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My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Welcome to my first blog post. I’m new to blogging, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.


Hmm, where to start? After almost 2 years of being diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and a full mastectomy with reconstruction that went horribly wrong, I just wanted to help other women or even men watching the women they love in their life going through similar experiences. 

I wanted to talk candidly about different subjects that made a huge effect on my treatment and care dealing with my own cancer. 

I wanted to hit those taboo subjects not very often talked about like countless charities and organizations that claim to help women but don’t.

I wanted to let others know how difficult it is to receive anything from these “charities”. How prejudice in the workplace against cancer, yes cancer, really exists.

I’ll be discussing pinkwashing in October, some family members and friends treating you it’s contagious. I understand it being a hard disease to watch others suffer through and sometimes we need help even knowing what to say to a loved one who has been diagnosed or fighting. I also think it’s important to share positivity and what helped me get through my darkest days to help others know they aren’t alone.

I’m also a Licensed Esthetician with a certification in Oncology and would love to support anyone going through radiation and treatments with skincare tips 

I have formed many friendships in the skin care industry and eventually go live giving my subscribers advice and helping answer questions with my professional guests and so so much more. 

Please join me for future posts to look at cancer in a different light. I prefer to get through life with laughter than tears.

So let’s do this blog thing.


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THE GIFT

 First off, I need to apologize for falling off the face of the blog world for a little while.

  I recently was the victim of plagiarism by someone I looked up to in my industry. 

We worked together on a few occasions.

But recently found this person was profiting off ideas I had talked with her about and most recently claiming one of my written articles as her own instead of using it the way we agreed upon.

I am a trusting, giving person by nature and never expected this from someone that knew my last two years were plagued with sickness.

But instead of honesty or just giving me the credit I asked for at the beginning, she lied and took it as her own.

  What kind of a person could do that to someone, especially someone not even back to work yet from their cancer treatments? 

Well I was mortified and embarrassed because I thought I should of known better to trust this person.

But  we worked together over a month on a joint project, or I should say I gave her all the information she asked me and enough for her to even start teaching classes from the info I had given her and yes making money off it. 

 My heart was a little broken and my creativity went to the waste side for awhile.

   I had so many things I wanted to talk about.

  I was finding it hard to zero in on one or even five of my ideas.

  I myself was working getting my career going again and publishing articles in industry magazines and excited about the possibilities. 

I had a new idea for an article after sending it to one magazine then totally rewording it and then another. I wasn’t hearing anything back about that meant they were passing on it or weren’t interested. 

I knew the content wasn’t the usual thing they published because  it was risky. I thought it might not be embraced by my industry but that’s what makes it so great.

It was a story of loss but surviving, strength and preserving. 

   I knew it was a story that needed to be told. 

 It was the subject matter that were making them pass.

 Then a lightbulb went off I could message a colleague that has a big following in the Spa Industry here and abroad.

Well I was elated she loved the idea and couldn’t believe this could happen to me.

 Her exact words were let’s run with this and

  do it before October it’s perfect for breast

 cancer awareness month. 

I told her how excited I was and I would love to do it together but I must have writing credit.  

 This was my one stipulation right away. 

Since I wasn’t able to do my original career due to my surgical disasters and thinking that releasing this would be the writing credit I needed to add to my new resume.

 She immediately agreed “of course”.

     I wrote the article that inspired something not   touched upon in my industry and this person telling me this as a new platform in our industry and even discussing writing another piece we could work on together and sell to others in our industry.

 This was something I was looking forward too. 

I put on the back burner for a bit my blog ,my social life, I invested every spare minute in rewriting my article and doubling the size because this person wanted it longer and more laws included with resources included.

Later I would see all that extra writing was only

 to have more material to pick from for her elaborate advertisement.

 If done right it would of been worth it. 

This was something that was a big deal for me and kind of like my baby the subject of being discriminated against after cancer isn’t new, but my idea of handling it by getting it to all the magazines with my article was never been done yet. 

I had something to be excited about it was refreshing and I was happy to be doing what I love, writing.

After over a month back-and-forth phone calls and emails. We were done, my original article was condensed, like I said before we agreed at the first call that writing credit would go to me. 

To me that was important this story was part of me not only about me but in my voice so my writing credit was the most important, she also promised to use some pictures some throughout my career and cancer. The contact info was both of us but she was clear that any interviews were passed to me because in her words, ‘This is your story and only you can tell it.’

