My Breast Cancer Recovery GoFundMe

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Last year in the throes of early chemo treatment for HER2+ invasive ductal carcinoma. We have come a long way since…

It has been a lot to juggle. My writer self is returning after much practice on Facebook during this time I figure out my energy and new way of being.

I may be ambitious attempting #nanowrimo this year with pending radiation treatment, sure. But it feels right to forge ahead in the spirit of at least showing up and giving it my best shot.

Here is another request for a boost to my GoFundMe campaign. Meaning, I could use some money please! 🙂

Link to my GoFundMe YouTube video request

I am only at 12% of my goal and while I have been fortunate to have help from good friends during this time – I am still way shy of my goal.  The minimum donation is $5 – of course if you can give more I am extremely grateful for that as well!

Also please feel free to share. 🙂

~ M xoxo

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Fun Bag Friday Returns #breastcancerawareness

Yep, for those of you who remember the Fun Bag Friday’s – when I would get 50ccs of saline at a time in my temporary tissue expanders. 

Today, we schedule the surgery to put the implants in – and take out the expanders. Of course not in that order. 

And here is me. 


Love this cap from Amazon. 

Sure it’s “linty” but it’s comfy and stylish for almost all my occasions. 

If you are looking for a (chemo) cap, I super recommend it. 

Like super duper recommend it. 

Any Womens newsboy cap will do I imagine – unfortunately the link to this exact one is gone. 

Anyway! 

I’ll keep ya posted on the future of the “fun bags”. 😋🙅🏻 

Miko 

Fun Bag Friday, Food & Cooking Webinar

Today’s stop at inflation station was brief. 

I asked the nurse if it was normal to feel tired after what seemed like a simple procedure. 

It’s mental exhaustion more. I’m physically a little sore but by the time I get home I’m starting to feel zoned out. 

She reminded me I’ve been through a lot of trauma and it’s natural to feel tired.  I don’t mind needles, for example, but now my body’s experienced the knife too, and is just exhausted from everything. But she also said that I’m doing really well. 

Yay. Encouraging to hear. 

This time when the right side was inflated I felt pressure in that breast / chest area, no pain. 

My left side was much more sensitive. The needle stings but it’s not too bad. Just a deep breath in. And pressure on this side too. 

The bottom portion of my tatas will start filling in now. If you remember my silly post mastectomy selfie, there were some folds under the left breast. I was wondering about that. 

Stretch, stretch the muscles. Skin is smoothing out too. 

So hooray. Onto the next topic – food!!! 

In other awesome news, I watched Chef Todd Mohr’s free cooking webinar and loved it! He taught us principles of cooking that are taught in culinary school and how to make your own easy recipes with a formula. And learning to cook with your eye and the thermometer. 

I really enjoyed it, and am looking at food in a new way. I’ve always had a close relationship with my food and explored all kinds of eating – it’s my fuel and also fun! 

But after this latest life experience, I want to revamp my perspectives on food again. 

I really believe that “the new person doesn’t need the old disease” – and I decided to change things I do, even healthy habits, to a new healthy way. 

So more fun with vegetables and plant proteins. I like how vegans and vegetarians use vegetables in creative ways to create interesting tastes and textures, some almost as good tasting as meats and dairy products. Cashew cheese? Yum. 

I still like my meat though and I feel better when I eat it. This just gives me even more to play with for nutritious and healthy ideas. Plus I can include more plant protein and less meat in some dishes for variety plus cost. I like to get really good quality meat. 

Also I find cooking to be meditative, especially with a lot of color, it’s very soothing and uplifting. It can be like alchemy. 

So for my freestyle cooking style (I like cooking with scissors),  I really enjoyed Chef Todd Mohr’s webinar and considering joining his online cooking school at www.webcookingclasses.com

I did find I could brush up on my knife skills too, because “consistency of cut is consistency of cook.” 

Many gems from Chef Todd Mohr. 

I want to explain my thoughts on killing animals for food. I believe we all have certain needs unique to us as individuals that include nutrition. We have evolved and continue to – and many animals eat meat too. I like the cultures that honor the sacrifice of life for life from a loving and respectful place. I feel better when I eat with that mindset, even more so than when I’m not eating meat. But I also understand for health reasons some people don’t eat meat, so listen to your body. Mine knows what’s up, and I’m better off when I listen to it. 

