Category Archives: coping with breast cancer

Angelina Jolie


Angelina Jolie has brought Breast Cancer to the fore front.   Oh wait, it already was in the fore front of “cancers”.  What I meant to say is that she has brought Double Mastectomy’s to the fore front of Cancer treatments.  Oh wait they were already the primary part of treatment for most aggressive Breast Cancers.  I guess that is the Catch 22 of Celebrity….It seems she’s been  given credit for what thousands and thousands of others have done before her.  And I am not even sure she wants any of it.

She seems to have shed light on a subject that already has spotlights on it…The media has called her for her heroic, and Brave and many other adjectives that don’t really capture the true essence of what she has done….and that is, that she has made LIVING HER PRIORITY!!!! And that is to be commended.   What she has done, and I what applaud her for, is how she did all of this, and how she has chosen to tell the world.  After the fact. And her explanation was brief, and reasonable, and SMART!

Ms. Jolie was presented with “Life Choices”; the facts about her future and how they can (and probably would) affect her quality of life down the road.  Then she intelligently, thoughtfully and prudently decided to have a surgery that can be very traumatic for a women.  especially one so stunning and waist deep in the “appearance business”.  I am not belittling her decision in any way!  Having been there, done that…I am glad that she is showing the world that this procedure is not an end to “womanhood”, but quite the opposite.  It is a call to arms, against a disease that tries to rob us of that same feminine exuberance which fuels our desire to remain the force of nature we have become.  And for that Angie…I thank you…

I think back to a few years ago…Different from Ms. Jolie, I didn’t have a the same decision to make as she did, well not completely.  I could have had a single mastectomy…But the odds that I would be back for the second where, frankly, to great (40-60%)…So I threw caution to the wind and went for the full treatment.  Many I have spoken were to worried to do both.  Amongst those that I know, I am saddened to say a larger % have had to go back to remove the second breast as well.  I know that is not exciting news to hear…But I will say that many of those women wished they had done the dDouble the first time around.

We survivors are all “Beautiful women”…just  like Angelina Jolie, and with this surgery she had, we will certainly be keeping “abreast” of her situation for a lot longer…

Angie, I wish you all the best!

Enjoy Today

Carol

Funnycancermom

 

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Who’s In Charge Here?


Recently, my kids and I were talking about the show “The Biggest Loser”.  There was a commercial clip on showing Jillian screaming at one of the contestants.  I said, “wow she seems so mean, how can that be motivating.”  I was sure my children would agree with me (since they are forever telling me I’m a yeller, and it definitely isn’t motivating for them).    But, yet again, my kids surprised me.  My daughter said, “Mom what she is doing is changing their lives.  She is helping them get better for their kids and that is a good thing….you just yell about homework and stuff.  Totally different!”  Matt said, “having to answer to someone all the time is good for you when you are trying to change something about yourself.”  And while I wanted to tell them that cleaning their room or doing homework, or even being true to yourself are also good ways to change something about yourself…But I thought better of it!

 

It did get me thinking, however, is being accountable for our own actions and being true to ourselves the same thing?.  For example, I was on Facebook the other day….just roaming through to see what people (“friends”) have posted…I like to go on a few times a week and check-in.  There are always the same 3 “friends” that post 20x times a day.  No exaggeration…If I were being true to myself, I would send them a message saying, “99% of the stuff you say is absolute drivel.  Why do I need to hear that your dog is tired, or you were tired after taking her for a walk, or that I should be Happy because it is Sunday, Bitches!” Really, what is the purpose of that?   But, I am accountable for these words, and I realize they seem harsh and uncalled for (though true).

