Random Musings on Halloween | #BlogBoost

This is going to be a post filled with musings on random topics. Remember the TV show Seinfeld? It was a show about nothing. Yeah. That’s what this post is about… a bunch of nothing… but a little something.

Halloween

Today is Halloween. I went in for my daily radiation therapy appointment and Gru and his minion were waiting to irradiate me with their ray guns:

Would YOU trust these two with a ray gun?

Would YOU trust these two with a ray gun?

A couple times per week, the above jokers like to take images of the area where they shoot their giant ray gun.  They tell me it is to ensure I am aligned properly.  I think they just like having photos of my boob:

X-Ray of My Boob.  Scandalous!

X-Ray of My Boob. Scandalous!

To celebrate Halloween, I had my toes painted orange. The cancer clinic offers free spa services to patients. I like to take advantage of my free pedicures. The massage chair is groovy, too:

Orange Toes For Halloween

Orange Toes For Halloween

My friend, Anise, sent me a Halloween card. She uses the law of attraction beautifully. I have great veins. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I have GREAT VEINS!

I have GREAT VEINS!

 

Happy Birthday Mom

Today also would have been my mom’s 74th birthday. Mom passed away a few months after she turned 70.  It’s hard to believe we are coming up on four years without her. She was a big kid at heart. People loved being around her. When she smiled, it lit up the room. This photo was taken the day my father returned from Viet Nam.  I was 10 months old, so it was October of 1970:

My Mom & Dad in 1970

My Mom & Dad in 1970

Farewell Pinktober

And finally, today is the last day of Pinktober. While I have a new appreciation for the sentiment behind the pink, I did find a few things just too wacky to be pink. For example:

Top on the List of Things NOT Okay to PInk:  Rag Mops

Top on the List of Things NOT Okay to PInk: Rag Mops

On the other end of the spectrum… everyone loves cupcakes, so heck ya, pink it up:

pink-cupcake

But what about boobie cake? Seriously? What’s your honest opinion on this cake? I can’t wait to read your comments, so chime in!

boob-cake

So ends the 31 day Ultimate Blog Challenge. I didn’t quite make it, but I think I finished with a bang.

All is well!
Kandas

Spoiling my Breast Cancer Caregivers | Battling Bertha #23 | #BlogBoost

It’s been a tough week. Recovering from my recent hospital stay has not been easy. As much as I wanted to complete all 31 days of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge, I know my health is more important. I have several posts simmering on the back burner, including a video of my adventure at Gayla Wigs and a possible three part series on sex after breast cancer.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Debate

Many of the amazing women in my online support group strongly dislike the October pink washing called Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They take exception to all the pink products that are capitalizing on the issue rather than helping it.

I recently read a Huffington Post article by Anita Moorjani entitled Why I don’t support ‘Breast Cancer’ Awareness.

My Chemo Nurses as sketched by my talented husband, Shane.

My Chemo Nurses as sketched by my talented husband, Shane.

Moorjani is the author of the book Dying to Be Me about her own cancer journey.  The book was gifted to me by a treasure in my life, Renu Agrawal, shortly after I was diagnosed.  It was also highly recommended by several other people.  I have been hesitant to read it because I don’t like the title.  Is that not silly?

In the HuffPost article, Moojani used a Mother Theresa quote to question the effectiveness of Breast Cancer Awareness:

Mother Teresa once said, “I was asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Wouldn’t it be better to support and promote health awareness?

When my elder sister was diagnosed with her breast cancer 3 years ago, just 6 months after losing our mother to leukemia, she urged me to get a mammogram.  I did not because I did not want to focus on the illness.  I believe that energy flows where attention goes and I did not want any of my energy flowing in the direction of cancer.

You may be thinking to yourself, well that back fired.  I do not agree.  I discovered my lump early.  Stage 1.  My body let me know it was time to pay attention.

Since my diagnosis, I have chosen to focus on the positive. I have a story to tell. This is just a small part of my story. I envision myself standing on a great stage inspiring people to pursue their passions profitably through my story.

Spoiling my breast cancer caregivers.

Spoiling my breast cancer caregivers.

I admit that I am not always as positive as I’d like to be. My husband is great at pointing out when I am stinking into negativity.

Okay, let me back up to Monday, October 13th and share how I spoiled my breast cancer caregivers.

Spoiling my Breast Cancer Care Givers

Last Monday, I gave each of my breast cancer medical care givers (all 20 of them!) a small gift of appreciation, tied up in a pink bow.  It was my intention to focus on how they are helping me return to health, and for that I am eternally grateful.  I call them my “Boob Team.”

