Jealous Again- My Life As A Rock Star 4-20-17

One of my favorite songs is by The Black Crowes called “Jealous Again”. It’s hard to believe but I’m a rocker at heart. I love rock and roll music. I graduated in 1984. The year Ozzie was riding that “Crazy Train”, Van Halen was belting out tunes like 1984, Panama and AC/DC was a staple in every teenagers music collection and at every party. In fact, even after all these years I still get that exuberant feeling I got in high school when I listen to AC/DC. Black Crowes came on the scene in 1989. They have recorded many songs that I love however, “Jealous Again” has been a mantra of mine as I have come against many adversaries in my life while facing challenges. 

My life story could certainly be classified as being a “Crazy Train”.  In fact, I have heard the words “you can’t make up this shit!” on many occasions from those who hear my story. It’s no secret, I’ve faced some incredible challenges in my life and through the grace of god I’ve been able to overcome many of them. What can I say? I’m one strong lady. However, I’m human. The hardest challenges for me have been while being on the receiving end of those who have found it appropriate to judge me, ridicule me, verbally attack and even shun me while enduring those very painful challenges. I’m not going to lie. It’s been very hurtful. I’ve used the song “Jealous Again” as my mantra to focus on when my feelings are hurt by others.  

Growing up my dad instilled a strength in me. He taught me many things including how to stand up for what I believe in and never give up. My dad was a force to be reckoned with. He was who he was. He never let what others thought of him bother him. Either you liked him or you didn’t. He didn’t care. He just kept on being who he was. He instilled that same attribute in me. In fact my dad used to tell me I had balls of steel and I looked like a movie star which is why any time someone hurt my feelings or made fun of me and I found myself teary eyed, my dad was always there to the rescue, reminding me I was fabulous and the meanies were just “Jealous”. I’ve lived my entire life believing everything my dad taught me. 

 I thought I would share this Black Crowe’s song, among others, on my blog today in the event someone reading today finds themselves in need of a “Pick Me Up” This blog goes out to my fellow warriors and survivors who are riding the wave of any particular challenge. Whether you’re fighting cancer, overcoming addiction or an eating disorder, recovering from an abusive relationship, dealing with an EX, overcoming PTSD, you’ve lost a job and are in financial disarray or maybe you’re facing the challenges of coming out as an LGBT.  I’ve experienced many of all of the above. In my opinion, it’s none of our business what other people think of you or me!!!  We are all survivors. Rock Stars at that!! 
It’s been my experience that in every challenge or trial there is always a lesson to be learned. I’ve learned so many lessons that I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m “lessoned” out!!! One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is empathy towards others and the ability to recognize my strength and believe in myself and keep on keeping on regardless what other people might think.  Here’s what I’ve learned…..

To those of you fighting cancer and lack the much needed support and encouragement from family members or friends….You’re not alone. I’ve been there. I even found myself being accused of faking cancer. A low blow when you’re at your lowest point!! Jealous!!! That’s what these people are!  Jealous because you have the strength, courage and determination to face a battle that they probably couldn’t face themselves. Look back at your life and remember all the challenges you have overcome. You survived those challenges because you were you and now you’ll survive cancer too!  

If you find yourself on the beaches of Maui and you’re sporting your chemo bald head or if you’re lucky like me and have lost your eyebrows, eyelashes, toenails and fingernails too and you’re greeted by the stares of many onlookers looking at you like you’re an alien…..don’t be discouraged. Theyre just Jealous! Unlike them you’re not defined by your hair or even what’s on the outside. You are strong and confident knowing it takes a Rock Star to fight cancer. You my friend are beautiful!!  However, if you must retaliate do what I did. Tell the onlookers you’re a genie that washed up on the beach and would be happy to grant them three wishes!!

Maybe you’ve lost a job and in the process you’ve lost your livelihood too. You’re insecure and lack the confidence you once had in yourself.  Others have ridiculed you because you’re rock bottom. Don’t worry about it. Those that criticize are Jealous!!! They don’t have the strength to wake up every morning like you do despite standing in a mine field while dodging the bullets of creditors blowing up your cell phone demanding money for something you can’t pay….every day, all day!  Heres what I do. I ignore them and listen to AC/DC!!