   Her career needed a pick me up I had already given her a few ideas for articles during my treatments and she used in some articles for her blog. 

   Press releases are cheap but she offered to pay and use her name only to give it a chance to get picked up in more places because yes she was a savvy sales businessman and I believed her every word. I had never been involved in a press release before wasn’t quite sure what to expect or know that in this situation doing this in my own was key. 

   I didn’t realize that letting someone else do 

the press release gave them all the credit and creative license and to change everything we discussed together.

Now I know my best option was to run it myself, but hindsight is 20/20. ( by the way that small phrase it wasn’t written by me but I’m sure you know that I couldn’t live with myself if I was a plagiarist and especially to a cancer survivor telling their story that would be pathetic.)

  Let’s face it after two years of cancer treatment’s I really needed something to get my career in a new direction. I wasn’t physically able to practice my profession after a few reconstructive surgeries that took away most of my mobility in my arm.

The same week the press release came out my husband had surgery. Needless to say I was a little preoccupied. 

    I finally googled the article and wow what a huge disappointment. 

I hadn’t heard anything from her so had no clue if it was released. 

Earlier she claimed to be waiting to run it, till I finished something else she asked me to start.

Now I see that something else was just to keep getting more ideas from me.

   The press release that I thought was a 

  joint venture and was a labor of love from me and that  I had spent hours doing reference checking and even calling lawyers to fact check. 

Well it turned out to be nothing more than an advertisement for her company. 

    My name was merely used as the helpless victim of a story. She even changed a few facts about having no laws in place to protect cancer patients from this kind of discrimination.

This was obviously done for dramatic effect because the info I gave her that exact info from my lawyer said it was completely illegal and many laws protected me. 

My name was not down as a contact, my pictures not up and most importantly my writing wasn’t even noted as the source, all writing credit went to her and her business.

   What a betrayal by someone I looked up too in my industry.

  I would rather not mention this person’s business or name because it isn’t about defaming her personally.  I was completely blindsided by this well- known person in my

Industry. Claiming to teach  others about Cancer patients and taking advantage of the people she pretended to be so passionate about.

I am still hurt that a person I looked up to would take advantage of me and use my disease to profit her business by advertising with it.

It should have been a red flag for me after our first conversation together. I was going through treatment and asked her a question about waxing cancer patients and her response was ‘Wow I never thought of that before, well soon after she had written an article about it.

Nothing life changing, but then starting a whole 

other layer to her business by adding training and classes about it, so again profiting off ideas

 I gave her without even as much as an honorable mention or including me in what I developed.

Who does that ? Really using a recent Cancer patient ideas in your business and not telling them because your making money off of them then acting like your helping their career and having them even do more work so you can steal their work again.  

After I took the time I needed to reflect on this I realized this person made a whole career on an Emperor’s New Clothes, business. Making people pay for something they already are doing legally and don’t need to pay for but don’t realize it.

Making them get certified in the industry for something that’s not recognized by the state or in any of the state’s.

 That really is pretty genius, more than the business itself and to be nationally recognized for being the founder of a not recognized certification.

Most haven’t figured out that it more of a hustle than a labor of love because no person with a good heart or morality could boldly do this to a person especially knowing my past two years.

Suddenly I realized I need to look at this as a gift.

 Then I thought I hope that’s not my one and only great idea……kidding aside, it got me ready for something bigger and for that idea I’m going to need a contract for sure.

 So  thank you for giving me the gift of sight to see how people can fool you and remember to keep my ideas to myself and remember everyone is not your friend in business and most importantly ‘ Always have a Contract’.

It was a hard lesson to learn but a lesson that  God thought I needed.

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.

The List

D;
I just realized this week was my anniversary. 
This anniversary isn’t for a wedding or anything fun. 
 I won’t be getting gifts or jewelry presented to me in a little velvet box.
Today was a day I would rather forget than remember. 
2 years to the exact day that changed me and my life forever.
It was the anniversary of getting that call that made me reevaluate my whole life. 
Sometimes even asking why it was me that was chosen to get that call you have Stage 3 breast cancer.
Yes, my Dr. told me over the phone and that was a bit cold. But looking back I already knew it was cancer before the call. 
After being referred to a breast surgeon after my mammogram the Dr. performed an ultrasound to get a better view of the area in question. I saw the formation of lumps and the uneven borders and being an Esthetician said, “ if I saw that on a clients face I would tell them to see a Dr. immediately”. Then I looked at her with a smile and said” I know it’s cancer I can see it.”
 