What was remarkable to me was that each person I handed the gift to reacted exactly the same way:  Surprised!  From the receptionists to the physicians, each was almost shocked that I would choose to celebrate them.  Shocked and appreciative.

An interesting side effect of passing out these gifts is that I now receive a lot more hugs from the Boob Team, including the doctors.

My Radiology Team

My Radiation Therapy Team

Not to toot my own horn, but I was already a favorite patient at both the oncology and radiology offices. Now I feel like a rock star.

A new tech joined the radiation therapy team on Monday, as well. I was a little leery about having a man on the team, because of the high level of touching that is involved in the prep process before therapy begins.

I decided the best way to handle the situation was with humor. So, when he reached across my body and uncovered my breast, I said: “Oooh! Thank you! You are the first man to undress me in months.” His response was to thank me for making his job easier.

So here is your challenge from me: During Pinktober choose to focus on breast health, wellness and appreciate the teams of people who care for breast cancer patients.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Three Dog Nights | Battling Bertha 22 | #BlogBoost

As I settled onto the bed to type this, I glanced at my nightstand and marveled at the number of prescription bottles.  I am a fan of allowing my immune system to work its’ magic and expel all foreign bodies.  Pills, not so much.

Muffy strikes a pose.

Muffy strikes a pose.

Right now there are 10 prescription bottles on my nightstand!!  To me, this is surreal.  It’s like I’m living someone else’s life.

  • steroids
  • three different antibiotics
  • two different anti-nausea drugs
  • proton-inhibitor for acid reflux
  • and two, count them, two different narcotics

This doesn’t include the supplements and over the counter drugs.  I just shake my head and wonder.  Someone is making a ton of money off of me!!

That’s not why I am typing this post.  Sheesh.  Squirrel.

Three Dog Nights

Last week I ended up spending three dog nights in the hospital.  Here’s how that played out:

Hospital Selfie

Hospital Selfie

Tuesday, I was at our monthly SendOutCards business opportunity meeting and my shoulder and neck began to hurt.  I went to my daily radiation therapy appointment and the pain persisted.  It felt a little like heartburn in my shoulder.  I kinda sorta thought it was acid reflux even though  I take a proton-inhibitor for the acid reflux.  I talked to my radiation oncologist after the “therapy’ session and she suggested taking some antacids.

Wednesday, I woke up in pain from head to toe and the skin around my port was swollen and tender.  My husband took me to my radiation oncologist.  She took one look at my port and said:  “You need to be in the hospital.”

We went to the ER where I was fast tracked to a room, hooked up to an IV and X-rayed.  Oh, and multiple blood cultures were taken.  I was admitted 2 hours later.

Thursday morning I awoke with edema in my left hand.  The nurses could not take blood samples and so my IV antibiotic was changed to one that did not require daily labs.

The doctors then began to visit, one by one:  infectious disease, radiology, internal medicine.  The consensus was the port needed to come out.  One hour after the decision was made, I was on the table and the radiologist and I shared “Asian F” anecdotes as he removed the port and sutured the opening.  Turns out my port had moved substantially since it was inserted.

A few fabulous friends dropped by to visit.

The nurse gave me morphine before I went to bed.

Friday morning I awoke with a morphine hangover and hurled moments after my nurse gave me a barf bag.  It was comical.  Of course, my husband walked into the room AFTER all the excitement.

Friday was a tough day made brighter by visits from some more fabulous friends.

Saturday the final blood cultures came back negative and I was given the all clear to go home with a 14-day supply of Bactrim.

We have no clue what caused the infection.  That’s a little frustrating.  I am feeling much better.  That’s a good thing.

Bactrim has some interesting side effects like diarrhea and nausea.  Good times.  Good times.

All is well.

Treat every client like you are working with a celebrity.

3 Tips for Working with Celebrities

Working with Celebrities

This is not a post about marketing or advertising to celebrities.  Quite frankly, my husband and I have worked with all sorts of film, television, design and music superstars but we are not quite sure HOW they found our niche custom furniture website.

Google changes their algorithms so often, it is hard to keep up with the latest search engine optimization protocols.  At times, it feels like we are just throwing keywords at the internet and hoping one of them sticks.

This post is about what to do once you have that celebrity on the phone or in your store.  Here are my top three tips after working with celebrities for 15 years:

1.  Act Naturally

Be yourself.  Do not put on airs and pretenses.  Just relax and act naturally.  Answer questions honestly and above all, be polite.

