Taking Action

My third round of chemo came this week. There was no real fanfare. I am kind of use to the drill. It did take a lot longer than normal. I had a full examination by my doctor, which looked good. The infusion room was packed, so I was placed in some small back corner. It took a half hour just to get the IV in and another half hour to hang the first bag of pre-chemo meds.

I kind of felt like I was on the second string’s team in the back. I missed the nurses that I normally bond with, but I had my buddy Max with me to keep me distracted. Around noon, my father swapped out with him and brought me some lunch. All was normal until I started feeling a wave of heat flush through my body. I threw off any blankets or excess clothing and felt my scalp and palms clam up. The nurses came and stopped the IV. They took my pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and blood glucose readings. I got some extra oxygen because my pulse oxygen was a little low. I had to have a doctor come down and check everything out. We never determined if it was a reaction to the chemo or something as simple as a hot flash.

By the time we got back on track, I noticed that I was one of the last patients in the building. I expected to be held there for 6 hours, but I left after 8 and a half. I am pretty sure I was the last patient out of the building and it was a crazy feeling. I felt bad for my father but he didn’t seem to mind. I passed out early that night. I was exhausted.

I am now off for about four weeks. I go in mid December for a simulation for the start of radiation. I am a little scared about it. It will be every day for 4-5 weeks, right during the holidays. I am going to get my first tattoos ever just so they know where to irradiate me.

I am now on day 3 after the chemo and am feeling the bones again. This has been the worst part of the chemo for me. I may be a little more tired than normal too. Over all, I really feel lucky. I know so many other people have a worse time with this treatment. I am annoyed by certain side effects of the treatment but in so many ways it has not been a huge deal. Giving myself the time and space to recover can almost be more difficult.

I feel like recovery includes focusing on what I want my life to really be. So many people look at cancer as a death sentence or a huge loss, I am choosing to look at it as a way in which I can gain everything I have always wanted but made too many excuses to actually take action.

I don’t even know if I would have sought treatment if I hadn’t started this year with the focus of releasing judgment. I had so many strange opinions or perceptions of what I thought things should be. I was the meanest self-critic, and I couldn’t even see it. I knew I felt miserable, but I didn’t realize how much I was playing a role in it.

After you make a huge shift in such an area, it isn’t like you are immediately cured. Constantly, I have different events come back up to test me. I feel like the more I confront my bad tapes and faulty thinking, the easier it becomes. I equate it to building a muscle memory. Thoughts can be super powerful, or they can be nothing. It depends on what the feeling is behind it and how much attention are you going to give it.

I have been working super hard at confronting my negative thoughts. Having witnessed my parents’ journeys with cancer and mine, I think it is really normal to worry about your longevity. You might be doing something mundane and then think about what someone might think if this was the last time they saw you. Stupid thoughts. I have learned that when I get a thought like this, or one that is just not pleasant, I thank the Universe for showing me the contrast and flick it away or send it off.

I went back to the woman at the bookstore today. It was time for another monthly Shared Circle of Enlightenment. The energy was a little different from when she talked to Alex and I about our spirit guides, but I still felt like I gained a lot from being in her presence.

I talked to her about feeling the need to release resistance. I have grown so much, but I still resist doing things that I know I need to do or to relax and surrender more.  Besides confronting negative thought patterns, we had some dialogue on faith and trust. After my surgery, I knew the Universe had my back. I was so sure that the Universe was supporting me and giving me all that I needed. Now, a few months out, that same solid faith and trust had softened a little.

Alex and Max continued the conversation with me at home. One of the things that they hate about me is that I trust so very little. They even think I don’t trust them. In reality, I trust them implicitly. I trust them more than I do myself. That is where the a-ha came. It does seem a little backwards. I than asked Max, how does one build trust? He said, “through your actions.”

Sometimes when I read all these self-help books or meet these interesting people who help me see things a little clearer, you’ll feel better initially because you feel like…oh, now I understand. There is a little relief. But if you don’t put those lessons into practice, the Universe places little tests in front of you to see if you really get it. One way you might get ahead of the surprise quiz is by changing your actions to match what you believe.

Okay, I am the worst at this action-based thing. There are a million things that I should probably do or I know I should do…why aren’t I doing them? If having cancer doesn’t make me lose weight, what the hell else will? Good point. I know the biggest block for me is feeling worth the effort. As much self-confidence as I have built up over this year, I am still lacking crucial components.

I don’t know why I feel like I am so different. Everyone goes through this, but somehow I feel like I am supposed to suffer alone. I feel like everyone deserves love, but I often question if I do. If I felt abandoned during other portions of my life, which may have had nothing to do with me, how can I release that I don’t have to feel that way now? How can you have trust in faith that the people who love you aren’t going to hurt you or abandon you? How can you have faith that you won’t hurt or abandon you?

I can’t say I have any answers for these questions now…it is just what my mind is pondering. My goal for this week is to take some action steps to be kinder and more giving to myself. I want to celebrate who I am and feel like I am taking fruitful action to allow more to follow.

