Finally! Chemo is over!

It is! Can you believe it? Yes, I still have to wait for the side effects to subside but that should only take a couple of weeks. Although, you know what I’ve noticed? That my body seems to have gotten used to the chemo infusion every three weeks because just a few days before the third week my mouth starts to feel tender. We’ll see how it goes this time but I’ll try not to think about it too much so that I’m not bringing it on with my thoughts. Anyway, I wanted to let you know how I feel about chemotherapy and the fact that I’m done with it.

First of all, I think I was fortunate in that I thought I was going to go through 16 rounds of it. That’s what I was expecting and trying to get ready for – sixteen! So when, on my fourth round, the nurse said, “Only two more to go!” with a big smile, it felt like a HUGE relief. Not only that but it felt like it went by soooo much faster. I have to admit though, that the last two were the hardest because I knew that I only had two more to go and it seemed that the hands on the clock just wouldn’t go fast enough. But it finally came and no, it’s not over because I still need to go through a Herceptin infusion every three weeks and of course, surgery but I’ll jump through that hoop when I get to it. Right now I want to enjoy the fact that I no longer have to go through the upset stomach and the tired legs and tender mouth and especially, the tasteless food. That’s what I’m happy about right now.

I also want to tell you that I could not be more grateful and fortunate to have the family that God gave me. I’ve had all the support that anybody could want and for that I’m grateful. I know there have been days when it didn’t seem that way, when the housework put me in a bad mood or when your brothers’ screaming was too much or you made me mad or when your dad was too sensitive and made me mad too, it may have seemed as though I couldn’t see the good that was happening in our home or like all of this was going to be so much harder than anybody would have thought but believe I was trying hard every single day. And look at us! We’ve made it through the first part and we’re alive and happy and sometimes mad or sad or whatever but isn’t that every family? And considering what we have been through these past months, I’d say we’re doing awesomely (how do you like my new word?) well, don’t you think?

The last thing I wanted to tell you is that I’ve decided to start a new blog. Remember how you though one my new journals was going to be about the current political/social situation? (Yes, I do NOT want to write his name) Well, no the journal hasn’t been completely about that but I do have to mention it every once in a while. But what you and the journal made me think was that what I want to say, I want to say to others not just to myself. I have a lot of thoughts about everything that is going on and not so much politically but socially because that’s what makes my head feel blubbered. So, yeah, that’s one of the reasons I started the new blog. Another reason is that I needed a platform for my writing because I’ve been stuck with your grandma’s story and haven’t been able to write much about anything else. I need a place where I feel like my writing is serving some sort of purpose. If you go right now, to the new blog ,you’ll notice that I haven’t written about anything serious yet, that’s because I’m a “test the waters first” kind of person, you know that. Besides, writing essays takes a while and although I enjoy writing them, they are not easy to write but you know that already don’t you?

There you go! that’s what’s going on right now and what I hope you take from this is that gratitude is very important. Always be grateful for the little, the medium, and the big people, things and situations that life gives you. Being grateful for the little things though (food, water, warm showers, the window in your room, sight, touch, sound, taste, smell, etc.), that is especially important because it keeps you attentive, grounded, and happy. It takes practice but it is doable, believe me 🙂

As always, I love you very much!

Mom

 

P.S. The new blog address is: esperanzabeltranblog.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My (lack of) hair, again . . .

I’ve been thinking that I had not shared with you how I felt the day I shaved my head. That was a very important day in my life with cancer. And because I can’t remember exactly what I felt, I’m going to share with you that very special part of my journal.

I shaved my head.

Of course I cried. I had to. I think it was like the ultimate sign of my having cancer. This whole cancer thing still feels strange. Foreign, even. Like it’s still not something I’m going through. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. As in: Really? It’s me who has cancer? Or maybe it’s not so much a question as it is a shock. I don’t know. All I know is I have a lot to be thankful for. My husband who, not only shaved my head and shaved his own, but also cried with me when I faced him with my bald head. Maybe it was the waiting for the baldness to arrive that had me in a rut. I don’t know but whatever it was I guess I simply accepted that I had to do this, like the quick pull of a bandage. It’s faster and less painful but painful nonetheless. And I’m still a woman. A stronger woman? I hope so. I strive to be so. There’s still a picture I need to take. I know that one day I will want to look back just to see how far I’ve come (or will have come). There’s still a lot of work to do. Still a lot of fears to overcome. It’s okay. All will be – is – as it is supposed to be and You (God) are with me. Thank you!

