Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

At the end of one year and the start of another, many of us will renew our commitment to living with daily affirmations. I know the power of affirming my truth, over and over, everyday! While these may not suit everyone's taste, here are some "possible" affirmations to consider!

1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I am in touch with my inner sociopath.

2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.

4. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

5. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of wisdom and judgment.

6. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper, and complain.

7. When someone hurts me, I know that forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit, but not nearly as rewarding.

8. I am at one with my duality.

9. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves in knots.

10. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 50th birthday.

11. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

12. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so!"

13. A scapegoat is almost as good as a solution.

14. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day in my underwear. Instead, I will move my computer into the bedroom.

15. I will no longer waste my time reliving the past; I will spend it worrying about the future!

16. The complete lack of evidence is the surest proof that the conspiracy is working.

17. Before I criticize a man, I walk a mile in his shoes. That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.

These were compiled by Steven M. Sultanoff, Ph.D. who always says that "humor matters".

Monday, December 27, 2010

What's in a name?

Have you heard about those name reports? It is to help you understand the principle of how the energy of your name affects all areas of your life. Well, I got one. Here is what it said:

Your name of Tamela has given you depth of mind and a studious, philosophical nature. You are interested in the deeper aspects of life and invariably are attracted to mystery, the occult, and religious concepts. You have a clever, quick, and analytical mind and you could enjoy and excel in music and drama, or along scientific and mathematical lines.

You are a solitary person, reserved and sensitive. You seldom allow others to get too close until you are sure you will receive understanding. In matters of the heart, you must guard against jealousy and suspicion. Others find it a challenge to get to know you and although you want affection, friendship, and understanding, your aloof, shy qualities rebuff the attention of others.

Because of the sensitivity of your nature, you are easily hurt and offended. You are constantly on guard for fear of being criticized or ridiculed. Even in being reprimanded, you tend to take a haughty attitude and refuse to be advised. You then feel misunderstood and lonely and your thoughts can become turbulent and despondent, occasionally morbid. If you feel that anyone is prying into your life, you try to steer conversations away from yourself. You do not find it easy to articulate your deeper thoughts and feelings; it is much easier for you to pen your thoughts. You could be very creative in composition or poetry. Although you would give anything to be spontaneous, fun-loving, and natural, your name makes you very serious and self-conscious instead. You are not the argumentative type, but you can admonish a person by saying nothing, your silent disapproval being felt by others.

You love books, especially mysteries and romance. You find companionship in novels and can become so absorbed in your reading that you are unaware of what is going on around you. Your vivid imagination places you right in the story and even if someone calls you, you may not hear.

You intensely love the outdoors and all the beauties of nature. A quiet walk in the outdoors, where you can listen to the sounds of nature, the wind in the trees, the lapping of water against a shoreline, the chirping of the birds, which become your companions, allow you to experience peace and freedom.

So, those of you who know me, how well does this fit me?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

What's important in life

It’s been a busy week here. It probably was for all of you too. I hope the time has been spent in preparation and celebration. I know all too well that cancer doesn’t take a holiday. There are some who will spend at least a portion of this joyous time fighting the fight. There are some who will continue to struggle with pain and discomfort, with nausea and other assorted side effects (like I did last Christmas). But I had no room for despair this holiday season. I live to spend it with my friends and family, living it to the fullest. I was lucky enough to reconnect with some old friends (Nora & Michelle), enjoying a lovely dinner at the Fiesta Cafe earlier in the week. After a quiet Christmas Eve at home with Hannah, Mike and Bert, we headed north on Christmas Day to spend it with the extended family in Streator. We swung through Pontiac to pick up Mom on the way through. Unfortunately, not everyone made it because of the weather (we have a 4-wheel drive so we often go places others fear to tread!) The day was filed with lots of food, stories and laughter. As we headed back to Pontiac to drop Mom off, we stopped in for a quick visit with my Dad and Stepmother, whom we hadn't seen in a while.
You see, when your mortality is staring you in the face, you realize what's important. It's not your job title, your bank account or your things - it's the people in your life. And the people who make a real difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
I found this story out on the Internet and wanted to share it:

What's important in Life
A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2" in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full?
They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous --yes.

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour their entire contents into the jar -- effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children--things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued "there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the rocks first -- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Page of Wands