Not long after we launched our online custom furniture business (in 1999), I answered a call from a potential client who had a few questions about bookcases.   We had a very friendly conversation, I answered each of her questions, and she decided to order paint finish samples so she could coordinate with her color palette.  It was a very typical call, much like every other potential sales call,  except this potential client was Adrienne Barbeau.

A few weeks later, Ms. Barbeau called back to order her custom bookcase, apologizing for taking so long to get back to me.  She had been “on location”.

The key to working with celebrities?  Treat every client like a star!

The key to working with celebrities? Treat every client like a star!

2.  Respect Their Privacy

I asked Ms. Barbeau for permission to use her name on our website, which she granted.  Many celebrities want their privacy respected, and so I will not name drop just to impress you.   And if you are lucky enough to do business with a celebrity, I highly recommend asking permission before you send out any press releases.

I have fielded sales calls from celebrities across the board, including the dynamic design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, whose Kentucky home was featured in Elle Decor magazine shortly after the custom bed we made for them was delivered.  The bed is the featured image in the online version of the article.  Elle Decor called to ask us for specific product and company information before the article was published.  If the celebrity mentions you by name, it’s okay to mention them, too.

Some celebrities guard their privacy closely.  One client in particular had her assistant set up telephone appointments with me in advance of calling.  I was told by the assistant in no uncertain terms that her privacy was paramount.

Always ask permission to publicize a celebrity’s name in your marketing.

We asked Tate Taylor, director of “The Help” and “Get on Up”, for permission to use his name, and he sent us a raving testimonial plus photos of the bed we made for him in his home!

3.  Send a Thank You Card

A few years later, Mr. Taylor contacted us because he was moving and needed some minor repairs done to his bed.  Upon return of the repaired bed, he sent us a lovely handwritten note of appreciation.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am a champion of the thank you card habit.  After every sale, a thank you card should be sent to the client, celebrity or not.

It’s classy and memorable.

Remember the star who needed her privacy protected?  I sent her a thank you card and gift.   A few weeks later she called to rave about my husband’s work and ordered more custom furniture.

Every Client is a Star

It is phenomenal doing business with celebrities.  Loads of fun.  But guess what?  Every client who walks through your doors needs to be treated like a super star.   Tips 1, 2 and 3 apply to all of your clients, celebrity or not.

Leave a comment or question below.  I’d love your feedback.

3 Essential Oils for Breast Cancer Treatment | Battling Bertha 20 | #BlogBoost

Right off the bat, you need to know that essential oils do NOT cure cancer.   However, I do use essentials oils to supplement my breast cancer treatments.

3 Essential Oils for Breast Cancer Treatment

Kelly Taylor, certified Herbalist and Aromatherapist, has been a wealth of information and I highly recommend the certified pure essential oils she offers in her online store, Cassia Aromatics.  Kelly taught me to never put essential oils directly on my skin without a carrier oil.  I use a variety of essential oils on a daily basis and these are my top three:

  • Peppermint helps nausea.  During chemo, I would rub it on my belly, wrists and behind my neck.
  • Lavender helps you relax.  Spray lavender essential oil on your sheets and pillow to help you sleep.
  • Frankincense helps fade scars.  I use a small roller bottle with Vitamin E as the carrier oil and apply frankincense to my surgery scars.

I am not an aromatherapist.  I am simply sharing my personal experience.  Consult with a professional aromatherapist regarding your specific needs.

My top 3 essential oils for breast cancer treatment are peppermint, lavender and frankincense.

My top 3 essential oils for breast cancer treatment are peppermint, lavender and frankincense.

More from Gratitude Geek

Disclaimer

This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Finding Blog Post Inspiration | Hope, Strength & Courage, Pink Ribbon Bracelet | Battling Bertha 19 | #BlogBoost

Today is day twelve of my 31 day Ultimate Blog Challenge.

I feel like I have been pumping out the blog posts. At one point, I had two scheduled to post on their own, and on the proper day. While I have several epic posts brewing about aromatherapy, wigs and sex after breast cancer, I did not have a post ready for today.

Finding Blog Post Inspiration

Then yesterday, late in the afternoon, there was a knock on the door. A few moments later, Shane presented me with a white box and the excitement-inducing red letters that spell out SendOutCards on the side. There are few things I enjoy more than receiving one of these white boxes!

