Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Some really important people

This holiday season some of my favorite gifts have been people. These people are not my family but really good friends!

Father Caruso- our pastor. What a great man. I couldn't have asked for a better pastor. He has anointed me before each of my surgeries and offered up mass for me as well as asked his mother to pray for me. He is also responsible for leading me closer to St. Theresa. I called him one day when I was having difficulty believing my scriptures and he talked with me and told me about St. Theresa and her scruples. When I was sick he gave us his cell phone and offered a set of keys to the church so Rob could go and pray in church during my surgeries.

This Christmas we were invited to an Open House at the rectory (where Father lives) and it was wonderful. Father had 22 trees in his house all decorated with a different theme. He also had a ton of food there; a lot of which he mad himself. I do love my parish and when the time comes for Father to move on to another parish I will be fine because he has taught me a lot.

My best friend Leann! Leann has been writing to me ever since she left for college. Leann always knows the perfect times to send the perfect card and gift. Right before Christmas I received the cutest card and this gift:

Leann is the best friend anyone could ever had. She has been there through some of my worse times and best times. She may have not been there in person, but she spoke to many of times on the phone and got me through.

When I was younger I LOVED Cindy Lauper! Leann said Cindy Lauper reminds her of me and that makes my heart skip a beat. I haven't listened to Cindy in a long time and it couldn't come at a better time because when I listen to this CD I remember the person I used to be way before Lucas was even a thought. Gee I loved life so much and felt like I could and be anything. Listening to this CD makes me love life even more and feel like I could do anything. As I got older I lost that stuff somewhere between leaving high school and turning 40. Ok I think I've almost always loved life as much as I could, but now I love it even more! LOL

Maricel- she is a young lady I shared a room with at Sloan when I had my mastectomy. A couple of weeks ago when I was getting an expansion she happened to be at the Lauder Breast Center getting her 2nd chemo treatment. After my appointment Rob and I darted over there and I was able to sit with her a bit in her chemo suite and we exchanged Christmas presents. I bought Maricel a green hat and gloves with the index and thumb fingers cut out. Why were they cut out???? Think about she can wear her gloves and still use her cell! I thought they were really cool.
Maricel gave this:

It's been great keeping in touch with Maricel. That first night after surgery was hard and painful, but she had a much bigger surgery than me....I guess you can say she went with the hybrid surgery. I went the easy way for now....until I need to change out my implant. Can't even go there at this point. Maricel is the sweetest girl and during the night after surgery her machine kept beeping and she would apologize and my heart would melt because everything she has been through she still had the heart to apologize to me. Maricel is golden.

The little girl down back. A neighbor girl used to walk up to my house in the summer and play with Karl and eat cookies. Well since I've been sick I missed her when she would stop by and she heard I was sick. Her mom told me she was worried about "Her Danielle". Well yesterday, the coldest day yet she walked all the way up to our house to see me, but I was at work. How sweet and thoughtful. This morning I dropped her off some balloons before I went to work. She is so sweet; she will even bring my garbage cans from the curb to the garage when she gets off the school bus.

I miss my Wedding!

When I see older pictures I see the old me. I guess I'll never be completely the same person and that's good thing......Right?

I hear a lot of different saying like "You've moved out of Healthyville"...or.."Kicked off of Cancer Island" It's like 2 different worlds. Can't explain it exactly, but you look at people who don't have cancer and wish so hard you could be them. There's just something about walking around healthy like nothing bad is going to happen. I miss it. Sometimes I forget about my cancer situtation and I almost get into "Healthyville".

But there are some really nice things I do gain- little things do not bother me so much, and I do enjoy really simple things now that I didn't before, also like I keep saying I have learned to pray on a higher level, and I have a lot more tolerance for things and a lot less tolerance for things.LOL

It's like I step out and then fall back in. Everyday I stay out amoung the living a little longer.
I have to say this affects the whole family not just me. Rob experiences it too as well as my parents and our siblings.

When you get married you end up as one, but most of the time I don't know if I really felt it. It was through these hard times that I felt it. The times when we just wanted not to be bothered so we could be alone to process and decompress. Yelling, crying and praying together really does bring you closer.

I wonder how long before Rob can laugh like this:

I wonder how long before I'll feel like this:
At some point we'll step out from under our umbrella.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ever wake up like this?

Here's me this morning
We had a trip to NY where I got another expansion of 90ccs- I'm up to 360cc with a 500cc expander in there. Well it's getting huge and I'm not liking it. I know it's bad to say because I'm so lucky! Sometimes I get mad about it.

The trip to the city is stressful so I was mad about that as well.

Plus I'm reading a book on chemo that is so overwhelming to me that I actually take a nap in between some reading! Don't get me wrong this chemo book is really really good, but there is so much information and I'm a bit ADDish when reading. This was probably my best Christmas gift because of timing.

