On Reading Cancer Blogs

Posted on: April 17th, 2015 by
Comments Requested

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When I first started blogging, I just wanted to write. It was a cathartic experience to do so. Little did I know then, as I know now, that reading other cancer blogs would be equally cathartic for me. I became an avid reader of such literature. And cancer blogs are a special genre of literature.

So when recently presented with the opportunity to take a survey on why I do or don’t read cancer blogs, I jumped at the chance. Rebecca Hogue, facilitator of the free online blogging course Should I Blog?, is doing research through a short survey on why people read or don’t read cancer blogs.

To complete this survey, click here. Any input is welcomed.

For me, giving input on reading cancer blogs really helped reinforce in my mind why I read them. I do so to feel a sense of community in the cancer world, to understand others’ experiences and points of view, and to know I’m not alone.

Why do you read or not read cancer blogs?


Why I Won’t Be Watching Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by
36

Ken Burns’ much-anticipated PBS series titled Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies — based on Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer — starts tonight and continues on March 31 and April 1. Many have set their sights and DVRs on this series.

I am one of the few who will not be watching.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Ken Burns’ work. His Civil War series is my favorite, and he has a deserved reputation for excellence. I’m sure the series will be poignant, enlightening, and worth watching.

But a huge part of my cancer-diagnosis-and-treatment collateral damage has been PTSD, and this condition often dictates what I can and cannot tolerate. My internal censor knows me well and monitors what I should be exposed to. Listening to my censor has helped me avoid the pitfalls that stir up flashbacks, fear, and anguish.

Emperor

Sometimes I ignore the PTSD flags because my desire to read/watch something on cancer overrides my good judgement. After all, like so many people, I’m curious to know more about this disease. However, unlike many people, I must pick up the pieces with my therapist and Xanax.

So, when choosing between the short-term gratification of watching a great series on cancer and my long-term mental health, I must choose the latter.

I admit, my curiosity recently got the better of me, whispering sweet temptations in my ear, and I watched — transfixed and mesmerized — a trailer of the PBS series.

I saw a scene where an elderly man was crying because he had to temporarily stop chemotherapy so he could physically heal. I watched his tears, as he was told, possibly by a hospice worker, that it was okay if he decided to stop chemotherapy and live out the rest of his life suffering less.

And I felt extreme empathy stir within me during that heart-breaking scene. I felt a gut-punch and horror and anguish, as well as memories of my own treatments. If I felt all of this just watching a few-minute clip, how could I endure watching an entire series of story after story?

I hate to admit this, and this is the first time I’ve ever admitted this: a couple of years ago I attempted to read The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. I had heard rave reviews of this Pulitzer-prize winning book, and I just knew it would be excellent. Deep in my psyche I knew I should not be reading it, but I clicked the Place Your Order button on Amazon anyway.

Only a day into reading, I started crying. But I forced myself to continue with the book. I wanted to read it, as emotionally difficult as it was, because I knew it was a masterpiece and I didn’t want to deprive myself of experiencing this great book. So I shook and sobbed through the next few pages. I finally shut the book in frustration and gave it to Goodwill, hoping someone else would find it useful.

I felt like a failure and inadequate for giving up then. And come to think of it, I still do.

How can so many people read this book, and I fail at it? What kind of weak individual cowers at renowned cancer literature?

When I discovered this book was being made into a PBS series, I was initially elated because I believed the television version would make the book content more palatable to me. I figured I would be able to know the essentials of what the book covered without the torture of reading it. Yes, I would watch it, though my censor threw up many warning signs.

But reality has set in. Although I really want to watch the series, I’m going to pass.

I know many cancer bloggers will be writing on this Ken Burns series, and I am looking forward to reading their posts: Finding out information second-hand works better for me than watching the actual series.

Unfortunately, one of the Emperors in my world is PTSD and I must take heed.

Are you watching Ken Burns’ Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies?

How do you feel about reading/hearing/watching stories about cancer?


Blogging Inspiration

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by
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As my readers know, I am a mentor for those taking a free online blogging course Should I Blog? designed for people who had/have cancer. Course facilitator Rebecca Hogue posed an interesting question for me and my fellow mentors, one that’s the topic of this post.

Where do you find inspiration?

Because this course is about blogging, and therefore the act of writing, I’m focusing on blogging inspiration. When it comes to my own writing, I don’t tend to find inspiration; instead, inspiration finds me. Ideas for blog posts come to me regularly, and I jot them down for future posts. I am never short of ideas. And I often do feel the need to write, especially when a cause is near and dear to my heart or I read/watch something that provokes my emotions.

