My Street Cred Never Changed

Most of you know that last month I was honored to participate in the nationally broad casted, star studded, humongous Stand Up 2 Cancer telethon.

Some people told me that I looked nervous but the reality is, I wasn’t. (How could I be nervous when after having a zillion hot flashes my hair stayed curled and my makeup stayed on).

It would have been easy to be intimidated. Especially after I found out that I was the only non-celebrity to take the stage on eight major networks and whose broadcast was considered bigger than the superbowl (just sayin’).

But me and my punkish ways knew I honestly had more of a reason to be there than most of the celebrities did. Why pray tell? Because I stand up, sit down, turn around, do flips to cancer every day. Some of the celebs are fortunate enough to never have to think about cancer again unless they look at their free t-shirt.  I join the other millions who stood up to cancer when they get out of bed and decide to breathe.

The only street credit we need is to decide to either fight cancer or support someone who already is doing so. Here is the reality: the people behind the stage were the celebrities of the day. Most donated their time to be there.

Here is another fact: one day I will hit the popularity of Oprah (and possibly beyond) but nothing will change except that I will have paid off my student loans, bought a yacht to travel the world, ended world hunger, provided money for anyone who has a chronic illness to get not just their needs or wants. The main thing is we have to live and own our street cred. We got this!

Is Cancer a Good Wingman?

Some of you may have watched the movie 50/50. There is a scene where they go to the bar and use cancer as a method of picking up girls. For some people, that might work, but I think generally for single people with active cancer, dating is difficult.

First of all, there are the questions:

  • Is it fair to try and date anyone?
  • How quickly in the dating process do I need to let them know I have cancer?
  • Can I handle someone being freaked out if they either see or feel any battle wounds on me?
  • Will they be the type who likes to take on “projects”?

There are a dozen more questions I can come up with, but for the sake of the story, I’ll move on.

I once wrote into one of the speeding dating agencies and shared that I thought it would be cool if they have one for people with cancer (if you can have a speed dating even for people who have red hair, why not?). Needless to say, they didn’t get back to me.

The dating world as a whole is scary especially for those of us who are not dating savvy.  It can be like navigating through a corn maze. So WHAT THE MESS do I do now with this monkey on my back of cancer and loneliness? I have tried a few of the big name online dating sites because I have heard so many success stories. I decided to drink the Kool-Aid and jump in. But for some reason, even before this sickness, I have always had nut job magnetism; all the nuts try to find me. So I had my doubts that it wasn’t going to work out well for me. **Disclaimer – I know quite a few married couples who have met in that world and they’re doing well. So I believe online dating works for some.***

I promise to share some of my nightmare dates another time.

Right now, it’s been a bit easier to focus on God, myself, friends, family, work and sharing my story. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t hold my two precious godchildren and wonder about my own future as a parent and the fact that I will need to look into options such as surrogacy, adoption and foster parenting since I didn’t think to freeze my eggs before treatment began. Or even the thought of not having kids since I’m still sick.

So, that brings up another question: will that person understand that we may not be able to have blood related children together?

Until I can face myself in the mirror and answer these questions, I am not sure it’s safe to attempt to bring someone else in the mix. If I need to keep hope about overcoming a sickness, why not apply that same hope that the right person will be there at the same time. All those questions that I am assuming I need to answer will most likely get thrown out the window with the right person.

The Cheating Vegan: Defined

Veganism (n.) the practice of abstaining from and adopting a philosophy against the use and consumption of animal products.
I remember in 7th grade someone asked me if I was a prep or a guido. I looked down at my New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) sweatshirt (don’t judge, it was the late 80s) and thought, are those my only two options?
I guess I’ve never been much for labels. And as you get older, the labels just get more pretentious. Are you a vegetarian or a vegan? An ovo-lacto vegetarian? A pescatarian perhaps? How about just a plain old carnivore.
I was a vegetarian off and on throughout college and then I moved to Europe where vegetarian meant not eating red meat. I went with it. I did a stint as a strict vegan: no eggs, no diary, no honey (I never quite figured out what the whole honey deal was though). I’ve learned by trial and error. Truly more error than trial.
Like the time I went in search of non-diary creamer for my sacred cup of morning coffee. Let me say here—for all you soy consumers—that I am a big fan of soy. Beans, milk, sauce. Healthy, animal-friendly. What’s not to like? So, I thought, soy creamer—awesome. With high hopes, I put on a fresh pot, poured in the milk-like substance and…it tasted like a sock.
Do your homework. Make informed decisions. Know what is best for YOU. You don’t have to justify your choices to anyone. I ate milk chocolate today after buying soy milk. I own leather boots but don’t have a mink stole–mostly because I don’t know where I would ever wear a mink stole but also because fur just seems more animal-y to me than leather. It is not.
So, maybe I am a cheating vegan. Or not even a vegan at all. But I have learned that I need to be making better choices for my body and they don’t have to be the same ones you are making for yours.
Who am I to judge? I liked NKOTB. I clearly don’t get a vote.

Like it or Not, We are All Politicians

I have a horrible confession. The first time I ever voted was the 2008 Presidential campaign. Even when people used to say, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” I just wouldn’t complain. At the time, I belonged to the group that felt as if my vote didn’t make a difference.

I’m so disconnected from politics that I don’t even know my local congressman.

When originally diagnosed with cancer I didn’t feel empowered. I had no experience with the craziness of cancer so I decided to go with the flow of what my doctors said to me. I would not recommend this as one of my smarter ideas even though at the time it seemed to be very logical.

This line of thinking took me through a path of hardships that I might not necessarily have had to go through. I was too shy to disagree with a doctor if th

ey said something that didn’t make sense or I didn’t agree with. I never questioned any portions of my treatment plan. I felt trapped, as if the only way I had a chance of survival was by listening blindly to any person who had a title in front of their name.

But once I was diagnosed the second time, I thought, if I did it your way and it didn’t work, I need to try things differently. That is when I decided to elect myself as my own advocate. I am the primary person who should be aware of the treatment plan and be able to argue what does or doesn’t work.

That means asking questions, researching and taking a vote with yourself on what the next plan of action should be. This has caused such a big change in my life. I have found there were more options than what I was aware of from the beginning.

It is a well established fact that no one will take better care of yourself than you. So, for those who like to leave the politics to someone else, please think again when it comes to your own personal well being.