Folliculitis

Just when I thought I was okay with my shaved head, something comes along to mess with you. I started noticing that I was getting pimples on my head. No biggie, I am kind of prone to them. No worries. Days started passing, and it got significantly worse. I made an appointment to see my oncologist. She examined the head and said it was an extreme case of folliculitis. It isn’t like every cancer patient gets it, but since I am kind of prone to it and my immune system is sort of down…I just got it. She helped me get an appointment with my dermatologist the next day and gave me tubes of hemorrhoidal crème to put on my head to alleviate the pain. Who knew hemorrhoidal crème did such things?

The dermatologist did a culture of the bacteria on my head and determined it wasn’t anything unusual. She placed me on an antibiotic and some sort of topical gel. I have been on it for three days now, and I believe my scalp is improving. It went from super sore and oozy, to a dry desert landscape with crusties.

I haven’t been able to wear a wig or anything tight on my head. I feel a little weird stepping out because all I have been wearing are some beanies. I never wore these in my life before, now they are my go to, paired with a hoodie.

When I think of myself, I don’t know if I think of myself as a baldy. My self-image hasn’t completely caught up with my new reality. The fact that I am kind of newly lesbian and I still have a repulsion to the concept of “bull dyke,” doesn’t help the situation. I mean, I look the part right now. Still, I long to be pretty and girly. I don’t want people to look at me and try to figure out whether I am a guy or a girl. I don’t even like the idea of them thinking I am a cancer patient.

To prevent me from having total anxiety over it, I just kind of live in a little space of denial. I try not to pay attention. I just stand in the thought that it is what it is and move forward. I don’t know if it is right or wrong, but it has been working for me. That is why I am probably not as embarrassed by my weight as I should be, or that my clothes are seriously ill fitting or outdated.

Appearance is important in this society. It does say a lot about a person. Do you take the time to care? Is how you look always a reflection of who you are? I cannot say that the outside package is completely reflective of the inner person, but isn’t it? My disheveled appearance is a reflection of my internal struggles. It shows how much I care about myself.

This is an avenue that I want to improve in my life, but it is hard to focus on when you feel like a monster because your scalp is super hideous. All I want to do is cover up, which probably draws more attention to myself because it comes off like I am trying to hide something.

In the meantime, usually once or twice a week I play dress up with my friends. Alex paints my face and dresses me. We take photos or do little videos. I love doing this. It makes me feel closer to who I think I should be. Why don’t I do it everyday? Mostly because that feels like bondage. I can’t imagine a daily beauty routine. Sometimes it is because I get frustrated with how it turns out and convince myself that I look worse than I did before I started. It feels like wasted time.

When I put make up on for a show or during one of these little sessions, it isn’t really to please anyone else. I take significant time, enjoy the process, and relax about the outcome. I am doing it to please myself.

So, maybe that is what I need to remember. I need to stop dressing and worrying about what other people think of my look and just try to be more authentic to how I want to look and feel. It is another layer of this theme that has been going on during this whole year. If I could just feel more comfortable in my own skin, I would find the ease that I am looking for in my life.

Bones, Bones, Bones

There are two things that I think most people don’t look forward to when they are told that they have to have chemo. First, they believe that they are going to be hunched over the porcelain throne for hours at a time. Second, they believe that every hair follicle is going to go ballistic.

If this is you, chemo has come a long way. They pre-treat you with so much nausea medicine that you can forget about being bulimic. As my oncology nurse told me, “throwing up is unacceptable.”

As for the hair, yeah…it falls out, but not in one big pile. It is more like a waiting game. A bucket load might fall out one afternoon from your head, but those pesky little hairs on your arms and legs are still there, mocking you. I don’t know if or when they may fall out. I am kind of relieved to still have the eyebrows though.

The biggest issue I have is the pain in my bones. It can be excruciating. My hips, legs, joints all ache. I have never had a broken bone, but I believe it may be like the pain someone who has had a broken bone feels when the barometer changes. I must expend a lot of energy when this happens, because it makes me feel so tired. I just made my bed and had to rest a half hour afterward to do something else.

I feel ridiculous when I describe this because I feel like I have it good. In reality, I could be riveted in pain, puking, holding my gut…and I am not. That is how far treatment has come. Still, I have to allow myself to be a little more patient with myself. This isn’t suppose to be easy and I know that even if today isn’t my best feeling day, it does get better.

One other thing I will never take for granted is the power of pooping. Cancer drugs can make you either constipated or vice versa. I have been a fairly regular girl, so I really never understood how painful it is to be plugged up. Yesterday, I felt like I had a mini emergency. I felt vomitous just because I couldn’t go to the bathroom. Luckily, they make a drug for that too… but it is scary. I worry about all of these drugs and what they are doing to me.

Like anyone else, when you are not feeling a hundred percent, it is hard to be very motivated. My head is a little foggy. I finally found something to eat, thank goodness! Being broke and sick is never very fun! I have visions of doing laundry or some other task but I have no motivation. I don’t want to stay in bed all day, but I don’t really have any gas to go out.

Yes, I am complaining. As much as I have come a long way, I still have my weak moments. I don’t really get super down in the dumps any more, and that is because I have decided to just cut myself some slack.  You don’t have to be at your best all the time. On occasion you just need to surrender. I am allowing myself the space and the time to relax, regroup. There is no expectation. When I am ready to continue the journey, then I’ll just go. Right now I am just trying to enjoy what I got and where I am, and the journey that it took to make it here in the first place.

