Category Archives: breast cancer

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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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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That’s Life!


I can’t tell you how happy I am that 2011 is over. I was ready to start fresh. Of course a new year can present with a whole new set of issues…but nothing we can’t handle…

I made some resolutions, like everyone; and I hope to be able to stick with some of them…I want to lose weight, and get in shape, and get a job, clean out my garage, get organized, and I want to enjoy myself, and just continue to be happy and healthy. These are my resolutions — not unusual..I will make an effort to achieve each and every one of them….but I don’t think I will beat myself up if I don’t…Okay maybe I will but That’s Life — and isn’t it grand!

My daughter came home from school yesterday, she has the stomach flu! It really put a crink in my plans for the week. I had a Doctor’s appointment, and a million errands I had to take care of, I wanted to work out, but nothin’ is more important than taking care of her. She is ‘sick’, but it’s the good kind of sick. Sick that goes away in a day or two…and That’s life. And isn’t it grand!

A week ago, I was cooking and I went to grab a dish out of my cabinets. It was on the top shelf of a cupboard by my stove. I grabbed it, but unfortunately didn’t have a good hold on it and it plummeted to the counter — actually on the cooktop stove to be exact. And ‘poof’ cracked 1/2 the stovetop. I beat myself up for a day, because I really was so annoyed with myself…but after a day or two I realized…things could be (and have been) worse, so I refocussed on how to get the problem fixed, and again I realized That’s life! And isn’t it grand!

Tomorrow my dear friend comes in to town for the weekend. Along with her is her daughter (who is my daughters best friend.) They don’t get to see each other often…2 times a year at best — Though FaceTime certainly makes that easier to deal with! We have family plans all weekend, but I have made sure they will at least spend as much time together as they can. Because plans’ don’t always work out..That’s Life, and yes, isn’t it grand!

Life is filled with ups and downs. We get what we want, sometimes, and sometimes we are left empty-handed. We achieve our goals and strive to fulfill our resolutions, and unfortunately, we are not always successful. We dream big and want the best; and along with those hopes we can be disappointed. But take it from me, That’s life, and yes it is grand!

Here is to a Grand New Year!

Enjoy Today!
Carol

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Tomorrow


Since Saturday I have had a stomach bug, a colonoscopy, my son got the stomach bug and I lost my voice…and yet I am certain tomorrow will be a better day…

Come to think of it, my last five years have been pretty much like the last week, and I still believe that tomorrow will be bright…go figure! Today I realized that the holiday season hasn’t been particularly good to my family or friends over the past 5 years, and yet I still believe that tomorrow will be a better day….

I was talking with someone this morning and my friend Sharon came up. Sharon was a glowing, beautiful woman who was truly happiest outside in her garden, on a beautiful day, toiling the soil, playing with her dog, and chit chatting with her family, her husband (her true soul mate- Steven) her friends and our kids. She always said a perfect life would be owning a flower shop and bringing her dog to work everyday. Nothing ever really dampened her joyous, sparkling, warming and loving personality…That is until the cancer did almost 5 New Years Eve’s ago. Our circle was devastated – and my children even more so, for they had lost a true “angel” in their life. So with every ounce of strength I could muster for my children and my husband, for Sharon’s husband and children, I picked myself up and once again believed that tomorrow will be a better day….

Steven, a therapist, had truly lost his partner. I love my husband and I know some unbelievably wonderful couples — but these two were in a class of their own. They were truly each others better half. Steven’s sense of humor began to come back about 6 months after her death. Little drips and bits would emerge. My husband was overjoyed, because even though he has lots of friends, he had no one as close to him as Steven. Steven became the 5th member of our family. Not a meal was eaten without him seating in his seat next to my daughter. His daughter, Lauren, also got to join in in whenever she wanted. Once again, we were a happy crew. We were back to our regular crew dinners with Wendy and Doug and the boys…so light once again began stream through…that is until cancer took Steven Almost 3 January’s ago.

SHARON

STEVIE


And once again, I thought my children and my husband must believe that happiness is always possible (pretty much because I believe it to be true), so I strapped that smile on and went about the business of helping them get through it all. Laughter, happiness and joy had returned to my kids, and my husband (thought he still struggles with that from time to time). I would often wonder where I got this attitude from…and that would be my mother. She always believed in a brighter outcome. Especially in October of 2010 when she went to the dentist for, what she thought was and absess in her tooth. That day, a long one, yielded us with the diagnosis of Mouth Cancer. And on December 13th, 2010 she underwent surgery to remove a small portion of her jaw and right hard palate. But as luck with have it…having 2 people with positive attitudes is double the boost…and with nary a complaint or bad day we finished out another holiday season believing that tomorrow will be a better day…

All of you know my story…Since I was diagnosed on Valentines day 2012, I consider this year a good one. My Mom and myself enter the 2011 Holiday season healthy and happy. Happy because I refuse to think of it any other way. Steven and Sharon would be annoyed at me for being any other way. My children would not benefit from me being any other way, and my husband would not want me to be any other way.

