Tag Archive | surgery

Begin Again

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A friend gave me a magnet awhile back in anticipation for all of the changes that were in store for my future.  At the time, I didn’t want to Begin Again as it was daunting for me to think about all that would be changed.  Regardless of how much I didn’t want the changes, they happened anyway, out of my control.  Instead of accepting that my life would dramatically change in all ways – divorce, moving, financially, health-wise, etc., I fought like a tigress to remain in that stagnant limbo of wanting no change, all while change happened anyway.

Finally, I surrendered.

Broken, exhausted and drained, I surrendered.

It’s not that I didn’t agree that the changes were imminent and necessary.  It was that I was fearful of how I would continue on in this uncharted territory for my journey and the journey of my children, for it wasn’t where I wanted to be.  But when I stopped fighting against the rising tide and began to doggy paddle to keep afloat, I received help through the transition.  Angels disguised as friends and strangers reached out to me with kindness.  I began to see the future as a new chapter in my life, a new book on which to write my story and a fresh clean slate which I controlled (for the most part) of how I am the captain of my own life’s ship.

I began planning what had to be done and like a sergeant, began the transition with what I hoped would be military precision.  But alas, I may have had a plethora of military family members, but precision has not been a characteristic blessing unto me.  And so it was, I surrendered.  I did my best daily, fell asleep on my pillow with a bone tired body and rose up the next morning to do it all again.  And finally, it was accomplished, through the help of my angelic human angels.

Now we begin again, in a new home with new challenges.  Regardless, I have surrendered what was and I embrace what is and I plan for what I would like to be.  To Begin Again requires letting go of the past and staying in a peaceful present and allowing a hopeful future to blossom, petal by petal.

I am grateful for the peace within now.  Although transitions are often fraught with wiggles and compromises, I knowingly stand with peace in my heart, grateful for the lessons and learning which have come with the experiences I’ve endured.  I’ve learned so much about people, about myself and about love.  Life lessons have been tough at times, but well-worth the growth that came out of them.  Sure, it’s easy in hindsight to feel this way, but I guess I wanted to share with you so that you can remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  We just have to keep walking towards the light.

I’m here for you if you are going through any transitions as I’ve been through a bunch of different ones:  cancer, multiple surgeries, chemo, radiation, divorce, selling a house, finding the right rental, starting over at 50, death of family, family with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, etc.  If you need a friend, here I am, with my arms wide open for a hug.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

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Daily Prompt ~ Changes!

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Change is beautifully inevitable

Daily Prompt: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once,

cold turkey style, or incrementally?

For me, changes have never been subtle in my life.  They’ve arrived cold turkey style and left me scrambling to start swimming in order to not drown under the tsunami of change.  Many of the changes took me a long time to come to terms with as some of them were life altering as many changes can be.  Take for instance being diagnosed with an illness such as cancer ~ or being told of the death of a loved one.  Those changes are life altering in and of themselves and they are changes which do not allow for a u-turn in the road of life.  You just have to keep swimming with the tide afterwards.

So I have turned to the cold turkey style of change as my comfort zone in life even though it may take me baby steps in time to allow for the adjustment that the change brings so in that case, I guess my answer is both incrementally and cold turkey!  The change itself, is cold turkey style, but the adjustment which occurs after it, is incremental.  Does that make sense?

For example, when I had my double mastectomy due to breast cancer, even though I was reconstructed in the OR so that I wouldn’t awaken without some type of mound on my chest, the change was most definitely cold turkey style.  There is nothing like falling asleep with my own soft breasts only to awaken with hard, unmoving and cold lumps called tissue expanders under the skin where previously there was warmth.  It took me a long time to be able to change my thoughts, my feelings about myself and find a new normal in accepting my new body, life and scars.  And I won’t say it is easy because it’s not, but I will say it is do-able and this gal who I am now, has a much richer life than before she was diagnosed in 2001.

