Category Archives: the cancer made me do it

TCMMDI


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

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

THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT

A new 501c3 charitable foundation

And news of a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day

Carol

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Now I have gone and done it!



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

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

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

I have got my fingers and toes crossed!

Enjoy today!

Carol

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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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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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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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The Flip Side


Call me crazy, but yesterday I was practically “school girl” giddy. On Friday, I was notified that my 7th chemo treatment (2nd to last treatment) would have to be postponed due to the impending Hurricane Irene. The thought sent me into a state of depression fro a few days. I have plans, I have a schedule, and I am un-accepting of that changing. All weekend long I concocted stories in my head; stories to make ensure that if appointments opened up for monday (or Tuesday) I would be the first to snag one. I thought of the child care angle (though my kids are almost 12 and I have friends her were on call), I thought about being will to sit all day and wait for an open chair, and, of course, I thought about all out begging…I have no shame — I want this done with.

Well in the end I had nothing to worry about. Dr. Mills called me 1st thing Monday and said she was there to come on over. I may have to wait for the protocol nurses, but they would definitely get my treatment in. HORRAY! So my friend Elaine drove me on up. Hurricane Irene had done damage, but it also made the office uncrowded. I was up in my treatment chair by 10:30. My nurse today was a different one than I was used to, but she did an exquisite job finding a vein and drawing my blood. I was back in my mom’s car by 12:30! And for what ever reason I was up and perky all day (and all night – Man steroids really do keep you hyped up). I got home and had some quality time with my husband before the kids go home from their friend’s houses. I relaxed for an hour or so, and then I sat on the tennis court watching my son play with my husband, My friend Wendy and her son Daniel. My Daughter and her friend rode bikes and jumped rope (which I tried but realized at 50 – I mean 49 – my jump is a little rusty).

Usually by 5 or 6 I am ready to crawl into bed for the night but I was positively giddy. So the evening continued with a great impromptu dinner out with my friend Amy and her family. We sat outside on a gorgeous night, on the water, watching the sunset. I was feeling fine and famished (as usual). Was this feeling of jubilation from the breathtaking setting, maaaybe; was it because I had 7 done and only one left – Poooossibly; Was it because The support, love and warmth that has surrounded me through out this entire ordeal has lifted me to a higher plain of being…Ok really? But that sounded poetic didn’t. 🙂 But I do think that I have found a great combination of things to get me through all of this and change my life for the better. Since my 1st treatment on May 4, I realize I having a great support system – family, friends, and community; I believe that having a positive outlook on your time in treatment as well as what you hope to achieve after treatment is a must; that getting my priorities in line and keeping things in perspective can be hard but can be life changing; learning when it is time to stand up for yourself…and not back down has helped me find (and push away) the right Dr’s and have allowed me to ignore the negative influences during this period in my life; but most important of all.. I have learned to laugh at life and enjoy what is thrown at me…because after all this was only a short bump in what I hope to be a really long and full life. Full of love, laughter, family and friendship — and, yes, even some tears and sadness. With out one you can’t understand the other.

So here I am on the flip-side of my May 4th f=post titled 1 down 7 to go…

Today is 7 down 1 to go….

Hip Hip Horray!

and ENJOY today

Carol

@funnycancermom

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The Silver Lining


What does it say about me that even though we are having a Hurricane in NY and just had an Earthquake — things are pretty good with me? Is that one of those HMMMM moments. I am thrilled that the kids are home. We have been spending a lot of time as a family — which I know will not happen as much once the craziness of “school” and “activities” start in two weeks. I have been taking advantage of every moment. Admittedly a little bribing needs to be done because unfortunately Matt has some of the same characteristics as Scott. (For example, today I took him clothes shopping – since he grew 3 inches at camp and his long pants are now board shorts on him. You would think I was taking him into a torture chamber. The moment we walk into the store – the eyes start rolling and e is already ready to leave. Oy!) The kicker is, after a few minutes he was totally into i — trying on pants and shirts, and putting outfits together. I was impressed. Later, when I said “see that isn’t so bad” He responded “it was torture.” Oh well, I still had fun.

