Chill Out!


This post deals with the third factor that we can have control over to improve our odds of not having cancer or having a recurrence.

There are four areas. They are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Today my focus is on stress management.

I am all ears.  I seriously need to learn how to handle stress. Many of the times I get sick it was stress induced.  I  tend to stuff it down until things are so volatile I explode emotionally.

 

There are numerous things that you can do to relax and unwind. I’m going to share with you the ones suggested to me, and the ones I have found to help reduce stress.

Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and  a daily devotional were at the top of lists of suggestions. My attemps at yoga were not stress reducing.  The instructor was good,  the moves weren’t  beyond a normal person’s range,  but with a back injury, any pressure on the lower spine caused pain and all floor moves were a strain. I am interested in trying Tai Chi. I have asked at our local YMCA if they offer it,  if not I may look it up on Youtube.

I have a daily devotional, and I journal in my bullet journal.  I find that by writing down my thoughts in my bujo,  I tend to write it down, and not vent to others.  This seems to be somewhat calming because as I write it out, I can often think of how to resolve or  see that I need to shake it off.

Exercise in various forms can be a huge stress releiver. The swim classes that I have been taking are relaxing to me. Walking on a treadmill is not relaxing,  but  going for a walk at the park is very relaxing. OK, maybe not while I am huffing up that little hill on the backside,  but when I am finished and have walked the distance,  there is a satisfaction of accomplishment and a soothing effect on the entire body.  When I was exercising regularly a few years ago,  I would use the elliptical and I participated in a kickboxing class. I really enjoyed the kickboxing,  but then they dropped it.  I didn’t feel like the elliptical was helping in stress reduction, although it was helping me to achieve better cardiovascular fitness so in effect it really was helping to reduce my stress!

A healthy nutritious diet can also reduce stress whereas a high junkfood diet can contribute to additional stress in your body.

Adult coloring books. There is something very gratifying about coloring in those little spaces! My husband bought me a couple different types of coloring books, and I recently purchased a coloring book planner.  My attention lately has been fully devoted to the planner.  If I’m not jotting my to do list, and scheduling apointments, I’m coloring in the margins. The only time this isn’t relaxing is when my eyes are strained, and it becomes aggravating and can actually lead to a headache.

A glass of wine. Red wine has  many benefits,  one of which is to relax you. My oncologist stated that a glass of red wine, three times a week would be  beneficial for my health and well being. Three glasses, not three bottles.

Some  people find fishing relaxing and a way to cope with stress. Others  will paint furniture or landscapes. I am going to try my hand at the rock painting, and leave them around our area. I’ll take a picture of them once I go find some flat river rocks.

Even with all of these options,   I  have a hard time with stress management. I tend to be one of those people who wears their heart on their sleeve and take things to heart. I get wound up when things don’t go as planned, which is most of the time. I get upset when others don’t do their part. I worry about my kids,  where they are what they are doing, whether they are safe. I worry about the cancer –  what if it comes back, what if it spreads next  time,  what if my girls end up with it, what if . . . and then I am so wound up that even the bottle of wine doesn’t help.

My sister’s solution is Xanax.  I don’t have a prescription to Xanax, but I am wondering  how in the world I am going to manage this emotional rollercoaster that I have been on ever since being diagnosed. The medications only contribute more, causing my emotions to be heightened.

While you are reading this, I will be practicing my favorite form of relaxation: toes in the sand.

What do you do to unwind? How do you manage the daily stress? The emotional stress? What form of stress releif do you practice?

I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again, including changing my lifestyle completely.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

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You’ve Got to Move It!


There are four things that you can do to improve your odds of not having cancer or having a recurrence of cancer. They are:

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Today my focus is on the second one, activity.

It is recommended that we move 10,000 steps a day and that we are active for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. Now, that is the bare minimum.

Coming off the end of radiation treatment,  the fatigue was overwhelming. I had very little energy to do anything more than going to my treatments, walk up and down the hall a few times a day, and slept the bulk of the time.

Now that I am recovering from the fatigue,  it’s still lingering but not nearly as bad.

The first time I went to the park to walk, I had to sit on a park bench after just a few minutes. I ended up doing a half mile but stopping three times because I was so weak. My mind goes instantly to a few years ago when I was diligently doing my cardio, working for an hour at a time on an elliptical, tread mill, or multi-trainer.  But I kept at it.  The next week I was able to do fifteen minutes continuously. The following week I was up to 18 minutes.

I started doing some videos at home with Fitness Marshall. I could barely do one, then rest and do another later. Little by little though I am gaining strength and endurance.

For everyone,  it is recommended that we get 30 minutes of cardio movement daily. For a cancer patient, it is vitally important. Movement increases your blood flow, it strengthens your veins, it strengthens your heart.  You don’t have to run marathons –  thank God or I’d be screwed.

In fact, starting off it is recommended that we engage in a moderate exercise of 30 minutes. Coming off of radiation 30 minutes was overwhelming. Nobody was pressuring me to do more except my own inner drive.  I had to come to terms with the reality of where I was,  what I had been through, and know that if I kept at it,  I would see improvement.

Well, I have. I’m not there yet but I’ve improved.  I can stay on the treadmill for nearly 30 minutes at a time.  I can keep up with the Zumba class for nearly the full 45 minutes. I started an aqua aerobics class today and managed the entire class without having to stop. That may not sound like much to some of you, but considering just a few weeks ago, I had to sit on the park bench after only ten minutes,  it’s progress.

I see many people that set a goal to run a marathon or a 5K. If you like to run go for it. I need to lose a significant amount of weight before I would feel comfortable running.  I think it would be damaging to my knees at my current weight.

I want to be able to walk down the beach to the pier without sucking wind. I want to be able to go  up the stairs without feeling exhausted.  I want to be able to do the things I need to do throughout the day without feeling like I need a nap. Not that there is anything wrong with naps,  but when you feel drained every day after just cleaning the bathroom,  it doesn’t get the house clean.

I know it will be there waiting for me tomorrow,  but when you go in the bathroom and it smells like toilet. . . . .  some things have to be done now.

Speaking of current weight . . . I haven’t been making weekly posts or anything,  but I am down 32 pounds since surgery on May 3rd.

