The Feisty Lady and Defining Integrity

 
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Do you, feisty ladies, know anyone who possesses true integrity? Sometimes this character attribute may be hard to find or you may actually know many people who have integrity in all they say and do. To be honest, many people that I know are really quality integrity infused people. To determine if this word describes any of your friends, read my list of characteristics below. I would love to hear your reaction and the number of your friends who really are integrity at its finest.

Listed below are the qualities, I think, of those who possess integrity.

  1. This person takes responsibility for her/his actions. Honesty and doing the right thing always, even when it could be really difficult, are what makes this person truly special. (I do my best to always be honest. I can spot a liar at 10 feet and call them out to be responsible for their actions. They usually turn bright red and at least try to “recheck and correct” their actions. It works most of the time.)

  2. This person always places the needs of others before her/his own needs. They focus on doing good for the community and for the common good. (I also volunteer, but can do even more, I think. The “common good” idea is sometimes one that I struggle to define. What’s right in NY might not be right in CA. Agreed? Just do good and you will be fine is my motto.)

  3. This person always volunteers and offers to help others in need. The less fortunate really do benefit from the kindness of this person. (I do my best to model this behavior at my job and am pretty happy with my efforts and good works. I can always find a place for things that people give me, no matter how weird or different they might be.)

  4. This person always gives others the benefit of the doubt, never jumping to any conclusions. Listening to others person’s opinion or point of view is important to this person. This person will never doubt you. (I really need help with this one. My opinions are important, too but I am always in need of being a better listener, even if my opinion is the right one.)

  5. This person always chooses honesty and will always give you an opinion thatreally expresses how he/she feels. (I always do this very thing but sometimes people do not actually want my opinion. I have been called “blunt, bossy, always right, and opinionated”. All of these terms I will proudly claim because I cannot lie. How can you remember what you said to someone if you are lying? Better tell the truth and remember what you said.)

  6. This person shows respect to all people, everyone she/he meets. All people are treated like the special human being they are. No rudeness from this person. (I am pretty spot on with this one. I will treat people with respect as long as they respect me. Sometimes I am dismissed because I am older. Then I often just stay quiet and wait for the “chips to fall”. I am often then asked why I did not speak up. My standard answer is, “would you have listened anyway?” That response is also met with silence. Treat me with respect and I will treat you the same.)

  7. This person is always humble in her/his accomplishments. Readily admitting strengths and weaknesses, this person always strives to improve. (I would agree that most of my feisty friends are exactly like this. We were all taught to “never toot your own horn”, so we remain quiet about our successes. We are always taking classes or seminars to learn more about any topic of interest. We work to become better feisty woman. I will continue to do this till the day I die.)

  8. This person is always able to admit being wrong or having made a mistakeStop, apologize, admit the mistake, and move on. (I am getting better at this one. I am able to admit mistakes and apologize, even though some of work colleagues cannot. I have also learned that after I admit being wrong and screaming ensues, silence is the best medicine for me. No use arguing with those who really do not want to hear your opinions anyway.)

  9. This person is the most reliable person that you will ever meet. All obligations are fulfilled. You can count on them.  (This is me. I do what I say that I will do. My words are me. Even though I am very busy, especially writing blogs, I honor all of my commitments. You should do the same.)

  10. This person conveys true kindness. Honesty, trustworthiness, and caring are part of this person’s being. ( I am also working on always being kind, even when people are not kind to me.  It is really difficult to be kind when you have been sucker punched, but it is the right thing to do.)

So, I will work daily to get all 10 items on this list part of my daily integrity plan. I know that I can improve, always, but I still remain one happy, funny, honest, helpful, respectful, chutzpah filled, and strong feisty lady. You can do the same!

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody will know whether or not you really did it or not.” Great words, Oprah.


