Friday, August 30, 2013

Do You Measure Up?

No one ever wants to admit a problem exists or that someone you know actually has an eating disorder whether it's Bulimia or Anorexia.  It's one of the family secrets or skeletons in the closet you shut the door & don't discuss.

Reality is, problems exist.  We live in a world where our expectations sometimes outweigh the reality.  Growing up in a home where weight was a constant issue & discussion, it's on your mind 24/7.  When I look back at photographs, I see a thin person.  The reality of the situation was, anything over 130 was considered "fat".

As I got older, I did start to gain weight - I was aware of it, worked out & tried to make healthy eating decisions.  Constantly I was told by a family member I needed to lose weight & that's all I could hear in my head.  I remember my mom taking me shopping for clothes when I entered my freshman year at College.  When we came home, we were grilled on what "size" I was now wearing.  I had gone from a 9/10 to a 11/13.  This person was appalled I had gotten so "big".  This is around the time I started being Bulimic.  I had to be "perfect" and eating wasn't the answer in my mind.  I think I was a combination of being Anorexic & Bulimic.  If one didn't work, I'd try the other. 

I always felt I didn't measure up & had something to prove.  I ended up not being me, not knowing what direction to go in & constantly feeling like a failure.  I think kids have it even worse today, since Hollywood has so much more influence on size, looks & attitude.  But be yourself, tell your self everyday you are beautiful & if someone thinks you aren't, then they don't deserve to be in your life.

The pressures continue to haunt me as the words Fat Azz B.... is thrown in my face even as an adult by the same person that ridiculed me for not being less that 130 as a young adult.  I no longer have a Bulimic or Anorexic problem, but knowing I still don't "measure up" still haunts me at times.  I do try to watch what I eat and exercise daily, but I know I'll never be "perfect" to some people unless I'm at the 130 or less mark.

I am who I am ... cancer survivor x 3, and taking chemo pills to keep the cancer away. The side affects are increased appetite and weight gain - kinda hard to fight it at times, but I'd rather be cancer free.

Be an encourager to a person, it goes a lot longer in making a change for the better.  Don't measure a person's worth by their size, no one in this world is perfect.  Be you - be happy with you, & be happy in knowing God loves you unconditionally.  I'm happy being me, happy I am a survivor.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I choose to believe

I believe in being optimistic in life about situations, events, and day-to-day trying times.  I try to live in the present, not dwell too much on the past & try not to look too far ahead.  My sister battled breast cancer for over 14 years, three different times & two different types of breast cancer.  The last 3-4 years I wondered a lot about what she was feeling, thinking, and where her mindset was on beating it.

When you are an outsider (non-cancerous) person, it's easy to say or comment what YOU would do if you were in that position or situation.  Being a cancer person in 2004, 2005 and now 2013, I have an even more understanding of my sister and what she went through in her fight.

As the months past, even years past and you've reached a plateau of "no cancer", you start to relax, and feel normal again.  You skip along in life, smelling the flowers on occasion and going back to the "norm" of being normal.

In February of this year when I received confirmation my cancer had returned, there were a lot of feelings and emotions.  First and foremost, you have to  be brave, put on your armor of strength & courage.  It had been less than a year since losing my sister, I ached more for my family and friends, than I did for myself.  I hated having to put them through this again, because the wounds & feelings were still so fresh from my sister's passing.

My first thoughts were "I'm not ready to leave my boys" and then my thoughts were, how will my kids and family go through this so soon.  None of us know when our time on earth is done & when it's time to move to our new heavenly home.  When you're diagnosed with a disease that at times has an agenda and time factor, you look at things differently than a "non-cancerous" person.  It's so easy for people to say "just pray about it - don't worry", "turn it over to God", and "everything will be okay".  Will it really be okay or is it my time to leave this earth and say goodbye to the people I love?

I'm here for a reason, sometimes I laugh and wonder what I'm here for ... but I know God's not finished with me yet.  If it hadn't been for a feeling of something not right last summer, and then having reflux problems starting in November and finally contacting my doctor in January - I'm not sure what my prognosis would have been - but ... I'm here.

No matter who you are, your position in life, your followers, your family and friends  -  it's hard hearing those words "I'm sorry, it's cancer".  I'll admit, I was ticked off - starting thinking, it's not fair.  But then I know I'd rather it be me, than one of my family members.  I've been through it before, I know what to expect - but I do look forward to the day when the only cancer you hear, is cancer you research on line.  I look forward to the day when a pill or shot cures it all.  Until then, we fight, we smile, we pray & we believe.

