sparkly day | sparkles | super fantastic and sparkling | Helen Brahms | Caregiver | Cancer

Today is Super Fantastic and Sparkling (Article)

Leave a Little Sparkle | Helen Brahms | Super Fantastic and SparlkingToday is super fantastic and sparking is a philosophy I live by each day. Since Brad was originally diagnosed with Rectal Cancer on January 19, 2008 I made a conscious decision to pull him through this battle any way I could. As we moved along in our journey my super fantastic sparkling personality started to emerge to the full bloom that you will see today. It is constantly growing and changing and bringing joy to many. I consciously make the decision each morning that today is super fantastic and sparkling.

I LOVE when someone asks me how I am and I respond with “I’m super fantastic and sparkling, thank you! How are you?” For those who have never met me before this throws many of them for a loop. They are expecting to hear the traditional “fine”, “good”, etc. It wakes them up and makes them take notice. I love watching people’s reactions to this statement. Maybe one day I will walk around with a video camera to capture people’s expressions when they hear that phrase. Then I get those who have met me before and ask me just to hear the response as it helps to brighten their day.

I had an interesting encounter in the supermarket the other day. The lady working the checkout was new and was very efficient at what she was doing. She had her head done and she was a scanning machine. On autopilot, as most of them are, she asks how I am. 🙂 She gets my standard response of “I’m super fantastic and sparkling, thank you! How are you?” That got not one but TWO reactions. Her head pops up and she breaks her rhythm AND the lady working the checkout behind me turns around and tells me that she hasn’t seen in awhile! 🙂 Love it when that happens!!

Don’t get caught in the trap of giving a pat answer to the age old question “How are you?” Find something that is you, positive, and different that will invoke a positive reaction from someone when you don’t give the standard response. Make sure it is something that will bring some light into their day and make them smile. You never know when what you say helps someone who needs some sparkle in their day.

What is your favourite way to respond to others when they ask you “How are you?”  Please leave your answers below and then go out and add some sparkle to someone’s day.

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emotional rollercoaster | Helen Brahms | Super Fantastic and sparkling |Cancer | Caregiving | Cancer Caregiver

And Now the Emotional Rollercoaster Begins… (Article)

emotional rollercoaster | helen brahms | caregiving | cancer caregiverWhen we first heard the news that Brad’s cancer was back it didn’t seem to shock me as much as the first time Brad was diagnosed in 2008. I guess on some level I knew the cancer was back, while the first time it was news we were not expecting. Yes, I kinda shut down for the rest of the day. Yes, there were some tears shed, but then I pulled up big girl panties and told Brad that cancer has never come up against a super fantastic and sparkling attitude so cancer does not stand a chance.

That was the Monday November 23, 2014 when we were told by phone that Brad’s biopsy came back positive for cancer that was consistent with Rectal Cancer. How far it had spread we had no idea. This was just a small sampling from an enlarged lymph node from his October CT Scan. No other lymph nodes were enlarged. However, there was an increase in the number of micro and macro nodules in both of Brad’s lungs which may be cancer, but they are too small to biopsy. Sigh! We had now entered the unknown turf to play the wait and see game again. ARGH!

We then started the process of putting together our medical team in San Diego. Our current team was in Los Angeles and we did not want to be traipsing back and forth between the two cities for treatments. Too much stress that neither of us needs.

I did notice as the holiday season started I myself started to shut down emotionally. I was falling into the trap that I fell into the first time. On our first journey cancer became the center of our lives. This time we are maintaining our own lives as the center and cancer will have to work around us. A very dear friend reminded me of a saying a mutual business coach of ours has, “Life works. My life works. People and things work around me.” This saying has now become my new motto for 2015 to remind me that we are the hub of our lives and everything else becomes the spokes from our hub. Cancer is just one of those spokes.

I started getting angry with myself as I started the emotion shut down. I realized what was happening and wasn’t sure what to do about it and couldn’t seem to stop myself from sinking lower. I wasn’t sleeping well, which didn’t help. I wasn’t taking care of myself as I should be. I can even hear my fellow caregivers getting ready to kick my butt about this. It’s okay I’m already kicking my own butt and blistering up the pages of my journal. I’m getting some serious writer’s cramp from all the journalling I am doing to combat this sinking feeling. Although I feel like I’m getting a grip on things and turning things around. Earlier I wrote a blog about Caregiver’s Golden Rule which was inspired by something I read in Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction. That was a wake up call for me. Since reading that passage and blogging about it, it appears to have stopped the downward spiral. I took time to acknowledge the emotions I was feeling and gave myself permission to feel them. I spent the day listening to music as I worked and felt the energy coming back as the spirits lifted. Now I’m feeling more balanced and able to get back to work as well as making time for myself. The super fantastic sparkling feelings are tingling again. THAT is a good sign!! 🙂

Whether you are the patient or the caregiver cancer is not an easy thing to deal with. You are on an emotional rollercoaster and you never know when the next wave of emotions are going to hit you, how bad they are going to be, or how long it will last. Prepare game plans while you are on the upswing so when the downswings happen you have something in place to help you deal with them. Have a phone tree ready of people you can call to talk to, maybe it’s a playlist of songs that help you through that time, maybe it is curling up with a book, maybe it’s hiding away with your journal and pouring out onto the pages what you are going through, it could be making confetti out of a glossy magazine, going for a walk or run. Whatever you come up with have it ready to go so when you start to learn what is happening you are ready to deal with the emotions. Give yourself permission to feel them and experience them. Ignoring them or bottling them up will not do you or anyone around you any good.

What are some of your mechanisms that you use to help you through the downswings on the emotional rollercoaster? Please leave your comments below.

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