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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Surrounded by Awesome with a Twist of Romance

I have been surrounded by awesomeness this Tuesday!! It began with passing a state exam. Whoohooo!! After sharing the exciting news with family and friends over the phone and Facebook I went shopping at Target. I found a great deal on a Dremel-like tool that I've needed for awhile, and I found a pair of capris on clearance that fit me beautifully in a new smaller size

Awesomeness x 3!

While I was shopping something happened to me that hasn't happened in an extremely long time. A good-looking man flirted with me and asked me out on a date. Actually, I'm pretty sure that this has NEVER happened to me. He's a Target employee so he started off the conversation by asking if he could help me with anything. I told him that I found what I needed, and held up the Gorilla tape. He asked what I was using it for and I told him. Then he asked if my husband was going to be helping me. I chuckled and said no, and did the same when he asked about a boyfriend. He seemed really surprised that I didn't have a boyfriend. Honestly at this point I felt like he was making fun of me. Isn't that pathetic? This guy is going out on a limb and sweetly flirting with a complete stranger and in my head I'm questioning WHY he would want to talk to me.  

He asked if I had kids, and again no. He was really confused now. It was sweet and funny. He introduced himself and asked my name. I told him my first name and shook his hand. He told me that I was beautiful and he couldn't believe I was single because I was 'hot'. He actually used the words 'beautiful' and 'hot' to describe me! I know I'm beautiful, but I think of myself more as a beautiful soul than a beautiful woman. I never think of myself as 'hot'. I was embarrassed, self conscious and uncomfortable at this point. He asked if he could have my number and if he could take me out. I laughed nervously, thanked him as sweetly as I could, but declined the offers. 

Still, it was a totally awesome experience

I'm 95% sure I don't want to date anymore. I definitely do not feel comfortable or safe dating a total stranger. Every now and then I daydream about going out with a man just for fun- to see a movie together or take a walk through a park, or have a conversation over a tasty meal... Then I remember all the pain that I caused myself and my ex-boyfriend the last time I got this desire for romance. I never want to cause that kind of pain to anyone ever again- myself included.

Then there's the whole 'I'm a cancer Survivor' issue and most men, I'd bet, wouldn't want to date a lady with that kind of medical history. I wouldn't blame him, honestly, because it's a lot of baggage. Disagree? Tell me why, leave a comment. 

Perhaps the biggest reason for not wanting to date is that my heart still belongs to a Marine who is proudly serving overseas. We were together without being actually together because of his service for 10 years. I'm over-simplifying in a huge way here. I moved for Florida in 2007 and started my life on a new path while he continued to serve. We still love each other, but just couldn't keep it together while being apart. Since I've moved back to Memphis he's sent me flowers for special occasions and always includes a sweet poetic note. 

Today he sent me these awesome gifts to celebrate being home for year and my increasing strength!!


AWESOMENESS X 2!!

 I'm extremely grateful, dear Marine. It's been very challenging to lift my loaded barbel up off the floor! And I can't wait to experiment with all the different chin-up and pull-up positions! 

What an incredibly awesome surprise!! I am beyond thrilled and excited!!

Wondering about the Yoga DVD? A few years ago I got a DVD with these 2 Yoga sessions (using the word 'workout' to describe this type of Yoga just doesn't fit to me) plus one for stress relief as a gift. My former roommate and very dear friend bonded with this DVD, and so I let him keep it when I moved home last year. I have missed it a lot, but have bought other Rodney Yee Yoga DVDs in an attempt to find a new favorite. It just hasn't happened though. The Marine kindly remembers how much I adored this AM Yoga session and somehow instinctively knew I needed it in my life again. I was so excited to have my very favorite Yoga sessions that I did the PM session tonight while at my sister's. My body and soul are thanking me. I'm very much looking forward to AM Yoga on Friday, which will be the first chance I'll have this week. 

What an amazingly awesome filled Tuesday!! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

My 2011 Relay


Ready to go to the Fayette County, TN, Relay for Life walk! The shirt I'm wearing was designed by my sister Heidi's bank branch to raise money for the BancorpSouth Relay team. They've raised almost $4000 which amazing for a small community! Many thanks to BancorpSouth, Amber B, Amber M, Jessica, my sister and all the other BancorpSouth employees who donated their time and talent to a successful Relay event.

