"Cause you never think that the last time is the last time. You think there will be more. You think you have forever, but you don't" - Greys Anatomy
From Day 1 you stole the show! Impossible not to notice the full head of hair on this brand new baby! So much so that you convinced the nurses to give you your first hair cut and pony tails hours within being born. You had a secret way of making everyone want to play with you. My poor Mother would have to cover my head with diaper clothes in order to get her errands done because of you. She could not go anywhere with out people needing to see you, touch you, tell her how you made them feel. Your powers were so strong that my own Grandmother repeatedly kidnapped me while my Mother slept to take me to the salon for a "Color Match" To wake up and find your baby missing over and over again!!
I was not given a choice of whether to be introverted or not, my "Bubble" was forced to be open at all times. Thankfully I was sent to the right Mother. Who instilled in me from day one...Smile, sincerely say "Thank You" let them experience it, Do not be rude, not matter what! This of course led me into a life of being open and connecting with everyone around me....I love your Hair!, Wow is that your real color?, Can I touch it?, Is it hot?, Is that really all your hair?, Is it heavy? How does it grow so fast?, It seems like it glowing, does anyone in your family have that color? Did any of your kids get that color? You must be Irish! You know what they say about Red Heads......on and on...some of it I really didn't need to hear. Men especially liked to forget their filters when talking about you starting when I was a child, not ok!
I hated looking different, I wanted to blend in, I wanted to look like my friends, there was so much of you, I wanted the cute sassy bob cuts that all my friends would get for the summers! But no you had to have so much attention that you even had yourself written into my Acting contract with my agent! You had to be all the way down my back! Really....so excessive! I remember when I was 5, Mom handed me the brush and said its your job now, you need to do your own hair from now on. I sobbed and sobbed, how was I ever going to get you into pony tails, braids, buns....But we got to work, you and I. The cramps in my biceps and shoulders from trying to twist, pull, pin, tuck, and work you into different styles. The amount of rubber-bands that have snapped on my hands and arms just trying to get you in, I can still feel the sting.
You did make the prettiest softest ringlets though, you did well in childhood, puberty though uhhhh, ok I know we didn't get along, straight perm after strait perm, dye job after dye job. Which I know you found hilarious every time I forked out the $6 dollars for yet another bottle of dye "Permanent" that would wash completely out the next day! There was no stopping you! You refused to be altered. That is until I found Robbie in 2003! He had the power, it may have taken the entire day but he managed to get those Blonde Highlights in you! I loved them, or did I? I thought I did until with the day someone asked the daily question "Is that your real color" I froze, my heart stopped, I had to say "No I have highlights" I was not prepared for how that would make me feel! I was sorry, so sorry that I had done that to you, it felt different, straw like and dead, as if I had just scarred you, I was sorry. Ok, no more dye, no more highlights, you win. We experienced the age of Aquanet, LA Looks, DEP gel, l'oreal studio line, herbal essence, the wall of front bang (Curl it spray, singe it, tease, lift it, more spray), foam curlers, rag curls, steam curls, crimping irons, the actual Iron when my sister Elizabeth and I would lay our heads on the board and try to straighten smooth our hair, hot rollers, curling irons in every size, the glorious flat/straight iron!, the curling wand, and the infamous Rat tail! I developed a technique around 8th grade to get the softest smoothest straight hair. After washing my hair I would blow dry it as straight as I could. Then gather it all into a pony tail at the base of my head, then take an ace bandage and wrap the entire pony tail as tight as I could to the tip. And then proceed to sleep with it like that. It looked like a giant rat tail but in the morning I would unwrap it and my hair would be so smooth and straight , no frizz or bumps and it would last for days! You inspired me to want to learn about everyone's different type of hair! I was blessed to have 3 sisters with very different hair stemming from different ethnicity. I loved the challenge! I loved doing hair for school dances and performances!
Babies came and you changed again, the curls that were so easy to depend on started get straighter, some stayed strong and true while others didn't, I started to refer to you as stupid hair because you didn't seem to know if you wanted to be curly or straight and were just creating more work for me to do. I started cutting you off, donating you to locks of love, over and over again. Cameron really prefers you long, but you grow so fast that I could chop 10-15 inches off you and it would be back within the year. Then I learned some information about locks of love that hurt my heart. So I sought out a different organization. One that made free wigs for children with Alopecia! So I would go in to have you cut and deliver you to a very special woman that would package you up and send you to Australia to be made into a special wig for very special little girls! You did save me lots of money! I only went to the salon 1 or twice a year to have you cut, no money spent on processing or up keep. Although with how much of you there was I definitely have made quite the investment in shampoo and conditioner ;) I would like to page Homage to the very special Women in my life that I trusted my hair to whole heatedly over the years...Irma Laura, Brandilyn Ferguson, Kiran Whittaker, and now all the beloved ladies at Blonde Faith Salon including Kaela Beutler and Michelle McGowan! You are all so special to me, thank you for all the love and time you put in not only into my hair but to me! I love you ladies!
