Tell It Like It Is… Telling My Kids I Had Cancer

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The day I was diagnosed is a day I will never forget. Countless things were running through my mind and on the list was how was I going to tell my family -- especially my children. When I first became a mom, I knew I had to learn how to get through the diaper rashes, the terrible twos, potty training and the teenage years. Never did I think I would have to learn how to tell my kids I had cancer.

I came home after my appointment to my father watching my then 4 year old son. I revealed to my dad that I had cancer and he started to cry. I asked him to please stop, that this was my cancer and I was not ready to cry so he needed to stop. He mumbled that he needed to meet someone (which I knew was a lie), but I was relieved he was leaving. I was too scared I was going to break down. When he left, I’m sure he cried in his car after hearing his baby daughter had cancer. Throughout my process, he was the strongest I had ever seen him. When I needed him, he was strong.

The day went on like I was living it but not there. Telling your child you have cancer is the scariest thing to do because there is no definite that you are going to be ok. You instantly rip their childhood away, you strip them of innocence and enter them into a world of fear. How would I find the words and what should I say? Having four children, you learn that each one handles things differently, so I knew I needed to be generic in my words yet at the same time my reactions needed to be individualized so each child knew I was always going to be there for them. I knew my then 14 year old was going to handle it very differently than my 4 year old. Going into the conversation I felt like a liar because I told them it was nothing when I went into the lumpectomy. I wanted to tell them the news in a way that they understood I was telling them what the doctors told us. 

I was not going to wait to tell the kids. I wanted to be up front and just let it out. That night after dinner we sat all four down and told them. There were tears, anger, fear and some naughty words said -- “stupid dumb breast cancer” from the 4 year old -- but we talked. The tears came from the child who was 6 and unsure what cancer meant. The anger from the 13 year old who yelled that we told him I was ok. Why us? Was I going to die and how can he ever eat this meal again without thinking of this moment? The fear from the 11 year old worries what will happen to his mommy. Can he get breast cancer cause he breastfeed? We answered the questions and explained that we do not have all the answers because this is all new to us, but as we know they will know. That we will not lie, you can not get breast cancer from breast feeding and that we were scared too. 

Saying you have cancer out loud made it more real every time I told someone it felt like a punch in the gut. Keeping it simple and understanding that it is ok to be scared and angry even when you tell people makes it easier. Embraced the fact that like my emotions changed, others reactions will too. They could not understand what I was going through yet they were hurt and scared in their own way. But with my diagnosis came an entire new world-- the cancer world. I looked to them for support, education and advice. They gave me tips on how to tell my work or the school. Together they explained how they told their family. I gathered all the info they had and took a little of everyone’s to find mine. The best way to do handle this is your way. There is no right or wrong way to tell your family. Find your own way and don’t be pressured by how other have told their families-- this is your cancer no one else’s.  Not everyone has a shiny tiara to keep straight.



Bags of Inspiration

Sometimes when you are needing a little help it pops into your life. Laurie and I grew up in the same community only years later to connect cause of stupid dumb breast cancer. Then again when she was slammed with a Stage 4 diagnosis. I missed doing my bravery bags but no time. BAM Laurie has the drive, passion and reason to start this up. It is now called “Bags of Inspiration” and we are ready for action! Please read Laurie’s story…

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Hello, My name is Laurie Sutherland and I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.  I am 52 years old and I have been married to my wonderful husband Jim for 32 years. We have 3 incredible kids (adults) that we are very proud of.  In 2009 our lives were interrupted when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I went through several major surgeries and although my body was drastically changed, my outlook was positive.  

At the time my friend introduced me to her wonderful friend Ann Marie.  Ann Marie is the founder of Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer and like most breast cancer fighters/survivors there was an immediate connection, sort of like a sisterhood. I watched Ann Marie build Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer into a place where everyone regardless of what type of cancer could read, learn, voice their opinion, ask for advice etc. She amazed me, her strength was superwoman like! Ann Marie helped me recover in so many ways, but first and foremost she was a friend that I could count on. 

