That's for damn sure! And after clocking in nearly 60 hours in the chemo room, I can honestly and earnestly say that there were times when all I heard was the sound of this clock's second hand. Trying to keep up with the metronome rhythm in my head, I found umpteen ways to pass the time. Reading, napping, snacking, watching my infusions drip, staring at the clock, chatting and laughing with the chemo nurses, surfing the net, striking up conversation with fellow patients in the room and taking my pole for a walk every couple of hours were my usual habits. And if truth be told, I think we all could use a little down time every few weeks. Really, I think I'm on to something here. Maybe there should be centers where we can check in, at our own will, for let's say, 4-6 hours and be forced to do, well, nothing really. Minus the toxic drugs of course, I believe we could all benefit from some voluntary R & R. I know I did and although looking at this particular clock brings some not-so-fond-memories of my first chemo treatment to the forefront of my mind, staying in the present time is an important reminder that we don't have to be doing everything at once. Note to self.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Thursday, February 6, 2014
To this day, this is one of my fave pics because a) I LUV this kid! b) I ADORE his mom! and c) It speaks volumes of what kids might think about cancer and chemo.
But this young lad Jeremy was no chemo rookie as he had watched his grandma finish her chemo for breast cancer from this very room just 2ish months earlier. He was not allowed in the room for my chemo due to his age but his wonderful mom 'Julie-Bunny' was and she had brought me love and flowers for my first treatment. So instead, Jeremy simply stood at the door and stared at me for numerous minutes with bewilderment and a reluctant wave.
Little did I know, he was asking my partner Hil "What is Yog doing in Grandma's chair?" Not, why is Yog in the chemo room, or did Yog have cancer too, but really, what was I doing in his beloved Grandma Zeb's chair?
Having worked with young children for nearly 30 years now, I get where they're coming from with the looks, the blunt questions and forthright comments "Did you loose your part?" "You have a shiny head." "Don't take your hat off." "Do you have the cancer flu?" "I'm gonna go now." Kids seem to have a simple yet sophisticated way of getting to the point in a manner that most adults just can't seem to manage. They want to know the facts and nothing but the facts just like Jeremy did. He wasn't interested in my emotional well-being or how I was feeling about my very first chemo treatment. His mom was laughing with me, I clearly had a (fake) smile on my face, and was waving back at him with enthusiasm. Next topic. He simply wanted to know why I was bogarting his grandma's chemo chair. Boom. Done deal.
As I continued to watch Jeremy and Hil with great curiosity, my thoughts were all about the good
ju-ju that I had hoped was in store for me. With my lucky necklace, alkaline water, some spiritual trinkets and feathers, I felt compelled to help Jeremy understand what was going on but simply couldn't because I was tethered to the drugs and my chemo pole. Plus, I figured if this chair brought good fortune to Zeb then I was there to cash in on some of that luck; a chair that I coveted for a year and one that I felt slightly possessive of (I did have to relinquish it a few times - with hesitancy) but I did play nice in the chemo room!
In the meantime, I cherish this precious picture, that day and the sweetest face one could ever hope for during one's very first chemo treatment. Good medicine for sure! So, to that, I say a huge THANK YOU to my little red-headed pal - back atcha buddy!
Monday, February 3, 2014
It goes without saying (again), that purple is my fave color. But today, this beautiful color means even more to people like me and all of my breasties, as it is officially World Cancer Day! A day when you can show your support in so many simplistic ways like turning your Facebook and Twitter profiles purple! This alone can raise up to $1 million dollars for the American Cancer Society by going to the Chevrolet website and going purple for a day. I mean, how great is that?! But if you'd rather donate directly to the ACS and know that any amount you donate can make the difference in research for finding cures for cancer and saving lives, then simply donate here!
On a more individual level, which can mean the world to people like me, Lorena, Pammy, Marion, Nicole, Jude, Lisa, Jody, and Jill (some of my fave warriors and some who are in the fight of their lives!), then offer up a more personal touch.
I for one had friends do things like bring dinners to our house when I started eating again (thanks Kristy & Eric!), knit a cap for my cold and bald head (hats off to Kim & Miss O!), drive me to treatment (thanks Deb & Sam), mow our lawn - for a year! (again, many thanks Deb!) sit with me in chemo (LUV to Julie-Bunny, My Angela, Dr. Polito, Zeb, Sydney) and drive me to get a walker (Cheri, you're a rock star). My list goes on and on so, be creative and make your own list for someone you care about. But most of all, be personal and show someone some extra LUV today! If anything, just pick up the phone to say hi and that you're thinking of them as cancer is a lonely journey.
Well, what'ya waiting for? Join me and millions in going purple today for someone you love in the midst of the battle, young children battling this dreaded disease, someone you lost to cancer and those that will be diagnosed this very day and will have to hear those three words that will change the course of their life forever, "You have cancer."
So, come on - go purple!
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The title of this post says it all. And I do, very much so, recall this day of going into the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara for my very first chemo. Smiles as usual, but underneath it all, I was scared out of my head about what was about to go down in my cancer history. Looking back on it today, I have come to realize that not knowing what lie ahead of me was probably a good thing. I mean really, who needs to know that they're about to sit in a chair for nearly 7 hours getting shot up with toxic, yet life-saving chemicals, have a severe allergic reaction to one of the drugs, and then go home to a chemo coma for the next 10 days without recalling hardly anything. Seriously?! Nobody needs to know that. And that my friends, is why ignorance is bliss!
