Tag Archives: breast cancer awareness

CONSUMPTION


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ENJOY

Carol

@funnycancermom

 

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Stop writing and talk to me


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

Blog Mission and Vision

Enjoy today!

Carol

Funnycancermom

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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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That’s Life!


I can’t tell you how happy I am that 2011 is over. I was ready to start fresh. Of course a new year can present with a whole new set of issues…but nothing we can’t handle…

I made some resolutions, like everyone; and I hope to be able to stick with some of them…I want to lose weight, and get in shape, and get a job, clean out my garage, get organized, and I want to enjoy myself, and just continue to be happy and healthy. These are my resolutions — not unusual..I will make an effort to achieve each and every one of them….but I don’t think I will beat myself up if I don’t…Okay maybe I will but That’s Life — and isn’t it grand!

My daughter came home from school yesterday, she has the stomach flu! It really put a crink in my plans for the week. I had a Doctor’s appointment, and a million errands I had to take care of, I wanted to work out, but nothin’ is more important than taking care of her. She is ‘sick’, but it’s the good kind of sick. Sick that goes away in a day or two…and That’s life. And isn’t it grand!

A week ago, I was cooking and I went to grab a dish out of my cabinets. It was on the top shelf of a cupboard by my stove. I grabbed it, but unfortunately didn’t have a good hold on it and it plummeted to the counter — actually on the cooktop stove to be exact. And ‘poof’ cracked 1/2 the stovetop. I beat myself up for a day, because I really was so annoyed with myself…but after a day or two I realized…things could be (and have been) worse, so I refocussed on how to get the problem fixed, and again I realized That’s life! And isn’t it grand!

Tomorrow my dear friend comes in to town for the weekend. Along with her is her daughter (who is my daughters best friend.) They don’t get to see each other often…2 times a year at best — Though FaceTime certainly makes that easier to deal with! We have family plans all weekend, but I have made sure they will at least spend as much time together as they can. Because plans’ don’t always work out..That’s Life, and yes, isn’t it grand!

Life is filled with ups and downs. We get what we want, sometimes, and sometimes we are left empty-handed. We achieve our goals and strive to fulfill our resolutions, and unfortunately, we are not always successful. We dream big and want the best; and along with those hopes we can be disappointed. But take it from me, That’s life, and yes it is grand!

Here is to a Grand New Year!

Enjoy Today!
Carol

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Thanks for the Memories!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott and I

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

ENJOY AND BE THANKFUL

CAROL

@funnycancermom

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A River in Egypt!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the day!

Carol

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Defense Strategies


I know that I have not written in a week or two. I admit that I am a little defensive about it as well. I have grown to love writing. Which is somewhat of a shock — and any of you that know me from high school will agree. See I was not the student (actually I was a student with Dyslexia), and anything to do with Reading and Writing usually sent me into a seemingly never-ending state of frustration and misery. Honestly, I don’t really think I learned how to read and write until 6th grade. But what I lacked in reading and writing ability — I certainly made up or with my ability to emote.

As my twins have become tweens, I am reminded (constantly) that all teenagers and young adults are passionate about their beliefs and feelings. And that these beliefs stated about everything and anything: From how much one hates vegatables to how much she loves the male lead in the new movie “FOOTLOOSE.” As with my childhood, if they are was happy they exude was a kind of euphoria, and if they are sad they would sob about how it is the worst day ever. As a child with a disability, I gave my emotions everything (as do my kids). It was my release or my way of telling everyone how I was doing. After years of tutors, and just trying to catch up, I think I finally did. And now, as you all read, I use my words to emote; well not totally true, my kids say I am still a yeller at times – but that is just motherhood I think. Who wouldn’t yell when the kids decide to take their new clothes roll and crumple them into a ball. Then shove them in their closets because “it saves room and I can fit more stuff in there…like my football and basketball!…REALLY! OOPS, sorry their I go emoting again.

