Monday, August 12, 2019

The fall

The Fall

About 10 weeks ago, I fell.


I was at the Domain taking something back, and I didn’t have my walking stick with me because I was feeling great, confident - ready to take on the world.

I had to step up a curb to get to where I was going. I stepped up with my left foot & brought my right foot up and didn’t clear the curb.

Down I went.

My right knee hit the ground first, then my right hand which jacked up my shoulder.

I quickly got myself up, went to do the errand I was there for then went to my car and cried. 

I was crying for may reasons. One... because it flipping hurt, but more so I was crying because I was shaken up...bad.

Not being steady on my feet is still something I really struggle with...even before the fall.

Because of this, I still physically struggle on a daily basis. 

Stairs - I can sidestep up stairs leading with my left foot but it takes a BIG mental and physical toll on me. 

Uneven ground - I can’t walk on uneven ground without help...either my walking stick or a hand to hold.

Driving - I drive with 2 feet. I can’t get my right foot from the gas to break quickly. 

Bending over - just something about the thought of me toppling over gives my anxiety. I can semi squat, but I don’t feel comfortable bending over.

I didn’t realize how much the fear from the fall was still effecting me until a few weeks ago when I was at therapy. 

When I told her that I had fallen, I burst into tears.

It just reiterates the facts of my current life...facts I sometimes try to forget...but they are the facts.

And I don’t want to sound unappreciative of the HUGE facts...I am still alive & doing great. But I am also not going to lie and say I don’t miss the physical things I used to be able to do. 

I was starting to feel a little more steady, but I still pretty apprehensive. 

And after meeting with my new brain oncologist last week, she suggested I go back to PT to regain confidence. So, next week I will be starting PT again. Which I am honestly looking forward to.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Learning to live again

I like to reflect back on times in my life where some of my biggest lessons came from.

Throughout my life, I have watched a few of my closest friends struggle with anxiety and/or depression.

In my teens and early 20’s, I honestly thought that they should be able to think their way out of depression and/or anxiety...because, well they thought their way there SO why not be able to think their way out?!?!


BIG HUGE F-ing vomit on how I sat back and judged something I had zero idea about.

Oh...but I now know why too much about it .

The first time I noticed depression and/or anxiety in myself was when I was 23. I had moved to Austin from Amarillo with my then boyfriend. It was about a year after we moved that I couldn’t ignore the empty, lost, hopeless feelings inside of me. 

I went to the doctor that time because I had a massive spider bite that I needed her to look at, but as she was leaving the room, I blurted out that I felt depressed. She told me that me telling her this as she was leaving was what they called a “door knob” question (because I waited until she was at the door leaving to bring it up) and I needed to make another appointment so we would have the proper amount of time to talk about.

So, I went back the next week, and talked to her about what was going on and she agreed, it sounded like mild depression. She wrote me an Rx and luckily I started feeling better quickly.

However, I remember one of my friends telling me that it was weird that I needed to be on an Rx for depression because I always seemed so happy.

I still carry that comment with me. I still feel like I seem ok that why do I think I need an extra something??

Somewhere in my head, that comment got turned into, “Am I able to take care of myself? If I can’t take care of my thoughts, how in the hell am I supposed to take care of life?”

Crazy what my mind let me think.

I stayed on that Rx for about 2 years, until I felt more in control and able to keep it together.

From the ages 26 - 30 years old, I had a few panic attacks but I always was able to tie them to a certain something so I was ok with them...I thought it was normal to have these panic attacks because they were brought on by certain events.

At 30, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and somehow kept it together all through chemo treatment, but I cracked wide open when it was time to start radiation. 

I couldn’t find peace within me.

I couldn’t find trust with myself. 

I was a mess. 

My oncologist told me depression after treatment was all too common. She prescribed talk therapy and a Rx. I stayed on that Rx for about 1 year. At that point, I felt like I had a handle on my mental state and got off the Rx.

Then I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer and I told my doctor that I knew I needed some help in the mental department too because I was spinning out of control.

Again, I started a new Rx for anxiety.

Over the past 8 years, I have had some massive anxiety attacks...MASSIVE. So unfortunately I am no stranger to out of control meltdowns.

But about 2 months ago, these anxiety attacks turned into a constant state of fear.

Loud noises. 