To those overcoming addictions and are facing judgement based on a previous addiction. Put your rocker pants on and remember any one who judges you is merely Jealous. It takes courage and humility to recognize and overcome an addiction. 
Maybe you’re gay or transgender and being judged for being who you are. Put your rocker hat on and remember those that judge are Jealous!!!  They don’t have the courage to be who they are but you do!  That my friend makes you a Rock Star!!

Maybe you’re recovering from an abusive relationship. Those around you don’t understand. They are shunning you or think they have all the answers while you suffer in silence. Those that judge you are Jealous!!!  It takes a strong person to walk away from abuse. An even stronger person to endure the pain and humiliation yet believe that one day you will declare “I’m an overcomer!” 

Maybe you’re battling PTSD. Overcoming PTSD is one hard battle. I know this from experience. I myself am still healing but here’s what I’ve learned. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That means you’ve endured a very traumatic experience. Not a small feat!  To anyone who thinks PTSD isn’t real. You’re just Jealous!!  Those of us who have it have been through a war zone and survived it. In my book, that makes us Rock Stars!!  I think PTSD should stand for “Pathways Through The Secret Door”. Behind that door are all of us Rock Stars!!!
I’ve been through a lot and have faced challenges galore. Through it all I’ve been ridiculed, rejected, isolated, vilified, judged but I don’t care. Like the song I’m not afraid of losing face. I wake up every morning. I’m still standing and that’s more than I can say for many others who have never faced the humility of many of the same challenges. How sad. It’s not easy being a Rock Star but some of us have to do it. It may as well be you and me!!! The truth is, I’m not afraid to have faith in God and even more so have faith in myself to keep going regardless what people think of me. Like I said previously my mantra is “Jealous Again”. It’s what keeps me going sometimes. 

We all face challenges in life. Some of us more so than others. But when the challenges or the adversaries come, remember God never gives you more than you can handle and if you find yourself in a battle right now, relish the moment. It means God thinks you are one strong rock and roller!  Now if God thinks you’re a Rock Star, who cares what everyone else thinks!  They’re just Jealous!!! And remember, in the words of AC/DC, “Its A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock and Roll!”

I’ll leave you with the following quote today. Have an awesome day and whatever you do……DON’T GIVE UP!!!!

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.”- Dr. David M. Burns


Can We Still Be Friends 4-11-2017

On April 10, 2014 I received news that changed my life forever. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Three years later to the day, I found myself at the Seattle Cancer Center yesterday. I was due for my six month mammogram, blood test and a visit with my oncologist. I was extremely fearful since my breast has been swollen and I have been in so much pain. In addition, I had made up my mind I no longer wanted to continue taking the preventative medications despite being advised on numerous occasions doing so would be fatal. Doctors words not mine. 

For those of you who have never fought cancer I’d like to say “you’re not missing out!”  Fighting cancer is hard and can be very debilitating. Worse are the drugs!  The side effects are brutal! It’s hard to describe the pain.  I should know. I have a long list of medical issues. 

While waiting to see my oncologist I was mustering up the courage to tell my oncologist I would no longer agree to continue taking any more meds. I wanted to give up. What can I say?  I’m exhausted!!  My regular oncologist retired this past January. I had been referred to a new oncologist that would be taking over my treatment. Score for me or so I thought. I really believed I would be able to stand up to her!! 

In walked a lovely young woman. She was not only warm and pleasant but she was very empathetic. Especially as I explained with tears in my eyes I no longer wanted to continue treatment. She explained the aches and pains I have been experiencing especially on my breast were radiation neuropathy. She also explained why it was important to continue with my treatment. Sometimes other people might have the same words you’ve heard many times before but their presentation has a way with resonating in a much more positive way. My doctor explained the type of cancer I have is “incurable” yet “treatable” which is why I have endured such an aggressive treatment regime. The goal was to kill the cancer with chemotherapy, radiation and infusions and to keep the cancer at bay by “treating” the cancer with extended medications. Don’t ask me how but this woman was not only able to convince me to continue taking my medication but she was able to convince me to add another one!!!

