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The Dress

1 Feb

2012-07-02 11.07.09
I have this dress in my closet. It’s a deep emerald green so yes, a departure from my daily black and gray. I remember buying it off the clearance rack and wearing it a few times; every time I put it on I get lots of compliments so naturally I love it. Well, I haven’t worn it since 2001 and here it is still hanging in my closet waiting for the possibility of being worn again. I am one of the fortunate people who has been the same size since probably high school (minus the times I was pregnant). NO I am definitely NOT complaining but because of this I have a really hard time getting rid of clothes, especially dresses, work clothes, etc because they’re not worn as often and therefore stay ‘nice’ for a longer amount of time. I’d say 14 years of not wearing something should be enough time to decide I’m not going to wear it again?

Why do we hang on to things for so long? For some of us it’s a piece of clothing, for others a relationship, and for some a life long dream. I 2012-12-24 08.42.14believe there are certain things that we hold on to because maybe the memory of that ‘thing’ is actually greater than the thing or person itself, or maybe it’s a safe choice or a safe path, or maybe there’s just plain fear. There’s the other side of it too. Sometimes we hold on to pain, bitterness, resentment for the exact same reason; because we know it, understand it, it’s safe, there’s fear of what may be on the other side and maybe sometimes we don’t think we deserve anything different. Why the dress? It still fits and I think I may still wear it, but I honestly haven’t put it on in almost 14 years. So maybe some of that stuff is in my head. Today I put that dress along with many other ‘older’ items into a plastic bag to donate. Sometimes we have to let go of what’s past to create space for the future. What are some of the things you are holding on to? Tomorrow’s a new day, start cleaning your ‘closet’.

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today I wear Nars Audacious Lipstick in Audrey. I like just about every Nars lipstick formula but these ‘audacious’ lipsticks have both lots of color coupled with a light texture. I chose this color because it’s like red wine and it has my daughter’s name. Cheers!



20 Nov

It’s been a bit of a challenging week. Work has been busy because it’s almost the end of the year, the holidays are creeping upon us at what seems a faster rate than normal, we had our first snow and it wasn’t exactly just a ‘dusting’, and I heard from a friend who had some not so good news (and those are just a few of the things from this week). Having cancer connects you to lots of different people but there are always a few that you really connect with because either your cancer or your journey is similar. Last year, at around this time, I received a goodbye email from my friend Bob. I’ve written about him several times and needless to say, his passing was extremely difficult for me (read about him here). This week, almost exactly a year later, I heard from a woman I have actually never met in person but have emailed fairly consistently since the start of my cancer path 6 years ago. I’m not sure how we even got connected but we had similar cancer stories; thyroid, multiple surgeries, radiation, etc. Anyhow, she reached out to me and told me she now has breast cancer and it hurt my heart. It was difficult for me to hear that after all she had been through she was once again back in the fight, this time a different type of cancer. She has an incredible faith in God and like all of us, she will do what she has to do.

I have a friend who’s a flight attendant. She loves talking to people and she told me that she recently started asking people she meets to sum up who they are in one or two words or phrases. I had to think about that for a minute because what would I say about myself? How do we define ourselves? I would venture to say that ‘cancer survivor’ may be one of those phrases that slips out of me but is that good enough? The definition of survivor in thefreedictionary.com is to remain alive, in yourdictionary.com the definition of survivor is someone who got through; so do I want survivor to be my word, my identity? Sounds a little…eh, no growth. Yes I had cancer but that is not who I am today. It’s easy to identify ourselves by what we’ve been through but maybe our description should be more about who we’ve become. Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.~Bernice Johnson Reagon. Life is challenging for everyone in many different ways but let’s not get trapped in events or life’s drama, good or bad, and let’s not have them define us. Maybe how we define ourselves is more fluid, ever changing based not on our experiences but what we’ve learned from them; always moving forward, always growing. So if we by chance happened to sit together on an airplane, how would I describe myself to you today? Courageous (based on the definition I spoke of in a previous blog, sharing my heart and vulnerable), easy going (because I take each day as it comes), and optimistic. These can change with the ebb and flow of life but I think our core generally stays the same. It’s been a challenging week like I said, but I’ll take it as a chance to continue to learn more about me and more about life.

Today I wear Nars Audacious lipstick in Olivia. You pretty much can’t go wrong with a Nars lipstick. This formula feels really light but packs a punch in terms of color, hence the name, audacious. I chose Olivia because it’s a deep red…loving life and feelin’ the red again! Cheers!

