We Are Your Neighbors

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In a time when our government has decided it’s okay for first responders and medical providers to allow people to go untreated and die, on the grounds that their religious beliefs come first, we need to examine this statement.

Would this be happening if we took the time to realize we are all human beings, with hopes and feelings and loved ones?
If those cheering for this legislation knew the actual people who will be turned away, could they still look them in the eye and be okay with this?

I am one of “those people”.

I could be denied medical treatment and be allowed to die, if a first responder decides to use these protections to make me wait for someone who will help me.
Children of LGBTQ parents could be refused care (and have been).

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My wife and I can be denied medical care under the new government mandate.

What is so wrong with this country that fear and disconnection has brought us to this place?
It has become so easy to judge others from our living rooms, and from behind our keyboards, that we now have empowered a government that is advocating for the legalized genocide of those seen as unworthy by one religious group.
Think about that for a moment.

We have to do better.
We have to bring back connection, love, and hope.
Get out and talk with your neighbors.
Make a kind gesture towards someone every day.
Many people are hurting right now and the answer is inclusion, not exclusion.
We must do more, do better, for ourselves and our neighbors.

I am relating this back to myself, but in reality there are far more vulnerable people already suffering from discrimination where they live. I am speaking up for them and hoping if I’ve inspired you in any way, or made you smile, you will see why we have to stop this kind of discriminatory behavior.

It’s time to take back our future with a movement of listening to one another, respect, unconditional love, and empathy.
Get out from behind your keyboard and volunteer somewhere. Speak up for those who need help. Connect with humanity and the struggles we are all enduring.

Let fear go and embrace compassionate living.

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It’s Okay to Be Different

 

It’s okay to not be doing what everyone else is doing. It’s okay to not want the same things everyone else wants. It’s okay to live your life in the way that feels right to you.

Judgement, bullying, and responding to others without hearing what they’re saying is easy via social media. It makes us feel small and defeated. More of us feel like we are alone in the world than ever before.

We want to fit in and be accepted, and trying to make that happen in a world that screams for conformity forces our emotions down. It creates overwhelming emptiness, and a disconnect from our true feelings.

It causes us to create relationships based on false realities. This is one reason why we can so easily talk over and dismiss others. When you’re disconnected, you don’t empathize with others. You are able to name call, mock, and decide who is or isn’t worthy in your eyes. We need to change this, starting with ourselves.

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In this moment, quiet the voices around you. Tune out your to-do list, the television, the voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough. Give yourself the gift of ten minutes of “me time”. You don’t need to check your email or to see how many people liked your last post, to be happy or fulfilled. Just breathe and enjoy the moment. Think about something that gives you joy.

It’s not about buying things. It isn’t about promotions, money, or even control. It’s about listening to your gut and your heart. It’s about getting back to the wonder of simple things. It’s about what you tell yourself you don’t have time for in your daily life. Ask yourself this – What you would do if you didn’t have to worry about a paycheck? How would you invest the time you have on this planet?

That is your path, and it’s what we neglect when we get caught up in the expectations of our daily life. What would happen if you chose to slow down? To get off of the fast track? What if you let yourself play more? Rest more? Breathe and laugh more?

It’s okay to be different. We are caught up in the cycle of what we are told is acceptable, but when we quiet that voice, and tune into our inner calling, we find happiness. True joy and fulfillment lives there.

Be different. Be gloriously imperfect. Embrace it and let your light shine. The world is waiting to love you, just as you are.

Supporting Yourself Nutritionally with DoTERRA – Step One – Lifelong Vitality Pack

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These supplements are key to my survival.
People talk about supplements all of the time, but there is a major difference between brands. You can choose to believe me or you can believe science, or you can listen to both and make your own decisions from there.

I started taking this combination of supplements after my first go around with cancer. I was depleted, foggy, toxic, had no energy, and wasn’t sleeping well. I would not be able to fall asleep until after 3am and no matter how much I slept, never felt rested. I could barely get out of bed or off of the couch, let alone feel motivated to do anything productive.

I started on these supplements as the skeptic I am and every day felt the same as I had before. I’d tell myself they weren’t working, because, you know, we all want a magic pill that works immediately.