But back to reinventing my relationship with food – whenever I’m making big life changes I like to revisit the things I do most often and see how I can support myself through the transition physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Food isn’t just physical, it can play a role mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a good way for me to get in alignment with a new phase or direction in my life cuz I’ve got a new food theme going and I’m thinking about food differently in a way that compliments my new direction. 

Besides, I gotta explore and try new things to keep my creativity up and my imagination active. Food is a great place to start! 

What can we make next…?! 

Most of all, enjoy – and keep your eating and activity level complimentary. What’s your body doing and what does it need. 

A quote I like when it comes to eating (and life) is, “everything in moderation, including moderation.” 

And last but not least, if you aren’t happy with how you eat, don’t guilt yourself and don’t deprive yourself, that just adds heaviness mentally and emotionally.  

Find out why you love that cheat meal or whatever you don’t believe is right for you in the longrun and add new food to try that might hit those spots in a healthier way. 

Slow and steady is the best way to go – but whether you have to do a big life change fast or can take it slow, making it about what new food to eat is more fun than thinking about what you have to give up. 

And more fun is more sustainable. Whatever fun means to you. 

During cancer and trauma that we go through, our bodies deserve fun and goodness. We do too. 

I’m excited to put the principles I learned from Chef Todd Mohr into practice. 

Already looking at food in a new way. And so excited to get my masticating juicer. Might have to whip up some juicy juices over some juicy stories! 

Thanks for reading about my fun bag Friday and my dishing on food! 

Try any new recipes recently? Do share in comments! 

Tata for now,
Miko xo

  

Transparency Tuesday

I feel I’ve been bouncing around a lot in my writing (but maybe it’s just my mind!), and maybe some of you new to my story might be wondering what’s going on. (Sometimes I wonder too. :P)

So just a quick recap of where I’m at in life:

Recently cancer free – hoorah!

On May 8, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer – invasive ductal carcinoma. Mother’s Day weekend. I stopped by the doctor’s office on my way to surprise my mom.

I had planned to do a personal training session and leave later in the afternoon. But I needed to get on the road and just be alone. I told anyone who called or needed to know that day.

And then. Josh Groban on loop. Feeling nothing. Crying. Driving from Nevada to California.

My next priority was to get on Medicaid. I had just come off because of my income level being too high. Thankfully, there is a breast and cervical cancer program and I worked with DWSS over the phone to expedite enrollment.

Decisions about treatment…

I come from a Christian, faith-based background. I have faith… in faith and love. I think that love can work anywhere, and that makes it incredibly intelligent and flexible.

Still, what did that mean practically for me when I made decisions about treatment.

I have had a rough few years and there were times I thought I would just get my soul right and pick some nutritional route in response to my cancer. I felt I had something I’m meant to accomplish here, whether I came up with it myself or it was destiny, I definitely felt I had unfinished business. So maybe just test that faith, I thought.

Worse case scenario, I would be wrong. Maybe business was finished and I just didn’t know.

Then I wondered, if I believe things like the sayings about how life is worth something if you bring a smile to someone or change someone’s life… by that, my life has been worthy.

What I mean is, I made peace with death. It was not the first time.

But I was not looking for death, as afraid as I sometimes was of living. There have been other times I stared death down. It didn’t seem it was my journey.

Peace with death was important to me because it gave me more energy to put towards healing.

I felt that the sickness was a gift as far as a chance to go inward and really heal all aspects of me that needed healing – besides the cancer.

I believe that the new person does not need the old disease. I heard this from Louise Hay and have seen this myself in smaller ways up till now. I intended to change whatever I could about myself that no longer served me. Sometimes I find it easier to change when other changes are going on. Full immersion. But there’s a method to the madness.

Not to get ahead of myself.

With so many emotions and thoughts, I tried things on for size for awhile, through the waves of feelings, to see what felt right.

Someone asked me about chemo. They assumed I would be starting. I wasn’t sure. My mom believed I had the power to heal naturally, but she supported me in whatever I believed. I didn’t think I wanted to do chemo, but surgery I was okay with. Lots of people refuse chemo. I liked my surgeon and her staff.

I listened to Louise Hay’s audio book on cancer. Bernie Siegel’s “Love, Medicine and Miracles” audio book. I started listening to Emperor of Maladies.

