Alas, here are 10 more things about me & my life that may or may not know.
1.) Instead of a "bucket list", I have what I call a "life list" that I keep in my journal; some are potentially do-able while others are insanely out-there but I think it's important to dream big. Here's a peek:
* Take a ballroom dancing class.
* Conquer a ropes course.
*Go to an "Ellen" taping & dance my booty off - I heart her.
*Have a photo session in the rain.
*Write my memoir.
*Dip my feet in the Pacific ocean.
*Go to a NKOTB concert.
*Collect Frank Sinatra vinyls.
* Be the BEST mommy ever (one-day).
2.) The 3rd type of chemo I was on for 6 months, Xeloda, completely obliterated my metabolism & thyroid. I gained 14 lbs in less than 7 days & the weight just continued to pile on. After some blood work, we found that my thyroid count was 3 TIMES what it should have been. So, I was diagnosed with "hyperthyroidism". Overall, I gained around 50+lbs until I topped off at 180. Gaining so much weight in such little time wrecked havoc on my already-achy, weak knees & ankles. I was constantly in excruciating pain & ended up having to use a cane for quite some time, while still continually having to stop & catch my breath. I developed sleep-apnea & my asthma started to flare up. The mental & emotional pain was just as bad; I didn't want to leave the house or have anyone see me. I wouldn't return calls because I didn't want to have to answer truthfully when someone asked how I was doing. Whenever I did muster enough courage to look in the mirror, I didn't recognize the person starring back at me - physically or mentally. I was so lost & felt like another part of me was out of my control. I know that sounds so vain, but I really felt even more disconnected to who I was BC (before cancer). It wasn't until fairly recently that my body finally began to recover enough to the point where I am beginning to drop my chemo pounds; so far I've lost about 30ish-some pounds & I'm feeling more like BC Lisa (inside & out) than I have in a really, really long time.
3.) We planned our wedding in about 2 & 1/2 weeks. After Chad & I got engaged in January 2008 we initially planned to get married in May 2009 but as things do, that changed. In early 2009 we opted for a small wedding on January 31st which just happened to be the anniversary of our very first date five years before. We're from an extremely small town, so it was inevitable that the "is she??, isn't she??" talk made it's rounds. The truth is that I couldn't imagine having a big wedding without my big brothers so we kept it simple & intimate. (Shout-out to my mom, Mary, for being the best wedding planner ever!)
4.) I can't even estimate how many numbers I performed during my 17+ years of dance. However, my favorite - by far - was portraying "Tinkerbell" in 5th Street Dance Company's "Adventures of Peter Pan" when I was 15.
5.) I'm obviously very open about sharing my stories about cancer & life, however I'm incredibly protective of the poetry I write. It safely stays in my journal for my eyes only.
6.) I love showing my cancer warpaint by coloring parts of my hair royal blue (the ribbon color for Colorectal Cancer). It gives me such a sense of empowerment & pride. I love explaining the reason behind it when someone asks about it. The first go'round my mom, my older sister Barb, my nephew Brian, & my niece Brea (who where 8 & 5 at the time) also rocked blue in their hair for me. Eventually I want to get a "CRC star" tattoo but I'm giving my immune system the much-needed time to recover. So, until then, I'm perfectly content with my blue locks.
9.) I have a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology & an Associate's Degree in Criminal Justice. I graduated from Fairmont State University in May 2009 (after taking a few non-consecutive semesters off after losing my brothers) & was offered the dance coaching job right around the same time. The "plan" was to coach for a year & then start looking for a job in the "real world". Well, the real world smacked me upside the head when I was diagnosed with cancer 9 months later, but at least my diploma looks pretty.
10.) I've lost 5 of the most important people in my life since 2004.
On August 28, 2004 My 24-year-old brother, John, & his fiance, Leslie, both passed away of smoke & soot inhalation in a house fire; every room was completely destroyed except for their bedroom; they didn't have a single burn on either of them. They were crazy in love & were so excited to spend the rest of their lives together; now they are forever together.