Since 1952, the day after Thanksgiving has been known as the day that kicks off holiday shopping with the biggest discounts of the year. We know this day as Black Friday. Little do people know, but there is a Black Friday that existed long before this shopping holiday came into existence: the Friday that Jesus … Continue reading The True Black Friday
Let's make a conscious effort to make Thanksgiving meaningful again. Here are some simple steps we can take to make that happen.
The holidays are usually a pretty stressful time for most people. Back in 2013, 3.08 trillion dollars was spent in the U.S. on holiday retail purchases. There's quite a fair bit of shopping that needs to get done in 2-3 months, since most stores don't begin offering holiday promotions until Oct. 1st. Between shopping, get-togethers, … Continue reading Keeping God First During the Holidays
As Christians, we (along with everyone else) begin to align ourselves with political parties. As this happens, we need to stop and consider who and what Jesus would align himself with. This doesn't mean that we make assumptions or vote for someone simply because they are claiming Christianity. We must turn to the Bible and investigate what God is interested in. Even a short glance into the gospels reveals that in Jesus' way, God's closeness has absolutely nothing to do with political power, and everything to do with alleviating suffering and addressing the concerns of the downtrodden.
God has been sending me a very simple message lately: busyness is not something to be proud of. But busyness is all I've known. I've spent my entire life being busy with one thing or another. At first it was school, which I invested my all into growing up. I was that student who managed … Continue reading Busyness. It’s Not Always Something to Boast About.
"The results from your last scan show that the primary brain tumor you have has shrunk one millimeter since you began the clinical trial a month ago." Excitement welled up inside me. Tears flooded my eyes. Finally, positive news. Finally, I'm on track to wellness. Then, my prayers of thanksgiving began. To some, it seems like … Continue reading Zoe: A Symbolic Teddy
Hey y'all! Check out my latest vlog where we talk about chemo and drop a special rubber ducky into the CTCA fountain. Enjoy! https://youtu.be/kTT-WPgEoEk
E. That’s what I will call the man who I met today (for anonymity purposes). We spent two hours talking about anything and everything: life as a cancer patient, family, society, politics, religion, you name it. Despite my social anxiety, I really enjoy meeting new people because I believe that we each have valuable insight … Continue reading A Fighter Named E.
I woke up early on Sunday, and Mosha had gone to the lake to fish some more, so I went back to bed for a few hours. Once he was back, we both showered and checked out of the hotel and headed off to Bearizona, which was only one exit away off the freeway. Bearizona … Continue reading Sunday at Bearizona
“Make sure you rest today. I want to make sure you’re feeling well enough to handle tomorrow.” The tomorrow that Mosha speaks of is the Veteran’s Benefit Car Show downtown where KGDM Life will be performing. The show is from 10am-3pm, and they will be performing around noon, multiple sets if I’m not mistaken, with … Continue reading Prepping for Tomorrow’s Show
I am grateful to have a hubby who pushes me and supports my craft. I am also pretty excited to participate in The Sketchbook Project, where my sketchbook will become a permanent part of the Brooklyn Art Library’s (BAL) collection beginning June 2018! I will be working on my sketchbook from now until April, when … Continue reading The Sketchbook Project
Well, I suppose I am long overdue for a medical/life update. Normally around this time I would be taking a nap, but there’s currently a technician in my house doing technical things, so I can’t go have a nap until after he’s done. Honestly, I should probably try and stay awake until this evening anyway … Continue reading Mini update
Tagged by: @calindor I've been asked to answer these 20 questions by a fellow blogger, so here goes! 1) Name: Holly Marie 2) Nicknames: Holly, Vyne (pronounced Vine, not Vin), Vee, The Baby (by family), Hollz, Holly Berry, Hozza/Hoz, Goose 3) Height: 5ft 3-4inches 4) Orientation: Former lesbian, current hetero 5) Nationality: Spanish, Afro-Portuguese, Mexican … Continue reading Let’s Play 20 Questions
The reality of brain cancer. This custom-fitted mesh mask is used to bolt me down on the table while radiation beams are pinpointed at Lyle. This happens 5 times a week for 4 weeks straight.
Cancer hurts those who fight from the sidelines, but it cannot cripple love. Thank you @monabeille @brittyzombiehunter @finchstacey for campaigning for me. Click here to visit fund.
When you are faced with terminal cancer, one of the things that you inevitably end up doing is evaluating the things you want to do before you die. I was fortunate enough that my family accommodated one of my last wishes by planning a family trip to Disney this last May, where I was able … Continue reading Help Me Complete This!
Morning kisses from Mosha When mom sings "You are my sunshine" to me Chocolate smoothies Random check-in calls from Pops Good books Dailies with the Nerd Herd Taking pictures Sunday night Walking Dead with Mosha Christmas time (the trees, lights, baking, decorations, music and time with family) Milo's floppy ears and Leesi's nap time snuggles … Continue reading Happiness
When your reality turns out to be fantasy, mind tricks if you will, it can be an earth-shattering, scary thing. I suspected that the fleeting shadows were figments of my imagination. Sometimes you look from the left to the right too quickly and you think you see something that in reality isn't there at all. … Continue reading Today
Arguably some of the most touchy subjects to tackle from a Christian perspective are depression and anxiety. It's bad enough that depression and anxiety are in and of themselves complex illnesses, but there are varying perspectives within the church about them. Sometimes some of these views are from people who try to genuinely understand depression … Continue reading Anhedonia
I suppose the next logical step in my journey was to start a video diary of my cancer experience, especially now that I am unable to write as often as I use to. I'm sure all my non-reading friends/family/strangers prefer videos as well. So here is my first video. [I promise, the other videos shouldn't … Continue reading I am: Terminally Fierce.