After 3+ weeks, I woke up one day and did my usual move to the sofa to watch Netflix. I realized I wanted to get up. I wanted to go outside. I did go outside and I sat on the deck listening to the world around me. It was a small shift, but it was wonderful. The next day, I felt the same. After a few more days I decided I wanted to make something. I started painting on a few things I had laying around.

This pattern continued until I reached the level of wanting to create and interact with the world more. I began to realize I was thinking more clearly. I wanted to eat more food. I was beginning to feel tired around midnight and sleeping deeper. My body aches were lessening. My feelings of depression lessened. Basically, I was given my life back.

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At my oncologists office, or when I spoke with others who had experience with cancer treatment, they couldn’t believe how good I looked and how quickly I was moving on to new things. I kept hearing it takes a year to detox after chemotherapy, yet I was thriving after a few months. The only thing I did was to add these supplements and a few other essential oils to my daily routine.

I can tell people how my life has changed and they can choose whether or not to believe me. If you know me, you know I am not someone who tries to convince people to buy things unless I’ve been convinced. If you don’t know me, I will tell you I am a diabetic who has survived both a major head on collision, and chemotherapy. I’m not some super healthy human specimen, who defied the odds. I am someone who was desperate to feel better and found something that works. It isn’t one magic pill. It’s a whole food, sustainably sourced, bioavailable, nutritionally balanced set of supplements that feed your body what it needs to function at optimal levels.

Now, if I run out and stop taking them for more than 3 days, I feel the difference. I don’t sleep as well and my aches and pains come back. As soon as I start them again, I get back on track. I am not taking ibuprofen like I was (3 times per day) for the residual issues from my car accident. I also took these my second time through chemotherapy, and am convinced they kept me nutritionally balanced when I often didn’t want to eat more than a protein shake. The systems of the body are supported and nutritional needs are met, even when you can’t take the time to eat well. These supplements make up for the lack of nutrients in the average diet, as well as what we are lacking in the soil we grow food in today. I don’t know anyone who can’t benefit from taking them.

If you want to feel better, support your body and brain health to the best of your ability, and are sick of over the counter medications that are bad for you and don’t fix anything, try these supplements. Invest in living the best life you can by loving your body enough to try these for 60 days. Two months is when your body is said to be using the supplements at their optimal level. Aren’t you worth that?

Please ask me if you have questions. I’m so glad the science is coming out about how great this product is, and proving the results I achieved are consistent.

Find the most recent study results here.

You can purchase them here.

You Are Beautiful

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A thought for today, and every day.

When you open your heart and share who you really are with the world, you will find connection with those who resonate with you. This is where you will find genuine beauty and happiness. They are found in letting go of society’s expectations and embracing the truth of who you are.
The pressure to conform makes us harden and protect ourselves from being different or standing out. It’s crippling and kills our opportunity for happiness and self-love. How can you experience real joy when you’ve buried who you truly are?
We are all shining stars, and are interconnected with those around us. When you let go of hiding, hating, shame, and acting out of fear, you soften and people see who you really are. That’s what true beauty is – being authentically you and shining brightly in a dark world. Step out and be seen. Know that you will find those genuinely attracted to who you are through your vulnerability.
What steps would you like to take to move in this direction? What is stifling your voice? When you look at people you admire, what attracts you to them?
Confidence? Bravery? The things they create or the words they say? That they’re not afraid to admit their flaws? Or talk about tough things honestly?
You are seeing yourself reflected in them. Embrace those qualities in yourself and let that guide you into using your voice to inspire others in your own way. You have that within you.
You are beautiful.
It’s not about makeup, your weight/body type, the things you own, or the right clothing/styling. It’s about loving yourself enough to be who you really are, and to say what you need to say, without fear of repercussions of others. Would Beyoncé or even Brené Brown be where they are if they hadn’t stepped out and allowed themselves to be seen?
I’m 50. It’s never too late to start this process. Take baby steps if you have to, but do this, for yourself and those who are waiting for you to connect with and inspire them to do the same. Let your beauty and light shine through.

✨🦄✨

Let Your Freak Flag Fly

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This is the reality of trying to take a selfie outside of your childhood home, in the desert sun. My eyes watered for ten minutes after I attempted to get this shot.

