Saturday, July 5, 2014

What Am I Missing?

So many things out there that I never knew existed.
A discovery makes it clear why someone first believed in reincarnation--There are just too many cool things out there to do and be for one lifetime. 

Thanks to the Ephemera Fest, I learned about the existence of "zines."  They are these artistic booklets of pictures and words, put together in thematic ways.  All I know is that, in this world, there was something I'd never experienced before, and it made me realize that I've become too domesticated in my little place in the spinning system.

I used to be a risk-taking, book-devouring, new-trying explorer and now my days consist of what I will eat and what part of the house I will clean.  It's enough to make a grown woman cry and cry and cry.

I want to laugh and learn.  I want to go places and do things--real things--that others are doing.  Maybe that's why I write.  I can live hundreds of lives through my writing.  Each time I begin a new book it is a version of reincarnation.

Maybe this time I'll get it write :)

But what am I missing?  Never stop learning is ingrained in me.  I couldn't stop even if I wanted to.  Yet, documentaries on TV aren't the same as living the experience.  How do I do it though?  I've got responsibilities and compromises to make.  How do I get out there and experience this life I've been given?  How do I make it matter?  I'm not necessarily talking about leaving a legacy.  How do I make my life fulfilling?

My grandmother knew hers was fulfilled because of the family she loved and the love she received in return.  Man, I really miss her.

Maybe I'm just hitting a crisis stage.  I didn't get the job.  So what?  So, now, if I want a position like it, I have to go out of my comfort zone and find some place else.  That's a good thing, right?  Then, why does it feel so wrong?

I think I stay in my comfortable world for fear--not of the unknown--but of the known.  There's an adjustment period with change, and I'm afraid this time won't be an easy switch.

The only thing missing is my courage.  Oh, and funds.  No funding for the wild, new, and crazy things either. :/

I guess it just gives me more time to write.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Take Good Health for Granted

I've been very fortunate the past few years to receive good health reports from my many doctors. I've had several surgeries. Honestly, I never knew just how many times I could be poked in my right arm until the past couple of years.

I'm currently on about my sixth revision to my original Tram-flap surgery to make it more comfortable for me to show a little cleavage. I'm not talking about flirtation level. I just wanted to be able to wear more than a turtleneck for the rest of my life. I'm at that point and down to the final steps to finishing everything.

In the meantime, I've had to watch out for polyps on my uterine wall and fluid-filled cysts on my ovaries. Nevertheless, I'm blessed.  Yes, it's true. Perhaps not perfect, but my health is a priority to me. I have so much riding on it, and the past four and a half years have made that clear.

Go to those regular check-ups.  Perform those self-exams. And, of course, take the medicines and treatments seriously too.  Good health shouldn't be taken for granted. Others are counting on you to be here for them, even if they aren't saying it every day.

Stay healthy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Little, Whispering Voice

There is no motivator like intense hopelessness, if you're naturally a hopeful person. 

Back in 2008, hubby and I decided to join a gym.  We went with one that was close by, had childcare, and gave us many options to get in shape.  Much as I would like to say we started our exercise regimen and stuck with it faithfully, the reality was we were often too tired to make it for a workout.

Yet, funny how things turn out because I was having one of the worst teaching years ever in my almost fifteen year career.  There are some groups of students you just don't click with, and this was one of two in my teaching career I dreaded working with daily.  Don't get me wrong, there were some amazing kids in this student group, but there were also some that delighted in causing as much mischief as they possibly could.

I was miserable, felt out of control and at the end of my rope.  So I began getting serious about something I could control--making time for the gym.  I'd heard at some point that exercise was an excellent stress reliever, and though I thought it was a long shot, I decided to give exercise a try.  At least two or three times a week, I would jump on the elliptical and do my best to push my stress out with the sweat.

As I got into a habit, I noticed I missed the activity if I didn't make it to the gym, and eventually, I was going four to five times a week.  My school year wasn't getting better unfortunately, but my anxiety level dropped.  The most beneficial part of adding an exercise routine started about six weeks into this major change in my life and continued for the next six months--I lost about twenty-five pounds.

It was awesome.  Everyone noticed--co-workers, family (especially hubby), and I noticed.

My stomach was getting flatter, my hips were getting narrower, and even my breasts were fitting in my bras and button-down shirts better.  I was excited to keep working toward my ideal weight.

Then, in September 2009, I was showering, and the thought popped into my head that I hadn't completed a self-exam on my breasts for years.  Yes, years.  It's easy just to go through your routine and think things will always be the way they've always been.  Why I thought to do a self-exam at that moment, I don't know.  I like to think it was an intervention from God.  I wasn't exaggerating when I said, I hadn't purposely examined my breasts for years, and though I'd been to my regular appointments, I hadn't since I'd begun to lose weight.

It was completely unexpected (I mean who really expects it?), but sure enough, I found a lump in my left breast.  Maybe it was because I'd lost so much weight that it was so noticeable to me now, but there it was--undeniably a golf ball size lump.

Two things about that time continue to make me wonder.  My weight-loss, though originally motivated by a tough day job, was probably the key to my being able to feel the lump, and the fact something greater than myself inspired me to find the lump.

Hard times might just be your wake-up call.  And, of course, listen to that little whispering voice.  It might just save your life.

