The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life


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Happy New Year!

Hello, dear friends!

I wish you the best of a new year, all the joy and safety and health one can hold.¬† ūüôā

imagesQ1YDW6GV

We’re in¬†a brand new year, and with it brings the anticipation of new things to come! Sunshine Factor is about to experience growth and renewal in an exciting way!¬† In a couple of hours¬†I’m closing the curtain here for a few days, and Sunshine Factor will be reborn on January 4th with the launch of Stanton Sunshine Magazine.¬†
Don’t worry! You won’t miss a thing! Head over to Stanton Sunshine’s Facebook page and click “like” to keep up with the latest launch news, and I’ll see you again January 4th!
Happy New Year!
Debb


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The Adventure of Debb’s Blog and Her New Trail: Part One

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Being a breast cancer survivor was the first reason Debb started to blog

Have you ever wondered why I started this blog and why I gave it the name I did?  Today you shall find the answers.

Debb Stanton was used to “silent retreats” at her friend’s Catholic church.  Contemplative was another way of describing them, and Debb was hooked.   “Still waters run deep” had been said of her to describe her quiet curiosity and introversion.  She liked the silent retreats because she could be alone with her thoughts and her Lord except for a couple of worship services and meals with the other retreatants (meals which were also silent, a woman needing to smile and point at the salt shaker in order for it to be passed to her).  She could nap all afternoon in her tiny guest room, or she could pray, or journal, or whatever.  At this point in Debb’s life, she was very much a perfectionist who said to herself, “I’ve got to journal every day.  I must journal every day.  What kind of writer can I be if I don’t write every day?  I’d better journal every day…”  and with white-knuckled determination she would come home from a retreat and force herself to write — for a grand total of two, maybe three days and then -poof!- she’d ease up on herself and no more writing would be done for awhile.
In August of 2012, Debb was two weeks away from her third cancer survivorship anniversary, and she went on a women’s retreat with her church friends.  This retreat was not a silent retreat (in fact, anything but).  Debb brought her Kindle along, and she discovered a poet who had a blog on WordPress.  By the end of the retreat, Debb was convinced that her “assignment” was to start a blog, and to write on it every day.  She was very thankful for her cancer recovery, and she was in a hurry to let as many people as possible know that getting a cancer diagnosis was not necessarily a death sentence — she was living proof.
WordPress was the blogging platform Debb chose, and when it came time to name the blog, she decided on “Sunshine Factor”.   Sunshine because this described her personality and was the nickname she was called by many people.  The ‘factor’ part came because “inner sunshine” was a big part of her life, and it was one of the factors that helped her through her cancer and beyond.
When Debb found out that Sunshine Factor is also the name of a pet and bird food and medicine company, she added a disclaimer to her blog, stating that she and they were not the same.  In the last couple months she bought her own domain name; now the blog is “The Sunshine Factor”.  Even though she loves animals and birds, Debb was now her own entity, not part of a company about animals, and she had her own blog.
Next up:  Part Two, which discusses how the blog became something of a melting pot of ideas, encouragement and creative writing.   See you next week!


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Jenn’s Cancer is Back – Please Pray!

Howdy folks,

I may have mentioned Jennifer D to you before.¬† She is my pastor’s wife who played guitar, along with her husband, for our wedding (and sang for us too), and she is an extremely lovely person with a very talented voice.¬† Today in church she sang “At the Cross”, and there probably wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

I bring Jenn up now to you now if you are so inclined to pray for her — this request is actually from her.¬†¬† After successfully beating colon cancer a couple years ago, she has had numerous surgeries for possible lung cancer.¬†¬† That’s the real kicker – she’s not a smoker. ¬†Now, as it turns out, they did find a tumor in between her two lungs — AND the cancer has now affected her lymph nodes.

Jenn and her husband see the oncologist on Tuesday, October 29th.   Please surround her with your prayers.   I so appreciate the prayers for her, as she will feel better as she feels your prayers.    She has a tremendously strong faith, but even she could use a boost right about now.   Jenn is a wonderful person, and I want her to be around for her brand new grandson (first grandchild) who lives way out in Montana.  I want her to be around, period.

Sincerely,

Debb


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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

English: The Cardiff Kook statue, dressed in h...

English: The Cardiff Kook statue, dressed in honour of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello everybody,

On October 2nd four years ago, I started chemotherapy.  How fitting that it was during the month of breast cancer awareness!

My treatment seemed like a long haul at the beginning, but soon I became friends with all the nurses, was assigned¬†to one angel in particular, and settled into a routine at each treatment session.¬† I soon began to look forward to my treatments as a time I could just relax and take a long nap if I wanted to.¬† Since I was working fulltime during the whole process, I did need to sleep during the treatments.¬† ūüôā

I encourage¬†us all to purchase¬†every day products where a portion of¬†the proceeds are donated to cancer research.¬† Wear pink – even football players do this month!¬† ūüôā

If any of you are going through breast cancer right now, or know someone who is and you have questions, please be sure to contact me.¬† I am always glad to share what I have learned.¬†¬† And, like everything else, no one gets exactly the same experience.¬† I don’t have all the answers, but I do have lots of encouragement and hope at your disposal.

In the pink,

Debb


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Editorial: I Don’t Believe It

Grief

Grief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’d like to address the issue of grief and the common misperceptions about it.

I ran into a friend the other day who was grieving the loss of her dog.¬† I expressed my condolescences, being an animal lover myself.¬† “No, no,” she assured me, “I am doing just fine.¬†¬† I’m in a new season of my life now, and I really like it.”¬†¬† That might have been believable, had she not been overly exuberant about her new exercise routine and all the changes she was making in her life – almost like she was trying to talk herself into being “okay” about her loss.

Some people claim that God¬†does not want us to be sad or get depressed.¬† This is what I don’t believe.¬† God gave us various emotions for a reason, so we could feel all the highs and lows that life dishes out.¬† Even Jesus wept and grieved.¬† I don’t believe we are to always be happy.¬† Nice goal, but totally inaccurate.