My daughter (who could shop for a living) got her braces this week. The braces have made her a little uncomfortable, so she is staying a little closer to me than usual. I have to say that braces today are way different than when we wore them — you know back in when electricity was invented. Now there are only a few bands around the teeth, and colored rubber bands (that you can switch ever 6 weeks) – it makes me briefly jealous of the experience. Though lets face it — no matter what I wouldn’t want braces on again.

In the evenings, Scott and the kids have been playing tennis while I cook dinner. I know how June Cleaverish that sounds, but I love watching them from the kitchen window as I cook. I started playing tennis last year, but my surgery has put that on hold for a while. Seeing them play gives me the impetus to get back to playing once I am done with treatment.

The Hurricane threatens our plans for the weekend, but it will also give us more family time. Even if it becomes game night, or all of us squeezing together on the couch to watch a movie — I am looking forward to it. I know that the weather has put a kibosh on some of my friends vacation plans and I am truly sorry for them…But I am not upset about the impending storm. I know where my parents will be; I know my brother has landed safely in florida; and most of my friends are will either be home from vacation and/or haven’t left yet. So that takes most of the worrying out of it!

Next week I have chemo again and I am back to being reliant on others to help me care for my family….So, I say “bring on the rain” cause I have a family weekend coming up and it may be one of the last for a while….

Stay Dry and Stay Safe…and keep an eye out for the eye of the storm…But most importantly,

ENJOY TODAY!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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Birthday Wishes


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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for all of your help.

I hope to see you on race day!.

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

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

With great love and respect for you all!

Carol
@funnycancermom

Enjoy today!

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Past, Meet Present


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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today

Carol
@funnycancermom

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LIVING OUT LOUD


A friend once used the expression “Living Out Loud” and I really felt it such an amazing phrase to explain how our children socialize these days — between facebook, twitter, myspace, etc; that I have sort of adopted this expression, and use it to describe how I want to (or don’t want to) live my life — and hopefully teach the same lesson to my children. We are a society that seeks approval or connection by blurting out our must mundane and routine activities to a computer or mobile device. This inanimate object then distributes that information to a plethora of people. (and yesterday I found out that if you are a Snooki – you are talking to about 1.2 million people – EGADS) I admit that my blog is definitely a product of a “living out loud” world; I do hope I don’t ever get to the point of telling you all when I need to get up to use the bathroom. And while my intentions are to “emote” they are also to reach others that face what I face and have turned inward (others who find it easier “living in silence” which I don’t think is any better). I hope to show these individuals that even something bad can be can have a shiny lining – admittedly maybe not a silver one – but shiny non the less. So when is it that we have become unable to adjust the volume of our lives? Can it there be a happy medium between out loud and silent?

Yesterday I had lunch with 2 friends and we talk about just that. As our children are about to come home from camp we talked about what we want our kids to do “differently” this year. And how we want to package that bundle of expectations we, as parents, have for them. I got to thinking about the way my parents dealt with setting expectations. Oh now I remember, the set them and stuck to them, and they were non-negotiable. And I knew it. I am not trying to say that I didn’t try to avoid doing what I should, or get away with doing something I shouldn’t (because I did – and often). And though I constantly screamed “your so unfair — all the other parents let their kids do this, or let their kids go here, or whatever the situation was” — truth be told their standing firm, their unflappable stance undoubtably drew the line between right and wrong/fair and unfair and was a security net for me. Since it seems to be true that hindsight is 20/20, I am able to see the wisdom of their approach. I think I learned to see things from both sides and understand that sometimes the less popular answer is still the right answer. It is true, I want my children to love me, and to like me — but I think my parents perspective has taught me that I have to be okay with the fact that they may not always do both at the same time — especially not in the teen years. But when they get older they will do both equally — and I will let them know how great that is — silently and out loud.

