End of Summer Blues

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Hi there! I know your probably wondering, where the hell has she been? LOL…covers face…unable to give a good reason for not blogging in such a long time. The months have seriously flown by and I can’t believe summer is coming to an end. I’ve been busy just living, I’m learning every day that I have to make my health and happiness a priority. I use to be busy doing everything except taking time out to be still. At times I lose track of me because I work full time, I’m a single parent, and I’m trying to juggle multiple things in my life. I start having insomnia, my body starts aching, I gain weight, and I feel overwhelmed doing the smallest task.

When I start feeling that way, I know I have to slow down and make some adjustments. I decided to take a much needed vacation, to celebrate my birthday in lovely Miami Beach. I was able to stop in and spend quality time with family while I was in Florida. I also started back at the gym, changed my diet, and I avoided social media of any kind. I find social media to be so addictive. There is a lot going on in the world, everyone has live videos, I would find myself up really late reading about something or watching one video clip after another. Then I would get up the next day and feel like crap because I got less than five hours of sleep.

I’m so happy that the Olympics is over. I stayed up late every night watching my favorite athletes compete. Now my son is back in school, which means more to keep up with every day. I’ve been wanting to blog but I’m either exhausted or just feeling blah! I’ve been letting my hair grow back because I want to try styles that need a little more length but boy has it been a fight, I’m tempted to cut all my hair off but for know I’ll be trying some really cool protective styles.

 

 

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I got this dress as a gift. Zara has always been one of my favorite retailers. I love the soft brushed denim feel. The dress is roomy and the neckline is adorable. This outfit is more of my day to day summer wardrobe. I enjoy dresses that are comfortable and practical for my lifestyle. I’m looking forward to trying out new trends for the fall, it will also be nice to change up the wardrobe a bit. What trends are you looking forward to for Fall/winter 2016?

Please enjoy the pictures & thank you!

 

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Dress: Zara, see similar here

Choker: Zara

Love,

 

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Living Beyond Cancer

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Hi guys, where do I even begin? It’s been such a long time. I haven’t blogged for this very reason. I just don’t know how to get back into blogging. It’s like learning to ride a bike again so forgive me if I seem a little rusty.

It’s been a year and three months since my bilateral mastectomy, which is when the cancerous tumor was removed. I count my “cancerversary” from that date. Some survivors count it from the date they were initially diagnosed. A year is big deal in the cancer world! I’m hoping for many more years.

Your probably wondering what I’ve been up to…truthfully, I’ve been celebrating life! it’s beautiful and I’m deeply grateful for each day. I completed all major treatment in June of last year. I reconstructed my breast in September and I’ve been laying low ever since.

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I needed to heal, physically and mentally. Treatment and surgery were so intense, it’s nice to just take a deep breathe. I’m learning to live beyond cancer, which is difficult at times. I had only known one person with breast cancer before I was diagnosed, now it seems like so many people are either battling the disease or dying from it. It’s so depressing, deeply depressing but I try to remain positive.

I wear this big smile, which hides a lot of pain but it also  represents happiness. Happiness for life, a full head off hair, quality time with my son and the people I love. Thank you all for giving me a warm welcome back, it made heart smile.

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Love,
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Self Love

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I had reached some really low points emotionally while battling ‘breast cancer’ this past year. The very thought that cancer had invaded my body was enough to turn my world upside down. I felt hopeless…lost….confused and deeply hurt. I initially cried a lot, stopped eating, and closed myself off from the rest of the world. How could anyone ever look at me the same? Why did I have to get cancer? When you’re a woman you worry about everything, especially physical (beauty) or your appearance in general ….our society is built on it. After losing all my hair during chemo, then both my breast after bilateral surgery, I had to learn to LOVE and ACCEPT the new me. 


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Xo 

 

Moving on to Tomorrow

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It’s just hours before we begin a new year and I wanted to THANK all of you for taking this journey with me. Sure it’s been a rough year but I feel so LOVED!  I’ve opened up and revealed more than I ever thought I would to such a large audience of people, some of whom I have never met. I don’t know if sharing my story has made a difference for all of you but I know for sure it has touched some of you. I know that someone has gotten a mammogram, done a self breast exam or followed through with making an appointment to take care of their health in general and that says a lot. THANK YOU all for making this year less of a roller coaster ride, I couldn’t be more grateful for the support.
My New Year Goal is to continue the fight against ‘cancer’ even while it’s in remission it’s important to never take your health for granted. I’ll be doing everything in my power to stay as healthy as possible. I already feel STRONGER than ever, more determined and accomplished.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you in advance!
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XOXO
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Faith Prayer & Hope

