A Kardashian Moment

I am having a Kardashian Moment, so I am going to share just about my hair today. After being a born-again-blonde for the last 20 years (I really was born with white-blonde hair, I swear!), I lost my hair to my very first chemo in March 2018. I wasn’t singled out; that’s how some chemo works. Now, after letting it grow in, then shaving it because I looked like a porcupine, then letting it grow, I am the proud owner of Mr. Minnillo’s Hair. Mr. Minnillo was an older gentleman with thick, wavy, salt and pepper hair who lived down the street from my family while we were growing up.

This is not what I had in mind when my hair started growing back. That it was gray and dark wasn’t a huge surprise, but the texture! I’ve never seen this hair on my head before and had no idea it was hiding in my head. And I have as many cowlicks as I have hair! When I get my hair trimmed, I come home and cut daily for the next 3 weeks. My hair might or might not be uneven, but it sticks out at will a different place every stinkin’ day. How can I have a bad hair day with one inch of hair? It’s unbelievable to me.

And as time has gone on, what I have learned is that if I let my hair grow beyond Mr. Minnillo, I am Combover Gumby. It starts to swirl on one side, grows to the top, then doubles back with the most interesting curl I’ve ever seen. There’s no cure for that.

But what all of this has made me think about is how total strangers have used my hair to support me. When I was in the middle of an ugly divorce years ago, I had to meet my then-husband at the bank. In the middle of his giving me a hard time, a man in about his thirties walked by me, smiled into my eyes and said loudly, “Great hair!” I felt like he was on my side.

And people walk up to me on a daily basis to tell me how great my hair looks. Yesterday a woman I don’t remember meeting even told me that she saw me when I was bald and loves how it looks now. It just blows me away! The biggest thing I’ve felt since diagnosed with cancer is how kind people are, how willing they are to extend themselves to a total stranger. I guess in some respects, being bald and older (cough, cough) makes me stand out from the crowd, right?

Don’t misunderstand: I wouldn’t have shaved my head for money if I had had a choice. I liked being blonde. But this is my new normal, and I want my life to be happy. I’m trying to cherish these amazing moments that will become nursing home memories. My life’s mission is to make people feel valued and empowered. When people do that for me, I understand why I want to do it. What if we filled the world with only happy people?

 

Southern Charm

I was brought up in Cleveland, Ohio by parents whose education stopped at the eighth grade. They were both the oldest of huge families, and when their dads died they had to get full time jobs to help support their siblings. To compensate for that lack of education, they read to us daily and were meticulous about their children’s grammar and diction. The only thing I heard more than ‘stand up straight’ was ‘enunciate clearly!’ That was my first big word: enunciate. After college when I followed my then boyfriend South, my mother almost died. She was worried that the relaxed Southern drawl and grammar would crowd out everything she had worked so hard to instill in me.

It did. I took to the South like the ol’ duck to water. My two most Southern experiences were: 1. Driving across Alabama from Atlanta, Georgia where I lived at the time to Starkville, Mississippi to visit my friends Tracie and Bubba. When I returned, I didn’t own an ending ‘g’. And no more pms for me: I was fixin’ to start. Everyone in Mississippi was so wonderful, why would I not want to sound like them? I didn’t plan it; it just happened. Language is culture, right?

Number two was when I evacuated recently with my best friend and her two year old from Charleston, South Carolina where I live to a small rural community outside of Savannah, Georgia. We were at her brother’s house down a dirt road with its chicken coop. Harris is probably one of the best hosts I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. One night at dusk my friend’ two year old was chasing frogs and needed my help. Believe me, never did I imagine myself at the age of 67 getting ready to crawl up under a pickup truck on a farm surrounded by chickens to catch a frog! I’m sure it was a sight to behold. The event ended with the frog urinating down the front of my young friend’s shirt as he held the poor frog too tightly! Ew.

I don’t want that to end. It’s of no importance to me that I have bone marrow cancer. Everyone has something, don’t they? Yes, I fulfill my treatment. I eat well and work out. I take my CBD oil. Without all of that, I’m just a cranky ol’ thing! With or without cancer, I couldn’t ever have imagined myself sliding up under a truck after a frog. The CBD oil helps to make that possible. When you’ve used your body as hard as I have throughout your life, there are bound to be some aches and pains at this point with or without a disease.

Right now at this stage of my cancer treatment, I have to be vigilant. There is pain. I use a CBD patch, extract, moisturizer, and salve. Okay, full disclosure: the last two are for pretty skin, too.  We do what we have to do to make our lives worth living. I hope your days are as exciting as mine!

