Tag Archive | breast cancer changed my life

Celebrating Twenty Years

Flowers from CAngel

I am feeling so blessed today, more than usual, as I celebrate this special milestone in my life. I wanted to share it with you, my friends, since you have been with me for many years. Twenty years ago today, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as you can imagine, I was devastated. My life turned upside down and I will admit, there have been many ups and downs over the last two decades. But I am still here and cancer free today.

I have learned so much over these past twenty years and I have so many loved ones, family and friends, doctors, nurses, lab techs, and even strangers to thank for helping me along the way. It took a village to get me to where I am and I am ever grateful to all of the angelic people who each made a positive difference in my life.

With a grateful heart, I have been blessed with this milestone. I learned so much from having breast cancer that I consider it a gift, for even though it took a lot from me, the life lessons I learned from it are priceless. Hence the name of my blog, The Presents of Presence.

For in being present with what is and what was, I learned that I am stronger than I ever knew I could be. I found inner strength and joy in the simplest moments which might have passed me by, if I didn’t learn to take each day as it comes. The color of a sunset, the warmth of a summer breeze, the amazing gifts from Mother Nature and the new beginning each dawn brings. Learning that life is short and love is the legacy I wish to leave behind when it is my turn to transition.

I learned that people may come and go, but I remain grateful for the good memories. I learned about forgiveness. I learned about healing, physical, mental, emotional, and how the body, mind, and soul work in conjunction. I discovered a deeper sense of spirituality, divinity, and the cultivating of inner peace.

I bonded with others who had cancer and found an incredible connection in helping them. I also lost a few friends I made through their untimely passing from the cancer we were fighting together. They inspired me to keep going even when they could no longer. I found a calling in helping others.

My rituals have evolved over the years to include prayers, quiet moments, a gratitude journal, and increasing my intuition and all of the precious gifts that I was too busy to explore. I have found me over the years, authentic me, the one with whom I am at peace.

I have scars from the many, many surgeries I have endured. I have health issues resulting from what I experienced and I am still checked often to make sure that the cancer remains at bay. Up until now, those check ups, twinges, strange lumps, etc. could put me into anxiety wondering if this were a dreaded reoccurrence come to pass. Perhaps now at twenty years, I will be able to ease that part of me, knowing that I have had this time to continue to heal myself.

The light of love never dims. Our heart lights shine on always and so tonight, as I raise a glass of champagne with my sons over dinner at home, I thank you all from my heart for your kindness, your support and your love. You are a blessing to me and I am so grateful for all of you.

Shine On!


The Power in Patting Your Heart


I want you to sit quietly for a moment.  Close your eyes.  Lay your hand, palm down on your heart.  Breathe for a moment, quietly sinking into a feeling of peace.  Then I want you to gently ‘pat your heart twice’ for me.

Feel the magic in connecting with your heart and soul.

Just like in yesterday’s post about I Remember You, when you pat your heart to someone else, you expand that soul to soul connection for which there are no words except to say, “you are in my heart.”  It’s powerful my friends.  It’s even essential, dare I say it.

So once again, I connect my heart with yours and I pat my heart twice in gratitude for our loving connections and for the beautiful way in which our souls rejoice in meeting!  You are loved.  You are in my heart.  I remember you.

Shine On!


Below is a song I want you to sing to yourself today…

Kindness ~ A true story


We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

~ Ronald Reagan

Yesterday our local grocery store was jam-packed with shoppers.  I guess because it is Monday and because it’s summer, (but it wasn’t a beach day) that there were more than the normal amount of shoppers busy filling their carts and trying to get through the aisles.  I don’t usually shop on a Monday for just that reason, but yesterday I need a few things and thought I’d just stop in.

Pressure was mounting believe it or not as busy people continued to try to get through the aisles and get their shopping done efficiently ~ you know the get in, get out type of shoppers?  Well, I had decided to just peruse every aisle, getting a little cool exercise in on a hot muggy day.  As I rounded the 4th or 5th aisle, I saw it was looking like an obstacle course, but because I needed an item, I decided to just go on through slowly.  It took some time as I smiled and even excused myself as I passed a few of the shoppers.  One woman in particular thanked me for excusing myself as I walked in front of her.  She commented how everyone seemed to be in such a hurry and were rude.  We just smiled with understanding and wished each other a good day.

