Nope, not those tattoos yet – they come a few months after the implant surgery, which is now (finally!) scheduled for Wednesday, December 11. But Dr. H gave me clearance to get my first real tattoo (I’m not counting the six radiation tattoo dots), so long as it’s at least a month before the surgery. So on October 19, at the Nashua Harley-Davidson Fashion Show and Live Auction Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Benefit, I will get my first tattoo! (See? I told you it will be a fun event! You should come and witness it!)
So now I have less than a month to make the final decision: where??? Last weekend I went and bought little pink ribbon temporary tattoos to try them out. I think I’ve narrowed it down to my ankle – although initially I said I didn’t want it anywhere that others could see it, unless I wanted them to – or the upper left corner of my chest, like just under where a tank top or bra strap starts. Decisions, decisions! I guess I will experiment and see what makes me happy…
Posted in Cancer, chemotherapy, Decisions, Fundraising, recovery | Tagged breast cancer, cancer, decisions, mastectomy, reality, reconstruction, tattoo | 3 Comments »
This morning I ran the Susan G. Komen MA Race for the Cure along the very foggy South Boston waterfront, at much too early in the morning for a Sunday. Maybe it was the overcast weather, maybe it was the early morning (you know I’m not a morning person), maybe it was the fact that I was there alone, but the day definitely got to me.
I love the breast cancer events – there are always interesting, strong, inspiring women, a shared mission, electric energy, and a lot of pink. So I thought I’d be ok, going alone. I just figured I’d run instead of walk, since I always prefer to run alone, at my own pace. But there was all the build up before: the survivor parade, pictures and dancing warm up. And it seemed everyone had someone there – family member, friend, significant other. I seemed to be the lone loner – although that’s probably not true. Survivor sisters that we are, women around me soon adopted me. “How many years,” one woman asked. “Oh she’s a newbie,” chimed in another, “just look at her new hair! Love the curls!”
Soon I was on my own again as all went back to their loved ones. The bell went off, I put my standard starting song (Fastest Girl in Town by Miranda Lambert, of course) on my iPod and off I went. I tried to focus on the music, but more watched the interesting mixture of survivors and supporters. The little boy with pink knee socks running with his mom, the big teams in their matching uniforms, the moms running while pushing strollers. And then I heard my name and a friendly face! Pat, one of the first people to share his cancer experience with me and to help me see that a positive attitude can beat cancer any day, was walking on the other side of the road. We exchanged waves and big smiles in the seconds that our path’s crossed, and then he was gone. And all of the sudden the tears started flowing and I couldn’t catch my breath. Breathing while running is actually my biggest challenge, so the crying definitely didn’t help. Seeing Pat was such a high point – but then the reality set in. Yes, you can be completely alone in a sea of people. Even friendly, happy, supportive people.
So I guess the lesson I learned is that I just shouldn’t go to these things alone. I go to breakfast alone, the movies alone, shopping alone, but not this. Some things you just need your own team for – even if it’s a team of one friend! Luckily, there are others joining me for all the rest of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month events – and hopefully even more of you will join in. You know my motto: the more the merrier! So check out the dates and events on the right and let me know if you can join us for any – the Nashua Harley benefit is a great night out, and so worth the drive!
Oh – and I should mention that even with the crying bout, I ran my new personal 5k record: 37:10, 11:58 pace. Slow, I know, but fast for me, as I’m typically a 13 minute mile. I think it was all the positive energy surrounding me, and wanting to finish strong, since the bright pink shirt I was wearing said “survivor.”
Posted in Alone, Boston, Cancer, Fundraising, hair, lymphedema, recovery | Tagged bald, Boston, breast cancer, cancer, chemo, Dana-Farber, doctors, hair, help, lymph nodes, lymphedema, mastectomy, reality, recovery, running | 4 Comments »
Sometimes I forget. It’s actually getting so that I think about cancer less and less. By this I mean it only pops in my mind a few times a day rather than every few minutes, but still. It’s progress. But in the last week or so there have been more and more reminders:
- Before the walk and trip, I had an appointment with Dr. H. Luckily, my tissues have relaxed and we are finally able to schedule the implant surgery! It’s looking like December. I am so looking forward to not being rock hard and feeling like a freak any more…
- A dear friend of mine, who has been so supportive and encouraging through my journey, had a double mastectomy. Rest up and feel better, Jillian!