A lot of that was due to not having much appetite with new medications to take, general nausea from chemo medicines, facing side effects of treatments, learning what foods would stay down and be tolerated because I do not like to puke.

The last ten, however, has been hard fought. I have reached a point where nausea has subsided or I’ve just learned which foods to avoid. My appetite on some days makes me feel ravenous. I have to be careful,  a lot of bread type things do not cause nausea and they are easy to grab. Pretzels, toast with peanut butter, crackers,  are all former go to snacks.

I have to limit my carbs. Whether caused by the stress of all of this or just timing with genetics and being overweight,  but I was also diagnosed with diabetes so I have to learn how to eat differently. As I mentioned last week,  the dietician has been one of the best parts of my treatment plan.  When my primary doctor told me to watch my carbs, he said no more than 15 carbs.

I was very careful not to eat more than 15 carbs for the entire day. That isn’t a  lot.  So, I go to the dietician and she says limit each item to 15 grams of carbs,  but I should have 45 grams a day. Well,  That was also why I lost a few of those pounds.

Exercise can help in weight loss. My goal, however, is not to exercise to lose weight. My goal is to exercise, to a minimum of 30 minutes a day in some form or other to improve my quality of life and prevent the recurrence of cancer.

I have been active at least three days a week for the past month. That is a big improvement from the previous three months. This week starts my five days a week plan.  I don’t know how long it will take me to be comfortable at this level, but I’ve always heard that beyond your comfort zone is when you see improvement.

The important thing is to start where you are.  If you walk to the end of your driveway and back and that is all you can do,  then shoot for doing that every day for at least a week before increasing.  Then, do it twice a day for a while until that is comfortable. Then add something else.

You don’t have to join a gym,   you can walk in your neighborhood.  You can exercise with youtube videos.  You can do jumping jacks in your living room – well, maybe you can.  I couldn’t a few weeks ago.  I didn’t have the energy after radiation. Who knows, maybe next week I will.

Most of us need to take better care of ourselves. I certainly do. This is a hard lesson for me,  to make myself a priority and take care of myself.

As I prepare a lesson for tonight and will have to wear one of those paper hospital masks to protect myself from germs because I will be around people,  I am reminded that this is worth it.  I am worth it.

 

I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

Proper Nutrition for Preventing Cancer Reccurrence


Last week I posted No Cancer formed against me shall prosper,

today I’d like to address the first of four areas that is within our power to control.

Obesity increases your odds for a heart attack and diabetes, the two most medicated conditions in our society.

Obesity increases your odds for cancer. This is something I never heard before the diagnosis of breast cancer. Certain cancers like breast cancer feed off of the hormone estrogen, which is carried in the fat cells, and the more fat cells, the more estrogen, the higher your risk for cancer.

Don’t believe me?  Go here:  American Cancer Society

Sugar feeds cancer as well.

Let me tell you,  there is nothing that will put the fear of dying into you like CANCER.

Much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

I can at least do everything within my power to improve my odds of survival.  The first major area to help prevent or avoid a recurrence is proper nutrition.

A well-balanced diet, consisting mainly of plant-based nutrients with lean proteins as the best dietary plan that I ‘ve seen prescribed by doctors and the American Cancer Society.  I looked at various diet plans: juicing, (not recommended for diabetic patients) vegetarian, (also not recommended for diabetic patients) Mediterranean, South Beach, and the recommended My Plate diet plan.

The dietary plan that works best for me is a modified MyPlate plan that leans towards Mediterranean. This excludes sugar, soda, processed meats, processed foods, chemical laden anything. Which means  no more: soda, (yes I occasionally would enjoy a Coke, or Mountain Dew) bacon (ouch that really hurts but carcinogenic) hot dogs, bologna, processed meats, smoked sausage, processed cereals,  Kraft mac and cheese in a box (no more powdered cheese sauce mix), alcohol (I’m going to miss my wine),anything soy (soy doesn’t play well with breast cancer), and reduced red meats.  No turkey bacon– have you ever read the list of ingredients to make that? Talk about processed!

Think about the sugar alone –  have you ever checked the labels for ingredients to see if it has sugar? How many sugars? There is sugar in things you would never imagine. Crackers, for instance, some of them contain sugar.

I can have red meats once a week. So if I opt for a burger,  that is my red meat for the week.  If I have a slice of ham for breakfast, that counts for the week.

Just about the entire center section of the grocery store I can bypass. The bulk of my diet – no pun intended – is fresh fruits and vegetables. I am limited on the number of carbs I can have because of the diabetic issues, and I am hoping that over time and by following this plan, as my weight drops that I can lose the diabetic medications as well.

Part of the whole cancer treatment plan is seeing a dietician. Best part of the plan for me! It certainly beats the radiation therapy by a mile!

In all honesty, this has been a difficult change to make. A lifetime of bad eating habits have to be changed. So, I’ve been learning to adapt to a new way of eating because quite frankly,  my old habits were killing me – literally. It’s really easy to say no to the foods I shouldn’t eat,  all I have to do is look at my scars.

In order to give myself the best chance of beating cancer, I employ the top 10 list of nutrient dense foods. These are high in phytochemicals, which contain antioxidants, which help fight cancer. I eat  at least one of these a day.

TOP 10 Nutrient Dense Foods:

1. Salmon

Not all fish is created equal. Salmon, and other fatty types of fish, contain the greatest amount of Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases .

Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs a massive amount of other nutrients.

A 3.5 ounce piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of Omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein and a ton of vitamins and minerals… including large amounts of Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium and all the B-vitamins .

It is a good idea to eat fatty fish at least once or twice a week, to get all the Omega-3s that your body (and brain) desperately need. Studies show that the people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and a plethora of common diseases.

Also,  salmon tastes awesome and is fairly simple to prepare. It also tends to make you feel full with relatively few calories.

2. Kale

Of all the super healthy leafy greens, kale is king. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and various bioactive compounds.

A 2/3 cup portion of kale contains:

  • 200% of the RDA for Vitamin C.
  • 300% of the RDA for Vitamin A (from beta-carotene).
  • 1000% of the RDA for Vitamin K1.
  • Large amounts of Vitamin B6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese.

This is coming with 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and only 50 calories.

