When Life Hands You Lemons…

…turn them into a duster and wear them!

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So, this is a throwback to Memorial Day weekend. Somehow I’d forgotten I had these pictures or, more honestly, I didn’t like my hair that day, ha, so I kept skipping over them. Not quite so critical of my hair now that I don’t have any, ha ha.

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This story is certainly testament to the adage “you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Hair, health, loved ones – I’ll let this be a reminder to not take things or people for granted…and to appreciate and acknowledge the wonderful people in my life. I say this sitting next to an unopened box of thank you cards I’ve been meaning to write out since MARCH, acknowledging all the wonderful, caring and generous things people have done for me this year when I’ve been so…compromised. Ha. I don’t like to say I’m sick because I don’t feel SICK…but I have been compromised by the treatments. And people have been so helpful…or at least they’ve tried to be! I’m not good about accepting help. I always feel like *everyone* has problems/issues/weaknesses, etc., why should *I* get special treatment??

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But preparing for my move this week has really whooped my butt and fortunately I have some wonderful people helping me out so everything can get done. Because *I* am DONE. There’s very little juice left in this body right now and I have another chemo treatment later this week, so…THANK YOU to everyone who is helping me survive this move!!!

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Anyway, I got this dress from Gwynnie Bee, the Alice & You striped button down shirt dress, in a size 26. I don’t really know what I was thinking, but when I got it it was GINORMOUS. I still really liked the look of it, so instead of wearing a striped tent, I rolled the sleeves up, left it unbuttoned, and wore it as a duster over one of my favorite bases: black leggings and tee.

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So while it wasn’t *exactly* what I wanted, I was able to turn it into something I liked.

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And there were some beautiful irises blooming there that day that reminded me of my beautiful friend, Iris 🙂

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So…make some lemons work for you, one way or another…and don’t forget to appreciate the beauty in your life.

AND, a special treat – witnessing me in my utmost embarrassment…before I share the new apartment with you I thought I’d show you where I’ve been living for the past five years. Please Be Kind. It’s been a helluva year, cleaning has not been anywhere near the top of my list, and add “packing” to that and…oofah. The apartment is…well, you be the judge. Ha. The good news (for me!) is that viewing this a week after filming it, I can see how much progress I made in the past week (thank goodness! there was a night last week when I had a little meltdown because I was sure I was not going to be ready in time. But I will. Phew!).

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Week in Review: Week 78

I really really tried to get a blog post up this week but. Work has been busy, evenings have been busy. I’m pooped. I’m sort of trembly all the time, sort of hard to explain but suffice it to say I GOT NO JUICE. But there were still a couple high points this week, so…

I got goodies from plusBKLYN !!! Look how fun their packaging is with hearts all over. I heart YOU, Alexis Krase! My favorite summer dress is from there (see below) and now I have a NEW new favorite that I will share soon!

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New favorite summer dress from plusBKLYN

I’m living on the edge. Yes, I kept driving.

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Ooh, one of the new plusBLYN dresses, this awesome indigo tie-dye dress. Was a chilly day so I needed a cardi over, but. The boxes are encroaching.

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My lovely friend at work gave me these two tiny elephants. They kind of look they were sculpted out of teeth. Which makes them weirdly even more appealing.

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A super-sweet parent from work gave me this tropical print bandana and I’ve been waiting to wear it with this outfit. I never did really pull all my summer stuff out this year so this was buried in the winter clothes and needed a trip to the cleaners. I can’t wait to have access to a washer/dryer in the new apartment! ps, I feel like my eyebrows are disappearing 😦

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Me and some friends went to this wacky “movies on the river” night to see Jaws. It was an interesting way to see a movie…but wet and cold.


We’re the second row back, second raft from the left. You can’t really make out it’s us, but it is.

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My “new mom” raided HER mom’s scarf collection for me and they are UH-MAZING!!! Lots of vintage, touristy ones, one has dance steps on it, another nautical terms, awesome 70s colors. This was a Rome tourist scarf (it says “ROMA) and is perfect with my favorite black dress.