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That was the message I pulled out of a fish bowl at the breast center before I went for my repeat mammogram. A reminder that I have never faced this battle alone. I was stressed at the thought of having to go through this process again. I remember the initial appointment like it was yesterday, I was coming for an appointment to check out a bothersome lump. I had no idea that I would be told that I had ‘cancer’…invasive, aggressive Her 2+ cancer. That day back in May has forever changed life. Ironically I was greeted by the same nurse who recognized my face from that first visit. We chatted about that initial diagnostic, how I was coping with treatment, and my feelings about going through this journey. She was as kind now as she was then, apologizing for ever having to break that type of news to anyone.
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I haven’t actually blogged in a while and its hard to believe that its been a month since I completed chemo and nothing…..I mean nothing has gone back the way it use to be. My hair for example, has been growing back a completely different texture. I’ve always had course, thick textured hair but the new growth is baby soft. I had eyebrows and lashes all through chemo but for some reason towards the end they thinned out and look like I have nothing. Just imagine a completely bare face, no hair on the head, eyebrows, or lashes. It is definitely a look that I will never get use to seeing in the mirror. I feel like a blank canvas and I jokingly have told friends and coworkers that I have to put on my face each day. The hair on my head is filling in mainly in the back and on the sides not so much on the edges or the top of my head, the growth pattern reminds me of a balding man. I’ve lost close to 30lbs since the start of chemo, which is the only exciting thing about this whole process. I’ve wanted to drop the weight but I’m a serious ‘YoYo’ dieter so I usually lose a little and gain much more! My taste buds have slowly returned so I can enjoy food again, there was a point when everything tasted like metal.
I have started Herceptin treatments alone, it’s an antibody that doesn’t give the same icky, awful side effects that I had during chemo. The Herceptin was a part of my chemo regimen (TCHP) Taxatore, Carbopatin, Herceptin, and Perjeta but I have to finish out the 52 week cycle that is recommended for this drug in order to achieve its full benefits. Taking Herceptin comes with one major side effect and that is heart function, it can damage the heart over time so I have routine echocardiograms to make sure it’s not deteriorating or showing reduced heart function from the drug.
I’ve been feeling pretty good so I was surprised to hear that my hemoglobin levels had not rebounded 3 weeks out from chemo. I have not felt any more tired than usual, I’ve even ventured out a bit more since chemo. At one point I went from work straight home and stayed in all weekend because a mistake like eating the wrong food while on chemo could be pretty explosive and not in a good way! My oncologist wanted to give my body the time to bring the hemoglobin levels up but surgery is needed and possibly radiation so even though, it increased from 7.3 to 8.0, it just is not high enough for the upcoming treatment options. We moved forward with 600 cc of blood to give my body the boost it really needed, the results from the transfusion are pending but I feel more energized than before.

 

I had to repeat my MRI and mammogram, my nerves were on edge because I can recall the initial mammogram like it was yesterday….Guess what? I wanted to share some great news! Take a look at the before and after pictures of my breast. I’ve circled the tumor in each photograph…notice anything different? No your eyes aren’t deceiving you, my tumor disappeared!!!! Your prayers have been working 😉 that along with the ability that God gives these scientist and researchers have made what use to be a death sentence, possible to treat successfully.

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MY MAMMOGRAM

 

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I truly believe that my purpose is bigger than this disease. I’m so grateful for the many people who have kept me in constant prayer. I still have a long way to go with treatment and surgery is still taking place so while the battle isn’t over, I’m sure excited about all the wonderful ways I can help other women through my testimony.

Luv,

 

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The Wakeup call

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“I thought I’d never smile again.”

I remember waking up that morning, not sure of what to expect from the breast exam. I hadn’t slept much the night before; I was overwhelmed from spending much of the night tossing and turning until I fell asleep from exhaustion.

 I arrived at the women’s center and sat waiting in the mammogram room; it was brightly lit, stark white, with blank walls. The mammogram machine took up most of the room. I was kind of curious to experience the mammogram for the first time. I had heard stories about how your breasts were flattened out between the plates during the exam. How painful I thought as the built up anxiety put knots in my stomach. I was relieved when the nurse walked in and announced that due to my age, I was not a good candidate for the mammogram. They wanted to perform an ultrasound instead and for some reason I felt more relaxed, it just seemed less invasive….if only I could have warned myself of what was to come.

During the exam, I was instructed to lie on my side as the nurse performed the ultrasound. The lump was already painful but it intensified as she rolled and pressed inward with the transducer each time. I strained my neck a few times hoping to see the image on the grainy grey monitor. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see but  I was on edge just waiting to hear her assure me it was exactly what they thought it was…a ‘cyst’ but she had a  puzzled look on her face.  She said nothing, except that she was going to get the doctor. She was concerned….I could tell, and at that very moment, I knew I was in for a wakeup call.