What I do believe is that we live in the real world.  Sometimes it is great and we are able to grab the brass ring.  Other times, it is human to have feelings on the negative side.  It is okay to be human.  It is not okay to always put on a brave front.   It is not okay to deny yourself feelings.  Besides, it is how you act on those feelings, and not the feelings themselves, that is important.

September is National Mental Health¬†Month.¬†¬† Speaking of that, I’d like to quickly address the subject of depression.¬† There is a type of depression that has nothing to do with what’s going on in your life (situational).¬†¬† Some depression is caused by imbalances in the brain.¬†¬† That kind of depression (major depression) and other mental illnesses cannot simply be swept under the rug or denied — much like I could not wish away the cancer that my body came down with four years ago.

Just to recap my opinion about grief…to get over a loss, walk right through it.¬† Sure, it’s going to hurt.¬† But living in denial of your feelings can have negative consequences in your future, too.

 

Debb Stanton


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Perfume Haters

Fragrance Wheel perfume classification chart, ...

Fragrance Wheel perfume classification chart, ver. 1983 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not complaining about people who hate perfume, I don’t like it in large doses either.¬†¬† A lot of people have allergies to scents, and I can understand this, as sometimes I cough when someone has too much on when I’m around.

Much of corporate America has policies prohibiting their employees to wear scents in the workplace due to the increasing amount of allergies.

The perfume hater I am talking about today is my cat Micah.¬† When I reached out to him to say goodbye yesterday morning, as soon as he smelled my hand he recoiled and looked at me as if to say, “Hey, whatcha¬†doin’ to me here?”¬†¬† He evidently smelled Giorgio on my wrist.¬† It took me awhile to figure out why he recoiled, since I usually don’t wear cologne during the week, and usually forget to put it on on¬†the weekends.¬† (I follow my company’s scent policy.)¬† My perfume collection has tapered down to three favorites now, so Micah should be glad I don’t have as much as I used to!¬† ūüôā

In contrast to that, my dear departed Tiger was drawn to me when I came back from Jamaica and had my hair in corn rows.¬† He laid on my pillow every time I went to bed, and I fell asleep to the sound of him sniffing my hair.¬† He couldn’t get enough!

Life:  what a contrast.


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Refueling Yourself

Breakfast under the big birch tree by Carl Lar...

Breakfast under the big birch tree by Carl Larsson, 1896 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been finding¬†that the more I have my blog, interact with people online,¬†and play brain games on Lumosity, the more I’m inclined to delay my breakfast in the morning.¬†¬† As you may have heard, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your body; it needs to be¬†refueled after a night of sleeping and no eating.¬† (Hence, this meal is¬†called “break[the]fast.”)

I have been a breakfast person all my life, and a morning person for about 20 years now.¬† That is the first thing I used to do in the morning, is grab some nutrition and then get ready for the day.¬†¬† Now, however, I get on the computer, even on days that I go to my job.¬† (On the days that I don’t go to work, look out – I can be¬†at my computer¬†literally for hours and have a very late breakfast!)¬† I’m so excited, I can’t wait to create (write) and read and see what’s new (and of course,¬†play my Lumosity games.)

For those of you watching your weight, studies have shown that if you eat breakfast within half hour of rising, your body will perform for you.  But wait any longer than that, and your body starts holding onto its fat (it thinks you are in starvation mode and will not burn calories as efficiently).  In fact, any skipped meal is treated by your body as a threat to your existence.

In my recovery program, I don’t skip meals anymore.¬†¬† I definitely don’t skip breakfast, and today, believe it or not, I had breakfast before getting on the computer.¬† I wrote this post first thing, and now I will see if my Lumosity scores are higher than usual.¬† I have a good feeling that they will be.


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Happy September!

English: Happy family Two cygnets and two swan...

English: Happy family Two cygnets and two swans enjoying the sun but being cautious parents. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hopefully you’ve all had a nice summer. Mine was terrific!

A lot of thoughts now, at least for parents and kids, are on back to school. I always enjoyed this time as a kid.

I am still¬†in the learn stage of my life — learning how to have minimal stress in my life.¬† To that end, I am working on two goals this month.¬† They look small and insignificant at first glance, but if I can keep up with them, they will reduce¬†my stress significantly.

{don’t laugh, we all have to start out somewhere}

1.¬† If the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, don’t put dirty ones in the sink.¬† Just do it – empty the dishwasher – now!

2.  Write down each and every expenditure this month.  Doing so will help to make better budgeting decisions in the future.

Do you have anything you’re working on currently that you would like to share with us?

Have a great September!


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Poetry Saturday: Happy Birthday Again!

English: Breat Cancer ribbons

English: Breast Cancer ribbons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN
Many August twenty-fourths ago
I lost my dear sister to cancer

Then on that same day four years ago
I received my breast cancer diagnosis

August 24
is my second birthday of the year
I got a second chance at life
so I can call it a rebirth.

The only problem is
Sandra couldn’t be cured of her cancer

So now I live life for both of us
waiting patiently to see her again in heaven

Trying to live fully
so that my life counts

Forgetting the bad and the have-nots
and remembering with gratefulness the haves and the good

Happy 4th Birthday!


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The Unproductive Time of my Day

I am definitely a morning person.¬† I even get up early on Thursdays and ¬†Saturdays at the same time I would if I were getting ready for work.¬† Sundays I “sleep in” till about 6 a.m.

If I’m not at work, it’s very hard for me to produce anything or do tasks in the afternoon or evening.

I think it’s because my body has its own clock setting.¬† It doesn’t care when I would like to demand extra energy, so far it just isn’t complying.¬† ūüôā

I bring this up because I am coming to grips with what is, and what isn’t, Debb.¬† I’m realizing that though my hours are peculiar, I¬†am not strange.¬† Just in case you’re wondering why your body does strange things, know that it’s okay; you’re unique, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


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"You brute! You coward!" from an ano...