So, tomorrow my children come back home — and I plan to read them my summer blogs.. I hope that they will not find them to preachy or to sermony…but just me telling my stories out loud to those that want to listen! I hope they will see how I am able to laugh at even my own “schtick” – cause we all got some. And, yes I want them to know that Cancer is not a joke. But if you set your expectations for the experience, well you can be surprised at what happens. Face it–what good would it do to scream “I HAVE CANCER DAMN IT” Everyone has their own problems — I know because it’s written all over Facebook.”

I just think (or I hope) that if I set the right volume for my life these days — my family can be proud of my what I am doing, accepting of my openness, and most importantly, able to hear my voice and maybe even learn something from it!

Have a great day and Enjoy!

Carol A.

@funnycancermom

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FRIENDS, FRIENDS, FRIENDS



On Monday I go for treatment number 6. Which means I only have 2 left after this one. I can’t believe it. My friend Amy is taking me — she actually took a day off from work to do that. I can’t tell you how lovely that is. My friends have been so great. I know I have talked about how much they have done for me through this and when my mom was sick…let’s face it — they have just always been there. My mom is my rock and always will be, but I am blessed to have so much more.

Last night I had dinner with 5 AMAZING HUMAN BEINGS (yes one is my husband). These other 4 are undefinable by words; the problem is that the word “Friends” doesn’t do them justice – they are more than that — they are heroes to me. (So maybe I should call them my Frioes or my Heriends) Anyway, they are part of a core group of individuals who I feel pump the life into me – even when they are not around me. We can laugh and talk about anything. We can share every part of our lives with each other and know that their is “unconditional support, understanding, empathy, joy, laughter, and/or silliness…what ever is needed – (whether Emily Post thinks it is apprpriate or not)!” The feeling of security that brings is unmatched. And it helps me to get through every part of this “glitch” in my life.

Friends are a celebrated part of life. Think of all the incredible songs that are devoted to them.

James Taylor YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND
Andrew Gold — THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND
Bill Withers LEAN ON ME
Dionne Warwick THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR
Bette Middler THE WINGS BENEATH MY WINGS
Bette Middler YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE FRIENDS
The Pretenders I’LL STAND BY YOU

And these are just to name a few.

Often I find myself wondering “How the hell have I gotten so lucky as to have such amazing people in my life.” Cancer has tried to beat me down twice — and I haven’t allowed it. Not that there is ever a good time to get cancer, but each time I have gotten it, it has has been during times when either my body and/or my spirit were pretty low. And still the disease has not gotten the better of me — Why? I am neither rich, nor powerful (by “americana standards”). I am neither famous, nor infamous (by any standards). I realized that the power I have is an unshakeable and amazing support system.

And as I laughed, and eat and enjoyed last night, I realized that life doesn’t get any better than this…Cancer or not I am blessed with what I got…So “Cancer” BEAT THAT!

Enjoy Today!
Carol

@funnycancermom

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Keeping Up Appearances


It is not that I am heavy, but for me I am 20 Lbs. heavier than I was 2 years ago. And I have gained quite a bit of my weight during chemo. Over the last 30 yrs I have made goal weight on Weight Watchers 5 times. (So YES that means I have gained a lot of weight 6 times). With each weight gain, I set a weight loss goal – which honestly gets higher each go around. But I do reach goal, so I have become a “Life time” member at Weight Watchers (an achievement you seek as a WW member). Of course the goal is to reach it once and never have to do it again. The over achiever that I am seeks to to collect Life time achievement award for reach “Lifetime membership status” the most; right now I have reached it enough times to secure status for my Granddaughters daughters generation. I am not sure this is the intended purpose for the philosophy of “paying it forward” — but I have never followed the norm.

