When Reality TV does right(My Valentine’s Day epiphany)

So…. I have definitely ramped up my tv watching the last few weeks. There are a zillion types of reality tv shows out there and I can guarantee (speaking as a former hardcore addict) there aren’t too many too be proud of. I am from the age of Flavor of Love, the original Real world, and a whole bunch of others.

Anyhow, there is a show that always intrigued me called Shahs of Sunset. It is about a bunch of Persian rich adults and their lives in LA. It normally falls into the same characteristics of the other reality shows. But the last few episodes one of the main characters actually organized a trip to Turkey for her and her friends. She left as a refugee at the age of 8and is not able to go back to her visit her home country of Iran. So, she worked it out for months to have her Iranian family meet up with the rest of her family in Turkey.

The idea of family is just so strong. The love that was shown was amazing. Normally reality shows just don’t portray the true human side of life. As she was seeing her family after about 20 + years I found myself crying with her and her friends. It was truly beautiful. It reminds me how important family is. Every smell every inch made them cry even more. They couldn’t even stop touching each other because of how much they missed each other.

The cliché goes that you can’t choose your family but you can chose your friends.  Well, my friends are my family. Whenever something dark has happened in my life I have found that God has always placed the right people around me or accessible to help me get over the hump or be reminded that I am love.

What is the gist of all this….. Valentine’s day is coming up and we like to make a big deal about “romantic” couples.  Love is LOVE. But why not just take a moment and just say “I love you” to the people that matter in your life in general. Friends, Family, and even some foes J


The Week of No Tears

This week has been pretty uneventful.. Dealt with snow, talked smack, worked, and ate well. The only thing that sticks out of any consequence would be the fact that I had 2 surgical procedures on Monday. One was to add back a port so that my veins won’t collapse or being burned out due to the weekly chemo treatments. And the second was to remove the metal expander that has provided me an illusion of having a breast for the last 4 years in my right side.

As I was saying goodbye to family when being wheeled to the surgical room, I definitely shed some tears. But once I woke up I just felt a peace. I prayed and it was a simple prayer but it did the job. I felt peace I was able to wake up from the procedures, and also a kind of hope that this was another stepping stone in helping me finally meet the future that I dreamt about filled with travel, love and overall happiness.

When initially prepping for these procedures, I was prepping myself to hit a serious depression. Each day with the drainage tube, my breast gets flatter and flatter. It’s almost as if I’m losing what was left of me being a woman. But, when I sat there trying to cry nothing would come. I still feel hopeful. I still feel that by the time I hit 40 I will have a nice rack like in the old days. (Yes, I was the perky breasted one in my group) It wasn’t too big nor too small, but just right. LOLOL

I’m not going to say that I will not get depressed but I’m not going to look for it. If and when it happens, I will deal with it at that time.Yes I have also been furiously playing “The Smurfs Village, The Sims, and The Simpsons Tapped out. (Why – because they help numb my mind) It is a constant balance of keeping sanity but it works for me.

Right now, I am proud that I have parents who are both in their 70’s who could focus on helping me recover as quickly as possible. A mother who had to help me bathe as if I was 7 rather than 37. A father who check the temperature and makes sure I eat a dozen times a day. Yet neither one complains. There goal is to see me smile and be the nutjob that I always am.

I was able to work this whole week minus the Monday and Tuesday and it felt good. I am proud that I have friends and family who support me and know when to text, email, or get on the phone.

I guess the point is that as always the blessings outweigh the drama.

Next week we will see what it brings, with more treatments, MRi’s and I’m sure other ways to poke and prod me. LOL

But right now, I am blessed and I will own it. And I will own that I have hope.

