Tag Archive | courage

Cancer Connections

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You gain strength, courage, and confidence

by every experience in which you really stop

to look fear in the face.

You are able to say to yourself,

“I lived through this horror.

I can take the next thing that comes along.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Sitting in the oncologist office waiting room, I had some time to look around at all the other people there waiting patiently for their names to be called.  I’ve done this before and I seem to do it every time I’m there.  I smile at the others in the room, because I figure if you are here, then we’ve got a connection.  Because let’s face it, there are plenty of other places to sit in this big ole world and I bet you wouldn’t choose the oncology waiting room to hang out in if you didn’t need to be there.  Or if your loved one didn’t need to be there.

Cancer evens us out.  Strange to say, right?  But I find that those of us who have endured cancer find it easier to simply connect with someone else who has been in the same boat.  It’s that common ground that we search for when we connect with someone else.  By simply being in the same doctor’s office, we can pretty much bet we’ve got or had the Big C and we’re hoping to get better and stay healthy.

Cancer isn’t choosy.  It doesn’t discriminate between races or genders.  Old or young, it matters not.  It comes in changing the lives of its patients and those who surround them.  Cancer bonds people.  Cancer breaks people down.  Cancer divides. Cancer unifies.  Cancer conquers some people and yet, there are others who conquer cancer.  It’s an equal-opportunity disease for which there’s no cure, yet.

Cancer connects people in ways that they might not necessarily connect.  The fear of death and the horror of cancer treatments, etc.  give you a bird’s eye view of what you are truly made of and there’s no place for sissy’s with cancer.  No matter with whom you talk, we’ve all had sleepless nights filled with worry and repeatedly question at every tumor marker test, if cancer has returned.  Many of us have endured surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, blood tests, needles, being poked and prodded by countless professionals and staff.  We’ve lost our hair, body parts and our dignity.  But I’ve learned that we don’t lose our loving hearts, nor our need for comfort or our precious souls to cancer.   It’s given me a new outlook on life.  Sure cancer has weakened parts of my life, but it also strengthened me.  It’s given me lessons on human nature that I would have never understood had I not endured the cancer.  It’s made me appreciate the little things and be unafraid of dying.  It’s changed my life in good and bad ways, but I try to concentrate on the good in my life at every turn.

What has cancer done in your life?

Shine On!

xo

Why Do We Blog?

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There’s no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.

~ Zora Neale Hurston

I think we blog because we all have a story inside of us.  Some of us have quite a few stories within us ~ inspirational moments that turned failure into triumph, sad stories that show our resilience and tidbits of how we’ve had to change to accommodate a new normal in our lives.  By sharing, we can connect with others so that they can see that they are not alone in their strife.  Bonding together we can hold hands and move forward towards the light.

But to keep our stories hidden is an option that some of us choose.  We do this for many reasons.  We hide our strife, our shame, our sadness and put on brave faces to the masses.  We don’t choose to open up and be seen as vulnerable for fear of repercussions.  It’s hard to hold it all within ourselves but over time, the pain becomes familiar like putting on a pair of jeans that may not be flattering, but they are comfy because we have worn them so many times.

Making the choice to open up and to tell our stories can be agonizing.  Crossing that bridge of fear causes many to never open up and thus find a way to heal the stories in our heads.  It takes bravery to be vulnerable for there is strength in speaking your truth without shame.  To share is to run a risk that many don’t choose to take and I understand that feeling.

One must be choosy when we bare our stories for there are those who do not care to understand.  I get it.  But here, I want you to know that I welcome your stories.  I welcome your sharing and I will hold your hand and heart gently as you write.  You are safe and protected here.  Tell your story.  Gently take off the bandage and let’s clean the wound so that you can finally heal.  Open your heartlight and be free!  There is love her for you.

Shine On!

xo

 

Courage and Kindness

“Courage is a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger,

and a mental willingness to endure it.” – Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman

At times, for me, the idea of being courageous has nothing whatsoever to do with danger in the warlike sense that Gen. Sherman meant it, but simply in the notion of doing whatever needs to be done in order to live.  As a breast cancer survivor, I have endured my share of surgeries, pain, sadness, fear and being at the mercy of others.  I have known gratefulness for those who take the extra moment to connect humanly to me and I have seen others who don’t see me as anything more than another duty.

But in fact there are times in our lives where we all have to show some courage…we have to go out on a limb and try to be the person we desire to be most.  To take that small extra step or extra moment with someone else.  To have a bit more patience than necessary and than comfortable.  To reach out beyond what is expected in order to comfort a loved one, a friend and even a stranger.

