Archive for Michelle Rivera

When Life Has Other Plans…A Personal Story of Mine.

If you personally know me, then you will know that I am an absolute control freak and possibly a bit OCD too.  I’m not controlling over other people, I just like to have full control over what I do in my life, but sometimes life has other plans.

If you follow me on Twitter (@MichelleRivera5…shameless plug) or Facebook, or just on this blog, then you will know that I just had a serious health scare.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about then please read my last blog entry to catch up.

After finding a lump on my neck in February, which was a swollen lymph node, I spent a month, which felt like a year of my life going through blood tests, Ultrasound, CT Scan, and then finally surgery.  The CT Scan showed that I actually had several swollen lymph nodes on the right side of my neck, not just the one I could see and feel, therefore the Oncologist (a surgeon who specializes in Cancer), said that it was “suspicious” and that he wanted me to schedule a surgery as soon as possible to remove the entire lymph node and then send it to biopsy.

You can only imagine what I must have been thinking.  My Oncologist said he did not think the swollen lymph node was a result of an infection.  The first 2 weeks I had this lump, I figured it was most likely an infection, so when he said he didn’t think it was an infection, fear completely set in.  Suddenly Lymphoma Cancer seemed to be a very real possibility in my life.

I felt completely and utterly out of control and all I could think of was not being around to raise my baby girl…soon a hopeless feeling set in, but it was one I had to keep hidden inside because I did not want my baby girl to see any of the sadness that I felt.

However, at night I found myself crying a lot, I think because it was the only time I could let it out.  My husband kept telling me, “You haven’t been diagnosed with Cancer.  Let’s just keep thinking positively.”  I tried to keep positive, but it was extremely difficult.  Hearing words like “suspicious” and “surgery as soon as possible” from an Oncologist does not make you feel like things are in the positive light.  All I kept thinking was, “Why God is this happening to me?”

Of course I scoured the Internet, the absolute worst thing to do when you are going through something like this to find out as much information about Lymphoma as possible.  I was so stressed out about it that I actually started breaking out into hives on my hands and arms, which by the way, has now become almost a daily occurrence and still has not gone away (the hives come and go…Benadryl is my new best friend).

The Oncologist said, “If it’s Lymphoma it’s treatable.”  However, all I heard was “If it’s Lymphoma you’ll have to go through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, you’ll feel very sick, you won’t have the energy to take care of and play with your daughter, your husband will have to take care of you, you’ll have to put your TV Hosting career on hold, and you’ll lose all of your hair, so basically you won’t be the same person you once were.”  Yes this is what my brain was actually processing.  The life in which I always wanted to be in control of suddenly had other plans of its own.

I prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and asked for so many prayers too and then finally surgery day was upon me.  It was on a Thursday.  That weekend that followed was one of the worst weekends of my life.  I was in a lot physical discomfort, and I was also feeling very overwhelmed by the whole situation.

Between the meds and running a fever of 100.5, which the Oncologist said was just a result of my body trying to heal from the surgery, I was not doing well during that weekend at all.  Finally after 5 miserable days of waiting, my results came in on a Tuesday afternoon.

It was not Lymphoma.

Of course this was great news, but I surprisingly did not feel as relieved as I thought I would.  I had just spent an entire month thinking that I could possibly have Cancer, so even with the news that I didn’t, I still felt like I was just this vulnerable human being who really didn’t have control over her life.  Let’s face it, life often has other plans for us, it’s terrifying when you really think about it.

My husband says, “You can’t live in fear.”  He’s right, but it’s an amazing thing when you realize that you’re not as invincible as you thought you were.  I guess that’s just a part of growing up.  Yes even in your adulthood, you can still grow up.

So now I’m left with the thought of people who actually do have Cancer.  I think about those who didn’t get the lucky or blessed good news that I received that Tuesday afternoon.  I look up to those people more now because they are true fighters and I wonder if I could have been up for that same fight?  Especially since I had already felt so knocked down just waiting for my diagnosis.

At this point now, I thank God and all of those people who said prayers for me and to those people who sent out positive vibes into the universe for me as well.  However, I am left with an urgency to want to learn from this experience and try to make a positive contribution somehow.

For those of you wondering, they still don’t know what caused my swollen lymph nodes, they just know what didn’t cause it.  I’ll take my blessings where they come.

I Have A Swollen Lymph Node…..

