Archives

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

ourpaths

As a woman who endured breast cancer many moons ago, October or Pinktober becomes one of those pink, swashed in your face reminders of all that happened to us.  Maybe for you it doesn’t, but for those of us with a long history, it’s a stark reminder for an entire month.

I don’t often share that I endured breast cancer because my medical past isn’t obvious.  Well, maybe it’s obvious in certain situations, but for the most part, you’d never know if you met me on the street or in the grocery store unless I shared that bit of information with you.  I’m grateful for that now.  The bald tell-tale sign or the hairless eyebrows and lack of eyelashes aren’t there anymore.

It’s been a long time since I was diagnosed and I’m grateful to still be here to help others who walk this path.  If you want to read more, just type breast cancer in the search button on my blog and you will see that I’ve written about it over the years.  I learned much from my experience with breast cancer that I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t had the disease.  Endurance, strength, compassion, kindness, faith and connections have helped to enrich my life and my will to survive other obstacles that have arrived at my doorstep.  While I would have never chosen to endure this disease, I am grateful for surviving it and for the ample opportunities for insight and growth that came from it.

While it hasn’t come back with a vengeance, the threat continues as I live out the rest of my life.  However, most of the time it is pushed to the back of my mind where it belongs.  I am vigilant in my checkups and as any cancer survivor knows, I spend a few nervous days after they test my blood, waiting to see if my tumor markers have decided to go wacky and scare me.  In the past they have, which brought fear to the forefront again in my life, but luckily for me, they were false positives.

I can’t say that same experience happened for many friends and acquaintances of mine.  Sadly, many of them lost their battle to the disease as it metastasized to different areas in the body.  Survivors guilt after bonding with others saddens me.  The question of why I am spared and they are not, continues to be a mystery.  In honoring their sweet memories, I try to live the best life I can, for I know how quickly life can change.

I am an alumni of a club to which I never wished to belong.  But in this club, I have found warm, loving people who are united in ways that others may never fully understand.  To this day, I still help other women who are enduring breast cancer.  I know that for me, it helped when someone else understood the night time terror thoughts or the twinges of pain that we knew weren’t normal.  It helped to receive a sisterly embrace from someone who ‘got it’ and who willingly connected with me.  So I give back when I can.  I pass along the compassionate connections which were offered to me and greatly appreciated.

In honor of those who lost their battle to breast cancer, to those who are currently in the throes of cancer’s siege on their body and to those who, like me, are labeled survivors, I send up my prayers today.  My prayer is that we live on in the hearts of our loved ones and that someday, sooner rather than later, the cure will be given to all who need it.

God Bless.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

 

Advertisements

Picking Up The Pieces

pickingupthepieces.PNG

When life throws you a curve ball, you have to re-evaluate your position in life.  You have to pick up the pieces from what’s changed and put them back together in a new way.  You may even have to release some parts of your prior life in order to make room for the new chapter that’s beginning.  We have to embrace the change in order to incorporate it into our lives and not be stymied by the upheaval.

There are many defining moments in life that create change.  What we forget in times of fluidity and peace is that change is inevitable.  Few of us get out of this life alive without challenges, for those are what make this life school a life-long learning process.  If we were only to enjoy smooth sailing for a lifetime then we wouldn’t have a chance to grow.  By enduring these challenges, we experience change.  Life school allows us to connect with others who have endured similar situations in ways that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  Nobody can understand how devastating a cancer diagnosis is if you haven’t experienced it yourself.  Nobody understands the all-encompassing grief that comes with losing a loved one if you haven’t been through it.  Empathy comes when you’ve walked a similar path with compassion.

I confess that I would have preferred to not have endured many of the challenges presented to me.  I could have done without the trying times that threatened to drown me.  But I persevered and through faith, love and friendship, I am still here.

I’ve been through a plethora of life changes as I am sure you have too.  Some have been good changes, while others defined me in ways I never thought possible.  Breast cancer, deaths of friends, family and loved ones, divorce, financial difficulties, Alzheimer’s in loved ones, just to name a few of the big ones.  Through these defining moments of upheaval and life changing events, I have learned one thing for sure:  I can survive and remain who I am innately and even be improved by having endured the changes.  Challenges, failures and triumphs sprinkled with love, hope, faith and kindness make all the difference.