Page of WandsToday's tarot card is the Page of Wands; he has a passion for life, despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact) that he is still a child and his understanding of the world is not yet complete. He is a free spirit, not weighed down by the burdens of the material world, coming and going as he pleases, usually bringing change along for the ride. He is the catalyst that provokes changes that might be impossible in any other situation. When his energy enters your life it may manifest in one of three ways: as a person around you, as an event that you will experience, or as a part of yourself that you must bring to the fore. Only rarely is an external event signaled by the Page of Wands. He does act as a herald for the same activites as the other pages; the arrival of good news and the birth of children, for example. And in those cases he is a very good sign, particularly in the latter case because of his association with creation and conception. But the event he usually symbolizes is a different type of conception, the conception of an idea. The Page of Wands represents the brief creative spark that comes to you, suddenly and unexpectedly, and that starts you down the road of a new creative vision. Your life will never be the same once he comes into it.
Sometimes this spark will appear in your life as a person who embodies the physical or mental qualities of the Page of Wands. Such a person often has a vivid and childlike imagination, though they may neither realize it is there or know how to develop it for creative purposes. As such his ambitions are high but not unattainable; he will challenge himself but he will probably not overstep his limits unless pushed to do so. As a Wands card, ethics are always high on his list of priorities. He accepts change because he is the agent of change, the catalyst and the creative visionary. He is also a faithful lover with almost unlimited passion and enthusiasm. There is, of course, a Page of Wands lying within each of us waiting for a chance to manifest (if it is not doing so already!). When he does appear in your life it often comes at a time when you need his passion for life and his total fearlessness. His greatest power, in fact, is the power to deal with fears by facing them and seeing them for what they are. The light of his inner fire can expose the dark demons that you have been so afraid of, and show you that what you were running from was yourself all along. Once you see that your fears are nothing but parts of you, you can integrate them into yourself and grow stronger. Leave your fear behind and you'll be surprised how much freedom you'll win.
The Page of Wands card suggests that my power today lies in experimentation. I enthusiastically initiate new, extreme or novel opportunities for adventure, fads, connections or enterprise and am an active and image conscious player in the game of life. I am empowered by signs of approval for my performance and I transform through arousal and charisma. Tonight I enjoyed dinner and good conversation with my BFF Deb. We actually discussed some new ideas we had for our future! Sounds like the Page is working his magic!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Now, on with life!

I must have been waiting on "pins and needles" without knowing it. I wasn't prepared for the rush of emotion that came with hearing the news, "It's not cancer". I was so prepared to hear that it was cancer, the flood of relief that flowed through me could've filled a swimming pool! I had let my guard down and that damned devil, named Cancer, snuck up and tapped me on the shoulder. Of course he then ran like hell with me hot on his tail! After the original diagnosis, I felt like I stepped into the middle of a silent hurricane. There was a roar and a rage that spun my life in a direction I had never anticipated. You see, being diagnosed with cancer is a close brush with your mortality. The reality of one's own death is suddenly very close, having moved from an abstract inevitability to a very real, possible outcome. Your safety, security and optimism about your life and the future is shaken. The world is revealed as unfair.
When diagnosed you are suddenly cocooned in a surreal world with doctors appointments, chemo infusions and for some, daily radiation. Chemotherapy, for those who have not experienced it, is no picnic. There are all sorts of chemicals they use to poison the cancer cells. Imagine your worst hangover ever, and nothing you do makes it feel any better. Not drinking, not sleeping, not eating. And this lasts for days. Eventually there comes a time when the doctors smile kindly and tell you to go live the rest of your life. When treatment ends, your family and friends assume you are cured and say silly things like they can't believe how good you look. Hell yeah, I look good, I just kicked cancer's ass!!! So, what does life after cancer look like?
I think you just go on. You live each moment as it happens. I'm embarking on another leg of the trip. This one is all about adjusting to life as a breast cancer survivor. In many ways, it should be a lot like the life I had before, but in other ways, it will be very different. Call it my "new normal." This is what I discovered through my cancer journey:

1. I have never felt so loved. I had so much support from my family, friends, colleagues, and derby girls. People gave me books, movies, flowers, brought me food, chocolate, and plenty of other goodies. I experienced a real tsunami of love. People around the world were praying for me, many I had never met. I felt connected and cherished. However it was not that the cancer caused love to flow; rather it was the realization that this love had been around me all the time but I had been so busy, so focused on my narrow little life, that I did not feel open to it. Like a sledgehammer, cancer cracked open my awareness to giving and receiving an abundance of love. I feel it flow effortlessly in my life now.

2. Compassion. I gained even more compassion for people - you just never know what they have been through. I now treat every encounter with another person with a lot more grace and care. I approach them from a foundation of compassion. This is a much more gentle and peaceful way to engage with others. Most important of all, I gained compassion for myself. I stopped judging myself so harshly, stopped trying to be perfect.

3. In facing death, I learned about life. In the middle of chemotherapy as I lay on the couch, feeling dreadful, gazing out the window, I started to notice the sunlight on the leaves, the blue of the sky, the birds at the birdfeeder. It was magic. And I realized that everywhere there was a compulsive and unrelenting push for life. But whether you have cancer or not, none of us knows what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, or in five years from now. You can choose to live in fear, or you can choose to live in possibility and joy. All any of us ever have is now, this moment - right here right now. And those moments are magic.