Crowded places. 


Making plans. 

Anything I perceived as chaos. 

It seemed like any little thing was ripping me apart. 

I tried every single trick in the book that has helped me before...nothing seemed to help.  The more tricks I tried, the bigger loser I felt like because nothing was working for me.

Being in this heighten state of anxiety was taking a massive toll on me...emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally and probably many other ways I don’t even know.

It was taking a toll on my husband and son.

I lost count of how many massive meltdowns I have had in the past 2 months. But something in me clicked last week, and I decided that maybe my Rx needed to be changed.

I said a prayer asking for guidance on how to find the right psychiatrist for me. I didn’t want someone who would just give me an Rx... I wanted someone who listened to me, give me concrete things I can work on to help me help myself and to see if needed new Rx.

I LOVE asking Angels to help. I pulled up googs, typed in psychiatrist around me and boom, I felt drawn to a certain name. I called and he had an immediate opening on Wednesday! 

I went in with all my notes Eric and I had put together from the past 2 months and vomited everything out. After more than an hour actually talking, he decided switching my Rx was definitely needed. BUT he also told me that the Rx is only 25% of the puzzle. It is up to me to work with the other 75% of the puzzle. He recommended me doing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). So off I went with high, HIGH hopes of something being able to change in my anxiety ridden state.

The following day I had an appointment with my regular therapist. I ran through everything with her and asked her about CBT and she laughed and said that was exactly what we were going to start working on! Again, this is where I believe Angels are totally involved with life when we ask.

We went through the steps/questions I am supposed to follow after a panic attack. 

Then we applied the questions to 3 of the most massive attacks I told her about.  She showed me how to ask the questions about the panic to myself.

I really feel like this method of looking into the panic to find answers is going to be great for me.

Then she asked me where I see myself in 5 years, and I panicked and started crying. I told her I have no idea because I any time I try to envision me in the future I can only seem to get to 2 years max.

Now I have lots of homework before my next appointment. Figure out who I am & who I want to be AFTER cancer.

I am excited to start down this path.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Universal Hollywood Vacation

I am floating on Cloud 9 and a little delirious from being tired...BUT it is so great to be this tired!

We just got home from a vacation to Universal Hollywood. We had such a fantastic time!!

Most spent a lot of time in the Harry Potter area! We did the rides twice (yes I do the rides!! I had to take a few minutes after each one to let my equilibrium balance.)

And then a whole lot of time playing games in and looking around in the Simpson area.

The studio tour was great! We had no idea what to expect...very fun!

Saturday we did the Hollywood sign and Venice fun 

We are now home and ready for the week. I am excited to say that I am not near as exhausted as I thought I would be!! 

Hope you are having a great start to summer too!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Been waiting 2.5 years

They said, one day I would wake up and just feel good again.

I didn’t know exactly what they meant when they were telling me this because feeling good seemed like such a faraway memory that I hadn’t felt on a consistent basis for 8 years. 

There was no constant...there was was no way for me to know how I would feel one day to the next. Some days I felt great, then the next day I was in bed all day from over doing it when I felt good. And on my most terrible days, I thought I this whole bone marrow transplant was the worst thing to ever happen to me...even worse than the 3 brain surgeries.

Maybe 6 - 9 months after my transplant, I started having a few more good days compared to the bad days. I still had no control over what days I would wake up and need to fall back asleep for an additional 4-6 hours, or wake up and feel great.

I was having about a 50% average for good days verses not good. There were varying levels for both the feel good and feel bad days. 

Some feel good days, I was able to do an errand or two, OR go to the gym, OR lunch with friends, OR paint, OR write, OR watch TV or a movie and actually follow along with the plot. I say OR with such importance because I have to remember where I truly was to completely appreciate where I am now. 

Some feel bad days, I simply couldn’t get out of bed because I literally had no energy. Think of the flu without body aches...just the pure exhaustion. I always tried to get up in the morning with my husband and son before school drop off, but some days I couldn’t. Other feel bad days I might just sit on my couch and watch TV all day or would be so tired that I couldn’t sleep which would make me nauseous so I would take a phinigrin which would knock out the nausea but also knocked me out.

