It started off as confidence….kind of

The day started with my usual two, okay three cups of coffee. Time wasted on social media. A catch up on the local news. Some meditation and contemplating. Recorded my daily workout video for Cancercize and packed lunches. Not a bad start to my day but nothing special.

Suddenly I was feeling brave and confident. I decided I was NOT going to wear a head covering today at work.

As I was getting ready for work, applying my makeup I looked good and hard in the mirror and thought, hmm I think I can do it.

I walk to the dining room to grab my lunch and purse and kiss goodbye. I tell him today is the day I am going to be brave. How do I look? This was my first dent in my confidence.

His response was ‘I look at you everyday, I am used to you, your coworkers are not’. It wasn’t meant cruelly, it just came out in boy speak. You know words and tone are not their  finer points. But it was enough to make me grab a hat as I walk out the door.

As I drove to work on the freeway still feeling somewhat confident, I noticed a car keeping perfect pace with me. I glanced over. He was staring. Staring intently until he was caught, so he sped away. This is my second dent in my confidence.

It messed with my emotions more than I anticipated. How can I expect co-workers and friends to accept this head if I can’t. I can’t because strangers can’t. I had a hard time shaking that thought process today.

BUT WAIT!!! This is a picture of me! I had a friend come over and snap pictures for the Canercize flyers and the website we are building. So I must have some confidence. I just don’t have ALL the confidence…..yet.

 

Cuckoo

The other night my son came over and we had a movie night. I was in the mood to watch ‘The Wedding Singer’ because at work the song ‘Love Stinks’ came on and we all started talking about the movie. It is such a fun movie.

There is a scene right after he is stood up at the altar when the nephews are teasing him about being cuckoo and needing to go to a mental institution. The voice of the child is still rattling around in my head. Cuckoo cuckoo.

Last night a friend messaged me and told me I was her hero. That with all that I am challenged with I still keep going. I am not a hero.

I am a girl. Who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Who had surgery and chemotherapy to put the cancer in its place and control it. Nothing more nothing less.

It did however get me to thinking. When you get the call that you have cancer you suddenly become a deer in headlights. It is overwhelming and scary all at once. You are bombarded with doctors and insurance and bills and advice and un-welcomed suggestions. Forming a plan of action. For me surgery, reconstruction, chemotherapy. It is put into motion and professionals are helping you meet that plan of action. You do what you need to do and trust those you need to trust. It is really not that hard because you do not know better.

What is hard is the mental battle. Your emotions are all over the place, often controlling you like a puppet. You wake up ready to face another day and suddenly your brain starts telling you don’t forget you have cancer. People die from cancer. Cancer is your fault. You must have done something really wrong in this world to get cancer. Only bad things happen to bad people. Cancer is eating your body right now. You will never feel normal again. Don’t forget to have a pity party. It flat-out can make you feel like you are cuckoo. Not for cocoa puffs, just cuckoo. It mentally slaps you, hard.

How can you be a hero when you are cuckoo? You can’t. You just get up and go. Go until you exhaust your thoughts. Go until you can finally prove to yourself you are not cuckoo. Go until someday the thoughts will no longer haunt you.

I am a girl. Slightly nuts before, definitely crazy now. Ready to embrace this new sense of ‘normal’ and accept that cuckoo is not really a bad thing. It can’t be. And besides, it was really funny and almost cute when the 5 year old said it in the movie…

 

Today is better….

I was so discouraged the other day. The day I wrote about ‘I can’t’

It was the first time that I really thought I can’t since that fateful call on Nov. 3rd.

My poor husband. I came home on Wednesday and he made the mistake of asking if I was okay. Okay!?!? NO! No I am not okay as I lay crying in a lump on the bed. What was your first clue? I was so tired. I just kept telling him I can’t do this. I can’t do this.

He picked me up and said yes you can you are just tired. He then told me that he will feed me Taco Bell and then I should go to bed. I think it helped. I know the Taco Bell did.

