Narcissism: Defined

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The second prompt for January is 20 facts about me.  This is pretty much up my alley, since I can write about my favorite subject. Me. Of course!

1. I have a male best friend. I know! I know! According to Harry Burns women and men can never be friends, but it’s absolutely possible. Especially when neither of us has the physical attributes the other finds attractive. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy, and he’ll make some girl very happy, but it ain’t me.

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2. I have no tact. I try. Really, I do. It’s hard to keep my mouth shut when something annoys, angers, aggravates, or astounds me.

3. I enjoy alliteration.

4. Boom! I also like a well placed onomatopoeia.

5.  I love cooking. Just not when it’s expected of me. I like to experiment with recipes, but my children are too picky, so I can’t.

6. I’m a Sagittarius. Actually, I’m double Sagittarius with Gemini rising. I don’t believe in the horoscope portion of the zodiac, like I don’t read it everyday, but personality-wise, it’s pretty spot on.

7. The oxford comma makes me happy, gleeful, and giddy.

8. I have an unhealthy addiction to social media. I’ve basically quit cold turkey, and it’s killing me slowly. Facebook had all of my “real life” friends, so now I never know what anyone is up to. Instagram fueled the attention whore in me. I was a self-appointed “selfie queen”. Twitter was my cup of tea, because most of my thoughts during the day are 140 characters or less. Unfortunately, I am a huge flirt. I’m also slightly inappropriate, and have boundary issues. This puts a dent in my personal relationships (i.e. my marriage).

9. I have a fairly decent memory. I can remember the most random details. Don’t ask me to repeat your name 5 minutes after I meet you, though.

10. I am in my 3rd cancer free year.

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11. I love to read, but I haven’t found anything that has sparked my interest lately, so I return to the classics.

12. I’m not a big drinker. I used to be. Now, when I drink, I usually get sick, or can’t catch a buzz. There is no in between. This makes me sad.

13. I was in drill team in high school. Sometimes I still do 8 counts in my head while listening to music.

Go drill team, go drill team!

14. I love all styles of music. Except rap. Unless it’s old school gangsta rap. I’ll listen to Public Enemy, NWA, and Tupac all day errday.

15. I am a makeup junkie. I live by the rule “They’re not the same, they’re similar”.

16. Feminism confuses me. On one hand, yes, I think women and men should be treated fairly. On the other, we should understand that women and men will never be equal, because we are two very different sexes with different capabilities. The rest is a matter of respect.

17. I haven’t worked full time in 11 years.

18. I love all things 50’s kitsch. Clothing, jewelry, shoes, underpinnings, and furniture.
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19. I am sarcastic by nature, and feel my greatest accomplishment in life is passing that on to my children.

20. I’m a klutz. I can trip over my own feet at a complete standstill on a windless day. Mystery bruises are a daily occurrence.

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There are other cancers besides boob cancer….(original posts from 2011)

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“How, Chemo-sabe”

How, indeed!  I did very well for this being my first day of chemotherapy.  I don’t feel nauseous, just tired, but that could be the Ativan they give during fluids 😉  I was able to see my very good looking doctor beforehand, so yay me!  I was also able to make him jealous, because I told him about my dentist appointment.  I don’t think I have ever made a doctor cuss, so this was a first, as well.  I was totally prepared(well, almost).  I had my phone, my iPod, my laptop, and a word puzzle book….7 hours, man!  The only thing that I should have taken, was a sandwich.  Though they are kind enough to supply snacks, and drinks, the snacks consisted of peanut butter, cheese, or plain crackers.  I had two packs.

Let me just say, I understand that we must face trials during out lifetime, and we are rarely prepared. Do they have to be one on top of the other?  Waking up this morning to an 84 degree house was not fun.  Yes, my dear readers…our a/c went out!  My father went to check it out, and has a friend coming sometime tomorrow, but then it is a matter of getting it fixed. Praying that it only needs to be recharged.
Keep praying for me, and I promise to keep the faith.
Shanna
But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.  Psalm 5:11

Guilt should be a 4 letter word!

I finished my first cycle of chemotherapy last week, and I feel great!  Yes, this is what the title is all about.  I feel great, and so many people just don’t after chemo.  This is not to say that I will feel this way the next time, or even the time after that, but let me take you through this short journey, please?

