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Cancer Sucks: A Powerful, Must Read Rant

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

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A friend of mine wrote and sent this to me to get this off of his chest. It's hard-hitting, raw and very well written.  Understandably, he wants to be "Anonymous". Enjoy.

Cancer Sucks.

It's hard to fathom that it's been 22 months since we first noticed something was majorly wrong (even with the misdiagnoses, we saw what turned out to be colon cancer the week leading up to the 4th of July). Since then, after the 'official diagnosis' that I was stage IV and had non-operable metastases to my liver, everything I read and saw told me the same scary thing... I had somewhere between a 5-15% chance of even making it this far.

I joined the support groups on facebook and online... read about every medication I may be on a hundred times... studied up enough that I felt I could say what the doctors would before they could go into their spiel before each procedure.

I saw people left and right in the support groups dropping like flies... so and so's loved one died within weeks or months, often not even in stage 4, but in 2 or 3. I saw internet trolls invading to peddle bad science, homeopathic cures, or push marijuana legislation promising all of us undergoing 'traditional' medicine that we were only killing ourselves to make 'the man' rich, or that it was our diet/sedentary lifestyle/sinful lifestyle/alcoholism/government/GMO/Vaccines that caused it. I saw people seemingly getting better and feeling good only to be struck down a few weeks later. I saw people giving up after one round of chemo because they couldn't deal with side effects, as well as people moving ahead with their 5th different type of medication because nothing seemed to work for them... Yet here I was, going through cycle after cycle of chemo, radiation, surgery, lather, rinse, and repeat.

I've been called everything from an 'inspiration' to 'another leech off the system'. I've met doctors who genuinely care for and want to do everything they can for their patients, and I've had doctors who I'd push in front of traffic for the way they've talked down to me and my wife. I've been scolded by doctors for not noticing or being as concerned about every little pinch or pain that may signal potential problems. I've seen the best and worst of military medicine (some great docs, some really bad ones, which led to my Army oncologist signing off any and everything he could to get me into the Johns Hopkins system so I wouldn't have to ever see any of the really bad docs ever again) as well as what is supposedly among the best possible medicine available in the civilian world. My current oncologist was shocked, but elated to hear me constantly asking about lowering my pain med dosages (which came in handy when I wound up in the ER and a doc tried to write me off as a 'frequent flyer' looking for pain meds... I genuinely avoid everything and have a pretty high tolerance for pain. He gave her a courtesy call when I showed up and she made him admit me immediately, because she knew if I was acknowledging it was bad enough to come in, she knew it was serious). 

Every time I figured life was as tough as it could get, fate laughed and said "Hold my beer..." What started as one cancerous sigmoid mass within two months of diagnosis progressed to invade my bladder and prostate and start to squeeze up against my spine. My liver tumors grew to the sizes of golf balls and baseballs. The tumor invading my bladder opened a fistula, leading to blood, bacteria and feces invading my bladder, leading to a never-ending UTI and peeing out chunks of blood and solid crap; which feels like passing a three foot long kidney stone/removing a catheter as slowly as possible. During my radiation therapy, I literally pooped out a fist sized tumor; which is as gross and painful as it sounds, especially since it came with lots of clotted blood. It was also very strange, because I thought it was going to be a 'phantom poop' (I had a colostomy, and frequently felt urges to sit on a toilet the old fashioned way, even though it was very rare for anything to come out save a tiny bit of mucous).

Cancer Sucks.

Surgically? having a port put in is child's play. I got to start with a temporary (9 months) colostomy. Learned about different bag styles, changing my diet and meds based on how my poop came out. My boys thought it was awesome, hilarious, grossly fascinating, and unfair of me to be able to loudly pass gas and have a 'poop bag' hanging off of my stomach randomly start bulging. If I got sick, or worse had to do a 'bowel cleanse' for scans, diarrhea could take the bag from empty to a dangerously explosive water balloon of the foulest kind and ready to burst and send it EVERYWHERE in a matter of seconds. When they reversed it, they also removed half of my large intestine, my bladder, my prostate, and most of the seminal vesicles as one fully tumored-up and inseparable, useless mass. I now had a permanent Urostomy... and got to learn about THAT baggage system, noticing much more frequent leaks and need to empty the bags (or risk being soaked with and reeking of urine). 

