“I’m A 5 Year Breast Cancer Survivor!”

The day is finally here: I’m a 5 year breast cancer survivor and I couldn’t be more grateful or feel more blessed!5 year cake

I’m grateful for having survived it, grateful for what it taught me, and grateful that it was a part of my life journey that brought me to where I am now!

I’m grateful for the amazing people that came into my life because of it and even grateful for the people who left because of it. Life is always better when you surround yourself with the right people…and I’ve got a wonderful tribe surrounding me!

And I just have to say it one more time: “I’m a 5 year breast cancer survivor today!”

And it’s a very good thing!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“You’re Doing Just Fine”

The end of the day is nearing and as I get ready to take a long hot bath, unwind and head to bed I have to wonder…did I do everything I wanted to do today?

My answer would be “no,” but I did the best I could.

Did you take care of yourself enough today?

Did you find some time to breathe and just “be?”

Did you get all the things on your “to do” list checked off today?

Did you have the kind of day you wanted to have?

No? I didn’t either, but you know what? I did the best I could today and that’s all I could ask for. Tomorrow is another day.

So was it a bad day because I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to?

No.

It was a good day even though I didn’t do all that I wanted to.

And you know why?

Because it was another day to live, to breathe, to love, to laugh.

And at the end of this day, just like every other day, I did the best I could.

Relax, my friends, tomorrow is another day.

And remember, you’re doing just fine.

We’re all doing just fine.

And it’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“A Memory I’m Grateful For”

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It was four years ago today that I finished my last treatment for breast cancer. It was the day I had waited for since the journey began and as you can see by the look on my face, it was one of the happiest days of my life! It was over and my life was all my own to live again without the shadows of cancer hiding in the background.

And in that four years I’ve written and published two books and began to realize that my life purpose had become just that: a writer of my life experiences; a writer that wanted to make a difference in the world and in someone’s life by sharing her ups and downs and how she got through; and a writer who will never stop trying to help others.

I say that “chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me,” and it did. I became even stronger than before and learned how to put myself first and more importantly, how to love myself as much as I love the people in my life. I began to realize the importance of surrounding myself with positive people and that saying good-bye to the negative ones wasn’t a bad thing, but a necessity to live my best life. And that it’s okay to say “no” to things that don’t serve my Highest Good and to people and situations that cause me stress and drama.

In other words, cancer taught me to treat myself as well as I treat others, to love myself just as much, and to be just as kind to myself as I am to them.

Today I sit in a bit more gratitude than most days and am remembering that day four years ago. I’m remembering the lines of the song I wrote about that day:

“Journey is over, the battle is won, a new chapter started, a new day begun,So what do I do now? Where do I start? Do I take the road known or the one less traveled and follow my heart?”

What a day it was four years ago…

What an incredible life it’s been ever since…

What a  beautiful word to be blessed to call myself today: “survivor.”

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“My Strength Is Their Weakness”

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I wrote that quote many years ago near the end of my 20 year marriage. As I began to heal physically and emotionally from all the turmoil of that, I realized that it was at my moments of anxiety, sadness or depression that he became strong. At first I thought he was showing true signs of kindness, yet in time I realized what was really happening: I was feeding his ego and he was starving my self-esteem.  He felt like “the big man” helping the poor, defenseless, broken woman. The woman HE broke. The woman he was abusive to; the woman he told over and over again was stupid and ugly; the woman he told would never be loved by anyone.

And I believed him…until I stopped believing him.

Are you wondering how I stopped believing all that negative stuff he had embedded onto my brain? I woke up. I realized that I had allowed him free reign over me for many years and that by doing that, the behavior continued. I allowed him to speak down to me and allowed him to be disrespectful to me.  So, one day I woke up and stopped allowing it, and the marriage was done and over with.

I went through years of healing myself mentally and emotionally, and of course it was with the help of many spiritual teachers and a wonderful tribe of true friends.

I learned so much about myself and that loving myself first was the answer to not allowing anyone else to treat me that way. You’d think it would never happen again, yet I’m human; we’re all human. Sometimes life brings you an experience that you thought you had learned the lessons from…yet life knows when you forget the lesson. And the Universe will put a similar experience back into your way until you wake up and realize that what you stopped allowing years ago, you’re allowing once again.

Even after that divorce I would find myself meeting someone whose ego was strengthened by my weakness, and for those that know me, they know I’m anything but weak. It would sporadically happen here and there throughout the years, yet know I’m much more able to recognize it when it’s happening. I’ve learned that those people lack control of their own life so they try and control mine; they lack self-respect and are unable to respect anyone else; they don’t feel strong unless they’re paired up with someone weak.

And I am no longer that girl.

I want to be treated the way I deserve and the way that I treat others: with love, kindness, compassion, consideration and loyalty. And I won’t settle for anything less. I want to be loved for the person I am, quirks and all, because I love that person that I’ve become.

We all have moments of feeling weak and that’s okay; it’s those moments that help us to find our strength again and stand back up on our feet even stronger.

We all have moments of finding ourselves back in a situation that we thought would never return and that’s okay; you’re given that situation to remind you of the lesson you forgot.