Overcoming the Disconnect

Life gives you a lot of opportunities to learn lessons.

The beginning of this week wasn’t bad, but I was definitely not on my highest flying disk. I know that I had slipped off after my hair was cut, but I couldn’t figure out what to really do about it. Monday came and I had to do a bunch of errands to pay some bills. It felt good to take care of some things that I had been neglectful of taking care of, but it left me with less than forty bucks to stay a float for two weeks.

Money has been a sore spot for a while. I have been so lucky that my school has had my back while I am out on leave. The union has been paying for my short-term disability. I am so grateful that they have my back, that I feel horrible when I feel like I am coming up short.

Like most cancer patients, I am sure a lot of us weren’t in a good spot financially before we got sick.  I was laid off and unemployed for a few years. How I was able to keep my house? I still don’t know. My bank account is in the perpetual red. I haven’t had money to buy clothes or shoes in years. All those times I bitched about money when I was younger, seem stupid to me now.

Anyway, whenever I pay what bills I can…I sometimes see the rest of the obligations I have and feel like a loser for not knowing how I will ever be solvent. Sometimes I don’t even know where to begin. It can be another cause of slipping off a high flying disk.

Of course, if you listen to the Law of Attraction advice, one of the best ways to stay in a place where you don’t have money is to focus on what you don’t have. So, for now I am trying to stay really grateful for what I do have…which is a lot when you think about it.

Yet, this little mental mind jockeying combined with a little self-conscience about my hair and nerves about getting a second infusion this week made life a little blah. I tried to make it a point to do some activities for fun, but I was thrown for a big curve ball on Wednesday.

I got home Tuesday night to find that my furnace wasn’t working. I knew there was no way I could afford a repairman, and my father is not always good in these types of situations. I covered up in every blanket I could get my hands on and found a way to sleep through the night. Michigan was getting cold. I could hold out for a few nights, but it isn’t like I could go through the whole winter without heat.

When I got up the next day, I had an appointment for a free massage. As I drove out, tears just streamed down my face. What was I going to do? I had to try and see if my father was interested in helping, but I hated the idea of asking him for money again.

I used my massage to calm me down. I was so sure that he would shoot me down that I knew that I had to reframe my thinking or I would get exactly what I feared. My energy and vibration lifted. I drove back home to find two packages and two cards in the mail. I had signed up with a group of Chemo Angels. Each cancer patient is assigned two angels who would send cards and letters to lift their spirits while going through treatment. It was an unexpected surprise from strangers. I opened them up and let the awe of knowing that these people really cared about me wash over me. I believe the massage earlier helped me to receive these gifts.

After I felt a little cheered up, I called my father. He asked me how I was doing and I said I wasn’t great. I told him about the furnance and he went into a mini tirade about bills and him being broke. I found myself begin to sob…I couldn’t even ask him for help. I felt so bad for needing help. I think he was thrown for a loop and kicked in saying that he would take care of things. It felt like he finally understood that I needed him to act like a Dad who knew his daughter needed help.

I love my father. I took care of him when he was diagnosed with cancer. I became his sudo wife when my mom died. I hung out with him a lot. Sometime after my sister decided to move back from Virginia, I began to distance myself from him. I spent so much time with him that I felt like I couldn’t have a life. I had taken a loan out for school before he got sick and used it to live on when I took a leave of absence to take care of him. When I became unemployed, I couldn’t pay the loan. This kind of became a sore spot. The funny thing is, he had just paid for my sister’s wedding and it was the same amount.

Now that I have faced the fact that I am a lesbian, I have trouble feeling like I am nothing but a big disappointment to him. In some ways, I am sure he already knows. Still, the dream that I was following for most of my life was one that I knew would be acceptable to him. Have a great job, a guy, maybe some kids. Be an upstanding citizen. Go to church. It was the path I am sure everyone feels like they are suppose to follow. The problem was, it was never my path. It is what I thought I needed to do, not what I wanted to do.

Still, I feel like staying true to myself is like becoming an embarrassment to him. Would he still be proud of me? Would he think less of me? The pain in having these questions answered is what keeps me away along with the fact that the reason I don’t drive out to his house is because I don’t have enough money to pay for the gas.

The boys are well aware of this dilemma I have with him. Max was getting pissed off because I didn’t want to ask my father for help in the first place. He was rather short with me during that day and than invited me over. Max apologized for getting frustrated with me, but he said that he saw me slipping into old patterns and it was pissing him off. Part of the reason why my father would get pissed when I called him in an emergency is because I never tell him what is really going on in my life. I have shut him out and it put Alex and Max in a strange position. It puts them in a place where my father would feel animosity toward them where it wasn’t necessary. My desire to protect my father from any obligation toward me is what makes him feel bad. The point is he wants and deserves to know me more and I am the one who is hiding, avoiding any display of the true me.

In order for me to continue to grow on this path, I need to be authentic and vulnerable in all areas of my life, not just with the people and places I feel most comfortable being it. Of course, the thought of being that way with my family was excruciating. So, the boys told me that they wanted to see my father at my infusion appointment. Immediately, I thought no way. First, how would you like to be tethered next to someone you have been hiding from for 6 hours with no way out? They said, maybe he needs to see his daughter hooked up to IVs and bald to understand that I am human and vulnerable. Maybe he needs to feel like he is contributing to my emotional needs and not always the financial ones. Maybe he still needs to know that I need my Daddy.