As a cancer person, I can tell you from my point of it - let the person talk, let them express themselves & let them even express anger if needed.  It's better to express it, than to hold it inside.  I choose to believe God has a plan for me, maybe telling me AGAIN ... to really STOP & smell the roses & never take anything in life for granted again. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Third Time's A Charm

No one wakes up & says "I'd like to have cancer".  After being in remission for 8 years, you feel you're okay & feel no worries of it reoccurring and you live life as though you're okay.

In late 2004, I had this "feeling" something was't right, but knew I had a CT in a couple of weeks, so I waited.  A few months ago, this "feeling" returned.  I made an appointment with my doctor for a reflux issue & am glad he was proactive & ordered tests.   Getting the phone call confirming & hearing the news the cancer had returned, I felt empowered I would be okay.   "You have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

The last couple of days, I've felt the need to comfort my family & friends as I've shared my news.  I've gone to church all my life & have heard all my life "trust in God".  If I don't believe this - then what hope is there in this world?

God has seen me through Stage IV in 2004, return of cancer in 2005 & a pulmonary embolism in May 2005 which was from surgery 4 months earlier.  I'm here for a reason, God has carried me through so much & will continue to be my hope & strength.

God never gives or allows us to go through more than we can bear, I guess he sees something in me that at times I don't see.  My faith & trust is in Him & I know He sees the "big picture" and He knows the end result in all of us.

Stay positive, don't be sad - because I'm not, I need positive reinforcement around me, prayers for strength & prayers on healing. Don't falter in your beliefs & faith, because I need your strength & support & all the prayers you can share.  God is bigger & more powerful than anything we face, and He is in control of all things in our lives.

I read a book that emphasized the "A, B, C, D" plan.  - ask for what God wants for us in our lives, live in harmony with his plan. B - believe.  Believe in yourself & believe those around you will support & love you.  Surround yourself with believers. C -commit. Do what you believe.  D - do something about it.

Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength".
Hebrews 13:5 "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you".

We all have trials & tribulations here on earth. How we face these challenges will show our faith & trust in God.

Be okay, cause I am okay.  If God is for us, who can be against us?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Footprints On My Heart

As we create memories, there are footprints left on our heart to lead us, guide us & remind us of those moments. In life we experience sadness, death, birthday celebrations, school events, & news stories and the birth of a child to make us laugh & cry as well.

In losing a loved one, it's the time when footprints become more pronounced in our heart. Our thoughts flash back to special moments, laughter & remarks we remember. For a while, our tears flow more often because of the loss we feel here on earth. In time, the tears are less and we laugh more as the "remember when" thoughts take over conversations.

My footprints on my heart are times I remember with my grandfather, grandmother, mom & my sister. My grandfather taught me not to say “look at those cows out there”. He said you never know if there’s a bull out there & you will insult him if you don’t include him. So instead say “look at the cattle. My grandmother had a pie plate with a cover shaped like meringue and on top of it was a Hersey Kiss. She told me she saved a lot of Hersey Kiss bags to send in to get her pie plate & cover. I still can taste her chocolate pie - especially around the holidays.

My mother could plant anything & it would grow. She also spent many hours cutting out patterns to sew outfits for us and our Barbie dolls. I miss my mom’s dressing she made at Thanksgiving, no one makes it like she did – some have come close, but it’s just not the same. My mom had a smile that reached her eyes and I miss our daily conversations.

My sister, one of my best friends, you always knew what she thought – because if not, wait a moment & she would tell you. She was sarcastic at times but it was funny, and loved playing cards & board games. When technology took over, she became addicted to her Iphone & Ipad. Hayes was her first grandson & it was soon obvious he had her wrapped around his finger. Battling cancer, she never complained & she inspires me still in everything that life throws my way.

I’m thankful for those leaving footprints on my heart; sometimes those we meet in life leave a few & some leave a lifetime of memories. We all need to take time to remember, smile & even at times to share a few tears as reflect upon the footprints left behind. Each day we should be creating Footprints of Love to those around us to be remembered & cherished.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cancer? What's that?

I dream of the day Cancer becomes a distant memory just as Small Pox. A day when a vaccine cures all and sends the word Cancer to the archives of life.

