Tag Archives: health

Self Respect


I have been in a very uncomfortable space.   I thought it would rectify itself, after all, avoidance works sometimes!  (sarcasm)   But nothing was changing, correcting itself.

I’m going to be cryptic here purposefully.    Because the end result, the important message comes in the the understanding of self, acceptance of self.

Far from perfect, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.   I also, naively at times, look at the good in others.    Here’s where it gets sticky.    But I am REALLY GOOD about looking at the bad in myself!    I once walked this earth apologetic for my existence.  You can imagine how plowed down I found myself, by others.  People close to me took advantage of me, because they could count on my beating the shit out of myself for something, anything I did that may have caused the problem, or at minimal, participated in the problem.  While their bad behaviors went unscathed, unaddressed.

As mentioned above, I have been at odds, and out of sorts.   The first few weeks I ignored and and the next couple weeks I started to look at my part, and today everything came full circle for me.

I can handle a lot of crap, I have, in fact.   I have accepted unacceptable behavior by many, including and most importantly, MYSELF.  But today I realized that I was at odds with MYSELF, not because of something I did or said, but that I was allowing another persons behavior to define how I felt about myself.  I was feeling sad, bad, guilty, and once I realized this, everything came together for me.

It’s called self respect.  No one has the right to make me feel less than (including myself), and I realized today that I was accepting behavior (from another, but more importantly MYSELF),  that I swore I would never do or tolerate again.  I know, I know, be careful saying the “never” part.   But today I realized, it is that I’ve allowed this situation, certain treatment, that was similar to previous experiences, to dictate how I felt about myself in a negative way.  Am I perfect? Nope!  Never will be.  Anyone can think of me what they want to.  I have absolutely no control over this and today I’m finding peace in that reality.  But when I allow anything, something, or someone to alter how I feel about myself, well, it’s a no win, lose lose situation.   It is vital that I look at my own behavior.  It is acceptable for me to tell someone else if their behavior is bothering me, but it is NOT my responsibility to “make anyone see” or “punish” another.       It’s all about keeping my own side of the road clean.  When I err, apologize, do what I can to correct, and then move on.

So now I will sleep.   I will forgive,  as I always do, and tonight I will forgive myself, and now that I’m aware of it, conscious to it,  I will cease involving myself in this behavior.    It’s that simple.

Moving on!  And tomorrow I will practice self discipline!




This past week I spent a few days in Maine, York to be exact.   Being around water is super wonderful for me, it helps ease the binds that chain me.   The ocean?  Makes me realize how small my problems are.  That is not to say that my problems aren’t important to me, they are, and I’m facing life with zest and experience, knowing a higher power has always had my back, and I highly doubt he’ll abandon me now.    But just as anytime something bad happens to you and you never really have to look real far for someone who has it not only worse than you, but much worse, and they handle it gracefully, the ocean reminds me that the reaches of self importance in extreme can be like a tital wave, gushing in here, there, everywhere until you are no longer focused on that which needs work.

I was thinking about what it’s like when you lose your identity.  For me, I was a art teacher.  I travel taught, and published in magazines, self published, even authoring a book many moons ago now.   So when that seized to exist, who am I?  What am I accomplishing?  Am I worthy of life?    So now, just these questions you probably are saying “Lighten the hell up, Donna!”.    This is where my brain goes.    I felt purpose when I taught.   I remember when I cut way back on travel teaching, a battle five years ago with depression and anxiety so high I don’t care to even think about it.    I couldn’t function.   I had all I could do to take care of myself, physically, mentally.    So teaching was cast aside and so were many “friends” who didn’t accept “the new me”.    Maybe it’s in my head, but maybe not.  When you are no longer supplying people with what they want, or need, does your existence go away?   Because if it does?   I’m here to tell you, these people are not your friends.   Friend’s stick with you through the challenges of life, and there are MANY challenges in life.  And those who don’t?   Doesn’t mean they weren’t your friend, or that they don’t care.  Perhaps they don’t.  But It’s okay.  It really is.   Because new, good, fun, meaningful things are new people are awaiting your arrival!

I’m about to embark on a “come back” if you will.   But not really a come back, but a new chapter in the life and times of Donna Scully.   Not really sure what will work for me, but I know I loved to teach, and if I went into a class in a bad mood, when I left it, I was singing and smiling.  (Insert Rocky Balboa theme song here).   KIDDING!  Have a lot of things going on, excited and happy about that.  Stay tuned!

I’ve been thinking about how painful and disappointing it can be when you are treated differently because for what ever reason, you are no longer offering what you once did.  Who is not to say that you aren’t better then you ever were?  Seriously?

I have a friend who was unfriended by many “friends” because of his political view.   A “star” to them at one time, now, forgotten.   It has to hurt.  It did when long time friends did that to me, but I’ve long since made peace with all that.    I really have.   I believe when doors close, windows open, and new adventures will reveal themselves.