I hadn’t read this util now and I’m glad I felt this way because as you know I don’t always feel like this. But when it’s necessary, I do. I have to. I have to because if I don’t then I will fall deep. Becoming bald was not easy but actually being bald has not been all that hard. It’s easy to cover up, it’s forced me to get creative and see myself in a new way. It’s one thing less to worry about in the mornings. It’s forced me to see a part of me I had not seen before and today, physically at least,  I know myself just a little bit better than I did before. All this is not so say that I want to remain bald because I don’t. I already have a stylist lined up and  am more than excited imaging how I’m going to style my hair when it grows back. What if it grows back curly? or brown? or thicker? or white?! I try not to scare myself with that but I do think about it and if it does grow back white I gonna try my hardest to just own it and be happy to have hair. We’ll see how that works out for me.

I leave you with a picture I took today on my morning walk . . .

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P.S. I love you very mucho!

Love,

Mom

 

 

This Year . . .

I’ve decided to start writing about this cancer thing I’m going through. I’m at Barnes and Noble right now, I’ve picked up a few interesting books I think will help me understand what it is my body’s going through. How my brain (mind) can help me heal my body. I also want to explore how art and creativity will play a role in this. Actually there’s a few parts to this (in no specific order):

• The Brain
• Nutrition
• Creativity
• Spirituality
• Friends and Family
• Biology

This is a draft version of how I’m dividing my understanding of everything I’m going through. My head seems to be going in circles right now cause I’m so excited. I’m also worried a little about my grandmother’s story but something tells me that this has to come first. I have to understand myself first before I can continue trying to understand someone else. I feel like I’m my own little experiment. Anyway, the last thing I want to do is stress myself out worrying about a story that I know I can’t continue right now. Okay, so the books I’ve decided to begin my research with is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Who is Henrietta Lacks? She is a woman whose cells were cut from her cervix some months before her death and now those cells are the first immortal human cells. This is a small excerpt from the book:

“…what she’d think about cells from her cervix living on forever – bought, sold, packaged and shipped by the trillions to laboratories around the world. I’ve tried to imagine how she’d feel knowing that her cells went up in the first space mission to see what would happen to human cells in zero gravity, or that they helped with some of the most important advances medicine: the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization.”

Very interesting right? This is a woman whose cells helped in creating what is now helping heal the cells in my own body. I think that is so amazing, my own little connection to this black woman who lived in the early 20th century.

This is where I’m so happy I love to read!

Everything will be okay, I hope you know that 🙂

Love,

Mom

OMG!

I AM SO TIRED!

I’ve been cleaning, drilling, ripping off cabinets, painting, cutting wood, and even installing flooring. You name it, I’ve done it or will do it!

Oh, yeah, your dad helps too 😉

I like it though, saves me from having to cook too much. haha!

We’ll probably be painting the living room this weekend. So excited about that.

Oh and can’t wait to show you the office, it’s red, turquoise, and yellow. You’re gonna love it!

Oh, and tomorrow we go to Lila Down’s concert at the Pantages. So excited about that too. I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures for you.

Our neighbors are some little blonde girls that Nauj made Gael say hi to. And then I heard them talking . . .

N: Do you like a girl?

G: Oh a girl? Yeah.

N: What’s her name?

G: I don’t know.

N: Oh. . . Me too

You should’ve heard them. It was so cute.

Watch out with Nauj, he’s growing up.

I haven’t taken any pictures lately but here’s this one that we’re going to buy . . .

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Just to make you laugh a little : )

Love,

Mom

I’m Sorry

I’ve been away for a few days. Between fixing the house, packing and painting the cheer box I haven’t had time for much. But I’m still here 🙂

I haven’t even gone to the writing group and I probably won’t go tomorrow either. Plus, I think I need to keep my writing to myself for a while.

Today I’m going to draw Gael’s animals in his room. He’s so excited. Especially because your dad gave him the idea of painting a different theme on each wall: safari, farm, sea, and insects. But I’m not gonna do that. Unos dos caballos y ya.

No, maybe not just two horses but I’ll have him choose between farm and safari. Although, I think he became a little confused about which animal goes where. He thinks the safari is the zoo and since we went to the zoo when we visited you, and he saw chickens and pigs there, now he thinks chickens and pigs are safari animals (aka zoo animals).

I already tried to explain it to him but his feelings get hurt – you know how he feels about his animals. Lately, everywhere we go he fills his plastic bag with the green trim and his elephant backpack with as many animals as he can carry. He takes them EVERYWHERE. Were you there the day he actually fell back because of the weight of his backpack? He was sitting on a little ledge and the weight pulled him straight back. Haha! Luckily it was only dirt that was behind him and he didn’t get hurt. I wasn’t there but your grandma told me and I’m laughing just imagining it.