There was a man up ahead, about 55 years old, standing in the middle of the aisle.  The 20-something aged lady in front of me was growing impatient.  I heard her loudly say, “excuse me” two times and then proceeded to try to pass him and his cart.  It was a tight squeeze and as she went past him, she clipped him on the heel.  He started, having been intent on searching for an item on the shelves and moved to let her by.  His face contorted in pain as she sailed by, knowing that she had hit him, but oblivious in her hurry.  She bustled past throwing over her shoulder, “I said excuse me twice and you didn’t move.”

I was behind them, having seen the whole event.  I walked over to him and simply asked if he was ok.  He turned to me and replied, “I’m sorry.  I had chemo this morning.  I guess I just didn’t hear her.”  Turning back towards the shelves he mumbled, “I can’t seem to find my favorite chili mix.”

Well, you know me…I had chemo, I love to help and he just had my heart immediately.  So I pushed my own cart off to the side behind his so that we were out of the way of other shoppers and I came up along side of him.

“Tell me what you’re looking for and let’s find it together,” I suggested as I walked next to him.

“I’m having 150 people to my home this weekend for my son’s graduation.  I’m a chef, well I used to be before chemo and I only like X chili mix and I can’t find it.  I know it’s here.”

“Well then we’ll find it,” I reassured him as my eyes scanned the shelves.  “I had chemo too so I know how hard it is to deal with and I’m impressed that you are here at the store already.  I hope you are taking good care of yourself.”

“You had chemo this morning too?”

“No, I had it 13 years ago, but I’m still here.  Hey, here’s the section for chili, but I don’t see the brand you want.”

He reached up and plucked a package from the shelves, “No, it’s not here, but this is my 2nd favorite brand.  I’ll use this.  Do you know that I weighed 400 pounds when I started chemo and now look at me.”  He must have weighed 200 pounds now.  “I lost so much weight during chemo, that’s the only part that’s been good.”

“I know, you men always lose weight and we women gain it during chemo.  I used to be a stick!” I replied giggling as he laughed with me.  “You know you should never eat your favorite meal the night before chemo because it won’t ever be your favorite again if you get sick the next day.”

“I never met a meal that wasn’t my favorite.”  We laughed as he rubbed his belly.  “And they’ve given me medical marijuana to help with the nausea.  Now I’m always hungry, but I am not gaining weight.”

“Well, whatever works!  Congratulations to your son and my best wishes to you for continued good health.”

“Thanks for being an angel to me.  God bless you,” he held out his hand to me. “Thank you for helping me.”

“God bless you sir and take good care of yourself, ” I replied squeezing his hand and reaching out my other hand to his arm and patting it.

We took a moment to smile at one another and then he turned away to his cart and I moved to mine.

I walked away smiling, feeling blessed, knowing that we connected and sparkled for a moment in eachother’s lives.  I can’t help the world, but I can help someone.  Every single day.

Shine On!






Here’s One Answer to “Why Me?”


“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials. “
Chinese Proverb

Let’s be clear, I’m not looking for perfection.  Not for myself nor for anyone else in the vicinity.  You can choose to look for whatever you wish.  I will tell you though, that I think you are perfect, just the way you are ~ the way you really are ~ that soulful you.  The one deep inside beneath all the rubble of your outside persona.  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  The inner being who inhabits the human body called YOU.

That being is perfect.  That person is love.  That soul is perfect.

And when it comes to asking that all-important question, “why me?” I think the above Chinese proverb is a good start.  Nobody likes troubles, illness, death, financial problems, feeling unloved, tragedy, violence etc in our lives.  We’d prefer a quiet, loving atmosphere in which to grow and to enjoy the time we have here on Earth.  But ‘life happens’ and we are many times thrust into situations of which we have little or no control over and we must dog paddle our way to the safe shore.  It’s not fun.  It’s not easy.  Trials and tribulations aren’t usually fun.  Little pings of anxiety after them aren’t either.  They are simply nudges I think to get our lives back on track if we’ve fallen away from our purpose.