I love seeing outtakes and real life. We are all so busy trying to look like whatever we want to convey on social media, we often miss the moments of seeing one another being imperfect.
Real is charming, unexpected, and rare.

I admit that I delete the photos I don’t like of myself, but then, as a photographer who documents life, I have taken so many of myself, it would be a bit crazy, and narcissistic, to keep everything I shoot.

The point is this – trying to be so perfect that you’re no longer yourself is harmful. We are all flawed. Perfection is a myth. The more I open my heart and show myself to the world, the more I get back in return. Don’t be afraid to do the same. The world needs you, and your voice.

When we think of icons – Maya Angelou, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Bill Murray, Betty White, Madonna (for example) – how do you think they became iconic? They stepped out, took chances, were authentic to themselves, and blew us all away.

There is a reason people have such strong responses to certain individuals. It’s what we see of ourselves, and who we want to be, or what we want to say, that’s shines through them.

Dare to be you, to use your voice, to express yourself in a society that wants you to fit into its mold. Be weird, imperfect, and different. That’s where greatness lies – in digging in and figuring out who you really are at your core, and being unafraid of what others will think of you. I guarantee you will find more admirers than haters when you show yourself to the world.

We are waiting to love you, just as you are. Show us what you’ve got. ❤️

Gratitude

Most people are celebrating Thanksgiving today. I’ve been reflecting on my Native ancestors and in honoring them, I decided to live today in a place of gratitude. I enjoyed the morning with some of my local community, hugged a number of people who mean a lot to me, gifted essential oils to a friend, had a conversation with my brother about our mom’s health, and now am watching movies and working on pottery. Along the way I also messaged a few people to tell them I love them and appreciate them, and shared a blend of oils I researched for emotional support with others in my life.

I use essential oils every day. I only use one brand, because as a cancer survivor, it’s very important that I know what I put on or in my body. I will not use synthetic products if I can avoid them (in shampoos, lotions, soaps, and yes, scents I wear). I’ve done my research about where different companies source their oils from, who has consistent medicinal value and quality, and which company is not only environmentally responsible (they don’t take more than the plants and land can come back from) and socially responsible (they work with local farmers and families in each region they harvest oils from and are investing in improving every one of these areas for the people who live there), These things matter.

If you’d like to learn more about them, please visit this site. I am also happy to share information and research I’ve discovered and studied. They are the only company that John’s Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Sutter Heath, and other medical and cancer research facilities will work with, because of their quality, consistency, and ethics. I will be sharing more about my journey with the oils and how I’ve improved my health journey, and how we created a miracle using western, eastern, homeopathic, and natural medicine together.

My gift to you all today is this diffuser blend I created last night. It is meant to create a space that will allow you to sit in gratitude for the things in your life – large and small.

What do you have to be thankful for today? What brings joy into your life or allows you to give that gift to others? From having a roof over our heads, to knowing where our next meal is coming from, to a pet that gives us unconditional love, to friends and family who enrich our lives, we all have something to be grateful for.

Gratitude for what we do have is the first step in receiving the things we want more of. Today, or any day you want to reflect on things in your life, and open your heart to gratitude, this blend is a great one to diffuse. 💚

Emotions associated with these oils –

Lime – The ultimate gratitude oil. It helps you begin to appreciate even the little things.

Wild Orange – Helps us taste the sweetness of life. Reminds us that there is much to live for and supports gratitude and abundance.

Frankincense – Helps you see your beauty and value to the world.

Douglas Fir – Teaches us to learn from and value others’ experiences, especially from our elders.

Arborvitae – Helps us find balance in our lives, to know what we should hold close or release. Encourages peaceful surrender, relaxed grace, and trust in the flow of life.

Patchouli – Brings you into the present moment and deepens appreciation for what you have.

If you’d like to connect about essential oils and how they can help support you physically and emotionally, please connect with me. I’m happy to share what I used through treatment, and beyond.

You Are and You Can

Are you familiar with Celeste Barber? I love following her work, as a comedian and social commentator. This delightful woman knows no fear when it comes to looking ridiculous and sharing it with the world.

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An example of Celeste’s work.

It’s time for women to stop worrying about looking silly, or not being polished and perfect. We burp and fart and eat and poop. We have pores and body hair. We are human. We have become so airbrushed and photoshopped in every representation we see that it’s impossible to achieve what society tells us to.