To celebrate I'm going to sign myself up for Blood and Thunder's roller derby camp scheduled for February in Corpus Christi, Texas! Derby On!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Hanged Man

I find it ironic that yesterday I'm lying on a table with my boob hanging through a hole and today's tarot card is the Hanged Man! The Hanged Man is Odin, the Norse god who hung from the World Tree for nine days to earn the knowledge of the Runes. Of all the cultures who embody the search for knowledge in their myths, only Odin carries out his quest without moving, at least in the physical sense. The true quest is seeking within, not without. This may be confusing at first, but only because the Hanged Man is the card of the paradox. The Hanged Man's mysteries are some of the oddest yet most enlightening the Tarot has to offer, and they cannot be learned by searching for lessons in the physical world - you must turn within.
Even the appearance of the card is paradoxical. Simple in design, it is one of the more complex Arcana. The lessons it offers are easy to understand but hard to accept when they apply to you. The most obvious answer to a problem may be the simplest, but it is rarely the best. To admit that you are afraid will give you the strength to conquer your fear. When you relinquish your desire for control, everything begins to work as it should. In a world in which you must run as fast as you can to stay where you are, the Hanged Man tells you to stop struggling - and you can move forward. Tell this to others and it seems obvious; try to do it yourself and it will become impossible.
Why is this? Telling others that they have to hang from a tree is simple, but no one wants to hang himself. The Hanged Man, however, has hung himself, and see how much wisdom he has found! Despite his obviously uncomfortable position, he is often pictured as smiling, and with a golden halo around his head to show divine inspiration and power. He is totally vulnerable to the world, and in his vulnerability he has found strength. The sacrifice he has made is his own freedom and power in the physical world; in exchange, he is granted real freedom and power on the spiritual plane. He gives up his old ways of looking at things and is blessed with new eyes.
Not all sacrifices are major ones. Each moment of your life you make sacrifices. By choosing to eat with a friend rather than eating alone, you sacrifice your solitude. Choosing to play a sport professionally means that you cannot play another as frequently. Choosing one job means that you have to sacrifice any desires for another job, at least for the time being. The only thing in common between all sacrifices is that you give up something you have in exchange for something you want, of equal value. The sacrifice is meaningless unless there is balance and purpose behind it. To give without intent is worse than giving too much or too little.
As the card of the paradox, the Hanged Man also urges you to look at things in a new and different way. If your mind is yelling at you to do something, then doing nothing could be the best thing to do. If something is important to you emotionally but it no longer serves a purpose, you might want to think about letting go of it. And don't try to force anything to happen while the Hanged Man is about. By trying to force changes, you ensure that they never happen. Relax and let things happen instead of trying to interfere. Instead of fighting against the current, let it take you wherever it is flowing.
When the Hanged Man appears, know that greater wisdom and happiness is at hand, but only if you are prepared to sacrifice something for that wisdom. Sometimes it is something physical you must be deprived of, but in most cases it is a perspective or a viewpoint that must be left behind. For example, a fantasy that you can never fulfill, or a crush on someone who's out of your reach. Inevitably, sacrificing something you value will always lead you to something even more valuable. In the wake of an unattainable dream you will find something else within your reach. Forgetting about one desire will allow your heart to open to another.
I have been fighting to stay in the domestic violence field but I think the Universe is telling me to let it go. Visualize this: One big-ass book, large enough to fit people inside it. This past year I could "see" myself hanging half inside, half outside, near the final chapter. I struggled to stay inside but others were jumping on the front cover, trying to squeeze me out. Well, as you know, I was "squeezed out" this past summer and have been scrambling ever since to get back in! I thought the job in the Florida was the answer but I guess not. So lets just see what the Universe has in store for me!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Does your boob hang low, does it wobble to and fro?

Today was the biopsy. Right now I have an ice pack on my boob and am eating Aleve for the dull ache I'm having. They showed me the x-rays, which had 2 spots of calcification, one close to the nipple (which caused the most concern). Again they reminded me that 80% of calcifications are not cancerous but if it is cancer, it has been caught very early this time. The procedure was fairly quick as it was completed in under an hour. The process was as follows:

1. I laid face down on a moveable exam table and the affected (right) breast was positioned into a hole in the table.
2. The table was then raised as the procedure is performed beneath it.
3. The breast was compressed and held in position throughout the procedure.
4. A local anesthetic was injected into the breast to numb it.
5. Several stereotactic pairs of x-ray images were taken.
6. A very small nick was made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle was to be inserted.
7. The radiologist then inserted the needle and advanced it to the location of the abnormality using the x-ray and computer generated coordinates. X-ray images were again taken to confirm that the needle tip was actually within the lesion.
8. Tissue samples were then removed using the vacuum-assisted method. It made a "grinding" noise, causing me to wonder if he was grinding my boob off! With a vacuum-assisted device (VAD), vacuum pressure is used to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sampling chamber. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples. At least eight to 10 samples of tissue were collected from around the lesions. The suction reminded me of a breast pump!
9. After the sampling, the needle was removed.
10. A final set of images were taken.
11. A small marker was placed at the site so that it can be located in the future if necessary.
12. Once the biopsy was completed, pressure was applied for 10 minutes to stop any bleeding.
13. Then the opening in the skin was covered with a dressing.
14. A mammogram was then performed to confirm that the marker was in the proper position. Unfortunately, compressing it made it start to bleed!
15. My chest was then wrapped to keep pressure on the site to stop the bleeding.

I am told that the results should be back in 2-3 days so keep your fingers crossed!