My 2 most memorable hair stories:
When I was 16 my Mom went out of town for the birth of my first Neice! My 13 year old little sis went to a friends house for the weekend. While there they proceeded to dye and cut their hair. When she came home she freaked out that Mom and Dad were going to KILL her.....well I couldn't let that happen so I suggested thy cut my hair too that way I could take some of the focus off her. I had been thinking about getting it cut anyways. Now why on Gods green earth I thought I should let a 12 and 13 year old cut my hair is way beyond me!!! I asked them to cut it just below my shoulders for bun and ponytail purposes. The friend began to cut.....lets just say it started at my right shoulder and ended at my left jaw bone!!!! Remember I had curly hair.....I was hysterical!!!! I called my best friends Mom, Linda (My 2nd Mom) she immediately got me hair appointment and raced over to get me. All the while my sister and her friend were hiding under the bed crying. The salon fixed it the best they could but I would definitely need a straight perm when my Mom got home. That night my swing dancing partner and I where doing a special performance at a big dance and then teaching them some swing dancing. While practicing a new stunt before we went on I was dropped on my head from 6 feet up into concrete. It didn't goes so well and I awoke later in the hospital to a lovely concussion, and all kinds of neck injuries. Needless to say that helped to pull all attention off the hair and my sister was saved!
Then there was the time Kiran introduced me to invisitabs (hair extension that could be keratin taped into your hair. So I got bright fuchsia!! I loved it, I went back for more! Having all that bright pop of fun woven throughout my hair was the most fun I have ever had with my hair!
You handled Caner treatments like a champ! You lost some of your vibrancy and about 1/3 of you fell out but since I had enough of you to cover 4 heads people really couldn't tell. And Kiran new just how to cut you and help you look healthy. You were not a fan of the first round of radiation so Kaela chopped you off. I was panicked because Kiran had just moved to Florida but God made sure to remind me that I had special friends at Blonde Faith through teaching dance. I would get the occasional white hair but super rare. Cameron and I would talk about when we thought my hair would actually go white. He seemed excited for it and thought it was going to be very sexy. I never envisioned that I would ever leave this life with out you. You are such a huge part of me! When you are never told you have a beautiful smile, or pretty eyes, when 98% of compliments ever given to you in life are about your hair and suddenly you are having to face that it will be completely gone it definitely does an ego check. When the time came the faux hawk was so fun! It spoke to my inner rebel and fierceness. But when it all started abandoning ship the fear set it, not so much of what will I look like but how will it make people feel. I didn't want to scare anyone, especially my dancers! I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about hats, scarves, wigs etc. I am honestly most comfortable just aux natural, feeling the breeze. Who knows maybe I'll try out some wigs. I think I have Aubrey's old Hanna Montana wig around here somewhere. But until we meet again hair, thank you for all that you have been for me in this lifetime, you really played a leading role in my journey! I miss you, and I love you!
Please enjoy the following video made by my friend, neighbor and Sister, Becky Forse.
Hair deserves a dance party too! This one will be a little mash up and a little longer then 30 sec ;)
It's so hard to believe it has only been one week! One week since I was literary fired from my life! God knows how fiercely independent I am, I have never been good at asking for help. Although I have been given plenty of opportunities to learn this lesson I stubbornly refused. So when the time came I was given no choice, all was taken away from me. But in all of His love and compassion it was made ever so clear that my PERFECT Support team had already been assembled. In every aspect of my life, especially in the care of my children, and my work, the perfect people were put into place. There has not been a single need that has not been met in the past week. So much service, love, sacrifice has been rendered by all of you on behalf of myself and my family!
While radiation is an effective treatment for having 13 tumors in your brain there are some not so fun side effects. For one your ability to recall words is extremely hampered making it difficult to formulate what you want to say, thankfully there are people that will take the time to help you get out the words that used to come so easily. This particular difficulty is the result of inflammation, which means my body is doing exactly what it needs to do to fight this disease, but it also means that I can't start my immunotherapy, Keytruda, because that would only increase the inflammation, so that will have wait a little while. Another side effect is the need to take lots of new medications morning, noon and night, so my husband has lovingly added alarms to his phone so he knows when to harass me like I'm 5. With the swelling has come loss of muscle strength, balance, and control. My speech has changed, (think Rain Man-ish) or as some have pointed out to me, I sound like a Disney Princess. The words don't come out right, but inside my Spirit is still 100% intact, my thoughts are the same as before. I have always been a big "Communicator" shall we say.... so I am having to learn to be patient with myself. There are other side effects but let me sum it up to say "It feels like when you are very first coming out of Anesthesia or sedation. Super loopy, tired, week, but happy! I am not in Pain, I am numb for the most part. The Lord is blessing me through all of your prayers like crazy! There has been so much Beauty and Happiness that the pain, hurt, or sadness are only small and fleeting!