It’s time to be us, by embracing our wrinkles and muffin tops and scars and grey hair. That’s where true beauty lies. When we see women we admire, like perhaps Meryl Streep, or Kathy Bates, or Celeste, ask yourself why. I often hear, “I wish I could do that”, or “I wish I were brave enough to do that”. You are and you can.

You can take baby steps and start small or you can shave your head and stop shaving your legs. You are you and that is a beautiful thing. Embrace that.

•Dance without caring what you look like.

•Go out without makeup on.

•Take a day when you’d clean the house and stay in your bedroom with snacks and a journal.

•Take a nap, even if you have to cancel that non-vital meeting or appointment.

•Eat toast or cookies in bed without worrying about crumbs.

•Let your dog cuddle on the couch with you.

•Order the hamburger (or veggie burger) and eat it when you go out to a restaurant without worrying about people judging you. (I love salads, but too many women feel they have to appear to be eating tiny portions to “maintain their figure”. Just say no, unless you’re craving a salad.)

•Treat yourself to a desert when it sounds good.

•Don’t say, “but I couldn’t”, about anything you really do want to do/eat/achieve.

•Take time for yourself and things that feed your soul every day. Even five minutes will increase your joy.

Remember that you have one life and if you can’t find joy or peace in your existence, you need to step back and reevaluate. Simplify or step out of your box more. One thing I’ve learned is that once it’s over, there are no do-overs. When facing your mortality, please don’t find yourself saying you wished you’d done it all differently. Don’t wait. And definitely surround yourself with images of women like Celeste, who are doing it their way and succeeding. ❤️

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Another example of Celeste’s work. “Don’t Stop Believing” – perfection.

Where the Heck Have I Been?

I’m sitting in the chemo room at my oncology office. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I haven’t shared what’s happened with my last go around with cancer. I simply went quiet here. I have a private Facebook page for my friends and a public page under Fear is a 4-Letter Word, but I’ve neglected everything but my personal page for too long. It’s time to get back to writing and sharing with the world.

So, what happened to me? Well, I will try to summarize it for you. I completed full chemotherapy in June and waited for my doctor to order a PET scan to see what was going on in my body. We knew back in January/February that things looked grim. I was told to hope for a miracle.

It was the kind of news that is depressing, paralyzingly, horrifying, life-altering, and makes you want to scream and cry. Check to all of that. There’s much more attached to that news and how it affected my life, but I’ll write more about that later.

For now, let’s focus on that PET scan. I was expecting news that we had knocked back the cancer, but that it was still present. My wife did too. I’m not even sure what my doctor expected the results to be.

He called me on July 4th, while I was at a friend’s house. When I saw the name of the oncology office pop up on the screen, I thought it was just a reminder call about an appointment, so I didn’t answer. He left a voicemail asking me to return his call, that he had news for me. I was in the car on my way to see my wife when I listened to the voicemail. I started crying. I knew he wouldn’t call to give me bad news on a holiday. We were on speaker phone with him when he gave us the news, “You have no active cancer in your body”. We cried more and celebrated.

I have stayed on one chemo drug since June, as a preventative. Every three weeks my blood and urine are checked and I am given an IV with 30 minutes of the drug. My hair has grown back, although I’m now more comfortable with a shaved head. I don’t have nausea anymore, but I do have headaches. It’s tolerable and I’ve learned to manage/live with it.

I have returned to a somewhat normal life, although I have less energy and other physical issues that are taking a while to improve, mostly due to muscle weakness from so much inactivity. I have good and bad days. I was suffering from serious memory issues, but I’m regaining more ability in that department now. I am fortunate and am able to work around the remaining issues I have.

All of this has allowed me to focus on what I want to achieve with my life, and to lay the foundation for those things. I know what statistics show, but we achieved the miracle my doctor told me to hope for. I will not give up my life to worrying about this disease. If I expect it to return, what kind of life is that? I am staying positive and maintaining my natural health plan (more about that soon).

I am a survivor and am here to share my story and my journey. I have another chance and I’m going to use it.

❤️Love & Gratitude❤️ Kelly

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THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO GET A CLEAR SCAN.

