Gratitude

Do you ever notice how I seem to be chasing the sun? I mean, I spend a lot of time documenting the rise and the fall to the earth of the sun and I am fascinated by all the colors painted each and every time? We realize it is a ball of fire and it could destroy the earth someday right? Do I ever think of it that way? No, I think…. oooohhh it is sooooo pretty, let me get closer. I am seriously fascinated with the view from my back window, it feels like a living painting and I do not have to pay for the luxury, it just came with the house that the government helps me pay for. I mention this statement because, up until maybe two months ago, I did not properly appreciate my old, drafty home or the view. I think my intention with the photography idealization is to visualize what my life would look like if I lived in the large homes that are bordering my neighborhood. I neglected the appreciation of my own house and did not daily remind myself as I should have, of how fortunate I am to live on such a quiet street, with such great neighbors. I never thought to appreciate the proximity of small town community kindness and the bigger city experience close enough, how it is just perfect for me and my family. This is something I now remember every day that I live, until such a day that I am granted a larger living space that matches my dreams.

I am grateful for every hardship or every darkness experienced which make me appreciate the moments of light more. I am grateful for still being alive, and for learning the lessons I have learned through learning to love myself. I appreciate the clarity of mind to be able to look back on past life choices and see the reasons, or learn the lessons, and possess the ability to make changes necessary to move forward without regret. I am grateful for the health of my children, and for the fact that Cancer listens to me when I tell it that it is not welcome in my body or my mind. I am grateful for the ability to see the answers to whatever questions I have and not to have the fear and doubt cloud my judgement. I am thankful to God for removing Fear from my entire being.

This earth is so small in comparison to the rest of the universe, and sometimes I am especially grateful for recognizing how insignificant I am, yet how amazing it feels to have the ability to get up every morning and try something new again and feel limitless in my potential to change each day anyway. Not everyone has the rights or abilities I have; it would be a shame if I wasted my chances to keep chasing that sun.

Forgive

Have you ever spent a significant amount of time thinking about forgiveness? … towards others – more importantly, our self? Well, me either, until I did. When you decide to focus on that area of your heart; your soul, brain, and body start to feel significantly uncomfortable, but then you feel pretty amazeballs (if you do it right). I used to have chronic pain every day, and I can say that I no longer feel that pain. Just putting it out there.

Now, let us talk about America… or God, let us talk about how God just blows my mind, with how simplistic the Universal Command to Love One Another was meant ‘quite literally’ for the ENTIRETY of humankind… and how fundamentally hard it is for sections of the Christian population to reconcile a system in place that might not be entirely Gods design, because God is not like us… ummm, how can I say this politely? Visualize a human removing their proverbial head from their own proverbial butt… anyway, let us not talk about that. Did I mention that I started meditating?

Yes, I take time out of my day to center – picture my index fingers touching my thumbs as I sit cross-legged in my newly converted attic/meditation room adjacent to my bedroom in order to force myself to remain still. I remind myself of what is most important, what I am grateful for. If I do not meditate once a day, I unconsciously do this thing… spacing out? Daydreaming? Mouth breathing? If I am not ‘with you’ *aka not paying attention, I am someplace else in my head. I can hang out with myself for days and be completely entertained, and that used to be something that scared me.

Apparently, living in fear is rough on a body and mind. Humans are motivated by two things Love or Fear – either or both sometimes. For instance, ruminating over a broken past or hyper-vigilance to prevent a scary future lives little healing space to Be in the present. Getting in a comfortable quiet space feels pretty good! My ideas come through clearly, and eventually I will maintain that stillness for more than 15 minutes straight without having to redirect my brain back to focus.

I have not watched ‘real live’ broadcast news in a long time. I do not trust what I see or hear without searching for evidence before forming an opinion. Even the information found online seems by special interest groups. If we just step outside our front porches and get to know our neighbors, it would be a small forward step for humankind. What is wrong is we don’t want to know each other and will always be shocked when something out of the ordinary’ happens in our neighborhoods. *don’t get me started.

I do watch news reported by a few educated comedians. I recommend everyone finding their own educated comedian to report the news – it significantly decreases the level of stress upon the hearing and seeing how insane my fellow man really is. Anyway, forgiving ourselves is number 1 on the path to healing… and if it is America and its leaders that need the forgiving, that is number 2… sad, but true. God Bless America.

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Relaxing is Stressful

I am not a hippie, but sometimes I play one….  As a cancer survivor, a veteran with a touch of ptsd, adhd, and ocd; so, with that in mind, I am open to alternative treatments.  And did you know you can actually stress yourself out, in the process of learning to ‘de-stress’?  I have read several books this year, but a couple changed my perspective on how I see things.  The most recent book I finished was “It Didn’t Start with You” by Mark Wolynn, and he talks about how past trauma has a way of making its way to the surface even if deeply buried within a family. Even when we are unconscious of it, or unaware of the source.  The book details a series of exercises you can do to root out the causes of your issues needing to be released in order to move forward.