More to come,

Sherry

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's About Time

To say it's been awhile since I last posted is an understatement and a half, but my goal was to begin writing about my recent experience with breast cancer, and honestly, I don't think I was really ready.

Truth be told, given a hundred years to process that time in my life, I don't think I would still be ready, but I'm forging ahead anyway with the hopes that someday, someone reads this and it gives them a little hope to hold on to.

Where to begin was a little tricky.  Sure, I could start with the day I first discovered a lump in my breast or I could talk about the day I was diagnosed, but to really understand the devastation of the experience I needed to begin much earlier.

I had just finished my first undergraduate year at Eastern Kentucky University and was excited to begin my second summer as a camp cook at Aldersgate United Methodist Church Camp.  The previous summer had been one I would never forget, and I expected nothing less of the upcoming one.  Boy, was that calling the spring grass green.  I met my future husband that summer, and eighteen years and three children later, he's still my unforgettable hero.

At the time though, we were young, felt immortal, and rushed headlong into a romance.  As we grew closer, he told me his mother had battled cancer five years earlier, but that she was doing fine now.  Unfortunately, that changed very quickly in the fall.  I met her once.  Actually sat down and had a conversation with her.  I remember she had short, dark hair, a kind face, and a powerful love for her family.

One month later, she passed.  The cancer returned with a vengeance and took her very quickly.  It was a sad time for all.  I was there to support my then boyfriend as he went through the visitation and funeral.  My heart broke for his father, sister and him as they grieved, and though I knew there was nothing I could say or do to make things better, I attempted to be there for my boyfriend.

Looking back, two things about that time stand out to me now.  One rainy evening about a month after her death, I was driving to a creative writing class and had a fender bender.  After the police and insurance reporting was over, I skipped my class and went to my boyfriend's house to wait for him to arrive.  While there, I called my mother and gave her a tearful explanation of what had happened, after which I sat with my now father-in-law and apologized for crying.  He gave me a slight smile and said, "That's okay.  I've cried a little myself today."  Perspective in a second.

Unfortunately, the other thing that I remember about this time is that my future husband and I broke up.  We decided not to see each other any more.  He was sad, very sad, and though I'd tried to be supportive, he needed time alone.  I, of course, understood, though my heart was devastated.

Believe it or not, a month later, we were together again, and I had no lingering doubts about the relationship.  We were meant to be together.  I still feel I could search the world over and never find anyone as perfect for me than him.  He has proven time and time again that love is a very real and powerful force, and I thank God He brought us together.

So, this is where I knew I had to start.  That time was a roller-coaster of emotion, but without this backstory, meaning about my personal struggle with breast cancer years later would be lost.

Until next time,

Sherry

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Posting on Location

I'm posting at ACA this Monday about when life hands you lemons--write about it.  Come check it out.

Happy Writing!

http://www.cheriemarks.blogspot.com
http://www.cheriemarks.com
Into the Fire releasing October 5, 2011 from The Wild Rose Press

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Things You Might Want to Know and Some Things You Probably Don't

I had the big C.  Whew!  Not a good time in my life.

Specifically, I had breast cancer, and my treatment consisted of a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and five years of Tamoxifen.

Now, I'm not going to lie.  I was strong.  I faced it all with my eyes on a future without cancer.  Not because I'm naturally a strong person (most definitely not true), not because I suddenly found strength, not even because I was completely confident I would make it through it all, but I was strong because I'm a wife to an amazing husband and mother to three children--the oldest of which is just now a teenager (although she acted like she achieved that age a whole lot earlier) and the youngest just finished kindergarten.

Plain and simple--there was no other option.

Now I'm a year cancer-free (I love saying that), and I thought it was time to begin living my faith that God would provide a cancer-free future for a long time to come.  So, I consulted a highly recommended plastic surgeon about breast reconstruction surgery.  After speaking with her extensively, I elected to undergo a Tram-Flap Reconstruction.

As usual, it hasn't been easy.  There have been complications, so over the next few blog posts, I'm going to use this space to explain my decisions, the process, the complications, and maybe answer some questions for anyone out there trying to make decisions of their own or those that are just curious.

This is what is swirling around in my mind right now, so I'm going to use this space to get those thoughts, fears, and musings out.  Maybe then I'll free up some space in the old noggin for some lighter topics.

Until then...

Happy Writing!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Complications

Still kicking after all these complications, except I'm dealing with medical issues again. Three weeks ago, I elected to have a breast reconstruction surgery. It was supposed to be the happy ending to my breast cancer story. Everything seemed to be going well, until it swelled. That went down eventually, but then it began to get infected. So that's where I am now--another complication. And all along the way, little complications keep coming. But what can I do? People tell me I'm strong, that I'm a trouper who has gone through so much, but the truth is, there is no other option. I have to keep praying, hoping, and trying until things work out. And they will. That's where my strength truly comes in. I don't let myself think of any other option than things working out.

I can't help relating my medical struggle to the ultimate goal of being published in book-length fiction. You see, I take chances, write a piece in which I have confidence, then put it out in front of others to see the reactions. Along the way, there are complications--big and small--and my ability to push through the blocks, the lack of time, the unfortunate medical issues, the plot bunnies, or whatever happens to get in the way of the story is what will ultimately lead to success. Regardless of all these possible problems, I don't let any other option other than pushing through and getting published even become a possibility.

Complications are going to happen, but they're merely bumps in the road. Never full stops.

Happy Writing!