- And multiple friends had family members or friends die of cancer. Every day I am so thankful mine was caught so early, and that there are treatments for my type. I know I am so blessed…
And it’s because I am so thankful that I want to do all I can to support others in their cancer journey. While most of the time I’d like to erase it from my mind and pretend it never happened, any time retelling my experience or even just supporting things like walks, can help someone else, count me in! And the month of pink is quickly approaching – in fact, events are starting this month:
- This Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m. is the Bright Pink Experiential Outreach – Enjoy light bites at Joe’s American Bar and Grill, Newbury St., Boston, while connecting with other Bright Pink women in your community to discuss mutual experiences. This event is open specifically to high-risk individuals. If you have any questions or to RSVP contact Community@BeBrightPink.org.
- Sunday, Sept. 29, 9 a.m. is Komen Race for the Cure 5k Walk/Run in South Boston. It is so much fun – so much pink! :) I’m excited not to be bald for the walk this year! Oh – and for a couple more days there is a half off deal for registration on Living Social.
- Sunday Sept. 29, Nashua, NH, Harley-Davidson Second Annual Save Second Base Ride for Breast Cancer. No, I’m not riding in this but encourage anyone with a bike to do it! Info: http://www.nashuahd.com
- Thursday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m., Revere Hotel, Boston: Runway for Recovery, a fashion show, silent auction and raffle to benefit families who have lost mothers to breast cancer. I’ll be volunteering with some friends from Genzyme, but you should attend and enjoy the evening!
- Sunday, Oct. 6, 8 a.m., Hatch Shell, Boston: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk I’m really looking forward to doing this walk for the first time – the American Cancer Society helps so many people every day, and certainly helped make my experience better…
- Sunday, Oct. 6, 11 a.m., Worcester Run Like an Antelope: The 2nd Annual Memorial 5K and 1-Mile Fun Walk in Memory of Megan Proceeds go to Metastatic Breast Cancer Research conducted at UMASS Medical School. I am hoping to make it over to this after the walk, if at all possible!
- Sunday, October 13, 10:15 a.m., Providence, RI – Gloria Gemma Foundation Pink Pump Palooza, 5K Run/Walk and 10K Run – join Alicia and me on the Pink Pumps for a Cure Team or sponsor us! And hey, it starts and ends at Providence Place, so you can get some good shopping in after…
- Friday, Oct. 18, 8 a.m., Lucca Boston: Breast Cancer in Young Women Forum for Patients and Survivors (A great day, no matter where you are in your cancer journey – and I will be speaking on the patient panel! And Dr. H will be talking at this event, too, so if you need a fabulous reconstruction surgeon…)
- Saturday, Oct. 19, 4 p.m. Nashua Harley-Davidson Fashion Show and Live Auction – this is organized and run by my friend Robin and it’s one of my FAVORITE events of the year – so much fun! Fun Harley-Davidson Pink Fashion Show, live auction, huge raffle, great BBQ – and I think I’ll even be getting my first tattoo (a survivors ribbon) at the event. Who wouldn’t want to go witness that? LOL!
I’ll try to keep the event list on the right as up-to-date as possible, but never hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions. Hope you can join us for some (or all) of these great events. Hey, if we have to be in the world of cancer, at least we can be there together, support each other, learn from each other, make each other laugh and smile - and wear pink!
Posted in Boston, Cancer, connections, family, Fundraising, hair, recovery, work | Tagged bald, Boston, breast cancer, cancer, Dana-Farber, doctors, hair, lymph nodes, lymphedema, mastectomy, reconstruction, research, running, side effects | Leave a Comment »
I’ve been so bad – totally procrastinating about updating this blog. I hate it when I do that. So much builds up, and then it weighs on me, and I know I’ll forget something… oh well! Deep breath and here are the high (and low) points:
- THANK YOU, thank you, thank you to EVERYONE who donated to our Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk! Whether you donated $10 or $150, every single cent helps in the fight against cancer! Together, Heather, Tara, Amanda, Calley and Mia-Claire raised more than $3,400!!! I’m so proud of us – especially the little girls for joining us and being so fabulous and not only walking the 13.1 miles, but even throwing some cartwheels in along the way! And it’s not too late to sponsor our team – please help the girls get to their $100 minimum by sponsoring them here: Team Inspire Boston. Thank you!!!
