Yoga Now

June 19th, 2008

What is possible? What you will. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

The blogging community, once again has amazed me. Just when I think the entire Internet has lost it’s mind over scandal you come along with support…OVERWHELMING support and wow me…AGAIN.

I’ve always wanted to take yoga but I never took the time to do it. There was always studying to do for school or a conflicting class schedule or the kid’s karate schedule or SOMETHING. Excuse after excuse.

Now more than ever is the time to do the things that are good for my body, mind and spirit. Now more than ever is time for me to do the things I’ve been putting off.

First you helped me do the biggest thing on that list and that was to take Cam and Teenie to Disney World. I just started making the scrapbook from our trip so that they will always have a book of full of memories to remind them of the best vacation, the best time and all the love we shared during that trip.

That trip changed our family and brought us closer together. The relationships between us became stronger as a result of spending seven days…24 hours each of those seven days…together. We came home and still LIKED each other. If it were not for you I would never have had that time with my family.

Then there have been the past 24 hours…

I love making bracelets. Especially awareness bracelets. I try to make them as pretty and as simple as I can so that they can be worn every day. I also don’t make anything I wouldn’t wear. There have been plenty of times I’ve made a bracelet and thought, “ewwww, I wouldn’t let and old lady wear that!”. O.K. so they don’t come out that bad but I’ve been known to rip bracelets apart and start over again.

So, yesterday I put some bracelets up for sale and there is just one left. I even took some extra orders because I’m accommodating like that. Some of you were very, very generous and donated money because you either don’t wear jewelry or because you could.

To be honest, I didn’t think more than one bracelet would sell.

Because of you I can take yoga for 12 weeks, pay for 5 rounds of chemotherapy co-payments and 3 months of medication co-payments.

I’m not sure if you can possibly understand the magnitude of all of that. That’s life, I mean LIFE SAVING for me. So essentially if you purchased a bracelet, an anklet or if you made a donation you helped save my life.

That’s totally not what I expected to happen.

Once again I find myself in a position where I’m not sure how to thank you. I can’t bake a cake but I can keep kicking cancer’s ass and keep fighting.

Now, if I could only ENROLL in the yoga class. I’ve left THREE messages today and no one has returned my calls. I was hoping to start tonight, because I’m impatient like that. It’s just that I’ve waited so long to do this, like years, that I really don’t want to wait any longer.

If I wanted to go skydiving, would you help me out with that? JUST KIDDING!!!

Do you have things that you’ve been wanting to do? If you had a year left to live what are some of the things you would do. Not obligations…but things in life that you’ve put off either because you haven’t had the time or you haven’t had the money.

If time and money were not an issue but time was what would you do? How can you make that happen if time and money are and issue because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

I know I never expected to hear, “Lisa, I’m so sorry, I’m so very sorry but you have cancer again,” but I can tell you that every since March 31, 2008 I have lived each and every day differently. Today I don’t put off what I can do tomorrow because I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Neither do you.

The Good With the Bad

June 13th, 2008

What this world needs is a new kind of army - the army of the kind. ~Cleveland Amory

Part of my daily routine is to look through the daily mail, weed out the bills and then look for anything good. A few weeks ago I came across a Hanna Montana birthday invitation and got really excited! Then I realized the party invitation wasn’t really for me, but for my daughters but it was for my girlfriend’s daughter so I got excited again! There was a note attached to the invitation that immediately got my attention and turned my joy into tears:

“In lieu of gifts, please bring a cash donation for our friends Cam and Teenie whose mom has cancer for the third time.”

Oh no, what had she done??? It was her daughter’s fourth birthday! I didn’t want her to sacrifice presents on our behalf, not despite our tragedy! So I called my girlfriend to ask why she and her daughter were doing something so selfless. Her reaction was something along the lines of “because it’s just the right thing to do.”

Well her daughter’s friends also agreed because the donations we received were astounding.

All of that money is allocated for the needs of Cam and Teenie. Cam has to go to the eye doctor next week and we know she will need new glasses. She has special lenses so her glasses are $250 even with the cheapest frames. We can now cover those costs without dipping into any other emergency fund.

