Friday, August 14, 2020

2020- What a year!

They Were So Fabulous: The Flapper Generation in Two New Books

Ever since I was a child, I've thought this was not my first life.  I always thought that I originally lived during the 1920's.  I'm drawn to everything from that era, movies, music, cars, etc.  I even wore an all fringe dress to my high school prom.  

I always joke that my last life must have been boring, and (must have) said to throw everything at me this time around and see how it goes. And really, that's how I view life, as one big obstacle course.  This year, The Roaring 20's round 2, is no exception.   

I have a plaque at the Cancer Survivors' Park

(Here is where I deleted part of my original post.  I had a nine month relationship that turned sour and I broke up with him in September 2020.)

And I have chickens now!  I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but I look out the kitchen window and see those little cluckers swinging on a swing and they make me happy.  I should start getting daily eggs sometime in October. 

This crazy chicken has a white streak on her head (like me)

Things were going well for a while! I was still in my role as a Director of Clinic for a functional medicine clinic.  I often did public speaking events and TV spots on reversing chronic disease.  And I loved it!  I was receiving HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) and it was going well, until it didn't...  

The Dr. I worked for was putting Testosterone pellets in my hip, and I was taking Progesterone capsules daily.  I have WAY too much Estrogen, so I didn't need that replaced.  I loved the combination, and it seemed to work very well.  Unfortunately, the Dr. must not have been paying attention, and accidentally put a LARGE dose of Estrogen in my hip.  The Nurse practitioner only found out by doing a count that afternoon of Testosterone (controlled substance).  When brought up to the Dr, she merely said, "Well, we all make mistakes".  

But the problem was not as simple as that.  First, once the pellets are in, they cannot be taken out.  They take three months to dissolve.  That definitely makes it easier by not having to take a pill everyday, but not if it's the wrong hormone.  You see, Estrogen makes my particular type of cancer grow.  And I already had much more than I should.  For example, most women feel best when Estrogen is at a level between 60-100.   Mine, on it's own, was around 300.  The use of Testosterone helped bring that level down.  Now, with the mistake of putting Estrogen pellets in, my levels topped 500, which in turn panicked me about potential cancer growth.  

This mistake by the Doctor came right about the time that Coronavirus was showing up on the radar.  As businesses all around starting shutting down, we decided that it was best to close the practice to protect the patients.  At the time, they had no intention of opening the doors again.  Schools were closed, businesses were closed, and the waiting game began. 

After months of waiting, and approximately 40+ hours of phone calls to the state and local congressmen, I got unemployment money. Luckily, I had worked with each creditor/vendor to be able to pay on a difference schedule to stay on top of my bills.  Being unemployed is a full time job!  

The doctor's office then decided to reopen, and they offered me a job.  But now, with reevaluating my priorities, I felt this Doctor (and her husband) did not represent what I wanted to put my name on.  No, it was not solely about the Doctor's one mistake, but I definitely don't need to go into it all at the moment.  Just know that if/when I get hormone pellets again, it will be another local Doctor in Greer.

As for now, we stay hunkered down at the house as much as possible, and we wait for Covid-19 to pass.  I work daily on building my immune system and protecting my body against cancer.  Apparently, cancer is a force that is strong in my family. My one and only sister is now fighting against Colon Cancer.  Unbeknownst to us, Colon Cancer runs in our family, and I am highly susceptible to getting that as well. So, the best course of action for me was to get to work at what I do best.  

My sister and I when I first found out I had cancer in 2013.

If you've been following me for years, you know that I value natural medicine highly.  I am coming up on my seven year anniversary of being diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer in the next two weeks.  How have I managed to go this long without medication?  I studied diligently for the past seven years.  I was paid to research natural medicine full time.  I was paid to interview patients with health conditions.  I've spent more than 7,500 hours studying.  I've interviewed more than 3,000 patients.  And what did I learn?  That chronic illness, even cancer, can be healed naturally.  