I need to write about my cancer story. I need to share my experiences with others and be a part of the community of bloggers who have experienced the tragedy known as cancer.

Thus I am drawn to the works of other cancer bloggers. I’m inspired by their authentic stories. Those who continue to blog as they face harsh physical and emotional circumstances amaze me. I get swept up in the wide array of writing styles and topics — and how each blogger evokes so many emotions in me. I wish I had time to read every single blog post, but I don’t. Instead, I am compelled to read as many posts as I can.

And I am compelled to write posts on my cancer experiences. Without blogging, I’d feel lost.

So what I’m about to say may shock you. If I waited until I was inspired to write, nothing would get done. The idea of facing the computer is often painful for me, unpleasant to say the least. I hate to begin writing. Most weeks I force myself to sit down and write. I wish I could be more like the writers romanticized in film and in the media: you know, those frenzied individuals who must satisfy their muse by writing with drunken, reckless intensity.

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But most weeks, I force myself to sit at my computer and do what I hate most. Begin. Some posts are more difficult to start than others. For example, I had a really difficult time beginning my post on cancer and having PTSD because I was afraid of what readers would think of me. But, in the end, my need to come clean about my post-cancer mental state outweighed the safety of remaining silent.

Truth is, once I’m writing, my love for the craft comes through, and I experience relief. For me, blogging releases a plethora of pent-up emotions related to the cancer experience, such as anguish, anxiety, sorrow, grief, and anger.

And it is then that I re-discover that writing is my salvation.

I don’t believe you must be inspired in order to write. I believe it’s often the other way around: you write, and inspiration follows.

For new bloggers who want to write but are not feeling particularly inspired at that moment, my advice to you is to write anyway. The act of writing itself will fuel your inspiration.

And this newly found inspiration will hopefully fuel more blog posts to come.

What is your source of inspiration?

Do you want to start a blog? If so, what’s stopping you?

Have you started a blog recently? If so, how is the writing process going for you?


On Lisa Bonchek Adams

Posted on: March 16th, 2015 by
2

“Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”

These beautiful, inspirational words came from a beautiful, inspirational writer: Lisa Bonchek Adams. On March 6, 2015, Adams died from metastatic breast cancer.

Today is her memorial service.

On March 6, I received news of her death via Facebook, ironically the platform through which I got her updates. There it was, bold as ever: “Died From Cancer.”

For awhile prior to her death, I knew things weren’t going well for her. Deep down inside, I knew she was dying. But I got so used to her presence on social media that I deceived myself into thinking she would be around for a long, long time.

Then I checked Facebook on Friday evening. And I got a reality check.

We followed each other on Twitter and were Facebook friends, but I really don’t know if Adams knew of me. I sure knew her, though, even though we never actually met. Like the countless numbers of people whose lives she touched, I read her poignant, well-thought-out updates.

I knew her as a wife and mother of three, and my heart breaks for her family, who must somehow go on. This is an unimaginable, tragic loss.

Like everyone else, I hung on her every word of poetry and prose. Her eloquence and ability to educate others about metastatic breast cancer astounded me. I appreciated her honesty and her need to educate the world about metastatic breast cancer.
Like so many, I’m still grieving.

But then I find salvation and comfort in the words of Lisa Bonchek Adams: “Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”

Yes, Lisa, I will find beauty in the world every day, even on those days it is difficult to do. I will persevere. Thank you.

I'm sharing some beauty today. I took this photo in the summer.

I’m sharing some beauty today. I took this photo in the summer.


Much Ado About ‘Winning’

Posted on: March 6th, 2015 by
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Lately, I’ve been heartened to see so many online discussions and blog posts dedicated to erasing the “losing-the-battle-to-breast-cancer” metaphor. Nancy Stordahl writes about this in a recent post, and I agree that this metaphor is insulting. Frankly, saying someone lost his/her battle with breast cancer (any cancer, really) is insulting and disrespectful to those who died of metastatic disease.

Yet many in our culture continue to divide people into two categories: winners and losers; the “winners” are the heroes and “losers” are the failures. It is divisive and unhealthy for sure.

This “lost-the-battle” language is harmful to people with advanced disease and those who love them. But this metaphor also makes life difficult for cancer survivors who are in the “won-the-battle” camp.

Those like me.

I survived thus far and am in that coveted No Evidence of Disease (NED) zone. I am grateful for the wonderful life I have. Life is a precious gift, and I’m so lucky to celebrate it.