“You brute! You coward!” from an anonymous artist’s illustrations to Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

‚ÄúBe yourself, because everyone else is already taken.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Oscar Wilde

 

I wish my parents could have known this fact.   I grew up thinking that it was not okay to be Debbie, rather, I should be like other people Рbut never myself.

No wonder I didn’t really even know myself till after I had cancer (my parents had died long before then).¬†¬† I will always be thankful that I had cancer.¬†¬† Yes, I’m serious.¬†¬† Cancer taught me that I was actually a strong person with a lot of faith and a strong desire for life, all its joys and yes, even its trials.¬† Cancer even gave me a good (or at least, I call it good!) sense of humor, a contented spirit, and undeniable joy.¬† So wonderful and joyful this was for me to find out these things, I started writing a book about my journey with cancer.¬†¬† I feel in a hurry to let people know that receiving a cancer diagnosis does not necessarily mean a death sentence.¬†¬† With my quirky humor, I wrote some of the chapters in the book with laughter in mind.¬† We can never have too much of that!¬† Oh, are you wondering about the book?¬† It is almost to the editing part; then I will be looking for an agent to represent me.

In case you didn’t know:¬† you are valuable, and you are loved.¬†¬† Since that is the case, why would you want to be anybody else?


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Like the First Day of School In a Good Way!

Kids bookshelf with German and American childr...

Kids bookshelf with German and American childrens books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Picture of graves decorated with flag...

English: Picture of graves decorated with flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good morning!

Today in the U.S.¬† it’s Memorial Day.¬† I wish to thank all of the people who died in service to our country and the people who still serve.¬† Freedom is such a precious gift!

Even though it’s the informal start of summer today, I feel like it’s the first day of school – making plans for how I will spend my spare time in this new season and what I want to accomplish.¬† Can you tell, I loved school and college?¬† ūüôā

I want to read one new book a week.¬† This is possible because a) I have one bookshelf devoted entirely to books I haven’t read yet, and b) I am a speed-reader.

I want to comment on posts that I like instead of just liking them.

I want to get my spring housecleaning finished before autumn arrives!¬† ūüôā

My goal of more, good quality sleep is still on the agenda.  To be booted out:  freakish nightmare-type dreams.  Not good!

I want to work on my list of writing projects more and find an agent.

Most importantly, I want to continue my quest for antiperfectionism.¬† That means, I understand at the outset that I cannot possibly get all these things done, but I have a list of things to do when and if I get the chance.¬† ūüôā

Happy, happy summer!


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Addendum to “Little Things DO Count”

I forgot to mention that sometimes, a smile or frown can make or break someone’s day.¬† Maybe the person you smile at on the elevator will see no other smiles that day except yours.¬†¬† And – I remember that when I had cancer and people would frown at me for not wearing a wig — what was already a tough situation was made even worse by the thoughtlessness.

I’m trying to live by the credo, “What thing can I do right now that will help someone later?”

Thanks to Stevehi for sending some smiles to me on a comment this morning; it made me remember this information.¬† ūüôā

Thank you all for making my day!¬† You always do!¬† ūüôā


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Why?

Untrue statements made to a person about that person hurt – really hurt.

Why do people delight in lying?  Do they think it makes them look good to other people?

It’s a sad state of being when people have to harm others just to feel better about themselves

or chew someone apart out of a need for control.

The joke is on them, because they are the ones who are least in control.

 

I, outside of my normal behavior, can find no sunshine in these scenarios.¬† It’s sad — just sayin’¬† —


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Debb…Now

English: The original Piggly Wiggly Store, Mem...

English: The original Piggly Wiggly Store, Memphis, Tennessee. The first self service grocery store, opened 1916. Français : Le premier supermarché Piggly Wiggly ouvert en 1916 à Memphis, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My immune system is very low, probably because of late-onset cancer survivor side effects.¬† That’s what would explain my many bouts with illness this past winter; usually years go by without my¬†getting even a cold.

I figure there are ways I can enhance my immune system, which coincides with the change to my eating patterns that I have already been working on.¬†¬†¬† I will list the various aspects of what my life is like now – not that it’s earth-shattering news, but it will serve as a reminder to me.¬† Somehow, if it’s out there for you all to see, it makes it more real.

  • The juice of one lemon in hot water, drunk when I get up in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else.¬† It is said to help with digestion and rebalancing your insides, and I’m sure the Vitamin C won’t hurt either.¬† If it’s a typical lemon from the grocery store, I get the juice from only¬† half of it and save the rest for the next morning.¬† However, lately in the story I have found Tropicana sells bags of small lemons, so I have one of those per day.
  • Speaking of lemon juice, I am willfully surrendering lemonade, one of my favorite drinks.¬† Forget the added sugar — I will be satisfied with water.
  • My dietician is delighted that I am digging (loving) vegetables and fruits – the more variety and colors on one plate, the better.¬† They are helping me to feel better and not so tired.¬† Long Live Vitamins!¬† ūüôā
  • Speaking of vitamins, I want to get into a regular routine again for taking them.¬†¬† It’s amazing how little time this takes, but I sometimes don’t take vitamins or other supplements simply because I want to get going and out of the house for work.
  • My daily walk of 30 minutes.¬† I want to do this in the morning before my shower, then any dancing around the house or walking at work I do will be a bonus.
  • For sure, taking a little time each day for spiritual reflection will be a good practice.¬† (So would listening to soft music when I come home from work each day be helpful, but one thing at a time.¬† ūüôā )

Do you know of any other healthy practices that would help me?