 

These Facebook dwellers live their private life in this public venue but instead of being angry at them, I should feel more sympathetic towards them…I guess it is a modern day depiction of Shakespeare’s soliloquy in Macbeth…

 

…Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing. — Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17-28)

 

Accountability is something I struggle with.  I believe it has a much-needed place in our daily lives, but often gets over looked.  Should we be true to our self or accountable to others?  Are they mutually exclusive?  In being true to myself as of late, I realize that I need to be more accountable to others for things.  Which brings me to my latest project. And back to The Biggest Loser for a second.  Since being sick, I have struggled with my weight.  And weekly I became more and more unhappy with the fact that as disgusted with my weight problems as I am, I have no one to blame but myself.  I have avoided the gym, I had given up on “healthy eating”, and I had found every possible excuse to let myself get this way.   I need to be accountable for that if not to myself then to someone I believe can help me.  So I have joined a group of 28 others on this journey.  I officially start Monday, but I am getting myself ready this week.  For the next 8 weeks, I have to answer to 7 other team members’ about what I eat, and how many times I work out, and how hard I work out and yes, even what I weigh.  I need to prove weekly that I am committed to this and to the team.  There are 4 teams pitted against each other, and I need to pull my weight (metaphorically and physically). …And while this is not the televised version, the benefits can only make me feel like a star.

 

So I have chosen to use my accountability for Good instead of Evil…Personal growth instead of Public ridicule…I will keep you all filled in.  And while my blog may appear on Facebook….My weight never will!

 

Go team Black….

 

Enjoy today

 

Carol

@funnycancermom

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Thank You Nannette Stueck


Over Thanksgiving weekend, my children, my husband and I were talking about sleepovers.  My son asked if I liked them and/or if I was ever scared to sleep somewhere else.  It was seemingly innocuous question.  Yet it caused the flash of a memory that I hadn’t thought about in a longtime.  It was almost movie like.   The memory was so vivid, and the emotions it conjured were so real.  So real I wanted to tell the kids all about it.  This is what I told them…

There was one time that I was afraid from being away from home.  As you know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease when I was a senior in College. I was operated on around mid-December, and Christmas break was coming up.  It wasn’t easy or quick, but I made the decision to stay in Boston, and have the treatments there.  Away from my family.  The dorms would be closed for the holiday, so I needed to find a place to live for the month.  I guess I could have stayed in a hotel, but I didn’t want to be totally alone.  There was this other college senior I worked with at Copperfield’s.  Her name was Nannette Stueck, and we worked together at a bar between B.U. campus and Northeastern (where she went).  She and her boyfriend (now husband) Scott all worked together, and we had become somewhat friendly.  When I told her what was going on, she immediately offered me a place to stay for the month.  Her roommates would be going home for the break, and she didn’t want me to be alone for the holidays.  A single selfless act…

I was touched by her invitation, and moved in the next day, because two days later I was to start treatment.  I woke up at 5 a.m. and travelled via Trolley, then train to get to the hospital.  It was bitter cold, and dark, but I went.  After about 2 weeks, I began to feel the side effects of treatment.  Initially, food became tasteless. Everything I ate scratched my tongue and throat.  It was like swallowing extra course sandpaper.  Nannette decided to spend a day trying to cook different things that I could eat.  She made puddings, and jello’s and just a whole bunch of stuff.  It was unbelievably sweet.

A week later, I woke up because I felt a draft on my neck.  It was about 4 in the morning.  I got up and checked the window, but it was closed.  I checked the door to my rom, but it too was closed.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, but it was almost time to get up anyway, so     I went to switch on the light to the room.  It was then that I realized why I felt the draft, and I began to weep.  There, on the pillow, was a thick clump of my hair.  I couldn’t imagine that it would fall out like this.  But there it was Nanette must have heard me crying.  She came into my room and sat with me.  Told me you could hardly tell.  I knew she was lying, but she said it in a way that made us both laugh.

Nannette Stueck was my hero then.  She made me laugh and forget what I was going through!   Most people thought my decision to stay in Boston to get treatments was odd, at best.  But I knew I would never have gone back to finish my degree if I left.  I needed to continue, to go on as though nothing was wrong.  Because the alternative was that everything would stop.  My college career, and my life…And Nannette got that.  She saw I was right to do it, and made that month okay…Fun even!

