Category Archives: Challenges

I Am Worthy

Thanks to a great friend with a beautiful soul, I was reminded that I am worthy of so much more than what I am going through. Then I came across these quotes and it just turned my entire day, week around. Thank you…you know who you are.

You are not useless. You are not hopeless. And no matter how scared you are, you will never be alone. And deep down, somewhere, in the part of you that decided the good days and your happiness and your health were all worth fighting for, you know that, too. Hold onto that knowledge. It will see you through the worst. – Ella Ceron

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou

Some people will never ‘get you’. Do not spend eternity asking why. People will see you differently, just cherish those who lift your soul. – Dodinsky’s Garden of Thoughts

The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. – Romans 8:18

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. – Ernest Hemingway

I refuse to be destroyed though. Not letting my struggles become my identity… I still know how to smile. I know how to love. I know how to live. More importantly, I know how to put one foot in front of the other … with grace in my step, hope in my heart…

You’ll meet her, she’s very pretty, even though sometimes she’s sad for many days at a time. You’ll see, when she smiles, you’ll love her. – Pan’s Labyrinth YES! Me! Worthy of all good things.


PTSD … still …

Its been two years since I got hit by a car. And my anxiety, especially during the winter months, has not diminished. Lately, its at an all time high!! I am so afraid of slipping on the ice, breaking more bones. So much anxiety. I have definitely noticed how being hit by a car has changed the way I experience the city. Every time I see a taxi cab coming down the street, an almost daily sight, my thoughts rebound to my accident. Some changes, like never stepping off the curb until the light has actually changed, or looking both ways before crossing (sometimes twice), are probably good in a way. But all these inane thought race through my head in seconds – I am never again sure that a car will stop, and now my carefree walking in the city has come to and – abruptly and forever.

Although I recovered, for the most part, physically, I still walk around the city with a sense of permanent vulnerability. I still cannot cross many streets without looking both ways about four times and looking over my shoulder a dozen times while crossing. If a car gets too close, or if I think a driver turning my way doesn’t see me, I panic, break out in a sweat, and sometimes literally freeze. Sometimes, on crowded walkways, people stare, get frustrated with me, bump into me … all which just adds more anxiety.

Physically, I have been certainly recovering. But the last two years, I have became seriously depressed. Drugs did not help all that much. I was referred to a post-traumatic stress disorder therapist and during non-winter months, I think I am ok. But now my PTSD is at the forefront of my life. Waiting for the winter blues literally to leave so some of my depression can gradually lift.

For a long time, though, my life was defined by my accident. And I guess it still is -0 just when I thought I could put things behind me. So much is how much of my energy and time is spent on all the medical procedures, tests, rehabs, doctors’ visits etc., building anxiety, not to mention all that time I missed from work before they laid me off. And now looking to go back to work, I see how much I have really lost.

And the experience lingers, both mentally and physically. I have regained about 80 percent of my mobility and 70 percent of my strength, but it is just not the same. So many things I still can’t do, and this only leaves me more frustrated and disappointed. In my mind, I’ll never be the same and that’s heartbreaking to some extent.

And the fear and the vulnerability stay with me. I wasn’t paralyzed or killed, so I felt fortunate. Being hit by a car did, however, damage my sense of security and safety. I am still working my head around all of this.

I have become an exceedingly careful pedestrian. *sigh* I guess that is a good thing. I never got my driver’s license, I never quite liked cars nor traffic, but these days I am even more against them. I just pray to return to some form of stability — both on a professional and personal level as well as emotionally and physically.

I desperately seek and need the feeling of responsibility and accomplishment. I want my life back. But am keeping my true appreciation for why I am still here.


Overthinking Rambling…

I don’t sleep…insomnia is a curse. Sleep has eluded me too long. I can lay in bed for hours, resting my body at least, not doing anything physical, but my head is doing a lot , spinning in circles, replaying conversations with people – over thinking.

Many say our lives are a result of the choices we make. Sometimes, I don’t agree with this. I have cancer, I didn’t make that choice. I lost my fiance and friends to terrorist attacks on 9/11, I didn’t make that choice. I am responsible for how I dealt with these situations. I am proud of how I have dealt with so many negative blows. But sometimes, I allow a person into my life, because I can sense a brokenness that speaks to me. And it is then that I question myself, and am not so proud of the choices I have made. I know if I don’t like my life these days, I need to start making better choices. Trying. I can see the God and the universe taking the mess in my life, and my past and trying to send me a message and now its up to me to take that message and learn from it. But I think I have learned. I want to almost stop learning how to keep rising from misery and just be happy. Live a stable life. But each day that passes, and I do not get better results from tests, better news from my doctors, how can I lead a productive, stable life? I just wish someone else can live my life, at times. I am tired. My head hurts. I am trying so hard to keep a part of me that is safe, at peace. I don’t want the world and the mean, selfish people in it, to make me hard. I don’t want the pain to make me hate. I don’t want that hate to turn into wary bitterness nor change my empathetic sweet nature.

