Tag Archive | Breast Cancer

The Right To Fight Like A Girl

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Keep Calm and Fight Like A Girl

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enter the fray this morning, but I can’t help it.  I’m drawn, like a moth to flame today.  My heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Florence who wrote The Right To Fight as it has spurred me on to write as well.  For you see, it’s a touchy subject and although I’m not one to pursue it too much, I must today so please allow me to go on or you can choose to simply pass me by ~ it’s ok.  The post will be read by those for whom it is intended.

Death is a subject that is controversial as you can see by Bill Keller’s recent article in the New York Times click here to read.   It’s personal ~ the way each individual reacts to it and deals with it.  For breast cancer survivors (I, myself being a 12 year survivor), it’s emotionally charged when we read an article about how an individual deals with her diagnosis, her treatment and how she reacts to her disease.  Florence has written a great post which I will not repeat.  Please make sure you read how she has reacted to the recent article by Mr. Keller.

Instead, I prefer to focus on Lisa Adams click here to visit her site.   For when I read her About Page  I was stunned by our similarities:  we shared Memorial Sloan Kettering as our hospital, how our original diagnosis’ were much the same (although I had 6 lymph nodes with cancer) and it was my right breast and her left one which had the cancer.  We endured the same chemotherapy treatments ACT, yet back in 2002, my treatments were every 3 weeks and not every 2 weeks.  I endured 6 weeks of radiation, where she had 1 week less.  We both lost and regained our menstruation cycles after chemotherapy as we were young when diagnosed.  I was diagnosed at  34 years old;  Lisa was 37 years.  We both had salpingo oophorectomies (ovaries surgically removed) which of course, plunges young women, including Lisa and me, headlong into menopause ~ speaking for myself, since I’d already endured menopause as a side effect of the chemotherapy, only to have my period return which was hormonally hard to deal with let alone physically, mentally and emotionally, what was one more final round of menopause?  Heck, I’d already lost my hair, my dignity and my figure let alone my breasts.  What was harmful in losing one more thing that could be affecting my cancer prognosis?

But Lisa’s cancer, for whatever reason, came back and metastasized.  Mine didn’t.  It’s not that I still don’t have that possibility in the back of my mind because I’d be lying if I said that I don’t think about it.  Every 6 months when I’m tested at my oncologist’s, I’m reminded that cancer can still be lurking inside my body.  It doesn’t help when there are aches and pains which happen occasionally either as they tend to wither my resolve to stand firm in my thinking that I will live forever cancer-free.

Lisa’s public journey through metastasized breast cancer is new to me as I had never met her before nor visited her website.  But I highly applaud her perseverance, her integrity and her drive to lift the veil and to share what’s really going on behind the pink-ribboned spectacle of breast cancer.  Much talk is about prevention and early detection, but rarely do we read/hear about the women in the trenches who are battling death daily.  My friend Jenn was such a warrior who lost her battle a few years ago.  It was Jenn who told me through a medium that one must know her limits at the end of her life and to make sure that I knew what I wanted.  I never forgot that message nor the one that told me that my scans were clear, clear, clear and that I now walked for 2 ~ me and you.

I believe we all have a right to choose how we deal with our imminent death (if we are given such a gift) ~ we can choose like Keller’s father-in-law to go peacefully or we can choose like Jenn and Lisa to battle with a fierceness known only to few.  Whatever you choose, I stand for you and I fully defend your individual right to choose.  There is no right or wrong way to die, it’s a personal matter.   I heartily applaud Lisa’s courage in sharing her journey with us.  My heart holds a heaviness for all she is enduring as well as her family and all the others out there in our great big world who are dealing with dis-ease and the ending of life as we know it here.

Shine On!

xo

P.S.  See below for posts about Jenn…Happy Birthday Jenn (Jan 13 she would have turned 38)

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GOAL!

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You know how in football, before the goal, they say HIKE and the play begins?  Well, that’s where I am ~ I love this card because in answering the Daily Prompt’s questions it fits perfectly.  So here are my answers.  Feel free to comment below and answer these questions as well!  I’d love to hear about you too!

When you started this blog, did you set any goals?