My only explanation is when my doctor chose to use the words “incurable” and “treatable” opposed to “fatal” she somehow made me feel like Jim Carey did in the movie Dumb and Dumber. “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?! Lol

My oncologist and I came to a compromise. I agreed to continue my treatment and she agreed to give me a vacation from my medications four weeks per year!  Score!  Of course she explained that those four weeks would have to be split up in to one week increments!!  Who cares!!! Awesome!  Now I know some of you reading this might be wondering “does she understand the term incurable?”  Yes I do however doesn’t the word “incurable” sound so much more inviting than “fatal?!”  I think so!!  

Last summer my horrible ex-husband, I’ll refer to him as Barabbas. (You know that horrible, mean prisoner we have all read about in the Bible?) accused me of faking cancer. Even saying cancer was not bad at all. Barabbas has verbally attacked me. He has brought so much strife in to my life especially during this trying time as I have conveniently been “faking” cancer. That’s what people with cancer do. We wake up one morning and say to ourselves “gee I think I’ll fake cancer today and to really pull off this charade I’ll endure chemotherapy, radiation and everything else that goes along with cancer including being told “Your cancer is incurable”. That crazy nut is lucky I haven’t stood up in church and screamed “crucify him!”  Lol. 

As I drove home I thought of all the horrible things Barabbas has said to me. In the back of my mind I secretly wished he was right and this cancer stuff was all made up or at best a horrible dream. However, this is my reality and the reality of many others who find themselves diagnosed with cancer. Like many of you, I wish cancer had never happened to me and I wish my ex-husband was right and I was merely faking this. I would’ve given up this charade after the first chemotherapy treatment!!  Although, I have to keep in mind that unless you’ve gone through this, it’s hard to wrap your head around the challenges cancer can bring to a persons life. 

I’ve decided to continue treatment and I have also opted to incorporate a regime of holistic healing in conjunction with my treatment. For the first time yesterday I saw this fight in an entirely new way. Rather than viewing it as fatal I’m viewing it as treatable. My only mission is to continue treating this disease and keeping it at bay.  How hard is that?!!  Cancer is a part of me but it doesn’t own me. It just takes up space in my life. This fight between myself and cancer has run its course. I accept this disease as my friend who I would prefer to keep at a distance. 

In the words of Todd Rudgren……”We can’t play this game any more but can we still be friends?”

I’d rather be friends than be two opponents in battle. Where I am now is a much better place than I’ve been. 

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?

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.

Love Your Kids Unconditionally 7-22-16

I posted this on my Facebook two years ago. I thought it was worth blogging about. These girls were so wonderful and so full of happiness and gratitude. Their circumstances were bleak. They were shunned by their own families yet they exuded such a positive spirit. My heart went out to them. All they had was each other. I should mention they were only teenagers.  I couldn’t imagine turning my back on my children. They touched my life in so many ways that day. 

I’m really weak today so I ran downstairs to Safeway to buy some drinks and  food to build up my immune system. While standing in line two young girls came up and stood in line behind me. They had a huge bag of bagels and donuts. They were clearly gay. I tried to make room on the counter for them to put their bag down. For some reason, I don’t remember why but I apologized saying. “I’m sorry. I’m just really weak today”. What happened next cracked me up and certainly gave me a new perspective. One of the girls replied. “Omg tell me about it! We are homeless living in a shelter and all we’ve had to eat is a bowl of cereal! But they gave us some money at the shelter so we are loading up on bread!” These girls were young. I looked at them and asked “why are you homeless?” One of the girls, Alice, an African American girl,  shared she was from Sacramento and her parents kicked her out when they found out she was “queer”. Her words not mine. My heart went out to her. Kimberly, a stunning Mexican boy turned girl, shared she became homeless when her parents found out she was a transgender. The thing about these two girls was they were so positive and so happy. And despite their circumstances they were more worried about me begging to share their bag of goodies with me to get my energy back. They were funny, happy and even more so filled w so much gratitude for all the blessings they do have. I had five dollars in my wallet and I handed it to these girls. They were so over joyed and grateful. Kimberly, the transgender said “omg we are so blessed!!!!! Yesterday we found a bag someone accidentally left on a cart and it was filled w cookies. Today we got some money to buy bagels and donuts and now you hand us five dollars!” We had a nice visit. I don’t always understand why people are gay, transgender, etc but what I do know is it’s not for me to judge. We are all the same. I also know that these two girls were a blessing today. Despite all their adversities and challenges. They were happy, grateful and willing to help others. Now in my book that says a lot. I may be facing my own challenge but there is always something to be grateful for! Today I’m grateful for meeting Kimberly and Alice!