Keep shining your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo

Gratitude For Eight Years On WordPress

anniversary-2x

I got a note from WordPress today telling me that eight years ago today, I began my blog.  It doesn’t seem that I have been writing for eight years to you all, but I’m assuming WordPress knows what it’s talking about, don’t you think?  Ah, the benefits of blogging!

In eight years, much has changed in my life.  My initial focus was to help other women battling cancer, specifically breast cancer as I endured it myself and I am still here.  But as life developed, I have written about other subjects too including:  poetry, pets, children, parents, relationships, Mother Nature, horseback riding, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, holidays, angels, spirituality, religion, Rabbit, Rabbit, photography, SendOutCards, amazing books and movies, inspirational quotes, life in general and even death because I had first hand experience with all of those topics.  While I was enduring hardships, you were all there for me with your loving support and I am ever grateful.  I wrote to share my experiences in hopes that I would be able to help someone else along that path.

I am ever grateful for the loving connections that have evolved through our blogging community which we have grown through our writings and by reaching out in kindness, generosity and always with a loving heart.  Friendships have blossomed through our writings that have cemented many of us soul to soul in miraculous ways.  From WordPress comments to emails to actual phone calls, I can count many deep friendships which span the world now for which I am honored to be a part of in this lifetime – and yet, we have never met face to face.  But the love is there, without ever being in each other’s physical presence.

It’s so interesting to me that I have yet to meet anyone face to face that I met through blogging and yet I count many of you as true friends.  What a gift this Presents of Presence has been for me!  I pray that you feel the same way – that my writings, my comments and my love for all of you shines its heartlight and helps to raise the energetic vibrations of this world’s energy to encourage peace, love, compassion and understanding along with connections to all.

May your heart be lifted today and may your heartlight shine for all to see, for I see you out there dearest friends and I am ever grateful, as always, for our connections.

Shine On!

xo

The Present

10474196_781510258558095_5737743704808259461_n

Today’s Daily Prompt of PRESENT was a no-brainer for me to write about because hello! it’s the name of my blog!  The Presents of Presence.

It’s been a HUGE PRESENT to write to you, to make connections with you and to get to know all of you!  I love our friendships and I feel grateful and honored to know you all!

Because if we look around, precious moments are presents and they are everywhere.  But they can be fleeting when we are not paying attention.  You know what I mean?  When you turn around and wonder, what in the world did I do yesterday?  Or how did this past week fly by?

We have a limited time on this earth dear friends.  Connections can be fleeting or lifelong.  Either way, we must take each and every special opportunity to savor them.

May you have a blessed day and continue to shine your heartlights!

Shine On!

xo

A New New Year’s Eve

anewnewyearseve

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Eve of 2001.  I won’t bore you with the details, but if you choose to search in my posts for those key words, you will find my story.  Much has happened since that fateful day and for many years, I felt downtrodden by the reminder of my cancerversary on New Year’s Eve.

Finally, I no longer hold that diagnosis in my heart/mind/soul as I used to in the past.  The cancer diagnosis was the beginning of my spiritual journey which has led me to this day, today, for which I am ever grateful.  My life hasn’t turned out as I’d planned.  Instead, I’ve endured a plethora of losses and yet, I remain grateful for each experience.  I see now that all of those life lessons have led me to today and the spiritual knowledge which I would have never received had my life been easy and cancer-free.  I have acquired so much depth of understanding which I would have never grown if I hadn’t had to endure so much pain in my life.  The experiences reminded me of how innately strong I am and how even though my life went through periods of darkness, my heartlight shines even more brightly now because of what I’ve endured.  Isn’t that always the way?  Do you feel the same way?

My heartlight dimmed at times of great stress, disease, fear and grief, but the innate sparkle never left me.  My faith has grown stronger.  My commitment to being me in all my quirks and glory, has only increased in strength and commitment.  My supply of self-love and love for all mankind has increased exponentially.  I love from the depths of my soul and have learned to receive healthy love as well.  I no longer worry about acceptance.  I am who I am and I am not afraid anymore.

