Category Archives: a day in the life

ASKED AND ANSWERED, AND NOT A WORD SPOKEN


dad at busch gardens

Sometimes firsts are good.  The first time you ride a bike, the first time you eat ice cream, the first kiss, the first kid (just kidding both of my kids are terrific).  Firsts are meant to be moments that you will always remember.  But honestly, some firsts you just want to forget.

This is what I am feeling today.  Tomorrow is my father’s birthday.  He came so close to making it to 85.  His death in October was surrounded by such craziness, that I am not sure anytime was really given for grieving.  I mean we mourned, but so much went on in just a few short days of his death that all of those extra emotions kind of got lost in the hubbub.

At the end of September we planned moving my parents to Florida.  Nov. 5 was picked.  Flights were booked, movers were scheduled…and the packing was able to begin.  The process was physically daunting, but even more so emotionally.  My Father was already beginning his final decline (though we weren’t as steep his decline was).  I am sure he was able to register what was happening, and I believe it caused him to withdraw into himself even more.  Many have said he didn’t want to go to Florida…Maybe they were right!  He died on Oct. 21, and the moment the “Shiva” ended, we were hit with Hurricane Sandy; which didn’t even stop the packing and moving process.  Nov. 5 we were on that plan, and off to start a new chapter in my Mom’s life.

My mom and I were speaking earlier.  We speak both talk him all the time, and today my mom said, “but he doesn’t answer.”  Which made me realize something.  He certainly does answer.  He has allowed you to Segway into this new, exciting and privileged chapter of you life, without the heartache of feeling guilty (and you don’t have anything to feel guilty about).  This is his parting gift to you, the woman he loved for over 60 years.  Be happy and enjoy he says…without ever uttering a word.  You and the children deserve it!!!!

So I guess this first birthday with out you dad is also a memory…Know that I wish you here with us…But every day you are thought of fondly, and cherished even more….

 

Happy Birthday Dad….

Enjoy!

Carol

@afunnycancermom

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Thank You Nannette Stueck – The Follow Up


IMG_2078Well after I wrote my November 30th blog about Nanneette Stueck, I received over 100 public and private comments on potential ways to find her. I listened to several comments and tracked a series of addresses to Maine.  I sent off a few letters hoping that at least one of the addresses I got would be hers.  But as you see from above, all of my letters were returned …NOT DELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED.  It seemed to be a dead end.  I wondered if I was going about this the wrong way…But in the end, odd as this may be, it was her that found me.

 On December 17th I got a note posted to my LinkedIn account from Nannette, that simply said she was trying to find me and gave me her email.  I was thrilled.  The next day I got this…(I have taken out the personal details).

 

Oh finally, No, my cousin forwarded your blog Sunday.  I have been attempting to contact you since. Here’s some of the mail I’ve been trying to send you. I tried to post to your blog but it said something about needing moderation and now is gone,  linked in must have worked, I tried  Carol@fXXXXXXXXXX but that didn’t work

Carol –

Last night after watching / helping my daughter XXXXXXX decorate our tree I launched my email, The usual advertisements to be deleted, a note from my sister to call my mom in the face of Friday’s tragedy in Newton, and a note from my cousin Eileen in Pasadena, CA.

She stumbled upon your blog and found your note to me, and she forwarded it, in case you hadn’t found me.  She said she was later night, should have been asleep internet searching….I should probably ask what brought her to a cancer blog….

You are the first person I think of when someone says, “IF you know someone who has been affected by cancer,” but of course I had no idea how many new ways it would touch you in the 28 years since I’d seen you last.

I remember our quick and easy friendship and our talks, I remember our brief rooming while you continued your treatments at Tufts.  I remember too, the odd way people reacted to your cancer and I remember your strength.  I also remember how when you had beaten Hodgkins and graduated that you broke down and cried to me on the phone so scared about the future, and I was in such awe of it, like after all the bravery, why now??  Why is she so scared now, and so brave in the thick of it.  I have cautioned everyone I have known since when they have struggled with cancers, mostly breast and said be careful – watch your thoughts, be ready for the crash, and call me if you need to talk.

I, to date, have avoided the cancers personally as well as with immediate family members.  Great girlfriends and neighbors have had lumpectomies and mastectomies, all very brave and beautiful survivors! But, you were my first….and so you remain the first thought.

Great to find you and I’d love to stay in touch!!!

Love, Nannette

And even greater gift was that she was relatively local over the holidays, and we got to meet for breakfast.  I got the chance to meet part of her family.  They are as warm as Nannette.  And if I didn’t say it to you that day Nannette, you look great…and happy.  I have done nothing but talk about re connecting with you.  I know I owe you an email,.  I have been so busy telling and re telling everyone about that I don’t  didn’t even email to say what a great breakfast it was, and I look forward to many more meetings.

I realized I got a few details wrong, Like Nannette went to Simmons not Northeastern, but we figured why I thought that….But all in all our memories coincided.

What a great Holiday Gift it was to reconnect….It was a real great feeling finding you and thanking you.  I believe it completed  closure on that time in my life.  And gives me the chance to create a friendship with someone I know has a great heart!!!

New Resolution #1.

*Be grateful and always say say thank you to those you feel deserve it!

CHECK

 

ENJOY TODAY!

 

Carol

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My Dad


 

3/8/1928 – 10/21/2012

 

Please let me begin by saying that my mother, brothers and I thank you all for being here today to celebrate the life of our Dad, Herbert Grossman. My brother, Neil, being reticent to speak in these situations, has agreed to let me speak on his behalf. Our Dad was a multi-faceted man: And facet is such a befitting word to describe him, because it connotes a precious stone . And that is just what he was. A jewel; a diamond amongst lesser stones.

