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My Survivor Type…

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I recently read this neat book titled The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood.  One chapter really resonated with me and it really confirmed my journey and how I have chosen to travel it.  I knew it was just my internal instinct, the traits that make me, me.  To see it in words however, was pretty cool. 

What type of survivor are you?    

The Fighter

The Believer

The Connector

The Thinker

The Realist

Now I do know that all survivors have some of the above traits, but the one that most stand out for me is… I am a CONNECTOR!

“When you’re a Connector, you overcome incredible adversity with the power of your relationships and bonds with other people.  You are deeply devoted to your family and friends.  Your love for your parents, your spouse or partner, children, and friends motivates you to tackle enormous obstacles.  You know that your family and friends depend on you and need you.  You hold these relationships sacred, and you will go to any lengths to protect and preserve them.  You draw strength from these primary relationships and often rely on support groups or social networks to help you through difficult times.  You’re able to lean on others for aid, and you know how to reach beyond your regular circle of friends to find the help you need.  You’re a good networker who makes the most of your connections.  You often feel great empathy for others who are struggling.  You take care of other people before you take care of yourself.  You’re good at reading strangers and situations.  You know how to get along with others.  You play well on teams and work effectively with others to get things done.  You survive because of your powerful bonds.  You would endure anything — and do everything — for the people you love.  Above all, you’re a Connector!”

Moment of Gratitude…

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

As I lay down tonight, tucking myself into bed, I clear all of the regular daily chatter of my inner got to do voice and work on calming that static to prepare for a peaceful, healing sleep. As my mind relaxes and my breathing gets deeper with intentions of daily gratitude, I say thank you out loud but in a very light whisper.

Thank you for another beautiful day of waking up feeling good and wrapping up another evening of feeling even more good… for making more memories with my loved ones and for the inspiration to make plans for the future.

I pray that remission from this cancer will happen to me.

Her loving way…

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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We Celebrate Life…

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Today Karen and I spent lunch time together.  We do not know each other very well, but we don’t have to.  Our conversation was full of life, very little complaints, just learning and growing with each other and sharing ourselves.  We first met in 2010.  We were both models…. yes, I said models, in a fashion show.  A yearly show our local Canadian Cancer Society puts on as a fundraiser and a tribute to survivors and fighters.  I love the title “Celebrate Life”.  All of the models are cancer survivors.  It was a great experience and we participated 2 years in a row.  It was such an accomplishment to actually be an audience member at last year’s event to cheer on the new models and celebrate our own health and healing journeys.

Karen and I are fighting different cancers, but the experience is much the same.  We do what we can to survive and thrive, to make the most of each day and to depend on our inner Dr. Feelgood to seek out and learn new ways to nutritionally support ourselves.  I believe we both learned from each other today.  I know I did for sure.

Just like myself, Karen’s cancer has returned.  We are both in limbo between testing and scans to see what comes next as far as treatment.  What I saw today was two happy ladies and a survivor sisterhood with an underlying mutual respect for each other.  We really care about what each other is enduring and we both know that we will make ourselves available to each other whenever needed.

I love gift giving, so I wrapped up a small angel pin (Healing Angel) for Karen along with a card, that stated…”When in doubt, Twirl”.  It gives me great pleasure to be the reason why a smile would appear on someone’s face and really, a hug is the greatest reward!  A sharing of each other’s energy, truly the best medicine!

It was also nice to share our moment with our waitress who agreed to take our photo.  She loved the sign and the message we were sharing.

 

 

Mar 21'14 Karen Merulla

Sharing A Moment…

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

 

 

Date of Event: Mar 11

 

I have had a house guest for a couple of weeks. Her name is Maggie, but I call her Maggie Monkey Moo Moo. When she gets excited, she sounds like a cute little monkey. She is my Mom’s furbaby, a little white ball of fluff, a Maltese Poodle mix, complete with two little pony tails to keep her bangs away from her eyes. It has been a nice treat for me to have some life back into the house. I miss my furbaby companion terribly and it was so nice to share cuddles and snuggles with Maggie while my Mom and my step-Dad vacationed in Florida.

 

Weird encounters happen to me often. So much that I had to stop asking myself why and just accept them as gifts. Let me tell you… I get goosebumps a lot.

