Wednesday, December 23, 2009

pages from my Happy Thoughts Book

"The secret of happiness is to make others believe they are the cause of it." - Al Batt
Many many many moons ago I used to keep this journal called my Happy Thoughts book. I was going thru a really odd transitional life experience at that time and just couldn't get out of the slump.  Becca suggested I write down all my happy thoughts in this journal and whenever I felt down and out I could just read it and maybe it'll help make things a bit better. I have since lost that Happy Thoughts book during my many moves around the city and northern suburbs. I have actually started a new one recently. Today I felt the need to post some up tho. Maybe it'll put a smile on your face, too. Oh yeah, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!!

1. I remember one very cold winter when Becca and I were running to catch a bus (I think it was the Western bus too), we were running down a snow hill in a parking lot and Becca lost her footing and slid belly down the hill. She looked up at me and we both started laughing. We did catch the bus, but she was trying to brush off the snow and found a huge block of packed snow and ice inside her jacket. She threw it one the floor of the bus and we just busted out laughing.

2. One Halloween we celebrated Yaasha's birthday. Ryan and Jonah B. dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro. I called Rose to see what time they'd be ready to go and Ryan wanted to talk. He went into character and said to Rose in Napoleon speak, "Rose! I need to speak to Pedro." I'm guessing Jonah got on the phone and said, in Pedro speak, "Hola. This is Pedro. I'm still building a cake."

3. I went to visit Jay and Aive in Texas one summer. Aive was pregnant with Bailey at the time. The family wanted to send them some goodies with me so they gave me some hand-me-downs for Aive and some clothes for Jay. None of the clothes fit Aive at the time. Plus, they were so UUUUUUGLIEEEEE!!!!! Aive gave us a mini fashion show of the clothes that they gave her. Could not stop laughing.....

4. Vince, Becca, Tiffani, and I went to Bobby's house last year on Christmas Eve. Nino, Jen, Jonah L. and Miguel were there too. We played video games, ate, and drank. Then the boys opened up their gifts to each other. Bobby gave all of them the lovely gift of porn. Someone gave Bobby inflatable boxing gloves. We ended the night with porn on the tube and boxing matches.

5. In high school Jacky came over to my house one day during our lunch break and showed me how to cook hot dogs in the microwave without exploding.

6. When Laura was a baby the only thing that would make her stop crying is to take her to an old radio so she can push the buttons and make things get really loud. She smile sooo big with no teeth.

7. When Kathleen was little she got her head stuck in the banister of our cousins Gene, Ben, and Brian's house. We had to butter and oil her head to get it out while she screamed bloody murder the whole time.

8. Last winter I let Simon out. There was snow on the porch steps and all over the yard. First, he slips off the steps. Then, when he went to lift his leg up to pee, he back leg slips and he falls.Then, he goes and tries to poop and he front paws slip and he goes face down into the snow. Last, when coming up the stairs, he slips....again....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

 "Never to suffer would never to have been blessed." - Edgar Allan Poe
 You know when there are days that you will remember for the rest of your life? Kind of like your first kiss, the time when your boyfriend says that he loves you, an argument that you have with your parents and you yell out, I hate you, when you really don't..... One of the days I will always remember is Wednesday, November 18th, 2009.

As I was on my way to work, on the train, no doubt, I get a call from my doctor. I noticed something off on one of my breasts. Something like a rash of some sort. (I know, this is mad disgusting) Unfortunately I've had something like this before when I was in high school and it turned out to be a fungal infection (yeah, I know, totally gross right?), but after all the stuff I went through with aunts on both my dad's side and my mom's side suffering from breast cancer I knew I had to get this taken care of. I paid for some anaerobic and aerobic swab testing to be done twice, two weeks apart, and had a friend of the family that is now my  temp doctor receive the results of the tests. Mind you all, I don't have insurance right now since I've been on and off unemployed the past year and a half. COBRA's already gone and I haven't stayed long enough at my previous job to be eligible for health insurance. I've been so careful with my health since I had to put it on the backburner til I can get myself back with a stable job and such. I work at a job now where I can receive insurance even being part time and I am looking into it. This is something that I just couldn't wait on tho.

