Happy Anniversary, You Bastard!

Love this blog!! As a person surviving cancer I can relate. This is great!

Capable Fitness

On September 17th, at 9:00 am, give or take a minute or two, it will be exactly one year ago that I heard the words from my GI’s mouth: “I found cancer”. I was in disbelief. Not exactly a novel reaction. Whether you have no signs of the disease and are blindsided, like me, or just have your suspicions confirmed due to symptoms you are experiencing, I reckon you’re still horrified with the diagnosis. You’d be a real unruffled cucumber,  or  Kristen Stewart, if you just sat there with no emotion ….


We all like to think we are unique and special snowflakes, amiright???? I’m certain, however, that I was the very opposite of unique when I was absorbing the information being given to me. I could tell by my GI’s face that I was responding in pretty much the same way her cancer positive patients had in the past. When…

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Connecting With Others 

Tangible Triumph

Connect with the people that are best for you. The People who can bring you up & guide you in the right path. We tend to pick up traits from the people we associate with. Try to be with winners.

I personally do not want to be involved with the one’s going down a one way street. They will collide and crash. And that is not what I want in my life. I want to continue to move forward and achieve great accomplishments in my life.

Therefor I have to be picky in with the people I associate with. I choose to be with the winners in life. These are the one’s that help me out and give great advise and help.


Written By: Ray

Co Onwer & Founder of Tangible Triumph

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What Will Be Your Legacy? 9-7-16

I haven’t blogged in a while. I’ve been rather busy and haven’t had time to share. I recently traveled to Orlando to a John Maxwell live event. I earned my John Maxwell certification as a teacher, coach, speaker and leadership trainer. I’ve never been so happy. Being a part of such an awesome team has been an absolute blessing. JMT (John Maxwell Team) has changed my life. I hope that I can add value to the lives of others like JMT has done for me. 

Last week I received a call from my endriconologist’s nurse. My doctor had asked the nurse to schedule an appointment to see her right away. I thought nothing of it. In fact, I thought it was a follow up for my blood test. I met with my doctor today. She explained the nodules on my thyroid had grown and she felt it was necessary for me to have a biopsy. I have hashimotos and thyroiditis. I also have a genetic mutation that causes several types of cancer. Thyroid Cancer is one of them. Lucky me. I’ve already experienced three of the cancers on the list these past two years. I have become so immuned to the “C” word that to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t fazed by the possibility. After all, isn’t the thyroid the size of a walnut?!  How bad can it be?! 

My mother went to my appointment with me today so afterwards she wanted to grab a quick bite before driving home. We drove to KFC. As we drove in the parking lot I saw the KFC sign and thought “KFC….Keep Fighting Cancer”. Yup. That’s me. What an appropriate place to eat after hearing the news of my thyroid. Hilarious. 

My mother and I walked in the restaurant and as we were ordering a woman looked at us and was excited to see us. She walked over to say hi and hugged both my mother and I. The next thing I knew her husband came out of nowhere and was ecstatic saying “Velma!!! It’s you!! I haven’t seen you in years. I think about you all the time. I have never forgotten you!!”  He then gave me a big hug. I’ll be honest, I vaguely recognized his face but had absolutely no idea who he was. I didn’t want to be rude so I told him how happy I was to see him also. We exchanged small talk and then sat down. When my mother and I sat down I asked her if she knew that couple. She said yes. She tried to spark my memory but it was to no avail.

 I have continued to struggle with memory loss since having chemo. I have a hard time remembering things and remembering people. An example is last Sunday I went to mass. There was a gentleman there who I recognized. The entire mass I kept trying to recall how I knew him. “Was he one of my doctors?” “Did his children go to school with mine?” I couldn’t remember. When we got to the part of mass where we offer peace to one another this man walked over and said “peace Velma” and shook my hand. I thought to myself “who is this guy?!”  Well after mass I asked him who he was. I explained I occasionally suffer from memory loss. He was so nice and very understanding. Thank goodness because I was humiliated when he told me who he was. He was one of my clients!!! Yikes! 

Back to KFC. After my mother and I had finished our unhealthy meal, I walked over to that man and his wife’s  table. I apologized to him and explained to him how I just couldn’t remember his name. I explained my cancer and my memory loss. He was so understanding. He told me his name and told me we had worked together. Finally!!! I remembered!  He hugged me again and explained that I was always so nice to him and treated him so kind when I had worked in the office at the warehouse we worked at many years ago. He shared how he never forgot me or my acts of kindness. He shared he had gotten hurt on the job and it was me who took him to the hospital that day. He shared I had stayed with him the entire time until his family arrived. I didn’t remember any of this but it certainly sounded like something I would do. He hugged me again so before we parted ways I prayed with him and his wife. They were both so happy. 