Speed-Dating vs Chemo

Okay, so I had been in a bit of a dating rut for a while. (Now I am with the man of my dreams)

But at this point in time it was easy to forget that I was a regular female.
Anywho, I decided to go speed dating. Now at first I thought there would be a weird stigma attached and the people who only come out at night would be there. But, I was pleasantly suprised to see a pretty normal group of people. At least the ladies were. Lololol
Upon getting there I wanted to run and that is mainly because I am a chicken who is very shy when in a situation where she is not surrounded by back up.
I found myself having polite conversation and shared even a few laughs. There was also the element where I felt as I was giving life counseling to some of the young men there.
Overall, it wasn’t the worst experience of my life but I’m not quite sure if I would choose it for myself. Now I’m sure some of you are waiting for the chemo part to come in.
Well, for me when I first began going to chemo it felt kind of like going speed dating.I would be alone and had to prepare myself to be open minded. I had to talk to different people many times repeating my cancer story as a form of polite conversation. On a good treatment, I would leave with a few new friends or associates.
All in all, its not a situation I would by no means choose for myself but it definitely help serve a purpose. Chemo to help work on saving my physical life, and speed dating to help save my mental sanity.
Speed dating actually broke up the day to day monotony of just going to work and coming home.
So, all in all I will take my experience and I will use it with other tools to keep myself going.

can i be a vegetarian who eats chicken?

I came home from work last night craving some sort of meat (Now, I have been told by countless wonderful resources (both human and internet) that meat is not the best direction for me to go. There are many good reasons based on logic and fact. But…… That does not always coincide with emotions.
Have you ever said you weren’t going to eat/drink something and then crave it more? Or worse yet, you try to diet and then you find yourself bingeing one cold and lonely night?

I think the key word is balance. I know with any health condition it is important to do your part. But… That does not mean torturing youself. Instead of doing something everyday cut back to 5 days. If you do it in small increments soon you will realize there wasn’t as much of a dependency as you thought.

Who ever said not eating meat is the answer? You are NOT to be blamed because you eat meat. (I have been blamed – LOLOL) I’m just saying, studies were made to be re studied.

I can say, you are to be blamed if you do not start taking a vested interest in your life. There has to be an accountability for whatever choices you make. That includes eating, drinking, reading, wearing, and etc.

So yes, I believe you can become the vegetarian who can eat chicken. It means slowly cutting back until you no longer require chicken. And then not punishing yourself for choices made on your journey.

Silver Linings







Silver Linings

Random trivia about me – I am obsessed with TCM  (Turner Classic Movie) and the majority of classic movies and songs. There is a song called “Look for the Silver Lining” it was covered several times by Judy Garland, whose version also became, and remains, well-known. Your homework would be to google either the Judy Garland version or just read the lyrics.

I feel like every day I am forced into believing those words just for minimal survival.

Boobs, Breasts, Knockers, Pillows, the list goes on and on for the many names that have been given to this body part that commonly can be seen in females.

Most of us who are small want them bigger, and those who are bigger want to be smaller. It falls into the “grass is greener effect” .

In my own journey, I have mentioned before that I was also the perky breasted one in my group. But for the last six years I have finally gone through awkward stage where most teenagers go crazy.  I have gone through 6 years of not having a real rack of breasts to be proud of. This is all due to the cancer, radiation, and the fact that I always seem to need to take the longer road to accomplish something.

Now that my diagnosis has changed again, I found out that I can’t even think of putting any type of implant in my body while undergoing chemotherapy. Besides losing my hair (and yes as a Black women – the urban legend is true that we have a special association with our hair) I believe that I will become officially unhinged.

I’m honestly not quite sure what to do folks. I want to find the silver lining. But this time I am fighting hard.

Oh wait, when I went to the dr it said I had lost 2 pounds WOOHOO!!!

I will keep you posted.


Okay, So what is Glam

So, what is Shades of Glam? To me it represents the concept that regardless of what nationality, creed, or religion, as women we  decide how we are going to hold our heads up high regardless of the direction life has taken us each day.

In today’s world, I think it is very easy to succumb to depression and low self worth. It is also easy to become engulfed with the challenges that come up each day.