So, about this call, I got some really disturbing news. The tests came back negative for fungal infections, but positive for cancer cells. I'm like, WTH?!?!?!?! At first he even thought it was a fluke and waited for the second set of swab results to come and again it came back positive for cancer. I told him that from my last mammogram (because I had an aunt that was diagnosed with breast cancer I felt the need to be on top of it to make sure that I don't have it so I got a mammogram) there was nothing there. He told me that given the fact that I now have history of breast cancer, he looked into other forms. I have a rare form of breast cancer called, Paget's Disease.  When he found this out, he felt the need to call. Granted I was kind of pissed off that he calls me and tells me on my cell phone, WHILE I'M ON THE TRAIN TO WORK, but I calmly asked him if I had time to wait til January when I have better insurance. He said yes, but he still wants to do a couple more tests. I honestly can't afford anymore tests, but I'll do the best that I can.

In case any of you might be wondering, this is the definition of what I might have:

Paget's (PAJ-uts) disease of the breast is a rare form of breast cancer, accounting for less than 5 percent of all breast cancers. Paget's disease of the breast starts in the breast ducts and extends to the skin of the nipple and to the dark circle of skin (areola) around the nipple. Paget's disease of the breast isn't related to Paget's disease of the bone, a metabolic bone disease.

In case any of you might be wondering, this is what I will have to go through if I do have it:

Paget's disease of the breast usually requires surgery. Which type of surgery you need depends on the condition of the skin around your nipple and how advanced the underlying cancer is.
Surgical options include:
  • Simple mastectomy. This procedure involves removing your entire breast, but not the lymph nodes in your armpit (axillary lymph nodes). Simple mastectomy might be recommended in cases in which an underlying noninvasive breast cancer exists but hasn't spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Lumpectomy. Breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) involves removing only the diseased portion of your breast. Your surgeon removes your nipple and areola along with a wedge- or cone-shaped section of your breast. The surgeon focuses on removing as little breast tissue as possible, while ensuring that the tissue removed includes an outer margin free of cancer cells so that only healthy cells remain. Lumpectomy to treat Paget's disease of the breast almost always requires follow-up radiation therapy as adjuvant treatment. Lumpectomy wouldn't be recommended if you can't have radiation therapy for some reason. Nipple reconstruction may be an option after your treatment.
Sentinel lymph node biopsy
Anytime invasive breast cancer is present, the lymph nodes under your arm (axillary lymph nodes) need to be checked to see if the cancer has spread to this area. This can be done in a procedure known as a sentinel lymph node biopsy.

During the biopsy, your surgeon locates the sentinel nodes — the first lymph nodes to receive the drainage from breast tumors and therefore the first place cancer cells will travel. If a sentinel node is removed, examined and found to be normal, the chance of finding cancer in any of the remaining nodes is small and no other nodes need to be removed. If the sentinel node tests positive for the presence of cancer cells, you may need to have more lymph nodes removed.

Adjuvant therapy
After your operation, your doctor may recommend additional treatment (adjuvant therapy) with anti-cancer drugs or hormone therapy to prevent a recurrence of your breast cancer. This depends on the extent of your breast cancer and whether the tumor tests positive for certain characteristics, such as having estrogen or progesterone receptors. 

Yeah, this is some scary shit huh? All that has been going through my mind is what am I going to do now? I'm already struggling through life on a very thin rope. I have friends and family around me that are sick, have been deathly sick, or have died. I don't have a real job. I have no savings. I barely have a relationship with family. I might be losing my boyfriend over something in my mind is stupid, but not to him of course. This is the last thing that I need. All I can think of right now is how alone I am. I can't really turn to people with this. I don't know if I have it for real or not. I don't want to bring anyone else down for that matter. Everyone around me has gone through something crappy this past year. I can't burden anyone with what's going on with me. I'm not selfish like that. I couldn't even tell Becca because of her fundraiser that went down that weekend. I didn't want to lose focus on what we're trying to accomplish. Once again I'm in this awful waiting game called life. All I can do right now is sit and wait til next year when I can get more tests done and see if cancer is what's really growing inside of me. Once again I feel utterly alone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"Make your own recovery the first priority in your life." - Robin Norwood

My cousin Robin is doing great. The last time Vince and I went to see him was last Friday night. He and Jennifer were awake when we got there. Robin remembered who Vince was and even said his name. He was in the process of removing the leg massagers when we walked in. It was nice to see him moving around a lot. His face is still a bit slack on the left side, but I'll take it considering he's improving pretty much each day.