But after the incident/illness, when we look back, we can see how the trials shaped us, refined us and polished our lives.  If you have endured life changing moments, you may understand what I am trying to say even though today I feel as if I am floundering in how I am writing to you.  I am not saying, for the record, that I am happy that I had breast cancer.  Oh no.   I would have been happy with a peace-filled, illness-free life.  But am I grateful for the trial so that I learned how truly strong I am, how I can reach out to help inspire others and how being loved and loving others means the most in life?  Well, then, yes. yes, and yes.

Breast cancer changed my life permanently in all different ways.  My physical body, my physical abilities, my mental state, my brain’s capacity and even my spiritual awareness all are irrevocably changed.  I have a chronic illness that I cannot overcome.  I have memory problems.  I have limited abilities in areas where BC (before cancer) I was limitless.  There is time that I can never get back.  There are many losses and few gains.  There is a learning curve which I never expected.  There are answers that I never even knew I could seek and find.  There are questions that will remain unanswerable and I must find peace within in order to move on.

Sometimes it boils down to the simple…I am here and gratefully present.

Shine On!


Emotional Pain as a Comfort Food? It’s not what you think!


 Do you choose emotional pain as a comfort food?

I know, this is a shocking and controversial question.  But it begs to be asked ~ and answered, by you and by me.  I’ve been watching way too much tv the last few days because I’ve been sick.  Nestled on the couch with kitty and remote, I’ve observed and napped through several shows.  I had thought it was wasted time until I came across this little nugget that has made me start to think differently ~ and that has made it all worth-while for me.

There was a woman who was traumatized ~ emotionally, physically and sexually abused who had trouble in her relationships.  As the show progressed, one observation came out ~ she was more comfortable with her emotional pain than she was in the unknown that lay before her in order to heal.  Does that make sense to you?  Think about it.  If you’ve endured any type of abuse, do you find that living with that familiar pain is somehow more comforting to you?  Does it allow you to understand when you’re feeling trepidation in trying new things?  Does it act as an excuse, a way to bend the rules for yourself and to allow certain actions or thought processes because you’ve been mistreated in the past?  Is it an automatic anchor of “why I think/act/am this way?”  Have you’ve learned how to live with this pain so well that you function despite it?  Do you hoard it away, allowing it to be your own secret excuse as to why you’re not getting what you want out of this life?  Because I’m damaged?  Because I was hurt/wronged/abused?  Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Before you get too far into wanting to strangle me for what I’ve written, I want you to take a minute to see if/how/why you are reacting so strongly towards it because that was my first inclination as well.  It took meditating and sleeping on the thought overnight before I realized how my strong reaction to ‘of course I act this way because of x, y, z happened’ mellowed with the vision that it’s my strong-willed emotional pain that I use as a comfort food when I am too afraid to break the bonds that have bound me for so long.

Think about it.  Are you using your own emotional pain as a comfort food?

Are you ready to choose light over pain as a comfort food?

Shine On!


Discover Your Path to an Extraordinary Life


“Discover who you truly are and fully give every aspect  of your uniqueness to the world. This is your path to an extraordinary life.” -Unknown

So perhaps you don’t know “whats-the-bottom-line” for you  and that’s fine.  Each of us has our own purpose and we find it in our own time.  But how do you begin to discover your path?  You must acknowledge what you are good at, what makes you unique and what you enjoy!  What do you excel at?  What comes naturally to you?  What brings you joy ~ so much joy that you lose time when you’re doing it?  What doesn’t feel like a job to you?

That’s the beginning to the path of your extraordinary life!

But it’s sometimes hard to figure out.  One suggestion is to ask a trusted friend what they see in us ~ what can they say is our strength, our uniqueness?  Connecting with another person in this exercise may be really eye-opening to you.  Once, when I asked a friend, she told me she thought it was my breast cancer.   I countered that many women have breast cancer and she told me that through my disease, I learned how much inner strength I truly had and I also expanded my innate willingness to help others who are enduring life’s struggles like I did ~ which is a part of what makes me unique.  I must tell you it gave me insight, as I felt like I was  simply connecting with you!  Who knew that enduring my disease could somehow help others!

You deserve to live an extraordinary life my friends.  It’s time.  Today, here. now. 

Let’s get started on the path of your extraordinary life!

Tell me about you, what’s your uniqueness?

Shine On!