Now I’ll take you to this year!  In May I had a routine CT Scan as Pancreatic Cancer runs ramped in my family.  I was expecting the results to be negative as I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms.  Much to my surprise I received a call from my Dr. advising me that my results showed some spots on my liver. I had a biopsy and 3 days later I got the devasting news that I had Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer in my liver. WHAT??? How could this be?? I have been cancer free for 10 years!  Well it is what is, I can’t change it, so I put my BIG girl pants on and decided to FIGHT this BEAST! After the dust somewhat settled (it never will completely settle) I reached out to Ann Marie and as always, she was right there for me for whatever I needed.

My first day of Chemotherapy was scary (I didn’t have chemo the first time), but I was met with an incredible team at Upstate Cancer Center. When I checked in for treatment, I was given a beautiful basket with items that I would use throughout my fight.  I was so INSPIRED by this! After a couple of weeks, I reached out to Ann Marie and told her that I had been up all night thinking about ways that I could give back to other cancer patients. I came up with an idea of “Bags of Inspiration”, and Ann Marie’s response was “We are cut from the same cloth”, I too used to do bags.  Her bags were called “Bravery Bags”. And so, “Bags of Inspiration/Bravery Bags” were back in full force! 

If someone was to ask me why I do these bags, I would have to tell you that it gives me a sense of peace, satisfaction that we are helping other cancer patients, pride in knowing that we are making a difference. One of the most amazing things I have found throughout this process is how generous people and companies truly are.  Ann Marie and I are receiving boxes daily (we know the delivery drivers by name – lol).  

I would like to take a moment to THANK, not only everyone who has purchased items through our Amazon Wish List but to the list of our ever-growing companies listed below who have generously donated items to fill our bags. 




Faceplant Dreams –donated 200 of their warmest bedroom booties
Visit them at www.faceplantdreams.com

PJ Harlow – donated 10 of their softest silk pillowcases
Visit them at www.pjharlow.com

Buddha Board – donated 210 Mini Buddha Boards
Visit them at www.buddhaboard.com

MJD Associates
www.mjdcorp.com 




Mesothelioma & Breast Cancer


This article was written by a friend, hope it sheds some light on a very real issue.

Is there a link between breast cancer and mesothelioma? One is a common cancer in women, and the other is rare and caused by asbestos exposure, usually in men. Researchers are finding similarities between the two, and further studies are underway.  The connection between asbestos and mesothelioma is already clear, but scientists say asbestos might contribute to cancer of the breast, digestive system, reproductive, and lymph systems.

What is mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that starts in the mesothelium, the tissue that covers internal organs. There are four kinds of mesothelioma: 

  • pleural which affects the lining of the lungs

  • peritoneal which affects the lining of the abdomen

  • pericardial which affects the heart 

  • testicular


Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form, causes breathing problems, chest pain, coughing, and unexplained weight loss. Symptoms may take from 20 to 50 years to develop, and the risk after exposure never goes away. 

How is breast cancer linked to mesothelioma?

Studies done on breast cancer and asbestos have been inconclusive, but a few suggest a link. In one United Kingdom study, women who lived near an asbestos manufacturing plant had a slightly higher chance of getting breast cancer.  Other research in Great Britain also found that women who had asbestos fibers in their lungs from past exposure were more likely to develop breast cancer. In 2009, however, an Australian study looked at over 3,000 women who lived in a town that had an asbestos plant until 1966. Compared to the general population, the women were more likely to get ovarian or cervical cancer, but their rate of breast cancer didn't go up.

Researches know asbestos enters the lungs when people inhale the fibers, but they don’t know if the fibers can spread to the chest cavity and breast through the lymphatic system. They are also uncertain if shards of asbestos can travel to the wall of the chest through the pleural tissue or lungs and cause cancer. 

What do researchers know about mesothelioma and breast cancer?

One factor that makes mesothelioma hard to diagnose is its similarity to other kinds of cancer. Although rare, at least one case of metastatic mesothelioma was mistaken for breast cancer. Symptoms of breast cancer may result from cancer in the mesothelium. Because markers, structure, and cell growth can be similar in both diseases, the origin of the cancer can be hard to establish.

Although rare, there have been incidents where high-energy radiation used to shrink tumors in breast tissue led to mesothelioma. Radiation used to treat breast cancer passes through the skin and pleural cavity, and it can occasionally cause changes that lead to cancer. 

Researchers who discovered that mesothelioma could be mistaken for breast cancer wondered if breast cancer treatment would also help mesothelioma. Treatment with a drug called aromasin reduces estrogen and slows the growth of tumors in breast cancer. When given to mice with mesothelioma, it slowed the spread of cancer cells and reduced the size of tumors. This could be because cells in the two diseases are similar. 

