Archive for August, 2013

The other night I was at a family party, laughing and eating and chatting away with everyone, when another guest arrived. She walked slowly, tentatively as if it hurt to move. She wore a heavy coat even though it’s August because she gets chilled so easily. And her face was pale, with sunken eyes. I heard one of her relatives whispering about her having just taken a Compazine to try to calm the nausea. 

A feeling of nausea suddenly rushed over me – it brought me right back to one year ago. Getting poked repeatedly to try to find a decent vein for the IV before we gave up and had the port put in. Feeling sick on the way to the hospital just because I knew what was coming. Sitting in the big comfy infusion chair, wrapped in heated blankets. Trying to smile and laugh as my family and friends tried to distract me and keep my spirits up, as the poison rushed through my veins. Feeling loopy on the ride home – and then sick for days.

I am so lucky. That was a short period in time for me – and every day it gets buried further in my past and becomes a smaller percentage of my overall life. This woman – as so many others – is not so lucky. It’s too late, they explained to me after she left. They’ve done all they can but it’s spread so much there’s nothing else they can do, except try to keep her comfortable. My heart ached for her and her family. And my mind raced, repeatedly thanking God for letting me find that lump when I did, and for being able to stop the cancer in its tracks.

I am scared all the time. I, like many survivors I know, see Tamoxifen as my wonder drug. As long as I’m on it, it will ward off the recurrence. I should be safe. But what then? There is no telling. A lot can happen in a few years – particularly in research and development. Maybe by then they will be able to not only detect earlier, but prevent – and cure. So I have hope.

It all takes money, though. This is why I’m doing the Jimmy Fund Boston Marathon Walk on Sunday, September 8. I want to do everything I can to stop this monster of a disease. Please join our team – Team Inspire Boston – and walk with us, or sponsor me. You can walk 3 miles, 5 miles, 13.1 miles or the full marathon: 26.2 miles. No matter what you decide – to walk or sponsor us (and no amount is too small – every cent counts!) – you will be helping to kick cancer and helping people like me (and maybe you) live a longer, happier life. Thank you.

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Wandering the North End tonight, we discovered that a Pinkberry – my favorite yogurt place – just opened on Hanover St., diagonal from Mike’s Pastry. Not being able to resist, we joined the line.

When it was my turn, I asked to try cherry, since it’s one flavor I haven’t sampled. As I tasted it, the girl behind the counter kept looking and smiling at me. ‘I just love your curls,’ she finally said. That, of course, caused a huge stupid grin to appear on my face. ‘Thank you so much!’ I exclaimed.

My perma-grin lasted as we got our treats and headed out the door. I turned to Chris and asked, ‘Do you think she knows I had cancer? That she knows I was bald and this is new hair and she’s just being nice?’

‘No,’ he assured me. ‘How could she tell? She just likes your hair. It’s beautiful. No one can tell.’

And that just made my night. Maybe my week. So the next time you see a stranger – or someone you know, doesn’t matter – and you like their hair or their shoes or their dog or their super polite children, tell them. Smile and say it. I bet you’ll make their day.


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