Tag Archives: vocal chord paralysis


24 Apr

I know it’s been awhile since my last post but you know when your life feels like it’s in overdrive? After our short vacation I’ve felt super busy; partly from the need to do spring cleaning of my house, partly work, and partly the kids’ activities, just not enough time in the day to accomplish all I want to do. Oh yeah, we have to include sleep in there too! This past week I got to sing again at what has become one my most favorite events, my local World Voice Day Celebration. This event put together by my physician showcases different styles of singing from performers who have had some type of vocal injury as well as physicians and healthcare providers that help us regain and recover our voices. This event is particularly special to me primarily because I used to be a singer and I thought I had lost my ability to sing when cancer and the first surgery took my nerve and therefore took my right vocal cord along with it. Being at Voice Day and singing (albeit different and weaker) represents to me the big picture miracle of still having my voice after cancer three times leaving me with one functioning vocal fold. It also serves as a reminder of my cancer journey and how far I’ve come. I’m always so grateful and emotional and this year was no different. You can see my performance with an intro by my doc here: http://youtu.be/UcmQjzNC3SM

My last blog post (Just Rambling) on relationships was one of my most read posts of all time telling me people love authenticity and truth. I wrote it off the cuff (hence the title) and direct from my heart. Sometimes truth is met with criticism because sometimes people only want to hear the ‘warm and fuzzy.’ Sometimes truth is a mirror to something they don’t want to hear about themselves or just plain blinding light in the darkness. Whatever it may be, life is not warm and fuzzy all the time. I write as an extension of myself and I will not trade authenticity for safety.It’s sidenot always pretty but to censor what I write to make people feel better or more at ease would be to censor my feelings and say it’s not alright to feel that way. Life is not always a fairytale and cancer is definitely not a party, but I will always look for the positive and stay authentic because that’s who I am and that’s really what this blog is all about. This is my heart, thanks for sticking around. ‘When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.’~George R.R. Martin

Today I wear Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Legendary which is a true red. This particular lip color in the Be Legendary line is moisturizing, some of the other colors are more matte. I chose this color because I’m in a ‘red’ mood, loving life and loving the fact that spring is here and new life is springing all around; and who doesn’t want to be legendary? Cheers!

Let It GO

30 Mar

There’s a super popular song out there from a movie that surprisingly is being played on every radio station, from soft rock/pop to R&B, maybe you’ve heard of it, Let It Go from the animated film Frozen. All of my kids (even the 16 year old boy) know all of the words, we bought the movie and I believe we’ve all watched it at least 5 times (we’ve owned it for two days). Even I now, know all the words to all the songs. So what makes this particular tune so popular? Is it the catchy tune or the lyrics? For me, the more I listen to the actual lyrics, the more brilliant I think they are because we can all relate.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see, Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know. Well, now they know…
This is me, people pleaser, smile on my face, conceal, don’t let them know. It’s that facade I always talk about. It’s so much easier to smile and say everything’s fine than to put yourself out there. There’s also that element of fear that maybe the real you is not good enough, or interesting enough. The last line, ‘well now they know’, that’s me now. Post cancer the facade is tiring and frankly if you don’t like the real me there are plenty of other people in this world to hang with. Personally, I fall in love (I’m not talking romantic love) with people who show me who they really are, who show me a piece of their soul and brokenness, because we all have some brokenness in us.
Let it go, let it go, Can’t hold it back anymore. Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door. I don’t care, What they’re going to say. Let the storm rage on,The cold never bothered me anyway.
Yes, the storm of life rages on constantly. People talk, people judge, I’m letting it go, turning away from fear and slamming the door. This past week I had a bout of paralyzing fear about a situation I’m currently in. With prayer and a few deep breaths I had to let it go because God is in control. Fear gives power to the thing or person that you are fearful of and I refuse to give any more power to that. It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small, And the fears that once controlled me, Can’t get to me at all…Amen!
It’s time to see what I can do,To test the limits and break through. Let it go, let it go, And I’ll rise like the break of dawn. Let it go, let it go, That perfect girl is gone
How empowering to not have to be or try to be that perfect girl. It is time to see what I can do and test those limits. For me at exactly this time, I am letting go of who I tried to be or was told to be for other people and rediscovering my dreams and who I am, old and new. Letting go is really realizing that certain things are part of the past but not part of your destination. I’m thankful for every single moment because those moments, people, events are what shaped me and who I am today; strong, courageous, and hopeful. The song is brilliant.

Today I’m wearing Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. You all should know by now I’m obsessed with these because they are so moisturizing and have great color. My fall/winter go to shade is Red Velvet but I now have this color. I LOVE IT! It’s perfect for spring/summer because it is that bright poppy orange/red but doesn’t make your lips scream ‘I’M HERE!!’ You can find these at any drugstore too and they are fairly inexpensive. Let it go! Until next time, CHEERS!

Passion vs Paycheck?

18 Mar

2013-07-03 04.44.07
There was an article I read years ago right around the time the Detroit economy took a dive. It basically shot out a statistic that 80% of Americans actually hate their jobs. The question at the end was ‘Do you pick passion over paycheck?’ The article added that without passion, people will be choosing between the lesser of two stresses: stress from being unemployed versus the stress of being in a dead-end job.