This picture is now on my desktop

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You chose a beautiful place to go to college, I really loved it. ❤

And I really love you,

Mom

This Weekend . . .

I’ve been packing a lot lately. I’m almost done. And I thought we didn’t have a lot of stuff. I’m trying to get rid of as much as possible, really. I’m going to try and keep ONLY what we need, I’m gonna get rid of a lot of dishes that have just been sitting there and I’m going to buy only what I REALLY like for the kitchen so it looks cute and that way I will feel like cooking. Not even with a cute kitchen you don’t think I’ll want to cook? Okay, maybe you’re right but I do have to cook anyway and if I have a pretty kitchen then maybe at least it’ll make me want to walk in – and look around : )

Here are some pictures from yesterday’s carne asada at Angeles Forest where the sun was shining and leaves were sprinkling over our heads.

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mmm . . . want some arroz rojo?
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Your dad went crazy and, well . . . can you find him?
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Then we went on a hunt for some treasure and came upon . . .
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A zoo and its zookeeper!
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There was a super tall baby giraffe who was eating a tree . . .
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There was even an octopus that was not in a good mood and attacked your brother, that fight got pretty cray cray!

If this zoo is still around when you come home I’ll take you to it, the zookeeper is pretty awesome, he has all types of animals.

A lot of homework this weekend? Keep up the good work!

Love,

Mom (who loves you very much!)

Yesterday Morning: ahhhhh

Yesterday, after I dropped off your brothers, I decided to go to Panera. I sat there  drinking a green smoothie and eating a cheese pastry. I wrote for a little bit and then went home. And then you know what I did? I sat down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Can you believe that? I didn’t want to but I really needed it.

I started watching Club de Cuervos, it’s a new Netflix series. It started out kind of !!!!! ! like The Wolf of Wallstreet type of !!!!!. I even wanted to cover my eyes but it was just a little piece in the beginning, the rest of the program was actually pretty good. It’s about a brother and sister whose dad owns a soccer team and dies of a heart attack. The son, who is very irresponsible and immature, takes his place as president but the company doesn’t want to give the position to the sister because she’s a woman and her dad wanted her to raise a family. Of course that’s not what she wants, she wants to be president because she’s good at her job. That’s the main issue and then there’s this other drama with the woman their dad was living with and who is about to have a baby . . . DNA test . . . one third of the dad’s fortune . . .

It’s pretty good, might have to bingewatch.

Then I went to sleep. Soooo goooood!

And the rest of the day was busy busy

Today was picture day with Nauj. I ironed his shirt, a collared shirt. I gave it to him, he took it and when we were about to leave and I didn’t see him wearing it I asked him about it.

Yeah, it’s in my backpack.

And he says it like it’s fine, no problem.

Ayayay!

So proud of you, have a good day today 🙂

Love,

Your Má

Hi! Love You!

My head is blank right now. It’s like a have a lot to tell you but I can’t remember what it is. It’s all gone.

I should actually be packing cause it’s almost time to move and there’s still so much to pack. Mostly it’s the art room that is still full of stuff. I’ve packed up one more box but there’s still more to pack. I feel like I can’t finish, I know you’re thinking that it’s because of ALL the stuff I have in there but it’s just a lot of the little things. Actually, I don’t even know. I don’t want to go in there. I don’t want to pack.

But I can’t wait to start painting and decorating the other house. I already pinned a lot of stuff of my Pinterest board. And I just started a new “Mexican inspired” board, look . . .

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Are the colors too much for you? That’s why I added a little bit of white in there. But don’t worry, I’m not going to paint the house like this, even though I would love to, it’s just for inspiration. I do like the skull wallpaper though. And the sarape on the blue chair, I like that too.

And I love the hot pink on the stairway! But don’t worry, I’m not going to paint the wall that color. Maybe when I have my house in the country. En el rancho.

Well, I hope you had a nice day today. Study hard, keep warm and have fun! SAFE fun : )

Love,

Mom

How Are You?

How was your day? Your first day of college classes? Were they fun? Hard? Exciting? Nerve-wracking? Boring?

All of the above? (except boring, I hope)

Well, échale ganas!

I know you can do it!

At home, things are as normal as they can be, considering we’re down one (miss you!)