I realized I started thinking about all of this stuff today because, as I nurse my voice back to health, I prepare to be a guest on Paul Fiener’s radio show tomorrow (12/9/2012 FROM 10 A.M. TO 10:30) on WVOX – 1460 on your AM dial (or streamed live on your computer at http://www.WVOX.com). And I realized what it is I wanted to talk about…because even though I was invited to talk about my blog and it’s future. …As we enter the Holiday season again, I just want everyone to know that TOMORROW WILL BE A BETTER DAY!!!

ENJOY AND LISTEN IF YOU CAN!

All the best,

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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How Do I Feel?


It is a seemingly mundane question for most — but not for me! For the last 6 months I would have a different answer for you every day of the week. But all related to my chemo therapy treatment. Today that is a different story, yet I still have so many different answers to that question.

As part of my regular “chemo” cycle, today is not a good day. I am tired and my mind is somewhat scattered. I just feel Blah. My energy is not high, and I don’t really feel like myself. It is not different than any other Wednesday after chemo though — and that is oddly comforting.

But at the same time, I am elated. I work under the assumption that I will never have to go through this again, and this is the last cycle of Blah that I will have to endure. So I have been whispering this notion to myself all day. I hear myself repeating “This is it, I am almost done; This is the last two days of this yuckiness” And that brings a smile to my face. And a lightness to my shoulders — which had begun to weigh heavy lately.

I also feel appreciative and appreciated for/by all those who have kept me going these last months. But honestly I also feel overwhelmed. I feel I need to tell everyone how thankful I am for what they have done for me…Yet I don’t know the appropriate way to do that. I want to make sure that you (and everyone) knows how deeply grateful I am.

But mostly I feel happy. Just to know that I am done and I can move on to the next chapter in my life. I want to get back to living with out skiddishness, to having a day with out worrying about what the next day will bring, and I am excited for spending many consecutive days unconcerned that my future is not full. Because while I never let on that these thoughts were in my head — They were…but today I finally feel like I can let those thoughts go — and hopefully I will never have to think of them again.

So the answer to the question is

TODAY I FEEL LIKE my life is coming back…FINALLY!

ENJOY TODAY

Carol

@funnycancermom

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WISH DAY, WALK DAY, WHADDA SAY — BIRTHDAY!!!


I have to say that yesterday, MY 50th BIRTHDAY, was perfect. It was the NYC Susan G. Komen Race/walk for the Cure – and it was perfect. The weather, the 31 of us that walked as a group and had a great time, the 25,000 that followed us (I felt like a celebrity with a stalker – cool), the cause in which we walked for, and the sense that I was surround by good friends and great feelings. I couldn’t have asked for a better party, and I want to make sure you all know how thankful I was that you were a part of this day…I posted this on Facebook, but I want to make sure you all see it!

Thank you all for your Birthday Wishes! I really want everyone to know that this goes down as one of the greatest birthdays EVER. I got to share the day with a great mix of people from different parts of my life — and frankly seeing them all together clarifies why I love each and everyone of you and how when blended together you get the perfect group of friends! Thank you to those who helped me reach a goal of almost $17,000 for a cause close to my heart (Since I don’t have breasts anymore LOL)! To those who weren’t with me today I believe you were there with me in spirit and that is as important! THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND, MY FAMILY, AND MY LIFE…and it is not the Cancer that made me write this….It is all of you!.

I will be blogging over the next two days about my emotions and today’s FINAL treatment YEAH!!!. But I believe that you all deserve my appreciation for you love and support!

So as I say above – Thank you to you all..

Because you are all a part of my success and making it through!!!

TRULY — ENJOY TODAY! IT IS MY BIRTHDAY WISH FOR YOU ALL!

CAROL

@funnycancermom

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Filed under a day in the life of a cancer patient, Ashikari Breast Center, Birdies for Breast Cancer, breast cancer, coping with breast cancer, Cristie Kerr Women's Health Center, Curvature Wines, Scott Abramson, Susan G. Komen NYC Race for the Cure September 18

From Start to Finish!


As I get closer to the end, I find reason to look back at the journey. One that I feel is compelling, and I will tell you why: Aside from the fact that it spans 3 decades. It is the ultimate story of hope, family and laughter and beating the odds…TWICE. Recently I went to meet with a friend of a friend who was just starting her treatment (at the same place I get mine). She had a friend with her, and she asked me to tell her my story…So I did. The I realized, that I have never really told it all at once before. I have referred to it in my blogs, but never in a linear fashion. I realized, now that I am coming to the end…telling the story from start to finish is good. And of course next week I can write about the happy “movie” ending..

