Sunsets


It’s no secret that I’ve had a rough couple of years. I’m mostly past it now and getting further from it every day. The aftermath is mostly financial and I’ll deal with that as best I can. Today though this is what I’m thinking about. Sunsets.

I want to go where the sunsets make me cry tears of joy.

I want to watch the sun set with Anne Marie. I want to wake up with only the sound of a breeze through the trees and the crickets chirping. I want to have our coffee, wrapped in blankets, on the terrace with the damp morning air curling our hair. I want to drive with the windows open and the stereo on too high. I want to feel the breeze from the ocean on my face and the feel of warm soft sand between my toes. I want to make a hollow in the sand and sit on my blanket watching the surf ebb and flow. I want to watch the sun reflect on the waves like jewels as they come into shore. I want to watch the children scoop sand into their buckets and then dump it out again. I want to feel the tickle of the ocean on my toes as I walk along the shore. I want to feel my feet sink into the wet sand as I move out to my knees. I want to dive into the ocean and feel the salt water cleanse my skin. I want to sit on my blanket wrapped in a towel and read my book. I want to sip my ice cold water and feel the hot sun on my skin. I want to spend my day breathing the ocean air. Enjoying the solitude together. Talking when we want but otherwise just being there, together.

I want to walk into our temporary home and open a bottle of Syrah, savoring it while we wash off the sand and surf from the day. I want to fix dinner together companionably with ingredients purchased from the local market. I want to turn the music on quietly to accompany our meal while we sit and recall our day. I want to just be in the moment, no cell phones, just talking about our lives and remembering how things were. I want to talk about our lives, catch up in a real way. I want to talk about our futures, our plans, our goals.

Soon enough I’ll be back to reality. Today, I want to breathe, be in the moment and not worry about what awaits me when I return to the real world. Here, today, now I’m just focusing on the feeling of being in the moment and enjoying my limited time in a beautiful place sharing the experience with a beautiful soul.

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Self explanatory


Do you have diabetes? Uh no. Really?

You’d be so pretty if you lost weight.

Aww should you be eating that???

Oh you’re sick? It’s probably because you’re overweight.

The best diet you could go on is the “push yourself away from the table once in a while” diet. (Yes a cardiologist told me that)

Oh no I’m not prejudiced against fat people. Some of my best friends are fat. 🙄

Ohh (tch tch) she should not be wearing those pants.

Do you think she owns a mirror?

You should exercise more

You should eat less

You should cut out carbs.

Have you tried <insert diet here>

Don’t eat after 6.

Don’t eat that much fruit.

Oh … you eat bread?

No I’m just saying you would feel so much better if you lost weight.

I care about your health.

You look great. You must have lost weight.

You work out?

No really you must have diabetes. Have you been tested?

Well you should just try eating healthy.

I think you should ….

Maybe it’s your portions.

Calories in Calories out!

Have you had your thyroid checked?

No really … it’s diabetes right?

What about weight loss pills?

I don’t know. Fat acceptance just seems like excusing bad behavior.

Have you considered dieting?

Fat people are lazy

Fat people are slovenly

No you just have to set your mind to it!

Don’t you miss being healthy?

Oh you’re eating ice cream … ?

Should a diabetic be eating that?

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Gratitudes


Amazing family

Solid steadfast friendships

Help with things I can’t do

Clean floors

Flowers

Supportive co-workers

Informative member pages

Funny memes

Positive messages

Prayers

Daily text “check ins” 💕

Fur baby cuddles

Pain medication! 😀

Grocery delivery

Good surgeons

Beautiful surroundings

Good weather

Comfy slippers

Stretchy pants!

Good books

Netflix

The Grabber!

Social media

Get well cards

Health insurance

Grubhub!

Iced tea

Stool softeners (keeping it real 😆)

Journaling

Positivity

Kindness

Support when I’m not so positive

Humor

Popsicles

Sparkling water

Pillows

Internet

Flea Market Flip marathons

Surgical tape

A safe place

Random kindness

Children playing outside

Sunshine

Taking time to heal

Love and gratitude from me to all of you

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I am celebrating


I’m dealing with a lot. Probably not as much as some people but more than I’ve ever had to deal with before. I’m trying to be strong and not let my problems define me. I have these amazing examples of strength right in front of me all day every day. I want so much to be like them but I’m failing miserably. Well actually that’s the crux of this. I’m not failing, I just deal with things differently and I need to learn to be ok with that. I feel sad sometimes. I cry. I feel sorry for myself. I need to be okay with that, go through the emotions and then get back on track. It’s ok not to be this pillar of strength all the time.