And we all find ourselves staring into the mirror, looking at ourselves and wondering how we got here and what happened to us, and that’s okay; keep looking in that mirror long enough and you’ll once again see the person you thought was lost.

It’s those moments of feeling lost that we’re actually finding ourselves again, and we’re finding an even better and stronger version of the person we once were.

Life is about balance and we all fall out of balance every so often. It’s when the world around us is spinning out of control that we see the truth of everything, and it’s those moments we find our balance again.

Don’t let anyone make you feel weak; surround yourself with people that make you strong.

Don’t spend your precious time feeding someone’s ego; spend your time feeding your self-esteem.

And don’t rely on anyone loving you the way you want to be loved; love yourself that way first and the rest will fall into place.

Everything in your life begins with YOU.

Stop allowing what you don’t want to continue.

Forgive yourself when you forgot a lesson you learned and get back on track.

And love yourself.

If you do nothing else, love yourself.

Everything is possible when you begin with love.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Chemo Healed The Cancer But The Cancer Healed Me”

My last book, “Waking Up: Lessons Learned From My Adventures With Life and Breast Cancer” was born over two years ago while lying on a radiation table for breast cancer.

I’m the type of person that loves meeting people because every single one of us has a story…we ARE a story! Some may not believe that, yet as a writer, I know it’s true. I was out to dinner with my love one night, along with his cousin and his love, and a table full of people I had never met. Yet by the end of the night, I knew them well.

You see, that’s the beauty of paying attention to people and speaking to them, yet more importantly, LISTENING to them. They were laughing at me last night when I said that the whole night of conversations was indeed a story!

So it’s no surprise that “Waking Up” was born; the idea may have begun on a radiation table, yet the stories were already taking shape in my mind, and for the last two years of writing it, more stories were born. Every story is true; most of them are of my personal experiences, and there are a few born out of situations with someone else who graciously allowed me to write about it

Yet, here’s what that one moment that woke me up was: “breast cancer!”

Yes, I had been on a spiritual journey for years, but finding out I had cancer was a big kick in the ass! I realized that as much as I had learned over the years, the lessons were far from over. Breast cancer changed my life and how I live it. That tumor was all the things I never said out loud, all the pain of allowing people to treat me badly. It was everything I never said that I should have, so I made a deal with the cancer: “I’ll open my mouth and use my voice, I’ll make better choices of who I surround myself with, I’ll rid myself of people and situations that make me feel less than good, and I’ll take all of this and write about it to help someone else as long as you leave my body when the time is right.”

I guess the cancer agreed with the deal, because it held up its’ end of the bargain. I did all those things and it left me the day they cut all that stuff out of my body. They did more than a lumpectomy on February 21st. As cancer and I were about to say good-bye that day, I could hear it speaking to me. Sounds crazy, but it wasn’t really. It said: “You’ve done the work and I know it wasn’t easy. I’m sorry to have had to come and visit you, but this journey is over. Remember the lessons, remember to love yourself, and finish up our deal: tell your lessons to everyone you can reach. I’m counting on you.”

Well, in a strange way, chemo may have healed my cancer, but my cancer healed me. It taught me more than I could imagined, and since then, I spread the word, I keep out as much drama and stress as I can, and I walk away from anyone or anything that tries to control and manipulate me. Cancer didn’t abuse me as much as some people have tried to, and I’m smarter because of all of it.

“Waking Up” is so much more than a book; it’s my heart and soul that simply wants to make a difference in someone’s life. Life get’s shorter as we get older, and my goal is to live everyday to the fullest, to show love and kindness to someone who needs it, and most importantly, to make someone laugh and smile.

Struggles will always happen in our lives, yet it’s your attitude and perspective that will handle it and teach you more than you could have ever imagined.  After all, “we don’t become who we are by chance; we become who we are by choice.”

Love your lessons, whether you like them or not, because in the end, miracles happen!

“Chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

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“Life Is Like The Great Outdoors”

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Life is about perspective and I have become the queen of analogies lately. Some call it a defense mechanism, I call it survival; it’s my way of taking the ugly and finding some beauty in it.

I’ll admit, the month of March was not so good for me; losing loved ones, feeling so drained that I got sick, not once, but twice, and any bad news that could filter it’s way into my life came in the month of March. It’s no wonder I’m celebrating April 1st today!

This morning I was speaking to my girlfriend who’s had a bit of a rough go lately. Sheoutdoors 1 was feeling down and not knowing what to do to get out of her head and this funk she was in. She told me that she felt like she had to get a hold of her life, get hold of a line of it. I tried to reassure her that this too will pass and then I said to her: “Go fishing. Go stand at the edge of the river and throw in your line. Look at that hook that’s out in the water and see it as your life. Gently reel it in, keeping a firm hold on it. And there you go, you’re reeling it your life that you felt got away from you.”

She laughed but also understood the analogy. Sometimes our life can feel like “the one that got away,” yet when we feel that we all we have to do it go fishing, be patient, and reel it in…and this one “won’t get away.”