The Things We Carry

Last night I attended an event where the speaker discussed how to use doTERRA essential oils to help you establish boundaries, let go of emotional and energetic “hooks” that are stuck in you, and how living your purpose is something we owe ourselves and the world. Desiree Mangandog is an inspirational human being. She is a vibrant and joyful person, without an ounce of fake concern. She shared openly with us all and welcomed us to join her in her place of joy.

After the event, I walked up to Desiree. I’ve been feeling so many things over the past few weeks and the fact that it can be completely overwhelming means I don’t always know what to say to people. Let’s face it, I’m an introvert much of the time, so even though I am able to be outgoing when I need to, there are some situations where I’m overwhelmed with emotion and words don’t come as easily. This was one of those times.

I was able to say hi and she hugged me. She immediately had me turn sideways next to her and she began tapping on my back and rubbing between my shoulders in a circular motion. She kept making gestures with her other hand, as if she were sweeping negative things away. She told me I am carrying a lot of spirits with me and kept working on me. I stood there, reflecting on what she was doing and saying. I am a grounded person who is pretty good at creating boundaries and keeping negative people out of my life. She then told me I need to work on my boundaries.

After she was finished, I reflected more on what she had said and it hit me, I am carrying the hopes, love, expectations, and fears of many people right now, as I move through treatment. It’s a road that I’m fortunate enough to be traveling with a wonderful support system. Many people are invested in my beating cancer. It’s a gift. At the same time, it’s a lot of pressure to survive and thrive, when people are behind you, wanting you to win. I want to live. I want to beat this and prove that I can do it. We are all waiting for good or more bad news. I want to deliver good news, but thinking about the entire situation is stressful.

When I’m enduring whatever treatment throws at me, scans and blood draws, nausea, etc., I am doing so alone. The pains and aches and need for endurance is all on me. When I think about it in the context of energy and what I am carrying with me every day, she was right. I am carrying spirits with me. I have been putting a lot of pressure on myself to do everything right this time and to not screw it up. I feel like I can’t let down my wife, my friends, and all of those rooting for me. My new job is to let that go, to the best of my ability. Believe me, I care about the feelings of all of these people I’m carrying with me, but I need to try to distance myself from the weight of the outcome.

I’ve been working on mindset and this is a solid next step in maintaining a positive attitude. When we keep carrying around old hurts, damage, abuse, and negative past events, we don’t give room for happiness and joy. Healthy boundaries and limiting access to your life, for those who make you feel bad, are crucial. Yes, cancer came in and threw me around with repeated doses of bad news and negativity recently. It’s not something that’s been easy to work through, but I’m refusing to let the negative hang over me every day. I may get a twinge, but then I want to reconcile it and get back to thinking my usual optimistic thoughts.

I highly recommend finding a morning ritual or bedtime ritual (or both), where you start keeping a gratitude journal and spend a few minutes focusing on the good in your life. I have a ritual where I diffuse certain essential oils in my bedroom when it’s bedtime. I sit in bed and focus on positive things I’m grateful for. I then apply other oils that help support healthy rest and then I’m off to sleep with a happy heart and mind. We should all be letting go of the day before going to bed. Give your heart and face a lift, and focus on being grateful. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily cycle of complaints and judgements. I am guilty as well. The key is to recognize it and to start working on letting it go. We all deserve to cut ourselves some slack and find our joy. I’m determined to get myself to that place and to stay there as much as possible. You should join me. If you’d like more information about my rituals and what I use, feel free to message me. I am happy to share.

Week 1 in Chemo Town

Have you ever cried in front of a medical professional? Today that happened to me. Of course I’m being bombarded with emotions and craziness right now, but that wasn’t the direct cause. It had everything to do with horrible pain in my low back/hip, while laying on a hard surface for a CT scan. The pain became worse and worse until my hand started to shake and then the tears came. This is what I’ve been working with since the last time I wrote. The MRIs that were needed to diagnose my pelvic/low back pain brought on pain like I’d never experienced. I am able to tolerate a lot of things and have learned with medical procedures to just try to stay calm and go with it. This was different. I almost passed out during the first MRI and had to go home and come back the next day for the second one. They thought if I took oxycodone before the next session, it would all go smoothly. Nope. It did nothing and I had to stop three times to get through the entire process.