Yesterday we spent the day with your grandma, your uncle and his girlfriend. (Nauj went to work with your dad)

We had a good day, if you don’t count the fact that I was feeling a little down, or not really down, just worried. Worried about you. Are you eating well? Will you be okay? Are your friends responsible friends? Will you forget about us? Are you being good to yourself? Plus so many other questions that didn’t let me concentrate on Gael all that much, after all we were taking him out for his birthday, even if it was only us five.

First we went to La Placita Olverathat was nice. I always love going there. We went into La Plaza de Cultura y Artes so Gael could play in the Calle Principal (aka Main Street). At first he just didn’t understand what he was supposed to do there but when we played pretend in the little grocery store, he got it and then he didn’t want to leave.

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I offered him chiles from a jar but it was glued shut, then I offered him a can of beans (or something else, can’t remember) but they were screwed on to the shelf. Then I offered to weigh the (toy) fruits and vegetables he had put in the basket (a real basket, a canasta) but the needle on the scale was missing. OMG! But he was having fun anyway, and you know I enjoyed it too. First it was my turn to stand behind the counter and I charged him $5 cause we were in the 1920’s but when it was his turn he charged me $100 because he only knows the present where it costs $10 to buy a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs. So that’s what he charged me. He’s so cute.

We also went inside the clothing store and he tried on some nice clothes

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So cute!

Then we went back out to La Placita and looked at all the little stands with all their cute Mexican (and sometimes not so Mexican) art. They have a lot of new stuff now: mirrors backed with a Loteria card and decorated with glitter glue, aprons with chile and skull prints, wallets that look like conchas of all the three colors that I think a stared a little too long at because I was getting hungry, tissue paper fiesta banners, and this cute wood thing to hang on the wall that I plan on making cause it is so easy to make and I could put any picture I want on it. Your uncle’s girlfriend liked it and I might make one for her too, with a Frida picture, you know how much she likes Frida.

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Do you ever wonder how many times you’ve shown up as a random person in someone else’s picture?

We also went inside the Avila House, I never get bored of that place.

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But Gael was kinda bored in there, so we just took a quick look.

We finished the day off at the spaghetti place we like on 3rd St. Only this time I didn’t choose spaghetti, I chose rice, chicken, and veggies (yeah, I know, then what’s the point of eating there? pero se me antojó, sorry). Gael chose pizza though. I thought the old lady in front of us in line was going to pay for his slice, she kept talking to him then asked his name and called him to stand next to her when her turn came up but then she just left him standing there so had to pay. Ay que viejita . . . she was so nice and cute though.

Finally, to end the day we went to the park across the street where the entrance is pretty much lined with vendors selling all their colorful toys and shhh . . . tuff that every kid begs their mom for. Ayayay! But Gael didn’t ask for anything. I had already bought him one of those at the Placita Olvera, it was inside the elephant backpack with his animals.

Hope you had a good weekend too! Glad you’re making friends. Thanks for the pictures, my favorite:

Love,

Mom

Just Another Day

Dear Mi’ja,

(I know I don’t call you Mi’ja but it just looks so cute and artistic 🙂 )

The house is quiet and the Ranch Doritos in the bowl are tasty. I’ve washed the bathrooms and done the laundry. In the Altec speakers Lila Downs is singing Cucurrucucú. I know she’s not your favorite artist but I like her music because she reminds me of my childhood but at the same time she make me feel proud of the present. You know because she’s from Oaxaca, I’m from Oaxaca. We’re practically sisters.

Nauj and Gael are at the Aquarium of the Pacific with your grandma. I looked it up on Yelp yesterday and this is what I found:

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Creepy huh?

Remember that story I wrote about the day I stole the Whitney Houston cassette from conceited Jessica? I’m getting ready to submit it to a contest or a magazine, I can’t decide which one. The contest is with the Boston Review which is, of course, a very good place to get read, but the magazine I want to submit to is about Latinas which, you know, is awesome. I looked over the story again and all I found were a few spelling and grammar mistakes, nothing big so I think it might be ready. I’m a little nervous but I think it’s time and I might go with the Boston Review. I’ve read some of their stuff and I liked it    so . . . what the heck!

I’m also still working on Abuelita’s story and I’m getting to the exciting part where she leaves with (or is taken by) her “husband.” Exciting!

Hope you had fun exploring your new neighborhood, I’m sure it’s beautiful.
Oh! I found these blogs for you, they have easy recipes for college students like you.

www.theantiramen.com

and

www.cookingwithoutlimits.wordpress.com (she has really cute food pictures)

Please take very good care of yourself!

Love,

Mom

P.S. I miss you!