As the Universe usually knows how to manifest these things, my sister decided to spend the night in my cold house. Maybe to get away from her husband, maybe to feel like she was giving me some support. She took me to my appointment and drove back to my house to meet the furnance guy. She had already scheduled my father to come a little latter, but the furnance guy was done and gone before the original appointment was scheduled to even start.

I did my labs and met with my doctor per usual, without my posse with me. I knew that someone would join me at the infusion room, so I wasn’t too worried. They started with the pre drugs and I got a little sleepy. When I woke up, my father was there. There is a one person maximum guest policy in the room. He had brought me some lunch. It was nice to see him there. The thing is that I do enjoy my father’s company. We are buddies. I don’t have to say all the shit that is on my mind. What he needs to know is that I still enjoy his company and I still care about what is going on with him and his life, just like he wants to be a bigger part of my life.

We hung out for three hours, and my brother showed up from out of town. It was a pleasant surprise. They swapped out and had a great time. It was one of his last vacation days and even though he was having car problems, he still made it over. I got a beautiful picture from my nephew, and my brother made me into a zombie with a Walking Dead app on his ipod.

My brother suffers from the same painful lack of vulnerability that I have. We totally got it from our parents. We are so busy trying to keep up appearances that we kill ourselves a little bit. I have had a Renassance, and I feel like he may be on the verge of one soon as well. I believe that part of the mix needs to be us sharing what we have been feeling and doing with one another. The thing about sibblings is that we are genetically connected and we carry the same family drama and tropes from childhood. We can use each other to heal from those wounds so we can live more fulfilling lives.

When the infusion was through, I had my brother drop me off at Alex and Max’s. That way, I had someone to watch me until I feel a little more comfortable being alone. While my brother was there, I could feel him completely open up. We shared our drag videos with him, my recent art work, talked about all kinds of things and just saw him relax and unwind. He didn’t feel like he had to be anywhere or answer to anyone for a while. The release of responsibility is sometimes a bigger vacation than a trip around the world.

When it was time for him to leave, I basked in the day that I had. Just 24 hours earlier, I had dreaded the idea of what would happened…but now I realized it was exactly what needed to happen. In order to really heal, I need to be me. I need to have my family in my life.

The boys and I had some great conversations. We are a unit, maybe a dysfunctional one. I don’t have to worry about losing Alex and Max, but we do need to open ourselves up to more people and more experiences in our lives. We had been doing it, but when I slipped up…they got tripped up too. One of the favorite places for me to be is in their presence, but they made a good point as to say that I need to feel like I can achieve the same amount of happy with them as without them. My enjoying my house, my family, new friends, and/or new experiences should not suffer because I am afraid of not having it with them. In reality, having a great time without them is giving them a gift. The same goes for the two of them. They should be open to having experiences by themselves individually, or even together with out me. It is what fuels us and makes us enjoy each other even more when we are together.

It is not as if I didn’t know this, but I had always assumed that they placed it on my head like I was the desperate one. In reality, they told me that it is as hard for them to do things without me as it is for me to do them without them. One of the biggest ways I could help out is to be more assertive. I need to not be always available to them. I should voice my opinions more and take my leave when I know that I am drained as opposed to when I think they want me gone. They had become as dependent on me as I was on them. This had served us well recently, but now we want bigger returns on our growth journey and this is the next step.

It is not meant to be sad, it is meant to be expansive. This is what can get us to our next level of success and enlightenment. We have filled out trivial pursuit pie hearts with our pieces to an overflow capacity. Yet, there are still empty spots waiting to be filled with the contributions of others. We can’t do that for one another.

Because of the love I was feeling from everyone, and the increasing amount of a-ha moments, I have to tell you that I felt very little pain from my infusion. Even yesterday I felt great. And, as a big surprise, I got another visit from my whole family. Unannounced, they showed up to check on me and we even went out for dinner. I can’t tell you the last time that happened. Instead of feeling put out, I really enjoyed it. I even let my father drive my car for the first time. Not because I wouldn’t let him drive it, but because in a round about way he asked to.

It gives me hope that new beginnings are starting. The hierarchy and false pretenses of the past may be finally falling away. Maybe this whole cancer journey was just a catalyst to make these important life changes, a huge moment to stop the crazy spinning of what we perceive life is (work, work, and little play) and focus on our truth, our love, and our path.

All by Myself

It is a Sunday night and I have been sitting in my house, alone, for most of the day. I feel okay, but I am mentally not great. Since I cut off my hair, it feels as if I have lost my super powers. I know I needed to cut it. It was falling out in tuffs. Yet, day 17 passed and none of the rest of my body hair seems to be leaving. Did I cut it too soon?

I have been living on my own for nearly 20 years. I am used to it. It doesn’t mean that I always like it. One thinks that at 36 you should already be married off with kids. This isn’t the path my life took. Yet, you seem to feel pathetic when the first thing anyone asks you about is if you have kids or a significant other.

I do have amazing friends, but I can’t see them every day. I have been out of work during treatment. Old friends have been out of rotation for so long that I wonder if I am even remembered.

My real family is around but we are not on an everyday check in basis.

