Category Archives: Uncategorized

Enough about me what about you!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I am incredibly fortunate to absolutely love what I do. I am passionate about making a real difference in people’s lives. I am now  writing about topics that I think about all the time. Money, travel, relationships, love, health and what to do with our lives. I am sharing with you my views and would love to hear yours. If you take away anything from this site. Know you are the only one in who change the way you live your life. Enjoy!

The Travel Bug—No cure


The Travel Bug

I was reading an incredible blog by another fellow traveler. Check her out. Tell her I sent you.

That is what blogging is all about. Meeting people online who share the same wanderlust that you do. It is an amazing feeling to know that the earth really is your playground. I say that to myself all the time.

It is strange that sometimes when I am home I spend countless hours day dreaming about where I will travel next. I know that in a couple of weeks I will be in Chicago enjoying attending Date With Destiny for the second time. Its my Tony Robbins experience for the year. It is part of my journey in self discovery.

I have been forced to travel since I was a young child. I hated going on those long trips at the time. Now they are great memories. Funny how that works. My parents( George and Odilia) like clock work would pack the car with countless sandwiches, fruit, and water.My brother and I would torture each other and my parents had to intervene more than once on the “no you said” ” no you said” conversations.

We would head off on the highway from New Jersey to Del Rio, Texas to visit my grandmother.We would travel down through New Jersey thru Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and through the Southern States until we reached Texas. That is a planet unto itself. Do you know that Spain is roughly the same size as Texas. That is a fact.


Love this airport.

We would ride in at night and the bugs would be splashing on the windshield. My father would call them elephant bugs. When you are little you actually believe everything your parents say. It took many years to realize there was no such thing.  As we drove down Highway 90 past Ulvalde and entered close to Del Rio it was flat and desert. You would see the deer rush up. The Milky Way was the night show.

We would roll up on West Garza Street in Del Rio and my granmother was at the door to greet us. She had chickens in the coop and as soon as we walked up her wooden steps and into the kitchen she had food to great us. She was beautiful. She had silver hair braided against her dark skin she looked amazing.She could not speak English but love has no language barrier. I grew up on tortillas and Spanish music.

Growing up in New Jersey was really interesting at the time since in northern Bergen County there were not many Spanish speaking families at the time. I remember being corrected by my teacher saying that I was mispronouncing the word Tortilla. I needed to pronounce the “l’s” geez.

Well back to the travel bug…My parents started it and I continued with wanting to travel where ever there was a place to visit. I still have my target places that I have not visited yet but I am on the way.

This November I will be in Kona, Hawaii thanks to my great friends Sue and her husband Jim. December 26 I will be back in Madrid to visit my son. He was offered a job! He graduates from his Masters Program in August. I am so proud of him.

Soon after that I will be developing a 12 Step Program for those who are infected with the travel bug. I tell you there is no cure. You need to first admit you have a problem. Then you need to embrace it.

I honestly believe we are born here to explore. We are so fortunate that we are able to explore the world and see the plight of others. I believe that is why I changed careers and chose a life that assists others grow through their life’s challenges.


Greenwood Lake. You are viewing the Mountains in New Jersey. Beautiful!

Our world is so beautiful. Why not go out and enjoy it. I will throw down the gauntlet and ask you to share about your town. Travel begins at home. I know there are families out there and people who are unable to take the time off like I am. How to fill the void. There are so many beautiful places here in walking or driving distances. I recently went to Greenwood Lake, NY. Every Friday night in the summer they have free concerts on the shore. It is so beautiful I am in awe.

Yes, this is maybe 20 minutes from my home. What other amazing places are near your home. So while I may be writing about some fantastic places I am ready to visit. There are plenty of beautiful places right outside your door.

How about this for a thought. You have heard of vision boards! If not they are simple I have used them for years. Focus on where you want to go and what you want to do. Cut out pictures of places you want to visit and the style in which you want to travel. Put it somewhere you can look at on a daily basis. Spend time at night focusing on what you want out of life. Where you want to travel. How you want your bills paid. Find your partner. Get the picture…just do it. It has worked well for me.