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My Heart Is Burning…

English: Breat Cancer ribbons

English: Breat Cancer ribbons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…in a good way – I had such a wonderful day, and I am very thankful!¬† After work I went to my oncologist¬†checkup.¬† He said everything looks fine, he is proud of me and has now promoted me to yearly checkups instead of every six months.¬† But the good news doesn’t stop there…In the waiting room I connected with a new cancer patient – I’ll call her Ramona – and it was like I’ve known her all my life.¬† We exchanged phone numbers and made her son smile and shake his head when he saw how engrossed we were in our conversation.¬† When other girls at work got cancer, they didn’t need my help.¬† But Ramona seems to really like me, and I have offered to be there for her and answer any questions she may have, to which both she and her son were glad about.

What was interesting about this conversation is twice while we talking, she got chills up and down her arms.¬† One time was when I told her the oncology surgeon¬†had only wanted to do a lumpectomy, but I insisted upon a double mastectomy.¬† Later they biopsied both breasts and discovered cancer already starting in the “clean” breast.¬†¬†¬† So my intuition had paid off.¬† Then, when I suggested that I would love to get together with her and chat some more, when she felt up to it, she got more chills.¬†¬†¬† See, this is the¬† reason I have for writing my cancer book – for all the future Ramona’s out there, women and men I will never meet, I would still like to be¬†a support to them if I can, regarding cancer.

Oh, and the last good thing was:¬† I had to get some blood drawn, and the people there and at my clinic have always had a tough time getting my veins to cooperate.¬† (They tend to roll and hide).¬† But – today – success on the first try!¬† And it was right in the elbow area, not having to be on my hand like usual!¬† ūüôā

Signing off for now, see you tomorrow,

Debb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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NaPoWriMo #7

Papyrus Migraine Therapy

Papyrus Migraine Therapy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MIGRAINES

Migraines:

what a pain.

It is them I disdain.

I have had both kinds

sort of like if I were to eat lemon rinds.

One is of the migraine headache kind,

a more painful thing you cannot find.

The kind I have had lately,

is the kind that is in your eyeball sedately.

It gives no pain,

but you sure get a fantastic light show.

You don’t feel quite yourself

unless, of course, you are an elf.

I now, once again,

practice all the things I can to keep them away.

When they go away for good,

it will be a grand day!

(But no light shows to celebrate, okay?)


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NaPoWriMo #6

THE RESPONSE FROM AN EATING DISORDERED PERSON

 

Eating Disorder, Ed,

let go of your hooks in me.

Your thinking is strange and perverted

Making me wonder how I ever listened to you.

It was difficult as a child

not to listen to you

since your comfort was there

anytime I needed it.

Much later, sure it was fun

weight lifting and doing cardio

till I was buff and “hot”,

but it was an empty victory.

I had worked on my physical self

and didn’t even know about my insides.

 

Now I know

there is more to life than physical looks.

It is inner beauty I am aiming for instead.

I am embracing health and good practices

not to reach a deadline or number on the scale,

but to enjoy and last for a lifetime.

I am gathering some of what you stole from me

as my eating disorder program providers

tell me I’m doing great.

Food does not take me to Nirvana,

but it is simply fuel for my body.

 

You asked me why I’m not on a diet.

I am not into quick fixes,

and the scale is a hideous way to measure success.

That’s how you survive, Ed,

by having people search for quick fixes.

Well, Ed Monster,

I am through with you.

I’m choosing life today,

a physical, emotional, mental way to live well

and a life everlasting.

Go to hell, Ed!

 


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Allergies

Fanciful depiction of cotton by John Mandevill...

Fanciful depiction of cotton by John Mandeville, featuring sheep instead of cotton bolls. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw a question today about someone possibly having an allergy to a cotton blanket.

I’m no allergist, but I have many allergies, so I think I may be able to answer the question.

What you may be experiencing is allergic dermatitis, which is a rash that comes from your body protecting itself against certain allergens.

Wool is a covering that many people are allergic to, but I have not heard that about cotton.¬†¬† So….my guess is perhaps your skin is reacting to the laundry soap or softener used to wash the blanket.¬† You can switch to a fragrance free detergent (luckily, they come in an HE formula too) and see if this helps.

Hold the applause till next year.¬† ūüôā


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The Miracle Effects of Sesame Oil

English: Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Seed Oil in ...

English: Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Seed Oil in clear glass vial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now twice a week in the morning I warm a little plastic bottle of sesame oil (non-roasted) in a cup of boiling water and massage the warm oil into my scalp, soles of my feet, and my arms and legs.  I read that doing this can make your circulation better and keeps you healthy this time of year.

Game for anything involving better health (within reason), I tried this.¬† I love it!¬† There’s no smell to it, so it’s nice for everybody.

Makes my skin nice and soft.  But the BEST effect of it, for me, is IT REVIVES ME in the morning!  Really, truly!  So the good circulation claim is spot on.

I’m glad it’s recommended for the scalp as well, because my post-wedding hair has broken off a bit and I want it to mend as soon as possible.


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Daily Prompt – December 29th

“Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life – or doesn’t.”

Top of the World

Faith plays a big role in my life.¬†¬† Through the abuse in childhood to a couple near drownings, abandonment as a teen, miracles, and complete cancer recovery, I just “know that I know” that God was with me every step of the way.¬† I owe my life to him, as without him I would probably be dead already.

My faith has always given me something to hang onto even when I felt very unloved and like there was no one on earth that wanted me around.

My faith nicely took away my problem of worrying.

It got me through my breast cancer and allowed me to remain positive and inspired through it all.

My faith helps me to see that it’s not all about me, and there is a grand scheme to this thing we call life.


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Prayer Poem For the new year

The text of an ancient Jewish prayer alongside...

The text of an ancient Jewish prayer alongside a poem by Gustav Gottheil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear God,

I look out at the white snow in this below-zero place,

wearing my all-white, terry cloth-lined bathrobe to signify a fresh new slate.

The year is new

but most of my hopes and dreams have been with me forever.

I still want to follow in your footsteps

(you know how my own can falter sometimes)

and at the same time,

learn how to be a better person.