To me, sometimes it’s the little things which tug at my heartstrings.  Not that I don’t appreciate the big ones either because I do.  I clearly remember my first breast surgery  back in 2002 and the subsequent hospital stay.  In the middle of the night I had to go to the bathroom and I couldn’t get up out of bed by myself.  The male nurse who arrived kindly helped me to the restroom, waited outside for me to finish and then helped me back into bed.  As I slid back onto the pillows in my bed, he patiently took all the covers off of me and rearranged them, smoothing them so that they weren’t a mess like me.  To have my bedding rearranged and smoothed, pillows fluffed and tucked in made me more comfortable for which I was truly grateful.

It was one of the kindest things I’ve had happen to me at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.  I know it probably sounds strange to you, but sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most!

So today, on your travels, take a moment when you get that flash of inspiration to hold a door, smile at someone or even just say a kind word.  Your little extra effort means the world to you and to the recipient!  It always does.

Shine On!

xo

What is Courage?

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger,

misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good;

that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding

and that there is always tomorrow. – Dorothy Thompson

Some days I find myself aggravated with how things are going in my life.  And some days, I simply melt into the flow of my life without worry.  Does this happen to you?  Lately I’m finding inner peace within the confines of my thinking and expanding it outward in spherical circles.  It’s as if the Universe/Spirit/God is laying breadcrumbs of courage, of knowledge and of a-ha moments for me to find on my life path.  And it’s most certainly interesting, exciting and perhaps even shall I say, titillating!

I feel like I’m on fire ~ for what ~ I don’t exactly know.  But I don’t think I need to know yet, I think it’s still in pre-launch mode.  Launching 2014, laying the groundwork for the year ahead, going with the flow of where life will take me on this special journey.

Do you feel it too?  Can you get quiet and just be for a bit?  Live in the present moment as Eckhart Tolle reminds us to do…to find the gifts/presents in being present?  When I find that I am getting aggravated, I simply say, ‘present, presence’ as a gentle reminder for myself.  I could perseverate on the past, on conversations spoken, on deeds that are done and over-with, on the woulda coulda shouldas that have caused me pain.   I could pursue ‘what if’s’ for my future, planning, controlling, being obstinate with how I feel things should go.  Instead, I quietly turn my monkey brain around and just utter, ‘present, presence’ quietly and things just seem to not matter.

I’m not saying I don’t have long-term plans in place nor goals because I do.  I’ve imagined what I’d like for my life to look like this year and I’m ready to create something big!  But I’m also taking baby steps and allowing that red carpet ahead of me to roll out and help me on my way!

So do you have courage?  Can you remember that there’s a tomorrow?

Can you find the presence within?

Shine On!

xo

I mean it, never again!

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I’m never doing that again!  Bring it on!  I won’t endure chemo again!

I remember saying the above to my MIL (Mother-in-Law) one day after returning home from another brutal ACT chemo treatment.  Bald, nauseous, tired and achy, I told her and anyone else who dared to listen to me that day that I was only doing this once (meaning the chemo regime) and God/Doctors/Cancer better bring it on because I wouldn’t be doing this again.  I would give my whole heart/soul/strength into fighting and enduring the chemo now, but that I was never doing it again because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Years later, my MIL has recounted this story to me saying that in her head, she clearly remembers thinking, “Oh yes you will if you have to ~ I’ll make sure of it.”

It’s funny that I’ve been writing so much about breast cancer these days.  I don’t mean to be giving you a barrage of Pink Posts, but I guess it’s on my mind and these Daily Prompts just make it so easy to explain how I felt.  I think that with illness or tragedy, we just numbly go through the paces in order to try to reach the other side of the dark tunnel.    We soldier on as it is, baby step by baby step until we feel like we can’t do any more and that’s when the “I’m never doing this again,” foot stomping, tear-induced demands, written in stone in our minds are said.  We will endure this now, but we aren’t doing it again.  At least that’s how it was for me.

And I’ve been blessed (Oh my, did I just say BLESSED?  Yup, and I meant it!) to not have had to endure chemo again, although I’ve been dragged through a multitude of surgeries and complications since 2002 when I had my 6 months of chemotherapy.

So I guess for the point of the Daily Prompt, chemotherapy and all the accoutrements that envelope the protocol that specialists prescribe fits today’s ‘tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!”  Don’t you think so?

Be Healthy ~ Be happy

Enjoy the Presents of Presence!

Shine On!

xo

Daily Prompt: Never Again

Have you ever gone to a new place or tried a new experience and thought to yourself, “I’m never doing that again!” Tell us about it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/daily-prompt-never-2/

Why do you keep running from the thing you want?

