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Tag Archives: friendship

‘lifeafterdiagnosis’-2990

7 Mar

cancer poster

2990

I am part of an online cancer support forum which connects cancer fighters/survivors across the country called ihadcancer.com. This month they wanted to hear from us about our life after being diagnosed starting with the number of days since first being told we had cancer. It has been 2990 days since I first heard ‘you have cancer’ and 2265 days since the second time I heard ‘your cancer is back’. May 10 will be my 6 year anniversary of cancer free and wow has life changed and looking back I know I have changed. I think what has changed most for me has been my day to day attitude and the things I seek. Here are some of the changes I’ve experienced:

  • I’m grateful for every moment
  • I try not to stress about things and even if I do it usually subsides quickly
  • I’m less tolerant of bad behavior and meaningless complaints
  • I mainly seek peace and anything that brings me there
  • I try to avoid negativity including negative people
  • I notice beauty more
  • Sometimes I want to shake people when they’re so caught up by irrelevant things
  • I care less about stuff and more about time
  • I realize that there are many things not in my control so I let go more easily

So many more but hard to describe. One of the big ones is acknowledgement of time. Until you are faced with the knowledge that your time is limited you pretty much feel like it’s unlimited. I float in between hope for a long and beautiful life along with a ‘we may only FullSizeRenderhave today’ attitude. Life, I mean real life, happens in the ‘in between’. In between jobs, kid stuff, activities, vacations, etc. we spend a whole lot of time in anticipation of the next game, the next season, the next vacation, and we work and focus on those things but what about all the routine we chalk up to ‘a normal day’? That’s the real grit of life. All of the mundane, the annoying things, the actions and reactions, the relationships…all of the stuff that transpires in the monotonous in between spaces of daily living, that is life. If you rush through to just get to the ‘next’, you’ll miss it. Don’t miss living.

Today’s lipstick is Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Cayenne, a bright red. These are lightweight, have lots of color and are moisturizing; just about perfect. I chose this color because it’s red and the name Cayenne…almost 3000 days later, feeling spicy! Cheers!

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Undone

27 Feb

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I am participating in an on-line woman’s group study based off a book called Undone by Michele Cushatt. Like myself she had cancer a few times, kids, and divorce and the book talks about her life becoming ‘undone’ and turning around, but not the way you would expect. I love it and resonate with her journey so much. Since all the participants communicate online I think it’s easier for us to immediately be vulnerable. What is striking to me is all the pain and sadness from unexpected life twists, lives that were ‘undone’ because of illness or failed relationships, or whatever it is that each person has not healed from. Everyone’s story is so different but what seems to have caused the greatest pain to these ladies stem from people and relationships; from parents to siblings to spouses to mentors, many of these people’s lives were affected greatly by another life.

I read this quote, ‘To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us’~Timothy Keller

Life is funny. Experiences and people mold and change you. A single person can make you question yourself and your self worth, lead you to a life of fear, make you think you’re not good enough or that your needs don’t matter. Then there’s unforgiveness, usually toward some of those same people. About forgiveness Tim Keller says it’s ‘absorbing the debt…taking the cost of it completely on  yourself instead of taking it out on the other person.’ How hard is that? Your life, your mind, your heart has changed and to forgive we absorb it, find our strength in God, and move on. He compares it to a kind of death. Fully known and truly loved, that’s what we crave but that kind of love only comes from God. While some of us have people in our lives that come close (spouse, parents, kids), we still are influenced/disappointed by many. Our stories lie behind our smiling faces and perfect Facebook updates. There’s a lot of hurt, pain, fear, etc , out there; how can we expect perfection from imperfect people? We do the best we can and hopefully we learn from our own ‘undone’ life stories and move forward with great lessons and more love knowing the Son is always there fully knowing you and fully loving you, behind the clouds, right in front of you, or in the ‘rearview mirror’ behind you lighting your path.

Today I wear Butter London Plush Rush lipgloss in Flirt. I think this company was first known for their nail polish but then created lipgloss to match some of their nail colors. This lipgloss is a little sticky but has great color and stays put for a long time. Flirt is a great berry color for spring as the crazy weather has spring temps flirting and teasing us in this tail end of winter. Cheers!

 

Thank You, Doctor

26 Nov

sun

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!

