Monday, December 13, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 13

Action When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

I am simultaneaously participating in two end of the year challenges. The other one I am working on is a bit more private and as a result I have chosen to document that one in a journal. However the other challenge has really forced me to not only determine my next steps but put solids plans in place to ensure that these things get done. So here are the things I have planned to do in 2011:

  • Spend more Quality time with my boys: Sometimes Amir and I are just going through the motions and we very rarely take time for ourselves our just fun family time. We will absolutely do more of that in the coming year.
  • Create boundries with my extended family: I can not physically or mentally meet the demands of my family to constantly be in NY for things. I have decided we will definitely go to NY twice a year. Anything more is because I feel like it.
  • Eat better and meditate daily
  • Work towards buying a new home: We have outgrown our townhouse which I LOVE! This place is my baby but we have decided we are buying a single family home next year!!!
  • Get into a Ph. D program or Law School (Haven't decided for sure which one I may just apply to both)
  • Make sure we plan a vacation for next year.

Reverb 10: Day 12

Body Integration This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

When I was in labor. I spent a lot of time preparing for labor and delivery. I had my ideal of how I wanted to give birth and this ideal required my mind to work hand in hand with my body. I feel like it truly did. Because I was able to allow my mind and body to work together I was better able to express what I was feeling and determine what was best for me even when it was not necessarily what I wanted.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 11

11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

  1. Cancer! Chemotherapy to eliminate any left over cancer cells from my surgery. Getting rid of this will help me get back to my normal life and focus on what really matters!
  2. Unnecessary people...I am a firm believer in energy. I believe that people carry positive and negative energy and I believe that energy can affect those around you. I am removing those in my life I feel carry negative energy. If you can not bring anything positive into my life that I really do not need you around. I am determined to create a positive and nurturing environment for Alex and I believe that starts with removing the negative energy around me.
  3. Horrible eating habits...I am a fairly healthy eater however I honestly do not eat enough. I am so caught up on life sometimes that I don't take time during the day to eat. As a result since I have been sick I have lost a tremendous amount of weight and as I have said before I really don't weigh much to begin with. I am being force fed Ensure these days to make sure I get the needed calories or I will be back in the hospital. Not happening. I am going to make time to eat daily and carry around snacks.
  4. People pleasing... I need to work on pleasing myself and stop worrying so much about others. I have learned you will never make everyone happy! That being said I absolutely need to make sure I make myself happy.
*** This post is hard for me lol I will keep adding as I come up with them***

Reverb 10: Day 10

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Going to get the lump in my breast check out! I was told it was just a cyst but it made me uneasy. I am GLAD I had it checked out. It saved my life! It may have cause me stress over the next few months and it caused me to have major surgery but it is all absolutely worth it to be around to see Alex grow up!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 9

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Considering I spent most of 2010 pregnant I really never went out. I was always home eating or sleeping LOL. BUT I did go out with a few coworkers for a happy hour at the beginning of the school year. I had a lot of fun. This was the first time I had the opportunity to go out since I the beginning of my pregnancy. It was a very laid back crowd we went to a restaurant down by the water front. The weather was perfect because it was late summer. I love my coworkers. I am one of the youngest ones in the crowd I hang out with but not by much. Everyone is in their early to mid thirties and I am the baby at 26. We talked about the upcoming school year, we laughed about some of the crazy things that have happened in the past, and had a really good time. The happy hour was at a seafood restaurant called Phillips which is on a strip with quite a few other places. So after we left Phillips we walked down to a spot called the Zanzibar where there was a DJ and we danced. It was the first time I had been in a "club" in forever.

Since graduating from college I am not really a big drinker and I definitely very rarely go to a club. My close friend China actually always calls me an "old lady" because by about midnight I am done for the night and want to go home and go to sleep. In college we may have just been walking out the door at midnight. That being said this is why this night was so much for me. I stepped out of my comfort zone and I had a blast. I had a few drinks, I danced like crazy, and just hung out with the girls. Definitely one of the best social gathers I have been to in 2010.

The crazy thing is I had no intention of staying out so late. I had a certification exam the next morning. I took the two hour test the next day with a terrible hang over and mentally prepared to retake it in a few months. Ironically I passed! Not only did I pass but I did really well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I am NOT my hair.

So I am officially free of my hair. Today has been a very emotional one for me. I have tried to mentally prepare myself for this moment from the day I found out that I was battling cancer. But there is nothing that can prepare you for the moment when you must truly face reality. My hair began to fall out while I was in the hospital. It was coming out in chunks and there was really not much I could do with it.

Today I finally decided it was time to let it go. I cried so hard when my hair stylist cut my hair and I cried even more when I got home. While I was pregnant my hair grew soooo much! I loved my post pregnancy hair and it was something I had embraced and now I have NO hair. It was a big pill for me to swallow. But I have embraced it. I have some hair scarfs that I will likely wear daily and I bought some larger earrings and I guess I can get in the habit of throwing on some make up here or there.

I realize like India Arie says "I am not my hair" I can not let this define me or shape who I am. It will grow back!