I’m a creative soul, a good soul.  I am kind, honest, caring, and I love fiercely.   But age and experience has taught me that not everyone is worthy of time (and likewise, I’m sure).   So I’m rather excited about “new beginnings” that will define itself mid term.   I look for signs, pray for guidance, and am never disappointed with what comes to replace the old.    The problem I have is hanging onto what once was.    I white knuckle it until I’ve made the step of acceptance, and USUALLY when I can’t decide what is next for me, it is because it hasn’t yet been revealed.

I remember a day when I was on my way to a Michael’s, probably 30 miles from my home.  On my way there I was asking my higher power “Should I start designing in needlecraft again?”    Not five minutes later, upon entering Michael’s and heading back to the yarn department a woman I hadn’t known said my name.  “Donna Scully?”  Oh boy, how do they know me?   Anyway.  She introduced herself as a couple of my students mom.  Had recognized me from magazine pics, I guess.    (Miracle there).   Anyway, she said “Guess what I’m doing here?”  I look down at her basket which was full of this one beautiful colored yarn.   “Making a sweater?” I asked?   With that, she pulled out one of my Leisure Art booklets that has long since been retired, it was an instructional pamphlet with 5 of my sweater designs in it.  “Nice!” I said!    “Thanks for sharing!”

As I walked back to the department after our conversation I looked up, smiled and said “Thank you!”    The experience justified spending more money than I was planning on!  (I’m good at justifying when it comes to my creative efforts).

I had an epiphany a few weeks ago… alas, direction, I know what I’m doing, and the direction I’m supposed to head in.  But all eyes are not on the prize, but on what presents itself because things rarely ever turn out the way I think they are going to.   I have endless stories of this type of event happening with me.   Like one time thinking maybe I’d sell my house and move away.  To where?  Was in CT with a close friend, we were on a Craigslist adventure.     During our conversation I said I didn’t yet “feel it”.  I didn’t know where I should be, I just know I felt disheveled.   Just as I say that a sign (town sign) showed up on our right.  “Vernon” (which is also the Town in which I live in another state!”   We both laughed.  I guess I’m supposed to stay put!

Do you get these signs?  Are you listening and open to them?   I bet signs are all around you, are you open to seeing or hearing about them?

Poor santa


I just got up and walked away from a painting I’m working on.  If truth be known I wish I had done this 10 minutes ago because I despise what I did to it.   Poor Santa!   I  believe it takes two to paint, and one person to stay “STOP!”     I have been using brighter colors than usual, and I’m excited about that, I think it is tell tale that I am seeing things differently than I did a few months ago, a couple few years ago.

I love Spotify.   When I’m in my car and hear a song I like, I ask Siri to take a note which lists the songs.  When I get home, turn on the computer I download these new songs.    I have playlists for cleaning, workout, painting, for each of my siblings, and people who have departed.   Music is so powerful.  It carries me through the darkness and then gives me a jolt, boost of energy when a song comes on that reflects positive memories.   My best friend went through an ugly divorce and could not listen to music for a couple of years.  I remember thinking to myself, if I did not have music, NEW music at that, I would probably not move.   But I know there was a time in my life when I couldn’t listen to music.   That’s all I want to say about that dark time.

Tom Petty is currently “running down a dream” as I type this.   I hope he dreams that this Santa I’m working on will look better in the morning light!  Music, Music, Music!     When you listen to music, do you sing like a rock star?  Find yourself holding a tube of paint as a mic?    I am not saying I do, just wondering about you! 🙂

This week is not going to be without stress, I’m afraid.   Dr.’s appointments, test results that could change a life drastically.  I have worked hard to stay busy and try to keep my emotions in check.   But it doesn’t take much for fear to jump in, and I find myself in the middle of a panic attack.   Why does life have to be so hard?   Recalling an earlier conversation I had with myself (Hey, I’m pretty good conversationalist), in which I reminded myself it was just a few days ago that I questioned “my shining hours” were actually some of the hardest of my life.   Now isn’t that something?    I was hot and didn’t even know it?  Haha!

If you think of it Tuesday morning, Wednesday afternoon, drop a prayer or send good thoughts my way.  I’d appreciate it!  And I hope you have a lovely Monday!   Is there such a thing???

What is your Real Age?


A friend posted about her experience with RealAge.com so I decided to give it a shot.   Basically you take this 10-15 minute test that asks questions about your general health and habits, at the end of this it will give you your Real Age according to the information you gave.  Considering my history with clinical depression, breast cancers, fibromyalgia, anxiety and the fact that I’m overweight and not exercising regularly, I was afraid to see the results.   49.7!  I am at 49.5.  I was pleased with this but I am not pleased with how I have been feeling or the lack of physical stamina I have.  The good news is alongside your real age they give you suggestions on how to improve your health, areas that you need to work on.    I need to start eating breakfast (oatmeal is recommended, or whole grains), making healthier food choices, implement some cardio exercise into my daily life and have more orgasms!  Okay, well that one was like the cherry on top of the strawberry sundae, wait, I mean almonds on the yogurt and fruit parfait!

