Friday, October 30, 2009

Staying Positive

First, I welcome Beth Larson and her best friend, who is currently battling breast cancer, to my blog. I also welcome my friend Annie, who is currently battling breast cancer, to this blog. Please let me support you in any way that I can.

Today, I want to talk about the challenge of staying positive. I have to admit, it gets tougher to remain optimistic as the treatments and surgeries draw out. I've had shingles for over two weeks now. The fevers have stubbornly spiked at night and I still have rashes and breakouts on my back that sting and itch. My final surgery is about 6 weeks away. I'm afraid the shingles will make the doctor kick that surgery back--I just want to end everything already. So I try to rest, sleep and take it easy to help hasten the virus through its course.

When everything seems to be going wrong, its easy to just lay down and cop a bad attitude. But that's not good for your health. Remember, your biography becomes your biology. You have to eliminate negative thinking because it will only hinder you health! And they say I got the shingles because I hads a "compromised immune system due to cancer treatments." So clearly, I'm not out of the woods. It takes discipline to keep negative thinking at bay. But you gotta do it. I'm doing it now.

If you start getting down, take a moment and do something you like, or treat yourself to something, like an ice cream cone. Move a muscle, change a thought. That's how it works. Keep trying.

I

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Beginnings

Since March 12, 2008, a good part of my life has been predicated by cancer treatments in 2008 and reconstructive surgery in 2009. I am slated to have my final surgery the first part of December, which means I can close out the cancer chapter of my life along with the end of this year.

Which leads me to thinking, where do I go from here? I believe I'm due for a change of scenery. I've lived in Connecticut for almost 14 years. As much as I love the spring, the summer, the fall, I absolutely hate the winters. Like my friend Maggie said to me this morning: "You might as well live in freakin' Minnesota!" She said that knowing I left there at 18 because I hated the winters in Minneapolis. Maggie left Connecticut a year and a half ago for Juno Beach, Florida, and just closed on a house in West Palm Beach, which she will move to this week on Halloween.

I'm starting to develop a plan. I know I can transfer anywhere in the United States through my job. Many of my friends and family are living in Florida. I think it's time for me to return. But first I have to sell my townhouse--no easy task. Then I have to look into getting transferred.

Next year, I'm going to work on relocating. After all I've been through, I think the change will be good for me. It's time to start a new chapter.
Maggie, here I come!

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Got My Work Cut Out For Me

How ironic!

I wrote in my last post about how our negative emotions manifest themselves into illness and different ways you can self-heal. Well, this week I came down with shingles, which is the chicken-pox virus reactivated in your system. It hits people under stress that have compromised immune systems which may be due to cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

As David Letterman recently said: I got my work cut out for me. I really do need to practice what I preach. You know what's scary? I was driving through the cold drizzle on Tuesday, thinking about all my problems and said to myself, I went through all the pain of cancer treatment last year only to put up with the crap life's dowling me now? Maybe I would have been better off dead.

As soon as that thought held still in my head, I got dizzy and felt a chill go straight to my bones. It was so sudden, I hit the curve as I drove down the hill. My teeth started chattering, and I went right home. I crawled under the rumpled comforter of my bed and called my boss on my cellphone under the covers. "I think I have the flu," I told her. I have the chills, I'm dizzy and I ache." Later, I took out the thermometer and realized I had a 102 degree fever.

Unknown to me, this was the prelude to shingles: flu-like symptoms, followed by a rash. Of course, the rash came the next day. I'm on medication and supposedly this whole thing will go away in about a week. But given the sequence of events, I have to ask myself, If I hadn't allowed that bad thought to take space in my head, would I be well, instead of sick today? If you were to ask most of those metaphysical writers, the answer would probably be yes. So, I'm with you Dave, I got my work cut out for me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Self-Healing

"Your biography becomes your biology."--Caroline Myss, PH.D., Medical Intuitve, Author, Why People Don't Heal and How They Can, Anatomy of the Spirit, The Creation of Health

The moment I discovered I had breast cancer, I asked myself, how did I get this disease? And what could I have done differently to prevent it? My doctors told me my cancer sprung from environmental, not genetic factors since I did not test positive for the breast cancer gene. Some experts say cancer comes from tainted water that flows from the faucets of our homes.