  • The only thing that keeps us between the mental ward, and going to our jobs each day is sometimes taking a deep breath.
  • The difference between being homeless on the street, and having a full fridge is just managing coupons and the “Deal of the Day.”
  • The difference between staying calm when we are in the midst of bad customer service and strangling someone is saying the prayer of serenity.
  • The difference between shaking that crazy coworker, or telling your boss off sometimes is just a quick text to your friends to allow you to vent.
When I have a bad day, I am a big advocate of trying to figure out a way to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasure. It includes a nice long shower, singing in the car to my favorite song, getting a manicure, and the list goes on. A constant factor that keeps me from completely losing my mind is sometimes as simple as talking with my friends.
When we are rushing and concentrating on getting through our day to day, we forget that we have a network of other women who understand the same issues that we face. When we isolate, it allows loneliness to creep in and take a problem that could be resolved in an hour of venting and turn it into months of depression.
Shades of Glam simple plan is to remind women that regardless of your situation, there is a network of other women who can relate, who don’t mind if you vent, and just want to see you succeed.
No gimmic, no sales pitch, just the simple facts.

Can’t forget the lipstick

I have never been much of a make up person. Not because I don’t believe in it but more like I’m so awkward with it. The looks I see on tv or in magazines I was just not born to naturally create. But it might go back to the fact I can’t even draw a stick figure. And there is a reason why they call people “make up artists.”

Anyway, the one piece of makeup I have always insisted on figuring out to use is lipstick. But there are a zillion different shades. And I have had A LOT of misses. Finally, in college I found “the color” it was from the brand “wet and wild” it was great because I figured I could spare $.99 to experiment. The color was (and honestly still is my go to color )blackest red.
I put that color on and I instantly felt queen of the world. Even if the rest of me looked like crapola. It was as if the lipstick was my super power and it gave me the power of self esteem. It got to the point that when I didn’t wear it people would first ask me if I wasn’t feeling well. (I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing)
Now that was over 15 years ago, where this relationship started. I have spoken before in prior post about feeling vain. Or at least realizing Cancer has brought out my vanity.  But even today, as I go for testing, a work meeting, or any new situation that I’m unsure of myself….  I make sure I don’t forget the lipstick.
I know there is nothing powerful in the tube but it unleashes something in me. And not to overuse “fake it to make it”, it does give me courage and if nothing else I will look great. Lololol

Functionally Depressed


Functionally Depressed

So I started to think I was going to coin a new phrase called “Functionally Depressed”. I was a bit let down when I saw plenty of information and research on this condition. Not that I am proud of the term, but I have been living with it for a while now. About two Fridays ago, I found out my cancer is not being tamed right now, and that a trace of it may have shown up in one of my organs. I feel like I have been knocked for a loop. I’m not antisocial, but at the same time, I’m not looking to interact with too many people. All I want to think about is how I can actively do my part to fix it. At the same time, I also want to not think about anything cancer related, and just play video games, watch old movies, and eat whatever comes to mind.

The good news is that I have a job. Yes, having a job I’m sure is not what most people consider necessarily good news. But for me it is, because it gives me a reason to get out of bed. I haven’t moved far from the bed, but at least every day for a minimum of eight hours a day I have purpose. Yes, I get the fact that I purpose as a daughter, friend, girlfriend, and other things. But, it’s a matter of having purpose because my work needs to be done regardless of what is happening in my personal life.

The fight is on right now, because cancer is fed by depression and stress. I am doing the very thing that I fear which is adding to the negative effects of cancer.

How do I get back up on the horse? Well, I am going to continue to work on these baby steps of getting up and working from home. Soon, I am going to leave my house (not just to buy soda and junk food), and soon I am going to return to fighting the daily battle of my life called cancer.

Me sharing this is because I want others to know that it is okay to go through this. But, the key word is “through” this. I am fully aware that I will snap out of it. And your guess is as good as mine to figure out how I will get through it. Right now the contenders are: having a good cry, keep eating till I gain 20 pounds, or actually decide to get up and a get a manicure. Whatever it is, I will do. Being functionally depressed is what is working so I will continue to let it work.

