“Dodging the Bullet”

Hey, everyone! Hoping you’re all having a great weekend! It’s a beautiful day here in the South. The Gulf Coast is blessed with amazing sunshine and the temp is currently 82°. 

However gorgeous the day is, the past few days haven’t been so bright for me. As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness. I’m always encouraging ladies to get annual mammograms to keep the ta-tas in check. I began getting mine when I turned forty. The first two years my mammograms came back with clean results, my ta-tas were healthy. *Thank goodness!*

But…. a couple of weeks ago when I went for my annual mammogram everything went well, same as usual….. or so I thought…. Then, last week I got a letter from the Women’s Imaging Center saying that my current screening “required additional imagining studies” and they wanted me to schedule to have another mammogram done. (I got this letter the very same afternoon that I learned about a very close friend of mine being diagnosed with stage three cancer in her intestines, so my nerves were already on end.)

My husband was in the shower and our son was in his room. As I quietly stood in the kitchen trying to keep myself quietly composed while I read the letter about my mammogram results, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat as the tears welled in my eyes. I knew that my breasts felt fine, never any discomfort or anything of the sort, but I also knew that cancer could be present without any signs known to the individual.

I continued to keep silent, not wanting to cause any concern for my son, but when my husband got out of the shower, I showed him the letter. He read it and then told me that I was going to be fine and not to read too much into it. He was being strong when I couldn’t be. But then I remembered dinner and it was time for my family to eat, so I wiped away the tears and kept myself together for the rest of the evening, being my same ol’ silly self.

The next day as soon as I knew the clinic was open I called to make my appointment to have another mammogram. I had to wait a week before I could get in. That meant a week of not knowing what was going on with my body. The fear I concealed from my friends and family wasn’t easy to hold back. With everyone else having their busy lives, I didn’t want to trouble anyone with mine. So I’ve kept this to myself, until now. For those who know me best, I’m actually an extremely private person and don’t talk a lot about my personal life. What I do disclose about myself, I do so in hope to help others find courage and strength to overcome anything they may be going through.

As I said, I had to wait a week before getting my next appointment. Not just the fear of the possibility of maybe having anything cancerous, but also the entire “game changing” that it would do to me and my family. If I did have breast cancer, how would I tell my loved ones? It would crush them! And what would I do for work. I have two jobs, how would I be able to maintain my employment if I had to go to doctor appointments? Also, the treatments…. I know what it can do to the body. I’ve seen dear ones to me suffer and I didn’t want to go through that, too. Didn’t want my family to have to deal with that.

My thoughts were literally running scared. Of course, I continued with my goofy ways, but what I was going through stayed heavy on my mind. And the couple of days right before my appointment were even a little heavier to deal with. I just wanted the next mammogram to be done. I honestly had never wished for a day to be over with so badly.

Yesterday was the day. The alarm clock chimed at 5:40 a.m. I woke my son up for school just like any other day. He still was unaware of everything. My husband held me and reassured me that everything was going to be ok. As sweet as he was being, I still couldn’t stop my eyes from tearing up. But then I composed myself quickly so that our son couldn’t see me that way. About an hour later after my husband left for work and our son left for school, I was on my way to my appointment. I had to be at the Women’s Imaging Center at 7:00 a.m. When I arrived, the lady at the front desk said, “Oh, you’re here for a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound.” I questioned the ultrasound because I wasn’t aware of that one. The lady continued, “That’s just to be on the safe side in case they still have questions about this next mammogram.” I was quietly like, “Ok.” She added with her genuine smile, “Everything’s going to be fine.”

As I sat down, waiting to be called back, Stevie Nicks with Don Henley came on the radio singing “Leather & Lace”. I took a breath and sat still, listening to the song. I took it as a sign, a beautiful, positive sign that everything was going to be alright. Why? Because I am such a huge Stevie Nicks fan and hearing her voice made me feel better. I love her music!!

A few minutes later I was called back to have my mammogram. The tech said, “Oh, you’re back again.” I said quietly, “Yeah, unfortunately.” She, like everyone else, tried to reassure me by saying, “Everything’s gonna be ok.” To be honest, hearing everyone say that was beginning to become quite repetitive, but I knew everyone’s intentions were heartfelt.

