Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sketching is good therapy

I haven't had much mojo for painting lately and must admit that new ideas are not really coming to me at the moment.  Yet, I don't want to get rusty.  I decided to keep a sketch book nearby and draw whatever inspired me from the world outside.  I have always been fascinated with monuments and statuary from cemeteries and museums.  Some may find the cemetery aspect a little morbid, but I have always found the artwork and detail involved to be quite extraordinary.  I thought I would take a crack at some quick and detailed sketches of these works of art, and I must say, it has not only helped keep me sharp, it has helped me therapeutically. Some images are a way for me to process feelings I couldn't possibly put into words.  Here are a few pieces in my sketch book. Of course, I did not travel the world to sketch these monuments, but am using images from the Internet, so therefore, they are referenced.

Michelangelo's Pietà quick sketch

Statue by R. Martelli 1947, Certosa di Bologna Italy 

From a sculpture in Frankfurt Germany

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Now is the winter of my discontent

Some days are harder than others.  Some days are very lonely.  Going though cancer is never easy, but going through cancer in the midst of one of New England's harshest and coldest winters is to put it bluntly, a bitch!

I'm not a winter person in general.  I don't like the snow and the cold is very hard on my autoimmune issues.  I sometimes wonder why I haven't sold off everything I own, packed my bags and headed someplace warm to work in some little sea side cafe like Shirley Valentine.

Like everything, I'm here for a reason.  I'll figure it all out some day.  I do believe all of this would be easier if the weather were warmer.  At least I could sit outside.  I'm a nature girl at heart and I get a bit like Jack in the Shinning when I'm cooped up for too long.  My first round of chemo is over and I am most susceptible to illness due to low blood cell counts.  A shot of Neulasta helps rebuild these counts, but at a painful price.  Imagine the flu times ten.  So, I'm living a bit of the life of girl in a bubble.  I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but I do want to say that it is okay to complain. Most people only see the brave side of you, because the real stuff is a little too real at times.  I have a facebook page filled with wonderful friends.  Without their support and that of my family, I don't know how I would get though all of this.  There are days of such darkness, that no one but my husband sees.  Bless the heart of the caregiver.  We put on the warrior face, but there are times that it all comes closing in and all you can do is surrender to the pain and emotion.  But, that is okay. Sometimes you need to just cry it out...or get really angry.  Having cancer is a lot like loosing a loved one, because you feel all the emotions associated with death.  In essence you feel as though you are loosing yourself.  In reality, you are getting reconnected with the truest, rawest and most authentic part of who you are and who you are truly meant to be.  In the process you are being reborn.  You will have to willingly give up parts of yourself physically.  Whether it is your hair, your breasts or your stomach contents.  You will have to just let it go.  You will have to feel what true fear is so that you recognize what is trivial and insignificant.  You will need to connect with the side of yourself that was lost, forgotten and abandoned.  That is the part of you that is the most primal and sacred.  It is the heart of the Spiritual Warrior you thought you never had, but was there all along.  The other night as I lay in bed, I began crying.  It wasn't from pain, fear, anger or sadness.  It was from an overwhelming sense of bliss and love only similar to the moment my son was born and placed in my arms.  I felt held in that moment.  I was completely aware that I was safe and loved.  I closed my eyes and began soaring like an eagle to the most beautiful places on earth.

I flew over mountaintops, over oceans, meadows and through trees.  I lay down in fields of purple clover and could smell the earth and feel the sun on my skin.  I was a part of life in the purest form.  I don't feel this was a dream, as I was completely aware and could open my eyes at any time.  I'm grateful for that moment.  I needed it.

Last night, I had a dream in which a dear friend of mine who passed away recently showed up on my door step wearing a Groucho Marx mustache and nose.  Thank you, Pammy.  I know it was her way of telling me to laugh more.

I am letting parts of myself go and in the process learning to trust in the journey.  It's not always easy, but I know the snow will eventually melt, the sun will shine and I will be born a new.  Bless those on the journey.  Love and light.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Wolfie! My Chemo Wig!

Wolfie!  My Chemo wig!!!

I just had my first injections of chemo on Tuesday, and was told the inevitable would happen within two weeks.  The inevitable is hair loss.  I prepared myself for this by cutting my hair super short, so that the loss wouldn't be as dramatic.  I'm not very vain, so the idea of loosing my hair isn't a big deal. It's a small price to pay if what I am going though is going to cure me.  Luckily, thus far my side-effects have been tolerable and minimal.  I'm very tired, and achy, almost as if I had the flu.  I've been putting effort into meditation, healing and chanting.  This has helped a great deal on the days I am weening off the steroids. Food is still tolerable and my best friend is the bed right now.  I know the first several days are the most difficult after each injection, so I'm behaving myself by watching lots of funny movies.  The only thing I really long for is warmer weather, so that I can sit outside on my porch.  However, I digress.  I've begun checking out sites for wigs just in case I decide I get tired of hats and scarves.  It's amazing how many beautiful wigs are out there.  I've narrowed down a short and a long wig.  Prior to my diagnosis, I wanted to grow my hair long again.  It was just getting past my shoulders and full of beautiful silver strands.  Wig shopping is fun, as there are so many styles to choose from and gives you a chance to maybe try something you never imagined you would.  I actually looked at a lavender wig.  The wigs nowadays are quite beautiful, stylish and easy to take care of .  Thee are medical grade wigs that are less irritating on the scalp, synthetic wigs that you can wash and curl, as well as human hair wigs.  Human hair wigs are extremely costly, so I think I will stick with a good old synthetic one., has quickly become my favorite site for hats, scarves, wigs, etc. Most insurance companies cover some cost of the wig.  Unfortunately, mine does not.  Oh well.  If they cover everything else, I can't complain.  So, off to the wig site.  Me and Rumple have some shopping to do.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hello Kitty and first Chemo