Kale may be even healthier than spinach. Both are super nutritious, but kale is lower in oxalates, which are substances that can bind minerals like calcium in the intestine, preventing them from being absorbed.

Kale (and other greens) are also loaded with various bioactive compounds, including Isothiocyanates and Indole-3-Carbinol, which have been shown to fight cancer in test tubes and animal studies.

BOTTOM LINE: Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you can eat, with large amounts of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting compounds.

3. Garlic

Garlic really is an amazing ingredient. Not only can it turn all sorts of bland dishes into delicious treats, it is also incredibly nutritious. It is high in vitamins C, B1 and B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.

But garlic is also loaded with another incredibly important nutrient called Allicin, which is the active ingredient in garlic. There are many studies on the health benefits of allicin and garlic. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and total and LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL… which should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease down the line.

It also has various cancer-fighting properties. Studies show that the people who eat a lot of garlic have a much lower risk of several common cancers, especially cancers of the colon and stomach. Garlic is also very potent at killing pathogens like bacteria and fungi.

BOTTOM LINE:Garlic is both tasty and extremely healthy. It is highly nutritious and the bioactive compounds in it have known disease fighting properties.

4. Shellfish

Out of all the wonderfully nutritious organisms found in the sea, shellfish may be the most nutritious of all. This includes clams, oysters, scallops, and various others.

Clams are among the best sources of vitamin B12 in existence, with a 100 grams of clams supplying over 16 times the RDA! It is also loaded with other nutrients, including Vitamin C, B-Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium and Iron.

Really, shellfish are among the most nutritious foods in existence. Unfortunately, people rarely consume them.

BOTTOM LINE:Shellfish are among the most nutritious organisms found in the sea. They are very high in important nutrients like Vitamin B12 and Zinc. Really,  who needs encouragement to eat more shellfish, right?

5. Blueberries

When it comes to the nutritional value of fruits, blueberries are in a league of their own. Although they’re not as high in vitamins and minerals as vegetables (calorie for calorie), the antioxidant content is where they really shine. They are loaded with powerful antioxidant substances, including anthocyanins and various phytochemicals, some of which can cross the blood-brain barrier and exert protective effects on the brain.

Several studies have examined the health effects of blueberries in humans. One study found that blueberries improved memory in older adults. Another study found that obese men and women with metabolic syndrome had a lowered blood pressure and reduced markers of oxidized LDL cholesterol, when they added blueberries to their diet.

This finding makes sense, given that eating blueberries has been shown to increase the antioxidant value of the blood. Then multiple studies in test tubes and experimental animals suggest that blueberries can help fight cancer.

BOTTOM LINE:Blueberries are very nutritious compared to most fruits and are loaded with powerful antioxidants, some of which can increase the antioxidant value of the blood and have protective effects on the brain.

6. Dark Chocolate (Cocoa)

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.

It is loaded with fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. But the biggest factor is its amazing range of antioxidants. In fact, a study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate scored higher than any other food they tested, which included blueberries and acai berries.

There are multiple studies in humans showing that dark chocolate has powerful health benefits… including improved blood flow, a lower blood pressure, reduced oxidized LDL and improved brain function .

 

Make sure to get dark chocolate with a 70% cocoa content, at least. The best ones contain 85% cocoa or higher. Eating a small square of quality dark chocolate every day may be one of the best ways to “supplement” your diet with additional antioxidants. Permission to eat chocolate!

7. Spinach

Popeye knew what was up: Spinach is one of best sources of potassium and is also rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron. One cup raw provides over half of your daily recommended value (DV) for vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy vision, immune system, and reproduction. Want even more? Cooked leaves provides over 100 percent! Sauté in a little olive oil and garlic to accompany your dinner or add to a salad.

8. Brussel Sprout:

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, but their nutrient profile will set the record straight: One cup cooked provides 195 percent daily  of vitamin K—crucial in helping your body absorb calcium—and 125 percent of vitamin C, which plays an important role in the formation of collagen, the main support system of skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles. Plus, they offer more than 10 percent of your vitamin A, vitamin B-6, folate, potassium, and manganese needs for the day. Try roasting brussels sprouts with olive oil and then tossing in balsamic vinegar to enhance their flavor.

9. Almonds:

We might not always think of almonds as produce, but remember they do come from a tree. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They’re the perfect afternoon snack to rack up nutrients and help hold you over ’til dinner. Just be sure to stick with a one-ounce serving (shot glass size) or you’ll wind up consuming too many calories.

10. Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are, of course, best known for being a great source of beta-carotene (hence the deep orange color), which may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, decrease heart disease, protect against asthma, and slow down the aging process. But one medium sweet potato also provides over 100 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A, 37 percent for vitamin C, 16 percent for vitamin B6, 15 percent for potassium, and 28 percent for manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and folate in the bright veggie.

I have had either spinach or kale nearly every day. Brussel sprouts makes a good side with salmon. Half of a sweet potato with a little salt and pepper is very satisfying. Blueberries are one of my favorites.  I like to have blueberries with cottage cheese, with a little lemon zest.

There are more nutrient dense foods, but these are my fast go to foods to ensure that I get the nutrients I need. I hope this helps some of you,  it’s sort of my go to cheat list when I am pressed for time,  haven’t thought out what to cook for dinner or what sides to have. It’s super simple to throw together a salad that includes either kale or spinach.

Any excuse to add shellfish to my diet is a good one.  Since I have to eliminate red meat from my diet most of the time, shellfish and fish have been staples. Plus, a light meal of crab salad replacing that burger is much more satisfying.

If you find this interesting,  then leave  a message.  I’m considering sharing recipes for this new eating plan.  It may not be a big deal for most of you,  but growing up in middle America, in a large family that celebrated with food, it’s certainly a deal for me.

Let me know what you think.  Would you like to see recipes?

Cancer took a big part of my peace of mind and has left me with a compromised immune system.scars, I am determined to do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Write on my friends, write on.

 

No Cancer Formed Against Me. . .


My husband recently bought me a tee shirt that states: NO Cancer formed against me shall prosper.  A take on the scripture:

 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; . . . 

Isa.54:17  – King James Version

The fight against cancer is like no other battle that you will ever face. The doctor can tell you, you’ve got high blood pressure, it could lead to a stroke.  But many people go right on with what they have been doing until the day it happens and then everyone is shocked that  Uncle Joe had a stroke.