Such a beautiful, thought provoking post that I felt I had to share it with you today. Perhaps Nicole’s meaningful words were meant for you today as well? For it surely touched my heart today! Did it do the same for you? Thank you Nicole! Shine On! xo

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

 

It’s a simple enough question. And today I’m asking you. Why? Why do you keep running in the opposite direction to the thing you want?

If I could I would sit you down here, under the tree at my farm, or on the veranda. I would make you a cup of tea. And then I would tell you this:

Point 1 – None of this matters. Our life is here and gone in the blink of an eye. The things that seem so vitally important to us will be rendered into nothingness and dust by the processes of time. So, in the face of that, have courage. Who cares if your idea is…

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Bucking Expectations

So yesterday morning I awoke at 2am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I laid awake for a few hours, all sorts of thoughts running through my head, until finally at 4:30am, I made my way downstairs to my laptop and my favorite Breakfast Blend coffee and began my day.

I recently heard that one of my favorite aunts from childhood passed away in August.  She had eventually gotten Alzheimer’s after her hubby passed 13 years ago.  Her husband was my Mom’s brother and he was like a Dad to me.  He was a special man…whenever we (my sister and me) stayed over their house, Uncle L would always have something fun for us to do and Aunt R would make sure that it was a treat beyond our wildest dreams.

For us, life was great going to their house ~ we loved them and their children who were 4 and 7 years older than me.  It was like having an older sister and brother who just adored you and honestly, we adored them!  Life was always fun at their house and we often stayed for days with them.

As a child, they were such happy memories and we were completely oblivious to the complicated adult relationships that surrounded us.  Eventually we got older and stopped staying at their home, but all of those visits are warm, happy memories in my heart.

Time passed and we were let in on the complications, the fights and the ugliness which surrounded the adults and finally, upon my Uncle’s death 13 years ago, the strain broke the relationships and they faded away.  Oh there were a few fights, some back stabbing, he said/she saids…but I was dealing with cancer by then and fighting for my life.  I didn’t have the strength to fight for anything else.  But all the same, it made me sad that all ties were broken with our Aunt and cousins.

This morning I searched the internet until I found Aunt R’s obituary from August.  Funny thing is that by the time my younger son was born, we weren’t in contact, but if we had been, she would have been delighted to know that they shared the same birthday.  It’s sad to me now that it only is known to me because the rest of my family won’t have anything to do with them.

Truly, I’m not sure who’s in the wrong or who’s in the right and frankly, I don’t think I give a hoot anymore.  Life is short my friends and so I decided to BUCK EXPECTATIONS and send sympathy cards to my cousins.  In addition, I sent them each a separate card telling them how I feel.  I am sure that any family reading today’s post will be shocked and appalled, but truly, I don’t care anymore about the past…I want my cousins to know that I honor their Mom and Dad…that I now know what it’s like to lose a parent and I’m not afraid of anyone’s disliking what I’m doing anymore.

This is My Life.

Whew…big words for a little girl, don’t you think?  I preach about sending out love, touching hearts with cards and telling others how you feel now before it’s too late.  I want you to know that sometimes it’s not easy to do and I get it…I do.  But when I opened up my heart today, the words flowed out and I felt love.

I hope that they will receive my cards with the love intended…only time will tell if I should ever get back a response, but I know in my heart that I’ve said my peace, send my heartfelt love and prayers and let them know that no matter what, the love, kindness and beautiful childhood memories in my heart will always be alive…and for that, I am ever grateful.

Thinking of you…

xo

Storm’s a brewin’

Lightning, Thunder, Stormy Seas…

The last few days I’ve been suffering from a migraine which usually means the barometer is changing and it has been.  We’ve been having some thunderstorms, rain, sun and unusual weather.  As I sit here writing this post, it’s intermittently been raining cats and dogs one minute, with thunderous clouds and loud, rolling thunder and then suddenly the sky switches to bright sunshine with the quiet roll of thunder in the background.  In fact, I feel like it’s like me these days…sunshine with a touch of raincloud followed by a bit of thunder.

But I digress because I wanted to post about change and how difficult it can be on the body, the mind and others around us.  I think this is where my inner and outer thunderclouds have originated.  I’m on a changing cycle I think and it’s a bit stormy here for me as I go through the changes.  I’m a bit daunted to be honest by the unknown ahead, but having delved into the unknown before, I am shoring up my courage to keep taking baby steps.

The outer thunder is just the careless roar of others which I can deal with although I’d prefer calm, sun-filled moments.  But that’s ok for me.  I’ve been through far worse.  The inner thunder is more treacherous to me and having experienced it before, it leaves me a little shaky these days.  Nothing like a touch of the unknown to scare me a bit.