Pliny the Elder wrote about the dangers of asbestos in ancient Rome, but the toxin's link to mesothelioma was unknown until the 20th century. Although the government has taken steps to limit the use of asbestos since the 1970s, the Trump administration is trying to ease those restrictions. Americans need to stand up for environmental safety and medical research if diseases like breast cancer and mesothelioma are to be eliminated.



Posted on September 16, 2019 .

Just talk

I will be honest I never thought I would share my mental health on social media. NEVER. The more I listen to so many who can not talk about those dark days, the more I realize that I need to. Look let’s face it I am a walking trigger for many but the truth is triggers should set us free not hold us back. It will not happen if we do not talk. How the fuck do we do that? This is dark and scary, no one wants to touch that. I do want to just talk  along with a small army of those who want a change.

A few months ago my buddy Gabe came to town in is Herbie the Love Bug to help drive out suicide. We drove around my hometown and chatted-even kid #4 hopped in. I remember asking him what do you think we can do to prevent suicide, his response was real and typical of him. “To talk and know not everyone is happy.'' While it is very hard to listen to your child speak frankly of something you struggle with I know that I will do all I can to keep this a safe space for him and his brothers to come to. Gabe and I talked about postpartum depression, cancer and depression, trauma and depression and we laughed a lot. Laughing and suicide who can they go together? Well see they do cause that is my story, I do not know maybe it relates to you as well. But we just talked.

I first realized I was depressed when I was about 10 years old. I dreamed of dying thought about how and how it would play out. But death surrounded my in a tragic way so bringing it up seemed impossible. As I grew up I found ways to self destruct whether it was self harm, drugs or hanging out with the wrong crowd, I was searching for ways to implode. I had 3 friends die before I was 19, I mean close friends and their death seemed so appealing to me. I tried a few times before I was 18 to kill myself but no one seemed to want to discuss it. I needed to JUST TALK!

I worked really hard at masking my depression. It was easy I am loud, mildly obnoxious and the “life of the party” so no one suspected I was looking over the edge and wanting to fall. I had a few years of pushing through and living but the darkness was real and I was starting to not see light. After kid #4 I began my fall. I know I have talked a little about this but for the newbies this is a recap. I lost an unhealthy amount of weight but got the “oh my god you look so good” yet I hated how I looked and hated myself. I was criticizing my parenting, friendships and anything in the middle-beating up hard on myself was something I have perfected. I was not good enough. And that was a heavy feeling, I finally could not bear the weight. I remember the therapist looking at me saying “are you in danger of hurting yourself”.  All I could say was “yes”. It was time to be hospitalized and just talk.

I am not going to go into my story more because I want to talk about what we can do just wanted to show I am no stranger here. And what the hell is that we can do? We have to talk. The fact is talking about suicide does not make that person want to. My god it makes us release all those thoughts we are having. Validates that this shit is ok to talk about.  If we can get someone with suicidal thoughts to talk for 10 minutes we can sometimes get them through that day. We need to be able to discuss self harm and understand why. Self-harm is not an attempt to commit suicide, it is a coping mechanism for stress, distraction, self-punishment or expressing feelings but can lead to suicidal thoughts quickly. Those who self-harm cannot simply stop. It is a release they believe they need. Self-harm is easy to hide which makes identifying it hard. It is not just cutting- burning, hitting and Eating Disorders all are part. Finding an alternative is key. Rubber band around your wrist to snap, holding ice until it hurts, drawing on yourself or intense exercise are great solutions.  Self-harm is sometimes about feeling the emotional pain. We need to remember not all pain should be felt physically. This is an uncomfortable conversation but very important. Just talk.

We often find ourselves not being able to really know what to say. It is scary and real we fear losing that loved one and this makes us unsure what to say.

Things to say to someone struggling. 

🌸 You are not a burden

🌸 I can give you space 

🌸 You are doing ok

🌸 Take as long as you need 

🌸 It’s not your fault

🌸 I love you 

🌸 Celebrate even small victories 

🌸 Lean on me 

🌸 How about a stay in night?