Even when I was losing my hair due to the ACT chemotherapy that I was taking, I opted to cut off my own hair cold turkey and then incrementally go bald!  Once my hair began coming out in clumps in the shower which is an emotional roller coaster ride even though I knew it was going to happen, I decided to take control over my life and in turn, over the breast cancer that riddled my body.  With a bottle of champagne in one hand and my hair festooned with pink ribbon pony tails, my husband and I celebrated my taking control over my cancer.  Celebratory swigs bonded us as I carefully cut off the pony tails to my scalp, holding the clumps of hair by the pink ribbons.  I remember with the first cut that I couldn’t’ stop giggling because what woman in her right mind takes a pair of scissors to her head and chops off a clump of her hair?  I mean really?  But I did it and it was freeing!  Oh so freeing!

I took off about 10 pony tails (which I still have 2 of my original hair) and looked into the mirror.  All was fun and joyous until I realized that I had big clumps of missing hair on my head.  My gentle and sweet husband to whom I am still so grateful to be married, kissed and held me and then proceeded to cut my hair into a really short pixie style a la Mia Farrow.  (Thank goodness he wasn’t drinking as much champagne as I was that day!)

When he was finished, we looked into the bathroom mirror together and he held me ~ cradling me with his love ~ and he told me that ‘this too shall pass’ for which I believed him.

The next morning, my pillow looked as if a cat had slept on it as it was covered with my pixie short hairs which broke my heart.  So that night, my husband buzzed my head so that I wouldn’t have to awaken with the sadness of looking at my pillow and it was better for me.  Done ~ cold turkey ~ and I felt as though I could move on with my wig, my scarves and my hats.

I have walked through hell and have kept walking for which I am so grateful and I believe that’s why I write my blog ~ because I want to inspire and be inspired by all of you.  For you see, change is inevitable in our lives, so we have to keep evolving, keep flowing with our lives and keep taking baby steps forward.  We can change our course of direction at any time, but we can’t go backwards.  We can only stand still when we need to rest and then begin again.

What makes the changes easier is when we allow ourselves to connect with others on this lifetime journey.  Taking hold of a hand which is offered to you eases the transition of change.  It’s in those moments when we realize that we are all connected here and that change can be beautiful.  Keep smiling!

Shine On!

xo

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/daily-prompt-changes/

Requesting the Power of Prayer

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May the power of prayer comfort and lift your burdens.

I, myself, believe in the power of prayer.  I also believe in the Power of Positive Thinking.  I have friends who ‘vibe’ for me as they are not inclined to call it prayer, but more akin to sending powerful, positive, healing vibrations to me.  Believe me, I accept any and all good thoughts, healing feelings, powerful prayers etc. and I am blessed to say that I have enjoyed the fruits of their Reiki, their loving energy and their healing messages.

So when I ask today for a bit of help from you all, I hope you won’t mind taking a moment of your time to think of me.  You see, it’s been a really hard year for me.  Perhaps I’m throwing a bit of a pity party this morning ~ because in reality, there’s nobody who is always 100% happy and inspirational 100% of the time ~ not even me, although I do try to be ~ I try with all of my heart and being to be.

But this morning, I’m not feeling it and although I debated whether to write this post, I think that it’s only fair to show that I’m a real person who gets down like everyone else, but who, I hope, inspires you all by getting back up everyday and moving forward ~ even if it’s only a baby step forward.  I try to look at the sunshine through the clouds, remember that the rain falls to feed the beautiful flowers (and to make rainbows) and that the age old mantra of what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger makes me a 2 ton indestructable ox today. 🙂

My body is tired and needs extra care now after this surgery.  It seems that after 4 this year alone, it’s just not bouncing back the way it ought to and it’s having some difficulties in healing as I found out from my surgeon’s visit yesterday.  I need my body to heal so that I can continue on with Christmas as it’s only a week away and I’m floundering under this new burden.  Sometimes, we all need a bit of help and for some of us, it’s more difficult to ask for than it is to give.  So I’m learning…and I”m asking…and I have faith that I’ll receive.

I know we’re cyberly connected ~ that’s the beauty of blogs ~ so my request is simple…Please take a moment and send me a healing thought, message, vibe, prayer, Reiki ~ whatever you choose.  I need a little extra strength today and I’m counting on you.  I’m sending blessings out to the Universe with every post and especially this one so if you would please send back some love, I’d be most appreciative.  I started counting my blessings and not my troubles this morning in hopes of turning this situation around, but I feel like I could use a bit of back up ~ hence my post and request.