I started feeling if I could change my perspective on chemo maybe it would be okay – somehow it felt right for me. Bernie Siegel confirmed this for me when he talked about how patients who saw chemo or radiation as positive energy had better outcomes.

Part of my decision to go through with chemo had to do with the fact that I was determined to have a breakthrough in my life even before cancer came along.

I felt like cancer was saving my mind and my heart which both felt so broken. Thankfully, my body is pretty healthy – and I believed that my cancer came from stress and, as I joked, riotous living.

I made so many compromises in my life and at a certain point I was so depleted.

There is a quote from the classic, Dr Zhivago, which I love.

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity.  Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune.  Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like the teeth in our mouth.  It can’t be forever violated with impunity.

Boris Pasternak (1890 – 1960) 

Source: Doctor Zhivago

I felt that the things I had kept in and the ways I had not been true to myself challenged my nature on a cellular and energetic level.

I didn’t feel the answer was going to be just to change my diet or go on some solitary fast – I needed everything – I needed help from others too. I needed to rest my mind which had just been running almost continuously.

I needed to let other people take care of me.

It had been so important with the things I had been through (learned helplessness included) that I did things on my own, that I got back up after I had fallen. On my own.

But I knew I needed to take charge of my decisions and let other people who were not depleted, look after me. I believe the medical system is full of good people who want to help others and I focus on that. It was ok to let others look after me.

I also wanted a positive environment and the information available on alternative treatments has a lot of negativity in it sometimes, and I didn’t want to have to wade through that on my own.

And when I talked with my surgeon, she said “Why not do it all?” Yes! Inclusive, comprehensive, integrated solutions. Love this.

We talked about how I’d learn so much as a personal trainer going through breast cancer to help others. I was excited. Opportunities and a reason to focus on myself, but for others. It made it easier to look after myself.

Fast forward to now – March 29th, 2016. I am cancer free and the unfinished business I felt I had, is well underway.

Things are very different, of course. Because my cancer was HER2+ I was a good candidate for chemo and targeted treatment. I am still going through treatment, but the “red devil” portion of chemo is over. So is the bilateral mastectomy.

I have a great support team on the health side, compassionate and practical friends, upbeat family, and between everyone and the financial assistance for cancer survivors, I’m very grateful.

I’m planning on getting back to work soon – personal training will be different for a bit, but writing and consulting – and some new projects, because I’m coming’ back with the thunder! To paraphrase Leona Lewis.

My chest is tight these days – the right side feels like it’s burning right now, probably from

miko-say-at-chemo
Early on in chemo. I braided my hair and cut off braids as they fell out. Still a few here. It got messy as you’ll see in other pics, haha.

the typing. I get sparks on the back of my arm some time if I get tired – processing information like a one hour phone call today was tiring and then sparks flicking the back of my arm. I feel a lot stronger in my arms though and have good range of motion.

Learning my new pacing. Getting more dancing in … stretching the arms gently. Learning to rest in between activities.

Still taking selfies and writing on my phone when I’m tired. (I write on my phone a lot and have for years.) Connecting with the cancer community in new ways. Getting interested in dance therapy.

But first while I’m doing a lot of physical resting, I’m getting started on my story here for starters, which brings us back to transparency.

Transparency Tuesday because transparency is one of my values. I think in a world with so many cover-ups and hidden agendas and shadiness that it’s refreshing to be transparent. It’s a lot simpler too.

Or maybe I just like it because I’m a rebel.

Tata for now,

Miko xo

PS: My goal for this week (it’s already Tuesday) – an assignment from my life coach: to buy a juicer. A masticating one because it’s better for keeping the enzymes in the juice. The challenge? Buying it!

Let me know at miko hargett at gmail if you can help. In the meantime … I think I’m gonna write a juicy book about what I’ve learned about juicing, and other juicy things.

Thank you for reading. xoxo

 

Mammary Monday, Money Mongering

plaster breast mold
Breast mold made using a plaster belly kit

Want to take a walk down mammary lane with me? 
😘
I thought I would tell my life story from the perspective of my late boobs. So as to get their words of wisdom and truth in writing (since soon they would be gone to Tata Heaven), I dedicated November to writing every day with them until we hit 50,000 words. 
Why November? 
Because it’s National Novel Writing Month (oh look alliteration again!) – aka NanoWriMo. 
We who participate in Nanowrimo are known as Rhinos. I have been a rhino 3 times and won twice. 
 
