Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Point of VIEW

     My heart is hurt so much right now. Today on The View, Mario Cantone made a disgusting comment about his pants being so baggy it looked like he had a colostomy bag. The View girls helped me through my battle after I was diagnosed with Stage III Rectal Cancer on April 28, 2010 when I was 26. I tuned in everyday, whether I was home, in the hospital, or in treatment. 3 years later, 3 different chemo regimens, 28 pelvic radiation hits, 2 major surgeries: 2010 - complete 7cm tumor resection, complete rectal resection, & *permanent* colostomy. 2011-tumor resection, coccyx removal, complete hysterectomy, complete vaginectomy, & external pelvic reconstruction I'm alive & thriving because of my colostomy. Mario Cantone's joke was tasteless, offensive, & personal. I, along with so many other brave warriors, fight the stigmas of Colorectal Cancer & colostomys on an everyday basis.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Insomnia Inspirations

I love the random shenanigans you can come across during an insomniatic (...wait, is that an actual word or did I just make that up?) episode, so I thought I would drop some of it off here; afterall, can't we all enjoy a little insomnia inspiration every once in a while? Hope you enjoy or, better yet, are a normal human being who's body knows when it should be resting.

“There's always light after the dark. You have to go through that dark place to get to it, but it's there, waiting for you. It's like riding on a train through a dark tunnel. If you get so scared you jump off in the middle of the ride, then you're there, in the tunnel, stuck in the dark. You have to ride the train all the way to the end of the ride.”
- Han Nolan, Dancing on the Edge

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” - C. Joybell C.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” - C. Joybell C.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pieces Of Me (Part I)

     Since I had a fairly emotional past few weeks with a lingering CT, masses, & liver "what if's" (side-note: as of now, these very, very small lesions are nothing to worry about; my next scan is scheduled for the end of December & we'll also have the chance to meet with the liver specialist to check in - no worries), I wanted to do something a little different. Something I hope will bring the fun back to this part of e-town & also give you a look at my life from a different perspective. As I've said before, cancer is a HUGE part of my life but it by no means defines it. So, without further ado & in no significant order, here are 10 things (to start off with) you may OR may not know about me. A'letsgo! 

1.) I get asked fairly frequently where the name "Goodbye Dancer, Hello Cancer" came from so I thought what better FYI to start off with. Initially it was pretty cut & dry; I was a coach & choreographer for a local high school dance team at the time I was diagnosed so I literally had to say goodbye to the physical aspect of dance & hello to the billion different aspects of cancer.  Once I found myself submerged in the cancer world, I realized the title had much more meaning than just the obvious. When dance found its way back to me through coaching, I was able to rediscover the trance it so effortlessly put me in. I thought my future, career-wise at least, was in the world of dance but, as it so often does, life had other plans. I'm a strong believer that everything happens for a reason so I have to believe this disease was brought into my life for a reason. My passion is fighting this dragon called cancer. My passion is giving the hopeless hope, the faithless faith, & the comfortless comfort. I used to dream of a world full of dance; now I dream of a world deplete of cancer. 

  2.) My "security blanket" as a child wasn't a blanket at all, instead I had a "stuffed" (so they say!) bunny who I brilliantly named "Bun-Bun" & he became my first-ever BFF. Everywhere I went, he went. He was my ever-ready play buddy & confidant. We were so attached that my mom used to have to sneak him out of my crib while I was napping to run him through the washing machine (don't worry guys, he's a GREAT swimmer!) & have him back at my side before I woke up & had a toddler panic attack from Bun-Bun separation anxiety. These days, 29 years later, I still have Bun-Bun & he is still my every-ready friend. He may not be much to look at these days but Bun-Bun will always have my heart.
Oh & in case the pictures didn't give it away - I was quite the thumb sucker. :)

3.) If I don't keep my nails painted a dark color (which is usually my favorite black "Onyx" shade by OPI) or have artificial nails, I'm a habitual nail/cuticle picker.

