Dreams

"Sometimes you don't realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness."

                                             ...Susan Gale

 

 

 

Last night I had my first ‘cancer nightmare’.  Surprised I never had one until now.  It's been over a year since being diagnosed, and not one cancer nightmare?  Hmmmmm, I guess I should be grateful.  Either way, as scary as it was, I think I learned a big lesson from it.

So, in the dream I was going to the doctor to have a check up.  Then, without any explanation, they said I needed to have some more chemo.  The chemo was in the form of a pill I was supposed to take.  AND, I was supposed to schedule a throat/esophagus surgery the next day, because since my cancer was stage 4, there was a very high chance that is was going to go into my throat and esophagus, so I needed to take them out.   The procedure would be long, and I was told that after a lot of physical therapy, I still might slur my words, or lose my voice. Needless to say, I was so upset!  Angry in fact!  I wanted to talk to my oncologist, where was he? I was so livid that this wasn’t explained to me on day 1.  I felt like I was being raped in a way, and I couldn't understand why.

I remember, in the dream, I had all of my hair back, and I was about to take a pill that would take my hair away.  That alone was so upsetting.  Such a defeat.  All this time I spent recovering, only to be wiped away by one pill.  I remember yelling at my husband in the dream, ‘there’s no f’’’’’cking way I’m doing a surgery without knowing anything about it'.  The doctor, I felt, gave me no answers on why I needed it other than preventative surgery, and he didn’t even know what type of cancer I had.  He didn't KNOW me, and he didn't care.

So, in the dream, I decided to do my own research, and I emailed Shannon Doherty (apparently we had run in to each other at some party and discussed cancer and exchanged numbers and emails... funny how intricate dreams can be).  So, I emailed her, I remember thinking she had a really cute email font.  I asked her if she had to have throat surgery and what it was all about.  She emailed back right away, which I thought was cool and strange at the same time.  She said YES, she did have the throat surgery.  AND, coincidentally, she was sitting with her doctor who operated on her, and would I like to come meet up with them. 

WOW, I thought, this must be a blessing??  So, I met up with her and her doctor, he was from NYC, and in Los Angeles 3 months out of the year.  He said he could do my surgery.  I asked him all my questions.  Why do I need to remove my throat it if I only had breast cancer?  Is there a chance I lose my voice?  Is there a chance I will get throat cancer if I do NOT do the surgery?  How long can I wait until I have to get the surgery? 

He answered all of my questions, but not in the answers I wanted.  Basically, he said because I had stage 4 cancer, it was a very wise surgery to do.  He said I could wait up to 9 years to decide to do it.  Ugh, I felt.  I wanted to wait, but I also wanted to get it over with, because if not, it would just be lingering over my head.  I remember seeing Shannon Doherty happy and healthy, and that I would have never known she had throat surgery.  She could talk normally, and there were no scars.  So, that lessoned my fear, however, I was still really really really really pissed off...and that’s where the dream ended. 

I spent all morning trying to analyze this crazy dream.  The feeling in the dream was 'OMG, this is scary, this was thrown on me without any warning, my doctors never mentioned it, I never heard about it, and now, this was the life I'm living?'  It was very scary.  I was so angry in the dream, more so than I ever felt in real life.  Or allowed myself to feel.  And then, it dawned on me.  I've been living this healthy, positive, hopeful, grateful life, that has definitely helped my recovery, and most likely, saved my life.  However, where did all of my anger go?  Cancer was happening to me, taking my life as I knew it away from me, without any warning or any say.  My life was raping me, cancer was raping me, and I had no outlet for rage.  I guess it's hard to be angry when you're fighting for your life.  There isn't much time for anger.  

But it seems, rage is living inside of me, in my subconscious.  And maybe now that my journey is almost over, maybe now, the rage feels safe to come out.  Maybe the rage will get it’s say through my dreams, and be able to work itself out.  I hope so.  Even though I still believe most of what I've experienced was the opposite.  Most of what I experienced is life is precious, each moment is precious, and life is a gift, and one day, that gift will be taken away. 