 

Maggie and I were out for a little walk. We were walking down a quiet street in an industrial area with no traffic at the time. A couple of large warehouse buildings and empty parking lots surrounded us. Approaching in our direction was a young man on his bicycle, perhaps in his early 20’s. The moment I spotted him I had my guard up. He was weaving side to side and pedalling slowly, it seemed very strange to me so I watched him closely. Maggie was just happy to be out walking and was not affected in any way, no barking, no apprehension, just tail wagging excitement to continue pulling me forward with her. I too was enjoying the warmer winter day we were experiencing. The young man slowly continued his way toward us, looking down at the ground periodically, still weaving. My subconscious suspicion must have grown into a strange facial expression toward him because he looked at me like he was studying me. Strange. I am a smiley kind of gal, but didn’t feel like one for some reason. I must have looked back at him funny, I don’t recall. As I’m thinking to myself, that my plan is to keep watching this guy over my shoulder to ensure our safety, I hear him utter a comment from behind me. He states in a low mumble… “just looking for my cell phone.” Okay, now I understand why he was riding weird. I usually think positive thoughts before negative ones, but immediately I think to myself, poor guy, that would totally suck to lose your phone, good luck buddy. So I turn around and watch him a little. He continues to weave and look, weave and look, but just sticks to the road and not looking on either side of the road. Within seconds, I hear a loud “woo hoo” from him. Maggie and I stop, turn around and here is this guy, standing in a pile of snow, next to a fire hydrant holding up his phone. “I found it! Holy shit, he shouted”. I couldn’t believe it either, what are the chances and how long had he been looking for it, how many streets, holy shit is right!

 

I shrug my shoulders and my uneasiness escapes me. I am not concerned for my safety any more, I am relaxed and enjoying the fresh air, our walk and the victorious moment for this guy. He passes by us, returning to the direction he had come from initially. He didn’t look at us, just kept riding by on his merry way. But as he passed us, he says to me “I’m thanking you for that!”.

 

I’m like inside my head, wondering how I could have contributed to his success, after all I was projecting negative energy. Then it donned on me instantly. I was wearing my Earth Angel shirt. Duh, he was looking at me funny when he first passed us because he was reading my shirt! He must believe in angels too! It was a win win situation for both of us. He found his phone and I was politely reminded by the powers that be that I should be my more positive self. Guess I needed a gentle reminder that afternoon. Message received!

You empower me…

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Do you know what excites me?  What empowers me?  What gives me goosies all over?

YOU do!

My journey in cancerland has been one unpredictable, challenging, life altering experience.  Each and every day I experience many emotions, many tests, many “life happens” moments, just like  you do. However,  I see every thing and every person I encounter with cancer eyes…. meaning to look for the positive in every situation.  I am no longer a negative nitty.  No matter what I encounter, I have to search for the lighter side. Cancer feeds on negativity, feeds on stress, feeds on poor food choices, feeds on sugar, feeds on ugly.

But I fuel me with empowerment.  I look in the mirror and don’t see the ugly, damaged, scarred body where cancer has left it’s mark time and time again.  I see a beautiful body that has an undeniable incredible ability to heal itself.  It responds to all the positive charges of energy that I provide it, much like the sun provides life to the very plants that I consume.  Living foods mean a living body.  I am proof.  Who knows, maybe one day I will be disharged from the cancer clinic.  That is my ultimate goal, to cure myself.  For now, I will continue to address my body’s needs one day at a time, slow but sure. We all know that the tortoise is the one who wins the race in the end.  It didn’t happen overnight to become this ill, so it’s not going to happen overnight to become well again.

My biggest reward  other than waking each morning to a brand new day to continue my healing journey, is that I have learned that in taking good care of myself, I have inspired others to do the same.  I certainly wasn’t expecting this, but what a great gift.  Others are seeing how well I look these days, how I bounce back after each surgery, each treatment.  Do you have any idea how empowering this is. that a stage 4 terminal cancer patient is being looked at as a source for improving eating habits?  Wow.  I am honoured.

At a family dinner, I apologized to my Aunt that I wasn’t eating what everyone else was, feeling bad that my special diet requirements were extra work.  Her reply?  “What are you apologizing for?  You keep doing what you are doing, because I believe you are saving us a lot of pain.”  I felt empowered.  I learned something that day.  Never to apologize for doing what’s best for me and making my health and myself a priority.  There is no shame in that.

A friend sends me a card, just because she was thinking about me.  It was full of little angel shaped confetti with an inspirational note.  I felt empowered.