United Front

As the healing of my bone marrow cancer has progressed, I’ve hit a few rought patches like the one I’m in now. Pain makes me really cranky, and I’m not a grin and bear it person. Bone pain nags, doesn’t it? To manage this difficult phase, I’m using a 40 mg patch of CBD oil by Proprietary as well as Proprietary Gold Extract. (I’m still working my way through every form of CBD but pet care!). It took a few days, so I took aspirin, something I try to avoid because aspirin gives me a stomach ache.

Then suddenly, the ‘ahhh’ hit, and I no longer need the aspirin. I only need the extract intermittently. The patch is good for 96 hours, stays on through the shower, kayaking, clothing, and general life. I use the extract after I do something more rigorous or if I feel that blah feeling. The extract really helps me with focus and energy.

At last MRI 3 months ago, I still had stage 2 bone marrow cancer. The alternative treatment I was undergoing had prevented it from spreading, but it didn’t knock it back as I had hoped. Now I’m undergoing something else for 6 months. I don’t mind the effort: today I read that some of the chemicals in chemotherapy can cause a secondary cancer that can’t be treated. At least I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Several great things have come from having cancer, one of which is that I trust myself so much more! Now I am able to seek out new kinds of treatment that put me in more control of my health. Sitting there letting someone drip chemicals into my body just isn’t for me. So, I guess, Control Freaks Unite! There are better days on the horizon as we make CBD oil more available to everyone!

Moisturizer and Other CBD Hemp Oil Products

This post is pretty much about CBD hemp oil experiences. I’ve branched out and am trying different kinds of CBD hemp oil products. I live in Charleston SC. With the heat and humidity we have here, I rarely wear moisturizers or body lotions, even in the winter. They make me feel like I’ve wrapped myself in saran wrap (and not in a fun way) and hopped into the microwave. It’s not pretty.

Now (in the spirit of full disclosure) I’m getting ready to go live with my CBD oil website, and so instead of sticking with one product – CBD extract Proprietary Gold – I want to try everything. Plus, I really need moisturizer: I’m getting old and wrinkly. The Abinoid Moisturizer is rich and thick. The first time I put it on, I really overdid it. A little goes a long way. And it sinks into the skin – even when I put too much on. It has a light fragrance that dissipates after an hour.

With the CBD hemp oil in it, the moisturizer makes my face even happier. Sigh. I think being in the throes of the dog days of summer makes everyone a little crispier, so finding a moisturizer helps. Like it or not, the peak of Hurricane Season is here as well. Even though it’s supposed to be quieter this year than the last two, we can’t always trust that. I keep water, wine, canned goods, and I make sure my laundry is current. If we lose power, it’s gonna be smelly.  I am getting all of the CBD oil into my system that I can.

CBD hemp oil makes me feel lighter, more relaxed, more focused. Well, okay, wine helps with the relaxed part. As a licensed realtor who lives in a state where marijuana is illegal, I have to stay inside the lines. I love working in real estate. Giving it up is not really an option for me, so they know the sound of my footsteps at my local wine store.

Tomorrow I’m going to tell you about my sister’s experience with it. Yes, I’m making everyone try it! Did you know that Henry Ford created the two day weekend? He wanted his employees to buy his cars, so he gave them time off to drive them. Think of me as Henrietta (Granted, I didn’t invent it, but I think you know what I’m saying.): I found this really great thing, and I want everyone to try it! I love to hear what happens when people use it.

Hugs, Y’all!

I’m Back!

I know it’s been a minute since I’ve blogged. Two reasons: 1. The alternative to chemotherapy to treat the cancer didn’t go as well as I expected. While I’m grateful to have been up, feeling good, and working (working is part of my benchmark: I had my first job at 6 years old), I expected to have made more ground on healing the cancer over the last 6 months. My last MRI showed that the cancer is the same. The good news is that the cancer didn’t get worse. Apparently, the bone marrow cancer I have is pretty aggressive. I did, however, follow the instructions I was given by the alternative practitioner. At least I should be back to a stage 1 instead of stage 2 because I was good and did what I was told. When life doesn’t work that way for me, it really frosts my cookies!

The treatment I’m working on now is simpler, a footbath I soak in for an hour a day. The challenge with it that it turns my feet purple. In the summer. In the South. We only wear closed shoes here for corporate meetings and cold weather, so I now sport purple toe nail polish. I feel so hip and young! This course of action lasts 6 months.

For this treatment, however, I’ve upped my dosage of CBD oil from hemp. I’ve read that it has cancer healing qualities. I don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is true is that using the CBD helps with the pain, mood, and energy that I need to feel I have a life worth living. As with so many other times in my life when I’ve had trouble, I have to do something.

What I’m finding out about the CBD oil for me is that it tastes like I’ve sucked on a rope, but the payoff is so great that I just deal with it. So far I’ve tried the paste, the oil, the extracts, chocolate (I did NOT have to ‘deal’ with the taste with the chocolate…hehehe!). I haven’t vaped, and I do have gummies and moisturizer to try next. Sigh. I want to try everything!