This elegant and inspirational bracelet includes expressions of hope, courage and strength. With a pristine sterling finish, this bracelet is nestled in a pink gift box and includes a verse card stating "Hope, Strength, Courage, Wear a pink ribbon, A symbol to share, Of hope, strength, and courage, To show you care." A generous portion of the proceeds will go to the support of the breast cancer treatment, prevention and research.

This elegant and inspirational bracelet includes expressions of hope, courage and strength. With a pristine sterling finish, this bracelet is nestled in a pink gift box and includes a verse card stating “Hope, Strength, Courage, Wear a pink ribbon, A symbol to share, Of hope, strength, and courage, To show you care.” A generous portion of the proceeds will go to the support of the breast cancer treatment, prevention and research.

Not only did I received a lovely gift, I also received today’s blog post inspiration!

You see, inspiration can come from anywhere. You just need to keep your eyes and ears open.

For example, as I was chopping up the ingredients for our traditional Sunday morning breakfast casserole, I thought, “Gee, I should do a breakfast casserole tutorial post.” The casserole is in the oven and will be ready just about the time I am done typing up this post and editing the photos. Casseroles are fabulous.

If you join the Ultimate Blog Challenge, you will receive a daily email with topic prompts.

Hope, Strength & Courage, Pink Ribbon Bracelet

Back to the white box.  Inside was a gorgeous “Hope, Strength & Courage, Pink Ribbon Bracelet,” a gift from Diane Walker, one of my MLM heroes.

In addition to the pink ribbon heart charm, there are three silver word charms that say hope, strength and courage.  These are the three character traits that every champion possesses.

Hope

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” – Wikipedia

I choose to be resolute in my convictions.  My optimism goes beyond hope.  I know only good comes into my life.

Strength

Strength is “the quality that allows someone to deal with problems in a determined and effective way.” – Merriam-Webster

I choose to take on each challenge knowing the outcome will be in my favor.

Courage

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.” – Wikipedia

I choose to laugh in the face of fear, laugh in the face of pain, laugh in the face of danger, laugh in the face of uncertainty and blow a giant raspberry in the face of intimidation.

Your Turn

Great timing! The breakfast casserole is ready.  Time for me to eat and for you to chime in.  Where do you find inspiration?  What character traits do you have that result in positive and productive outcomes?  Leave a comment below.

Coping with Emotions During Radiation Therapy | Battling Bertha 18 | #BlogBoost

For me, radiation therapy is the most difficult of my cancer treatments.  It doesn’t hurt physically.  It is over rather quickly.  If you close your eyes, you barely know it is happening.

Oh, but the emotions!

Emotions During Radiation Therapy

If you have breast cancer and will be receiving radiation therapy as part of your treatment plan, here is what you need to know:

Coping with emotions during radiation therapy takes imagination and humor.

Coping with emotions during radiation therapy takes imagination and humor.

  • Half a dozen people will see your breasts, while you are awake and alert.
  • You will hear everything  they say and be required to carry on conversation, while your breasts are exposed.  More than half a dozen people see your breasts during surgery, but you are asleep and you never see or hear them.
  • Your hands and feet will be bound so that you can not move.
  • They will use paint pens to draw x’s and o’s on your body.  This will make you look like a football play book.  The marks remain on your body for the entire course of treatment and need to be reapplied if they fade.
  • Before your first actual treatment, you go through a CT Simulation to ensure you are aligned correctly for treatment.  This means that not only will your hands and feet be bound, but you will also be inserted into a tube the size of a torpedo bay.

The cumulative effect of all of the above is emotions.  Humiliation.  Lack of control.  Embarrassment.  Self-pity.  Humor.

I am a rather happy go lucky gal.  During my CT Sim, with my hands uncomfortably positioned above my head, my feet bound, and a torpedo tube making clicking sounds all around me, tears began to roll down my cheeks.

As we were leaving the appointment, my husband, who had been in the waiting room during the procedure, asked how it went.  I choked back more tears and replied:  “I don’t want to talk about.”

Coping with the Emotions

Everyday, around one in the afternoon, George Clooney makes sweet, sweet love to me.  I share the details of our torrid affair in the following video:

 

 

I use my imagination and a lot of humor to make it through my radiation therapy.  Heck, it’s what is getting me through this whole ordeal.

What are some of the ways that you cope with emotions during radiation therapy, or any awkward, uncomfortable or just downright frightening situation?  Leave a comment.  Your suggestion just might help someone who is struggling right now.