MEMORIES FADE and YOU DO GET BETTER

MEMORIES FADE and YOU DO GET BETTER, but there’s always a niggling in the back of your mind keeping you alert and cautious… I wrote the post below 7 years ago and while I feel incredibly Blessed to have avoided most of the pitfalls of cancer, I still wonder with WHY, why me? I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs and I eat incredibly well with scratch cook and yet my health is a continual issue, still even now.

A New Beginning… and oh SO Lucky

I’ve been struggling with a way to get back into the swing of things here in blogland. You see just 2 months ago today I was struck with those words that we all fear hearing from our doctor. You know,  any phrase that includes the words cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. For me it was the worst Christmas present imaginable so I persevered and didn’t really let on to most of the family in the beginning – no sense ruining anyone else’s holidays since no further testing could be scheduled until after Christmas.

You truly do go through the 5 stages of grief augmented with periods of disbelief and a lack of comprehension.  It doesn’t matter how well schooled you are or how intelligent you are, those words hit you like a ton of bricks.

Last year when I began my food blog, Always Eat On The Good China, I developed the name after reading a letter that Erma Bombeck wrote when she knew she was dying from cancer.  I even put a quote from her on my side bar that I found extremely poignant.

It was around that same time that I had an appendicitis attack – I still had my appendix and it had been chronic since I was 9 years old.  Or at least I thought I was having an appendicitis attack.  We now know that I was having pain from my ovary that was growing into what was being described as a cantalouped size mass.

Fortunately for me at my well woman exam the nurse practitioner noticed what she thought was an enlarged uterus and she ordered an ultrasound because she feared uterine cancer.

The ultrasound was on the Tuesday after Christmas. The words changed, but stayed the same, cancer was still in the phrase, but now it was ovarian cancer.  To it they added terms like tumor and oncologist.

My brand new doctor (I’d never met him prior to the ultrasound tech calling him into the exam) in a brand new town thought I was in shock because I didn’t cry and react hysterically. He just didn’t know  me well enough to know I was really okay.  But, I’m a fixer, so my next phrase is always, what next?  What next turned out to be a referral to MD Anderson Cancer Center and an oncologist, whom I adore by the way!.  She and her team made it possible for me to stay both positive and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Their Motto is “making cancer history” which struck me as the right positive note for me.

The next 2 weeks and 5 days were a whirlwind of blood draws, X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, chemical stress tests, consultations, clearances and…

I underwent surgery on the 1st knowing full well all the fine print, legal jargon and potential pitfalls of this diagnosis.  I also knew that because of the size, I would awake to only a possible pathology.  I awoke to hear things like “self-contained”, “non-invasive cancer” and “surveillance” as well as the cantaloupe was actually a volleyball with a balloon twist.  While we are still awaiting final pathology I am now at home after a week in the hospital and catering to the whims of a 10 inch zipper through multiple layers of muscle and the needs to get my energy back and regenerate the tissue.

With that, for now, I’ll leave you with this email story that crossed my desk.  True or not, it’s heart warming and endearing and worth the read.  I choose to believe in the bright and positive.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named ‘Lucky.’

Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.

Mary or Jim would go to Lucky’s toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky’s other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.

It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease….in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.

She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her…what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary’s dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won’t understand that I didn’t want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.

The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.

Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn’t even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.

Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn’t come to her when she called. It made Mary sad, but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.

When Mary woke for a second she couldn’t understand what was wrong. She couldn’t move her head and her body  felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It’s been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free.
Lucky… He still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.
Remember….live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget….the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.
 