🌸 You are enough 

🌸 You matter 

Know the facts and do not play into the society. We are still in the world that has those with a mental illness playing the villain. Those living with a mental illness are being blamed for violent acts and so much more, this only perpetuates the stigma.  It is time to know the facts! Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be linked. People with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population! 1 in 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue. 1 in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression. 1 in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. These are just cases with those diagnosed, so many can not get a doctor to see them or have no insurance or good forbid we viewed mental health the same as physical. We need to just talk!

We want a change right? We want to decrease the suicide rate for sure. We can not get there any other way then talking. Open the door and have that conversation. I am talking about doing this any time especially when you do not even think there is something going on. We can not get to where we need without talking about hard subjects when we feel ok. Practicing some important tools when we feel good makes them easier to use when we are struggling. I wear a semicolon tattoo not just because I want to remind myself my story is not over but because I want others to see they are not alone. I have seen others with the tattoo and I simply show them mine. Sometimes that brings a great conversation or it validates their story and mine. It is my way of just talking. We this desperately to reach out to that friend that you think maybe suffering or that friend that just seems to be ok or better yet do this for YOU! You matter! Asking for help is not a sign of weakness it shows humility and courage to take care of yourself.  Let’s talk together, let’s break that stigma!


Posted on September 10, 2019 .

Numb

This is a guest post from a dear friend that wants to remain anonymously. The words are her’s and they are powerful. The images are to show you the difference in many



I envy other women’s nipples. I don’t want to be the weirdo who stares in a yoga class, who vaguely remembers what it was like to feel self-conscious about my own hard nipples at the end of a sweat session. Such a simple thing, those two sensitive nubs. 




One of the things well-meaning people like to say when a friend is going through breast cancer is, “At least you get a free boob job!” It’s something I heard more than once. But rarely are the final products larger, fuller, or prettier than the breasts they’re replacing. A mastectomy is not a boob job. It is an amputation, a cleaving off of one’s cleavage, a removal -- one hopes -- of disease.




It is a strange thing to shy away from taking my shirt off in front of my husband when the lights are on. I’ve turned my back while undressing since just three years into our marriage. I wasn’t always so modest. My twenty-five-year-old self in her low-cut shirts and dancing on tabletops could attest to that. Despite reconstruction and expensive tattoos that look like real-deal nipples, I am self-conscious about the purplish-blue scars that run across the lumps where my breasts used to be. Despite my husband’s proclamations that he doesn’t care what they look like, I do. I am envious of women who seem to embrace their scars so readily, especially on social media. Am I the only one who loves the story these scars tell, but still has a hard time looking at them?




But the toughest thing about my post-mastectomy “breasts” is that they have no sensation. According to this article, I am not alone, though doctors mostly don’t mention it at the outset. Perhaps they think: Be rid of the cancer, and all will be well




Sometimes I can almost sense the sudden contraction I used to feel when I walked into a cold room, like my brain still sends signals to flesh that is no longer there. When my second baby was born, I would “feel” the internal pull and tingling that used to precede my milk letting down when nursing my firstborn. But on the outside, my skin is mostly numb. Nerves were cut during surgery, and the sharp zings I once felt tearing across my chest, signs that my nerves were regenerating, stopped years ago. 




Seven years later and I still miss my nipples. I miss those nerves-regenerating zings, even. I hadn’t realized how much I’d relied on my breasts, sexually, until they were no longer participants in bringing me pleasure. These new ones are all form, but no function, like Barbie boobs (but less symmetrical). And so I will occasionally be the weirdo staring at other women’s chests after yoga.








Posted on September 3, 2019 .