You have a family history of diabetes, chances are you will get it too.  I have three generations of diabetes in my family –  maybe more but I don’t think medical practice documented anything prior to that, and they didn’t live long either. OK,  I know I should make some changes.  I don’t want to be taking insulin.  Then I go right back to devouring sugar laden brownies, and a bag of cheetos, and fast food fries, and, and, and.

You will see all over the news,  the tv commercials for hospitals supposedly to help us as a nation improve our health that obesity is linked to heart disease and diabetes. Statistics puts 2 out of 3 adults in America today as overweight or obese.

This is scary: Obesity increases your odds for a heart attack and diabetes, the two most medicated conditions in our society.

I’ll tell you something even scarier: Obesity increases your odds for cancer. This is something I never heard before getting it. Cancer is far scarier than heart disease or diabetes because we know people who live with it.  “Oh yeah, my dad takes heart medications. My sister has diabetes, I don’t know how she administers her shots every day.”

This is something I never heard before getting it. Cancer is far scarier than heart disease or diabetes because we know people who live with it.  “Oh yeah, my dad takes heart medications. My sister has diabetes, I don’t know how she administers her shots every day.”

Certain cancers like breast cancer feed off of the hormone estrogen, which is carried in the fat cells, and the more fat cells, the more estrogen, the higher your risk for cancer.

Don’t believe me?  Go here:  American Cancer Society

I don’t think it’s any secret to anyone here that I am overweight.  I am obese. My whole family is large. I contributed it to my genes, upbringing, yes and learned habits. We all ate wrong foods, too large portions, and lots of sugary desserts. (My mother was an excellent baker!)

Sugar feeds cancer as well.  I have dabbled with going sugar-free for a few years, but then at Easter or Christmas there would be a dessert table laden with scrumptious sweets and I would indulge.  I have been sugar-free since May 3rd, the day of my surgery.

Let me tell you,  there is nothing that will put the fear of dying into you like CANCER.

I’m not ready to go yet. I want to live to be a pain in the butt for my girls and hopefully, some day have grandkids. Therefore, I have been reading everything I can to keep from having a second bout with cancer. I count myself as blessed to have been given a second chance,  I don’t want to waste it.

It is with mixed emotions that I share this next bit – because a part of me wants to claim the victim role.

Breast cancer? Why me?  What did I do? I don’t have any family history. 

Much like diabetes, cancer can be self-inflicted.

But how? 

There are four areas that we can have control of whether or not we get cancer or get a recurrence of cancer.  Once you have been diagnosed with cancer,  there is always a risk of it returning. You’re always looking over your shoulder.  I want to put as much distance between me and cancer as I can.

So, logic would dictate:

IF I CAUSED THIS,  THEN I CAN FIX THIS.

There are four areas that we can take control:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity
  3. Stress Management
  4. Toxins

Over the next four weeks on Monday I will be addressing these. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do, or what to eat. The fact is, these past four months have scared me witless in a way that the doctor telling me I need to lose weight never could.  NOT ONCE did anyone ever say, being fat can cause cancer. I was told, ‘You need to lose weight’ (Tell me something I don’t already know.) ‘You have a family history of diabetes.’ (I know, I really need to watch my carbs and sugar.) ‘Being overweight is hard on your joints.’ (Ya think? You try carrying around this extra weight all the time!) It can lead to heart disease. (I need to get back to the gym.)

But not once did anyone ever tell me, You know, I know you feel like you’re a victim in this but if you continue in this lifestyle, obesity is linked to breast cancer and you could get cancer.

I’m pretty smart about most things but when it came to my own health, I was a moron. I knew I needed to make changes just like everyone knows that pizza isn’t on the biggest loser diet plan. I knew I needed to get back to the gym but . . . . and then the excuses begin. Cancer, however, got my full attention, woke me up out of the stupor I was in. A sugar laden processed food lack of movement Michelin man stupor.

Cancer took part of my breast,  part of my dignity,  a big part of my peace of mind, and has left me with a compromised immune system, scars, and a determination that I will do everything within my power to never have to go through this again.

Now, having said that. . . you can do everything right and cancer isn’t selective. But I want to do everything I can to decrease the chances of it returning.

What about you?  How would you react? Do you think I am overcompensating? Do you think I am irrational?

Write on my friends, write on.

 

Suddenly


Hey, everyone!

How to write the post I need to write . . .  there is no real clever way so with all the tact I can muster, I’m going to plunge in.

With the A to Z Challenge, I left off with the letter O. I have a new word, that inadvertently has everything to do with my own writing right now –

ONCOLOGY

On March 28, I had my annual OBGYN visit. I shared some concerns with her about the girl parts, namely issues that indicate menopause.  She sent me to the Imaging center for a pelvic sonogram, and the annual mammogram. I expected some news on the lower region but not the tatas.

A scheduled date for a routine procedure for the girl parts was made. Later that day, I got a call saying I needed to return for an additional mammogram and breast ultrasound because I had some areas of concern. OK, that’s a bit disconcerting but no biggie, right? I figured fibrocystic breast syndrome because the girls aren’t exactly smooth like a muscle,  they are kind of like a well-used pillow. NO, I’m not going into detail on that but after nursing two babies, being a ‘mature’ woman I’m grateful they don’t drag the floor.

April 6th I go back for these additional tests and the Dr. that oversees the imaging center came in and told me that it’s cancerous. BUT, don’t worry, most of the time it’s benign.  He had one of those plastic forced smiles that is used to break bad news. I instantly don’t trust him.

April 12th, I have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy. Don’t let anyone fool you – it hurts. “Oh, you’ll just feel some pressure and hear a click” LIARS!!! 

IT HURT!  IT HURT FOR DAYS AFTER!  IT still hurts as the bruised area changes from purple to greenish yellow.

I wait for the verdict phone call which was supposed to happen either last Tuesday or Wednesday that never came. On one hand, no news is good news.  If they don’t call it can’t be too urgent right?

WRONG!

I called on Thursday because I suck at waiting patiently.

STAGE 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.

Yeah, that’s something you want to hear when you are in the office alone. I mean, literally alone. There wasn’t another breathing soul in the office complex.