But according to many people, I “won the battle” against breast cancer. But I don’t feel much like a victor, as it’s impossible for me to completely celebrate while others are dying of this dreadful disease.

And being thought of as a winner in cancer roulette unsettles me. In fact, as a survivor, I fear recurrence. It can happen to anyone; why not me? I also often feel the burden of others’ expectations of me. When others find out I’m a breast cancer survivor, they say things like “good for you!” I get looks of admiration for “winning” this hard-fought battle.

I didn’t win a battle, and I am no hero. I’m no warrior. I went through diagnosis and treatment like so many others — completely terrified. I fought as hard as those who didn’t live.

And, as is the case for so many survivors, cancer has done its collateral damage. The PTSD that haunts me is an ugly truth many don’t want to hear about. It doesn’t fit into that nice, neatly packaged breast-cancer-winner narrative that our society relishes.

Truth is, when it comes to cancer, nobody wins.

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Have you experienced collateral damage as a result of cancer?

What is the cancer language that you dislike most?

For a related post on survivorship, click here.


Why I Blog and Why You Can Too

Posted on: February 28th, 2015 by
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Years ago I didn’t understand why anyone would want to blog. I mean, why share the sordid details of one’s private life with the public? A private journal is good enough, I thought.

I fell into blogging accidentally.

A local, large-circulation newspaper wanted me to write a medical advocacy column. That’s when I realized I could have some influence in the public arena, and I was eager to share my thoughts in a newspaper, even though I wouldn’t get paid.

Then the deal fell through.

Apparently, newspaper staff couldn’t agree on whether there should be such a column. I was disappointed, as I was now ready to share my advice with the public. Then it occurred to me: I could still have a “column,” but a virtual one, and I would have complete control over its content. So I started blogging, initially referring to my posts as blog-columns.

As time went on, my blog evolved — from columnlike advice to sharing my personal breast cancer experiences.

Having gone through breast cancer and treatments had done its collateral damage — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Blogging was a healthy way to sort out the collateral damage and process the trauma that is breast cancer.

Turns out, becoming a blogger was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

When a person is going through cancer — or any medical crisis for that matter — the world turns upside down. And it’s difficult to make sense out of life. One of my biggest issues was that I felt like I didn’t have a voice while going through diagnosis and treatment. Doctors and nurses would tell me when and what my treatment would be, and I felt I had no choice on how to live my life.

Survivorship and body image issues also plagued me, and writing about them helped me sort through the trauma.

Blogging helps me in so many ways. It is cathartic and liberating — I express my views and lend voice to the breast cancer experience. Writing in the public arena surely makes up for all those times I felt voiceless.

And, equally fulfilling, I found a community of individuals who also write — for a variety of reasons, but we all have one thing in common: we feel the need to express ourselves. When I first started blogging, I never imagined how many blogging friends I would have and how my posts would resonate with many people.

Being a blogger means being part of a community. And who needs a sense of community and voice more than those who have/have had devastating illnesses?

We experience sadness collectively.

We celebrate collectively.

I am so glad I found my way into the blogosphere.

Blogging is cathartic.

Blogging is healing.

Blogging can be something you can do, as well.
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How About You?

The wonderful thing about writing is that anyone can do it. You do not need to be a trained writer or have a resume of publications to start a blog.

Truth is, anyone who writes is a writer.

If you’re curious about blogging, why not try it? And if you are interested in this form of expression, guidance is available. Starting in March, a free, 4-week, online course on blogging will be offered. In fact, educator and blogger Rebecca Hogue will be facilitating this course, and I and several other bloggers will be mentors.

It is a great honor to be a mentor, and I look forward to helping beginning bloggers.

The course will also be offered other months, too, in case March doesn’t work for you.

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To sign up for the course, click here.

Are you considering blogging?

Have you started a blog? If so, feel free to include the link to your blog in the comments section.


Separation Anxiety

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by
12

Like many patients, I detest going to doctors — especially since cancer entered my life. Whenever I’m in my oncologist’s waiting room I want to bolt out of there, jump in my car, and careen out of the parking garage. It really doesn’t matter that he’s a wonderful doctor and person. I just want to escape.

I also experience panic overdrive when I’m with other doctors, though less intense. I wonder, for example, will my gynecologist find ovarian cancer? Why am I in my mastectomy surgeon’s exam room so long? And the time spent in my internist’s waiting room seems unusually long — giving me way too much time to think about “what-if” scenarios.