Social media and kids

Finding a balance between being a helicopter parent and parenting can sometimes be a challenge in today’s social media frenzy. As parents we hand our children a device and expect them to understand the etiquette and responsibility around it when they do not even remember to brush their teeth every day. What results is inappropriate pictures and bullying. I do feel some parents think if other kids have it than it is fine and some use it themself so they think their child just understands, truth is they do not. We as parents need to come at this from the child perspective, that impulse act that they live on. When we give them a phone with Snapchat, Instagram and all the other social media sites we open up a world to them with endless possibilities some that are very scary. First there is the sex element that many do not think about if their child is young but kids are curious. Maybe they are searching it up possibly no big deal but the internet is not like the old school PlayBoy it is graphic and can really alter views for kids without a conversation about what they are seeing. These kids are sending pictures of their body parts to other kids via SnapChat that “go away” but the receiver takes a screenshot that lasts forever. Not to mention what a violation to the one getting the image if they do not want it. Add sexual predators to the mix and you have another layer to this that really scares me. You have to talk to your kids about all this and not just once. Second, there is taking pictures of other people without their consent. Kids are doing this a lot and then snapping them, posting and sending them all over. Where is the privacy? They add captions that can be humiliating as well which is cyber bullying at its best. I have been at stores and watched random kids do this, my children have as well and I have shut it down. Would you want someone doing that to you? It is a straight violation of someone's privacy. Third, they really feel more is better. These kids are wanting, craving “likes”, follows, “friends". They are becoming obsessed with it to the point it becomes an addiction and they lose focus of the people they are actually with. Which is directly affecting their behavior. How as parents can we change this? We need the school to help us or the community. Mostly because the majority of parents do not patrol their children's devices, I know I am in the minority here and I am ok with that.I still respect my child because they have not given me any reasons not to but I want to be watching out just the same. I own my kid’s phone so I do random phone checks so I know my kids do NOT have a “Finsta” (fake instagram for those parents who have no clue. It is what they do so they can post what they do not want their parents to see). I have found comments and videos that have been something we needed to discuss. They are kids, they need guiding and they are far from perfect.That is why I am checking and we are learning from it together. Back when we were kids someone made a comment about you it was a he said she said thing or a note that was destroyed. Now the internet leaves a mark that never goes away even if they “delete” it. These kids have to live with that forever and they have no concept of that at this age. I follow their accounts, they hate it but I am not here to be their BFF I am their parent. We have a no device day on Sunday’s for just a few hours. It is not much but I think they need to see they do not need to be attached to the screen nor do I. These are small things in this big social media world but things that can really make a difference in their life. Social media is affecting their relationships with friends and not in a positive way it is really time for us parents to wake up and get active. To push the schools for a social media seminar for them and us. The internet is not going away let’s teach them to use it to their advantage instead of being irresponsible and hurting each other. All of those kids who were cyber bullied, who had sexual pictures spread across the internet, who were attacked by sexual predators were given a device by a parent who thought their kid could handle it. We have to do better for our kids, after all they are just kids.



Posted on May 14, 2019 .

International Women’s Day

I scrolled my pictures thinking about all the inspirational women I know. Friends, cousins, nieces, grandmothers, aunts, doctors, teens, advocates and thought “wow I am surrounded by some badass women”. I am embraced by women that are both vulnerable and strong. I have watched my nieces, cousins and goddaughter evolve into such beautifully wise women. They grew into who they are because of their mothers. I see my best friends who are caring and supportive and I am thankful. I am lucky enough to have been a part of their daughters life, these young women are the future and I am hopeful because of them. I have women who advocate for their health and to watch them fills me with strength. I even have a young woman that I call my cyber daughter who every day I am in awe of her brilliance. I was going to make a collage of them then I stopped here.

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Most know I never knew my mother, don’t remember her voice or touch or any of her sayings. I have no idea what she was really like with her friends only stories I hear. I was never parented by her so I have no concept of her as a mom. I don’t know what she liked to cook or how her food tastes. Sucks. But some how every day I strive to be the strong, smart, respected woman she was. When I think of fighter she is the first one I think about. She set the tone for my future to be strong in the face of evil. She reminds me to know your surroundings and to look for the good but be aware of the bad. To look out for each other no matter how scared. That some times you sacrifice yourself to save others. My mother’s life made me prepare for any struggles I have ever had. My mother gave me life and that solely is profound and I should live that life in her memory and honor.

Being an inspirational woman isn’t always about who’s right in front of you. There is something to be said for those that hold a place in your heart for you to reflect on and gain perspective and strength. My mother fought until the end. Her fight was for all her friends, her daughters, nieces, future granddaughters and her mother. Yes I know she has men in her life but shoot its international women’s day after all. My mother is the most inspiring woman that has ever been in my life no matter how brief it was, the impact is real. While her impact wasn’t global or socially forward , her accomplishments, struggles and fight have 100% affected me and my family. My mother affected our world and I am so proud and honored to be her daughter.

Some days I put my tiara on, straighten it and say “thanks mom for being so courageous”. And that’s all the strength I need that day.