OMG!   It’s the last day of February and I have not done a new blog entry at all this month and by the time I post this one it will already be March 1st!  I am so sorry to all of my readers.  I don’t want to make any excuses, life just threw me a strange curve ball this month and I fell a little off of my blogging A-Game, okay I fell completely off of my blogging A-Game and really it’s probably more of a B-Game to begin with anyway.

To make a long blog longer, this is what happened.  The beginning of February I was in Colorado with my family visiting my in-laws.  Then when we got back from Colorado to L.A, I discovered a lump on the right side of my neck, it was a swollen lymph node to be exact.

So of course this scared the living crap out of me so I spent days waiting for the swelling to go down, but I had absolutely no luck.  Therefore, I went to go see the doctor, but the doctor wasn’t there, so I saw a nurse practitioner instead, and she ran blood work on me.  My blood work came back great and I have no family history of Cancer, so I’m told to wait a week to see if the swelling goes down.

I spend the week drinking shots of apple cider vinegar, which is absolutely disgusting just so you all know, but it’s supposed to detox your body and bring down the swelling in your lymph nodes, but guess what I still had a swollen lymph node.  So my doctor orders me to go see a Radiologist to get an ultrasound.  At this point I’m thinking, “Oh my God, I have Lymphoma Cancer and I have a 2 year old daughter, why is this happening to me?”

I go and get my ultrasound and they send the results right away to my doctor.  I speak to  my doctor who says that the ultrasound is showing that there appears to be an infection and inflammation in the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck and that other lymph nodes on the right side of my neck are beginning to elevate as well, although we can’t see them or feel them yet.  I of course ask my doctor the most obvious question at this point which is, “So you’re telling me that this is not Cancer?”  The doctor responds to me by saying that only a biopsy can rule out Cancer 100%, but that the chances are very, very, very, slim that it is.

After getting this news I’m much more relieved, however, my doctor wants me to go see a surgeon about doing a possible biopsy, so I did.

The surgeon reviews my ultrasound and blood work, and goes over a series of health questions with me and then feels my neck for the swollen lymph node.

The surgeon then goes on to tell me that it’s not Lymphoma Cancer and explains all the reasons why it is not.  However, he orders a CT scan on me because he says it will tell him more than an ultrasound will and he is not fully convinced that I have an infection present.  He says it might just be inflammation and drainage.

He explains to me that a biopsy on a lymph node is evasive and that would mean I would need surgery and he doesn’t want to do surgery unless I actually do have an infection present and actually need it, and so my CT Scan is scheduled for later on today at 1:00pm.

So that is where I leave my story as of now, but thank God all signs point to it not being Cancer. However, as of today I still have a swollen lymph node.

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Shame On You @Amazon! Even if you did remove the book!

Tonight I sang my 22 month old baby girl her favorite story book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?’  She cuddled with me in her footsie pajamas and when I got to the part where I sing, “Mother, Mother what do you see,” my baby girl gave me a sweet smile like she always does when I get to this part and she nuzzled me.  My heart melted and all I could think was, “God bless my little girl and please don’t ever let anything bad happen to her.”   It’s so easy as a parent to pray and wish that nothing bad ever happens to our children, especially with all the craziness in this world.  We all know that when our children hurt, we hurt, and a mother’s worst nightmare is to know that her child was hurt by something or worse by someone.

For me the fear of my child getting hurt especially haunts me because when I was a child someone hurt me.  See around six years old I was molested by a man who was close to our family who we should have been able to trust, but obviously this was not the case.

Unfortunately during this time I was in need of a male figure in my life.  This damaging and life changing series of molestations took place after my mom and father divorced, but before my mom and step-dad (who I adore) met and married.  So being that my father was in New York, while my mom and I were relocated in California, I was the perfect target for a male Pedophile.  I was a little girl in need of a man’s attention and so this man gave me his attention, doted on me as if I was his little girl, and made me feel special.  That’s what Pedophile’s do, they “seduce” their targets by making them feel special, by making that particular child trust them, it’s all a very well thought out sick plan for them.

This is the reason why I am absolutely beside myself that Amazon.com would allow the sale of “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure,” an electronic book written and published by Phillip R. Greaves.   I’m even more beside myself that Amazon decided to defend it’s decision to allow for the sale of this book, rather than apologize for it and remove it right away.

In an emailed statement Amazon said, “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.” Amazon then went on to say that “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”

These pathetic statements Amazon made absolutely disgusted me to the core. Amazon you most certainly did support and promote hatred and criminal acts as you allowed this “author” to have a forum to sell and promote this product, this hideous book geared towards the victimization of innocent children since October!  SHAME ON YOU AMAZON.COM!!!!!