They told me that the last round of chemotherapy will hit me the hardest. Knowing it and living it are two different things. No matter how much I braced myself for it I was not mentally prepared. The fatigue was harder, the dry fingertips are unmanageable , the flat taste in my mouth and dried tongue are worse. Then to top it off my asthma started kicking my ass, er lung I should say. So not sleeping from night sweats, chemically induced fatigue and a cramping right lung truly left me discouraged. It left me at I can’t.

Today, today is so much better. Now my mind is wandering and wondering.

Thinking of things like the following:

Are chemically induced hot flashes worse than when it happens naturally? My vote is yes.

The hair on my head that is growing back is like a brillo pad. It is coarse, gray and sticks out in all directions. Soon it will poke straight through my hats and wigs. When I showered the other day I used conditioner on it hoping it will soften. I think it is a logical conclusion. It didn’t.

Vanilla seems to be the saving grace for my coffee with the tongue/taste bud issues. Is it wrong that I am drinking extra cups of my froo froo sweet vanilla coffee because it actually tastes good? Probably, but right now I am still too tired to worry about calories and dehydration. I will just drink more water inbetween cups, yeah that is totally logical.

Why isn’t being naked at work and in public acceptable? The moment I put clothes on I start sweating. Granted I don’t think people would appreciate all of ‘this’ (pointing to my body) naked.

Do all the hot flashes and night sweats smell, or is it just in my head? I have started spraying my clothes down with my signature scent just in case. It worked for the French.

I am ready for life after chemotherapy. I am searching for my new ‘normal’ I will find it. One cup of coffee and douse of perfume at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

A little personal…

As I am navigating this new journey that life has handed me, I realize how much uncharted waters there really are.

Changes in my body by surgery. Changes in my diet, exercise, daily living. Learning that not all change is good. Accepting that all change can be turned into good if I focus it. All the mental challenges of the diagnosis itself. Reminding myself that I have revenge goals that I damn well want to meet next year.

I tested a wog yesterday when I took out the trash. It was from the garbage can to the front door but I feel like I can do it. I tested lifting heavier weights in a private workout and feel like I can do it. I tested a new sleep combination/blanket and feel like maybe I can do it. Started taking my hair, skin and nails vitamins yesterday and feel confident I will have hair again. It is all these little things that are making me stronger. That I am choosing to make me stronger.

There are things I didn’t think about having to navigate through. Like yesterday. A new challenge confronted itself.

I was at a friends thirty-two hot to handle birthday party at a local Irish Pub. Excused myself to use the restroom. No big deal. I get to the public restroom and put down the thin potty seat protector (I used to never use these things but germs  concern me because of the chemo) I sit down on the toilet and do my business. Not really thinking it through. I was having a hot flash. When you have a ‘flash’ your whole body becomes a sweat pool. THE WHOLE BODY including the backs of your thighs! The part sitting on a thin piece of paper that is now officially stuck to you. Not all the paper, bits and pieces of the paper. So you catch yourself peeling chunks of ‘protective’ paper off your flesh and trying to get it all in the toilet without making another kind of mess.  Oh there are other messes. Trust me.

 

I found this today in FB I think this should be a law. 13260170_1173613056005518_4980833294891281579_n

And now I must go. The laptop is making me have a hot flash as I type! At least you now know what to expect if you are starting menopause and have to use a public restroom. The germs are probably less annoying than the paper sheet stuck to your thighs.

Enough……

“You can never do enough to be enough. If you have challenges figuring out who you are, stop searching. “Enough” is not a place you find, it is not a destination, it is not what you do. Being enough is a state of “being”. Enough is about acceptance. Accept who you are and devote time and energy into becoming the person that you deserve to become” Jeffery Coombs

‘you’ve got it all wrong. you didn’t come here to master unconditional love. that is where you came from and where you’ll return. you came here to learn personal love. universal love. messy love. sweaty love. crazy love. broken love. whole love. infused with divinity. lived through the grace of stumbling. demonstrated through the beauty of…….messing up. often. you didn’t come here to be perfect. you already are. you came here to be gorgeously human. flawed and fabulous.’