The back-story is short; in 1982, as a senior at BU, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins disease – stage 2A. In a span of 3 days (a week before thanksgiving break) I went from BU’s School infirmary to being scheduled for a Biopsy and tumor dissection (in Boston). After recouping at home in NY for 1 week, I returned to Boston to learn that I had cancer. After another surgery and an 8 day hospital stay, I had to decide on how to go forward with my treatment. While my diagnosis would have put most college careers on hold, I chose to finish out my year, and have my radiation treatments in Boston. My mom had enough on her plate; her mom was ill and my parents had just started a new business. Even though I didn’t have family with me in Boston…I knew if I left I would never return to college.

Granted I had no real support system in Boston (BU students were superficial group) and once word got out – I became less popular than a leper. Every day I left my dorm room at 6 a.m. and fought through the cold weather and elements of the “Combat Zone” to make it to treatment. Cobalt and Liniac radiation treatments 5 days a week for 4 weeks with 1 week break then another round of 4 weeks. I was Bald, stick thin, and nauseas for all of it! But I have no regrets, cause 29 years later I was still cancer free…and while I have encountered many of the known side affects to Cobalt Radiation (hypothyroidism, colitis, mitro-valve prolapse, infertility) I was still thankful….

Skip to October of 2010, after a few routine dental exams, my Mom was diagnosed with Squarmous Cell Carcinoma of the Right Hard Palette – Mouth Cancer. In December she under went a surgery that was very invasive and we were warned to “not expect too much.” After the partial removal of her jaw bone and the removal of her hard palette, she is doing UNBELIEVABLY WELL – her spirit and recuperative powers have stunned her Doctors…She truly is a real life wonder woman. We still had to face 30 days of radiation – but we had already faced the worst – so we were good to go.

January of 2011, we went to meet with my Mom’s future radiologist (another wonder woman) Dr. Randy Stevens. During this initial consult Dr. Stevens talked with my mom as a person, not a patient. She gave her in-depth information into the treatment, side affects, kinds of radiation used – at which time my mom offered up that we were familiar with radiation treatment and told her of my history…

After Dr. Stevens was done explaining everything to my mom (and we had asked all of our questions) Dr. Stevens turned her attention to me. She wanted to know how (and if) I follow up on my disease and if I know to watch for certain things due to the Cobalt Radiation I received. Years ago I learned that Cobalt radiation is no longer used because of all the awful side affects it causes – and that these side affects usually don’t show up for many years. I told I already had many side affects, and I am good about keeping up to date with all of my screenings. The only one I was behind on was my Mammogram and Ultra-sound. (They were originally scheduled for while my mom was in the hospital so I was running a few months behind.) Anyway she asked that I get that scheduled as quickly as possible, because you can never be to careful and, yes, Breast Cancer is also a side affect of Cobalt radiation.

My mom started her treatments in February and I scheduled my mammogram and ultra-sound. Valentine’s day I thought was a good day for that – or maybe not. My appointment was scheduled for 9 a.m. I was home by 10:30 and on the phone with a Dr. at 11 – telling me they found something suspicious on the ultra-sound. One week later I had a biopsy, and was notified within 24 hours that the lump was malignant.

With my mother in treatment (and caring for my father who has advanced parkinson’s. Once again, my mom had enough on her plate to deal with – So I kept my diagnosis to myself as long as possible; a month to be exact. I informed a few very close friends, and they were amazing. They went to appointments with me, helped me get everything scheduled and figured out a plane of action, so by the time I did tell my family – I would have everything all figured out.

In meeting with Doctors, I found out my lump was rather small – 1.6 mm. I was Her2 and ER positive (that is good), My Bracca tests were negative; and later I learned my Onca Types were low grey area range. This was the best way to get this disease. For most it would be – Lumpectomy, Radiation and done — But not so for me. Cobalt had robbed me of choices. After meeting with several specialists I learned that because of the Cobalt, radiation of any kind is off the table. Which means a Lumpectomy is off the table – which means…YES Mastectomy (and a double since I was so likely to get it in the other breast as well. And since I can’t do radiation – Chemo was the recommended course of treatment..

After telling my family – I knew I had to tell the rest of my friends – but I couldn’t bare telling the story over and over, so on May 3rd a blog was born. THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT (thecancermademedoit.com) documents my journey in a light-hearted and up beat manner. It highlights the good that has come out of all this…and yes there is enough good to write 32 posts so far. In this past year I have been swaddled with friendship, love and support from those close and those I didn’t even know and have been deeply touched by it. The cancer damaged my body…but the experience has healed my sole. And every day I count my blessings. I am so thankful for all that I do have – and yes even the cancer. For I believe that all of this has made me a better person…not a bitter one.