Story

3 Nov

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I’m kind of addicted to the stories posted on Facebook from Humans of New York. If you haven’t heard of this and you’re on Facebook you should take a gander. Every day, or several times a day, they post a picture of someone (old,young, and all in between) along with a piece of their story. All the stories are so different and interesting. They have so many followers that they recently published a book of the many people and stories they have collected which my daughter bought me for my birthday. It brings to light the fact that everyone brings something to the table, everyone has different and unique stories, and also the fact that no one knows what happens behind closed doors. Looking at the beautiful pictures they post of all these different people, you would never know some of the things they have faced or celebrated; I find it so interesting.

Last week a close friend found out her young son was beaten by her ex-husband and more than likely not for the first time. It has been a long and stressful week for her but thankfully he is safe and ok for now. If you truly knew all of her story this would not be a surprise, but since most people don’t, it comes as a shock. What angers me a little is that people assumed the worst of her (or maybe the best of him) until this happened. Why? Partly because we love a great bad guy/good guy/gossipy story (admit it) but also because she stayed mostly silent. He continually spoke poorly of her and her choices while volunteering at church and school and putting his best face forward. He looked like the hero, people felt sorry for him, took care of him, and essentially believed his story without question. He was good at telling it, he was good at showing it, while again, she stayed away, she stayed silent. Is silence better? This has been a struggle for me because I have a whole piece of me that I’ve been silent about. I’m not so sure. What I’m fairly convinced about is this…the person who will not stop talking or accusing is typically the person feeling guilty for the thing they are making accusations for; they are the one’s having difficulty looking at themselves in the mirror and don’t want people looking so closely at them so point the finger elsewhere. Here’s the lesson…don’t assume until you know all sides of a story. Silence? I guess it’s ok for now.IMG_7347

It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”~Maurice Switzer (Also see Proverbs 17:27-28)

Today I wear Aquaphor on my lips. Why? The unthinkable happened to me, the lipstick connoisseur…I had an allergic reaction to a lipstick. Which one? I have no idea because I used a couple new ones last week. Oh well. I love Aquaphor because it is one of those multi purpose products. Cheers!

Blue Skies

20 Jul

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Have you ever opened your eyes to a new day and the sky just seems bluer than you’ve seen it in a long time? That was me today and it’s only Monday! There have been many changes in my life this year and the changes just keep on coming. For the past several months I have allowed these changes both good and bad stress me out a little. Questions about job, home, kids, and really about the future have infiltrated my mind, top that off with the general busy pace of life and it’s really been a lot. I ran into a good friend over the weekend and she said, ‘Trust God and take one day at a time.’ Ahhhh, yes. During my cancer journey that’s all I could do and I most recently have let life (and control of circumstances) simply take over. I heard a great song this morning by Greg Holden called ‘Hold On Tight.’ Some of the lyrics are “But I don’t take my life for granted. I’m gonna hold on tight to what I’ve been handed.” “So when you look at yourself tell me who do you see? Is it the person you’ve been or the person you’re going to be?” Really great lyrics and exactly what I needed to hear today to go with my blue skies. I have been handed A LOT! Two weeks ago I got the news once again that my tests (bloodwork and ultrasound) came out clean so I am officially 5 years-plus cancer free! I have my health, my family, my friends, and have found an incredible man who loves me for exactly who I am. Looking back at all my ups and downs with health, career, and family over the past several years there have been many many blessings and most of those revolve around people. Life really does take a village. I read somewhere that beauty grows in the soil of adversity. The writer says that in adversity we either give in or dig in and life in general needs to be planted firmly for beautiful things to grow. Dig in. Today, thinking about the past few months/years and all the difficulties, I have been blessed with amazing people filtering in and out of every circumstance and turn that life has taken me; some are friends forever and some God had with me for just exactly that moment but seriously, each person has had an impact one way or the other. These are the fertilizer while I’m ‘digging in’ helping me to grow.

We carry so much stuff around and lots of times we think we’re the only one or that we can handle it ourselves but if you look around there are people willing to walk right along side of you and if need be, hold you up when you are too tired to keep going. There will always be circumstances in life that throw you off balance, but get excited about all the people that surround you. There will always be plenty of people who will criticize or try to bring you down either to your face or behind your back…who cares. Listen to kind words, cherish in your heart the kind actions of others and remember you can be that person too. So for today, the sky is blue and the air is warm. Hold on tight to what you’ve been handed, take the lessons and experiences from your past and be excited for the person you are continuing to become.

Today I wear Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipstick in Watermelon which is a red/pink/orange-y color perfect for summer. These lipsticks are all natural and I think the container is not only biodegradable but also  I think if you plant them wildflowers grow. Cheers!