I still want corruption and violence to cease,

mental illness understood and treated,

and your peace to be accepted and taken in by all

and practiced by all.

Let your love light our way

and bring us out of the darkness.

 

The year 2012 was a very good year for me;

I didn’t realize there would ever be a year like that.

I didn’t want 2012 to end for this reason,

but I know that time marches on.

 

Lord, as I march forward in my life

give me clear direction for my new dreams

and while marching to a different drummer

still follow you.

I dedicate 2013 to your glory.

Amen.


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I Have a Confession to Make

I must say, I take vegetables for granted.

I see that they’re colorful (and thus meaning they pack a lot of different vitamins within the vegetable family), easy to cook, and even taste good.¬†¬† I know that they’re good for my health, especially as a cancer survivor.

So why do I not eat more of them?

Because I figured since I had had¬†good chemotherapy for my cancer and even had some preventative treatment, I didn’t have to “overdose” on getting my vitamins in.¬†¬† I also figured that the “natural” multivitamins I took would do the trick…¬† free_139512

But alas, it’s very rarely that I remember to take my vitamins in the morning; Zero times have I taken them with supper as directed on the box.¬† So, THE JIG IS UP for Dear Ol’ Debb.¬† Now I am asking encouragement from you!

Oh yeah – since I am a visual person, you would think that all my beautiful, full color, WONDERFUL cookbooks would entice me.¬† Yes – they entice me to “make plans to eat more vegetables” and they even make my mouth water – but alas, that is where the good vibes end.

I’ve always had it as a goal (as yet unreached) to try one new recipe a week.¬†¬† That didn’t work.¬† Then I changed the goal to once a month – but that didn’t help either.¬† When I bought some Williams-Sonoma cookbooks, I thought that would convince me to practice being a gourmet cook.¬† It didn’t happen!¬† I’m glad Dave thinks I’m a good cook, but I’d like to improve.¬†¬† I do have to remember, however, that I’ve been very busy.¬† I can’t get down on myself for this.

So Рsince vegetables (and also, their fiber) are so very important for my health, please comment with any suggestions or hints you may have for me.  How did you come to the place where you naturally grab for a vegetable when you are hungry?

Waiting to hear from you, I remain

The Friendly Vegetable Lady.

(using a positive thinking approach here!)


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What Cancer and My Writing Career Brought Me

Life can be a great merry-go-round!

 

What do cancer, a usually negative thing, and my writing career, a positive thing, have in common?They both brought me:  Silly Millie.

Cancer was a gift in that once you get through that, no longer do the opinions and demands of others matter as much.   I got through cancer so now I have a right to LIVE my own life.

My writing career feeds my ego, helps me to express myself, and gives a platform for the “German leprochaun” to have a voice and be playful.

I’m incredibly silly sometimes, but I don’t worry about that anymore.¬† I’ve paid my dues, I don’t have to even try to be¬†perfect anymore.¬† It’s a well-known but less-followed fact:¬† No one is perfect.¬† No one has to be.¬† To strive for that is to make yourself nuts.

“Silly Millie” helped me to love and appreciate myself and know that it’s okay to be¬†ME.¬† I am continuously blown away by how life gets sweeter and sweeter, by the day, for me.¬† Sometimes I don’t know what to do about it – and that’s when I get silly.¬†¬† Hmmm, maybe it’s a release valve, even if I’m not being stressed out.

Are you a Silly Millie, or, what is YOUR release valve?

P.S.¬† It’s okay to lay all your battles and problems on the ground and enjoy life…


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Another Pink Ribbon Day

English: pink ribbon

English: pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

published on debbieloeselstanton blog on 11/3/12.

‚ÄúAnother Pink Ribbon Day‚ÄĚ

Now that October has come and gone,

The Pink Ribbon still has an important mission.

There are still breast cancer survivors

fighting for their lives

and other breast cancer survivors past the hurdle

doing all they can

to raise money for research, education

and patient care.

We wear pink ribbon clothes

and use pink ribbon goods

because we have formed an alliance

to let cancer know that we will defeat it.

We know not when, but

it will be done.

All the other colored ribbons

representing other cancers

need our support too.

We need to help others

so that they can afford medical care

for their treatment,

so parents don’t have to choose

between feeding their kids and getting treatment.

I thank all the corporations for funding research for us

and helping to raise awareness.

Dear Lord,

I pray for those who are dying from cancer,

that they receive hope and life on earth,

or with an ultimate healing in heaven.

Grant them strength and peace

and the same for their families and friends.

We know you’re not forgetting us Lord,

but it’s hard to believe sometimes

when things look grim.

We place ourselves in your capable hands

and even if we don’t know the outcome,

you do, and you will help us through.

Grant us to have one more pink ribbon day

and the promise for a better tomorrow.

Amen.


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The Cancer Survivor Warrior: A Poem

English: pink ribbon

English: pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will use the pronoun “she” in this poem, even though yes, some men do get breast cancer, and I don’t forget that many men suffer many different kinds of cancer too…The Cancer Survivor Warrior

There she is in the grocery store

looking tired and weak.

She is certainly these things

but her badge of honor is not worn on the outside.

She is much stronger in her character now

Much stronger than she’d ever guess herself to be.

She has been through so much

and probably still forces herself to keep going to her paid job.

 

There is another cancer survivor in the post office.

Unless she is bald,

you would never know she has cancer.

She goes about her normal every-day duties

even though she¬† has a membership in “the club”.

The cancer survivors club was not something

she ever chose to join,

it just found her as she won an unseen lottery

that wasn’t necessarily genetically based

or inherited.

 

The lottery “prize” for this club is

a sharp wake-up call,

an experience that will teach you things

that you never dreamed you would learn.

The experience changes the warrior’s life

forever, but not in a bad way.

Cancer survivor warriors report that they

receive a new clarity, a new appreciation for life

and their people.

