~ working on my book…

As I review my life over the last couple of years to refresh my memory to write this book, I’d like some feedback from blog followers that shared my journey. 

Let me know what you thought about my approach to handling the illness journey. What stands out in your mind? What made you laugh? What made you cry? What topics did I discuss that you had questions about and wanted to know more? Did you share any of the things I did to help me get through with anyone dealing with a health issue? 

Thoughts for a title for the book? 

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Still Sparkling 

Cinzia ūüôā 

~ turning this blog into a book!

After a few months of the job search saga, I decided to stay working as a personal assistant and to focus my time on building my health and doing what my heart desires.

I have talked about it long enough, it is time for action. I am writing a BOOK! Turning this blog into a book or two or three books, who knows how many stories I have in me to tell. I am very excited. This weekend I began a journey to write and self-publish a book! My publish and launch goal in mid November 2017! I will keep you posted throughout this process! 

I am feeling great! In January I started taking yoga classes. Yoga has been exactly what I needed to relieve the pain, weakness and tingling in my arms. It has also helped me build strength, relax, focus, and shed some of the weight I gained as I ate my way¬†through chemo. ha! It’s also a¬†bonus to meet lovely¬†people and make new friends in the yoga community. ¬†ūüôā

Had a follow-up at the c-centre this week. Blood is doing well, I am down 3kg and the doctor is very pleased with my health overall. Next one in October. Feeling grateful! 

Just a quick update from my sparkly world. Much more to come soon. 

Still Sparkling!! ¬†ūüėČ

~ my job search saga…

As I think about what to do next with my life, I think about wanting to start an online business being able to work from anywhere until the fear of the unknown grabs me and I go online to search for the false sense of security in a traditional job. I have to admit the job search process is more stressful than dealing with my illness was! That may seem strange but think about it. With illness I was able to make decisions and had a say in what happened. A job search takes a whole different path. 

The path begins with searching for a posting that appeals to me and fits my skill set. Then it turns to reviewing the posting and highlighting the keywords that seem important to the role and ensuring my resume and cover letter include those special words in hopes that my writing skills get noticed. Then I submit my specially crafted cover letter and resume into cyber space and hand off my fate to the hands of an algorithm behind something known as an Applicant Tracking System, ATS, yes another bloody acronym!!!

Now the¬†waiting part. How long do I wait? What am I waiting for? A phone call, an email? Your guess is as good as mine. This part seems¬†odd since most postings have comments along these lines, ‘no phone calls please’ or ‘only short¬†listed candidates will be contacted’. Great! If you are fortunate enough to be contacted for an interview, you are doing well. So be prepared to answer questions¬†intelligently and not be a total dork, like I recently was on a telephone interview. Oh well, live and learn. The alternative is¬†silence in all forms or perhaps an impersonal email addressed to ‘dear sir or madam’ telling you that you¬†didn’t make the short list. It’s an icy cold email yet at least it is communication. Hmmm…I think I have to step up my game!¬†

This new¬†world of online¬†networking, creatively writing cover letters and the quest to¬†write resumes using¬†adjectives which describe ones accomplishments not just list job duties, not to mention searching online for ways to beat the¬†applicant¬†tracking systems…now one has to be smarter than the software application! Ugh! ¬†All this while checking ones ego in this competitive job market. The¬†articles that come up¬†when I search anything job or career related are amusing, I enjoyed seeing this title – resume optimizing techniques! Buzzwords abound! All of this leaves me wondering, where has the human¬†element gone from Human Resources????¬†

While searching and finding new postings that interest me, I go back into my resume to review and amend it for the next application. My heart¬†sinks as I come¬†across a typo! NO!!!! I am crushed!!¬†After spending so much time on this¬†document I can’t¬†even read it clearly anymore. So much for the spelling and grammar check function!?!?! Damn! Back to my tracking spreadsheet to note my flawed resume¬†and kiss those opportunities goodbye. Back to my old school style of reviewing a document by¬†reading it aloud while tracing each word with my opposite hand! All is good now!¬†

