Category Archives: Cancer Day to Day

BUSY LIFE…and loving it


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

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

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

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

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

I will be back.

Enjoy today

Carol

@funnycancermom

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Maturation


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nature’s Blessings


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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

Enjoy today!

 

Carol

@funnycancermom

 

Just like Bambi and her Mom…AWWWWW

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Stop writing and talk to me


Well I have been talking and talking…scratch that, I have been writing and writing to you for almost a year now.  Wow!  My posts have been read over 11,000 times…and that is pretty cool, as well.  But I thought it was time to put a voice to these words and let you know what I am up to…Luckily enough two unbelievably talented photographer/videographers were interested in my story – so they have created this to help me launch my new Charitable foundation (My Mission and vision is below).  Thank you all for being here with me!!!  You inspire me!

Blog Mission and Vision

Enjoy today!

Carol

Funnycancermom

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House Cleaning


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today

Carol

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Thanks for the Memories!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott and I

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

ENJOY AND BE THANKFUL

CAROL

@funnycancermom

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A River in Egypt!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day!

Carol

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Ahead of the Curve


I don’t know if it is just me, but I have begun to notice an onslaught of “cancer articles” or press about amazing “cancer stories” lately. Last weeks NY Times Style section highlighted a woman and her fight against breast cancer. A few weeks ago the NY Times magazine cover was about a the woman who wrote “Crazy, Sexy, Cancer.” A few months ago, the NY Times also had an on cancer “etiquette” (What to say and what not to say to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer). I think the focus is both wonderful and disturbing on several levels.

This increase in public awareness is wonderful because it brings constant attention to a disease that, I believe, will one day have a cure – and not just for one kind of cancer but for all kinds. I mean who doesn’t know someone who hasn’t had, or has some “strain”. It is just a little scary to think how large a grasp this disease has on the world. And with October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, there have been a glut of publicity from various News outlets. I believe keeping a constant focus on raising funds for cancer research is hugely important, but I worry, a little, that all of this press may dull the “enormity” of the situation. I feel many of begun to say. “It’s too much already.” And because the focus of most of the publicity is about “celebrities or well connected individuals” – many just seem to ignore it. It seems that the press has forgotten about the “commoners”: The ones who are out there fighting the fight everyday; you know those that don’t have insurance, or don’t have help, or don’t staff to bring them to and from treatments. You know, “We The People” – not them – the “famous”!

I have written about “me and we” for the last several months. And I am glad to say that my message (about me and we the people) seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to what’s hot in “cancer talk” versus what’s not! In May I wrote about “cancer etiquette” (1 month prior to the NY times article piece; and 2 weeks ago I wrote about the Rivertowns response to Breast Cancer Awareness Month…www.riverjournalonline.com/villages/irvington/2047-whats-all-the-pink-about) – while the NY Times article came out today about NY’s response to Breast Cancer Awareness month. I have to say that I would have hoped that the national and international press would focus more on the “lesser known individual stories.” Stories like the ones that The Enterprise and The River Journal have highlighted. The local hereos and fighters. Because everyday is a struggle for them, and yet these people never stop believing in the positive and the hope. They do it all with out staff or without pomp and circumstance. They are also ahead of the curve, because they are and experiencing what everyone else is reading about.

So like our heroes in the armed services, these other everyday “we the people” should be congratulated and commended for keeping up the fight and forging ahead, facing adversity with a smile and doing something to help make the world safer…a place where the only cancer around is that of the Astrological Sign. That is what the press should be writing about- and I hope this blog is ahead of the curve again….let all the other press follow along….

Enjoy today

Carol
@funnycancermom

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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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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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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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Lost In Translation!


As a child I was taught the 3 R’s – Readin’, Ritin’ and Rithmatic. Notice there is no E for english. After I left college, and entered the business world, I discovered that all of these subjects (as it were) have subsections. You know, like Business English, Retail Math, Legal Jargon, Scientific Math, Medical English….It all comes down to the fact that when it comes to words you have learned, you have to figure out which subsection the “appropriate” translation to use.

While I was in the garment business I learned that $2 plus $2 = $-5 (if you are the wholesaler) and +$10 if you are the retailer. I know it is very difficult to wrap your head around this equation — but it is absolutely true. Retail math just means ‘take a whole bunch of numbers and make sure the wholesaler pays the retailer more money than the retailer pays the wholesaler.’

Legal Jargon is another form of english, but with a lot of “here to fore’s”, “Forth with’s” and “parties” thrown in. That is just to confuse the party in first part from knowing what the party in the second part is talking about.