The only time I’ve ever known doctors to act fast is when it’s serious so it didn’t alleve my fears when they called back to confirm an appointment with an oncology surgeon for the next day. Friday the 21st was a marathon. I would gladly attempt a running marathon as opposed to my day. The doctor explained completely with drawing little illustrations to emphasize the points. My options were presented to me, initial treatment assessment was discussed, and then it was off to the labs for more tests.

Bloodwork – one of my big fears about this whole thing is the needles. I have small veins, they are deep (being fat isn’t the only reason for this) and they roll. When I get blood drawn they use a child’s butterfly needle. What is going to happen if I have to go through chemotherapy and they blow my veins? I don’t have enough time to build my cardio level to have super veins like my husband. He makes a fist and the veins just pop out. Of course, that would look bad on me as a female.

Chest x-ray, EKG, new mammogram, additional close up mammogram slides, 3D Ultrasound – I was there from 8 in the morning until almost 5 at night.

I’ve had the weekend to digest all of this.  I’ve shared with close family what the diagnosis is and the plan for treatment, and have even shared on my Facebook account.  I was almost at a place of peace about accepting this. Nobody wants to go through this. Nobody chooses cancer.

Then, I get another call. Just a few minutes ago actually. I have to go back for an MRI and a second biopsy of additional spots that they found. This may determine whether or not I can have a lumpectomy or have to have the full mastectomy.

I’m not sharing to gain your sympathy. I’m not sharing because I overshare – if anything I hear from people that I don’t let others in, don’t share what’s really going on.

This isn’t about writing yet it is.  I write with passion. My passion. Passion for life, passion about love relationships, passion about the emotions we go through. My plan for today was to share some more from Roxy, a segment that I’ve recently tackled – one that was very difficult to tackle and I had to be in the right headspace to do. Ironically I had to draw on the raw emotions of my own mother’s funeral to write this. I’d put it off for weeks, but finally tackled it and was quite proud of myself for not only tackling it,  I think I did a pretty good job on it as well.

Then I get this news.  Well hell!  Oh trust me, I could write the emotional scene now. I could pour my heart out on the pages and nobody is the wiser that it was me going through this emotional tidal wave with the diagnosis of ‘You have breast cancer’.

Ironically, Roxy’s mother died after a long battle with breast cancer. Should I wait and experience first hand and rewrite? Should I proceed with it as scheduled? I know that women dying from breast cancer is rare, it’s usually when it’s metastasized beyond the breast and invaded other organs. Ultimately it started with breast cancer, and Roxy’s mother was a woman that put off her own medical treatment until it became critical.

For me, they caught it early with the mammogram. Of that I am grateful. Ladies, don’t put it off.  I still can’t feel any lumps even knowing that it’s there. I don’t have a family history of it. I don’t have the usual symptoms that indicate cancer.  In all of my regular doctor’s comments about concerns for being overweight he never said cancer was one of them. Now as I am reading the material provided to me by the breast cancer center, obesity can lead to cancer. Heart disease and diabetes were on my mind, not cancer. Never cancer.We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey.

We hear the words “save the tatas” and kind of laugh, but we do the self-exams. It has become a reality for me now. This is a path I never wanted to go down but am forced to embark on this journey. April 20th is a day of demarcation for me. My life as I knew it ended that day, so tears were to be expected. Tears of grieving for what was,  what dreams may die, all of the changes that have to be made and tears to face the great unknown.  A little encouragement for saving the woman would be appreciated.

I’ll try to stay away from the pity parties but from time to time I will be sharing my struggles in this battle. I’m not looking forward to the needles. Not looking forward to losing part of my breast or the full breast or breasts depending on what they find. Not looking forward to possibly losing my hair. Not looking forward to much of any of this,  but it’s the path I’ve been put on and I’ll make the best of a bad situation.  I come from good stock and I am my mother’s daughter. My mother was ” a tough old bird”. I hope I have half as much chutzpah as she did.

I plan to continue writing, still pushing for my delayed deadline and praying that I don’t have to push it back further. The A to Z challenge . . . I don’t have the energy to continue that now. I thought about making a video, but I didn’t think I could get through it without an ugly cry and who needs to see that?

Hope you stick around to see me come out the other end of this!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

When Inspiration Strikes #MFRWauthor


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Welcome to week 14 of the 52-week MFRW blog challenge.  Each week I will post something about that week’s topic. Ready to play?

This week’s prompt:

“Story Inspiration”

Or as my title suggests, when Inspiration strikes.  This is definitely one that I will be reading all of the other blogger’s posts!  I find it fascinating what inspires writers to write and write the specific story they end up writing. I wonder if anyone else sometimes does like me — the initial story is not what ends up on the pages.

The myriad of things that inspire me are as diverse as the many things that our world offer! Stop laughing, I’m serious. I’ve been pondering how to best convey this and I’ve come up with a simple plan, to list some of the ideas and where they came from.