I remember when I was first diagnosed, I was afraid to cry.  Imagine being afraid to cry!?  But I was afraid that if I started to cry, I’d never stop.  Now I know that sounds silly, but to me, it was perfectly logical.  I was unable to mourn the loss of my breasts because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stop crying about it.  So I held the pain inside until I almost burst.  Then a very dear friend told me not to be afraid to cry because eventually I’d stop…and those simple words, ‘eventually you’ll stop’ made all the difference in the world to me.  And the shift happened.

I cried for the loss of my breasts, for the time I spent in chemo, radiation, in hospitals, alone…I cried for the time I worried that I wouldn’t see my boys become teenagers.  I cried through sad movies, silly commercials and any true life story article or movie or book I could put my hands on.  It was like I needed that reason to cry and not the reason that I had in my own life and heart.  But through allowing those tears to escape me, I felt the weight of the sadness lifting from my soul and my heart.  It was when I allowed myself to cry, I was able to heal my heart and begin to take baby steps again.

It’s been a busy 8 weeks since my Dad passed and I’ve not had a lot of time to mourn the loss.  I know all about the grieving process having endured it when I had breast cancer 10 years ago.  I’ve been moving along through the 7 steps, only to stagger now.  But in the thundercloud where I am presently, it’s only fitting that a storm’s a brewin’ because I think many changes have occurred in the last 8 weeks of my life…and I just have to keep my thoughts on the prize of a sparkling rainbow!

Cheers to fears, tears and thunderclouds…

for they make the Rainbows that much sweeter!

xo

Strength…

“STRENGTH does not come from winning.

Your struggles develop your strengths.

When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender,

THAT IS STRENGTH.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger

Although I’m not a huge fan of Arnold, I do like this quote because it’s true…to look at me, to know me, to love me, is to know that part of ‘my charm’ is that I am not a big fan of pain and I have been known to yelp with a paper cut!  I am also a fainter at the sight of a needle which you would think after all of the needles that I’ve seen through my 1/2 closed eyes with fingers splayed across my face, I would be over that fear by now, but nope…again part of my charm.  Which by the way, my darling husband would love it if I were less charming (ahem), but I can’t be anything but me, so charming it is ~ much to his chagrin!

But what I lack in muscular strength, I have in spiritual and it is what gets me through life.  I would never win a prize for athleticism or physical endurance (although I do think there should be a prize given to those of us who have endured more than our share of illness/surgeries and all around ick), but the middle of the nights, all alone spiritual challenges may leave me weakened, but never completely without endurance.

I have endurance…it’s a small seed of endurance filled with love, laughter and an amazing amount of support from my family, friends, loved ones and even strangers.  I have faith which has increased over time…and I am HOPE above all.  I just never surrender.

So if your strength is waning these days, I’ll lend you mine…because that’s what friends are for.

We are all connected…you may be the weak link in the chain at the moment,

but the chain of love will protect you.

Never surrender!

Love you lots!

xo

I Believe in You!

It’s not how many doors are opened to you that counts,

it’s how many you’re brave enough to walk through.

As in anything in life, it’s about courage…belief in oneself, feeling that strength of someone’s belief in you, only fuel courage.

I find that as I still get tested for cancer periodically, I still battle the fear of re-occurrence.   It takes courage to go alone to the doctor’s and face the possibility of cancer, but for a few years now, I have walked in with the knowledge deep in my soul that I’ve already endured this and if I have to, I can do it again.

But it’s not so easy as you know to endure cancer or any of the situations in life that we have endured.  It takes immense self-love, patience, strength, courage, wisdom, hope and the ability to realize that we are all connected so that you can ask for help.  Because regardless of what you think, you are not alone.

I found that those who had endured a similar cancer diagnosis ‘got’ what I was talking about and with them (some of whom were complete strangers) I felt that connection immediately ~ somebody understood…but I also learned a lesson for myself.  One that I am still learning everyday.

SELF – LOVE.  I don’t mean the kind that makes your ego pump up, nor the type which keeps you self-absorbed…but the kind that allows you to treat yourself as you would your best friend, saying kind words, being hopeful and hand-holding instead of criticizing, degrading and being just plain mean to yourself.

For me, it’s a vigilance to keep that criticizing voice out of my head.  I am normally a positive person, but I can be hard on myself at times and I am working on changing that aspect.

This is a growing year for me and I am embracing the changes that it is heralding…and I hope you will as well!

The door is open my friends

Let’s walk through that door together!

xo