These are two things that popped up in my Facebook ‘You have memories’ app.

Funny how they both strike a similar and powerful cord.

As a woman, mom, wife, co-worker, daughter, sister,friend I have never felt like enough. There is always something more I can do to be better at those titles. Something that I could say or do that will finally make me good enough to deserve those titles.

Enough is enough. Life truly is short. There is no time to pursue a perfection that doesn’t exist. There is only time to chase after the good, the love, the peace of mind that you are enough. Accepting that is difficult. Knowing that it is time to accept it is a reality.

I have dreams. I have ideas. I want to move forward. I want to not fear that I will fail. I want to not fear that I will fall.

There are choices in our lives. No one has control over our choices. They are left up to us. You make the choice to move forward in life. You make the choice to cut the negative people who only stop you or bring you down. You make the choice to understand that failing is not failure just a step to finding your success. You make the choice to have joy in your life. You make the choice to understand that messy, sweaty, crazy, broken, whole love can not happen if you are pursuing to be ‘enough’. It only comes when you accept that you already are enough and invest the time into nurturing that truth.

Today I choose to be enough. Today I accept that I am flawed and fabulous. Today I accept that my dreams and purpose are one in the same. Today I will be me.

my race…

Today was the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure. It is a 5k qualifying race for Bloomsday. It is what I was training for all those months ago that now feel like years ago.  When I signed up for this run in November I was still waiting for my biopsy results. I signed up for the race. The next day the doctor called me at work and informed me I had breast cancer. I think in my heart of hearts I already knew. It didn’t come as real surprise. I did however go home and change my status on the race to ‘Survivor’.

I know I have mentioned that I don’t really feel like a survivor. I feel like I am still in the fighting stage. Survivor is what I am fighting for. This walk today was my way of proving to  the cancer that I own it, it does not own me. I was determined to do the walk, all three miles AND finish it!

My friends Marilee and Julie signed up to walk with me. Rest with me if I needed and carry me to the finish line if necessary. I didn’t need to be carried and I didn’t feel the need to rest. I powered through to the end. I crossed that finish line with my timing chip and my floppy pink hat.

This is how my day played out:

Pictures of me and my friends in our shirts that Julie made for us. The front says ‘The Rack Pack’ the back has a big pink ribbon on it. Julie had mine say “FIGHTER” I nearly cried.20160417_084552It was a sign that I was emotionally tied into this race. To me doing this race was my way of giving cancer the middle finger, the slap across its face, the proof that I am stronger than it.

Ran into my friend Kathy and she gave me her last bottle of water. Her kindness and willingness and smile enough to make my eyes start to water again.

I crossed that finish line and was given a ‘survivor’ medal. I cried.

I just proved to myself and my family and friends that I can do this. I am stronger. I am a fighter. I am literally in the middle of my chemotherapy and I just finished a 5K! This is huge, emotional, reassuring, empowering even spiritual.

My husband and son came and cheered us on. Wearing their Baseballism Pink Ribbon Swing shirts that they bought to wear in support of me. 2016-04-17 12.45.19

We went to brunch at Casper Fry in the Perry District and laughed and ate and celebrated with mimosa’s. The waitress bought my breakfast. We all cried.

My race was a very emotional race for me. On so many different levels. The finish line has never meant more to me before. Thoughtfulness of friends and my loved ones and strangers has softened this hard hearted person into a pile of tears. Emotionally cleansing tears of satisfaction and humbleness. Pink tears.

This will forever be the best race I have ever done.

Did you know?……

This is me taking a moment to shout from my soap box. My safe space. My blog. Bear with me as I vent a little.