Our Dad was a man with a modest and tumultuous upbringing. Yet he forged an upward path early on. He started in the garment center by accident, but he was lucky in that he had a real passion for what he did. He found success and achievement within his first year. From that point on he would strive to create the best product possible…No exceptions and no short cuts. Believe it or not this was his greatest strength and also his biggest weakness. He truly was an industry legend.

He believed that as much as you got, you must always remember that you had to give back. Tzedaka is what they call it. There are many memories of Dad reaching into his pocket to give a dollar to someone in need, and often also stopping and having a conversation with the person. It was our Dad’s way of saying, “I am here to help if you need.” He was generous to a fault…it was even Scott’s and my wedding, when (after a few cocktails) he began to tip the entire wait staff who where wearing Tuxedo’s. (Which was a long list…because it was a black tie affair.) Thankfully our friend David followed him around to re-collect his generosity.

Another facet of our Dad was his incredible sense of humor. He was dry and quick witted. His jokes had us rolling, but mostly because he was laughing so hard by the time he came to the punch line. We couldn’t help but laugh along. We aren’t really sure if the jokes were as funny as we think they are. But we certainly remember the laughing. Another facet was how he loved spending time with his grandchildren. His pride and utter joy was always apparent when he spoke of them, played with them, or showed pictures of them to friends and acquaintances…he would just beam. Jane and Elysabeth were blessed with many good “grandpa years”. He never missed a birthday party. He loved to scoop them up in his muscular “boxer like” arms and chepper them on the face. Both of you would coo with glee. Sam, Will, Matt and Alissa didn’t have as many years with Dad at full strength, but the love and joy he had being with you 4 was no less. All of you were the truly joyful part of his life. You were a big part of that dazzling smile, and definitely what caused his inner glow.

There was one facet that sparkled brighter than any of the others. The brightest spark he gave off was the one that illuminated the love he had for our Mom/his wife of 56 years. She truly was his world. He even hired my mom to work for him back in the 80’s. For 30 years they would wake up next to each other, go to work together, spent all day at the office together, had dinner together, and came home; just to do the same thing over again the next day. They were true partners, soul mates…. in life, in love, in every way possible. Their love was special…it was epic.

Our father was a man of great convictions. Right or wrong, he was never indifferent. He did things his own way. And that held true to his death. He made it strong to his Matthew and Alissa’s B’nai Mitzvah. Being ever present in a room surrounded by his family and cherished friends. It was almost like he had orchestrated his own going away party. And in the end, he wanted just to go off quietly, and rest…which he did. Not a complaint.

Dad we love you truly, we will miss the twinkle in your eye and the mischief in your heart…. we know you are peaceful and at rest. Something you haven’t been able to do for many years. We feel your love, and we hope you feel ours. Rest well Pops (as Neil liked to call him)…We Love you,

 

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BUSY LIFE…and loving it


What a summer I have enjoyed.   With my kids in camp, and not a Dr.’s appointment scheduled…Well except for a yearly Gyno appointment, I had an “worry free and health issue free summer.”  I know that is how most people enjoy life, but for the past three summers, as many of you know, either I, or a family member, has undergone one sort of cancer treatment or another.  And this summer…that was not the case…Now, this is not to say that I don’t have friends being faced with this awful disease and treatment, because that would not be true.  And this is alos not to say that I don’t think about what they are going through, or ways I can help them get through it.  I have, however, enjoyed a summer of appointments, and errands, and meetings, and tastings, and dinners out, and visiting friends, and visiting family, and planning for the kids 13th, and…well just all things I have not been able to do for the last 3 years.  All things that are just part of LIFE….and boy was I thrilled to do them all.

With that being said, with my new found freedom, I gave up on the blog for a spell.  And honestly my schedule for the next 3 weeks doesn’t let up much, so my blog may lay dormant until the beginning of October (or maybe even November).  But fear not, I will return and with new inisght into just about everything.  Even though the title remains The Cancer Made Me Do It, I will begin to tackle all different “life” issues, from the same humorous (yet sometimes cynical) perspective.

My summer has also presented a new emotional turmoil.  My Mom and Dad, who I have written of often, are moving to Florida just after Halloween.  This move will give them a new and improved lifestyle.  I am so thrilled for the opportunity my brother and sister-in-law have helped to create; but I can’t help but feel sad about loosing my constant, and loving lunch mate.  Of course, now I have a reason to go to Florida (one other than Disneyworld).  I am thankful to Facetime, Skype and all of these other technological marvels because that will make it a little easier.

So while I am busy with so many things…helping to pack them up and move them just adds more to my schedule.  But, again, a busy life is better than no life at all…

So I bid you good-bye for a few weeks.  And wish you all well…

I will be back.

Enjoy today

Carol

@funnycancermom

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Maturation


Yesterday was visiting day at my children’s camp. This is year number 4. I can tell you the difference between them this year and the years before was huge. Their whole demeanor was one of ease, and happiness and contentment. It was just so wonderful to be with them.

Frankly, in years past, In years past, I always enjoyed seeing them, but the day had a different feeling. The first hour was usually calming one of my kids down from the anxiety of us arriving. I mean talk about a bull in a china shop…We parents storm the camp much like they stormed the beach at Normandy all those years ago. We throw our stuff down, reserve our space for the day and then go charging to the bunks. (This does present a problem with twins, because my husband still haste part the car…but we work it out every year). I watch as parents push kids out of the way just so they can get to their won kids 1 or 2 seconds earlier than the next mom. I think Sasha Baron Cohen would have a field day using “visiting day” in one of his satires.