I have been on this journey to get myself healthy and strong again. I have been comparing my results to past results or other people’s successes and coming up lacking. Losing weight is a challenge – mentally and physically. I have been letting my comparisons pull me into this negative space. I’m not doing enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m a disappointment. I haven’t lost enough weight. I’m a failure.

I have reacted in anger and defensiveness at the simplest suggestions – things I used to be confident enough to let roll off my back. Despite the gentle reminders of my friends (to whom I have not always been so nice) I let my lack of confidence turn into a lack of trust. I have allowed my negative headspace to impact my thought processes and everything seems like a slight or a criticism.

I have spent a lot of time and energy focusing on what I have not accomplished in my life and how my past choices have impacted my health now. Yes I have made bad choices that have caused me problems, it is what it is and now more than ever I need to focus on staying positive and continuing my journey to better health.

I have not “only” lost 43 pounds since 7/16/17. I have lost an average of a pound a week. I have not failed to meet my goals, I have done what I set out to do. I have lost weight and gotten healthier. I need to live my own mantra and celebrate the victories – large or small. My pants sag, I’ve had to buy some new clothes because the spring clothes from last year are too large.

I haven’t failed to get back to the gym. I was dealing with illness and fatigue and pain and medicine side effects that were impacting my life. Instead of beating myself up for what I haven’t done, I need to focus on what I can do. I can walk from the lot to my office without being out of breath. That might not seem like much but it’s enough. For now.

I got some excellent news yesterday and I was very happy. People told me I need to celebrate. That was a foreign concept to me. Celebrate what? Sure I am pleased but I’ve failed to accomplish my goals so I shouldn’t be celebrating anything.

I need to regroup. I need to pull myself out of this negative headspace and be okay with who I am now and what I have accomplished. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself.

I am strong in my own way. Maybe not as strong as some of the amazing women in my life and maybe not every day but that’s enough. I am smart, I am successful, I am learning and growing and becoming a better me.

I am happy and content. I am celebrating my successes. I have lost 43 pounds. I have taught myself to cook clean and healthy. I have created a lovely home for myself. I have helped to shape an amazing young woman into the person she is today. I have found a safe place emotionally and physically in which to exist.

I have found a good career and become a force to be reckoned with. I get accolades for what I do regularly at my job – I earned them and I deserve them. I have worked hard to be the best and while I’m not perfect I am an excellent Credit Manager. Recently my job has been highly scrutinized and dissected to the nth degree. I’ve worked long hard hours to show my results and what I have accomplished with the mess I inherited two years ago. Instead of saying “Ok bring it on I can handle anything” I’ve become angry and taciturn. I’ve reacted defensively and allowed paranoia and self doubt to impact my decision-making ability.

It’s all related. I’ve lost myself in the negativity.

I’m solid. I’m aware. I’m re-evaluating. I’m re-grouping. I’m taking life’s lemons and making lemonade.

I am celebrating my weight loss. I am reveling in the joy of my recent good news. I am telling the scrutinizers to BRING IT ON because my numbers will withstand any scrutiny because I am a rock star.

I am strong.

I am successful.

I am celebrating my life.

I am moving forward.

I am learning and growing.

Who I am is good. What I’ve done is great. I can do this because I am positive and I am a good.

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I am strong


I am good. I am happy. I am positive. I am worthy. 

I am strong. 

I have been feeling this cloud of negativity beginning to descend upon me the last few weeks and today, quite by accident I discovered why.  One persons toxicity can do such damage to another’s psyche. My mood crashed after an encounter and it suddenly became so crystal clear to me how much real estate I was giving this negativity nearly every day of the week. 

Today I am committing to myself. I will no longer allow this toxicity to take up residence anywhere within me – my heart nor my head. I will stay positive and happy and cheerful and won’t waste any more of my time (or yours) re-telling shocking stories or anything else. 

Today and going forward I am going to take deep breaths, put on my music if I have to and find my equilibrium again. I love my life and I love my work and I shouldn’t have to remind myself of that. 