My question to you Amazon is that you say you support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions, but how come you didn’t support the right of every individual child to be protected?!!!!?  Every child has the right to be safe, but every child is not safe and having products or books that perpetuate the problems and disorders of society such as pedophilia does not promote the well being of children anywhere.  SHAME ON YOU AMAZON!!!!!

The author Greaves argues in “The Pedophile’s Guide” that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child.  The author also said that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.

All I can say to that is give me an F’n Break!  Amazon.com should have never allowed this book to be on their website!  And if they were unaware at first, then it should have been removed as soon as they were made aware of it.

I’m disappointed that they put out those ridiculous statements about censorship instead of apologizing and removing the book right away.  Even the child online-safety advocacy group Enough is Enough said that although they’re not surprised that someone would publish such a book, they said that Amazon should have removed it because selling the book lends the impression that child abuse is normal.

Unfortunately, this story gets much worse.  Even though Amazon has finally removed the book, since this story broke yesterday morning, sales of this self-published e-book went up by 101,000%!

So this is what I want to know now, why did we have to ask Amazon to remove this book in the first place?  Were they too dumb to not know that selling this book was wrong to begin with?  Once again SHAME ON YOU AMAZON!!!

When I look back on my childhood to those brief months that felt like a lifetime, when a grown man was touching me inappropriately and making me feel ashamed…I realize now as an adult woman how he robbed me of my innocence, of how he brought the world that I had seen before him, with such sunshine and light, into a place of confusion and darkness for me instead.  And yet I stand here today feeling like I was one of the lucky ones because the abuse did stop, because I was only touched and not raped.  However, I can’t help but wonder about those children who weren’t and aren’t so lucky?  What kind of “rights” did this book serve them?

I have a wonderful mom and a wonderful step-dad who I adore and they gave me a great life despite the fact that a man, not even a man, a monster, entered my life for a brief period of time and made an impression on it, in such a way that a child should never have to imagine.

And even to this day, I have carried the secret around.  I did tell my mom about it when I was 11 years old and of course she was devastated by it.  However, I made her promise not to tell my step-dad because I didn’t think he would be able to emotionally handle it…..And still, I’m not even sure if my mom ever told him or not.  At that time she said she wouldn’t tell him and so it is my belief that the secret was kept.

With all this, I did go to counseling though and I have opened up to my best friends about it  as well…And of course my husband knows about it too. Yet, this is the first time I have ever really gone public with it, but this Amazon story just made me want to come out with my story though.

I just feel that I’m a grown woman now and I shouldn’t have to feel like this is my dirty little secret to keep anymore, because it’s not mine to keep.  It’s that child molester’s dirty little secret to keep, he has ownership over the shame now, not me anymore.

Also I want Amazon to know, and I want everyone to know that roughly 33% of girls and 14% of boys are molested before the age of 18, according to the U.S. Justice Department. However, what’s scarier is that these statistics are only based on reported cases and unfortunately most cases of child molestation goes unreported.  It is estimated that only 35% of sexual abuse is reported.  Most children are just too scared, ashamed, and embarrassed to say anything.  I know I was.

Do me a favor, if you know me, don’t act weird around me after you read this because I’m still the same person.  Please just be aware that these atrocities towards children can happen to anyone, to the happiest, and most stable of homes.

On my website http://www.mommyhoodtohollywood.com, I have a page called, ‘Mommy’s Hood’ where I refer moms to places where they can find deals on products.  Amazon is one of those places I often refer moms to.  I put out a statement yesterday that if Amazon did not remove this book from their website, then I would remove the products I have from them off of my site instead.  Well, Amazon has removed the book, but yet I still find myself feeling weird about referring moms to their site now.

At this point, I would like to ask Amazon if they can donate or create a program that is geared towards helping victims of child molestation.  I think that could help rectify the situation a bit.  Everyone let’s just remember that we need to start protecting the children and not the predators.

Phillip R. Greaves:  Seriously Who Is This Guy?

Phillip R. Greaves: Seriously Who Is This Guy?

The Birth of ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’….Michelle Shares Her Personal Quest

I have given birth again, but this time it didn’t hurt!  As many of you know I have been growing a little brand of mine called, ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood.’  Many of you have come out to support me by following me on Twitter, joining me on the ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ Facebook page, by visiting this blog, or by simply checking out my official website.  For doing those things, which take precious time out of your day, I really do thank every single one of you.

