Paper Peonies and Dandelions

February 25, 2015 — 1 Comment

Dear V,

One. Year. Ago…

V's Wave

It’s true time flies.
(I threw a clock out the window once
and proved it.)
But Salvador Dali had the right idea
With those weeping clocks…
On days like today
I don’t believe time heals.
And why should it?
Why
Would I ever want to
“Get over”
YOU
?

You left a beauty mark on my soul.
Your mantra is etched in me
The ink is dry
Except for teardrops…
Which keeps dotting the i’s
In Live Sincerely.

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I miss you.

Meanwhile here I am
Spending time
This day
In the Big Apple.
Isn’t it ironic?
Maybe a little too ironic
—or maybe it’s poetry?
Because this is where we met
On that serendipitous day in October
when I saw you standing
(beside yourself)
aka
Next to
Your breathtaking SCAR Portrait
Hanging in Soho
At the very first SCAR Project Exhibit
In 2010.

V exhibit

S.C.A.R.
[Surviving Cancer.] [Absolute Reality.]
You and me both.
And both of us from Cincinnati.
Get.
Out.
Of.
Town.
Funny how
That’s how we met.

That time when time
Put the pedal to the metal
While we were working our asses off
on The S.C.A.R. Cincy Exhibit—
When the absolute fucking reality of surviving cancer
Was thrown in our faces
In the form of a headache you had
that wouldn’t clock out…
2 weeks before opening night.

How?

For YOU
because you said “the show must go on.”
Especially now.
There was no try
Just do
We did it for you.

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It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life
But not as hard as saying goodbye
365 days ago
when
you
punched
out
…and flew away with time…

I miss you.

This V-shaped hole is most def the hardest thing.
‪#‎fuckcancer‬
I hear the echo of your voice
That I can’t remember anymore,
“The show must go on.”
And I still sometimes wonder how?

I was wondering that the other day while I was driving here.
I saw a flock of birds
in a V-formation:
a Peace sign in the Sky.

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Every time I see one I think of you.
And every day
For me (and for V) I am…

Living sincerely,
Joules
xx

HASHtagWorldCancerDay

February 5, 2015 — 3 Comments

[Here’s my Rx for #WorldCancerDay: Keep Calm and Eat a Cookie. And this. An uber special guest post by my fab friend/survivor sister/Gracegoddess/CaliforniaGirl/FITtastic/greenthumb/rockStar cookie-baker Starling Wickes.]

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   foundTHeCure, LLC

Guest Post by Starling Wickes

Since it’s World Cancer Day, I thought I would share the Reason I’m still here.

We moved from Indiana to California in 2008 with Two 2 year olds and $700 in our pockets. I knew before leaving Indiana that I had a lump. I had been to my OBGYN, but we were trying to move. So, I decided to wait. After three months of being in California, I went to see my primary physician on my 34th birthday.

He immediately sent me for biopsies. After several attempts, I was diagnosed with Stage IIB Breast Cancer with 2 lymph nodes positive. I chose to have a double mastectomy, even though the Cancer was only on my right side. I also chose to do chemotherapy and radiation, because in my mind it was giving me a chance to “start over”, and rebuild my body the healthy way.

It wasn’t until I started chemo that I really understood how my use of cannabis, for the past few years, was really making a difference. I’ve always heard about how it helps, of course, but to actually live it, has been an incredible journey.

It was one day in Clinic C (Ha! How appropriate, right?), I was several weeks into chemo, after my third dose of A/C, (For those of you who don’t know, It’s Fucking nasty!) anyway, I was in to see my oncologist for follow up after treatment, when I realized, I was the only one eating a burger and chips, jamming to my music, and giving up my seat to a much (much) older woman who could barely keep her eyes open, when this lovely blonde lady approached me with tears in her eyes, begging me for my secret. To her, this was the nightmare she dreaded, being an actress in L.A.

However, by seeing one person who is living, instead of dying, was that little glimmer of Hope she needed.

I was taken aback at first because I saw the horror in her eyes. The scared Bambi look. I reassured her that it’s ok to be scared. We all are. But when i mentioned I was a Cannabis user, she said, “Tell me how! I want to be just like you.”

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Photo courtesy of RL Designs.