One of the things that has stood out in my mind about these two girls was they shared how hard they had fought not to be this way. That’s so sad. Unfortunately they come from a culture that doesn’t accept them. What has bothered me the most and has forced me to pray for them is their positive outlook on life. Their gratefulness, their kindness and their sense of humor. Something they obviously learned from their parents. As parents I believe we should love our children unconditionally. Right or indifferent they are a blessing from god. Kelly and Alice are no different. It really is sad that their parents can’t bring themselves to accept them for who they are. I love my children. I will love them always and forever. Unconditionally no matter what. Carole, a dear friend,  posted this quote. I thought I’d share as a reminder to all parents, especially those w children who are “different” should regard their children as a blessing and love them unconditionally no matter what!

Monroe Jackson 7-22-16

I posted this on Facebook two years ago while fighting cancer. I thought I’d blog this story. I still think about Monroe. I wonder how he’s doing. I wonder if he’s on the beaches of Brazil. If you live in San Francisco and happen to be on 2nd and Townsend and run in to a shoe shine guy….take some time to let him shine your shoes. His stories will captivate you and his presence is sure to bless you. 

Monroe Jackson!!! My new friend. He’s an African American older gentlemen who’s been a street shoe shiner for over 30 years. I met Monroe a few weeks ago after my first chemo treatment. I had seen him on the corner of 2nd & Townsend as I walked to my accupuncture appt. Accupuncture a must when you’re going through chemo. It really helps. Any way on the walk back home after my appt Monroe was away from his shoe shine post standing across the street at the corner of 2nd shooting the breeze w other people. We passed each other as I we crossed the street. I was walking slow that day. Very sick but by the time I got to Third street  I looked across the street and was surprised to see Monroe crossing the street heading towards me. I thought ” that’s weird. Am I seeing things?” As I crossed the street I took the time and asked. “Do you have a twin? I just saw you on Second street.” He laughed and said “no I just got off the bus”. Hmm weird. Chemo was Friday so Saturday I walked to accupuncture again. Monroe was at his post. We chit chatted and on the way home I decided to take time out to just talk to him. We briefly talked about many things. I shared I had cancer. Monroe said. “Girl….go shave that head!!! Bite the bullet and do it. Heck Sinead O’Connor did it. Grace Slick did it! Who cares!” I laughed but I did end up shaving my head. Yesterday on my way to my appt again I said hi to Monroe. He asked “so did you shave it?” I said ” yes”. He said. “Show me!” So I took off my hat. Monroe said “there you go. You’re perfect!” I laughed and for some reason Monroe decided to share his story. As it turns out, Monroe is a professional shoe shine guy. He’s not homeless. As a matter of fact, he has a home. He lives in the five bedroom home he grew up in with his five sisters. He’s 74 years old. He moved out at the age of 16. Unlike his sisters he never amounted to much more than being a shoe shine guy in the street. As he shared his story I realized he was dressed nice, very clean and I had the wrong impression. Monroe moved back home at the age of 50 when his mom got sick. She battled cancer. He took care of her until the day she died. Monroe said his mom was a “pain in the ass” always bitching about his girlfriends but he didn’t mind. He drove her around, fed her did everything a son should do. Monroe told me if there was one thing he’s learned in his 74 years of living is you can’t choose your parents or your family, they’re who you are and no matter what life throws at you fight hard, never give up and live life to the fullest. Monroe is hoping this will be his last year of shining shoes. He’s feeling a little old and he’s ready to pack it up and spend his last days on the beaches of Brazil. I hope he’s able to. Monroe is my blessing today. I’m always so grateful for the people I’m lucky enough to meet!

