Category Archives: Scott Abramson

ASKED AND ANSWERED, AND NOT A WORD SPOKEN


dad at busch gardens

Sometimes firsts are good.  The first time you ride a bike, the first time you eat ice cream, the first kiss, the first kid (just kidding both of my kids are terrific).  Firsts are meant to be moments that you will always remember.  But honestly, some firsts you just want to forget.

This is what I am feeling today.  Tomorrow is my father’s birthday.  He came so close to making it to 85.  His death in October was surrounded by such craziness, that I am not sure anytime was really given for grieving.  I mean we mourned, but so much went on in just a few short days of his death that all of those extra emotions kind of got lost in the hubbub.

At the end of September we planned moving my parents to Florida.  Nov. 5 was picked.  Flights were booked, movers were scheduled…and the packing was able to begin.  The process was physically daunting, but even more so emotionally.  My Father was already beginning his final decline (though we weren’t as steep his decline was).  I am sure he was able to register what was happening, and I believe it caused him to withdraw into himself even more.  Many have said he didn’t want to go to Florida…Maybe they were right!  He died on Oct. 21, and the moment the “Shiva” ended, we were hit with Hurricane Sandy; which didn’t even stop the packing and moving process.  Nov. 5 we were on that plan, and off to start a new chapter in my Mom’s life.

My mom and I were speaking earlier.  We speak both talk him all the time, and today my mom said, “but he doesn’t answer.”  Which made me realize something.  He certainly does answer.  He has allowed you to Segway into this new, exciting and privileged chapter of you life, without the heartache of feeling guilty (and you don’t have anything to feel guilty about).  This is his parting gift to you, the woman he loved for over 60 years.  Be happy and enjoy he says…without ever uttering a word.  You and the children deserve it!!!!

So I guess this first birthday with out you dad is also a memory…Know that I wish you here with us…But every day you are thought of fondly, and cherished even more….

 

Happy Birthday Dad….

Enjoy!

Carol

@afunnycancermom

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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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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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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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Filed under a day in the life, breast cancer, breast cancer blog, cancer - self esteem, cancer blog, Carol Abramson - Funny Cancer Mom, coping with breast cancer, dealing with cancer, Facing Cancer with Humor, Funny Cancer Mom, living beyond breast cancer, motivational speaker, Scott Abramson, survivor

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

CAROL

@funnycancermom

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

The Flip Side


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

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

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

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

Today is 7 down 1 to go….

Hip Hip Horray!

and ENJOY today

Carol

@funnycancermom

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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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FRIENDS, FRIENDS, FRIENDS



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

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

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

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

And these are just to name a few.

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

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

Enjoy Today!
Carol

@funnycancermom

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Keeping Up Appearances


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muffin Tops to

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Roller Coasters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy and stay on solid ground!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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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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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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