Not to be dismayed, when my colostomy had been reversed, a small nick had opened up in the intestine where it had been reattached and was unnoticed. This led to a new 'pocket of poo' that began to grow and fill the new void where the organs and tumors had been. I thought the pain and pressure I felt were a normal part of the healing process, considering I hadn't gone 'number two' the old fashioned way for nine months and the muscles were justifiably atrophied. Two months later, I had a stomachache. Thinking a hot shower might help, I screamed in pain as a searing river of liqui-poo inexplicably began gushing out of my no-longer peeing penis.

After another week and a half in the hospital, I left with a new 'temporary' ileostomy opposite the urostomy. (double the baggage, emotional or otherwise!) Again, I relearned all about ostomies (please don't tell me there's a fourth kind of 'ostomy'... or I'm sure I'll wind up with one of those too, just out of spite) and the worst one of all to have leak, different care and much much more attention to detail required than the prior colostomy.

In January of this year, the scans looked good enough that I had the best news I could've hoped for... my liver looked operable! Fate smiled, the angels/valkyries sang, and everything was peachy keen as the world appeared to be righting itself and in my favor again, finally.

Just kidding... when they opened me up to resect my liver, they saw small new masses and again declared it inoperable. It was like a bad cartoon where the main character is wrongfully imprisoned, and tunnels their way to freedom, only to find that the tunnel opened up into another prison cell.

Now, just for laughs, we found out today I've also got blood clots in my lungs that need to be addressed. It's not another knife in the back, but it definitely feels like a little bit of salt on the already opened wounds.

Cancer sucks.

I'm not a complainer. You'd never know talking face to face with me how much literal 'shit' I've been through because of cancer. I feel that I'm lucky my side effects haven't been 'THAT bad'. 

Yeah, I've got peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet that leave them constantly numb and tingling. I get inexplicably angry and frustrated from time to time and have occasional insomnia because of the steroids. Some days, I have no control over my inability to keep myself awake, and can get winded from even having a simple conversation before I suddenly wake up and am told I fell asleep mid-sentence twenty minutes prior. Thankfully, I rarely ever get nauseous. I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually thrown up in the past two years. I can still (usually) stomach all the same foods I loved before (even though I've definitely noticed massive changes in my taste buds, and definitely have to wait until the 'day of' to know if I'll want to eat something specific).

Again, though... I see people dropping left and right from this shitty shitty disease, often with far fewer 'speed bumps'. Am I lucky? Am I cursed? Am I somehow predestined to survive all of this to die in some comedic fashion, or am I living the dreamed, slow, painful death of a nihilistic goth teen's deranged fantasy?

Cancer sucks.

I think my family suffers from it worse than I do... or maybe it just seems that way because I'm not the kind of person who suffers, but instead finds a new angle to attack and charge ahead.

My kids went from seeing super-dad who never ran out of energy with them, coached their sports teams, played any and everything with them, threw them around in the air and wrestled them to the point of exhaustion every day to seeing him become yoda; a slow moving old guy who just knows everything, sleeps a lot, and tells them to be good and not give in to the dark side.

My wife lost her husband. I used to be the 24-hour, solid and reliable everything. I was the 'first out of bed, run 5 miles, do PT, come home, get everyone up, make everyone breakfast, get kids ready for school, kiss her, go do awesome Army things all day, come home, make dinner, clean up, play with/coach/homework/boy scout with the kids, get them ready for bed, read to them, and still have time to play ultimate househusband/best friend/binge-watch netflix or hulu shows while I'd rub her feet, shoulders, or just run my fingers through her hair until we were both ready to go to bed, and then get up and do it all again the next day guy.' Now, I still get up first, but barely have the energy to get the kids up, fed, and on their buses before I'm ready for a nap. I still do most of the cooking and cleaning, but at a muuuuuuch slower pace; often (again) with interspersed naps. By the time the kids are out cold in bed, I'm counting down the minutes before I'm probably ready to join them in peaceful slumber. Every bit of news leads to a growing list of concerns for her, as she tries desperately to plan for the day when suddenly she not only can't rely on me to even help. She needs to do it all on her own. Additionally, she needs to stay just as up to date with all of my meds, appointments, issues, and concerns as my brain frequently enters the fog of chemo residue and seems to no longer function; often in the presence of doctors or family members trying to offer their support or find out more information. I'm the guy who wakes up three minutes before his alarm ever goes off and turns it off, while she needs 4 or 5 hits of the 'snooze' button and can't remember to take her own meds if I don't have them already organized and pieced out in the container next to her bed when she wakes up in the morning. 