Anyway, even though visiting day was from 10-4…The 1st hour was getting the kids calm and the last 2 hours were spent calming them down for when we left… But this year my kids were totally different. More relaxed, more self assured, more, “go with the flow of the day”…and for the 1st time I have to say…Visiting Day wasn’t long enough. We talked and played and roamed around. It was just nice. and I thought why this could be?

Yes my children are getting older, and that is a big part of it. But I realized, they had “no worries” this year. As much of a relaxing summer it is for me, it is for my kids as well. Last year I had given Alissa’s bunk “THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT” bracelets.When I arrived this year many of the girls were still wearing them…which was lovely . Many told me how happy they were that all was okay now.

Later I ran into an old friend (really an old Boss…but he was a really good boss so I considered him both). And he new about my year last year, and asked me about the blog and about the foundation. I was touched that he knew all theta was going on. Throughout the day I ran into women who are parents of campers who asked about the blog and the foundation…and they were also followers…also very cool. Later the kids and I were sitting and talking. I mentioned how nice it was that people asked how I was doing…my son Matt said something that struck me to the core.

Mom we told everyone last year how hard you tried to make things seem okay…This year you are okay and things are easier…Their are other kids in camp who has someone in their family going through cancer now…and a few have come to us and asked questions. I tell them what you always told us…There are some bad days but mostly the days are really okay…and honestly, have family and friends who love me…makes everything sealable….

He said it in such a way that I was stunned at how grown-up he sounded. I was so proud to hear them talk about it this way…At the end of the day, the good-byes were tearless, but still warm and loving…They both were glad for the day, and look forward to coming home in 4 weeks. But are filled with happiness to stay at camp and “play” with their friends for 4 weeks. They are in a great place, and spend their days laughing and loving life…and this year not fearing what is going on with their Mommy.

Cancer is a disease that does more damage than you can imagine. Their are many, many great charities that are working hard to find a cure…It is the day to day issues that I chose to focus on though…the family, the kids and how it affects them is what made me want start this foundation. We can help each other get through it…Cancer is still a growing problem. My illness made my kids mature a little quicker than they might have (and trust me this is only in certain areas…I still can’t get hem to make a bed or clean a room). But all in all, Maturation is good.

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Nature’s Blessings


Today was an exceptional day.  Tis morning I received an email from my neighbor who was on her way out to church.  There was a newborn fawn at my front door step.  I open my garage door and went around to the front to witness this tiny miracle.  (Who by the way in few years I will be cursing fro eating up all my plants…but in the mean time exudes “AWWWWWness”…cause that is what you say when you see it).

 

Anyway, this small, adorable Bambi like creature consumed most of my day; I had several friends stop by to witness it.  Later in the afternoon, I actually got to witness it take its first steps.  What a joy to see. A thunderstorm rolled through which gave Bambi a little scare, so she/he went seeking some cover.  And she found it amongst my Oregano plants….A natural instinct to hide and protect oneself from harm.

 

 

Today I learned that the mom gives birth and then puts the baby somewhere for a while she heels from giving birth.  She places it somewhere safe from other predators. Which was perfect for me, cause all I could do was watch with wonder.  The mom then comes back to collect the baby.  Witnessing this whole process was a gift.  One which I will cherish and talk about for a while. Of course I also thought,  how great would it be to give birth and then take a few days off?  Heel and come back to care for your child (children in my case).  AWESOME……..

 

That Mommy passed around for a good hour, until it was safe to collect her baby.  She placed the baby in a place she knew it would be safe until she got back.  Her maternal instincts were in high gear.  Just like us humans. Watching this I realized how wonderful the cycle of life really is.  How similar we are to many other living creatures.

 

Nature versus nurture…in this case Nature absolutely brings out the desire to nurture.  The two are conjoined in many aspects.  Interestingly enough it is the basis for which my foundation is to be built.  I feel compelled to help nurture others going through their cancer treatment.  I want to help them and their families survive the day-to-day issues that come with the disease.  It just seems so basic a cause…so Natural…And with the new plan that the marketing team has outlined…Iwill have my chance to Nurture because it is what come naturally to me.

Enjoy today!

 

Carol

@funnycancermom

 

Just like Bambi and her Mom…AWWWWW

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The Why Me Factor


Okay, I am an up kind of person…and I usually see the positive in almost every situation.  Today, however, I am taking a different approach…one, which I feel I have earned:  It is the right to the bitch about the small stuff.

A few months ago, I had one of my final surgeries.  While I was under anesthesia, I some how bit down hard on the intubation tube and cracked my front tooth.  “It happens so infrequently”, the anesthesiologist told me, “but it does happen.”  So straight from surgery my friend “SUPER NURSE AMY” drove me straight from surgery to the dentist.  Dr. Lipari was so nice.  He reviewed the mess my mouth was…(this was yet another bit of destruction the radiation from my early bout of cancer had caused…It really has been just the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it?).  Anyway, he was as sweet as he could be…and let me know that I he could fix the tooth, but in all actuality I would probably need an implant.   Yikes I thought, but had really put all that he said on hold…and went on with my day-to-day existence.  That is until yesterday.

I have been on weight watchers for the last 6 weeks, and on Friday I was craving something crunchy.  Trying to be good, I got an apple from the fridge, and took a bit.  The moment I bit in, I knew I had done something wrong.  I knew with this tooth, apples could only be eaten if I cut them into slices.  No direct biting.  Well it was to late.  I felt that I had loosened the tooth.  So I would call him on Monday so that I can go get it re-glued.  I went on with my day, aware that it was loose, but it still was intact.