Lately I’ve met a few people who are doing things they absolutely love…and getting paid for it. They may or may not be the most lucrative careers but I see the joy and passion in their eyes of doing what they love. There’s my neighbor/hair phenom with her own salon, the make-up artist who views every face as an empty and beautiful canvas, the artist I met last week, the lawyer turned IT genius and loving it; people all around me doing things they love or switching careers to pursue passion. Every interaction I have with one of these people leaves me wondering about myself and what I’ve done to pursue the things I’m most passionate about. We all wonder if we’re doing what we we’re created to do, if we’re living our purpose, or just staying safe. I think there has to be a balance of course, you can be passionate but not gifted (think American Idol, X-factor, etc. they all think they’re great). I’ve been in sales my whole career life, am I passionate about it? No. Do I enjoy it? Sure. I look at it this way, everyday is a chance to talk to a bunch of people I otherwise may never meet, attitude goes a long way. As life continues to press on with all the stressors attached we tend to push our passions aside and maybe even forget what it is that makes our hearts beat faster. For me, it was always music, singing and dance. My heart still beats fast when I hear a great tune, I sometimes see choreography in my head too. I know I was good at one time but cancer has taken part of my voice and age has made me a little less flexible; passion for music will never go away for me. I do believe though that as we ‘do’ life new passions can arise. I now have new passions for being the best mom, for people’s stories, for writing, and of course, for finding or even creating the perfect lipstick! Billy Graham said,’The greatest surprise of my life is the brevity of life.’ So very true, we have one life and it is oh so short. So do we just quit our jobs and pursue our passions? It depends, we have responsibilities mixed in too, but I think we can do a bit of both, living in the now of what we have. And yeah, I still want to be a rockstar, who doesn’t?

Pretending to be a Rockstar

Pretending to be a Rockstar

Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.’~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Today I wear Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy Lipstick in 301-Gio. These lipsticks are pretty close to perfect. Longer lasting, great color, and moisturizing. Clearly I didn’t choose the color for it’s name (hate when there’s not a fun name attached to a lipstick), but this color is FUN! Kind of a coral-ly/red…perfect pop of color for summer,ok,spring. LIVE EVERYTHING! Cheers!

This Girl Is On Fire

21 Feb

Dancing on the streets of Paris with a breakdance crew

Dancing on the streets of Paris with a breakdance crew

I have a friend that I see every now and then. She is the person who always has a book to recommend or an author or a new song; not a fiction book, some type of inspirational or self-help book, but never cheesy. She always has great advice, not too pushy, and the way she comes across, with her added expressions, never ceases to crack me up! She’s actually hysterical and no matter what mood I’m in, I leave laughing. Anyhow, I saw her recently and of course she opens with ‘I just read this great book’ (uh huh, I’m already smiling) ‘It was written by this incredibly strong woman’…’All right’, I say as I take out a piece of paper to write name and author, like always…’Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called ‘My Lipstick Journey Through Cancer’ by Anna Warner’. Me…blank stare back. Then she stares at me square in the eyes and says ‘that’s right, she’s in there, bring her back.’ Believe it or not, that small gesture touched me deep in my soul and I started to feel that fire again (cue the theme from Rocky). Who am I? I’m a girl who auditioned for a show 3 times before finally getting on, I fought cancer 3 times also, I pushed through a science degree when all I wanted to do was sing and dance, and when people said I couldn’t, I did all I could to prove them wrong. Heck yeah, I’m a fighter.

There have also been a lot of opportunities recently that have popped up. I was asked by an artist and vocal coach from Atlanta if she could use my story as part of her Vocal Workshop, of course, thank you Heather! A national cancer organization has also asked me to speak and share my story at a national meeting for young physicians. On top of that, coming soon is an event near and dear to my heart, the annual Voice Day celebration that my physician puts together, and I am still fortunate to be able to sing and be a part of that special day. This week I also met up with a couple old co-workers and it was really great. I am so incredibly grateful for all of my experiences, good and bad, but mostly for all the people who God has weaved in and out of my life and journey at exactly the right time. I love you all. ‘She got both feet on the ground, And she’s burning it down. She got her head in the clouds,And she’s not backing down. This girl is on fire…~ Girl on Fire,Alicia Keys

Today I wear an old favorite, Buxom Full On Lip Polish in Brandi. These lipglosses are not sticky at all and make your lips tingle a little. I love the color Brandi because it adds kind of a deep berry shade to my lips while still being a little sheer. Check out the box it comes in…yeah, this girl is on fire…watch out! Cheers!

