Tag Archives: Dior

Motherhood And Cancer

26 Sep

facetune_22-09-2018-17-18-00Last weekend my son went to his first official high school homecoming dance. He didn’t have a date but neither did most of his friends. Interesting times but I guess less pressure if you just decide to go with a bunch of friends. When I first found out cancer was back a little over a year ago my primary thoughts were of the kids not having a mom around to see them graduate, get married, have kids of their own, etc. Since I’ve been stable over a year some of those thoughts have faded (a little) but every time something significant happens like graduation, off to college, or this homecoming dance, my heart swells and I feel so grateful to still be here.img_4293

What can I say about being a mom with cancer? Many of my emotions I can’t even iterate on paper. This may be the hardest part. When I first got cancer the kids were 5, 7, and 10 and my thoughts were consumed with being able to raise the kids to at least adulthood when maybe they wouldn’t need a mom as much, but now that my kids are there or close to that ‘adulthood’ age I realize they still need a mom and maybe even more. Watching them grow up and being there for these moments is both heartbreaking and beautiful. I guess the best description of being a mom with cancer is ‘overwhelmed’; every event, every moment, every time they lay their head on my shoulder, every great conversation, every text or call just to say hello, and every ‘I love you’ is overwhelming, like my heart may burst into a thousand pieces with joy and love. On the other side, every harsh word or rude comment, every ‘you’re so annoying’, every time they make a bad decision, it is absolutely piercing heartbreak. Thankfully the negative is not often but it still happens and it’s hard. Having cancer has magnified every single emotion for me and as a mom, sometimes the emotions feel unbearable, both the good and the bad.

As it stands, motherhood is a sort of wilderness through which each woman hacks her way, part martyr, part pioneer; a turn of events from which some women derive feelings of heroism, while others experience a sense of exile from the world they knew.~Rachel Cusk

Metastatic cancer generally has no cure, it’s all about time. Being stable means more time. Being stable over a year? Slow growing…more time. I don’t want to miss anything. When they were young, I wanted to see them through to adulthood. Now that they’re older teens/young adults I want to see the rest of their stories and how it all shakes out so I’m kind of mad about it. There is no good time to have cancer. The teen/young adult years, I have decided, are the hardest years to parent. This is the time when kids push boundaries, try to bend the rules, and try to shove their way into adulthood and oh yeah, they can drive away. Why am I mad? Because at a time when I want to hold them tight and spend every possible moment I can with them,  they are trying to push off into the world. It stinks. It’s hard in general to parent during teen years but even harder with cancer because again, it’s about time. So. Incredibly. Frustrating.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt.

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How has cancer changed my mothering? I stare at the kids longer when I see them trying to memorize every feature. I move heaven and earth to be available for the times that they want to see me. I cry a lot more and not just when I’m sad, but when I’m ecstatic as well. I cry so.much. I hug them until they have to push me away and I pray for them and their future without ceasing. Motherhood stretches our hearts bigger and wider than we could have ever imagined and when you add cancer or any illness for that matter, your heart  stretches to the point of breaking. I read somewhere that cancer is not just a disease of the body but of the mind, body, and soul. So true. I will not let cancer break my spirit. I will take ‘stable’ as long as possible. I am a mom. I am strong.

Today I wear one of my favorite lips products of all time, Dior Lip Glow in Berry. I have this in 3 different ‘colors’. Essentially these are lip balms but each brings out a natural hue from your lips. I love these because they’re moisturizing and give your lips enough color to feel ‘finished’. Cheers!

Church

18 May

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I have been going to church my entire life. My parents did not exactly make church optional. This was not a bad thing really, I didn’t know any different and my parents didn’t make church look like a chore, it was a place they enjoyed going to. I grew up taking Sunday school classes, singing in the choir, working in the nursery, and really having community while learning about God. Although as a teen it wasn’t great fun and maybe I rolled my eyes those early Sunday mornings but we never missed. I have to say when I went away to college church was not on my mind but eventually I was drawn back. I missed the stability and the community and honestly the peace I felt listening to God’s Word so again in my 20’s I became a regular attender and volunteer.

