Tag Archives: lips

Encouragement

8 Sep

Have you ever been on the corkscrew roller coaster?  Well, that’s me, my emotions; not just easy twists and turns but jerky-whiplash-causing sudden turns.  I know I used the roller coaster analogy already, but this time I’m not talking just about the extreme up and down, I’m talking about the uncontrollable twists and turns…the corkscrew.  I do love a good roller coaster.  I finally had my follow up ultrasound this week to check if any of the cancer cells found on my PET scan last June had developed into visible tumors in my neck.  After the radiation techs did the initial test, they left to call the physician in.  As I laid there I thought about every possible case scenario (of course the worst is what I thought of first).  I thought of things like, what if there is tumor, a fourth surgery is extremely risky, radiation is out of the question, who do I call first, what should I tell my new boss, what if I cry in front of my doctor (which I hate doing), what if I’m not strong enough to hear the results?…I had to stop myself, my thoughts alone were making me cry.  I took a deep breath and tried to empty my mind.  When the doctor came in, he said ‘hello’ and said he’s always happy and sad to see me.  He said he loves seeing me because I’m a good patient, but he’s always sad because most of the time he’s the one that tells me there’s tumors in my neck again. Anyhow, he looked at my results and said, there’s nothing there, NOTHING!  For a moment I felt blank, not happy, not sad, but blank.  I think I didn’t believe him so I asked what he meant and he just said, there are no tumors and hopefully we won’t need to meet again for awhile.  WOW, big sharp turn.  I left there not completely believing it, it was and still is that hesitant joy that cancer patients feel.  My endocrinologist called me shortly afterward and said “Congratulations,”  followed by…”We’re still going to watch closely, let’s wait 4 months until the next scan.”  OK, so I buy another 4 months…I’ll take it.

I have to say, what is so awesome about this journey is the outpouring of support.  Now with the book, this blog, and my book’s fan page on Facebook, I not only get support from friends and family, but I receive encouraging words from complete strangers.  It overwhelms me that in our supposedly uncaring, selfish society there are so many rays of light!  I have made my journey public, but think about those who suffer in private.  We all want love and support.  Think about the people God has placed around you every single day and the power of an encouraging word.  I went through the McDonald’s drive thru and the girl’s voice was so pleasant that when I pulled up, I told her she had one of the nicest voices in a drive-thru I ever heard and that she was doing a great job.  I drove off with her beaming.  Thank you to all those who reached out to me but also consider those around you.  One word of encouragement can change a person’s face, demeanor, day, and even outlook.  For me, I will try to be more consistent about it because I know I need it and everyone has something going on.  Give it a shot and of course, wear that red lipstick!

My lipstick for this week is Kat Von D Lipstick in Hellbent, a rich red with a more blue base.  I chose it for the name because I am hellbent on kicking cancer!

Follow Your Heart

30 Aug

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked….follow your heart…Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”-Steve Jobs

What a brilliant man. Think about it, why don’t more of us follow what’s truly in our hearts on a daily basis. Now I’m not saying quit your jobs and run away to do something crazy, because we all have responsibilities, but if we know our heart’s desires and dreams, why not take steps to go in that direction or somehow reinforce that desire daily or weekly? I still love singing, dancing, and music in general, they bring me joy, so now I play the piano longer, I sing in my car louder, I dance when I hear a fun tune and those things put a smile on my face; even hearing good music can stir my heart. We are all destined to die. For me, cancer gave me a warning and reminder that it may be sooner than later.

My son had a birthday party recently, 25 teenage boys and girls and talk about trying to live up to external expectations, yikes. The pressure teens face to look good, be smart, be popular, get into the right crowd, is tough, but it doesn’t change much as adults (especially as a woman). We all fear embarrassment or failure but what do we have to lose? What would happen if we did fail? So what? I would hope to teach my children to pick themselves up and push forward, not looking back. Life is too short and knowing that we all die no matter what should be freeing. For me, it lifts the burden of ‘what would they think…’ because when we die, does their opinion really matter? Be your own person; follow what’s in your heart because God put it there, and love people knowing that they are all unique and they all have hopes and dreams too.

RED LIPSTICK CHALLENGE: This past week I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist and wore bright red lipstick. (Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster lipstain in Fever—fun red, be brave). When the PA whom I’ve never met before walked in the room he looked at me and said, ‘Wow, where are you going after this appointment because you look great,’…all that before he introduced himself! Me and my red lips felt pretty satisfied. If you know some of my story you know that I used to want to hide my lips, now, red lipstick…hello, I’m here to live! Keep sharing your stories and challenges, I love hearing them! Talk with you soon….

