Tag Archives: Mom with cancer

Thank You Nannette Stueck


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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The Why Me Factor


Okay, I am an up kind of person…and I usually see the positive in almost every situation.  Today, however, I am taking a different approach…one, which I feel I have earned:  It is the right to the bitch about the small stuff.

A few months ago, I had one of my final surgeries.  While I was under anesthesia, I some how bit down hard on the intubation tube and cracked my front tooth.  “It happens so infrequently”, the anesthesiologist told me, “but it does happen.”  So straight from surgery my friend “SUPER NURSE AMY” drove me straight from surgery to the dentist.  Dr. Lipari was so nice.  He reviewed the mess my mouth was…(this was yet another bit of destruction the radiation from my early bout of cancer had caused…It really has been just the gift that keeps on giving isn’t it?).  Anyway, he was as sweet as he could be…and let me know that I he could fix the tooth, but in all actuality I would probably need an implant.   Yikes I thought, but had really put all that he said on hold…and went on with my day-to-day existence.  That is until yesterday.

I have been on weight watchers for the last 6 weeks, and on Friday I was craving something crunchy.  Trying to be good, I got an apple from the fridge, and took a bit.  The moment I bit in, I knew I had done something wrong.  I knew with this tooth, apples could only be eaten if I cut them into slices.  No direct biting.  Well it was to late.  I felt that I had loosened the tooth.  So I would call him on Monday so that I can go get it re-glued.  I went on with my day, aware that it was loose, but it still was intact.

Anyway Last night we had dinner at Super Nurse Amy’s house.  Amy and I got to enjoy the new H MART grocery store during the day, and then we all met up again for dinner.  Our other friends Elaine and Joe were also with us.  It was a great meal of Crunchy Noodles & Veggies, Panko Crusted Salmon, String Beans and Salad.  YUM (just a little bragging about the food, even though I didn’t cook).  After dinner we all sat around, and I was talking about my tooth being loose and how annoying it was.  Then BAM!  Mid sentence the entire tooth (post and all) fell out of my mouth.  I couldn’t believe it.  It was my front tooth…. so when I smiled you saw, nothing but air…I couldn’t have looked my back woods if I tried.

This morning Amy took me up to Dr. Lipari.  He was so nice.  He actually met me at his office on a Sunday Morning…. How many Dr.’s would do that.  He has put the tooth back in, and re-affirment that an implant is needed….which I will deal with soon.

But after I came home, my friend Meredith asked how I was?  And here is what I have to say to that question. (which I can’t really say but it is how I feel).  Physically I am fine.

Emotionally though, I wish this kind of stuff would stop happening to me.  I know that “this should be the worst that has happened to me” and it definitely isn’t the worst.  But if you put it all together I have had enough of these “I could have been worse” situations.  I don’t wish ill on anyone, but I could use a break from all of this.  A span of “how lucky you are that this has happened to you vs. I am sorry this has happened to you.

I look at the luck my family has had with me getting all these things…I drastically lowers their odds of getting anything.  In a family 1 out of 5 usually gets cancer (between me and my brothers I have covered their odds 2x).

I swear that this filling of being beaten down a little doesn’t last to long.  But I thought you should know that even though I am up/positive 95% of the time.   Even I have my down slides.  And it is perfectly normal.  For you Susie, going through the chemo and having the bad reactions, can make you mad…it is okay and all of those around you have to understand that you are allowed to have moments of anger or depression.  You bounce back….

By the end of me writing this, I already feel better…. but I am okay that I was annoyed for the last 24 hrs.

And I guess that is what is important….It is okay to feel bad, or feel like it isn’t fair, or like you have had enough.  But it is only okay to feel that way for a while…Then realize how lucky you are to be given the gift that you were given….Friends, Family, LIfe, and the time to enjoy them all….

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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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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The Day of Atonement


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

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

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

Enjoy today!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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The 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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Birthday Wishes


Many of you already know that I am turning 50 on September 18th. so I sent out this email to my entire contact list.

Dear Friend,

I am not trying to be pushy, but I really would love you to be a part of a very significant day in my life. On September 18, 2011 I turn 50; and on September 19th I will get my final chemo therapy treatment that will hopefully irradicate any left over signs/cells/remnants of breast cancer that may have still been left in my body after surgery.

The walk is important because it brings together other Survivors, Family members, and/or friends that have been affected by this disease. And as one community, we walk/run together to put an end to it!!!

I know that I have emailed already, but if you are walking with me I need to know as soon as Monday August 29th…for I am having T-shirts made for our team, and that is the deadline. To do that you MUST sign up online through http://www.komennyc.com, and search for the race page for team THE CANCER MADE ME DO IT. Their is a sign up charge and then you start getting donations by emailing it to all of your friends. If you have any questions please feel free to email me and I can walk you through it.

If you can’t make it to the walk, I hope you will support one of your friends that is walking, or support me by going to my race page and donating. I am shamelessly asking you to donate — make it a Birthday gift to me if you must….