And then their is medical english — by which a simple problem becomes an “Itis or an “Osis.” Or a commercial for an acne drug that lists 87 side affects or conditions that could occur. I have gotten good at translating terms. Trying to translate these languages into other terms I understand got me thinking about other language subsections I have had to learn. Obviously there is a whole chemo language — “dose-dense” and CMF, and protocols, and the list can go on. But what about my day to day life. Do I need to translate things in my regular “mommy” life. And then I remembered the postcard I recently got from my son.

Camp is great and the kids are having a good time, but sometimes the counselors make them stop what they are doing and write a letter home. A silly concept, but one that is done at most camps. Matt is not always the best eater. He is pretty much a starch and sugar kind of kid; Though you would not know it from his 95 lb – 5’2′ frame. Anyway I figured eating would be a sporadic thing at camp. Matt also is not the best writer, so making him write a letter quickly you are not going to receive a literary masterpiece of any kind…as long as some english is involved, it is okay; because I have learned to translate his language as well.

Our 1st letter from Camp this year read:

Dear Parents, (showing his obvious attachment to us as individuals)
Camp is great. The food I can barly eat.

Love Matt

I was overjoyed…He tried Barley….of course not, he didn’t like the food. I get it….

Then I remembered his first letter last summer. One I must frame for later in life. summer at camp. It is where I realized Iam a gifted translater. This is, and will remain, my favorite letter from camp.

Dear Mom and Bad (yes he meant DAD):

I am here and the Wheater is God.

Love Matt.

I smiled because I thought what a great letter. Later that night, when my husband got home from work, I showed him the letter. I was so happy about it. He read it and then spent about 20 minutes just contemplating the meaning…he was trying to figure it out. What could he be talking about….REALLY? I thought it is a great note. Scott was just perplexed by my enjoyment of the letter. “What is he talking about?” he asked. REALLY?

It obvioulsy says “The weather is good.” So now I use the wheater is god! as a standard response to things — and yes it is an inside joke to me. But we now have a new subsection language to add to the list of all the others — and is called “Camp Language.” Which frankly I find funny and enjoyable and in the realm of things — not so scary.

Enjoy and I hope the Wheater is God by you!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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The wish you want can be the one you don’t!


This week I learned that “Getting what you want” is not the same as “Wanting what you get.” I was so hard pressed to move up this one treatment to a two week “dose-dense” treatment, I never really thought it all through. I wanted to move them closer together for a few reasons.

First, my husband is taking a week off when the kids arrive home from camp. I was thinking that if I had chemo that week, it wouldn’t be much fun for the family. I think that it would be nice to have everyone home and happy and energetic..so that we could be a “normal family” for a week.

Secondly, I thought it would be sad for the kids to get off the bus, and wee me the next day all yucky from chemo. MY intentions were all solid.

And the final (and, yes, selfish reason) was that it would move up my FINAL treatment to the day after my 50th Birthday. What a great Birthday gift for me it would be.

Now that I have done it, I am not certain I really thought all of this through. It will be great to be all together the first week, but the week after I have chemo and no back up. The kids are not in school, and many friends will be away – so they will spend the week inside and bored. They will get to see me “sick” first hand. Not that they haven’t seen me up until this point, but this is just 24/7 of me not great…and I didn’t want that. I have enjoyed “Supermom” status up until now. I am working on a solution this problem though.

Moving up the chemo 1 week also overlaps with my husbands birthday. And while that may seem okay, he really has been so great that I think he deserves a night to celebrate him and all he has done for me. But I kind of messed that up as well. He isn’t upset about it, I am.

And lastly, and the biggest issue I face today (and the last 2 days) is this course of treatment has really made me feel pretty weak and gross. I have gone through this whole thing feeling relatively okay, and because of a desire to finish “a little” earlier — I have lost a little of my “swagger” so to speak.

None of this is awful, or debilitating, but I am definitely not myself. I am neither happy nor sad; I am not bubbly or blue; and I am not spunky nor sick…I am feel achy and abnormal. I am just BLAH! Not a word I would ever really describe myself as. I am sure that I will bounce back in a day or two…but, admittedly, I wish I would have just left well enough alone.

During this whole time I have never wished for not “being sick”…because I am and what would the point be. I have not regretted the decisions or the path I have taken with my illness. And I most certainly don’t take any of the moments with friends and family for granted. I cherish each and every one. This illness has motivated me in ways I could not have ever imagined…and I am so thankful for that. So I got a little greedy in a way. I wanted my chemo and my wine too — and I have learned that I can’t “always” have both – just because I want to. So I will not up my treatment again. This is a one shot deal, and I have learned much from it.