Winning is for finishing at all – a concept I like very much. I finished over 50,000 words dedicated to my boobs desire to tell it like it was, in about 3 weeks, writing every morning. 
I wrote this part differently than any of the other novels (more about this later), because it was a lot of writing about some very personal things in a short time while I went through chemo. 
I had a lot working against me but that gave me a lot to work with too. I’ll write about that on another day – maybe Wacky Wednesday Writing. 
Honest writing is important to me. I think there is a challenge sometimes in being truthful and kind in communication, but I think it’s a worthy one. 
Fiction is challenging for me. Maybe because I got in trouble a lot for lying. 😜 I think I was actually dyslexic most of the time as sometimes it seems I still am. Like I meant why instead of no or yes or whatever I thot was the right answer. 
“Did you return your book to the library?” 
“Yes? No?” By then I had already lied. I wanted to say “why?” That seemed very risky at ages 4 through 10 in particular but really, even now. Risky  word “why” can be. 
Powerful also. 
The mammaries witnessed a lot even before they had matured. (Blossomed?) 
Mainly, why don’t I feel okay with asking why? 
I tended to my chest early. Wanted to pose in my mom’s bikini on the balcony in Singapore when I was 4.
Had to fill the empty cups with something eventually. Socks. Not realistic enough. Tangerines! Not a natural enough shape. 
Maybe tangerines and socks. 
I tried to offer this handy chest juice to my little brother who was confused and interested – because tangerines are yum but why wouldn’t I just peel the tangerines and let him eat them like usual instead of trying to squeeze the juice through my pink leotard that I borrowed from a friend who had recently come to Asia from America. 
There were a lot of kids in their family – many girls. The girls had these cute dark pink wrap around skirts and pastel leotards. I wished I had a sister. 
Little bro wanted tangerines. The leotard got tangerine juice on it. I worried my friend would get mad. I took the tangerines out, peeled them and took out seeds for my baby brother.
I soaked it and washed it and tried stain removal with the bar soap. I wished I could send the stain away like the pepper would run away when I put a soap bar in water with pepper on it. 
I remember feeling very bad about this. 
Thankfully the sister I borrowed the leotard from was very understanding. 
I felt bad about my younger brother. The other brother had immediately refused. I felt bad about that too. 
But it was fun getting my other girlfriend to join me in putting tangerines in her shirt. She was bold. I wanted it to be more of a secret operation / experiment.
Then I wondered why.
To be continued in future walks down mammary lane. 



Sign up or follow at the place below for mo’ mammary Mondays and words about life. 



Bonus Feature: Money Mongering 

Okay so financial woes are something that many people have experienced. 
Money. The time has come to challenge old beliefs and change my feelings about money. 
Mongering doesn’t have the greatest ring to it but it does make Monday’s post pretty alliterative. 
Monger originated as a name for a tradesperson, (Wikipedia uses the example “fishmonger”) but I’ve always heard it in a negative context. 
But when I thought about it again, I thought money mongering was perfect to explain some my deepest feelings about money. 
I never liked money mongering. 
To me this is pretending to be genuine about something but really being more about the money, and yet somehow not just coming out and being about the money in an honest way. Own it. 

The main issue with this approach is that there are direct roads to all kinds of places besides Rome, but if you say you want to go to Rome, it’s different. 
Some roads may also intersect with roads to Rome but it’s not very direct. 

But money mongering does not have to be that. It could be better. 
It could be something besides money mongering as it was known to me. 

But what we resist persists so… 
I figured I’d drop any resentment or negative feelings towards money mongering – and instead embrace a new healthier outlook on money and enjoying the idea of lots of it. 
Because why not? 
My money homework for this week from my coach T is to … 
Buy a juicer! 
I explained I want a masticating juicer (more enzymes for health) that is easy to travel with. I have been looking at some … 
But I have also been looking at the how – and I was stuck in an old approach and perspective. How can I afford this… Which is ok but not a great feeling yet.  
But maybe simplify.
Juuuuuuuuuuuuice! 
It’s very windy in Las Vegas today. Winds of change?
Juicerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! 
Love, 

Miko xo