My sister sent me an eyebrow pencil and was like USE THIS. I rebelled for awhile but gave it a try here…and it’s good. It’s very subtle but looks like I have full eyebrows again.

See the picture hanging on the wall at photo left below? I scooped it up at an auction many years ago and have always loved her…walking along a seaside cliff, looking so JOYOUS. I always said I want to feel like her. And now, with my headscarves, I sort of LOOK like her!

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We made a trip to the new apartment to move everything I’ve already packed…but there are Still. So. Many. Boxes. To. Fill. This weekend is IT. I MUST finish up, no matter how trembly I feel. The week ahead is moving and chemo so I really need to get’er done!

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I *will* have a new blog post up this week that includes an embarrassing video of my current apartment in its current state and a throwback outfit that somehow never got blogged from way back in May!

I can’t believe “summer proper” is almost over. I hope y’all are having a good one.

xoxo Bettye

 

More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally 🙂 I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing:

Week in Review: Week 59

It is a sunny but still windy and cool day here on Long Island. I have a day filled with running errands, cleaning out my disgusting car, taking the dog (and me) somewhere for a walk and change of scenery, then a quiet evening with a movie and early to bed. The best news this week, I doubt I’ve ever mentioned my ^&%#! insomnia here, but it’s been EVEN worse since the surgery – as though things have shifted around and when I lay down something presses on my bladder and makes the worst ache if I do not wake up immediately to get up and pee. And getting in and out of bed is still enough of a process that it wakes me up even more, UGH. But the GOOD NEWS part is that just two nights ago I was actually able to lay for a little bit on my side again! I’m a side sleeper, but I’ve only been able to be on my back since the surgery 3½ weeks ago, so WHAT a relief to finally have a little bit of normalcy and comfort. In Medical-Land, so many things seem to take so much longer to return to normal than you think they should. So Yay.

I went back to work this week for a full week. My wonderful officemates Tori and Jen had decorated my desk with balloons and banners and there was a little “nest” of goodies on my desk – they are just the sweetest. I’m so fortunate to get to spend my work days with them.

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While I’m not feeling especially energetic, I’m powering through and trying to walk every other day. My baby step regimen is:

Week 1: Walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back for a total of 10 minutes

Week 2: Walk 6 minutes out and 6 minutes back for a total of 12 minutes

Week 3: Walk 7 minutes out and 7 minutes back for a total of 14 minutes

You get the picture. Monday will start Week 3. I’m very slowly working up to walks of 20 then 30 minutes. I may back-slide during chemo, I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel then. But at least it’s a schedule that I’m adhering to. And I am walking S-L-O-O-O-W. My heel still hurts and that keeps me slowed down as well. Caleb likes the walks when we’re somewhere he can be offlead and sniff around at his leisure. In his old age he’s gone pretty deaf so I can’t let him offlead when we’re anywhere near anything, like a road or people or other dogs, cuz he just doesn’t hear me calling him. And I think there’s a little senility as he just sort of wanders off and then loses track of where I am. Because it doesn’t seem to occur to him to turn his head to the right or left to look for me. It’s sad to watch someone you love get old.

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A dear friend did this cross-stitch for me, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” That was a lovely surprise to get in the mail this week.

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Caleb: Master of His Domain. He needs a good bath and haircut. But he loves the big tuffet that his Uncle Russell got for him.

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And just to keep this at least a LITTLE fashiony…here is a try-on of an outfit I ordered from Old Navy…that sadly will be going back. Old Navy plus size sizing is so all-over-the-place. Sometimes things are ginormous on me and sometimes they’re way too snug. These are really soft rayon blush cropped pants in a 3x and I couldn’t even zip them up. Part of that could be a little vestigial swelling still left around my abdomen and hips, though they’re feeling pretty normal again. And the top was also snug around the same area, while too loose in the bust. I’m really short on warm weather outfits and the flurry of ordering and returning continues until I hit on a couple wins.

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My niece sent me this book by Sarah Addison Allen – has anyone read it?