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Having spent an excessive amount of time in bed over the past couple of years, I can now say that I truly know what it's like to have some R & R. Not exactly the kind of relaxation that I would recommend to anyone, but it is interesting how one can spend days and hours at a time doing, well, nothing really. I, for one, have always been a gal on the go but when you have no energy and are fighting nausea, the time I lingered here was actually quite peaceful and serene.
I didn't have the mindset or the focus for books or even movies, so I spent much of my time either on my iPad or simply staring out the window looking at the sun and the moon from my second story bedroom. I even began to relish the sound of wind and palm fronds waving back at me while I laid there for sometimes weeks at a time without ever going downstairs. A lot of time, a lot of silence, a lot of nothing.
As you'll see in the background, I made an inspiration board that sat on top of our little dog's crate that I created to remind me of life and people outside of my room and cancer. And when people started sending me tokens of love in the form of pictures, cards and keepsakes, I thought what better way to stay connected to myself and life. I genuinely treasured staring at my board of pictures, inspirational quotes, my past aunt's artwork, spiritual tokens and my dad's ashes in a leather pouch for many minutes at a time. It was often the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last thing I saw at night. So, when you really think about it, it was time well spent. And in some strange way, I secretly wish for those days again - not of illness but of quietness, stillness and peace.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
I've said it once and I'll say it again, Nothing But Blue Skies are ahead - at least that's my personal motto for 2014. And if I have to fake it 'til I make it, then that's exactly what I will do.
For one, I am admittedly thrilled that a new year has rolled around because for the first time since November 2011, I am not looking towards surgeries, procedures, treatment and all that goes with the onset of a cancer diagnosis. Perhaps I'm fooling myself, and it's just the Tamoxifen talking, but I don't think so. Because if there's one thing my parents always taught my sister and I, it's to persevere and so I will.
With my emotional provisions in place, I am digging down deep in an attempt to get my life back on track after a 2 year roller coaster ride. New digs - check. Daily meditation - check. Daily inspirational quotes - check. Green drinks - hope to check. Exercise - must check. You get my drift.
As for one of the most important intentions that I'm carrying over from last year, it is to continue to surround myself with good peeps. And by that, I mean my family and friends that uplift me and ones that I hopefully uplift in return.
Interestingly enough, I found a source of inspiration in a box that was unpacked just last night. It was a small book my mom gave me back in 1993 from Shakti Gawain - Reflections in the Light: Daily Thoughts and Affirmations. A book that provides inspirational messages and thoughts for each day and one that now sits on my nightstand. Even more poetic is the message that my mom wrote to me on the inside cover:
Given with much love and gratitude. Know that once the seeker sets upon the journey, everything wanted and needed will appear at the perfect and right time.
Isn't she so wise?! Perfect timing yet again! Thanks so much mom, your words mean the world to me as usual! And as I continue to strive to gain a 'new normal' and perspective in my life, I hope that you will also make some time for soul-searching as you look forward to another year and yet another opportunity to find some peace and joy in your own life.
As for me, I'll leave you with today's quote to keep you in the present even though we are all looking ahead to the new year. Gotta stay in the here and now, right?!
Happy New Year everyone! Nothing But Blue Skies.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
|Click to play - Video courtesy of Alan Blassberg|
As we all know, October and the rest of the year is full of various shades of pink - pink ribbons, pink pens, pink mixers, pink calendars, yet this bright splash of color has yet to find us a cure. As for blue, it's just now stepping forward as a primary color to pay attention to and for good reason. No blue blenders and ornaments have hit the market yet, but I do believe that it's time to share the spotlight with pink and tell the men's side of this story too.
So, when I came across a film campaign and movement documentary last week, called Pink & Blue, I contacted the filmmaker immediately to see how I could help. His personal story and project grabbed my attention from the get-go and tugged at my heart strings which is why I felt compelled to share it with all of you.
In essence, an all-in-one filmmaker, brother and boyfriend, Alan Blassberg is now on a mission to get his film up on the big screen and for good reason: to inform and arm others with the knowledge of breast cancer and the BRCA gene for both women and men. And as Alan says, it WILL come into your life at some point in time - this I know is true. It did for him by touching two, very important women in his life (at the same time!) - his sister Sammy and his girlfriend Stephanie. And if that wasn't enough, he lost his beautiful, warrior sister Sammy after a 3-year battle with breast cancer. His story also shares that his grandmother took her wings from breast cancer two weeks before he was born. He is now concentrating on his own health as he tested BRCA positive and his film will poignantly take you on a personal and educational journey through his world of living among breast cancer and 'the gene.' Because, even though we have learned so much about this disease over the past decade, there is much more to know which Alan's film will attest to. Chock-full of personal stories, top experts in the field of breast cancer and many shocking statistics that may even affect you, this documentary is a must-support and a must-see!
Because Alan and his two sisters tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation, shining the spotlight on this critical film and and the new color of breast cancer - blue, has become his mission. So, please, for your own sake and the health of your sister, brother, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, mother, father, grandmother and grandfather, click on over and watch the Pink & Blue trailer and then please make a donation. Every dollar really does count. Be sure to show your support as well by following Alan and this project on both Twitter and on Facebook.
So remember, pink, blue, female, male, genetic or hereditary - this disease still needs our attention all year long, not just during October. And don't forget about blue. The men in your lives need to share the limelight with pink and have their voices heard.