Cancer And The Single Gal, Part 1

It’s been a while since my last post. This blog was a bit of a security blanket during the worst of things..somehow recovery and the return to “normal” life made it less of a pressing need. Now that life is not so normal anymore, I’m feeling the old familiar urge to pour out my thoughts and feelings in black and white.

Life has taken quite an unexpected turn over the past year. My health is still good as far as I know. I mean, I get the routine pat down and once over, but my oncologist is of the belief that scans and cancer markers are only to be done if symptoms warrant them. And I’m ok with that philosophy being a firm believer in the power of suggestion to create illness. My body and I have a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreement going on. It’s working for us so far.

No, what has floored me is my sudden evolution from a sometime chiropractor/fulltime domestic engineer to a single mom who finds herself navigating uncharted territory and needing to support a family. SINGLE…MOM. Not words I ever expected to actually apply to me, even though Lord knows the marriage was a roller coaster ride of alcoholism (his), codependency, and a failure to communicate. To actually take the leap and start a new life after the million times I fantasized about it…terrifying and exhilarating all at once!

Last summer, after a nasty argument fueled by a weekend binge, my husband decided to accept a transfer to another state while we weren’t speaking. I found out when my suspicions led me to check his e-mail and I saw that he had been looking at apartments in Atlanta. He admitted that he had accepted the job, and it appeared that he was leaving without us to start a new life. Things eventually settled down and we agreed to work things out and make the move as a family, selling our home in North Carolina to relocate to Atlanta. He started the new job in July while I dutifully stayed behind to pack, clean and handle every detail of getting the house ready to market while also setting up our new lives in Atlanta.

The girls and I headed South to Georgia the first week of August. No more beautiful 2 story house overlooking the mountains. We were in a dark, depressing apartment for a month with rented furniture, broken kitchen knobs and huge cockroaches in the corridors…four of us, and a dog and cat. The girls had to start new schools in the space of a week and adjust to brand new friends and a very different curriculum. My high schooler was way behind, which became evident despite doing 4 hours of homework each night. She was miserable. I was miserable. Atlanta was miserable. We would come back to Asheville to “check on things” at the house every 2 weeks or so. We let out a collective sigh of relief each time we unlocked the front door. Home.

In the meantime, our house wasn’t selling despite rosy predictions. With every passing day of anxiety and frustration, something in me snapped. I couldn’t do it anymore, so I made the decision to bring the girls back to Asheville and let them finish the school year in familiar surroundings. My husband and I agreed that we would try again this summer. My daughter would graduate and things would be easier…somehow.

Of course, once we got back, the house sold within a month. We were just about to take it off the market as the holidays approached, but we felt that we couldn’t let a solid offer get away. As Thanksgiving rolled around, we found ourselves scrambling to figure out our next move….

 

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Staying Alive

 

 

john travolta staying alive

It’s been many, many moons since I wrote a post. But when I had someone reach out with a personal e-mail asking for advice and hoping I was still doing well, I knew I had to get back to writing regularly. It’s nice to have folks care about how I’m doing after all this time.

Last weekend marked 3 years since I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The day came and went without much fanfare, until I sat down that night and realized what a huge milestone that actually is. I know that 5 years is the magical number for survival odds to greatly increase, but hey, I’m on the downward slope now and I can see the prize.

I guess you could say I’m doing fantastically well, which is part of the reason for my long blogging hiatus. There hasn’t been much to report other than the mundane day to day details that create a life. I’m still working from home, driving kids all over town, and taking care of a menagerie of animals. All the things most people complain about that survivors relish.

This year has been surprising. I left my job working in a hospital lab 18 months ago to finally use my chiropractic degree and build my practice. I’ve since come to realize what I probably knew on some level all along, that chiropractic in and of itself isn’t my calling. It’s not enough to feed my soul and satisfy my creativity. So life has taken me in some pretty unexpected directions.

I’ve started making and selling jewelry. I even opened up an Etsy shop and started doing craft shows. That’s craziness, considering I had never done this before last summer. Creativity…yes, it’s good. And it’s a sweet validation to have someone like your work enough to buy it.

I’ve also been taking intensive courses to learn how to create a business helping others online. My first project will be to create an online community of breast cancer survivors who are open to holistic health. There are groups who are completely anti-medical, and there are others that want nothing to do with anything outside the mainstream. But there’s very little in the middle. I hope to create courses and programs that will teach survivors how to use nutrition, supplements, and other alternative therapies to support their recovery and stay well. And there will be no shaming those who choose traditional treatment as well.