Anyway Last night we had dinner at Super Nurse Amy’s house.  Amy and I got to enjoy the new H MART grocery store during the day, and then we all met up again for dinner.  Our other friends Elaine and Joe were also with us.  It was a great meal of Crunchy Noodles & Veggies, Panko Crusted Salmon, String Beans and Salad.  YUM (just a little bragging about the food, even though I didn’t cook).  After dinner we all sat around, and I was talking about my tooth being loose and how annoying it was.  Then BAM!  Mid sentence the entire tooth (post and all) fell out of my mouth.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was my front tooth…. so when I smiled you saw, nothing but air…I couldn’t have looked my back woods if I tried.

This morning Amy took me up to Dr. Lipari.  He was so nice.  He actually met me at his office on a Sunday Morning…. How many Dr.’s would do that.  He has put the tooth back in, and re-affirment that an implant is needed….which I will deal with soon.

But after I came home, my friend Meredith asked how I was?  And here is what I have to say to that question. (which I can’t really say but it is how I feel).  Physically I am fine.

Emotionally though, I wish this kind of stuff would stop happening to me.  I know that “this should be the worst that has happened to me” and it definitely isn’t the worst.  But if you put it all together I have had enough of these “I could have been worse” situations.  I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I could use a break from all of this.  A span of “how lucky you are that this has happened to you vs. I am sorry this has happened to you.

I look at the luck my family has had with me getting all these things…I drastically lowers their odds of getting anything.  In a family 1 out of 5 usually gets cancer (between me and my brothers I have covered their odds 2x).

I swear that this filling of being beaten down a little doesn’t last to long.  But I thought you should know that even though I am up/positive 95% of the time.   Even I have my down slides.  And it is perfectly normal.  For you Susie, going through the chemo and having the bad reactions, can make you mad…it is okay and all of those around you have to understand that you are allowed to have moments of anger or depression.  You bounce back….

By the end of me writing this, I already feel better…. but I am okay that I was annoyed for the last 24 hrs.

And I guess that is what is important….It is okay to feel bad, or feel like it isn’t fair, or like you have had enough.  But it is only okay to feel that way for a while…Then realize how lucky you are to be given the gift that you were given….Friends, Family, LIfe, and the time to enjoy them all….

Enjoy Today….

Carol

Funnycancermom

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Where’s the funny?


Honestly, what’s so funny about cancer?  Well believe it or not there has been plenty. If I look back at the last year, what I remember…is the Funny.  Not the crappy.  So I thought it was the time in the movie (or the blog) for  the flashback sequence.  All of these sties have been told or glossed over in previous entries, but if you look at  them as a whole:  I could see  “Cancer ” the sitcom

Lets begin at the beginning.

In February, I was still meeting with Dr.s and Surgeons and deciding a course of action with regards to having a Mastectomy or not.  My friend Wendy knew a women who had been to the the Surgeon I was considering — Andrew Ashikari.  Anyway she had introduced my to this woman who was incredibly helpful.  She even offered to come to my house so I could see and touch and feel the end product (notice how I made a ‘boob job” sound classy).  It was a Sunday morning, and my husband was on carpool duty when the woman came to my house.  After talking to me about what was going to happen, she took off her shirt and let me “feel her up”.  Frankly, it was amazing, awkward, and weird all at the same time.  But what an unbelievable help.  Knowing and seeing what was going to happen was huge — (figuratively speaking of course).  My husband and I giggled about this for days.  What he wouldn’t have given to be there to watch me.

Many memories included my friends.  Like my 1st day at chemo.  Julie and I walked into this long white, long room.  each area was divided by those curtains you see in emergency rooms.  But very few of them were drawn.  Almost all of the chairs were taken, and I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go.  I just looked all around – as all of the patients looked at me – the newbie -And said loudly.  “Excuse me which way to the bar…I have a reservation, so if you could just call us when our table is ready!”  And we started laughing.  Even a few of the patients (who were already hooked up to their chemo cocktails) started laughing.

Of course the many, many days where I left the house to run an errand, and half way to my destination realized that I forgot why I was going or what I was going for.  And usually came home with many items from the grocery store…but not 1 that was on my list.

I have memories of times I would laugh at myself or my circumstances.  My friends and I were always able to joke.  I remembering making fun of my friend Amy when she didn’t text me back immediately (she was in surgery at the time — like that’s a valid excuse).  texting her “I can’t believe you didn’t text me back…I have cancer you know!”  Stupid and childish – yes…but lite-hearted and funny — also yes!  Why not be childish and silly…all the other stuff going on was so serious –which is why I always looked for the funny!

And then of course their was the weight gain.  Certainly always a source of horror and Humor for me – mostly horror. Since I constantly talk about how much I have gained through this whole order.  But this particular evening was during the US Open.  Serana was on the court and we were at Amy’s having dinner.  Amy’s family, Elaine’s family and all of us.  Sititng on the couch was Amy, Dan, and 2 of their children; Elaine, my husband, my son and I.  We were watching her intently when someone said “look at the size of Serena…all muscle whadda ya think she weighs?”  I said “180 Lbs”  Scott said, in his way, “NO Way…She is big, but not that big. 180 Lbs is a lot for a woman to weigh.”  and with perfect comedic timing, I turned to Elaine and Amy and loudly, yet demurely, “Uh Oh!”  And as the tears of laughter came rolling down our faces…I realized how great laughter feels.  IT is truly JOYOUS!

I am talking to my 3 new friends going through this ordeal.  For however much it seems like it is going to suck (and of course that is true) I just want you to know – that night (and many others) there was no cancer anywhere…just laughter.  I tell you this because I know it doesn’t seem possible, but it is.  These times can be about other things…not just about being sick.  Look for the humor, cause there is funny here…and the funny is what brought me to where I am now — on the flip side helping you who are just at the starting line.