When I was diagnosed, we had been trying for a third kid for nearly 4 years. Suddenly, we realized that there would be no more trying.

I lost myself. I did awesome and amazing (mostly classified, unfortunately) Army things. I was in the best shape of my life. I was the picture of the ideal Soldier. I literally did the work of 8 people/job titles and had a 'hall of fame' worthy resume less than five years here. I essentially ran a marathon for fun with a full combat load just to see if I could do it. I taught combatives (think MMA) and combat lifesaving classes for my joes as well as developed and taught courses (and literally wrote the book on how to develop training courses) for the entire US Intelligence Community. I served on committees as the subject matter expert on things nobody with as little rank or pay as I had should have ever gotten away with, and I did it with passion... loving every minute of it. The government civilians I worked with already refer to the time I worked there as the 'glory days'. I had enough "street cred" with my unit that from the initial diagnosis to even today, they've supported any and every request I've made, have shielded me from virtually all responsibility (my literal duty is to stay home and recover and call them if I need anything or have to go to the hospital for anything), the leadership have half-joked about creating a black ops mission and 'harvesting' anyone I choose for transplant organs at any time before I decide I'm ready to let the Army medically retire me. Now, I get winded after walking up a small flight of stairs, walking my dog halfway around the block, or standing for more than 5 minutes. I feel like a shell of myself.

Cancer sucks.

That two year mark is fast approaching. I'm apparently one of the 5-15%. I don't know if I should be happy, grateful, scared shitless, or some combination of all three. I don't know if tomorrow holds anything better. I don't know if things will get worse. I don't know when my time will finally come and I'll join the countless others I see dropping left and right in this un-winnable battle. I don't know anything more than this... Cancer sucks.

**Important note: This was written last year. He's finally been retired, the ileostomy has been reversed, and he's still kicking and with us

Milking the Cancer Card: Turning Pain into Opportunity, by Minnow Nguyen

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

Should you use your cancer diagnosis to your advantage? Cancer survivor and Physician Assistant, Minnow Nguyen thinks so (and I happen to agree with her). Here's her story:

I was diagnosed with leukemia at age 16. Prior to that i was a pretty good honor student in high school with a close to 4.0 GPA. I missed half of my Junior year in High School and had to learn at home and take many make up tests. I was mostly upset that I couldn't be with my friends daily, couldn't participate in sports or clubs, basically be a normal teenager.

After 6 months of chemo, I was back to school with a bald head. Junior year is when kids start applying to colleges. With my grades and extracurricular activities I was pretty competitive to begin with. As a cancer survivor, I TOTALLY believe in milking the cancer card. Why the fuck not?! as long as i'm not trampling over anyone else - I should be able to play the cancer card to my heart's content! So of course, my college admission essay was about surviving leukemia.

I got into all of the colleges I applied for: UCLA, Berkeley, UCSB, UCI, UCSD. After hearing the news, one girl in my class said those exact words "I wish I had cancer too!". She wasn't an AP/Honors student, she wasn't the worst student either and I was horrified to hear her say that at all. I know as teenagers we say a lot of dumb things without thinking, but it really struck a nerve. If I had the chance to get into college without having to go through cancer.... trust me, i would have. 

Patient Stories: Tamara's Mom

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

I get stories in my email almost every day, and while the purpose of submissions is to hopefully turn them into a comic, not every submission works well in a comic format (at least my comic format). So I have determined that I will try to share the story submissions that moved me and share them in text (and in this case, also picture) form.

So please enjoy Tamara Cryderman's story, and get a tissue. 

This story is not mine, it's my mother's.

November 2015, my mother finally broke the news to her children that she had been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.  And she was declining treatment.  My mother was always the type to face something head-on, never sugar coat things and do the best with what you have.  She faced every day of her life with a level of wit and badassery that carried her through many a dark year. From a lifetime of abuse and bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, times of mental instability and days where she went hungry to feed her own children, she's been a fighter with an ever broken mask of humanity and a warm, inviting heart.   But I know it was also hard.  Especially after this.  She told me she wasn't surprised at all.  She told the Doctor, "Well, I guess it's about that time." And she got to work. Sadly, I lived almost 1000 KM away and didn't have the funds to make frequent trips.  I called her often and depended on my local family to take care of her.