To be honest, I set out to just try to blog in the beginning.  I wanted to share what I’d learned from enduring breast cancer as I was a celebrating being a 10 year survivor!  To me, it was an awakening that I was still here even after all I’d endured.  I wanted to write a book, but I felt like what I was writing was riddled with jumps in storytelling.  It didn’t flow properly.

The idea of a blog, a little daily tidbit, appealed to me.  So I simply set out to write often about whatever was pertinent to me that day in hopes that someone out there in this big world would find some type of comfort and connection to it/me.  I wanted to find and forge a community of people who would connect and enjoy life.

Lift each other up, empathize when needed and inspire each other ~

connecting with our strengths and developing our weaknesses.

Have they changed at all?

Certainly they’ve changed.  But the core is still there.  I believe that we are all connected and I love the safe sense of community which bloggers enjoy.  As I wrote above, the blog has developed as time has gone on.  Now with Inner Hotshot University, I’m playing with connecting our strengths and developing our weaknesses by simply taking the commitment to do one thing every week to stretch out of our comfort zones.  I’m not a professional.  I just want to inspire you to continue to learn, to create the life you love living, to appreciate your life and to be grateful.

I started out as Misifusa’s Blog until the name The Presents of Presence came to me and then I changed it.  Eventually I may be expanding…♥♥♥

I am inspired by you all ~ I learn from you ~ and I am so very grateful for your presence in my life!

Share your story!

Shine On!

xo

Daily Prompt: Goals

When you started your blog, did you set any goals? Have you achieved them? Have they changed at all?

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/daily-prompt-goals/

Be the One that Did!

10981605_All The Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas Layin’ In The Sun,

Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…

But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas All Ran Away And Hid From One Little Did. Shel Silverstein

Talk is cheap ~ how many times have you heard that phrase?  Probably more times than we’d like to hear it, right?  Well, I’m learning that the hard way.  I’ve been wanting to expand my life for awhile now.  I’ve been floating and not really doing anything substantial with my life.  I know, part of you may think that I’ve been really busy which I have and part of you may think that I’ve not done enough.  Well, you are both right.  But now things are about to change for me.

I am embracing change and facing some fears ~ and it’s not easy.  It’s uncomfortable to step outside of your comfort zone.  In fact, it’s darn scary.  I feel like I have elephant-sized butterflies doing the samba in my stomach.  That’s what happens when I get scared or nervous.  Does that happen to you?  It’s like I feel like I”m going to throw up ~ I get that nauseous ~ but lucky for me, I never actually throw up because it’s the one thing I hate to do.  In fact, I hated it so much that I only threw up once during 6 months of chemotherapy when I was battling breast cancer!  I can be a really determined and stubborn gal when needed. 🙂

Anyway, last week I mentioned the idea of  IHU and many of you wondered what in the world I was talking about!  Click here to read it!

IHU ~ Inner Hotshot University

I created it on the fly, the name just popped into my head!  But I’m thinking that perhaps some of us could brush up and strengthen our inner hotshot and allow that sparkle to shine again in our lives!  Embrace that uniqueness that is you!  Be the light in the darkness ~ use our strengths and develop our weaknesses!  Do what scares us and stretch out of our comfort zones!

Let those butterflies enjoy a mambo number without falling to pieces!

What do you think?  I mean, we could sit here and talk all day long about the woulda-coulda-shoulda’s or we could try to find one thing that scares us and do it every week!  Would you do it?  How about if I double-dog dared you?

So my idea is that once a week, we post a challenge to ourselves to stretch out of our comfort zones.  You can just comment below and tell us or even just commit to doing one thing if you don’t want to reveal what it is.  But the key is that you must be honest and let us know if you did it by the next week!  And if you did, how about sharing how it went?  How you felt after you did it?  What do you think?  Is anyone interested?  Perhaps we could cheer eachother on?  Hold hands while we all jump off of the diving board into the crystal clear pool of life!

You have the power to Be the One That Did!

But wouldn’t it be fun to be the ONES that did?

Let me know if you’re up for the challenge!

We’ll start soon!

Shine On!

xo

Your Mind: Friend or Foe

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Recently I’ve been chatting with a friend and it seems that many of us are realizing that we want more in our lives than what we currently have.  I’m not talking of more money or things, although financial freedom is always helpful.  What I’m talking about is getting back to the fire of our younger selves ~ do you know what I’m talking about?  That gal or guy that you used to be before the burdens of family, work, and responsibilities took hold of your life!