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Once the doctor came in and introduced himself, he told me that he wanted to take a look at both breast. Up until that point the nurse had only focused on the one with the existing lump. I took a deep breath and rolled from one side to the next as he navigated around each breast with the transducer, applied more gel, and studied the monitor. The room was ice cold, the only thing warm were the steady streams of tears rolling down my cheeks. I wanted to ask him what he saw but I couldn’t talk, there was a lump in my throat. It’s as if I already knew that whatever it was, it was really bad…really really bad.
Remember that mammogram that I didn’t really qualify for in the beginning? Well know he wanted to perform one. This day was going down the tubes very fast. I walked across the hall and sat waiting for what seemed like forever until the nurse returned and performed the mammogram…it was uncomfortable and just as awful as the stories I had heard about the discomfort. My 9 AM, in and out appointment had now gone on for two hours,  finally after a needle biopsy, the doctor said in his professional opinion, he was 99% sure it was C-A-N-C-E-R.
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C-A-N-C-E-R?? …My legs began to shake uncontrollably as I sat on the exam table. He replied back “yes, it’s a cancerous tumor that’s approximately 3cm in size based on the markers.” I was weak, I felt like a truck just slammed into me at full speed, and the world began to close in on me.

I was devastated, to say the least but he pulled out the images from the mammogram and walked me through his findings…. I had planned on going to work after my appointment, obviously I couldn’t and after sitting in my car for what seemed like forever, I finally called my mother to share the news.

It’s one of those phone calls that you never want to make. I imagined that the news would be equally as terrifying for her as it was for me. She had lost her own mother to breast cancer several years ago, it was a battle that our family lost and one that I didn’t want her to have to face again. Our telephone conversation was awkward because I mainly let her talk, she was in a good mood that day. I felt guilty about telling her about my appointment. When I finally did, she remained completely silent. I waited for her to reply and when she finally did, she said “Don’t worry, stay strong, we’re going to beat this together.” My mother is a ‘rock’ and the strongest woman I know. She’s always offering advice and spends considerable time helping those less fortunate than herself. She was miles away but I could hear the fear and concern in her voice even though she remained upbeat and reassuring.
I didn’t sleep that first night and because the appointment was at the end of the week, I had to wait until the following Monday to get the results of the pathology report. Worrying about the future is only natural. When cancer stops you in your tracks, you begin to understand that worrying doesn’t make things better especially when you can’t control things. I had to think about what really mattered to me and remain faithful in God because he has the final word.
The scariest part was waiting and being alone with my thoughts. My initial fear was wondering how much time I had left with my son. As a mother you always want to be there for your kids. You give birth and watch them grow up right before your eyes. That first night I was filled with thoughts of not being there to be a part of those special moments in his life. Your dreams begin to shatter, you feel weak, and everything becomes dark, no appetite, no smile, only deep hurt and pain.
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Monday came and went, I went to work mainly because it kept me busy enough to not go off the deep end. I have the best coworkers, they have all been so supportive throughout this journey.   They kept things as ‘normal’ as possible for me because they knew my appointment had not gone well. It was an uneasy day my nerves were through the roof. I jumped every time my phone rang, in anticipation of that dreadful phone call from the doctor’s office, with the official pathology report to confirm his finding. It never came that day and as anxious as I was to find out, I never called because of fear.
The following day arrived and I went off to work as usual. My eyes were swollen because it had been a tearful night; the insomnia was insane from interrupted sleep but I made it through the day managing to squeeze out a smile here & there to help lighten the mood in the office…the day was mainly a blur. At  exactly 4:34pm Tuesday June 3rd I found out that I not only had Invasive cancer but I also had a rapidly growing and aggressive cancer….bullets…that’s how I felt…like bullets had pierced every part of my body. Thank God two my coworkers were concerned enough to come outside, which is where I ran to so that I could take the call in private. They got concerned because I didn’t come back inside. They helped me stand up, because my legs felt like they had caved in as I received the news. They even cried with me but most of all they helped me breathe when I couldn’t catch my breath. That day will continue to remind me to be thankful for everyday of life because it isn’t promised to anyone.
Love,