During this next mammogram, as the tech was going through the steps, she asked me, “Did you lose weight since last year’s mammogram?” I said, “Yeah, a significant amount.” I then continued to explain why and how I did so by my lifestyle change of eating and being healthier and working out (I wrote about being healthier in a recent article titled, You’re Looking Too Thin.)

The tech looked at me and said, “That’s probably it!” I said, “Really? Cuz the thought did cross my mind.” The tech continued, “Yeah, losing weight can change the shape and appearance of your breasts. That’s probably why the concern of the mammograms from last year to now, but we still have to run the tests just to make absolute sure.”

“WOW!” I thought. I was starting to feel even better! It made total sense. Losing weight, changing my body…. I was beginning to understand things more clearly.

After the mammogram they still wanted to conduct the ultrasound. I happily went along with it. The second tech, just like the first one, was super sweet and made me feel even more comfortable. The ultrasound took nearly ten minutes. After that I had to wait almost ten more minutes for the second tech to return with the results. And you wanna know what?! The results came back perfectly fine!! Yep, that’s right!! A clean bill of health!! Talk about a massive huge weight being lifted off my shoulders!!! PHEW!!!! It was like all that heaviness of fear and the unknown from the previous week just automatically vanished!

I walked out of the ultrasound room and into the main lobby. The lady at the front desk asked me how things went. I gave her a big smile with two thumbs up saying, “Perfect!” She smiled back saying how happy she was for me. She and I then briefly exchanged stories of losing loved ones to breast cancer and how important it is to spread breast cancer awareness. Which lead to my purchase of a new t-shirt that the clinic was selling to raise money for the cause.

I am a very proud supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness! What I recently went through, even though my results came back clean and clear, the whole experience was still a “game changer” for me. It put even more things in perspective, my appreciation for love and life is all the stronger now. Not knowing for that week made me realize how fragile life really can be and how things can be changed literally all in an instant. All the questions… all the fear…. and yet one thing I have to admit is… I never questioned “Why me?”

The reason being is that with my belief, prior to us coming into our lives, us being born, we all agree to a “soul contract” that we accept. Now whether or not we fulfill our contracts, (or even acknowledge them for that matter) is up to our own personal awakening and how open we are to embracing change. (Again, this is my belief and I am not speaking on the behalf of anyone else.)

I am happy to say that I don’t have breast cancer, but if I did…. I would hope that I would continue to spread positive love and light to those who are in need. As a light worker I feel that is extremely important to continue. The night before last, I took a long hard look in the mirror and said to myself, “Alright, if you do have cancer, you’re still gonna do the best you can to live life to the fullest! You will not let this get the best of you! You’re strong, you’re gonna get through this! You have to for yourself and for your loved ones!”

I then put my game face on and said a silent prayer to the Universe… reaching out to the Angels and my Guardians, feeling their positive energy of love and light.

 

 

 

And with all of you, I feel that we should honor the ladies out there who aren’t so fortunate. May our hearts and prayers always go out to the fighters, the survivors and those whose lives were taken by breast cancer!

 

 

In memory of a very dear friend of mine…. Julie. After a long and exhausting battle, she lost her fight with breast cancer nearly four years ago. Along with my family, she is my inspiration to spreading awareness for this extremely important cause!

 

 

Here’s another article I wrote for Breast Cancer Awareness.

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

 

The back of the t-shirt that I proudly bought to show my support for Breast Cancer Awareness!

 

 

The front of the t-shirt that I proudly bought to show my support for Breast Cancer Awareness! It’s a small image on the upper left-hand side of the shirt.

 

 

The delicious homemade cookie that the clinic was giving out. YUM!!!

 

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I’m on The Calling tonight, tune in!!!

Hey everyone be sure to tune in tonight at 7 p.m (CST) / 8 p.m. (EST)! I’m super excited about being the guest on The Calling with hosts, Allan and Jerry!!

We’ll be discussing the paranormal and talking about my book, The Spirit Within! Tonight only on http://www.paraxnetwork.com!

