Saturday, September 4, 2010

Proud of my Thirties

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Current mood: Proud

OK, so my birthday is in a few days and I’m turning 39. My last year in my 30’s…. I can honestly say I’m ready for my next decade. But looking back, I must admit I have enjoyed my thirties.

Looking back….

My thirties started off pretty rough. I ended a six and half year relationship with someone who I thought was “the one”. It took a long time to get over him but I learned a lot from that relationship. Toward the end of course it got ugly but there is one very important lesson that I took away. As he was pushing me away, I became more independent and to this day I am very thankful for that. I have accomplished everything in my thirties on my own. I don’t need a man in my life to be a success. I love that about myself!

At 33, I lost my Mom. It was very tragic and sudden and caught me off guard. A part of me today is still angry at her for leaving me at such a young age. I hate the fact that she missed my little brother getting married and in a few months she is going to miss being a Grandmother. I try not to dwell on our very rocky relationship. I try to remember the good times. When she was sober, she was a very loving Mom and that is how I like to remember her.

Then less than two years later, I lost my Grandma. That was a big blow. My grandmother had just celebrated her 90th birthday. Her death was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Those last days in hospice were the longest days ever! I miss everything about my Grandmother. Our conversations on the phone, our visits after I got out of work. Her stories about her family, helping me with my Italian homework. Building a family tree. Or just hanging out with her and playing cards. And of course her food. Homemade pizza on Saturday afternoon or homemade sauce and “macaroni”.

At 35, I would be diagnosed with cancer. At this point, I was like WTF! I can’t seem to catch a break. Looking back now, I really believe all of this has made me a stronger person. Sure my battle with cancer was a long one, but I put my suit of armor on and kicked some ass! I am proud to say I am a survivor!

During my cancercrapness journey, I decided to chase one of my dreams. I have always loved NYC. So I made the move. I waited a few months to let my hair grow back and then I started applying for jobs in NYC. I got my current job and made the move. I downsized from a two bedroom condo to a one bedroom co-op.

I also started to travel. I got my passport and busted out of the US. This past spring I went to London and Paris. The independent part of me said go for it and I did it by myself. I did however go with a tour group and made friends along the way.

I have seen my little brother get married, buy his first house and now in a few months become a father. I am so proud of him. I can’t wait to become Auntie Jill.

So as I turn 39 and tackle my last year in my thirties, I can say I am proud of myself too. I believe I have over come some pretty big challenges in my life and have come out a winner. I have learned a lot about myself and I welcome my forties, but not for another year…..

Sunday, July 25, 2010

L. I. G. !

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Current mood: Full of Hope

WOW! I can't believe I haven't blogged since February. A lot has happened in my life since then.

I went to London and Paris. I had an amazing time! Of course traveling was one of things I wanted to do post cancer. I figure I'm not getting any younger and you just never now what the future holds.

I found out my little brother Dean and his wife Jenn are expecting a baby girl (Kiersten Michelle) on or around November 1. I'm going to be Auntie Jill. I am so excited, words cannot express how I feel. I'm already shopping and spoiling her and she isn't even here yet.

I had a sweet surprise in the mail the other day from my "Chemo Buddy" Holly. She sent me a Warrior t-shirt along with a scarf. Ford is the sponsor of the program. She also sent the kindest note along with it. She said if anyone deserved to wear this shirt, it was me. In her eyes I am a warrior. Awww Holly, thanks so much.

I can't believe it but this Thursday, July 29th is going to be my 2 year anniversary since the end of my treatment. I had my very last Herceptin transfusion that day. Looking back it seems like it was forever ago but in a way it seems like it was just yesterday.

The other day I was watching the Yankees game and they interviewed a young player who is just coming up. His name is Colin Curtis. I was so taken a back when the interviewer congratulated him on his 10 year cancerversary. I looked at him and thought, wow he must have been young when he got it. I did some research and found out he was 15 when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Talk about being way to young.

It sure is great to see another young cancer survivor chase their dream and not let something like cancer get in their way.

That's what life is all about, cherishing what you have because you just never know what tomorrow may bring.

LIG (Life is Good)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's about the climb...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Current mood: Inspired

OK, you can call me a Dork....Yes, I just finished watching The Hannah Montana movie. It was cute but what really hit home was one of her songs. It's called "The Climb". The words to this song I think are very powerful.

We all have struggles in life and mountains to climb....and in the words of the's not about what's waiting on the other side, it's about the climb.

I know as a cancer survivor it wasn't about getting to the end of my treatement, it was about my battle getting there and how I fought that battle.

My cancercrapness journey has changed me in many ways. I like to think I don't stress out over small things, especially things I can't control. I try and keep a positive attitude and surround myself with positive people. Life is what you make it and it's about chasing your dreams. That's what brought me to NYC. I love the city! And in the Spring, I'm traveling to London and Paris. Life is too short to not do what you want or to not take chances.