A Woman’s Intuition

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“When cancer knocks at your door, it does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re older or younger in age, or of any particular race, your sex doesn’t matter either, just be ready to fight for your life”.
I have been absent from the blogging world for quite some time but it’s been for good reason. On May 29th after discovering a sizable (3 cm) tumor in my breast I went for a mammogram at my local breast center and was diagnosed with invasive (infiltrating) ductal carcinoma. It is the most common type of breast cancer that affects women, accounting for 80% of diagnoses each year. This type of breast cancer also affects men.  To add to the drama of hearing such devastating news, I’m also triple positive. What this basically means is that my type of cancer is also aggressive and rapidly growing.
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I have just completed my 3rd chemo cycle/round of 6, so let’s just say that my life has completely changed in so many ways. My diagnosis ER+ / PR+, HER2+1 has some pros…if that’s even a good choice of words because of the number of available treatment options. On the other hand (HER2-positive) mutations tend to grow rapidly, be aggressive and have more re-occurrences.
Truthfully, I’ve finally crawled out of a very dark place emotionally. My health news has been a difficult decision to share publicly but I have used my social media platforms to inform about many things in the past. In this case maybe my story can save someone’s life. I will not be posting daily again for some time however, since so much has taken place since the initial diagnosis and completion of my 3rd chemo cycle I will do my best to share the events during that time as well.
Thank God for giving me enough woman’s intuition to be proactive about my own health and for not settling for medical professionals telling me “it’s just fibroadenoma” or “you’re too young” to have breast cancer.  Thanks a million to my growing support team that consists of my family, close friends, and people who have shared their personal journey with me. I also want to thank all of you who have reached out to me privately asking about my absence from blogging, I had contemplated stopping all together but I love that some of you found it entertaining.
Until next time!
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Beauty Basics…From a Drug Store Beauty…

Hi beauties! I wanted to share some of my beauty basics. I haven’t shared my makeup bag must have’s in a minute. I’m totally a “drugstore beauty” because with the exception of my MAC studio fix foundation and Ambering Rose cheek blush, I buy everything else from the local drugstore or Walmart. I’ve been shopping around for new makeup to compliment my natural hair. It was red but unfortunately it’s already washed out to a rich brown color. I’ll put a rinse in it soon but for now I’ll keep it brown , which is my natural hair color. If you’ve read my previous posts, you see that I’m trying to work on popping eye colors and nude or earth-tone colored lip colors. I feel like everything has to look natural for some reason 😉 
I’ve shared a few of my current faves with you. I hope you all find it helpful if your shopping around for new makeup to add to your collection. 
Foundation: MAC Studio Fix *I use base color around the eyes—>/ Base: Cover Girl
Cheek: MAC Amboring Rose Blush
Lipstick: Loreal #815  Ginger Spice
Lipgloss: Loreal Color Riche #805 Soft Nude
Eyeshadow: Revlon Colorstay #570 Luscious
Eyeshadow: Wet N Wild  Coloricon Collection #737″ Blue Had Me At Hello” & #738 Comfort Zone”
Mascara: Maybelline Great Lash & Wet N Wild “Mega Plump”
Lashes: Salon Perfect: Perfectly Natural Multi Pack (4) lashes
***Anything highlighted in red is what I have on in the photograph**
xoxo

Hair That’s Easy As 1- 2- 3…

Hi everyone!! So never thought that cutting my hair off would cause so much conversation lol!! Just about everyone I ran into today was like ” OMG you just chopped it off “, uuuuhhhhmmmm..YEAH! It’s hair and it grows back. It was short anyways…right? I’m so ready for color now, checked in and created my Pinterest board called ” Make It Snappy Nappy” and found all the short natural hair styles and colors that I’m ready to try. Hair is so much fun to me, I love changing it up as much as possible. What color do you think I should try?

I see who my son looks like *giggles… I think I’ll even use some lashes now, I put them on from time to time but now that my hair is so short, I feel like I’m missing something. I’m thinking this will be my overall look for the rest of the summer. I’m either gonna go for bold lip color and ultra sexy eyes or nude lip color and bold eye shadow shades…such fun 😉


Love

Bye- Bye Creamy crack!

Please pardon the rachet hair cut that I did myself this past weekend….LOL! Well no surprise here, I’ve decided to return to my natural hair, no more perms aka creamy crack. Most people would probably shrug at the very idea of posting a picture like this but it’s neither here nor there to me. I’ve learned over time to become more and more accepting of myself, that means physically and mentally. I know so many of you view my blog posts and social media links and see a made up ( hair did, makeup, etc..) Roxy. Well this picture, taken right after I literally took a pair of scissors to my permed hair says, I love who I am without all the extra stuff.  

I’m going to get my hair cut professionally tomorrow and then it will be some time for the perm to grow out. I’ll naturally style it and polish off the new do once it’s cut the right way 😉 It will be pretty low and I don’t plan on adding any braids or extensions,weaves, or wigs anytime soon. I encourage anyone thinking of going back to their natural hair to just do it, more thought went into if whether or not I should post this picture.

TTFN

 

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