Over this summer, I have finally completed my long term goal of reopening an online shop for Nutraceuticals.  I know, by experience as a clinic Director, what works for patients.  I know, by personal experience, what keeps me healthy.  And now, I'm excited to share it with the people I know and love. You.  So when you have time, take a look at the new SHOP.

My all-time favorite Supplement for Cancer

Now about those kids......

Eliah is now a teenager!  How did that happen?  It's also been almost a year since we did stem cells with him.  I posted on Instagram about his progress here.  My happy boy will be starting school online shortly, and we will see how it works for him.  I know he will miss the bus ride and his friends, but he will hopefully be safer at home.  His nurse of almost three years, Jackie, will take very good care of him.  

And then there's my now 16yr old, Natalie!  She is too smart for her own good.  She was accepted into the Governor's School for Science and Math for her junior and senior year of high school.  She will be living in dorms almost three hours away, which I am wholeheartedly not prepared for.  But with Covid-19 surging in our great state, that will start online as well. 

That should wrap up the update.  I had another birthday in December, made it all the way to 47 years old!  I'm happy.  I'm excited for the future.  And I hope you will all join me for another seven years!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Dating in the New Age

I remember when I first got a Roku player for my TV, and then Netflix.  I had so many choices of movies and shows, that I couldn't make a decision.  That's called the paradox of choice.  And that's what has happened with online dating.  It's become the Ebay for finding a mate, and it's difficult for everyone to make decisions.

The old fashioned way of meeting someone in public at a bar or wherever is difficult.  I don't go out to bars, and there's only so much time I can spend holding grapefruits in the produce section of the grocery store waiting for some cute, single guy to strike up a conversation.  Not to mention the fact that I am the ripe ol' age of a Cougar (which I have been recently called more than once).  I just look ridiculous doing those things.  That leads me to meeting someone online.

I joined a couple dating sites because I've had luck in the past, and since doing so, it's been a couple months of utter chaos.  I am completely up front with my life and what it's like. I describe myself with brutal honesty, and in return, I get a lot of messages.  Just yesterday, I got 78 new messages.  I don't even know what to do with them at this point. I have kind of stopped looking at profiles, because...

Most everyone looks the same to me these days...

Sometimes though, I get funny messages.....

Some have funny profiles......

Some have a hard time with spelling.....

And some are plain jackasses.....

This next guy, who had tattoos, was telling me how women that have tattoos are wannabes and they are just shallow, insecure sheep.  Then he blew up my phone because I hadn't responded in a couple hours.  The blue text is me....

There are weird guys....

I've even been catfished a couple times.  One guy, I talked with for two weeks, and he said all the right things.  Then the day came to meet and an "emergency" came up.  I knew then that I had been duped.  I felt like a total idiot. The next day, he faked an email from his daughter saying he was missing.  I never responded. (insert eyeroll here)

The next catfish was a guy that I had talked with for a little over a week, and we agreed to meet.  He told me to pick a place, and I got all dolled up and texted a restaurant.  After an hour of waiting, I googled his phone number.  Found out that it wasn't his name and he was in fact married.  And that wasn't even the first time I had been stood up. It happens more than I care to admit.

I also have several guys stop talking to me as soon as they find out about me having had a mastectomy and reconstruction.  Oh well, I can't change that.

Then there are the select few men that I have actually liked among the sea of mediocrity over the past few months.  And this is where I have a tendency to mess things up and become THEIR dating mishap.  It's rare that I find someone interesting, genuine, handsome and kind all in one person.  But I also have a little dating PTSD, and I have this ability to self-sabotage anything that has potential of becoming a relationship.   I don't know why I do it.  I guess I'm a chicken.  I keep reminding myself of the fact that I am the common denominator in all my failed relationships.

I'm sure in time I'll find what I'm looking for.  It will take a good while.  We are all broken in special ways.  I just have to find the guy that I can deal with his broken pieces and hope that he's willing to deal with my broken pieces.  In the meantime, I will just take the Emma Watson approach and self-partner until I'm ready.