Plus like I always do I'm reading another book at the same time (which I love this book as much as my chemo book) and now for the 3rd time I read/hear about hair after chemo coming back like an afro!!!! I happen to love my straight hair and don't want even 1 little curl! I'm mad about having to grow my hair.

And I'm totally pissed about where I live because they scare me at the doctor's office- I'd rather NEVER step 1 foot in my local BREAST CENTER.

So what do? I feel sorry for myself!
Poor me----everything was going so good. Why is this happening to me? Is this as bad as it's going to get? Now that I've been a total bitch about things is something worse going to happen to me? Maybe I deserve bad things. Oh brother it goes on and on.

This is all normal right? Often all kind of crap goes through my head but it is all natural. It's ok- God and my loved ones do forgive me. And no matter what I have them. I always end up back with God.

GOD story............
So last night after reading about chemo I was very stressed about having chemo at stressed I felt like skipping my appointment in NY and just staying here. I want to have chemo at Sloan but the stress of traveling there wears me down. So I cried about it- crybaby- I know.
So last night before bed I said, "God please tell me what to do- help me."
So I woke up this morning still mad as hell. Announced to Rob and my parents, "I'm not going to Sloan anymore." I totally threw them for a loop and feel real bad, but I'm in a mental state sometimes.
Anyways today flipping through a cancer book I read this:
A study published in the September 2003 Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that "patients who traveled 15 or more miles for their care had one third the risk of death of those living closer. Moreover, for every 10 miles that a patient traveled for care, the risk of death decreased by 3.2%."
Ok- 3.2% doesn't seem like much- when you have cancer it means a lot because we take all these little percents and add up a life after cancer!
I don't think this cancer is going to kill me (only because the Blessed Mother told me- which is another great story I will post later) because of my fight for the best treatment and my family's support in getting me there. And I love it at Sloan- it's a world of difference there. Sometimes I feel more at home there than anywhere because there are so many people there like me.

Like my father keeps saying "Jesus helps those who help themselves."

So if you know someone- let them know it's good to get a 2nd opinion even a 3rd. You may have to take a road trip which in the end will seem like nothing after your journey.

So at the end of this day -
I ask for forgiveness!

I thank God for the ability to be in a car with my husband for 6 hours traveling to one of the best Breast Cancer Joints in the world.
I thank God for my parents!

I'm so grateful to have a wonderful plastic surgeon who will make me whole again. I love that thing in my chest because it will fill a void and make me feel pretty again.

I look forward to wearing a wig because it will cut down on the much dreaded blow drying time.

I'm excited for curly hair because it will be just in time for Halloween and I'd make a cute clown.

I forgive the Breast Center in my town....maybe it was the only way I could have handled the information.

So now I slow down and meditate.........

I like to imagine I'm on an island by water

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus

This is the best Christmas yet. I am so happy to be alive and with my family. On September 28th I seen my life flash before me as Rob and I stood there in the doctor's office and she told us it looks like cancer. I thought for sure I was looking at death, but today I am tumor free and so grateful to the Lord for the grace he has given me.

My most prized gift this Christmas is my family, friends and prayer.

I've never been more happy to just be breathing!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas

I haven't blogged in a while. I suffered through some bad days, where my head wouldn't stop thinking bad thoughts. It has since passed thanks to prayer, Rob, Lucas, Mom, Dad, Becky, MomP and DadP. Mom gave me a talking to and I don't know what I would do without her; she seems to know when I'm off and she does more things to help to. Mom is strong and as much as she makes me cry a little more the aftermath is healing. Rob consoled and fought with me, Lucas took many kisses and hugs, Dad was his wonderful fatherly self with compassion, Mrs.P invited me to gingerbread house making, Becky took me shopping, Mr. P bought me a rose and gave me a hug. I'm so lucky. Rob bares the brunt of it and he has been an angel. At times we fight as usual, but poor Rob doesn't have the luxury of being the "sick one".

Health NEWS- My arm is reaching new heights. Here are my tapes - the one on the left is my good arm reaches and the one on the right is my affected arm!!!!! I'm doing better. Also able to do a bit of a downward facing dog pose.

The Blessed Mother has been so good to me and sometimes I think I don't do her justice. I have to remember to blog about my prayers to her. I'm thinking about her a lot today because she give birth to Christ at midnight. I need to buy her new flowers today. This is my Blessed Mother in my bedroom. I love her.
I know it's messy, but it's my real life and how I pray.

Sometimes you pray and think no one is listening BUT there are signs out there and sometimes if we are so busy we miss them. Here are a couple signs I came across that I would have otherwise missed had I not slowed my life down since this whole C thing.

At the bank writing a withdrawal slip looking up I seen this: Here is my chocolate wrapper and tea tag:
God Bless everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things I'm thinking about.................

Wearing a wig? HairUwear

I heard wigs are hot and itchy so here's an idea
Hair under a hat- not a full wig.

I'd like to attempt this This girl is my crochet IDOL
I'm finishing up a real ugly scarf for myself

I'd love to make Christmas cupcakes with these little guys

I feel like I want to do this- BUT I can't yet
Downward-Facing Dog

Yarn - I can't find any cool yarn around here!

My love/hate relationship with my new phone

Tea and Tea Kettles - I'm into Tea lately

Soup- I'd love to make a HUGE pot of SOUP once a week!
Sweet Potato and Basil by Robin Miller dishing out the recipe at the NEST

Heidi Klum and all her jewels for The LOFT...I see this picture a lot in NYC.

Glamarella Junk
These slip dresses are SWEET! also glamarella


This hat looks good on anyone!
Juicy Couture @ Zappos
you can get in black at Juicy's website for $55 but this color is NiCe
Wish is was cheaper! They sell a ton of hats in the city but I haven't found this style and this color yet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Expansion #2

Had my second expansion and they put a little more in than last time. It felt tight this time, but not huge pain. It reminded me of breast feeding days when I couldn't nurse Lucas and my breasts were full. My doctor still thinks maybe 3-4 more times.

Going to the city is more fun around the holiday because it's all decked out. I wish I was in better spirits, because I would probably have taken better pictures.

We did manage to shop around a little.....well Rob tried some coats. I love this coat but not many guys around here where them. They look so nice with scarf, but Rob wasn't that into it.

Some days I struggle with fear. I know I should stop but I can't. This may be when I need to call a friend, but find it hard. I'm not as bad with the touching myself, looking for bumps and pains, so that's good. When you hear you have cancer you tend to keep thinking it's other places. I have definitely come a long way, but there are still tough days. Days that are bad I look for the sun outside, I pray, read or go to church.

While in the city we passed by 2 churches and went in.......
St. Bart's - I believe it may be Episcopalian
Rob really liked St. Bart's because it was just really moving in there. This angel was beautiful.

My favorite- St. Patrick's
I know not real original, but I love it because they do have a shrine for St. Theresa. You can light a candle, and they also have a relic of her.

Lucky us we got to see the manger- no baby Jesus yet!
Check out the camel- what a ham!

Here is a shot of my 2nd expansion- don't look if you don't like scars. This looks pretty darn good if you ask me. I took NO pictures before this fill. The darker skin on top is where I have extra skin to be stretched. They keep saying don't worry about the way it looks and at 1st I'm like "who cares?", but now I see what they are talking about. It isn't even- it's like a squishy water balloon is in there. Plus it's pretty big because they are creating a pocket and the more they have to work with the better. God bless Dr. M and his staff.

Thank you God for my beautiful cancer-free breast!
When I was first diagnosed a very smart women told me to repeat this at least 100 times a day.
Dr. Helene B Leonetti- she's pretty smart.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Well here's my St. Theresa story. A best friend sent me the St. Theresa Novena and I saved it until I was going for my 2nd surgery. I said it for the 5 days and the last day ended on the morning of my surgery. The whole thing about St. Theresa is that sometimes if you pray to her you will receive a rose. The rose can come in any form- scent, sight and so on. Well on the morning of finishing I then read from my wisdom book which opening quote was: "The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose"~Hada Bejar~

That made my morning.

I love praying to her and I am reading the book "The Life of a Soul" in which she talks about her life.

Here is the Novena if you are interested:
Five-day prayer

"St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the Heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love.
Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore and tell Him I will love Him each day more and more."

Also say five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys and five Glory Be's, and pray everything on five consecutive mornings before 11 a.m. On the last day, add one more set of five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glory Be's.

Here is St. Theresa as a young girl

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

a Few cOOl ThinGs

Fab K is having giveaways till Friday

Must get a boyfriend blazer

Need to find a spot in my house for this CHALK BOARD:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I said goodbye to my surgeon till

October! I love my surgeon. The majority of the time I spent with her I was sleeping and she was taking pieces of me, but I love her.

I'm so glad I went to Sloan. Yesterday when we were sitting waiting for the nurse I thought of my other breast and got choked up. I keep picturing my breast sitting on a tray in the operating room. The good thing is at Sloan they do so much research that you sometimes have the opportunity to be part of a study. My breast tumor will be involved in 2 studies and that does make me feel good. In October I will go for a mamo and see my surgeon again.

I have an appointment with an oncologist Jan 4th. I am on a waiting list if he has any cancellations sooner than that. So no chemo before Christmas! I think that will be a good thing.

I had my 1st fill and it wasn't bad. I have no feeling in my breast so the I only felt when the needle went through the muscle. Like we thought they use a magnet to find the area to pierce with the needle and they mark it with a marker and stick it. I think she gave me 60ccs. I did take the pain pill before I went (skipped the anxiety pill) so there wasn't any pain after. I actually see a bump forming. I will go to get a fill every Monday for the next 3 weeks. I also love my plastics surgeon too!