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This is a pic my daughter just sent me from while she was here and walked down a bit of beach to see the sunset. It’s just a nice memory of being with her and being OUTSIDE after being cooped up in the hospital for so long.

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So, in other news, I have had both the radiation and chemo consults with my “original” team – the doctors associated with my surgeon’s office. On Monday I have a consult scheduled with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to see what, if anything, they would do differently…and then I have to make the decision of who to go with so we can get this show on the road. It’s hard to make the decision because I can already see that I will not necessarily be comparing apples to apples. So wish me luck!

And Great News – I’m actually doing a photoshoot tomorrow! Yippee. Will feel good to be “blog productive” again. So you can look forward to a springy outfit post later this week.

Thanks for all your comments, emails, and kind words – I really appreciate them.

Weeks in Review: 54-58

Yeah, one of these days I’ll get back on track with regular weekly Week in Reviews. This year continues to just be Crazytown. I can’t believe it is April 1…and yet it is. February and March are dead to me. But let’s get caught up and hope for a better week!

I spent 15 days in the hospital between February & March. This was surreal and not so much fun…

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Except for…gifties and flowers and balloons and visits…

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…and a daughter who snuck in special treats…

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so we could have a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.

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When I was FINALLY released I discovered she (daughter) had gotten me a nice new bed set…what a pleasure to sleep in after the scratchy hospital sheets.

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I had some packages waiting at home for me – things I’d ordered before all this nonsense began. I’d been excited for this cute grey and white striped tee dress from Lane Bryant but it was kind of gigundo and I’ve returned it. Still on the lookout for soft comfy clothes for spring and summer.

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As soon as I was up to a little outing we drove to a nearby beach for a short sunset stroll. I’d missed seeing this.

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Janey has been thoroughly enjoying my surgery recovery time. For many days in a row I was just horizontal on the sofa from morning til night. Having sofa company pleased her no end.

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I had some more unpleasant news from the doctor this past week when they got the pathology report from my surgery. In a nutshell, they did *not* get all the cancer out with the hysterectomy. I have now been diagnosed with Stage 3 Uterine cancer and they’re recommending radiation and then chemotherapy. I’m getting a second opinion but I’m not expecting to hear anything radically different from the original recommendation. This doesn’t feel like my life. And yet….

Work sent me these flowers that day. And yes, Work Family, I COULD use a drink.

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The doctor cleared me for work and driving so I went and got a haircut. I went to a nutritionist to hear about things to eat and/or avoid during chemo.

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And yesterday I had the nicest day I’ve had in ages…just being NORMAL…a wonderful friend picked me up for a drive to the ocean…and in spite of the wind and rain, it was just so nice to be out of the apartment, not doing anything health related. I really value a day like that.

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So. I go back to work Monday. I think I worked 9 days in February (between snow days, the Maine adventure, winter break and being in the hospital) and like 2 days in March. I’ll have a couple normalish weeks now and then I start my treatments. So I’ll be here when I can. I miss the blog. I miss planning outfit posts. But against my will (ha) other things are pushing their way to the top of the list.

Hope you all have a great week.

PS – I just realized it’s April Fool’s Day. I wish this post was an April Fool’s joke…but it’s not.

xoxo Bettye

You Deserve the Very Best…

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I look at these pictures taken 3 weeks ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. All I see when I look at them is TIRED. A TIRED woman. And I *was* tired. I’d been tired for some time, but always attributed it to my weight or my age or just generally being out of shape. And I pushed through…because that’s what you do. It’s what we all do. We just keep going, pushing ourselves, til we can’t go no mo.

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It was the day after this shoot that I ended up in the Emergency Room and the next day admitted to the hospital. For five days. And then another 10 days the very next week. The cancer diagnosis really surprised me. “I’m just tired.” Now I’m tired from the surgery – a hysterectomy 6 days ago. Still waiting on the pathology from the surgery but I’m counting on it being positive. In the meantime I’m recovering. I’m back at home, my daughter is here helping me. Life doesn’t feel normal again yet, but it will.