If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
A small request
All you are asked to do is keep this circulating.
Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer.
Amen

6 years 7 months 10 days and counting – OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my birthday month.  Is there a correlation?  Probably just for me, but the irony is NOT wasted on me.  At this age many people just say, it’s another day, oh well.  For me, I look forward to it like a small child.  Not because of cake and presents, but because I’m alive to celebrate it. In a few months I will have my 7 year check up, an event fairly rare with this type of cancer, so I’m ecstatic to be having another birthday that puts me that much closer to being labeled cancer free AGAIN! I have vowed to tell my story every year in hopes of raising awareness.  My story was not just pure luck.  In today’s world it’s hard work to stay on top of awareness, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle, but it is also SOOOOO worth it!  BE AWARE. BE VIGILANT. BE HEALTHY. BE POSITIVE.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history of breast cancer.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas (December 2010) to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here. Because of my family history I not only got BRCA done, but I was ready to act on it f necessary.  Being prepared mentally is one of the best things to do fo yourself.

I cannot say it enough:

Are you aware of your body?
Do you get regular check ups?
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.
Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here.
Go check these out NOW!
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit THEM online at www.cancer.org.

Save

CANCERVERSARY Year 6 and Counting

Six years ago today my life was forever changed when I woke up after my “Cancer” surgery. I will NEVER forget that day or all the support and love that my family and friends provided during my journey. The doctors, nurses and fellow cancer patients I met and have bonded with has been an amazing gift. I will always worry about my cancer coming back but right now I am so thankful and blessed to be here today. Thank you everyone for your love and support!!!
2192 days ago they told me they got it all.  Well to be honest I was out of it for the first 3 days after a being cut open from stem to stern and a lengthy surgery so I didn’t hear them until 2189 days ago.  But, my family knew and was relieved.   I am always waiting for the other shoe to fall and the elephant is ALWAYS in the room.  They learn new nuances about cancer every day, but no one knows for sure why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t when there is no direct link nor when or if it will come back.

Every bite of food I take, every prescription, every breath of air, every time I’m around fertilizer, clean the bathroom or use kitchen spray cleaner remind me that I don’t know how I got this horrible cancer and that there is is still the risk of it repeating itself.  My oncologist tells me that having Systemic Lupus may have saved my life because it changed my lifestyle all those years ago forcing me to eat “cleaner” with no boxed or canned products for the most part, give up “regular” junk food and just be more aware and vigilant in day to day life.

After surgery I was poked, prodded and put through every possible test to double check their findings because they couldn’t believe they got it all.  The tumor was large (volleyball size) but contained – unheard of for this type of cancer so I got a new label – rare and uncommon gynecological tumor which sparked a new round of tests. Even with complete vigilance I ended up with a secondary condition, Lymphedema, that requires daily maintenance.

I dread the waiting between check-ups, but the dread is lessening with every passing check up, but NOT the vigilance!  I’m always afraid that I might not get a clean bill of health with every blood test or check up.  While I can now claim complete remission and have been moved to the “survivor’s clinic”, but even then there are no guarantees.  While I know I am one really lucky girl, I am always vigilant.

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OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my birthday month.  Is there a correlation?  Probably just for me, but the irony is NOT wasted on me.  At this age many people just say, it’s another day, oh well.  For me, I look forward to it like a small child.  Not because of cake and presents, but because I’m alive to celebrate it. In a few months I will have my 6 year check up, an event fairly rare with this type of cancer, so I’m ecstatic to be having another birthday that puts me that much closer to being labeled cancer free AGAIN! I have vowed to tell my story every year in hopes of raising awareness.  My story was not just pure luck.  In today’s world it’s hard work to stay on top of awareness, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle, but it is also SOOOOO worth it!  BE AWARE. BE VIGILANT. BE HEALTHY. BE POSITIVE.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history of breast cancer.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas (December 2010) to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?  
Do you get regular check ups?  
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

  Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.

Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here. Because of my family history I not only got BRCA done, but I was ready to act on it f necessary.  Being prepared mentally is one of the best things to do fo yourself.  I cannot say it enough:

Are you aware of your body?  
Do you get regular check ups?  
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here

Go check these out NOW!  
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit THEM online at www.cancer.org.

