Tag Archives: Thank You

Hey Check Out My Port! (part 1)

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Warm weather is finally here in New England! I don’t dare mention the “s” word. You know–that white, fluffy stuff that comes from the sky. Enough of it was moved about in Boston, this past winter, to “fill Gillette stadium 90 times” according to Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker. You know what I’m talking about. Even though it’s May, I’m not going into detail about it because after all this is New England. If it could sn– eh hem, get really cold again in May when it shouldn’t…this is where it would happen.

Warmer weather means less layers and more skin. Let’s keep this rated PG you dirty bird, get your mind out of the gutter…not THAT much skin. I’m talking tank tops, capris, sleeveless tanks. And one more thing for me, for other cancer patients…clear port visibility.

The area that my port was placed in makes it very, very visible. At Victoria’s Secret, one employee in particular always remembers me.  She gives me that “you look so familiar but I don’t want to offend you, so I’ll just ask if you need assistance instead” look. Until she helps me with something in the fitting room.  Then she’s all smiles and says “Oh that’s right! I remember you now from the…” At a loss for words, she touches her shoulder just below her clavicle–where my port is.

There’s also some concerned, elderly, female cashiers at one of the grocery stores I frequent. I can think of two or three of them off hand. This is the part that always gets me. They make conversation with me, idle chit chat, speaking to my kids or asking how they’re doing if they’re not with me. Eyes shift to my shoulder, in a passing glance but get fixated (momentarily) on my port. The next time their eyes meet mine, it’s this look of…I don’t know, pain? It’s a look I’ve gotten to know so well. The look of someone who, by some means, recognizes my port. “My God, how does someone so young have cancer? How could this happen to her?” THAT look.

You’d think with as many times as I’ve seen it, I’d be conditioned to not feel what I do when it happens. But I do. And every damn time someone gives me that look, it makes me want to burst into tears.

Not because I feel weak or think I’m too young to have had cancer. It pulls on my emotions because of the genuine element of human compassion behind it. Because I have never seen so much empathy, love and genuine concern from both people I know and total strangers in my entire life.

I’ve seen men as big as Sasquatch look like they’re about to cry when they hear I had cancer. Journalists, who are tough as nails in the field, look at me with such endearment because of what I endured.

There are still kindhearted, loving and sincerely good people on this earth.

It gives me hope.

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2014 in Review

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for reading, following, commenting on and sharing my blog. This blog was started to help me through my cancer journey. But knowing that I’ve been able to reach out into the world and share my story with so many, knowing that you care enough to read my blog and be part of my life…well that’s what gives me the motivation to continue blogging and sharing with you all.

Thank you everyone for being part of this journey in 2014! Who knows what adventures will await in 2015. I wish you all a beautiful New Year filled with love, family, good health and joy! Thank you again for everything 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Getting Back to ME

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Hello, hello world! It’s been quite some time since I last blogged. Okay, realistically, maybe only a month or so since my last post? Getting toward the end of the semester, which means lots of papers are due and final projects are in need of being worked on. Discovered a few music artists (SoMo, Hozier, Alesso) and began listening to country. Yes, I said it, I’m no longer a closet country fan…between Luke Bryan and Lee Brice, don’t know why it took me so long to catch on!

Anywho, this moment of reflection hit me the other night and felt like sharing 🙂

Last fall, my son played basketball through his school. It was absolutely exhausting for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but cancer had been growing within the cells of my body for who knows how long. I knew I was fatigued. But hello, I was (and still am) the single mom of two high-energy children,  a college student and a young woman with a very active social life. Who wouldn’t be tired?

I would bring my daughter’s stroller along, walking her up and down the hallways of the elementary school, while my son played ball in the gymnasium. Back and forth we’d go, until she fell asleep, usually not until practice was just about ending. It was tiresome gathering the energy to keep up with my children.

This past Tuesday was my son’s first basketball practice. It was more of an introductory session. Get the kiddos together, run some drills, arrange the teams. As usual, my daughter wasn’t remotely about to sit still while all this was going on. I made an executive decision to walk with her out in the hall while my son played in the gym.

“Mommy, let’s have a race! On your mark, get set…go!” She took off own that corridor so fast her curly, brown, ringlets couldn’t help but bounce from shoulder to shoulder. Her raspy giggle echoed through the hall as I ensued; not needing to catch my breath, not feeling that rhythmic pounding lump of anxiety because I couldn’t keep up. In fact, I was running circles around her! My three-year-old had to stop to catch her breath. A few more times, up the hall, back down, she was exhausted but I was ready to run a marathon! Okay, so maybe not a marathon. But I could have taken on at least another lap or two.

This was about the time I had an epiphany. My body is getting stronger everyday. I feel healthier and happier as more time passes. It’s been two months now since my final chemo treatment. In that moment, as all these thoughts passed through my mind, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. My health isn’t just returning to me, it’s being renewed. I feel healthier now, for the most part, than I have in over a decade. I have the energy to run circles around my children and it feels INCREDIBLE!

No more sitting on the couch for hours on end, barely able to move from utter exhaustion. No more staying inside during the winter, unable to play in the snow with my children. The harsh cold causing excruciating pain against my chemo infused skin. No more asking relatives to bring my children to basketball, martial arts, baseball or gymnastics. Because now I’m energized to a point that I can do it again on my own.

How empowering! I have my life back. My health is being regained little by little. Each day I become stronger, more motivated to thrive than ever before. Cancer taught me to be brave. But survivorship is teaching me the power of perseverance. Lack of good health gave me the emotional tools needed to evolve as a soul. Surviving gives me the opportunity to use those tools, to implement so much of what I learned into my life. There are no words for that kind of empowerment. But the two that come to mind are simply “thank you.”

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Gratitude Day 20: Followers!

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DAY 20:

Saturday/September 27:

Over the weekend, there were several bloggers who decided to start following my blog as well. To you, to all of the people who choose to follow my blog, I want to say a huge thank you!

As a single mother, student and cancer patient (now survivor!!! woot woot!!!) I have to consciously make an effort to keep my blog going. The more followers I receive, the more it motivates me to write. To chisel in that time for creative thought, freedom at the keyboard.

As much as I enjoy having new followers, I enjoy reading your blogs as well. There are so many different blogs I follow. They include eclectic topics; everything from motherhood to travel, organic living to how to write a better blog.  All of which carry the personality of their writer with everything from sarcasm and wit to humor and compassion.

I love the variety that this website offers, the joy of connecting with other writers. When my babes are finally in bed for the night, housework is done (or at least in my head it’s done) it becomes Mommy’s blogging time! Sometimes it’s the only sanity I have from my busy schedule.

And all of you keep me going. True, I started blogging to cope with the pain of cancer–both physical and emotional–and to inspire. But now I write  to connect, to uplift. I write to remember this journey but I also write to share it with others. Which, hopefully, invites you all to share with me.

Thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to read my blog. Even if it’s not every single post, I appreciate anyone who takes time to listen to my story.