I believe we are a community ~ I believe that each of us has the power to change lives and together ~ well, together we can make miracles.  I’m not asking for a miracle, just a little healing.  I’m not dying any faster than anyone else ~ but I could sure use some powerful vibes to heal me.  So, if you are inclined, I’d be grateful to you today.

Hugs to all of you ~ you make my heart sing with your words, your blogs and your energies!

Shine On my friends…Shine On!

Thank you!

xo

Light the Way…

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I thought I had scheduled this post to be written this week, but I guess I didn’t do it right…forgive the lateness of it…I’m posting it anyway.  I am home and safe, just in a lot of pain, so I’ll resume soon I promise.  In the meantime, here’s the one I had ready for you while I was gone. xo

I have my surgery tomorrow so I won’t be posting for awhile.  I awoke this morning in a haze, writing in my 1/2 sleeping stupor as I so often do ~ dreaming of 3 posts in which I tell it like it is ~ much like https://misifusa.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/breast-cancer-boobs-oprah-and-dr-phil/.

But alas, I hopped out of bed instead of trying to remember them and now they are lost.  Perhaps it is better this way.

I want to make some points though before I endure my 4th surgery this year…not that I don’t believe I’ll be back to write again next week ~ but since each day is a precious gift, I want to make sure that you enjoy The Presents of Presence no matter what…and that perhaps through my experiences and your own, you can feel the preciousness of the gift of today.

There are a few points that I want to make…

I learned with my first breast cancer surgery back in January 2002 that even though we are all connected, you must rely on yourself, for nobody can live your life for you.  I remember that day every time I walk into an operating room because the memory in burned into my mind.  I hugged and kissed my beloved hubby goodbye, dressed in the 2 hospital gowns and no-slip uniform slippers that they gave me.  I didn’t want to let him go and nestled my head into his shoulder with such force as to hope to meld completely into him so as not to have to go in alone.  He is my strength you know.  But after a few moments, the nurse quietly pulled me from him and led me to the operating room where I walked in, praying that I’d make it through the surgery and walk out.

I had never felt so alone as the doctors and nurses rapidly readied me for my surgery.  They were all business-like and I realized that I was alone ~ in my head, in my thoughts and in my strength.  I remember saying prayers in my head, ones that I had learned as a child and as the anesthesia took over, they had become the mantra of ‘please help me God.’

One of the hardest lessons I believe that we have to learn is that this is our life and we are responsible for it.  We can lean on others for help, for support and for love and happiness, but truly, the job comes down to us.  After that first surgery, I realized that I needed to find my inner strength in order to survive and in order make my life, body, soul healthy again.

I also learned that we are only a soul encased in a body shell of the same structures.  When you are stripped down to wearing the 2 uniform gowns and generic slippers, you aren’t wearing any jewelry, nor makeup or hairpins.  You are just as you were born.  It makes no difference how big your ego is, or how much money you have, or how good-looking you are, or how many children you have, or if you are gay or if you are straight or if you are any type of religion.

Your body reacts the same no matter who you are on the outside/inside.  Your heart still needs to beat, your lungs still need air and you require your inner strength in order to heal properly.  I have found after 13 surgeries, you are not a person usually when you are operated on ~ you are body which needs help and the professionals who surround you do their best to make that happen.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt my soul.  I’ve had moments where I’ve looked out of my eyes as my soul and seen the world through my soul’s eyes.  You can say that I am trying to fix my shell by this current surgery which is very true.  And yes, I am doing it for me, so that I live with less daily pain and because it can be done.  But I also know that it’s my soul who counts the most, not the shell which encases it.

I am not sure I am making sense today to you.  Perhaps I should have made 2 different posts ~ because I know this isn’t the most congruent post I’ve written.  I hope you will get my gist though and that it will make you think of yourself and your shell and soul…and your inner strength.

I long to make a difference in this world…to touch the hearts and souls of others through the experiences I’ve endured because without making a difference to one, I feel that it is all for naught.  I feel like God gave me this burden to strengthen me, to teach me compassion, love, light and a heartfelt lesson of faith.

I want you to know that I stand by what I say ~ that I am reaching out to you through my blogs ~ to hold your hand when you are feeling down and need a friend.  I can’t be your everything, but I can stand beside you and be with you on this journey.