I will be here with you all the way through and will be waiting with a joke and smile at the finish line…

Laugh ON

Enjoy!

Carol

 

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TCMMDI


What can I say.  I got nothin’.  I have actually been ecstatic about it.  Writing this blog is a passion of one, but so is life.  I have not written as often as I used to, and I am finding myself apologizing to a few fervent followers for that…But I am not sorry.  I am just living!

I have finally and officially set up my Charitable Foundation.  Yes, THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT, INC.  is an official charity (501 (c) 3.

THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT

A new 501c3 charitable foundation

And news of a

 Golf/Tennis event to raise funds for Research grants in the following areas:

Breast Cancer, Hodgkin’s/Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Head & Neck Cancer (THANC), Leukemia, and Parkinson’s

Some have asked why I chose these ‘diseases, and I that is easy to explain.  While I can switch the “grants” year to year, I wanted to begin with these that have effected my life directly.  Breast Cancer and Hodgkin’s for me, THANC and Parkinson’s for my parents, Multiple Myeloma for my Mother-in-Law, and Leukemia for some very dear friends….How I wish there was no need…but that is just not the case.

So, at the beginning of March I will hold my first meeting to recruit friends , family, neighbors, co-survivors and supporters to help with (what I hope will become) our signature charity event.  A golf/tennis outing – followed by a wine tasting and cocktail party.

I am nervous as Hell!  I am like a scared little girl navigating a playground at a new school on the very first day.  I know I want this to be successful, and I know I want people to want to be involved, but I worry that I can’t pull it off, and that I don’t get the support I need.  And then the whole thing falls apart.

But even with all of this nervous energy…I am going forward with it.  I am Lucky enough Cristie Kerr (#3 Golfer on the PGA Tour) as a “face” of the event.  Pride Family Vineyards – and Curvature Wines as sponsors, I am even in contact with the owners of one of a popular “fashion house”.  SO I think like I handled being sick, I hope to handle this next project…Eyes straight ahead and focussed on the end….reaching my goal and not letting any of the many hurdles I will face slow me down….

Yesterday my Mom told me of a conversation she had with my oldest brother.  She said he was certain that I would be successful at this.  His confidence in me is truly heartwarming and is a real bolster for my nerves.

For now, I am researching these kind of events, and gathering information.  I look forward to any help anyone wants to offer.  Whether it be in knowledge on how to run these events or just interested in being involved.  Or just listening tome talk about it for a while.

I am just glad to talk about it, and spread the word.  Who know’s maybe one day it will be as large as the Michael J. Fox Foundation…Or even better, I look forward to crossing off disease’s as cures are found…Then I can hold a Golf/Tennis event just for the fun of it!

Enjoy the day

Carol

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Now I have gone and done it!



Alright it is official, I have submitted my first article for consideration in the NY Times! YIKES! They probably won’t pick it anyway, but as they say at the Oscars “It’s an honor just being nominated.” In this case, it is enough for them to even consider my article. Nobody I grew up with would have ever pegged me for a writer – EGADS!

I finished the editing process this afternoon — I had written the piece 3 weeks ago. And after getting some “editing” help. I nipped and tucked it into its final form. And then I read it, and read it again, and just to be sure…I read it 1 more time. Cause all of you know “SPELLIN’ AND GRAMMAR AIN’T MY THANG!” But I thought for the NY Times, I should try to do my very best. I am actually scared to go back and read it again, for fear (now that I have submitted it) I made a silly error….Anyway, I sat at my computer with my finger floating over the “enter” key which would send it soar through cyberspace. Should I do this? Why do I want to do this? Screw it! I am doing this…and

Well, I will not hear for a few weeks; I find solace in that somehow! And then if it doesn’t make the paper…atleast I have a future blog written!

I have got my fingers and toes crossed!

Enjoy today!

Carol

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I have my reasons!


My friend Audrey called me today, to say hi and check in. During the conversation she asked me if I was going to write a book. I told her I had my reservations about doing so – and gave her a few reasons. She said it would be great if I could share my story with others, because she found it so inspiring. I am not bragging, but I have heard this before. But every time I hear it I have the same reaction. Discomfort, awkwardness, and utter confusion.

I assure you, I am neither humble, nor self-sacrificial… I just don’t get it! Inspirational, why? Admirable, really? I have had cancer…twice? Not so admirable, believe me! If I was given the option, I would wish to “not have a reason to write a blog!”.so not so inspirational. What I do have is the desire to make it easier for someone else, after me. That is a maternal thing I believe. Didn’t your mother always say “If I knew then what I know now…” (Yeah, I know I hated when she said it too); but she was right, and that is all I am trying to do. Give someone in the future a little hindsight into my past!

Some of my Dr.’s have had patients call me to talk, and some friends have passed along my blog to friends, or have asked me to speak with a friend or relative. I am an open book. I don’t do it for admiration, or for adulation…I do it because I know how scary it is. I know what it is like to be young and diagnosed…I know what it is like to be old (older) and diagnosed. I have had full body radiation, and chemotherapy. I have had internal and external organs removed, (and yet I still gain weight! Go figure). I have definitely earned my credentials as an expert patient!

So for right now, no book! I would be happier if no one needed to seek this kind of information, the “cures” are still a ways off. In the mean time, I am here…to give you advice, or just to listen, to tell you a funny story, or an embarrassing one (of which I have many). I am who I am – and that is all I want to be – for now anyway!

Enjoy the day!

Carol

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House Cleaning


Holidays are coming. Gifts are being wrapped, and I am making room for the new purchases. I am always surprised at how great it feels after I have finished a good purge. I feel accomplished, I feel organized, and ready to take on anything that comes.