Beauty Is On The Inside 6-28-16

Once upon a time in a far away land. A land… named after an Indian chief…..Chief Moses Lake. There lived  a girl who was very pretty. This girl was attractive, successful and surrounded by love. She had an infectious sense of humor that was a pleasure for all those who met her. She was amazing. 

 One day she was approached by a man who wore a gold chain. He wore khaki pants, chambray button shirts and tiny,  Eenie, weeny Hush Puppy shoes and had little, tiny hands. He pampered her and spoiled her with flowers, trips and lots of love.  Finally, he swept her off her feet and took her away to a strange land surrounded by beautiful lights, tall buildings, a beautiful bay and millions of people. At last, this girl had met her Prince Charming. 

Life was good until one day,  Prince Charming turned in to a big, bad wolf. He huffed and he puffed, he was mean and constantly on the prowl. Rejection happened. Cancer happened. Failure happened. She was no longer the pretty girl she once was.  She lost her self-confidence, strength, dignity and lost her beauty too.  One day, this girl had enough. Surrounded by angels she walked away from her fairy tale that wasn’t a fairy tale at all. Life was hard. Life was devastating.  But something inside her happened. While she was no longer the pretty girl she once was on the outside, she became beautiful on the inside. While others failed to recognize the beauty she now had on the inside, she recognized the pretty girl she had become on the inside. She no longer worried about what others thought, she became focused on helping others.  Life for her was no longer the same.  It was better. 

Once upon a time, I used to think I had to be pretty. I don’t anymore. Today I have a small piece of my skin missing. The possibility of skin cancer doesn’t scare me nor does the possibility of being rejected because I’m no longer the “hot chick” with a “hot” body anymore. My long hair is gone. I have scars on my body and most of all scars on my heart but it doesn’t bother me. I follow many other blogs. Some talk about their insecurities regarding their weight, their lack of beauty. What I have to say to them is this. It’s not what’s on the outside that makes you pretty. It’s what’s on the inside.  You can be the most beautiful person in the world yet have a horrible heart. No matter how pretty you are on the outside, that ugliness that lives inside of you makes you just as ugly. 

Be kind. Accept yourself for who you are. Treat others with respect and kindness. You will become a beautiful person for it. Inside and out. And If you ask me….I’m pretty darn beautiful on the inside and so are you if you want to be. Who cares about the scars. True beauty comes from who you are on the inside. I miss the girl I once was. I miss my life, the love of my children and I miss having money. I miss being the “hot chick”. I even miss having a partner. Despite not having those things I can honestly say I’m still the Velma I once was but I’m happy to say…much better. Scars and all. Like Bruno Mars would say….I’m Amazing. 

Relay for Life 6-19-16

Friday night I attended the Relay for Life event in Moses Lake. It was a wonderful event that I am very passionate about. I was handed a purple shirt to wear along with a purple lei, a survivor pin and a survivor medal. I’ve attended several events but never in a million years did I ever think I’d be attending a Relay for Life event as a survivor. They began the event by lining up all the survivors to take the first lap. I took the survivor walk. As I walked, there was a cheering from the crowd for those of us who made it. It was a very emotional experience for me as I walked around the track. There were people cheering us on and exuded so much support it was overwhelming. 

As I walked around the track the reality of cancer really hit me. None of my family was there to cheer me on, yet all these strangers were all to willing to recognize not only my journey but the journey of all the survivor’s I was blessed to be in the company with. I’m a grateful survivor but Friday night as I walked around that track, I couldn’t help but think of all those who weren’t as lucky. I found myself walking not as a survivor, rather in honor of the strong men and women who fought the fight but didn’t make it. 

