Relax

Today is a good day. I am happy to say I am feeling really good in a kinda relaxed familiar way. I have been very busy to say the least. I think I may have been over compensating for what I perceived as lost time during the active phase of my illness. I felt kind of “out of control” wanting to get back to “normal” and do all the things I hadn’t been doing for the last 8 months. I have a bad habit of forcing things, making stuff happen! But sometimes, as I am learning, you just have to let things run their course. So in the last few weeks I have been going like crazy, doing this and that. Go, go, go! The puppy keeps me busy, in, out, in, out, play, play, play!  Jerry left for Puerto Rico, so everything is my responsibility, yikes! I have started painting again, with many more cool projects piling up. I have been yard saleing. I have been playing my cello, even jammed with some friends! I have been cleaning and organizing my house and getting back into doing some much needed yard work. It has been crazy steamy hot here, of course it is summertime in Florida! I have been walking and doing Tai Chi. Promoting my artwork again. I have been eating healthy and taking care of myself. Researching all kinds of stuff. Back to doing farm chores and horses. Wow!

Don’t get me wrong I am thoroughly enjoying myself! I oftentimes look back and think I couldn’t have done this six months ago. Just walking to the barn was all I could muster! I am beginning to recognize myself again. I feel more like the old familiar me! My strength is coming back, my hair is coming back, I think it’s actually thicker than it was before! I now have eyebrows and lashes! I have researched, got approval from my doctor, and have started taking a supplement called Turkey Tail Mushroom. It has had some very promising results in supporting the immune system in post chemo patients. I am still dealing with some side effects like this crazy burning in my thighs if I stand up for too long and hot flashes and night sweats from the hormone therapy. Bone and muscle aches and pains, some mornings I’m not sure if I can get out of bed! But these things are getting better and I can live with them.  And I am finding that the better I take care of myself, eating clean and gentle exercise, the better I feel, mentally and physically, surprise!

So now I am beginning to feel like I can calm down, rope myself in a little bit and find some balance. Work, play, RELAX, repeat!

 

Make It Good

What a difference a day makes. So funny how good news can cheer you up. There is waaay too much gripeing, complaining and negativity out there. We do it to ourselves. We are force fed it by the media. Our closest friends and relatives can push it on us. We must not give in! Our time on this earth is limited and precious and we need to start living and loving more. Sure bad stuff happens and we will certainly have bad days but it just seems that negativity and drama are so rampant in our society right now. I have decided to avoid the news for awhile. I want to focus on me and what makes me happy. That may sound selfish but I am not buying into all of this craziness. I have enough trouble just taking care of me right now!

It has taken a while, much longer than I thought, to get back to feeling like myself again. I have started painting again and walking more. I just ordered some Tai Chi DVD’s and I am trying to eat clean. I am going to start taking a supplement called Turkey Tail Mushrooms, it is supposed to help boost your immunity. A very trusted and knowledgable friend told me about this. I did some research and my doctor said it was okay, so I ordered some last night. I like taking care of myself, it is something I have always tried to do. Until this cancer thing tried to take me down, which makes you feel helpless and out of control. I am taking my control back! It is empowering to feel like you are helping, supporting your body to heal itself. It is amazing the abuse our bodies can take and if only given a chance they work so hard to repair the damage. I had a wonderful visit with my doctor yesterday. My PET Scan results were great! REMISSION! I do feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was a little anxious leading up to the test results, everything seemed to be hurting a little more and I felt a bit more tired. I think it is a mental thing, you start worrying and your mind takes over and fills in the blanks!

My doctors visit yesterday proved what I really already knew, I am so much better. My tumor markers have gone from 145 at the beginning of my treatment to 30, which my doctor says is normal. My blood work looks great and I am getting stronger. I could focus on the negative. I am still not allowed to ride, bummer! I am getting Xgeeva shots because my bones are still fragile. I will never be considered cancer free. I still have lots of aches and pains. I have this annoying neuropathy in my thighs. Night sweats and hot flashes. But I don’t want to live like that! So I will put my attention into what is good and makes me happy. I am still here. I have so much more living to do. I am thankful everyday. I have an awesome husband and great friends. I have a wonderful place to live with amazing animals. I feel so lucky, life is what you make of it…make it good!

Ok?