Sometimes membership in the cancer survivors club

leads to a shortened life

and sometimes to a life that has been changed for the better.

 

Whether their lives are cut short or returned to them,

let us remember the warriors in prayer as they fight for their lives.

They need our support more than

advice we are not qualified to give

and our opinions that mean nothing.

 

Hats off to my dear fellow members

of the cancer survivors club.

You are awesome and incredibly strong,

brave and courageous.

You may not feel that you are these things,

but some day you will realize it is these qualities

that helped you through.

 

I pray that the Lord would bless you

with good health, guidance and peace.

I am so proud of you,

I love you, and to you I will

always remain loyal and supportive.

 

— Debbie Loesel Stanton

 

 


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A Breast Cancer Patient’s Prayer

English: The Auntie Jane Breast Cancer Wreath

English: The Auntie Jane Breast Cancer Wreath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Breast Cancer Patient’s Prayer

—-¬† by Debbie Loesel Stanton

 

Oh dear God,

I haven’t talked to you in awhile,

but even if I had,

I would still feel like

I had been washed in a turbo washer

and hung out to dry, miles above the earth;

so totally alone,

even though I know you are actually with me

and I have my family and friends and care team pulling for me.

I hate it when people say

“It’s God’s will”, because I know

that you do not want people to hurt and get sick;

that’s just the way things go in this world.

God, my cancer isn’t your fault,

but can you please help me anyway?

I have many, many people and things to live for.

Can you make sure I can stick around here for awhile?

I want to make a bargain with you,

but that’s silly, because what do I have to offer you?

My faith and trust are on a downward slope right now,

they are threatening to disappear

like a rock on a slippery, icy mountain slope.

And, I also feel like I’m drowning;

please don’t let the waters of fear or illness

overtake me.

It’s been real hard to pray this, Lord,

because my thoughts wander all over the place;

my head is spinning and my nerves are as tight as violin or guitar strings.

I’m ready to explode into a great big puddle.

Please, please take your little girl’s hand

and lead her away from the shadow of death.

They say you’re walking with me through this valley,

but I don’t feel you, God!!¬† Please help!

Maybe someday when my thoughts aren’t so muddled

you can tell me why this is happening to me.

For now, I imagine me climbing up into your lap and being rocked to sleep

I know you care for me, it’s just¬†very hard to believe¬†that right now.

I know you understand…

Oh, and one more thing Lord.

Please keep these people away from me:

ones who say they know just what I’m going through,

when actually they have never had cancer.

And the ones who ask if I need anything but then don’t follow through,

also the ones who give me advice about wigs and breast reconstruction

because they have never had to consider these things.

In trying to be helpful, they say anything they can think of.

Help me to be patient with them; they know not what they do.

Help me to obey my doctor’s orders

so that this very long road will not have to be even longer.

Please help your little warrior fight this battle.

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep…

“Kindness”

Kindness is one thing, if used,

that will not produce regrets.

 

It follows the Golden Rule

while at the same time kicks hate

out of the playing field.

 

Kindness nourishes the hungry in heart,

calms the anxious,

gives hope to the hopeless,

rest for the weary,

and strength for the weak.

 

Kindness does not look for reward.

It asks, “how can I help?¬† What

would I like in this situation if¬†in their shoes?”

It suggests by action,

“you are loved, you are worthwhile, and

you are meant¬†to be living on this earth.”

Thank you for your kindness to me

Without trying, I catalogue each event in my heart and brain

and never forget…

 

 

 


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“I Like Boobies” bracelet confiscated!

English: CNA’s building is often illuminated t...

English: CNA’s building is often illuminated to reflect civic happenings or to acknowledge a meaningful calendar landmark. This design recognizes Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I am a survivor, I thought it’s only fitting to brag on my “nephew” Landon, what he did for me three years ago.

My godson Brodey and his brothers Kasey and Landon all wore those pink rubber bracelets supporting breast cancer survivors, in honor of me.   Kasey and Brodey were in junior/senior high at the time, and Landon I think was in 5th or 6th grade.

Landon got in trouble at his school because his bracelet said “I like¬†boobies.”¬† The teacher didn’t “like the language” on it and confiscated it the very moment she saw Landon wearing it.¬† Poor Landon, he was just being a very supportive nephew, and he didn’t care what other people thought.¬† I just felt bad that his teacher couldn’t have been more understanding, because there was a reason those particular words were on the bracelet.¬† Thanks anyway Landon!¬† ūüôā

I got another very positive, warm fuzzy feeling from the boys’ mother, my friend Caprice.¬† (You remember her – the feisty redhead who was with me at the oncology surgeon’s office?)

In a music store at the mall, Caprice and I were wasting time until a movie started.¬† Across the store two teen boys were making fun of my bald head.¬† It was one of¬†those times you knew you were seeing and hearing right and not assuming anything…Caprice strolled over to the boys and said, “Listen!¬† How would you like it if your mom had cancer!¬† Leave my friend alone!”¬†¬† They kind of mumbled “sorry” to her and ran out of the store.¬† Thanks Caprice for being my advocate!¬† If I was the Velveteen Rabbit in that store, I would have become “real” at that very moment, I felt so loved.

Dear readers, here’s hoping you are not judged for what you do or what you look like.

Your friend,

Debb


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Coming Soon to a Screen Near You! New Blog ~

English: These are some items given away to pr...

English: These are some items given away to promote Breast Cancer Awareness during the Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar on Oct. 24 held at Chapel One on Vandenberg AFB. The Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar was created to help educate and inform the population about breast cancer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello friends!  Pretty soon Sunshinefactor will have a sister blog.

I will post its first post on Saturday, October 6th, and it will deal exclusively with cancer, survivor, and family and friends of survivors info.

Sunshinefactor will still have a new post coming to you each day.  The new blog will post every Saturday and sometimes more often Рit will depend on what I get inspiration for or suggestions or questions I get from my readers.

