Saturday, April 28, 2018

Hello There!

Today is my 8 Year CANCERVERSARY! Got a minute? Let's chat!

See ya soon.
Peace, love, & lyrics
- LISA -

Sunday, August 28, 2016

12 Years

     12 it that even possible? August 28, 2004 was easily the first worst day of my life. My older brother John was an amazing person; don't get me wrong - he was FAR from perfect but I think the heart that beat in his chest for 24 years heavily outweighed any misstep he may have taken on this Earth. He loved his family, friends, & girlfriend Leslie fiercely. He was the most loyal person you could ever meet. He had such an extremely contagious laugh that even if you didn't want to laugh with him - it didn't matter, you would always ending up doing so. God, how I miss that laugh. I'm not sure what Heaven is like but I do know wherever or whatever it may be, I have no doubt my brother is there telling the other angels that "it's all good". I ask that, in my brother's honor, please check your smoke detectors - it's such a simple task that could easily save your life.

John - I hope you liked the daisies we dropped off yesterday. I will always continue to search for life's answers in song lyrics, just like you told me. I miss you every minute of every day & I love you even more. Rest easy big brother. <3

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oye Vey!

     After putting it off for a good four years, I finally visited the dentist to figure out just what kind of damage chemo has done to mouth, more specially, to my teeth & let's just say it did it's damn thang....five thousand dollars worth to be exact. Oye vey! Thankfully my insurance did cover a dental cleaning & updated X-Rays but beyond that, anything to fix broken, discolored, literally falling apart piece-by-piece teeth is considered "cosmetic" & not covered by insurance....lame-0-rama! So it's look like I will continue to be a closed-mouth smiler for who knows how long. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely know how incredibly blessed I am to be alive, that is something I will NEVER forget & is something I reflect on numerous times every single day. I just like to keep you guys in the post-cancer loop & this is the latest in my cancer survivor story. I'll keep you updated but until then, enjoy the last few weeks of Summer! Talk to you soon

- LISA -

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Full Circle

     Hi blog! It's been a minute, right? If you frequent these parts you know that every once in a while I take a step back from the writing - for no reason in particular - but just because it's something I need to do. This was the situation for the last few months...I needed to take some time to live my life. Since we last talked I've celebrated my 32nd birthday, my 6 year diagnosis day, my 4 year REMISSION day, & a clear PET scan. Today was another a big day in my story. It's been 3 years since my last colonoscopy (or in my case, a stomaoscopy...?) & it was CLEAR! No polyps - nothing, just a good-lookin', no cancer-showin, colon & intestines. You're totally welcome for those descriptives btw. :) My initial reaction was of course, relief - fast forward 3 hours later when I'm home, experiencing your normal post-scope gut pain, watching a documentary about DJ AM on Showtime, & suddenly I started to experience a whole mix of emotions. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm 7 days Estroven clean (gotta follow those Suprep-rules, ya'll!) or maybe it's the fact that I realized my cancer journey came full circle today. Everything started with a colonoscopy in April 2010 with my incredible surgeon Dr. B; those results were obviously quite different than today. That day is a blur & a repeat slow-motion scene both at the same time. It was a day that changed my life forever & I like to think today will also be one of those days. I'm so lucky...not only to be alive but to be loved by a super-dope family, a handful of friends who stuck by my side during my darkest of days, crazy-hyper puppies, & the chance to rediscover who I am post-cancer. I'm not exactly sure just who that is yet but she's coming around, bit by bit & I love her - I love me, I love this crazy life, & I can't wait to let you know where life takes me next.

- LISA -

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

National Cancer Prevention Month!

     Happy February! Not only is this the official month of "love" & MY BIRTHDAY but it's also NATIONAL CANCER PREVENTION MONTH!!! Obviously I'm a huge advocate of Colorectal Awareness but I've also met some really amazing people who are busy advocating for other types of cancer. My friend from the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center has passed along some flyers in hopes of saving some lives. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos that forms on the lining of the lungs, heart, & abdomen. It's absolutely preventable & the MAA is committed to spreading awareness about asbestos & ways to protect yourself. Take a quick look!

See ya soon!