Having a profile on LinkedIn I receive job¬†search threads where people post their concerns and comment on others questions. A repeat topic that turns up is titled ‘how to explain away a medical issue’…¬†What?? No one asks to have a health issue! Why on earth¬†is a person¬†supposed to cover up a fact in their life! Unbelievable!¬†Again I wonder,¬†where is the human element¬†hiding in Human Resources?¬†

I may be dating myself here, but I miss the days when you could walk into a business, talk to a person and¬†hand them¬†your resume. At the very least¬†make a¬†first impression instead of having an¬†algorithm assess the first impression of you¬†as nothing more than an ‘applicant’. Perhaps technology has not changed the hiring process for the better.¬†

I remain optimistic and am sure that things¬†will work out just fine. In the meantime I will try to keep my sanity amongst the acronyms and algorithms. ūüė≥

Still sparkling…one day at a time. ¬†¬†ūüėä

~ new normal, new year…

It has now been one year since I rang the bell! Yay! Sparkles worked!! ‚ú® One year post treatment and I am doing well! Today I had a follow-up appointment and my hematologist is pleased with how well I am doing. It’s always a relief to hear good health news! Now I will shift to three appointments per year. 

Over the last three months I have seen a neurologist and a physiatrist, had nerve test done on my arms and hands, which left me with a different diagnosis of carpal tunnel in both hands not neuropathy. So I have been wearing braces every night for three months now. Some days I feel like things are improving, then I do housework and my hands and wrists are miserable again. From speaking with my doctor today she has no other options to suggest as they have no idea what is causing my issue. It seems like my only option is sparkles! So I will grab the medical encyclopedias and look for detailed images of the bones, nerves and tissues inside of wrists and hands to visualize sparkles healing! ‚ú® 

My biggest issue these days is, truthfully, being lazy! With 24 hours in the day it is incredible how much time I waste, doing what you ask? well that is even a mystery to me most days. I would like to think I would exercise and eat well daily, this happens for about a week and then I make excuses and procrastinate. If I can admit this then why don’t I do something about it? That is a darn good question. I am human, that’s about all I can say. 

Another observation about my new normal is that I am still quite forgetful. I can be looking at someone while having a conversation and be totally blank, not recalling at all what I have just been told. This is so hard. I used to feel mentally sharp, process things quickly and retain information easily. Now I write things down and still forget. I guess it’s time to apply sparkle healers to my brain and memory. ‚ú®ūüė≥

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   ūüėä

~ one year on the good side! ūüéČ

It is almost two years since this health adventure began, which seems long ago and yet feels like yesterday. This year has been filled with memories on anniversary dates of the things that I have experienced. Today being a very important one. Last year on this date my doctor called to give me the results of the PET scan and the news was great, I was in remission!!! So this anniversary is meaningful as the first year is an important one to get through. 

So thankful for sparkle shields!!!  ✨✨✨

I still believe in the power of sparkles! I think I always will. It may be silly to some and seem like I am covering up how I truly feel. To each their own. Since I still have a scar tissue mass in my chest that I feel every day, I continue to visualize it encased in sparkles to keep it contained. Whatever it takes to put my mind at ease. 

Now to get on¬†with life! To find the answer to the nagging question in my head…what do I want to be when I grow up? That is a tough question. Since the socially¬†acceptable norms have never added joy to my life this may be interesting and take Vodka and I to new places. We will see what I¬†discover¬†that appeals to the new normal me. ¬†ūüėČ

Still sparkling…one day at a time ¬† ūüėÉ

~ a life celebrated in style…

Last week I attended a true Celebration of Life for a lovely man named Carl. A man who¬†lived life to the fullest every day. Inspiringly courageous through the most¬†difficult of journeys. From seeing the number of¬†people¬†in¬†attendance to hearing the fond memories and stories from his family¬†and friends, there is no doubt that he touched many people’s lives.

This day was special and spoke volumes about the kind of man Carl was. From the personal stories, photos and the family video footage you could see that he found joy in the little things and injected positive energy into every thing he did. It felt right to enjoy music played by local bands and to share laughs over cocktails on this day. Just the way Carl wanted his life to be celebrated. With pyrotechnics and all. 