The Feisty Lady and Being an Auntie

 
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It has been said that Aunties are a gift from God. (I would agree with that statement wholeheartedly.)  Aunties offer so much to their nieces and nephews. (I agree with that statement, too.) Numerous folks have told me that I am a great gift to my nieces and nephews. (“Wish that I had an Auntie like you when I was growing up.” Thanks for the kind words.) I have thirteen nieces and nephews (including great nieces and nephews) and I do my best to be a fun loving, helpful, and positive part of their lives. I wouldn’t have it any other way. For the most part, nieces and nephews are grateful for all that I do for them, except when they become quiet, sullen, moody teenagers and who knows what they really think. I press on and do all that I can for them without being to smothery, mothery (that is my own word), or crazy. 

I have complied a short list of all the things that I do as an Auntie. (And truth be told, they actually do some of the same things for me.) If you are an Auntie your list might be the same as mine. Check out my list below and let me know what you think.

“Auntie Elizabeth, (according to all my nieces and nephews, I hope), is all of the things listed below.”  (My response is included after each comment.)

1. Has been a positive influence in my growing up. “She is all great role model. I want to be just like her.”(I can only hope.)

2. Like a second Mom. “Sometimes I even call her …Mom and she just smiles.” (That does sounds nice.)

3. Great teacher. “She helps me see things in a different way. And does not lecture nearly as much as my Mom.” (I surely do…to both sentences.)

4. Is a great gift giver. “She brings a present after every trip, vacation, or shopping    trek. Even a small gift will do. She never forgets me.”  (I buy 10 of each item on each and every trip.)

5. An amazing listener. “My stories are always welcome even if she has heard them before.” (Some stories, kiddos, are best after being heard more than once.)

6. Is always there for me.  “Sometimes she is even waiting at the door for me to visit.”  (I am always glad to see them all.)

7. Shares great advice. “When I was your age… and I actually listen.” (I hope so.)

8. Lives her values everyday. “You have to behave and set a good example for others because some people need a reminder how to act.” (This usually works.)

9. Loves spending time with me.  “She always plays sports and games with me. She seems to have lots of energy.” (They should see me later on after the games.)

10. Laughs and plays with me all the time. “She always laughs at my bad jokes and will play almost any board game. (Except Monopoly which I hate.)

11. Is a great babysitter. “She helps us make forts, never takes sides in pillow fights, reads at least six books before bedtime, and allows us play flashlight tag for hours.” (The forts, pillow fights, and books are all easy. The flashlight tag lasts only about ten minutes, but seems way longer than that.)

12. Is a positive disciplinarian. “If you do not listen, you have to go home.” (This works each and every time.)

13. Gets to the do the fun stuff with us. “She takes us to the playground, the park, and the swimming pool swimming pool every day. She says that we need fresh air.” (Anything to get them off of their tablets.)

14. Gives lots of hugs and kisses. “And not just at bedtime but all throughout the day.” (Hugs throughout the day are as important as snacks.)

15. Loves us. “She tells us this a lot during the day.” (Kids can never ever hear this enough. Say it often!)

So Aunties, remember that your love and care will impact their lives forever. Never ever underestimate the import role that you have in their lives. You are making great memories with them. And remember those words that really say it all: they may not always remember your “Auntie words” but they do remember how you as their Auntie made them feel. And to feel loved, adored, cherished, and so very important is what we do best for our nieces and nephews. I even text them during the day, complete with the emojis, to check in with them and they love it. 

So enjoy the Auntie title, feisty ladies, one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Being an aunt has enriched my life more than I could ever imagine. It has helped me to really appreciate my life and all of the great things in it as seen through the eyes of nieces and nephews, young and old.


Feisty Forest Bathing

 
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I found this topic absolutely unusual yet fascinating. 

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In 1980, as a cornerstone of preventative health, the Japanese established the concept of forest bathing. No special clothing, equipment, location, or prescription was needed. How great is that? One simply finds a forest, walks quietly into the forest, and takes in all of the sights, scents, sounds, textures, and tastes what the forest offers. You could sit on a creek bank or simply meander on a trail. Just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Wow. I haven’t done this sort of thing since I was a little kid exploring the woods around my Grandmother’s farm. Those really were the good old days according to the following findings.