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“Coastal Life”

A beautiful depiction of a day at the beach!

Life here on Alabama’s beautiful Gulf Coast has always been such a blessing to me and my family. We’re originally from Tennessee, moved to the coast back in 2006 after eight years of vacationing at the location.

It’s definitely a different world than from where we’re from, but everything has been such a wonderful change. We don’t have any actual family here, but the close friends that we’ve made while living here have without a doubt become our family. Even though they aren’t blood relatives, they are all special parts of our lives. All of whom we hold very dear to our hearts!

Living on the coast, there’s a sense of wonderment that still captivates me and I wanted to capture that moment so I could share it with you. A day at the beach offers serenity for any and all who appreciate the blissfulness that the coast has to offer.

My artwork simply titled, “Coastal Life” can be found at Fine Art America…… prints, phone chargers, towels, blankets and so much more!

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

(“Coastal Life” ~ artwork by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints, phone chargers, towels, blankets and so much more available only at….. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/coastal-life-sheila-renee-parker.html)

 

The Third Eye Kiss

Such a wonderful, healing gesture that takes very little effort, yet can do so much for an individual.

All one has to do is softly press their lips on the forehead of another, in the center, slightly above the eyebrows. It’s that simple. What does this beautiful act do? “It activates the pineal and pituitary gland of the person and brings a sense of security and well-being to the person.” ~ www.WisdomHealingCenter.com.

When the glands are stimulated, melatonin is released which is a hormone that humans and animals produce that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Hence, a goodnight kiss on the forehead might be just what the doctor could order for those who may be suffering from insomnia.

Here is something else I found interesting. Our pineal glands produce the most potent psychedelic known to man, dimethyltryptamine. Researchers of dimethyltryptamine suggest that it may help encourage personal empowerment, decrease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and inspire self esteem, just to name a few. So, with all that being said about the pineal gland, it makes even more sense why the third eye kiss is so beneficial to one’s well-being!

It could also bridge the gap between two souls wanting to connect on a more spiritual level, therefore creating a closer bond with the mind, body and Spirit….. a Universal connection on so many levels.

 

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ~ John Lennon

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Spooky Random Fact: #19”

“Spooky Random Fact: #19”

Automatic writing….. hmmmm…..

What is this mysterious form of writing and why are some so enraptured by it while others find it insidious? The practice of automatic writing (a.k.a. psychography) is a supernatural ability used by many individuals to communicate with spirits.

Often a person will sit in a trance-like state with a small chalkboard and a piece of chalk. While channeling, the individual allows the spirit to communicate through them. The person will transcribe the spirit’s message onto the chalkboard. This can also be done with the use of pen and paper. The individual, through which the spirit is communicating, claims to have no control over what’s being written, claiming that the spirit is in total control.

The mere thought of doing such an act frightens many people because of the idea of spirits entering (even if it’s for a brief period of time) a person’s body. They fear the possibility of a spiritual attachment. The use of a Ouija Board has also been considered a form of automatic writing.

A well-known case of automatic writing comes from the nineteenth century. New York Supreme Court Judge, John Worth Edmonds didn’t express any interest in automatic writing until after the passing of his wife. Even though Judge Edmonds put his career on the line, that didn’t stop him from pursuing communication with the spiritual world. Along with the help from his spiritualist friends, the judge claimed to have communicated with both historic figures….. Read more at Automatic Writing

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

Master, may I have another fly, please? I’m so hungry…..

Last week my husband and I were attending another one of our son’s football games (we won, by the way, 30 – 17… just sayin’! *happy dance*  Woohoo!!!) While sitting in the stands, my attention got distracted from a few levels down below on the bottom bleacher. I was watching my son’s game when all of a sudden this light brown, rather large moth kept fluttering around and walking back and forth as people passed it by. As focused as I was on the game, I couldn’t help but to keep looking at the bug. It was like I was oddly fascinated by it, drawn to it in a creepy way. It kind of made me feel like Renfield, but without the bug crunching appetite. *thank goodness!*

 