Along those lines, probably the most unexpected thing that has happened over the past year has been my foray into essential oils and the amazing way they have boosted my  health. I run, I have energy, I sleep well, I can put myself in a better mood, I have no aches and pains, and my hair is fuller and thicker. (Is it wrong that the last one makes me smile the most?) It took me a long time to be able to share all these things with people without feeling awkward or sheepish. But people noticed, and at some point I decided that it was really more of a disservice to keep it to myself when it had the potential to help so many who are not faring as well or just want to feel better.

So, I have decided to do a Facebook class on this topic. Monday, March 28th at 8pm, I will  be hosting a class called “Essential Oils That Have Let Me Thrive In Recovery”. I’ll tell you exactly what I’m using, why it’s important for survivors and how it can help you. I’ll post the link below. If you’d like to attend, all you do is follow the link and click “going”.

At the class time, posts will appear 3-4 minutes apart, and you can refresh the page to see each new post. You can ask questions in the post’s comments section. I’ll leave all the posts up for  day or so to let you review or catch up if you can’t be there live. I’m very passionate about essential oils, and I love to teach. Hope to see you there!

https://www.facebook.com/events/920824514700789/

 

Cancer Schmancer: Here’s To Completely Shaking Up 2015!

It’s been a while since I last posted. I guess I had run out of things to say…same old, same old. “I’m trying to find my purpose after my breast cancer diagnosis.” “I can’t seem to shake this funk.” “My hormones are kicking my ass.” I got tired of listening to myself. Then, something came over me….

None of this is ever going to change if you wake up each morning with the same mindset and continue doing what you’ve always done. Not exactly a revelation, but so many times we hear things over and over, and one day they just  click.

So…I’ve decided that enough time in my life has been wasted on regret and negativity. I’ve embarked on a total life overhaul. How?

I’m not sure where or when it happened exactly, but I started reading motivational books, listening to positive affirmations, and generally trying to surround myself with positive influences in the virtual world. I started taking yoga classes, which I find deeply relaxing for the rest of the day. Got stress? Take yoga!

I got myself a business coach because I decided that I have something to offer other people, even if I haven’t completely refined my niche just yet. I know that it will involve holistic health care for women with a specialty in holistic cancer care during treatment and beyond. That one decision to get a coach has profoundly changed my mindset. He is an acupuncturist with a degree in Eastern philosophy. He is incredibly inspiring, not “salesy” and “sleazy”.

Most recently, I came across a phenomenal young man named Hal Elrod who is a life coach and extremely successful motivational speaker. He had a high-paying sales job at 20 years old when he was struck head on at 70 mph by a drunk driver going the wrong way down the interstate. He had to be cut out of the car and was clinically dead for 6 minutes before paramedics could revive him and airlift him to the hospital.

Take a peek at Hal speaking in the video below. You don’t have to watch the whole thing…but I bet you won’t be able to stop.

Told he would probably never walk again and had suffered permanent brain damage, he chose to accept whatever would come without self-pity. He told his father that he either would walk again or “be the happiest guy you know in a wheelchair”.

He did walk again, through sheer determination. He went back to his sales career and shattered his previous records. Eventually, he wrote a book that would become one of the highest rated in Amazon history, at age 32!

The name of that book is “The Miracle Morning”, and I just started reading it. So far, it has been full of great advice and inspiration. The book talks about how all highly successful people wake up early and have a morning routine that sets the tone for the rest of the day. The book spells out 6 points of that routine in detail, all of which take no more than an hour.

Not being a morning person, at all, I’m a little nervous about getting up an hour earlier, but the book has hundreds of testimonials on Amazon about how it has changed lives. I’m really excited to try it. I’m going to finish it this weekend and start on Monday.

The book talks about having an Accountability Partner for the “30 day Life Transformation Challenge”, so if any of you want to do it along with me, let me know. There is a website where you can get some great free stuff and get a feel for the philosophy. You do have to give an e-mail address, just a heads up. No…I don’t work for this guy:)

I know that there may still be ups and downs in my recovery, but I finally feel like I’m on the right path and learning how to enjoy the journey. Happy New Year, my friends!