Tomorrow I get the results of my latest PET Scan. I wonder if there will always be this worry? I don’t like worry. But sometimes its hard not to worry. I know it doesn’t do any good and I know I shouldn’t do it, but there it is, staring me in the face. Just going for the PET Scan reminds me that I have cancer, oh crap I forgot! Then the radiology guy innocently asks, “Are you anemic? You bled a little more then usual.” Oh no! Thats where this all started, dread! So then everything starts to ache more. I am feeling a bit more tired this week. I had a hangnail that bled a little too much, oh no! Am I going backwards? Is everything ok? This sucks!

Now I know this is irrational thinking. I know you need to be positive.  I know the medication I’m on can cause muscle aches and bone pain. I know that it also gives me hot flashes and night sweats, so I have not been sleeping well. And the hangnail well…it is what it is! I hope that as time passes I will be less anxious about all this. It’s hard to trust your own body when you feel like it has let you down in the past. But I know I am getting better, and stronger every day. My blood work results have been improving each time. So I am just gonna look forward to better and better results. Maybe one day I will be normal…not a chance! Lol

Its crazy what the human mind can do. Sometimes its hard to control, like this silly puppy sitting at my feet chewing on my shoe. But with time and patience it will come around. Sometimes a nice long walk helps too!

 

Finding Passion

What is your passion? What is it that you know you just couldn’t live without? What is passion? Merriam-Webster says, passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. All my life I have been driven by passion. For a very long time it was working with and training horses, that was my life I was totally consumed, I literally lived and breathed horses! The sounds at the barn, the stomping hooves, the snorts and whinnies fill my soul. The smell of hay and freshly bedded stalls, liniments and leather are some of the greatest smells ever! Horses, I just can’t imagine my life without them. Ever.

Then I got involved in art and it quickly became another passion. Painting and creating every day. It just felt like something that I must do. If I’m not creating something I just don’t feel right. I love experimenting and trying new techniques. I think I live a creative life. Everything I do from cooking to gardening is creative on some level. Right now I have been enjoying a new, for me, creative outlet, music! Well I have always loved music. I actually work my horses to music. But lately I am learning to play the cello and just recently I am starting to play the drums and I am loving it! It remains to be seen if I will ever be any good at it but I sure am having fun learning!

Since I got sick I have had to put some of these things on hold. I was physically and mentally unable to do much of anything for a while. I felt kinda like a zombie. As I am recovering from my treatment my mind would get ahead of what I could physically do. I was a little worried that my life would never be the same. I worried that I would never be able to do these things that I loved. But I think my body is finally catching up now. My doctor really doesn’t want me riding because my bones are a bit fragile at the moment. But I’m not sure how much longer I can wait. My “horse fever” is calling me down to the barn! Every day the urge gets stronger to get back in the saddle again. I am also feeling a crazy creative pull. I have to get my life back, I have to get going!  I have so many paintings in my head!  I am feeling better every day. I have been working on getting my house organized and in order. I have been getting my puppy, Tallula, settled into the routine. I have been getting back into hiking and enjoying nature. This is kind of a spiritual getting ready. Getting ready to start again. After being laid up for a while, every day is special. I am just happy to be alive, walking in the rain, gazing at the moon, eating delicious food, enjoying good friends! I feel it coming back, my passion is knocking on the door and I’m afraid I can’t hold it back much longer! I have a painting in my bedroom with a horse on it titled Unbroken Spirit. I was a little worried for a while but my spirit or my passion will not be broken!

Beauty

What is beauty? I found a wonderful quote today that got me thinking. “What a beautiful thing it is, to be able to stand tall and say, ” I fell apart, and I survived.” Riderek. I think anyone that has survived cancer can say this. Not everyone gets to see how they look without hair! You have to be tough! You find an inner strength you never knew you had. Just when you think you have fallen apart, you realize you survived! The beauty inside you takes over until you feel whole again.

There is beauty everywhere if we just choose to see it. It’s easy to find beauty in nature, art, and music, outside of ourselves. But I am talking about the beauty of human beings. A beautiful gesture, a kind word, even just a smile. There are beautiful minds, deep thoughts, wonderful conversations. Seek these out. I think there is beauty in a persons energy. Have you ever been around someone that makes you feel energized and alive? These people are truly beautiful no matter what they look like on the outside. There is beauty in someone that is quietly confident, you can see it in the way they carry themselves. Passion is another thing that I find beautiful, watching someone enjoying themselves and getting lost in what ever it is that they are doing is beautiful.

