In the Community

News, stories, tips and tricks about and for the small businesses and organizations around us.



 

Cancer Sucks- Update #13

As summer comes to an end and everyone is struggling to find their footing with online and distance learning, I find myself longing for days of the past. When the first day of school was celebrated with a supply and clothing shopping trip that resulted in adorable 1st day photos. When I didn’t have to strategically calculate how many times I want to go up and down the stairs of my own home because of the sheer effort it takes. When I could hug my friends and family freely and they would hug and hold me in return. When my bedside table wasn’t overrun with prescription pill bottles. When my kid didn’t hate and judge me for everything I did. When the world was a simpler, happier place.

But these days, everyone is a little extra miserable than usual. The stress between friends and families handling the pandemic differently is destroying relationships. The fear and consideration of losing loved ones over differing political and social climate standings is a daily struggle. As far as I can see, we are all a little more lonely than before.

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Small Business Spotlight – Origin USA

Today is Denim Day, but we’re taking a look at a company that does more than just denim. 

Origin USA – Handcrafted in America, Without Compromise. 

That says a lot right there. Even before we had to deal with shipping delays and countries shutting down, they had a vision of bringing manufacturing back to the USA. Starting with an industrial loom that was barely suitable for a museum, they used American ingenuity to build something, literally, from the ground up, using cotton grown in America for their products.

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Small Business Support

Businesses are having to close their doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your business into hibernation. Many businesses have transitioned to work remotely, but what if your business has a hands-on or in-person product/service? 

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Cancer Sucks Update #12- Why aren’t you back to normal?

Do You Even HAVE Cancer Anymore?

This might be just a guess, but I’d be willing to bet I’m not the first cancer survivor to feel lost during their fight. I’d think it is to be expected after all of the fight, loss, and change that happens during the journey. But I do wonder, how many others out there have been DOUBTED during their treatments or recovery? This is a genuine question. I assume I can’t be the only one, but at the same time, am wondering how normal these questions are? I’ve heard these questions and comments a multitude of times from the people closest to me in my life. 

    • What pain do you even have anymore?
    • Why are you still so tired?
    • Sometimes it seems like you’re just overdramatizing the pain.
    • Your actions are similar to an addict: Faking pain to keep the prescriptions coming?
    • Why are you still on those pills?
    • Why can’t you just take different pills?
    • Shouldn’t you be off your pills by now?
    • You’re not doing enough at home, why don’t you just…
    • Why aren’t you back to normal yet?

I hardly know how to react to the comments, much less get them to stop swirling and echoing inside my head. I’ve been called a monster from those who never visit, accused of faking and overdramatizing my pain or symptoms, and told consistently “don’t take it personal” regarding my concerns. Am I the only one?

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Small Business Marketing Vs. Small Town Marketing - VantagePoint Marketing

Small Business Marketing vs. Small Town Marketing

Small towns across our nation are populated with hard-working Americans living the dream. While every small town tends to share the same timeless appeal, they aren’t easy to label. They’re unique with character, history, and culture. Some small towns are busy and rich with pride and history. They’re often responsible for the growth of the larger communities surrounding them. Other small towns are newer with a community appeal and a much different list of perks. For every small town, one thing rings true: Small Business Marketing is different in small towns.

Common Small Business Marketing practices include paying attention to your competitor and staying one step ahead. Keeping an eye on your competitor’s prices, service list, target markets, and company progression can be key to daily growth. Your online marketing, B2B marketing, and network marketing efforts are designed specifically for your service, product, and company as a stand-alone entity. As a standard small business, these practices are effective and efficient, and applauded! Still, they aren’t enough in a small town.

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Cancer Sucks- Update #…who knows.

I don’t know what number update I’m on, but I still want to say how much this Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer crap SUCKS! So many positive things in my world shaded by something so common these days: Cancer.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

Turning in early on a crisp fall evening, another day living in remission has passed. How many of these days are left? I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

But I am.

It’s hard not to when you’re half-way through the 1-2 year prognosis my doctor signed off on. Even after asking for an update after going into remission, she said “no, it’s the same prognosis. Remission was a planned part of the process.”

Remission is just part of the plan. It’s a step forward in a direction that may or may not include a cancer attack.

Huh. Okay, well, so there’s that to not think about. Every day.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I think it’s one of the reasons I stopped blogging. Without positive updates of progress and growth, I don’t have too much to share that anyone would really want to hear. I think I’m at the point where I’m supposed to join a group of fellow miserable chronic pain survivors so we can sit in a circle and listen to each other bitch while we eat donuts and choke down burnt coffee in a community center basement.

Sorry, that’s not happening.
But, what I am going to explore instead is a 12-week 1-on-1 therapy program structured to help survivors through treatments and/or remission. That starts this week.