First, I’d like to say, that no matter what you may think of me or my diagnosis, I have only been scared once or twice during this time.  It has never been a fear of dying, or pain…just the unknown.  Normal, right?  Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret….I hate surprises!  No joke. Ask my husband. I badger him for weeks before my birthday and Christmas, because I want to KNOW what I will be getting. People pleaser that I am, I want to be able to school my features, just in case.
I went in on Tuesday for the first round in my first cycle of chemo.  I felt pretty prepared.  I had my laptop, my iPod, a puzzle book, and my phone. Ya know, just in case I got bored.  My chemotherapy regimen is Cisplatin and Etoposide(vp16). These are the chemo drugs that are used for the hard hitting cancers, ie. lung, testicular, stomach, ovarian….you get the picture.  All cancer’s are hard hitting, but just like a snowflake, no two are created the same. Some are more aggressive, some move faster than others. Nobody knows how they are going to react, and nobody knows what will alleviate the reaction.  I have said it time and time, again, this cancer is a crap shoot, and I’ve never gotten the hang of that game of chance.  So, I get to the doctor’s office…on time…believe me, that is a big deal.  I go in for the exam(that nobody told me would occur), and everything checks out.  Next stop, blood draw.  I’m going to stop right here.  If anyone is going through chemo, or may need to go through something with infusions/blood draws, I highly recommend getting a port!  Any doctor who doesn’t try to get their patient one is a sadistic…well, you know.  O.K. – blood draw.  My blood cells come back at a normal count, so we are good to go.  First, because of the toxicity of the chemo, I need fluids to prevent kidney failure.  This takes about an hour.  As they are giving me the regular fluids, it is infused with a very potent cocktail of Patron, vodka, gin, and a splash of lime, but more than likely, it is Ativan and promethazine.  These are to relax me, and keep me from becoming nauseated.  As this is the complete opposite effect that Patron has on me, I’ll stick with this mixture.  I have roughly 5 milliseconds before this kicks in, so I decide to try my hand at some brain teasers.  Next.  Let me try the laptop.  Nope.  Solitaire?  Huh!  All of these things I have brought with me, hold no interest.  Guess I’ll take a nap.  2 hours later, and I am awakened by the beep of the infusion machine.  Time for a potty break.  Hook me back up, Jim!  I’m ready to get this over with.  What’s that you say?  I have 4 more hours?!?  Oh joy!  Long story, still kinda long, I finish my first day with minimal fuss.
2nd day is much the same, with the exception of time.  My 2nd and 3rd day are comprised only of the Etoposide.  This only takes an hour and a half, at most.  The funny thing is, they dose me with the same amount of relaxant.  Needless to say, I am useless when I get home.  I have a 7 and a 4 year old, they need me, and I am asleep all day!  I go back for my 3rd infusion, and I have a bargain that I would like them to meet.  If they half the dose, I promise I won’t get sick!  Lucky day, they decide that since I am doing so well, we can forgo it altogether!  Thursday was a good day.  I finished in record time(at least in my mind), and went home to take a small nap to prepare myself for Friday. Bum bum buuuum.
Friday was a fun day.  I got to go to the doctor, again!  He and I had discussed what sort of actions could be taken to help boost my white blood cells during the short intermission between cycles.  His suggestion – a shot of Neulasta.  Can I get that straight up, please?  Needless to say, it worked wonders on my energy levels.  Friday evening, my uncle and aunt came into town, just in case I needed help this week.  I was very happy to inform them that I would not need their services, though I appreciate the offer very much(there goes that independence, again!)  In my chemo induced brain fog, I forgot that they were coming in, and also invited some friends to stay with us from out of town.  Luckily, we have plenty of room, and very understanding guests.  I felt well enough to clean the bathrooms and wash some clothes!! This is a really big deal, as I have not felt like cleaning in about 6 months.  I do it, don’t get me wrong, but I actually FELT like doing it.
The only other side effect that I assume is from chemo, is heartburn.  I had it horribly on the second day, but the third day, I took Prilosec, and it seemed to get rid of it.  The nurse informed me that with women, whatever you suffered from during pregnancy will probably be what you suffer from during chemo.  Thankfully, I did not have morning sickness with either child, but I had raging heartburn!! I think I can live with that.
I won’t bore you with the details of my awesome weekend. I did that enough with the details of my chemo.  Suffice it to say, I feel major guilt for feeling so great.  I’ll get over it, don’t you worry, but at this point in time, I just wish that I could will my well being onto others that are not so lucky.  My body is an enigma.  My doctor accused me of having super hero blood, due to the healing process of my incisions.  There is a higher power helping me, I can assure you.  I have never stopped praying, as I am sure most of you are doing, as well.  My wellness is nothing short of a miracle.  I am not healed, but am healing.  I can literally feel it.  Keep the prayers coming, because I am definitely keeping my faith.
 (Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

Day 30: One thing you’re excited for

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Ok. So, I have to let you in on a little secret. The only reason I was pushing to finish this challenge, was for this particular post.