On another note I have decided that when it does grow back I will not be relaxing it. I have had a perm for two years and I think I am taking this as my opportunity to go back to my natural hair. I loved my afro and I can not wait to have it back!

Reverb 10: Day 8

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
I am going to take Donnies Idea on this one and just give a top 10 list of what makes me different:
  1. I am very silly! I love to laugh and make those around me laugh. 
  2. I LOVE to horseback ride and plan to get back in the saddle one day soon. I think I want to show in the spring and if I start riding now I can pull it off.
  3. I am one of the only people I know that was raised in a single parent home by my DAD. I know tons of people who came up in single parent homes but they were all were raised by moms. My dad raised me and I love him so much more for that.
  4. If you are in my life I really must love you. I am very reserved and private and those I call "friends" mean a lot to me or they would not get that title. It is very hard for me to let people in and once I have let you in it is because I have felt some kind of bond or connection to you.
  5. I have a HUGE shoe obsession but I hate to wear them LOL. I love shoes and buy them all the time but because of my job I very rarely wear heels so a lot of my shoes do not get worn half as much as they could be. 
  6. I really wish I had the will power to become a vegeterian. 
  7. I feel like music is food for my soul. I love it! Especially songs with meaning. I can be having the worse day EVER and a good song can lift my spirits.
  8. I am a city bred girl that LOVES the country. If I had my way we would buy a huge house in the country where I can own horses and our dogs could run free and I can sit by the lake and read. I love the outdoors.
  9. I am always thinking of others. I truly do care about others and I am constantly trying to help anyone I can. Even with all thats going on with me my priorities still typically shift to what others are going through.
  10. I have a bit of a Napoleon complex. I am tiny, barely 5 ft and currently weighing in at not much of anything. That being said I have a very big mouth and will curse someone out in a minute. Over the years I have calmed down A LOT but there was a point when I really did not know how to shut up!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 7

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I have truly discovered a community within the school I work for. Its very funny how things come full circle because a year ago I HATED my job. However, with a new principal, my stress level has gone down significantly and I have grown to love it. Not only have I grown to love my job but I also love my co-workers. My co-workers look out for me and we have a very close knit group. We act like a family and I love it. The way they embraced my being sick really took me by surprise and it has made truly appreciate the environment I work in.

I want to become active in my Sorority. I have not been active since I graduated under grad and I think I would like to join a graduate chapter. This will give me the opportunity to connect with Sorors in my area and get into some service work which I would love to do.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 6

Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

Lol does Alex count? Seriously...I can not think of the last thing I made. I thought about this all day and I have got nothing. I used to very well with crafts. I love to Knit and Crochet and scrapbook but I can not think of the last time I have done of this. I got very lazy with crafting and life got in the way of the fun things.

I really want to make an afghan. I love to crochet I just haven't had a moment to finish a project in forever. I have made tons of baby blankets, I have made a scarf and hat. So I absolutely would love to start and FINISH an afghan.


Being discharged from the hospital today! I am so happy to be going home. Yesterday my veins went rogue on me and decided they were tired of being pumped with antibiotics. As a result the IV starting leaking back out and I had to have the IV removed. BUT, they accessed my medi-port for the rest of my stay which made my life a lot easier.

I am only allowed to have things done one my left arm because I had lymph nodes removed on my right side and anything done to my right arm puts me at risk of getting Lymphedema which is not fun. I think my left arm was just overused while in the hospital. I had an IV line, was getting my blood pressure checked multiple times a day, and was getting blood draws once or twice a day. So it was definitely a lot for me and my poor arm!

Any who I am just so happy to be leaving. I can not wait to see my baby boy!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reverb 10: Days 1-5

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

My word for 2010 is Bittersweet. The dictionary defines bittersweet as "both pleasant and painful". This is how I feel. This year was amazing for me. I spent the first half of this year getting to know my son in a way only he and I can share because I carried him in my belly and got to connect with him in a way that is truly special to me. It was amazing because I also gave birth to my son and my family grew. My husband and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary and I became an Aunt. The year truly has been "sweet" to me and it really is hard for me to complain. The good truly outweighed the bad. However, there is still that bitter side. Towards the end of the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed drastically.

My word for 2011 is free. I hope to be free of the burden of cancer and free of all the baggage that has come with it!

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Talking on the phone! I spend A LOT of time on the phone and Amir often complains that I am always chatting with someone when I walk through the door from work or while I am doing other things around the house. I think because I am far away from a large chunk of my family and friends this is how I stay connected to them. But I absolutely could do a lot less chatting on the phone and dedicate more of that time to myself, Amir and even Alex (although Alex get a large portion of my non working time). Sometimes I talk to the same people multiple times a day. I probably could reduce that to once. So although I can not absolutely eliminate my phone time I definitely think I can reduce it.