So I guess the old saying is true “Be careful what you wish for. Because it just may come true – but not the way you think!”

Enjoy today.

Carol
@funnycancermom

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Re-Tell Therapy


As is obvious from my posts, I AM A TALKER. A trait that can sometimes (okay often) drive my family crazy. I like to talk out and talk about all situations, because the more I talk about it, the more alternate viewpoints become clearer. I admit that I can over talk about an event as well, but that is me…”take it or leave it”. I also talk the situations over with my friends — re-tell the story if you will. Now, some people re-tell situations to “correct the spin” on it: you know to try to improve upon the “why I am right” scenario. That is not to say they are lying, it is just that they have their own belief’s on why a “situation” played out the way it did. I re-tell situations so that I can learn from them. And yes, there are times that I still feel that my answer (reaction) was the correct one; but not without exhausting every other perspective. My friends are very helpful with this. I use them as a sounding board. I tell them what happened; or what I saw; or my opinion of an interaction between to other individuals. In return, they give me wise and unbiased opinions as to whether I responded correctly, or I read the situation correctly, or even if I should (or shouldn’t) have intervened. And when I do this, I find that even my friends varied viewpoints, I get a greater understanding of the events that occurred, why I ‘read” the events a certain way, and if my response was handled correctly or not. So by re-telling an event, I get the whole picture…and from that I am able to make my next move.

In fairness to my husband, I admit that this procedure can cause me to misread or over analyze things (only sometimes). It happens less than he is willing to admit. But it does happen. As an example, this is my children’s 3rd summer at sleep away camp. As many know, camps post pictures nightly so you can get a brief glimpse of your child’s day. The first summer, another mother told me how to “analyze the pictures”. Absolutely an absurd thing to do, by the way…but, of course, the idea was in my head — every once in a while I would succumb to the idea. Ridiculous suggestions like; if “she/he is in the middle of the group shot they are happy – and if they are on the outside they are not.” “If she/he has their arm around someone, but the other doesn’t have their arm around him or her it is a forced picture.” ABSOLUTE BOLOGNA!!!! And I listened to it – the first summer anyway. But when the kids came home I showed them some of the pictures, and asked what was going on…the kids painted much different scenario’s. Proof that this idea of analyzing doesn’t work.

Even knowing that this analyzing pictures is wrong, this week I found myself doing it again. But this time my fears/analyzing are based strictly on my own neuroses. My children have handled my illness with the grace and maturity of well adjusted adults — not 11 year old kids. And I am so very proud of them. The fact that they have dealt with so much “death and illness” in their short lives consistently brings tears to my eyes. But on the reverse side, they have learned so much from it all; and these experiences have helped to shape their tremendously warm hearted , sensitive, and wonderful personalities. So there has been a positive outcome to it as well. But I worry that their strong shell may crack, so when I don’t see them in pictures, or in the groups my thoughts begin to shoot off in tangents. And then I begin to use my re-tell therapy strategies to come back to center.

First I tell my husband my thoughts. And like any good husband he just tells me, “I am being crazy.” I love that about men — right to the heart of the matter they are. Then my friends – who each tell me in their own ways. “that I am probably just a little over sensitive this year — and make lite-hearted jokes that the kids have left camp for a much needed vacation. One even suggested they are not in the pictures, because they are the new camp photographer. By the time I have re-told the story for the 5th time (yes that includes my husband), I realize how ridiculous I sound…and I am back to realizing that these pictures are just a snippet of their day — and to just enjoy seeing them.

Ok well now that I am done with that re-tell therapy….maybe I should try the other Retail Therapy. Shopping is good for the “sole” they say — shoes anyone?

Have a great day and ENJOY!

Carol
@funnycancermom
and at
http://www.riverjournalonline.com

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JOY


I have not written in quite a few days, and that is because I have just been on a constant emotional roller coaster. I have dealt with happiness, sadness, angst, anger, nervousness, anxiety. In the end it all produced joy, but what a week to get through, OY! The kids have finished school and finals. (That alone has caused most of the ansgt, anxiety and anger. But that is such a big issue for my school district to face, and this is not the forum for it.) The kids had been picking at each other for 1 1/2 weeks already. It got so bad that they were fighting over who got to use the whipped creme on their chocolate chip waffles first (Homemeade waffles I might add). Even though I knew where all the emotions were coming from. It was driving me crazy. After they finished with finals they had three days to get mentally prepared for camp. Going for 7 weeks. And believe me they love it…but “leaving is the hardest part.”