The last few days I have done a different kind of house cleaning. Today I am going for my colonoscopy. So when I talk about cleaning out the house…I referring to my own inner house. An odd thing to write about, but let me assure you I wish I knew more about it before my first one (20 years ago). The preparation is key and really the trick to make this not so bad – and yes, like my chemo, can have some real upsides!

First of all — know your “prep” options. Some gastroenterologists still stick with the old fashioned “go-lightly drink” In my opinion absolutely fowl!!! Another drink is the Magnesium Citrate (just a medical term for YUCHY!) Now I am not saying these two methods aren’t affective,; cause they are! But they also take a toll on your whole body leaving drawn, tired, and generally feeling poorly.

About 10 years ago, I was introduced to a new method – “Visicol Pills” This was a huge improvement. They are horse pill size and you have to take a lot a short time (along with a gallon of water)…but I didn’t have to drink that nasty stuff. Then 3 years I was introduced the Miralax and Gatorade prep. It absolutely does the job, while simultaneously replenishing your electrolytes. You do not get that same draggy, yucky feeling.

Okay and here is the pitch to get your colonoscopy when you are supposed to — Early detection is the #1 defense against colon cancer. And if that doesn’t convince you here is the other reason (and my favorite one)….

Yesterday when I started the “prep” I weighed 7 pounds more than I do today…THATS 2 WEEKS ON WEIGHT WATCHERS!!!!!

So when it is time for you to get your intestinal house cleaned, remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel…or just know you are lighter at the end of the procedure. In my book, either way, a win win! Viva La Purge!

Enjoy today

Carol

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Thanks for the Memories!


I remember the saying “TIME FLIES WHEN YOUR HAVING A GOOD TIME.” I must amend that, because this year has not really been that fun, yet it has flown by.

Last week was my final Surgery; and today my bandages were removed and I am, at last, unencumbered. I am amazed at the speed in which 9 months has past. Yes, it was 9 months ago I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer: During that time I have endured 1 major operation and this past one, 6 months of Chemo Therapy, Hair Loss (even though it wasn’t expected with my chemo protocol), Weight Gain and broken tooth (well that is story I could sink my teeth into). But guess what, I am still Thankful.

I wake up most mornings happy that it is another day. But today I am struck by the fact that it is the holiday season. This is the time that we reflect back on what has happened in the past, and fix what is wrong or focus on what is right in our life. So today I thought I would share some of my reflections with you.

I am thankful for this blog that I created. It has given me a platform to talk and joke about the seemingly non humorous things going on in my life.

Daily I wake up and am Thankful for my dear friends — I am referring to you all as WE JAM. An acronym for your initials. You were there with me through out it all. You laughed with me and you let me cry on your shoulder. When I needed to be propped up you were my support beams. YOU WERE AND ARE MY ROCK(S)!

Since I can’t wish away the disease, I am thankful that I found it as early as I did. I am thankful my friends introduced me to a Doctor who, I believe, made the difference in how my future unfolded. He was (and is for future patients) a blessing.

And as of this morning, I am thankful that I am truly, completely, and totally DONE!!!! While I still have a few more weeks of healing…I have finished the last procedure regarding this disease. (I am facing my colonscopy in December – but that is because I am 50 and not because I HAD cancer – who new age would be a good excuse for something.)

These months haven’t been all uplifting. Their have been events that have altered my immediate world. Getting Breast Cancer has altered the way I look at things. I am not as lenient towards everything, and I am no longer willing to just sit idly by. If I feel I am being treated unfairly or treated harshly I will not stay quiet. I have faced cancer twice, and if I have been able to stand up to that — so, you better believe I am going to stand up to anyone or anything that tries to make me feel that I am undeserving.

So tomorrow I wake up, the day before the holiday season officially starts, chin up, as the chemo over, newly coiffed, CANCER FREE CAROL….who thinks the last year just flew by like the blink of an eye. AND I AM THANKFUL IT DID!!!!

Scott and I

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

ENJOY AND BE THANKFUL

CAROL

@funnycancermom

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A River in Egypt!


This weekend, we had an unexpected and unprecedented October storm. It caused untold damage on houses and power lines. Hundred’s of thousands we’re without power. Mother Nature came to remind use of the kind of power she has. Driving down the streets you now see piles and piles of downed tree limbs. These help us remember what happened — and these signs of damage are hard to avoid. Sometimes the damage isn’t always so visible.

How is it really possible to avoid a brick wall when you are traveling straight for it at 90 miles an hour? Well. you can pretend it isn’t there…or at least that is what I do. Lately a heap of praise has been showered upon me…and please believe me I am truly humbled by it. Many have told me how brave I have been through this whole ordeal. And in spending sometime reflecting on my past six months, I wonder if my supposed brevity isn’t just a fancy form of denial.

Today I was asked if I remembered how I felt when I was in college — when I was diagnosed and how I felt being there without any family (and. yes, even friends). My answer, “I don’t remember. Face it I was a 20 year old college kids. I am sure I thought I was invincible – even if the Dr.’s showed concern. I guess i was just a dumb kid. Certain things I remember, like the day I lost my hair! But those memories are few and far between.” But this can’t be true, because every time the subject comes up all I want to do is move on to another subject.