You will find that as you think so does your world go. So think large. Be happy. Enjoy the moment and live well. Take care my fellow travelers..I welcome your thoughts. Have a great time looking around at your world. Denise

Traveling, Eating and Working Out- Your Joking!

So here you are. You are on the vacation of a lifetime. You have always wanted to visit- Paris, New York, Rio, St. Kitts, or San Francisco. You are where you want to be. Even if the city or destination is not what I have written you are on your way visiting the city or the country side.

Just because you are on vacation my fellow travelers and dreamers you have not entered into the world of all you can eat. The world does not become an endless table of consumption. So how do you balance enjoying the local treats and still come home in even better shape than you left?

Stay active! While visiting Barcelona, Spain my son and I enjoyed all the treats the city had to offer. We had the fixed price lunch meals, pastries, amazing coffee with cream (cafe con leche), and so much more.

When I came home from that visit I noticed that I had lost 6 pounds. We walked all over the city and did not use the metro for short stops. We clocked an amazing amount of miles and enjoyed ourselves in the process.

It is simple math as far as I am concerned. Calories in versus calories used will always do one thing. Weight loss or weight gain. No matter what plan you use that is how it is calculated. No matter how techno advanced we become one thing is for certain our body is as how it was made since we first entered on the this planet.

Vacation is just that. A time to relax, enjoy and explore or for some just sit by the beach, pool or lake. What is your definition of vacation. Mine is for exploration and seeing new places. To embrace different cultures, meet new people, and broaden my knowledge.

When I am home it is a vacation. Sure I have chores and home repairs. This past week I was using pre-mixed cement to fix the foundation around the house. Repair the cracks on the steps and other places that needed mortar. Dragged bags of mulch in the hot sun to places around the yard. Lifted heavy bags of marble chips and placed then in between the concrete patio. The earthquake last year shifted part of my back yard and the steps shifted. I use my push mower to do the yard. I work hard at home.

However, I also have made a small oasis to enjoy the moments I am at home after working with clients and being at the hospital taking care of patients. Home for me extends itself when I go on vacation. I have shifted the way I look at travel and how I see myself when I am visiting new places.

I have stumbled upon a website called Loseit! The name of the site is exactly what it is for. Weight loss. This is a handy tool for those of you who are traveling through out the US or Canada. You can track what you are eating and put in your exercise for the day. It is not for a guilt trip. It is there to help you track every delicious morsel that you put in your mouth.

It seems to work. I have lost 4 pounds the first week. I have a goal It is me vs. me. I am no longer that hard on myself about life.

So why the discussion on travel and taking care of yourself? Quite frankly, from conversations I have had with people on how they feel after a vacation. There have been more times than not that I see the joy in someones face when they relay their amazing vacation and then they cast their eyes downward and say they have put on more pounds. One person grabbed their belly and laughed. Then quietly said ,”I guess I will have to work out harder to lose it.”

Vacation is designed to renew the soul. Give yourself the time to relax and enjoy life. Vacation is not designed from my humble opinion to create more guilt. We have the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We have the capacity to work and grow. We have the capacity to know what we want out of life.

In the book,”The Path of Least Resistance” the author speaks about “knowing what you want,” That is a simple phrase. What do you want out of life? I want to be able to enjoy life. I want to remain healthy. I want to have enough to always pay my bills, travel and save. I want to share my joy with others.

So far what I want seems to be on track. Enjoy your travel. Make plans. Find creative ways to stay healthy while you are enjoying all the food and drink of where you are. That was my thought for the day. It is just what I wanted to share. Check out that website and let me know what you think.  Continue reading

What Was One Experience That Completely Changed Your Life?


What made you change your perspective on how you view things?

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? What did it change? That is something to think about. I cannot answer for you. It is a thought provoking question. Is it that you wanted to change your relationships? Is it that you wanted to change jobs? Is it that your health changed or you wanted to change it?

What ever it is completely changing your life is an amazing journey. Today, I will discuss one of the biggest changes that ever happened to me that changed my life forever. I have so many so today I will pick health. I had cancer oh 11 years ago. While I was home after chemo therapy I would have a tremendous amount of energy. Who knows if it was the steroids!

