Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How do you stay so positive lady?

Hello Crazy Sexy Goddess and Gods (thanks Amy!)..

So I've been getting this question a lot from reporters, bloggers and even my mail man. Let's dish it!

I wrote in my book that survivor isn't a term, it's an attitude. Survivors are like tea bags, ya never know how strong we are till you dip us in hot water. Right?!? I still have cancer but the day I started to call myself a survivor my whole perception shifted. As women and men with cancer we live every day with a mind bending weight on our shoulders. We tiptoe on the razor-edge of mortality, one hand touching the heavens, the other grabbing the earth. We juggle dying with living while paying the bills, doing the grocery shopping, picking up the kids, changing the oil, fixing that damn leaky pipe. Are we not “surviving” while managing the demands of a busy life? The planet doesn’t stop and wait for us to get well, so why should we? And why should anyone define us as anything other than the dynamic hot tomatoes that we are?

I'm a winner now, not when this dark stigma thing is over. I can’t put my life on hold because of cancer. To do that would waste my time and energy. Plus, I wouldn't give cancer that kind of power. I have a lot of things to do! Ultimately it just takes more energy for me to be negative. Life is a terminal condition, cancer patients are just more aware of it. As someone with a chronic disease, if I spend my precious days in anger and outrage I’ll miss the good stuff, the cake, cartwheels and the sunshine.

For me, it’s just easier to stay in the light, to stay positive. Negativity is exhausting and brings my entire vibration down. Now that said, I am a human being and some days are tough, tough, tough. When they are, sit with them, feel them, let them soak in and then maybe, just maybe, try to find the giggle. Isn't it all just so silly sometimes. Cancer is a strong wind and if yoga teaches me anything, it teaches me to sway with it. Some days you want to push the river but perhaps in those moments you can wake up to the force of it, grab your golden inner tube and float baby float.

Remember this too, your only true belongings are your actions. Today (8/15/07) my action is to choose to find the good, the uplifting and the love. It's all around me. My cat just came over for a little scratch and pat. Ahhh, a sign!

No one is more powerful than you. Not even that silly little "c" - canSer. Remember to spell it wrong just to piss it off.

Peace veggies and a heck of a lot O' love to each of you,
aka Cancer Cowgirl :)


Especially Heather said...

Amen :) Today my objective is to find some lovely scarves for my bald head... I am going to venture out into the world, kids in tow and for the first time NOT put on my wig :)

My daughter said it best: "Mom, it doesn't matter what is on your head, its what is in your heart"

Thats my girl :)

Bizzikid said...

The way I figure it, you have a choice to be positive or not. I like myself much better when I am positive and what it does to those around me. I find that a smile looks better than a frown and so does some color... Life is a choice and it is best to choose to live it! I applaud your efforts look forward to seeing your documentary.

Many Blessings,

lifeisagrandslam said...


Is it too early in our relationship to say that I LOVE YOU!! (Will you still respect me in the morning?) Ha, I crack myself up...seriously though, I first heard about you through a pal who saw your film at SXSW. Then I learned more through Erin Zammett Ruddy's Glamour blog. And I CAN'T WAIT until Aug. 29!!

I was dx with a rare, incurable cancer called GIST 6 years ago. Gleevec (Erin's CML miracle drug) is also supposed to be a miracle cure for GIST, but it didn't do a damn thing for me except maybe slow the process a bit. (Luckily, the type of GIST I have is slow-growing anyway.) So 10 weeks ago I started a new oral drug, Sutent. I have my 1st "is this working?" CT scan tomorrow (yawn...I try not to get too worked up about these things anymore...). Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, you know?

Anyway, I struggled a long time with my cancer identity - if it's incurable and over 50% of my liver is full of tumors, am I a patient? Or a survivor? Much like you, I finally decided that if walking around every day with all this crap in my body isn't "surviving", then what is??