Than around my 1 year new birthday, my feel good days got a little better... I could do a little more without crashing afterwards. I was still averaging about 50/50 feel good vs not, BUT I had more spunk on fee good days! I still had pretty bad days too, but I was getting used to this and knew after a few bad days, I would bounce back.

From this 50/50 point around 1 year post transplant up through today...which is 1 week shy from my 2.5 transplant birthday...have gradually been gaining more energy, more focus, mobility, and overall health.

I still have bad days, but I think I am at about 80% good days!! Every day is still different on the energy scale, but the energy swings aren’t near as dramatic as they once were and I can kinda tell before I am about to crash and modify whatever I need to in order to avoid a full crash...most of the time.

Back to what I said at the start of this story, they said one day I would wake up and feel good again... I have stepped into that reality!! 

It hasn’t been anything like I ever experienced before with all the chemos, radiation and surgeries, so I never knew what to fully expect... I had no personal outline on becoming myself after bone marrow transplant. 

One major lesson I have learned in these past 2 1/2 years of healing is I have the ability to choose what I focus on. Which in turn, can instantly change your turmoil to inner peace.... or cause a massive inner storm.

So what does all this mean?

No matter what you are going through, there IS something good to focus on. That something good might be hidden deep in you under years of hurt or sickness but I beg you to keep digging to find your sparkly peaceful energy amongst the layers of life settled on top of it because there IS something good to focus on.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

What creating does for me.

I have been a crafter/maker for as long as I can remember. I have always drawn inspiration from anything that makes my heart smile.

The first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer is when I really started to feel an actual NEED for me to create. I felt this need to create after I noticed that while I was creating anything, my mind was at peace. I wasn’t thinking about how bad I felt from the chemo, I wasn’t thinking about all the “what if” stories that were continually running through my head, I wasn’t thinking about what a bad mom I was being to my 13 month old son, what a bad wife I was for all that I had to dump on my husband...I wasn’t thinking about anything at all except being in the moment creating whatever it was I was working on. 

And it was those times when my mind wasn’t running all over me that I felt completely at Peace and whole and healthy.  

For some reason, after I was “done” with cancer treatments, I stopped creating just for me. I tried to create items that I thought would sell. I thought since I was a stay-at-home-mom, I somehow needed to bring money in. So I thought crafts were what I “needed” to do. I quickly learned that me having to create was not peaceful...AT ALL.

Then I was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2011, and once again I turned to art for myself as an outlet for my mind to escape for a little bit.

I started creating what I was craving in my world: HOPE.  And what brought me Hope was bright, happy, fun, quirky stuff. From this need in my heart, I made my first “Hope Block.” After making some for myself and posting pictures, people started wanting to purchase some for themselves!  Next, I had a need to share my go get ‘em attitude, words of advice/love, hope with others and that is how my first “CancerGirl” was born.

Since then, I have kept digging in my heart to ask: what stories, what words of wisdom, what  lessons have impacted me the most, what lessons have I had to learn multiple times, what have I worked on to help me with my frame of mind and SO much more.

Now today, March, 30 2019 I have figured out what my next step that my heart as been craving should be: doing more of what absolutely lights my soul on fire! Literally, as I typing this, my heart is beating a little faster and I have this sparkly feeling in my tummy.   

So what does that mean? 

It means more bright, crazy-fun art that tells a story of Hope, Love, awe at Life, Joy and sparkly feelings. I want my art to be able to inject Joy into the person looking at it no matter what craziness is happening in their world. I want people to gain strength and Hope from my stories, and to know that same strength and Hope is there for them too. 

I guess to answer my original question, what does creating do for me? 

It allows me to create pockets of all I feel in my heart for others to see and hopefully experience some glittery feeling of their own.  

Friday, March 15, 2019

Do I actually practice what I preach?!?!

Do I actually practice what I preach?!?!

Do you ever wonder if people who are dishing out advice actually practice what they are always preaching about? 

Like with you ever wonder if I practice my mindfulness tactics that I share ALL the time? My positive outlook?  Or do you wonder if I am full of sh*t?!?! 

I always wonder what some of the people I follow are really like...not just in the snapshot they post about.

ANYWAY - a little look into my crazy mind.

But, I do have a point here about practicing what I preach. 

My positive outlook isn’t about being able to stay in a good mind space ALL the time...I am mind runs out of control ALL the time still, but most of the time I can rain it back in...notice I said MOST of the time and NOT all of the time.