It’s Time

22 Jun

It’s time…those words are said for a lot of different things; to give birth, to say good-bye, for an interview or audition, surgery, prom. A few times a year I get a couple postcards with ‘It’s Time’ printed on it, one from my dentist and one from my doctor. Well, it’s that time of year again. All the blood work and check ups are happening now. Actually, I had my blood test done a couple of weeks ago but because I need the special blood work for rare cases like me, they send it out and I wait (hopefully just one more week). Tomorrow I get a neck ultrasound and pray there’s nothing but scar tissue. Officially it has been over three years (with a few bumps along the way) and honestly I am starting to feel unstoppable. It’s been a difficult year in general for many reasons but I continue looking ahead with excitement and hope for whatever life may bring, good or bad, and I’m unbelievably grateful for each moment I’ve had so far.

I’ve heard it said that friendships lasting beyond 7 years are friendships for life. I’m a believer. Through cancer and divorce, my lifelong friends have really pulled through despite sometimes the obstacle of geography. Here’s the thing about really great friends, they really know you; they know your heart and character and believe and support you no matter what. Adversity and how you handle it usually shows your true nature, Ginathey’ve seen my core and know it hasn’t changed. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a chance to reunite with several friends from my past including one that I’ve known over 30 years, and it’s been awesome. Reuniting with friends from the past reminds you who you once were and the things you loved to do and it also reminds you a little of how DLAyou’ve changed…lots of laughing for sure. I’ve also met a few new people who I already know will be around awhile! Saw this on the internet about friend reunions and it’s all true:20 Great Joys of Reuniting With Old Friends. Life is fun, exciting, sad, exhausting, and exhilarating with all it’s twists and turns but it’s even better with great friends to ride the roller coaster with! “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”― Mark Twain

Today I wear Nars Lipgloss in Wonder. These lipglosses are moisturizing and don’t feel too heavy or sticky on your lips. This particular color is a sheer wash of mandarin orange with gold specks which looks great on tanned skin (which of course I have year round). It’s a great color for summer and it’s got a great name…look at the world with wonder and you’ll continue being amazed! Cheers!


20 May

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Last Saturday I walked once again at the local Relay For Life event. This year my daughter, younger son, and mom were with me. All survivors were given a special shirt which identified them as a survivor and it was emotional (at least for me), making eye contact with other survivors knowing and feeling some of the things they have been through. This year’s survivor lap had at least 50-100 survivors of all ages and colors, male and female. It was overwhelming walking around the track with them and hearing the cheers of the supporters as well as seeing their and each others’ tears. I have to say, for awhile now, I have been struggling with a wide range of emotions. Although I have had several ‘scares’ of cancer being back, my last physical treatment was almost three years ago. Am I done? I don’t know because none of my subsequent tests have been doubt free, but is it ever done? I joked with my mom at the survivor luncheon after the walk that they put annual flowers in pots for us to take home instead of perrenials because who knows where we are year to year; It was a half joke/half truth. My good friend from radiation just found out recently that his cancer is possibly back. I’m sad, but that is truly how it goes. We are both still fighting the side effects and consequences of our multiple treatments but we both live one day at a time.relay

With all of that said, I have to speak about the loneliness of cancer.It may just be me, but there is truly a lonely side. It’s strange to say it because I don’t think any of us lack support from friends and family, but being in it, having it be you, can be lonely. We each feel something indescribable even to those closest to us. For me it’s the anger toward my body, my heart breaking over my voice and breathing, and my intense fight to be there to watch my kids grow; it’s almost like a pin that is constantly pressing on my heart. No one really knows what you’re going through because it’s so hard to describe; and these feelings are both during and after the fight. I am so glad to be able to share some of my feelings with ‘B’ because not only do we have the same cancer, we actually went through treatment at the same time and at the same place, but even then, his walk has been different than mine. For now, I push forward seeking joy and leaning on the positive, but I can’t deny the lonely place in me that cancer created. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”  ―    Bil Keane     Thankful for my ‘present.’

Today I wear Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Majella which is a garnet red color. These crayon like pencils have ALOT of color which stays on most of the day. These are lots more moisturizing than the matte pencils also by Nars and most of the time, I can swipe the color on in the morning and either use lip balm or a gloss for the rest of the workday because the color is like a stain on your lips. I chose this color because it’s red. Nothing like a red lip to brighten up the day! Cheers!!

Happy New Year!