I have been fortunate to have met a beautiful person who has the soul of a living angel. She has become a friend who strengthens me with love, blesses me with prayer, and encourages me with hope. I think I am failing her though. I am more open about what I am going through. She is so quiet. She keeps a lot tucked inside her heart. I wish I could draw her out as she has been there for me.

As for all of those who betrayed me this year, and tried to make me feel small – I forgive them. They have tried to insult me, belittle me, take me granted. I am now learning how to move forward and to forgive myself for allowing them into my life and allowing them to hurt me. Each second of overthinking, brings me one minute closer to perspective, to my life of freedom and hope.

I wonder if Donald Miller had it right when he wrote, “We were made to be distracted by life, by story.” Let’s see what I continue to learn as I edit and alter my life. Trying ….to move on forward…with grace in my step, hope in my heart.


Every second, everything changes…

They say cats have nine lives…well, I am beginning to believe so do I. I know I have had many health scares. And it has changed me in a way I am still fully learning to understand and accept. But today, once again, I got some positive news from my doctors. For months, I feel like I have given up. I just don’t have the best support system. Easy to give up – when you feel so alone. Picking out headstones, finalizing my living will, giving away my clothes, furniture. But today, doc told me the cancer stopped spreading. And although I am far from out of the woods, I may, just may, once again outlive my prognosis. I sit here, outside in NYC at Central Park crying as I try to write this. I don’t think many can understand how I feel. I almost completely gave up. I know I did. But I am over the moon happy that this stupid smiling depression of mine didn’t get the best of me. I was born a preemie and I will always be a fighter. I know this deep down inside. I just lost sight of it for awhile. I was barely hanging on. But I am finding the strength somehow to keep moving forward. Living with a death sentence hovering is, was, will be – my own prison. Few things in life, can forever change a person. Getting a diagnosis of cancer just puts things in perspective but then pain can make us lose that just as easily. Focus shifts. Goals change. Desires lost. Seconds turn into years. Cramming a lifetime into days. I have been doing this all my adult life. Pushing people away. Begging them to stay. Cursing. Praying. Hoping. Letting go. Learning. Crying. Screaming. Accepting.

Many don’t understand that tomorrow is not a given. I lost my way for a bit, as I always do. But I remain hopeful that tomorrow will come. …that many tomorrows are still here for me. I feel like I am cheating death. And maybe I am just living life…to the fullest. Not looking backwards. Time. Timing. Timeless. Who knew the aggressive cancer would respond so much better than expected to my last course of treatment? I didn’t. I would have bet all I had – oh wait, I did. I am still in shock I think, as I write. Not sure why, I have been here before. This should be home for me. Being sick has been my stability. Sounds crazy but that has been my label for too many years. Immune system shot. I get sick at the mere mention of a cold. But today’s news, and the way I have been feeling the last couple of weeks, has me happier than I dare to believe. Do I dare hope? One minute I am fighting to literally breathe, the next I just give up, resign myself to dying, and now I can’t stop smiling. Life. This is my life…the pain, loss of strength, nausea, weight fluctuations, exhaustion, and shortness of breath are beginning to gradually fade. I know my body is healing…I can go up and down the stairs without gasping, less pressure from the tumors in my chest, weight stable, can enjoy food again, more positive outlook is evolving. Weeks have turned into months, and I pray against all that my next scan will show that the cancer is in remission. A girl can dream. Yes. Now I just have to figure out my life. For months, my life meant dying. I have been preparing for death. I am ruined financially. I am fragile. I am happy but shocked. I don’t know what to do now. I wasn’t expecting to be brought back from the edge of death. Learning how to live. *sigh* That is always my dilemma. Do I allow myself the luxury?

So I will never stop thinking or asking my doctors, “Am I dying?” I’m just not quite sure where I am and what I should be doing. I understand that the cancer will at some point take my life but not today. Sometimes doctors don’t have all the answers. Only God does. And He spared me once again. I guess my job here on earth is not completed. And for that I am grateful. A huge part of me apprehensive. So I am going to go out there and continue to live my life. Trying. It’s almost like I have been living in reverse somehow.