I have had a pain in my left boob for the past 2 weeks. 

It is a heavy aching pain. 

Monday, after pretty much bruising myself trying to feel for a lump, having had Eric feel, I broke down and called H for a  referral for a mammogram appointment because I didn’t  feel any lumps, no hot spots, no rash, no nipple discharge, no anything abnormal except for an aching.

I was able to schedule a mamo for Thursday.

Wednesday, scanxeity set in something fierce.

Crazy bad stories were running through my mind. What if scenarios were blowing through my imagination. I was on the fast train of anxiety heading to breakdown. I couldn’t eat, I was waking up in the middle of the night, my stomach was a mess and all the other fun stuff that anxiety likes to bring along.

Thursday I had my 3 month appointment with my oncologist GYN. I asked him if the low dose estrogen he prescribed could possibly be making my boob hurt because I haven’t had a period in over 8 years so my body isn’t used to actually having estrogen side effects...something in my heart told me to ask him even in my mind I sounded crazy! 

He said absolutely that could be what is causing the aches.

In that second, I felt in my heart that all is well!

Seriously, I could feel the vail of fear I had been looking through fall from me.

Hearing from a trusted professional that my oh so hopeful theory very possibly could be what is actually happening and causing the pain, well, I was flipping estatic. I floated up to cloud 9 and was able to stay in that mind space through my mamo and sonogram appointment (I have dense breasts, so needing a sonogram is nothing new to me.) 

Even when a lady came into the waiting clearly upset, I was able to not take on her energy...I was able to firmly stay in my own cloud 9 headspace while I wrote some short stories in the waiting area. (TIP for appointments: take something with you to do that you scrolling gets old and IF you are in a worried mind space the phone scrolling makes it makes you even more anxious.)

After both the tests were done, the tech came back in with a smile...NOTHING TO SEE!!!

And when I was walking out, a sweet nurse stoped me because she recognized me from the last time i was in there to see how i was was great to be able to say that I am doing amazing!

So this is to let y’all know that yes, everyone has stress, maybe breakdowns (maybe that is just me?!?!), that unexpected sh*t happens to everyone...that keeping your mind in a good place is a practice. It takes work, dedication, practice, more work, more dedication, more is a never ending journey. And when you fall off the positive outlook path, know that you can get right back on it with one simple shift in your outlook. One simple change in the story you are telling is up to you and you alone to watch/listen to your thoughts and call yourself out on your own bullsh*t! 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

42 days of mala meditation

I am SO freaking proud of myself for being on day 42 of doing a  daily mala meditation. 

I have been craving a meditation practice for I don’t know how long. I have started and stopped many different meditation practices before now. I have taken part in the free Oprah 21 days, I have bought different programs, followed other guided meditations, tried color mediation, and many more I can’t even remember now. But none of then stuck. I never felt totally in love with whatever type of meditation I was doing...I never looked forward it...I never craved that time on my meditation pillow.

That was until my coach Meg told me she wanted me to try doing a mala meditation with the words “ease and flow.” These words were something I said in a conversation with her about I want life to look like. I said, “ease and flow in all I do!” 

BOOM...there was my mantra I was going to use for my daily meditation. 

I told her I NEVER knew it could be THAT simple. I always thought it had to be some long verse of what Deepak taught on Oprah’s classes. 

It doesn’t!! 

It just has to be from the heart and soul!

A few things I have noticed about myself in these past 42 days: 

I am calmer. 

When I get pissy about something, I am asking myself to understand why I am pissy MUCH quicker than I did before. I have figured out,  it is usually because I am feeling out of control in one area of life and I tend to get pissy with those closest to me (husband and son).

I have more energy and drive.

I have been knocking stuff off my to-do list like crazy! I have cleaned my art room, gotten rid of several bags of things that were no longer bringing me joy, writing or doing art more, craving healthy food!, seeing more Angel numbers, feel closer to Spirit, and just overall better.  

I have more sparkly moments throughout my day!

What is a sparkly moment?

To me, it is when I literally feel sparkly energy in me. I will explain more later, but for now try to imagine when you FEEL when you how a baby. 

Last benefit I have noticed is, I am able to focus and stay focused on a project! 

I am loving these small, but oh so awesome shifts in me.