  Funny how life gives us hints sometimes. 
 It’s like our mind is getting us ready for something we might not be ready to handle.

   A few weeks before I found I was sick remember watching a commercial. One I must have watched a million times before.
 It was for a Cancer treatment center. It showed a   woman getting told she had cancer, but for some reason seeing it really hit me hard that day.
 I remember thinking wow, there is no way I could handle having cancer.
 I could never go through all those terrible treatments. I would just crawl in a hole and 
die.
Well fast forward to a few weeks later and that woman in the commercial was now me. I didn’t crawl in a hole, yes my whole life changed in a minute but eventually I put on my big girl pants and tried making sense of it all.

I never thought so many people would be so scared to talk about it but slowly found out yes the word CANCER is still taboo.
 
I wasn’t mad at anyone for not knowing what to say or how to approach me after diagnosis.
I always try putting myself in a similar position when in question about something. 
I had no answer this time. But through all this I learned a few things. Some very helpful things. 
I learned how to help a loved one through their fight and even made a list to help others. I also learned through my own experiences some hurtful things.
.
Unfortunately for some there is no end to any of this and those are the true warrior ‘s.
They battle this disease knowing they will not get better and there’s no cure. Their health will continue to decline but they continue to fight. They hide the pain of knowing their cancer will eventually take over their bodies.They are the true warriors. 
The fighters that have been diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Cancer.

One of my closest friends from High School battled with Stage IV colon cancer for about six years and in August lost her fight. I watched it take over her body from start to finish.

 I saw what it was like to be on the other end of cancer too. Loving her and watching her suffer was one of the hardest things to do. In the last few months she was in her in a nursing home
 at only forty eight years old. I would try visiting 3 to 4 times a week  at first, but as her disease progressed so did my sadness and my visits became less frequent. I would cry when pulled in the parking lot and when I left. I know she could feel my grief and remember her saying some days ‘ Les, Please don’t come today, I think you need some rest I’ll be okay’  She was always worried about my health too, knowing my long road with cancer.
 I thought she sounded strong and we had more time. So I took a little break from visiting to rest my mind and body, again she told me to just feel better she was worried for my health. 
Well she passed before I could came back. Her last text to me was ‘I love you and we’ll get together soon’ 
  In the end she knew I loved her and all along the way she was protecting me from heartache.
 I stayed with her through her battle except those last few weeks I couldn’t do it. I felt guilty but now I know I did everything in my power to help and showed her I loved her and that is all we need from someone.
 
Sometimes people love you but don’t know how 
to handle watching someone struggle with cancer. If they don’t see it it’s not real. That is probably the most hurtful thing a loved one can do, just walk away.
They might not visit. call or text because it’s easier for them not to see you in this condition.
They will make time to do other things and go to parties, luncheons really doesn’t matter what it is or who it’s with but it all comes before you and when you are going through treatments just needing a little support, that is probably the most hurtful.
  In a heartbeat you have or would of been there for them and done anything they needed but it’s your turn to need them and they are too busy.
To those selfish people I hope Cancer never darkens their door. 
I could say more but no reason to shame anyone. If  they can live with themselves and that choice, then maybe you don’t really need them in your live anyway. 

Here is a list to make it easier. 
How to really help when a loved one gets diagnosed.

1. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room Even if it’s just saying, How are you doing or feeling when you run into them, just let them know you care and are thinking of them.
2. Instead of saying I’m here if you need me.  Think of things you could do and just do them. Dropping off a meal or ordering a pizza. Ask if you can take them to a Dr. appointment.
3. If they have children do something with the kids on your day off.
Remember the kids aren’t getting the normal attention and time with their sick parent, this is the worst time of their life thinking they might lose a parent.
4. Cancer isn’t contagious don’t treat them different.
5. Going through treatments make you extremely tired and sometimes even talking on the phone is a chore. Just send an inspirational text message or photo on a regular basis to show you care that can make their whole day. 6. Send a card
7. Drop something off at their door chocolates, cake or cookies.Chemo patients crave sweets.
8. Come over do some light cleaning for them.
9. If you don’t have a lot of money but want to do something nice. 10. Ask to stop over just talk.They are isolated now and it gets lonely. Just giving a short visit could make their whole week. ( call first sometime’s chemo makes you sick or tired )
11. If it’s your friend, get a few people to hang out at their house on a weekend night to watch movies or do something fun. Show them you can take a night off from going out and give them your time.Time is the best gift to give anyone going through treatment. So be there and make good memories to try and offset all the bad.