I was blessed that my loving family and friends did not try to stop me from attending the last dance convention/competition of the season. I was able to talk with some of my Angel babies (A very magical group of 6-8 year olds I direct at the dance studio) they were sharing how their week had been, the times they had broken down in tears, stories of "Ms. Michelle" pictures being carried in backpacks to help them get through school, how Happy they felt that we were getting to have this special weekend together! When I shared how incredibly happy I was and that this had been the best day ever one girl asked 'What was the worst part this week?" Truth, absolute because there is no point in lying to 6 year olds! I turned to them and said, I had some sad moments this week, some times where I didn't feel good, and I really missed all of them but there were SOOOO many good and Happy things that happened this week that the good things just stood out more!
I want to list out some of the things that kept me from focusing on the 'Why Me" and "Not Fair " aspect of this situation.
The Dream team - a group made up of people that I trust my whole life and heart to that jumped in feet first no questions asked and got everything, and I do mean Everything, done this week. From shuttling me to Doctors appointments, getting children taken care of, fed, and happy, planning an entire Graduation Party, along with a whole slew of fundraisers, my Husbands Birthday, planning Epic surprises, I watched one of them spoon feed my child FroYo while we were out on a Mani Pedi date! One of them held my hand the entire time my hair was being lovingly shaved off my head. Another one dropped everything to help care for another child that managed to get coated in Poison oak this week,the list goes on and on.
The Flowers, the emails, texts, voicemails, the hundreds who have reached out with beautiful words, memories, love, support! Some of the most beautiful letters I received this week are from teenagers. These have been so raw, powerful and heartfelt! I feel so honored and privileged to have read their beautiful words!
It has been such a gift from hearing from so many wonderful people that have been in my life over the years. Please know that with each message my heart was overjoyed to hear from you. Time has never mattered to me in relationships, it was more about the connections. I place all of those special connections in my heart for an eternity so it doesn't matter if that moment happened when I was 5 or 35. You will always be important and loved by me. For those that may be concerned that there is hurt or pain between us, let me assure you that is not how my heart works. I have been through way too much in my life to know what judging and being unforgiving can do to you. It is a choice that I made long ago. Is it always easy, no. Are there times I have had to build some protective barriers yes, but the lessons I learned in how to take them back down have helped me to grow in so may ways! I have a strong testimony in how making mistakes, wrong choices, hurting others and then being given the opportunity to do better, make amends, and grow have been some of the most cherished experiences of my life.
*** It has been almost another week since I started this post....my body was not able to cooperate with me adding to the blog. I am still in awe every day of what God is doing in my life! Since I am able to get some words out tonight I am going to add some of what has happened this week.
Emotionally - Still on a Roller Coaster, but mostly a very big Spiritual High! I have been so blessed with some of the most amazing conversations this week. I have been off the Xanax all week as I realized it was only making me feel even more loopy. And that when and if the tears come I need to let them, it is healing for all.
Physically - Weak, numb, yada yada..... BUT I have realized what being a dancer has done for me....Muscle Memory! I tell my body to do something now and it just does it!!! It is so amazing to experience. I like my new short hair, it has already started to fall out so I will probably be working the easy breezy bald look soon enough.
Medically - 6 more rounds of full Brain radiation left.....I am definitely counting down! I had my PET Scan today to check to see if the cancer has invaded my other organs, for the most part great news! The only new cancer that showed up today is in my lungs (I had a feeling it was there anyways) So when I finish Brain radiation next week we will immediately start Lung radiation. The Doctor is Hopeful that I can start my Keytruda infusions in a week or 2!
Spiritually - Feeling like I am living in a very surreal state. The spirit is so strong! I don't feel I am in charge anymore, I will be sitting in a waiting room, or other public place and BAM I am suddenly talking to a complete stranger about things so incredibly bold! Any sense of awkwardness is gone. We are able to to talk about God so freely and strongly! And all day everyday the miracles are happening!
Thank you all so much for your Love and Support! Everything has touched us so deeply from notes, flowers, meals, Fundraisers, videos, hugs, smiles, and soo much love! We are so Blessed by all of you! I love you all so much!
For tonight's 30 sec. dance party make sure to grab a partner...take a twirl around the Kitchen or maybe head outside to feel the Beauty of Dancing in the Moonlight!
I have always had a Deep and Strong connection to the ocean! I was born literally across the street from Huntington Beach in California! My happiest times almost always involve water. It speaks to my very soul. When I am near it I feel home. One of the things I admire and respect about the ocean is that it is always changing. I remember sitting on my surfboard just one year ago watching the waves roll in waiting for the perfect set to drop in on, There would be waves that I though were perfect, I would start my paddle wait to feel the power of the wave start to lift my board and just as soon as I popped up the wave was gone. While other times waves that seemed so small and trivial would hammer me into the surf and humble me in every way.
Life is like the ocean....sometimes we feel like we can't catch a break, there are no waves to be found, but if you wait, have patience those waves will come. Sometimes the waves sneak up on you and you feel thrust forward in life unprepared. But those are the times you are being taught, so take notes and be ready for the next time! Then there will be those waves where everything lines up just right...those are the times you open your heart and your mind and enjoy the ride!!