That first comment though...

Onward with awkward dating for the new decade!  Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Six Year Survivor

Six years ago this week, I found a lump in my breast and it turned my whole world upside down. What was once broken, has been made whole again.  Scars have healed.  I've clawed myself out of the deepest hole of my life.  I've gone from Stage IV Breast Cancer, broke, jobless, and living on food stamps to now... nearly 47 years old, healthy, happy, and the Director of a functional medicine clinic.

#breastcancer #mastectomy #stageiv #cancer #thrive #proud #functionalmedicine #holistic #yeahthatgreenville #gvltoday #gvl360 #wellnessbydesign #greenvillesc #anncredible 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Moving on With Life

People always talk about living an authentic life.  What does that even mean?!  Life can be hard.  I feel lucky that I've had success, but it's difficult to navigate in changing times.

I had to make major changes to my life recently.  I felt stuck, unhappy, and like I was drowning in a mess that I chose and created for myself.  It started with my job.  I LOVED what I did for a living, and I was very successful at it.  I was the Director for a functional medicine clinic that reversed Type II Diabetes for the past year and a half.  In that time, I brought in over $2.5 million dollars.  Unfortunately, my pay structure changed several times, and by the beginning of May, I wasn't even going to make enough money to pay my bills. So I reached out to another local clinic.

Turns out, I found the most brilliant medical doctor, who specializes in Natural medicine, hormone balancing, and stem cells (to name a few things).  They saw my value and hired me immediately to run their practice.  It was a match made in heaven!  Not only have I helped them get organized, hired the best team, and helped make some good money, but this doctor teaches everything I have spent years researching and believing, and I get to benefit and learn from the best. One of the benefits is getting my hormones in balance.

Dr Connie and I on a weekly morning show.

I've struggled for YEARS with too much Estrogen.  That's one of the things that put me at high risk for breast cancer. No doctors really test to see how out of balance the reproductive hormones get, so I tested a couple weeks ago.  Just to give you an idea of what Estrogen dominance looks like, here are my numbers.

Estrogen   253  (should be between 60-100)
Testosterone  13.5    (should be over 50)
Progesterone  .5    (should be over 2)

What this means is, if I were to keep it as is, I'm at high risk for getting cancer again.  So, Dr. Connie was able to do natural hormone replacement.  Meaning, I got some Testosterone pellets placed in my hip and they time release over three months.  Then I take a progesterone supplement at night before bed.  WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!

I feel like a new person.  I have energy, stamina, and I even had a kissing dream the other night.  I feel like a teenager. Hahaha!

The clinic I work for also does the best stem cell treatments.  Stem cells can become more than 200 different cells in the body.  They can turn genes on and off.  They can heal brain damage, stop seizures, and repair the brain and body.  See where I might be going with this?  MY SON

Granted, my former husband needs to do his own research, and we must agree on treatment, but the world could be so different if we treated Eliah with stem cells. It could cure his Hemophilia.  It could allow him to walk or talk, or at least improve what he has. I feel like his world could be so different with one small treatment.  The possibilities are endless!!

Eliah is getting too big for his own good! 

Now, onto the other changes in my life.  I recently broke up with my boyfriend of five years...several times actually.  I never wanted a long distance relationship, but I did my best to make it work. The most embarrassing part, that I shouldn't admit publicly, but does show that I'm being completely honest about my life, is that he proposed to me in November of last year, but then rescinded two days later.  I felt like I wasn't enough to want forever. Wasn't GOOD enough.  I still tried to make it work, with all those feelings lingering.  And then I started to feel like I was sinking and drowning into feelings of NEVER being enough.

And then I realized, I'd rather stop trying to give someone every bit of my love, even taking from self love, and start focusing on investing my time and energy in to the things that make me happy.  I like to think of it like the movie Groundhog's Day.  Stop trying too hard for the things that will never work, day after day.  Start focusing on learning, growing, and becoming who I'm meant to be.  When I do that, things will fall into place....hopefully.  Regardless, saying goodbye, whether short term or for the last time is difficult.  I've grieved the loss of this relationship since November.