It has been years since Nannette and I were in contact.  With Facebook, I have hoped that I would find her over the years.  I try.  I put her name in, but nothing comes up.  So Nannette Stueck of Ridgefield, Ct who is married to Scott from Sudbury, Mass (maybe Swampscott…I don’t exactly remember where in Ma. Scott was from.  Though I do remember the gorgeous church you got married in).  Because of you, I put every effort out to help others; whether I know them or not.  It is a truly fulfilling feeling to help others.  I thank you for introducing that to me!

Nannette, I hope you are well and happy!  I would love to find you, but understand that I may not.   I want you to know that I tell my kids about your kindness all the time!  I hope to one day say THANK YOU in person!  Your selfless act o kindness changed me forever.

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Building on the Foundation


Today was going to be a busy day for me.  I had Blood tests and Dr.’s appointments…All pre-scheduled check-ups.  Or Check-ins on my “post-cancer” progress.  It makes it asier for me to think about all of this in the “post” sense…because I view it as something from Way Way back in my past (even though today, ironically, is 1 year since my first Chemo treatment).   As I thought about my past, for some resin I became very nostalgic.  In between my appointments (I mean that both chronologically and geographically) I made a stop at the house that I grew up in.

While driving up the hills that lead to my street, I felt eerily at home…like I had never left.  (Truthfully, the last time I did live there I also had cancer, so I wasn’t totally off base).  The house has been altered…I know that from friends who used to live on one side of us (and whose house was totally redone by new owners).  But with regard to my house, they seem to have left the appearance of the front alone. I understand that the pushed out from the back of the house.  And seeing it today I understand why.  The house “shows well”.  It has good bones….The foundations are solid, so from that you can build or add on.

That is kind of like me…From the outside I “show well”.  You wouldn’t really pick me as the one to get cancer twice.  But like my house, I have a good foundation.  The Dr.’s have always said I was in great health for someone who is ailing.  And that good, solid foundation has served me well.  In my father’s case he, too, has a great foundation. …Unfortunately for someone with advanced parkinson’s that can be both a blessing and a curse.

Foundations are important.  As I work to start my charitable foundation, I have come to realize how important it is to make  sure it has the strong “sub structure” to give it staying power.  To enable it to always “show well” and promise to help others who didn’t have the support structure I have had.  I hope this foundation can stand the test of time, while it keeps up wit the needs of the times…

Foundations are important, because with out them our world has nothing solid to lean on.

Have a great day!

ENJOY

Carol

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Filed under Andrew Ashikari, Ashikari Breast Center, breast cancer, breast cancer blog, cancer blog, Carol Abramson - Funny Cancer Mom, coping with breast cancer, the cancer made me do it

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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Pound Foolish


I believe that honesty is the best policy.  If you can’t admit to it, then you know it is wrong.  Well I will admit it…Over the last year I got BIG.  30 lbs bigger than I was before Cancer.  And it really sent me into a tizzy.  I know how silly that sounds that my weight can phase me more than my health.  But it can.  I am the type of individual who cares about my appearance.  Not in the “designer clothes” sense…just in my appearance.  How that appearance is perceived.

It is along the same lines as when I lost my hair.  I gave off the appearance of being “sick”…and even though I had cancer, I never considered myself “sick”.  I may be generalizing, but I believe women feel that Hair and Weight are also personality traits — I mean a bad hair day can alter your personality for the day.  Now, due to the cancer, I won’t have bad hair days anymore.  No, not because I don’t have hair…because I do.  But because the way it grew in is so cute, that I am going to keep it short and silver…A friend called me a Silver Fox the other day,  and I liked it.  So that part of my appearance is in check.

So lets get back to the weighty issue at hand.  Weight.  I am not here to say that I am obese, but I am large for me.  My bones ached constantly from the additional weight they are carrying; I would loose my breathe easily when walking up stairs or exerting myself at a rapid pace.  And my internist and cardiologist confirmed it…(and to think I call these two my friends as well)  — I suffered from DECONDITIONING.  Over-weight and out-of-shape for us laymen!  As he said in the movie NETWORK…”I was mad as hell and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.”  So off to Weight Watchers I went.  That was 6 weeks ago.  I have had good days and bad days on the diet but this morning I got on my scale (not their’s yet cause I wear clothing there…Thank god!)  But on my Scale I reached 169.9 Lbs.  That is down 13 LBs.  13 is my new lucky number.  I have been doing exercise and dieting and it is really making a difference.