Finding out your dying definitely comes in waves. Times when you are at peace, a feeling of stillness and calm. Times when overwhelming waves of sadness and pain take over. Waves where you realize just how epic this is and you have had an amazing ride! Since Friday all of the many different waves in my life have been coming in faster then I could imagine. I know I started this blog out with the beginning of my cancer story and there are still many holes to fill in. I will do my best to fill some of those holes but for now let me catch you up....
Friday morning comes and I drive myself to my appointment. I laid on the table for my 1 hour of Brain Beats, if you've never experienced a brain MRI you can look it up on youtube, lets just say even that does not do the assaulting loud noises justice. But after a time I realized if I try to choreograph to them it goes by much better. But this time I felt I had reached Professional Cancer patient status because I fell asleep! It was glorious, they came in to wake me up when it was all over. When I got to me feet to go change out of those oh so sexy scrubs that's when I noticed the look. The technician gave me the "Oh this poor girl, this is really bad" look I noticed it on everyone's face, the other nurses, the tech taking out my IV. I suddenly had a room full of strangers all looking like they wanted to hug me, say something, but what?
Still pretty pleased with my self that I had fallen asleep I ignored their sad faces and headed home. I got home and relayed my proud cancer moment to my husband and then set straight to work on my giant May to do list (one of the busiest months of the year in the dance world) As I was typing out an email to my Dance company informing them what time to be in Dallas for our last convention my phone rings. I see it's my oncologist and my heart drops....it's too soon
she shouldn't have had time to read my results yet what is going on??? "Michelle, I have your results and I need you to come in right now, you are not to be behind the wheel of a car and your husband needs to be with you. Please leave now!" I hung up and with shaking hands tried to catch my breath to talk to my husband who was on a business call. All I could say was we have to go now, I can't drive, there's more tumors. When we arrived I was whisked right in but there was enough time for me to the see the red puffy eyes of some of my favorite nurses. My doctor came in and said I think you should see this before go over everything. She pulled up my scan on the screen and started to go through it. That couldn't be my scan! Dr. Ashworth there has to be a mix up this isn't my scan!!. That tiny dot that was my scan, not this, I couldn't even count how many there were. And how they could be that size!!! Where was the room for my brain?? My medical background helps me to immediately identify things such as some of the largest tumors on my Cerebellum the part that coordinate muscle activity was now covered in a tumor so large and inflamed that it had started to hemorrhage. The day before I was dancing, the day before I was at a PINK concert singing and dancing my brains out all the while balancing in heels! How is that possible!?! She continued on the scan to show that there were over 13 tumors multiple signs of hemorrhage that she could see and that it appears to also have moved into my bones and was showing up in my skull. I turned to her and said Dr. Ashworth you have always shot me straight I made you promise to tell me when its time to freak out. This is when she lost it my strong super hero of a Doctor had a human moment as she said through her tears "It's time to freak out" Followed by its time to put your affairs in order. "How much time do I have????" I know this a completely ridiculous question because only the Lord knows! But she responded with a couple months. Ok, now I'm pissed! That is not acceptable!!! I have some HUGE things coming up in my life that I do NOT want to miss out on ! I would be having some very strong conversations with God about this! We all hugged and cried and then I was whisked off to the Radiation department downstairs. I went to CT to have my new Spider Man mask made and immediately sent in to radiation for what would be my daily whole brain radiation treatments for the next 3 weeks. I was also put on a whole barrage of new medications. Including an Alzheimer med to help me retain as much memory as possible. I will find out Monday when my new Keytruda infusions will begin. I was so humbled by how amazing the staff is at Texas Oncology when I realized how late everyone stayed after hours to get everything done for me, when I realized they came in on a Saturday morning just for my treatment! They are a special kind of human! The kind that hide not only super hero capes but angel wings under those scrubs and lab coats! The truth is they wanted me to be hospitalized, the Doctors had no idea how I had not had a seizure, stroke, brain aneurysm, or how I was walking and talking but they took it as a good sign that I still have some fight left in me. It just so happens I live in the neighborhood of my doctors and hospital so I was granted the blessing of going home to be with my family, just another of one of the many tender Mercies the Lord has blessed me with!
So how am I doing??
Emotionally - I am a wreck I burst into tears about every 5 minutes but thank you to Xanax I will be ok!
Physically - I'm in a lot of pain. My head is on fire, and under major attack. I have found that my happy place is to wrap my whole head in ice packs and cover it with a beanie down to my chin - it is heavenly! I'm tired, dizzy, achy, nausea's, and weak. BUT I know I can endure this! The Lord has never left my side!!! In these past three days God has sent me angels to lift me up every step of the way!