     
I hope these tips can help even one person get the support they need during treatment. The most important thing to remember is that cancer is an equal opportunity disease and can strike anyone. But just remember if you walk away from someone who needs you today will they be there for you if the tables get turned ?
  We can make this world a better place one person at a time through courage, love and hope.
 







Pride and Prejudice

One of the first lessons we learn as children is to be honest. I pride myself on my honesty and always being true to myself.  

After working over 20 years in different facets of the beauty industry I decided about 5 years ago to return to school strictly for Esthetics. Even though I went to Cosmetology 20 years ago I wanted to learn the latest protocols and machines and was so excited to change my future.

After working as an Esthetician for about 3 years I was given the opportunity to open my own studio and I was delighted. Everything was finally happening. 

My business was booming and my home life couldn’t of been better. Everything was perfect, maybe  that should have been my first clue something was on the horizon.

Well it was that time again, that time most women hate.  It was time for my mammogram.

That would be the last time I would be treated normal in a Dr. office for a long time.

My whole world changed in a matter of minutes

When a Dr. came back instead of a  X-Ray technician and explained to me that I needed more tests and handed me a referral to a breast surgeon, I couldn’t even breathe.

 After a few more tests I heard those dreaded words ‘You have cancer’ I never felt so alone, I cried uncontrollably. I was diagnosed with Stage Three breast cancer that had already spread to my lymph nodes.

It’s now 2 years later and I still can’t believe cancer came into my world at 47 it turned my world upside. I completed all my treatments of chemo, radiation, a full mastectomy and reconstruction a Hospital acquired infection that caused me  5 more surgeries and losing my implant. The infection caused an open wound that was almost 5 inches across my chest and needed intravenous antibiotics and nurses at my home 4 x’s a week..This was probably one of the worst experiences of it all. I thought I would be on the road to recovery but instead so many obstacles kept me from getting my life back. So why would I expect cancer to behave itself and stay in it’s lane ?

After everything I endured it was important for me to help others with this deadly disease.

I was an Esthetician and started researching  Oncology Esthetics.I was pleased to see it was offered online.

I completed my Oncology training during my radiation treatments and was so proud I was now certified to help others.

I couldn’t wait to finally get back to work and doing what I loved, being an Esthetician.

Cancer was draining not only on your body but on your bank account.

 So many are quick to say how strong we are and they could never handle what comes with cancer. Well truth is I didn’t plan on being sick at 47.  

I did what I had to do to survive and I don’t want an achievement award for that.
I never thought in s industry like ours it would even be in question

An industry that is full of women. Women that should be empowering each other not holding them down these women don’t know if one day they will be the next statistic

Unfortunately having too many surgeries.caused mobility issues with my left arm so going back to being an Esthetician was looking bleak and it was time to write my resume.

   I  was proud to share my 20 years of  expertise in the beauty industry  

I was thinking a change would be exciting maybe a Spa manager and or trainer for new employees and writing menus, adding new treatments in a Spa and Social media basically everything I have done for myself for years.

I really never had a problem finding a job and didn’t think this time would be any different.

  Now let’s get back to the honesty thing this is when my resume came into play I was confident and honest and shared that I wrote an article for a popular industry magazine. I attached it to my resume, being a published Esthetician was something I took pride in and shared the article happily.  

I was very confident in my abilities and even went on a few interviews. But something was different. 

The interviews didn’t revolve around my skills or my past experiences.

I was getting questions like, Do you still have a lot of Dr. Appointments ? or Are there still things you need to do for cancer? Will you be taking a lot of time off ? 