As I fought cancer, I met so many wonderful people. In my experience, those fighting cancer are the strongest people I’ve ever met in my life. People always say, “God never gives us more than we can handle”. If that’s true, then anyone who battles cancer is one strong person in God’s eyes because I’m here to tell you, it’s tough business. I’m a strong woman but cancer brought me to my knees!  

There are so many people who have touched my life that have lost their battle to cancer. Recently, a dear friend succumbed to her own battle. This woman was a fighter. Last year she was diagnosed with a rare cancer that affected her entire body. She was given three months to live. She chose not to pursue treatment. She also chose to live life with a positive attitude and a strong faith in God. “Jean” defied the odds and not only exeded three months, she lived more than a year. She was so full of life. She will forever be an inspiration to me and to the many others whose lives she touched. 

As I thought of “Jean” I decided to donate $100 in honor of the strongest and most inspirational woman I’ve ever known. I have many friends who are battling cancer. My hope is my donation will go a long way in finding a cure for this horrible disease. 

I left that night and as I drove home I began to cry uncontrollably. I cried all the way home. Cancer sucks!!! It’s hard for those who haven’t been affected by the disease to understand the emotions unless you’ve been through it. Tonight, as I write this I’d like to encourage those of you reading to click on the Relay for Life website in your area and make a small donation. If money is an issue then sign up to volunteer in some capacity, whether it’s sending a card to someone you know fighting cancer just to let them know you care or even knitting hats.  Together we can make a difference!!!! 

For those of you who find yourself facing your own battle tonight, I’d like to encourage you to keep going. Don’t give up and whatever you do, don’t lose hope. There are many who have walked in your shoes. They made it….I made it and I believe you can make it too!!!

I’m Still Standing 4-6-16

Dear Ron

On April 10th, 2014 I received the dreaded call no woman wants to get. I’ll never forget the words I heard that day. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have cancer”. I had a wave of fear come over me. I was in shock. I was at work that day. I called you after I hung up the phone to tell you. The support I received from you was not what I expected. You were heartless and very insensitive. Typical behavior of the cruel man I came to know.  I cried the entire walk home. 

I had to be at a consultation at 3:00 that afternoon. You offered to drive me and even attended the consultation with me. Unfortunately, rather than being the supportive partner I needed that day, you chose to bring all your bills and spent the entire consultation writing out your checks and paying your bills. I don’t remember much of what the cancer coordinator had to say that day but I do remember the lack of empathy you exuded that day. When we got in the car I began to cry. Your comforting words to me were “stop being a drama queen”. This became your mantra for the next year as I battled one of the toughest fights of my life. 

That May we met with my oncologist who shared the results of my oncotype test. She explained I had an aggressive type of cancer that would require and aggressive treatment. The treatment would include chemotherapy, radiation and infusions. She was adamant I had to begin treatment right away. Again, the empathy you displayed would leave many to believe you were a cruel and very insensitive man. And you were. Your concern wasn’t my health, rather you were more concerned about how my treatment would affect our trip to Maui that August. My oncologist was so frustrated with you she finally said “we will cross that bridge when we get there”. Of course our vacation became your concern as I battled three grueling chemotherapy treatments. We took that trip and I returned to endure three more grueling treatments with you by my side. I’m not sure which was worse. You or chemo but if I had to choose, I’d call it a tie. 

I’m sure you recall your behavior my first treatment. Despite being sick you insulted me by telling me I needed to do something with myself. Your comment still rings in my ear. “You look haggard!”  And let’s not forget my trip to the hospital. Wow!  I’ve never met anyone so cruel and insensitive like you. 

For one year rather than show any kind of support or even encouragement, you chose to abuse me, cheat on me, call me names and treat me like a piece of dirt. Your excuse was “I was unattractive!”  I will never forget how you treated me. No woman or man deserves to be treated the way you treated me when I was sick and fighting cancer.  

I had a mammogram today. Ironically it is two years to the day I had the mammogram that changed my life forever. For the first time in two years I’m happy to report there was no sign of breast cancer. It doesn’t exempt me from all the other tests I had to endure today for other types of cancer but I take solace knowing that just for today I’m breast cancer free. 