Stay tuned – thanks!


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Happy October/Labour Day/Breast Cancer Awareness Month

English: pink ribbon

English: pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As some of you folks remember, I love the first day of every new month.  Happy October!

And to my Aussie friends:  Happy Labour Day!

October marks (national?) Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink ribbons of support are everywhere, as are shirts and bags and many other things used to show support.  This is good Рreally good.

But I want a cure for ALL cancers¬†to be found.¬† They say we are getting closer to that point, and I pray that that’s true.¬† I¬† love the American Cancer Society‘s slogan, something about helping to promote having more birthdays.¬† I always have loved birthdays, mine and others, but for sure I have even more to be thankful for now as a cancer survivor.

During this month I may share excerpts from the book I am writing about cancer recovery.¬†¬† I will try to have something PINK on every post – I figure if football teams can wear pink uniforms for the cause, I can use it on my blog.¬† ūüôā

The main thing I am trying to point out is:

A diagnosis of cancer  does not necessarily mean a death sentence.

My life is better now than pre-cancer, and that is because now I am really living to the fullest.  Thank you so much, God!   May my words help others to find hope.

 

 

 

 


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Two At a Time Is Just Fine

English: Greensett Tarn Hmmm. Reminds me of a ...

English: Greensett Tarn Hmmm. Reminds me of a very well known antipodean country from here. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was talking to some wise friends the other day, and I suddenly discovered how I could stop spinning my wheels.

How do I spin my wheels?¬† I get so enthusiastic about life, and I’m curious about so many things, that I seem to want to try everything new or different – all at once!¬† Not a very practical way to go, I admit.¬† It turns out that I get a few things done or tried and the rest are running around in my mind, waiting for me to get “organized” so I can do everything!

Hmmm, case in point of a perfectionistic¬†mindset.¬† I have become less of a black-and-white thinker in the past couple years, but I still tread the path of striving to knock perfectionism out of my life.¬† I’m learning that “good is good enough” and “you are where you are, so start there.”¬† Superwoman I am not, and I no longer try to be.¬† Yet, (and this is because of my cancer experience) I am so afraid that I won’t achieve my goals and dreams before my life is over, that I want to do everything now.¬† (My cancer, incidentally, is 100% gone, and my life expectancy is as long as it was pre-cancer.¬† So, I’m guessing this is just another perfectionism thing rearing its ugly head.)

AND NOW – this is what I learned from my friends, and I am on Day One of living this way:

  1. Choose the one or two most important habits or goals you want to work on.  Only one or two!  You will have time for the rest!
  2. Keep on doing whatever else in your life works for you, and also concentrate on these new habits.  (Being consistent with a small amount is better than floundering at many.)
  3. After three weeks (the average time it takes for a new habit to be more ingrained), choose one or two more habits while keeping on with the new habit you’ve already adopted into your life.
  4. In three more weeks, choose another habit…

I’m wondering if a person keeps on adding new habits, when will they run out of time each day to incorporate all of them?¬† I’ll let you know when I find out, as my list of possibilities is very long!¬† Be sure to comment here if you¬†can inform us on the subject.¬† Maybe some of the habits can be¬†brought down a notch to “every other day” or “once a week” to make room and time for the new ones…that seems un-perfectionistic to me.¬† ūüôā


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The Importance of Touch

English: Cover from label "Touch It Recor...

English: Cover from label “Touch It Records” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I consider myself to be a very tactile person.

I love to give and receive hugs and touch the arm or hand of whoever I’m communicating with – even though I used to hate it when my mom did that to me!

I don’t shop for clothes very often, but when I do, I’m sure I’m known around here as “the Sleeve Toucher”.¬†¬†¬† There’s nothing better than to grasp the sleeve of something on the rack and feel the texture – I especially adore the soft and snuggly fabrics.

When someone is grieving, they can feel the thousands of unspoken comforting words you have for them in a hug.

A handshake can say, “pleased to meet you”, or “so nice to see you again” or “I acknowledge that you exist.”

Babies in the hospital nursery get a “failure to thrive” diagnosis if they are not picked up and held enough.

A hospital patient can experience comfort when someone kisses their forehead or brushes the hair away from their eyes.

We can also touch people with our actions, but that is for another post!

Remember that old commercial, “Reach out and touch someone”??¬† Well, that is still good advice for every day.


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Listen When You Hear

wig clean out

wig clean out (Photo credit: ResinMuse)

Communication is needed¬†in a conversation so that all parties can be¬†heard.¬† Sounds simple, doesn’t it?¬† Yet a lot of people out there, friends and family included, like to express themselves and only hear, but not listen to, the other people.

Case in point:¬†¬† When I was bald after chemo, I was at a conference with absolutely nothing on my head, not even bristles from new hair growth.¬† I left the conference hall to use the ladies’ restroom, where I was accosted by an older woman.¬† I say accosted because she really was in my face about something that didn’t concern her, and she was not listening to my words.

“Oh, so you’re not wearing a wig?”¬† she started out her questioning.

(Um, isn’t this evident? I wanted to say.)

“That’s right, I choose not to,” I replied sweetly.

“But don’t you know that the State has to provide you with a wig?¬† It’s your right, you know,” this poor listener went on.

“I don’t want a wig.¬† I don’t need a wig,” was my rebuttal.¬† (I’m sure in her eyes, I did need a wig.)

“I don’t know why you don’t wear a wig.¬† You have to let the State buy you one!”

Uh, did you not hear what I just said??!!

“That’s alright,” I stated and left her with her mouth hanging open.