Studies have shown that forest bathing offers many health benefits. The list is long

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  1. Lowers stress levels (You are removed and away from all stressors.)
  2. Boosts your immune system (You are breathing healthier air.)
  3. Improves your mood (No one is around to bother you.)
  4. Reduces blood pressure (See all above factors.)
  5. Can improve your overall relaxation (Same effect as a bubble bath…)
  6. Offers you time to unwind (No electronic devices are allowed.)
  7. Reduces heart attack risk (Because it reduces your stress, blood pressure levels, and pulse rate.)
  8. Improves diabetes risks (Lowers your glucose levels.)
  9. Gives you more energy and improves your sleep (Who does not need both of these thing?)
  10. Improves your skin quality (Terpenes produced by the trees, absorbed by you.)
  11. Provides a break from all of your electronic devices (We all really need this.)

This list is a great reason just to take a walk in the forest. It will definitely work for me. But what if you do not live near a forest? A picture of a forest will do as well as deeply inhaling near big tree, lying under a big tree, laying down on a patch of healthy grass, or going to a nature park. One of these items is available for all of us.

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So feisty women, embrace your forest bathing side and remember that nature is much cheaper than therapy. Go to the forest and “bathe” at least weekly or monthly. Let me know how much better you feel. It works for me as long as I stay away from the poison ivy!

 

 

The Travel Misadventures of The Feisty Woman

 
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Ladies, have you ever been on a trip and it seemed like just about everything had gone wrong?  We are strong women, but occasionally our patience is really tested. Perhaps you can commiserate with me, as I share the tale of my most recent travel trouble.

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I recently returned from my yearly sojourn to Arizona. It was a great trip filled with beautiful western skies, cacti galore, breath-taking sunsets, and some rather handsome cowboys (I’ll provide more on that subject in a bit). However, parts of the trip were less than stellar, and that’s putting it nicely.

The misadventure started earlier in the week when my ride to the airport was injured and could not drive me to the airport. I felt bad for my friend, but I also began to dread the idea of parking at the airport.  So, I secured long-term spot at the airport and was on my way. 

As I arrived at the lot, I met a lady trying with all her might to check out of the parking area (which I was entering) to no avail. She looked totally stressed and flustered. I know that look very well. Always looking out for my fellow feisty women, I rolled down my car window and asked if she needed any help. She told me that she had been waiting more than fifteen minutes for someone to rescue her from the payment machine. When she tried to remove her credit card, she was charged twice and her card got stuck in the machine. (Credit cards are to be used and not abused, all feisty women know that.)  I sat with her for a few minutes and we got to know each other, and she had quite the story that I’m sure will appear in one of my future books (with her blessing of course).  She really did not need this extra hassle because there was already enough hassle in her life. Finally, someone arrived on the scene and she thanked me, first, before even getting her bill secured, for sitting with her. We feisty ladies always stick together and always prevail.

Surprisingly, TSA check-in was not a problem! However, I should’ve taken that as a sign that trouble was to come. Since I purchased a discounted rate ticket (that was a discount, really?), I had to wait to get a seat assignment/boarding pass. “Come back thirty minutes before the flight is set to take off and I will give you your seat assignment,” I was told. I had received an assigned seat for my second leg of my trip, but not the first. Go figure. Time passed and I revisited the impatient airline person at the counter who reminded me, rather loudly, that thirty minutes was the time to get my seat assignment (it already was thirty minutes before take off. I can tell time.) Two other passengers behind were given the same treatment. Not one to give up, I bided my time, and I returned to the counter when a different airline person showed up, as did the other two passengers who were in on my first encounter. (We went as a group and all spoke, politely, making the same request.) She asked my name and my seat assignment/boarding pass was on the top of the pile sitting right in front of her. The other two gals got their seat assignments/boarding passes right after I did. We were all set, or so we thought. We were boarding the plane. We then proceeded to sit on the runway for nearly an hour. No explanation was given. Barely making it to my connecting flight, I literally ran through the airport like a Senior Olympic track star, panting and sweating all the way. I was the second last person to board the plane.