Several of you don’t really understand what I am doing too, but even with that I am still being supported by you.  That is so kind, so I want to explain to everyone my personal quest with ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood,’ what exactly it is that I am doing, and share my hopes and dreams for it with all of you.

For several years in my life I spent time as a singer/songwriter and performer.  I loved this passionately….you know the way a 23 year old loves their boyfriend or girlfriend passionately…it’s usually a clueless and blinding love, but yet you throw yourself into it wholeheartedly anyway.  Well that was me.  However, after years of performing, almost getting signed to major record labels, and then being absolutely disappointed by the biz, just like you get disappointed by that relationship in your 20’s, I decided to move on with my life.  So I broke up with the music business.  Now I still love music and singing, but I am just not as interested in being in the business of it anymore, that’s all.

Anyhow, I have always been interested in television, in reporting and TV Hosting specifically, and so although I already had a BA degree in English Education, I decided to go back to school to get another degree in Film and Television with my option being in Broadcast Journalism.  After I graduated, I got my first job in Denver as a Production Assistant at a sports network.  I hate sports.  Ha! Ha!  But I tried my best to like it while I was there.  However, I did manage to find the one entertainment/lifestyle TV show this network had and I assisted on it for awhile and then eventually got the opportunity to report on the show.  This was a great first reporting experience for me and it became even more great when I won an Emmy Award for it!  WAIT!  REWIND…

Before I won the Emmy two major things happened to me in my life: First the network canceled the show I won the Emmy for, and second, I found out I was pregnant.  OK!  FAST-FORWARD….

At the Emmy Awards I was almost 5 months pregnant and I had won the Emmy for ‘On-Air Talent Rookie of the Year.’  It was awesome.  My mom said that if I had a girl I should name her Emmy because she was my good luck charm during the Emmy Awards.  So I did end up having a girl, and yes she is my good luck charm, and no I did not name her Emmy.

When I had my baby girl I fell absolutely in love with her of course, and I really enjoy being a mom.  Yes being a mommy does have its challenges like anything else worthwhile doing in life, but you quickly learn how to deal with those challenges and for me it made me start looking at a lot of things in my life in a different perspective.

First off, I hated my job, especially since I was no longer getting the opportunity to do on-air work there, second I missed my family and friends in California, and third I missed California too.  I missed the entertainment world and to me that world was specifically in Southern California.  I knew I had to get back there as soon as I could, so when my daughter was 8 months old we moved back.

Since I’ve been back in Cali I’ve been a stay-at-home mom.  It seemed to make the most sense for our family, but it was always meant to be a temporary situation.  It’s been a blessing to be at home with my little one, but just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean my passion for entertainment or my dream of continuing a career on television has died.  Therefore, I was itching to get back into it again.  I also had this nagging feeling to write again, to be creative.  I used to always keep a journal and  write songs, so I was racking my brain about possibly writing a book or creating a blog, but about what?

In March of 2010, I decided to take Marki Costello’s ‘Become A Host’ bootcamp.   I had no idea of what to expect from it, but I was ready for it though…..or so I thought. For those of you who don’t know who Marki Costello is, she is the granddaughter to the comedy legend Lou Costello of AbbottCostello. However, besides that interesting fact,  Marki is also one of the leading casting directors in the television industry, as well as considered to be one of the top talent managers for TV Hosts as well.  In addition she runs this TV Host Academy, ‘Become A Host.’   The weekend bootcamp that I participated in was jam packed with TV Hosting exercises and I was so out of practice that in my opinion I sucked, BIG TIME!

Also, Marki pushed the importance of finding your brand and I was unsure of what my brand was.  I knew I loved entertainment/lifestyle television, but that was too broad and too common, so basically I was clueless. Then at the end of the weekend I kept thinking, “I’m a mommy who loves entertainment and celebrity/pop culture” and then the phrase ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ kept running through my mind.

Finally, the last day of bootcamp, Marki said she wanted us to write a 30 second show open that demonstrated our brand and then she wanted us to perform it in front of her.  This would be the audition to see if we would be invited by Marki to join her host academy.