Other than that, it’s still the struggle for pain management. So far, the maintenance chemo treatments, every three weeks, aren’t too bad to handle. I get tired and nauseated for a while afterward, not too much of a biggie. The side effect that turns our worlds upside down the most, is the ongoing pain. The range of abdominal pain paired with the electric bone pain deeply radiating through every inch of my body 24 hours a day, tends to be the real stickler in my day.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I’m going to be brutally honest, because I have zero intentions of sharing this article on Facebook leaving it highly unlikely it’ll ever be read: I’m in so much fucking pain I could break down and cry at any moment of any day. And if I can tuck away for a second, I often do.

My hips feel four decades older than I am. My right ankle feels nearly broken, yet I’ve had no injury. The shooting pain searing in, out, around, up, down and through every crevice making up my collar bone is enough to break me down entirely one of these nights. The abdominal pains are controlled fairly well with the meds, but without, they drop me to my knees. You should see me get out of bed in the morning and do the TinMan Shuffle to the bathroom. (And that’s after 30 minutes of stretching in bed!)

Sounds like Cancer, right?

I didn’t think so, either. Nobody really warned me about what it’d be like after surviving the first round of treatments.

Are you in the clear? Can we celebrate? No.

Are you feeling better? More like yourself everyday? I wish, so much, but no.

Hey, you’re hair is growing back! Yep, and that part is still awesome. 🙂

 

The good thing is, my doctors and I are still exploring new and different options to address the bone pain, which I’m very optimistic to see some results over the next couple of weeks.

And honestly, I really don’t LIKE to complain about the pain. Even if you’ve heard me whine about it and are rolling your eyes right now… I swear, it isn’t something I like to complain about. 

It’s just… When people don’t know about the pain, they don’t see it, they assume my smile means everything is okay. But when it’s not really okay, and you’re the only one that knows it, it begins to feel a bit lonely. The feeling of being alone and unappreciated comes on fast and hard. (These feelings border on “pity party” of course, and I’ve always had a hard time deciphering when it’s gone from a desire to be heard and loved, to a whiny little bitch seeking attention.) I hate that whiny little bitch.

But I shouldn’t think about that right now.

Now, I typically try to be a positive person, usually filled with energy to spare. Before my Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis, I’d easily spend 12-15 hours at the office, earbuds blasting electric swing music in my ears while I bounced and danced on my yoga office chair. (It’s a fun way to shed a few pounds!- Thanks, WittFitt!) I’d be in early, take off for coaching, return to the office and stay until the wee hours of the morning. It made me happy, and things were great!

 

Until they weren’t.

 

Then the cooties hit and everything changed. The initial surgery left a very tender scar running from my pubic bone to my breast bone. Other smaller procedures left painful scars as daily reminders for me. Many days I can hardly walk and look ridiculous when I do. 

My teenaged daughter has been trying to figure out how to maneuver her way though all of this with me, too. I can feel her distancing herself, which scares the hell out of me. I want to spend every day I have of the next year just snuggling and squeezing her face, meanwhile, she wriggles away with a look on her face like I’m the biggest moron to ever walk and breathe.

Yes, I know she’s a teen and it is a phase. But why can’t I press pause on this little rebellious phase, let it sit dormant for a few years so she can be my sweet, caring and considerate, mom-loving little girl she’s always been? Just in case.

But I shouldn’t think about that right now.

But what SHOULD I be thinking about? Try to think of positive things about this pain? Well, I’m pretty positive my head is going to explode within the hour. I’m positively certain the pain is exaggerated during every wave of menopause-fuled hot flash. I’m positive I’m tired of the “pill addiction” insinuations coming only from the non-informed. And at the same time, I’m positive I’m tired of the pills the docs keep giving me.

I know that’ isn’t the same as thinking positive thoughts, so I’ll try again.

I should be thinking about my daughter, and how, no matter how difficult it gets, I’m her person and she is mine, and that we’ve been a team before and I just have to trust we will be strong again. I am thankful to have been awakened by a few friends who reminded me who I am as a parent, and how far I’ve come, no matter how many times I fell.

I should be thinking about my team at work, and how hard they continue every day to make VantagePoint what it is: A small business resource making a real difference for local families and the local economy around us.

I should be thinking of my wonderful clients, many of who have reached out to help me in a variety of ways in a variety of times to help support me down this long road.

I should be thinking of my dear friend Lorraine, whom I miss so much, and who is feeling a bit more lost than she’d like. And how I can hope for her that the right answer lands in her lap soon so she can find the happiness she deserves.

I should be thinking of my adorable nephew, who doesn’t look at me any different since my illness. He doesn’t tell me I’ve changed, he doesn’t doubt my intentions when I cry, and he hugs me just as tight as he did before the surgery. He just smiles and is happy to be with his Antie.

Hopefully, my next entry comes with a far more positive outlook. My apologies for a C-Level experience with this story.

 

Until next time,
Rocky