Challenge

22 Aug

This morning I was driving an hour to my first appointment and I started feeling sorry for myself.  The sun was out, I was off to work, my kids were being taken care of by my visiting in-laws today, and we had just come off a great weekend of visiting a themepark (always fun people watching at those places) and just overall relaxing.  I got mad.  I was mad because without the cancer, life is really great.  I asked myself why I still had to be here, year after year, scan after scan, still showing cancer????  I was mad that my family and my friends had to go through this again and I hate being the downer of the group.  The one who has to say, ‘yes, it’s still there,’ or ‘yup, got cancer again.’  I really want to be normal and worry about normal things like what I should wear tomorrow or if my shoes match.  Is this my new normal?  I guess it is, and I’m not happy about it.  Being sick sucks.  I don’t look sick, I don’t feel sick and yet some small cell in my body is trying to take over.  I truly am ok with whatever may happen to me, I’m not ok with the fact that my family and friends have to worry about me again.  I’m sad for them, I’m mad for them.  I’m mad that my kids have to wonder how it’s all going to turn out, I’m mad that my parents,  friends, and the rest of the family have to ask how I’m doing and be afraid of the answer.

I read a quote today, “Life challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”-Bernice Johnson Reagan (thanks Jennifer).  Well, I thought I had me figured out the first, second, and third time, but now I’m getting a little confused.  It’s that roller coaster again and today, yes, I’m mad about it.  Sorry to vent, it’s frustrating.  Is this challenge paralyzing me?  Of course not and I continue discovering new aspects of myself.  In fact, I hope I am becoming a better version of myself daily.  We should all strive to do that, cancer or not.

Today I wore Sue Devitt lipstick in Australian Bight.  On me it’s RED (I probably looked like a Geisha, oh well).  I know it gave me the fighting spirit to forge ahead.  In the next few weeks I will be seeing my radiation oncologist and getting another ultrasound to see if the tumor is growing so I am putting out a challenge.

I would like to put out a ‘RED LIPSTICK CHALLENGE’ for those of you who love life and have the fighting spirit.  Wear red lipstick daily for three weeks and e-mail me how you felt and any stories you would like to share.  With your permission, I will share a few anonymously.  For the men reading my blog, carry something red in your car or pocket as a reminder to live life and e-mail me too.  You can send all e-mails to lipstickjourney@att.net.

I can’t wait to read your stories!  Here are some suggestions for reds:  Bobbi Brown Burnt Red, Smashbox Marvelous, Lancome Merlot, Bare Escentuals Buxom gloss in Brandi, Covergirl Natureluxe Cabernet, Burt’s Bees Red Dahlia tinted lipbalm.  Have fun!

Tic Toc

30 Jul

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, How do you measure, measure a year. In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles, in laughter in strife, In Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, How do you measure a year in the life”…Seasons of Love, from Rent.

Tic toc, all we have is time, how do we spend it?  I learned the news that I had cancer one week before leaving for training.  The last thing I wanted to do was leave my family and friends for three weeks and use those minutes with people I didn’t know.  I listened to this song on my way there and then again on my way back and I discovered that my attitude had changed.  On my way, I thought about the brevity of life and truly the limited time we have and wondered why I was leaving my family during such a critical time in my health.  On my way back, I thought about the new friends I had made and how those moments I spent on the new relationships impacted my life.  At the end of training we were given evaluations individually.  What my trainer told me was that in the beginning he couldn’t figure me out because I was so quiet, but in the end he said it turns out I was a quiet storm affecting one person at a time.  This made me cry.  Since cancer, my life mission has been to make a positive impact one person at a time and his statement was validation that I was doing something right.

You’ve heard me say this before but I will say it again and again.  We impact each person that we meet whether positive or negative, people walk away from each encounter feeling something about you.  Sometimes, it’s just a few minutes and in this case for me, it was three weeks.  What type of impact do you want people to feel after you walk away?  I choose to make it a positive one.  Yes, three weeks was a long time, but the moments I spent with certain people were not a waste of those precious 525,600 minutes.  People are not a waste of time.  So thank you to Michelle, Jennifer, Ashley(TX), Ashely(FL), Lauren, and of course, Fernando.  You have all impacted my life.

For my new friends I wear  2 colors, Chantecaille- Angel Skin ,  a soft pinkish nude, because you were all my angels during training; and Bobbi Brown -Burnt Red because it’s my reminder to live boldly (and because Fernando said he loves red lipstick).  Thank you for the shared tears and all the laughter.

Transparent

22 Jul

End of week two in training.  It’s interesting what happens after two weeks in a high stress environment.  Week one, everyone is on their game putting up a front, majorly competitive, and of course, trying to mark their territory.  Now, after week two, everyone’ s tired, stressed, and just plain overly exhausted.  It’s great because everyone’s walls are slowly being chipped away, people are FINALLY letting down their guard and the atmosphere has totally changed in the room.  It has become much more comfortable and supportive. 