I was beside myself. They were concerned, but the concern wasn’t for me and seeing all the great things I could bring to the table. It was about my past health issues and how it would affect my current work .I  am currently trying to get my life back and don’t have any more Dr. appointments than anyone else but they treated me like I was contagious. Later that week I got an email stating they were looking for someone that could worked more hours even though that day they were willing to work with the hours we spoke about and said that hours weren’t an issue and I had agreed to be available for the hours that they shared in the job description.

Later that week a few more emails and one even called an hour before our interview to cancel for a Drs appointment she forgot about.  She never rescheduled it. That was a new one for me, just complete unprofessionalism and I dodged a bullet there.

The same Spas that will advertise with pink ribbon’s in October and call me a warrior  won’t even hire me because yes, I had breast cancer.  

Maybe they shouldn’t of been so obvious in their line of questions because I doubt they 

asked everyone they were interviewing If  they were done with all their cancer stuff ?

I might of been upset at first but now. I know I wasn’t meant to be around such small minded people. I have always dreamt big. 

I was lucky to have a lot of my dreams come true and it looks like I have a lot more dreams to bring to life. 

  I am strong because when someone tells me I can’t do something in life it makes me fight harder.

I just want everyone to remember not just in October but every month of the year.

It’s my turn to bring awareness to these Spa owners and management doing interviews 

with survivor’s. 

There is no room for this ugliness and prejudice in any field.

It’s a problem that needs to be fixed and educating people on this subject is one way to stop it. 

  Cancer isn’t easy and if you have someone in 

front of you who is a survivor they have fought harder than you could imagine. A Spa owner should be honored this warrior is interested in working beside them.

They beat cancer and really are a miracle. They can accomplish anything they put their mind too.

Charities: Time For A Change


Where do all the billions of dollars made from charities and organizations really go and is my donation helping? 

My own personal experiences with these organizations were like following a rabbit down a hole, a deep dark lonely hole with no end in site.

Am I bitter? Let’s just say sad or confused. Those are better words to describe the injustice I never knew existed.

I am extremely thankful to some family and friends that saw the need and our bills mounting without needing to see my financial records first. Some of these organizations have you fill out eight pages or more of questions or maybe submit your personal story and wait months for approval. 

Wouldn’t it just make a cancer patients life easier to send them any paperwork from your doctor stating your diagnosis and time frame of treatments and household income for the last year?

It was a competition between sick women for needed funds. Most charities only give women help during active chemotherapy and radiation. This might sound good in theory but anyone who has had cancer treatments knows that during chemo you’re too sick to think about bills and paperwork. In most treatment plans radiation starts immediately for the best results. It is fast acting but extremely damaging and the average length of time is anywhere from four to six weeks for most patients. Radiation needs to be done on a daily basis and is exhausting with each treatment the patient gets weaker so those days are reserved for rest. So competing with other women for resources by writing your personal story and everything they require is a ridiculous task. 

So now your treatments are over and your bills are overdue and your kids are growing which means they need shoes, clothes and all other necessities you always bought for them.

It’s mind boggling how many things we take for granted going from a two income household to one or even worse for a single mother that suddenly has no income and now living on welfare.

To me the hardest part was not being able to afford the little things. Like taking my son to the show or going into a store and just buying him something. It’s just another side of this disease that makes you feel worthless.

Cancer comes with treatments and sometimes many surgeries where they need their significant other for support mentally and physically.

In most cases they don’t have any more sick days or vacation days left to get paid. So they have to choose between giving needed support or going to work to get paid.

According to The Journal Of The National Cancer Institute 62% of cancer patients are in deep debt because of cancer and treatments and out of 4,700 patients about 55% debt is over $10,000 because of treatment or losing income.

I don’t think it’s necessary for me to talk about all the facts that anybody can look up themselves but just to bring a few things to attention.

I did not get a single penny from any charities or organizations during my treatments or struggles. This wasn’t not for trying either but it was due to not being able to find any charities or organizations that would help me and my family because most had all the conditions I talked about earlier.

In the later days of my illness, when out of pocket expenses were mounting, I was surprised with the outpouring of kindness and support given to us that came from my husband’s company, boss and co-workers. My previous employer also did a giving tree for my family and I for Christmas that first year. I will forever be humbled by these acts of kindness and some of these funds came to me from people I have never met. This is what charity was about to me. 

If you decide to give to a charity or an organization please check where its going and who the money is helping. While some go completely to research and finding a cure or support services, education, and public awareness, very few are available to actually help a cancer patient in need or help them directly with finances or paying bills.