I struggle to keep fears at bay.

After all, I expend too much energy in a world of medical memories, anguish, and possible flashbacks. When a doctor’s appointment is over, I feel like a wild animal finally freed from a cage into its wilderness home. And I’m always grateful I made it through another mental crucible.

Tigers in a Cage

Despite my tendency toward medical escapism, you might be surprised at what I’m about to say:

I’m too attached to my physicians.

I don’t want to be with them, but I want to live physically near their offices. This is an oxymoron, but there it is.

When I was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, I drove a half hour from home for each doctor appointment/treatment. I realize that some people have even longer commutes, but for me, the commute time was discouraging: I was driving myself to these exhausting appointments alone.

When my then-husband and I split, I knew how important it was for me to be physically close to my medical team. So I moved to an apartment that was a 10-minute drive from the hospital and my physicians’ offices.

And for years, I enjoyed the proximity of my doctors — as long as I didn’t have an appointment with them, that is.

I just liked having them around, nearby, just in case of an emergency, like a recurrence.

I had plans to stay in this apartment until retirement at the very least. It had everything I wanted and needed: proximity to my physicians.

But it also had a hefty price tag.

Rent skyrocketed right before I received my daughter’s referral from China. I could barely afford to live in the apartment by myself, let alone afford all the costs involved with parenting.

So one month before I traveled to China to get my daughter, I moved into a small house in a drastically cheaper suburb, where we live today. While this has been our financial and lifestyle salvation, I feel we have paid a price: we are now a 45-minute drive from our hospital and doctors. That’s without the famed Chicago traffic.

Still, I realize that, relatively speaking, our doctors are close.

But I still experience separation anxiety at times. My 10-minutes-from-doctors apartment spoiled me.

While I wish I could live closer to my doctor’s offices, I realize that living farther away might be a blessing in disguise. I have no medical memories in our suburb. And that is liberating. Besides, doctors leave their practices and retire. Nothing is forever, and this can be a good thing.

Related posts:

Game Face has Cracked

How Do I Distrust? Let Me Count the Ways….

How important is it for you to live close to your doctors’ offices?

How do you handle anxiety in your doctors’ offices?


Fun

Posted on: February 6th, 2015 by
11

At the beginning of the movie Frozen, young sisters Elsa and Anna are playing. Elsa, who has ice powers, accidentally strikes her younger sister Anna in the head with a bolt of ice. Their distraught parents take the guilt-ridden Elsa and the unconscious Anna to trolls for help; the magical troll in charge informs the parents that Anna would recover and assures them that she will forget about Elsa’s ice powers but will always remember the fun.

Throughout the movie, Elsa struggles with her fear of her powers and is tarnished by life, while the more carefree Anna seeks out the fun she remembers having with her sister.

I loved this insightful movie, but this post isn’t a movie review.

This post is about fun.

My energetic six-year-old daughter always reminds me about the importance of fun. A typical child, she enjoys playing and would do so 24 hours per day if I didn’t remind her about schoolwork, straightening her room, and the need for sleep.

On the other hand, like many adults, I get weighed down by life’s daily problems. That’s the price of growing up; we become painfully serious and jaded, we lose our innocence to the heaviness of life — and we shelf the fun.

Here in the Chicago area, we recently received a nice dumping of snow. While snow is beautiful, I always wince when it falls. To me and many adults, snow means work: lots of shoveling, challenging commutes, and constantly wiping off the snow from cars. And don’t get me started about when snow melts and then a cold snap freezes it into ice!

Like most kids, Ari views snow as yet another opportunity to have fun. And she is teaching me how to enjoy the snow again. On our way back from school, she initiates snowball fights. We pelt each other with white fluff, and she chases me, eager to hit mama with snowballs. Hearing her peals of laughter and screams of delight warm my heart in the coldest of days.

Ari in Snow

Lately she’s been pushing me into snow banks. I pull her in with me. We laugh, as we lay in the snow, look skyward, and taste the falling snow flurries. We have difficulty extricating ourselves from the deep snow banks, but we just keep laughing as we stumble and keep falling backward. Ari enjoys trying to “swim” in the snow, and I am entertained. Then she gets mischievous and places pieces of snow down my pants. I scream, feigning horror. More peals of child-laughter.

