Staying Feisty in the Face of Cancer


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.


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.


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.


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


This takes some effort, but it's possible.  


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:







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.  

March For Our Lives



This blog post was written in honor of all the victims of gun violence, including my young cousin, Frankie. 

While I couldn’t make the recent March For Our Lives, I was deeply moved by the marchers’ signs and banners that I saw on TV and in the newspapers.

I truly hope the march will inspire change and prevent hundreds of lives being taken every year from senseless gun violence. In light of the most recent school tragedy, we should pause 17 minutes every day (one minute for each victim) and reflect on what we might do to save the lives of our children.

Some of the signs that really struck me include:

Arms are for hugging.” (Can’t say that enough).

“Aren’t they called assault weapons for a reason?”(We all know what assault means.)

“If you want to use fire an assault weapon, join the military.” (Amen to that one.)

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough.” (They surely are not. Tell that to a grieving parent.)

“We need policy changes.” (NOW!)

“Hunters for Gun Control” (Sounds about right. Wasn’t that the original NRA goal?)

“Betsy DeVos is the only thing that should be fired at a school.” (Today is good.) 

“Trained to be a teacher not a sharp shooter.” (Exactly!)

"I want the same rights as a gun has." (Yes, right now!)

“Lock down guns not schools.” (Sounds reasonable.)

“Enough is Enough.” (It surely is.)

Never again. (We can only hope.)

“Vote them out.” (About time for them to go.)

“Register to vote.” (Take your parents and family members with you to vote.

“Always stand with the children.” (It is our moral duty.)

“Enough is Enough.” (It surely is.)

“Love your kids not your guns.” (Some folks love their guns more, unfortunately.)


I was overwhelmed with pride for the thousands that marched. Something needs to be done to protect every citizen from gun violence, especially our children.

My family has also been affected by gun violence. While it’s difficult to talk about, it’s important to share my family’s story to help propel change so something like this never happens again.

My young cousin, Frankie, was killed two years ago by the firing of an unsecured gun. Today he would be sixteen. His family misses him every single day. It was an “accident,” they said. What gun fires itself? Let me know how that can be.

Frankie had dreams, plans, and things that he wanted to do. He loved fishing, hunting, hanging out with friends, and his family. Interests in 4-H, and caring for his animals, playing drums in the Band, four-wheeling, and wrestling were once a big part of his life. But one day that all changed.

He and some friends, all innocent children, got into mischief and things went horribly wrong. Frankie’s life ended tragically early, all because an unsecured gun and ammunition were in the home the day. No one was blamed. Again, just an “accident,” they said. Who was responsible for his untimely passing?

We have laws that hold a bar owner responsible if someone leaves said establishment drunk. If you hurt someone with your car, the car owner is responsible. So what about a gun owner? Shouldn’t they be responsible for the misuse, improper securing, shooting of their gun, and the untimely death of someone? Seems logical to me.

More and more we hear about people being shot and no one is blaming the owner of the weapon used. I believe that you should be held responsible if your weapon results in the death of another person. It just might equal the playing field and stop some of the senseless deaths that we hear about, unfortunately, every day.

So my fellow feisty women, use your voice, march, speak up, call your Congress people, call your local representatives and demand changes to our gun laws. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas students need our help. 

I feel that one marcher’s sign really said it all: “Any child’s life is more important than any gun.” (We all know this, don’t we?) So let’s do something about this and prevent more families who have to live through the nightmare of the death of a child. No child’s life should be ended by the negligence of any adult especially one who fails to secure a gun.

Here are some links to organizations and charities fighting to protect you and your children. Spread the word:

Feeling Invisible


Feisty ladies, do you ever feel invisible?

As I get older, I sometimes feel invisible. I hear those words a lot from my feisty, middle-aged friends. It seems that the younger women seem to get all of the attention, advice books, fashion tips, romance advice, etc. in the media today. Even though women aged 50-64 are the top consumers in all purchasing categories, we feel that we are often overlooked.

One of the reasons that I wrote my book was to give a voice to feisty middle-aged, divorced, separated, or unengaged women who are seeking advice based on shared experiences. Because we are older, our needs, experiences, and life goals are different. 

As we age, our passions and purposes in our lives are different from younger women.  I have chatted with many 55+ year old women about this and below are the comments they shared with me.  All the women I interviewed are naturally feisty, and they did not hold back in their comments.


Focus on what WE want in life. Too many years were spent focusing on the needs of others. It is our turn to think of our selves and do things for ourselves. Right on.


Make new friends everyday. We all value the new people we meet or the people that we have, until recently, ignored. What new things they can bring to your life. Never forgo an opportunity to chat with a new person. My book is full of those stories from new acquaintances. Thanks for speaking to me, ladies.


No matter what, maintain a positive attitude everyday.  Some days just suck, so expect one of those now and then. With a positive attitude, studies show that you will live 7.5 years longer. I am up for that. Find positive people to hang out with and let go of the negative folks in your life. They will not miss you anyway because they spend all their days complaining. You will see lots of smiling and beaming women at the holistic fairs that I attend. Guess that we are on to something ladies.

