Category Archives: Cristie Kerr

CONSUMPTION


What can I say, this is my summer to enjoy.  My children started at sleep away camp 4 summers ago.  Honestly the 1st summer I was to consumed with whether the kids were enjoying/having a good time or not.  The 2nd summer, I had it a little easier — but my sister-in-law had been going through chemo so I  travelled out to help her a few times, so it was not a totally relaxing summer (no complaints though, I was happy to go and help).  Then of course last summer was my turn…and needless to say, 0% relaxation was involved.  Chemo, my Mom, and other family issues made for a summer I never want to repeat (though the kids enjoyed camp).  So when it came time to think about what I wanted from this summer there were a few different scenarios.

1st – I wanted the kids to have a great and stress free summer….With nothing to worry about….CHECK

2nd – I want everyone to be healthy and happy…CHECK CHECK

3rd – I want to relax and do what I want, when I want and how I want….CHECK CHECK CHECK (so far)…but this last has lead to a small issue….

When I was young, I remember hearing stories about relatives (usually my grandparents siblings) had been taken by CONSUMPTION.  It all seemed so common, and I could nt really understand what it was they were talking about.  I gathered what they were saying was that CONSUMPTION could kill – and often did.

We since my children have left, I have consumed massive (yes I mean Massive) quantities of food…I have been eating with abandon (an odd old saying, but seems fitting).  And as I got on the scale this morning…I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE….FROM CONSUMPTION OBVIOUSLY!!!!

I am back, and I missed writing to you all, I am going out for a walk now (because won’t that take off a good 5 lbs?)  Health and Happiness aside, I really plan on enjoying this summer…but maybe I will get out more and consume less  OR NOT!

ENJOY

Carol

@funnycancermom

 

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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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TCMMDI


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

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

THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT

A new 501c3 charitable foundation

And news of a

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day

Carol

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Who’s that girl in the mirror?


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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today!

Carol

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From Start to Finish!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Cancer — BEAT THAT!!!!

Enjoy Every Day and especially Today!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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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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