But you know what?  Even with that truth,  that really sucks!!!  And it makes me feel powerless... and I HATE being out of control!  I HATE that this happened to me, and stole a year and a half of my life away.  I HATE that I lost my hair and lost my health!  I HATE that I was so close to dying.  I HATE that I had to have my breasts taken from me.  I HATE that my ovaries are next, and I will have to go through early menapause.  I HATE all of these things…AND AND AND… AND, I love how strong I became.  I LOVE that I was able to get through it with flying colors.  I LOVE that I grew closer to my friends and family.  I LOVE that I have more appreciation for life than I did a year ago.  I LOVE that I am a survivor and can help other victims survive.   I LOVE that I started Zero Negative, a company named after my cancer.   I LOVE my short hair now.  I LOVE that I will have perky new boobs.  I LOVE that I will never have to get a menstrual cycle again.  I LOVE how supportive and loved I feel from the world.  I LOVE knowing that I am strong and can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish.  I LOVE that I feel more powerful and connected to the universe than I ever did.  I LOVE that I can surrender to life now, knowing every day is a gift.  And,  I LOVE being cancer free.

So, I guess, with all the good, with all the happiness, there's another side needing to be released and expressed. And, maybe that scares me, to feel that anger, to feel so let down from myself, from the world.  But, I'm hoping my dream last night, a little bit of my anger, was lifted off of my heart.  And, just like the quote said, if I face my anger, or face all of my feelings, I can become more aware of my strength, knowing I am still whole, and still cancer free.  Nothing can take that away from me.  Nothing.

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Weekend Check-in's

No one knows what really goes on in someone else’s head.  No one knows what really goes on in someone else’s shoes.  AND, everyone is here for a reason, and everyone is here for a short amount of time.  Fact.

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I can’t help but think about death all the time.  It’s not in a dark way, it doesn’t make me freak out or anything, it’s just in a way where I am acknowledging that very real fact of life.  My husband thinks its strange, and that maybe I should talk to someone.  I think it’s just reality. 

I am aware of my death at all times, like I am aware of being alive at all times. I’m aware when I’m stressed, I’m aware when I’m happy, I’m aware of my hip hurting, I’m aware of liking a song, I’m aware of laughing and feeling good, I’m just aware.  Not sure that’s a bad thing? I mean, I am so aware of how LOVE and POSITIVITY played a huge role in surviving cancer, and going from stage 4 to cancer free in 4 months. I am so aware of this that because of it, I HAD to start Zero Negative and share this with the world. To share this revelation, this message from the universe, that LOVE and the ability to embrace your situation in a positive way will HELP you and not HURT you. Period. This new awareness is now engrained in me since I had cancer, since I beat cancer.  And, yes, since I became a cancer survivor, I am more focused on every little thing, because these little things really mean something.  These little things, one day, will be gone.

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This week I was a little more stressed than normal.  And I noticed that I didn’t like feeling stressed.  It sucked out my energy.  Made me more internal.  Smile less.  Sleep less.  Cry more.  So, I decided to practice some of the things I preach…I used my own pep talk, I said to myself,  it’s better to be stressed than to be dead, and what if I decided to LOVE my stress instead of hate it?  Ha, I’m not sure that would work on everyone, but it kinda gave me a whole new perspective which is what I needed.  And yes, I WOULD rather be stressed than dead.  I WOULD rather have bad days, or sad days, some of the time, and it’s okay to feel alone and sorry for myself once in a while.  I WOULD rather all of these things over being dead… So, the LOVE I began to feel for my life was renewed in a way, because I realized that life was about all of these things, and then I remembered that these feelings TOO would pass, so don’t be scared to let them in.  Of course, if I felt this way every day and all of the time, maybe I would rather be dead…JOKE;)  But, I know these feelings are normal and situational, and if I didn't feel bad some of the time, then I might not be human…right?  