I’m not even sure why I am writing this… but it seems that in the world today beauty is being bought and sold. People spend so much time and money chasing beauty, that they don’t even realize they are already beautiful. Looking a certain way is not necessarily beauty. Beauty is so much more than skin deep! It’s not the clothes you wear or who you know. I admire peoples differences, their unique features, inspiring thoughts, and ideas. I embrace those that are different. Life can be tough sometimes. Just when you think you have it all together, life can pull a fast one on you and fall apart. Some days you just have to pick up the pieces and move on. Be strong my friends! I admire people that can rise above all the negativity and somehow find the strength and fortitude to stay positive. Its too easy to stumble down the negative rabbit hole. Don’t do it! Stand tall and be your own beautiful badass self!  Embrace the things that make you you. Just think how boring life would be if we were all exactly the same!

Hair!

IMG_2129I must say today I am grateful for hair. It’s a funny thing how people just don’t appreciate what they have until it is gone. So funny, I never really thought about my hair that much before. I never spent a whole lot of time primping and curling or straightening and perming. I pretty much kept it kinda short so I could wash it, put some product in and go! When it went away, I found myself looking a lot at peoples hair. I would notice things like all the nurses in the infusion center had gobs and gobs of hair. I mean lots. Weaves and wigs or whatever! But they all seemed to have a whole lotta hair! Maybe because they worked with hair challenged people all day they really went above and beyond with their own!

My hair is really starting to come back in now and it is so cool. The color looks just like my puppies coat, so right now I am sporting the Griff look! Down the road I may try some  color, blue or purple or maybe both! It is still really short but oh so thick and luxurious! Lol! It’s kinda like a new toy running my fingers through it, is so much fun! I was really surprised how much hair regulates your temperature. It really does help keep you warmer in cool weather and, I believe, cooler in warm weather. It is kinda cool seeing the changes and transformations it is going through. I’m just leaving it alone and seeing what its gonna do right now. Someone even gave me a compliment on my hair yesterday! One of the hardest things for me through my treatment was losing my eyelashes and brows. That was just weird and hard to pull off. But thanks to Wink, my eyelashes are coming back thicker and darker than before. My eyebrows are looking great, almost totally back! Thank you, Wink! I absolutely love this product and this company!

ALL my hair is coming back! Hair I didn’t even realize I lost, nose hair, arm hair. Its all coming back! I did enjoy the nice break from shaving my legs and arm pits but I’m not gonna complain! I was actually threatening to never shave again and just embrace ALL my hair! But on second thought, I just don’t think the Grizzly Adams look would work for me. It feels really good to be getting  back to normal even if that means shaving every night. It sure is nice to start recognizing the person in the mirror! Looking more like myself makes me feel more like myself and that makes me happy. Summer fun here I come!

It’s Happening

Finally… as I am sitting here writing this, my big dog McKenzie, is playing with the puppy, Tallula! It is crazy how a newcomer can disrupt the whole house! McKenzie has been acting aloof but tolerant. Oliver has actually been a little more willing but the puppy is really too rough for him, he is a little old chihuahua half deaf and half blind. I was beginning to wonder if this was just how it was gonna be? Adult dogs in one room hiding under the bed, puppy controlling the rest of the house. I think they were hoping the puppy would disappear and acting like I was awful for bringing this little thing with razor teeth home and giving it so much attention. They sure know how to make you feel guilty! With their coy attitudes and the “How could you?” looks. Believe me I have been trying to share the love, but with them hiding under the bed and the puppy demanding so much attention, its been hard! One reason I got the pup, she is a Wire Haired Pointing Griffon like McKenzie, is because I absolutely love McKenzie so much. I want her to be happy, so this is a great day!

I was actually hoping McKenzie and Tallula would be best buddies. I hope some of McKenzies amazing personality will rub off on the pup. I want to take them to the park and on hikes together, maybe some dog trials. This is so cool! McKenzie seems to be having fun and she is wearing Tallula out, which is good news for me! Believe it or not, all this disruption in the house wears me out! Feed this one over here, take that one out now, put up the gate, take down the gate, make sure everyone gets treats and plenty of attention. I am always the peace keeper, trying to keep everything and everyone moving along smoothly. I am happiest when everybody in my care is happy and healthy. So I think today shows promise. I guess they (the adult dogs) are figuring out that she (Tallula) is not going away. If you can’t beat em’, join em’! The animals are easy, the people… not so much.