Category Archives: Funny Cancer Mom

HOPE


Hope…What an incredible word.  It is what holds us in anticipation, and it is what can spark your individual greatness from within.  It is always looking forward at the possibilities, and cannot be held back in the past.  You hope for the future, you look back at your past.

 

Cancer has taught me a lot about hope.  Of course there is the obvious things to hope for.  I hope I get better, I hope my treatments are not “horrific”, I hope I make it long enough to see my children grow up (that was a big one this second time around), I hope I don’t get sick again, and finally, I hope that I not only get better…but I also hope that I don’t get bogged down by the ramifications of being “afflicted twice”.

 

Hope is what I wake up with every morning.  Some of my hopes are whimsical and shallow.  And that is okay.  While it would be great if those hopes were achieved sometimes, I don’t hold my breath for those. – rather, I enjoy the frivolity of the hoping.  You know those thoughts…”I hope I can lose 30 pound by Friday”, or “I hope I can eat this gallon of ice cream and still fit into my jeans tomorrow”, and of course, I hope to have the chance to meet Hugh Lurie, Hugh Jackman and Zac brown, because I am a huge fan.  These are delicious little nuggets that help me smile on days that aren’t always filled with smiles.

 

Then I have hopes that aren’t necessarily about me, but are about my family.  These are ones that really affect my emotions.  Because these are things I hope for my children, my Husband, my brothers and sister-n-laws, my nieces and cousins, my friends.  I want, no I hope, for them way more than I hope for myself.  My hopes for them are lofty and rich. I hope for them to get what they want, because I hope they will always be happy.  I know that it is important not to always get what you want, but I am a mother first.  And I hope, all the time, I can take away any pain or sorrow my children go through.  But I can’t always do that.  But I am aware that my children also have there own frivioulous hopes…And I encourage them…I think these are what is meant by “Hope springs eternal”…

 

My daughter, for example, hopes to be a star.  Her hopes don’t have a pathway to achieve this, or a definite area in which she chooses to become a star…She just hopes for stardom…and I hope she becomes one as well.  Though, she has no definitive pathway as to what type of “star” she wants to become…her hopes are lovely and endearing (and not unlike many teenage girls), and I hope to help her head that way (though honestly, I hope she finds another hope as she gets older).

 

My son hopes for more simple things.  New videogames, to be better at certain sports, and his biggest hope is that he never has to do homework again.  But of course this last one is not gonna happen.  But he can always Hope.

 

My mother, well I think she hoped that she would be okay when she moved away.  Well we were there this week, and boy she is okay.  She has a brightness and lightness to her spirit.  One which I haven’t seen in so long.  Her melancholy is present, but is being trimmed with hope that her next stage in life will have joy and adventure.

 

So I guess I just hope all of those I love to get what they hope for.  Because then I get what I hope for.  Who could hope for more!

Enjoy Today.

 

Carol

 

Funnycancermom

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Thank You Nannette Stueck – The Follow Up


IMG_2078Well after I wrote my November 30th blog about Nanneette Stueck, I received over 100 public and private comments on potential ways to find her. I listened to several comments and tracked a series of addresses to Maine.  I sent off a few letters hoping that at least one of the addresses I got would be hers.  But as you see from above, all of my letters were returned …NOT DELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED.  It seemed to be a dead end.  I wondered if I was going about this the wrong way…But in the end, odd as this may be, it was her that found me.

 On December 17th I got a note posted to my LinkedIn account from Nannette, that simply said she was trying to find me and gave me her email.  I was thrilled.  The next day I got this…(I have taken out the personal details).

 

Oh finally, No, my cousin forwarded your blog Sunday.  I have been attempting to contact you since. Here’s some of the mail I’ve been trying to send you. I tried to post to your blog but it said something about needing moderation and now is gone,  linked in must have worked, I tried  Carol@fXXXXXXXXXX but that didn’t work

Carol –

Last night after watching / helping my daughter XXXXXXX decorate our tree I launched my email, The usual advertisements to be deleted, a note from my sister to call my mom in the face of Friday’s tragedy in Newton, and a note from my cousin Eileen in Pasadena, CA.