I arrived at my final destination in Arizona with other woes to follow. Suffice it to say, I will never stay at the hotel again, who prides itself on being the best…… I accidentally called the wrong hotel in the chain and was met with a rude, cranky, witchy desk lady. (She must have failed the customer manners art of her training). I reported her and the hotel that same night. I cancelled and re-booked another hotel at 10:30PM that night. I finally got to sleep at 2AM EST, on which time schedule that my body was still functioning.

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The vacation activities were great. The skies, clouds, cactus, food and all of the sites I saw were fantastic. I even managed to remain calm at the border patrol check-in points. Scary. Even better were the awesome looking cowboys. They smiled, strutted their stuff, and were eye candy to all the feisty ladies around them. I relaxed and rested and throughly enjoyed my vacation, but in hindsight it seemed like I was just resting up solely for the journey back home.

I ran into trouble with my return flight. It was scheduled to leave at 1AM but left earlier. (I was never notified of the change!) So, I needed a new ticket. Now this is when my hassles resumed. I was issued a seat assignment/ boarding pass for the first leg of my trip but not the second. I discovered this while sitting, at midnight, waiting for my flight. I entered the slow, long line for customer assistance (When is it really “assistance” anyway?) where I was told that now I was on “stand by.” (I had a ticket, but was now on stand-by?) I was told to wait in line at my second destination for a seat assignment/boarding pass. No amount of pleading got me anywhere. Funny enough, I slept very well on the flight, something I could not really believe I did given the nature of my recent “assistance”.

I did my best to get a seat assignment/boarding pass and after four visits to the counter, I finally received the necessary documents (guess that they were tired of seeing my face). After four flight delays, totaling two and a half hours, we were in the air. I again immediately fell asleep and awoke as we were landing. I was so happy to be home that I could have kissed the ground. Or so I thought. More problems were coming. My suitcase was missing and got delayed and would be arriving (hopefully) on the next flight. I had to wait two more hours for that flight to arrive. The next to the last bag on the carousel was…mine. Yippee.

One final snag was to come. I called the shuttle to the parking lot and was told by the driver that I had the wrong ticket. The tickets had changed on Wednesday when I was away. The driver called the lot attendant and in minutes he was on the scene to help me. (Wow. Finally some great customer service.) I drove home and again slept well. I was back on my home turf. Thank goodness.

 At least I didn't get pricked by a cactus! Always look on the sunny side of things.

At least I didn't get pricked by a cactus! Always look on the sunny side of things.

What did I learn? The vacation is always great, but getting there is not always easy. It’s okay to get frustrated and impatient from time to time (it’s impossible to avoid, especially with our current political landscape) but it’s how we handle that frustration that makes us stronger and smarter women. It gives us perspective on what really matters.  

I long for the day when we have the technology is available to “beam me up, Scotty” …taking me to wherever I want to go,  just as long as I don’t have to download any more apps or purchase yet another iPhone for it. It would be so much easier for all of us.  I also think that I might travel my train next summer. It is a thought. Or better yet maybe I will drive.

The Feisty Woman Unplugs

 
 Unplug! Can you do it?

Unplug! Can you do it?

 

Seems that a few celebrities are turning off their phones. According to a recent NPR segment, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, and Simon Cowell, to name a few, have unplugged and are letting us know how wonderful life is without the phone. How about you? Can you spend at least 15 minutes unconnected to your phone? 30 minutes? An hour? Have you tried it lately? Can you really do this? 

I know many people, including myself, who are constantly checking their email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and text messages. Seems that phones have become an additional appendage. I’m sure you have seen people at restaurants (or anywhere, really) that have their phones out while they are with others. It is a shame to see so many people interacting with their phones rather than real people. 

A recent University of Rochester Study reports that a mere fifteen minutes of device-free time can help manage stress. So next time you are feeling angry, stressed out, or upset, (yes, we Feisty Women are not exempt from these emotions!) put your phone down.  Just a mere fifteen minutes, feisty ladies, can make the difference and help lower intense reactions to daily stress.  According to the study, some of the subject participants were sitting in a comfortable chair, reading a book, and told to focus on a specific topic. Others were asked to keep a journal and write in it for fifteen minutes. All reported that fifteen minutes away from their devices reduced anger, stress, and upset feelings. I am trying this out starting today. Wish me luck. Fifteen minutes is totally doable, I think.

