Remember when you first became a mom and suddenly you had all these new friendships develop with other moms?
Well, cancer is like that too. We find each other, this group of warriors who speak a language no one else can really understand and when we do, there is a bond that we weren’t looking for, but comes our way. We cherish our new friendships because we have so much in common, mostly in our hearts, that we are unable to share with our other friends who love us too.
And just like when I was a new mom making my new mom friendships, I’ve learned so much from you.
Thank you, my unexpected friends, it’s been a pleasure to meet you.
I came home this past week to discover our beloved family dog Bubba passed away on the living room floor.
He was just not himself over the past couple of weeks and being so in tune with what one feels like when they are at their lowest, I gave him his space. My husband who is the eternal optimist would not even go there and believed when a vet visit had him convinced the dog was just constipated. But I knew inside.
Our family is devastated, but has found solace in the fact that he did not have to go through months of an ugly diagnosis or treatments, which has led me to believe that this is just the way I would like to go.
Peacefully lying on the living room floor, shopping bags sprawled out around me, leading my loved ones to believe I had a great shopping day.
You should be a stylist, decorator, merchant, salesperson, something……..
Not sure if my passion for wanting to be a housewife and stay at home mom was a decision I made because of my lack of confidence to do anything else or what seemed at the time, one that I had dreamt about my whole life and thought was so important.
I’ve dabbled in many extra curricular activities along the way, which always seem to cost me more money than I ever earned and although many compliments and encouragements would roll in, having the drive to take any talent to the next level was always lost on me.
When I found Casa Teresa (shelter for women who are pregnant and alone) and used my skills, I felt blessed beyond any monetary reward and was sure that this must be my calling.
And then cancer. It didn’t take me long to discover that Casa Teresa was really preparing me for a much bigger calling.
I discovered that all the talents that I possessed, the love I have for fashion, beautiful objects, decorating and sharing with others led me to a platform for what I truly believe is the reason I was born.
I was destined to become The Cancer Fashionista.
I know that with each warrior I meet because of this, I am more confident than ever, that I found that something.
Today marks 1 year, 10 months and 17 days in remission.
Plus, an understanding of how precious life is, awe from how incredible medicine and it’s providers are, unconditional love, forgiveness, kindness, gifts, warriors who inspire me, strength that all of us never knew we had, peace, hope, new beginnings, a purpose in my life and a future I will never take for granted.
It took me over 2 years to finally host a dinner party.
Always frightened to make the commitment with my mind thinking, what if I’m tired, what if my body hurts, what if, what if, what if…….”
Last night saw me get over those “ifs” and entertain the table mates from the wedding we celebrated with last month in Deer Valley. I enjoyed every moment of it and not once let myself believe it could be ruined or not fully enjoyed by that now old nagging feeling of “what if”?
I’ve hosted a baby shower and a luncheon for friends, but there was always fear lurking in the back of my mind that I would somehow let other’s down by needing to cancel or not bringing my A game to the table. I don’t think I fully enjoyed the experience because I was more focused on “phew, I did it” instead of enjoying the day. I don’t know one friend who wouldn’t of been supportive and understanding if needed, but I was unwilling to do that for me.
Sometimes the recovery from cancer makes you think that you can’t get back to the things you use to love and takes away the confidence you use to have to do so. You must discover little by little that you can and most importantly, give yourself grace along the way if things don’t turn out as planned.
I had a dinner party last night and if I do say so myself, the best part of the whole evening was the hostess, who radiated confidence, enjoyed her friends and discovered she was rid of those nagging feelings and accepted that none of us knows what next weekend has in store, but we have each other to plan something fun and if we can’t make it, there’s always the following week.
Check your mail, there might be an invite coming soon.
I was fortunate in a time when my last child started school and was in need of a project, that a neighbor asked me if I would like to volunteer at a shelter called Casa Teresa, a two year transitional program for women 18 years of age and older who are pregnant and alone.
I have volunteered now for over 10 years and my services have included many areas that were perfect for me. Sorting clothing for our thrift store and co-chairing events to raise funds, but nothing has been more rewarding then starting an arts and crafts day weekly at our emergency shelter.
I have always love to tinker and craft, using my hands is an escape, a kind of therapy that I wanted to share with these women, who have never known their creative spirit or had anyone who remotely cared if they had one.
They learn how to envision their goals, keep working on them when they think they can’t and to discover how wonderful it is to see their beautiful creations completed and have them be admired by others.
It took cancer for me to understand what it feels like to fight for one’s life and to relate to the mom’s I teach weekly like I had never before. I need art class just like they do, to remember that no matter how hard my journey may be, I can envision my goal, work hard to get there and know that there are people who care when I think I can’t.
It took about 395 snaps to get this picture for my social media feeds and most all of them were taken in places that I was certain no one was watching.
While I am determined in my mission to show other’s who are fighting their battles what getting dressed means to me, the public picture part gets my face turning red every time!
My dedicated photographer, favorite date and father to my children is a salesman and doesn’t have an embarrassed bone in his body, leaving him frustrated at most of our photo shoots that his subject panics every time someone walks by.
How could I of survived one of the worst cancer’s out there and still give a hoot? That is one of life’s mysteries I would love to solve, but until I do, I will enjoy doing the one part that comes easiest to me, getting dressed and work on my confidence that the final picture portrays a woman on a mission to fight each day with a bounce in her cute shoes.