I realize that some of the people who donated money at the party may be new readers and I just wanted to let them know how grateful I am for their selfless act of kindness. I hope they understand the lesson they have also taught their children as well.

My youngest daughter Teenie learned about giving when she was five years old after she saw the news in September 2005. All it took was the sad faces of children after Hurricane Katrina. When she found out they were without a home it broke her heart so she started collecting pennies and raised $200.

That altruistic spirit continues in Teenie today as an eight year old because she has a can and is collecting coins for another cause today. When I told her about Britt’s family losing everything in the Parkersburg, Iowa EF-5 tornado, Teenie started collecting coins.

Someone also referred me to Chemo Angels. This is a program where you are assigned to two people: one card angel and one gift angel. These kind people send little cards and gifts of encouragement on a weekly basis as I am going through this vicious chemotherapy. My gift angel actually made homemade journals for my daughters and myself! They are absolutely gorgeous.

It’s beautiful that they ask nothing in return and do this out of the kindness of their heart. They have no idea, NO IDEA how much their cards and gifts lift my spirits.

This also leads me to today where yet another fund raiser is taking place…at my university. There is a walk-a-thon called “Lap’s For Lisa” in which students are walking to raise money to help me with my medical expenses at two campuses.

Quite frankly that overwhelms me because most of the students probably don’t know who I am. They don’t know who I am yet they have taken the time to raise money and will take the time today to walk laps in my honor…because I have cancer.

So when I think I’ve become completely disillusioned with mankind I’m reminded of the kindness of friends and strangers. I’m reminded that kindness comes in all forms, all ages and knows no boundaries. Although it’s sad that it takes something tragic for such kindness to surface, it makes the fight worth fighting to know that so much good can come from so much bad.

I know there has been some ugly going on out there so please, be kind to each other.

Freedom To Be Me

June 11th, 2008

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ~Napoleon Bonaparte

I feel very fortunate for discovering Hilly this year and not only did I discover her blog, I had the opportunity to meet her in Philadelphia last month at TequilaCon. She looks fab in a tiara but that’s not what I admire about her. I admire the fact that she can write and get deep, down and raw emotionally. I read one of her posts the other day and just started to sob because the bad assery of my own self being melted to the ground as I said to myself, “Yes Hilly, me too, me too.

However writing in that raw emotional way has become difficult for me lately and there are a few reasons for it. I’ve got news for a lot of people, it’s the way I really am and they may not like it. Be forewarned.

You see I’ve found a change happening to me and to my blog over the past few months based on some outside factors like new readers for one. I don’t want to offend anyone. I realize that some of my family and friends are now reading. Friends of friends are reading. Non-bloggers are reading. New blogger friends are reading. There’s an actual audience out there now, well I’m aware that there is an actual audience. I just kept my head in the sand and pretended no one was there…it just made it easier for me to be me.

Maybe that’s the root of the problem, all problems. I’ve kept my head in the sand and refused to acknowledge that I have any problems. It’s so easy to smile, to laugh, to joke and tell everyone in the outside world that everything is FANTASTIC. I’m the master and the queen of “everything is great!” I’ve perfected the art of doing it all with finesse and grace without missing a beat. That’s what my friends and the outside world see.

When I come here I let my guard down because everything isn’t always great. I’ve got problems, don’t you? Doesn’t everyone have problems? I mean if you don’t talk about them somewhere, with someone or in some capacity won’t you blow up? That’s what I do here. It’s just that I chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully someone can relate and even if they don’t well…you just can’t imagine how cathartic hitting the “Publish” button feels.

I’ve just had a hard time expressing my feelings lately because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or whining but there are times when I need to vent. When I need to vent at times I’m going to say “fuck” because I feel it necessary. Yes, necessary.

This brings me to a conversation I had on Sunday with an old friend who accused me of whining when really I was trying hard not to puke. After all, I had chemotherapy on Thursday and the nurse told me Sunday was going to be a rough day. I wasn’t complaining about anything. I wasn’t whining about anything. I didn’t feel good. That is all. I’m sick. He does NOT get it. I used to rely on him for everything and I thought he was my best friend.