As my mother and I drove home I reflected on what had happened. I have learned so much from being a part of the John Maxwell team. One of the things I’ve learned is The Law of Legacy. John asks the question “what will be your legacy when you’re gone?”  I was happy to think that the legacy I would leave behind is my act of kindness in this mans life. How awesome is that?!  It’s interesting how one act of kindness can impact a persons life in such a way that you may forget the act but the person on the receiving end is impacted in such a way that they never forget you. Remembering you in such a fond way is such a blessing. 

This incident was a lesson for me. I will keep on keeping on no matter the challenge and through it all I will do my best to be kind to others. After all, just one little act of kindness can impact another’s life forever. I’d like a simple act of kindness to be part of the legacy I leave behind. What will your legacy be?

Ford……Built Tough 9-4-14 (reposted 9-4-16)

I’m reposting this blog today because Mrs. Ford was one strong lady and deserves to be recognized every now and then. She was the epitome of strength and determination. 
I’ve had a lot of role models in my life. Princess Diana was one of them. I always admired her beauty and her kindness towards others. She faced so many challenges in life but yet faced them with class and dignity. I cried for a week, heck maybe even a month after she passed away. Angelina Jolie. What can I say. A beautiful woman with a philanthropic heart. I have always found myself looking up to women who are strong, determined, independent fighters who at the same time exhibit a desire to help others. Despite all of their beauty on the outside, these women were/have never been afraid to get dirty, fight hard and help others. Both awesome mothers.

I’m a strong woman. At times, I’m probably stronger than I know. I’m a fighter and my goal in life is to help others. I’m certainly not mother of the year but I love my kids more than anything. Despite these qualities, I hate to admit it, at times I’m a spoiled rotten little diva. The past few days have been a challenge. I have been in so much pain, not to mention, out to lunch. My mind has been so dazed and confused. Yesterday I could barely walk. In fact I found myself crying in the bathroom at home. Heaven forbid I’d let Ron or anyone for that matter, see me cry. I tried everything. Walking (too hard), meditating to ocean sounds, eating bananas, vitamins, Gatorade, Claritin (the nurse advised me to take it), water….the list goes on. Nothing worked. I found myself feeling sorry for myself. I was going through my emails when I opened one from The Serenity Med Spa. They had emailed me because they didn’t want me to miss out on their end of summer sale for Botox injections. I thought to myself “are you kidding me?! Botox is the last thing on my mind right now!” Although 2 years ago I would have been the first one in line waiting to take advantage of this very exclusive offer. In fact, 2 years ago, I was more concerned with what was on the outside then all the qualities I had on the inside. Cancer has humbled me in so many ways. Since 2010, I’ve written a letter to Santa every year asking for a breast augmentation. That won’t happen again. I’m guilty of many injections including Botox and Juverderm. I’ve been called a diva once or twice in my life and I’ve been called spoiled. Yesterday I was so frustrated I posted a comment on Facebook regarding my pain and my email. I felt like giving up. My girlfriend, Denise Ford, posted the following comment about her mother. I’m sharing it because after reading the courage and strength of Mrs. Ford and the admiration she earned from her daughter, I found myself ashamed to even complain. This woman was the epitome of strength, Courage and determination. A woman to not only admire but a woman to strive to be like. Next time I’m feeling sorry for myself I know I’m going to read this again as a reminder to never give up. I can only hope that one day my own children will be inclined to write a tribute about me with the same admiration as Denise did yesterday. Like I said, I’ve had a few role models in my life but Mrs. Ford not only earned my respect, she earned my admiration also. She is a true role model!!!! The real deal!!!
If I were to describe myself as a car I’d have to choose a FIAT. FIAT stands for Fix It Again Tony. I have a lot of fixing to do. My goal is to one day call myself a Ford. Mrs. Ford!!! She was Built Tough and she never gave up regardless how many miles she travelled. My advice to anyone reading my blog today is to print the comment below and keep it in your wallet. Next time you find yourself feeling sorry for yourself or wanting to give up, refer to this as a reminder to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. I know I will be doing the same.
Denise’s comment:
Sorry you are so sore: I want to share a story with you, it might be a long comment sorry. ( I grew up with a mom who didn’t have a vain bone in her body. I do remember her working out and taking care of herself, but no makeup and always cowboy boots! She was a fighter like you Velma. When I was six we found out she had cervical cancer. She had 4 daughters and we found out because my mother who came from a family where she had 21 bothers and sisters, she was number 11. My mom had a 2nd grade education and began working in the fields and the orchards in the Yakima Valley, she was tough to say the least. We came home from school one day and she was on the floor in pain and agony, My sister called the ambulance and they told us that our mom would not live through the night because she had not gone to the doctor before that night to find out what the pain was from and the cancer had spread from her cervix through her female organs, kidney, stomach and had attached to her rib. The told her and us they were sorry and had the pastor coming to give last right. My mom looked at the doctor and said “bullshit if I am going to die, I have four daughters and no other woman is going to raise them but me! She battled hard that night and went through two years of Cobalt Radiation hell, but she lived 21 years! Raised her daughters. A true walking miracle of God as her doctor put it:) The toughness of my mom showed on her face and hands, she had skin tough as leather, but blue eyes soft and full of love and the most beautiful hands hard from working but so soft when she patted her grand kids backs, rocking them to sleep. I wish I had close up pictures besides just in my mind of those eyes and hands that told a story. That is what I saw in my mom Velma, the love she had, the life she lead, and the pure beauty of her and her soul. That is what I see when I look at your picture, the love you have for life, family and the beauty in you and your soul. That is a gift to give the world. Wear it proudly, you earned it!