And so it began. I became an Advocate. An educator. A provider. A healer. A business.
I have documented in my files that “Alcohol hangovers have treated me worse than Chemo ever did!”
I’ve had several surgeries and very few problems healing.

My family have gone through many trials after moving, like being car jacked the week before chemo, being robbed and homelessness, but it hasn’t stopped us from living. I dedicate my life to my family, healthy eating and living, and advocating cannabis to other cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

I believe everything happens for a reason, and we are all destined for greatness, whether today, or for future generations.

I was featured in the Ripped Goddess Calendar in 2014, as the RG for October, bringing awareness to a healthy, fit community.

I’m also part of a group called The Grace Project, a powerful photographic project by Isis Charise. The Grace Project’s mission is to empower breast cancer survivors to embrace their body image and basically to “wear their scars like stardust.” (Shout out to Amy Ferris for that gorgeous quote.)

Grace Photographer Isis Charise & Starling at a Grace Photo Shoot in Palm Desert, California

Grace Photographer Isis Charise & Starling     Star’s Grace Photo Shoot in Palm Desert, Cali            Photo by Joules Evans

Working with Isis was an experience beyond words. Isis makes you feel calm among a storm.

We now run our own business, called foundTHeCure, LLC. providing affordable and easy access medicine.

I started a healthy living page on Facebook, called Let’s Get Physical Cancer Sisters and Brothers!, helping to motivate other survivors, pre-vivors, & caregivers. Hoping to inspire them to get and stay cancer free, offering exercise, recipes and healthy information, keeping us accountable for our health!!

This is my mantra: “I believe things happen for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually start to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart, so better things can fall together.”~Marilyn Monroe

#GetEducated #cannabis #cannabiscuredmycancer #weed #pot #potmom #farmerlife #breastcancersurvivor #curedofcancer #cannabissavedmylife #thc #cbd #fuckyeah #FuckCancer #foundTHeCureInc

Words With Friends

January 7, 2015 — 2 Comments

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Cheers, love, and Happy New Year, all YOU crazy beautiful peeps! I’m lifting a glass and clink-clinking, to YOU, to our health, and to an uber fab 2015!

And now for some cocktail chatter…

I have a question for y’all: What’s the word?

My friend Julie Sweeney turned me on to this idea a few years ago, where she chooses a word that sums up her focus or intention for the year. Well, yesterday, I finally settled on my word for 2015, which felt like an appropriate thing to do on Epiphany…it’s Jubilee. Been hovering about it ever since I started this 50th trip around the sun heading for the big 5-0 this September. Jubilee is, according to THE Google: a special anniversary especially celebrating 50 years of reign. (Note to self: invite Lorde to bday bash. practice royal wave.) It’s aka a year of remission for sins and universal pardon and freed slaves and debts forgiven and mercy raining down, which I’m down with cuz #lovewins. AND there’s also Jubilee the Marvel comic book superhero who has superhuman power to generate pyro technic energy plasmoids out of her hands. Whoa. (Joules. means. energy.) Which a stressful situation helped her manifest. Whoa. (Cancer is pretty much the most stressful bitch I ever met.) Now before you start running away from me whenever I’m trying to high five ya…please read your comic books and highlight the part where Jubilee used her superpowers for good…and relax. I zap cancer not you. You, I just high five. Or give a peace sign. Or maybe blow a kiss. No plasmoids. Pinky promise. (Note to self: Need yellow trench coat.)

What’s YOUR word? Post below and let’s keep one another’s intentions close to our hearts this happy new year. Cheers and love and x’s and o’s, Joules

Birthday Presence

October 1, 2014 — 1 Comment

I have a little tradition I started when I was thirty-something that, when I can remember not to forget, I write a sonnet for my birthday. A poetry selfie, if you will. So my birthday was Saturday and I turned lucky seven to the (super)Power of Two! And here’s the sonnet. It’s called Sonnet #49 because that’s the super secret code name I came up with when I did the math.

Eat-Me-Cake

Sonnet #49

 

Yes, of course I’d like to know if you will

Still love me when I’m Sixty-four and my

Hair is blue. But. It knows that song well

Already, and you have not said goodbye—

 

#thingsthatmakemesaywhew . . . because

Who knows what color it will be next week?

It’s only hair. And ‘tis what it is, ‘twas

What it was, ‘twill be well, not mild, yet meek.