I was so happy when I saw that I went right down stairs and had a donut…JUST KIDDING! But I thought about it!  I have 17 Lbs to go before I hit my goal…which honestly was the heaviest I had been in 10 years, but right know that weight will be fine.

So I guess, after my anniversary from surgery was yesterday (if you remember, I had re-named my double Mastectomy day “Erin go Brahless Day”) I  didn’t worry about my weight during treatment (MUCH), but it has weighed heavy on my mind (& body) since…So I see this as another step in my recovery…

I will soon “Tip the Scales of Time” in my favor….and once again will be as “light-hearted” about this issue as I was about my cancer.

Even my puns have gotten a little thin….

Enjoy today!

Carol

Funnycancermom

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I can’t stop this feeling



Yesterday was an extraordinary day for me. Through a friend I was introduced to a women who was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Her diagnosis was different than mine, but none the less she was going to go through many similar situations as I did. During the first few weeks, I could really hear the fear in hear voice…it grabbed me through the phone. It was almost as though I could visualize all of these crazy concepts circling around her head.

I would try to calm her with stories, or anecdotes about my treatment, or my mom’s and even my sister-in-laws..but It was hard. I do remember that the first few weeks after diagnosis everything seem so rush rush…to then have to wait for all the results…It is a massive sensory overload. Think of being tickled, frozen, rained on , pin pricked, and slapped all at the same time. Your mind doesn’t know which sensation to address first.

Anyway, after a few weeks she was calmer (especially knowing that her chance for long term survival was excellent). As chemo began, she unfortunately got several side affects, and then a cold…so she had to stop. Just for 2 weeks (1 cycle) though.

So yesterday, I went down to the city and met her and her friend (the one that had given her my name) so we could sit together at chemo. She is a doll. Funny, and hopeful, and lovely. And it was a great day because she was given really good news that her tumor was really responding will to the medicine (and was shrinking). I watched her crumble a little at the good news (It was a good crumble). Her tears were touching and they wordlessly expressed how much of a relief it was to get that news. SH, I was glad to be with you….

Some may have a concern that I am becoming to emotionally invested in all of these women I talk to. But I say not so. It is basis of what makes me want to start this foundation. I do it to help – that is for sure…BUT I DO IT BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD! IT MAKES ME FEEL BETTER…not better than anyone, just better about my past. And I don’t want to ever stop feeling better.

I hope everyone has a reason to feel better.

Enjoy today.

Carol

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Filed under a day in the life of a cancer patient, breast cancer, breast cancer blog, Cancer, cancer blog, Chemo Therapy, coping with breast cancer, the cancer made me do it

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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It’s My Anniversary!


I can not believe that is 1 year ago (well really February 14th) that I went in for my routine Mammogram.  A day that started out like many other – though because it was Valentine’s day I knew my husband and I would be going out for dinner at one of our favorite local haunts “Mima”.  Off to the Dr.’s I went.  I had  my Mammogram, my ultra-sound and then straight to an exercise class.  I was feeling pretty lucky because I had gotten in and out in just over an hour.  No waiting.  I should have known then that this wasn’t a good sign!

I had gotten home from the gym at 10:30 and the Dr.’s had already left the message that they found something.  The rest of that day was a blur until the night.  Then, recently John, the owner of Mima, and I were talking up this upcoming Valentine’s Day.  He was happy to see that Scott had made reservations.  I said it wouldn’t be Valentine’s day with out it, but it is also the perfect way to end a year of “Tumult”.  You see last year Scott and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner.  And over coffee and dessert (I had both because my lovely, thin, husband doesn’t eat sweets) I let him know about my day.

At first I think he was shocked that I had kept this news in all day…and I hadn’t called him at the store to tell him. How awesome was he!  He put his hand on mine and said “I am sure it’s nothin’, lets’ take one step at a time.”  I appreciated his calm strength…and I never told him I could see his true feelings in his eyes.  The following week I had learned my biopsy results (Surprise, it was malignant…oh wait you know that already).