I think of all the information she could have gathered if she had chosen to just listen.¬† It would not have taken very long; I had a simple story.¬† She could have learned that I had tried several scarves but they were too slippery or uncomfortable.¬† I wore a wig for about 10 minutes when seeing an elderly friend after a long absence, and I didn’t want to freak her out.¬† But the wig was too darn scratchy, and it was not me.¬† When I was still wearing the scarves, I threatened all my friends and declared, “Ick!¬† I’m going to give up these things, mark my word,” and from then on I took my perfectly shaped head with me wherever I went.¬† ūüôā

After that I was at another conference and got the exact opposite reaction.¬† “Oh, thank you for not wearing a wig,” an older lady said to me.¬† “I have cancer now, and I’ll be able to go without a wig because you were so courageous not to.”¬†¬†¬† I’m glad I could help.¬† And did you know, there have been several French models that strut down the runways without anything on their heads?¬† I give them my vote!

If the first lady I mentioned had listened to me, she would have learned that I felt I had nothing to hide.¬† The cancer wasn’t my idea, and I had nothing to be¬†ashamed of.¬†¬† In fact, I had everything to be thankful for because the baldness showed that the chemotherapy was working.¬†¬† I was comfortable in my own, smooth and bald, skin!¬†¬† ūüôā

So — if you want to be in on the pulse of a conversation, be able to really listen to the other person.¬† In most cases, you’ll be so glad you did.

 

 


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The Seasons

Canadian goldenrod

Canadian goldenrod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer Garden

Summer Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

— Ecclesiastes 3:1

I love the seasons here in the Midwest – usually – and even when hay fever¬† and allergies start in August and you wonder how can the goldenrod be so beautiful if it causes such misery, I am glad to be in a place where the landscape changes periodically.¬† It’s kind of like life – sometimes predictable but there is always room for surprises.

The seasons of life vary for each person but basically run like this:

Childhood:  when you learn so much and the whole world (and life) is before you.

Teenage:  when there is angst among the fun, when questions are asked that may not always get answered.

Adult:¬† Career and being an adult and having to make mature decisions sets in.¬† Families are started (or not).¬† Sometimes people refer to things in their past as “BD” or “AD” – before divorce or after divorce.¬† And some have an idyllic life (or at least it seems this way).¬† Grief sets in at some point or another.¬† Sometimes there is so much joy in a heart that a person doesn’t know what to do with it.¬† ūüôā¬† What is universal to us all is the fact that life doesn’t really stand still, and changes happen.¬† It’s encouraging to know that even if something is terrible or unpleasant to go through, things will get better again.

August full moon

August full moon (Photo credit: Stelios Kiousis)

You’ve probably heard the saying that goes something like this:¬† “some friends are here for a season, some for a reason, and some are for always.”¬† I think this is so true.¬† It can even apply to my blog – I may have readers who stick with me till the last day I write, some who come for help in a particular area and leave when that need is met, and some for just a time.¬† Whatever you are here for, and however long you stay with me, is fine.¬† I do want you to know, though, that I already liken you to people whom I want with me for all time.¬† I love you all, and I hope I can be a good friend to you.Snow across the midwestern United States

 

 

 

 

 

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Open Forum: Migraine Headaches

Deutsch: "Kopfschmerzen". Die wohl b...

Deutsch: “Kopfschmerzen”. Die wohl¬†ber√ľhmteste¬†‚Äď stark von James Gillray beeinflu√üte¬†‚Äď Arbeit in einer¬†Reihe¬†von sechs¬†Bl√§ttern¬†“medizinischer” Karikaturen, in denen¬†Cruikshank Krankheiten¬†als Teufelswerk¬†brandmarkt. Erstmalig¬†publiziert: 12. Februar¬†1819. Originalgr√∂√üe: 210 x 255 mm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello from my coffee break at work –

First, off, let me ask my best friend, or any other German language afficianado, what does the caption to the right say?¬† I think the drawing is pretty accurate.¬† ūüôā

Just an extra post today to fill you in on what’s going on with me.

Tuesday I stayed home from work due to left eye pain and lightning bolts seen from that eye.   The eye doctor checked me out and pronounced me okay, although I have a followup in a month.

Today I have a migraine headache on that side but I insisted on going to work.   I closed the blinds near my cubicle and am wearing sunglasses, so my eyes will  hurt less with all the overhead lights on.

I am self-prescribing some dietary changes for me that did help my last migraine headache in 1987.

I would appreciate any thoughts you have on the matter.¬† And as always –

thanks for stopping in.¬† ūüôā

Debb

P.S.¬† There is one positive about all this.¬† I never have been able to see lightning flashes at such close range before, now I can!¬† ūüôā


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Thankful Tuesday

takes your breath away

Good morning!¬† Have you ever heard the idea of writing down five things a day that you are thankful for?¬† I try to write down ten.¬† It’s a good exercise because it takes me outside myself, to remember that it’s not all about me.¬†For us, I’d like us to just simply be thankful today – no writing necessary.¬†¬† If you have some situations, I have answers:

Did the sun come up too early today?   At least you are here and alive to notice it.

Just too tired and worn out?¬† There are some that wish they had legs so they could do activities to get tired from.¬† Or have legs that worked like they’re supposed to.

Too many clouds in the sky and you want to see the sun?¬† That makes it okay that you didn’t remember to bring your sunglasses along, and you won’t have to squint.

You’re having a bad hair day?¬† Some people have lost all their hair.¬† (I know what THAT feels like.)

Feel like there’s nothing decent in your closet to wear?¬† Some have to actually wear the same clothes day after day after day…

Your friends getting you down lately?  You have the best Friend of all, one who always cares.

Wish you had a different boss?  You might end up with someone even worse.  Or worse yet, no job and no boss.

Hate your job?  Would you rather be in a position of not being able to support yourself or your family?

Tired of your apartment or your house or mansion?¬† The secret is to want what you have, for some need a place to live that isn’t a cardboard box.

Tired of Ms. Debb rambling on and on (and on!)??  Well, she can take a hint.  I will leave you now, with one request:

I urge you to contact SunshineFactor¬†if there’s something you just can’t be thankful for – maybe I or my other readers¬†can help.¬†¬† Debb

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