Back to my original point, family and friends have asked “why are you not writing anymore”….and I am still writing – it was just a 1 1/2 week hiatus. In that time I was asked to broaden my scope a little, and write an article for a local paper. I know I sound a little defensive about my writing, and that is because I am. I am not sure how you will all feel about it now, that I am “cancer free”. Up until know I have been able to relate everything back to my experience with cancer and chemo. Which I still want to do; but I also want to talk about other things now. Frankly, some of these things are brought on by the fact that I am a 2x cancer survivor – but some of these things are just part of everyday normal life. And my quandry relates to the fact that the blog is titled “The Cancer Made Me Do It” and that I am the @Funnycancermom. So can I talk about anything I want to? Can I be just a funny mom who had cancer- twice? Well we will see, cause the blog will go on!

If you still continue to like it it is because I am good at expressing myself…but if you don’t just remember….THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT!

ENJOY TODAY!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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Ahead of the Curve


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

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

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

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

Enjoy today

Carol
@funnycancermom

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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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How Do I Feel?


It is a seemingly mundane question for most — but not for me! For the last 6 months I would have a different answer for you every day of the week. But all related to my chemo therapy treatment. Today that is a different story, yet I still have so many different answers to that question.

As part of my regular “chemo” cycle, today is not a good day. I am tired and my mind is somewhat scattered. I just feel Blah. My energy is not high, and I don’t really feel like myself. It is not different than any other Wednesday after chemo though — and that is oddly comforting.

But at the same time, I am elated. I work under the assumption that I will never have to go through this again, and this is the last cycle of Blah that I will have to endure. So I have been whispering this notion to myself all day. I hear myself repeating “This is it, I am almost done; This is the last two days of this yuckiness” And that brings a smile to my face. And a lightness to my shoulders — which had begun to weigh heavy lately.

I also feel appreciative and appreciated for/by all those who have kept me going these last months. But honestly I also feel overwhelmed. I feel I need to tell everyone how thankful I am for what they have done for me…Yet I don’t know the appropriate way to do that. I want to make sure that you (and everyone) knows how deeply grateful I am.

But mostly I feel happy. Just to know that I am done and I can move on to the next chapter in my life. I want to get back to living with out skiddishness, to having a day with out worrying about what the next day will bring, and I am excited for spending many consecutive days unconcerned that my future is not full. Because while I never let on that these thoughts were in my head — They were…but today I finally feel like I can let those thoughts go — and hopefully I will never have to think of them again.

So the answer to the question is

TODAY I FEEL LIKE my life is coming back…FINALLY!

ENJOY TODAY

Carol

@funnycancermom

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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

From Start to Finish!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Cancer — BEAT THAT!!!!

Enjoy Every Day and especially Today!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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The Premier Event


Yesterday was a day of great events. All were successful (both as a fundraising effort and a as a a “personal appearance”). During the day my friend Kathy had a day devoted to The race for the Cure. Her version was “A cut for the cure.”. She cut hair, and put pink feathers in kids hair, and every $ that came in that day went directly to charity. Awesome idea. I was so thankful for her creating a way to help me in my fund raising efforts for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Honestly, my husband and I thought she would raise about $1,000….Well how about she more than doubled that! AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME! She is a special lady and it was a really special day. At the end of the day she new I had someplace to be and she suggested that I wear my wig. I hadn’t done that yet…and frankly I was a little scared. I really didn’t kno how people would react (or if it really looked okay).

I always wanted to go to a movie premier where you walk the Red Carpet…and everyone is telling you “great you look”. It has always been one of my fantasies. Well last night I got the smallest, most miniscule taste of it and it was quite scrumptious.

