Isn't it amazing that we are already midway through January 2016? What's even more amazing is that I woke yesterday, to the first Monday since August that I have not either had chemo or some other doctor-related appointment! YAY! YAY! and YAY! I took this pic this morning....one week after surgery. I'm getting pretty good at drawing on the eyebrows, but there is no disguise for zero lashes. Okay, I know about false lashes, but I'm not going there....that's a story for another time! I am feeling very good -- no more sore mouth, tastebuds are quickly returning and I'm feeling stronger every day! I did receive a great phone call last Friday from my surgeon....further study of the lymph node biopsies showed NO CANCER, and examination of the lump she removed showed that it had clean margins, which means it had not spread anywhere else! The Man and I were shopping in Costco when this call came through.....imagine "knuckle-bumping" and the "happy dance!"
My mind has been racing with so many things I want to share with you; hence, the title of this post. The first is something I've been doing for a number of years now -- choosing one word to think about and make part of my life for the entire year. I've thought long and hard about my word, blessed and grateful were the top contenders; but those are already a part of my daily existence. I always start in December thinking about what my "word" is going to be, but there were so many buzzing around in my head and not a single one was the right one. Then, as my nurse checked me out after my final chemo infusion, she handed me this little package.....
Inside was a little bell on a beaded cord, but that wasn't the real gift. The true gift was what was written on the little card:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."(no author)
Truer words have never been spoken, so STRONG is my word for the year.
Not long into chemotherapy, my skin (face and body) became very sensitive, so I had to do some playing around with different lotions and potions to find out what was going to be the best for me.
A sweet friend of mine sells Jafra Cosmetics and sent me this Royal Jelly Body Complex and the Shower Gel. The gel is great, but this body cream is amazing. It has a nice light scent (I was very sensitive to odors, too), and gentle enough to use on my bald pate!
There were many, many days when I was "house-bound" by choice. Those were the days that I chose a scarf or knitted cap, and just wanted my face to be clean and moisturized.
These two products have become my BFFs! I had already been using the Neutrogena cleanser for a couple of years, but it also served as my shampoo once my hair was gone....it is that gentle! The OLAY Regenerist Nighttime Moisturizer has become my "anytime" moisturizer. It has the most amazingly silky feel and is not heavy or greasy.
I don't know if it's vanity (probably), but I never wanted to go to chemotherapy without makeup. I've always worn makeup (since my teen years), even when I know I'm staying home....unless I'm sick. It just makes me feel better, and that was even more important over these last six months. My facial skin changed during chemo and became reddish, so I had to find a shade of foundation that would tone-down that red, but still felt good on my face.
The Loreal Visible Lift has nice coverage and doesn't feel heavy, but it does stay a bit sticky unless I set it with the Neutrogena Mineral Sheers -- I just use a great big fluffy brush, because it doesn't take much. Something you might find interesting -- we (meaning women) all have fine hairs on our faces, but chemo takes those away just as it does the hair on your head and other body parts. For me, this has left my face feeling as soft as a baby's bottom.....see, I'm always looking for the upside!
As my strength has returned, so has my
desire need to get our house in order....meaning decorated! It took me so long to get the Christmas decor collected and packed up, so I sat in the midst of "bareness" everywhere for quite some time. All that time, I was thinking and making copious notes about what I eventually wanted to do. I always seem to decorate my foyer, sitting-dining room areas first. I guess it's because those areas are the first ones seen when you walk in the front door, and I see them many times a day as I walk back and forth through that area. I have a few other things I want to do, but I thought I would share my redo of the china cupboard. Do you say china cupboard or china cabinet? Anyway, here are just a couple of pics.
I kept a lot of things on the top almost the same as it was for Christmas and just switched out some berry branches for some sticks....I literally cut those sticks from our backyard! I even kept a string of twinkly lights on top, because I like how it looks at night.
I moved this mug rack from our coffee station, and I'm loving these sweet little teacups
displayed on it!
Anyone want to join me for a "spot of tea?"
As I've mentioned before, I am a self-taught crocheter, and have made myself quite a few caps to keep my noggin' warm. I also made some and donated to the "Boutique of Hope" shop at MD Anderson. Crocheting was very therapeutic when chemo caused neuropathy in my hands. I became a bit bored with making caps, so I experimented with some patterns.......
and made baskets! I've made quite a few (more than I'm showing here), and find them so useful. These are in my craft room, but I also have them in my bathrooms and closet.
These are great "stash busters!"
I've also been doing quite a lot of reading. Here are a few books that I have going right now.
Joan Lunden and I share the same kind of breast cancer and even in the same breast. There was a lot of good information in this book.
If you read very many blogs, then you have heard about this book. January is when everyone gets the "urge to purge," and Marie Kondo offers a unique approach to cleaning out and organizing.
I've had this book for awhile but haven't opened it yet. What? I've been saving it for when I'm closer to 100% of feeling good. Why? I know it's going to fill my brain with a gazillion things I want to do around our home, so I need to wait just a bit longer.
I have just a few more random things to share.....see, I told you I had lots of stuff racing
around in my brain!
I forgot to share this during December. This cacti had already bloomed for Thanksgiving and bloomed again for Christmas! No magic....the last time I repotted this plant, it broke in half, so I just planted both into the same pot and they bloom at different times!
Sometimes they also bloom for Easter.
We get some really beautiful skies here in the AZ desert. My grandmother always said, "red sky in the morning, sailors' warning, red sky at night, sailors' delight!" This was a nighttime sky.
I know I've shared before how I love using some kind of daytimer/organizer and have had some kind of system since my children were very young. I'm less into the rigidness of some planners at this stage in my life, but have discovered the perfect planner for me.
This is the MAMBI (Me and My Big Ideas) Happy Planner! I really like this company, too, because they contribute a portion of sales to "The Cure for Cancer." This is a combo planner, journal, & scrapbook, which equals loads of fun while still being organized!
There are tons of extras, like sticky notes, fun stickers, & inspirational quotes to add so you can personalize the Happy Planner any way you want. I even added the Home Planner Extension Pack to personalize my planner even more.
You can decorate the pages as much or as little as you like, and the spaces are big enough to write down tons of things. My Happy Planner makes me HAPPY!
And just for fun and cuteness......
How often do you see a barefoot princess beckoning other princesses to join her in the kitchen?
Whew.....this was a longer post than I had planned, but you should be used to that by now!
It feels good to feel good.
I hope you all have a great week!