Category Archives: cancer

Sleep forever and a day *

For my entire adult life, I have experienced sleep paralysis, usually with hallucinations – and not just a random bout, but frequently, often occurring during afternoon naps. I thought this was normal, that everyone had it, and I’d always request that my dating partners awaken me immediately if they heard me make a noise in my sleep, as that would mean I was feeling trapped. Sleep paralysis is as terrifying as it sounds – I have “seen” figures in my room, pulling the sheets off of my bed while I was unable to move.

I’m tired 100% of the time. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, and have fallen asleep during movies, at school, at jobs, and very nearly while driving. Chalked it up to side effects from depression or Gaucher’s.

While we were in LA this summer, we drove down to Redondo to visit my Boston Terrier friend, Tammy and her wife. Through the course of conversation (and a few local beers!), I learned that Tammy used to be a sleep specialist, and it was she who told me that what I was experiencing was definitely not normal. Tammy urged me to get a sleep study done with an MSLT, which I did last month and I was legitimately happy to have a diagnosis. I just started medication and already feel less lethargic and more alert, less cranky & more positive. It’s also nice to be able to say “fuck you” to the ex-boyfriends who thought I was “lazy” because I needed to sleep. 😉

Throughout these past few months, Tammy texted me information, explained the process of the tests, and looked up medications for me. I am so grateful for her knowledge and support, and so lucky to know her. What’s wild about this is that we met through our dogs’ Instagram accounts several years ago – you never know what kind of amazing people will come into your life via the world of social media!

I’m sharing a cool article about sleep paralysis for you to read here, but I’m also going to encourage you do something else. The whole time Tammy was helping me, she was also kicking ovarian cancer’s ass – a fight that’s not quite finished.

Sometimes it’s the kindness of people you may not know super well, or who you’ve only known a short amount of time that can make the greatest impact. Tammy took the time to not just listen, but engage, and support. She didn’t have to do that – we live on opposite coasts and it would have been easy to say good luck and forget all about it. But she didn’t. She stayed present and is the very epitome of present – documenting her experiences through her photos on Instagram, showing us the beauty in everyday life – a cat eating fish on a street in Italy, dragon kites flown at the beach, shadows of palm trees on Union Station. In this way, she forces you to be present. To view what we may feel are our ordinary lives as extraordinary. For me, this is street photography at its finest.

So here’s the thing: Tammy literally gave me free medical advice without having her own medical insurance. It was terminated – without warning – January of this year. While battling stage IV ovarian cancer, and the multitude of repercussions as a result from that – physical, emotional, financial. This is where my ask comes in – a request to join me in showing gratitude for kindness. Gratitude for keeping us present. Gratitude for her joy.

Just click on Tammy, and you’ll know what to do from there. 💙

why yes, I am sunburnt to hell and back

*title taken from the song ‘Night Nurse’ by Dean & Britta.

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Fight like a GIRL

I want to take a step back and talk about two of my friends who are facing some tough challenges right now.

First up is my lovely Afro gal pal, Kaitee. A few months ago, after suffering extreme exhaustion, difficulty breathing, and finding a lump on her neck, she decided to go to the doctor – a challenging thing to do when one doesn’t have health insurance. It’s a good thing she spent the money to do so, as she was diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. While – thankfully – treatable, it costs a lot – financially, emotionally, and physically. A working mom, Kaitee has had to quit her job indefinitely, while her fiance works as much extra as possible to take care of her and the family. I’m happy to say she’s destroying this cancer like the bad ass that she is, but she’s still got a way to go. She’s one of the hardest working, kindest people I know, am I’m glad to have been able to call her my friend for the past ten years! Here’s the link to Kaitee’s gofundme, started by our friend, Lindsey, and where she is SO CLOSE to the goal! Let’s get her there!

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No one sparkles quite like Kaitee!

Next is my and Rosie’s Boston buddy, Tammy. Rosie and Tammy’s Boston, Coach, have been Instagram friends for a couple of years now, and you might recall that I got to meet both Tammy and Coach in March at the dog beach meet-up in California. Immediately, Tammy embraced me as a member of their tribe, trying to convince us to move to California. I couldn’t have felt more welcome, and can’t wait to take Rosie to a meet-up! Not long after that trip, Tammy found out that she had Stage 4 Ovarian and Lung cancer. She, like, Kaitee, is a total warrior, and is kicking cancer’s ass! But, also like Kaitee, she has had to leave her job in order to fight the good fight. She and her friends have rallied to start BAM for TAM, a group effort to get her where she needs to go, the supplies she needs, and all of our support. Coach, Rosie, and my mom, who is a Scentsy rep, have teamed up and formed TEAM BAM FOR TAM, a fundraiser where all commissions from their Scentsy sales go directly to Tammy and her family. We’re about to start another one, with a custom Tammy and Coach warmer! Here’s the current link to TEAM BAM, but since Facebook only lets one hold events for two weeks at a time, we’ll be creating the new event page this weekend. I will update as soon as it’s live!

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Coach & Tammy, cruising Cali on their bike!