  1. An argument over the finances with my husband. Feeling a bit singed around the edges,  several hours after the argument, I was talking with my oldest daughter about something unrelated, probably something to do with a video game that she was playing. Suddenly it struck me! OH, I remember now it was a discussion of the movie The Hobbit. So, she’s going on about some of the scenes in the Hobbit, and describing the scene whenBilbo Baggins enters the dragon’s lair to find the stone amongst the hoard of gold. Dragons – gold – Eureka! I commented about the dragon complex, certain individuals who seem to be obsessed with the HAVING of money, not using the money to enjoy life. Not to name names or anything but being the spendthrift in this marriage I’m sure you can see which of us has the dragon complex. Hmmm, . . . dragon complex. . . gold . . .  shapeshifter dragons. . . attracted to gold. . . I’ll bet they can smell it! I got what my kids call my scary inspiration face and was off and running.  Just a short time later I shoved fourteen pages of handwritten story stat into my daughter’s clutches demanding – READ IT! From that start, Kiss of the Dragon was birthed. I used that story for my very first Nanowrimo story. It still sits in the file drawer because I will admit, it has so many rabbits popping up in it that it’s like a game of whack a rabbit! It needs a lot of rewrites. Don’t fret though, it isn’t forgotten.
  2. While reading the fourth book in a series by an author that I absolutely loved at the time, I didn’t like the way this particular book was playing out.  I kind of felt cheated, to be honest. I had paid good money preordering my first edition hardback copies of these books, and it seemed that it had become more about getting the books published to make money than caring about constructing a quality story. I didn’t like the turn this story was taking.  There was a lot of gratuitous sex in this book, to the point that I was frustrated with the author. To be honest, after finishing this series I’ve not bought another of their books. So the inspiration part: during this “Ugh, this is awful! Way to sell out just to get the books out there. If I were writing this story I would have character X do . . . And the relationship between X and B would end and the heroine would see that character D is the right one for her. As Gru says – Lightbulb! I guess this is the premise of why some people write fanfiction. Not me though,  I  was inspired by the world that this author built, but could see the cracks from the stage so much that it just seemed like stage props. I would take that stage prop, rebuild it, add a dash of humor here, a bit of danger there, oh yes, throw in some dark magic and terror. . . .whala – Faere Warrior and Faere Guardian were born. Yes, these are in my files as well becuase again   – over run with rabbits!
  3. Story prompts! I used to be the managing editor for a group blog, where each of the authors including myself had an assigned day of the week to write a short or serial. The idea was to generate traffic for the up and coming authors and gain them a following.  I’d like to take credit for it,  but I can’t. I  kind of took over for an amazing friend whose brainchild it was when she became overwhelmed with dealing with it. Cathy Brockman was the genius behind it and I owe her a debt of gratitude for helping me in so many ways. My initial debut story was inspired by an online friend that lies in the UK. I only knew them via Facebook. At that time,  the big thing was catfish stories. For those who don’t know what that is,  it was meeting someone online, talking to them, then finding out they weren’t who they said they were. There was a show on tv about it even! So my brain started working on the “What if?”. Love Notes came out of that. No that isn’t published because of some other issues. My first published book, Red Wine & Roses also came out of this group blog. It actually came from a photo prompt. Our family had taken a vacation to the Smoky mountains and we hiked up to Grotto Falls. The scenery inspired me to think while hiking. I was in free think mode, where the sky is the limit and laws of nature can be discarded while thinking in the whatif. I had learned a lot during my tenure at the group blog, one of the lessons being to focus on and finish a project. Thanks to an amazing lady – Vicki Locey – she is helping me to not only focus on one project at  a time but managing revisions of my previous stories.
  4. While driving my daughter to work a few years ago before she had her license, we passed a field that was flooded.  There were many places flooded and in fact, that was the last day we were able to travel that road for a week and a half due to flooding. This field had been planted with corn and the tender young plants were either completely under water or partially underwater. Once the road was reopened,  you could see the high water marks,  the pitiful looking plants that you knew were going to die, and a vast field of mud. It was obviously too muddy for the farmer to get out there yet and replant the field but the thought stuck me – If a person were to try to walk through that field, they would sink up to their hips. Hmm, . . . whala! Another story idea. I haven’t developed this one very far, but it’s on my todo list.

Inspiration is all around us. I have never had a shortage of ideas. If I ever do,  I always have a plethora of projects in my unfinished files. By the time I finish that, maybe I’ll have more ideas.

What inspires you? What prompts a story idea for you? do you ever wonder where an author gets an idea for the story?

How are you liking these posts? YOU may want to check out these other authors views as well:

Til next time!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

One Phone Call


I have spent the last two days on the phone trying to find out information on the exact requirements that I will need to fulfill for my job. I don’t know about you but waiting on hold is one of those time-wasters that I could do without. It’s that feeling of helplessness, this is out of your control, and you are at the mercy of the person on the other end.

If everything could be straight forward, the instant response then things would go much smoother. But, alas it isn’t to be. The forces that be have decided that it is a requirement to be put on hold for an untold specified amount of time. Please tell me that I”m not the only one who is impatient with these things!