Monday, December 28, 2015


     At the end of October I posted the above photo on my Facebook page & my Instagram account with the following caption:
"Never, EVER did I think I would post a picture like this but alas here we go...‪#‎MyOstomyStory‬ began on August 19, 2010 - 4 months after I was diagnosed with Stage IIIb Rectal Cancer at age 26. I was a recent college grad & a full-time dance coach. The 1st time I heard the words "permanent colostomy" I thought my life was over, little did I know the one thing that would GIVE me life was my ostomy. 5 years, 3 chemo regimens, 28 pelvic radiation hits, & 2 major surgeries I am, still very much alive & still dancing my way through this crazy world. Cancer may have tried to take my life & my body...but it never stood a chance against my spirit."
     I've been so incredibly overwhelmed by all the love & support I've received since posting my ostomy picture that I thought it would be fun to share the details behind the photo & let you know what exactly made me decide to share my story & my body with the world wide web...because it was definitely something very much outside of my comfort zone. So, a'let's go!
     In late October I realized that Uncover Ostomy was running a "#MyOstomyStory"campaign for any & all ostomates willing to share their story. UO is an super-cool organization that was started by a fellow young ostomate (Jessica Grossman) & it's primary focus is breaking stereotypes that linger behind having an ostomy - cause believe me, even though it's almost 2016 there are still a TON of stigmas & misconceptions about living with an ostomy, especially as a young adult. Taking those misconceptions into consideration as well as to how "normal" my life post-colostomy actually is I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of this campaign. However there was a catch: as easy as it is for me to bare my soul to the world, baring my body is a completely different story. I've been pretty open about my struggle with body image since my 70+lb cancer weight gain & it's been a long road to get to a point of feeling comfortable within my own skin again. In case you don't remember or weren't around these parts back then, have no fear! I got you.
Yup, that's me with 2 of my beautiful best friends, & Ashley & Natalie (hey girls! LY!)
     Before cancer & my now ever-present premature menopause, I never had to worry about my weight so learning to navigate the worlds of diet & exercise, as well as figuring out how to maneuver a body with no hormone production was definitely a tricky situation that had me a hot-mess for a quite a while. It would literally take me years to get myself under control - both physically & mentally. Eventually however (after a looooot of trial-&-error), I was slowly able to figure out what specifically worked for me & began to feel more comfortable in my own body. I was starting to become "me" again - just a slightly different, more life-experienced me. After a ridiculous amount of research, I decided to begin taking non-estrogen, soy-based pseudo-hormones which helped me rediscover my metabolism & I slowly began losing the lbs. Does this mean I'm now 100% comfortable in my skin & in my body? Hell NO but that's not because I have an's because I'm human. Over the summer I reached another pretty big milestone: I returned to the world of ballet which is something for a really long time I was fairly certain wasn't physically possible but I did it! (oh, btw I guess I should tell you that I also had a large part of my inner left thigh muscles removed & used for external pelvic reconstruction back in 2011). Does my body move or cooperate like it did before cancer? That's another hell no...neither does my brain but I took back something I thought cancer forever took from me & I think that is actually PRETTY RAD!
     The final factor that helped me decide to be part of this campaign was my ostomy itself. I was first told I was would need a permanent colostomy about a week or so after I was diagnosed. I remember my doctor saying the word "colostomy" for the first time & hearing it echo over & over in my head. There I was sitting in my surgeon's office knowing that I had advanced, aggressive cancer & all I could think was "oh my gawd - I'm going to have to have colostomy bag...forever. What the hell am I doing to do?! My life is OVER!".  Like I said earlier there are SO many stigmas, misconceptions, & stereotypes that come along with having an ostomy & at that very moment, I bought into each & every one of them. I was terrified but was then was given 2 options by my doctor: 1.) have a colostomy & live or 2.) decide not to have a colostomy & die. Um...NO decision to be made! Let's ostomy me up real nice doc! 4 months later, after a complete tumor & rectal resection, I had my colostomy fixed to my lower left abdomen & very quickly learned the truth of being a living, breathing ostomate. No, I am not dirty. No, I do not smell. No, my life is NOT over & is not that different than your's. My life is very-much normal & that is because of my colostomy; it gave me the chance to continue to live. It gave me the chance to see past age 26 & be able fight my ass off against Rectal Cancer. I don't find any shame or embarrassment in that; it's actually kind of liberating! There is something satisfying in seeing someone's reaction when they find out that I have a not-so-secret ostomy hidden beneath my shirt. They don't think I'm dirty. They don't think I smell. They don't think my life is all that different from their's because it's not. I'm as normal as you can be without being normal at all. ;) I'm just like you: I wake up everyday & try my best to navigate my way through this crazy world & this is what my photo is all about. It's about baring my reality to a world that is filled with other people who are dancing their own way through the ups & downs of life. We all have different situations & different circumstances surrounding us that we have to figure out how to deal with. We all have our own issues that bully their way into our lives & adjusting to this giant curve-ball called cancer in my mid-20s was part of mine. Nothing more, nothing less. There really is no difference between you & I...except I don't have to worry about public restrooms anymore. :)

Until next time.
Peace, Love, & Lyrics,
- LISA -