Sunday, December 27, 2009
I wanted to share this video with my blogging family. This is Joshua's choir singing Carol of the Bells. Wishing you a very Merry Belated Christmas!!!
Be sure to turn off the music player at the bottom to listen.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
With the ringing of the Christmas bells I am healed, my heart is not left broken or shattered. So just as others have brought us hope and promise I gladly give to the same table. I may not be able to bring material things but I bring thankfulness and gratitude. I offer my love and devotion as a friend and as a member of this human race. I give my hope, my faith and offer the ringing of my own Christmas bell to light the way of anyone in struggling through their own darkness. For my reward is not in the bright shiny packages under the tree, no, my reward is in the giving of hope and light to others. True it may still be winter in our wonderland but we have been given a beautiful tree of giving to gather around. This tree, this giving tree grows, more beautiful as each day passes. No matter how big or small these precious gifts under the giving tree are they have brought hope and joy into our home. Truly the gift of hope is the greatest gift we can receive or we can give to one another. So my friend I have wrapped her beautiful, warm light around our tree this year. The heavens may open up, the skies may pour down upon us but the gift of hope will continue to grow within us.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Over this last weekend I was cooking dinner as the boys watched Disney Channel. My mind was not completely on the cooking nor was it completely on the TV. As I was stirring the pot in front of me on the stove I realized I was humming the Miley Cyrus song coming from the TV. Let’s see how did it go? “Life’s what you make it so let’s make it right”. Hum… let’s ponder this for a bit…
Life is what you make it? Ok I can live with that but what happens when the tools you need are ripped right out of your hands? What happened when life takes your health? Life has sent me many obstacles, such as diabetes, stroke, bell’s palsy, cancer, lymphedema, R.A. auto immune disease, and list goes on. No, I am not listing these complications because I want sympathy; nope I am doing so because we have lost our health insurance. Yep, that’s right you heard me correctly, I have no health insurance and all these pre-existing conditions!
So what do I do? What do my children do? We have applied for Medicaid and chips. That was almost four months ago and when they finally decided to call (last week) I wasn’t home to take the call. Reschedule you say? I would love to BUT they don’t answer their phones nor does our local office have their voice mail set up. It’s such a great opportunity to see our tax dollars at work.
In between all the turmoil, the ups and downs of unemployment Johnny has done his best to find work. In fact he is working, and it’s not a bad job but in a failing economy being in sales with a 100% commissioned based job is not exactly paying the bills. We never see him anymore, the boys are a mess and now without medical insurance my body is falling apart.
I know some you will say really? I don’t see it. You are always going, always busy. The truth is I do my best to keep my pain at bay; to work and to live through it but it’s always there just below the surface. I wake in the morning and cannot move my hands. I go to sleep at night dragging my legs into bed. In all honesty I have learned in this crazy, topsy turvy life of mine to pull myself up, and let my feet hit the ground running. But even with that said, pain or no pain, there comes a time when a person’s body just gives out from under them. I think I am close to that point. No, I am not whining. I am just tired, weary I believe and yes so hurt we have no insurance.
Without insurance I am a sitting duck. First I have not had my port flushed in close to six weeks. I have no doctors, no scans, no tumor markers, no blood work, no weekly IVIG, and no medications. And it’s not just my life in jeopardy; it’s my children’s as well. What about their medical issues and their medications? Seriously medications are so high paying for them can give you a heart attack on the spot! We are all off most of our medications right now and I can say for one my body is feeling it.
So let’s regroup for a moment. So tell me what I am to do? Give up? Give in to the self pity? No I can’t do that, it does nothing for anyone. But I can continue to get up, move and live this life I have been given with my faith in tack and my hope in place. I can raise my voice and say we need reform. Our monthly premiums were billed to us at $1332 a month, how crazy is that? You think you are safe, have it all taken care of and life paid up only to find all your security gone in just a flash. Seriously with a paycheck at times lower than minimum wage I ask how does one pay such outrageous fees? When it comes to deciding between the mortgage and the health insurance one has to go especially after your policy has been re-coded.
So here we sit in a place I never saw on the map before, a place of worry, concern and uncertainty. I have lived through cancer, brought my family along for the ride and never was I so scared as I am now!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Above is a recent project/interview the boys and I took part in. In order to listen to it you will have to turn off or pause the music player at the bottom of the page. The boys and I were featured in the 2009 calendar during the month of February ( She still has a few of these too ) but you can still grab up a 2010 calendar for yourself at and support the cause @ www.alisamurray.com
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Now don't go getting me wrong, I really do appreciate the fact stores scramble to display pink teddy bears, bags and pink ribbon magnets for everyone to purchase but I have to stop and ask myself is this pink washing or helpful to the cause?