Sometimes, more than others, I am weary of life. There are different reasons why I feel this way, various contributing factors, but a lot of the time people have a lot to do with it. Often, we have encounters with others that are unpleasant, and I have come to realize that even as someone who … Continue reading Be Kind to One Another
Well after having numerous emotional breakdowns over the past few weeks, we (My medical team, Mosha and my parents) have decided that its best for me to try to regain some independence. Relying on other people for every little thing has taken a toll on me in many ways, and while I cannot control other … Continue reading Regaining independence, one step at a time
I had a long overdue visit from Finchy today. She was off work, so she offered to take me to my radiotherapy appointment in the morning, then we spent the rest of the day hanging out at my place. We spent a lot of time talking, catching up on everything that has gone on since … Continue reading A day with Finchy
Today was emotional for me.I don't really have a reason for being emotional today, other than the fact that I just woke up feeling overwhelmed, stressed out and anxious without cause.Radiation went well, considering the fact that you know, its radiation. Afterward, I was scheduled to see Dr. H (my psychiatrist at the cancer center), … Continue reading Emotions are fickle
Today was day one of radiotherapy. For those of you who don't know, radiotherapy uses radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells and stop them from growing/multiplying. It's a localized treatment, so it only affects the area where they direct the radiation. Unfortunately for me, the … Continue reading Radiotherapy, Day One
I had a really good day today.I absolutely cherish days like today: the ones where I'm happy, feel decent, get to do things I enjoy with people I love, and for the most part, forget that there is a disease threatening my very existence.Our day started off the best way possible, by Mosha and I … Continue reading The outside world!
I can't really recall whether or not I had mentioned this previously, but yesterday I wasn't required to go into the treatment center! My levels are at a safe enough level to where I don't require daily monitoring anymore, and that my friends, is very big news for me.I am still required to go every … Continue reading Freedom in moderation
The worst feeling is when your doctor suggests that your parents aren't suited to be your caregivers. Its not for lack of willingness, but because mum herself is ill, and I worry for her health. I get stressed about her well-being and feel guilty when I know she isn't feeling well but is slaving away … Continue reading Something I didn’t want to hear
I've been having more and more anxiety lately, sometimes for no reason at all. Its like I'll be okay one minute, then the next I'm all tears and "woe is me" but I feel like I'm losing it at times. The constant ups and downs are exhausting in all ways possible.For once I would love … Continue reading An-xie-ty
Decision made: radiotherapy.First, I have an appointment to have my planning scan tomorrow. That's where the radiotherapists will measure the precise spots that need to be radiated. I get to lie on a cold, hard slab of metal practically naked while the techs move around me to align my body with treatment areas and then … Continue reading Decisions & Plans
So my pain (unfortunately) keeps getting worse. I've used more pain medicine in the last two months than I have in the last year of having cancer. Our fears were confirmed when I had my PET scan done and found out that Lyle has grown to the size of a golf ball, and I now … Continue reading New tumors & a relentless Lyle
Everyone has an idea of what makes them them, and for me, I have always been someone who likes to think of themselves as strong. When faced with adversity, I choose to state at it emotionless, in the face. Sure, I might be terrified, but I don’t like to show it. I feel the need … Continue reading Even tough people crack
I'm having a hard time finding the will to write. Sometimes I don't feel physically able and other times its because I feel like I have changed. When I pick up my pen or laptop, I find myself unable to put anything of substance down. Nowadays, not a lot matters. The days just pass me … Continue reading Writing because I have to
My pain has grown so much over the last few weeks. I mostly stay at home now, doped up so I can make it through the day. I barely have any interest in anything. I don't have an appetite most days. I feel a lump perpetually in my throat. I tend to dread going to … Continue reading A moment of emo-ness
So its been apparent to me that I've been a little more angry than usual. I feel like it was bound to happen at some point. Although the drugs account for a large portion of my mood swings, I also have to take ownership for my lack of patience and increased resentment over the past … Continue reading Renewed vigor, for the moment
In the patient restroom located on the second floor at the Cancer Treatment Center of America (CTCA), I saw an alarming amount of dried blood on paper towels in the waste basket. The sight made me experience a wide range of emotions, from sadness to anger to relief. It makes me wonder what that patient … Continue reading Patient X
I am disgusted, saddened and angry that you impact so many lives, every second, every minute of every day you are being introduced to someone new. "Hi, my name is Cancer, and I'm going to put your life on hold for an unspecified amount of time; So please mark your diary as 'full for the … Continue reading Dear Cancer, Part II
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An update for everyone --I received my stem cell transplant today. It was a rather grueling day: seven straight hours hooked up to various machines getting pumped full of different medicines and eventually, someone else's blood. But, thankfully, it is over, and procedurally, everything went well. Now we wait to see if my body takes … Continue reading Stem Cell Transplant — Complete!
I wish I knew how to describe how this feels. Each time is different, and I think that's part of what makes this horrible. You never know how it will make you feel. They do their best to anticipate what will happen so before they ever even administer the chemo drugs they pump you full … Continue reading That odd sensation
I hate sitting in my room, in the lap of luxury. I look around and it's like the walls are eating me, it's like some disease and I can't scratch it off my skin. I drag my nails over goosebumps and hate being here. I shake and cry cold and silent tears in a too … Continue reading Almost asleep
Yesterday I decided that I wanted to have a ladies' night out with my mom and Stacey, a night where we could dress up fancy and get dolled up to enjoy ourselves. While thinking of what we should do, I remembered that my favorite chef Scott Conant (known for his work as a judge on … Continue reading Ladies’ Night at Mora Italian
Sometimes you just have to take a stand for yourself. You deserve respect. You deserve to be treated like a human being -- nothing less.