Keep evolving. Seems that our lives evolve every 7 years according to some studies. Yes, I am counting that right now in my life. Seven years with Mr. Wonderful, three years to get rid of him. Sounds about right. The present years I am living on my terms; writing my book, promoting my book, being a success. Seven years will work. The sooner the better, actually. Better yet, I can and will make it work.


Re-kindle the interests of our earlier years. I always enjoyed writing and so now I am now an author of a book, a blogger, and am now learning about promoting my writing on social media. This new venture has not been without challenges but I am giving it my best shot. I always enjoyed taking long walks and now am accompanied by great-nieces and nephews, complete with a stop for the required slushie. My first employment was more like volunteering based on the pay that I received; I continue to volunteer today. My interest list is long. Some of the feisty women that I have met are embarking on new careers such as: a healer, meditation coach, jewelry designer, life coach, and soap maker. Seems like we have never lost our passion for learning and now is our time to do whatever passion we have a knack for. Sounds great to me. Keep your brain active or it will become mushy!


Keep discovering new purposes in life. Be inspired to get out of bed everyday and work on the ideas and issues that really inspire you. I have met feisty ladies who are involved in voter registration drives, caring for the homeless, serving meals to the hungry, maintaining and organizing thrift shops, and so much more. We step up all the time where our help is needed. We feel part of that force that is making our world a better place. Feisty ladies make a real difference. Isn’t that what we are here for anyway?


Acknowledge your inner self. Stay healthy physically. Stay emotionally healthy. Gather your thoughts daily, keep a journal, meditate, pray. Walk or exercise every day. Know that it is okay just to sit and relax. I struggle with sitting still, but am working on it.


Know that your time on this earth is limited. None of us will live forever. Appreciate the blessing that you have. Life can be mean. Celebrate your feistiness every day. The world needs you to remind everyone that being feisty is being alive.

We are really invisible, feisty ladies, only if we allow ourselves to be invisible. Stand up and do your part even if no one notices. As long as you notice, that is all that really matters.

What will you do to become less invisible? Stay feisty and find out.

On Keeping a Journal


I have been journaling off and on for most of my life. When I can remember to do so, I record five good things that happen to me everyday. (I just reminded myself to do it now!)

I have many good reasons for doing this and I want to share them with you.

Journaling provided a good way for me to release my pent-up emotions and feelings. It cleared my mind, for a brief time, of the emotions that I felt, especially the anger. I could say what I wanted, how I wanted, and never had to worry about my words being heard or seen or felt by others. Once I learned of the Native American "Fire Ceremony," a practice of burning off negative energy, I used it to destroy these journals, to release the feelings, and to forgive. It must have been a sight when I had this huge bonfire going in my backyard. I did warn my neighbors ahead of time.

Journaling also reminded me to be grateful for all the things that were and are positive in my life. The gratitude lists that I keep include all sorts of things: people, food, events, famous people, emotions, and daily highlights. The lists keep me grounded and focused on positives in life. Some days are better than others and that is fine but there is always something everyday to be thankful for.  It sounds a bit “Pollyanna-ish,” but it is true in my life.


Journaling helps me celebrate my strengths. As a middle-aged divorced woman who often feels invisible in the world, my journal reminds me how much I really do have to offer. I was hired more than 30 years ago in my present position. When asked what was my greatest asset to the job, I replied that it was my sense of humor. The interviewing committee asked me to step outside and I was sure that I had blown the interview. A few minutes later, I was asked to return to the room. Before I could even sit down, I was asked, ”when can you start?” Humor got me my present position and is vital in my daily work and in my life, to say the least.  I celebrate that humor every day in my writing and in my life.

Keeping a journal has also helped me set new life goals. I took all those thoughts from my angry, bitter, “don’t get mad get even” journals and turned them into my book. Who knew that anger could really be so feisty and funny.  They offered me a venue to write daily affirmations to live my life. Words are powerful, even more so when written down. You can re-read them and re-affirm them as I do daily.

So feisty ladies, keep on journaling. Vent your feelings. Be grateful. Celebrate yourself and your strengths. Set new goals. Affirm what you need in your life.

You are your words. 

In time, the journals motivated to move on, to write my book. 

The Feisty Woman and the Week From Hell

Yes, feisty ladies, this title perfectly describes this past week in my life. It has been a week from hell. (Friends have told me not to “pile” things together but it surely hard when it all happens in the same week.)

It all started out with an unprofessional meeting at work. I got lambasted for following the rules and my colleagues did not. They received the accolades and I did not. Go figure.

Family issues were on the front burner as well.

One Auntie had a heart attack earlier this year and was nearly having another. 

 Another Auntie went into the hospital for a minor procedure and came home scrambling all of her words. An additional, long distance doctor visit was required with no solution offered so far.

A family friend for many years passed away after a long illness, but we found out the sad news by reading it in the newspaper.

An Uncle is having wild reactions to medications. He sleeps all day and is awake all night. Adjustments in the medications seem to make things worse. Periods of normalcy for him are becoming fewer and fewer.