Spiritually - I am currently under negotiations with the Lord about this whole timeline thing....We will have to wait and see how that goes. But in the mean time my Faith in God and His plan for me has not wavered in the slightest! I could write endless books on all the ways in which He makes His love for us and very presence in our lives known! I know that for some of you this does not make any sense...and if I know anything I know that I can not give you your relationship with God. That is something that only you alone can find. But what I can promise you is that in the mean time He is waiting for you, loving you perfectly just for who you are. He is not waiting for you to be "Good Enough" for him. You already are in His eyes! And when I leave here I promise to send you reminders of just how amazing and loved you are! I want you all to know Him how I know Him, to feel His Love, His Grace, His desire for all of us to come home to be with Him! This was the plan all along...we are given this beautiful gift to come to this earth to receive a body so that we could learn the things that our spirits needed to learn to become more like Him. He sent us His Son to be a Savior, our Example, and our Friend! He sent us the Holy Spirit to help us, guide us and comfort us in any way we need. And why?? So that when we are done on this earth we can have unimaginable blessings! We can be together with the people that we love forever! Death is not the end it is the beginning of the most beautiful Eternity our God has prepared for us! All of the hard times, the pain, the hurt, they were all to make everything else that much sweeter, that much more Love!
There are some waves that take you all the way to shore, they gently let you off onto the soft warm sand as if to say Welcome home, I hope you enjoyed ever second of this epic ride!
And now in Honor of one of the most amazing nights ever here is my girl P!Nk!! Dance it out my friends! This one's for you Cancer...
What the heck is a Juice Cleanse and why on earth would someone go on one!?!
**DISCLAIMER - I am not a Nutritionist or health expert, this is a personal account of my juice cleanse** I was not paid or compensated in any way by Squeezed for this cleanse or review.
The number one question I got while on my juice cleanse is "Why?"
Reasons to go on a juice cleanse vary far and wide. My reason was to give my body another leg up on fighting cancer! I need my body to be in top fighting form to kick this stage 4 cancers butt! And while I eat healthy, an 80% plant based diet (I eat eggs, and the occasional cheese, I live in Texas Queso is a part of life) I also eat sugar. For those of you that know me you know I don't consume caffeine, I am hyper enough can you imagine me on Caffeine!!! But I would use sugar to give me a boost of energy every now and then.
Some other reasons can be needing to figure out a food allergy / sensitivity. Getting rid of that bloated tummy, head aches, fatigue. Eliminating un-healthy food habits and rebooting the body to desire a whole food plant based diet.
Here is a little Q&A I have put together:
What is a Juice Cleanse? It is exactly how it sounds. You consume only plant based juices and water for a period of time.
How long is a juice cleanse?
That depends on you. For the beginner try 1-4 days. For the more advanced 7+ days is recommended to to truly cleanse and re-boot your system.
Will this help with food allergy testing? Yes, you will be eliminating most common allergens from your diet. After the cleanse you can slowly reintroduce them to find what the culprit might be. However allergens such as Wheat gluten can stay in your gut for much longer than a juice cleanse. For that one you will have to be completely off gluten for months. The cleanse that I was on had an option for Cashew Milk. If you have a nut allergy you would opt out of the cashew milk.
Will I lose weight? Yes, most of which will be water weight. In order to truly lose weight you will need to continue with a healthy balanced diet and exercise after the cleanse. But this will help you kick start your weight loss and help develop healthy eating habits.
What juice cleanse should I do? This answers varies as much as your reasons for doing it in the first place. I chose to do Squeezed online. For me I loved the convenience that it was all prepared for me, I wouldn't have to figure anything out. Just open the fridge and grab my juice. I researched their site and what ingredients they use in each juice. They have 3 different options. Once you select how long you would like to juice for you have the option of selecting Squeezed (Higher fruit content in these juices, recommended for first timers), Super Squeezed (Higher vegetable content in these juices ie; less sugar) , and Spicy Squeezed (added peppers such as jalapeño that can boost your metabolism)
I chose the Super Squeezed as I have been juicing for a few years now. Also because I was wanting to really eliminate my sugar cravings. Because I am very active I also added the optional Cashew Milk. (It comes on 4 flavors. Coffee (I did not get this one so I don't know what it tastes like), Cacao (Think chocolate milk), Vanilla bean cinnamon (Tasted like cinnamon toast crunch) and Strawberry (pretty much tasted like cashew milk)
What are the Carbs, Calories, etc. of the juice?
Each juice is different, if you go to the squeezed online website and click on the A la Cart option you can see the ingredients for each juice. Then click on the Nutritional information and it will pull up everything you need to know!
How much do you drink? Each bottle contained 16oz of juice. I drank 5-6 per day. A breakfast juice, a snack juice, a lunch juice, another snack juice, and a dinner juice. Plus the cashew milk and the recommend 1 gallon of water per day. I am not going to lie it was really hard to get in that much fluid!!
Did you feel Hungry? Occasionally. It really wasn't too bad. As long as I stayed on top of drinking enough water and juices I was fine. If I waited too long in between my stomach started to hurt and I would get a slight headache. For some reason on day 6 there seemed to be food smells everywhere and they smelled AMAZING! So yes on day 6 I felt hungry but made it through!