See why I am so upset is the Dr.’s told me I would gain weight; so I in all honesty I could have tailored my food intake to offset it. But ever since chemo started I have enjoyed a new fascination for sweets. I haven’t met a pint of “Half Baked” Ice Cream that wasn’t specifically earmarked for me. It is like those grocery stores know that I am coming and steer me right for that pint with my name on it. We really it has Ben and Jerry’s name on it but that is just a matter of semantics — “Ben and Jerry’s” and Carol sound very similar.

The problem is, the next morning (after I have consumed the entire pint myself) I stand in my closet getting dressed to go out and face the world with a smile; my objective being to show everyone that this “life with Cancer” can’t bring me down — Keep up the appearance that life is good. And frankly, until I pull up or on those jean shorts or leggings life really is okay.

Now I like a good muffin top toasted for breakfast – but when I am standing staring at the worlds largest human muffin top in my mirror…I lose my smile almost instantaneously — and the largest sigh of disgust escapes my subconscious and is heard through out the house.

And my poor husband has to put up with my moaning for the next 20 minutes. I run around screaming “on my goodness how can I let myself go like this; how can I not control myself; this is disgusting how can you want to be seen with me!” The horror on his face is obvious! Immediately I think he is also horrified by my weight gain — but I know that is not true. The real horror is from not knowing how to answer any of these statements I have just thrown at him. He is trying to dodge the bullet — you know the “Honey do I look fat in this dress” bullet. Only for Scott I am holding an automatic rifle — the bullets just keep coming and he doesn’t know how to answer any one of them. And let’s face it — anything he says will be wrong, and he knows it. It is a true no win situation. Honestly, I give him points for even trying.

After going through every bit of clothing I finally settle on an a line dress that covers everything up. I walk downstairs and my husband puts his arms around me and tells me I look beautiful. Okay he really is a keeper. And then I try to reflect on my mornings anxiety attack. I mean I really do feel fine most of the time, and I am heading into the home stretch of chemo. I know the treatments are cumulative so it is going (and has gotten) a little harder to be “UP” all the time. But I it does make me feel better to ‘put on a happy face’; and I think it has helped me all along.

So I will continue to “keep up the appearance” of always being happy — but know that pretty much every morning I go through this routine. And, luckily for Scott weekday mornings he off to work way before this process starts — it is only weekends he has to deal.

And know that soon I will be once again heading off to my Weight Watcher meetings to yet again seek the “lifetime Member Status”. But that’s life — and honestly, I am happy to be living it!

Muffin Tops to

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Roller Coasters


Ever since I was a child, I have always hated roller coasters. The unsettling up and down motion, the side to side jostling. All motions happening simultaneously – which makes me feel totally and utterly out of control. Needless to say, this is a feeling I am not comfortable with.

But if you ever wanted to know what having cancer is like — this is the closest thing. You are never balanced, or on sure footing. One day is good and the next day, well, not so good. Equilibrium becomes a thing of the past.

When I did the double dosing and got so sick I have been silently concerned that I have really destroyed some vital functions – my liver….who knew this could possibly be a side affect. I am a side affect individual…I get side affects listed – after that is how I got Breast cancer. It was a side affect of the radiation treatment I had when I had cancer earlier in life. So I should have paid more attention to the other side affects.

After the double dosing they did some blood tests to reveal that my functions were not what they should be, but hoped it was a temporary glitch — (which I still believe it probably is). So to double check they had me do follow up tests. Which I did yesterday. The good news is that a lot of the tests came back in the normal range, but a few still seem to be off. So I must head back today for a shot of a drup called Nupagin. It will help boost my immune system. It seems my white blood cell counts are very low so I am at risk of infection.

All in all not terrible, but still I feel I am being thrown up and down and side to side — just like roller coasters and I hate it. But there is an up side – at least I don’t want to throw up! So that is a positive!