My last post was about signs and this one is very similar.  I am a firm believer of signs.  They show up when we least expect them and often times when we do. Unfortunately, many of us fail to see them, because are lives have become too distracted with work stress and daily life.  However, when we truly take the time, the signs are always there.  Some are subtle and some bop you over the head with a big rubber mallet.  Yesterday was my first chemo injections, and I asked my angels to be especially close to me that day.  My husband and I were sitting in the doctor's office when he exclaimed, "There is a feather on the floor!"  Sure enough, he picked up a tiny white feather and handed it to me.  I quickly put it in a safe place and acknowledged in gratitude that my prayer was heard. The last week has been filled with wonderful signs and miracles, which have further strengthened my faith in my connection to the higher realms, but also my existence here as a very lucky spiritual being having an earth bound existence.  How can having breast cancer or any cancer for that matter make you feel lucky?  Allow me to explain. After the initial shock of my diagnosis, I experienced all the emotions one would expect.  I cried for days.  I immediately pictured the worst and thought I had to make arrangements for my family so they would know how to do all the things I do when I couldn't anymore.  While this sounds incredibly  morbid, I can assure you it is a natural reaction that harkens back to our cavemen brains.  In the simplest forms, we function from our root chakra and react from the fight or flee mentality.  There is no stay in and see what happens.  That is something that is learned over time and not taught.  Once I moved past my reptilian brain (no offence to reptiles), I decided that what I really wanted to do was stay in it and see what happens.  All my life I tried to control the outcome of every who, what, what, why or when situation.  I never thought of myself as a control freak on the outside, but I was definitely one on the inside.  I surrendered to this cancer and the possibility that I just didn't need to know what would happen in the end, but that along the way, I would learn a great deal about myself, others, the world and maybe, just maybe, I would be presently surprised by it all.  So far, that decision has lifted me up in ways I can only scratch the surface on verbally.

I have developed a deeper understanding of friendship, love and healing through connections with others.  If I could give one piece of advice to anyone going though this is, do not isolate yourself. You need laughter, hand holding, prayers of support, those that hold you and let you cry or laugh with you over silly things.  You need to talk about it.  You need to scream about it. You need to let others do for you.  It's all okay.

Connect with your higher self.  This can take you far.  I've always been a spiritual person, but never more so than now.  I realize this is true for most people.  We find our Spiritual center is the darker times more often than the happier ones.  That's okay, but just remember that whatever you believe in, that CENTER never leaves you.  For me, I began to shed off years of dogma that God (the Universe-whatever you choose to call it) was somehow separate from me and that in order to connect with this energy, I needed to follow a set of doctrine.  I do not mean to disparage anyone else's belief system. Each to his own if it brings you to your Dharma, and Spiritual center of peace and wholeness. Once I made the connection that the divine spark of the creator was in me and each one of us, I realized that I had more strength and healing ability than I ever imagined.  This is not coming from an ego standpoint.  I can assure you that this revelation filled me with intense love.  A star was placed on my forehead that day.

So, I began by making changes in how I spoke to myself.  I used words that were for my most highest and positive good.  I've always talked about destructive self talk and how it does not serve our highest purpose.  Now, I am so consciously aware of it that I wish to pass on some of the miraculous discovers I have found to others.  I begin each morning with my feet flat on the floor and use the most powerful worlds we have....I AM.  After these two words I say, I am the divine spark of the highest creator, everything is possible through this creator, as I am possible, because I am apart of it and it created me.  The creator is strong, therefore I am strong, the creator is healthy, therefore I am healthy and so on and so on.  You can add anything you want, words such as, abundance, disease free, healing, loved, blessed, etc.  I always end in gratitude.  When I find myself drifting to a dark part of myself, I draw back my attention to the mighty I AM presence.  I also finish my day this way. Does it work?  Yes!  And let me share a few things to prove it to you.

Since I began these daily mantras, I have noted a marked change in the way I look and feel.  I feel stronger and healthier.  I look at the word very differently and forgive a great deal more than I would have in the past.  I have seen miraculous things come my way.  I had to be tested for the BRACA gene due to the type of cancer I have and the results came back negative.  This was wonderful news and I dropped to my knees in gratitude. For those unfamiliar with the BRACA gene, it is a gene that if carried, makes one highly susceptible to breast cancer again as well as uterine cancer.  I also just completed an MRI on my liver, because of high enzyme levels, which have coincided with my breast cancer.  We were all quite nervous that the cancer had spread to my liver, as it is one of the major organs it can move to. I am overjoyed to announce that the results came back excellent.   Thank you, I am blessed.

Does positive attitude and affirmations have everything to do with it?  No, but I do believe it has a great deal to do with it.  We only use a very small portion of our brains and life is energy.  Everything is energy.  Einstein proved this.  So keep pushing for the good thoughts, visualize the ending outcome when you say the words, I am strong, I am healthy, I am cancer free!  Remember, when you make yourself I and your creator you, there is no freedom or manifestation.  Connecting the two and realizing that you are both I as in I am is the key to healing and freedom.

Here I am after my port catheter surgery on Friday 2/6.  Me and Hello Kitty roaring like girls!

I had my first chemo (first of 16) on 2/11.  So far so good.  I'm not nauseous (thanks to good meds) and I'm sitting here writing to all of you.  

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  Be in faith, love, and know that miracles happen when you look up, but especially when you look within.

Much love,
Trisha Leigh