We definitely need more of that. 

I think the best way to help a cancer patient directly is to go to the Cancer Center in your area and donate grocery cards or cash cards by going to the financial aid department and telling them you want to directly help someone in need. I would never put conditions on helping someone who needed it and don’t understand why it’s okay for cancer organizations and charities to.

Billions For The Cure, But No Help

I started my blog because I found a void when talking about cancer and dealing with the aftermath.

We so often hear about the struggles and the treatments of chemo and radiation, and horrible surgeries. 

But unfortunately some pretty important subjects aren’t getting as much attention as the should.

So many charities and organizations claiming to help women being diagnosed with breast cancer but really just using the deadly disease as a guise to make money.

Did you know anyone can open a charity?

The only thing really asked is to fill out some paperwork, get a tax I.D. number and wait for your state to approve your request. Even a convicted felon is allowed to get into the big business of asking strangers for money. There are really no restrictions.

I always believed in helping others that needed help. I spent time volunteering and gave money to different charities when I could because I thought It was going to help a person in need.

So when I needed help after my cancer diagnosis I thought finding help with my bills or even grocery money would be exactly what all these big name charities did for us.

Well I couldn’t of been more wrong because in the full two years of dealing with breast cancer including three surgeries in 1 month and six months of healing and not able to return to work.

 I wasn’t even able to collect a dime from any of these places.

I was lucky my husband worked for a company that donated money and gift cards to help us get things we needed that these charities refused us. 

My funds were depleting and after contacting more charities and organizations than I could count, so was my optimism.

With almost $60 billion dollars a year given in the name of breast cancer to charities and organizations and Susan Koman raising $420 million of it. We are still not any closer to finding 

a cure. 

Most of these organizations won’t even directly help a woman with breast cancer.The big charities I called or emailed told me they only have grants with money available to help with cancer research. 

I can still remember the day I called a charity for help, they said they did not actually give money but could find places near me that could help But why did they take donations on their website? 

Well after getting forwarded to another organization and another about five in all, on my last call I was sent back to the original charity. When I asked the man what his job actually was he had no answer, it was to give me other information of people that can’t help and it was exhausting, another endless search and no help in sight.

I tried other organizations and the common response was to fill out pages upon pages of paperwork then my story of and why I needed the help.Than a second part to this conditional help. It was only available during active treatments.

 So once you finished your chemo and radiation they don’t consider you in need anymore. 

None of these organizations collecting billions from people thinking their hard earned money will help a cancer patient. Most cancer patients won’t see a penny and I was one of them.

Even though so many of us can’t return to work immediately and have complications from surgeries or treatments.

Too bad they don’t know when you are in the midst of treatment’s your too sick to do anything like paperwork and asking someone for help for another thing, just makes a person feel more helpless. So seeing all the information they need from you is overwhelming.

I was competing against thousands of sick women to get money to pay for things like electricity and groceries.

Really? 

With the billions they raised I was finding none of this money actually was going to help women like me.They made it more about a competition between sick cancer patients to write the best story and pick the lucky few. 

It was absolutely barbaric.

I look forward to sharing more in my next entry.

To be continued in my next blog…….

I’m Just Getting Started

I wanted my blog to be different because I’m different. I never was a color inside the lines kind of person. My creativity and nonchalant way, and  yes denial is how I got through so many things in my life with so many ups and downs. I always had a way of putting a positive spin on pretty much everything.

 Even when I started doing my treatments for cancer I didn’t make a big deal about it .I didn’t take pictures of myself bald and put them on my social media because to me it was the worst time of my life I couldn’t see wanting pictures of such a horrific time in my life. I even wore a full face of makeup and a wig most of the time I left my house. Yes I was different I even drove myself to all 28 rounds of radiation and went alone.  

One of the few pictures of me with my son and short pink hair. This was during my radiation.

 Because I didn’t want sympathy I was strong and I could do this maybe looking back I could have asked for more help. Looking back at my treatments and so many Drs telling me I was a special case which really means I’ve never seen anything like this and your treatments are a guessing game.

 Then after not one not 2 not 3 but 4 reconstruction  surgeries with a surgeon I trusted.Looking back that was a mistake.