This is how I feel about being single again

That brings me to the latest "authentic living" event .  I really hate that term.  Anyway, I FINALLY got my breast reconstruction tattoo.  It's been five years since my reconstruction surgery, and I've been walking around with this great (naked) breast.  I chose not to get a reconstructed nipple or the 3D tattoo of a nipple.  Those seem fake (I know, it's all irony here) to put a make believe nipple on a reconstructed breast, but I wanted something that expressed my personality.

I needed to feel pretty and less like Frankenstein. I feel like I'm put together like Sally from Nightmare before Christmas.  And with potential dating on the horizon, and this exhausting search people have for the perfect body, proportions, and the endless paradox of choice of "is this one better than the last" mentality, I'm extremely self-conscious and self aware of the challenges I face.

My best, and most tolerant, friend Brenda came with me for this momentous event.  I found a place in Asheville that would do the tattoo.  I had to call several places, because not everyone is willing to tattoo a breast.  One man actually said, "Um, ew" when I explained what I wanted done.  But I found the perfect spot, and she was so open and willing to come up with a design I liked.  I went in with no expectations, just some ideas.

And an hour later, this was happening....  Thank GOD that breast was completely numb.  I only felt 10 seconds of pain when she went near a scar edge.

And three hours later, it was finally done.

When I sat up and saw myself in the mirror, I was not only happy to see such a beautiful tattoo, but I was also overwhelmed.  We got to the car and I cried.  I felt completely emotionally drained.

This was such a big deal for me.  It changed who I am and what I look like forever.  I'm proud and scared and insecure.  I see myself differently and I felt every bit of weight that carried.  Even today, I get queasy wondering if this will be a deal breaker for someone in the future.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  If it's a deal breaker, you don't want them anyway.  But there's always that insecurity of  "will I be enough?"

It's going to take time to rebuild who I am, my self esteem, and my life.  I feel like I have to do it over and over again until I get it right.  Will I ever get it right?  Who knows.  I do feel like I'm going in the right direction.  It took almost 47 years to figure out what I want to do for a living.  And I love every second of it.  It may take another 20 years to find the love of my life.  I'll wait forever if I have to.

In the meantime, I'll just be over here living authentically (vomit). 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Changing it Up

When I got diagnosed with cancer about four and a half years ago, I was dreading losing my hair.  I was known for LOTS of hair.  This was me at 22....

Then came chemotherapy, and I started losing hair by the second week.  It was so painful, that I finally had to shave it all off.

After chemotherapy, it started growing back THICK!  But it was weird, I lost my eyelashes every three months.  My guess was that chemotherapy was still in my system and showed itself on a cyclic basis. The hair on my head though, grew fast and stayed.  I LOVED it!

Then, about a year ago, my hair on my head started falling out.  I was losing handfuls at a time in the shower.  It was almost just like when I was going through chemotherapy.  I increased vitamins, like Biotin, Silica, Collagen and other things to help stimulate growth.  I've been trying to balance my hormones.  I've been sleeping on a silk pillow.  And I just flat out tried everything I could. It kept falling out though.

By August of last year, I had lost about half my hair.  So, I got hair extensions to keep it thick looking.  And for the past eight months, I've been wearing them in the hopes that my hair will start growing back.

But my hair kept falling out, and even with extensions, it started looking too thin.  I did note, however, that I had some new growth in the past couple months.  I've been slowly cutting my hair to try and get the growth to eventually match the length of my hair.  Not being a patient person though, I got fed up on Monday of this week.  I went ahead and got it cut!

Now it's right back in that awkward phase of growing my hair out.  But I'm going to embrace it for the time being, and hope that Chemotherapy will finally leave my system so I can grow my hair back out.

Onward with short hair!! (for now)