Showing UP

“Thanks for inviting me to party/book club/dinner/lunch/event. I will try my best”

The response I usually get is “You have to come” or “Why wouldn’t you?”.  I wonder if people really want the truth. About 7 years ago I would not miss a thing, ever.  I do not nor have I never needed anything to loosen up, be ridiculous and have a blast. Not to say I did not partake in some things to enhance the experience. I just did not require it. So going out was always fun-pure fun. So why is it so hard to show up now?

A day in the life of someone living with relapsing MS and what it is like to show up……

After a sleepless nights sleep I lay there, usually on the couch it is the most comfortable. I lay there trying to assess the amount of pain and where it will be the worse. Maybe my back today which will make sitting up difficult and breathing impossible. Could be the throbbing cramps in my legs that will make it hard to swing them over to stand. Or possibly my feet and the pins and needles yet numbness making those first morning steps shear terror. Well time to get up make lunches, breakfast and get ready, here goes nothing.

Oh standing up from laying means I need to gain my balance first. I stumble and wince as I make my way to the bathroom then to the kitchen.Every step is hard and I fight to show the kids what pain I am in but they are not fooled.  I grasp the walls because my brain is not telling my feet to move and I am looking like a drunken sailor. I have stumbled and almost fallen twice already. I heat my fishbellie (corn bag) and place the hot bag on my feet or leg or back. AHHHH that is perfect. Coffee, a little snack then 11 different pills and vitamins for breakfast. I say goodbye to my humans and then the nausea sets in from the meds. It is so bad I have to use some CBD to try to gain balance. With the pain that feels like my muscles are not there, the nausea and my “dead leg” I get on the treadmill. Yes the treadmill. If it is a good day I am a speed walker, a great day I run but this day I walk slow with no incline and grasping the rails. Why you ask? Because no exercise means stiff joints and even more pain. After thirty minutes I am done. Seven years ago I worked out for 2 hours a day, this wrecks me to think. The mental part of a chronic illness sometimes out weighs the physical.

I get ready for the day, shower and log on to work. Here is where I am lucky. I do not have to go to an office. My work is virtual, my meetings could be done in my pjs sometimes with no pants. Thank you Wisdo for that. It still is mentally exhausting, brain fog sets in as the day progresses. Some of my meds take effect by making uncontrollably tired at 2pm. I fight to stay awake but realize I must sleep for even 15 minutes. Kids arrive home and I can not move,my body is mad at me everything hurts especially my side radiating to my back. Hurts to sit, to stand, to be. I push myself to make dinner, kids clean up I can not stand another minute. But first I take those 11 pills again. The white one burns as it goes does no matter how much water I take and the after taste is like death. This is my reality.

I was invited to that “thing” and now I must decide can I handle it? Loud crowds can stress my thinking out. My eyesight is terrible so night driving can be difficult. Every single step is excruciating. If I sit the pressure from my back is so painful it burns, if I stand my pins and needles are worse. But maybe my mood will lift so I go. I take myself and go. I laugh with everyone, cracks some jokes and smile. Oh shit sorry I cannot have a glass of wine my medication says no alcohol. I get asked “may just one”, no even one can causes damage. I get the look, the don’t be so dramatic look. If only. I have been here only an hour but the pain in my back is intense and I can not walk.I am both sad and embarrassed. I say goodbye and people wonder why I am leaving. I get asked “Isn’t there something I could take?”, if there was a magic pill I would. Trust me showing up was hard walking out is harder. I feel like a failure. My body has failed me.

Some days I say no, I just can not. Some days I do not show up, Some days the cramps in my legs are crippling. Some days I can not move my hands.Some days I can not think and forming words is impossible. Some days walking is more work than I ever thoughts. Some days I just can not keep that tiara on.

But some days I just show up.



Posted on February 28, 2019 .

Your body your mind

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There is this saying “your body listens to your mind careful what you say”. The issue is when you had an illness like cancer your body says a lot. What should you listen to and what should you ignore? Who do we call and will they listen? These are real questions and concerns we have. I have found myself not telling what is going on because I do not want to seem like a hypochondriac, plus that look. You know the “omg is she for real?” look. I have for the past 3 years try to deal with a lot of my health issues on my own, mostly because I do not want to seem like I am crying wolf. The truth is I am in pain, constant pain. When I write it all out I think “what the hell is wrong with this person?”. I have told my neuro some, a little to my gastro, some to my oncologist, a little to my breast care doc and a lot to my GP but I held most in. Plus you see where I am coming from-which doctor and how much? Not to mention no one had an answer.