Sometimes I wondered if I didn’t leave my bed, how many days would go by before anyone else realized it? The fact that no one really worries about me can be freeing, but it is also sort of disturbing.

It makes me feel alone in the universe, more often than I like to ponder.

I know on days like these, the fact that I feel good should inspire me to go out and do something fun. Unfortunately, sometimes I can’t muster the will to want to do it. I try to check myself, but it is like I can’t stop stalling out.

I have come so far from the depression I was originally in; I don’t want to fall back into the death spirals that controlled my life for so long. Still, I don’t know how to reach out.

I can understand how loneliness and depression can derail cancer recovery. The whole journey is about loving and taking care of yourself. You can’t do it when you don’t feel up to it. If you don’t have help, it is really easy to decline super fast.

I am okay, but I can’t let myself get any further down. I just can’t.

Ode to My Hair

I don’t know how many times I cursed you. You’re too thin. You never grow. Your color is so dull and lifeless. I have neglected you. I have burned you. I have poisoned you… yet, you never complained.

Since I have PCOS, I am use to my hair falling out more than it should. Max in particular is grossed out by it. Still, I knew no matter how hard I treated it…it was still there in the morning.

Day 17 is almost here.

I have had three surgeries this summer. I have survived my first round of chemo. Before all of this, I had horrific, send you to the ground holding your stomach, cramps….but somehow, this is worse.

I had worn hair pieces since I was in my early twenties. I used them for theatre productions. When I went wig shopping, I was okay. I ordered some hats. No big deal. Now that the timer is almost at ding, I am freaking out.

I won’t need hair elastics any more. My bucket of brushes seems pointless. The endless amounts of shampoo and conditioner are almost at the point of being laid off. No more curling irons. No more hot rollers or flat irons. I won’t even need that box of hair dye.

It is like someone very close to me is about to die. I don’t know if I will ever see it again.

I toss my head back so I can feel my long locks on my back. It is like a comfort to me. A blanket that keeps me warm and keeps me company. I have learned to hide behind it. On days that I am on the go, I just tuck it in a ponytail and forget it.

I am afraid of forgetting it now.

Until this point, no outsider really knew I was in treatment for cancer. I wasn’t any different. I didn’t have to disclose who I was or what I was going through. Now when I look in the mirror, I am afraid at who will stare back at me.

Will I know her?

I have been dating people since my last chemo. I didn’t feel at a disadvantage because my lady parts are missing. You can’t hide a wig from someone who is close enough with you to have sex. Does that mean I am still going to have to live without?

I have been feeling so good. I have almost felt guilty about not being at work because I feel emotionally, physically, and spiritually better than I have most of my life. The fear connected to losing my hair threatens all of that.

It is hard to joke about me becoming a baldy. Do I wait till is falls out, or do I take it now? What would feel worse?

For me, I think I want it off before it falls out. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and see my hair lying there. Even if it isn’t instantaneous, I can’t take the suspense. Saturday is day 17. I can’t take too many chances.

Due to Alex and Max’s schedule, tomorrow night is probably the most ideal. I am scared. At some point today, the feeling of loss has just built up inside of me. I will never have long hair again, huh?

Why? Why does it have to be like this?

I had joked with Alex and Max that we should have a ceremony, a celebration. Right now, all I want to do is run. You can’t run away from this though. No matter what, it is going to happen. The drug is already inside of me. I can’t change the course of this tide.

So now, I just sit and write…. tears streaming down my face.

I love you hair. I am going to miss you. I am really going to miss you.

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Check out my bald head!

 

The Ideal Relationship

Okay, I have been focused on love a lot. I know I have so much to learn on the topic that the words are pouring out of my hands. I want to grasp it, feel it. I want to taste the deliciousness of it. I feel like I have been preventing myself from tasting the juiciest, most decadent cupcake in all of the land.

Honestly, I do love pastry but the sadder part is that cupcakes represented the joy I was missing from life. A cupcake didn’t judge. It always looks cute. It doesn’t discriminate. My younger self would gorge on these items, which lead to weight gain, PCOS, and in all honesty…uterine cancer.

The problem is we often make fun of the fatty eating the cupcake. We don’t dig deeper to see what that means. For me it is the lack of love and acceptance I felt, which ultimately led to swallowing my sexual confusion and frustration down with pastry. It was a talent my father passed down to me. Seriously.

I crave pastry when I have gone awhile with out it. I can’t go a week without a cupcake. I have gone without sex for years. At one point, it was over a decade. When you are looking for an object to love, one that hasn’t betrayed you, one that has never made you feel worse, I look to the humble cupcake in all sizes, shapes, and flavors. My love is unconditional when it comes to this pastry.

I remember a great conversation with Alex and Max when I was explaining my love of all things cupcake. I could describe every aspect of the experience, from selection to devouring. They explained to me that the feeling of craving is exactly what they experience when they are hungry for intimacy with one another. As a self-professed prude, I didn’t think that eating a simple pastry could be as tantalizing as having sex. It made it almost feel dirty. They told me I needed to stop hoarding, and start sharing my cupcakes.