I wish you all a lovely New Year’s Eve!  Let go of who and what doesn’t serve your spiritual growth.  Leave the past hurts behind.  Enjoy The Presents of Presence and may all unfold in 2018 with love, light and peace for you!

Shine On!

xo

Dahlia Trademark

dahlia

When I saw the Daily Prompt Trademark, I knew I had to write about it.  My trademark for a long time (if there can be such a thing for a simple blog) has been a pink dahlia which a friend took a photo of and then allowed me to use.

Why?  Because pink is the ‘color’ for breast cancer awareness and I love flowers!  Easy peasy answer!  Also, there’s something warm and inviting about the petals in a dahlia.  For me, it looks like they are reaching out in all directions for connections and you know, that’s what I love to do – to connect!

It’s just like the Shine On! xo that I use to end my posts.  Maybe that’s a trademark too?  I began using that awhile back.  It just seemed to evolve as my blog has as well.  I like it because it makes me smile and I hope it makes you smile too!

How about your trademark?

I’d love to hear why you use what you do in your blog as well!

Shine On!

xo

Enduring Breast Cancer Survivor

brave.PNG

This may be a controversial post, I’m just warning you.  Maybe not, depending on how you view what I feel.  I’m a breast cancer survivor although I abhor the badge survivor.  Yes, I survived breast cancer and have for almost 16 years, but I am not one of those who go to the Pinktober or Breast Cancer Walks with pink frilly enthusiasm.  It’s just not me.

I think it’s nice that people unite for those walks to raise money for research, but in the sixteen years since I was diagnosed, there have been a few strides, but not many.  So where’s the funding going?

There are thousands of items bedazzled with the pink ribbon during Breast Cancer Awareness month that are for sale.  While I appreciate it, I also feel the superficiality of it.  For enduring breast cancer isn’t all pink ribbons.

It’s grueling surgeries, treatments and fear-induced sleepless nights.  Like all life threatening situations, it requires bravery to face our inevitable death, with the threat of it coming too soon.  I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed out of the blue, having found an M&M sized lump in my breast.  Complete shock overtook me on that New Year’s Eve in 2001 when the diagnosis was delivered.

Fast forward to 2017 after having endured countless surgeries, chemotherapy (ACT) and radiation, not to mention a double mastectomy, two implant replacements and then a radical replacement of my breasts with my own fat tissue instead of implants because my body kept rejecting them, I’ve been through the ringer like many people have in my situation.  I’ve lost my hair, been in menopause since 2003 and aged faster than my friends because of the illness.  I have lingering effects from the cancer which include chronic fatigue which I battle daily.  The funny thing about the chronic fatigue is that most people just don’t understand what I experience because I look normal (or as normal as possible).  But that’s a whole different post.

However, the word survivor when applied to my breast cancer experience sticks in my craw.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I merit the word survivor.  Victims of the Holocaust merit the word survivor, people who survived horrendous experiences merit the word survivor in my book.  But for me, no.

Me, I endured breast cancer.  While its aftereffects still play a role in my daily life, I am gratefully still here.  Sure, I have had more threats to my health than I can count anymore.  I am tested routinely due to other complications and I have endured countless uncomfortable tests and more sleepless nights than I want to remember.

The term survivor to me is having lived through something awful and to be able to go on afterwards.  Maybe that’s how some people feel about their diagnosis in the breast cancer world.  For me, it’s not a been there, done that, wear the pink sparkly t-shirt and smile.  It’s still enduring the illness in whatever shape and form it reemerges.

The Presents of Presence emerged from my journey with breast cancer.  In being present with my feelings, acknowledging the gifts in this moment and in taking the time to be mindful, spiritual and experiencing all that presence allows, is how I live my life now.  I am still a work in progress.  I thank you for reading my post today, for holding my hand when needed, for your kindness and connections and for showing your heartlight as a beacon of hope for others.

Shine On!

xo