30 Health Blog Posts in 30 Days, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Limitless Potential, Starting with Saving Myself

In Memoriam of Sidney Patrick, Founder of So Cal Lady Bloggers

There is something I learned at my sister’s funeral last year that was evident at Sidney’s memorial as well. People don’t always share the full scope of who they are with everyone they know. A friend told me that sometimes the person wants it that way.  I respect private people.  I really do.  But what concerns me is people who aren’t being private on purpose, but are so giving of themselves that they focus on other people so much that we don’t get to know all the wonderful attributes they have or realize the many accomplishments that they have achieved.

A diamond in the rough.  A person with unlimited potential.  A humble person who does not need to or want to call attention to themself.  A caring person who makes the effort to get to know you and help you, asking for nothing in return.  I could be describing my sister, Karen,  or my friend, Sidney.

At my sister’s funeral in July of 2011, many people came to me and said they didn’t know Karen had started a group called Humanitarian Efforts and had sponsored an orphanage in Mexico. And people who worked with her on that didn’t know that she was a soccer mom and had volunteered at the local elementary school, and some people never even knew she had a sister!

I found out so much about Sid at her memorial. I missed out on getting to know her better. I am lucky to have known her at all. She was a remarkable woman! I was touched by the testimonial that was shared by her co-worker who described her many accomplishments with installing computer systems and her extensive expertise in technology.  I did not know that she worked in I.T., like my husband.  I was aware of how she loved her sorority sisters, but I did not know that she had a group of guy friends and was considered “one of the guys!”  Her close friends from high school and college suffered a huge loss with her passing.  I knew that she was a regular at Olive’s and Tallyrand, but I had no idea what a “family” and support system that community was for her!  I did not read all of the many posts on her blog and I knew very little about her relationship with her boyfriend of fourteen years, or with her beloved family.  I did not know that she had a sister, until I learned all of this after she passed.

What I did know about Sidney Patrick is that she was a lovely person with a beautiful smile.  She was the creator and a leader of the group that I am in on Facebook, the So Cal Lady Bloggers.  Sidney was welcoming and encouraging.  She read everything that I wrote and she was the person who commented the most on my blog.  She had a very sharp wit, excellent sense of humor and was a gifted writer.  Her blog, My Mother-in-Law Still Sits Between Us, is about hoarding and how it affects the adult children of hoarders.  She became an expert in that field and was interviewed on Huffington Post Live as such just a few weeks before she died.  She made an impact in the world of hoarding and was devoted to educating and helping people who were affected by it.  Sidney Patrick, like my sister, made a difference in our world.

Sidney Patrick

Besides significantly making a difference in the lives others, having an infectious smile and the ability to be a gracious hostess, Sidney and Karen had something else in common.  They both died too young, and they both died of complications due to Liver Disease.  Liver Disease and Diabetes run in my family.  I have Diabetes.  I have the pre-cursor to Liver Disease; high triglycerides and a border-line fatty liver.  My mother died of Cirrhosis of the Liver (NASH).  My aunt (my mother’s twin sister) died of it.  My sister died of it.  They all also had Diabetes.  There is something else that my sister and Sidney had in common, they did not talk about their disease. They down-played their own suffering.  They were martyrs in their own right.  They did not do for themselves that they would have done for countless others, what they would have done to help anyone else that they loved, they did what they always did when it came to something being about themselves, they selflessly kept it private.  If I learn nothing from their stellar examples as humanitarians, from the beauty and peace that they brought countless people as the angels that they were, if I am unable to live up to that potential, I must learn from their fatal flaw. . . I hope that I will not have that in common with them.

I realize now that this is why I started a journal blog. I am about lots of things and I want to be fully apparent to all who know me.  I am not private.  I want my friends to know what I am all about.  Who I am, completely.  I have not yet discussed my health issues on my blog because until now I wanted to share only the positive things that happen in my life.  I realize now that I must make this a positive.  I must share the things that I do to manage my health, to improve my health, to avoid an early death.  I must give it the same effort that I would give to anyone else that comes to me for help.  In helping myself live a healthier life, I can help others.

Limitless Potential

The potential to help others is limitless.  My sister can help others with Diabetes and Liver Disease through me.  After she died, I thought I would carry on with her humanitarian efforts.  I thought I could help children in Nigeria who had been orphaned and then sold into slavery.  I tried.  I am not sure if anything that I did made a difference for anyone.  But, I vow I will do my best to make a difference in my life.  I will help myself and my family to live longer, healthier lives.  I believe I can do that.  I can make a change, a difference.  I will commit myself to that.