- As soon as the walk was done, Tara and I ran (well, not literally – we took the T…) back to my house, I showered, changed and she drove me to my cousin’s wedding. It was so fabulous seeing some of my family who I haven’t seen in so long, but couldn’t help crying as I left because my time with them was too short – but I had to catch a plane…
- Tara and Ella were the best chauffeurs and cheered me up en route to Logan. The flight was ok (I fell asleep praying as we went through major turbulence, but hey, we landed, so all was good) and my arm faired pretty well. (Damn lymphedema.) I put my compression sleeve on while waiting to board the plane and I could tell by the look in the eyes of the woman sitting across from me that she knew exactly what it was for. She looked so kind and sympathetic, I both appreciated it and wanted to scream. I hate feeling like the girl who had cancer!!! Anyway, after all the walking and the flights there and back, there’s not really much noticeable swelling, and only a little pain, mainly in my hand. I have to get back to doing the massages every day, but I haven’t even been doing that. At least I’ve been wearing the sleeve when running. That’s something, right?
- Paris: it was a whirlwind work week. I was disappointed by how dark it was in the mornings, so my visions of waking every morning and running along the Seine quickly vanished out the window. I did get one good, five-mile run/walk in on the last day before my flight. It was great, even if the weather wasn’t that wonderful. The conference was really great, though – especially meeting Sanofi communications people from all over the world and hearing about all the great progress we’re making in the healthcare industry. I’m so proud to work for Genzyme, a company that truly cares about making a difference in people’s lives.
Didn’t I write something a little while ago about slowing down??? Hmmm… don’t think that’s happening any time soon…
Posted in Boston, Cancer, connections, Fundraising, hair, lymphedema, recovery, work | Tagged bald, Boston, breast cancer, Dana-Farber, hair, lymph nodes, lymphedema, mastectomy, side effects, The Jimmy Fund, work | Leave a Comment »
Yesterday I did a training speedwalk to get an idea of how I’ll feel next Sunday at the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. I’m planning to do the half marathon – 13.1 miles – so I did as long of a walk as I had time for. It ended up being 8.5 miles, at about a 16 minute pace. And overall, combined with the rest of the day, I did about 12 miles. And… today I felt good! No arm swelling or pain, and I’m not all achy – both great things. So I’d say I’m ready!
Heather announced that despite her back issues she is determined to do the full 26.2. The second I heard that I jumped back to wanting to do the same. But friends convinced me that’s stupid, I need to think about Paris and really can’t risk it. So, still begrudgingly, I won’t. But I will next year!!! And I can’t wait for Tara and I to join Heather and Amanda – and hopefully others who want to join us on Team Inspire Boston (I mean you! Yes, you!).
So just one week to go – so please let us know if you’ll join us, or if not, please support us by donating and help us kick cancer once and for all!!! Every cent counts… thank you, thank you, thank you!
Posted in Boston, Cancer, Decisions, Fundraising, lymphedema, recovery | Tagged Boston, breast cancer, cancer, Dana-Farber, lymphedema, The Jimmy Fund | Leave a Comment »
I am frustrated. (Hmmm… I don’t think this is the first time I’ve started a blog entry with those words!) Ever since March 2012 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my dear friend Heather said “We are doing the Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk in your honor!” I’ve wanted to walk the full 26.2 miles. Last year I was still going through chemo, and hadn’t even begun radiation, so was only able to do the last five miles with the team. I said this was going to be my year!
Now it’s looking like it’s not. No worries, it’s not severe health related or anything truly bad like that, it’s just about listening and being smart. You see (maybe you should sit down, this is such a shock coming from me), I have a lot planned on September 8.
- First there is the Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk. I intended to walk the full 26.2 miles, beginning at 6:30 in the morning and guesstimating being done about 2 p.m.
- Then it’s my cousin Rick’s wedding late that afternoon in Wrentham…
- And as if that isn’t enough for one day, I need to then get to Logan for a 10:30 p.m. flight to Paris. (Yes, Paris – for work.)