NEW LIFE to an old KITCHENAID

Back in 1994 we lived in Northridge, California. On January 16, 1994 I spent the day setting up banquet tables in my dining room and living room so I could empty out EVERY kitchen cabinet and drawer of dishes, food (including 6 dozen freshly made jars of jam) and cooking utensils onto those tables to prepare for a complete kitchen overhaul.  It was a tough job and in all honesty some things were stacked a bit precariously, but I made it ALL fit onto the tables.

After I accomplished that tiresome job I removed all the cabinet doors and had them stacked and ready for stripping and painting the next day.  I was exhausted, but I was ready for the next day full of painting. Or so I thought.

What I didn’t know when I planned that project was that the 6.9 Northridge earthquake was going to strike at 4:31 the next morning, only a few short hours after I called it a day from the prep work for the kitchen the previous day.  Long story short we lost 95% of EVERYTHING in the house and garage including my car.

It took a FULL month plus to pick up, bag up, box up and haul everything out to the curb to throw away the broken pieces of our life including furniture, walls and the jam mashed into the carpet.  We had no food except what was in the freezer.  We had a 2 week long block party with the neighbors all taking turns at cooking on BBQ’s in the street.   No electricity, no stores, no banks, no phones (the days before everyone having a cell phone)… life came to a grinding halt.

But, when the dust had settled, the insurance inventories had been submitted, insurance checks began to arrive and when we had caught our breath we began rebuilding.

One of the first things I bought was a new mixer.  I had decided that I was going to splurge and so I bought a top of the line (for the time) 6 qt. professional Kitchenaid.  At the time you couldn’t get all the designer colors so I got a simple white.

In early 2007 I couldn’t stand how it looked after so many years of use, but it is a work horse and I love it so I decided to paint it.  No since in spending money just for a prettier mixer so I chose a hammered copper paint which was popular for the time. 

Now, lmost 10 years later it was time again.  This time I chose a teal color to keep with the color theme I have chosen for this house.  Teal is my new favorite color since it’s the awareness color for Ovarian Cancer.  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank God for surviving Ovarian Cancer so choosing the teal is a happy reminder that I’m here and healthy. I got a little carried away and started painted a lot of things.

 Of course it began to thunder and sprinkle then rain so I had to move everything inside to finish drying.

All finished! A great 22 1/2 year old KitchenAid professional workhorse in a new custom color.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and my birthday month.  Is there a correlation?  Probably just for me, but the irony is NOT wasted.  At this age many people just say, it’s another day, oh well.  For me, I look forward to it like a small child.  Not because of cake and presents, but because I’m alive to celebrate it. In a few months I will have my 5 year check up, an event fairly rare with this type of cancer, so I’m ecstatic to be having another birthday that puts me that much closer to being labeled cancer free! I have vowed to tell my story every year in hopes of raising awareness.  My story was not just pure luck.  In today’s world it’s hard work to stay on top of awareness, healthy eating and a positive lifestyle, but it is also SOOOOO worth it!  BE AWARE. BE VIGILANT. BE HEALTHY. BE POSITIVE.

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas (December 2010) to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?  
Do you get regular check ups?  
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.

  Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.

Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here.

Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here

Go check these out NOW!  
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit us online at www.cancer.org.

ONE YEAR CLOSER TO COMPLETE REMISSION & THE ELEPHANT IS ALWAYS IN THE ROOM

Four years ago today my life was forever changed when I woke up after my “Cancer” surgery. I will NEVER forget that day or all the support and love that my family and friends provided during my journey. The doctors, nurses and fellow cancer patients I met and have bonded with has been an amazing gift. I will always worry about my cancer coming back but right now I am so thankful and blessed to be here today. Thank you everyone for your love and support!!!
1464 days ago they told me they got it all.  Well to be honest I was out of it for the first 3 days after surgery so I didn’t hear them until 1461 days ago.  But, my family knew and was relieved.   I am always waiting for the other shoe to fall and the elephant is ALWAYS in the room.  They learn new nuances every day, but no one knows for sure why one person gets cancer and another doesn’t when there is no direct link nor when or if it will come back.
Every bite of food I take, every prescription, every breath of air, every time I’m around fertilizer, clean the bathroom or use kitchen spray cleaner remind me that I don’t know how I got this horrible cancer and that there is is still the risk of repeating itself.  My oncologist tells me that having Systemic Lupus may have saved my life because it changed my life all those years ago forcing me to eat cleaner, give up “regular” junk food and just be more aware and vigilant in day to day life.