Am I making any sense to you?  Am I making any sense to me?

You see, I understand what my friend was talking about for I have a younger, less-fearful, more trusting self of youth that I long for ~ a part of me who reveled in fearlessly pursuing her passion and not only thrived but excelled!  That girl didn’t worry about what others thought or if she was too old or if it wouldn’t work.  Failure wasn’t a road block, it was a stepping stone to turn over, take the lesson and move on!  It was fun to work because work was fun ~ because I was pursuing my passion!  Sure there were days when I didn’t enjoy it a lot, but for the most part, I loved what I did!

Then for me, life got in the way, or better said, cancer got in my way and it’s been in the background, occasionally rearing its ugly head at the most inopportune times in life.  You’d think I’d get used to it, but I don’t think you ever get used to having had cancer.  You create a new normal where you try to embrace life, squeeze the happiness out of every moment, grateful that you are here with your loved ones for we never know what tomorrow brings.  As survivors of illness, tragedy and life, we learn how precious each and every moment is ~ so gratitude becomes as common for us as breathing!

But back to your mind!  It’s time to open the cage which has trapped your mind into the should be’s, the oughta’s and unlock the past so that we can let fly that hotshot self of youth!  No matter that you are older now ~ that inner hotshot lurks just below the surface.  Do you know it?  Do you remember her/him?  Are you ready to add a little spice to your life?  To enjoy your life again?  So, I’m looking to you ~

How do you do it?

Shine On!

xo

Needing Personal Space

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I love this card’s image and today it seems like a great one for the Daily Prompt!  The questions made me stop and think about my reasons for blogging and about the content that I post so here goes….

Daily Prompt: Personal Space

To what extent is your blog a place for your own self-expression and creativity vs. a site designed to attract readers?

I believe that my blog is both self-expression with a touch of creativity designed to inspire readers to live in the present and to enjoy The Presents of Presence ~ to revel in the glimpse of  light when they’ve seen the darkness.  Its purpose is to engage readers and to build a community of friendship and sharing.  It’s a place to find the glass 1/2 full of positivity when you need to be filled up because you are dragging.  Truthfully, yes, I want my site to attract readers, but its posts are written from my heart about whatever I wish to include ~ whatever moves me on that particular day in hopes that the words, the thoughts, and the images will spark some connection to the reader.

How do you balance that?

I can’t be sure if I balance that ~ I think my readers need to have a say in that answer!

If sticking to certain topics and types of posts meant your readership would triple, would you do it?

Well, yes I would be willing to stick to certain topics and types of posts if I thought that it would reach more people!  But I’ve never liked to be pigeon-holed into what others think of me.  I believe we are all complex souls and we write on the subjects we are comfortable with and have experience in knowing.  I write on death, on positivity, on breast cancer, on surviving life’s trials and tribulations.  I write on whatever strikes my fancy everyday ~ just like I don’t always participate in the Daily Post because I am not willing to write about what doesn’t touch my heart.

So my readers, I’d love to ask you:

Are there certain topics you’d like more of?  Less of?

What’s your answer to the above questions on your own blogs?

Happy May Day!

Don’t forget to say Rabbit Rabbit!

Shine On!

xo

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/daily-prompt-personal-space/

Pink Post ~ Choose Hope

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Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. ~ Christopher Reeve

You make hundreds of thousands of decisions everyday!  You choose your meals, your clothing, the time you wake up and the time you go to bed at night.  You decide how you are going to spend your time, move your body and what you are going to say ~ or not say.

You hold the power to choose ~ and they are your choices to make!

For me, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer,  I was devastated as I’m sure most people are when they are faced with a traumatic event.  It matters not what the trauma is whether it be illness, death, tragedy ~ the devastation is there as it is a change which challenges every fiber of our being.

But what you do with the trauma, how you deal with it, is your choice and nobody else’s.