At first it was like “great – you’ll be so tired, you’ll conk right out and sleep the whole plane ride!” Ah, but I can’t! We can’t forget the delightful lymphedema in my right arm! I was told that I will need to be up exercising it and walking around every hour of the flight – oh, because of the fear of blood clots, too, because of the tamoxifen. And this is also if my arm isn’t already swollen from the intense walk…
So my close friends and family have all chimed in. And there has not been one person who is in favor of my doing the whole 26.2. In fact, some have quite vehemently told me I will NOT be doing the full walk. (Note: when told I absolutely cannot do something, that usually makes me want to do it even more.) Arrrggghhhhh!!! Why does it all have to be on the same day???
But none of those dates and times are in my control. What is in my control is my body. And how much I put it through that day (and every other). Sometimes I forget I’m not superwoman. That I have limitations. (I know, this blog is full of shockers tonight, huh?) I honestly don’t want to be in pain or have an abnormally huge right arm for my Paris trip. I want to actually be in the work meetings I will be there for, not in a Paris hospital, simply because I was stubborn and insisted on doing it all.
So that’s that. I will only walk the half marathon: 13.1 miles. I’m trying to get over the feeling of letting people down by not walking the whole thing. I feel like I’m letting everyone down (not really sure who everyone is, but just everyone). The Jimmy Fund. Dana-Farber. Everyone who is donating to my walk. Myself. I know in my head that it’s not true; no one else feels that I’m letting them down. I will keep reminding myself that. And I will remember that, thanks to Dana-Farber and all the awesome doctors, researchers, nurses and everyone there, I am here and able to walk and raise money to help kick cancer!
And thank you to everyone who has sponsored me and my team – Team Inspire Boston – so far. I’m one-third of the way to my personal goal, and a quarter of the way to our team goal, all thanks to YOU! If you haven’t yet donated, please visit my personal donation page – even a few dollars – every cent counts and helps us conquer this horrid disease! Or even better: join us for the walk! Any distance is welcome! Go to Team Inspire Boston to sign up and enter code JF2013 for $5 off the registration fee. We’d so love to have you cross the finish line with us!
Oh, and speaking of Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund – it’s the annual telethon, which Nick and I were part of this year… and I guess in a way this year, too. I just saw this pop up in my Facebook Newsfeed from The Jimmy Fund:
Crazy to think that I looked like that one year ago. Boy, am I happy to have hair again! But if (literally) baring my head helped inspire someone to donate and help #KCancer, it was worth it!!!
Posted in Boston, Cancer, chemotherapy, Decisions, Denial, Fundraising, hair, lymphedema, Planning, radiation, recovery, work | Tagged bald, Boston, breast cancer, cancer, chemo, Dana-Farber, decisions, diagnosis, doctors, family, hair, lymph nodes, lymphedema, mastectomy, reality, research, side effects, study, tamoxifen, The Jimmy Fund, work | 4 Comments »
Nick told me that I am the most tense/stressed person he’s ever met. He’ll often come up behind me and knead my shoulder for a second and then just shake his head. So I made an attempt to de-stress a bit by taking a couple of days off last week, scheduling a massage and going to a couple of concerts with friends.
Well, I can’t say I really succeeded in completely de-stressing, as I worked through one of my days off (although it was nice doing it from the comfort of my home…), and while the massage was nice, I really didn’t feel very different (other than wanting a nap) after. But I did have a great realization while at the massage parlor. They had me fill out a bunch of forms, asking about all sorts of health-related issues, and when I got to the line that said “Numbness/tingling?” I froze. Oh my gosh. No. Really? I wiggled my toes. I touched each of my fingers to my thumbs. And then did it all over again. It’s gone!!!! I have complete feeling back in my fingers and toes!!!! I am so thankful to have another chemo side effect gone! That realization alone was worth the cost of the massage.
I did really relax at the concerts: Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, the Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves, on both Friday and Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. What’s better than tailgating, singing (screaming) and dancing with thousands of your closest friends? Incredible shows – the last two of the tour – and great company!
So while I’m probably still the most tense person Nick knows, at least I am one more step further away from the chemo cancer world…
Posted in Boston, Cancer, chemotherapy, recovery, work | Tagged Boston, breast cancer, cancer, chemo, Country Music, recovery, side effects, work | 4 Comments »