Too Young

18 May
Senior picture high school

Senior picture high school

Last week I went with my son to two funerals of young people. It was heartbreaking and eye opening for both of us. One of the kids was someone he had played basketball with just before ‘the accident’. It was sad and gut-wrenching to be surrounded by parents, siblings, and friends who lost a loved one who was way too young. When we are young we look at our future with immense possibilities, the world is our oyster but when faced with sudden illness or even death, we begin to realize that there is only a finite amount of time and we don’t know the day or hour when that time is up.

Coincidentally my daughter brought out and started reading my journal from when I was 17 last week. We read certain parts together which made me laugh. I used terms like ‘suck my big left toe’, ‘stuck up’,’grody’,’foxy’…it was fun to read it with her. The overwhelming theme of my journal from my junior/senior year of high school was despite the not so fun parts of high school, I had hope and excitement for the future. I recently started mentoring a new cancer survivor through one of the cancer organizations I work with who is struggling with the emotions of being a ‘survivor’. It’s a place hard to describe and probably similar to surviving a trauma of any kind including a sudden death of someone close. I told him you feel more, hurt more, love more, realize what’s most important, who’s most important, where you want to spend your time and with whom. The toxic things in your life are magnified and that includes people, jobs, habits, and all you want to do is be done with those and live. It’s a lot of stuff and of course you add to that the feeling that life is really fragile.

Are we too future focused? What about today and being grateful with now. When I was really young I wanted to be a teen, then as a teen, I wanted to be 21, and then at 21 I wanted to graduate college and be an adult who had a job that paid for the things I wanted. Well, here I am at 40+ wanting to go backward a little so I can enjoy life a little more in my youth. In my last pages of my high school journal I spoke of fear for the future along with anticipation of what the future holds, but maybe hoping the future would be so much better or more exciting than the present took some of the joy out of the now. Let’s not do that. Life is fleeting and no one knows what tomorrow brings. ‘You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.’~Henry David Thoreau

Today I wear Christopher Kane for Nars Lipgloss in Glow Pink because it’s beautiful. Cheers!

Mommy, Mom, Mama

9 May

kids1517  ACT, SAT, College visits. Growing up. Have I done enough? Do I love enough? I still love your hugs you know. Do you feel loved? Do you know I’m always here for you? ‘I love you mama.’ My heart bursts and breaks at the same time. You are on the verge of flying away. Do you know I can’t sleep until I know you’re home safe? You’ll always be my baby

16  The sweet age of your teen years. Working, driving, baby steps into adulthood. Did I say you could start dating? Did you know that I hold my breath when you drive?

15  You’re taller, you’re developing rapidly, you’re losing your baby face and looking more like a baby adult. Driver’s ed, talking about finding a job…please slow down

14-13  The weird ages. Junior High. Navigating through emotions. Changing friends, changing hormones, changing interests. Mom becomes two syllables..’Mo-om‘. You ask, ‘Am I good enough, pretty enough, popular enough?‘ Sorry, not everyone’s nice. I say, ‘You are beautiful, you are so special, you are loved.’ I pray you always believe.

12  Why are you taller than me? Voice changing, interests changing. You’re noticing the opposite sex, I’m trying to keep you my baby. Planning outfits, using deodorant, using hair gel, STOP GROWING UP ALREADY! Can I still tuck you in please?

11  ‘Mommy‘ starts turning into ‘Mom‘.’Don’t hug me in front of my friends.’ ‘I can walk to the bus stop myself.‘ I still want to hold your hand crossing the streetbus stop

10-5  I’m sorry babies, mommy has cancer. You are all in school now. 3 back packs, 3 lunches, all on the bus, the first good-bye’s. Learning, making new friends, growing independent;. Kindergarten, 3rd grade, 5th grade, I will fight as hard as I can because I don’t want to leave you. I am your mommy.

4-1  AM I DOING THIS RIGHT? Am I enough? First steps, first teeth. I’m so tired. I still watch you sleep. I would die for you.

Birth  I can’t stop staring. You are beautiful. You are a miracle. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Motherhood is the hardest job in the world. You love with all you’ve got and you feel the deepest hurts. It is an extraordinary lesson in grace; giving all of yourself without necessarily getting anything back. There may be long days but the years go by so fast and seem so short. ‘Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood – finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.’~Jodi Piccoult 

Happy Mother’s Day! Pick a red lipstick and go with it. You are awesome!relaymom

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