Let it Snow

So then I get this idea. I purchase a plastic toboggan so we can slide together down a nearby man-made sledding hill over the weekend. This is probably not the wisest move, I reflect, as I’m a clutz with balance problems and haven’t sledded since I was a kid. And I know I will be sore at the very least. And going at fast speeds tends to make me want to vomit. But I don’t care. I’m sliding down the hill with Ari, dammit! I so want us to have fun, I’m willing to go out of my comfort zone to do it.

But we can’t wait until the weekend to have toboggan fun. The day the toboggan arrives, Ari is in school. When we get home, we take it out for a spin (OK, several spins). I run on the snowy-icy shoveled paths pulling the rope, as Ari sits confidently on the toboggan laughing and yelling “mush, mush!” I spin the plastic “vehicle” around and run again pulling joyful Ari around, as she shouts, “faster!”

I notice our neighbors unhappily shoveling their driveways and cleaning the snow off their cars. They glare at the noisy duo tobogganing around.

But then I get an idea for more fun. My hours of shoveling had resulted in a rather large snow bank near the house. We put the toboggan on top of the “hill” and Ari gets on. I pull her gently as she gleefully goes down the mini-mountain. We do this repeatedly. When I ask if she’s having fun, Ari yells “More than fun! This is awesome!” A friend later stops by and sees the toboggan tracks on the mini-mountain and says, “It looks like you held the Winter Olympics here.”

Princess Party

The fun continues indoors, as well. We recently attended a princess party at a local country club. Ari (and many of the girls) dressed as Queen Elsa from Frozen. In a magnificent setting befitting princesses and queens, Ari and I danced.

Princess Party

Several famous royal characters showed up, including adults Princess Anna and Queen Elsa. The princesses sung on stage; Ari and the rest of the girls seemed to be in a trance. Then the royal highnesses came to the dance floor to dance with the transfixed girls, then did face painting and took photos with each girl.

Overall, this was one of the best parties I’ve attended.

Watching my daughter’s face light up while the princesses talked and sang to the audience brought me happy tears. I loved her look of wonder as she sung along with the popular songs from Frozen.

I’m grateful for all the fun Ari and I have. Sometimes adults get so weighed down by stark reality that we forget that fun is also a part of reality. And tapping into our inner child is an immeasurable gift.

Ari near the ballroom entrance

Ari near the ballroom entrance

Ari and Queen Elsa

Ari and Queen Elsa

How do you have fun?

Have you tapped into your inner child? If so, what types of things do you do?

Anyone have tips on tobogganing?


Matter Over Mind

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015 by
36

In a previous post, I said I was too scared to write what I deemed a risky piece on my blog. This is that post.

Throughout my pre-cancer life, many people have admired my fortitude and tenacity. Tarnished by life’s traumas, I still kept my platinum mind focused. Many folks used to tell me I was the strongest person they knew: No matter how difficult the road, no matter the odds against me, I was a locomotive — confidently and courageously accomplishing my dreams and goals.

Then breast cancer came in 2001.

I am fortunate to have been NED (no evidence of disease) for so long. And I’m grateful for all my abundant blessings. Those with metastatic cancer have it so much worse than me, that it’s almost embarrassing to write this post. After all, comparatively speaking, I have it easier.

But now is the time for me to come clean.

I’ve been living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and panic disorder for 14 years.

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Breast cancer and, more specifically, its treatments assaulted my physical health. But this life-threatening trauma shoved in my face has truly been my Achilles’ heel.

My mental health has been compromised. My brain chemistry is forever altered — and not in a good way.

In my case, untreated PTSD results in sensory flashbacks, such as re-living the cancer experience every night, smelling the chemo room, feeling I am in ICU again, feeling the prick of an IV needle, tasting the metallic sensation of treatment, and generally living terror-filled days. Any thought, emotion, and/or image can cause some mighty heavy triggers.

It is hell.

It is isolating.

During the time of my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, my oncologist introduced me to a low-dose antidepressant and my internist prescribed a low-dose anti-anxiety medication. I had admitted to running into bathroom stalls at work to cry. My car was my confessional chamber, where I would collapse, curl up, pray, cry, and isolate myself from the cruel world. I had several public break-downs. My doctors sought to decrease my mental anguish.

Then cancer treatment eventually ended — and I know how lucky I am for it to have ended — and my loved ones expected me to get on with life. But, instead, despite the psych meds I was on, my mental condition kept deteriorating each year with increased flashbacks, panic, and depression — thanks to having had cancer, the gift that keeps on giving.

The strong, rambunctious part of me was dying, it seemed.

