second, I wanted to explain to him the rules of the game, how inconsiderate he was, and then tell him my story and everything I’ve been through to still be around to buy one pair of shoes. But no, I stood there and smiled awaiting my lost turn in line.
This got me thinking, I was using my cancer as an excuse for better treatment, a disability so to speak. I wanted him to know that sure, maybe he was in a hurry, but excuse me, I’ve had cancer. Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing? I don’t want cancer to define me; it is simply a part of my story. When most people look at me they don’t even know. I want to be the person that I am today because of what the cancer has taught me; stronger, bolder, more understanding of people because of their story. Maybe he didn’t see the sign, maybe he’s from out of town, maybe it was his first trip to DSW and didn’t know the ‘line rules’. Whatever it was, I was not in a hurry so waiting 5 extra minutes didn’t really matter to me. Despite being discouraged, I was able to take a step back and wonder about him and wow, the story I made up in my mind about him made me laugh out loud.
Anyway, we all have insecurities, ‘disabilities’, things which happened in our past or words that were spoken to us that have made us who we are. Sometimes we like to use them as excuses, the ‘if you only knew what I’ve been through…’Well, it’s time to get your MOJO back. Don’t allow those things to define you. Every day is a new day and a new chance to be the difference.
Today I wear I wear Revlon Coffee Bean lipstick which is a beautiful medium brown with a tiny bit of pink undertone. It also has a little bit of shimmer. I chose this color because of the name. Coffee to give yourself a jolt of life, no excuses!
Me and my dad
People have always asked me where I got my love for music and my musical ability. Although I have many musically inclined relatives, I have to say that most of my passion for music came from my dad. Growing up, we had the turntable stereo with the 4 ft. speakers on each side in our family room. At least a few times a week my dad would blast a symphony playing classical music and pretend to be the conductor. I would watch in awe as he conducted Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and even John Philip Sousa. He would also continually play singers like Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett and sing along with them. My dad was and is always singing; sometimes instead of replying to a question with words, he replies with a tune. I learned later on that he played the trombone in the college marching band and was also in a band playing the harmonica.
My dad and I are a lot a like. We are both quiet and laid back and sometimes have difficulty expressing our feelings; I think that’s where the music comes in. When we find it hard to express ourselves, there’s music that can do it for us. My dad was stern and strict growing up and I’ve only seen him tear up a few times. Every Christmas, he would play Filipino carols and tear up because of the family and friends he missed in the Philippines. That’s what I mean, emotion through music. Now for me, music runs deep, it affects my heart and I can literally feel each note and word of a song. I thank my dad for this love and expression. He has taught me many things and even though he’s a man of few words I understand him.
Happy Father’s Day Dad, I Love You!
For Dad’s day I wear Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Rock Candy. It’s a gorgeous soft baby pink lipgloss with diamond shimmer throughout, great for any skintone! I wear it because the pink reminds me of my childhood and the bling reminds me of the musical showman my dad truly is!
There are certain things I have lost and that I miss because of my cancer and all the complications associated with it. I miss running, dancing, swimming, and even riding a bike with my kids without having any breathing difficulty. I miss some of my taste buds, so now, something has to be very sweet, very spicy, or very sour for me to taste. I miss being warm on a warm day because my thyroid is no longer there to help control my internal temperature. I miss having a sore throat and not having to wonder if the cancer is back once again. I miss coughing without having people try to stay away from me because it’s so loud and uncontrolled or having my kids worry about me from the sound of the cough. I miss being able to talk all day and sing whatever I want with ease all night and still have a voice with no sore throat. I miss sleeping on my left side because I am a side sleeper, but now when I sleep on my left I choke and cough because of all the scar tissue on that side. I miss my right vocal chord which if it were still functioning, I could talk better, sing better, and breathe better.
On the other hand, I have found many beautiful things. I have found a deeper understanding of me and the world around me. I have found a new love for people, their histories, and their stories. I have found people that truly care and deeper friendships. I have found a greater appreciation of time and a greater passion for life and every moment. I have found a deeper faith in God and inner strength I never even knew I had. I have found a new and strong voice in my writing. In the end, I have found courage.
So no, cancer did not take away from me, it gave my heart more life. For this I wear Christian Dior #773, Rouge Podium. It’s a color that’s hard to describe…pink/orange/red? It’s not as bright as it sounds. It’s the first lipstick my husband has ever complimented me on (and he hates bright lipstick). He says it brightens up my face and reminds him of a summer day. That’s why I wear it, for sunnier days ahead!
A few days ago I met a beautiful woman, Michele, who happens to be a jewelry artisan. She creates beautiful and unique pieces using natural stone, silver, and buttons! She is a true artist that puts a lot of love into her pieces. We actually met through Facebook where she posted some of her pieces on a wall of a friend of mine (gotta love technology). Anyhow, through her research she discovered the ancient relationship between the healing properties of Lapis and thyroid cancer and she created an incredible choker for me (pictured above). It fit perfectly, laid exactly over my scar, and she added a songbird atop a heart with wings because she knew I was a singer. It was an incredible gift which left me speechless, emotional, and most of all grateful. Michele is a new friend I have met because of cancer.
I have friends who have known me before cancer and now, I have friends who only know me because of the cancer. I wonder if I am different to these two sets of friends. I know that I am not the same person I used to be. It is my ‘new normal’. I see things differently, I feel things differently, and there are things I’m less tolerant of because life is too short. I wonder if my old friends can see that because that is the only person my new friends have known. We are all continuously changing into the people God created us to be, but cancer and mortality have opened my eyes a little sooner. Everyone is unique and is molded by their history. It’s so fun listening to their stories and as I sat with Michele and listened to her story and how cancer has affected her life I knew that this was no ‘chance’ meeting. I love all of my friends and I am so thankful that God brought every single person into my life at exactly the right time.
Today’s lipstick is Iced Amethyst by Revlon! It’s kind of a purply-silver. Don’t let the color scare you because it actually goes on soft. It highlights a natural plum lip color (like mine) and adds a little sheen. Like my friends, old and new, they highlight my life and are just ‘icing on the cake’!