 

Not like a mouse. I mean, I like cheese, but—

Now is not the time for shrinking back. Not

At my age. Alice sure knew what was what

When she ate that cake: Took a bite and shot

 

For the moon. ‘Twas her one shot which is all

We all get. So let us eat the cake y’all!

 

Besides the birthday sonnet, I also uploaded “The Birthday VLOG” to my Year of Living Sincerely series on YouTube. Kinda a talkie selfie, if you think about it a little. Anyway, so here’s the video. And since it’s a talkie, I’ll let it introduce itselfie.

 

This is how Maya and I met.

My little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent

My little warrior sister Maya the Magnificent

Maya’s mama posted this pic on my Facebook wall, after they saw a video I shot at a Stand Up To Cancer event we had for my 2-year cancerversary in August 2010. The video was my daughter’s entry in SU2C’s “Up To You” music video contest. The challenge was to put your own spin on the song. The top 3 would be featured on the SU2C show that September.

This was my sweet Amanda’s spin on the song. I shot the film (that’s why I’m not in it) and my sweet Mikeyy edited the video. The band behind her is the rest of The Kicked-in Fence: her brothers Matt (guitar) and Mikeyy (djembe) and their friend Dustin Boudinet (guitar). All the lovely peeps are the kinds of friends I got by with a little help from. A few of them I miss because they have since finished their own cancer battles. Which only makes this video more precious because it captures a moment when we all stood up to cancer together. It. was. magical.

Amanda got 4th place in the contest. But the point is, this is the ripple Maya caught a wave, or rather a high-5, into our lives on. After Maya saw the video, she asked her mom to take that epic pic of her giving me a SU2C high-5 and standing up to cancer with me. Is their anything more precious?

Me & My Mini Me

Me & My Mini Me

The reason I bring this all up, besides the fact everybody’s always asking me about how Maya and I met, is because the Stand Up To Cancer show is on TV tonight.

6 years ago tonight, I happened to flip on the TV and catch the first Stand Up To Cancer show, while recovering from my double mastectomy and my first chemo cocktail hangover. I know this sounds super self-centered, but I felt like it was made for me TV. Like maybe somehow the stars aligned and the big dipper was pouring out the proverbial spoonful of sugar over the Evanshire. (Of course, I took it shaken not stirred, in case you’re wondering;)

Anyway, so Maya’s got a birthday coming up next week and I thought it would be super fun for her if a bunch of peeps wanted to send her SU2C high-fives and/or postcards from wherever you are from. Post the pics in the comments or email them to me and I will make a video of them all for Maya. Send postcards to: Joules Evans, PO box 882, West Chester, OH 45071 [Attn: Maya].

 

Drunkard’s Prayer

September 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

I know it’s throw back Thursday, not throw UP Thursday, but I just got a phone call from my oncologist’s office, letting me know that it’s time for my quarterly check-up…and I almost tossed my cookies (or in this case, nachos). Happens every time. That first chemo cocktail I downed six years ago yesterday, waking up with my first chemo hangover six years ago TODAY… has. left. it’s. mark. on. me. Besides the port scar. Which I had a big c (namaste _/\_ Laura Linney) tattooed on—copyright that cancer.

Photo Cred goes to my friend Isis Charise, photographer of The Grace Project

Anyway, so this past weekend I went to a Jen Pastiloff Manifestation retreat in Ojai, California. It was a gift from the hubcap aka Mr. Joules, for my 6 year cancerversary, which I just celebrated August 20th. Now, this is a thing that drives my Redheads bOnKeRs (because they keep their “letters to Santa” constantly updated on Google docs) but I don’t have a list. Mostly because I already feel so lucky that I can’t even imagine what else in the world I could possibly ask for. But I asked for this because I felt I could use a little inspiration boost(er) before my 6-year check up this coming Monday.

One of the exercises she had us do at the retreat is the inspiration for today’s #tbt pic/post. This is where I feel like it’s only fair to give you a #CheeseAlert—so you might want to go pour a glass of wine to go with the cheese I’m about to throw down not up for throw back Thursday.