Today he's getting transferred to a rehab facility that's closer to home. He's sooo excited! We all are. To think 2 weeks ago he suffered a double stroke. This awful waiting game with him is finally over and done with.

Thank you all for good thoughts, prayers, good mojo and juu juu. It's been a journey, and I know it's not over just yet. But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Health is not valued till sickness comes. - Dr. Thomas Fuller

I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. I know that you're angry. I know that you're upset. I know that all you want to do is go home. Trust me, if I had the power to take your pain and frustration away I would. I would trade places with you in a heart beat. There are so many people that love you and want you to be healthy again. You have so much to live for and I wish that I can help you see that.

I know that I haven't seen you often. Regardless of you being sick now or even when you were better before. I wish I can turn back time and spend everyday with you. I wish that I was there when you needed me the most. I wish that I can make the family see and understand that this is not the way that you should be. That this is not how you want to live the rest of your life. And that we need to work together as a family to make you comfortable.

I want you to know that we are all doing our best to help you in any way that we can. We will make things better for you, I swear. We all love you so damn much. You have shown us your strength and your willingness to survive. Please don't give up. Now is not the time. Please be patient just a little longer. Help us help you. That's the best thing that I can tell you right now.

I miss you and I love you and I wish that this didn't happen to do.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here I come to save the day......

The crisis of yesterday is the joke of tomorrow. - HG Wells

So over the weekend it was Halloween. Becca and I dressed up as X-Men superheroes. Bec was Rogue and I was Psylocke. We went around the whole city with our zombie friend Tiffani, going to house parties, loft parties, clubs and bars. We didn't get home til pretty much 6 in the morning the next day. It was great fun to get a chance to be someone else for a night and not be me. I was Psylocke, the psychic ninja! I possess telepathic and telekinesis powers. I'm vicious with a kitana sword. I can fight and win over injustice and empower all evil things that go around me. Like I said, it was a great night!

Now, back to reality. Last Thursday, after working an 8 day stretch and a 10 hour shift at work, I'm on my way walking thru the tunnels of the building that I work in while reading my text messages. I received quite a few texts from my family saying that I had to call my cousin Robin's girlfriend Jennifer right away. I then noticed that I missed a few phone calls from my other cousin Jay's wife Aive. So I call her right away. As I'm getting into Vince's car, I'm talking to Aive and she's telling me that Robin suffered two strokes, one on each side of his brain. They are in the process of getting him on a Flight for Life to another hospital that specializes in stroke victims that's in Milwaukee (he orginally was in McHenry) and that the doctors were telling the family that things aren't looking good and that he might not make it. Vince, being the greatest boyfriend of all time, made the decision as I was losing control to drive out to Milwaukee.

During the drive I know I had to have been babbling on with stories of Robin when we were growing up. I know I must have been nagging him too to take better care of himself because I know that I couldn't bare to go through this with him. Then I started getting worried that Vince hasn't eaten dinner yet, he has to work early in the morning the next day, I forgot to make reservations for a birthday party for Vince at one of his favorite restaurants, I still have to finish getting stuff for my costume, OMG! are we gonna do this???? He was very calm and told me that we'll come to it when it gets there. right now I need to concentrate on being strong for my family.

At this point I'm getting really tired of being strong for anyone. When Vicki died, I had to be strong for Aive. She was hurting the most. When my aunt in the Philippines died, I had to be strong for my Dad. He didn't even want to talk about it for a long time. Now that Becca's cancer came back, I had to be strong for our friends to make sure that they know that she's going to be ok or to start to nag her about stuff. When Wawa suffered her stroke earlier this year, I had to be strong for the family and help them get through this whole ordeal. It's a great pain in the ass to be the strong one all the time. When do I get a chance to be the weak one?