I recently read another blog which said ‘the church is a beautiful and broken place..it can heal and restore and it can hurt and turn away.’ The author also says regarding current hot button issues, ‘…it’s a lot harder to just swallow what scripture says when there’s a face on the other side.’ Good stuff. So, last weekend I had a bit of an epiphany while sitting in church. The topic was ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ a loaded question which they unpacked beautifully. I have to say I have had a few not so fun things happen in my life in recent years and I did turn to my church and the people there for love, support, advice, etc. and have felt both loved and restored but also hurt. Awhile back I felt completely supported after months of asking questions and seeking prayer during an extremely tough time but after a single conversation about me with someone else who could speak more ‘bible-language’ the tune changed from supported to maybe more questioned and judged. It was hurt compounding hurt and I felt myself become guarded, distrustful, and distant. It became increasingly difficult to go to services and engage and to even look some people in the eye. The institution I had relied on my entire life, poured into, and loved did not feel like home anymore and I could feel my heart harden a little. Was the church really a SAFE place for ALL the broken; broken hearted, broken families, troubled kids, abused, blended families, those with more complicated life stories? Are those just empty words and invitations that can turn on a dime when a truly difficult situation happens? Is a person more religious and believable if they have more bible verses memorized? All questions running through my mind.2012-07-08 16.33.59

So what happened last Sunday? I let it all go. Forgiveness. I looked at everyone around me and even the pastor speaking at the pulpit and realized the church is just a bunch of broken people gathered in a building doing the best they can while seeking God. We’re all human, we all make judgement calls and sometimes they’re not always right (and that includes pastors because they’re human too).One thing I know for sure, that question, ‘Where’s God when bad things happen?’ He is right there with you. Whatever I felt toward ‘the church’ through the difficult times with cancer or family issues I never doubted that God was right there holding my hand and that He had a plan. Last Sunday despite the questions in my mind and heart, I realized the church and its imperfections were just part of my journey to continue drawing closer to God. People always say they feel judged or not accepted or maybe that they don’t have a place or feel welcomed but should that be the burden of the church or the person or maybe both? The true burden lies with us, the people professing to be Christians. We are the church. Why does someone feel judged, because we judge. Why does someone feel left out, because we place ourselves in our cliques or comfort zones and stay there. Last Sunday I felt my shoulders relax a little and as they closed out with a song near and dear to me, the song I heard in my head before fully waking up after my first cancer surgery, the words rang true for me, ‘It is well with my soul.’

‘The kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men, but by men in our churches becoming filled with God~D. Campbell’

Today I wear my old standby Dior Addict Lip Glow. I ALWAYS have this in my purse. It is like a lipbalm but it brings out the natural berry of your lips. It is the only lip thing I buy consistently. I chose it today because of the topic and what this product does. Glow brings out the natural color of your lips and adds a hint of berry, being a Christian we glow from the Holy Spirit inside us. Let’s work harder to be a little nicer to each other showing less judgement and more mercy and grace. Cheers!

 

Thank You, Doctor

26 Nov

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This past week I had my last appointment with one of my doctors because he is retiring. Unexpectedly at the end of my normal check up, I burst into tears as he said good bye, hugged me and told me it was his privilege to have taken care of me during my cancer journey. It’s hard to describe how I felt saying good bye to this man because the feelings kind of took me by surprise. Dr. K has seen me from the very beginning of my cancer story 8 years ago and has treated me like I was his only patient. He called me on Christmas to tell me the results of my PET scan because he knew I wouldn’t want to wait, after a medical conference he called me to tell me there was a new test for rare cases like me and although it had not been approved yet by the FDA he was going to arrange I have it done, during a period when I had no insurance and cancer was suspected again he told me he would take care of the additional tests necessary, and every time my cancer came back he would personally call doctors, surgeons, specialists across the country and tell me who he’d spoken to and who he would recommend; he himself a cancer survivor, always offered me the encouragement I needed. I feel so fortunate and grateful to have had him as part of my medical team.