What would happen is that I would go out and complete these amazing projects. I was very focused. My son was 10 years old and my mom came out from Texas to help me. I had just started my second year of my masters at Fordham University. I would have chemo on Thursday at Memorial Sloan Kettering and attend Fordham University on Saturday. It was on Saturday night where the chemo would kick in and make me tired for days. The couch was my bed.

It upsets me to this day that my son thought I was dead laying on the couch when I was sleeping. During this battle of the cancer cells I experienced many things. I had set my sights on the prize.The prize was completing the treatment and death was not an option for me. Each chemo treatment I was getting closer and closer to winning the battle. I actually saw a golden ring for each round of cancer treatment.  I was set for 8 rounds of chemo and then radiation.

During this time I had set up what was important and what was not important. I had my goals and values straight! Time passed and then I re-entered the work force. I had an employer who was kind to most but, it seemed to me that he never really appreciated who I was and had already made a snap decision on who I was. It was not the most comfortable interactions. He always appeared to me that he was uncomfortable with who I was.

One of my co-workers, we will call him DB. DB would always seem to find a very strange pleasure in sharing with me, of course in secret, that my employer had it out for me. Is there anyone one out there that can relate? There is always that one person who has personal issues who likes to make others uncomfortable. Not everyone was like that.There were plenty of good hearted individuals who made it a pleasure to be there.

You cannot take in what people say about you You know what is true about you and what is not! You know who you are and what your intentions are. It does not matter how someone else judges you or what they say about you. You need to hear your own voice and not give in to the voice of others.

I decided that travel was my passion. At least one of them. I wanted to share seeing the world with my son after I was finished with chemotherapy. It is something that I felt was extremely important. Since, I had a job that offered paid time off I took full advantage of my days off and planned accordingly. I scoured the internet and took hours upon hours looking for the best deals. I also looked at hotels vs bed and breakfasts. It seemed that most times B & B’s were the best bet for myself and my young son. He is a grown man now and we still have a great time. This was taken in Alaska.


For longer vacations I chose apartment style residents. It saves a tremendous amount on meals. Car rental vs trains, buses and the metro. It depended on where we were. The best days to fly. It is fly on a Wednesday and come home on a Monday. Short vacations vs. week long. Jet lag vs why the heck not!

I noticed once or twice I would come home from either Europe, Alaska, or Hawaii (This was on the beach at our resort in Maui )Imageor where ever I had just come back from, my former employer would ask why I took so much time off? I know he had a different view of life. He was somewhat constricted at that time when he thought of time off. Many people do. He was a good man just not seeing the big picture. You never know when you may leave this planet. I did not know if I was going to live or die at that time. Evidently, my physicians felt the same way.

People in your life, workplace, or wherever have their own opinions of who and what you should and should not be. You do not have to follow the pack and live in a state of, “What will they think of me.” Honestly, if the truth be told they do not think of you at all. People who are toxic or unconscious say things and do not remember the next day. There are some people who are very lonely and scared on the inside and say terrible things to others so you do not look to deeply at them and see what they are really made of.

I have since left that place of employment. I work for myself and have taken a part time job that I enjoy. That is the key. Do something that  you enjoy. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do what you want to to.

One thing I know to be true is that you can do what ever you want in this world. What ever your mind believes you are capable of you can do it! I throw the question back to you and please write back. What was the one experience that completely changed  your life?

I am committed to assisting others fulfill their hopes and dreams. No one on this earth should have to wonder what if. I have met many people along the way who have been dealt a hard life. I have watched in awe how they have pulled themselves out of the dire straits they had found themselves in and made life a life worth living. I will continue to share my experiences in the hopes your find inspiration or at least relate to life as life appears to me.

Travel well, eat wisely and never let yourself think you cannot. I know you are able to do great things. No matter where you are on your life’s journey I wish you well.

Views of My Posts- Took My Breath Away

Coat of arms of Nepal

Coat of arms of Nepal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Spain (Photo credit: NASA Goddard Photo and Video)


I may not be the best viewed blogger,Yet! However looking at the stats. For all of us bloggers people are looking. This is a shout out to bloggers every where. Keep writing!

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Understanding What Has Changed in Europe.