So, I've been driving back and forth, from Chicago to Milwaukee, this whole weekend. I was able to give my boyfriend the birthday party that he deserved and still went out to fight crimes and have fun with friends. Some time during my whole existence of being numb, mad, worried, sad, and losing control these past few days, I remembered that life goes on and that no one would want me to stop living. Even if it's for a day. Even if it's for a few hours. Yes, I had to be strong. Not because someone always has to be the strong one, but because I finally realized that life will go on regardless of what happens. It's up to us to figure out how we live it, regardless of the situation.

As of today, things are starting to look better with Robin's condition. We're still in this vicious waiting game, to see how much of Robin's memory and body function is gone. The doctors gave us some good prognoses. We just have to wait and see and go on his body's time clock for now.

I want to take this time to thank all the friends that have been there for me through out this whole ordeal. You guys are the greatest! Thank you for the prayers, happy thoughts, good mojo and juu juu, and just letting me text, vent, talk it out, and cry. You guys helped me out so much.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

self esteem check

"Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have." - Doris Mortman

After a decent night's sleep I woke up this morning feeling better with everything. I feel as if I have a better outlook on some things. The problem that I've had lately is that I've been dwelling too much on stuff that I cannot change. For example, I can't change the situation that my Bec's or my Aunt's in. I don't have a cure for any cancer. I can't make my Wawa wake up one morning and start walking and talking again. I can't make some of my family members love me for who I am, not for what they want me to be. I just have to work on what I can do and find myself some happy again.

So, I started baking. I baked alot of good deliciousness. From cookies, to cupcakes, to brownies. I'll have to post pics of that stuff later. Quite tasty, might I add. I also started thinking of what I want to change in myself. That will have to take some more time, tho. There's a ton of stuff I want to do and work on to make myself a more happier person. Positivity is key, of course.

Anyway, here goes! More to come of course :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Missing people

"Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call,
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found that peace at the end of the day.

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things too I will miss.

Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My Life's been full, I savoured much,
Good friends, good times, a loved ones touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.

Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free."

-Author unknown

This has been a year of lots of sadness for me. I feel as if I've experienced enough illnesses and death that should have lasted at least a decade. Cancer has been the worst of it all. I have friends and family that all have been affected by some kind of cancer. October being breast cancer awareness month, all I can think of is my two aunts; one from my mom's side and one from my dad's side. One aunt is still fighting for her life because cancer just can't seem to let her go. The other aunt is attempting to live her life to the fullest despite the change in her body. I'm currently living with one of my bestest friends that is suffering from complications of colon cancer. My grandmother is being tested for possible pancreatic or liver cancer as we speak. I lost a wonderful great aunt in the Philippines to pancreatic cancer. My cousin's wife Aive lost her beautiful cousin Vicki to leukemia. My cousin Vivien lost her best friend Celia to lung cancer. All of this has happened or is happening this year. All I can think of right now is when will it end? I need to get out of this saddening slump. I don't want to lose sleep or wake up feeling so sad anymore

Friday, October 9, 2009


"Only those who have dared to let go can dare to re-enter." ~ Meister Eckhart ~

My grandmother, whom I have affectionately called Wawa since I was five, suffered a stroke last April. After being in a comatose state for a few days she regained consciousness. Still, it wasn't the same. She couldn't breathe on her own so we opted to have her on a ventilator. This helped her breathe easier, but now she couldn't talk with out a valve inserted in its place. This procedure broke my heart because she was known for her singing. She would even sing when she talked. It was a beautiful sound. For awhile she's been doing great. She started to write when we couldn't understand what she was trying to say. Eventually she got to talk again with a PMV inserted in the ventilator's place. These were the days that me and my family cherished because she could talk and sing for a little while. This also meant that she was able to breathe on her own for a bit. She even got a chance to try eating again. It was great to see her drink from a straw and see her try some pureed food. Not the best things to eat after not being able to eat anything for at least a month, but still.... It was something. I was able to be with her a good portion of the time while she was hospitalized and then put in a rehab facility so I got to witness a lot. I was happy because I got a chance to spend time with my Wawa.