Then I was asked how I felt about this last diagnosis, “now that it is in the past.” The answer is very similar (obviously not the part about being young). I don’t remember much. I remember how certain events surrounding my diagnosis and treatment made me feel, but nothing really, in depth, about the actual treatment and diagnosis itself. Again I can remember events related to certain days and treatments. For example, I can remember agonizing for a week on how to tell my friends. Poor Elaine got the good news first. I hated having to tell her first, for so many reasons, but I needed her help (not easy for me to admit). Then I told my parents. I remember how upset I was for my parents to have to hear the news, because they had already been through enough. I felt bad that I had to tell my brother’s — and made them be with me when I told my parents. I spent much time worrying about how everyone else would handle it, that I was able to avoid worrying about how I would handle this. And if I didn’t think about it, each day would just ‘happen’ and I wouldn’t have to face the “Hail storm” that I was living through. But it seems this unexpected winter storm has somehow unearthed some ground shaking feelings with in me – feelings I am having trouble avoiding.

Now that I am done, I am trying to get a handle on what I have just been through; and it is proving to be overwhelming at times. I can sometimes feel like my body and psyche has just been hit with an unexpected October Storm. I keep hearing that old saying…”You have to take the good with the bad.” Well I am here to state that I am pretty full up of bad, SO BRING ON THE GOOD.”

I am not turning to the dark side. No I am not becoming a Debbie Downer. Not me! But the truth is…even the strongest of us, and even those of us that are always there for others with a “stiff upper lip” can just accept what has happened. I just can’t avoid it anymore, because it takes to much energy avoiding the facts – I accept them and I’LL DEAL WITH THEM.

So Denial is, once again, a river in Egypt.

Enjoy the day!

Carol

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HEY


Thursday was one of those days that keeps you wondering about for a long time – especially if you have girls. My daughter and I were sitting around enjoying an afternoon together. She got a text and began to respond feverishly. “Is everything okay?” I asked. “MOOOOMMM!” she responded with the roll of her eyes and the genuflecting of her head, and I quickly realized that my daughter was gone and another child had taken her place. To all you Mom’s of girls out there, when did SYBIL become the characteristics of a “teenage” girl? I am amazed at the speed of which this transformation happens – it is truly supernatural.

Now I have seen bits and pieces of this coming for a while; and Yes, my friends have warned me of this plague…but REALLY, she just turned 12 on Wednesday…couldn’t I get a little break – you know like a week!. I guess I can see the omnipotent’s point. I mean I am cancer free, my hair seems to be growing back, my husband is still being especially nice, my primetime shows are back from summer hiatus – but REALLY couldn’t he pick a different kind of “hurdle to jump over next – something a little easier?

My daughter really is one of the sweetest girls you will ever meet, so when she flips to the Dark side, it really is shocking. So I have begun to formulate responses that could possibly bring my daughter back quicker. If only I could pull my hair out, but I barely have any yet to do that to. I could I just break down and beg for her to return – but nay I say – that can only show weakness. I could ignore it, but face it – where is the fun in that. I mean if I have to last through this time in her life, I might as well have a little fun – right? So that leaves me with my plan of action…Embarrassment. I think if the girl I birthed decides to switch into someone I am not familiar with, maybe I can make it so this other persona doesn’t want to appear anymore.

Today I plan to try it out. If SYBIL appears, I am going to hold her hand, and ask her to “skip to the loo” with me, and I am going to text her every minute to impart on her that most meaningful words of the TEXT world “I:)”. Maybe even wear short shorts and a tank top (Well I think that is just universally cruel so probably not that). And in the end I believe she will be annoyed enough that to make my daughter respond to me and not her evil other self…I hope!

And BTW (i just learned this means by the way) the text that started it all was from a friend who screamed ….”HEY” in a text – I mean the nerve of her friend to write that!!!

Smile and enjoy todya…

I think I will

Carol

@funnycancermom

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A Gift With A Purpose!


This week I was introduced to a gentleman who represents a product with a “purpose”. It is a rare and unique concept – and done exquisitely…I might add. My husband, Scott has been an unbelievable advocate during my illness – and as an advocate to find sponsors for my Race for the Cure Walk Team. He has introduced me to Indy, the representative for Curvature Wines…and hearing the message behind this company has left me speechless…But my fingers still work, so I would like to tell you all about it. People that do good things and expect nothing in return deserve accolades greater than my blog, but it is a start!!!

Curvature Wine is a product of two kindred spirits meeting. Suzanne Pride Bryan, of the Pride family Vineyards in Sonoma County, and Cristie Kerr, Pro Golfer extraordinaire; as well as a lover of fine food and wine. Both women have lost family to cancer (Cristie losing an Aunt to Breast Cancer – and, luckily, her Mom has survived her bout with Breast Cancer). Together they have came up with a way to honor life while simultaneously helping to eliminate a disease that can indiscriminately take life away. Curvature Wines: They are exceptional my husband says. As one of NY’s “wine” guru’s he boasts about all the positive’s of this brand.

For me it is the purpose of the company that I so admire. One Hundred percent of profits is donated back to Breast Cancer Research and Breast Cancer Charities. How awesome is that to create such a high quality product and use the profit’s to find a cure for Breast Cancer. AWESOME. Honestly, it is like CHANEL or GUCCI creating a small line and giving 100% of the profits to charity.

I admit (full disclosure time) Scott’s store is the only store in the Tri-State area to carry it – but I am not talking about this to promote his store. I am talking about how awesome Cristie and Her Mom, Linda, and Suzanne are, and I don’t even know them. When Scott told Indy about me he (and Curvature Wines) jumped right on board to help me out, and to help me reach my fund-raising goal for the walk. Just so you know, between online and cash donations we are almost at $10,500.

Cristie’s philanthropic ventures are well known. Her Birdie’s for Breast Cancer organization has raised over $1.25 million. This money has gone to open the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Clinic in Jersey City – 1t is the only comprehensive breast care facility in Hudson County to cater to “uninsured” women and men. To date they have helped over 1,600 patients. I hope to begin volunteering there when I finish treatments, and also give back. Another lesson of this Wine venture….giving back is curative and tasty!!