To attempt to “unplug”, I have also decided to give myself, a daily “time out” (and not for bad behavior either, which I had quite a few of as a child), but to unplug from all of my electronic devices. I think that this would help me de-stress a lot. I am willing to try this — are you?

I love the sweetness of doing absolutely nothing, zero, nada. (I think that I can really get into this.) I set up a few parameters for myself. They are listed below.

  1. Set a time (and stick to it) where I will do absolutely nothing. (Easy)
  2. Focus on doing nothing and do not feel guilty. (Difficult)
  3. Vegging out with NCIS on the television does not count. (Difficult)
  4. I am counting listening to music, sitting in the park watching people, and enjoying a sunrise or sunset. (Easy)
  5. I just might take up drawing or sketching. (Very difficult)
  6. Have more “me” time. For me, that might be playing Auntie and enjoying times with my nieces and nephews, getting a pedicure, or just shopping for shoes. (Very easy)

Which one of the above list will work for you? Fifteen minutes seemed like a long time at first, but I am working on extending the time by five minutes each week. I am up to twenty minutes this week and plan to keep moving forward.

How do you try and unplug? Any interesting methods.  Let me know, Feisty Women! 

I leave you with a quote ...

"Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone." - Steven Spielberg

"A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted"

 
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I find biographies fascinating. What makes people tick, their interests, and their life story have always been a curiosity of mine. Charlie Chaplin was born to two music hall performers, spending a lot of time around the theater with his parents and older brother. Growing up in poverty was the norm for Chaplin. He spent multiple times in the poorhouse as his parents’ lives spun out of control. Chaplin started acting at a young age, 14, when his brother got him his first gig. He left school and as we say, “The rest is history”. He was an actor, a silent film and talkie star, a story teller, a comedian, a pantomime artist, a director, a producer, a composer, and a spinner of many witty saying. Some of those sayings are those that most feisty women can identify with. Let me know what you think.

  1. “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” I pride myself in having a great sense of humor so I can really identify with this one. Even bad jokes make me laugh.
  2. “ You’ll never find a rainbow if you are looking down.” You also might trip and fall, too. Look up and be open to the world and all the things in it. I don’t want to miss anything, do you?
  3. “We think too much and feel too little.” Overthinking is something that I am doing less of. Now I thinking for only a certain limited period of time and then I act, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst. Oh well.
  4. “We all want to help each other. Human beings are like that.” Sounds like everyone that I know, except some of my more crabby friends and relatives.
  5. “Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.” Try something new and you might succeed or you might make a fool out of yourself, but at least you tried. That is my motto.
  6. “Life would be wonderful if people would leave you alone.” I think that he means that the jerks of the world should back off and let people alone who are doing good. Sounds right to me.
  7. “I am a citizen of the world.” We need to remind our politicians of this. We are all in this together. What we do with the “togetherness” will make the difference.
  8. “My happiest days are those in which I do good work.” I try to do good works every day but some people are just not open to my help. I just move on and try to help someone else. It is their loss.
  9. “ I am what I am: an individual, unique and different.” These words are the motto for every feisty lady that I know. Celebrate this every day.
  10. “ I am on old weed. The more I’m cut down the more I spring up.” I keep springing up and growing taller. No amount of “weed killer” can get me down. How about you?

Charlie Chaplin has some great words for feisty women everywhere. He lived a life that made so many people happy and spoke these words that resonate with all of us: “I care about everything I do.”  We can surely relate to those words and so many of us live our lives like Charlie. 

 

On Volunteering

 
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I have read in many books, newspapers, and periodicals (Does this give away my age? I hope so!) that volunteering and helping others does make you feel better. If you are wallowing, in the dumps, sad, or even depressed, get off of the couch and go out and do something for someone else. Do these words ring true for you? They do for me.

If work or stupid things (or stupid people) get you down, as they often do for me, plan to help others and you will forget your woes and concentrate on others who really have more problems, troubles, or a life that you cannot even begin to understand. Volunteering will provide you a new perspective all the while doing good for others.

