#CycleofJoy 7

Anne Frank - the young woman I look up to in my heart and mind.  Brave, kind, caring young girl.

Anne Frank – the young woman I look up to in my heart and mind. Brave, kind, caring young girl.

 

Today was a perfect day to create this #CycleofJoy – we can all choose to be happy, many times it isn’t easy, but we can still choose it.

#CycleofJoy 6

Day late and a dollar short, I knew I was supposed to put this post up yesterday, but hey, my mind is never idle (or the devil would be playing there) and I got busy.

Explore more #CycleofJoy

Explore more #CycleofJoy

#CycleofJoy 3

It’s #CycleofJoy day and today even I had to dig a little deeper – it happens.  Shit happens.

 

I am finding it though in small pieces.

Cycle of Joy - Dance it Out.

Cycle of Joy – Dance it Out.

#CycleOfJoy 2

Every Tuesday I create a photo treasure as I call them and I share them all over social media because this is a new project I am working on and it is near and dear to my heart as I share my #cycleofjoy with everyone and hopefully help people find their own.

 

Open the window and open your heart.

Open the window and open your heart.

Surviving My Genius

Surviving my genius is not easy.  I am NOT saying I am a genius – what I am saying is that I have a genius.  Of course, she is female and she is real.

There is another very real essence that comes to all of us, I just happen to see it (yes it is an “it”) as a shapeless bundle of atoms that comes together in high energy colors, shoots lightning bolts out of it’s eyes and fingertips and usually sits on the top of my monitor or the edge of my desk.  Meet Idea.  We all get them and when we don’t act on them or feel the sting of their lightning bolts they will eventually disappear and go bug someone else.

Today my Genius met Idea and the collision resulted in a Genius Idea, what else were you expecting?

Back in December I was playing on Facebook in one of those “where will you, what will you, what is” games and this one was my word for 2016.  I played it and my word is Joy.  What?  Wait!  How did the universe know this?  I love to spread Joy, but more than that I collect and gift people with bookmarks with the name Joy on them.  I go into souvenir shops and buy all of them and then I give them away.  I want my friends to have joy every day.  I posted the results and I added a hash tag, #cycleofjoy.  Today I registered that hash tag, I added it into my Twitter profile, I have it all over Facebook because my Genius collided with Idea and #cycleofjoy was born.

#CycleofJoy

#CycleofJoy

Every Tuesday morning I will post a photo with a joyful, inspiring thought on every piece of social media I rent (remember we never own our social media except for email newsletters and blogs).  Every Tuesday morning I will post it here too and it will be the first time in a long time that my posts will not start with the word “Surviving”.

As I thought about this and registered my hash tag I reached out to women I want to speak with about this movement because my Genius told me this is a movement, and a place I want to be in and participate in for as long as I possibly can.

We cannot act on every idea that perches on our monitors or sits on our desks but every now and then your Genius may appear and push you into action.  I would like to thank my Genius and thank Idea for what you brought to me and what will go out to others.

New category #CycleofJoy go peek.

Love,

Carole

Surviving 23 Years Later

 

Finish Line Boogie

Finish Line Boogie

Surviving – we all do it.  We survive so many different things in our lives.  Today is October 31.  It’s Halloween and we won’t be home for the kids tonight as we are on vacation this year.  What doesn’t take a vacation is breast cancer, or for that matter any type of cancer, and this is also the last day of #Pinktober and I am inspired to write.

I just started my 23rd year of thriving after walking through the flames of the pink fire too many of us have had to walk through.  Many of us made it and the extinguished the flames, others did not.

I had what is called survivor’s guilt for quite a while.  I couldn’t understand why I made it through and others, with a similar diagnosis and stage of breast cancer did not.  I vividly remember the day Linda McCartney died – it was April of 1998 and I was 5 years out of treatment.  My caring Oncologist called me on the phone that afternoon to ask me how I was doing.  She knew that many of her patients were feeling like I did, stunned and in disbelief.  Same diagnosis, same treatment, same treatment plan after diagnosis, she died, we lived.  Why?

When I was first diagnosed I was living alone in Richmond, VA., and my work took me all over the country to of all places, different hospitals.  I was a corporate consultant for a huge hospital chain and it was my job to find errors within individual hospitals.  When the call came that my mammogram was highly suspicious for breast cancer I returned home immediately.  After being diagnosed and getting all scheduled for surgery and post-op treatment I had time to try to find answers as to why I had breast cancer.

Did I get it because I chased the mosquito spray trucks down the road as a child?  Evidence showed that DDT binds to fat cells in our bodies, and our breasts are filled with fat cells.  Did I get it because I would run into the shoe department at Sears Roebuck and put my feet into the machine that actually x-rayed my feet in my shoes.  As I bent over to look at my feet my chest was also in the field of x-rays and my brother and I put our feet in that machine all the time.  Thank you Buster Brown and your dog Tag.  Did I get it because some of my family is from Eastern Europe and Jewish?  Genetic testing later told me I was negative for the BRCA genes but there are other genetic markers still undiscovered.