In the meantime, while I continue my quest for answers, I thought I might share a teaser from Roxy Sings the Blues. Since phone calls seem to be first on my mind,  I thought I’d share this brief opener.

~~~~~~~~

One phone call can change your life forever.

I’ve heard it said many times and I get it. If you are a ball player waiting for that call to the majors, if you are waiting for the call that you got that job that you were hoping for. I always thought however, that most people are just being overly dramatic and using that as a cliché’ statement.

What if you didn’t get this job, but instead got a call from a different company that ended up being a better job? What if, as a ball player you didn’t ever get called to the majors but stayed in the minor leagues and ended up being a top-notch coach? What if that call was the worst thing that could happen?

It’s always been my view that there are multiple paths that our lives could take. There are multiple opportunities presented to us and that one phone call bit was a bunch of hogwash.

Until today.

Until I received the phone call that without a doubt, changed my life forever.

DO you want to read more? 

I”ll share a bit more soon . Until then I have to get back to my search.

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie

 

Break the Mold


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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The army of plastics.

It is frustrating to see  your work crumpled up into the trash bin however, it would be far worse to not understand that it wasn’t right.

I’ve been working frantically over the past couple of weeks to salvage/improve my WIP. For those of you who read Oral Dilemma on Storytime Trysts,  it is nothing like that anymore.  For those who have read the snippets of what is tentatively titled Roxy Sings the Blues,  it’s not like that either.

‘Roxanne Winters, student, MMA fighter. A woman barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild her. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic blues singer. Roxanne Winters will be that woman. Better than she was before. Better, stronger, smarter.’  Don’t deny it –  you heard that in Oscar Goldman’s voice from the Six Million Dollar Man. OK, well I did even if you didn’t.

OK, don’t panic – breath.  That is self-talk for me, not the readers. 

I’m so close, yet so far away. There is always a giant obstacle before the goal is achieved, right? Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know but there always seems to be a few kinks to work out even when I have my  basic plot and outline. I don’t know the exact story yet, I haven’t written it! As it unfolds, I’m going to touch base on something that has been asked more than a few times.

Is Julia Mathers in Red Wine & Roses based on you? I see a lot of similarities in her personality and yours. 

NO! She is not me and I am not her.  As to similarities, I have been wracking my brain to figure out what similarities that these readers see.  We both have dark brown hair, brown eyes, but so do many men and women. When you think of a fashion model, what is the first image that comes to mind? Short, stocky, dark-haired beauty or tall thin blonde? (I have nothing against blondes, my sister is a blond and I love her dearly!)

Yea, me too. So, in essence, Julia is the antithesis of a fashion model.  Before Tyra there was Christie. The symbol of beauty in the 80’s, every man wanted Christie, every woman wanted to look like Christie.

I can only speak from my experience, but I know thousands of women can relate, so here goes.  From a very young age, I was expected to act a certain way, be a certain way, look a certain way.  My mother was very strict. Even though I was a tomboy at home, barefoot more often than not, outside until after the cows came home (we lived in the country), unhindered by the dirt smeared across my face, arms, or legs, when it was time to go anywhere I had to clean up.

I remember so many times being assaulted roughly with a washcloth as she frantically worked to clean me up to a presentable child that could be seen in public. Maybe that’s part of my obsession with being presentable before leaving the house now. Freud would be happy with the mental connection! You might laugh at my choice of wordage there –  being assaulted – but to a ten-year-old child that was more interested in playing ball  or bike riding with the neighborhood kids, when I was called home to change clothes and clean up, it was akin to me asking my own kids to do their chores or bloodletting which are apparently the same in their eyes. (I had chores, they were done first thing in the morning before I was allowed to go play. I would need much more coffee and time to share about mental scars from gathering eggs. You know back in my day . . .)

This seems so insignificant, yet,  it made a mark.  It contributed to the greater idea that I was expected to be something I was not.  I was not the shy little girl who would sit quietly on the church pew.   I got spankings because of my fidgeting. I was not the pretty girl in the party dress.  I was the one who still spills stuff on my clothes, still do! I was not the cool kid with the stylish new designer clothes. I got loads of hand me downs, it was a thrill to get brand new clothes in bright unfaded material! I was not the popular girl in high school. (Really, I knew practically everyone in my high school because it was a small school in a small town but knowing everyone isn’t what constituted popularity.) I was not the cheerleader, the pompom girl, or the beauty queen. There were so many things I was not.  It always seemed to be about what I wasn’t, that we were expected to fit into the societal molds put on us and assimilate to the plastic army.

We were supposed to look like Christie Brinkley. We were supposed to be nurses, secretaries, or school teachers. We were supposed to  . . . .. ugh.  The list goes on and on and on until one day you either give in to depression and booze and think that you don’t measure up or you wise up and realize that you aren’t part of the plasticine dream mold and decide to live as who you really are.  Are you following me?

I’m still working on accepting my own value.  I am very well acquainted with the things I am not.  What I am working on is finding value in who I AM.

In that regard,  my life experience lends itself to my character Julia.  She learns to value herself for who she is and overcomes her feelings of inferiority.  I’d like to say that I was inspired by overcoming my own sense of inferiority but I haven’t.  Perhaps I’m writing it prophetically. Yeah, instead of Chuck the prophet I am Ellie the Prophetess. Doesn’t quite have that ring, does it?  Maybe Sam and Dean will show up to correct me. Shhh, don’t break the fantasy.

My inspiration for Julia is the average woman: Every woman who has ever felt inferior. Every woman who has felt less beautiful than the fashion industry standards. Every woman who has sold themselves short for the attention of a man who disrespected them. Every woman who struggles with their sense of self-worth. Which I believe includes every single woman on the face of the earth over the age of twelve.  Did you know that even Christie Brinkley sees faults in herself? I don’t know what they are, but I know human nature.  Trust me – she sees them.

I am still learning how to be me. I know that sounds weird, but it’s  true. There has always been these expectations put on us by our parents, society, our peers and by ourselves. As life plays out, we discover who we truly are and who we aren’t.  I was never cut out to be a nurse, I accepted that early on. Trust me it’s best for all of us.  I was never cut out to be an Olympic gymnast, my rendition would look more like a Carol Burnett rerun.

One thing I have always been gifted with is a vivid imagination. It got me into trouble – often. That same imagination fuels my mind with story ideas. Well, with the addition of coffee.  Coffee is my catalyst. I think maybe today I’ll have a little Irish coffee.

Do you struggle with aspects of your self-image? Do dudes struggle with self-image or inferiority? How dull would it be if everyone conformed to the Stepford plan? Variety is the spice of life and some of us are a little spicier than others.

So why do I go back and rehash over my first book when I am in the trenches with Roxy And Devon?

Because my lovelies, I’m running a special deal over at Amazon.

For the next two days, you can get your copy at 60% off! What are you waiting for? Go get yours now while I get back to wrecking Roxy’s world. Errr,  I mean,  helping her discover who she is. Yeah, that’s it.

Go HERE to get your copy now! 

Write on my friends, and be yourself!

Till next time –  Ellie

 

#MFRW Best Friends


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‘Member when I said I was adding a new thing? Yeah, this is it. A blog Challenge. Like I don’t have any other thing to do. *Laughs uncontrollably* OK, now that we’ve had a good laugh.  You know me though, over achiever! Anyhow. . . I love a good challenge.

It’s week 5 of the 52-week MFRW blogging challenge. They said that it’s never too late to join, so I am jumping in at this point. I have to give you fair warning, I feel compelled to “catch up” and post the previous ones as well,  just not today.  To learn more and join in on the fun, go to MFRW.