December 3- Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

This is a very simple moment for me. The day before I went into labor. I was already a week and half over due and it was early summer. Amir and I knew that any day now we would no longer be a duo but a trio and we were really committed to making the most of our last few days together. This particular day we took our first trip of the summer to my favorite summer spot, Annapolis, MD. It's a 20 minute drive from our home and it is the like heaven to me, I LOVE the water. The air smelled warm and salty and we walked along the harbor and looked at the yachts. We had Sydney, our 4 year old cocker spaniel, with us and she was excited and jumped all over the place. There were a lot of other dogs out so Sydney was barking every once in awhile and trying to chase every seagull she saw. Although I was very far in my pregnancy I did not feel bad at all I was just happy to be out. I love the spring and summer and we choose to be out in the sun daily if you let me.

We stopped at an ice cream shop and got ice cream. Amir got a cup and I for chose to get a cone with two scoops. Although we were right by the water the air was stick hot and sticky and in hindsight that cone was a bad idea. We sat at a table outside the shop and ate our ice cream, while Sydney napped under the table. Suddenly not one but both scoops of ice cream I had fell right off the cone as I licked it because I wasn't eating fast enough and it had melt because of the heat. Sydney immediately hopped up and helped her self and Amir and I could not help but laugh. I went back inside and got some more ice cream and when we finished we hopped in the car and headed home. It was just a great day.

I really believe it was the perfect ending to our duo...the next evening my water broke and the day after that we welcomed our son into the world. Everything just came full circle for us.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

This unfortunately is where I must reflect on my diagnosis of cancer. I can not help but wonder where would I be had things been done differently.
What if I would have gone to the doctor when I "thought" I felt a lump and not waited until I absolutely felt one.
What if I would have insisted my doctor take the lump more seriously instead of telling me I was to young to have cancer and that they would do nothing until after I was pregnant.
I have so many more what ifs.... I can not help but wonder how things would be now had I followed my instincts sooner.....

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

I am still in the process of working on this but I am trying be more receptive of letting others help me. I am a very private person and I don't like to except the help of others. I don't like feeling like I owe others and I don't really like being dependent on anyone other than me. If I do not depend on others than I can not be mad at any one letting me down right? I truly need to let this go. Since getting sick in many ways I have had no choice but to let go but, it is still a constant struggle.

I also let go of anyone or anything that I felt was an unnecessary stressor for me. This started while I was pregnant because I grew up in chaos and this was something I never wanted for my children. From the moment I found I was pregnant I decided I needed to remove the stress. A lot happen at the end of last year and I got a late start on committing to this but I did stick to it in 2010 and am so grateful I did. Life is so much easier without added chaos and drama.

Last...I am letting go of my hair! I mentioned earlier my hair has begun to fall out. I am actually anxious for a hair cut and embracing what is happening. There is no need to cry over spilt milk...just clean it up.

Reverb10 Challenge

I just signed up to do the Reverb10 Challenge. Its annual blog event where you spend time each day reflecting on the past year. The reverb 10 website gives you a prompt for each day in December and you must blog about that particular prompt. Since its already the 5th I am going to do one entry answering the 1st 5 prompts. I intended to sign up sooner but life got a little crazy over the past few days.

Here are is the website with the rules and prompts.

I am so bad at keeping up with my blog I hope I can stick to this one! I think it will give me something fun to do and positive to reflect on with all the craziness going on.

Back in the Hospital

Yep.... I am BACK in the hospital, been here since Thursday. I was admitted for emergency surgery do to an infection in one of my tissue expanders. I had been feeling kind of run down all week but thought I was catching the flu. My immune system is already weak and people all around me including both Amir and Alex have been sick so I figured thats why I was feeling run down. Wednesday I was suppose to go to a meeting a Georgetown and out to eat with some people from work but I was feeling so bad at work that I cancelled everything and went home and crawled into bed. Thursday I woke up still feeling a little out of it but I had a pretty calm day planned, physical therapy, a workshop, and then chemo, so I just figured I would pull through. I did notice however a big bump that had surfaced on my right breast. It was very soft to the touch so I knew there was fluid under the skin. When I went to physical therapy my therapist took one look at the bump and insisted I call my plastic surgeon immediately and go in even if that meant missing my workshop. I went to my workshop but called Dr. Lenert (My Plastic Surgeon) as soon as her office opened her nurse told me to come in ASAP.

I arrived at her office at 12 and as soon as she looked at the bump she said yeah thats an infection. She told me she wanted to operate immediately to remove the infected implant and that I would need to hospitalized until the infection subsided. I was not allowed to go to chemo and pretty much was sent up the street to the hospital immediately. By 4:30 Thursday night I was having surgery and I have been here ever since. I spiked 2 fevers and my white blood count was very high but it is finally dropping back to normal. A normal white blood count is 3 or 4 and mine was 27 on Friday, 15, Saturday, and 11 today so we are headed in the right direction. I should be discharged tomorrow.

While in the hospital I did make one other discovery...My hair has begun to fall out. I can not touch or comb it without chunks of it coming out at a time. So once I am out of the hospital I am going to get a hair cut. Not going to shave it off or anything just yet but cut it into something a little more manageable. Because at this point I can't even put my hair in a pony tail because all of my edges are gone.