Did Dr. K treat all of his patients like that? Probably, and it probably added more work to his days to make those extra phone calls and do extra paperwork. How easy would it be for us to squeeze in kindness, love, respect, empathy, etc toward other people in our busy days and should it really take that much effort? Dr. K made me feel important, valued, like I mattered, and isn’t that what we want in general? In our homes, friendships, workplace? His extra 10 minutes spent on me created a place in my heart and memory that will last me the rest of my life. ‘Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.’~ Mother Teresa. How do people feel when they leave you? Encouraged? Happy? At Peace? Like they listened? What memory are we leaving? Sometimes we only get one chance, let’s remind people they matter.

This Thanksgiving I have so much to be grateful for; health, family, home, and love. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families! Today I wear Dior Addict Lipstick in Not Shy, a pink-brown, which is my new favorite daytime lipstick. I’ve always loved Dior lipsticks for moisture and shine and this new formulation adds a little more staying power. Cheers from my family to yours!

Just Rambling

16 Apr

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Sometimes relationships end not because you want to but because you have to. Sometimes it’s opening your eyes to the reality that the story you had longed for had not only turned a different direction but was never really the story to begin with. We all enter relationships in different times of our lives; I’m talking friendships all the way to marriage. We come into things based on the information we have about the other person and what we think we know about ourselves, our needs, and our expectations. What if the information we thought about the other person was way off and over time the rose colored glasses became clearer and clearer? What if it’s because we ourselves become different people; stronger and braver because we now have a voice and self worth along with it? What if you pour your entire soul and being into someone only to realize it didn’t matter because that person would not be different, that they would just expect more? Here’s what happens in that scenario, your soul dies a little, you become numb, and when you can’t possibly give more, do more, be more, you’re done and spent. It is not about forgiveness, it’s about exhaustion from expecting something that couldn’t be. What counts more, words or actions? Words can kill, but actions speak a thousand words, therefore, you can die a thousand deaths just from one terrible action right? A lot of talk and apologies lead nowhere when actions are at the opposing end. Regrets? Never. Everything and everyone has it’s purpose in our lives during different seasons to make us better, wiser, stronger, or even to help the other person. I love people and I love their stories but sometimes they have stories I would rather not be a part of. Frank Herbert says, ‘There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.’ Here’s the beautiful thing about life…it moves on. Every day and every moment is your chance to write a new page. Every relationship is a chance to learn more about yourself, whether that person is in your life for an hour or for years doesn’t matter because every interaction leaves an impact of some sort. One thing I learned, be the person you see in the mirror, your bad-ass self (sorry, had to use that word again). God created you unique and special, believe it.

Today it’s Dior Addict Gloss in Princess. I love all Dior lips products because the colors are beautiful and all of the lipsticks and glosses are quite moisturizing. I chose Princess because it’s a pretty sheer carnation pink that’s easy to wear and also for the name. It’s good to remind yourself every now and then that you’re a princess of the One who created you, now put that crown on! Cheers!

Long Week

6 Apr

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*sigh*   What a long week, emotions can be grating on the psyche. Remember a couple blogs ago I spoke about my friend and her boyfriend with the growth on his neck? Well, it was a rare fast growing cancer and he almost died last weekend…yes, from an unknown lump, to cancer taking over his whole body in one month. He received massive amounts of chemo and miraculously looks like he will be ok. Another friend revealed that her husband’s cancer has progressed and he is now starting treatment after a year of ‘watch and wait’. On Wednesday I did my mammogram which, well, if you’re a woman over forty, you know. I felt a little traumatized by the manipulation of my breasts in a giant panini maker, not to mention the pain. I’ve been a little sad because of everything, but this week was particularly difficult. With all of those things going on with me and around me, I was, and still am, overwhelmed with not just the brevity of life, but also how things can change so quickly. I am trying to be angry (to get over my sadness), but it’s not working yet.