Rumors and Lies

9 Feb

There have been several emotions swirling in my mind over the past few weeks (obviously); joy, sadness, anger, and fear because of various reasons. When I was young, I was shy, painfully shy. My parents are extremely social and we would either be at a party or hosting one. At those parties I was either attached to my parents’ hip or after doing the obligatory hello’s (and playing the piano…I am Filipino), I would try to escape to my room to read, write, or listen to music. I wasn’t sad or lonely, just a shy introvert who would be overwhelmed by crowds and having to socialize. My shyness carried on for pretty much all of my youth until college where I sort of blossomed. In Jr. and Sr. high I became involved in sports, choir, plays, student government. Then I was on a TV show and won a couple beauty pageants my mom encouraged me to join to increase my confidence and break out of my shyness. Despite those things, I was still shy, opening up to few, but kind to all. What happens when you have a few accomplishments and are mostly quiet? People talk about you, rumors, and even lies sometimes. Why? 1. To feel better about themselves, 2. To convince people that they are better than the person they are talking about, or 3. Whatever lies they are pushing, it’s because they are actually the one that’s guilty of said lie(s). Sometimes they repeat it so much, they actually start believing it…scary.

What does this all have to do with me today? Well, I just went through a divorce and am keeping quiet about the details. I have had really incredible support through both the cancer and the divorce from people who have done life with me, worked with me, family, and even people I have had very little interaction with. Why? My parents taught me well…love God, love others; practice patience, kindness, gratefulness. Although I can still get shy sometimes, I try with my actions to be and do these things; not always succeeding but consciously always trying to be a positive force. Today there are lies being told and believed by even a few of those who were close to me. Hurtful? Absolutely, but although my heart hurts at times, I can hold my head high knowing the truth and also feeling confident that the truth eventually comes out. Actions speak louder than words and sometimes your actions show people who you are. There is beauty in truth, even if it’s painful. Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak. But lies only strengthen our defects. They don’t teach anything, help anything, fix anything or cure anything. Nor do they develop one’s character, one’s mind, one’s heart or one’s soul.”~ José N. Harrisanna2.9.14

Today I wear Nars lipstick in Heatwave. Nars is famous for great lipsticks. This formula is semi-matte so it’s a little drying for me but still great. I chose this color for the simple reason that I WANT SUMMER BACK!! Cheers!


18 Jan

There are certain events in life, both good and bad, that cause a shift in the way you see the world; your first kiss, the birth of a child, reaching a goal, and even a death of a loved one. These shifts can happen years apart or continually, fast and furious. The past few years for me have been the latter, fast and furious. Between cancer, my book, reaching certain goals, the death of my friend, deepened friendships, and even certain new people that I have met, all of these things have been one after another constantly changing my perspective and even showing me even more how awesome and beautiful this world is and the people in it. This past week I had another major shift happen in my life. Without going into great detail at this time, this shift brought feelings of both a death and a birth; the sadness and grief you experience from death coupled with the warmth, joy, and peace after a birth. My day ended with my view of the world being simple and beautiful despite the freezing temperatures and snowfall. An overriding theme to all these shifts is hope.

I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” ― C. JoyBell

I love this quote because if you recall from my 25 Things.. post, I love beautiful things that fly (not bugs), butterflies, hawks, eagles…because they look so free. Life never guarantees us an easy road but there’s always hope. Today is exactly the time between what’s already been and what’s yet to come so all we can do is live, learn, then move forward. With every shift I have learned different lessons and I welcome them. All I know for now, is that I will continue to live with breathless anticipation and hope, always open to whatever change comes next.

Today I wear Marc Jacobs Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl in No Regrets. These full coverage lipglosses are amazing! They have full on color and they are fairly long lasting. A friend and I sorta went nuts at Sephora trying all of these on. Although I bought Fame, No Regrets (which is red) is next. I chose it today for the name. No matter what choices, or paths we take we can learn from them and move forward, regrets are a waste of time. Cheers!


8 Dec

Ok, I have a little writer’s block right now. Maybe because my week was ordinary? Or maybe my eyes were too focused on me and not seeking the extraordinary moments of every day? Nevertheless, a few significant things did happen this week in the world. There were two highly reported deaths in the news. The first was Paul Walker from The Fast and Furious franchise. People viewed him as too young, too handsome, too kind. He was one of those extremely private movie stars but as you listen to the stories, he was truly a nice guy; genuine, kind, authentic. There are stories of his charitable foundation and of his random, anonymous acts of kindness. On the other end of the spectrum, Nelson Mandela. He changed the world. He stood for democracy,freedom, harmony, and peace. The contributions he made to his people and society in general are far reaching. Then in my little world, my friend ‘B’-Bob was buried this week. I will never forget his impact on me and my life, let alone his family and friends. Although these three men come from all walks of life and had different ‘positions’ in the world, they all had significant contributions on people’s lives. Paul Walker, besides being an actor, he was a father and died on his way to an event of his organization to help the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Nelson Mandela, his impact on people’s lives are too long to list. Bob, his love and support for me during a tough time will always be remembered and cherished. What do the three have in common, what will they be most remembered for? Their treatment of people. I found a really long quote from Maya Angelou. I was thinking of a way to take pieces from it, but I can’t. The whole thing sums it up perfectly, especially the last sentence:

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.― Maya Angelou

Today I wear Ulta Tinted Lip Balm in Toast. I LOVE these! They are inexpensive, moisturize, and add color! Toast is a deep wine/red which provides enough color not to be crazy. I chose it for both the color and the name…toasting these three gentlemen and life! Cheers!

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