I watched the film trailer on your website & laughed & cried because I see so much of myself in you. So many things you said left me saying, "Yes! That's exactly how this feels!" So, mad love & glitter to you for putting yourself out there & telling it how it is. I feel as though I know you, although relatively speaking I know so little about you...I think you may be my newest cancer soul sister. And now I will stop rambling before you label ME the newest Crazy (in a bad way) chick in YOUR life. :)
-Laura in Ohio

CrazyCanuck said...

Amen to all that and more!

As a 35 year old current breast cancer survivor (current? ongoing? post chemo, pre-mastectomy...what is the correct term anyways?) I love your outlook on life.

Especially Heather, you can go out without your wig! Just ignore the looks and stare down everyone!

When life gives you lemons...ask for the tequila and salt!

Mary Jane Steele said...

Hi Kris,
My name is Jane and I was recently diagnosed with cancer. Hodgkin's Lymphoma to be exact. I am going to be 30 next month. I just bought your book from on rush delivery. I also plan on coming and see you on tour while you are in the San Francisco area. I just wanted to stop by and ask you if I could add your page to my blog page. Please feel free to check out my page.

You're positive attitude is such an inspiration to me. I am trying to be positive but I have my days where I just want to kick, scream and cry all day. I am very excited to read your book and watch you on TLC and hopefully meet you in person.

Thank you and take care,

laurabel said...


First of all, congrats on being such an inspiration! I saw a preview for your documentary on TLC and immediately wrote down the date, I can't wait to see it!
I'm 25 years old and was dx with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia almost 3 years ago. It also a rare form of leukemia, yet there are many treatment options so I was very lucky to go into remission quickly.
It is so refreshing to hear the story from a young woman's point of view and your positivity reminds me to keep pushing forward and to live more and worry less!
Thank you:)

Laura in Canada

Rani said...

Keeping a positive mind is the way you is the KEY.

I finished chemo in Jan. and got pregnant in Feb. so we don't know if I am yet a survivor.

Thanks for your book and your blog... I will keep reading, I love what I have read so far.

Kim Thomas said...

wow, my brother in law forwarded me your link today, I thought it was some crazy thing.

I am 32 and was dx about 3 weeks ago with hypopharyngeal carcinoma which in cancer in my throat. It took so long for the doctors to conclude what the biopsy said was true....i was just WAY to young. This type of cancer only shows in older people. I was only told yesterday that we were going to go ahead with the Radiotherapy. All i can do now is pray that this works and that it doesn't ever come back.

I try to stay positive, and your trailer made me laugh, and choke up inside.
is my blog that i started to document everything so the people around me know what is going on. I hope by next year this is a distant memory. said...
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Beth said...

On August 29th, is Crazy, Sexy Cancer being shown at 9:00 p.m. eastern time? I'll be out of time and want to make sure I set the recorder for the correct time. I live in MST!

Scarlett said...

Wow. I'm buying your book today. Today my objective is to try to think of myself as a survivor instead of a patient. And maybe to overcome my phobia of veggies.

100% said...

when i sat in the dimly lit dr.'s office with my husband and parent's after a diagnosis of non-hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 27, my mother spoke up and said; "the only percentage of survival for us is 100%". i try to use that as my mantra everyday. now 4 years, an autologous stem cell transplant, various chemo sessions, total body irradiation, localized radiation, one blood clot, and one oopharectomy later... i am here, and 100%. my new normal consists of being a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, art teacher and field hockey coach and just recently an ovarian tissue transplant recipient. what does this mean for young women recently diagnosed with cancer? that you are not bound to the side-effects of a situation where there is little can change your destiny. do not be afraid to talk to your oncologist's about how to preserve your fertility. most likely they will not bring it up with you, their job is to kill your cancer, not worry about your life afterwards. be proactive in your treatments. ask your doctor about ovarian tissue preservation and consult with a reproductive endocrinologist! now at 31, my journey continues with this disease, this time in search of starting a family. my ovarian tissue was reimplanted 3 weeks ago and we have slipped back into the routine of testing, waiting and seeing, but there will only ever be one option for me...100%.
Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions about this procedure.