Deep down I was happy to wear the wig. Frankly, I have become a little sick of wearing a baseball cap all the time. I look in the mirror and see the cap and it just screams back ‘YOUR BALD’. And though I am not done with treatments yet (8 days and counting)…my psyche is done! It reminds me of my last few weeks of pregnancy. By that time I was so ready to get these kids out of me, that I would actually hope for an early labor. I was cooked, backed, D…O…N…E…Done! Well the baseball cap phase is giving me that same feeling. I think that I will never wear a hat again after this (well I hope I won’t).

But anyway, last night was the “The Wig” premier — and no that is not a movie. So I arrived at my friends with my wig and my “Madonna” sunglasses. (She and I actually have the same exact pair). And,boy did my friends make me feel like a celebrity. Friends are great that way. Here I was, at this wonderful party my friend threw (it was her husband’s 45th birthday) and I felt like a star entering a room. The guests were all having fun, the food was great, the atmosphere was festive…I really couldn’t ask for a better place to “present the wig”.

Many didn’t know it was a wig at first (or didn’t let on). But my close friends knew — and what I saw in their faces was a true sense that the wig “fit” me well. By that I don’t just mean it fit my skull. It really fit my personality, my sense of style, and it was a compliment to me “upbeat” demeanor. I was really happy. Even though I left the party early – from sheer exhaustion, it was a really exhilarating night. One I will remember for awhile!

From Beginning to end yesterday was amazing…and to all I thank you…

As I said earlier…8 days and counting!!!!

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A Gift With A Purpose!


This week I was introduced to a gentleman who represents a product with a “purpose”. It is a rare and unique concept – and done exquisitely…I might add. My husband, Scott has been an unbelievable advocate during my illness – and as an advocate to find sponsors for my Race for the Cure Walk Team. He has introduced me to Indy, the representative for Curvature Wines…and hearing the message behind this company has left me speechless…But my fingers still work, so I would like to tell you all about it. People that do good things and expect nothing in return deserve accolades greater than my blog, but it is a start!!!

Curvature Wine is a product of two kindred spirits meeting. Suzanne Pride Bryan, of the Pride family Vineyards in Sonoma County, and Cristie Kerr, Pro Golfer extraordinaire; as well as a lover of fine food and wine. Both women have lost family to cancer (Cristie losing an Aunt to Breast Cancer – and, luckily, her Mom has survived her bout with Breast Cancer). Together they have came up with a way to honor life while simultaneously helping to eliminate a disease that can indiscriminately take life away. Curvature Wines: They are exceptional my husband says. As one of NY’s “wine” guru’s he boasts about all the positive’s of this brand.

For me it is the purpose of the company that I so admire. One Hundred percent of profits is donated back to Breast Cancer Research and Breast Cancer Charities. How awesome is that to create such a high quality product and use the profit’s to find a cure for Breast Cancer. AWESOME. Honestly, it is like CHANEL or GUCCI creating a small line and giving 100% of the profits to charity.

I admit (full disclosure time) Scott’s store is the only store in the Tri-State area to carry it – but I am not talking about this to promote his store. I am talking about how awesome Cristie and Her Mom, Linda, and Suzanne are, and I don’t even know them. When Scott told Indy about me he (and Curvature Wines) jumped right on board to help me out, and to help me reach my fund-raising goal for the walk. Just so you know, between online and cash donations we are almost at $10,500.

Cristie’s philanthropic ventures are well known. Her Birdie’s for Breast Cancer organization has raised over $1.25 million. This money has gone to open the Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Clinic in Jersey City – 1t is the only comprehensive breast care facility in Hudson County to cater to “uninsured” women and men. To date they have helped over 1,600 patients. I hope to begin volunteering there when I finish treatments, and also give back. Another lesson of this Wine venture….giving back is curative and tasty!!

Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you to Cristie for her desire to give back!!!

Enjoy today
Carol
@funnycancermom

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The Flip Side


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

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

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

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

Today is 7 down 1 to go….

Hip Hip Horray!

and ENJOY today

Carol

@funnycancermom

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The Silver Lining


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

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

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

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

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

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

ENJOY TODAY!

Carol

@funnycancermom

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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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