Euro (Photo credit: Fernando D. Ramirez)

There are changes everywhere in regards to travel. In Spain there is a 6 Euro charge per person per flight that went into effect this week. That is an increase that will help the collapsing economy. Updates on travel are very important from the standpoint that you need to be able to address this when making plans.

You can be assured that this will be ongoing and may affect travel in the European Union. This brings me to the topic at hand. Understanding what has changed in travel. Preparedness is not just for the home. The news in the USA has shown power outages and water main breaks. That affects not only the population who lives there but also affects all the services that are available.

Hospitals, hotels, restaurants, 911 services, supermarkets, gas (petrol) stations and others. When you think about it everything is affected. So what is a person to do if they find that a vacation is planned and then a natural disaster hits?

Changes of plans always occur in life. This is the reason you have purchased travel insurance. You will be reimbursed. This is not the end of the world for you. You have been only,inconvenienced remember that. If you find yourself on vacation and nature happens try to stay calm. If you are able to contact family, friends and work do so. Let everyone know where you are and what your plans are.

If you are able to contact the airlines find an alternate city to fly out of. You may have to pay an additional fee or the airlines may compensate you that you need to find out before your leave on your trip. Always look at airports that are within a 50 to 100 mile radius and alternative types of transportation to get there. There is always the one way car rental.

Safety is a big concern when traveling. That is why I have emphasized in a prior post to know where the emergency rooms are when you travel. Speaking of which if you are traveling to Spain they are requesting that you pay upfront any costs if you use a clinic. International temporary health insurance is worth its weight in gold. My son had to use their services and was not charged due to the health insurance policy that we had purchased.

The economy is going to have a major impact on travel to Europe. The future of the Euro is uncertain but, what is certain is that you need currency. Be prepared for the changes in travel and you will not be taken by surprise. Know before you go is a great phrase. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the journey.

Travel to Europe for Under $400.00

Ok I am sure that captured your interest. So what does this mean? Well, I have been working on so many projects lately that I have neglected to keep up with the questions that people have been asking me so far. First things first. I will be putting up free downloads that will help others work on how to take care of travel, education and insurance. Of course eventually I will have an ebook that will be able to assist you with many of the techniques that I have used over the years.

One thing that I love to do it travel. I am always looking at ways to make travel fun, interesting, restful and inexpensive. So back to the title. Well I was wondering how could I go on vacation this spring with my son and not break the bank. He is taking a French course this year at University and its his final year. So last year we went to Spain. While visiting San Sebastian we decided to take a quick detour and slid into France for just a few hours hitting a beautiful beach. Barraritz. Visit both places if you have the chance it is well worth it.

How to make a trip to France possible without all the expense. I have a started a new business and cannot take a week off. I am my own employer so the days of a paid vacation have taken on a new meaning. Since I am on the East Coast I decided to look at the possibility of traveling to Montreal. It is only a little over 5 hours from my home state of New Jersey. It would take approximately the same amount of time to fly. The fuel cost will be a little over $100 with the Volkswagen.It would cost us around $750.00 a person if we flew. I found a wonderful Bed and Breakfast on TripAdvisor (where I contribute). The cost was approximately $100 a night with parking and breakfast included. In France it would cost approximately $175 a night at an inexpensive hotel. So for the same time to drive and a fraction of the cost we have a home run on our Faux European adventure. No jet lag. No bags to check. 

I will write about the trip and fill you in with all the places we have visited while we are there. Vacations are important. They refresh the spirit and renew the soul. You need a break from the day to day. If you look around you there are plenty of places that are close to home and you do not have to go very far.

Do you like wine? Would you like to visit a vineyard? In my home state there are vineyards. There are wine tasting events. Are you an avid fan of organics? Look at the associations in your state. I live so close to New York that a trip to find a farm that sells organic produce is easy. They are here in New Jersey as well. Do you love the arts? I know in every state there are  museums, theatre groups, art galleries and musicians who are performing almost nightly.