What amazes me so is that it is one year.  365 days.   I just can’t believe how much CRAP I have shoved into that little time.  But Wednesday morning I will wake up and say…Happy New Year and start over again.  Day 1…Clean Slate, Clean Bill of Health, Clean House and Clean Clothes (you know cause Wednesday is the day I have the cleaning people come).  And to celebrate, we are going on vacation.  I have never looked so forward to it as much as I do this week.

To my friend Sue (who went through this after me) and to my new friend Susie (who is just starting her journey) I can’t wait for you to be on the flip side as well.  and we can celebrate the hell out of your anniversaries…

So here’s to having Valentine’s Day as a just another Hallmark celebration, rather than one that reminds me of my past year.

 

HEARTS TO ALL.

Enoy the day!

 

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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Who’s that girl in the mirror?


It is rare, if ever, that I have been happy with a photograph of myself. The photo above is the closest I have ever come to being happy about the way I look. Especially after the year I have had! I am thankful for all of the comments and compliments I have been given on it. I have even taken steps to get a copy so that I can have it framed and displayed in my home. Seeing the abundance of great and the flowing rolls at my waist gnaws at me, but overall I am happy with it!

When I see myself in the mirror, I don’t see the same individual who was there before my illness. And while friends and family tell me that what I see is not what they see; I have still felt like the lead in a Hans Christian Anderson story — you know the one about the duck.

Recently, I was introduced to a woman who has just been diagnosed. We have spoken several times over the last few weeks, and her story has touched me. She is further along than I was, and her chemo regime will be more stringent than mine; but I believe she will be fine in the end. I think she sees that now, as well. Her voice today was much calmer and more sure – which was a relief. I was concerned that her fears could become an obstacle for her, and could cloud her capacity to gather the information she needed.

She told me of some good news that she had gotten. Awesome, I thought! Then she wanted to know about my weight gain. She had asked me this several times during our talks. I told her honestly that I have “packed on the pounds (30 to be exact). I know it sounds weird that I gained weight during chemo but I did…Anyway, I know that much of what I said was helpful, but she was still focussed on the weight gain. So here is what I said. “If it is weight gain you want to focus on – you can. But focus on the fact that after you are done with all of your treatments and healthy again…you will have a new project…getting back in shape. Keep thinking about the future and what you need to do. Because no matter how you look at it…you are looking at your future – and that is a good thing. But when you have completed it all (the treatments I mean), don’t waste your time (like I have done) being unhappy with what you see in the mirror.

Because what you see is ALIVE AND WELL..and looking good in a photo or two will happen again!

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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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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Defense Strategies


I know that I have not written in a week or two. I admit that I am a little defensive about it as well. I have grown to love writing. Which is somewhat of a shock — and any of you that know me from high school will agree. See I was not the student (actually I was a student with Dyslexia), and anything to do with Reading and Writing usually sent me into a seemingly never-ending state of frustration and misery. Honestly, I don’t really think I learned how to read and write until 6th grade. But what I lacked in reading and writing ability — I certainly made up or with my ability to emote.

As my twins have become tweens, I am reminded (constantly) that all teenagers and young adults are passionate about their beliefs and feelings. And that these beliefs stated about everything and anything: From how much one hates vegatables to how much she loves the male lead in the new movie “FOOTLOOSE.” As with my childhood, if they are was happy they exude was a kind of euphoria, and if they are sad they would sob about how it is the worst day ever. As a child with a disability, I gave my emotions everything (as do my kids). It was my release or my way of telling everyone how I was doing. After years of tutors, and just trying to catch up, I think I finally did. And now, as you all read, I use my words to emote; well not totally true, my kids say I am still a yeller at times – but that is just motherhood I think. Who wouldn’t yell when the kids decide to take their new clothes roll and crumple them into a ball. Then shove them in their closets because “it saves room and I can fit more stuff in there…like my football and basketball!…REALLY! OOPS, sorry their I go emoting again.

