Spiritual Bad-Ass

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by author Debbianne DeRose for her new Spiritual Bad-Ass Tv YouTube series. The series highlights a bunch of Spiritual Bad-Asses who have a lot to say in how we can all get in touch with our Spiritual Bad-Ass selves.

The interview was a chance to really put the message of this blog in a nut-shell. Being diagnosed with cancer is an opportunity. For me, it was a catalyst to discover who I really am and make a choice to live a more authentic life. In the process, I discovered self-love, self acceptance, and got in touch with my creative self – through the healing art of drag.

Please check out the video and podcast via the link below on Debbianne DeRose’s website:

http://spiritualbadass.tv/mimi-mackensie/

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Taking a First Step

So, I found out about a week or so ago that my local Curves is having a free month trial. I am going to start radiation next week, and don’t know how I will feel during it yet. Still, I want to get moving and feel like I am contributing to my health and well being. So, I woke up and decided to give it a go.

I had been a member of Curves back around 2002-2003. I lost 20 pounds or so. After I turned 30, I joined a local Biggest Loser contest at a near by gym. Alex won it and I lost 80 pounds. I kept it off for awhile, but the stress of my father being diagnosed with colon cancer and my sister getting married sent me back over the edge.

I figure Curves has a good workout that is a little lower impact and a definite time window. The 30 second switch concept works for my attention span. As I worked out, I notice that my thighs are still pretty weak from surgery. My left leg is especially weak. I have the ability to do some physical therapy for it and might go for it after radiation. Overall, I survived but it is clear that I don’t have the strength I once had. Everything takes a little more effort. When I finished, I felt accomplished but tired. I got home and am trying to get some laundry done, but I am definitely taking breaks.

When asked what my goal is, of course weight loss would be nice but it is not my focus. My doctor said if it happens, it is okay but I shouldn’t be starving myself while my body is trying to recover from treatment. What I would like to do is build my strength and energy. It is also nice to be working out in a fairly empty gym before everyone and their brother comes back in January.

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.