Calabasas 7-31-16

At the request of my mother I had to go to Walmart this afternoon. I have to admit, Walmart isn’t my favorite place but when my mother speaks…..we listen. My dad used to refer to my mother as “Mother Superior”. For those of you who have watched the movie “The Blues Brothers” you will recall the scene when the Blues Brothers go to visit the sister at their childhood school and she slams the door with just one look from her eyes . My dad used to say “your mother can move furniture with her eyeballs!” Just like in the movie. 

When I got to Walmart, I walked past a young man who was standing in front of the seasonings aisle. He was clearly confused so I stopped and asked if I could help. He said he was looking for a seasoning that began with the letter “B”. He was going to prepare a meal for his wife but couldn’t remember the name of the seasoning. I asked “is it basil?”  “Yes!!! That’s it!”  I found the basil for him. He thanked me and began describing the lovely dinner he was going to prepare for his wife. He was preparing three different kinds of fish and a spinach dish that sounded absolutely divine! I jokingly said “yum!! Can I come over?”  He answered “But of course you can. That is, only if you don’t tell me you can’t have sugar!!! I can’t have sugar so my wife is always watching me. I have to sneak sugar before I get home and I love potatoe chips!”  He held up a bag of potatoe chips and told me how he sneaks eating potatoe chips before he gets home. He said he always carries mouthwash in the car so his wife doesn’t find out. No matter how hard he tries to conceal the smell of chocolate or chips, his wife always knows. I thought this was funny. 

To describe this young man, he was a tall, good looking, African American from  Jamaica. He was wearing a hat with his dreads tucked under a hat. He was dressed very nice and exhibited such a happy and respectful spirit. He shared his mother was a white, Jewish woman and his father was Jamaican. I’ll refer to him as “T”. 

“T” and I had a lovely conversation. During our conversation he mentioned he had moved here from California. I asked him where in California. “T” said he didn’t want to tell me because he knew I wouldn’t believe him. I pressed any way. He finally told me he had moved here from Calabasas.  I exclaimed “Calabasas?!!!”  He replied “I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Would you have believed me if I said from the ghetto?”  I said “I don’t know but…..Calabasas?!!! Isn’t that where those goofy Kardashians  are from?!”  “T” started laughing. He said he thought I wouldn’t believe him based on the color of his skin but the Kardashians?!! That was a first. He explained how people stereotype him and often don’t believe him when he says he’s from Calabasas. 

“T” told the story of coming to America when he was young. He had always had a desire to study science after watching his aunt die from cancer. He studied science and now helps cancer patients. It sounded like his family came from wealth and importance in Jamaica. He had seen much violence in Jamaica  growing up. Friends being killed among other things. Coming to America hasn’t always been easy. He explained how people had judged him based on the color of his skin, yet they knew nothing about him. He shared some of those experiences with me. I’ll just say, his experiences weren’t stellar.  “T” explained that it never bothers him when he finds himself in a situation where he’s being judged based on the color of his skin. He said “they haven’t walked in my shoes, they haven’t lived my life or experienced my challenges”. Instead he responds by saying just that. He told me that he was a survivor and even if he was dropped in the middle of a desert, he knew he’d find a way to survive so regardless what others thought of him it didn’t bother him. He told me to never let what others think of me to bring me down and to always remember that those who judge me have never walked in my shoes. “T” had so many positive things to say that he was such an inspiration to me. When our conversation ended, I gave him a hug and thanked him for bringing value in to my life today. As I walked away he said “drive safe and take it easy sis!”  I walked away with a smile on my face and a heart filled with gratitude. 