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My friend Rachel managed to capture this photo of me getting ready for my second MRI.

I will always be honest about what procedures are like. Every other person I’ve ever spoken with has cruised through an MRI without any incident. Apparently, there is a very small percentage of people who suffer excruciating pain during an MRI. The good news is that I’m one of those rare people, so the odds of it happening to you are much less likely. The bad news is if I ever have to have another MRI, they will probably have to sedate me for it. Sigh. Being rare isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Being rare and not having blood markers for cancer has definitely not helped, in terms of my recent diagnosis. It would have been great to have known sooner, but it couldn’t be helped. I’ve had to inform my brother of being rare and not having blood markers, so he and his kids will know to ask for further testing if anything seems suspicious.

My doctor placed my port a week ago. It’s implanted in the chest and runs up through a vein in your neck. It grosses me out, but it’s worth it to avoid suffering through constant IVs. The nurse just has to “plug in” to the port and you’re pretty much good to go. It’s sore, bothers me, and I wish I didn’t have to have it, but I do. I’m still watching bruises from the many IVs I’ve had over the past couple of weeks disappear. This is easier. I did have “weeping” after surgery, because I’ve had to stay on Advil to keep my pain levels down. Fortunately, it finally stopped. I’m including photos, so if you’re squeamish, I apologize.

Last Thursday I had my first chemo treatment of this cycle. My doctor has decided to give me the full dose of both drugs one week and then two weeks off. The cycle will repeat 5 times. Last time I had to go in every week and they gave me less drugs, more often. I had some nausea, but it only lasted a couple of days. I did okay with the full dose, until a couple of days later. The nausea started and I’ve had trouble getting food down without feeling like it might come back up. I haven’t vomited, but I have to be aware of what sights and smells will make me feel queasy. I tried CBD capsules for the nausea and it made me sleepy and did wonders for my low back.hip pain. It’s now been five days and I’m still really nauseous. My job right now is to make sure to feed myself.

Today I had my first appointment with the radiation doctor. The MRI did show that there is cancer present in my L5 vertebrae and sacral area. This means the cancer has metastasized and is present on the bone. They say it isn’t bone cancer if it starts as a different type of cancer and spreads to the bone. I just know it’s been painful and I want it gone. The plan is to hit the area with radiation every day, M-F, for two-three weeks. I’ll be doing it simultaneaously with chemo. The hope is that it will shrink the bad cells and give me less pain, while the chemo gets in there and kills them off. Makes sense. I just know this won’t be the easiest path. Chemo has it’s side effects and so does radiation. We shall see what happens.

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After today’s prep for radiation treatments. You can barely tell that I cried, but believe me, I was ready to go home. This is a nurse de-accessing my port.

I’ve definitely been pushed to and beyond my physical and emotional limits over the past few weeks. I admit it, it’s a challenge to stay positive all of the time and to not get dragged down when enduring some of this stuff. Today, when the doctor asked if Sam and I wanted to go over the films of where the cancer is located, she said yes and I said no. Why? I was feeling overwhelmed and knew I couldn’t see or hear any more bad news. She showed Sam and they discussed it all. I have the information I need, but was able to put off seing the extent of the cancer in my body until later. I am not in denial, it’s just been too much and I needed to keep my head clear as I headed in for my CT scan.

Right now I’m stressing a bit over “did I choose the right diet?”, while reading various research studies and testimonials. Who knows for sure? Keto or raw vegan were the two that seemed the most legit to me, from a cancer viewpoint. I feel like I have to choose everything correctly, or I may not have another chance. Things are much more serious this time around and it’s a lot of pressure. You truly can get caught up in all of the bullshit during something like this. In a moment, your hopes can be dashed, or you can feel elated. I’ve called it the rollercoaster before and that’s exactly what it is. I’m fortunate to have a wife who makes special foods for me to eat and supports me every step of the way, and friends who are invested in my survival. It can be difficult when you’re facing horrible things and you, alone, have to endure it. That said, having a supportive circle is priceless.

I start radiation on Thursday. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’d love for my port area to not be so sore and to get my appetite back. Small steps and postive thoughts. I’m doing my best to focus on that.