Oh, the second reason I’ve been away is that in addition to selling real estate, I’m putting together a CBD oil website. I really believe in CBD oil. Everyone I know who has used it has had a great experience. Since I love to see people happy and to feel empowered – CBD oil lets you have greater control over how you feel – it seemed like the next right thing for me to do to help others.

More soon. I won’t stay away as long next time. Thank you for your kind attention! Hugs!!

 

Feeling Great!

Sorry I haven’t written, but I’ve been feeling so great that I started catching up on my life. In addition, business has been increasing, and I’m starting a new venture. I can sit now, so I’m able to do things I couldn’t do. Tomorrow I will be able to go kayaking. Kayaking is what keeps me sane. That and my friends.

Right now I’m taking cbd oil daily. It continues to give me energy and focus. It keeps me focused and energtic, and when it’s run out of steam, I know that it’s time to take another dose. I’ve been using cbd oil that you put under your tongue (sublingual), a dose in the morning and one late afternoon. Now I’m trying different kinds: this morning I took a liquid gel capsule (like you get omega 3 from fish) that is supposed to last all day. I’ll let you know. I also have two other friends trying it, one with chronic pain and one with acute short term pain from an auto accident (she was the middle car in a three car pile up. Ouch!).

Yesterday I tried a paste in a tube that is supposed to click when the portion you need comes out. Three of us tried that (My friends are so wonderful! They are always will to be part of my science experiments. I always serve adult beverages to entice them.) None of us are impressed. It’s messy, dark, gets all over everything when you try to serve it, and the stuff comes out independent of any click. I’ll continue to try this one when the capsules are done.

That’s the report for the cbd oil. Today I’m heading to a bbq at a home that I have listed. I love the owners – I helped them buy the house, and they are the most incredible family! But they are headed back to Texas, and if you’ve ever been there, you’ll know why they want to go back. Their families are there, and people are so nice! Decades ago, I took a bus from San Antonio to Spring. I guess I had that out of state glow – I was visiting from Atlanta – because I never sat alone. When one of my seatmates got up, the next one sat down next to me. Besides learning about Texas, I was favored with tips on fishing, baking, gardening, you name it. All ages and kinds of people entertained me on the long bus ride.

The South is like that. It’s why I can never leave. It’s where I learned how to love.

Paint by Number

My parents had a paint by number picture for their kids, not necessarily individualized. Neither one of my parents was educated beyond the eighth grade. Their respective fathers died when my parents were young, and they were expected to quit school to help support their siblings. My mother had ten kids in her family; my father had eight.

All we kids were to do was make it out of high school without getting arrested, pregnant, and with a diploma. Boys could go to college; girls didn’t need to go to college to be wives and mothers. When we moved out of our parents home, the expectation was that we would either be married or entering the armed forces. My poor parents! My older brother and I were the real trouble makers in the family, but I don’t think we were an easy bunch overall. With limited education and resources, probably was the only way for my parents to keep their sanity was to have a blueprint for their offspring!

I left without going into the military, and I certainly wasn’t going to get married. My father ruled the roost, and I wasn’t going to have anyone telling me what to do. I knew early on in my life that the only way to be who I was inside was to get out as quickly as I could. Eighteen came and I went.

I don’t blame my parents. They did the best that they could. And they stayed. Some of my cousins were raised in foster homes because their parents couldn’t do it. For me, I’ve always done better when I was told I couldn’t do something. For instance, my dad said I wouldn’t ever complete college, that I didn’t need to go. I wore him down (hence my sales career) to pay for few classes so I could see, and I spent my time getting high. I got good grades, but I didn’t have the follow through to make it all the way. When I made it to twenty-four years of age, I was willing to do the work because I saw what my life would be like without it: I would have a life like our family’s, and that wasn’t acceptable to me. In the 1960s and 70s, there were far fewer options for women. And I could get a grant without using my parents’ income.

When I entered chemo, I did so with the belief that things had improved since my stint as a director of a hospital department. The doctor and his staff reassured me that that was the case. If it’s this horrific now, what was it like back in the 1980s?! It must have been like being dragged over hot coals with nails embedded in them!

Luckily, I had a history of not following the blueprint. That’s how I left chemo. When someone lies to me – even if they believe that they are telling me the truth – I can leave. And that’s what I did. The planets aligned, the stars shone, God sent a messenger, it all worked together to allow me the strength to do what I needed to do to live my own truth.

Day 5 of the cbd oil: I limp when I first walk, other than that I am writing this blog at 12:30AM after getting up at 7AM. I’m doing fine, thanks! Still taking the supplements for my lungs and heart, and yesterday and today I was able to be with a dog for two hours and feel fine. I guess I’m better than fine.