This week’s topic is Meet My Best Friend. I can’t just pick one.

On one hand, my best friend forever would be my hubby.  He’s the yin to my yang. We are complete and total opposites in our personalities, yet we have common values. I’m outgoing and talkative and he’s the quiet reserved type. I’m creative, he’s analytical. It causes some problems at times but things are never boring. I’ve often joked that our problem has never been a lack of passion, but rather misdirected passion at times. Passion that has resulted in heated arguments. Passion that led to big fights. OK, I know some married folk who will say they never fight. Good for them but how boring. I mean come on! They miss out on all that good makeup sex!

He still puts the beat in my heart. OH wait,  you don’t want me to go there. Anyway, where was I? Maybe we should move on to my bestie.

My writing buddy, my sounding board, my soul Sista chick friend! That would be my wonderful friend Misty! If we lived closer, we would be a force to be reckoned with and get into way too much trouble.  It’s not like we are twinsies or anything,  but we think alike on several points. Misty writes horror/thrillers. I write romance/drama/ whatever I feel like dabbling in. We seem to have similar struggles in certain areas, and common core values.  Misty isn’t afraid to be gut level honest with me either and tell me when I am way off base, or what the heck was I thinking? I respect her opinion and honest talk.

I have to be honest, I  have been guarded most of my life against allowing anyone really close. One part of me sees other women with their girl friends and I am a bit jealous that I don’t have those kinds of connections. It’s my fault that I don’t though, because I don’t allow anyone to get that close to me. If you allow someone close, they can hurt you. Yes, issues that go way back to my childhood days and are tied to roots of abuse,  that have been dealt with but scars still remain.

You have to give the hubs credit for dealing with the baggage and the scars. Same goes for Misty or any of my friends for that matter. I tend to be cynical and not let very many people close.  I have a million friends that I can talk to,  schmooze with, talk about anything yet nothing. But, only a very select few ever get to that part of me that gets beyond the superficial.

Other than that, my close friends are limited to a couple of ladies from church and my writer group, Chatty Chicks. Without these wonderful online friends, I would never get any writing accomplished.  We discuss life, writing, struggles, drama, and everything in between over coffee and writing sprints. This is my rock solid grounding in the morning. We share in our victories and console each other in our losses. One of the ladies in this group does not drink coffee, but rather tea. It’s OK. She’s British, so I guess she can be excused. She’s also adorable and brilliant so we keep her. She’s our surrogate across the pond daughter. The rest of us tend to be mothering towards her. Part of it is the age gap,  but another part is she is just so stinking cute you can’t help but take her under your wing as if she were our own. Each member of our little group offers something unique. I guess if we didn’t, one of us would be unnecessary. As it is, it’s the perfect blend of sass, laughter, sense, and nonsense. Each of us are on our own path, but in that small group, our paths coalesce for our morning (afternoon for Emily across the pond which also allows the non-coffee drinker more grace.) sessions of chat and word wars.

Friends make life worth living. They truly help us get by. They help us get over the hurts hang ups and hard knocks. They urge us to do better than average. They push us to rise up out of the muck and mire. They are there for you, even if they don’t like where you are, what you say, what you are currently doing. They overlook all of those things to see the real you inside and come along side us during the happy moments and offer us tissues during the sad parts. They celebrate our wins, cheer us forward, and share the Ben and Jerry’s when we have fall aparts.

Give your friends a hug today. Send them a card, offer a hug, buy them lunch or a balloon!
http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=276245

Other posts in this series:

  1. Raindrops on Roses
  2. They’ll Survive – I Guess
  3. Binge Watching #MFRWauthor
  4. Thank God for Grace in Editing!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

 

 

New Day


It’s a brand new day! It’s a new month – yay! This is the point when we get a do-over for good intentions. For instance with the blogging. Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail.

Nothing can be done for the days lost in January, it’s now a fresh month. In the past, I have taken all of my unfinished plans from the previous month and started there before tackling the items I had designated for the current month. That is a fast track to being overwhelmed and giving up before you even begin. Trust me, I’ve done it numerous times.

For instance, with my bullet journal, I had an entry on January 22, then nothing. The next day I felt nearly human again after several days of illness is January 30. Last year, I would have felt guilty. I would have made entries for each day in between, trying to squeeze something from the brain to fill in for those days, but this time I didn’t. NOPE. I simply wrote ‘And then . . . ‘ in large bold letters, with a brief journal entry about what was going on, namely, I felt miserable until my daughter took me to urgent care.

Then I made an entry for Monday with the header Moving Forward. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is my entire philosophy for the year.

Moving Forward

I have five large projects on my plate for this month:

  1. An editing job that has a firm deadline. ( I love editing for others. It gives me a chance to read their work, help with something that I am good at and also stimulates my creative brain at the same time. I am always energized to write on my own work after I do some editing for someone else and I have been anxious to  work on this one!)
  2. Rewrites on Roxy Sings the Blues, now that I have a  workable plot. (This is where my 30 index cards will be put to use!)
  3. Passing the 20-hour course for regaining my MLO license. This one has to be completed by February 28th. This is not an arbitrary deadline that I picked,  my job is contingent upon passing this course and getting licensed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again! (This is a tough class. Dry material, legal schtuff, technical mortgage  blah blah blah,  a whole lot of laws and acts and this will require inordinate amounts of caffeine in order to get through the volumes of materials I must relearn. Yes, I am regretting letting my license lapse this past year. Infuriatingly regretting it, to the point of mentally beating myself up over this decision.)
  4. Make progress in my fitness and weight loss plan. (My goal for January was to lose 8 pounds, I only lost 3. I did, however, get my behind out to the track and started back walking at least.  We’ve had mostly mild winter days. I have used a workout video that a friend referred me to during days that are cold, wet,  or the roads are bad. I’m ready to add another lap this week, and  by the end of the month I plan to double the length of that walk.)
  5. Decluttering and updating our house so we can move closer to my husband’s  work. (He has a very long commute now. )

So, of course, this is the perfect time to add something else to the mix, right? Of course, it is!

An author friend has been encouraging me to join this blog hop thing, 52-week thing. I’m already behind the curve, but I can make those up, no problemo! You’ll see the first installment for this on Friday. What’s one more thing, right?

Following the categories that I have already used for blogging,  I will on occasion – I’m not even going to say I will post every Monday because you know as well as I do that I may or may not manage every Monday. Seriously, take a look at my list above! BUT, I guarantee you that at some point throughout this month, I will give updates.

I had already agreed to share tidbits of the WIP, which will cover item number two. I will share a couple of things throughout the month on editing. This is something that I’ve thought about many times,  making editorial posts to address common mistakes that we all make and are things that you can fix yourself.

BUT, I was wondering does anyone even care about my weight loss and fitness journey? Does anyone really care about my home improvements? Renovations? Updates?

IDK –  I had thought about sharing that month’s projects with pictures of before and after, but does anyone really care?  Honestly, I am not doing major renovations like tearing out walls or adding on to the existing floorplan. We are on a tight budget here and most of these changes are simply going to update and make our house saleable.

I’m still undecided on those two points, but if you have an opinion feel free to comment or message me.

I’m heading to my editor’s desk to dive back into this book.

Write on my friends, write on!