Is it expensive? Let me start off by saying you do pay for convenience. That being said the 7 day cleanse is $315. Which breaks down to $45 a day. In my opinion it was a financial investment well worth it for my health. Also you can find coupon codes online to help lower the cost.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely! It was so worth it! Although Squeezed Online ships nationally they do have store fronts in Houston, Dallas, and a new location in Austin opening up in the Arboretum in August! I can't wait!
Do I have to be close to a bathroom at all times?
Some of the juices seem to go right through me, I was peeing like a champ all week!! The last thing you need is a bladder infection so while I didn't have to live in the bathroom it was good to know I had one near by.
Did you have Diarrhea all week?
No not at all. But expect the rainbow! In full disclosure there are 2 things you should be aware of. Some of the juices have beet juice, this will cause your bowel movements to turn red. You are not bleeding internally, You are not dying! Just detoxing. Also on day 1 and 5 of the cleanse you drink an activated charcoal juice. This will turn your bowel movements black. Again not dying I promise! Also on those days drink LOTS of water!!! Activated charcoal acts like a cleaning sponge in your body and will make you feel dehydrated pretty quickly if there is not enough water in your system.
What benefits did you experience?
More energy. A greater desire to eat healthy food. Less sugar cravings. A flatter stomach. And time. I know that seems weird but when all you have to do is grab your juice and drink you save a lot of time on meal prep and sitting down to eat a meal! Peace of mind that I was doing one more thing to fight against the cancer that has rudely invaded my body!
***Squeezed Online has given my readers a special discount of 15% off from now unitl May 31st!! Use code "Kaley" at check out! **
If you have anymore questions feel free to send them my way. Also head on over to www.squeezedonline.com/Default.aspx they have a fantastic team there to answer any questions along with a FAQ page.
A little Juicing Motivation for you!
Surgery Round 2....
When Dr. W sat down next to me to go over my pathology reports from the first surgery I knew this was not a "We got it all! Your good to go" kind of a chat.
Instead it was a "Michelle I'm so sorry, this really sucks, this was not the news we were hoping for" kind of chat.
So according to the report all of my lymph-nodes were full of cancer, and based on the size, depth, rate of growth etc. of my tumor I was given the official Diagnosis of Nodular Metastatic Melanoma Stage 3C. I was going to have to go back in for surgery. She wanted to book the OR for that Monday, but still being in shock and not understanding the seriousness of the situation I asked to post pone it to the end of the week. My Mom was coming in town, we had Halloween plans for the kids, I needed to line up Dance Subs..... She was not happy about it but also agreed that waiting 4 more days was not going to risk my life. So the second surgery date was set.
I was sent in for more testing and met with my Oncologist Dr. Michelle Ashworth. She laid out all of my treatment options and we formed a plan. After I recovered from the 2nd surgery I would go into a trial for a new Cancer drug to fight Melanoma. The trial was a 3arm study meaning there were 3 different drugs I could be given. one of the drugs is a form of Chemo that only has a 11% success rate with Melanoma. Thankfully due to the stage of my cancer my doctors were able to automatically withdraw me from that option. So I would get 1 of the 2 new drugs. I would find out after surgery which drug I would be getting.
This also meant it was time to let people know what was going on. A gathering of the troops if you will. I really didn't have time to process who I wanted to tell and what I wanted to keep private. Being a dance instructor at the same studio where my children dance meant everyone was going to find out. So it was best to stay ahead of any rumors and put the information out there ourselves. Thankfully I had a very dear friend that jumped in took care of that for us. She started a facebook page that my husband and I could both post any updates too. She also started a care calendar to set up meals for my family. My Church family also reached out to see how they could be of service to me and my family. There was so much love and support coming from so many different directions it was a little overwhelming at times. One piece of advice of would give to someone going through something like this is to have a main point of contact for people. Someone who will take all of the offers of help and service and organize them in a manner that will benefit you and not become too much! HUGE Shout out to the Best Cancer team organizer out there, the magical Unicorn Kate Karren!
Surgery Day arrived and I was again donning the "Happy Socks" It's the little things in life...
When I awoke this time I could immediately tell things were different. I was in so much pain and everything was spinning out of control. I was told that the surgery took much longer than expected and that some of my lymph nodes were really hard to get to. Once at home it was made clear what those wedding vows are really all about!
True love is cleaning out your wife's surgery drains when your whole life you have not been a fan of anything medical. True love is washing your wife's ridiculously thick and long hair...it was pretty entertaining to say the least. And all that while running the household, taking care of 4 kiddos with crazy schedules and still working your full time job.... All the while I laid in bed and thanked God for blessing me with my perfect Eternal companion!
And now for your 30 Second Dance Party....
It might be hard to tell but see these 4 Humans pictured above, they are Cancer Super Heroes! What you cant see are their capes that are tucked into their normal clothes...
I've wanted a lot of different jobs and career paths in my life. I love trying new things along with developing my passions and talents. But Professional Cancer Patient wasn't exactly on my to do list.