One thing I am excited for is this weekend. If you are a music addict, or slightly in the know about music festivals, you will know that this weekend is the first ACL Fest weekend. I’ve been for the past couple of years, due to my philanthropic bestie with testes. The first year I went, he purchased the wristband as a survivor gift. Last year, I was able to go in a designated driver capacity. This year, I’ll be paying him back, but I’m most excited about it because…..I am taking my children! My son is 10, so this is the last year that he would be able to get in for free with an adult pass. He’s going to be so excited, and he’s been begging for me to take him to a concert. Any concert. He doesn’t care.

The great thing about this festival is the fact that they have a festival in the festival. Austin Kiddie Limits. It’s a kid’s tent that has activities and children’s performers. The School of Rock always performs, and though it’s not the kids from the movie, my children have seen the movie and are in awe of the fact that these people are their age. I can’t wait to show them in person, that they too can play an instrument, if they so choose. My son enjoys most of the music that I do, so I’m sure he’ll want to experience everything there is to experience. My daughter is a Top 40 chick, so the pickings may be slim for her. She’ll enjoy Kiddie Limits, because she likes Steve Songs from PBS Kids, and they will have crafts for her to do.

So, that’s going to be my weekend. Pretty exciting. I can’t wait to introduce my children to this amazing event, and post all of the fun pictures on Monday 🙂

Day 28: Somewhere you’d like to move to or visit

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Well, this is a broad subject.  There are a lot of places I would like to visit, and not move to. On the other hand, there’s nowhere else I’d rather live than where I am right now.

1. Canada – I’d only like to visit in the Summer, because I don’t do snow well, and I hear that the summers are glorious!! I live in Texas, and summers here are hot, humid, and miserable.

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2. Seattle – Again, only in the summer, because cold and rain don’t mix well. Also, there’s a girl who lives there that I would love to meet! We “met” on Instagram and realized quickly that we were sisters of the soul. So many parallel life situations that it was kind of scary/spooky.

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3. Greece – The pictures that I have seen look amazing! I would want to go with my children, so that we could explore all of the history that the great country has to offer.

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4. Disneyworld – Once more, somewhere I’d like to take my children. This, at least, will happen before I die or they get too old (pssh! Who’s too old for DW?!?)

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Day 25: Something you’re currently worrying about

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To be quite honest, I’m currently worried about my best friend. He is the sweetest guy, and he’s going through a buttload of crap at the moment.

Exes suck on g.p., but when you have intertwined DNA to form another human, I can only imagine it sucks way more.

Hang in there buddy. I’m here for you, always 🙂

Day 21: What you hope your future will be like…

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I have to admit, I didn’t want to write this prompt, because it actually said, “How you hope your future will be like” and it made me cringe.

I hope that my future is full of the right choices. I hope my future is long and steady. I hope my future is made of righteous decisions. I hope I’m able to help plan my daughter’s wedding, and dislike my daughter in law because she’s not good enough for my son.

None of us are promised tomorrow, so I hope that my future is devoid of regret. I hope that I can show my children how much I love them, and that they’ll understand that everything I’ve done had been in their best interest.

I hope that I have a long, meaningful future.

Day 20: Your fears

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If you’ve read any of my former posts, you will know that I was diagnosed and went through treatment for a very rare, aggressive cancer, Small Cell Neuroendocrine Cervical Carcinoma. The five year survival rate is approximately 50%, if you were diagnosed at 1b1 or below. My diagnosis was 1b2, and I’m at 3 years post treatment.

I’m 37 years old with a 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter. My biggest fear is that I won’t see them become the people I know they can grow up to be.

The crazy thing about cancer, or any terminal disease, really, is that you are NEVER TRULY CURED. Sure, the physical illness may be cured, but you are never without the fear. I may not look sick anymore, but every time I have some strange pain, I’m absolutely positive it’s the monster come back to take me away from my babies. Every time I have a cough that lasts just a little too long, I’m sure that it has taken over my lungs. When I’m a little more fatigued than normal, my first thought is metastasis to the brain. I’ve been called a drama queen (which hurt), but until you can take a stroll in my brain, you should probably keep the judgement to a minimum.

I know a lot of people who have had cancer, and they all confirm that my feelings are not crazy. They have all had moments of weakness, where their positivity has run on empty, and they have given in to their fears.

This is my new normal. This is where I’ll be until my dying day. Whether that is in my near future or distant future, only God knows.

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