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My body doesn’t feel normal yet, either. When I look down, my stomach seems like it shifted lower. Like I used to feel pregnant w a basketball right under my boobs…and now the basketball has dropped. So the biggest part of my stomach is in a new place. And that feels weird. I didn’t expect that. I have to get used to my body again.

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I’ve started walking. BABY baby steps. 5 minutes out then five minutes back. That’s all I can do just yet. But I’ll feel stronger as I heal from the surgery and eventually I’ll be able to walk 10 minutes out and back. And maybe my body will change a little more. Because I’m tired of my body making me feel tired. This isn’t me hating on my body. This is me LOVING on me and my body and wanting both of us to FEEL BETTER. We deserve that, my body and I.

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We deserve the very best.

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What I’m Wearing:

Stepping WAY Outside the Box (in more ways than one)


I was trying SO hard to get an outfit post up this week as promised. I did a little shoot on Sunday…and then Monday found myself in the ER. I debated sharing my story vs not, but figured in the interest of “keeping it real,” I would. This is not a pity post, an attempt to garner “oh, poor you”-s, or even really a cautionary tale (Don’t Do As I Have Done)…it’s truly just a…What I Did This Week. With some outfit pictures!

So, I’m not always so good with adulting when it comes to the medical realm. If I’m not incapacitated or in unbearable pain, I generally avoid doctors. There’s also, at the risk of TMI, a financial aspect to this. Even with insurance all that medical stuff is EXPENSIVE!

I don’t want this to be too long and drawn out, so here’s the bullet point version:

  • Went to emergency room on Monday for blood transfusion due to anemia due to long-term heavy bleeding (of the female kind) – *I* thought due to fibroids.
  • How did I know I had fibroids if I never go to the doctor?  I DO go the doctor for kidney stones cuz those things are painful AF. And a kidney stone scan awhile back showed fibroids. So I just assumed they were the cause of the bleeding.
  • Wednesday they did a D&C to try and stop the bleeding and to do an endometrial biopsy to rule out cancer (hospital protocol) as a cause of the bleeding and other things.
  • After the D&C a blood clot (small) was discovered in my left calf and Vascular Guy recommended a blood thinner (even with the bleeding situation, cuz clot seems more significant than the bleeding. Clots are bad mothers. My father died from a blood clot. I’m doing what the doctor says).
  • All this took 5 days and I was just released today, Friday. There were some mix-ups with scheduling things and everything took longer than it should have and I spent MOST of the five days hooked up to one IV or another AND on a “no food or drink” order. I think I had 4 meals in 5 days.
  • I will follow up next week with the OB-Oncologist from the hospital, she’ll have the biopsy results and we’ll go from there.

SO – that was Part 1 of my Stepping Out of the Box post – seeking medical attention. I had NO IDEA I would be there all week. I thought I might be there overnight so I did pack some things in a bag – and have been making mental notes all week to comprise a list of Things to Bring to the Hospital. I’ll share the list with you guys when it’s done.

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Meanwhile, Part 2, the more fun part, was this cute outfit! I LOVE this black-and-white striped top with the trendy bell sleeves. As I’ve mentioned, I was never really a trend gal, but I can feel that sort of changing. The REAL stepping out of the box element here was that the shirt was snug across my belly…and shorter than I normally wear shirts, so it showed my belly and butt more than I’m used to…or really comfortable with. BUT….I liked the concept of the outfit so much I wore it anyway. STEPPING OUT, BABY!

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I wish I had more pictures, but it was really really cold and windy that day and I was not feeling so great, so…we got what we got.

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There’s always one!

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I love my red sneaks. I haven’t worn them in awhile cuz lace-up sneakers are so hard for me. My feet are so so so far away.

What I Wore:

  • INC International Concepts Stripe Bell Sleeve Top, size 3x, via Gwynnie Bee
  • Bongo black faux leather jacket, size 3x
  • Plus Size Refuge Hi-Rise Skinny Jeans, size 22
  • Red converse-style sneakers from Target

My friend Marcy from Fearlessly Just Me was my photographer du jour. She’s really doing a great job, don’t you think?