The thing about feelings …

The thing about feelings …

The thing about feelings is there is only one way out of them – and that’s going through them. Now the happy, easy feelings, we don’t want them to end, but the uncomfortable ones, that’s a different story. So goes the problem with staying positive. I can be black and white about it all and forget that feelings have to be felt. It reminds me of when I was in labor. As you moms out there know, it really hurts! But there is no turning back, no matter how much you wish you can, when the labor pains begin. I felt the same way when I found out I had cancer, except there was no beautiful baby to look forward to. I had to go through it to get through it. And I’m still doing it now. Several people have told me lately I’m brave or that...

Read More

Surrender is the not the same as giving up

Surrender is the not the same as giving up

The serenity prayer is a great source of comfort to me. It says it all to me:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. For many years, I’ve been hitting heavy on “the courage to change the things I can” part. The acceptance thing is what trips me up a lot of times. There has just been so many unacceptable things thrown my way – a terminal diagnosis, cancer progression despite doing everything in my power to contain it, friends dying left and right. How do you accept that? I went into this with a full-power-on, fix-it approach. I changed everything in my life and refused to accept my imminent demise. After all, my first words upon...

Read More

Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Vulnerability is a very good thing – especially when you have cancer

Sometimes you have to hit bottom to transform your life. It is a common theme in the 12-step recovery program, and it seems to have applied to me lately. The other night I was experiencing what could be called the dark night of the soul. A lot of scary and depressing things were happening at once: 1. My oncologist confirmed my scans showed progression. She is starting me on a new trial, which looks promising (will explain in next week’s post), but it was hitting me that I am again in uncharted territory. 2. I had just returned from a trip to see a friend who is suffering and dying. 3. To top it off, I was sick from and run down from all my traveling, suffering with a cold, nausea and a pulled shoulder muscle. I had one of those “I want my mommy...

Read More

Roller coaster report: My new treatment

Roller coaster report: My new treatment

I know it’s a trite analogy, but having stage IV cancer is really like being on a roller coaster. I used to brace myself for every drop, but lately I’ve learned to just hang on tight and go along for the ride. I can’t get off after the ride has started, so I have no choice than to trust I’ll get through it. Note: this analogy may not work for those of you who love roller coasters! As those of you who follow me know, I was so excited my treatment (Ibrance and Femara) was FDA-approved, ending my monthly back and forth trips to Chicago for the trial. I was feeling great and looking forward to a hopefully long run on the duo. Then came my scan, a couple of weeks ago. Last week I finally got a hold of my consulting oncologist at Indiana...

Read More

From Survivorville to “Scanville”: My road back to reality

From Survivorville to “Scanville”: My road back to reality

I came back from an absolutely exhilarating time at the Survivorville, a women’s cancer conference in Nashville. Not only was the venue beautiful – The Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort – but the women I met were too, inside and out. The two highlights were 1) meeting fellow stage IV survivors/co-survivors who were volunteers and at my breakout session: The Buck Stops Here: The Power of Becoming Your Own Advocate, and 2) reading my story for My 2nd Act: Survivor Stories from the Stage. I was in awe of the nine other women and two little girls, who shared their stories of struggle, loss, inspiration and hope and how they transformed the life-changing experiences with cancer to a new way of life. For instance, Ariana and Naveya, the two girls...

Read More

My “Not to Do” List

My “Not to Do” List

Just returned from another scan to see how my cancer is behaving. I’ll let you know what we find out in next week’s post. Since I have a lot going on this week getting ready to leave for Nashville for the Survivorville conference for women with cancer, I am going to recycle an “oldie but goodie” post. For those of you attending, I am excited to be presenting my essay for the My Second Act performance on Saturday night, as well as presenting a breakout session for metastatic survivors called The Buck Stops Here: The Power of Being Your Own Advocate. If you’re attending, please stop by and say hi. I’d love to meet you! Here’s my post written back in 2013: I am learning to stand up for myself in several ways. I find that I...

Read More