Recently I could not take any more “false positive” results, what does that even mean? The “there is something there, we just do not know what” comments were too much. I was sick of the pain with no explanation. So I sought out a new doctor that looked at everything. Heidi Puc is an integrated doctor. Now chill let’s look at the word integrated, it means combining allopathic and complementary therapies. I needed a change and she was it. I sat with her for 2 hours and she combed my case and listened to me. I mean listened to every ache, pain, twitch and tingle. I am curious why more doctors do not do that. She even had about 50 symptoms to ask me about. I feel like I am getting the answers.

Fear-that is a huge issue. We are so scared to get an answer or a DX we do not go. The anxiety and stress of knowing all too well how an illness can change you is mounding. The truth is the unknown is just as scary if not worse. It is time to take that fear and say  “bite me”. We can run from fear or run through it. While I am not a runner I am sick of letting fear consume me.

I am being tested and scanned like a mission in the task force. I am slowly getting answers. What is my point here’? Stop being worried about what the doctor may think or how you may look. Talk to your physician, if you can not fire them and get another. The aftermath of cancer or any illness of that severity is extreme we need to be our own advocate. Now I am not telling you to go to the doctor for every sniffle or hangnail. However issues that are persistent or nagging need attention, go I urge you go.

So while my doctors all listen to me and try to find the source of my pain I will try different meds to help. I will get blood draws and scans. But I will not be quiet any more. This is my body and I am tired of living in fear of it. Someone grab my tiara, I ready to face it head one!


I live with depression

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It is ok to be sad. It is normal. We become sad for so many reasons. Sadness can be overcome, it is just a passing emotion. It is temporary. Depression is long term, it is both physically and mentally painful but you can not describe the pain. It lasts. Depression is a mental illness. Do not argue with me it is a fact. You can not let depression just pass like sadness and fade away. Some medications give us depression too which is a whole other element. Depression is real and effects so many that hide it or even can not admit.


I live with depression.  


I describe my depression as being in a dark hole. I know that there are people trying to help me I see them but in my depression they are just kicking the dirt and burying me more. I can not see any light because my world went black. I am exhausted but can not sleep. I am irritable but playing happy all at once. I feel guilty for no real reason and like I have failed so many. I have thought about my death and how everyone would react. And it sometimes does not phase me other times brings me to tears.


I have been hospitalized for my depression. It was the worst time of my life but it saved me all at once. I have a failed suicide attempt that I shoved under the carpet because of the stigma. I am not embarrassed any more. After talking to my son about it I realized hiding it was only hurting us and me.  I am a constant risk factor. Trauma, so much trauma. Cancer diagnosis. MS diagnosis. Drug abuse. Medication adjustment. All play a heavy part in my depression. Yes I still hide because “I am strong”, “I can it” it is all too much.


Strength looks different on so many but how we view it for ourselves is a game changer. I hide behind my strength. It is easy to be strong for that friend or happy for that family member. It is hard  to say “I can not today”. The pressure comes when people expect strength. When what you are really craving is “It is not your fault”, “Do you need space?”, “How is your mental health?”. But what you get is “You can handle anything”. Bull shit some days I want to go back to that hole and find my release.


Some days I want to be done. Others I celebrate the small victories. And some days are ok. It is ok to be just ok. Striving for happiness is a thing of the past. I strive for content. Some days I am on edge and anything will set me off. Some days I need a random call from a friend to save me.


A safety plan is always in place for me. Who do I call, what should I be doing, how do I get out of the hole. I am not writing this because I am in the dark hole but because I stand on the edge daily. Yes I know my family, my friends my life are all things I should remember but when you are on that edge and the pain is real your mind tells you how they will be ok without you.


We do not know who is depressed or who is struggling in life. That is why we must talk. We must open up. We have to grab those hands and pull each other up. It is vital to all existing in this world. Stop hiding behind the stigma and being embarrassed of this. I am not and I will stand with you. Discussing depression or suicide will not increase any thoughts or actions, it will only show you care and we are not alone.


Some days my tiara is not adjusted. Some times my tiara needs a friend to help me straighten it. I know who those friends are and I thank them for saving me.


Posted on October 19, 2018 .