Well too bad so sad for me! In October 2016 that became my new full time job. Of course as with any new job it has its perks..... Instant new friends, loads of new things to learn, and a community to commiserate with. Now the trick was how to juggle my other jobs of Wife, Mother of 4, Young Womens President (Church Youth Leader) and Dance Instructor with Cancer Patient.
When to let everyone know:
CANCER, it can be a very big and scary word for something that may not be that big of a deal. That being said I decided initially to only tell the people I had to for logistical reasons such as missing a couple days of work, and why was Mommy having surgery. At this point we knew I had Melanoma but we didn't know to what degree. So no need to be too concerned. I went in for the first surgery thinking it was a 1 and done situation. I was still blissfully ignorant. Before Surgery I was wheeled into Nuclear Medicine to have a Smurf blue dye injected into me in order to map out the cancer. They took some imaging and then sent me off to surgery. This is where my ROCK STAR Oncology Surgeon comes into the picture Dr. Rebecca Wiatrek. She got in there and removed every trace of Cancer from my back....to the point where she said all she left behind was muscle and bone everything else was evicted! She also went in and took about 4 lymph-nodes out of my armpit.
As I recall recovery from that first surgery was not too bad. I was back at work the next week. Although under strict instructions to "take it easy" and "don't use that arm" . I would be hearing from my surgeon and regular oncologist at the end of the week about Pathology reports. At this point I was still in a state of both ignorance and shock. I had no idea how serious my situation really was. So as I went in to get my results I expected to be told, we got it all you are good to go!
Nope, wait, stop right there.....I was forgetting one thing....His Will, His Ways, My Faith Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you." I was not the boss here and there was more for me to learn......
And now for your 30 Second Dance Party -just Press PLAY
June 20th 1996....As per usual I attended Cheerleading practice from 8-12, went home for lunch and got ready to meet the other cheerleaders for "Pool Time". As I arrived at the pool I quickly located my friends and set up camp in my chosen lounger. Once settled in one of the girls asked if we had noticed the "Hot" lifeguard!?! I'll be honest, I had not. I took what was supposed to be a quick glance over my sun glasses only to find myself completely gawking! I mean mouth open eyes wide, forgetting I was in public gawking. Once I regained my composer it was decided that we would form pairs and then commence in trying to see who could get a date with him first. It was at that point I was informed we went to the same school as him but I had no idea who he was.
My best friend Debbie and I decided we would go last, you know that whole save the best for last thing. We were not worried, we knew our game was strong! So I laid back and watched as one by one they took their turns with the Lifeguard. He smiled at some and seemed very polite. But I also saw him repeatedly raise one eye brow as if to say "you have got to be kidding me". Soon enough it was our turn, we waited until he called a 5 minute rest break and made our move. We pulled 2 chairs up next to him and began to introduce ourselves and gather information on him. We found out that he worked until 10pm and only had a power bar for dinner....Whelp that was it, challenge accepted! We casually said our goodbyes and headed off to make our plan. We rushed home to Debbie's house where we made a gourmet Totinos frozen pizza! We also gathered up 3 different kinds of chips, a bunch of sodas, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert. Once we arrived back at the pool we were happy to see most of the swimmers had left for the day. Which gave us an opportunity to talk with the lifeguard while he ate. Sadly for Debbie she had another date she had to get to that evening and had to run.....I continued to stay and helped him close up the pool for the night. As we were stacking up chairs he asked if I would be interested in going out for coffee afterwards...
That's it, I had WON!!! If only I knew then the life altering significance of what I had just won! I responded with that I would love to go out with him but I did not drink coffee. So we agreed on a little cafe called "Starry Night" that served other drinks and treats. We went back to his place so he could change out of his swim trunks and that is when I realized why I had no idea who he was..........
He walked in his room looking like he was straight out of Bay watch and walked out looking like Slater from Dazed and confused! News boy hat on backwards, old torn up pearl jam shirt, big baggy corduroy pants, and what I affectionately referred to as his Jesus Sandals. To finish off the ensemble he wore a cross body messenger bag that contained his poetry. I instantly regretted not driving myself in-case I needed to make a quick get away. But I figured what the heck I like making new friends and he seemed really nice so off we went to Starry Night.
We ordered our drinks and found a nice spot outside to sit in the perfect June air. One hour quickly turned to 3 and we still were chatting non stop. It felt as if we needed to know everything about each other right then and there. At one point the subject of smoking came up. I told him I was allergic (true story, I am) and that I had a very dear friend who suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. I could not understand how my poor friend was doing everything he could to keep his lungs working and yet people with perfectly healthy lungs would trash them with smoking! On our way back to his car he stopped at a trash can and threw away all of his smoking paraphernalia. I stood there shocked that I could have such an impact on someone I had just met.
As we pulled up to my house he proceeded to do something no guy had EVER done before...............................................
Our First Song, I honestly have no idea why but it was "ours"..