~Heather~ said...

kudos, kris! good stuff!

JV Media Design said...

"Life is a terminal condition", that kind of says it all, huh? It's all about perspective and if more people knew that, we'd probably live in a better world.

The day I finally started to get perspective was the day my boyfriend said to me (while I was in the middle of a very big anxiety attack), "there are stars out there going supernova". Suddenly I thought, "what the heck am I worried about anxiety for?". That was just the start of a very long process for me and much like you and your cancer, I look at anxiety as my own "guru" of sorts, because if I didn't go through 4 years of that, refusing conventional treatments, finding my own path, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'm very grateful anxiety is not life-threatening (but even TCM teaches that imbalances left untreated can lead to dis-ease) but no matter what life throws at you it's all about your attitude, the learning experience and blazing your own trail.

I've told all my friends about your documentary and some (like me, originally) were not too keen on the title, but I urged them to check out the site anyway and then they agreed that what you are doing is fantastic.

Aura said...

Yes Yes Yes - you are one amazing cowgirl! Canser makes you look at your life closely without rushing through to get to some imaginary pot of gold. You are one amazing young woman, Kris, I know you will spread lots and lots of Sunshine! Everyone will be wearing sunglasses, preferably ones with glitter and rhinstones.

Love, M

Mae said...

When I am asked the same question...I respond...I have terminal cancer...I am SO depressed OR I have terminal cancer I am SO Happy...either way I still have terminal I choose HAPPY!!!

Rob Pollock said...

Loved this post Kim. Especially the first paragraph..
"As women and men with cancer we live every day with a mind bending weight on our shoulders. We tiptoe on the razor-edge of mortality, one hand touching the heavens, the other grabbing the earth..."
So well said. I posted some information about your movie, book, and website on my blog yesterday.

Will your movie be coming out on DVD?

Carpe Diem! Rob; in Vancouver
"A Cancer Journal"

miriam said...

I was diagnosed with ehe in December (at the age of 31) and one of the reason why I'm so excited to tune in on the 29th is that I've never even SEEN another ehe survivor, much less met one. And it always makes me feel better to know that although cancer is a club that I really didn't want admission to, once inside, it really makes me feel better to look around and know how inspiring and terrific the other members are.

I'm so looking forward to the film - the trailer was one big, "Omygod, I was THERE!" moment. Did you go in for a liver biopsy and all the nurses were convinced you must have hepatitis because you were clearly too young for cancer, so they would lean over and whisper, "hepatitis?" and when you get to say "no, cancer," (much louder) they would get all flustered and confused and pull out the chart, muttering, "really? cancer? but so young... huh, well I'll be." No? Maybe that was just me.

Can I mention that I have a cowgirl cookie jar that used to hold sugary baked goods that now holds wholegrain non-sugary goodness? I feel like such a stalker/fan club member, but I'm just so excited!


ruthg said...

Yesterday morning, I picked up the August issue of Skirt Magazine (I live in Atlanta) and saw the full page ad for "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" and wondered what the heck it was all about. Later in the afternoon I got an email from a friend with a link to your site. Wow! We must be related somehow!

I was dx'd in October '05 with a crazy sexy cancer called nueroendocrine carcinoma. When I found out, I had nine mets in my liver, they couldn't find a primary site and my first question was, "Could this have anything to do with alcohol???" The answer was no, but the doctors were baffled. Like you, I've been one huge experiment so have made a new career for myself figuring it all out.

Basically I use conventional medicine for crisis management and rely on lots of alternative therapies to stay healthy. Well, a crisis occurred last month when an MRI showed fifteen mets in my brain -- yikes!

Now that I'm down the road a ways with radiation and have my alternative team in high gear, I'm kicking ass and taking names. My radiologist and oncologist are AMAZED at how well I'm doing (no surprise to me, of course!) and have actually given me a little time off while they decide the next phase of treatment. So I'm heading to a detox spa the first week of September.

