Posted in cancer, faith, friend, God, Grace, gratitude, hapiness, healing, heart, help, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

Living From the Heart

Living from the heart.  What does this mean?  Another expression “living wholeheartedly.”  I love Brene Brown, she has done several great works on this subject of living wholeheartedly and authentically.  But what does it look like, this wholehearted living?

I will try to flesh this out in the way that I have been working on.  The Word courage actually has at the root of it “Heart”.  Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor ‘heart.’  So we know that courage takes heart.  It has meant for me to moving forward despite the way I am feeling.  Courage does not mean that I am not afraid but that I continue on my path despite my fears.

The bible tells us that “perfect love casts out fear” 1John 4;18.  So, it is impossible to experience love when we are in a state of fear.  Courage is an act of faith, to move forward despite our fears.  It takes courage and faith to believe you are not dying of cancer when the doctors tell you that you have six months to live.

Much of this courage begins with thought and intention.  Humans are the only created being that have the ability to observe thought.  That means we can think about what we are thinking about.  We also have the ability to police those thoughts.

When I was first told I had six months to live, I sat one day and made a list of every negative, fatalistic thought that I had.  I memorized it and place it before myself so any time I had one of those thoughts, I recognized it and chased it from my mind.  I replaced it with prayers and healing intentions for myself.  This went on hundreds of times a day, in the beginning.  In time, I found I had less and less of those thoughts to chase.

I spend nearly a half and hour a day when I am in a dreamy state before I get up and and I do my work.  My true work.  I pray and meditate on my good health and healing intentions for my body.  I chase fear, I invite in love and light and express extreme gratitude for another day.  This time I spend is extremely important and it helps me to be fortified from within before I begin my day.  I am not in a particular position but I do practice breathing and listening to my breath.

In this state I envision and experience health with my thoughts and my emotions.  I express my gratitude for the simplest things: my body, my mind, my family, my husband, children, food, shelter.  I ask for nothing just gratitude for what I have.  I experience joy and contentment.  Here and now.

Living from the heart is rare.  People often say I am brave, if that means being authentic and genuine then yes, I am brave.  I guess I put a lot “out there” and express openly what others would not.  At times it does feel risky but it is mostly out of an attempt to help  someone who may be in a dark and fearful place.  To give them hope and potentially show them a way out.  I have been in dark places myself and I know how scary it can be to be alone with bad thoughts and intentions towards myself.  I spent many years there.  But those years have given me much compassion and understanding.

Living from the heart is healthy.  I believe it is what we were created to do.  To experience love and express love freely.  It is mainly negative experiences that cause us to wall ourselves off.  And with some folks who have proven themselves to be untrustworthy with our hearts, it is right to do.  I was not created to be anyone’s doormat.  Neither were you.  But I was created to be a welcome mat and there is a HUGE difference!!

I will share one of my favorite talks here:

 

Posted in cancer, Chemotherapy, friend, healing, help

The Things People Say………….

It has been very interesting to have my new diagnosis and run into people in the community at events. I have had the strangest things said to me. I will list some of them here in efforts to help people communicate with folks who have a difficult diagnosis. First I will list some of the things said:

1. “OH, I thought you had passed” My common response to this one is, “well thanks for coming to my memorial”. Yes, this has actually been said to me 3 times. This one is obviously nothing that you want to say to anyone. The first time someone said it, I felt like I had been slapped. My new oncologist actually said this to me. Very bad form.

2. “You look awesome for a dead woman walking” This one is funny when I say it (jokingly)but not so funny when others say it. It hurts me a bit and I don’t see myself as a dead woman walking. I see myself as a person living with and managing a cancer diagnosis.

3. “How are you really doing”? This one bothers me because I am fairly transparent. If I was not doing well, I would be pretty vocal about it. One of the things that I try to strive to be is authentic. I am not much of a complainer and I am the cock-eyed optimist so unless things are tragic, I will be focusing on what is right in my life, not what is wrong.

4. “OH, you are out”? I am not bed ridden. I am still very active. You may run into me shopping, at the gym etc. I have pulled out of many community activities mostly because I have to steel myself against the things people say and the pity that some people exude. Let me just say this here. I hate pity. I am not pitiful, I am OK. I am doing really well and I appreciate genuine concern but I hate pity!!

5. “OH, wow You still have hair”? Yes, I am not doing chemo or whole brain radiation. Cancer does not equal no hair. Many people who are in the midst of cancer do not lose their hair.
That is a stereotype. And although, I have been bald before. I have a healthy head of hair now.

I know folks are well-meaning and most do not know what to say and do. I have a suggestion. Why don’t you just treat me like Dawn. Treat me as you always have. I don’t mind genuine inquiries about my health. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have, especially if you want to know what I am doing and you want to pass my name or information to someone else so that I may help or encourage them.