....As we pulled up in front of my house after the first magical date at Starry Night I waited for what would come next, would he lean over the seat and kiss me goodnight, would he get out of the car and walk me to the door and then kiss me, would he.....well folks here's were things went in a direction I could have never predicted.
He put the car in park, said he had a really nice time and then began to reach into his wallet. Looking at him completely perplexed I watched him retrieve and hand me a Business card! Ya, you read that right, his business card! I didn't know whether to be offended or impressed. He pointed out his pager number on the card and said that was the best way to reach him and that he would love to hear from me. That's it, didn't walk me to the door, hug, kiss Nada! I walked into my house completely in shock! That had never happened before......and how did I feel about that???
The fact that he had made his own business cards was impressive it showed his commitment to hard work and independence. I also noted that he had multiple businesses on it...lifeguard, swim lessons, landscaping mowing etc. and construction work. This was a getter done kind of guy! Over the next couple of days I found myself thinking about him NON stop! Ok now full disclosure... I was dating 7 other guys at the time, #SummerSeason, I was having a very fun summer! And in all fairness 2 of them were in other states that I had met at various camps etc. But I realized that if I was going to be spending so much time thinking about Mr. Baywatch I needed to downsize. So I took about a week to go on various "we should just be friends dates" towards the end I did hear from Cameron , he invited me out to the lake to go skiing. We had a great time! I had never been water-skiing before and his Dad was an excellent teacher. But in truth my favorite part was watching Cameron Slalom ski! It was soooo beautiful!! We went back to his house and spent the rest of the night hanging out with his adorable and sassy 12 year old sister. From the very beginning Cameron's family was involved in our dating . In fact that very first night I was introduced to his Dad in the kitchen wearing nothing but underwear. If you know my father in law that will make perfect sense to you, it will also make sense to you that he did make it seem awkward at all. Lane Kaley is one of my favorite and special free spirits I have the pleasure of having in my life! The Kaley's made everything so comfortable. They immediately welcomed me in as part of the family, because that's how the Kaley's role!
Now lest you think I handled this summer romance so perfectly in full dis-closer there were some things that were just so unfortunate. Such as 2 of the boys I was dating were in other states. One in fact had talked his parents into flying him out for a week to see me and go on college visits so that he could be closer to me. Well in all my awesomeness and maturity guess who I had pick him up from the airport to come stay at my house....yep go ahead shake your head now....that had to be the longest and most awkward week of that poor boys life! You deserved soo much better Scott! Lets take a moment to acknowledge all of the boys that I hurt, confused, or dismissed. I am truly sorry! I have tried to instill in my daughters how to be sensitive and caring to a boys emotions, that it has so much power over how he sees himself as a husband and father. It is better to be open and honest and encouraging about your feelings rather than leading someone along with a false sense of reality.
Ok back to the Summer Romance.....well after date 2 came 3,4, and so on it became a daily thing, thank you Summertime!! But back to the Kiss I was looking for on that first night, I may have gotten a hug on the second date I'm really not sure. He may have attempted to hold my hand after the 3rd. By the 4th date I was saying 'Houston We have a Problem!!!" Is this guy EVER going to kiss me!?! I was going to put it to the test! So the fourth date we ate dinner with his family and then went to basement to watch a very romantic movie "A Walk in the Clouds" I tried just about everything, put my head on his shoulder, leaned on him , gazed up at him for long periods of time through out the movie, and nothing! What in the world was happening..... the movie ended and we went into his room to listen to some music, a love we both shared. He sat on the edge of his bed and picked out some CD's to put in the player. I jumped up on the bed and laid my head in his lap so I could see the the cd's he was looking through. He played with my hair while I looked at the CD covers. Our eyes met and he very slowly leaned down and gave me a very gentle sweet kiss. In his defense we were in a very awkward position, But I took it! Finally!!!!
We were inseparable after that. There were plenty of challenges along the way but the constant thing that still remains 22 years later...He completes me, he balances me out, he was always meant to be the other half of me. We promised each other before we came to this earth that we would find each other and go through this together. I have never doubted that! We will soon Celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary....I will share more then about the ups and downs of our Beautiful perfectly imperfect Marriage Journey we have been on. But let me leave you with this, Marriage is like a fairy-tale, the real ones with with dragons, conquests, pain hurt, sorrow, hard work determination all in a great quest to find the treasure, save the day and be blissfully Happy Ever After! If you have ever paid attention there is nothing easy or uncomplicated about a fairy-tale. What makes them so beautiful and sought for is the power of Love behind them that drives the characters to overcome, conquer, and succeed. A love so Powerful it can only come from GOD.
This is first song we danced to at our wedding, not the easiest song to dance to but the message was more important to me....He was my True Companion!
(True Companion by Marc Cohn)
My name is Michelle Kaley but I have many other names.....Daughter, Sister, Wife of 20 years to my High School Sweetheart, Mom to my 4 Beautiful Children, Ms. Michelle to my hundreds of Students, and as of 2016 Cancer Patient was added to the list.