Correction.  I will re-commit myself to that.  I must admit, that I fell silent.  I have even been ignoring my disease.  After my mother passed away in February 2005, and my sister was diagnosed, I was tested at Karen’s urging.  I found out that I too had the pre-disposition for Diabetes and Liver Disease.  I had high triglycerides and high blood sugar levels.  At that time I did tons of research to find out anything I could do to improve my health.  As it is for most health issues, a regiment of exercise and a specific diet is recommended.  I found out about every kind of food that is bad for the liver and pancreas and all the nutrients that are good for the digestive organs and the immune system.  I made a list of the foods I should eat and the foods I should avoid.  I followed the diet strictly and I improved my triglyceride level to better than normal and my liver did not appear enlarged when I had an ultrasound.  I maintained a healthy blood sugar level and I did not have to test my blood sugar.  I achieved something at that point that doctors rarely see, in fact they said it could not be done.

Saving Myself

And then, last year, my sister died after her long-awaited liver transplant fell through and her suffering came to an end.  For some reason, I lightened up on the regiment.  I gained weight.  I am now taking medicine to control the Diabetes.  I feel pain in my abdomen after large meals and I have been eating the dreaded meats and all the other things that are on my “no-no” list.  I am killing myself and I do not know why.  Sidney’s death shocked me into realityI can do something about this.  I will do something and I will be open and honest about it.  I will blog about it.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  Hopefully, mostly good.

So, I start now.  With this ode to Sidney and Karen who inspire me in countless ways.  I start now with this blog post.  I start now, with enrolling in a nutrition class  lead by Carol Takakura of Creative Wellness with Carol that I will be writing about weekly.  I start now, by blogging 30 posts in 30 days for National Health Blog Post Month with @wegohealth.  I start now by using my list, following the regiment and living a healthy lifestyle.  I can’t go back.  I can’t change anything that happened or anything that I did or didn’t do.  I can’t help Sidney or Karen or my mom or my aunt.  But I can help myself and my kids.  I start now.

If you are interested in having a copy of my List of “Healthy Eating Choices” to promote a healthier lifestyle, Click Here: Healthy Eating Choices

After my parents and sister passed away, I wrote about the Seven Stages of Grief   It still helps me to review it, so if you are suffering from any loss and are not familiar with the stages or how they can come and go – please fee free to contact me and I will be here to listen and cry with you.
Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

Would you walk to raise money for cancer research on your birthday?

Melissa, can you help me spread the word about a walk I’m doing?

It’s on November 4..

I’m walking for Shari, my Aunt Ellen and Myself….its my birthday 🙂smile

I got that message today from a long time friend.  So, I asked her to fill me in.  I was out of touch with what is going on in her life.  It turned out to be pretty intense stuff.  In fact, I have been teary eyed all evening.  I don’t want to make you cry, so I will tell you there is hope at the end of this story.  There is a cute picture of the Cookie Monster to make you smile.  And you might even be inspired to act.  I hope so.  Hmm hope.  There is that word again.

I asked Valyrie to tell me everything.  Here is word for word what she shared with me. . .

“Okay, so every year a close family friend of ours, Jenn Anton, joins the Walk for Hope at the City of Hope for Women’s Cancer….Chris and I joined her back in 2010…..

Last year when I had my cancer scare…radical lumpectomy to remove pre-cancerous tumor and cells….I decided the walk was even more important.

I have lost my Aunt Ellen (Elle’s namesake), my brother and close family & friends over the years to cancer.

So this last February, Shari, Chris’ mom, went to her doctor because she was feeling tired and needed her blood work done to refill her meds.   She was horribly anemic…her hemoglobin was 5 when normal is 12…..so they gave her a blood transfusion…3 pints over 2 days and did a colonoscopy to see if she had a bleed.

nuthin…

Then, about 3 weeks ago, it’s time to refill her meds again…she is again anemic…but now she gets referred to a hematologist who orders a bone marrow test. That was when we discovered Shari has AML. Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

Now the walk means even MORE…because Shari is now at City of Hope receiving chemotherapy to hopefully extend her life.

We are heartbroken…I’m not sure Chris is going to survive emotionally….he is devastated. The prognosis is 6-18 months on average. She is 63…she is struggling with comorbidity issues…blood pressure, diabetes and being in what they consider an older age group.

Shari is Chris’ best friend….on her side of the family tree it’s really just her and Chris left…..no grandparents, no dad, no siblings, no aunts or uncles…it has been a very tight bond between them for a long time.

When I lost my brother and then my mom I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to handle it  so now I am trying to be the best wife and friend for Chris.

AML has no stages…to compare it to other leukemias…it starts at Stage 4, but to her credit, she’s not a complainer. She has her good and bad days but her spirits are high. Because of her comorbidity problems all research leans toward bad news, but we have hope…..it’s what keeps us going every day.