She stumbled upon your blog and found your note to me, and she forwarded it, in case you hadn’t found me.  She said she was later night, should have been asleep internet searching….I should probably ask what brought her to a cancer blog….

You are the first person I think of when someone says, “IF you know someone who has been affected by cancer,” but of course I had no idea how many new ways it would touch you in the 28 years since I’d seen you last.

I remember our quick and easy friendship and our talks, I remember our brief rooming while you continued your treatments at Tufts.  I remember too, the odd way people reacted to your cancer and I remember your strength.  I also remember how when you had beaten Hodgkins and graduated that you broke down and cried to me on the phone so scared about the future, and I was in such awe of it, like after all the bravery, why now??  Why is she so scared now, and so brave in the thick of it.  I have cautioned everyone I have known since when they have struggled with cancers, mostly breast and said be careful – watch your thoughts, be ready for the crash, and call me if you need to talk.

I, to date, have avoided the cancers personally as well as with immediate family members.  Great girlfriends and neighbors have had lumpectomies and mastectomies, all very brave and beautiful survivors! But, you were my first….and so you remain the first thought.

Great to find you and I’d love to stay in touch!!!

Love, Nannette

And even greater gift was that she was relatively local over the holidays, and we got to meet for breakfast.  I got the chance to meet part of her family.  They are as warm as Nannette.  And if I didn’t say it to you that day Nannette, you look great…and happy.  I have done nothing but talk about re connecting with you.  I know I owe you an email,.  I have been so busy telling and re telling everyone about that I don’t  didn’t even email to say what a great breakfast it was, and I look forward to many more meetings.

I realized I got a few details wrong, Like Nannette went to Simmons not Northeastern, but we figured why I thought that….But all in all our memories coincided.

What a great Holiday Gift it was to reconnect….It was a real great feeling finding you and thanking you.  I believe it completed  closure on that time in my life.  And gives me the chance to create a friendship with someone I know has a great heart!!!

New Resolution #1.

*Be grateful and always say say thank you to those you feel deserve it!

CHECK

 

ENJOY TODAY!

 

Carol

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Thank You Nannette Stueck


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My Dad


 

3/8/1928 – 10/21/2012

 

Please let me begin by saying that my mother, brothers and I thank you all for being here today to celebrate the life of our Dad, Herbert Grossman. My brother, Neil, being reticent to speak in these situations, has agreed to let me speak on his behalf. Our Dad was a multi-faceted man: And facet is such a befitting word to describe him, because it connotes a precious stone . And that is just what he was. A jewel; a diamond amongst lesser stones.

Our Dad was a man with a modest and tumultuous upbringing. Yet he forged an upward path early on. He started in the garment center by accident, but he was lucky in that he had a real passion for what he did. He found success and achievement within his first year. From that point on he would strive to create the best product possible…No exceptions and no short cuts. Believe it or not this was his greatest strength and also his biggest weakness. He truly was an industry legend.

He believed that as much as you got, you must always remember that you had to give back. Tzedaka is what they call it. There are many memories of Dad reaching into his pocket to give a dollar to someone in need, and often also stopping and having a conversation with the person. It was our Dad’s way of saying, “I am here to help if you need.” He was generous to a fault…it was even Scott’s and my wedding, when (after a few cocktails) he began to tip the entire wait staff who where wearing Tuxedo’s. (Which was a long list…because it was a black tie affair.) Thankfully our friend David followed him around to re-collect his generosity.

