Putting It Off

I finished going through my archives.

I stopped at 2019, but will glance through those as well. Reading each post from 2014-2018 was like reliving Breast Cancer, and seeing how much I loved Mr. Smith, all over again.

It was worth going through twice.

I no longer cringe when people read my archives. I know what’s there, and am happy with the woman who emerged. Going through my archives is something I’ve put off doing for a long time.

I’m done putting things off.

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It’s funny how they start off small.

Like, taking a shower. I can put something in front of that small task all day long, until I’m sitting here at night with no shower. Running the vacuum. Every time the sunlight hits the floor I see the dog hair, but continue on with my day.

I got my nose pierced. A small thing I’ve been putting off.

Doing the big things, but ignoring the small ones. It’s time to spend the next 30 days cultivating self trust. When a small thing needs to be done, I’ll just do it, and write it down once it’s complete. Instead of a ‘to-do list’, it will be a ‘done’ list.

No more putting it off.

You’re Not Alone

I published a Blog yesterday, and went back into my Blogsite and deleted it. The same thing happened today. Write, edit, publish, and an hour later, delete. To the 5 people who read them both, “I apologize if I scarred you for life.”

My email followers received notifications of the posts. Clicked on the link, and stared at air. I apologize to you too. I have discovered that waiting on this appointment next week causes me to feel vulnerable. I don’t mind being vulnerable, but to let someone read about it, amplifies the feeling.

If you’re a writer, maybe you do the same thing.

Publish a Blog, and then delete it, or maybe you have some in drafts that you can’t bring yourself to finish, and publish. I have some of those too, but there is something I’ve learned.

No matter how sucky I think that published Blog may be…it’s going to help someone. It’s going to have something in there that someone needs to see. So, maybe if I write this at night, hit publish, and go to bed, you can read it while I sleep. Because waiting on Tuesday to arrive is not working.

My instinct is to disappear for a few days, and become quiet.

To remove myself from the lives of the people I love, so they don’t have to be a part of what I’m going through. That is my way of protecting them. Well, the last time I checked, my circle of people are some brilliant, grounded adults who can decide whether they need protection or not.

I believe you are only as alone as you allow yourself to be.

I don’t feel alone, so thank you, for not leaving me alone.

Set Me Free

I want to show you my hair.

As you may have read in Repeat if Desired, we were trying to bleach it to white. Then my daughter was going to put lavender on it, but it has evolved into something on it’s own.

My hair grows fast, which I learned Thanks to Chemo. By the time we got it to the lightness we wanted, it had grown out of the style we were shooting for. So, we shaved the sides, and back.

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This entire process has set me free from the stigma placed on hair. We have had so much fun with it! I told her today, “When you homeschool, and my hair becomes the project?”

God works like that. We started out with a style and color in mind, but over time it became something we could not have done if we tried. My daughter just keeps experimenting with it. There is nothing she can hurt. It’s only hair, and during Chemo I was bald for months!

What we have in mind, and what God has in mind are two totally different things. Even when things don’t look exactly the way we intended, He will use it for His glory. It just sets me free!

What A Year

I went to see my Breast Surgeon this morning for a follow up visit. She said, “You look great! You cannot even tell you’ve been through an all out war!” All I could say was, “God is good.”

She always hands me a list of my next steps. She wants me to wait a few weeks, and have a mammogram, but let my breast heal from the radiation. She said, “If you wait one month, you will have your mammogram exactly a year from when you had that first one.”

The journey began around March 7, 2016.

I had to stop Googling first thing.

That will scare the crap outta ya. Instead, I found Blogs written by women walking a similar path. This one woman was ahead of me on the Cancer path, and she was a comfort. She gave an in-depth description of the Chemo I would be receiving fondly known as The Red Devil. She is a truth-teller, and that is all I needed.

The last Cancer post I read, was written by a woman that was nearing the end of her journey. She was looking forward to it being over and feeling that sense of elation. I thought I would feel that too, knowing that the worst is behind me. It has been different for me.