Notably known as “The Fly Man”, R. M. Renfield is a fictional character from the widely renowned horror Gothic novel, Dracula written by Bram Stoker in 1897. Under the care of Dr. Jack Seward and his insane asylum, mental patient Renfield falls victim to the alluring spell of the infamous Count Vlad Dracula.  “The vampire, whose abilities include control over animals such as ratsbats and spiders, comes to Renfield with an offer: if Renfield worships him, he promises to make him immortal by providing an endless supply of insects and rats, as Renfield believes that blood is the source of life.” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renfield

Anyone familiar with this iconic story knows that Renfield likes to munch on insects, like a movie-goer with a tub of popcorn. *Eeeww… sorry, I had a brief shudder moment just thinking about it.* As grotesque as it sounds, according to Stoker’s famed novel, Renfield honestly did believe it gave him immortality.

Now we all know that this is not true, but there actually is a medical condition referred to as Renfield’s Syndrome. It’s also known as Clinical Vampirism which is the obsession with drinking what? BLOOD! (Insert theatrical sound effects here…. *bum bum BUMMM!!*) That’s right! The act of people really doing this is nothing made up.

“The earliest formal presentation of clinical vampirism to appear in the psychiatric literature, with the psychoanalytic interpretation of two cases, was contributed by Richard L. Vanden Bergh and John F. Kelley in 1964.[1] As the authors point out, brief and sporadic reports of blood-drinking behaviors associated with sexual pleasure have appeared in the psychiatric literature at least since 1892 with the work of Austrian forensic psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing. Many medical publications concerning clinical vampirism can be found in the literature of forensic psychiatry, with the unusual behavior reported as one of many aspects of extraordinary violent crimes.[2][3][4]” ~ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_vampirism

Wow! With that being said, upon doing research I discovered that those who have Renfield’s Syndrome include a variety of people. Some are happy to make public their “need to feed”, while others are extremely private about it. Even some serial killers have been known to have this blood-thirsty condition.

For example:

Richard Chase, a.k.a. “The Vampire of Sacramento” (California), killed six people in one month. He ate from their flesh and drank their blood. In December 1980, he committed suicide in his prison cell. He overdosed on the anti-depressant medication prescribed by his doctor that he had been saving up for quite some time.

Fritz Haarmann, a.k.a. “The Vampire of Hanover” (Germany), killed at least twenty-seven people. He committed many of his murders by biting through his victims’ throats. In April 1925, he was executed by guillotine. His last words? “I repent, but I do not fear death.”

Peter Kürten, a.k.a. “The Vampire of Dusseldorf” (Germany), killed at least nine people. It was reported that he drank the blood of several of his victims. In July 1931, he was executed by guillotine.

Roderrick Justin Ferrell, a sixteen year old who claimed he was Vesago, a five hundred year old vampire. He joined a group of teenagers that referred to themselves as “The Vampire Clan”. In 1998 Roderrick became the youngest person to be put on death row in the United States. He was found guilty of murdering a couple in Florida. Since his conviction, his penalty has been reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 

And this last one….. not a serial killer, but still a very disturbing story!

 

James P. Riva, a.k.a. “The Schizophrenic Vampire”, a deranged individual who claimed that he was a seven hundred year old vampire. In April 1980, he stabbed his elderly grandmother in her heart and then shot her four times using bullets that he had painted gold. Prior to setting her house on fire in a poor attempt to cover up his heinous crime, he drank her blood. In 1981 James was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder and arson in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

As fascinated as I am by the whole idea of vampirism that has been romanticized by the Gothic era and Bram Stoker’s amazing novel, Dracula, I would never justify any such act as the above mentioned by the twisted individuals that harbored such a horrific darkness in their hearts. What they did was completely unfathomable.

But…. Do I love a good vampire tale? Of course I do! I mean, come on…. I recently wrote a short story titled, My Phantom Traveler based on the lore. One of my all time fave films is The Lost Boys! Still love the grandpa in that movie, he cracks me up every time I see it! Him using Windex as aftershave when he went to see the old widow Johnson…. lol…. crazy stuff!