I believe I am still here to help others and I have done much research, scientific research into the routine and regime I am using daily. I am always happy to talk about that.
I love people and I know most of them mean well. These are just some guidelines when conversing with me or anyone who has cancer.

Thanks

Posted in cancer, Chemotherapy, friend, healing, help

The Power of Small Gestures

I have spent considerable time thinking about what made the biggest difference and had the largest positive impact on me, while I was going through cancer.  After much reflection and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that is was the small genuine gestures of people around me.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate EVERYTHING that was done for me……….EVERYTHING.  But whether it was a phone call, a card, a gift card, a touch, a smile.  It was these gestures from people who lifted my spirits when I was at my lowest.

I encountered my fair amount of people in the places I traveled, who looked at me and pitied me.  Cancer patients HATE pity.  We do not want pity, we want compassion.  And it is palpable folks.  A cancer patient can tell the difference between what is done out of pity, obligation or true and genuine compassion.  When your head is bald, it is like hanging a sign around your neck saying, I AM SICK!!  And there were times I wore my wig just to not have to deal with the stares, the pity and occasionally contempt.  When I see someone with scant hair on their head, it takes me instantly back to those days when I was in that same boat.  My heart becomes full, I know how they feel.  I soften, I remember and I try to engage.  I rush in to encourage and try to help them to envision a future.

So many people do not understand my passion to surround myself with cancer patients and face my demons daily.  Someone has to help cancer patients and it needs to be people who love and understand them.  People fail to remember that inside every body, healthy or not is a SPIRIT and SOUL.  That soul is not sick, their body is sick.  Their spirit is intact and very interested IN LIFE and HEALTH.  They are not defined by their disease.  They need you to see them not just the cancer.  Look them in the eye, don’t avert your gaze.  SMILE and say HELLO and engage them as you would anyone else.  You have no idea that just that can be so refreshing from where they sit.

If you know someone in the fight…..call them, write them a note, bring a meal, just visit them.  I still tear up when I think of the genuine gestures that were demonstrated to me when I was in the fight.

I know it is tough, I used to run away from this myself.  Until my own cancer diagnosis, and having watched 3 family members die up close & personal, I ran away like my hair was on fire.  I get it, it isn’t  always easy to do.  BUT remember……………………….

Small gestures………when we are beaten down and feeling alone in our pain/ disease, it is the powerful small gesture that elevates. It is not grandiosity that warms and connects us to others, it is small and genuine gestures of caring that bring people back from the brink.

Chemo cake

Posted in faith, friend, God, Grace, hapiness, healing, Love, prayer, soul, Thanksgiving

The value of an impression.

This is the premise of a lecture I gave this month at FIT in a Communication class for Business Executives.  I really enjoyed speaking in an academic environment, definitely a first and  a thrill for me.

I work at SCB Marketing and I am in the impression business.  My company is in the business of impressing different audiences in Brevard County.  Our clients and advertisers count on us and our ability to make impressions for them each and everyday.  The entire advertising industry relies on the fact that what we see and what impresses us, influences behavior.  When we keep our clients “top of mind”, they will be the ones who get your business, when you have a need that they can fulfill.

I theorize that we are far more impressionable than we realize.  I theorize that EVERYTHING that we come in contact with, makes an impression upon us, influences us and ultimately takes us places.  From the time we are small children, we are constantly assimilating different stimuli and experiences and formulating our values, ideas and aspirations.  So, from what we eat, see, think, listen to, associate with……..our parents, friends, work associates.  What we read, watch on TV, play on our ipods……..impresses us in some form or fashion.

The degree that we are impressed depends on 2 things:  How malleable we are at the time and how much force or impact the stimuli has.  So, when we are young, we are very malleable and easily impressed.  As we mature, we become less impressionable but still remain more impressionable than we think or care to admit.

Let’s do a small exercise……think about the 3 most painful or difficult things that were ever said to you.  Most of us can think of those things rather quickly.  Now name the 3 best compliments you have ever received.  I guarantee that it will be more difficult for you to come up with the compliments then the slights.  We are much more easily impressed by the negative, rather than the positive.  Also, we read and assimilate the sub text easily.  For instance, your Mom/Dad tell you verbally that they love you but do not come to your school performances or games.  The actions of your parents completely belie their words and you will most likely get the impression that you are not loved/ worthy of their time.  When the truth is probably that your parents are self absorbed and critically damaged themselves.

My cancer experience was that profound experienced that made me realize, I had the wrong impression about myself.  If you look at your actions, who you surround yourself with and your self talk.  If it is all negative, you have gotten the wrong impression about you along the way.

So, when do people change?  People change when the pain of remaining the same exceeds the pain of change.  That is the place I got to shortly after my cancer diagnosis.  I was greatly impressed by my losses and the deep impact I felt on every possible level.  I knew that, if I did not change things within myself, I was a goner.  I would not survive cancer and  I would be lost.