And finally, my elementary age nephewise learning to use curse words, including the f- bomb. 

Yes, it has been awful.

So how does one cope with these stresses? I have a few solutions of my own below.

1. Explain to my colleagues that I deserve their respect and not their nasty words. This has been difficult, but I am making progress, I think, I hope. It also helps to talk to others who have been the victims of similar behavior from the same colleagues. Misery loves company, I know.

2. Eat potato chips. The salt seems to calm my upset stomach from all of the stresses and tears. Who knew? I might really be on to something with this solution. Cough drops help with the sore throat from crying and screaming into my pillow every night as well. 

3. Phone calls to the senior family members seem to brighten their days. Even though this might seem like a short-term solution for people who are seriously ill, it does brighten their day and let them really know that I care about and love them. Better small times of happiness than none at all.

4. No word still of our family friend’s passing. We will still attend her memorial service and bring food simply because it is the right thing to do.

5. And the little boy…..imagine our shock in hearing the f-bomb come out of the mouth of a 3 year old. Many explanations ensued and the word did disappear for a few days. The little guy let it fly a second time and it was again addressed. Imagine our surprise when he told us who said it all the time.  Seems that a certain adult should have his mouth “washed out with soap”.  Said adult denied saying it even after the little one ratted him out. Time for kiddie counseling and adult counseling, I think.

6. Prayers have helped a lot. One always goes to the highest power when things arise like this in your life. God is better equipped to help me handle these things than anyone that I know. I have sought her advice many, many times this week. Things are improving, slowly.

7. And finally, most feisty lady friends also resort to this item when “a week from hell” arises: chocolate. I have eaten my fair share this week, sometimes as my meals.

(Perhaps I am low in magnesium from all of the tears…). I have consumed a lot of hot chocolate, candy bars, and dark chocolate hearts, too.

At the end of the week, I am feeling a bit better and hope for a much better week coming up. As we all have these weeks in our life, my solutions might work for you feisty ladies. Give them a try and let me know what you think. I am counting on them working for me as well.

The Law of Significance and Inspiration

Law 12: The Law of Significance and Inspiration: The true value of something is the direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it. Put energy into something that will be valued. I will not blow my energy on things that are not valuable to me.

As I end 2017, I write my final blog about my very interesting journey through the laws of karma. It seems that the Law of Significance and Inspiration came just at the right time for me.

I have spent the last month of this year putting a great deal of energy and effort and money into promoting my book. I have gained a few great contacts but have achieved almost no sales. It has been a distressing time for me and the beginning some real soul searching about my writing.  Should I continue with book two? Should I be an author at all? Are the marketing webinars really giving me great advice? Why am I not selling more copies of my book? What can I do to increase sales of my brand? 

As I pondered these questions often this month, I re-read the other 11 steps of karma that I had written about. I started to really think about what I have written and learned. I developed a plan of moving forward with my writing and here it goes! 

1. The Great Law: Your actions can come back to you at any time. Work hard and give it your best shot, Elizabeth. 

2. The Law of Creation: Work towards your goals and do not just talk about them. Keep at it, Elizabeth. Expand your brand and DO IT.

3. Law of Humility: Sometimes life sucks; you cannot change it. Move on, try again, and make it better. December really did suck, Elizabeth, but 2018 will be your year.

4. The Law of Growth: Change what is needed in your heart, your state of mind, and then your life will change, too. Stay positive no matter what, Elizabeth.

5. The Law of Responsibility: Take responsibility for what is your life. A few bad shows are expected. Focus on the good shows and good sales, Elizabeth.

6. The Law of Connection: Respect the journey and respect the whole process of doing anything. You are a new writer, Elizabeth, and you are still learning.

7.The Law of Focus: You cannot think of two things at the same time. No multitasking ever! Focus on one aspect of your business at a time, Elizabeth. Get a tem in place to help you.

8.The Law of Giving and Hospitality: Give without expecting to get anything. Enjoy the journey, Elizabeth. Things will work out the way they are supposed to. You will be successful, feisty lady.

9. The Law of Here and Now: Be totally in the Here and Now. Stay focused on the moment, as you gain more strategies, confidence, and reflect on all that you have learned Elizabeth.

10. The Law of Change: History repeats itself unless we learn the lessons we need to learn. Remember what worked for you and what did not. Move on from there and enjoy the journey, Elizabeth.

11.The Law of Patience and Reward: True joy comes from doing what you are supposed to do and knowing that the reward will come in its own time. Be patient, Elizabeth. You will be a success.

12. The Law of Significance and Inspiration: Put energy into something that will be valued. Your sense of humor, inspiration, and advice will be an asset to many women, Elizabeth. You will make a difference.

I hope that my plan can inspire you as it has inspired me. 2018 will be a great year as I move forward in all aspects of my writing career. I am inspired and ready to sh continue my writing, embrace my new speaking opportunities, interviews, and to gain knowledge from as many sources as I can, to be the best writer of feisty advice, humor, and inspiration that I can be. Karma rules!

Happy New Year, Feisty Women!