So, do vampires really exist or is it all just folklore? For those who have Renfield’s Syndrome, it’s pretty real to them……

Hmmm….. a little something to ponder while sinking one’s fangs into their next meal…. *thinking to myself as I run my tongue across my naturally pointy teeth.* (and yes, I’ve often been told that my pearly whites resemble those of the fanged creatures.)

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

Image result for renfield gifs

“I…. Am…. A Man!”

Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

On August 5,1862, Joseph Carey Merrick (who was often incorrectly referred to as John Merrick) was born in Leicester, England. His parents were Joseph Rockley Merrick and Mary Jane Merrick. During his early years in life, Joseph Carey began to suffer from extreme facial and body deformities. He appeared to have thick and lumpy skin. His lips became rather enlarged, and a bony lump started to grow on his forehead. One arm and both feet also grew to be enlarged and during his childhood he had fallen, damaging his left hip which caused him permanent lameness.

At the age of only eleven years old, Joseph Carey’s mother passed away. The cause of her death was bronchopneumonia. His father remarried not long after. Wrongly, he and his new wife rejected Joseph, treating him like an outcast. Joseph Carey was forced to leave home, finding shelter at the residence of his uncle, Charles Merrick.

At thirteen years old, Joseph gained employment working at Freeman’s Cigar Factory in Leicester. And then, in December 1879, at seventeen years of age, he joined the Leicester Union Workhouse. A few years later in 1884, Joseph got in contact with Sam Torr who was a showman. Joseph suggested that Sam should put Joseph up as an exhibit because of his unusual deformities.

Torr agreed on the proposition and along with a group of men who managed Joseph, they came up with Joseph’s exhibit’s name of “The Elephant Man”. After touring for some time, Joseph made a trip to London to be put on exhibit in a penny gaff located on Whitechapel Road which was rented by Tom Norman who was also a showman. Norman’s shop was located right across the street from the London Hospital.

Frederick Treves, who was a surgeon from the hospital, visited Norman’s shop. Dr. Treves automatically showed interest in Joseph Carey Merrick. The doctor invited Joseph to the hospital to be examined and photographed. This made Joseph feel uncomfortable, like an animal, and he refused to return to the London Hospital. This angered Dr. Treves and oddly enough, Norman’s shop was closed by local authorities. Upset by it all, Joseph decided to seek another opportunity elsewhere and joined a gentleman by the name of Sam Roper who owned a traveling circus that toured throughout Europe.

As time went on, Joseph was unfortunately robbed in Belgium, abandoned in Brussels, and finally made his way back to the London Hospital. Dr. Treves allowed Joseph to stay the remainder of his life at the hospital, free room and board. With daily visits from Dr. Treves, the two men quickly formed a remarkable friendship. Even the wealthy elite, including Alexandra, Princess of Wales visited Joseph.

And then, on April 11, 1890, Joseph Carey Merrick sadly died at the age of twenty-seven years old of asphyxia which is a condition where the body is seriously deprived of oxygen. It was believed that he was awake, attempting to get up from his bed just prior to his death. He was found stretched across his bed with a dislocated neck. Perhaps the weight of his head was too much for his neck to support. His skeletal remains can be found on display in the Royal London Hospital, which is a large educational facility in London, England.

It’s said that one of Joseph Carey Merrick’s favorite poems was:

“Tis true my form is something odd,                                                                               but blaming me is blaming God.                                                                                Could I create myself anew,                                                                                               I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole                                                                                      or grasp the ocean with a span,                                                                                         I would be measured by the soul.                                                                                 The mind’s the standard of the man.”

 

 

“I am not an animal! I am a human being! I … am … a man!” ~ Joseph Carey Merrick, a.k.a. “The Elephant Man”.

 

 

 

 

Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author

~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker

~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html

~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker

 

 

 

 

Here is the artwork that I created in honor of Joseph Carey Merrick simply titled, “The Elephant Man”. Prints, pillows, blankets and even stationary…. available only at Fine Art America!

(“The Elephant Man” ~ by Sheila Renee Parker. Prints, tote bags, coffee mugs and so much more available only at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-elephant-man-sheila-renee-parker.html!)