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This past weekend I volunteered at a FSW/NY (Family Services of Westchester) event sponsored by a charity called The Sharing Shelf.  I found this particular charity on the AARP volunteer website (Does this give away my age? Again, I hope so). Their mission is to collect donated clothing, in generally good condition, and then sort and distribute the clothes to children and teens that need it. I arrived, learned the ropes, and quickly became a champion sorter. More clothing than you can imagine was donated. Items were divided by size and sex. Even the cast-off items were donated to a group that would distribute them. Outfits were assembled by the sorting teams and placed in large bags for pick-up the next day. 

I could only imagine that faces of the children when they received these bags of new clothing. I felt really great about this work and soon forgot the petty issues and people who had nearly ruined my day.

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This past weekend’s event was specifically for teenage girls. I arrived and was assigned shoe-sorting duty. Even though all of the shoes had been pre-sorted, I helped out by placing them on the right size table and arranging them in an eye-catching display (those are my words). My rubber band collection, which had held the shoes together, was substantial. Upon completion of that task, I volunteered to do a job that was far more difficult than I had ever imagined that it would be. I became a personal shopper for a teenage girl. It sounded easy but also took more time than I thought it would. I had to organize outfits, dresses, shoes, purses, scarfs, jewelry, and outerwear for a young lady that I had never met. Oh dear.

I have a personal bias towards floral patterns but I knew that no teenager would be caught dead wearing flowers of any sort. So, I did what any adult shopping for a teen should do: buy exactly the opposite of what I would wear and it would be fine!

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I struggled at first but then began checking my selections with a fellow teenage shopper. Seems that I was right on the mark. I chose items that would suit most teenagers, follow the school dress code, please the parents, and looked age appropriate. This took a lot of time but I was really happy with my bag full of outfits that I had assembled. (If I am invited back to shop at another event, I will know that I chose wisely.  So far, I have received no complaints.)

So feisty women, always lend a hand when and where you can. It can be as simple as babysitting nieces and nephews (I'm doing that), taking someone to medical appointments (doing that, also), or even shopping at my favorite store, Target, for a neighbor (always happy to do that, too). When you finish your volunteering, you regain your smile, you have much-improved mood, and you know that you have done your part to improve our world, to make it a better place. 

You also meet great people while volunteering and help others. There is always potential for new friends, new partners. Open up your world when you are feeling down and you will be surprised at how great you will feel!  What could be a better way, feisty ladies, than to spend an afternoon doing this? 

Staying Feisty in the Face of Cancer

 
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Recently, I was sitting in an emergency room with my cousin, Susan. She is going through chemo for the second time for breast cancer.  While we sat there waiting I couldn’t help but relive the conversation we had two days prior about her experiences with treatment. What she told me was difficult, but it only further reinforced my understanding that women in this world are capable of so much strength and bravery.  

Physically, a few changes did happen, not surprisingly. The chemo resulted in a chemically induced menopause, complete with sleep disturbances, horrible hot flashes, and a mean streak of brain/chemo fog. (All feisty women that I know can completely relate to most of those symptoms.) Susan is often so tired (chronic fatigue), so you do become a bit grumpy, she says. (Aren’t we all sometimes?) Avoiding those with a cold is “job #1” for her and any other chemo patients.(I do this as well.) Your veins are also filled “filled” with chemo “fire” when the infusions begin. Susan walks around with a t-shirt and a lightweight fleece on even the coldest winter days, (just as many of my feisty friends do at work.) However, her weight did not change at all.

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We met over breakfast and so naturally, our conversation started with food, one of the better ways to start a conversation if you ask me. She now craves the foods her kids love: milkshakes, pasta, and all sorts of salty foods. Her mouth is always dry so she is always sipping something.  McDonald’s Frappes seem to be her favorite.  Ice cream also helps keep her cool.  She tries to balance out the ice cream will healthier foods. 

