Whatever makes you Happy

     In 2017 I had an idea for something I had never seen in any of the professional skin care magazines that I usually read. I really wanted to get back to my writing roots.

I wasn’t sure if it would get published.
It was the first magazine I ever sent a submission too one of them and was surprised to hear back so soon. I got a email.

They were publishing it in the September Issue.
I was ecstatic and I knew that was the direction I wanted my skincare career to go in eventually.

It was an Esthetician’s point of view of Cancer and how this ugly disease makes you feel in the beauty business.
I had been in the beauty industry for most of my life and somehow no matter what direction my life went in over a twenty year period it was like a magnet always pulling me back.

Throughout my life I was told I was special and not always in a good way.

  At age five, my teacher thought I was dyslexic and brought in a tutor to retrain my brain to see letters different.
I still remember her coming to school with the most beautiful jewelry I had ever seen.

   I just enjoyed watching her talk, she was always dressed meticulously and her jewelry, well it was fascinating. Later she told me her husband was a jeweler, after seeing how much I loved her jewelry, she started bringing me books on precious gemstones and jewelry. She zeroed in on things I already loved as a little girl.

I still think of this stranger
who stopped my dyslexia before it was too late and changed my life.

I wasn’t sure what path my life would take because I had so many different interests in High School like journalism, fashion, acting, theater and, yes, beauty.

  In my twenties I was all about trying to live out  my dreams or at least for a bit.

 I did some acting on Chicago based movies and T.V. series for a casting company.

I remember working on Early Edition with Kyle Chandler, it was of his first big series. I was only in a background scene at the bar and  suddenly the director pointed to me he said “ I want you for a speaking role”. Wow, I stopped in my tracks and thought this is it. (my big break) 

He then motioned for me to walk up to the table that Klye Chandler and Fisher Stevens were sitting for the scene. Then I was just going to say something simple like “excuse me boys could you tell me where the closest bus stop is? “

I started walking towards their table he yelled “CUT” what is that horrible noise.

Then started my walk at least 2 more times to hearing “CUT”.

Then suddenly he said that noise is your shoes on this wood floor it’s ruining the whole sound through my headphones. Then he yelled for stagehand to find me soft flat shoes.

Well I wore a women’s size 12 wide, no not a normal size or easy to find in the 1990’s or ever and after holding up filming for at least fifteen minutes no size 12 W shoe was found and just like that my speaking role was gone.

  This was just an example of how things usually went in my life. I had some great experiences that I thought were normal day occurrences for most people.

  Taking some time in my life to try out acting wasn’t paying the bills though.

I also had my Salon receptionist job at the time. I did some more background work and a couple more things but knew I needed a real career.

  I was planning on going back to school for my Cosmetology. I worked in Salons since I was sixteen as a shampoo girl or a receptionist. I was getting older, it was time to be a licensed professional. 

  I was scheduled for one more film because my childhood crush was one of the stars.

  They were filming  Micheal, with John Travolta, William Hurt and Andie McDowell. It was a cold windy day I went outside the door of the Kraft food service table room to smoke a cigarette.

  I was a smoker then and I needed a light, a man standing outside in an army green hooded coat gave me a light, we stood beside each other smoking in the cold.

  A minute later a stagehand runs out and says “ Bill do you want a ride to set” ? 

At that moment I realized the man who lit my cigarette was William Hurt.

 I was in disbelief, I didn’t recognize him. Well again I was a day late and a dollar short, as  he walked away. As that stagehand walked away it happened.

My favorite actor and the whole reason I worked on this movie walked out the door. 

 We are told never to talk to the actors first and it’s even in our contract.

 This time I didn’t care, I walked behind him threw caution to the wind and yelled out, JOHN. Well he waited for me to catch up.

I was in awe standing in front of my favorite actor from Grease. At first I just stared in those blue eyes and said,’Wow they really are that blue’.

I have never seen such a beautiful shade of blue in my life, his eyes were mesmerizing.

I remember him talking to me for awhile and we talked about quite a few things.

  He told me how important it is to remember where you came from and how much he values his family and even some things they do to stay, grounded.

  One Christmas he flew about 20 family members on a Christmas vacation and just spent a few weeks being together. I don’t think I said much myself because just being in his presence was mind-blowing.

  He ended up giving me a pep talk and told me  never to give up, especially in acting.

He told me I had that special light in my eyes that not everyone has, and who knows if he gives that pep talk to a lot of aspiring actors I didn’t care. It was what I needed to hear then.

His aura was nothing short of electrifying… that’s for my Grease fans, then he said it wasn’t easy but if I could get through the toughest times I could make it.

  Then in true Travolta fashion he walked up to the coffee truck parked next to us and said give the girl whatever she wants as he walked away.

   Well unfortunately I needed a better paying job and yes I quit acting soon after that chance meeting.

  The reason I’m bringing all this up isn’t to brag about my past but it all ties into my future and how I got through some of the worst times. 

  When you are diagnosed with breast cancer they don’t use the word special. Even though you are that special and that special 12% of all women in their lifetime that will be diagnosed with breast cancer..

  Through treatments I was on so many steroids  and sometimes no matter how hard I tried sleep was something I would pray to go get.

 My mind would wander and yes little things like did you leave a mark on this earth ? If someone googles my name will they find anything? Did you get a chance to do things you always wanted to do ?

  There were so many times when the only thing that kept me going was living for my son and my husband even before myself. I needed the courage to know I was special and it wasn’t my time yet. 

  Some of my past adventures and remembering that I was special along with writing again would help me get through some of my toughest times.

  I did always try to be positive in front of my family. I would think, who would want to have to help a blubbering idiot get through all this horrible crap.I was sick almost 2 years between treatments and bad surgeries .I didn’t want our home to turn into a place no one wanted to be so I tried staying as positive as possible. I never wanted to seem hopeless even so many times I didn’t know if I was going to make it to that next Christmas.

   It also helped me remember so many of the things I used to love doing but quit because yes life gets busy and writing was a big one.

  Now here I am after Cancer telling my story because life gets busy and we forget about doing the things we used to love. The things that made us feel special when we were younger and happy.

  Doesn’t everyone want to be happy? Maybe another thing cancer taught me was to remember to do those things that make me happy.

Published by leslies2019

After being a wife and mother and then opening my own successful business as a Esthetician at 47 those 3 words, “You have cancer” changed my life. No there is never a good time to be told you have a deadly disease and my cancer’s timing really sucked. But If I can just help one person through their cancer treatments and also after, then my fight was worth so much more. The doctors give you a green light to go on with your life. But cancer takes everything, so now you have to start again. Your old life doesn’t exist anymore. I‘m not trying to scare anyone because if anyone had hoped to returning completely back to normal it was me. I never gave up hope or quit trying to get myself back but when my treatments stopped my Dr’s. dropped me like a bad habit. My plastic surgeon even left the state, but that’s a whole other story. I wish after treatment ended they finished helping with the healing. I felt like Humpty Dumpty and no one put me back together again.

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