That judgment is exactly what I have to counteract when it comes to really trying to connect with a partner. Being intimate with someone is not dirty. There is nothing wrong. It is natural. Our bodies were made to express pleasure in the experience. Why we have demonized sex is beyond me. I bought it for so long. I drank the kool-aide. I just wanted to be a good girl. A respectable girl. Meanwhile, girls who were whoring it up and getting pregnant at young ages were actually better adjusted than I was.

No sense weeping over lost time, but it is time to get a handle on things.  I don’t have any more lady bits to be ripped out from neglect.

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When you really want something, you often have equally as intense emotions about not wanting it. This has confused me for years. I have had a paralyzing fear of being alone for a good portion of my life. All those years of feeling desperately alone in my bedroom, begging for someone to love me, didn’t set me up for long term mental health. I feared the lack of love so much, that I was obsessed by it.  Little did I know, you get what you think about, whether you want it or not.

On the rare moments where I felt love or attention from an adult in my life, I was so ecstatic that I became frightened by what lied on the other side. It is rational, or at least I was taught, that I should look out for the other shoe dropping. The vulnerability of loving and being so connected to myself created a fear of lack that morphed into foreboding joy.

Somehow I was taught that I had to find my worth outside of myself. When I couldn’t mold myself to be worthy in someone else’s eyes, I felt excruciating alone and disconnected. I stopped looking for objects to love, and I stopped hoping to be someone’s object of attention.

On occasion, someone would surprise me and shine a little attention onto me. As much as I felt excited, I became super paranoid. First, why would they ever hold me as an object of attention? I wouldn’t, so they must be flawed. If I got passed that, which was almost never, I had trouble relaxing into the acceptance of that attention, or desperately focused on not losing it. I would begin doing everything I could think of to prove to them that I was still worthy of their attention at even greater sacrifice to my self.

Some people could smell this desperation and milked it for all they could. There are people who are drawn to these situations because the pickings are easy. I was easy to control and manipulate. You could do it to get something, or do it for show.

Eventually, I released these people. I found other friends who made me feel so great when I was around them that I became terrified that I couldn’t live with out them. For these non-sexual soul mates, our relationship was filled with ease. Time flew by when I was around them. The stark contrast of how good I felt with them, made the darkness of my isolation when I was not around them seem unbearable.

I became so dependent on them to make me feel good, that I released any accountability on my part. I was an emotional leech. I would do anything for these individuals, but I couldn’t take responsibility for my own happiness. They loved me, but I was draining them.

When I was the object of their attention, I felt great. I felt fed. I felt love. I demanded that they kept focused on me, because when they let go…I was a puppet cut from its strings. They saw the crash and wanted to do anything they could to prevent that, but they knew they were killing themselves. No matter how much someone loves you, they will never be always available to you. It is impossible. Their mission on this Earth was never to be that for you.

This was a really difficult lesson for me to learn. As someone with almost no relationship experience, I was so emotionally unintelligent that I could understand what was going on. I just felt the pain from the lack of love and connection. It got so bad that these friends moved 21 hours away to restore balance. I am pleased to report that we are now closer than ever, but I couldn’t have done it without them.

Sometimes your worst nightmare has to happen in order for you to get the biggest a-ha. I believe that it wasn’t really meant to be this way. The universe whispers what you need to do all the time. When we don’t listen, the result can feel like that impact of a car crash on the soul.

So, back to finding a significant other.

There are so many reasons why I am so grateful that I haven’t met “the one” or others in my life. First, how many women are in their late 30s, discover they are lesbian, and are stuck in a bad marriage with children? It is more than you can imagine. If Law of Attraction states that you are matched to that which you are a vibrational match of, I am grateful that I have held off. I am sure in my depressed state I would have ended up in a miserable relationship.

On New Year’s Eve, Max asked me what I wanted most in life. I told him a relationship. On that night, he made me call it out into the universe and we actually talked about action steps for making it happen.

This year in particular, as I have grown and expanded on my journey, I have had a lot of close calls. In January, I dated a man who had every item checked off my Cosmo inspired husband checklist. He fit every expectation that I thought I had for my partner, but we met and he disappeared. It was spooky.

I was devastated for a while and took a break from looking again. I worked on myself. I found things to do that made me feel sexy. I tried to look at things in a less prudish way.  Shortly there after, I had the epiphany that I was most likely gay.

This realization opened so many doors, but I remember being discouraged because I couldn’t find as many ladies interested in dating as I could find men. I became impatient. I tried to force things on for size. I would talk to girls that I was not clearly attracted to. This felt like swimming upstream.  The universe knew I wasn’t ready and wasn’t yielding me what I wanted; I was dissatisfied.

I finally came across a lovely girl named Juliet.  She looked like a girl, not a man. I thought she was cute and went and saw her at a bar on the same night we were introduced to one another. She was younger, but more experienced. She had a bad childhood and rotten mother. She recently survived cervical cancer. She was smarter than hell and loved Shakespeare.

For everything that I found positive, I could find a negative. What I couldn’t ignore was that I felt the most like myself when I was around her. When I saw her, I knew she thought I was cute no matter what I wore. I didn’t have to try and be anything other than myself, and it felt great.

I started to see what people were talking about. Step one: coming together. We see only the positive aspects of one another. We see ourselves being vulnerable and true to who we are, and being the object of the other’s attention feels so good. We are both aligned with source on our own accord, and find ourselves even more aligned together.