Cancer is rampant today, seemingly out of control, and spreading throughout families and friends. In my own family, I've seen the devastation of this disease. It claimed the life of my grandfather, aunt, uncle, cousin, and my mom. Others have fought it and won - an aunt, sisters & myself.  I have a sister fighting a ten-year battle of breast cancer - she marches on, fighting it day-by-day.

If you've ever experienced cancer, you know the "what-if" surrounding you each day. You're happy with a good report from your doctor, but you do wonder at times when it might strike again. After being diagnosed, going through surgery & treatments, I went through a phase of "oh no - I have a pain - is it cancer?" I didn't voice my concerns, but inwardly it was present every day.

In 1806, as stated by Jefferson - he visualized the day future generations would know only by history the disease ever existed. In 1977, the last case of Small Pox was reported.

I pray for a cure, a vaccine, a pill - anything to stop the spread of the disease, and stop it from ever being heard of again. I envision the day, when "Cancer" is only heard of in history & there is vaccine to prevent it from ever appearing again.

Monday, September 19, 2011

3 Letter Word - SIN

We learn as we grow up about sin, about doing what's right & what's wrong & about the consequences if we choose wrong.  We watch the news, read the paper & see the results of wrong choices.  If you've ever watched COPS or any other reality police show, you see what happens to bad decisions.

Despite all we know, all we learn, all we witness, we continue to make bad choices.  It's hard to understand or explain when someone we know makes bad decisions.  The worse part is when it's televised & it seems the topic every where you turn.  The TV news, newspaper, dinner time talk, it's a constant reminder.

You hear familiar comments & statements like "oh man, I've known him forever - no way", "what?  are you kidding me?", "I won't believe it until I hear it from his own mouth", "if it's in the news, then it's true", and the time comes & you really do hear the truth from the individual, it makes it real.  But, then you have to process all what you hear, what you know to be the truth, and decide where you stand in your mind & heart for the individual. 

We're all sinners, we come in this world with sin - but the choices we make are of our own choosing.  When we make bad choices, we have to face the consequences.  When you're a public individual, you are out there for people to make rash statements & be on constant scrutiny of the public.  Make one wrong move & you're nailed to the wall.

I can't excuse or explain choices & decisions of others, but I have to search my own heart & mind and base my reasoning on the person I've known long before the media came into the situation.  When you sin, it causes a ripple effect among people - friends, family, and acquaintances.  Everyone takes on a part of it, you bear it as a friend, family member, co-worker, and you bear it being a part of a community.  Follow your heart, remember what you know, not what you hear, listen with your heart, seek understanding & give forgiveness.

"He that is among you with no sin, cast the first stone."  John 8:7

Personally, I know no one on this Earth without sin.  My Heavenly Father is sinless, I'll leave the judgment to him.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What makes a survivor?

Someone made a comment recently about something I had written on Facebook and commented I wrote like a survivor. So I decided to write "what makes a survivor?"

In life we're dealt situations, I prefer to call them challenges, and we learn through these circumstances, hopefully come out ahead and with experience. When I was growing up, the statistics for divorce was 1 out of 10. Now, 1 out of 2 marriages end in divorce. I've been divorced twice, so I guess I'm worse then the statistics in that regard. I survived divorced, survived raising my kids, and going through the trials and tribulations of dealing with cancer twice. I feel being strong in your beliefs, being firm in Christ, can get you through any situation in life and you come out a survivor by necessity.

A survivor is one that knows no matter what is going on around them - they have to keep going. People, whether friends or family, are depending on us to make it - to be all we can be - to do all we can do - and to prove to themselves and others, we can do it.

What makes a survivor? One that despite the pitfalls, the valleys, and the moments that seemed hopeless, they continually climb that mountain and know that once they reach the top, they've made it, they have survived can do anything. There's a song on the radio about the climb to the mountain. And in reality, that's what surviving is all about - it's about the climb, the obstacles you go through in life, and about reaching the top.

Surviving is knowing when you look in that mirror you know you are at the top of your game, you feel as though you can accomplish anything in life. Stay focused, stay strong, listen to your heart, and keep your eyes on Jesus and you can survive anything in this world.

When you're feeling down, feeling blue, feeling discouraged, just remember that in life we have challenges, and they will test us - but with God on your side - anything and everything is possible.