I hear from people that they cannot afford a vacation. I am here to say you cannot afford to not take one. Even if it means taking a bus or a car ride within 50 miles of your home. Just leave an unplug. I am now walking  close to 5 miles a day. Free exercise and a momentary break from my home, business and anything else that has prevented me from feeling less stress. I know with this society so focused in on Facebook and the internet we forget to look away from the screen. Put on the timer and step away from the computer. 

You owe it to yourself and you set a great example for your family and friends if you take the time to take the time. Time comes up on us fast. Life is not a guarantee. Health is not a guarantee. The only time you have is now to live. Make the most of it.

If you are still not convinced that you need a vacation well ask yourself when was the last time you took one? In Europe they factor in at least three vacations a year to their work schedule. In our country we do not. We are given a week or two to take off and that is it. If you only have two weeks then spread it out. Take off a Thursday and Friday and stretch out your time. This way you can leave on Wednesday night and be back by Sunday. 

How about you work your schedule this way take off Friday and Monday either way you are off for five glorious days.If are going to wait until you retire then you are banking on the fact that nothing will change in your life. I am not trying to be the bearer of bad news but hey you never know.

I believe in being frugal and having a great life. I also believe we create our circumstances in life. If life sends you a meteorite shower of “bad” then look to see how you can change that into an opportunity that you will overcome and use it to learn from. You get out of life what you put into it.

So back to looking at where you can go for a few days and not break the bank. How about looking at the states that are near by. Have you ever wanted to just visit Canada or Mexico? Do it. How about the Caribbean but you you do not have the time. Go to the Keys in Florida. Go to the Gulf Coast in Alabama. Seriously have you looked at Fairhope, Alabama ever? Seems as if Mr. Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett loves it there and so far it is not a bad deal and the price is right. Think outside the box. Use your creativity. 

Stay at Bed and Breakfasts when ever you are able. They offer free coffee, teas, fruit and lots of other goodies that you can take with you during the day. Don’t forget to hit the supermarkets or delis when traveling. There are so many ways to enjoy a vacation without going broke. Biggest clue to making the trip affordable save for it. I put at least $20 to $40 a week in an envelope that is marked vacation. Depending on how many weeks away it is I just keep socking it away.

I also limit myself to going out to eat to around once or twice a month. This is the challenge for you. Add up for one month how much you spend driving to your favorite coffee shop, eating breakfast, lunch or dinner. Look at how much that glass of wine is at the restaurant. How much is that soda? Do you even drink soda? I am not saying do not treat yourself but either skip the starters or make them the meal. Split your dinners or bring them home and make them into portions that you can eat during the week. Hey getting into shape and eating less is what counts.

Watch what you buy at the grocery store. I buy most things in bulk. Then I spend less than $50.00 a week that is with meal planning. I looked up what I was spending a year in eating out. Well to give you a clue it was the price of first class ticket to Europe and staying for a week at a five star hotel. You are all doing this one way or another. Not to mention the weight I had to lose. 

So start savings. Start dreaming and make sure you get out and take at least three to five vacations a year. I can only imagine if you have the time in vacation bank you need to use it. Some companies will have you believe you are not productive if you use the time. Use it or lose it. Be creative with your paid vacation time  and see where your imagination takes you.

So off I go on my Faux European vacation. The reason I say Faux Europe are for the following reasons. It is a French Province in Canada. The City of Montreal is a beautiful city. They have a great metro system. Great food and wine.We will enjoy the feel of France without the price tag. Where is your dream vacation? Make it happen. Enjoy the day as always. Denise

Why You Never Have To Buy A Timeshare

Hello and hope you are enjoying the ways and means to enjoy living large on a small budget. Listen for some of you its all about the game of being able to live large and using your hard earned cash for other things in life. For the percentage of you who have made your prosperity this lifetime its about being wise about your spending.

No matter where you are in your game of life I am here to explain to you the best ways that you can optimize your finances and enjoy visiting places you have only dreamed of. So lets first deal with the title of my latest blog.

I am here to tell you that there is a major industry in buying and renting timeshares. The industry of selling timeshares is driven by the excitement and promise of owning a premier property and then being able to deed it to whom ever you choose. It could be a family member or someone who is your significant other. I know as wonderful as it sounds they come at a price.