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to Cristie for her desire to give back!!!

Enjoy today
Carol
@funnycancermom

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Birthday Wishes


Many of you already know that I am turning 50 on September 18th. so I sent out this email to my entire contact list.

Dear Friend,

I am not trying to be pushy, but I really would love you to be a part of a very significant day in my life. On September 18, 2011 I turn 50; and on September 19th I will get my final chemo therapy treatment that will hopefully irradicate any left over signs/cells/remnants of breast cancer that may have still been left in my body after surgery.

The walk is important because it brings together other Survivors, Family members, and/or friends that have been affected by this disease. And as one community, we walk/run together to put an end to it!!!

I know that I have emailed already, but if you are walking with me I need to know as soon as Monday August 29th…for I am having T-shirts made for our team, and that is the deadline. To do that you MUST sign up online through http://www.komennyc.com, and search for the race page for team THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT. Their is a sign up charge and then you start getting donations by emailing it to all of your friends. If you have any questions please feel free to email me and I can walk you through it.

If you can’t make it to the walk, I hope you will support one of your friends that is walking, or support me by going to my race page and donating. I am shamelessly asking you to donate — make it a Birthday gift to me if you must….

Please log on and join or donate as soon as you can. And if you become a team member — start fundraising as soon as you can.

Thank you for all of your help.

I hope to see you on race day!.

Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR?px=1268984&pg=personal&fr_id=1230&et=UBxXw1GoP9jiqbtUmSY95g..&s_tafId=61036

Click here to view the team page for The Cancer Made Me do It
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR?team_id=44251&pg=team&fr_id=1230&et=aAKRY2N-Uax1JxOfVi0J1A..&s_tafId=61036

If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please click here or paste this URL into your browser: http://www.komennyc.org/site/TellFriendOpt?action=optout&toe=31c8fd68afe0f5ca6b25114ec2935f95

The response has been unbelievably heart warming. Even those who can’t make the race have found ways to be a part of my team. My friend Kathy (who owns Katherine Winters Salon) is cutting for the cure. On September 9th she is donating her profits to my team. So if anyone wants a haircut – aside from the fact that she is AWESOME at what she does – she is a woman with a gold heart.

You have heard the expression “it takes a village” I live in a great one. Wow what a great feeling — This is going to be the best birthday ever….And you all helped make it great. I am forever grateful and I thank you all. You are the ones who are awesome and who have inspired me…

With great love and respect for you all!

Carol
@funnycancermom

Enjoy today!

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Past, Meet Present


I live in a town that I never visited as a child. Even though it was very close to the town I grew up in. So I found it strange that when I moved here, I have met many people who I knew from different parts of my past. The first time I would run into a person that I knew, the memories came flooding back. I would stand talking to the individual while simultaneously visualizing the last time I saw him/her, the last place I was when I saw him/her, and the circumstances surrounding me at the time I last saw him/her. Now that doesn’t happen the next time we would run into each other, but that first encounter always opened the floodgates.

Tuesday, Scott and I decided to take the kids to Boston for a few days. Through a friend we had gotten Boston Red Sox tickets. Somehow my son has become a Boston fan — though I am not sure how that happened. Anyway, after I got the tickets, we thought we would go and spend a few days there. Seeing the game, walking around Fanuel Hall, seeing the Aquarium, going on the Duck tour…the fun touristy things…which where not the usual things I did when I went to BU. The kids were thrilled – especially when I told them about Anna’s fired Dough. Anna’s fried dough was a Kiosk at Fanuel Hall (back in the 70’s and 80’s) that served fried dough with powdered sugar. REALLY WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THAT! I loved them so. I remember that during my Senior Year, when I had to go to the Hospital for Blood Tests or weekly check-ups, I would swing by and treat myself to one. It was my way of rewarding myself for being a cancer patient; and frankly being 5’10 and only weighing 126 lbs,I figured I could use the weight gain. I am ashamed to admit that my present day “cancer body” is a little jealous of my past “cancer body”. But eating what you want whenever you want to — doesn’t Suck — just sayin’.

Anyway, Tuesday morning we packed up the car and off we went. The kids were in the back enjoying a movie, Scott was in the passenger seat enjoying a snoozy and I was driving and listening to my country tunes. We had been driving for about 2 hours when we hit the Mass. Pike and out of nowhere, I began to cry uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop myself. Thankfully my kids were wearing headphones. My head was spinning with thoughts. I realized I hadn’t been back to Boston since college. I left in 1983 – Cancer Free! And yet here I am returning No longer Cancer free. It was as if I was meeting an old friend and the memories came flooding back. At first I couldn’t figure out what brought the tears on and then I saw a Billboard like sign (one that I had seen a few miles back when the crying started). It was the sign for Tufts Medical Center – the place I was treated, the place I went every day for 60 days. A place that I credit for saving my life, and for also bringing me back full circle.

I regained my composure in a few moments, but it was a real watershed moment. When we got to the Hotel I told Scott all about it, and he sweetly told me I should have woken him up. But this was one of those private moments I needed to face and deal with on my own. These were emotions hidden so deep, that they even shocked me as they appeared. I needed to face my past, by concentrating on my present. So I put the past away and looked in my rear view mirror to see my present and future still enjoying their movie in the back seat; I deal with my life the only way I know how…I enjoy what I have — and that what I have is a life filled with people I love.

I am positive about one thing though, the next time I come back to Boston, my memory will not be about cancer, but rather about the great 3 days we had as a family, and the amazing Red Sox Triple Play we saw at Fenway.

I know where I have been and I know where I am going…and I hope that my future leaves all of my cancer memories in the past.

Enjoy today

Carol
@funnycancermom

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