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2018: Take a Chance, Make a Change

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Chance. Change. What’s the difference between these words? Simply one letter. The chance you take. The change you make. What’s the difference? Simply one step. These words and concepts have been on my mind as we transitioned from one year to the next. 2017 was the incredible year that I proclaimed it would be. I’m now focused on my “what’s next” for 2018. Recommitting to my weekly blogs seemed like the perfect place to begin, especially today.

 

You see, 5 years ago today, I finished my last chemo treatment. Wow! My breast cancer journey was nothing like what the written treatment plan dictated. From the very first surgery (which was supposed to be “one and done”) to that final chemo session (chemo was extended by an additional year due to complications), all I can say is, “Wow!” Scratch that. I should also add an AMEN! I’m here because God has work for me to do.

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From the day the doctor called with my biopsy results, I knew that there was purpose in my diagnosis. Mind you, it took some time for me to figure out what that purpose included. I had to take a chance and think about the bigger picture. I made the change and stepped outside of my comfort zone. As a result, the puzzle pieces are coming together as I connect with people who will assist me in the process of manifesting my divine assignment – “to speak a word in season to him who is weary.”

I’ll celebrate my 7th “cancer-versary” in June. WooHoo! I’ve met and befriended amazing survivors and healthcare professionals. I’ve also been given the opportunity to have some amazing experiences such as making a nationally televised commercial, appearing in international print ads, singing and speaking in front of celebrities, mentoring and encouraging others living with cancer, as well as creating events to increase cancer awareness and prevention. All of these doors opened as a result of a cancer diagnosis. Even with the doors opened, I had to take that step of chance in order to make a change in my life and the lives of others.

healthI guess it’s just the teacher in me, but the more I learn about health and wellness and its connection to chronic disease, the more I want to share this knowledge with others. What we don’t know is making us sick or worse, killing us. I don’t want to lose another family member, another friend, or another fellow survivor. Did you know that many of the diseases that plague our communities can be avoided with lifestyle changes? We CAN do something about the things that we are eating, as well as the things that are eating us from the inside out (i.e. stress, unforgiveness). We CAN increase our physical activity. We CAN, but we don’t or we won’t. Why?

It breaks my heart to see people negatively impact their health with what they are eating, drinking, and/or smoking. We’re surrounded by the warnings and research studies. We’ve heard the testimonials of people whose lives will never be the same again because they neglected their health. These habits have become vicious cycles that keep us going around in circles. Unfortunately, some of these cycles are also being transferred to the next generation. Experience is not necessarily the best teacher, but definitely a hard teacher. Again, the question is why? I wonder if this is the frustration Moses felt as he proclaimed year after year that it was going to rain. No one listened to or believed him until that first drop of rain fell. By then, it was too late.

step-by-step-hiIt’s not too late for you, or those you love, to improve the quality of your life and possibly extend your quantity of days on Earth. It’s a new year. There’s still time to create a new you. All it takes is simply one step – the decision to start your wellness journey. 

To me, there’s a difference between living and existing. I believe that most people are doing the latter. My plan is to live life to the fullest – with an exclamation point and not a comma, a period, or a question mark. 

In 2018, what chance are you willing to take so that you can make a change?

 

be NspireD!

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Stressed? LOL!

 

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Stress is a societal epidemic. I’m not talking about the built in, or innate, stress response – i.e. you jump after being startled. I’m talking about the non-stop, chronic stress that leaves you feeling stressed out, overworked, or overwhelmed. Studies have linked stress to medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity, depression, anxiety, and yes – cancer.

As a cancer “thriver” and inspirational speaker, I often speak to audiences about stress management. Because laughter therapy is my favorite way to combat stress, through my company NspireD, I created an event called “Cocktails & Comedy.” You may be wondering how these words are connected. Now depending on who you are, what you’re drinking and how much, consuming a certain number of cocktails may result in a whole lot of comedy. LOL. However, I’m approaching it from a health and wellness angle.

cocktail-clip-art-9czMyRbcEIn addition to the ways that stress can impact our personal and professional lives, did you know that the chemotherapy drugs administered during cancer treatment are referred to as “cocktails?” (Side note: When you get a cancer diagnosis, you also acquire a new vocabulary. I didn’t know what an oncologist was until I had one.) As someone who doesn’t drink and never has, I thought it ironic to get a specific chemo “cocktail” on a regular basis. 

 

“Cocktails & Comedy” promotes laughter as an effective stress management technique while providing additional insight about the cancer journey. Last year’s inaugural event featured cancer survivor comics from across the country. As they performed to an almost sold out crowd, we literally laughed until we cried. A great time was had by all!

comedy-night-clipart1Get ready for the 2nd Annual “Cocktails & Comedy” Show. It will be held at The Delaware Theatre Company (200 Water Street ~ Wilmington, DE 19801) on Saturday, June 3, 2017. Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the show will begin at 7:30 pm. The event will be hosted by Delaware’s own Belynda J. Cleare. Back by popular demand is Miss Gayle from Fredericksburg, VA. Rounding out the comedy line up is Missy Grynkiewicz, Brandon Vincent Jackson, and Donna Ottena. 

k“Cocktails & Comedy” 2017 is a fundraiser for the 2nd Annual “KALEIDOSCOPE: Empowering Survivors ~ Mind, Body & Spirit” conference for women living with all types of cancer. This event will be held Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the Ramada Inn of Newark, DE. The conference will help survivors improve their health and reduce their risk of recurrence in ways that do not require prescription medications. 2016 topics included meditation, mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and stress management.

Proceeds from the comedy show will be used to create full and partial scholarships for survivors who have a financial need. A cancer diagnosis also impacts your financial health because medical insurance does not cover everything. This fundraiser will help to remove or reduce financial barriers so that every survivor who wants to attend will be able to do so at little or no expense. Not only will survivors benefit from the information shared, they will have the opportunity to connect with other women who understand their challenges. 

ticketCancer is no laughing matter, but humor is healing and healthy. Get your ticket(s) today at https://cocktails-comedy-2017.eventbrite.com. Tickets are $25 in advance and more at the door. The discount for a group of 10 is $225 (buy 9, get 1 free). “Cocktails & Comedy” is a great event for a date night, or a night out with the girls or the fellas. AND, it benefits a great cause – women who are living with cancer.

I hope to see your face in the place. Make plans to come out and have some fun. Life is too short not to laugh a little (or a lot!). Thanks in advance for your support. Please spread the word and remember to LOL!

 

be NspireD!

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