I am thankful to be alive, thankful to have an unbelievably supportive and loving husband, and thankful for the exceptional children we have (especially after the Doctors told me it would be extremely difficult to conceive). I met Scott in 1997, and he has always been my rock. Since October, he has been my constant cheerleader (and if you knew him you’d know he doesn’t exactly exude “perky” energy). He often finds ways to tell me how inspirational I am – to him, our kids and anyone who reads my blogs.

My twins are 11 now, and they, too, are just amazing. They have faced a lot in 11 years: Matthew was legally deaf until he was 4 1/2, which was almost fully corrected by simple surgery – and excluding some minor learning delays, he has rebounded at exponential proportions; At 7 they faced the death of their grandma (multiple myeloma); at 8 and 10 they dealt with the deaths of our best friends (and frankly 2nd parents to our kids) both to different forms of cancer; and then recently Matt and Alissa had to watch my mother and my friends suffer through their cancer surgeries and/or treatments, which were debilitating & harsh; they visit and watch their grandfather deteriorate from advanced Parkinson’s disease and, of course they see me on good days and bad ones. With all this, Alissa and Matthew have retained their positive and giving outlook on life. I often write blogs about how inspirational they have been to me through this whole ordeal. Scott, Matthew and Alissa have even motivated me to start a charitable foundation (THE CNCER MADE ME DO IT) that will raise money to be divided between 6 organizations: The Susan G. Komen Foundation, THANC, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, The Multiple Myeloma Foundation (MMRF), The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Birdies for Breast Cancer and The Ashikari Breast Center. My kids have rallied their friends to work on ideas for an event for their Mitzvah project. So you can see why I am thankful and why I consider myself blessed.

All this leads up to the kicker…As many of you know this Sunday (September 18th) I turn 50 years old. On that same day is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in NYC – it is the ultimate in birthday celebrations. To be surrounded by my friends, family and thousands who sharre my battle will the best gift I can ask for. I will walk proudly to raise money to find a cure once and for all. For me I get the added bonus of knowing that on SPETMENBER 19TH I will receive my FINAL chemo treatment. I will end my treatment with the way it began. Happy, upbeat, and willing to face any challenge the world throws at me.

So Cancer — BEAT THAT!!!!

Enjoy Every Day and especially Today!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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Filed under a day in the life of a cancer patient, Ashikari Breast Center, Birdies for Breast Cancer, breast cancer, cancer has a silver lining, Cancer Vixen, Carol Abramson - Funny Cancer Mom, coping with breast cancer, Cristie Kerr, Susan G. Komen NYC Race for the Cure September 18

The Premier Event


Yesterday was a day of great events. All were successful (both as a fundraising effort and a as a a “personal appearance”). During the day my friend Kathy had a day devoted to The race for the Cure. Her version was “A cut for the cure.”. She cut hair, and put pink feathers in kids hair, and every $ that came in that day went directly to charity. Awesome idea. I was so thankful for her creating a way to help me in my fund raising efforts for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Honestly, my husband and I thought she would raise about $1,000….Well how about she more than doubled that! AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! She is a special lady and it was a really special day. At the end of the day she new I had someplace to be and she suggested that I wear my wig. I hadn’t done that yet…and frankly I was a little scared. I really didn’t kno how people would react (or if it really looked okay).

I always wanted to go to a movie premier where you walk the Red Carpet…and everyone is telling you “great you look”. It has always been one of my fantasies. Well last night I got the smallest, most miniscule taste of it and it was quite scrumptious.

Deep down I was happy to wear the wig. Frankly, I have become a little sick of wearing a baseball cap all the time. I look in the mirror and see the cap and it just screams back ‘YOUR BALD’. And though I am not done with treatments yet (8 days and counting)…my psyche is done! It reminds me of my last few weeks of pregnancy. By that time I was so ready to get these kids out of me, that I would actually hope for an early labor. I was cooked, backed, D…O…N…E…Done! Well the baseball cap phase is giving me that same feeling. I think that I will never wear a hat again after this (well I hope I won’t).

But anyway, last night was the “The Wig” premier — and no that is not a movie. So I arrived at my friends with my wig and my “Madonna” sunglasses. (She and I actually have the same exact pair). And,boy did my friends make me feel like a celebrity. Friends are great that way. Here I was, at this wonderful party my friend threw (it was her husband’s 45th birthday) and I felt like a star entering a room. The guests were all having fun, the food was great, the atmosphere was festive…I really couldn’t ask for a better place to “present the wig”.

Many didn’t know it was a wig at first (or didn’t let on). But my close friends knew — and what I saw in their faces was a true sense that the wig “fit” me well. By that I don’t just mean it fit my skull. It really fit my personality, my sense of style, and it was a compliment to me “upbeat” demeanor. I was really happy. Even though I left the party early – from sheer exhaustion, it was a really exhilarating night. One I will remember for awhile!

From Beginning to end yesterday was amazing…and to all I thank you…

As I said earlier…8 days and counting!!!!

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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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