It’s like everything in my life is more vividly colored, more intense. I notice things now, that I had missed before. I am more in-tune to my heart, and listen to my body, and soul.

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I have a myriad of feelings, but, “Whew! That’s over!”, hasn’t been one of them. This quote sums it up, “New Year, New Feels, New Chances, Same Dreams, Fresh Starts.

When I have my next mammogram, it will show nothing, which is better than something. It’s been a year.

The Cone Down

A pretty sight for me is this red tea in a pink mug. It’s cold and rainy here in Texas, and I am back at my farmhouse. I learned today that Radiation is going to get better tomorrow.

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Radiation is better than Chemo. Thanks to Chemo, I guage life’s upsets upon it. If something happens that is disturbing, and going to take some walking through, I ask myself, “Is it as bad as Chemo?” Nope. I haven’t found anything as bad as Chemo.

Tomorrow at Radiation, they begin my cone down. I’m excited because the radiation will no longer be pointed at my chest. It is already looking quite lobster like, so no more burn.

For these final few sessions, they pinpoint an area about the size of a quarter, where the lump used to be. This is the left side of my breast, up under the armpit. They will zap me right there in that spot, and after 8 more zappos, it will be over! That is called a cone down.

I have met an amzing group of women at Radiation. It’s worth going just to bond with them each day. They were intrigued to discover I write, and looked up my Blog. Those sweet souls asked if they could refer other patients to it. I am humbled and honored.

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We do life together, and so did the women at Chemo, but I was usually unconscious within minutes at Chemo. Those women took care of me when I couldn’t. They still hold a space in my heart, but Radiation is nothing like Chemo.

You walk in, and you walk out. You drive yourself there and back, and you don’t feel the urge to take a nap as soon as you get home.

Every part of this journey has held me exactly where I needed to be.

I am so grateful to have had this journey, but I’m also excited that it’s almost complete. If you or someone you love is going through Cancer, just know, Chemo is the worst part in my opinion. It does getter better, and so do you.

People Mean Well

My daughter and I live in a very small town. We found out recently, that people ride by and look to see if our vehicles are here. They know when we’re home, and when we’re not home. I’m sure they mean well, but in today’s world, that could be considered ‘stalking.’

There is a man who lives in this little town that seems to know everybody’s bizness. He knew when I was going through Chemo, when I had my surgery, and he knows I’m going through Radiation. He didn’t hear it from me, but somehow he knows these things.

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His wife has had Breast Cancer, and from what I gather talking with him, she is battling it again. He didn’t go through doctor’s to heal her. He knows people from years ago that cured Cancer naturally. He stopped by my house yesterday, and handed me a bottle of dark liquid.

How do we discern the right path? I believe there are signs along the way.

God has healed me, and He used everything I went through to do so. Will the Cancer return? I don’t know, but will cross that bridge if it appears. I thank God everyday for healing me, and I haven’t asked Him to send backup. In other words, I haven’t prayed this man into my life.

That was the first sign for me. Another sign is, whatever he just handed me is illegal. He told me he could go to jail for giving it to me. That was a big red flag because I don’t do illegal.

I would love to meet his wife one day. To see her, and hear her story. He said she has lost 40 pounds, and is healthy as a horse.

Going through Chemo, I lost 20 pounds, and I didn’t feel healthy. I felt very frail, and missed that extra weight. Slowly, I am gaining it back, and 20 pounds kept me in the safe zone. Losing anything more than 20, I would be skin and bones.

As if I hadn’t heard enough, he just had to throw this in. This liquid tastes like death itself. For it to work, I will need to cut out ALL sugar, wheat and pasta. Welp, that did it for me!

I love wheat! My man has taught me how to make our own pasta, and I cannot imagine my life without chocolate. So, he was handing me something illegal that tastes like death, and I may lose 40 pounds because I would have to stop eating! I eat healthy, but love my treats.