On a logical level, we all know life is short. We say this all of the time. But few of us actually live accordingly.

“We are all dying, every moment that passes of every day. That is the inescapable truth of this existence. It is a truth that can paralyze us with fear, or one that can energize us with impatience, with the desire to explore and experience, with the hope- nay, the iron-will!- to find a memory in every action. To be alive, under sunshine, or starlight, in weather fair or stormy. To dance with every step, be they through gardens of flowers or through deep snows.” ― R.A. Salvatore

Truer words have not been expressed … LIVE your life TODAY! Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either. Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive. Be bold. Be courageous. Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

I remain forever hopeful, crying through my tears with grace in my step …make that dance steps.

Today…everything changed.


Just venting…

Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.

Being a divorced, single, childless woman in my 40s battling cancer yet again is just a sad state to find myself in…again.

Divorced Female, Going Bald, Undergoing Chemo and Radiation, Going Through Menopause, Weight Fluctuations, Mood swings…

Oh yeah, isn’t that the first profile you would click on if you were searching for the love of your life or even just a new ‘friend’ online? Dating in itself – or, I should say, finding someone to date – is never easy. Finding someone when you happen to be bald, going through chemo and/or making daily trips to the hospital for chemotherapy and radiation makes it a zillion times more complicated. Trust me, I know. I have tried it. I am not sure why I have tried it but I did. Logically, I knew it was not the best idea. But heck, I guess I am bored, optimistic, stupid?!

Going through cancer treatment can be really tough for a single woman. You may not have a friend or family member who can be there for you like a partner. You may also worry about how a current or future partner will react when they find out you’ve had cancer.

Perhaps the most private scar left by cancer is the damage done to your view of yourself. My self-image is completely distorted at times. I constantly find myself worried if I can ever catch up, keep up or even get going on most days. I wonder how active I can be and even how long I will live. If I ever even allow myself to think about remarrying one day, I obsess about if I should ever involve a partner in such an uncertain future.

In the past, concerns about having children also affected my relationships. I became infertile many years ago with my first bout of cancer. So alone I am.

I have been single most of my life. And I live by this quote by prixie: “Single is not a status. It is a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.”

Yes I am scared. Tired of not having someone special around. But the reality is I am my own person, and if I can’t enjoy being single, how can I enjoy being with someone else?

The most difficult thing for me about going through cancer yet again is doing it single, alone. In the past, I had a much larger, strong support network so I was hardly ever alone. But now I find myself more alone. At a time when closeness is so much more important, I feel so utterly singularly alone. During this time, my treatment, I am trying so hard to be brave and not complain too much. But staying quiet and calm, doesn’t prevent me from being lonely sometimes and longing for someone to hold me at night and whisper that everything is going to be alright. Or even just to take me to dinner, make me laugh, smile and forget about cancer for a little while, make me feel desirable. I have friends who take pity on me and take me out for dinner, and make me laugh but its just sadly not quite the same thing. Sometimes I just so desperately want to ignore the cancer.

Nearly everyone I encounter who has or has had cancer – friends, people at the hospital, family, people in books and on TV – were either married or in a serious relationship when they were diagnosed; or children with caring parents. Not me. I am in the very vulnerable single state and not having someone to hold my hand every step of the way, makes me wistful, if not angry sometimes. But instead of just being jealous of others in relationships with supportive loving partners, feeling sorry for myself, I keep trying online dating. It makes me feel somewhat normal.

Within minutes of posting a new photo online, I had e-mails from men ready to shower me with attention. Of course, most weren’t exactly my type, but you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, right?! lol

I guess I am lucky somewhat … I have had some really interesting email exchanges, but alas have not found the man of my dreams during treatment. Still, dating during treatment restores my self-confidence, reassures me that I am still attractive, and distracts me enough moments at a time. The way I see it, is that everyone is unique and carries baggage of some kind and this is only one part of me, I guess. Just tired today of carrying all this baggage. Tired of my hand dangling alone.

So yes … Life. Life sometimes really sucks. Period.


I know I will see you again …

I get so more melancholy and turn more quietly inward – especially between August through September. I have lost so many people I truly loved. For the past 13 years, I dread today. I dread the anniversary and the repeated replays of the planes, the impacts, the fireballs and the collapsing towers.

It truly is like ripping off a Band-Aid … but my heart feels this open wound. Today, 13 years ago, I lost four true friends, one my irreplaceable heart, my soul mate.