The week still had plenty of magic to lift my spirits of course. Last Sunday was Easter and being a Christian, I am so grateful for what Christ has done and for His love and amazing gift of grace and forgiveness. I also met with some great friends this week, old and new. It’s awesome how God brings different people into our lives at different times. I believe there are no ‘accidents’ or concidence in meeting people and I am so thankful for all of my relationships. In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo wrote, “To love another person is to see the face of God“, a line which is included in the Finale song of the musical by the same name. Thank you to my friends, family, and all of you reading my blog and following my journey; God’s face is all around.

Today I wear Dior Dior Addict Lip Gloss in 643 Diablotine. I LOVE this gloss and color! It is super moisturizing, a little bit sparkly, and has great color for a gloss. This color is not quite hot pink, and not quite orange (which seemsto be the color of the moment)…it’s perfect! I chose it for today because I have been wearing it all week and for me, it is another perfect color for spring and summer! Cheers!

Stained Glass

12 Nov

 

I read this great quote today (thank you to I Had Cancer), ‘People are like stained glass windows-they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when darkness sets in their beauty is revealed if there is a light from within.’

Last week I was at a meeting getting to know my new co-workers from across the country. Since the company is quite small, it was easy to meet and get to know the other 40 sales reps in the room. Reading the quote above reminded me of the week. We were all ‘stained glass windows’; we all had our ‘good’ clothes on, were on our best behavior, and for the most part, always had a smile on our faces. It was great meeting new people and learning a little about their backgrounds. As I was getting ready to leave my hotel room and meet everyone I realized how far I had come since walking into my first meeting 21 years ago. I was a shy introvert who struggled with a bit of social anxiety. On a personality test at a management meeting, the evaluator said I was a natural introvert, but forced extrovert (maybe that’s why I love acting?). In the past, I was perfectly comfortable with small talk and keeping people (especially those I work with) at a safe distance, but this time was different. I believe God has you where you need to be and I don’t believe you meet people by accident; I believe it now more than ever post cancer. So here I was, an open book, pressing in. It doesn’t take much these days to open someone up, people want to share, they want to be hugged, they want someone who can look them in their eyes, we just don’t do it enough anymore…fear of hurt? Anyhow, the stories I heard from different people, wow. Families hurt by divorce, a mom with cancer, a mother-in-law in her last days, others starting over and afraid of the unfamiliar. It was overwhelming, heartbreaking, and encouraging. On the last day I was speaking to one of my new co-workers (and new friend), and he asked how I found out so much about people. It was simple, I asked then I listened. It’s the same thing I want, someone to ask and listen, truly someone who cares. So what about you? Where has God placed you? Who are in your sphere of influence? We can’t all be Mother Theresa or Billy Graham, but we do have people right in front of us that want to know that they matter. I know because I’m one of them. Reach out, you may be the only one.

Today I wear an old standby Dior Addict Lip Glow. I LOVE this stuff. This is the only product that hits the bottom of the tube and I re-purchase. It is an incredible lip balm that brings out the natural pink ‘glow’ of your lips. I chose it for today because of the quote “…but when darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed if there is a light from within.” Cheers!

Insomnia

8 May

I have been having trouble sleeping lately. Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day?  I read a quote last week which said, “Sky Above, Earth Below, Fire Within.” That statement really impacted me because that’s how I feel after cancer. I have a fire within to make some type of difference. With my voice still intact despite all the surgeries, radiation treatments, and the loss of one vocal cord, I feel like I might have something to say. With my new found passion for writing, my book, my blog, etc, I feel I may have lots more I need to write. With the people my job allows me to meet and those currently in my life, I feel the need to hear people’s stories because there are so many, and do what, write them down? All the stories, all the backgrounds help me appreciate my own and make me a richer more loving person. With my new found health and passion for life I feel I might be preparing for something to do…I just don’t know what.  All I know is that I’m awake and at times, overcommitted, and add to that all the lipstick…it’s just crazy.