Then, I started seeing things I didn’t like. I got judgmental. What would others think? Each item I saw and disliked separated me from her and my source. I held her responsible for how I felt. I knew I felt good before I saw it. The next thought becomes, she isn’t the one; I must go somewhere else where that thing that is displeasing to me is not present. In reality, that is nowhere.

The more I realized this, the more I felt like I was such a loser. I knew my problem had nothing to do with her. I was more honest with her than I had really been with any other partner, but I couldn’t keep the door of communication open. I was still questioning my worth, my homophobia, and my sexuality. As long as I was poking at my vulnerabilities, the more I felt like I had to protect her from me.

Hence, I took a break.

The momentum wasn’t flowing from ease. Besides, by now I knew I had cancer. There were a lot more fish to fry. I realized that it was crucial to keep people with the right energy around me, a positive one. I realized that part of my difficulty with Juliet was the fact that I sensed such negativity in her. It was the same negativity I had worked so hard to process in me. I knew that I didn’t want to revisit it. The problem was, I still wasn’t assertive enough to tell her what I felt. I was too concerned with people pleasing. I wanted to be polite, not honest.

Feeling a little stronger, I am ready to give things another go. I am the attractor of what I want and can attract it from anyone I want. I am in the process currently of picking out what I want. So here is the request list:

I am looking for someone already tuned in, tapped in, turned on. They already get it. They are already in alignment with source and won’t hold me responsible for how they feel. This is someone with a majority of things I feel at ease with. Not someone who satisfies me on every level because expansion is fun. This is someone who understands who she is and who she is expanding to be. She is eager about life and willing to keep up with what she is becoming.

I take responsibility for how I feel. I will focus myself on being in alignment with who I am so I can attract someone else who is in alignment. By learning to control my thoughts and take responsibility for my emotions, I can go with the flow and be deliberate.

We understand our own autonomy and can both be expansive without being joined at the hip. We can do our own thing and root for the one another. I will do my best to stay in alignment with source, but will not hold the other one responsible when I slip.

I like you pretty good. Let’s see how it goes.

I am going to only focus on positive aspects.

I want to go with my flow. I plan to go with my flow and I don’t hold you responsible for going with my flow. But, if we can make it easy to go with the flow together….there is nothing we can’t achieve.

And let’s not forget to share your cupcakes!

AGAIN…I am heavily influenced by Abraham Hicks.

Uterine Cancer Facts & Figures

About 49,560 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed this year. Most cases are found in women over the age of 50. Endometrial cancer is rare in women under the age of 40.  Still, up to 15% of women with uterine cancer are under 40. The average chance of a woman being diagnosed with this cancer during her lifetime is about one in 38. There are over 500,000 women who are survivors of this cancer. About 8,190 women will die from uterine cancer this year. When all cases of endometrial cancer are looked at together, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 69%. That rate for someone with Stage IIIC endometrial carcoma, my cancer,  is 47%.

American Cancer Society – Cancer Facts and Figures

Obstetrics & Gynecology – 2007 Study

God Wants You To Know

I am connected to this link on Facebook for an app called, “God wants you to know.” A friend of mine use to get it linked to his cell phone. Mine is only connected to Facebook, so I only see it part of the time. I don’t have a smartphone, so it is when ever I just happen to think about it.

Today’s message seems very significant for me:

“Today, Mimi, we believe God wants you to know that shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow. There is no need for you to go it alone. There are people who love you, and who are ready to give you much needed support. There are even more, – way more than you can possibly imagine, people who CAN love you if you give them a chance. Make ‘share joy, half the sorrow’ your motto for today.”

It has been a cold and rainy day today. Yesterday my bones ached so bad that I stayed in bed for the most part. Today, they still ache, but I am so bored. I can understand why some people still work. Even though I hurt, the boredom can kill.

I have been surfing the web looking for cancer support websites, freebies, etc. Sometimes looking up cancer support resources can make situations worse. I post on discussion boards, but often I get no responses or the other responders are significantly older. It makes you wonder if anyone gets it.

Some of my other friends and family are almost too worried. Yes, I have cancer. No, I am not dying….at least that I know of. I am not hunched over a toilet. I am capable of some housework. It isn’t super bad, but it isn’t great either. There is a balance that is missing.

As a single person going through this, some may say that it is easier. I don’t have to worry about a spouse or kids. At the same time, I often don’t have them as distractions from this cancer blur. I look at my animals and wonder if they are even getting sick of me.

So, this little message means something to me. People know I am out here. People do care. Learning to accept the love is something that has always been difficult, but I desperately need to try it. I think it is really about releasing any judgment and just being grateful for what appears.

I need to remember that someone reaching out to help isn’t expecting something in return. They are loving me because they feel love.  In the Daily Love today, Mastin Kipp talks about how several people feel like they have to prove their love. He offers the following, “Love is not asking us to prove our worth, but to accept it.”

Accept that I am worthy of this attention. Accept that I am worthy of interest and understanding. I am worthy of great things happening to me.

In the end, just believe: I am worth it.

My First Infusion

So, Thursday finally came. I was scheduled to be at the cancer center at 7:45am. I hung out at Alex and Max’s house the night before. We had fun and did everything we could to keep my mind off things. When I left, I felt the momentum of the world pushing me to this appointment and just stopped resisting it.