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza.  (read 4 times) The book deals explains how our minds have the capacity to take those elements of our self and reframe them, even re-experience things to a better result. At the end of each chapter is an exercise to provide you with practical tools. There is potential to gain relief and healing in your spirit (and your physical body), or at least to heal the negative energy and learn how to replace it with positive energy (oversimplified description), but it works if you fully invest in the process to get you there and truly believe that you are worthy of healing and love.  

These exercises affect your ‘total well-being’ so by taking care of the self emotionally, we heal physically at the same time.  It is pretty cool from my perspective at least. A way to remain cancer free, is to maintain my stress levels in a consistent way.  I need to break the habits of fear and insecurity and root out any negatives that lurk in the back of my mind and tackle those one at a time. Cancer does not have a chance in this body, sorry myeloma.

Anyway, even if I should have known better, I tried an online dating app.  Because you are looking for a long-term life-changing-earth-shattering love… go to the internet?  *laughing sarcastically* AND Wow, what happened between 2000 and 2019? Did a trend start where sending weenie pics to women is considered normal?  Random strangers asking for your privates in picture form? Has this been going on for a long time? Where was I, and why does it not appeal to me?  Oh, because when I meet people, I shake their hands, and look into their eyes, I never asked a man to clarify his manhood with photographic evidence.  I deleted the account, but I learned a lot in that month of time.

Dating after divorce is hard enough, dating after trauma and cancer, is another situation entirely.  My life ‘now’ is similar to a plot line in the movie with Steve Carroll in 40-year-old virgin, except, I have kids… and technically, not one.  (so not that similar) Any who, the plotline and feelings he goes through as he tries to date are pretty spot on.  The movie, Crazy, Stupid, Love, shows Steve Carrol dating as tragically as I do, or the movie Bad Moms, when the main character tells potential dates all about her kids and her mom life while sitting at a bar with her friends… yeah, that is kind of me also.  And a question:  When is a good time to bring up that you have a cancer that could come visit again someday? In the beginning, or do you wait? I prefer to live as if I do not have it, but my disability status is a reminder at times.

I am attempting to talk less, when possible.  Haha When I meet someone, my introduction may be short, but you will have a million questions in your head within the first 5 minutes, especially wondering ‘How, Why, When, What, WTF?’  You may have to allow me to summarize the únsummarizable’ in order to really get to know me. Eventually the newness of a person and the awkward insecure hello turns into a good conversation, but beyond that and flirting like a 20-year-old, I am at a total loss of how to date in the new world as it is today.  

I don’t know if the cancer put my mortality more in my face… but I think of how much time I may have left, all the time.  I wish the doctors had never given me prognosis numbers, I just use them as dates to beat, and so far, I already beat my first 3-5-year myeloma mortality rate. My next goal to beat is the 10-year mark with MM, but I know many survivors that are living well beyond that mark, so there is definitely hope for me (when I manage my stress).  So, each day is significant, no matter how insignificant a moment may seem.   

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Myeloma Update

The girls went to Johns Hopkins with me this time, and somehow I remembered these things much more painful during the process, but it is actually áfter’ a bone marrow biopsy to your hip that you ‘really’ feel what they did back there.

I have attached a photo for people with my humor.

They did not let the girls come back to the procedure room, so I had to improvise on the photography. You are welcome.

Anyway, I survived, but did not see my doctor that day, nor did I see him for the follow up, due to another schedule conflict. No news, or no calls from your oncologist after this procedure is always a good thing. It did not necessarily say there is No cancer in my body, but it did say that it is undetectable, therefore I am still in remission, and it is showing signs of being more of a plasma cell myeloma, which maybe? Is why I managed to stick around past the original doctors diagnosis? I keep the tumors away… the cancer doesn’t have any chance taking me down. Easy Peasy, Lemon-Squeezy is what I say. Anyway, all my tests look really good for what my body has been through in the last 5 years. Praise God is all I can say. There has been nothing but glorious… nothing happening in the myeloma world, I get to pretend I never met the beast most of the time. 🙂

I try to work on de-stressing, by staying busy, and attempting to live as if cancer never showed up in the first place, and I am only here to live every day to the fullest. Do not research myeloma excessively, do not ask too many questions about every ache and pain, you will find more aches and pains the harder you look, I am an example. Myeloma messes with our state of mind, our well-being some days.

The next plan on the agenda is to go back to Art School and start doing more creative projects to process all the life changes in a more therapeutic way than my usual ‘stream of consciousness’ style of writing I have done for the last several years. As I tidy up the baggage in my soul for a while longer, and clean out the clutter, I will try to at least make small updates before attempting any more long & slightly terrible blog thus far… although therapeutic, it can be done =better.

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