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Saturday, November 30, 2013


After my last post, I said I would post 100 things I'm thankful for to make up for having a pity party, so here it goes.

1.    I'm thankful for God. Even when I'm on my knees crying uncontrollably, 
       he is the one who lifts me up and dusts me off. 
2.    I'm thankful for my mother. It still amazes me that this woman loves me
       and so many others unconditionally.
3.    I'm thankful for my family, each and every one of them.
4.    I'm thankful for only having cancer in one breast and one lymph node and
      no where else.
5.    I'm thankful for my amazing team of doctors, Dr. Goff, Dr. Holmes, 
       Dr.Lee, and Dr. St. Cyr.
6.    I'm thankful for my sense of humor. Having the life lessons I've had, my
       humor has formed from these lessons and help me get through the rest.
7.    I'm thankful my brother has someone who loves him just as he is, and is
       there for him always.
8.    I'm thankful for DVR. I am convinced this is a gift from technology gods.
9.    I'm thankful for people who are not afraid to follow their dreams and just
      go for it.
10.  I'm thankful for an amazing group of friends, who call me out when I've 
       gone too far and/or accept me just as I am. 

11.  I'm thankful for my sweet and patient corgi, Patina.
12.  I'm thankful I'm not in a marriage that doesn't allow me to be me.
13.  I'm thankful my addiction is food and not drugs.  It's a strange statement, 
      but if you have loved a drug addict you would understand this. 
14.  I'm thankful for my career.
15.  I'm thankful for body massages. They do the body and the mind good!
16.  I'm thankful for music, of every kind and every style.
17.  I'm thankful for every struggle I've endured up until this day. They have
      made me strong and capable of beating cancer. 
18.  I'm thankful for the day, coming soon, that I will add to my resume, "I am
      a cancer survivor."
19.  I'm thankful for the amazing people I work with and who have shown so
      much support.
20.  I'm thankful for a God Mother/Aunt who comforts me, laughs with me, and
      encourages me.

21.  I'm thankful for being fortunate enough to have a best friend since the age
      of 10.
22.  I'm thankful for my students. I have learned just as much from them as
      they have from me.
23.  I'm thankful for days at the beach when it was warm and I could smell the
      sea...not the fish, the sea.
24.  I'm thankful for sleeping in a hammock feeling the sea breeze on my skin.
25.  I'm thankful for the loving and generous people who have shared and 
      given so much to me.
26.  I'm thankful for cold nights while wearing flannel pajamas and drinking
      hot tea or cocoa.
27.  I'm thankful for having a safe place to call home.
28.  I'm thankful for knowing what it is to be in love.
29.  I'm thankful for knowing what it is like to feel alive after surviving being in
30.  I'm thankful for my own skin.

31.   I'm thankful for the color of dark purple.
32.   I'm thankful for all the travels I've had the privilege of experiencing.
33.   I'm thankful for reruns of 'I Love Lucy'.
34.   I'm thankful for swimming with manatees.
35.   I'm thankful for insurance.
36.   I'm thankful for red velvet cake.
37.   I'm thankful for fever blister medicine.
38.   I'm thankful for recipes left by my grandmothers and aunts.
39.   I'm thankful for my hair, eyebrows, and eye lashes.
40.   I'm thankful for being old enough and smart enough to pay attention to
       my body when it is telling me to do something. 
41.   I'm thankful I am 44 years old.
42.   I'm thankful for art museums. I believe there is a type of tranquility and
       learning that takes place, all at once, in an art museum that no other
       experience can give us. 
43.   I'm thankful for snow.
44.   I'm thankful for horses. They represent the perfect combination of
       strength and beauty like no other animal. 
45.   I'm thankful for my legs.
46.   I'm thankful for history books.
47.   I'm thankful for fires outside in the cold winter time.
48.   I'm thankful for Christmas lights.
49.   I'm thankful for Judy Garland, especially in 'Meet Me in St. Louis'.
50.   I'm thankful for palm trees.

51.   I'm thankful for drinking coconut milk straight from the coconut.
52.   I'm thankful for The Chocolate Bar.
53.   I'm thankful for my glasses.
54.   I'm thankful for days without a migraine headache.
55.   I'm thankful for not being a bully.
56.   I'm thankful for hugs.
57.   I'm thankful for kisses.
58.   I'm thankful for George Clooney.
59.   I'm thankful for roses that grow in Mrs. Gutierrez's front yard that are the 
       darkest red I've ever seen.
60.   I'm thankful for shows like 'Will & Grace' and 'Sex and the City'.

61.   I'm thankful for Uncle Terry and Uncle Dan who taught me, by accident
       I'm sure, that being and staying a kid at heart is the only way to live.
62.   I'm thankful I have no desire to smoke a cigarette and haven't for a long
63.   I'm thankful for a good tasting rum.
64.   I'm thankful for high heeled peep toe shoes.
65.   I'm thankful for pearls and dresses/feeling feminine. 
66.   I'm thankful for great big magnolia trees.
67.   I'm thankful for naps when I really need one.
68.   I'm thankful for my Tristan and the fact that he is alive and so healthy.
69.   I'm thankful for my memories and time with my friend, Natalie Carr.
70.   I'm thankful I had John Wallace as a father figure in my life.