What do you do when you have a burning passion to do something and don’t know which direction to take because you’re not exactly sure what that passion is? ‘To make a difference’ sounds too broad right? I’m curious, really, what do you do? Yes I know I spoke about purpose in my last blog and I still believe that people are the purpose for where we are. For me though, after all this cancer junk, at the end of the day it’s hard for me to sleep because it’s another day, another 24 hours, gone and I’m just wishing I could have done more with that time…. another risk, another phone call, another letter, whatever, just more. I guess for now, I will pray and go about my days with eyes and arms wide open. Eyes open for whatever may lie ahead. Arms wide open to people.  Notice anything with the picture above? There are two rainbows…don’t miss the moments.

Today I wear Dior Addict Ultra lipgloss in Flash which I’m sad to say was a limited color a few months ago ( a close relative would be Outrageous Fuscia or Sari Pink). What I love about the Dior lipglosses is they are so moist and not sticky. They add a hint of color and are beautiful.  Right now, they are my favorite lipglosses. I chose the color Flash because the name reminds me that life goes by so quickly!

Home

14 Apr

This summer I will be celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. I actually got married young by today’s standards, one year after graduating college (he graduated ahead of me). For the first few years of marriage, we were commuters. I had an apartment in Indiana where I was placed for my first job, and he was in Chicago for medical school. People have asked why we didn’t just wait until he was done instead of only seeing each other on weekends for the first few years. Well, we were young and in love and that’s well, what else is there to say? Anyhow, it was a honeymoon every weekend and we did wait 6 years to have our first child. Since the beginning of our marriage we have had 10 different addresses in three states (I am also counting the two addresses he had while in school since I would visit and it would be our home for the weekend). 3 of the homes we had built from the bottom up, 1 of the homes was a ‘spec’ home which means it was half done, we chose the rest, 1 was a builders model home, and today’s house was an older home that we have put blood, sweat, and tears into in re-doing each room, one by one. Our first child had gone to three different schools by the time he was in second grade and my other two experienced the stress of remodeling our current house while also dealing with my cancer. It has been quite the ride and today, we have had the same address for 7 years, the longest we have stayed anywhere. Sometimes I am jealous of some of my friends who got married and put roots down somewhere and never moved but I don’t think I would change things, it’s what I know.

This week my cousins and aunt are visiting from California and the Philippines. I haven’t seen my cousin from the Philippines in almost 30 years (I think we look the same, like no time has passed). It reminded me of the journey my parents took 40 years ago leaving friends and family with a 3 year old (me) to start a better life for the generations to come. It was a huge move away from all they knew, from their home. What is a home? You’ve heard the cliche’ “Home is where the heart is”. For me that’s true. If I were Dorothy in Oz and clicked those red shoes three times, they would bring me to my home; not defined by a city, state, or address, but solely defined by where my family happens to be. The upside from all the moves is that I don’t get attached to things (even though I don’t think I really ever have). I don’t get attached to homes, or stuff for that matter. The slight downside is that it has become harder for me to get attached to people because in the back of my mind I’m thinking about our next move. The invention of Facebook of course has changed that dramatically because I can now reconnect and stay in touch with all the people in my life past and present and I’m thankful. Through the moves I have met some incredible people and lifelong friends. When cancer came I cannot think of one person past or present that did not reach out to me. I reiterate this, sometimes we just have a moment to impact someone in either a positive or negative way…make it count.

Today I wear Dior Addict lipstick In New York. I love Dior lipsticks and this is a pinky brown which is quite easy to wear with anything. New York is the place I thought I would be living (because of my Broadway dreams) but have only gone to visit. Life takes us along many different paths and I never look back. Home IS where the heart is.

Lipstick List

22 Mar

For today I thought I’d depart from my usual ‘life’ topics and talk solely about lipstick. For the men who read my blog, sorry, you may exit now, unless of course you like lipstick.  To go along with this weeks topic of my wonderful blogging group GBE2, I thought I’d write a list of some of my favorites, not only lipstick, but cosmetics in general because I love other products as well (although not as much as lipstick).