I have had a blessed life, of that there is no doubt.  I am loved and I know it ~ and for me there is no greater gift than to send out love.  So please, make it a point everyday to send out love to others and most especially to yourself.  You are loved.  Be the candle that lights the way for another…pass it along and never let the light die out of your life!

Shine On!

xo

Shining Soul

Pick a star up in the sky and pretend that star is me.

Shining bright with love for you, so all the world can see…

Yesterday I told you a bit about my life and how it feels to be a woman without breasts because they were taken due to breast cancer.  This is my 3rd foray into trying to have breasts again and I am blessed to have found such an amazing doctor who has changed my life with her dedication to women who have endured more than their share of heartache, pain and emotional/physical anguish.

I will honestly tell you that the road to the ‘new normal’ after having breast cancer and multiple surgeries (10th breast cancer related surgery scheduled for December, but #14 in my life) with one more for 2013, is not an easy road to endure.  It’s a road full of pot holes, disappointments, pain and yet triumph as well.  It’s a road that is best when shared with others ~ easier to share with those of us who have traveled it or are traveling it with you.  It’s not for the faint of heart although I am still known to faint at the sight of a needle even after all of the needles I’ve endured over the years.

It’s no different than life for everyone else for we are all on this journey together.  None of us escape heartache, pain and sorrow.  Perhaps you’ve not had breast cancer, but you’ve been shouldering an illness, abuse, depression, a different type of cancer or some other difficulty.  It may not be the same, but the choice is ~ you can endure it and keep taking baby steps forward or you can allow it to rule your life and not move forward.

It’s your choice my friends.  What I’ve learned though is that it’s a choice that I make everyday. 

I can choose to allow my situation bring me down and epitomize the victim role/attitude by feeling sorry for myself, by crawling inside and not taking the helping hands which are offered to me.  Or I can choose to rise from it and shine like a star!  I can use my experiences (there are many beyond breast cancer but that’s for another day) to help others, to be kind, to be understanding, to have patience…to help, to support and to guide by what I know and have gleamed from my own life.

Learning to love your own body is a lesson we all need to learn, breast cancer or not! 

Learning to love yourself for me is a life-long process.

As I thought about my post yesterday, I realized that I have old tapes playing in my head of not being enough and perhaps that’s why I’ve been having such a terrible time lately ~ and perhaps that’s why Dr. Phil and Oprah’s magazine struck such a chord in me yesterday.  My inner voice, you know, that inner strength broke free yesterday from the bonds that I’d imposed on it.  Today I feel freer, I feel more like the girl I love to be ~ the one that may give you TMI (Too Much Information), but will do so willingly if it helps even one other person because that’s my goal here on my blog.

If I can touch just one of you, help one other person to feel that they are not alone, that yes, I have experienced the same as you and I am still here…inspire you to keep taking baby steps…then I feel like I am living according to my divine purpose.  Because that’s why we are all here ~ to help each other on this journey of life.  Helping hands can be found everywhere.  We all have a story to tell…it’s up to you how you write your story!

Breasts or not, I am still a woman who can say she is blessed to have seen the darkness of life and has chosen to search for the light and found it! 

You can’t appreciate the stars if you’ve never endured the darkness! 

Shine on my friends!  Shine on!