I am happy. I am good. I am worthy. I am positive. I am strong. 

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Cancer sucks


So I have cancer. It’s so weird to actually type that. I’ve known for a while and I’ve shared with my loved ones etc. I always start out telling people the same way. “I am okay now and I am going to be okay”. This is absolutely true. I am fine and I am going to be fine. My cancer is very beginning stages and completely treatable. Incidences of my type of cancer spreading are extraordinarily rare. 

I have been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma grade 1 uterine or endometrial cancer with endometrial hyperplasia. Currently I am taking a synthetic progestin medication to control the amount of estrogen my body produces in order to keep the cancer from growing. This will allow me time to get healthy and strong and lose weight before I have surgery. The surgery will of course mean that they will remove everything. I’m fine with that. I am 53 as of Friday and I don’t need any of that stuff!

So basically two pills a day. Weird right? 

So I’m taking the pills, dealing with improving my diet and increasing my exercise. I’m cutting back on refined sugars and putting my mental energy into getting healthy. I’m not freaked out and I’m not sad about this. As a matter of fact every once in a while I find myself saying “Oh yeah that’s right, I have cancer!” The pills are basically for three months then I have another biopsy. As long as the cancer hasn’t changed then I can stay on the medication and continue to get healthier. If the cancer cells have increased then we will have to schedule the surgery sooner. My hope is that I will drop sufficient weight to get the surgery next summer when my daughter can be home for it. I really want that time although the thought of cancer cells just sitting there inside my body is a bit intimidating. 

A while ago, fresh from diagnosis, I burned my hand pretty badly and ended up at urgent care. They were writing my info for me on the form because my hand was immersed in ice water. He asked “anything else you can think of?” I said “Hm no not really I’m pretty healthy.” “Oh wait do you need to know I have cancer?” Now yeah it was a maybe stupid question in hindsight but come on what does my uterus have to do with second degree burns on my hand? 

Work is amazing. “Whatever you need” ” Just let me know when you have to be off” etc. My family is phenomenal. They ask good questions, give sound articulate advice, keep me grounded and remind me that this sucks but it’s not the end of the world. My friends are amazing. They remind me not to shut myself in and not communicate. They call me, text me, invite me places and remind me that they are there if I need anything. 

I have shut myself away a little bit. Well a lot actually. It’s the fatigue and the frustration with myself and my body. I am fine physically overall. The fatigue is a bitch but I do what the doctor says. “Eat right, get moving, rest when you’re tired”. It is also partially because of my dietary limitations. I’m retraining myself to eat clean and healthy and I’m not quite ready to get out there and try eating out. My house is straight but it needs some deep cleaning. I do what I can on the weekends but weeknights I’m tired. I know my friends don’t care what my house looks like but I do. 

I hate asking for help. I am strong, independent, capable of doing anything and self sufficient. I am the fixer, the doer, the helper. I am who people reach out to, I don’t ever need anyone. Believe that? I do. I did. No, I do. It’s very very hard for me to ask for help or even accept it when offered. It upsets people and I don’t mean to hurt my friends and family but it is who I am. I’m working on it though. It’s a flaw. 

I come by it honestly. Recently I was with my family. I asked for help with something. The next fifteen minutes was spent telling me all the different ways I could do it all by myself. I capitulated and will now do it by myself because now if I wait for help then I will look like a failure. Incapable. 

I know that wasn’t the intention of anyone there. Well maybe one of the people there but I know he doesn’t completely understand the ramifications of his words. Like he says things like “People who buy iPhones are idiots” and nearly every single person sitting in the room is literally holding a newish iPhone in his or her hands. 

So anyway, back to me. I have cancer. Fuck – that’s just surreal.