So Basically

Back in January 2012 I made a promise to a friend. In order to support her dream of doing a Warrior Dash 5K obstacle course/run, I agreed to do it with her. Note that I had never been running in my life. I was also the heaviest I’d been in my life. With the race not until September, I knew I had time to figure it out so I did what I always do—procrastinate. When I lost my job that March I decided that I no longer had an excuse and it was time to get my butt in gear. I started researching programs that teach you how to run and started the Couch to 5K plan. Within a few weeks I noticed that I started looking forward to my afternoon walks/runs. Soon they became morning walks/runs. I love to sleep in, so this was a shocking development. As I saw my pace jump from a 15 minute mile to a 13 minute mile I started to get excited. Each week I was shaving time off my pace. I was liking running! I knew I was hooked when one day I went out in the rain because it was a run day and therefore I had to run. Needless to say, I have become someone who runs. I even ran in a wet, snowy, slushy storm and in temps that had a “real feel” of zero degrees. (ZERO DEGREES! Yes, I may need a mental evaluation.) I’ve had an injury or two and life distractions come up. But one of the ways I try to keep focused is to have a race to look forward to. We did the Warrior Dash (with a bad ankle and almost two months off just before the race for PT it took just over an hour). I have also completed five 5K since November 2012. Each race I get a little faster (except this last one, but that is my fault to allowing life to get in the way of running) and am up to a pace of less than 12 minutes per mile. I hope to get down to a 10 minute mile soon.

One added benefit of my new hobby was a 20 pound weight loss and the joy of dropping a couple pants sizes. I made no change to a diet—I eat fairly well already; just added that elusive thing called exercise. Not only is it fun, it is the best stress relief I have ever experienced. You know those times when people get on your last nerve but you know that smacking them is not an option? I hear you can get arrested for assault, and well, I don’t look so hot in horizontal stripes. Those are the times I hit the pavement and run it out.

Another thing to know about me is that I am an unapologetic sci-fi geek. While some of my friends roll their eyes when I talk about the latest show on SyFy or BBCAmerica (those Brits do great sci-fi). In the past I’ve been enamored with shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Primeval, Firefly, and Torchwood. And of course I love Doctor Who. I credit my father and grandfather for this love. I remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad while we folded laundry. One of my early childhood memories is watching Doctor Who with his big ol’ scarf with my grandfather on WGBH when I visited them. I am counting down the days to the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. I can’t wait to see David Tennant back in the trench coat. Mmmm. But I digress. “What does all of this have to do with running?” you ask. A dear friend who is well aware of my obsessions passed on a link to a DW 50th anniversary themed virtual run. There is a pretty medal and the proceeds go to the One Fund for the Boston Marathon victims. I knew I had to sign up. Now I am hooked. You make your donation, run your distance when it fits in your schedule, and you get a medal. I’ve had so much fun I decided to host my own virtual run. And what better cause than PinkForPam? To find out how to get in on the action and take a peek at what the medal will look like head over to the FB event page (https://www.facebook.com/events/410061642433095/). Since this is a first for me, I figured we will start small and open it up to 50 participants. You can also get in on the action by clicking the paypal button here. All net proceeds benefit PinkForPam:

Unhealthy Over Appreciation

I think its extremely hard to thank people who are there in the rough times. When people do something amazingly awesome for me (that hinges on me having cancer) I have this tendency to over appreciate and give them a pass to do anything they want. I consider this over appreciating which sometimes can lead to a path of long lasting unhealthy servitude

There is nothing wrong in respecting the fact someone took time out of their day to go above and beyond for you in a time of need. But that does not mean you have to spend a lifetime returning the favor. It ends up making you want to go it alone since you don’t want to pay the associated cost.

I cannot begin to count how many times I have fallen into this cycle. It is a tad bit harder for me because I tend to have a hero complex. If I could save everyone either from them self or stupid situations I would. So, this jacks me up when I simply can’t do something for myself.

Sometimes it has even caused hard feelings amongst friends. Because the ones who are always there feel slightest when someone who did one thing seemingly gets shown more appreciation. Or they watch when I begin to get walked on because the one time giver becomes a taker.

All these things can cause stress.

The bottom line is that the principle art of friendship is giving/taking. There should be no tab of kind deeds or attempt to keep up with what someone does (this does not mean staying complacent in friendship either).  Allow people to help, that may be their own personal healing technique in them understanding the changes happening to you. But don’t allow anyone to begin to take advantage.