I guess it started for me when I walked into one of our local grocery stores a few weeks back and was just blown away by what I saw; the whole store seemed to have gone pink. There were signs here and signs there, buy this and buy that. Everything from the soups, to the chips to the go green take home bags were pink or had pink ribbons on them.
I was a bit overwhelmed to tell you the truth. I felt as if I was being devoured by a larger than life size pink cotton candy monster! So if I felt this way then how did the rest of the non breast cancer customers feel? So this is where it gets a bit harry for me; do I give into this" Let's go Pink for a Cure" or do I stand down? Seriously this is a dilemma for me. But maybe not for the reasons you think.
(Yes I am aware a good amount of funds do not go to breast cancer research. My thoughts on this are: Going pink to encourage support and to take part in the "go get your boobies squashed campaign is fine", BUT make sure people know you are not contributing funds to the cause! Many would still buy the products, make note of the cause and even give them as gifts to breast cancer survivors. )
Let me let you in on a secret most breast cancer survivors won't admit too except only to one another: We have a love and hate relationship with the color PINK! Yep, love it, hate it, make it go away, and then embrace it all over again! I have said many times we are a different breed. We are fighters, strong, passionate, sometimes fearful and insecure, uncertain for sure and at the end of the day we are SURVIVORS who not only bleed pink but end up wrapped in a pink ribbon for life.
Just a couple weeks back I was honored to take part in a local story related to Alisa Murray's Hope and Inspiration Calendars. If you are not familiar with her work, Alisa puts a personal touch on breast cancer with not just a quote, or a story but through the art of photography. Just last year the boys and I were featured for the month of February in her 2009 calendar. I was honored on this day as I spent several hours with four wonderful and beautiful survivors of all ages and backgrounds. All of our stories were different but there was one common thread between us and it was we all survived breast cancer!
As I was leaving I overheard one of these women ask this question, “Have you noticed now that you have had breast cancer everyone seems to give you all pink gifts?" It made me giggle because I knew the feeling. It's not a bad thing at all. In fact receiving the gift of pink means a lot to me, I am not ashamed or afraid of the color pink.
In fact when I receive a gift bearing the color pink I am touched and I take to heart it means more people, mostly women, are thinking about breast cancer. I know my heart skips a beat every time my precious boys pick up something pink and I hear the words," Mommy, Mommy look! It's pink, it's for breast cancer!" But I will tell you hearing those words is also a two edged sword through the gut because our children are too young to relate to pink as they do. But just as I was not given a choice in the matter, sadly neither were they.
So again I ask is it good to paint the town pink? Well yes and no. Am I straddling the fence? No and let me tell you why. I feel if letting the pink cotton candy monster lose saves just one life then how can anyone argue? BUT it is also a double edged sword too because too many people have become deaf to the cause, basically they have become used to seeing the color pink up they don't see or acknowledge the meaning behind the color anymore. It has no personal meaning for them so they ignore it. Sure maybe they throw some change into the collection plate but do they really care, do they really understand why supporting breast cancer awareness is so important?
Many even know a breast cancer survivor, have had their lives touched by the beast but she survived, what's the big deal now right? You would be surprised how many hold this view. Believe me I know because after reaching remission I have seen many "In the fight. Let's wear pink" drop out of my life. Many begin to think and feel the next person will pick up their sword and sadly what happens is in the end id you are left standing alone with your sword in hand and countless more on the ground around you because everyone else has lost interest in fighting the pink beast.
So these are my thoughts on all this as we close out October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month: If we are going to paint the town pink then let's educate the town as well, put our personal touches on the color pink and open up our own lives and stories to the world. Because if we just sit on the curb and fuss about the pink paint, close our eyes and ignore this time of the year then how are we any different from the people who hide blindly to the cause? How will lives be saved from this beast if we stay on the sidelines?
I say it's time we as survivors take back the color PINK and make it personal again. Let’s be part of the solution as Fight Pink (http://www.fightpink.org/) or part of the transformation as Alisa is with her calendars ( http://www.alisamurray.com/ )What do you say? Are you in? Let's come together next year, October 2010, and make a difference, shout it loudly to the world and make PINK ours again!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
A sea of survivors, mothers, fathers, little ones, babies in pink slings, children in wagons and teens holding the hands of their mothers and grandmothers walking some 3.1 miles in honor and in memory of those they love turned out to raced and walked together side by side. Yes we were there to make a difference and to raise the battle call but we were also there to remember and to take quiet pause for those we have lost.
For just a moment let me share my own thoughtful insight here with those who may ask how 33, 000 women, men and children wearing pink and all kinds of crazy ensembles can do anything but crowd the streets? Well let me tell you we were not just there to spread awareness or to fundraise for a cure stripping the pockets of everyone in our path. NO, we were there to walk for what could be... a world without the stinging claw of breast cancer. We were there to make a change, to spread our wings and breakaway from the poison of chemo, radiation and death. We were there to embrace those survivors and pay tribute to the fallen among us.