When people come into our lives, there is always a reason. I haven’t quite figured out the reason behind this man, but God will show me in time. Maybe it’s just that people mean well.

Don’t Be Angry

I woke up thinking of a lady I saw at Radiation.

She was agitated in my presence, and I couldn’t grasp how to comfort her. I thought she was scared, but I found out later, she was angry.

There are 5 stages of grief, and when I found out I had Breast Cancer, I went through them all. Some people get stuck on a certain one, but you need to keep going. Don’t get stuck, and wallow in one. If you do that, you are going to miss out on the point of the journey.

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I stayed in Denial for quite a while. Every doctor I met, told me the same thing, and I just sat there ready leave. My daughter would go with me to the appointments, and listen for me. Even though I was sitting right there, I wasn’t actually hearing what they were saying.

Then I got angry. In came the yelling match with God. Have you ever noticed, God doesn’t yell back? He just patiently waits for the fit to subside. All the questions, but the most popular one was, “Why?” I had plans for 2016, but now I was going to spend it killing Cancer? God and Chemo took the anger right out of this girl.

Good ol’ Chemo. That is where I learned the most.

I was bargaining my way through every chance I got. I usually find a way, but the doctor’s wouldn’t budge. “Can I take a longer break?” No. “Can we just stop right here?” No. “Do I have to come back and keep doing this?” Yes. They were focused on the cure. They had a plan to kill this lump in my breast, and they succeeded.

I’m glad they told me no.

Waves of sorrow would wash over me during Chemo. I wouldn’t say I was depressed, but I definitely felt sorry for myself. I couldn’t do anything about anything! All I could do was open my eyes to a new day. Sometimes it took a few days to become stable enough to shower. I just laid in bed thinking of what I would write, if I had the well being to write it.

Acceptance.

This was the sweetest part of the journey. Once I finally accepted it.

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God didn’t do this to me. Being an overthinker, I went through every scenario trying to pinpoint what caused this Cancer, but it wasn’t about the lump. It was about what God was going to do for me, that I couldn’t do myself. When I got to that point, and I had to ask for help from God, and others, I believe God started to smile down on me.

Don’t be angry. This wasn’t done ‘to’ you, but God will use every ounce of it for you.

Turning Inside Out

I don’t typically Blog at night, so my hope is, this reaches someone who needs it.

Today was a day of comfort.

I got home late yesterday afternoon from Christmas visits. A friend I haven’t talked to in a while, spent time with me this morning, just catching up. It was good to reconnect with her, and I always learn something after hanging out with a friend. Today, she told me, “It sounds like you are right where you need to be.”

There is a difference between ‘right where you need to be’, and ‘right where you WANT to be.’ If I’m right where I need to be, it involves growth, and preparation for where I want to be. I have grown a lot this year, and it’s all thanks to walking through this path of Cancer.

God has gone before me, and placed the right people in my path. Today, I wore some comfortable jeans, a long sleeve shirt, my favorite scarf, jean jacket, and furry boots to Radiation. Walking in, I was comforted just by what I was wearing. It didn’t bother me to trade in my warm clothes for the hospital top. I was still smiling walking down the hall.

When you go through Radiation, the technician takes an x-ray of the area first, before every treatment. That is how they know they have you in correct alignment beforehand.

I have two wonderful, female technicians. They saw how happy I was to be there, and one of them said something that really struck me. After I laid down on the table, and the machine was in place for the x-ray, she tapped my leg and said, “Smile pretty for us on the inside!”

She was joking because of the x-ray that was being taken, but it has stuck with me all day.

Smile pretty on the inside.

Maybe what you’re going through has taken away your smile. Or, you smile, but you’re hiding the hurt inside. You are not alone, and let me encourage you, that you will get through it.

Place your hand over your heart, and feel it beating inside of you. Life can feel like it’s turning you inside out, but until that feeling has passed, smile pretty on the inside.