I’m hoping she is going to surprise us and in 15 years we will joke about this. Shari is loved by so many, Chris is her one biological son…but she has so many sons and daughters who love her and would do anything for her.

So, the Walk of Hope has become my mission…not just for Shari but for all those at City of Hope and those patients everywhere that the research they do helps. So, that is why on November 4, 2012 on my 47th birthday,  I am doing the Walk for Hope with Chris and Elle. It raises money for the City of Hope…where Shari is right now….for groundbreaking research and care for people with cancer.

Our team was named by Elle…..we are called “Cookies or Cancer?”  Both Elle and Shari love the Cookie Monster.  The motto our team has adopted is, “C is for Cookies, not Cancer!”  Our team goal is $5,000 …for every penny we make Bank of America, Chris’ employer, will match.  So, we hope to raise $10,000.

You can use this link to donate to our team:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TRGiftForm?fr_id=1642&px=1709307

This is the link to join the team or donate to a team member:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TR/Walk2012/WalkforHope/1536569688?pg=team&fr_id=1642&team_id=33280

For more info on the City of Hope and The Walk of Hope:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TR/Walk2012/General?fr_id=1642&pg=entry&gclid=CJj4vv_6i7ICFSXhQgodbUwAXw

Team "Cookie or Cancer? Walk of Hope November 4, 2012

I’m all in. Are you?

This part is from the Walk of Hope website, I am borrowing their impactful words  because I am still at a loss with emotion for my friend. . .

Join the 16th anniversary Walk for Hope Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 4. Step by step, your support speeds our science saving lives.

Every year, too many women must battle breast and gynecologic cancers. These are the women we love: our mothers, our wives, our sisters and our friends. Our selves.

We envision a future where women’s cancers no longer take them from us. We strive to prevent women’s cancers before they even start. And we want to provide better treatments that help survivors return to the whole and healthy lives they once knew.

This is why we walk.

Walk for Hope is a national movement that unites survivors and supporters — women, men and children — in the fight against women’s cancers. This movement looks to the eight national walks as an opportunity to raise necessary funds to continue groundbreaking research, treatment and education at City of Hope and to raise awareness for women’s cancers.

In labs and clinics, City of Hope scientists explore the links between breast and gynecologic cancers, seeking to prevent and cure them. Without funds, research is impossible. And without research, the cure to cancer is a far away dream.

Our scientists have shown that regular exercise can cut breast cancer risk — and studies indicate that regular exercise actually helps breast cancer survivors live longer. We walk for these reasons, and for the promise of many more discoveries like this to come.

Hope is on the horizon, and your commitment makes a difference. Together, we can build a world without women’s cancers.

We’re all in. Are you?

www.facebook.com/cookiesorcancer

I hope you join.  I hope to hear from you.  Share your story with me.

A Year With Myself, Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

A Great Success

AYWM 12 “Breakthrough: Discovering and Defining the Real Meaning of Success.”

Christopher Reeves had once said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” 

success [səkˈsɛs]
noun
1. the favourable outcome of something attempted
2. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc.
3. an action, performance, etc., that is characterized by success
4. a person or thing that is successful

S-u-c-c-e-s-s-
that’s the way we spell success!


Every time I hear the word success, I think of that cheer. It’s about the way to victory. Cheering a team on, going for the win, being victorious, being the best, outreaching the expectations, being better than the other team. That is what the cheer encourages. That is what I learned was the meaning of success.
What does success mean to me now?

After thinking about it and reflecting on the exercises from A Year with Myself, I would define my personal success as being happy and satisfied with my life.

Generally speaking, I have acheived success in many ways. I have a successful marriage. We are still going strong and very happy after twenty years. I have successfully raised three bright, charming, healthy sons. I have been successful at managing and maintaining my health. Together with my husband, we own our home and our vehicles. We have travelled and have made a place for ourselves in our community. I have many wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. In life, I have reached success. But I am always striving for more.

I do not think being successful is a one time thing. I do not think you either have it or you don’t. It is the success of each endeavor or project that I am striving for. Currently, that is blogging. It also applies to my job, my home, my kids, and all of my projects and ideas.

I might not be successful at everything I try. I might not even complete every project I begin. As long as I continue to try, that is success to me.

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting — it is the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard — reaching for the highest that is in us — becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success. Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar

My very wise and insightful twelve year old son said this when I asked him, What is the definition of success?”:
“Success means getting to where you want or need to go.”


I hope to keep a youthful attitude about success. There may be many stops along the way, but I know I will be a great success when I arrive!

Azalea in Bloom
I met the artist, Liz Thoman of HealingPetals.com , who told me that my "life is about to bloom." Yes! I believe it is!

For more about A Year With Myself :

http://ayearwithmyself.com/

and Discovering the Meaning of Success:

http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com/

To see more of my original photography: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/mizmeliz