Physically, a few changes did occur.  The chemo caused her to experience a chemically induced menopause, complete with sleep disturbances, horrendous hot flashes, and a mean streak of brain fog.  (I’m sure my fellow middle aged Feisty Women can relate to these symptoms).  Susan is often so tired with chronic fatigue, so she admits to being a bit grumpy.  She also says her “number one job” is avoiding infections like the common cold which can be difficult as she has young children of her own and she is always in rooms with other patients.  The chemo “fills” her veins with what feels like fire.  Susan is usually dressed in a t-shirt and lightweight fleece even on the coldest winter days.  

And then there is her hair. As clumps started falling out, Susan shaved her head. She thought that she might try out a wig. She received a wig from the ACS, but it was hot and too itchy to wear and because of how sensitive her skin had become during chemo. (She thought that maybe a new hair color and style might help her feel better.) 

This wig has another interesting story. When she cut her long hair, she donated the hair to the ACS. Upon putting the wig on her head, she shuddered, because she felt that the wig was her own hair; the color and streaks were exactly the same. It was an odd moment for her. Trying to wear the wig became nearly impossible because the wig was still too hot and she returned this wig for someone to wear it. Susan hopes that they like her hair color and pink streaks.

As if the physical changes weren’t enough, the emotional changes became even tougher to deal with. Susan says that she felt so many emotions:  fear, anger, sadness, depression, and had an uncertainty about her future. She decided to compile a few mantras to help her when things felt overwhelming.

 
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You go, girl! After all, women are warriors, too.  You don't have to look far to find a feisty woman that has her fair share of battles.

 
 
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Susan actually has a tattoo of this as a physical reminder.

 
 
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This takes some effort, but it's possible.  

 
 
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Truer words have never been spoken.  Remind yourself of everything that really matters every day.  

 

And before treatments, Susan, psyched herself up with these words:

“Be quiet and become calmer as you talk to yourself.” (A talk with yourself is always a good thing. We all know this to be true)

“You will be fine.”(You MUST stay positive. Look on the bright side no matter what.)

“You will feel okay.”(You can get through the chemo. Do not let it beat you.)

Her FB postings add these hashtags:

#chemosucks

#triplenegativebreastcancer

#igotthis

#strongwoman

#cancerstucks

#braca1

They all sound very appropriate, Susan. I totally agree with your words.

What caused her cancer? Why did she develop cancer? The BRAC1 factor contributed but research points to other causes. The number one cause why people develop cancer is STRESS. “Thanks to all of those who caused my stress,” she says. There are many people but Susan has one word for them: karma. Sad but true; time will tell. My comment: “once a cheater, always a cheater” describes some of the more deplorable people in her life.

People also look at you differently, she says. A woman who is bald, missing her eyebrows and eyelashes — she tends to get stares.  Susan just smiles at them but they still stare. Maybe they wonder, she says, if this might be them some day. I suggested that they have empathy for her but she said that their expressions were not empathetic at all. Mostly people stare, she says, because they wonder how long she might be around. So sad, I think.

Susan always managed to be kind to the doctors, nurses, technicians, and all of the hospital staff. In addition to the chemo, the amount of tests that she endured were endless: EKG, blood work, biopsies, urine samples, nose swabs, antibiotic drips, poking and prodding, and yet another IV drip, just to name a few. Still, Susan kept on being positive, smiling, and letting everyone know that there are others far worse off than she is. 

So what did I learn from this conversation? I now know much more about chemo than I ever did before. I learned how resilient and strong the female spirit can be.

I leaned how to treat a person with cancer when I see them. I still love the frozen yogurt and am so glad that it can keep cancer patients cool. Menopause can be a bit trying, Feisty Women, but cancer is far worse. I learned to count my blessings everyday. Being positive, no matter how bad you feel, can help you feel a bit better. I learned how important it is to be a fighter, and to stay strong even though you might be bone tired. Most of all, I learned that feisty women everywhere are fighting like mad to survive, to live life to the fullest, to love their families, and to be willing to participate in trials to help other fellow cancer patients.

When you see a feisty women with cancer, smile at her, hold the door open for her, and give her a “high five” to celebrate her spirit, her bravery, and her inner-warrior. Be there in any way you can, whether she is a family member, friend or simply a stranger.