Back to my original point, family and friends have asked “why are you not writing anymore”….and I am still writing – it was just a 1 1/2 week hiatus. In that time I was asked to broaden my scope a little, and write an article for a local paper. I know I sound a little defensive about my writing, and that is because I am. I am not sure how you will all feel about it now, that I am “cancer free”. Up until know I have been able to relate everything back to my experience with cancer and chemo. Which I still want to do; but I also want to talk about other things now. Frankly, some of these things are brought on by the fact that I am a 2x cancer survivor – but some of these things are just part of everyday normal life. And my quandry relates to the fact that the blog is titled “The Cancer Made Me Do It” and that I am the @Funnycancermom. So can I talk about anything I want to? Can I be just a funny mom who had cancer- twice? Well we will see, cause the blog will go on!

If you still continue to like it it is because I am good at expressing myself…but if you don’t just remember….THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT!

ENJOY TODAY!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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The Day of Atonement


In the Jewish tradition, the day of Atonement is one of the most holy days of the year. This is the day to admit to your wrong doings of the year, and apologizing for it will clean ones soul for the next year. Well I don’t have to tell you about the year I have had. And I think few would disagree with me when I say that I feel I have done my penance….But as I sit and ponder this past year, I feel that maybe in my haste, I may not have repented for some things that I have done. So I feel it is time for me to come clean….and tell the truth, and deal with the consequences of my actions.

As hard as I tried I couldn’t help myself. It all started when chemo started. I have often blamed the drugs for my straying off the path of righteousness. When I am alone in the morning I often regret my actions from the day before…But I can not seem to help myself. I try as hard as I can, and even today I have asked for; nee prayed for the will to make it right. It has been so difficult to come clean but even I know that I must, so here it goes.

It was me who ate the cookie from the cookie jar, yes me — couldn’t be you say — but on Tuesday I went for the ultimate in lie detector tests….WEIGHT WATCHERS, and they agree — It was me who stole all of the cookies, the cakes, and the ice creams from the cookie jar. And I am truly repenting for it – though I am telling you it was really tasty!

Enjoy today!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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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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MORE OR LESS


Wow! Here I am “2 weeks post cancer treatment”, and I feel like it never happened. Well MORE or LESS it is true. I remain firm with the belief that this is in my past, and I have a long future ahead of me. So I am “MORE or LESS” back to normal….or am I.

I find myself a little MORE skittish about things. My friends are being nice (but I bet it will begin to drive them a little crazy). I am LESS inclined to be a passenger in a car. I have become that person that uses the invisible brake on the passenger side floor. The invisible pedal that annoys the driver (this is my way of apologizing for being so annoying – I get it). For some reason I have become very nervous. I assume it is a control issue. I had no control in getting cancer…so I am looking I am naturally looking to take control of what I can. I would think this feeling will calm down in a little bit (I hope).

I find I am MORE likely to decline Dinner or “Evening Out” opportunities (mostly because I still seem to fall asleep before 9:00), and LESS likely to veer far from my children (something they are finding particularly annoying).

I am MORE introspective and philosophical (as my brother says), and LESS caring about my appearance. I definitely need to re evaluate this second part because, while their is so much MORE of me to love I would prefer the adoration be LESS Body mass related and MORE Personality related. Face if the MORE LBS.on the scale translates to LESS clothes that fit the body. And I am particularly fond of clothing, so I think it prudent to stay in a weight class that I can be comfortable in them.

I find I am MORE interested in getting my life organized, but have LESS focus to actually accomplish that task — at the moment. I can sit and try to go through a pile of papers and an hour later, still get nowhere…It is somewhat frustrating. The upside of this is that now I have at least been giving myself an A+ for the effort.

I think, I just want MORE of my old life back, and I am LESS willing to wait for it. I am trying to make it happen now. So bare with me a little bit. Because it is MORE likely than not, that I have changed, and LESS likely that I will be the same woman I was before.

So I hope that the new me is okay or even better — MORE or LESS!

Enjoy

Carol
@funnycancermom

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