For some, the above hurts because we want someone else to take the reins while we wallow in the negativity ~ the sadness, the self-pity, the victim mentality.  We want to blame someone else for the situation whether it is another’s fault or not.  We want to escape from the new reality and run away from the news.  We’d rather hide and just be left alone.  We want life as it was before we heard the news.  We don’t want to accept this new chapter nor the change in our lives.  We long for the moments before we heard or read or knew or experienced  the trauma.  We want to buck the system, retreat and change it.  We don’t want to accept the news.  We fight the change.  We simmer in our sadness.  We don’t want to go with the flow, we want to be left alone.

But, after our initial response, we have to make a decision that will change the way things work for us.  And it is our choice to make.

For me, choosing hope was easier as I’m a glass 1/2 full type of gal as I’ve mentioned before ~ but not everyone feels that way and I understand.  For those who see that glass as 1/2 empty, my heart goes out to you as this is a burden.  It’s a habit, it’s a comfortable way you’ve been living that needs to change for anything is possible.  I realize that when it’s the trauma of a death of a loved one, there is no hope for change ~ at least not that we can bring back our loved one.  I know, I’ve been there before.

But having said that, I’ve learned that once we can turn to acceptance of the new normal, of the heart-wrenching loss, we can begin to move on and find hope.  For me, my Dad’s death impacted my life in a very traumatic way ~ but now 9 months later, I am learning to go with the flow ~ to accept this new normal with all of its additional responsibilities.  I’m learning to forgive, to let go and to allow the healing that time spreads like a balm on the soul.

I love this quote from Christopher Reeve and I imagine in my heart and mind the gut wrenching challenges he endured as he tried to heal his broken body.  He shone like a lighthouse ~ he continued to hope for a cure, for a change, for a medical breakthrough, not just for himself but for all who were paralyzed.  He held onto that hope of possibility with Superman strength and continued to light the way for others ~ using himself as an example.

I know that for me, I asked the question, “Why me?” to the Heavens.  Why me?  Why not me?  I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I believe my life experiences have given me a gift ~ to choose hope, to be a friend to others, to understand and to empathize because of my experiences.  It hasn’t been easy and it’s been a long time coming this peace within that I’ve been creating.  In my heart, I wish I’d never had cancer or endured so much sadness in my life, but I hold the hope that if my story, my experiences, my life can help another person, well, then it’s not been a life in vain for it has helped others.

It’s a process, this healing, no matter what tragedy you are dealing with, but I know for sure that when you hold hope in your heart, the possibilities are endless.  That’s what I wish for you today and everyday ~

I wish you HOPE!

Choose Hope…Anything is possible.

Shine On!

xo

Friendship Comes in All Colors

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A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be. -Douglas Pagels

Sometimes just a diagnosis of an illness, breast cancer or not, can be isolating.  Think about it.  Any type of bad news can have this same affect on us ~ the death of a family member, friend, loved one, the diagnosis of our own disease or illness or that of a loved one ~ the death of a marriage, a friendship, a relationship ~ a change in a loved one (domestic violence, drugs, jail) ~ any heart stopping trauma usually is isolating to us at the time.  It’s up to us to see how much we let it affect us and what we do with those feelings.

It’s hard to reach out when you’re in that whirlwind of change.  The trauma many times cuts to our inner core, shakes up what we had thought we had control over and then leaves us as if we’d been thrown into a washing machine on high spin ~ only to be so dizzy by the news that we can only sit in the corner and watch the world go around.  It seems too hard to get up to move sometimes after this happens.  It’s simply mind-numbing no matter the situation.

And that’s where friendships begin and end.

It’s where the hand of friendship reaches out and doesn’t judge, but simply holds in it much love and comfort.  You don’t have to understand what’s going on with a friend in order to be a friend.  You just have to know when to listen, when to hug and when to hold hands.  It’s that simple and much appreciated!  For what you give out, you get back a hundred fold!  There’s no greater return on investment than true friendship!

So whether you need a friend or you can be a friend or both ~ today’s the day to be inspired ~ today’s your day to smile at someone else!  Wouldn’t it be nice to cast a bit of sunshine out to someone else today?  I know you can do it!  We are all here together to help each other to Shine On!  So get out your sparkle and let’s go!

I’m sending BIG HUGS, Happy Smiles and I’m holding my hand out to you!

Grasp my hand and let’s SOAR!

Shine On!

xo