life (132) community (99) guahan (70) crafting (57) gallery (50) viewed (45) Celebrate (43) album (41) shopping (24) cast (16) oishi (12) hooping (5) growing (4)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life in Wonderland: How I learned to love the color pink

As a child I didn't really like pink or any other pastel colors. I was fond of bold, bright colors. It wasn't until after high school that I started liking pink. It's not that my color tastes changed or that I was becoming more feminine. I was always pretty feminine. It's just that I discovered that pink represented more than just femininity.

I remember going to the park with my dad one day, when I was really young. Right next to the park is the Cathedral. My parents are non practicing catholics, but that day my dad decided to stop in at the Cathedral. We lit a couple of candles. He told me that it was for my grandmother. She was fighting breast cancer. She won that battle.

A little after my 19th birthday I found a lump. I remember being so scared when I told my mother. A couple days later I was at my doctor's office and then a week later I was getting an ultra sound. My mom was with me during the ultrasound. The screen wasn't facing me, but I saw the look on her face as she watched the screen. The fear just got worse and worse. My family and friends were very supportive though. I remember coming home from the ultra sound and my brother asking me if I wanted to go get ice cream. It seems silly but it was what I needed and he knew it.

A week later I was at my rushed appointment with a surgeon. It turned out that the one lump was actually three. But the good news was that the lumps were most likely fibroadenomas and not cancerous. So I had a decision to make. Should I have them biopsied or completely excised? Both scared the hell out of me. I decided to go with a complete excision just to be safe. We scheduled an appointment for another consultation just to be sure though. So I went home and did tons of research online. I had a huge list of questions. The surgeon had told me that the chances of them coming back after the excision were slim, he hadn't had any cases where it happened. But a quick search found that some women have had multiple excisions because they came back again and again. One woman, after 5 excision surgeries, had a mastectomy. I also discovered that the scar tissue left from the excision could make it difficult to find lumps later in life, even in a mammogram. So off I went to my appointment. My friend, Nella, went with me that day. My mom was at the hospital with my family, sitting with my grandfather in the ICU. So there Nella and I were an hour after I was supposed to be seen. We were sitting on the floor in the hall way outside of the clinic because the waiting room was full. The surgeon was busy and so we waited, until finally I just gave up. I told the woman at the desk that I was going. They're still trying to bill me for that 6 years later. I think I had already decided even before the failed appointment that I was fine and at that moment in time I just didn't want to deal with it. I had other things to stress about. I was going on my second year in college, just started a new job, and my grandfather was slowly slipping away.

A couple years later, after winning the battle with breast cancer and another battle with lung cancer, my grandmother was fighting a final battle with a brain tumor. So for Valentine's Day Allan got me my pink ribbon tattoo. Around that time I was starting to embrace pink as symbol of sisterhood.

As for me and my breast disease I've accepted that the fibroadenomas are there and until I'm ready they won't be going away. Some days I wish I still had insurance, because every once in a while there can be sharp pains, but not for very long. It's mostly just uncomfortable when I'm sitting at my desk at work or with a group of people out and can't express what I'm feeling. Most days I don't even notice them, though. They've become a part of me for now. I know that some people close to me want me to have it taken care of, but they realize that ultimately it will happen when I'm ready.

It's because of my experiences with my breast cancer scare and my grandmother's battle, as well as the stories shared by others, that I've come to love pink. I have bought pink ribbon pens, post its, and pins. I have a pink ribbon tattooed on my ankle. Viva's first toy was a pink Hope tennis ball. Everytime I see anything pink it reminds me of the spirit of the women (and men), as well as their supporters who are fighting breast cancer. And most of all when I see pink it reminds me to not be afraid. If that day comes I know I won't be alone.

October is almost over, but I just want to remind every one that it is breast cancer awareness month.

some sites for more information on breast cancer:

Life in Wonderland: Allan is playing on Fridays

Friday nights at Bully's. Allan and Mark are playing!
He looked so happy to be playing out.

watching the guys play and enjoying great company.

Viewed in Wonderland: Palace of Incandescent

Saw this on Hoop City and had to share!

Community in Wonderland: Extreme Extreme Treeplanting for 350

Do you remember my near death experience story? The one where my friend Nella and I went tree planting with her environmental bio class and we were nearly struck by lightning. Anyways Guam joined the 350 world wide campaign to bring down carbon emissions. One of the activities was a major extreme tree planting expedition. If I had not been working that day I would've gone back up those damn cliffs to finally plant a tree. Instead I was in my office. But we do recycle paper in my office! And It gets so cold in the office that I turn the air conditioner off half the day. Every little bit counts right? Plus we do our part in our household by only eating beef and bacon once a week. Our diet mainly consists of seafood, tofu, Quorn grounds, veggies, and grains.

Pictures from the Pacific Daily News coverage of Guam's 350 tree planting.
An article about the activity. Nearly 1,000 trees were planted!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oishi in Wonderland: salad with shrimp

Yummy and healthy :P

Life in Wonderland: Late night or early morning?

Can't seem to go to sleep. Allan is at his parent's house babysitting and I'm home with just Viva and Merlot. It's 3:30 a.m. and I'm up looking at art blogs and thinking about going back to school. I wish I could go back full time and work part time, but for now I'll be doing the opposite.

Lately I haven't been painting. I haven't had the time, energy, or inspiration. So to get me motivated I was looking at drawing tutorials online today. Drawing doesn't take much set up or clean up. :) I've always been amazed by silk aerial performers and sketched this out. Allan made a good point when he saw it, I should have made the top part of the silk taut. Her feet look like paint brushes too. :P Oh well, it's been a while since I've sketched anything so I'm not too disappointed in myself. Plus I learned how to map out the body with circles and lines. Interesting and helpful. I want to start doing a bunch of sketches involving dancing and performing subjects, like this cirque performer. I also sketched out a ballerina tonight, but one of her legs turned out extra long. I'm not posting that until it's fixed. lol. It looks really crazy.

I'm off tomorrow and want to get some sketching and painting done. There is another art auction coming up to benefit Samoan tsunami victims. Hopefully I'll have something to donate.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life in Wonderland: Inspired

I've been rather stagnant lately. I've been extremely unproductive and it has been making me insane. I get bursts of energy and flickers of illumination but at the most inappropriate times, so it doesn't stick. I've been searching for something to keep me focused and motivated for a while. I know what I want and need to do. I've just been hoping for something to drive me there.

But today I think I've realized that in order to commit to anything I need to be that driving force. Completely obvious, I know. Now I just have to figure out how to organize all my projects and goals to keep them manageable. That's going to be the hardest part, but if you want something enough you can make it happen. :)