After surgery I was poked, prodded and put through every possible test to double check their findings because they couldn’t believe they got it all.  The tumor was large (volleyball size) but contained – unheard of for this type of cancer so I got a new label – rare and uncommon gynecological tumor which spark a new round of tests.  

I dread the waiting between check-ups every few months.  I’m always afraid that I might not get a clean bill of health with every blood test and check up.  In 365 days I can claim complete remission, but even then there are no guarantees.  While I know I am one really lucky girl, I am always vigilant.  

BUCKET LIST UPDATE

TODAY I AM CELEBRATING 
LIFE AS IT HAPPENS EACH & EVERY DAY.
On 12-29-2010 my life changed forever with a cancer diagnosis so of course I made a BUCKET LISTNo, not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. I’m doing well and getting close to being able say complete remission.

Miracles DO happen 

Then life kinda got out of control and I forgot about the list.  It is time to start thinking about it again make some fun plans.

There are so many things I want to do before I do die, but there never seems to be enough time, money or energy so I’m making a list as I go and changing that.  I’m fortunate that I have already done so many things, but there are so many more yet to do!  I no longer stress out over the small things and they were right, they are all small things! 
  • Eat a hangover burger – 12-28-11
  • – Go to a PRO football game
  • – Go to a PRO hockey game
  • – Learn a new hobby
  • – Finish my novels
  • – Finish my cookbooks
  • – Get published
  • – Go to Vermont/New England and see the changing colors in the fall
  • – Go to Disneyworld/Epcot Center
  • – Go to an Olympics
  • – Get a postcard series of pictures published
  • – Go white water rafting
  • – Go Deep Sea Fishing (if only for the pictures)
  • – Go Parasailing
  • – Design and publish a quilt pattern
  • Travel 1st Class (sort of) 10-7-14 (trip post to follow)
  • – Move to a new part of the country and start afresh learning new local history
  • – …
Every time I update this list I will change to the current date to show my progress.

My birthday is in September, but with the weather so hot during that month we waited until October to take a trip for my birthday, not that the weather was that much better.  In the “old” days we would take a little trip for each of our birthdays.  That all changed with hubby’s last alert, activation and eventual deployment.  With the fall out of the VA after that, then my cancer and 5 surgeries we never seemed to get back to the trip around my birthday – something ALWAYS came up.  Well, this year we made it.
So for my birthday present from hubby we spent 3 days and 2 nights aboard the historic Queen Mary living in a harbor view first class luxury stateroom with a trip to the Aquarium.  I promise a post and lots of pictures soon!

CANCER – ARE YOU SCREENING?

SEPTEMBER IS OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH!

I’ve always been a good girl and gotten my yearly well woman exams. I know my own body.  I started getting my mammograms at a very early age because of a serious family history.  I have a degree in the health field.  I am aware, yet imagine my surprise at my well woman appointment when they said they thought I might have a serious problem – Merry Christmas to me!  Imagine my shock a few weeks later when it was confirmed.

Are you aware of your body?  
Do you get regular check ups?  
Do you get timely cancer screenings.   
Don’t neglect any little pain or irregularity.


 Take control of your health and reduce your cancer risk.

Despite getting my yearly well woman exams I had been having a few pains  here and there for several months before my scheduled appointment, but ignored them because they “mimicked” my chronic appendix of many, many years.  I ignored them and it almost killed me.  Are YOU ignoring something that you should be having a doctor check?  Think twice and make an appointment 1st thing tomorrow.