As I look back on the past two years fighting this disease I can’t help but remember the many days and nights I spent on my knees praying for strength to endure the battle I found myself in. I certainly will never forget the pain and suffering you put me through as I fought this grueling battle either. But as I ponder your insensitive, cruel behavior I take pride in myself knowing that while you and cancer may have kicked my ass, I’m above ground today and I’m still standing. I’m one strong lady!!!  A force to be reckoned with. 

I sat in the waiting room at the cancer unit today. My heart went out to all the patients I saw battling cancer. Their bald heads, the glared eyes and the suffering they were enduring was just a reminder how far I’ve come. However, the difference in the people I saw today was they all had a supportive partner. I wished I had been so lucky. 

Karma has a way with coming back to us in some way. I suspect you will not be exempt from being the receiver of exactly what you put out. And when karma comes knocking on your door, and it will, it’s my guess you won’t last one week walking in my shoes because as fate would have it, unlike you, the good lord blessed me with the gift of strength and perseverance.  Thank god for that! 

Despite the suffering I endured with you at the helm, I’m not angry. Hurt but not angry. Rather, I view the experience as a learning experience. It taught me the meaning of strength, empathy and compassion. As I close this chapter and close the door to the nightmare I experienced these past two years, I find myself beginning a new chapter. A chapter that I intend to fill with love, peace and happiness. And if cancer comes my way in the days ahead, I have faith I will rise above that battle with a smile on my face and the confidence I can get through anything.  But more importantly, this new chapter comes with a goal to ensure that no one fighting cancer will ever have to endure what I did. I’ll share my story and one day the crappy story I lived with you will be the story that will bring hope and inspiration to many throughout the world. God never wastes a bad story without turning it in to something good. I pray my story helps many. It’s my guess it will. 

I wish you the best and pray you get exactly what you’ve got coming to you. However, I pray it isn’t cancer.  I don’t wish cancer on anyone, including you. You’ve managed to get away with a lot all your life. You may even think you’ve won but there’s one battle you haven’t faced……yet!!! It’s the battle you will be facing with God. Now that’s a battle you’re sure to come out at the losing end. So you take care of yourself. Thanks for the good times but more importantly thanks for the bad times. You taught me something very valuable. The importance of how to treat others and the faith to believe in myself. I can get through anything with God by my side. Thank god for that!!!  God bless you Ron and like the song I’ve included on this blog today…..I’m still standing!! I don’t know about you but despite all my trials, if you ask me, I may still be a little haggard, who wouldn’t be? But I think I look pretty darn good standing. 




Be Inspired 2-20-16

In January as I was waiting to meet with my oncologist my brother texted me this inspirational video. I was so touched I began to cry. I’m a die hard San Francisco fan but the message in this video couldn’t have come at a better time. 

I met w my oncologist who didn’t have the best news but despite the negative there was hope. I made the decision that day that despite everything I wasn’t going to give up. Since then every morning as I get ready for work I listen to the above video and others to inspire me and encourage me to keep on fighting. Not only to beat this crazy disease but to follow my dreams and live life to the fullest. I’m rock bottom, in financial disarray & im fighting cancer every day but the good news is I’m fierce, I’m fabulous, I’m funny & I’m not giving up. 
I’m sharing some of these videos w all of you today in the hopes at least one of them will inspire you the way my brothers act of kindness to inspire me that hopeless day in January, inspired me and continue to inspire me every morning as I begin a new day. “I love you little brother!”
I met a man having a chemo treatment the same day I was last year. I asked him how he was. His reply “I’m great! Every day above ground is a great day!” I’ve never forgot those words. Keep in mind he was fighting cancer for the 2nd time. So today as you face the challenges we all go through on this journey to survive….remember Today Is A Great Day! Every Day Above Ground Is A Great Day! If you’re reading this then my goodness it’s a great day! Go out and make the best of it. Be inspired!!!!

As for me…..well let’s just say “I’m living life to the fullest!!!!”

  Maui Sunset  
  Inspirational T-Shirt provided by Hotoveli