Please log on and join or donate as soon as you can. And if you become a team member — start fundraising as soon as you can.

Thank you for all of your help.

I hope to see you on race day!.

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

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

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

The response has been unbelievably heart warming. Even those who can’t make the race have found ways to be a part of my team. My friend Kathy (who owns Katherine Winters Salon) is cutting for the cure. On September 9th she is donating her profits to my team. So if anyone wants a haircut – aside from the fact that she is AWESOME at what she does – she is a woman with a gold heart.

You have heard the expression “it takes a village” I live in a great one. Wow what a great feeling — This is going to be the best birthday ever….And you all helped make it great. I am forever grateful and I thank you all. You are the ones who are awesome and who have inspired me…

With great love and respect for you all!

Carol
@funnycancermom

Enjoy today!

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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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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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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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HALF


Half off is a great sale!

Half baked cookies are awesome, because they are fresh and gooey!

The Better Half — Well that would be me of course!

Half Moon — and awesome view on a clear night!

Half a mind — well yes that describes me now!

Half the time — Finishing anything quicker than it should is usually great!

Half a pound — If I gained it — it is still better than gaining a full pound, and if I lost it I never want it back!

Half and Half — The best of both worlds in coffee, and In England (pronounce olf and olf) an awesome drink — 1/2 Beer and 1/2 Lemonade….Tastes great less filling so to speak!

HalfDozen – So many ways 6 is great. 6 Oysters, 6 pack of abs, 6 one way – Half a dozen the other.

So many ways to spin it, but tomorrow I go for treatment number 4 — which means I am HALF WAY TO THE FINISH LINE!. Half way home, Half way done! The next best thing to being done!

And I am not half hearted about this News — I am overjoyed. And that is not the halfof it!

enjoy today!
Happy July 4th to all!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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Re-Tell Therapy


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

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

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

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

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

Have a great day and ENJOY!

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

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JOY


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

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

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

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

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

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

HAve a great day and enJOY!

Carol
@funnycancermom
or
http://www.riverjournalonline

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SUMMERTIME — HIP HIP HURRAY!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy today!

Carol
@funnycancermom

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

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It’s My Treat! (Ment)


Me and my IV pole - I call him Henry

Today was treatment number 3! Yeah! I am almost halfway done. Wow where does the time go, it was just yesterday I wasn’t even scheduled for Chemo…Good Times! Good Times!..

Seriously though, I don’t think I have walked you through my treatments, and today is as good a day as any. I usually arrive at around 9 a.m. So far my friends Elaine, Meredith, Julie and my Mom have been my companions. I try to warn them before hand that they may see things that aren’t the happiest or easiest to take…But really the worst they have seen so far isn’t the patients, it is the fat hanging over the top of my jeans. And while you may not think that so bad — trust me I am often reduced to tears when seeing my own horror of blubber, so could you imagine how bad it is if it isn’t your own muffin top! Yikes.

I am usually greeted first by my nurse Nancy. She is a beautiful and funny woman. With a smile that really lights up any room. Her red hair and blue eyes make me believe that she has an Irish or Scottish background. The fact that she can sometimes speak with this sweet rhythmic Brogue – could also suggest that. But her humor always puts me immediately at ease. Even though it is her job to put me on a scale every time I am there. After the blood pressure and a few questions my Dr. comes in — Also a Nancy — coincidence…I think Not.

Dr. Nancy is a far more demure person by appearance; which is deceiving, because she too has a great sense of humor. She asks me questions about my last few weeks, does a few blood tests, answers any questions I have, re-states some rules (ones that I know but she so rightly knows I am ignoring), and sends me off for treatment. Like any regular Dr.’s appointment so far.

When I go upstairs to the treatment room, first you walk into a reception area to check in. It gives the nurses time to put in my cocktail order. And no I don’t mean my Cosmo. Though, wouldn’t that take the edge off. They mix up my drugs as I arrive, so everything is fresh. It is like a farmers market for chemicals in a way. Anyway, while we wait we get to watch this tropical fish tank. Filled with 3 fish and a big reef. Goldy – the big puffer fish, was being tortured today by a little blue “Dory” fish, and a Nemo. Meredith, Elaine and decided to speak (and use accents) that depict how we think the fish would sound (of course if they could talk) This activity kept us quite amused for the 10 minutes we waited. I even got a picture of Goldy, the bullied fish, and his attacker.

Goly (the big one) and the Bully

After our wait was over we entered the treatment room. I was lucky to secure the same spot. It is a corner chair with a lovely view of the Hudson River. The room itself, in decoration, temperature, and vibe, is cold. That is definitely something they should work on! Not that it needs to feel like a party room, but it should be a little warmer in feel anyway — more inviting. Cause frankly no one is coming there unless asked to —

After I sit, the nurse brings over my 1st infusion and pills to get me started. In all honesty, putting the IV in and taking it out is the worst part for me. It seems so trivial but it is these two acts that bother me the most. Luckily Henry, my IV pole, is with me every step of the way…even if I have to go to the bathroom. He can be a little smothering at times, never leaves me alone :). After the IV is in it is really a cake walk. I get chilly, but they supply me with heated blankets. I feel every home should be equipped with a blanket warmer — the moment a warm blanket is draped on me, I forget everything for a few moments! And that isn’t the chemo talking.