Ovarian cancer has an ugly step sister too, breast cancer.  If you have any family history please get tested for BRCA also.  You have probably heard about it with a few celebrities having chosen to remove their breasts after testing positive.  It’s a simple blood test and can give you a world of relief to know the answer and if by chance it’s not relief, then your are armed to save your life with positive choices.  You can learn more about it here.

Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Cancer Risk can be found here

Go check these out NOW!  
Here are a few other tips to get you started.
  • Stay away from tobacco.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.
  • Get moving with regular physical activity.
  • Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all).
  • Protect your skin.
  • Know yourself, your family history, and your risks.
  • Have regular check-ups and cancer screening tests.
  • For information on how to reduce your cancer risk and other questions about cancer, please call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit us online at www.cancer.org.

    The Big “C” and perspective

    Many years ago when I first met my Rhuematologist, she refused to provide me with support groups for SLE (Systemic Lupus).  I was only 25 when I was diagnosed and quite honestly scared to death by the literature I had been reading.  I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Raynuad’s Syndrome. In the blink of an eye I went from jogging 5 days a week, playing raquetball 2-3 times a week and living a carefree life to taking multiple prescriptions and cutting out most activity because of the pain it brought on and all just so I could make it from one day to the next.  This all seemed a lot to deal with and I thought wow, maybe a support a support group would help.  My doctor disagreed.  She believed my positive outlook would carry me farther than others sob stories and pity parties.  I didn’t listen to her and sought out a support group anyway.  It didn’t take me long into the meeting to realize that while it was nice to meet others with the same condition, the outcomes really depended on internal strengths and weaknesses and that my doctor was right, I needed to focus on the positives.

    Shortly after my visit to the support group, I walked into her office and held out my hand.  In it was an entire day’s worth of medications, something like 30 pills.  I told her I refused to live the rest of my life like this – taking all these pills each day and enduring not only the symptoms of the disease, but also the side affects of the medication, especially because they predicted it wouldn’t be a long life.  I anticipated her telling me that it was just what it was and to learn to live with it.

    I was wrong, she jumped at the chance to help me change my life, lifestyle and overall perspective!  My college training and background is medical in nature which makes for an unusual patient.  One that understands – sometimes too much or just enough to scare yourself because you anticipate what comes next.  

    Ultimately, perspective and attitude travel hand in hand no matter the diagnosis.  Along with that culture, age and personality play into every attitude.  But, attitudes can be changed and updated, it’s entirely up to us.
    To refresh your memory these are the 5 stages:
    The 5 stages of grief or acceptance:
    DENIAL – “this can’t be happening to me”. Not accepting or even acknowledging the loss.
    ANGER“why me?”, feelings of wanting to fight back or get even with spouse of divorce, for death, anger at the deceased, blaming them for leaving.
    BARGAINING – bargaining often takes place before the loss. Attempting to make deals with the spouse who is leaving, or attempting to make deals with God to stop or change the loss. Begging, wishing, praying for them to come back.
    DEPRESSION – overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, frustration, bitterness, self pity, mourning loss of person as well as the hopes, dreams and plans for the future. Feeling lack of control, feeling numb. Perhaps feeling suicidal.
    ACCEPTANCE there is a difference between resignation and acceptance. You have to accept the change or loss, not just try to bear it quietly. Realization that it takes two to make or break a marriage. Realization that the person is gone (in death) that it is not their fault, they didn’t leave you on purpose. (even in cases of suicide, often the deceased person, was not in their right frame of mind) Finding the good that can come out of the pain of loss, finding comfort and healing. Our goals should turn toward personal growth.

    Get help. You will survive. You will heal (at least emotionally), even if you cannot believe that now, just know that it is true. To feel pain after loss (loss can also be a chronic illness or even a situation where we do not have control) is normal. It proves that we are alive, human. But we can’t stop living. We have to become stronger. Helping others through something we have experienced is a wonderful way to facilitate our healing and bring good out of something tragic.