It’s amazing once again what happens when people let their guard down and let other people ‘in’.  Now, we are in this game together and now we are learning each others stories which is great.  I love hearing about people’s backgrounds and experiences because it helps to explain why the way they are today (and that goes for the irritating people too).  Ahh yes, another lesson.   If people had no walls and were just themselves, I believe the world would be a better place.  I’m not saying not to have a filter, but if we came into relationships with no expectations, not trying to mark our territory and look better than the other person, what would it be like?  Maybe we should try it, I know I have been because it is such a waste of time and energy to keep up.  For me at this point, again living with cancer, what you see is what you get.  Transparency is a beautiful thing.

Today I wear CO Bigelow Sheer Liptint in Just Blushed.  It has a sheer pink tint and tastes like peppermint.  I chose it mainly for the name although I do love the consistency and color.  Just blushed…because when you’re yourself, it’s easy to see your inner beautiful glow.

The Story Continues…

4 Jul

Some of you already know the results of my latest PET scan (my last blog entry), for those who don’t, yes, there was cancer detected.  I found out last Friday afternoon and for the past few days I’ve been trying to process how I feel.  I cried a lot mainly because my mind wanted to hear the words “All clear, see you next year.”  Instead I heard, “There’s something there that’s not big enough to be detected by ultrasound so we will look again in 2-3 months to see if it’s grown.”  This has been one long and difficult road but I think I’m done crying.  I’m not angry, my heart is mostly sad; sad for my family (which by the way, my daughter and younger son were standing right next to me when I got the news and when I got off the phone my daughter said, “all clean right?”  When I said “not exactly”, her face and demeanor changed immediately…sad); sad for my parents who also have been waiting for good news for almost four years now, just sad in general.

On the other hand, I am done crying because I am 100% confident that God has a plan that’s perfect for my family and me whether it’s the plan I want or not.  I have to move forward in faith because that is the only sure thing.  I am broken right now.  I don’t feel courageous or strong so I’m thankful for all the support and prayers, but I know I’ll get that back.  For now, I move forward on this journey that God has me on, confident that He will take care of me.

Today I wear Smashbox Photofinish  Lipstick in Marvelous. On me, it is a beautiful sheer red.  I wear it because life is a marvelous adventure, and of course red to continue living life boldly.

No Fear

29 Jun

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!

Like Father, Like Daughter

17 Jun

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!

Lost and Found

12 Jun

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!

Contentment

20 May

Earlier this week I went shopping with a friend.  She, like me, is a lipstick fanatic (amongst other things).  We decided to go to a local upscale mall and played for hours at Nordstrom and Neimann’s.  It was so much fun and yes, we walked out with a few things.  It’s funny in a bad economy how everyone wants to help you find the right shade or the right scent.  Just a few years ago when the economy was a little better, no one behind the counters even looked at me while I played.

In sharp contrast, the next day I was at a homeless shelter with another one of my friends.  She heads up the children and youth services there because yes, there are many homeless families.  This particular home housed over 200 people; years ago predominantly men, now, the majority women and children.  They have a three year program that helps people from the inside out.  Not only taking them out of addiction, but bringing them back to health and confidence internally and externally.  My friend Melissa told me that many people come with just the clothes on their backs.  All I know is that the face of homeless has changed.  Some were former ‘suburbanites’, working class, who have either struggled with addiction or who have lost their job and have nothing left.  Many are single moms and some are teenagers who have lost their youth to drugs and alcohol.  The shelter is immaculate and completely supplied by donations, from the food and clothing, to the bedding and toiletries.  I wanted to weep at all that they don’t have and yet these people surrounding me were surviving, thriving, wanting and accepting change.  It made me ponder my trip to the mall and all the people who surrounded me just the day before.

A couple strange headlines this week; first, on CNN there was news that there may be a blood test that can determine how long you will live.  Would you take it?  Does it allow for things like cancer, accidents, or being struck by lightning? And second, apparently the world is going to end.  Both these crazy stories lead to the question, if you knew you were going to die would you live your life differently?  We all know our birthdays but if we knew our death date, what would we change?  Having cancer multiple times brought that question to the forefront of my mind and still does, but we are all survivors.  The people at the mall surviving and coping with the economy, the people at the homeless shelter trying to overcome and survive, and everyone else who is dealing with daily adversities.  Life changes in a minute, no one knows the day or the hour of the end, so celebrate and live your moments intentionally.

Today I’ve got to go with the red lipstick again because living boldly is incredible; but I’m going sheer (because it’s day time and I’ve got nowhere to go). I am going with Lipstick Queen-Medieval.  It is a sheer red that anyone can wear and it feels like a lip balm, how can you go wrong?

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