Daily focus on healing, correcting negative self talk, surrounding myself with love and support are what pulled me through.  I allowed myself to be cared for and blessed by others.  That was very difficult for this independent soul, who’s first full sentence was “I’ll do it myself” at age 2.  It took multiple levels of programming to give you the wrong impression of yourself, it will take the same to de-program you and learn how to love yourself in a healthy way.

Some practical things to do……….

  • get a white board and write positive and affirming things to say to yourself when the negative voices speak.
  • Say I am statements daily and repeatedly:  I am HEALTHY, I am LOVED,   I am WORTHY!!
  • Take a personal inventory and list all your positive attributes!
  • Ask God to show you how HE sees you!
  • Get negative and non affirming people OUT of your life!!
  • Do nice things for yourself.  Treat yourself as you would your beloved child.
  • Nurture your interests and talents.  Do things that are good for your soul and make you smile.
  • Help someone else overcome an obstacle.

Every person on God’s green earth is loved by GOD!  He loved each of us so much that he chose to send his very own Son to atone  for when we fall short.  God will forgive you of any and all of our shortcomings if we just ask him to.  His word should impress you with his love and how he thinks about you!!

John 3:16-17

New King James Version (NKJV)

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8

New International Version (NIV)

8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Posted in friend, God, Grace, Love, prayer, Uncategorized

Something to THINK about from my Friend Ingrid.

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:  Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your  private account for your use.

However,this prize has rules, just as  any game has certain rules.

The first set of rules would be:

Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.


You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

     You may only spend it.

Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
      

The  second set of rules:

The bank can end the game without warning; at any time  it can say, It’s over,the game is over!  It can  close the account  and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right?  Not only for yourself, but for all people you love, right?  Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t  possibly spend it all on yourself, right?  You would try to spend every cent, and use it all, right?

ACTUALLY This  GAME is  REALITY!

Each of us is in possession of such a magical  bank. We just can’t seem to see it.

The MAGICAL BANK is  TIME!

Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is  NOT credited to us.

What we haven’t lived up that day is forever  lost.

Yesterday is forever gone.

Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank  can dissolve your account at any time….WITHOUT  WARNING.

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400  seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.

Think about that, and always think of this:

Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you  think.

So take care of yourself, be Happy, Love Deeply and enjoy life!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day.

Start spending your time wisely!!

 

Posted in cancer, Chemotherapy, faith, friend, God, Grace, help, Love, Post Cancer, Survival

Help my friend Keri

I met Keri when I was still married to John Smith, I hired her husband to drive for our company.  I was diagnosed in August of 2009 with breast cancer and Keri was diagnosed 6 months later with cervical cancer.  Both of our husbands departed our cancer journeys but we have remained in touch and supportive of one another.  She is in MD Anderson, in Texas right now where she is fighting for her life.  Her attitude Inspires me…..she is incredible.  If you would like to help Keri, let me know.  She needs much prayer, support and any money you may feel moved to give.

We walked this morning to raise money and support.  There were at least 150 people who walked/ran.  It was great!!

Read below:

In October 1, 2011, both Family and Friends of Keri Morrissey will host a walk/run in her honor to help support her fight against Cancer, followed by an afternoon barbeque at the Dog N Bone British Pub, Cocoa Village. Keri is a 33 year old, single mother of two beautiful children, Jillian (age 9) and Jake (age 5). (Pictured)
In the spring of 2010, Keri was diagnosed with Stage IIIB Cervical Cancer and after an intense treatment program that included chemotherapy and both internal and external radiation, Keri was declared cancer-free on October 25, 2010.

During a recent check-up on July 18th, doctors advised Keri that an area of concern was discovered and further tests would have to be run to conclude if her cancer had returned. Unfortunately, the cancer did return and the tumor is large and growing in an area that has already been radiated. When cervical cancer recurs this quickly, it is a sign that the tumor is very aggressive and should be treated as such.

Doctors have set her treatment plans, which include major surgery for 8-10 hours and require the complete removal of her pelvic organs. This procedure will be done at MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston, Texas at a substantial cost to the family. We are reaching out to our local community, hoping to raise money for Keri and her family to offset the cost of travel, hotel expenses and additional medical costs not covered by insurance. She will need to travel to Texas on a monthly basis for further treatment after the surgery and will be required to cover all expenses associated with these visits.

We need your support to organize this walk/run and/or BBQ on October 1st!! As a sponsor of this event, we will place your company’s name/ logo on event t-shirts as well as any correspondence/ signage associated with this event. We anticipate 250 participants.

We do hope this is something you might be willing to consider. By donating to this family, you will be touching more than just three lives. You will provide hope and relief to a family that is facing a great life experience at their doorstep. Any donation is greatly appreciated, as every dollar generated will go directly to the family to assist with their incurred medical expenses. Should you have any questions, or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact us at the information below. Thank you for your willingness to support Keri in her fight for a cure.