I think it needs to be said that I caused the cancer. I mean yeah my oncologist won’t say that but it’s a reality. I am obese, I am over fifty, I have history of breast cancer in my immediate family and I’ve had endometrial hyperplasia. I’m like a textbook case. Because I’m obese my body produces an excess of estrogen and as a result I have developed an estrogen driven cancer. So, I caused it. So there’s that. Now I can just put that away and focus on what I can control. Diet (nailed), exercise (still working on it), appropriate weight loss (20 pounds since I was diagnosed seven weeks ago). I mean I could starve myself but that’s no good for my body. I need to lose weight slowly and properly. 
So I cook and I chop and I eat clean beautifully made foods full of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and good fats. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits and chicken breasts. I’ve renewed my relationship with ground turkey and huge gorgeous rainbow salads. I’ve begun grilling chicken for snacks and eggs any way I can get them. I love good clean food and I love to cook so this part is not difficult. The hardest part is getting my butt up and into the kitchen to do weekly food prep because that my friends is my superpower. When I can go into my kitchen before work and pull out ingredients for a quick omelet, chopped portioned ingredients for lunch and crunchy raw veggies for snacks I succeed. When I can come home at 6:30 or 7:00 from work and throw a meal together in ten minutes because I have pre-portioned meals already in the fridge or freezer I am golden. 

My birthday was Friday. On Saturday I had dinner with my family. My mom and my sister planned and fixed an amazing healthy menu. My sister made these granola Berry bars that were so so good and only like 200 calories which is entirely doable. 

My daughter is in New York. That’s a long way away. She’s so busy with her very demanding job and her hectic life but she still is making the time to call or text me much more than we used to. I appreciate her so much. She is really such a wonderful person. She is just beautiful inside and out. She also helps me to keep things in perspective and is my biggest supporter in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle. 

I have mostly good days emotionally. Today is a bad day but that’s nothing to do with cancer. It’s more to do with my turning another year older I think. I think I’m having some hormonal responses to things. I’ve done some research and I don’t see much about that with the medication or cancer I have. I will ask my oncologist in October when I get my first biopsy. I don’t really have a lot of bad days but occasionally I do get a bit testy or teary or both. Even with that I know I can bitch to a friend or cry on someone’s shoulder if I need to. That’s pretty nice to know. 

Work is good. Work is great actually. They are appreciative of my efforts and energy, they respect my input and they provide intelligent feedback. I am learning so much and in less than a year had taken on two other departments. I’m a really good Credit Manager and I am rocking this so hard! My boss is the nicest guy!

Life is good overall. I moved into a really wonderful place a year ago and recently I bought my first brand new car. I am surrounded by amazing inspiring people. I am so lucky. My world is solid and I am content with what I have. Cancer doesn’t change any of that. It’s a stubbed toe, a skinned knee in the bigger scheme of things. I’m okay now and I am going to be okay. To quote e a slightly overused phrase “I’m going to kick cancers ass!” For today though I’m just going to go throw in a load of laundry and mop my kitchen floor. 

 

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What has happened to me?


When did I stop fighting back? When did I give up on standing up for my rights or others? When did I become afraid? Is it age? Am I getting soft? Am I more fearful? Is it the times we live in? Maybe a combination of all of the above. 

We were in line at an auto car wash. I pulled my car in behind his in line. I didn’t know he wasn’t lined up right. I didn’t know he was going to have to back up and realign his huge truck so he could get through the door. I didn’t know it until he nearly backed into me and then, throwing it into park, he jumped out and agressively approached the drivers side of my car yelling about what an idiot I was. I apologized profusely and repeatedly while simultaneously holding out my hands in supplication and putting the car into reverse so he could back up and reapproach. “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m so sorry sir” I yelled through my windshield as my car and the cars behind me all backed up. 

Then as I sat, well back from the truck bed and waited for him to enter the wash I began to tear up. Real tears. Lip shaking. 

What the hell? Forty year old me would have jumped out of my car and demanded to know how he dared to yell at me because he didn’t know how to drive his own fucking truck. Even had I initially not confronted him, I certainly would have when I had regained my composure and might have asked him what kind of man yells at a woman old enough to be his mother like that. I know I wouldn’t have cried and I’m fairly certain the first words that came out of my mouth would not have been desperately uttered words of apology in a shaky old lady voice. 

I think I was a little afraid, I don’t handle outright aggression  very well. But I’ve been afraid before in my life and my reaction was not to tuck and run. 

I’m disgusted. First and foremost I’m disgusted in that asshole for acting like a four year old and blaming someone else for his ineptitude but I’m equally or even more disgusted or maybe disappointed with myself. What have I become? When did it happen? What happened to self assured and somewhat fearless single mom who wanted to conquer the world and all of its inequities? Can I get her back or is she gone forever? I didn’t always like that woman but I respected her. She didn’t take shit from anyone, certainly not some two bit thirty year old with his dick in his hand and a Natural Light beer in his cup holder. 

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