I was introduced to his¬†lovely wife, who had heard a lot about me¬†throughout¬†this journey. She looked into my eyes and said ‘I prayed for you everyday.’ My eyes filled with tears and I was¬†speechless. Kindness is¬†beautiful.¬†

These life events tend to make people think. They bring up a mixture of¬†feelings¬†that many¬†don’t want to address. Yet if you look at it¬†this way, it is easier¬†to make decisions¬†when you choose to rather than when you are forced to.¬†Something to think¬†about. You will be glad you did.¬†

It may seem strange to attend the memorial celebration for someone whom I had not met, yet I came away from this day feeling that I knew Carl. I am just sorry I had not taken the opportunity to meet him when I had the chance. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time ¬†¬†

 

~ my distracted mind…

For weeks, even months I have been thinking about writing a post about the things I did during the rest of my stay in Italy. Yet I have not felt like talking. Unusual for me since I am quite a chatty gal. There have been too many distractions in my mind for me to focus. At this moment I have lists all over the table and am starting to get my head straight about life and what to do with myself. I will get around to writing posts about my Italian adventure soon. 

Since¬†returning to Canada a few weeks ago I have had another follow-up, this time¬†with my original hematologist. It’s nice to have her back.¬†I was thrilled the day I had my blood taken, sounds silly, but the nurse was skilled and successful on the first try. I could even hear the blood gush into the tube! Woohoo! Gross but made me very happy! She is my¬†favourite nurse!!! Always a relief¬†to learn that my blood is normal and that the doctor is happy with how I am doing overall. ūüėÉ I am almost at the one year mark and this is important. The first year is the most likely period for¬†recurrence. There is that word, this is part of what has been¬†distracting me for some time.¬†

Recurrence. As time passes and I get closer to a full year beyond¬†treatment I struggle with this word. I¬†chose¬†to keep to myself and not get¬†involved with support groups and such during my¬†treatment period. Yet I did know of a few others at different stages of treatment at the same time and this is what has become difficult for me. Over the last six months or so I¬†have learned of three people¬†who¬†have experienced¬†recurrence. I¬†imagine that it is a cancer¬†survivor’s greatest fear,¬†and for as much as one tries to be positive, live in the moment and move on with life. This word presents a reality that others just cannot understand. To learn that one person had passed away last month, another is in¬†palliative care and one in¬†treatment again is difficult to process. Here I am just back from a few months rest in Europe and trying to decide¬†what to do with my life, while my mind feels numb. Moving forward feels difficult¬†when someone I haven’t met yet feel I know because our stories were shared between us via a¬†mutual friend, we were each others cheerleaders, is near the end of his life. It’s hard to hear¬†that someone who¬†handled their illness and¬†treatment will such grace has had to face it again so soon. I cannot put my feelings into words right¬†now. ūüėĒ

Another distraction is my hand and wrist pain which continues. I have agreed to¬†take the prescription the hematologist has recommended. The first day was comical, I was pretty much stoned from one pill! ha! and I felt nauseated and my face was¬†tingling! Thankfully the yucky feeling only lasted a few days. It’s been almost two weeks and I am not¬†noticing much relief yet, I do remain hopeful. I saw a neurologist last week, he had no answers. My case is odd. So I¬†have¬†been referred to a physiatrist. Now to wait for an appointment with him.¬†Thankfully I have free time and can be on a cancellation list¬†rather¬†than wait 6 months for an¬†appointment.¬†

I am now¬†experiencing the entangled feelings of fear,¬†frustration and what on earth are my transferable skills!?¬†in looking for some way to earn an income and move forward in life. Preparing for a¬†job¬†search is a process¬†that I am sure no one is fond of. It is enough¬†to drive one crazy! I know because I was already half way there! ¬†ūüėú

In the meantime I am trying to replenish my sparkle levels and see the bright side in things and not get too wound up about them. I am still adjusting to the new normal that is my life. My body is stiff and makes weird crackling noises when I move. My hair is a daily adventure that takes way too much of my energy. This new-found fear of certain words is a tough one, trying not to let them get the best of me. After all they are just words. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time. ¬† ūüėä