31 Dec

One year ago today, I left a job that wasn’t for me. I took the job because I had gotten laid off from a previous job and this one sounded like something I could do which would expand my horizon ; I had been in the same job since college and this was a little bit of a departure into a different industry. Within a month I knew it was not the job for me.  There were additional duties that were not part of the job description I applied for, and, well, many other things. I lasted 6 stressful months knowing I wouldn’t be there that long. I have never quit a job before so it was very difficult for me, not to mention I did not have another job waiting. When I quit, I left the family with one less income and no health benefits, quite the leap of faith from a cancer patient, but I have never regretted the decision. It took another six months to find a job, but prayerfully, the right one came at just the right time. After everything I had been through over the past few years with cancer back and forth, I did not want to waste another minute doing something I didn’t care for and I also trusted that God would open other doors. Trusting God sometimes is a difficult thing. What I’ve learned is that it is easy to trust Him with what we think the plan should be, but alot more difficult trusting Him when it is apparent He has a different plan. How often do we force our plan to work? How we want things to turn out, what we want to do…tuning out advice and wisdom and forging ahead in our selfishness?  OK, too deep.  Anyhow looking back at this year, it was a wise decision and I feel blessed.

It’s a good thing looking back at the blessings because it is so easy to forget about things. Who talks about the major tsunami in Japan that killed thousands of people this year? How about the tornadoes in the South that killed hundreds? I started the year jobless, but it gave me time to write and publish a book. I started a blog which has helped me process feelings and feel support from you. In March I was told I was finally cancer free only to be told in June that there were still cancer cells; in September, no tumors (talk about a rollercoaster). I got a new job back in my old industry with a boss I love. My family is healthy, happy, and intact, and it seems the kids don’t even remember I had cancer. It’s hard for me to move into the new year because I feel somewhat unfinished with 2011 but we all have to forge ahead. I’m not a big believer in resolutions because it seems when we (at least me) verbalize a ‘resolution’, my brain automatically answers back , ‘yeah, right’  then my body follows suit. When there is something I think or want to do or try, I just go for it. Guitar, exercise, learn a foreign language…just start! Take the time to look back at 2011 and be thankful for life. I know there were probably several disapointments but I’m sure there were many blessings. Remember, learn, and forge ahead into the new year grateful for each day because life is short.  Happy 2012!

Today I wear Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (cross between lipstick and lip pencil) in Dragon Girl which is siren red. I chose it cuz I’m feelin’ it! CHEERS!!

Enjoy Today

5 Aug

So I just completed my first week in the field doing the only job I’ve  known since college.  This may sound cheesy, but it felt like home.  Sure, I’ve done a short stint or two trying other things, but this is the job that I am confident in and that I know how to do and for that reason, I love it and I feel very fortunate to be back.  I am in a territory that is partly new for me so I get to meet tons of new people which is exciting (not all of them are nice, that’s the challenge, right?); but I also see some of the people that I used to see before I was laid off last year and it was like I had never left.

Driving along today I was looking at my life and really feeling blessed.  Sure, I am still living with cancer, but I have a job I actually like, I don’t have to travel a ton so I’m home with my family almost every night, they’re all healthy, and generally, I feel great.  I am done crying and as a matter of fact, I can’t stop smiling right now (I realize this may be temporary, but for now, it’s what I got).  I was with a new customer a few days ago and after I introduced myself he handed me a piece of paper folded in half and told me to read it in my spare time.  I of course stuffed it in my bag and forgot about it until now.  Well, I read it and the gist was this, enjoy today, don’t worry about tomorrow, and don’t think about the past…how fitting…it put a bigger smile on my face.  Enjoying today is hard for many of us to do, but truly today is all we have.  Recently I went through my ‘what if’s’…What if I never got cancer? Then I wouldn’t have written a book, and I wouldn’t have met all of my new and wonderful friends and support system, I wouldn’t have known to let go of the simple worries and irritations so easily.  What if it continues to grow and I can finally no longer sing?  Well, this I struggled with for awhile but after grieving the possibility over and over, I am letting that go to.  I think our question should not be ‘what if’ but instead be  ‘what now’.  If we continue to worry about the future and obsess about the past, we miss today and that would be a bummer because for now, today is all we have.

Enjoy today, be present for those around you and especially for those you love because we can’t get back time.  It’s  ok to be selfish with your time, since cancer, I certainly am.  Don’t let today be tomorrow’s regret.  Today I wear Nars lipgloss in Greek Holiday.  It’s a gorgeous peachy-cream-sparkly lipgloss.  It’s great for medium/darker skin or someone with a great tan.  I wear it because it’s beautiful and going on a Greek holiday sounds like fun (I’ve never been, but thinking about it puts a smile on my face)!

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