STRESSED

STRESSED

But anyway, what I’m trying to say is…this week was tough.  And it threw me for a loop.  A self-conscious, insecure, neurotic loop, with a gang of unsupportive voices banging their drums in my head.  So many worries… ‘How can I run a company on my own?  How can I run a business with very little money and no experience?  Who is going to want to come on board with Zero Negative?  And who am I to think I could make a difference in helping find a cure for cancer?  What if all of this stress makes my cancer come back? Then I’ll just be a hypocrite and a fool with no message at all.  Ugh.  Maybe I should just be a good wife, relax, go to lunches, sleep in, do yoga, enjoy my husband, and just smile?  Maybe that would be easier?’

MY BOYS

MY BOYS

But no, say NO to listening to your worries… Truth: I have a passion I can’t ignore.  I have a dream, that I want to see through.  I’m trying to raise money for Zero Negative now, starting a campaign to raise 50,000.00 in order to purchase more bags and get to the next stage.  Can I do this?  Who knows.  Does it feel very vulnerable trying to do this?  Yes!  Do I like asking people for help?  No! It’s hard putting yourself out there!  But, I guess I believe in the company so much, that I’m willing to look like a fool.  I am willing to be annoying to some people at times.  I am willing to be judged by others.  I am willing to fail.  I am willing to succeed.  I am willing to try.  And I guess that’s the bottom line…  I AM WILLING TO TRY. 

TEAM ZERO NEGATIVE!

TEAM ZERO NEGATIVE!

It takes more than just one person to make dreams come true.  And I am sure there are many people out there who have the same dream as me... to help find a cure for cancer.  So, I will end this blog with a humble request.  IF you have actually found yourself reading this up to the very end, wow I am impressed and grateful!  There's a link on the HOME page of this website that is labeled, 'HELP JENN FIGHT CANCER IN STYLE'.  If you click on it, it will take you to my gofundme site.  We have raised close to $3,000.00 so far, with the goal of $50,000.00, to help purchase new bags and make new products.  If you know anyone in your world who would be interested in helping out the cause, I would be forever grateful if you would pass on the link.  Every little bit counts, and all it takes is just a click to 'Share'.  Thank you so much for being a part of my journey.  I keep reminding myself, it's not the end result, but the journey that's worth enjoying:)

#WILLING

Happy New Year 2018

A brand new year for me, good bye 2017, you were a crazy one, battling cancer, fighting for my life, losing my boobs, my hair, my control … but was it worth it ? I sure hope so !  I started a new company called Zero Negative, I went from stage 4 triple negative cancer to cancer free in 4 months, I grew closer with my husband, and found a strength within myself that I never knew I had.  I am also probably happier now than I was a year ago, mainly because I feel my life today is a gift.  I received a gift from the universe, my angels, God, however you want to look at it, and my life was given back to me, where it could have easily been taken away.  So 2017, I have to say thank you, but I also have to say, good riddance!

New Years Eve

So, on New Years Eve, in my dreams, I got a message from the universe that I don’t need to fight anymore, I am taken care of, I have my life back, it is a gift from the universe, and I can relax now.  I’m not joking, this was really in my dream.  But what does it all mean?  How do I thank the universe for giving back my life to me?  I know I can do anything I set my mind to.  I know I want to help raise money to find a cure for cancer.  I know I want to help anyone who is suffering from cancer.  I know I want to give back to the world to help make it a better place.  But again, what does that mean I need to do?  Take care of myself for one, which means practicing self-love at ALL times. Love was my weapon, receiving love from my family and friends, and taking care of myself, knowing how much I can give, and how much I need to give to myself. And today, if my life is a gift, what will that change for me?  I might make healthier choices in my diet.  I might try to sleep a little bit more when I feel tired.  I might take my vitamins without missing a day.  I will mediate daily instead of monthly.  I might be easier on myself, or watch more sunsets, or travel to places I haven’t seen and have been wanting to go.  I will definitely practice gratitude and appreciation, and write more, and work harder, and of course smile :)  So, with this New Year, these are my intentions, and I’m writing them down so I can’t escape them.  And in 2018, I am all about developing Zero Negative’s message, that LOVE will help you get through EVERYTHING. A POSITIVE perspective can help you get through everything. And, a BELIEF that the universe is giving you everything you need in life, to help you to evolve as a person, AND to help you find your purpose, your soul’s path.