The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he’s gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief, and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken. Always my heart ♥mm♥ …(Excerpt from Tiffanie DeBartolo, God-Shaped Hole)

I have come to realize that destiny can hurt a person as much as it can bless them, and I find myself wondering why – out of all the people in all the world I could ever have loved – I had to fall in love with someone who was taken away from me.

One day he was there and then all of a sudden, he is gone. There’s less of him each passing year. And you wonder where that part went – if it’s living somewhere, outside of you, and you keep thinking maybe you’ll get it back. And then you realize…it’s just gone.

Many say it’s easier to burn than to build; many say it’s easier to hurt than to heal…But I say you lose when you give up what you love…And I’ve lived my life without that long enough.

I hold pieces of him; I hold them so tight that they eventually become pieces of myself that am still learning to grow from but never away from. I hold onto them so tight that they eventually become the only pieces that can hold my shaky bones together. They become the only pieces that can keep this broken heart of mine held together…

Have you ever thought that if one thing hadn’t happened, a whole set of things never would have either? Like dominoes in time, a single event kicked off an unstoppable series of changes that gained momentum and spun out of control, and nothing was ever the same again. Don’t ever doubt that a mere second can change your life forever. It can. It has. Everything does really happen for a reason.

I’ve got no more illusions…I know I’ll see you again…but for today, I am allowing myself to fully experience the full impact of my loss. Grieving all over again. Grief…I am following it, crying when I want to, yelling at God, screaming into my pillow, and avoiding most people and definitely the news.

Grief is itself the only medicine I need right now. And anyone who doesn’t understand this or who can’t accept, stay away from me. So fake better stay away from me.

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. You learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. You learn that loving doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security, and you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. After a while you learn to build all your dreams on today because tomorrows ground is too uncertain for dreams, and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight. After a while you learn to accept your defeats with your head held with the grace of a woman and not the grief of a child. After a while you learn to plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really are strong, that you really do have self worth, and you can endure, and you learn and learn, with every “goodbye” you learn…” (Veronica A. Shoffstall)

“I am not the happiest person. In fact, in the battle between joy and misery, I’d say that the latter often seems to prevail. I don’t like this, and every day I refuse, for the eighty millionth time, to put up with another minute of it. But the world does what it does, and I often find it disagreeable. After all these years, I’m kind of resigned to that. But I do have one thing on my side: I have enormous faith. And hope. I am not speaking of the kind you find in church or in the afterlife or in heaven or in the Saint James Bible or in the Hare Krishna’s that we all encounter changing flights in the airports of the world, I am speaking of a simple faith that says that one way or another, no matter how many times I stumble and stub my big toe, somehow life is going to work itself out.” (Elizabeth Wurtzel)

candles


I often miss this little girl…whose dreams had no barriers, who believed in a world where anything is possible. with a heart that was full and unbroken.

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Prayers answered….♥

A few weeks ago, I went to Central Park Women’s Imaging Center for my annual mammogram. They called me a week later informing me I needed to come back immediately for another mammogram, more breast imaging tests and an ultrasound because they had found a suspicious dense mass in my right breast. So I went back Friday for another mammo. The ultrasound tech reassured me she couldn’t find anything.

Last week was a long, all consuming one, where of course, I panicked. I asked everyone to pray! Today, I learned God has spared me once again. I heard the most wonderful words, “ok you can go, all clear. See you next year for your yearly mammo”….

I audibly sighed and wanted to hug those women. I called my Ob-Gyn to see what she had to say. She was reassuring as well. I’ll never forget the date….the heartache, the relief, the joy….so many emotions in one short week. No biopsy needed was music to my ears.

I participate every year in the breast cancer walk, but this year, it will take on extra special meaning and focus. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting a yearly exam. Time is of the essence! I have lost an aunt, too young, to breast cancer many years ago.

The waiting was the worst part. Feeling alone. You start to think about horrible possibilities. I have to admit, I was scared; convinced that my luck had run out. That I had somehow failed. God has spared me so many times that I didn’t believe I would be lucky again. I have lived most of my life sick, performing under the radar.

No more. This is a new year, a new chance at getting it right. I still can’t stop selfishly smiling, praying and crying – all at the same time. I am convinced that God has a plan for me that I haven’t quite figured out.

Telling my friends also helped relieve the stress of worrying about whether I had cancer again. My friends are truly my pillars of strength. Writing here helps tremendously. So a big thank to you to those who read and follow my journey here…thank you for prayers. Just thank you. Tonight I am a big pile of grateful mush.

Praying that many out there are as fortunate as me…getting another chance…life is short. My faith won’t waver. My hope won’t die.

prayer


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