My last surgery  I found out my problem was a Hospital Acquired Infection through his first surgery that caused almost 6 months of an open wound that was 5 inches across and 2 inches deep it had to heal on its own and have home health care to clean and dress it 4 times a week. 

My nightmare lasted so much longer than any other woman I knew with breast cancer.

But I couldn’t let roadblock’s stop me from healing my mind, body and soul.

Even though I was stuck in a recliner for about 5 extra months healing the large wound. 

 I tried being positive again and tried again to take my mind off the negative. So I started writing again after years of putting down my pen to be a wife, mother, business owner and caretaker for my mom that also was a survivor of breast cancer.

 It  was important for me to finally put myself first.

So I tried using my time constructively

My wound that opened in October of 2018 this was 6 months after all my radiation, chemo and all treatments were done. So I was planning on returning to my own business as an Esthetician, especially because as I did my radiation I also got an extra certificate in Oncology Esthetics. It was so important for me to help other  women going through cancer treatments. 

I couldn’t wait to get back to doing what I loved

but because of this wound and infection I wouldn’t be able to do anything. 

I felt useless I had no sick leave, extra help and bills were piling up on us. 

My husband was a hard worker,  but putting it all on him because of my cancer just felt like another burden.

I thought my experience needed a voice Everybody thinks when they give money for Susan Koman or some other cancer organization it goes to help women in need. Yes a certain amount goes for the cure I hope but what about the women suffering?? Well most don’t give anything to actual people it’s mostly for grants for experimental medicine or so they say,  but actually finding a charity or organization for help that’s another story.

This is the story that I want to tell 

in my upcoming blogs I want you to follow me through the path I took to try to get any bit of help and the barbaric way these charities make women compete with each other for any assistance if it’s even offered.Help me change this so women who are diagnosed can truly heal.

Those Three Words

It seems there is a Blog for everything and everyone these days,  but my reason for starting this Blog is to be different and real about my experiences with breast cancer and share experiences that I personally never heard about with cancer. 

Like fake charities and organizations, prejudice against cancer in the workplace and so much more. Things I never thought existed until experienced it myself.

It is also a story of a girl who loved life and never took herself too seriously because she never believed she was beautiful. Even when she was being wooed by one of the biggest names in Football today and yes even when she met her 80’s Rock band crush and stayed up talking and laughing with him all night. Yes looking back that’s not normal. So yes she was beautiful.

In her twenties her beauty opened many doors which she closed because it wasn’t the attention she wanted because she wanted to work for things herself.

But in reality using the natural gift’s your given isn’t such a bad thing.

No she never believed she was special but looking back now yes she was amazing, beautiful, special and strong and a bright light that attracted attention everywhere she went. Unfortunately, the only one that didn’t see it was her.

I think before I start, my purpose for blogging it’s more important to share more about myself and how my life was before it was changed with those three words.

After getting married on my 30th birthday to a man that swept me off my feet. Not by money or fame but just loving me like no man has ever loved me before. He made me feel safe and I could feel it every time he looked at me. I knew it was a love that could withstand the good and the bad but I had no idea how much bad I had in store for him.

“You have cancer”, the worst three words a doctor can ever say to a patient.

For me hearing it about 2 weeks after my 47th birthday was heartbreaking I wanted to crawl into a ball and just cry like a baby.Here is the beginning of my story and how I heard those words myself.

I remember that day vividly. It was my son’s first day back at school and I promised to take him to Starbucks because for a seventh grader it was a big treat. He just got in the car then phone rang it was my breast surgeon on the phone. She had the results from my in depth ultrasound done in office.

I knew before she spoke it wasn’t going to be the news I wanted to hear. I remember just saying, Hello then I burst out crying like a baby.

She continued to speak those 3 words those 3 dreaded words while I cried outside the car at my son’s school.Trying so hard to control my tears as they rolled down my cheek uncontrollably as I got back in the car to take my son to Starbucks.

It was the worst drive I ever took .He looked at me and asked me what was wrong. It wasn’t time for me to tell him yet. I wasn’t ready to deal with it myself , how could my 12-year-old son be ready he adored me. Telling him I had Cancer on his first day of school.No it wasn’t time.

In the next few weeks I’ll share the rest of my story and get to the reason I felt I needed my own voice. I hope I can share my experiences so others can learn from me Through my happiness heartbreaks and my healing.