Anyway, I just had to write and say how much I love your site and can't wait to see the movie on August 29th! We're kindred spirits, for sure, although I turn 50 on September 24th so obviously have a few years on you!

All the best,


JessShu said...

Hey Kris - Just wanted to say Rock On! Your blog is very refreshing and something that I think should be required reading for ALL people, not just those with cancer.

I get asked the "how do you stay so positive" question all the time and I always say that I never felt like I had a choice in acting any other way. For me, being positive was the only way to be. I will admit, by nature I am a positive and optimistic person, but like you, there was no way that I was going to let my cancer keep me down and keep from living my life -- I also worked right through all my treatments as much as I could.

I was diagnosed with Hodgkins in November 05 at the age of 26 and now after chemo, an autologous stem cell transplant and radiation, I am finally cancer free. Like you, I also wondered about when I could call myself a survivor. But then one day I had a work event with the folks from the American Cancer Society while I was in the midst of my radiation treatments and I mentioned to one ACS worker that I would soon be able to call myself a survivor -- and she told me that the ACS defines everyone as a survivor from the day of diagnosis until the end of their life. Pretty nice, huh? I hadn't thought of it that way, but it's definitely the truth! So all of us are truly survivors!!!

I look forward to your documentary on TLC and I'm so glad that you're doing this blog. It's refreshing to hear from more and more young women who've been through some of the same things as me. During my treatments at the hospital, it was pretty rare that I would come across other young women. Most people were much older than me.

So thanks for bringing us all together and encouraging us to lead crazy, sexy lives!

Stay strong!
-Jess in Boston

Jen Singer said...

I keep hearing I'm "amazing," when really, I don't feel so amazing a lot of the time. I feel cranky that I keep waking up from dreams where I have hair and can runt to find out I still have cancer.

But I can laugh. That's why I've started the Wacky Wig Contest, which will go up soon on my web site for moms, Friends and family have sent me the craziest wigs designed to make me look ridiculous and I will comply -- and take pictures.

I figure if you're a bald woman, you might as well have some fun.

macattack said...

You are a leader. Your driving force will touch every person on this planet, either directly or indirectly.

One leader of people led us to take off our bras and throw them into the river. You are teaching us to stand tall, be proud and do away with our wigs.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me that my life is a wondrous miracle.

sultrysimone said...

Hey all you sexy cancer mommas. I have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years and just found out its back! Here we go again!!! Well I can do it and I will once again prevail. Mine is breast cancer. I am so excited to see the show on TLC. It looks awsome. I hope the best for all of you.TTFN

Maurice said...

Dr. Robert Young,
promotes a drink called Supergreens,
just curious if that is mentioned in the documentary. I have the DVR set and
looking forward to learning about your journey and the decisions that made all
the difference. said...
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thejuicechick said...


I took your book with me on my vacay and couldn't put it down! I laughed so much. You are singing to the choir Cowgirl!

YOU ROCK cancer Sista!

My Semi-Colon buds (we're colon/rectal cancer goddesses)(who kick cancer butt!) are all gonna watch your movie. I haven't seen any trailers so can't comment on that, but the negative comments on the title just sound like Party Poopers on the loose.

I wish my sister had been able to read your book when she was dx'ed at 29 with intestinal cancer. She's a Party Cowgirl in the Sky finding other pastures on which to romp now, sadly for us, but she had a baby 5 months before she rode off into the sunset and her spirit lives on.

Thank you for writing your book. We all have a story to share and I LOVED reading yours and your Cancer Posse's.

peace, emily the juice chick

mowmoe said...

THANKS for the inspiration. I HAD ovarian, and hope I never have any type again. I bought your book, and saw your movie. I am also trying my best to promote your work @ my cancer center. I now have 1 inch of hair on my head, chemo, of course, but chose red (not the blond I used to be!)-RED is strong and bold, and can face anything! You are amazing, and I'll be following your tracks. Hope to see you @ some point!