In case you don’t know, I have decided to start a foundation titled THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT1 (Gee I wonder where I got the idea for the name?) Which will be a fundraising organization with the purpose of raising and redistributing funds to 6 charities. It is a venture of love and a project that keeps me grounded. Having a sense of purpose keeps me “stable” and my equilibrium in tact – which is in great contrast to all this other stuff.

I will being talking about this much more in the future.

Enjoy and stay on solid ground!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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HEAT


We have had record temperatures for the las few days, and it got me to think about the heat.

We have heard about heat indexes and actual heat versus “feels Like” heat, heat stroke, heat related illnesses, record heat, and scorching heat…

Heat is funny because when you have it (or rather to much of it) it you want it less, and when you don’t have it you want it more.

During the winter you seek the heat while simultaneously wishing summer would arrive quick.

During a summer heat wave you wish the heat would break, while simultaneously wishing for the cooler temps of a beautiful fall day.

If you are a Pitcher all you want to do is bring the heat, and strike the batter out.

And if you are a Miami resident the Heat can be a blessing and a curse – depending on whether you are talking climate or sports.

If you are a criminal you have to avoid the Heat;

And if you want to stand up for a mistake that you may have made you have to take the heat!

If you in back, neck, or knee pain you seek a pad of heat,

and to bring life back to a frozen Lasagna you need to re-Heat.

People who live in Arizona don’t mind it because they say it is “dry-heat”

But my treatments haven’t been so nice lately, and I feel like I am running a dead heat to beat the side affects, and not always winning. The fevers and chill this week weren’t the greatest, but just like all good things – even a heat wave, it comes to an end, and this morning I woke up felling like myself again!

So like most of us I am staying inside — I am just trying to beat the heat.

And may cooler heads prevail.

Stay cool and enjoy

Carol

@funnycancermom

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KEEP IT MOVIN’


Please forgive my absence for the last several days. The duties of motherhood superseded my life as a cancer patient. And frankly it was a great diversion; especially after the awful week I had prior due to the double dosing. And as I had said, I did that so I could be full strength when my family was back together in August. Right reasons, wrong decision, and we are moving on.

Having to go and do for the kids this week was great. Visiting day was yesterday, and I wanted to get all the things they wanted (or really I wanted to bring them) – so, it gave me a reason to get back on task. So I decided it was time to get my schedule back to the way it used to be. Back before “Chemo” was part of my daily life. So Monday morning I went back to Pilates. It used to be part of my weekly routine. It was awesome. Being stretched and pulled in ways you don’t really think are “anatomically” possible has true restorative powers: Even if my muscle’s seem to wobble for a few days after. That one act of ambition, lead to many more. I walked on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Friday; and even went back for another pilates session on Friday.

All that excercise had “steroid like powers”. After a week of feeling good and exercising I truly felt energized. Friday I basically left my house at 8:30 and didn’t get home until 6. Then friday night I went out for dinner with friends. And I still had energy. Saturday morning Scott and I got up at 5:30 (yes a.m.) drove 2 1/2 hrs to camp; where we spent the day doing activities with the kids (I admit I watched a lot more than I participated), and in the afternoon all 4 of us went swimming in the lake. And just as a side note, for me it is a lot easier to be seen in a bathing suit in front of people I don’t know, cause I won’t see them till next year and they may not remember that I was the white whale in the cheetah print (sublety is my speicatly) bathing suit in the water. After we said our good bye’s we drove home changed and went out to a party. And I still feel like I had energy. I can honestly say, I am a little tired today, but I think after a few days of running like I had — even a “non-chemo using” 49 year old adult would be tired.

So it got me to thinking – maybe exercise is good for the mind as well as the body! HMMMMMMM! It is a concept, and one I will take under advisement. It is not that I want to be rash and exercise every day — but this can truly be the start of something great — and maybe even take off some of this chemo weight. I just want to lose a pound, OK, maybe eight. Oy did that additional drug cause a glitch in my mind — I seem to want to rhyme. Oh, I will worry about that another time.

I’m back and happy to be so!

Enjoy the day!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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