I was hesitant to make my cancer public knowledge. After learning I would need chemotherapy I felt like I was obligated to say something on my Facebook page. After all I would not be able to hide the effects it has on me physically. Also, everyone back in Arizona was finding out anyway from family and friends over there.

With this public announcement to my circle of friends online I had an outpouring of support and prayers and positive thoughts. It is comforting to know that so many people care and truly are concerned about your wellbeing.

As always, there is the other shoe.

I have also been bombarded or reminded that my choices to fight are not necessarily the ‘right things to do’

Did you know that if you eat dandelion root it is 100 times more effective than chemotherapy and kills cancer cells in 48 hours?

Did you know that cancer and chemotherapy is just a scam that the drug industry wants to keep going because they make so much money off of scaring people?

Did you know that the essential oil frankincense can cure cancer?

Did you know that you could NEVER get cancer or CURE your cancer just by eating only clean foods?

Did you know that chemotherapy drugs are based off of napalm, the deadly death bomb?

Did you know that tamoxifen is the worse drug you can give for TREATING breast cancer?

Did you know that Oncologists themselves would NEVER do chemotherapy even though they prescribe it regularly?

Did you know that if you have enough faith and just keep praying God will heal you completely of the cancer?

Did you know that kombucha is so good for you and can help with your nausea?

I get it.

This is what I need YOU to get:

All medications are derived from plants and natural sources in our world. They may process them chemically as they learn to extract the good stuff that heals and rebuilds and helps. BUT IT ALL IS BASED ON WHAT IS IN OUR PLANTS. If dandelion root is better than chemotherapy I can guarantee it is in some of the chemotherapy drugs.

I have mutated genes. I have tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. This means that NO MATTER how healthy I eat and workout I carried the cancer gene that cannot be changed. Period. I can make my body stronger and healthier to fight harder at keeping it at bay, but there is no guarantee that eating only healthy non-carcinogen  foods would prevent me from getting cancer.

Tamoxifen is NOT a breast cancer treatment. It is a hormone blocking agent. If your cancer is hormone fed (like mine) it suppresses the hormone so not to feed any cancer cells roaming in your body.

Yes, there is money to be made in the drug industry. We are a money making country. We are founded on the right to pursue and make money if we want. It is our right. It is what makes us so great as a country. If you are smart enough why not? Yet, I choose to believe that people work for the big companies for the funding but really want to help people and fight disease. THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE IN THE DRUG INDUSTRY.

My oncologist knew I did not want to do chemotherapy. He was so worried about telling me my onctotype score was borderline. He knew I may refuse it. He would make his sister and his mom do the chemo if it came back borderline. Tell me, if he would MAKE his sister and mom do it does that mean he doesn’t believe it really works? He was so relieved that I was willing to take it on. Physically relieved. It concerned him, he even called me at home after 6 at night. Long hours for a doctor who only cares about his paycheck. Hmm.

Yes I have faith that God can heal me. Does it mean I will not rely on the expertise of the intelligence that God gave to doctors and scientists? Absolutely not. I believe we have a journey and that there is a purpose for everything. My purpose is to go through this. With faith and with medical science.

And this is what I leave you with: I am fighting for my life. YOU ARE NOT FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE!!! Until YOU have cancer do not sit in judgement of how others choose to fight!! If you get cancer and you only want to do healthy foods and oils and coffee enemas that is your choice. I personally do not want to. I want to do what is right for me. That is fight with everything I have. That means surgery, chemotherapy, eating right, exercising,  hormone suppression therapy, meditation, prayer and positive thinking.

I am learning to find my inner discipline. I have to mentally force myself to move somedays. It is not easy. Having people ‘help’ me with advice isn’t always helpful either. I just want you to know. Being IN the shoes is the only time you should give advice. Having shoes is not the same.

You are NOT fighting for MY life.

I am sure this will piss a lot of people off. Especially all the ‘natural only’ people. I am not discounting natural stuff. I follow a lot of it. What works best for me and my research. Just let me live my life like I want. With courage, dignity and strength.