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What are your intentions for the new year ?  Let’s make this year count.  Let’s believe in ourselves, in our lives, and find our true callings… Please feel free to ‘share your story’ on our website…I believe we help each other by sharing our stories and in sharing our stories, we are helping ourselves!

 

Happy New Year!

Jenn 

 

 

Getting to the Other Side of Cancer.

Monday is usually a blah day. I think most everyone can agree with this. The weekend is over and there are 5 days to get through before the next weekend. I’m usually feeling extra tired because I try to have as much fun as I can over the weekends ;) However, this particular Monday was NOT so blah.  It was a Monday that showed me how lucky I am today, how lucky I am to be cancer free, how inspired I am to make a difference with Zero Negative, and how fortunate I am to have had such an amazing family and team of friends on my side of the fight.

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I received an email from a customer that had ordered a bunch of stuff from the Zero Negative website for his daughter, who was going through breast cancer.  Coincidentally, she has the same type of cancer as me, triple negative breast cancer. Anyway, it struck me that by being a cancer survivor, I am now a member of a certain community, or tribe.  It's a very supportive community, where everyone treats you with respect, everyone calls you a warrior, and everyone has you in their thoughts and prayers.  In the past, that might not have meant much to me, but today, it means a lot. We are all human beings, we are all living on this earth, and at the same time, we are all vulnerable to this cancer thing. And once you’ve been there, you know how hard it is to BE there, and how desperate you want get to the ‘cancer-free’ side.  

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Now, as a cancer survivor, so many things remind me of when I had cancer and how grateful I am to NOT have it anymore. And with that, I’m inspired, or called on, to help other people going through cancer. Not that I know anything more than I did before cancer, but I DO know what I went through and HOW I went through what I went through. So, when I heard from Mark, the father of Jessica who has triple negative breast cancer, I wanted to help in any way I could. I heard that Jessica’s tumor wasn’t shrinking from the chemo she was on; that she was doing 16 rounds of chemo where I did only 6 rounds. I heard that she’s doing surgery after chemo and removing and reconstructing one breast. I could sense the concern from her dad, who had said the tumor wasn’t shrinking.  

I know I can’t really help, but WANT to help! I want to tell Mark what I did, and what worked for me. I want to pray for Jessica because being so far away from someone you don't even know, praying is about the only thing you CAN do. I want to send her a Love Tote from Zero Negative. I want to watch out for her and make sure she’s going to be ok. This is what I feel when someone reaches out to me, and it makes me remember when I was on her side, going through chemo, talking to so many people who were survivors. It helped me to hear their stories, hearing how they felt, what THEY did, and how healthy they are now. It made me feel confident that I could do the same.

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Believing in yourself and in your journey is such a big part of beating cancer - I think at least :)   So, if I could help someone get to the other side of cancer, that would definitely fulfill me.  It really would. It would also make my cancer serve a higher purpose, and as the creator of Zero Negative, I’m always looking to make my cancer mean something positive.  

So anyway, this Monday, this ‘not so boring’ Monday, I would like to send a huge prayer out to Jessica and her family.  May her tumor start shrinking right away, and may she have a successful surgery to remove all of the lingering cancer as they reconstruct her breast.  May Jessica live a healthy and cancer-free life after the surgery and radiation, and may she help others who will be going through what we went through. I wish this for Jessica, and I hope on this Monday night, with my small, humble voice, that the universe hears my prayers and Jessica is on the road to health.  I am on her team, even though she probably will never get to know me and I will never get to know her.  But that is what cancer does. It connects us. It makes us feel understood. It makes us feel like we are a part of something. And we are.  We are a part of humanity, AND we are cancer survivors.