Yesterday I felt really sick again and didn’t want to complain to anyone because I didn’t want to be accused of whining again. It made me break down and cry. I ran downstairs and found DudeDude who is my one and only, my TRUE BEST FRIEND. Dude, who never turns his back on me, ever. It’s never him…it’s me.

I told him about the situation and he said, “Lisa, if anyone has a right to complain, whine or cry…honey it’s YOU…and I haven’t heard you do it yet!” That’s someone who has my back. That’s my best friend. That’s my husband. God, I’m lucky to have him.

So I finished sobbing and went into my sobbing-laugh. Then I was O.K. It felt so much better to allow myself to cry. I’ve been scared to cry because I was afraid that if I started I wouldn’t stop. I’m not afraid now because I know I’ve got Dude to back me up. Not only do I have Dude…I’m free again to write any way I need to and say “fuck it” when I need to. God, that’s liberating!

Thanks Hilly.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

May 24th, 2008

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~Author Unknown

On Thursday I left work at 3:00 pm because I was in pain. I’m in pain every day but on Thursday it was too much to take. My head hurt from a sinus headache and my abdomen hurt from three of my tumors. I don’t like to complain about pain but I had reached my threshold and didn’t have any painkillers with me.

I felt incredibly guilty leaving work because I know there are far worse days ahead but I was not productive Thursday afternoon. How bad does it have to get? I mean, when the pain feels like someone has stabbed you with a serrated knife 10 times and your head feels like it’s been bashed 10 times with cinder blocks does that qualify as bad?

Still, I felt guilty and I’m earning pennies.

Friday morning I returned to work after spending 14 hours in bed and got some bad news. There were lots of changes and promotions made after I left Thursday. As a result my boss is getting a new “secretary” because they are still stuck in the 1960’s and use the term “secretary”. His office is being moved because someone else is moving into our office and I haven’t been assigned to anyone or to a new office.

No one, except for my boss was straight with me. I called the temp agency that I work for and all they told me was to report to work next Tuesday. Well, that’s interesting but who should I work for? What office should I go to? What the hell?

The thing is that my boss and I have become pretty good friends. He’s such a great person and we relate to each other on a lot of levels. He’s honest and genuine. He also went to corporate HR to fight for my job. I will sincerely miss working for and working with him. I think I’m more upset about us not working together than I am about losing my job.

That’s how highly I regard him.

Of course I’m worry about my financial future and I realize that this is probably the end of the line for me in terms of work. What employer in their right mind is going to hire an employee who is going through chemotherapy in an economy like this one? Oh, I realize employers cannot discriminate by law but please, they will find their way around that loophole and come up with 100 other reasons why they don’t want to hire me.

Showing up for interviews with a wig on and looking ill is also not in my favor.

So I’ve spent the day calculating how much I’ll collect on unemployment for 13 weeks and hold on your seat folks because it’s a whopping $200 a week. Woo, fucking, hoo. I’ve also decided that it’s time to apply for Social Security Disability because I have been qualified for it for seven years. I’ve chosen to work full-time which has sometimes been detrimental to my health but now that I have cancer for so long I’ve got two illnesses that qualify me for it.

Am I taking advantage of the S.S.I. system? No. I have an illness…cancer…that will result in death. Do I want it to result in death? Fuck no. My plan is to fight until the bitter end but the days are ticking by.

So, although losing my job soon is an absolute financial disaster for my family and I, it’s a blessing for my illness and my body. It is a complete bummer in the fact that I will truly miss my awesome boss and co-worker who I consider a real friend. He totally rocks…figuratively and literally.

Be sure to go listen to a few of his songs…

    Tomato SaladWheeeeeeeeee!OuchieOMG FUNNEL CAKE!!!!
    Counting Down
    • Chemo Round 3:
      in 12 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes
    • Sloane-Kettering:
      in 19 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes
    • Teenie's & Cam's Baptism:
      in 29 days, 22 hours, 50 minutes
    • Chemo Round 4:
      in 1 month, 2 days, 18 hours, 20 minutes