Alex drove me to the cancer center. I had two bags, one with all my doctor paperwork and one with items to keep me busy. I signed up for some resources from the LIVESTRONG foundation, and one of their guidebooks gave suggestions on what to bring.

  • Sweater
  • Music player and headphones
  • Reading materials
  • Crossword puzzle or other activities
  • Lip balm
  • Water bottle
  • Body lotion
  • Peppermints
  • Calming teas
  • Notepad, journal, and pen
  • Bootie socks or slippers
  • Cookies, crackers, or other snacks
  • Stress ball
  • Something to cover the head

I got most of my supplies at the dollar store.

Upon entry, I had to get my blood drawn. I checked in with the receptionist. She said to me, “Good morning, Joann.” I was taken aback. That was my mother’s name. She has been dead for 12 years. She was probably last there 13 years ago. I corrected her and sat down. Alex pointed out that Rosanne was on the TV. It was an episode where Darlene was in the hospital after an appendix burst. Rosanne was all kinds of crazy, but you knew she was concerned and loving to her daughter. Alex was like, “I think we are in the twilight zone.”

When my mom was scheduled for her first chemo infusion, I actually went with her. I remember them hooking her up. She was so scared. I made her come with a stuffed animal. It was the last thing I did before returning to Chicago to end my FMLA leave. Maybe she was just letting me know that she was there for me too.

After the quick and painless blood draw, we saw my doctor. She is a wonderful woman. She made sure I didn’t have any questions, checked my incisions, and went over my CT scan results – which were good.

The last stop was the infusion room. Usually the cancer center is bustling with activity, but we seemed to be the first one in. We had our choice of where we wanted to sit. The patient got a nice recliner and the poor guest had to sit in a hard chair. My infusion was scheduled to last for 6 hours.

The care that these people put into your experience is exceptional. They put my arm on a pillow and warmed it up with a heating pad to get the blood vessels ready. A big IV stand hovered next to me. The nurse got me in one poke. The first medicines were anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, anti-histamine, and steroids to help prevent allergic reactions.

I sat as restfully as I could. I had swapped my shoes for comfy slippers. Alex was having some difficulty in the hard chair. He had some intestinal distress for the last few days, and he was feeling it again today. He had brought knitting needles to re-teach me how to knit, but the IV placement limited my hand moments. He went to the bathroom and spilled stuff on himself. You could tell he was getting uncomfortable and bored. Still, his spirit put me in a great mood.

Too often, these cancer centers feel like funeral homes. People aren’t really happy. They have cancer. I have walked in the building alone and have felt the weight of this dark energy before. It isolates, it terrorizes, and it can make uncomfortable situations feel worse than they need to be.

Walking in with one of my friends is the best way to counteract this. Alex and Max are always my first go to. They are my best friends, soul sisters. They know where I am at and what will trigger me into another thought pattern. I have noticed that our humor always puts the doctors and nurses in great moods as well. This can be a huge benefit.

My first chemo drug was Taxol. The whole infusion for that drug was 3 hours, but they were going to test it with 2 fifteen-minute batches. I was doing well with the first batch. I even got up and went to the bathroom. When I returned, I started to find it harder to breath. It felt like someone was starting to sit on my chest. I than began to feel pain in my hipbones. Not sharp, but achy. It made me want to get out of my chair to get pressure off of them.

I hit the nurse call button, and soon I had two next to me. They stopped the infusion, which immediately ended my symptoms. I had a reaction, but it was at the end of 15 minutes. They gave me more Benadryl and steroids, let me rest a half hour, and tried again.

I was pretty good. Alex traded out with my sister who brought me lunch.  This is a great plan. Having a back up switched things up and made my helpers feel less pent up. I tried to get a little sleep. The liquid Benadryl gave me restless legs. Apparently, I almost kicked my sister a few times. My legs didn’t hurt; I just could keep them still.

I completed the Taxol and finished off with 30 minutes of Carboplatin. This was the drug that was going to take my hair in 15 days. At some point, I saw my sister and asked her if she was cold. She had a sweatshirt on, and I was feeling warm. A nurse overheard and poked her head in. ”Which one of you are hot?” I said I was and I had two nurses around me again.

I got my blood pressure taken, pulse oxygen, temperature, and glucose measured. One nurse brought me cold wash clothes for my forehead and neck. Apparently, my blood sugar was high. They supposed that it was from the steroids. One of the side effects is overheating. They chose not to give me insulin because it wasn’t super high, but they kept watching me. No more cookies from the volunteer cart. J

At the end of the infusion, I got a little gift (a plastic cup) and the nurses joked around with me. They pulled out my IV and my sister and I took off. I was tired, but feeling halfway decent. She dropped me off at the boys’ house so someone could watch me.

I felt a little bit like a space cadet. I wasn’t super tired. I wasn’t nauseous. I didn’t taste anything metallic. Being tired has been the biggest thing, and even that hasn’t been too bad. I have to saw, I am surprised. I really thought it would be a lot worse. Of course, side effects can be accumulative. I am going to be hopeful and try to wrap my brain around it staying this easy for now. Worrying just wastes good time for nothing.

So, one out of 3 infusions are done for this session of chemo. I can do this!