The kids and I talked over the emotions. We talked about why leaving is hard. And, of course, we had to talk about why it is extra hard this year. Thursday night, as the kids got into bed I went into each room to sit and to talk with them. First Lissy. She told me she was a little scared about leaving me and what “if my summer was filled with me being sick.” How could she have fun if I am not well. (Okay, is she not the sweetest – when she wants to be, that is. Anyone who has a preteen understands that). Anyway, I explained to her that since I am already three treatments in and I still felt pretty good, that I am not expected (or hope) not to react much differently with the next few treatments. And as the end of treatment isn’t until September – which may be when I get the most tired- You will be home to help make me feel better. (and maybe clean your own room for a change — one could only wish). With the thought that she would be home to help, and that she believed “nothing will change” she was settled enough to drift off to sleep.

Then into Matt’s room. He is harder to calm. He is a wonderfully sensitive kid, but can let his emotions run wild sometimes. After talking to him, he also was worried. When he gets emotional, his worries and fears can go the extreme. I understand that; but the great thing about his emotions is that he can pick up on humor as easily as he can pickup on sadness, and well humor is My specialty! So with him I talked about what I would do everyday, and how I would do things to take care of myself. Things that will make me feel better and keep me strong. I promised him I would eat out every night for dinner – to insure I eat well; I promised I would walk the malls shopping every day – to keep my physical strength up; and if I was over exerting myself or tiring myself out, I would either go out to visit my brother at the beach in the Hampton’s, or just sit by the community pool – which ever would insure optimal relaxation. I told him he shouldn’t worry, I have every intention of pampering myself this summer, even if taht meant weekly massages, manicure’s and pedicures. I was determined! (My husband will be quivering when he reads this passage). And after I joked about my plans with Matt, he also seemed calm enough to drift to sleep.

Friday was a mostly quiet day until bedtime. Again Matt was weepy, but only slightly. Scott was able to soothe his nerves. Lissy was way more stoic. She was a little more stoic. As she gets closer to leaving she begins to get quiet and hold everything in. She is like my husband in that manner. She keeps it all inside. I wish she wouldn’t, and I wish Scott wouldn’t for that matter. But I will always continue working on getting her to talk about things. (Scott not so much – he is who he is) But with all that she was staill able to sleep.

Saturday morning we were off to the buses without an issue. We were there a little early; next year we will get there a little later. Matt got a little upset but much less than I anticipated and off they went. Alissa basically knocked me over to get on the bus with her friend; Matt wanted that one additional hug from my Husband for reassurance, and off he went. That is when the sadness started. “I mean really? MATT wanted the last hug from Scott? Really?” I thought I was the favorite parent!” But I will get over that too!

I know they will have a great time, and I know they love camp; so after the buses were gone and after a little sadness, and after a little tear was shed – came JOY. Party at my house I joked! But I did feel joyous! The feeling of Joy came from knowing that my children love me, from knowing how much I me love them, and them knowing I love them; and mostly knowing that they have learned that “leaving is not always a bad thing – and that I don’t plan on leaving in a bad way ANY TIME SOON!”

HAve a great day and enJOY!

Carol
@funnycancermom
or
http://www.riverjournalonline

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SUMMERTIME — HIP HIP HURRAY!


It is officially over. The school year that is. The last few weeks have been so overloaded with end of the year activities, studying with the kids for finals, packing the kids trunks for camp, and seeing family before the kids leave for summer camp. I haven’t had a moment to think what I am going to do all summer. No children to deal with for 7 weeks and one day. Trust me that one day is very important.

It wasn’t until the end of my first child free summer that I realized all of the benefits: Laundry being really high on the list. With 2 active kids I can do about 12 to 14 loads of laundry a week. Unbelievable, but true. But I don’t think I do 12 to 14 loads in 7 weeks – while they are gone.

During the school year I cook 3 meals (often 4 due to my picky eater) a day. During the summer my husband and I enjoy date nights out 3 to 4 nights a week. And I can catch up on all of the movies I want to see.