    YOUR BODY IS A TEMPLE ~ THE ABC’s OF HEALTHY EATING

    Many of you know about the ongoing struggle I have been having after being diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Even before the cancer, I struggled with living a clean eating and healthy lifestyle to cope with the aspects of Systemic Lupus.  Now sandwiched right before the cancer diagnosis was also a a diagnosis of Systemic Scleroderma which now labels me with a “mixed connective tissue disease” label.  Oh and by the way none of them have cures.  This makes want to find a way to live even more healthy so I’ll be around for the cures!
    Without going into a long story, many years ago after the Systemic Lupus diagnosis when I was in college and after 6 months of taking Progesterone and various other drugs, I went to my Rheumatologist (a fortunate recent referral and a truly great doctor and caring woman after several other doctors who really had no clue) and said I can’t live like this!  The Progesterone had put almost 60 pounds on me, I could no longer play racquetball (something I did 3-4 times a week) or jog (something I did 5-7 times a week after being a cross country runner in high school). It took me years just to take off that weight.   LOL at least I was a 90 pound weakling prior to the steroids!
    This great and caring doctor sighed with relief and asked me to sit down so we could talk!  Really, she just wanted to chat and chat we did for an hour and a half.  I truly believe that she changed my life forever!
    The first thing she did was refuse me a support group – I know that sounds strange, but she truly felt I was better off with my positive attitude working through the steps with guidance.  Step 1 was to change my eating habits.  Remember I was in college, always eating on the run from whatever vending machine was close and diet everything to keep from putting on any more weight.  So, she had me write down my diet for a week and guess what?  When you see it in writing you realize how much all those “a little here” and “a little there” things add up! After that realization was Step 2 – eliminate the “non food” items from my diet.  She qualified these “non food” items as anything that didn’t have a direct receptor in the body.  This included saccharin, aspartame, splenda, anything processed with ingredients the average person can’t pronounce and preserved in a box or a can.  Below is the new food pyramid in an easy to read and follow format.

    And here is an easy to follow breakdown!

    It is a personal choice, but she also asked me to stay away from pork and shellfish – you know the bottom feeders of the world that will eat anything!  As she put it, garbage in, garbage out via your kidneys and liver!


    Step 3 was to get regular exercise, proper rest and meditation to care for my whole being.  Oh and to avoid stress – yeah right, not easy in this world.  Sound advice for anyone, healthy or not!
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    So, the bottom line is that you were given only one body and despite popular belief, it cannot be easily replaced and does require the proper fuel and rest to work properly.  The easiest way is to start with a good diet.

    BUCKET LIST ~PLANS FOR THIS WEEK… BUCKET LIST

    PLANS FOR THIS WEEK…  NOT MANY!
    YOU SEE,
    TODAY I AM CELEBRATING LIFE.

    On 12-29-2010 my life changed forever with a cancer diagnosis so of course I made a BUCKET LIST.  No, not because I’m dying, but because I’m living. I’m doing well and recovering. Miracles DO happen.  Then life kinda got out of control and I forgot about it.  It is time to start thinking about it again make some fun plans.
    There are so many things I want to do before I do die, but there never seems to be enough time, money or energy so I’m making a list as I go and changing that.  I’m fortunate that I have already done so many things, but there are so many more yet to do!  I no longer stress out over the small things and they were right, they are all small things! 
    • #  1 – eat a hangover burger – 12-28-11
    • #  2 – go to a PRO football game
    • #  3 – go to a PRO hockey game
    • #  4 – finish my novels
    • #  5 – finish my cookbooks
    • #  6 – get published
    • #  7 – Go to Vermont/New England and see the changing colors in the fall
    • #  8 – Go to Disneyworld/Epcot Center
    • #  9 – Go to an Olympics
    • #10 – Get a postcard series of pictures published
    • #11 – Go white water rafting
    • #12 – Go Deep Sea Fishing (if only for the pictures)
    • #13 – Design and publish a quilt pattern
    • #14 – Travel 1st Class
    • #15 – …
    Every time I update this list I will change to the current date to show my progress.