I hope the picture above does not scare you, but that is my current lipstick selection from my bathroom. It is ever revolving and I hate throwing them out so some lipsticks may be a year or two old. I also have to say that every few months or so I have a ‘giveaway’ to my girlfriends and mom where they can choose any lipstick they want from my collection.
So, as you can see, my favorites are up front (down at the bottom);  I have multiple colors  and formulations from YSL, Chanel, Bobbi Brown, and Dior.

Here is a list of my favorite colors:

Bobbi Brown– Great colors, long lasting, moisturizing: Raisin, Burnt Red, and sometimes Papaya

Chanel– Not as moisturizing for me as Bobbi, but great variety of reds: Fatale-red

Dior– Not as long lasting, but moisturizing and feels great on lips: 773 Rouge Podium (a great orangey-pinky-red), 714 Brun (shimmery brown pink), 811 Red (no longer available), Also love Dior Addict Lip Glow which is like a lip balm but brings out the natural pink in your lips.

YSL I love the golden glosses! They add a lot of color for a gloss, are moisturizing, have actual gold flecks, and look AMAZING! #2 is my favorite!!

Here is a list of some of my other ‘must haves’:

Cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer

Smashbox Oil Free primer

Armani Luminous Silk foundation or Bare Minerals Matte Powder

Chanel waterproof eyeliner

Benefit They’re Real mascara, Dior New Look Mascara or L’oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara

Last but not least, my favorite lip balms:

Carmex (in stick form), Eos sweet mint, and Aqauphor (which by the way is great for things such as dry elbows, knees, around the eyes, etc…anything dry, this is a great moisturizer)

Have a great day! Today, I let you pick the lipstick color…what are your faves? I’d love to know!

Special

11 Oct

Last week a great man passed away.  Yes, we all know that Steve Jobs of Apple passed away but that is not who I’m talking about today.  Yes, Steve Jobs was an incredible mind, innovator and inventor, he changed how we communicate today; but I’m talking about a man named Al.  Al was also a man in his 50’s, married with children.  For the past few years, my family and I (sometimes just my husband and I) frequented a local family restaurant.  The food was good and inexpensive and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and family-friendly.  Al was the owner.  The first time we came, Al introduced himself, asked our names, and said welcome.  Subsequently, anytime we would come in, he would greet us by name and stop to chat every now and then.  Throughout the years (6 years to be exact), Al would have us taste the new soup he was trying to sell, bring us small desserts ‘on the house’, and after learning that I liked his warm rice pudding with whipped cream on top, he almost always brought some to the table for me.  That’s the man he was.  He remembered our names and what we liked.  If he wasn’t talking to us, he was wandering the restaurant talking to the other customers.

His funeral was last Saturday and hundreds of people showed up.  What made him so special?  He knew people’s names, he looked you in the eyes and focused on you when you spoke, he remembered small things about you and would ask how you were, he treated everyone special, regardless if they were there for a cup of coffee or for a full meal.  Al had customers of all ages and walks of life, he always had a smile on his face and you could tell that he cared.  About a month ago, my husband and I were there without the kids and he sat with us awhile and told us he sold the place.  We were sad that we wouldn’t see him so much, but happy he could finally relax and spend more time with his family.  On October 5th the world lost a visionary in Steve Jobs, but in our small community, we lost a man who cared for each of us.

How easy it is to make people feel special.  Remember their name, look them in the eye, care about their answers when you ask a question.  It makes a such a difference. I recently heard a quote, “There’s no rewind in life but it’s always being recorded.”  Think about it,  people everyday are recording or remembering your actions and you can’t take things back.

Today I wear Dior Addict Lip Polish  in Glow Expert in honor of Al because I know he made that conscious effort to make every person he interacted with feel a little more special and leave his restaurant with a glow.

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