Don’t get me wrong I miss the kids. But I was a camper as a child, and it was one of my happiest experience. So I get excited that my children seem to love it as much as I do. Really, what’s not to love – it is a 24/7 playdate that lasts for 7 weeks; for them and for me. I get up each morning and write them a letter – retelling events of the day before in great detail. Mainly to add length to the letter. Otherwise the letter would say:

Hi: relaxed all day yesterday, will write tomorrow. love Mom

My ‘Alone’ time this summer will allow me to do a lot of things. I while try (but may not succeed) at completing half of my laundry list of things to do this summer. I am going to make a really strong effort. Probably stronger than I have in the past. (okay you caught me — I started this laundry list the 1st summer the kids went away. So far I have only done 2 things on the list) I am not organized and need real help in this are….I invite any suggestions from all of you….but my list includes cleaning out the garage, organizing my downstairs closet, cleaning out the kids closets, and re-organizing the kitchen cabinets. I know what your saying — “Carol, it is summertime…it’s time to come out of the closet.” But that is where the work needs to be done. Mainly because that is where I hide everything all year.

My alone time will also allow me to reflect on my circumstances. And not in a negative way. Since I was diagnosed, I have started this Blog — which thanks to you has over 3,200 hits! I have been interviewed for an article in the River Journal (a Westchester Monthly Magazine) that will come out on Thursday. (I can’t wait to see it!) And I was recently interviewed On Camera for a reality show about women with cancer, who are going through chemo. My friend Wendy was the person who told me about the show. While I am not sure that I am the “kind of contestant” they are looking for…It was a “really fun and cool experience.” And, I have some other positive things in the works as well…but this is for me to reveal in the future. As odd as it may sound…Life is good! The cancer and the treatment still suck, but they are here only temporary, and I believe these good things are just the beginning.

All of a sudden I feel like I am back at camp, where everyday, something fun is happening. And while most people don’t think cleaning out closets or cleaning out garages is fun…It is when you know realize about what other alternatives you can be facing. And, yes, every once in a while (actually, every 3 weeks in my porotocol) there will be a rainy day — we all know what follows summer rains — RAINBOWS. And the pot of gold at the end comes in September when I end treatment….And happily turn 50 (okay that is a lie – but go with it!) Because from that moment on I look forward and joyfully towards the next 30 (atleast!).

Enjoy today!

Carol
@funnycancermom

I hope you will check out my article thursday at http://www.riverjournalonline.com

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THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE!


It seems that my daily schedule has been altered by my chemo treatments. My internal schedule that is. I used to wake up around 6:45 a.m. And get in bed around 11:00 p.m.. Now I find that I am usually fully awake by 5:45 a.m. And passed out by 9 p.m. At first this time shift was like any other “jet lag” scenario. It definitely took me a few days to get my “footing”. And I mean that literally as
well as figuratively. At 5:45 my house is pitch black; so the first few mornings I found myself stumbling around, constantly banging my toes against something or walking into some wall I couldn’t see. My house is definitely seems smaller in the dark, or I am just messier than I think (both very possible). Several mornings in a row I found myself standing in my closet trying to stifle my scream from the pain from stubbing my toe on a pair of shoes or the foot of the armoire, or just tripping over the clothes I left on the closet floor. After the pain subsides, I would make my way to the bathroom or downstairs. I was up like a pup!. Awake in an absolutely silent household. Frankly, not an experience I was used to.

What does someone do in the morning; Before the kids are up or my husband is awake – before the the general noise of daily life begins? I sat silently to ponder. And there it was again. Silence!. I wanted to scream with joy- but that would break it – the silence that is.

So, instead I thought I should figure a way to try and use the time wisely. I sit and think; think about what is, what was, and what can be! And realize “Wow I sound really profound at 6 a.m.!. Ok Obi wan!” I think, “what else could I be at 6 a.m.” I look around my living room, and think that I could go through that stack of papers sitting on the dining room table – or at least organize them. Nah! That’s quick work I can do that later. Oh, I could empty the dishwasher!. No way, the clanging of the plates would surely wake up the house. I could organize and pay the bills. Do I even need to say why that is a No!. Or I could just sit here with my feet up, stare about the room and write my thoughts down!. BINGO!. A perfect morning activity. This will get the mind flowing, and keep my body stationary in order to fully accept the affects of the caffeine entering it from that oversized morning cup of joe!. I can ruminate upon the day to come, and try to envision how I will fit in all the things I need to do; or how I can ignore them and do the things I want to do.

Wow, my head is spinning from all this thinking, maybe I should just go bed for a few hours? Let me think about that! It’s 7 a .m. Enough thinking! Now doing!

Enjoy the day! And make everyone count!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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