The first drip is just to hydrate me, and I will say that I feel a little lift from it. After about 1/2 hour they push in 2 different medicines into the IV. First the Methotrexate – which I don’t even notice. The second is Fluorouacil (or 5FU). The F.U. part is appropriate. While they push this into the IV I get the weirdest sensation – pins and needles in my nose, over my eyebrows and on top of my head. Kind of like a Wasabi headache. Then the final drug is a 30 minute drip. This is cyclophosphamide. Also rather inert as far as side affects go. Then the hydration continues for 30 more minutes and I am good to go.

I definitely get a little tired for a few hours, but the steroids that I took, when I first get in the chair, begin to kick in. They won’t wear off for a few days so I will skate along until then. I am presently packing my kids for sleep away camp, and that is way more torture than the Chemo. The packing that is, not the sending them to camp. The bags leave Saturday, so I need to get a move on. Frankly the steroids have me hyper enough that I may work through the night.

Timing is everything! And with only 5 times left to go, who knows what I can accomplish next time!

Talk to you soon

Carol
@funnycancermom

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I’ll Connect You Now!


I am definitely a tad more introspective these days. I believe it is a common occurrence during an illness. During quiet moments, I often sit and reflect on moments throughout my life. Moments that have had significance: Friends who have come and gone, friends that have left an impression, and those that still do. Family times of great joy and deep sadness, and the times I spend with my husband and children, moments of great joy, laughter and love. All of these moments are the connections that energize the fuse that keeps me moving forward every day.

Connections are key in today’s world. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” is the phrase that comes to mind. And isn’t that the truth (except of course for Kevin Bacon, because for some reason everyone seems to be connected to him – you know Six Degrees and all). I look at my life, and those close to me really are connected to me in many ways. Here’s a few examples.

* A very close friend is 4 years younger than I am. She and I went to the same camp, Her Grandmother and my aunt lived in the same apartment building, and over the years we have found several other common friends and acquaintances. We were connected even before we met.

* Another close friend was brought up on the same block as my husband. She was in the same grade as his younger brother. Her husband and I are born on the same day at the same hospital (1 hour apart). Her Sister used to live on the same floor as my Aunt. And her sister-in-law’s 1st cousin is married to my second cousin. Totally Connected – by birth almost.

Connections happen for a reason. I have had friends come and go in life, and some I don’t give a second thought to, but some you feel the lose when the connection is broken. For example, I was 11 when my parents moved us from Riverdale to Westchester. It was a hard move for me. As a youngster, I wore big coke bottle glasses, I was tall, awkward, and not the greatest of students. I moved to a small school filled with pretty little girls and boys who weren’t the easiest to get to know. FRankly, this was as much because of my awkwardness, as it was due to their snobbery. Anyway after living there a year, a family bought the property next to us, built a home and moved in. Their were three children. Two girls (one a year older than me and one my age) and a boy. I was thrilled. The two girls and I become friends – all through jr. high and high school. We where never best friends, but there was a connection between us. We spent a lot of time at each others houses, and we were comfortable with each other’s parents and siblings ( a lot to say for my brother’s). All of this made our friendship an easy one to keep. I was friendly with both, but I probably had more in common with the older sister. It is the kind of friendship that was routed and real…you know, the kind that if you go several (20 years) with out speaking, you can pick up right were you left off.

And I realized that yesterday. The older sister and I worked in the same industry. She was always at a much higher level than I was. She was a children’s Talent Agent for film, television, broadway, and commercials. I worked with adults and only in commercials. After a short time at another agency, Beth helped get me a job at the company she was at. (connections!) Soon we worked together, we were roommates, and we shared a lot of the same friends. In this respect we may have been a little over connected. Beth and I are both strong personalities, so I am sure I probably said something stupid, or I interpreted something wrong. and as quickly as a fuse blows, the connection was lost.

That is until about 3 or 4 years ago. It was after hearing that their dad was ill. Hearing the news brought a flood of memories back to me. I immediately reached out to the family. LIke nothing every happened, they responded and a connection was once again established. We are not in constant contact, but any time any of us has reached out to the other, the other has always responded.

Yesterday, I had the chance to met her sister for breakfast. It was lovely to see her, and just catch up. She and her sister have grown up to be women I am glad to be connected to. They are independent, intelligent, beautiful and grounded. And of course I was intune enough as a child to see that with in them. With out them knowing, they made my life easier in my youth, fun as a young adult, and happy to know them again as I reach 50 (and beyond).

So with regards to the premise that “it’s not what you know, so much as who you know.” I say “What I know, is that Who I know – and always want to know -are people I share a connection with!”

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