There is the point system and direct exchange of your property. They say you can use the property taxes on your taxes. I have never seen that happen. They (sales) say you will be able to vacation where ever you like by banking your points and trading here and there and it sounds like you found the Rosetta Stone to the code of travel and vacation.

Here are some of the caveats to owning property through a timeshare. Well first true you do have a specific date in which you are able to vacation every year. If you absolutely love Aruba and are willing to commit to it year after year well it might suit your purpose. However, if you add the cost of the property on purchase and the yearly maintanence fees range  from $750-$5000 or more a year it can be quite costly.

Options to buying from a hard sell salesperson. Well first go on your trip but be prepared for the HARD sell. Say no politely and really think about it. They do not tell you about the resale properties and that my friends is the secret about time shares. Individuals who for what ever reasons no longer value their timeshare. It could be any number of reasons. Buyers remorse, lack of funds, illness, or what ever the reason. So if you really love the property and can afford the yearly fee that rises every year by the way, then buy it.

Now for those of you who want to experience the Marriott or some other high end condo for a weeks vacation it would be better for you to go to a site such as Time Share Rentals. You are able to choose from a number of properties and they are not cheap. However, what you are looking at usually is the owner cannot go to their property and put it up for the yearly maintence fee.

That is right you can go on vacation to say Hawaii. Pick an island. Then see if there is a one bedroom which usually means studio with no kitchen or look for one that says  two bedroom which usually has a kitchen and it sleeps six. So if you have another couple to go with or have children it may work out for you. There are tons of rentals and you have the pick of the litter.

Most of the timeshares are set up with the quality of a luxury apartment building. They are furnished and have all the kitchen utensils one could ever need. Most have washer and dryers. Plan carefully and the money you would have spent eating every meal in a restaurant is covered by shopping and staying in for two meals a day. Even with two people think of the money you will be saving and then when you are going out you will not break the bank.

I usually make a point of asking the person who is working on the grounds to help me with where they would eat when they go out. I have found some incredible finds by doing this. If you hate going to the must go places and want to go to the places the locals do not want to become popular you will find the best food at the most reasonable prices.

Timeshares are a great deal when you are renting from an owner or when you are visiting and have a few days to enjoy the rental for free or at a greatly reduced price. There are always sales going on for potential owners. Just for grins and giggles look up the Marriott Timeshares and see the “Specials” they are having. You are not obligated to buy. However, you will enjoy the time you have at a great price.

On the east coast if you do not want to fly you might think about Hilton Head. Enjoy your life and enjoy your time off. One more caution about timeshare ownership. You are limited to when you are able to rent it is usually from Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. No exceptions.

There is also a site Vacation Rentals by Owners. Look on line and start dreaming your dreams. Remember to never discount bed and breakfasts. I travel and never come home with credit cards screaming. Not my style.

There are so many things to share about enjoying the best for less. One of the most wonderful things you can do for yourself is continue to dream. I know someone who recently has had a complete change in their career and lifestyle. I want to extend to those of you who are temporarily not able to travel at the moment is to dream. Dreams are what life is made of. I know. There was a time in my life where traveling to the store was the only way I was going to travel. There was a time in my life when even thinking about travel caused me to shut down. I want to say this to you. When we lose the ability to dream we lose the will to feel good about who we are and what we need to accomplish in this life.

Life is an obstacle course that is for sure. Sometimes you can get tripped up on the branches. Sometimes it feels like we have twisted an ankle or life is not going in the direction you planned on. I am here to tell you dream. Write down your dreams. Like the salesman who drive a hard sell do not buy negative thoughts  that may be running round in your mind. You alone can take control of your thoughts. Events may seem to be taking control over your life however, the only thing you have control over are your thoughts and how you feel about yourself. Dream large and enjoy.

Share this with friends and write anytime….Peace to you Denise



Making the Best Use of Your Credit Cards Part 1

So here we are. I have already received emails on how to travel for the cost of $61.00 round trip to Europe. So here are the facts of life. No one should get into credit card debt. That my friends is a no brainer. I have studied very carefully how to make my money work for me in marvelous ways.