“T” taught me a lesson today. He told me that no matter the challenges God would see me through and he reminded me that I am who I am and what others think of me is none of my business. I am me regardless of what others think or the color of my skin. What a blessing this young man was in my life today. Who would’ve thought a trip to Walmart would bring a chance meeting with an awesome Jamaican young man from of all places…..Calabasas, California…. Home  of those goofy, caddy Kardashians, would make such a difference in my life?!!

In It To Win It 7-30/16

I posted this on Facebook two years ago while I was fighting breast cancer. I’m blogging this post for those of you who are fighting breast cancer today. It has been a long two years for me. The side effects from chemo are still lingering. The fight has taken so much out of me and changed my life in so many ways. I’m tired and overcoming not only the side effects but the depression that came along with the challenge of chemo therapy, radiation, infusions, hormone blockers and a genetic mutation that causes many types of cancer. I was in it to win it two years ago.  This past two years I’ve overcome breast cancer, pre-colon cancer, skin cancer, neuropathy, the loss of my toe nails and fingernails, the loss of my hair, a breakup, my dignity and self respect. I’ve been verbally attacked and received not the most positive support.  I still have lymphodema, osteoporosis, my muscles and joints still hurt, I battle an auto-immune disease every day but I’m still in it and I’m winning it every day. 

Cancer has a way with treating everyone different. For some, their experience is easy, for others not so much. Be mindful of anyone fighting cancer. If you’ve never walked in their shoes please treat them with respect. Be empathetic and show your support. I haven’t received the best support. In fact I’ve been vilified by certain family members and others I held in high regard. I’ve even been compared to others whose experience with cancer was not the same as mine. Theirs was easy therefore my fight has been labeled “fake” I can only wish it was. I’ve met women who beat cancer one year and were fighting lung cancer, ovarian cancer or cervical cancer the next. Then there are the ones who fight hard and don’t make it. Do not judge anyone’s fight based on the fight of others. Everyone’s battle is different but what is the same is this nasty disease called cancer. In my opinion, cancer sucks. It’s changed my life in so many ways, both in a positive and negative way. My experience is my own. Everyone’s experience is there own too. So today, for those who have judged me or others, treated me or others poorly and hurt us in so many ways, here’s what I have to say. Be careful how you treat those fighting cancer. You never know when it may be you walking in their shoes. Cancer doesn’t care who you are, where you live or how much money you have. When you’re tagged…you’re it. Cancer is real and comes knocking when you least expect it and when it does you better be “in it to win it”

My post two years ago:

I made it back to San Francisco yesterday. I made it home to the familiar sounds of the crowds cheering for the SF Giants at the ball park across the street, cars honking, the hustle and bustle of the crowds downstairs and I thought how nice it was to be at home w my mom. The peace, quiet and serenity of just being home. The trip really wiped me out. I had a doctors appointment today. I had to have my blood drawn, my vitals checked and meet with my oncologist. While I was waiting I met a gal named Amanda. She was battling breast cancer. She is a Stage 1 and I’m a stage 1A. We are both going through the same treatment however our side effects differed. For one, she didn’t lose her hair until the second  or third treatment,  however she lost the feeling to her toes and fingers and has experienced leg swelling. Side effects I haven’t experienced yet, thank goodness. I met with my oncologist. She told me that she had chosen a very aggressive treatment for me because she wants to make sure she kills the cancer so I don’t have to go through this again. She also shared that while chemo is chemo, everyone’s experience is different. I thought this was interesting because I’ve met so many women and have had the opportunity to hear their story. A lot of women who are in their 20’s, 30’s & 40’s. We all have breast cancer. We are all fighting the disease but while our treatment is the same, our side effects are different. The experience is different. Before I began treatment I read several books that in truth scared me to death. I finally stopped reading them. I thought my oncologists interpretation today was spot on. I don’t mind sharing my journey in the hopes that it will be a wealth of encouragement if god forbid anyone finds themselves facing the same challenge. My advice is keep your mind open and remember that while others may experience one thing your experience will be different. What is the same is the disease. Keep fighting and never give up. The road may be hard but the end result is it’s beatable so be in it to win it. I’m taking a break from chemo for a couple of weeks to get my strength back. I’m going to use the time to eat healthy, rest and get my strength back so I can get through the next four treatments as a fighter. I’m in it to win it!! Going home was a good thing for me. Not everything went as planned but what it did give me is the motivation and determination to fight again.