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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Learning to Dance in the Rain

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“I want to live!”

It’s just that simple… I want to grow old and see my son graduate from college, get married, and give me grandchildren….is that too much to ask for? Well being diagnosed with cancer makes you think of all the ‘what if’s’….what if the cancer never goes away? What if it goes away and comes back? Then I start looking at survival rates and it becomes, how long will I live? The truth is anything can happen to anyone of us at any given time but for some reason, when your faced with a disease like cancer, it’s like someone just accelerated your life closer to death. Thoughts of death and sickness become the ‘elephant in the room’ you try to avoid it, you pray, you try to live a normal life but sickness and death are always in the back your mind. I wish that was not the case but it is for many people fighting this disease like myself.One way that I change the focus from cancer is by going to work. I work because keeping busy leaves less time for me to think about cancer… it’s the perfect distraction. I never thought I would admit that going to work gives me some sense of normalcy but it does. It’s actually a good feeling to leave the office on Friday and know that I made it through the entire work week. There are mornings that I dread waking up, I’m usually exhausted….sleep deprived and running on fumes. When the alarm goes off I wish for five extra minutes. Then I drag myself out of bed in time to slip out the door and make it into the office. I typically take the days following my chemo cycle off just so I can rest. Chemo days run together and come with long sleepless nights. I often find myself lying in the dark feeding my soul with prayer and positive thoughts. Sometimes I lay still enough to feel the heavy beating of my heart. Occasionally certain parts of my body twitch uncontrollably, I feel my fingers and toes become stiff at the joints and I get the worse charlie horse in my calves…boy, o boy are those painful. Let’s not talk about the bathroom trips…I haven’t used the bathroom this often since I was pregnant. I have to drink so much fluid to prevent dehydration but at the same time, I think my bladder wants to divorce me…seriously!

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The side effects
tongue pain & change in pigmentation, eyebrow & eyelash hair reduction or loss, lack of sleep, damage nails

Even on my worse nights I don’t doubt that life is worth living…Thankfully I’m able push forward every single day. I can smile because I know this to be true “I have cancer…cancer doesn’t have me.” I try to be optimistic about my future even during chemo cycles and testing. It’s hard to be optimistic when I’m hooked up to bags of lethal drugs that come with awful side effects. Some days I complain…some days I cry ‘I DON’T WANT TO BE STRONG’ …. Some days I ask why me? Then I feel guilty because I’m still here…Alive…and able to enjoy a life that so many people only dream. I’m grateful and I hope to fulfill my dreams and do all the crazy things I’ve always dreamed about doing, hopefully I won’t have to continue planning everything around the disease.

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My chemo care must haves for mouth, hair, skin, and comfort

I’m looking forward to October because…IT’S MY LAST CHEMO! I’ll still have to deal with the dreadful re-testing phase to see how successful the chemo and hormone therapy was on the tumor. Keep the prayers coming because surgery is the next big thing and while I’ve been able to work through out chemo I will have to take a month or two off to heal from surgery. I imagine this will be a tough holiday season 🙁  I plan on taking some time out to visit my friends and family in CT before I have surgery…not looking forward to the ‘human road map look’.  The scaring is so severe from any of the surgeries…UGH! I have been working on revamping my business and getting back to what I love to do…slowly but surely. I miss trunk shows, jewelry parties, and meeting great people all while building lasting relationships…the lyrics to the song “One day at a time,” just ran across my mind.

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Revamping my accessories business very soon!

I would like to discuss a few things in upcoming posts like, diet & exercise, support groups, and surgery and my thoughts on living life beyond the disease. I appreciate ALL of you that take the time out to support me on this journey, it has helped me tremendously!

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Loads of hugs!

XO

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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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Part 1: 24 Day Advocare Challenge…

Hi everyone!! I must apologize for the delay with this post 🙁 I wanted to do a full post with pictures of me before and after BUT it would just take me entirely too long to get my act together. Soooooo I’m breaking it into parts. Okay, so I was introduced to the challenge by my good friend, whom by the way doesn’t need to lose a pound *giggles….but thinks she needs to…She clearly is a good friend because she told me about the challenge because I sure could lose some weight LOL!! 
I’m not one for diets because I can’t keep things straight from one day to the next so staying on track with a routine is tough for me to do. The Advocare 24 Day Challenge is a system with lots and lots of helpful information about not just dieting but making a lifestyle change that is truly beneficial for your health. I’m going to be honest, there is a packet and a really nice coach that you can communicate with through out the challenge but I really like to work at my own pace and find what works best for me. I will say that this is day 6 and I’m down 5lbs so far. On average I think if you follow the plan you can lose approximately 10-17lbs in the 24 days. I’ll be happy with a solid 15lbs because any progress is progress and I don’t beat myself up about it. The plan gives you options and great alternatives for what to eat and what foods to avoid. I’ve been able to avoid dairy, alcohol, meats, and CARBS=the loves of my life 😉  The vitamins are excellent and I’m shocked that I actually like the Spark and Meal replacement packets. I’ve mixed them with my favorite fruits and they taste great. I haven’t started on all the vitamins because some are introduced a little later in the game for different reasons. For now I’ve been cleansing and detoxing the body, which is a great start. 
I don’t go to the gym but I do walk for miles religiously, with my four year old 😉 He thinks he’s doing the challenge so he can have muscles and be fast LOL!!! It’s something for him and I to do everyday after work and on the weekends. I’m surprised at how much energy he has for these 2-3 mile walks. I will keep you all posted on the challenge as I continue, I’m happy to say it’s going well so far and I’ll post pictures of myself with more details as the challenge continues. Please check out this YouTube video for more details http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op49b3N4j8k  

My work out partner ;-))
TTFN