But as they say, good things also come with the bad. Wawa's health slowly started deteriorating when she got infections and pneumonia. These things were unfortunately uncontrollable. She became irate and very problematic for the staff that she had to be restrained. I hated seeing her like that, but there was nothing that I could do but try to keep her calm. Then family issues started arising when it came to Wawa's care so I was made to stop visiting her. Along with other things going on in my life at that time it pretty much broke me. She was transferred to another rehab facility in hopes that she would be able to go home and live with a family member. Since then she's been sent to a nearby hospital due to pneumonia twice. She's there right now and I can't stand seeing her this way. She looks so uncomfortable with the vent and being stuck in a bed for what seems like forever.

This is where I'm torn from letting go my Wawa and really letting her go. I don't see how she would want to live like this, on a ventilator, not being able to walk or talk or do anything. She's got to be feeling miserable lying there and seeing her family live around her. There is always someone with her some time during the day. My aunts and uncles take turns going there to keep her company. I go there when I know that there isn't a family member around so I won't get kicked out or anything. I feel as if I should be like them. Happy that she's alive, not well, mind you, but alive.

I get happy whenever I get a chance to see her. I feel so much love whenever she and I look at each other.There's this light in her eyes and I just want to stay like that forever. But then there are times when she looks at me and all i see is a wall. A wall of frustration and misery on her part. That look I've been seeing more and more lately from her.

I'm at a loss of words and ideas on this one. I want to be selfish and have her around for as long as I can, but she's not the same. And then there's the whole, does she want to be like this for the rest of her days, thought. All I know is that I don't know how to get that light back. I want it back so bad.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fundraising restlessness

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." - Thomas A Edison

A little about myself since I really haven't put much in here yet. I live with one of my bestest friends, who has cancer. Her name is Rebecca (but we call her, Becca, Bec, Becs!!!! just not all at the same time).

The type of cancer she has is Colon Cancer. No, she is not over the age of 45, She was actually 24 when diagnosed. She is currently on chemo. No, she did not lose her hair. Altho it did thin out at one point, she does have the longest eyelashes ever! Because of this cancer she was forced to "give up" her colon in order to survive. No, she does not have an ostomy bag (a bag that collects poop out of her body). She has a K-pouch which is internal. It was made with her large intestine and she "flushes" with a tube that's inserted into her abdomen. No, it doesn't hurt her. But sometimes it can be a pain in the ass.... no pun intended. Money has been tight with her and her family due to this horrid disease. Her family and friends have thrown several fundraisers to help out. I, myself, have thrown a few fundraisers as well. Some have been successful, but the last one didn't turn out as good as planned. That was actually my fault from the get go because I had other things going on. But, that's another story that will be addressed at one point. Either way, I now want to put something quick together to help her out. I just haven't figured out what and where to do it.

Fundraising has been a passion of mine lately. I got laid off back in December, which really was awful on my own mental state. I felt useless and so depressed about the whole thing. It was so hard to try to find a job in the winter time, especially in retail. Businesses were laying off people left and right, or they put hiring freezes. What did I do in between looking for jobs and feeling sorry for myself? I planned fundraisers. I currently now have a job with Banana Republic as a Sales Associate in the downtown area of Chicago, IL. So I haven't thought of fundraising up until now. Bec had a setback last month that scared the hell out of everyone that cares about her. The best way to describe it is that she almost OD'd on chemo. One of the chemos that she's been on has an uncommon side affect that gives her toxicity of the liver, which made her lose weight, zap her energy right from under her, dehydrates her, it was awful to watch. She couldn't work, she could barely eat, she didn't even have the strength to take a shower. Now she's doing great cuz her powerhouse doctor took her off chemo for a bit. Just to give her body a rest. As she's enjoying herself by eating whatever she can (within her dietary restriction), drinking whatever she wants (one of the chemos gave her neuropathy which is sensitivity to cold), and being able to do whatever she feels the desire to do, I still can't help how her getting that sick hurt her and her family financially. I know that I really can't do much, me still receiving unemployment while working part time hours, but I can at least do this. So, I want to try to figure out something. Any ideas, feel free to drop them. That would be great.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

staring into the light

"Find solace in the idea that not everybody can stare into the light for too long. For those who do recognize it, they shine with you."

This is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I have so much to say, but not really knowing how to say things. Or, just afraid to say them. I know this is a really short posting, but it's just a beginning. Stay tuned for more.....