xo


Free Chopra Creating Abundance and Musings from Misifusa

Register for Chopra 21 Day Meditation Challenge

Day 1 ~ “Today, I behold all the abundance that surrounds me.”
Day 2 ~ “I create my personal abundance from an infinite source.”
With Hurricane Sandy having blown through my life, 3 surgeries thus far and another coming up in December, plus my Dad’s passing and being responsible for closing out an almost 50 year law practice by myself…I’ve been a bit overwhelmed these days…and now there’s a Nor’Easter (another bad storm) on its way, ready to hit tomorrow.  UGH!  Double UGH!
So I am giving myself a pass today because I didn’t send this particular post out last week when I had planned to do it.  Without power, there wasn’t much I could do about it!  Perhaps there’s a reason for it…at least that’s the thought that I’m comforting myself with right now.
All is quiet in my home this morning.  I awoke with a migraine (darn weather changes) and still, I wanted to use the stillness and freshness of the morning to enjoy the meditations that Deepak Chopra has so generously given to all.  Today is Day 2 so I was behind already, but I am happy to report that I am all caught up.  Like one of my sons in school, I feel that relief that my homework is done for the day and I can move on.
But something interesting happened today when I did the 2 meditations.  I realized how stressed I am these days, how I’ve allowed my body to be encased in a hard pressured stressed feeling that is so tightly bound inside of me that I didn’t even realize that it existed.  It had become my normal after so much stress in my life.  And I can assure you, I am stressed with all of the responsibilities which have fallen onto my shoulders.  I am in charge of everything and everyone right now ~ dealing with a body which is enduring more than its share of surgeries and traumas.  I just keep pushing through to the next event, the next task and I’m not taking care of me.  I’m too wrapped up in what has to be done, wishing I could skirt some of the mess and just be taken care of instead of taking care of it all.
There’s food to be bought because of the power outage for 6 days, we lost everything in the refrigerators/freezers.  With the looming storm, I need to make sure that I replenish (but not too much) supplies.  Then there’s the fact that Mom hasn’t been to her house in a week so I need to drive her there to make sure that things are ok, plus I believe she wants some new clothes having only packed for a few days.  Boys still don’t have school and there’s the added burden of how to drive about 45 minutes away when there are still trees down, power out and gas rationing going on (which today’s not my day to fill up so I have to be careful).
I could go on and on and rehash all that is on my plate these days, but instead, I’ll leave you with what I learned.  I am planting the seeds of abundance in my life through Deepak’s meditations.  I am determined to unleash the synchronicity of blessings which are infinite and given to all.
I am blessed I know…but I am tired.  I long to rest, to quit worrying and to just ‘be’ at peace.  Perhaps with the start of the morning meditations, I can accomplish my goal.  I am handing it all over to God/Universe/Infinite Spirit…I am letting go of my control and just allowing life to be.
Hugs to all of you…
Enjoy Deepak’s gift!
xo

Bras, Friendship and October…

Bras, friendship & October all come together as the month of  “All Things PINK” continues.  It’s in the camaraderie of breast cancer (BC) survivors that we immediately understand what the other person is enduring once we identify ourselves as having or having had BC.  It’s like with any other club or illness I think…it’s just that the month of October puts it out in front of everyone’s face for an entire month, wrapping it up tightly in pink ribbons for all to see.

I am a survivor which you know already because quite frankly, I am proud that I continue to endure after having been diagnosed 10 years ago.  BC gave me a tough run for my femininity as well as for my health.  It’s beaten me down, only to have me rise up from the ashes of my life and to great each day with the happiness that I am here to experience life ~ to Enjoy the Presents of Presence ~ to Send Out Love with my cards and to hopefully inspire others with my blog and to help women who are enduring the same.  Because we’re all here together, all connected and in helping others, I am even helping myself.

Truthfully, I’ve endured a lot in my life ~ with BC, I’ve endured multiple surgeries in 10 years ~ actually this Tuesday I’ll be enduring #8 for breast cancer which is also #13 total in my lifetime.  I think enough is enough quite frankly, but I know there looms one more after this which will be the last for BC.  I will have come full circle finally once I am finished with them all.  I will have had my breasts removed completely with a double mastectomy, been replaced with hard implants twice, been explanted (removed implants) and now, I am finally putting my breasts back completely using my own flesh ~ all within the span of 10 years which is quite a feat I think.  To me, it is a full circle in a decade ~ one that I had never even dreamed of 10 years ago when I was diagnosed.  The reality of the situation makes me stop at times to cry tears of gratitude…I want to thank my surgeons who made it all possible and who are giving me the opportunity to regain what was taken so many years ago.  I am thankful that medicine has come so very far in 10 years!

So, although I never wanted to be a part of the Pink Ribbon Club, I am happy today that I can give back and teach what I’ve learned to those who are sad, angry and enduring all of what BC brings to our lives.  I have been blessed to continue to be able to fight, live and learn as well as help others.  My life is richer now because of the suffering I have endured.  Without having first-hand experienced BC, I would never be able to appreciate every day the way I do now.

I am grateful for where I am now 10 years later…and now I”m excited for my next decade!

I’ve made it so far…and I’m going to keep looking up and taking baby steps

and enjoying The Presents of Presence

with YOU!

xo