It’s interesting the questions that are asked, and the things that you can do that have the potential of improving and elongating your life.  Do you floss regularly?  Did you know that if you floss daily you could add up to 7 years onto your life span!   Got stress?  Dump it!   What stress does to our bodies is frightening.  While it’s impossible to avoid stress entirely, there are things we can do to avoid or lessen our stress debts, and also work through them.

For me, I have to get out of the vicious cycle of eating well one day, blowing it the next.  Before I die I would like to know and feel the goodness from a healthy balance of mind, spirit and body.  The later is the area I need serious work on.  I want to be healthy!  I’m working up to making that commitment to myself.  Isn’t it funny how all the ads on television, all the hoopla of “this or that” that can and will improve your life, bring you better health, yada yada yada, it all goes right back to the basics… proper nutrition, exercise… and a lot of orgasms! 🙂

Here’s to good health to all of us.

Full Circle


Yesterday I drove to Boston to get the bandages off from my chest from last weeks surgery, and have my plastic surgeon monitor the healing process, meet with my surgical oncologist for my yearly examination, and  be fitted for my partial prosthesis and mastectomy bras.  Because Boston is a couple hours plus away, we try to bunch the appointments into one day to keep travel at a minimum.  It is very helpful, but it makes for a very long day.

Upon traveling there I was reflecting on the start of this journey.  I was afraid to drive into Boston, then I was afraid to drive into Boston alone.  There were weeks that I drove with pillows under each arm because otherwise was too painful.  Yet yesterday I was driving down, confidently by myself, unafraid of traffic, the blasting of horns, wrong turns.  My pain was at a minimum and what would soon be unveiled was the results of the final planned surgery of my reconstruction.  Light… narrowing of a passageway of uncertainty, discomfort, and barrage of emotions including fear that creviced a wide open field of light, hope, new life…. FREEDOM.

I reflected on my medical team, and the importance of all, but in particular my plastic surgeon and my relationship with him.  He is extremely cautious, moves through the processes slowly (or what felt to be slowly) and said “No” to me on numerous occasions which stirred in me discontent, but on this day I felt only gratitude for being under his care.  Gratitude for the skill of his hands, and eye, and the manner in which he cares about each patient.  Tears flowed.  This man put me back together again.

Upon my arrival at Mass General Hospital, and the usual and expected delay with traffic I was able to look at the progress of the new building that was starting to erect almost two years ago when I first arrived at MGH for treatment.  It is amazing how the progress of this construction has coincided with my reconstruction.  My reconstruction will be complete in February or March, and this buildings completion will be shortly thereafter.

The unveiling went well, I shed tears of gratitude with my plastic surgeon as I thanked him for all that he has done for me.   Alongside gratitude is acceptance of how I look, where i am.  There will be no more surgeries, I do not care if I am lopsided, unbalanced, or like.  I am tired, my body weary and worn of all the surgeries I have had in the past 19 months… there will be no more.  But as I look at myself and what appears to be a million sutures and stitches, much smaller mounds of breasts than I had before cancer, and enlarged manmade nipples that will shrink but look pretty damned good… I think how beautiful I look.   I do not see the scars, the sutures, the stitches, the swelling, the bruises.  I see wholeness.    I do not dwell on the memories of the concaved chest and frightening visions after surgery but obviously I remember.  I no longer care about my size or what I once looked like, I couldn’t care less.   I am alive!  I am in awe and so grateful that I am once again “whole”.  I have known and loved women who did not have this, some by choice, some not.   It is such a personal decision, none less brave or right than another.  The journey through breast cancer is not for the weak hearted or kneed.  By midstream you become a warrior, or so it feels that way.

Yesterday was an emotional day for me, a good day.  My journey through cancer is coming full circle,  I am coming out the other side, but I am coming out a stronger, wiser smarter woman, for I know what is truly important in life. I know that this very moment as I type this and as you are reading this is very precious, and I thank you for making the choice to spend this very minute of your life reading my story.  I know that I have been blessed with more, and I know that I am a very lucky woman to be writing this story today.  I know that life isn’t about perfection, or how I look, or what I have or don’t have.  It isn’t measured it cup sizes or even waist sizes.  What is it about?  Smiles….  I think everyone needs to define what their life is about, what brings them happiness, purpose, fulfillment, but I will tell you this.  I am enough with or without breasts.  I am a very wealthy woman and my savings account is only 5 digits including cents!  I am SO very thankful for this journey that has awakened my heart and soul.  I wish the pain on no one, but the growth?  Priceless!

With so much gratitude and love in my heart today for all that have helped me through this in SO many ways.  Thank you.

Be well.