We talked about options, treatments and outcomes.  We talked openly, and I appreciated that about her. She told me, "Honey, this isn't my first rodeo.  I've been at the bedside and put too many friends and family members into the ground from cancer.  Doctor says even with chemo and radiation, I've barely got a chance. (I think it was 12-20% total, but my memory is fuzzy) If I've only got so much time, I want to LIVE it, not being sick all the time. I'm doing this on my own terms."  We respected that choice and we treated every day as another only a little different.  The cancer was a constant back of the mind item, but it stayed there unless discussion was needed, and then the doors were pulled wide open.  No secrets.  No hiding.   We hadn't had a family Christmas in many years, but we made it happen that year.  It was joyful and very hard.  And of course, full of laughter.

On February 12th, the day before her 64th birthday, she went into the ER.  Her lung had collapsed completely flat.  We almost lost her the day she went in.  They thought the lung was full of fluid and a young, impatient doctor tried to insert the wrong type of tube and failed, almost puncturing her heart. Instead, the tube came up and almost out her shoulder. All she wanted to do was get out of that damned hospital, but they kept her there a week.  She told me about the horrible food and the lumpy bed.  It makes me laugh to picture my mother raising hell as she was good at doing.  "Eggs," she told me.  "How do you screw up eggs? I told the nutritionist if you want me to eat, then bring be REAL food, not POWDERED eggs.  Then the one day it was spaghetti and meatballs.  It tasted good for the first couple bites.  I thought, finally, some real food!  Then, as I got down the container a bit, there was a half inch of water in the bottom. Gross." The first chance she got, she had my brother pick her up some fish and chips from a local restaurant.  It was her favorite treat and she was going to indulge every chance she got.   "And the bed!  There's a sagging hole in it and it hurts my back so much the only way I can sleep is to curl up on the bottom half like a cat." 

She went into palliative care after that, living with my Aunt and Uncle who were both retired. I'm happy to say we didn't respect one of her wishes, and she was also happy I defied her.  My now husband and I had had a quick discussion and there was a unanimous decision. You see, 5 years ago, we lost my sister-in-law to stage 4 cancer.  Treatment extended her life, but she didn't make it to her daughter's wedding. I didn't want the same outcome. We told her we were engaged on Valentine's Day and she was over the moon happy, shouting it throughout her hospital room, but she wasn't a fool and tried calling us out on our plans. Thankfully, I had had time to practice lying.  It wasn't easy with her.  Over the course of 4 days with the help of family and friends, we planned a small wedding 1000 km away.  Someone let it slip and it was an interesting phone call.  "Your godmother told me she would be coming back for the wedding in a few weeks.  What wedding?"    "Uuuhhh... Surprise!"   I could hear the twisted cone of emotion rise up in her throat.  The tears and joy barely held in by that wall of masks.  "I told you not to do that.  Don't do it because of me.   Have your special day the way you want it.  I'll be there in spirit.  Don't--" At that point I broke in.  "We are doing what we want.  We're doing this because WE want you there.  THAT is what we want. So frankly mom, it has nothing to do with what YOU want, we're selfish. We're doing this all because of us, just like you wanted."  That finally make her crack.  She laughed with her tears.  Then she gave us the OK. We booked the "VIP Room" off the bar of the local small town Motel and decorated it with items we found mere hours before at the next door second hand store.  I found a dress on my lunch break and pulled together everything else I could.  We dined on platters of bar food; pizza, wings, mozza sticks, fries and had a cake from the local grocery store.  My husband's immediate family hopped on a plane without a second thought and all my immediate family was in the area. My husband, his best man and my maid of honor made the long, early morning drive through a blizzard.  My brothers walked me down the aisle (my father, as well as most of the world, at this time knew nothing of mom's condition as per her wishes). And mom was there, smiling.   It was everything we wanted.    

As a side note, my Godmother didn't make it to the wedding because her own husband was fighting cancer in his neck.  He had been a survivor, but then it came back and there was no stopping it. We lost him a few weeks later. They were only the beginning of it all.  2016 has been a rough year. 