Another facet of our Dad was his incredible sense of humor. He was dry and quick witted. His jokes had us rolling, but mostly because he was laughing so hard by the time he came to the punch line. We couldn’t help but laugh along. We aren’t really sure if the jokes were as funny as we think they are. But we certainly remember the laughing. Another facet was how he loved spending time with his grandchildren. His pride and utter joy was always apparent when he spoke of them, played with them, or showed pictures of them to friends and acquaintances…he would just beam. Jane and Elysabeth were blessed with many good “grandpa years”. He never missed a birthday party. He loved to scoop them up in his muscular “boxer like” arms and chepper them on the face. Both of you would coo with glee. Sam, Will, Matt and Alissa didn’t have as many years with Dad at full strength, but the love and joy he had being with you 4 was no less. All of you were the truly joyful part of his life. You were a big part of that dazzling smile, and definitely what caused his inner glow.

There was one facet that sparkled brighter than any of the others. The brightest spark he gave off was the one that illuminated the love he had for our Mom/his wife of 56 years. She truly was his world. He even hired my mom to work for him back in the 80’s. For 30 years they would wake up next to each other, go to work together, spent all day at the office together, had dinner together, and came home; just to do the same thing over again the next day. They were true partners, soul mates…. in life, in love, in every way possible. Their love was special…it was epic.

Our father was a man of great convictions. Right or wrong, he was never indifferent. He did things his own way. And that held true to his death. He made it strong to his Matthew and Alissa’s B’nai Mitzvah. Being ever present in a room surrounded by his family and cherished friends. It was almost like he had orchestrated his own going away party. And in the end, he wanted just to go off quietly, and rest…which he did. Not a complaint.

Dad we love you truly, we will miss the twinkle in your eye and the mischief in your heart…. we know you are peaceful and at rest. Something you haven’t been able to do for many years. We feel your love, and we hope you feel ours. Rest well Pops (as Neil liked to call him)…We Love you,

 

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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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Pound Foolish


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

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

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

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

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

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

Even my puns have gotten a little thin….

Enjoy today!

Carol

Funnycancermom

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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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Where’s the funny?


Honestly, what’s so funny about cancer?  Well believe it or not there has been plenty. If I look back at the last year, what I remember…is the Funny.  Not the crappy.  So I thought it was the time in the movie (or the blog) for  the flashback sequence.  All of these sties have been told or glossed over in previous entries, but if you look at  them as a whole:  I could see  “Cancer ” the sitcom

Lets begin at the beginning.

In February, I was still meeting with Dr.s and Surgeons and deciding a course of action with regards to having a Mastectomy or not.  My friend Wendy knew a women who had been to the the Surgeon I was considering — Andrew Ashikari.  Anyway she had introduced my to this woman who was incredibly helpful.  She even offered to come to my house so I could see and touch and feel the end product (notice how I made a ‘boob job” sound classy).  It was a Sunday morning, and my husband was on carpool duty when the woman came to my house.  After talking to me about what was going to happen, she took off her shirt and let me “feel her up”.  Frankly, it was amazing, awkward, and weird all at the same time.  But what an unbelievable help.  Knowing and seeing what was going to happen was huge — (figuratively speaking of course).  My husband and I giggled about this for days.  What he wouldn’t have given to be there to watch me.

Many memories included my friends.  Like my 1st day at chemo.  Julie and I walked into this long white, long room.  each area was divided by those curtains you see in emergency rooms.  But very few of them were drawn.  Almost all of the chairs were taken, and I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go.  I just looked all around – as all of the patients looked at me – the newbie -And said loudly.  “Excuse me which way to the bar…I have a reservation, so if you could just call us when our table is ready!”  And we started laughing.  Even a few of the patients (who were already hooked up to their chemo cocktails) started laughing.

Of course the many, many days where I left the house to run an errand, and half way to my destination realized that I forgot why I was going or what I was going for.  And usually came home with many items from the grocery store…but not 1 that was on my list.

I have memories of times I would laugh at myself or my circumstances.  My friends and I were always able to joke.  I remembering making fun of my friend Amy when she didn’t text me back immediately (she was in surgery at the time — like that’s a valid excuse).  texting her “I can’t believe you didn’t text me back…I have cancer you know!”  Stupid and childish – yes…but lite-hearted and funny — also yes!  Why not be childish and silly…all the other stuff going on was so serious –which is why I always looked for the funny!