My nephew who is approaching 12 yrs of age, says to me “you know what Aunt Karrie?  It’s my turn to sleep over at your house””  I felt empowered.

My Mom stated to me “I am so proud of all three of my kids for many different reasons and Karrie, I am so proud of how you have handled your fight, your disease”.  I felt empowered.

A nurse that treated me in my first year of this journey sent me a little request “my brother-in-law has been diagnosed with cancer and he could really use some positive reinforcement, I wonder who that could be?”  I felt empowered.

A friend sends me a text message that she is adding more veggies to her diet and starting to drink green tea.  I felt empowered.

A friend that I haven’t seen since elementary school, and recently reconnected with, asks me for advice because she has been feeling unwell and in her words “has to see a poop doctor”.  I felt empowered.

A childhood friend that has just purchased a juicer for herself because she has been inspired with my posts about my veggie juice posts.  She wants to feel better and in her words “glow like I do”.  I felt empowered.

Transitioning my eating habits from vegetarian to vegan.  Although I’m at about 80% there, I feel empowered by my own drive and determination.  It has not waivered although it has been severely tested.

My best friend emailed me with a note stating that I am her hero.  I felt empowered.

My house guest this week, little Maggie, my Mom’s beloved Maltese-poodle mix, sits on my lap for cuddles and companionship and sleeps all night with me.  I felt empowered.

My sister that took a day off of work without pay to spend time with me, I felt empowered.

My brother who sent me a photo of a snow angel that he made while on a snowmobiling trip with his buddies. I felt empowered.

My neighbour that also made me a snow angel on the same day.  I felt empowered.

A former customer of where I worked that met me at the grocery store and simply asked if he could hug me.  I felt empowered.

A friend approached me, stressed and very depressed.  Said she felt like giving up, life was too hard to cope, her thoughts took her to me and my situation.  She said to me in her words “I seriously have thought about suicide, but then I thought of you and how hard you fight to live each day, how can I possibly take my life for granted like that?”. I felt empowered, and she’s still working hard too.  Life isn’t easy for anyone, but it is worth it if you invest in creating a life that makes you happy and take care of yourself.

A fellow cancer fighter emails me for advice and support. I felt empowered.

I received an email from the Cancer Society office informing me that a friend has joined my Earth Angel’s team for this year’s Relay for Life in June.  I felt empowered.

Empowerment comes in many forms, what empowers you?

 

 

 

December 14, 2013…

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

I awoke this morning pinching myself, making sure it stung a bit to confirm that yes I am alive.

Today, December 14, 2013 marks my 4th year of survivorship!!!!

I have so much to celebrate! Let me start by stating that I have survived double the prognosed life expectancy (according to statistics, ughh, I dislike that word).

I made a conscience decision 4 years ago (365 x 4 = 1,460 days ago), still under the effects of anesthesia, that I would dig deep into my very core and summon every bit of stubbornness, strength, wisdom, love, devotion, zest for life and sheer determination to will myself to live.

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I believe it’s time that I write a little letter to the most important person in this journey.

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Here goes, I’m all in.

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Inhale…. Hold, one, two, three…….and EXHALE…

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Dear Self,

What have you learned in these past 4 years?

You could focus on all of the extremely difficult things, but not today, not in this moment.

Give your fighting self a break.  Share what matters most.

Share that you have learned that self love is not an act of vanity.

Share with others that not only do you like yourself, but that you LOVE yourself.

Share that you are proud of everything you are and are not.

Share that you have embraced all of your strengths and weaknesses because they are all a part of you.

Share that despite all the hardships and pain, that you actually feel very light.

Share that you feel your soul shines so bright that you can not only feel your inner peace but that you can see it with your very own eyes!

Remind yourself that daily praise is good medicine and that being happy each and every day is even better medicine.

Feel no shame in asking your guardian angels with your outside voice to continue to guide you on this path and trust that this journey was given to you for many reasons, for great reasons.

So much light and love surrounds you like the universe is hugging you, and although you struggle at times by asking yourself why, stop scratching your head with wonder and just accept it as a gift. Come to terms with realizing that, yes, you do deserve it, and continue to embrace all of the random acts of kindness that present themselves to you on a daily basis.

Live each of your seconds, minutes, hours, day, weeks, months and years with  complete grace and respect.

I am so proud of you, my sweet friend.

I love you.

 

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

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Friday, January 24th, 2014

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Friday, January 17th, 2014

I declare thee, “Queen of positivity”

 

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