My mother had an incredible amount of strength, and that strength was in her tears as much as her smiles.  While discussing final arrangements, she told us, and I directly quote, "Don't you fucking DARE waste the money on a funeral.  What you can do is go out to your brothers acreage and have one last party on me."  When I asked her what she wanted done with her body, I could hear the 'don't worry about it' shrug over the phone.  "I've already taken care of it," she said.  "I went in and pre paid for my cremation.  You guys don't have to worry about a thing." Then she started laughing before coughing, then chuckled.  "He asked me if I wanted an urn and I said, no way! Haha. Don't spend the money on that. Put me in a cardboard box on the corner of the desk and someone will be around to collect me at some point."  We laughed.  "Spread my ashes on your brother's acreage, that's all I know for sure."   "Oh, I don't know, mom," I told her.  "I was thinking of sending your ashes to that company that presses you into a synthetic diamond."    "Oh my god, no! I don't think so!"   "Yeah, picture it mom.  You'd be the new family heirloom.  And there I would be, trying to shove you through the mail slot at my brothers saying,  'No, it's your turn to take her for Christmas!'" We laughed more.

At the beginning of June, my family said if I wanted that one last visit that I better get there soon.  I asked them how she was, what she looked like, as I had only talked to her on the phone and her voice was still the same to me, if not more tired.  They told me how she was skin and bones.  She looked horrible, couldn't get out of bed and could only talk for a bit at a time and slept most of the time.  I told them that my mother and I had already discussed that possibility.  I wouldn't be coming back.  I will remember my mom as she was at the wedding; smiling, laughing and full of dignity and pride.  I could pick up the phone and hear her voice, that's all I needed.  I talked to my mother again that day, asked her if she wanted me there.  She told me no, not to come on her account.  She completely supported my decision.

The week before the wedding, I flew down by myself to spend time with her and it was the hardest thing I've ever done.  There were masks everywhere and I found myself wearing my own.  There was a dedicated amount of love and patience that drained me.  When my mother got tired or didn't put her oxygen on it was like watching a rapid onset of dementia.  She got agitated and angry, forgetting conversations mere hours before, mixing up details.  Get her settled again and she was emotional but smiling and cracking jokes. She would remember clearly and apologize.  You're right.  It's hard.  It's so hard.  And as hard as it was for me, I knew it was a million times harder for her, so I smiled and gave her all my strength. I had to keep reminding myself; it's the cancer. It's the cancer.  That look, those harsh words aren't my mother.  They're the cancer.  Then she would laugh, and I would be so happy, I wanted to cry.  

I never did say goodbye to my mother.  I refused to.  When she told me she was canceling her cell phone because she couldn'toperate it anymore, I knew the time was drawing near.  I cast off all the veils that day and I told my mother everything I ever needed or wanted to.  We had laughed.  We had cried.  But never as much as we did that day.  She told me, and this will stick with me forever, "I love you to death." And then we laughed.  Then we cried.  I told her I'd talk to her later.  The next day, I talked to her, but she couldn't really talk back.  She was so up on pain medication at the moment that she could listen, smile and nod and mutter a few things while my Aunt held the phone.  I told her again, "I'll talk to you later.  Until next time, mom.  I love you."  The next day, my phone rang and I knew she was gone. 

I came across your comics via Imgur after seeing your Hollywood Superstar comic.  I've since started at the beginning and read through every comic and message that comes with them.  They made me smile.  They made me cry.  I know your comic's existence is to bring light to the silent struggle of the various cancer fighters and survivors. To tell the world that it's not a simple cut and dry topic, not black and while, life and death, and I couldn't help finding my mother between the lines.  Because although her body didn't make it, her spirit survived.  Her voice, her laughter and wit has stayed with everyone she ever knew. She faced every day with a smile and a laugh. She would say, "It is what it is" and "Sometimes, all you can do is laugh". 

Years ago, before her cancer, she had hurt her back badly trying to rip up an old hardwood floor by herself.  She was on heavy duty muscle relaxants but it was canning season and there was a huge garden to contend with or else we wouldn't eat that winter.  I was in my room, and I heard CRASH! SPLASH! ... giggle giggle giggle.  I came out to find my mother leaning against the counter giggling her face off with the pressure canning pot empty on the floor and all the water around it and her.  She could barely tell me she had tried to lift it out of the sink and her muscles gave out. I asked her if she was ok and she nodded, saying, "Yes, I just... I just can't stop laughing because what else am I supposed to do?" I laughed with her, got some towels and helped her with the canning.