I have my own analogy for letting go of toxic people in my life; I say that I’m going “gardening.” I look at the difficult process of letting some people go as one of “weeding out” the toxic people, or “weeds” as I like to think. So, I envision a beautiful garden which represents all those I love and that are in my life for my Highest Good. When I notice a weed in my garden, I know it’s time to pull it out. After all, it’s the weeds that choke out the flowers.

My favorite analogy is one I use often to help my friends out: it’s about the fear of taking 999383-002a leap of faith. I tell them to envision themselves on a cliff, looking out and over a beautiful ocean or endless mountain range. I tell them to see everything that is beautiful and good, and to pick a spot to land. That spot is what or where they want to be or have in life that fear is preventing them from having. Once they find the spot, I tell them to jump…jump off the cliff, knowing that you’re protected by a parachute or bungee cord of faith, and that the arms of love will be there to catch you. It’s an incredible leap of faith, but one that you can do if you change your perspective on it and lose that fear.

Sometimes on your worst of days you have to try to envision it as something else; change your perspective, make it a picture in your mind, or just head to “the great outdoors” for a little fishing and a bit of gardening. End it with strapping on your parachute of faith and take that jump…

It’s worth it; I promise.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Breaking Apart”

break apart 2We’ve all broken apart at one time or another in our lives. We may have endured a broken heart, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or the brokenness of a good friend showing their true colors. Whatever the reason, it’s caused us to “break apart.”

I’ve had my heart broken, endured cancer, gone through divorce, and been hurt by people who I thought were my friends. I’ve been broken many times, yet through it all I learned that all these moments that “broke” me were all lessons I needed to learn. I learned to take the pain of each moment that broke me apart and make peace with it; I learned to be grateful for them because it taught me something about myself and my life that was for my Highest Good; I learned to see it as a blessing in disguise.

So what do you do when you break apart? How do you get through it all? You make a choice. You make a choice to put the pieces back together, and you put them back together stronger. It’s the lessons you learn through them that enable you to put them back differently; stronger, smarter and tougher.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never “break apart” again, but what it does mean is that the next time you’re faced with a “breaking apart” moment, you’ll be able to handle it differently. You’ll handle it even better. And the time it takes to put the pieces back together get’s shorter and shorter…and that’s because you learned a lesson from each of those moments.

Life is all about perspective and if you can learn to embrace those “breaking apart” moments as a gift towards you having the life you deserve, then you will understand that those moments aren’t forever…just for the time it takes for you to understand the lesson.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“3 Year Breast Cancer Survivor Today!”

 

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I’m a 3 year breast cancer survivor today! It’s amazing how cancer changed my life, all for the good. I sit here in so much gratitude today for this day, and for every day. It’s a day I remember the first day of being diagnosed, and the last day of treatment; a day of remembering those who left my life during it and thinking of the ones who stayed; I’m remembering how little I lost from it and how much I gained.

I want to give my love and gratitude to my lifelong friend, Colleen, who was there with me during the first biopsy; to my cousin, Marnie, who made chemo days a fun “girl’s day out” and was there the entire day of my surgery, having dinner waiting for me when I got home; to my best friend, Leslie, who made the later chemo days ones of “girls gone wild” days, and for all those lunches together on the way home; to Jim and Lilli, my friends from Wall Stadium Speedway, for having pink ribbons printed with my name on it and getting them to the fans and on all the race cars; and to my Wall Stadium family for all their support during my chemo days. And to all of my Facebook family, I give you my love and gratitude for your supportive and loving posts and instant messages. You’ll never know just how much all of that meant, and was so important during my journey with breast cancer. I have to say “thank you” to my boys, Dan, Noah, and Sam who were living with me day in and day out through my journey…you were all so brave and supportive to me, even though I knew you were scared, but we got through it together.

The door to cancer closed three years ago, yet it opened the door to finding love with Rob, publishing my book, writing songs for my CD, and finding myself living some amazing dreams and adventures.  I’m so very grateful to be able to say “3 year survivor and counting!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“Faith Is A Game Changer”

I’ve been through enough rough times in my life to know that having “faith” in my Higher Power and myself is what kept me strong and what got me through. I couldn’t imagine a life without faith…it gives you hope when things seem hopeless; it gives you strength when you feel weak; it gives you security when you are afraid; and it gives you a “knowing” when you feel as if you know nothing.

You can’t always control what life hands you, but if you’re going to play in this “game of life,” let “faith be your game changer.”

It works every time, and this I know for sure.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“Voice of the Sea”

The ocean has always been a place of peace and inspiration for me and I’m blessed to live so close to it. It’s a place to still my mind and listen to my thoughts and intuition. It’s a place to get lost in the sounds of the rhythm of the ocean and marvel at the miracle of it. And if your mind is open you’ll hear the voice of the sea!

This is one of the songs I wrote. Just click on the title and you’ll be able to listen. I hope you enjoy it!

Wishing you a beautiful day filled with love, light and all good things,

~Anne Dennish~

 

 

Lyrics by Anne Dennish / Music & Vocals by Sutton Thomas