And then of course their was the weight gain.  Certainly always a source of horror and Humor for me – mostly horror. Since I constantly talk about how much I have gained through this whole order.  But this particular evening was during the US Open.  Serana was on the court and we were at Amy’s having dinner.  Amy’s family, Elaine’s family and all of us.  Sititng on the couch was Amy, Dan, and 2 of their children; Elaine, my husband, my son and I.  We were watching her intently when someone said “look at the size of Serena…all muscle whadda ya think she weighs?”  I said “180 Lbs”  Scott said, in his way, “NO Way…She is big, but not that big. 180 Lbs is a lot for a woman to weigh.”  and with perfect comedic timing, I turned to Elaine and Amy and loudly, yet demurely, “Uh Oh!”  And as the tears of laughter came rolling down our faces…I realized how great laughter feels.  IT is truly JOYOUS!

I am talking to my 3 new friends going through this ordeal.  For however much it seems like it is going to suck (and of course that is true) I just want you to know – that night (and many others) there was no cancer anywhere…just laughter.  I tell you this because I know it doesn’t seem possible, but it is.  These times can be about other things…not just about being sick.  Look for the humor, cause there is funny here…and the funny is what brought me to where I am now — on the flip side helping you who are just at the starting line.

I will be here with you all the way through and will be waiting with a joke and smile at the finish line…

Laugh ON

Enjoy!

Carol

 

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It’s My Anniversary!


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

HEARTS TO ALL.

Enoy the day!

 

Carol

 

 

 

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Who’s that girl in the mirror?


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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today!

Carol

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I have my reasons!


My friend Audrey called me today, to say hi and check in. During the conversation she asked me if I was going to write a book. I told her I had my reservations about doing so – and gave her a few reasons. She said it would be great if I could share my story with others, because she found it so inspiring. I am not bragging, but I have heard this before. But every time I hear it I have the same reaction. Discomfort, awkwardness, and utter confusion.

I assure you, I am neither humble, nor self-sacrificial… I just don’t get it! Inspirational, why? Admirable, really? I have had cancer…twice? Not so admirable, believe me! If I was given the option, I would wish to “not have a reason to write a blog!”.so not so inspirational. What I do have is the desire to make it easier for someone else, after me. That is a maternal thing I believe. Didn’t your mother always say “If I knew then what I know now…” (Yeah, I know I hated when she said it too); but she was right, and that is all I am trying to do. Give someone in the future a little hindsight into my past!

Some of my Dr.’s have had patients call me to talk, and some friends have passed along my blog to friends, or have asked me to speak with a friend or relative. I am an open book. I don’t do it for admiration, or for adulation…I do it because I know how scary it is. I know what it is like to be young and diagnosed…I know what it is like to be old (older) and diagnosed. I have had full body radiation, and chemotherapy. I have had internal and external organs removed, (and yet I still gain weight! Go figure). I have definitely earned my credentials as an expert patient!

So for right now, no book! I would be happier if no one needed to seek this kind of information, the “cures” are still a ways off. In the mean time, I am here…to give you advice, or just to listen, to tell you a funny story, or an embarrassing one (of which I have many). I am who I am – and that is all I want to be – for now anyway!

Enjoy the day!

Carol

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House Cleaning


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today

Carol

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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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The Day of Atonement


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

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

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

Enjoy today!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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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.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR?px=1268984&pg=personal&fr_id=1230&et=UBxXw1GoP9jiqbtUmSY95g..&s_tafId=61036

Click here to view the team page for The Cancer Made Me do It
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR?team_id=44251&pg=team&fr_id=1230&et=aAKRY2N-Uax1JxOfVi0J1A..&s_tafId=61036

If you no longer wish to receive email messages sent from your friends on behalf of this organization, please click here or paste this URL into your browser: http://www.komennyc.org/site/TellFriendOpt?action=optout&toe=31c8fd68afe0f5ca6b25114ec2935f95

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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