71.  I'm thankful for days that I wear makeup and days I don't.
72.  I'm thankful for Elvis.
73.  I'm thankful for bubble baths.
74.  I'm thankful for acupuncturist.
75.  I'm thankful for garlic. The smell and the taste can change a room. 
76.  I'm thankful for carmel popcorn.
77.  I'm thankful for family traditions.
78.  I'm thankful for breathing. This is one I think we forget to appreciate 
      the most. 
79.  I'm thankful for my smile.
80.  I'm thankful I no longer I have to write on a chalk board.

81.  I'm thankful for my vision and hearing.
82.  I'm thankful I am having a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy.
83.  I'm thankful I have always had a special relationship with my Uncle Bubba.
84.  I'm thankful for swimming and floating.
85.  I'm thankful for blueberries.
86.  I'm thankful for my freckles. 
87.  I'm thankful for my mother's turkey burgers.
88.  I'm thankful for my curves. If only I could travel back in time to tell the 
      younger me don't try to hide them. 
89.  I'm thankful for my feet.
90.  I'm thankful for my religion/my beliefs. An open mind is a must in life.

91.  I'm thankful for movies, old and new.
92.  I'm thankful for babies who laugh and who make me laugh.
93.  I'm thankful for Walt Disney, his imagination, perseverance, and dreams.
94.  I'm thankful for the salads from Bucca di Beppo.
95.  I'm thankful for science museums.
96.  I'm thankful for walks on the beach. This is one of my favorite times to talk
      to God. 
97.  I'm thankful for soft, comfortable, over sized sweaters.
98.  I'm thankful for being able to read and write.
99.  I'm thankful for courage and mistakes. In my opinion, they can't exist 
      without the other. 

100.  I'm thankful for blogging.

Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 BC

I want to go back to a time where cancer wasn't my every thought.  You know, 2013 BC...before cancer. The days where, I could "cheat" on a diet and it was just my arteries I would have to worry about. Now, I have to stop and think, "Uh oh, cancer likes sugar so I shouldn't eat that." or "Nope, can't even pretend to want just one margarita- cancer wants that sugar and alcohol so it can grow more." 

Forget about trying to date after the diagnosis and before or during treatment. When the guy ask you what you do for fun, what do you say, "Oh well I research about breast cancer when I'm not completely exhausted and want to sleep all day." 

You don't want to attend family functions with the people who know, because they will be staring at you and studying you to see if they could tell you were sick. 

And I definitely want to return to 2013 BC, when I thought friends were friends, and did not know who were cling-ons that would talk to you only when they needed a motivational speech or something else from you. 

2013 BC was a time I lived in and I thought someone respected me until you hear him or her say directly to you, "people get what they deserve" and your world crumbles. 

Let us not leave out the experts on everything cancer. Good grief. Shut up already! "Oh be glad you still have (fill in the blank), because that cancer will take it away from you." Who knew in 2013 BC there were so many experts living among me? 

Oh am I having a pity party? 
It's my breast and I'll cry if I want to. 

Now I know there are 100 things I could be thankful for and I will probably post that in a minute, but I have to get these thoughts out so they do not continue to consume me. You see some day maybe some other woman diagnosed with breast cancer will need to see these words and not feel so alone. Or they will be like I do with most literature on breast cancer and roll their eyes and walk away. 

This is my favorite time of year, and yet I'm afraid to listen to Christmas music. What if I'm having a cancer moment and that song on the radio is suddenly attached to a cancer moment forever. 

(Side note: a cancer moment, in my book, is when the thought of cancer consumes your mind and heart and you feel helpless for just a moment and you lose all other forms of identity of yourself. You are no longer a teacher, a daughter, a sister or an aunt, but you are the woman with cancer and you're left in tears. For me these tears turn in to fury because I hate the idea of losing my other identities to this bitch called cancer. I already hate pink and those ribbons. Ugh. F*** those pink ribbons!)

Life is too long to be angry. That's right it is too long. It's a must to get these words out of me, because I don't, I won't feed the bitch.  I'm grumpy. I'm sleepy. I'm tired. I'm human, so I'm not always going to be the one to be positive, but I am also the girl that existed before the diagnosis, therefore I will be myself again real soon. Who knows? Maybe even by tomorrow. 

I will certainly be the girl who looks forward to writing a post entitled,   2013 AD...after diagnosis. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's Code for The C Word

10 Gifts "The Bitch" Gives You (at least in the early weeks):

1.)  For the first time in your life you don't worry about being over weight.

2.)  When you are with two of your friends and someone says, "Did you know that 1 out of 3 people   have 'The Bitch'  - Your friends standing with you breathe a sigh of relief. 

3.)  No matter how many bad hair days you have had, you suddenly love your hair. 

4.)  Putting on mascara is an art you now enjoy. 

5.)  You suddenly become a comic.