Eventually, hesitatingly, I sought out the help of a kind, brilliant psychiatrist who ultimately figured out the right medication cocktail. I was initially wary of increased dosages and types of psychotropic medications. I was so afraid I’d become addicted to them. And I thought that seeing a psychiatrist and taking psych meds would dull my emotions, as well as label me “crazy.” Like so much of the public, I attached a stigma to those with mental health problems.

But I surrendered to my psychiatrist’s directives. And thus — with medication and psychotherapy — I fought my way back to mental health.

The side effects of the medications include balance issues that are difficult to live with. It’s hard navigating stairs, and I can fall easily. I’m unsteady on my feet. In fact, I can’t walk a straight line (yes, I would flunk a sobriety test). And there’s the weight gain (ugh). I exercise and mostly eat right, but these psych meds make losing weight seem insurmountable.

My internist reminds me, though: “It’s better to have weight gain and be mentally stable as you are than to be off the medication and lose the weight, but compromise your mental health.”

Psychotherapy

For me, medication alone wasn’t enough to quell PTSD. Right when chemo and radiation treatments ended, my relationship with a gifted psychotherapist began and continues to this day. We work on effective ways to cope with panic and depression. With her help, I’ve developed a rather effective toolbox, which includes art, exercise, writing, deep breathing, and being with friends.

But my salvation in eradicating flashbacks for the most part has been a treatment successfully used for war veterans, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). You can click here to find out more about it, but basically, EMDR is a therapy where a patient recalls a trauma while receiving sensory input, such as watching an object move from side to side. The thought is that eye movements help one re-process trauma and emerge with new insights.

I’m lucky that my psychotherapist is trained in EMDR, and I have responded exceedingly well to this treatment. I’m glad to say I rarely have flashbacks, though I still get triggers and have to be careful what information I’m exposed to.

What is great about this treatment is that there is no additional medication involved. What is not so good is that, unless one is a war veteran, insurance often doesn’t cover it. I paid out of pocket for two EMDR sessions. They weren’t cheap, but they were worth every penny.

After all, one cannot put a price on mental health.

For me, the road toward sound mental health is ever evolving and always enlightening. Nonetheless, I have no illusions: Every day still presents challenges for me. But, while PTSD and panic disorder are here to stay, I am living a quality life nonetheless.

And now that I’ve written this post, I finally am free.

As the American rock band The Eagles say in their song “Already Gone,” “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”

A special thank you to my friends Sharon Greene for being so honest about her PTSD and Nancy Stordahl for writing her post “That Other ‘F’ Word.” You both gave me the courage to write and publish this post so shortly into the New Year.


Courage, Fire, Tenacity

Posted on: January 16th, 2015 by
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Many in the blogosphere have shared their two or three words to guide them during this year. I am no exception: so without further ado, here are the three words that will serve as my guides for the upcoming year. I originally thought this post would focus on only one word, but two others popped off my fingers as I was writing this post.

The words, which make up this post’s title, are all intertwined.

Courage. When I was planning this post, courage was the only word on my radar. The year ahead sees me challenging myself in many ways, especially regarding what I reveal on my blog. Pushing oneself to expose one’s inner feelings and workings is not for the feint of heart. Right now, despite all I’ve revealed about myself in this blog, I’m too chicken to publish a post I’ve wanted to for quite some time.

I’m hoping to change that chicken into a jaguar and finally do it.

I cannot falter.

I cannot allow fear to rule me.

I also want to get ready to publish my book. Fear has kept me back, and I will do my best to get my book on navigating the medical system out. In 2014, I was courageous in soliciting agents, and I must continue the momentum to get my book out. Despite their rejections, the agents who responded seemed to genuinely like my work. This has encouraged me. I must believe this book has a place in the world.

Before cancer, I was fearless and goal-driven in many ways. But since cancer worked its way into my life, I’m less sure of myself. I no longer have that fearlessness in going for a goal. The “what-ifs” creep into my mind daily.

This year I will be turning the negative “what-ifs” to positive “what-ifs.”

Fire. I need to rekindle the fire deep within me and go forward with my goals. The embers of inaction have been burning quietly for years, but I’m hoping a dose of courage will ignite the flames.

I will embrace the flames and act in spite of my fear.

I cannot be afraid to go forward.

Tenacity. The other two words relate to the tenacity I’ll need in accomplishing my goals. An act of courage is a one-time act. I need to have long-term endurance and determination for many acts of courage that will outlast my fears.

I must not quit.

2015 is my own call to action.

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Readers, What do you hope for yourself for 2015?

What’s your call to action this year and beyond?