You can still buy this Believe shirt (well not THIS exact one, but one exactly like it) and the black Angel wing shirt (below pic shows the back) in short or long sleeve. 

 


If you don't know what Relay for Life is all about click here. It's truly AWEsome, meaningful and touching.

As I promised, I Tweeted from the event, but the cell coverage wasn't reliable and the phone battery didn't hold up to the pressure of taking pictures and Tweeting very well. It was hard to walk and type at the same time anyway. If you'd like to read my Tweets from that evening, click here then click on my Profile to read my history from May 21. 

My Survivor shirt! I felt relieved, joyful, proud and nostalgic putting on this purple shirt. I was thrilled to fit quite comfortably into a smaller size than I did last year, too. 

As always, Relay kicks off with the Survivor lap. I was in the front of the crowd this year because I'm a 'new' Survivor as I've been in Remission for less than a year. That felt surreal. It must be longer than THAT, right? 


This year all the Survivor's were given purple balloons and at the end of the Survivor's Lap we let them go. It was neat, in it's corny way. No, I didn't get a picture of the balloon release. 

The next lap is the Care Giver's lap. My sister Heidi and I walked hand in hand. My other sister and Mom were greatly missed. They have been incredible Care Givers, too. 


This year walking laps was very important to me. I had hoped to walk all night, in the true spirit of Relay, but wasn't physically able and my sister had an obligation Sunday afternoon so she needed some sleep. I am very grateful that I was able to walk for the better part of 5 hours. Last year I wasn't able to do even 1 full hour. The memory of how physically and emotionally exhausted I was at last year's Relay in Fayette County was forefront in my mind this year. 

As I walked I thought of my Nana and the pain and suffering she went through for her cancer treatment. She was such a gentle and kind soul and didn't deserve that, or any, pain. I thought of my friend Shelley's sister who recently went to Heaven after her long battle with cancer. I thought of my friend and Survivor-sister Jessica who is in treatment for a recurrence and did a triathlon that morning. Jessica is such an inspiration! She is a personal trainer who has kept working and working out as she goes through chemo! I thought of my new Facebook friend, fellow Cathlete and Survivor-sister, Carola and the struggles she's been facing trying to start her treatments. I thought of my new friend, Kim, who I had just met that night. She's my Survivor-sister, too and has just begun chemo. I walked for all of us, and all the other Survivors out there and everywhere. I cried, I smiled, I remembered and I walked. 

Anyone who has had cancer is a Survivor, in my mind. It took me a while to think of myself as a Survivor, though. Now a Survivor, to me, is anyone who has heard the words 'you have cancer'. It feels as if your world is ending in those first shocked moments, but right then and there you start surviving- even before you start fighting. 

Remember this pic? October seems soooo long ago!
The most fun I have at Fayette County's Relay is the dancing part of the evening. Around 10pm, when people are starting to get tired, the dance party starts. Heidi and I danced the Electric Slide, Chicken Dance, Macarena, Casper Slide and Cupid Shuffle. I'm don't know the steps to all these dances very well, but I had a blast. I was even able to do all jumps, my once chemo-ed out and sore knees have made huge strides! I was filled with joy and gratitude. I'm not sure if there are any pictures of Heidi and I dancing, but if some (good) ones show up I'll share them with you. 

After a water and snack break, I got back on the track and continued walking. I walked with a thankful heart and mind. My feet and knees were starting to fee sore. I was reminded of the intense pain I felt in my legs during chemo. I wasn't sure if that pain would ever fade. I thought about how strange it had felt to experience such tremendous pain that didn't stem from a physical injury. Feeling pain after a physical injury makes logical sense, right? Pain that comes from medicine that's supposed to be making me 'better' was hard to understand and accept. Feeling pain from walking so long made sense, and knowing that in a day or so I that pain would melt away was comforting. I am in control of my pain, my joy and my thankfulness level. That realization completed the circle of Relay for Life for me this year. 

Flashback to my first ever Relay for Life. Marco Island 2009. 

Around midnight my body had given out, my sister had completed her volunteer duties. We were ready to go home. 
I've come a LONG WAY in a year. I'm thankful for another year to Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back with my fellow Survivors. May we all be able to join together next year.... 
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