Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Cancer free" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Don't get me wrong, being cancer free is great. I know it makes others happy to ask if I am cancer free and hear me say yes. But the harsh reality is that cancer survivors can never say they are free from scars...neither physically or emotionally. We can never say that we are free from what it took from us. I've been done with treatment for almost four years now and I hope with everything that is within me that one day I can say I am free from the effects of treatment.

For instance, to this very day, about every four months or so, I will get that terrible chemo taste in my mouth. It lasts for three to four weeks and then just goes away. It is a reminder of what I went through. It is short sided for anyone who hasn't ever dealt with the disease to think we as survivors should just be "grateful" to be alive. You have NO idea how difficult life is forever changed from the very moment you hear the words, "You have cancer."

On one of the darkest emotional days I ever had during treatment I couldn't sleep at all and was up in the middle of the night, alone, bawling my eyes out. Alone with the dark thoughts cancer patients can't confide to their friends and family. I wrote the following poem that night and I hope it brings you hope or that you can share it with someone else to bring them hope if they are facing this terrible monster.


The busy streets, the hustle and bustle, the cares of today all rushing by. Then one word enters your life and everything stops. Time is suspended. Oh...all the rest of the world is still rushing by as you stand in the middle of the freeway wondering how you are not getting hit. Although being hit is exactly what has happened. Hit by the word "Cancer." Your world starts moving in slow motion and your mind a complete fog. Day by day is spent trying to let this sink in, how can this be true? Maybe there's been a mistake, it just can't be you. 

Slowly you start to understand that you will never wake up from this horrible nightmare because you are already awake. As you settle in with the reality of your new existence you ponder many things. Somewhere, somewhere deep within you starts to rise. She rises and keeps rising until she is completely standing. It is the you that shrunk many years before too afraid to ever come out.

You stand tall and take a look around. Only this time you don't see what you used to see. You see new beginnings, you see so many possibilities. You start to have ideas, dreams, hopes for your future. Then, you grab hold of those and you hold tight with all that is within you and you fight. You fight to live, to learn, to grow and love. 

And then you realize that this is the new you.


Written by Kelley McElreath

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yes, my name is Kelley, but I am SO much more than that! Who are you?

Who are you? If someone were to ask you this question, how would you answer? I think a lot of us would just say our name. I think a lot of the time, it is just our human conditioned nature to not give ourselves credit for who we really are. Sometimes, when I think of who I am personally, I think of all the things that are wrong with me. I think of all my mistakes and failures. I think of all my many shortcomings. That is until I help someone. Or when I share my story and the things I have overcome with someone.

There are days when I totally and completely struggle and fail. Usually, this is all mentally. I think about all the many readers of my blog and the different things that we all struggle with. And I wonder to myself how much of our struggles are just in our own minds....our own mindsets. I have come to realize that while others can offer me comfort and hope, only I can change my mindset about ME and anything or anyone else for that matter.

In general, I think that if someone were to talk to you or I about their greatness, we might think of them as egotistical. I myself think I might think that way if someone told me this. But again, I feel that this is a limited mindset. Something I have found that helps me greatly, and I think will help you as well, is to come up with affirmations for myself. Sometimes, the best ones come to me when I am at my best and feeling the strongest.

Recently, after having days on end of not feeling so hot about myself, I started wondering to myself and just thinking about when I am the happiest and when I feel the most joy. I had a moment when I was really, really overcome with fear and stress and in that same moment an opportunity came up to encourage someone and I did. The reaction from this person was so full of gratitude. And I didn't really do anything special at all. At least it wasn't that amazing from my view point. Then I thought about the people who self-harm, are depressed and suicidal, cancer survivors, other women who have reached out to me through my blog. Just thinking about all of this made me feel better. I realized that when I reach out to someone else, all my thoughts are on them and off of myself and suddenly life just feels better.

So, some of the affirmations I tell myself are...
  • I am a ROCK STAR
  • I am a life-changer
  • I am a power house
  • I have a driving force within me
These are just a few, but the ones I use regularly. When I am hard on myself or just down, they remind me of who I really am at my core. So, who are you? If you could shout it out to the world and could not care less about what anyone thought, what would you shout? Maybe you are an awesome leader, maybe you are a free thinker, maybe you are an extremely dedicated individual. Regardless, think about what makes you happy and brings you the most joy. What are you doing at those times? What are you feeling and why? Make a list in your phone to remind you. Then, when you are struggling or feeling low, read your list. Say them out loud to yourself daily so they get in your head, but even better...down into your soul.

I just want you all to know that YOU are more than your name. SO much more. We ALL, each and every single one of us, have something BIG to offer the world. Let's stop focusing on all the things we aren't or can't do, and focus on the great parts of us. One of the greatest things I have ever heard is "What people think about me is none of my business" as well as "You don't have to believe every thought you think."

Think highly of yourself. Think the best about YOU. See the best in yourself. Really think about it and come up with all the many reasons YOU are so amazing. There is only ONE you. You are unique beyond description. Since there is only one YOU, only YOU can do what you were put here on this earth to do. So don't wait around waiting for someone else to do it! Discover who YOU are and go out and fulfill your purpose!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When my world got rocked, I decided to rock my own world.

When my world got rocked, I decided to rock my own world. Hmmmmm.......Most of you know that I am a life coach. I just spent the past four days in a training class and it was great. I wrote down the title for this blog post on the last day of class. I love helping other people. I love watching a person get better, feel better, live better lives and helping them discover their greatness on their own.

Things have been tough in my life emotionally lately. Today has not been a good day. I have been left to be the single parent to be the anchor and emotionally available person for my children. I in turn take it all on my own shoulders. One of the most difficult things as a parent is to not have the answers for your children or a solution to offer them as they face the hard things that life throws at them.

Sometimes, when days like to day start to get me down, I have to "coach" myself and this is me doing that. I sit and wonder to myself often why I am still here. I wonder how I will live the rest of my days out in this crazy place called my life. Do you ever get like that? Do you ever just want it all to stop? I know I sure do. But thank God I know I have an internal strength within myself that I can pull from. When days are good, I can say to myself, I AM A FREAKIN' ROCK STAR!! I can remember all that I have endured and yet still sit here on top, alive, helping others be the best version of themselves that they can be. But on the bad days, it is hard to do this.

So, although today hasn't started out well, I know that only I can make it better. I know that only I am in control of my happiness. And it all starts within. I never expected this blog post to be what it has turned into when I wrote that title down. But here I am and I have to ask myself...what can I do to rock my own world. I hope the words that follow will encourage you to do the same.

In order for me to take charge and full responsibility, I have to dig deep. I know that I have a driving force that resides within me. It is a force that goes untapped sometimes. But I know it is there. I have to remind myself of the power that lies within ME. No one else can make me better. Others might be able to offer me some comfort, but true lasting change can only happen within myself.

In the past couple of weeks I have had some very incredible things said about me by different individuals. So, I take the time now to try and see for myself what it is they see. It is so hard to see the qualities in yourself that others find very valuable by just your presence. I think it is human nature to focus on all of our flaws and all the things we do wrong.

So today I must CHOOSE to see the good in myself. CHOOSE to see how much I have accomplished. CHOOSE to see all the wonderful things that ARE happening in my life right now. I think the single greatest thing to do is focus on RIGHT NOW. It's easy to get caught up in what HAS happened and what COULD happen rather than what IS happening. And at this very moment, everything is fine.

I hope you can pull some strength from inside of YOU to get you through the not so good days. And let us not forget, YOU are a ROCK START too!