Metaphysical writers such as Louise Hay (author of You Can Heal Your Life) and Caroline Myss claim that sickness and diseases actually manifest themselves from the blocked chakras of our bodies where negative emotions sit stewing. Those bad feelings act as toxins within us and begin to attack our health in specific chakra areas related to the personal issues we struggle with.

For instance, I spoke to a Yoga instructor at a party once, and she reasoned that breast cancer is common among divorced women. She believes this because bitterness and resentment--often part of the divorce emotional landscape--emits from the fourth chakra that rules love and not surprisingly sits in the heart area. Given that, a man that has a massive heart attack or a woman that has breast cancer is probably dealing with some serious heartache that is literally eating away at that part of their body--so say the spritual experts.

For myself, I started reading books on the power of emotional healing and how it impacts your physical health simply because I wanted to do everything possible to keep history from repeating itself. I figured, if I was still pissed about something from the past and that anger had been part of what started my cancer, what would prevent the disease from coming back?

So, per Louise Hay's advise, I concentrated on forgiveness and letting go. If I felt myself get worked up over a recent or past indignity, I whispered, let it go, let it go, let it go. I even went to a local spiritual advisor who recommended I do others things to continue the path toward physical healing. Here's the advise she gave to me:

Take time to walk, bike or jog outside and engage with nature. To use an old adage, stop and smell the roses.

Go out, have fun and laugh with your friends.

Make your home a sanctuary where you can read, meditate and create in a peaceful and soothing environment.

Express your creativity. Do what brings you joy and keeps you in the present moment--whether it's writing, drawing, singing, dancing or cooking. By doing so, you get your own unique stamp out into the universe. It makes you feel you're making an impact on the world.

So there you have it. It's Sunday and I feel like I just got off the pulpit after preaching.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

All You Need Is Love

Happy Birthday Joe-Joe! This is my birthday message to you.

Thanks for making me feel loved even when I looked like a bald alien due to chemotherapy. You never told me how bad I looked. You just called me a hippie chick because I always wore those paisley cotton handkerchiefs tied around my head. When I traipsed to work in my blonde-bob wig and big sunglasses, you said I looked great even though my skin had the pallor of death and the hair was clearly fake.

Your unconditional love fueled my determination to carry on with normalcy and fight a disease that was out to kill me. I honestly don't know if I would have been able to battle so fiercely if you hadn't been by my side.

Because you were there during one of my most difficult times, I can't help but stand by you too--my loyalty is steadfast. I will always be here for you. Our story proves that love does make a difference. So happy 45th birthday, may the coming year bring great changes!
Love ya! Marcy-girl

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Make a Difference this October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! All across the country people are participating in fundraisers, benefit walks and buying products with the pink ribbon logo to raise money for the cure.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer has dropped two percent per year since 1990 thanks in part to the increased awareness of the pink ribbon campaign. That means about 15,000 women avoided death in 2009 due to breast cancer. Still, 200,000 women will be told they have breast cancer this year and 40,000 will die from the disease in the United States alone. A lot's been accomplished, there's still a lot to be done.

I participated in the Susan G. Komen walk June 6th in Hartford, CT last summer. It was a great experience to be among other people effected by this disease in a fundraising effort that will help other women like me. The good feeling resonates even more when you are "back in the saddle" of living--completely healthy and engaged in your normal routine.

I urge you to visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website http://www.nbcam.org/. to find out how you can do something this month to impact the cure for breast cancer.  If you don't have time to participate in the many breast cancer walks taking place across the country, simply buy something with a pink ribbon on it. A portion of the merchandise profits go towards breast cancer research. Go to www.komen.org/promisesshop or http://www.positivepromotions.com/ to find numerous products, gifts and giveaways with the pink ribbon logo.

Making a difference can be as easy buying a few things while picking up the groceries. For instance, today on my weekly sojourn to Walmart, I picked up flower bulbs from EuroBlooms LLC which has a Plant For Hope project. Each bulb pack costs $5 and 30 percent of that money will go towards the Susan G. Komen for The Cure fund. Don't you just love those Ped Eggs to smooth away rough calluses off your feet? Pick up a pink ribbon Ped Egg and the company will donate a portion of you purchase towards the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. If you already have one, give one as a gift or buy a second one for your toiletry travel bag.

Just think, when we combine all of our small efforts to fighting breast cancer this month together, it can add up to a lot of saved lives. That saved life may be your mother, your sister, your best friend--or you.