I have taken course in prosperity and taught classes in how to prosper. One of the basic principles in developing wealth is to believe you deserve to live the best life ever. Wealth can mean various things to various people. To me being prosperous means having (and not in this order) good health, good family,friendship, spirituality,  transportation, housing, food, tithing, savings and the ability to pay my bills.

How to accomplish these things. I would like to say that I did not work and just said a few magical phrases and everything appeared. Well, that did not happen. What I have learned is that you must harness your mind. You cannot waste your time or thoughts on things that will get you nowhere. You must become definite in your goals. You must be committed to live life large and settle for nothing less. Hold onto your thoughts and watch them come to fruition. This means working hard.

I remember I wanted to be able to publish my books and work for myself. I have published my books and will publish again. I do work for myself on a part-time basis. I have a full-time job that provides me with health insurance and paid vacation. The fact that I have my Masters degree is quite an accomplishment. I was working two jobs and going to Graduate School full-time plus doing an internship when I found out I had cancer. Talk about a show stopper. Well, being the type of person I am I thought to myself,”How hard is this going to be? Work, university, cancer, hey it will be a breeze.” Ah the joy of denial.

Needless to say I went on disability. Seems as if you cannot treat individuals with diseases while you are in treatment. Hmmm did not see that one coming. Then the issue of my graduate studies. The Dean at Fordham University suggested I take the time off to go to chemotherapy /radiation and then resume my studies. I had other ideas. Being a part of the university system is exactly what I needed as a distraction. I stayed with the program and managed a 3.89 average. As a single mother I was determined to continue with my studies. My son was all of 11 at the time and it was a frightening time for him. I was undaunted. I could not die and would not let this thing called cancer get the best of me. Funny, at the time I did not realize the physicians at Sloan Kettering thought I was not responding to treatment. They did not think I was going to make it through my treatment thankfully they did not share that with me until my treatment had been over for six months.That was 9 years ago.

It is all about attitude. Belief. Determination and hard work. I researched every medical library I could get my hands on. I looked up what I knew best holistic treatment. I treated myself with amino acids, minerals, vitamins, diet, exercise and prayer. Painted many rooms in the house. Worked in the garden. Stayed at Fordham. Continued  my internship at The Morris County Sexual Assault Center. Thank God for Julie Roebuck LCSW. She believed in me and helped me along. I pretty much did everything that I was told I should not do. Yes I did rest and yes cancer treatment kicked my butt. However, I made the best of it and this is where I discovered the beauty of my credit cards.

Chemotherapy is not a picnic. My experience with it is that is leaves a metallic taste in your mouth. It also cooks your brain. Your memory becomes lost. Short term and long-term. I call it chemo brain. Some of that never leaves. The day of chemotherapy the nurses are great. They come in and start the IV. (I chose not to have a port). After a while its harder to find a vein. The drugs are so toxic that your veins become necrotic. So I was a pin cushion. If the IV infiltrates it hurts like hell. One medication turned my arm black for a while. It burned like someone poured drano into my veins. I would sit for hours and they brought in medication after medication. My regime was AVDB. It’s for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. You can look it up if you like I will talk about this some other time.

To continue the first couple of days after my chemo treatment I would have lots of energy. Good thing because chemo was on Thursday and I had a full day University on Saturday. By the time I came home on Saturday I was on the couch for two or three days just beat. Never became nauseous. Lost my hair little by little. Kind of looked like Pigpen in Charlie Brown. Decided to wear a bandana instead of a wig. Kind of made me look like a biker chick. I looked good. Except I had cancer. Humor is everything.

So back to the credit cards. I was always one to save a little at a time. I had forced myself to save around $50.00 a week in my bank account.( I had been doing this for 6 years. My grandmother’s advice again is if  you work and save $50.00 you made $50.00. If you save nothing for yourself you made nothing). A little more in my mutual funds. I was forced to use my mutual fund reserves. Believe me it was a God send. When you are off work you have to go on disability. (I highly recommend disability insurance it saved my home. It is not super expensive and you never know when it might come in handy. I still have it.)Not only that  you must pay COBRA for your health insurance. So the bills continued to come in and I had the cash to pay for everything. Lots of planning over the years saved my home. I was out of work for 7 months.