Since I felt that I had sucked so bad during that weekend, all I wanted was just to do well in front of Marki and trust me when I say that she can seem quite intimidating when you first get to know her.  She is definitely a force to be reckoned with, but in a good way.  So I went in and performed my brand “Style Trial.”   Uh……WTF?  Yes, that’s what I came up with, I fully dropped my ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ idea and did something that was so NOT ME!  Okay, I went in and did my show open and I did pretty well and I was happy with my performance and yes I got invited into the program, but I was invited into the beginners class.  I didn’t care though, I was just relieved that I had gotten in, however, I knew ‘Style Trial’ was not my brand and you know what, I’m sure Marki knew that wasn’t my brand either.

During my first month of class ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ was still nagging me in my mind.  I talked about it with my husband Mark, but at first he didn’t seem to understand the concept.  He had a concern that I was at the risk of becoming an annoying TV Host who always talked about her kids.  He referenced the early days of Kathy Lee Gifford on Regis and Kathy Lee.  I didn’t really agree with him about his concern or about Kathy Lee!

Anyhow about 2 weeks passed after the conversation with the hubs and I attended my  first industry night.  This is a night where students have the opportunity to perform and leave their press kits with a big industry professional. Then that industry professional stays and chats with us afterwards about the business. That night a casting director Tara Flanagan was our guest.  She said that one of the performers that stood out most to her that evening was a mom (I did not perform, I just went to watch that night).  She then went on to say that there was a huge demographic in television for moms.  That’s when the light bulb went off in my head.  Ding! Ding! Ding!  Yes I heard a bell too. I thought to myself, “Why in the world have I been denying my ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ idea?”  The importance of a brand is that it is true to who you are.  A brand must be the authentic “You.”  I am a mommy! ….And not only am I a mommy, but I’m a mommy who has been a part of the entertainment industry for many years and is passionate about entertainment and celebrity/pop culture.  Thus, ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ made total sense for me.  So then it was on this night that ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ was born.

I wish Tara Flanagan knew how she changed my life that night.  I hope one day I’ll be able to tell her.

That night when I was driving home from industry night my blood was pumping with excitement and I could not wait to get home and talk to my hubby.  I had all these ideas running through my head of what I wanted to do.  I knew I wanted to dish about celebrities, but then I also knew that I wanted to get inside the lives of celebrity moms and their babies.

Then eventually the idea grew even bigger.  Look I am not a celebrity mom or anything, but I always want to try and give my daughter the best of everything the best way I can, like most moms do.  Therefore, the idea of giving your child the A-List life without paying those A-List prices seem to become a wonderful and practical philosophy I wanted to share with all moms, especially in today’s challenging economy.

Before I knew it I was blogging, tweeting, and developing my ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ website…..And it keeps growing!  I’m in the process of developing a ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ webisode and I’m developing a mommy resource page too!  It’s become such an exciting thing!

My hope someday is to have a TV show called, ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ so that I can reach moms by the millions!

As a quick side note, I have to say that Marki Costello knows her shit!  I have grown in so many ways as a host and as a business woman since joining ‘Become A Host.’

I also have to give my hubby Mark props too.  He has ended up loving the idea of ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ and has been in full support of it.  He even did the website for me.  I gave him all my ideas and he helped me bring them into fruition.

Some wonderful friends have helped me also, like my pal Craig K., thanks Craig!  I know all of you out there don’t know Craig, but trust me when I say he’s a great person to know.

Okay, done with the shout outs…..So there you have it my new baby ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ in a big nutshell.  Now my hope is that you will all join me on this new journey that I am on and continue to watch my baby business grow.

Recently I auditioned to be in an industry showcase and I made it in.  So now in about 2 weeks I will have the chance to present myself as a TV Host and also to present my brand to a bunch of television agents, casting directors and TV network executives.  It’s a very exciting and scary event all at once.  Maybe something great will come out of it or maybe nothing at all.  No matter what happens I will continue to nourish my baby ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood’ and I hope you will all continue along with me through this interesting, unknown road that I am running and sometimes tripping on.

So with all this I will leave you with some shameless plugs so that you can join me on ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood.’  The first one is to please subscribe to this blog, it’s free or I wouldn’t ask-lol!  The next is to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MichelleRivera5.  The last thing is to please join my ‘Mommyhood to Hollywood Facebook page at http://bit.ly/ckxelb.

Thank you so much again everyone.  I send you all love and positivity always!

 

Michelle Rivera is Mommyhood to Hollywood

Michelle Rivera is Mommyhood to Hollywood

 

 

Marki Costello of CMEG and 'Become A Host'

Marki Costello of CMEG and 'Become A Host'

 

Marki Costelli Audition Tips:

Michelle Rivera’s TV Hosting Reel: