Posts Tagged ‘Giuliana Rancic’

Curt Schilling, the former World Series Champion Red Sox pitcher just announced to the world that he has cancer. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not because I know Curt personally, but because I know exactly how he felt when he heard those words, “You have cancer.” It was probably the same way my friend Monica’s mom felt when she was diagnosed. And Greg. And Lisa. And Patrick. And Bonnie. And Giuliana. It doesn’t matter if you’re famous, if you’re young, old, a guy or a girl. The world as you know it has ended.

Cancer doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor. You can’t buy your way out of cancer. And the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and I’m sure other hospitals, treat you the same regardless of your bank account. They want to help you beat it, whether your name is in the newspaper or not.  

I hate that anyone has to go through what I did – and some much worse. If I knew Curt, I would tell him the one thing that matters most: It’s all about your attitude. Stay positive, truly believe you will beat it, and (with lots of prayers, support and your dream team of doctors) you will. Be like Monica’s mom who, when she lost all of the hair on her head, simply said she’s happy to be saving money at the hairdresser. Because when it comes down to it, she’s no different from you, Curt. Cancer doesn’t care. But luckily people do.

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I wasn’t going to post about #GivingTuesday. To be honest, I was a little annoyed with all the e-mails that flooded my e-mailbox and solicitations that filled my actual mailbox the last couple days, all begging for my donation. It’s not because I’m a scrooge (although that could be debated) or anti-giving (you KNOW that’s not true), rather because I think giving should be done all year long, not just one day in December. But that’s not what I’m writing to say.

Today one of my friends from high school repeated what I went through just over a year and a half ago: she went to Brigham and Women’s for a double mastectomy because just a few weeks ago, the day before her 40th birthday, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not what you plan for 40. Since that day, I have been trying to help her the best I can, answer all her questions, explain to her the reality of what to expect, fill in the details that no nurse or doctor can tell her.

And my heart breaks for her, and her family. I know she is strong, and not only is she going to beat this, but kick its ass, just like another friend from high school is doing right now, busting her way through radiation. (Yay Bonnie!!!!) It’s because her life is now changed forever, and change is never easy. And because this is a never-ending journey that’s going to have a lot more downs than ups for a little while. And that little while will seem like forever…

But she is very similar to me in many ways. She is an incredibly strong and determined woman. She told me from that first day that she was going to kick this and was already ready to have the double mastectomy. She is naturally positive – which is so great not only for her, but her kids and husband. The more she can remain positive, so will they. And, I think tied with the optimism for most important,  she has an incredibly large and loving support system. They will get her through this. I know I never could have gotten through this without all of you…

And I also don’t believe things would’ve been nearly as easy for me if I’d been anywhere else but Dana-Farber and the Brigham. I’m confident we’ve both been in the best hands there. So that is what is compelling me to write on this Giving Tuesday. Maybe you don’t spread your giving throughout the year. Maybe today is your day. If it is, please consider giving to Dana-Farber and The Jimmy Fund – you can even support them by holiday shopping in their giving catalogue. Or, another great related organization that could really use your support is Bright Pink, which is focused on educating and empowering young women about breast and ovarian cancer.

Honestly, there is no shortage of needy and deserving organizations to give to today, or any day. Put your money where your heart is. Think about what really matters. Happy #GivingTuesday.

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“Doesn’t your body know you’re done? Can’t it just be back to normal?” Tara and I mulled over how wonderful this would be as I laid on the couch following my nap. To just snap my fingers and be normal me again. Week 24 of chemo, week 12 of Taxol: done. Only it’s not the end I hoped for.

I know everyone wants me to be excited and to celebrate but I honestly don’t feel it at all. (Although I loved the congratulations card Tina gave me from my Goddaughters, including the Thanksgiving picture eight-year-old Nadia drew me that said “p.s. One thing I am thankful for is that you don’t have Taxol!”)

My body aches more than ever, the tingling and numbness in my feet and fingers has steadily increased and now I have phlebitis in my right arm. So in addition to starting radiation, I am heading back to physical therapy, too. Doesn’t seem like an end to me. I really wish I could be happy, but I’m not.

I did, though, appreciate how the nurse practitioner put it to me today. She said, “It’s just like you’re in a triathlon. You’ve made it through two huge parts: the surgery and the chemo. Now for the third part: radiation.” I liked the sound of that, but also can’t help thinking that it’s even more than that – then there is the implant surgery, which now won’t be until summer, then the two follow-up procedures to that, which brings us near the end of 2013. Then the five years of tamoxifen. As I said last time, it’s the never-ending saga. I need to just suck it up, accept it and stop whining about it – I’m getting sick of myself! And I will, I just have to get back on my feet and then I will start to feel better.

I think I just keep feeling like every time I take two steps forward, it’s followed by one step back. Like the pain that’s been growing in my arm the last couple weeks today turns out to be phlebitis and so I now need to add PT back into my regimen. At least it’s coinciding with being able to take ibuprofen again, now that the chemo is over! And then I was excited because I signed up for the Jingle Bell Run in mid-December thinking ‘Of course I can be running again a month after chemo!’ I didn’t realize how bad my feet and legs would get – and today the nurse said it probably won’t go away for a month, maybe more. So yet another race I paid for but won’t be able to run. (Note to self: no more signing up for races until I am actually fully back to running!!!)

I know I need to give my body time to rest and heal. I just get so impatient with it and simply want to be normal again. And look half as good as Giuliana Rancic.

Giuliana and Bill were on Katie today, as I was dozing on the couch. My ears perked up as I heard them start to talk about her breast cancer. I knew she had, like me, a double mastectomy. But, even though they said she had an aggressive form of breast cancer, instead of chemo and radiation she opted to go straight to the five years of tamoxifen. I don’t get it: why and how??? That certainly wasn’t presented to me, I thought as I looked at her beaming at me from the TV, looking so beautiful with her long dark hair. (Yes, that is jealousy you sense.) I just don’t get it – how can you go through that major surgery and not do the other things to lessen your chance of recurrence? I know it’s a personal choice, but I guess I never felt like there was really much of a ‘choice’ at all.

Jealousy will get you nowhere – and it’s not like I lost my hair so Giuliana could keep hers. And hey, my hair is starting to grow back – it almost covers my head, so soon I won’t look like a middle-age balding man anymore. The aches, pains, numbness and tingling will go away. I will be able to run again. I will lose all the weight I gained. Yes, radiation will have its own challenges, but they will be less than the chemo. If I made it through 24 weeks of that, I can make it through 25 sessions of this. And then I’ll be that much closer to the finish line… and maybe then I’ll feel like celebrating.

Update, 9 a.m., Nov. 21: It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do! I woke up with a new perspective and felt the need to update this post. As I just posted on Facebook, “Today I am thankful for mornings where you wake up with a new perspective! I feel better – more energized, determined and like my old self. Crappy cancer can’t change me!”

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