An amazing inspiration...Kris Carr

6.)  You suddenly believe in miracles.

7.)  It makes you realize how much time you have wasted on Facebook.

8.)  Stupid things (people included) don't make you mad they make you laugh.

9.)  People show you their true colors.

10.) You fall in love with life. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rated F: Foul language, Faith, and Fighting

Cancer is not a gift. 
I give you permission to slap anyone who says that to you. 
However, I actually thanked God for cancer and chemotherapy, if I have to go through it, then yes I actually thanked him. 
I did not thank God because I opened it like it was a brand new pair of Jimmy Choo boots, but my words were meant to convey, "Thank you, God, for the experience cancer is about to bring me." 

I am fully aware that my trek with the bitch, my new name for cancer, is just beginning and it may not be easy, but I’m determined to fight it with all that is inside of me.  And before I can fight with my heart and my gut, I have to be quiet and say thanks for the experiences and blessings that will come from this fight.

I understand this is confusing for some people to understand and it was really hard to say, but every time I have thanked God for my past challenges, it wasn't because I was excited to endure a bunch of BS, it was because I knew in my heart that at the end of this experience I would come out as a better human, with a tale to tell, and a survival story that would show others what blessings look like. 

Blessings are oddly wrapped in moments that you can't believe you hear yourself saying. 
Today, I actually said out loud without thinking, "Oh thank you, God, for just having breast cancer."

Blessings are timed events that you thought would never happen or could never happen. 
Last night, I got to spend hours at my dining room table getting to know someone all over again, and it was someone that I thought I would never see or never get to tell them how much they mean to me. 

Blessings are gifts in the moment that you can't imagine laughing and yet you find that laughter is all that you can do. 
Today, in the doctor's office the nurse had to knock louder and longer to get our attention because we, my on-site support team, were laughing so loudly in what could have been seen as a dark hour.

Blessings come from the least likely direction, corners of the universe, and from the least likeliest people. 
In the last few weeks, I have had the most amazing yet simplest moments with people that have shown unending support, love, and true grit for being by my side, including complete strangers. 

I might not have had these blessings if it had not been for the discovery of cancer. 
Or maybe, just maybe I would not have appreciated these moments if it hadn't been for the ground cancer shook for me. 

God is good!
God is great!
Whether your God is a man, a woman, a planet, etc. I believe he, she, or it lives deep inside of you, guides you, and protects you, and sometimes we ignore it because we call it “just our gut instinct.” 

Trust that instinct.
It is more than just a feeling.
It is the power within you telling you what to do.
Follow it. 
Respect it. 
Thank your God for it. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Are You Awake Yet?

I believe there are moments and events in our lives that scare us so much that we literally get stopped in our tracks and stop living. That is called fear. It is those same moments and events that can shake us so that we are suddenly awaken. That is called faith. That is also called living. No, you do not need a longhaired dude that looks like he is a hippy out of Berkley from the 1960's nor do you need a vision of a cute bald big belly dude to have faith.

Faith is what you personally believe in so much that it; he, she, etc. carry you to your highest moments. They can either shake you or tap you on the shoulder, but if you believe in them deeply enough they will guide you. They will protect you.  They will be your best friends that you talk to through out the day. They will give you peace, forgiveness, and love like no other. They may even help define you.

I always thought of myself as an open-minded person. Now, I am open. I am awake. I have wasted many moments and days on waiting for joy. I am now under the influence of joy. I am no longer waiting for joy to come to me, but I am looking for how I should bring to share joy.  It is my job now to see that not everything is diseased, happening to me, or about me. It is my job to look inward and see how amazing every moment has been, is being, and will be. 

Like Mark Nepo says, "To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken. I was broken and I certainly needed all those that weren't broken to help me."

For a brief moment life can be scary, but just like coming up the hill that follows that first drop on a roller coast, you catch your breath, you feel the wind on your face, you smile, and you get ready for that next drop, and you smile again.  Just make sure you are awake, so you don't miss the ride. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Don't have something if you don't plan on keeping it

I've been diagnosed with Stage IIa breast cancer, but I don't have it!
I have faith.

I've been diagnosed.
I have love all around me.

I've been diagnosed.
I have friends and family.

I've been diagnosed.
I have a sense of humor.

I've been diagnosed.
I have a home, car, and a closet full of clothes and shoes.

I've been diagnosed.
I have a career.

I've been diagnosed.
I have a great life today, tomorrow, and for a long time to come.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bubble Gum Pink or Mauve

Why booby pink?
Why is the breast cancer awareness color pink?
Is it for the mental connection to the average white woman's breast color?
Is is because pink is a symbol for femininity?
Is it because that is the color of our noses after we've been crying when we first find that lump?
Is it because that is the color of our cheeks after we have been wearing nothing but a thin gown in a 68-degree room?
Is it because we are supposed to be cheered up by the color after a dreadful experience, at least for some?
Is it because it is the same color of the walls in solitary confinement in prisons to calm down the prisoners, and it should have the same effect on us in the doctor's office?

Why not purple?