4.) I save my hospital bracelets & write down a few words on them to remember what had happened that day, like blood labs or scans - you get me. I actually didn't start saving them until my recurrence in 2011 but I think its safe to say I have my fair share.

5.) After my now 10-yr-old nephew, Brian, began talking as a toddler he "assigned" names to all of us. I expected to be Auntie Lisa but, somehow, my first "title", if you will, was "Dah-Dah", which quickly evolved into "LaLa", which I still am until this very day. Bonus Random- Chad's family name is "Puncle" for 2 reasons: (1.) Brian couldn't pronounce the word "uncle" & (2.)Chad was a "pretend" uncle because we were only dating at the time. "Puncle" has somehow shortened to "Punc" which probably sounds incredibly obnoxious to strangers when they hear Brian, Emma, or Brea say "Hey Punc!" to Chad in public but it's really a name of adoration. :)

6.) We all know I'm a medical freak-of-nature, but did you know I have "idiocentric chemical reaction" to medications? Basically what it means is that meds that would usually make you tired, relaxed, zen, what-have-you, make me ridiculously awake & productive whereas on the other hand, super-caffeinated drinks (like coffee & Redbull) make me ridiculously tired & useless. As for actual sleep meds, prescribed & over-the-counter, nope! It's like taking a placebo, they do nothing for me. 

7.) I have a confession to make. I'm absolutely, without-a-doubt, 100%, head-over-heels, to-the-moon-&-back-in love with........e.l.f. cosmetics! I'm a total fan girl & proud of it! I love experimenting with their newest products & relying on my "ol' faithfuls" for casual everyday looks. The best part? They're a cruelty-free brand with a HUGE selection of *paraben-free* products, including an entire mineral line. So if you ever want to know the way into my heart, it's with e.l.f.! Did I mention how ridiculously affordable this line is? Brushes & actual makeup pieces start at $1. Cosmetic craziness! Oh...& in my defense, all of the makeup in the picture below was definitely not purchased at 1 time; it's been an ongoing love affair for quite some time. 

8.) You know I love Fall so naturally I also love HALLOWEEN! My favorite, all-time, forever favorite costume was Halloween 2007 when Chad & I were "Hulk & Linda Hogan" - Hulkamainia, brother! 

The real "Terry & Linda" divorced about a year later but we had so much fun with these costumes! Chad was dedicated - he grew out his beard, which we originally attempted to use hair dye to go blonde, but didn't think about having to strip his facial hair of it's natural color first. Yes, 2 college graduates with 0 common sense. The hair dye actually ended up giving him a chemical burn around his mouth (that shows til this day) so we eventually ended up going with a yellow Halloween spray color that turned neon.  Still awesome! 

9.) You know how you can have your cell phone contacts automatically transferred over to a new phone when you purchase it? Well, my brother Jay's number was been transferring from phone-to-phone-to-phone of mine since he passed away from acute bronchpneumonia in 2006, however it's only the 7-digit number because it was before the area-code had to be entered before the number. So, occasionally, if I'm feeling out-of-sorts & feel like I need to reconnect with my big brother, I text him; usually something short like "I miss you". Of course it just sends the message directly back to me but I think being able to psychically see my words being sent to him is comforting.

10.) I'm OBSESSED with F.R.I.E.N.D.S! Yes, that FRIENDS. I began watching it occasionally in May & just happened to catch it in sequential order on Nick@Nite, so I thought, why not?  Somewhere along the way I got Chad into it with me & we began watching it pretty much every night before we went to bed. That turned into buying the complete series (another side-note : shout-out to Walmart for having 2 seasons in 1 box for 1 price! Nice!) & having "date nights" every night to watch our 6 favorite NY'ers. Yes, I know it's like 20 years after it premiered but I am just loyally finding it now. We do A LOT of laughing, rewinding, & I think it's safe to say we're pretty damn close to knowing episodes line-by-line. Oh, & I must say that Phoebe Buffay is absolutely 1 of the best-created TV characters of all time; I'm constantly throw-out "Phoebe-ism's"!

Part 2 coming soon.

Lots of love,
- LISA -