The exercise I’m referring to, was a writing prompt. The writing prompt flowed from a series of yoga poses. Somewhere in the ebb and flow of the yoga poses and the writing prompts, a beautiful breakdown occurs in places that were a little stuck. All the “I would/could/should/did/didn’t/have to/can’t excuses we all make. Something in the way she makes us do all those hi-YAH! kicks, makes us feel like we’re knocking down walls. (And we did.) Also, all those planks rendered our arms incapable of being raised, even an inch, to point out even one of those lame ass excuses that we all make for not manifesting aka “making shit happen” (the good kind) in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I have a boatload of excuses in my head. So many voices in my head. And way too freaking often, I hear them calling, “All aboard!” Next thing I know, I’m sailing away on a yacht called Hotel California where “you can check out anytime but you can never leave”.

Which is why it’s always a good idea to keep the voices in our head in check. Or, check-mate, as it so happened, for me during this particular exercise.  The writing prompt was to write a letter to ourself in the voice of someone who loves us.

“If you knew who walked beside you at all times, on the path that you have chosen, you could never experience fear or doubt again.”~Wayne Dyer

This is one of Jen’s themes. It’s also one of the magical things that happens at her workshops and retreats, when you look around the room at the beautiful souls who walked beside you through the weekend, and beyond.

I wrote my letter, to myself, in the voice of my husband. And here’s where the cheese enters. But not, as you might suppose, just because I’m the one stringing together said cheese. The truth of the matter is: Dave is just as cheesy as me. I was only channeling him, or I guess you could say, being the grater. Here’s a little slice (and no, I didn’t cut it) of the cheese:

Dear Joules, my jewel, wife of my youth and, I hope—NO. I know. Yes, darling, I know you have trouble seeing that far ahead, into the future, but I know. I know like I know Jesus loves me, and you, that we will be old together one day, like the couple in UP—but we won’t wait to chase our dreams. We are not waiting. The chase is on! And what. a. ride… Go ahead and put your hands up in the air. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t shave. I’m over here right next to you. I got you. Like I vowed when we were 22. And I believe you’ll still love me when I’m 64. And beyond. Even if you can’t see that far. I can see. This I know. I know enough for the both of us.

I forgot to sign it but I think I nailed it, and I have proof. I’ve been celebrating my 6 year cancerversary with this six part series of a half a dozen chapters from my book, SHAKEN NOT STIRRED…A CHEMO COCKTAIL, and there just so happens to be a chapter that Dave wrote for me. Kinda like a letter in the voice of someone who loves me…

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#tbt to the day after Christmas 2008 aka our 21st anniversary

 

Chapter 13
Drunkard’s Prayer

[Cue my fave band Over the Rhine. Click HERE to hear the song that is the soundtrack to this chapter.]

And by drunkard, I mean to give the microphone here to Dave (while I take a little break to pour another glass of wine) because he’s the one who got stuck with a handful of “in sickness” and “for worse” chips. If I were to write a six-word memoir, it would be Sorry I Cashed “In Sickness” Chips. And the sequel would be, I Hope It’s “For Better” Now. Anyway, without further ado . . . Dave.

Joules (or as I call her, Joule, for short, which I prefer to spell Jewel, if you don’t mind) is a sucker for Shakespeare. I am a sucker for my Jewel. A + B = C. It’s simple math, really. I believe even she could figure that one out and with one hand tied behind her back. Even if it’s the one with that little finger she’s got me wrapped around.

All that to say, I like Shakespeare too. Once I stood up on a bench in the middle of Borders and recited Sonnet 116 to her—it’s one of our favorites of his sonnets. And it goes, something like this… ahem: 

Sonnet 116

By Will

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Shakespeare wrote, “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” Surely he had not considered “the remover” to be a breast surgeon, nor “Time’s sickle” to be a scalpel, nor the compass of Time’s sickle to encompass his love’s breasts.

We’re not talking wrinkles, gray hair, and a little extra weight here. This is serious alteration. But when it came down to them or her, clearly they had to go.

I admit, initially I told myself that this will be a good thing. There will be reconstruction. My wife will be perky in her old age. But looking into the details, it quickly became obvious that this was not an option either of us wanted. But I have found, in true love, that there is a breastliness that transcends the physical and is more tangible than the flesh.

The only real difference this alteration has brought is that when we embrace, our hearts are that much closer together.

“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” As I gaze on her even now, I hear my heart say, “Well then, Will, this must be love.”