Stepping off my soap box now.

 

 

I may not be setting a P.R…..

I may not be setting personal best. I definitely am not improving my pace. Yet, I am definitely getting a stronger mind.

This Sunday morning I went for a walk. My goal: to go a couple of miles.

I picked up my phone and put on some praise and worship and headed out the door to commune with the Creator in nature. My neighborhood, but nature is very much around.

I walked passed squirrels and a fat chicken with furry feet. I saw flowers blooming and trees burdened with blossoms.

20160409_192732.jpgI purposely did not use my Runkeeper app or any others (except Fitbit your steps don’t count if you don’t have your Fitbit, can I get a whoop whoop!) I didn’t look at my Fitbit but once to see if I was close to the miles I wanted.

I walked and walked and I sang out loud to some worship music and I smiled and saw all that was good around me. I was thankful that I had the energy to walk. That I wasn’t nauseous or dizzy or delirious.

I had bathed myself in sunblock and wore extra apparel to prevent sun burn. I sang again, and smiled in the beauty of the day.

I may not have beaten  any of my my past records for walking. I certainly did not jog or wog any of the route, but I hit the 3 mile goal I wanted. I hit it and felt good. I hit it and felt strong. I hit it and still had energy and a smile and a mindset that I am doing good for myself.

My mind is strong. My body will follow. I will rejoice in all the good in life. I will continue to praise. I will continue to share the joy!

20160409_191042.jpg20160409_192747.jpg20160409_192323And yes I did say a chicken with furry feet! Someday I will get a picture!

You are stronger.

Cancercize with Renee B. on Youtube and Facebook.

Come join me!

 

 

It doesn’t count.

 

 

In the past six years I have become a very ‘get stronger and fitter’ minded person. Do I have it down? No. Am I the weight and BMI “they” want me to be? No. Do I care about the size on my tags? No, well maybe yes. Do I care that I am lowering my cholesterol and blood pressure and other possible health issues? Yes. Have I made good strides? Yes. Is it easy? Hell no! Do I keep trying? Yes.

So with that in mind, and the common knowledge of my regulars that I am fighting breast cancer, I am not as active as I wish I could be. I do know one day I will be again. So my husband and I bought Fitbits last weekend.

He is really impressed with it. He has never had a tracker before. I used to have a Jawbone years ago. I caught him the last two nights pacing the apartment to get his last few steps. 🙂 Cracks me up.

I am no where near the steps I need in a day yet. Each day I try to get a few more in. Yesterday I did reach the goal of 10 flights of stairs in one day. We live on the second floor, so I just hit the stairs five times.

Today a friend of mine sent me the Weekend Warriors challenge. More steps than all your friends in the challenge over the weekend. I know I will not win because of the fatigue that hits me pretty hard still. However, I did join so I can be a part of something and interact.

I have 441 steps in so far today. When getting my cup of coffee I took several laps around the apartment to build them up. I checked to see where I am at. Oh no my Fitbit battery is dead!!! No!! I need those steps!

So I have to charge it. Takes about two hours. I need to get another cup of coffee and some breakfast but I REFUSE to move until it is fully charged. Yep, sitting here reading blogs, playing on Facebook, checking emails and any other distractions I can do from the comfort of my bed. No wasted unaccounted for steps from me today! No sir, no how!

It is like the age old saying ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?’ If you take steps without your Fitbit do they really count? 🙂

 

Anyway hope you have an active and fun day.

 

 

 

Hello

Hello my name is Renee. I live in my pajamas. I put on sweats and slip on boots when I have to go out. I eat everything in site. I am not allowed to work out. I am going stir crazy.  I want to read but the meds make it hard to focus. I am totally caught up on Beverly Hillbilly’s and Petticoat Junction. I am annoyed with my uncomfortable drains and breast binder. I am tired of being tired. Life’s curveballs are sometimes really dumb. Being flexible is not always easy.

Complaining over.