 

I had intended to share a short story reflecting the idea of talking openly about cancer, but it's gotten a bit long winded, I'm sorry. (I guess that's the writer in me coming out. It is, after all, my mother's story. Haha.)  Seeing your comics and comments, I was happy to see that people are breaking down the walls and changing out the DEATH SENTENCE labels for declarations of WE LIVE!

We see cancer as this thing lurking in the shadows and as long as we don't look, it's not there, or we don't have to deal with it or think of it, even if it's not our room it's in.  It's time we shed light on it and bring ourselves out of the darkness. It should cower in our presence, not the other way around.  No matter what, there is always a level of 'out of sight, out of mind' for everyone involved and that is part of the survival.  You can't live in constant dread nor can we pretend nothing's going on.  You can only live. 

My mother's life and time with cancer was not glorious.  It's not the victory story people expect to hear. While she was strong, she was not the ideal statue of stalwart composure under the eyes of the beast you read about in books or see in the movies.  Cancer may have taken her body, but it never ended her life.  She may not be so in the eyes of the world, but she's my hero. And so are you, and every other person who is or has fought the beast.

All in all, I wanted to say thank you for what you're doing. Keep up the good work, and please, don't stop.

Best regards,

Wendy's Daughter,

Tara

Konmari, Spartacus, and Productivity: 3 things you should know exist!

Published on by Matthew Mewhorter.

image sourced from: https://www.etsy.com/listing/218211687/spartan-owl-watercolor-art-print-8x10?ref=shop_home_active_2

The month of April has been a busy, exhausting but amazing month for me.  It has been a cleansing of sorts...a rebirth. At the end of March, my colonoscopy brought back clean results. I was feeling great, and it was time to move forward. I put new things in place that have completely reinvented and jumpstarted my life. I feel happier, healthier and more in control of my day than I ever have before!

So here are 3 amazing things have started this last month that I think you should know exist:

1) The Konmari method will completely reboot your life:

 

Perhaps you have heard of this world-famous book about cleaning your house. It is called The "Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo. What sold me on this book is that it goes far beyond merely organizing your stuff and instead completely reboots the  kind of relationship with your things. My wife and I did it last month, and the results are beyond stunning.

The author has NO repeat clients with her method, and maintains a waiting list several months long. The Konmari method (she named after herself) is designed to eliminate clutter permanently, which in affects all other areas of your life.

It took three 14-hour Saturdays of exhausting, non-stop work, but when all was said and done, we had a total reboot. We haven't had to "straighten up" in weeks and our place is constantly ready for company. Everything has a purpose and place, and our house never felt more like a "home". Since the reboot, I've been calmer, more productive and happier.

2) The Spartacus Workout is short, powerful and scalable

The Spartacus Workout is killer! But very doable! Being barely post-cancer treatments, I have to be careful how I re-introduce fitness into my lifestyle.

What I think makes this great is that it's fast, it's free, it's easy to follow, you only need dumbbells, and it's scalable. Basically, the workout is 3 sets with 10 minute-long workouts in each set. And each set takes about 11-12 minutes to do. Each set is intense, so you don't have to do 3 if you aren't ready. I started with 2 sets and my next workout I will give 3 sets a shot.

If you'd like an effective, scalable, well rounded workout you can grow into that doesn't require a gym membership, give this a shot. I personally listen to loud rock music while getting this done!

3) The Storyline Productivity Planner will reinvent how you do your entire day

The Storyline Productivity Planner, developed by bestselling author Donald Miller who made it to get himself out of a career-ending rut, is the best planner I've EVER used! Every morning that I use it is infinitely better than when I don't. I'm able to stay on task with my job, have more time with my family, and put the time into my comic.

I'd say this planner is best for artists' of any stripe, but anyone can try it. What sets this thing apart is that it reinvents the way that you structure your time. It utilizes time-tested psychological tools to sharpen your mind. It's meant for a 30-day period to reset new habits, but I continue to use mine. 

This planner is the best of both worlds: it organizes your priorities while making room for your passions and projects. I get up every morning at 5AM, make breakfast, do the planner, journal, then do self-care, which is either running, yoga, meditation, or the Spartacus workout.  Then I still have 30 minutes of "special time" with my daughter, which typically includes bike rides and blowing bubbles.  

Check these 3 things out. Especially if you'd like a major reboot to your life!