I made an appointment with an Episcopal priest to discuss with him a book I read at the time.  I searched and searched for the title of this book to no avail today.  It was co-authored by a surgeon and a priest and they discussed medical reasons and religious beliefs about cancer.  I wanted to discuss this more.  We talked over tea, and I left with no definitive answers but it gave me that moment we all go through.  He and I prayed together and of course I bargained with God promising to do better, be better and always be there for other people in breast cancer.

My own Oncologist told me my cancer was very slow growing and possibly had been in my breast for 10 years.  He asked me what happened in my life 10 years ago.  As I told him my story of of my marriage, my children, death and destruction and more, he just looked at me with one of those “well it’s possible” looks on his face.

It’s my 23rd year – and I like the number 23.  Michael Jordan wore it and I saw him play many times when I lived in Chicago.  LeBron James wears it, and he is my star athlete, plays for my hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  I think I may wear it myself this year because this is the year I sit down and write my story.  You know that God promise I made – well I was called on to deliver on it almost immediately, and I answered the call to deliver over and over wondering when it would be my turn to heal.  Now in looking back I realize that was my healing time, that was my mission, I promised to pay it forward, and I still do.

Today a friend from Facebook, whom I have yet to meet, re-posted a blog I wrote about her biopsy last year.  Her name is Patti Hughes and my plan is to meet her and sit down with her because she honors me every year when she shares one of my two articles about her and her dear friend, Patty who did not make it through the pink flames as a thriver.  This is the year I write my feelings, the year I talk to others, the year I travel back in time and open the door to many things some people will not like that I feel all played a part in this whole number 23 experience.

Thank you Patti Hughes and thank you readers for supporting me here, and on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/afterbreastcancerrevivingsurvivingthriving

Come visit the page, it’s a safe page, no selling, just inspirations and thoughts.

Now did you have your mammogram this year?  Did your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, and any other female in your life?  Just for the record my husband had 4 mammograms for a lump that turned out to be just fine.  Early detection – our only protection.

Love,

Carole

Patti and Patty friends forever.

Patti and Patty friends forever.

I wear this to remind others.

I wear this to remind others.

Surviving Forgiving and Moving On

Surviving, forgiving and moving on is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because as I get older I realize how important it is to forgive people and move on past them.  I know that the reason to forgive anyone is for me, not for them.  The most amazing blessing that comes from forgiving – when it is done with peace and conviction that person no longer can tug at my heart strings which means your heart strings are safe too.

Years ago I wrote a letter to my breast cancer forgiving it for coming into my body.

There is forgiveness that has happened that I have been totally unaware of until one day when I thought about these people nothing hurt.  My heartstrings were not twinging.  The former best friend who preferred the bubbly in a bottle to true friendship, the narcissistic business partner who dissolved our partnership on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, the bully, the ex-lover who showered me with gifts of a particular perfume and broke my heart and then wrote a novel in which is main female character wears the same perfume (that one made me smile).

I don’t want these people in my life, would never want them back, they brought pain but when I realized the pain was gone I had gratefulness to them because I can pick these people out of a crowd now and avoid anyone even resembling their persona.

I had to learn emotional self-defense mechanisms and one of the first things is that I had to be more choosy with the people I trust with my head and heart.  I also went back to the theory of like attracting like and I really looked for people whose mind and spirit were like mine.  If/when someone makes my hairs stand on end I back off.  I have been fooled, and it will happen again.  However I am more in tune now and fooling me is a little more difficult.

I was watching the TV show “The Good Wife” and Peter said “You are being used.”  Alicia said “Who isn’t.”

There will always be users in my life, in your life too.  Set boundaries.  I do.  You know when someone wants something and it’s OK as long as all eyes remain wide open and we all get something in return.

I ask for something in return most of the time.  A friend recommended me to be a mentor in a startup incubator program, I asked them to refer me some paying clients too.  A friend asked me to do all the social media for a big charity event, I asked for acknowledgement in the program.  Even my wonderful husband asks for things and we bargain nicely.  Nothing should ever be one-sided.

I also realized that the happier I was the easier it was to move on, obviously holding onto hateful thoughts and wanting revenge will always be roadblocks on the highway to forgiveness.

Also in forgiving people you find you don’t allow them to rent space in your head any more.

I also had some help along the way.  My wonderful husband would listen and occasionally render an opinion, but it was the listening that really mattered.  The truly good friends I have now are the kind of friends I always wanted.  They are reliable.  I have an amazing career I love.  I don’t have a “real job” I have a real career.  Forgiveness opened my heart and my eyes.  I no longer take just any client, there has to be a good fit and they have to understand boundaries.  This is only part of the reward system I get from giving forgiveness.  When I let go of the ugly really good things started to happen.  It does work.

I do know and understand that there may be somethings in life so tragic forgiveness is way out there and unattainable or so I thought.  Then I remembered that I am forgiving for my inner peace, not their inner peace.  I am forgiving for myself and moving on – and that’s how I do it.

That and one last thing – advice from my cancer surgeon who always tells people to put things/people/happenings in a balloon and float them out of your life.

 

Let it go, be happy, forgive, move on.

Let it go, be happy, forgive, move on.