Look and See

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My favorite part of this Breast Cancer Journey, is the people God has placed in my path. Friends I’ve had for years, and new ones, love on me. I salute all you Beautiful Souls that give us care in the Cancer Centers. You make a difference in peoples lives every single day.

I don’t know where you are in your journey. Mine is nearing the finish line, and God is finishing up with a bang! There is one thing He drilled home quick. “It’s not about me.” I always love hearing that. “This is not about YOU Barbara.” No God. It’s about the journey.

Try not to rush the journey lovely. One day it will be over, and you will want to look back at everything you learned. If you are pushing yourself through, you are missing all the beauty.

You might be wondering, “What beauty?” Oh love, the beauty is YOU.

When your hair starts to fall out, go ahead and shave it off. You don’t need it, and I love feeling the air touch my naked scalp.

I tried to hide it in the beginning with scarves, but living in Texas that was too hot and itchy for me. I pulled up my big girl panties, and walked outside with a bald head. At that point, I stopped worrying what other people think.

I told myself in the beginning, I was wearing the scarf for them. Didn’t want to shock them seeing a bald headed woman in public.

Well honey, if you think that will shock them, you aren’t on Goggle enough. There are a lot of things more shocking than a bald head. It’s actually an exhilarating and freeing part of the journey when your eyes aren’t hiding anymore.

This entire journey involves a lot of waiting, and a lot of the unknown. Get good with that.

It would be very stressful to face every stage of the journey, and bulldoze my way through. That would be ME making it happen as quickly as possible, and not giving God a chance to work. Running on the fear of it all, and not resting in His peace. I had to take a lot of my old behaviors, and flush them down the toilet for this. I wasn’t going to rush anyone, including me.

When people asked about my hairless head, I would tell them I didn’t have a choice. It was done for me. This usually opened a door for me to share how extraordinary this has been. This has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He will do the same for you, if you look and see.

Dear Sober Me

It’s been raining this week in Texas. The sun broke through the clouds this morning, beamed through the front windows, and filled my home with light. The air outside was cool, but the warmth of the sun felt fabulous. Now it’s cloudy again, but that is only the weather.

I am grateful every morning I wake up, but even more grateful to wake up sober. Today marks 18 years of sobriety for this chick. So, even though the weather is cloudy, my mind is not, and neither are my eyes. There is a lot on my mind at the moment, but my eyes are shining bright! Asking God for His help 18 years ago, was the best decision I ever made.

I just returned form a very long appointment with a Radiologist. Just to check my level of patience, they had me waiting from the very beginning. I went yesterday, which living in the woods, is a 45 minute drive to see them, one way. They had me scheduled with the wrong doctor, and asked me to come back today. So I did, and there was more waiting.

A nurse came in and asked me lots of questions. Once they were answered, another lady came in that is the doctor’s assistant. She liked to talk, and I sat there listening to her describe every aspect of radiation. By the third time I looked down at my lap and zoned out, she got the message and stopped talking. I just wanted to see the doctor and leave.

The doctor eventually came in and went over the same information as she. It was like they were trying to talk me into it or something, so I said, “What are my next steps, and when do we start?” They said their goodbye’s, and told me to expect a phone call this week, or next, about scheduling a scan of my breast.

Two weeks after the scan, they will start treatment.

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It’s a good day to be sober. I cannot imagine following this Breast Cancer Journey hungover.

God took my desire to drink completely away when I asked. I can’t recall a craving in all these years, but the thought of a drink has crossed my mind. Fortunately, I learned very well that a glass of wine, or ten, does not fix anything. The circumstance I was drinking over was waiting on me the next day, along with whatever chaos I caused while drinking.

I was hoping my Breast Cancer Journey would be over by the end of the year. Radiation will begin sometime in December, and be 5 days a week, for six weeks. The journey will fall into the new year. My sponsor would ask me, “Would you like some cheese with that whine?” I have nothing to whine about. We will continue the journey as planned, and stay sober me.