We come every year to walk in the pouring rain, the sweltering heat and humidity. We walk with crazy hats, pink wigs, smiling and somber faces, fresh scares and old ones. We walk for hope and for life, to make our mark and to hold the hands and the hopes of tomorrows generation living inside each one of us.
There is an old Beatles song called Black Bird. The lyrics go like this: " Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arise. Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly into the light of the dark black night."
Many through the years have asked the meaning behind this song, well I can tell you in my own life these lyrics apply to my own battle with breast cancer and the reason for why we come together and crowd your streets once a year.You see my friend for so many of us the weight of breast cancer seems to hold an ending we do not want to face, to know or to feel. This is the life we lead without a choice. It is not simple, never easy but this is the one thing I know: Nothing have I ever seen as beautiful as 1, 194 SURVIVORS of BREAST CANCER adored in pink, side by side, embracing, crying, laughing and bringing light into the dark black night together.
So I ask you my friend this month as you see the ads and the pink ribbons spread through out your day take a moment to remember those we have lost and to encourage those men and women who have survived breast cancer. Wear something pink in their honor, take a moment and say a prayer, light a candle for the Pink Warriors still fighting. You need no heavenly sign to embrace those you know who have survived.... just open arms and an open heart.
Nothing has changed my life as Breast Cancer has, but God's grace has led me through each step and each mile. I would never have chosen this path for my life but now that I am here navigating these seas I would not change my course for all the money in the world. I am stronger , deeper and my life has more clarity than I could ever have imagined since 2006 intimately introduced me to a life of Pink Ribbons.
Even though many days the miles have seemed longer than they should I have grown in this life which was chosen for me. My life has been given new meaning and I am better for the men and women I have embraced along this journey. So what do you say? Will you jump in, take my hand and take this leap of hope with me? As for me, well I will continue to dance, to walk and to crowd downtown Houston's streets turning the streets pink for as long as I am given breath to do so. So watch out for us during this month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and every other month in between for as Josephine Hart says, "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
- Micah's mono. ( January - August)
- A new breast lump followed by a lumpectomy and biopsy. ( February)
- Port-a-cath issues --- who could forget the port! (May - August)
- Two insane surgeries (May/July)
- Johnny's job --- well what can I say about that? It came out of the left field somewhere. (July)
WARNING!!! Crazy woman on the loose! She's over Go ahead just hit me over the head and call me nuts! Singing sha- la -la- la- de- da.... Hey where did I go? Do you remember when I was sane? Hey now I'm your crazy loony girl! Just slipping and a sliding around the funny farm.
OK seriously, I can't say this word enough...seriously... life has been a bit like living on the wild side for the better part of this year. I know many of you know the feeling. One day you're just out for a row down the River of Hope and the next you're Living in the Land of Woe, hiding out in the Cave of " I Told You So" and eventually tossing about on the Sea of "You're Going Down Baby" !
Living life from the edge of shock and fear can lead to the total unraveling of your strength but I do not believe your foundation during times like these crack. No I know from experience it does not fall apart but it sure shakes a lot. But then that may have something to do with the larger than life size beast on your trail!
Yes she's around every corner and not just creeping up from behind mind you. No my dear there is no creeping about her. The beast, Cancezilla, is a big, ugly, bad beast chasing you from one corner of her world to the other. She is mean and heartless yet even when one of us falls under her feet or is dragged into her den of terror there is hope. Why you ask? Well let me tell you this my friend because no one is ever left behind! We are a band of sister sand brothers navigating our way through Cancezilla's land of the lost.
But you see this is the thing: When we say no one gets left behind it isn't just a one time thing. No way no how. Where would any of us be without the continuing support of our Band of Sisterhood? We can fall apart, fall down and completely unravel knowing we have the support and mercy of friends and fellow survivors to help pick up the pieces.
So yes I have had my year of " There she goes again" but I have not been left by all. Thinking about how I have had the love and support of so many along the road this year brings me to tears. Even when I have hidden myself away or wailed loud enough to wake the zombies I have never been left behind. These are the moments I treasure, the ones that speak to me and carry me back to the River of Hope.
Sure the zombies may be peeking around the next corner, and yes Cancezilla may still be treading through the land but I know no matter how far behind I fall I will NEVER be left to face the angry villagers with pitchforks and torches alone!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Ever feel as if you have fallen down a rabbit's hole? You know what I mean... it happens on one afternoon when you are just lazily strolling outside. You hadn't meant to find it but you did right?Out of nowhere you found an odd little hole and yes this is where you decided to just take a peek. After all it is just a bit curious... seriously what could it hurt right?