We are always going to have struggles, how we handle them is what makes us who we are.

Here is to my next mountain...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's your Top 5?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Current mood: Reminiscent

OK! So I got the news back about my bone scan and NO, it is not the return of the BIG C! Thank God!

I have to admit I was pretty freaked out waiting for the news.

In my mind, my future had stopped. I actually started planning for the worst. I double checked my life insurance policy and wanted to make sure I had the right beneficiary. I actually had a conversation with my Dad about taking my dog and how he could use my savings account for all her future vet bills. It was kinda scary where my mind had gone.

Which brings me to this blog...

The other day I was watching an episode of the television show "Lost" and in that episode one of the characters, Charlie knows he is going to die and so he starts making a list. He has flashbacks to certain events in his past. Later I would find out that these were his top 5 favorite memories.

I decided to try and do this and this is what I came up with...

Number Five: Dancing with my brother at his Wedding. We all know that the Bride dances with her Father and the Groom dances with his Mother. As you know my Mom has since passed so my brother would not have this beautiful opportunity. I spoke with his future wife, Jennifer and talked to her about this and told her that I wanted to dance with him. After speaking with my brother we chose the song "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts. Their Wedding was so beautiful and I cried like a baby when I danced with Dean. I actually started to cry when the first note started to play. Dean would quickly calm me down and before the song ended we were both laughing. I still can't believe my little brother is married. I love you Dean!

Number Four: Painting the deck with my Step-Dad. The thing about this memory isn't the action of painting the deck but it's the conversations that my Step-Dad and I had. We were painting my Mom's deck and getting ready to put her condo up for sale. It was a difficult time in both our lives. Death is never easy but my Mom's death was very tragic and very sudden. I will leave it at that. The conversations I had with my Dad are private so I'm not going to share too much but I got answers to some questions that had bothered me for years. Thanks Dad for being there and helping to ease the pain of past.

Number Three: Family Game Night. I miss Family Game Night. Family Game Night was usually Sunday evenings. My Mom, Step-Dad, brother Dean and I would plays board games. It would change over the years as my brother got older. In his younger years we would play "Sorry" and as he got older we taught him how to play cards. I especially loved Family Game Night in the Summer. We would play outside on the deck by the pool with the Tiki Torches burning. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days and play one more game...

Number Two: Family Tree with Grandma. I've always wanted to make a Family Tree and who better to do this with than Grandma. I remember adding each family member and her telling me a story about them. It made me feel like I knew them. We first did my Grandpa's side and then we did her side. One thing that stood out in my mind was when my Grandma told me about her brother Paul and that when he passed away she had special flowers made for him called "Bleeding Hearts". These flowers were very special to her and I remember making a mental note. Years would go by and when my Grandma passed away and we were choosing flowers for her funeral, I chose "Bleeding Hearts". I wanted that special memory my Grandma and I shared that day to live on.

Number One: Weekends at my Nana's House. When I was little I used to spend weekends over my Nana's House. It was a time when my Mom was single. She had divorced my Dad and had not yet met my Step-Dad. On Friday nights my Mom would drop me off at my Nana's work. I loved spending time over my Nana's House. She lived in a big apartment complex and it had a pool. We would spend all day Saturday there. She always asked me what I wanted for lunch and the answer was always....grilled cheese with P&P loaf. Those were the best sandwiches ever! Saturday nights were always fun too. We would watch The Muppet Show and The Donny and Marie Show and if I was good I was allowed to stay up and watch The Love Boat. Sunday mornings we would get up early and go to church and we always had pot roast for dinner when we returned. I miss those grilled cheese sandwiches, no matter how hard I try I can't seem to get them as good as Nana's. Someday Nana, we will share a grilled cheese sandwich again...

It was hard trying to come up with just 5 but there is another that is a notable mention. My house warming present from my Mom. When I bought my first house my Mom got me a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. To the average person this would mean nothing but to me it meant so much more. These simple items symbolized a special memory only shared by my Mom and me. See my first rated R movie that my Mom allowed me to see was "St. Elmo's Fire" and over the years it became a classic for us. There is a line in the movie when one of the characters gets her own apartment and she's telling her friends that when she got up in the middle of her first night there she made herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She said it was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich she had ever made because it was her bread, her peanut butter, her jelly and her apartment. Along with my Mom's present came a sticky note and on that sticky note it read, It was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I've ever had. To this day I still have that sticky note. It's on my refrigerator and has traveled with me from house to house. Thank you Mom for such a special memory.

I'm glad to be healthy right now! I can see the future again. I'm looking forward to my trip to Europe this Spring. Watch out London and Paris, here I come.

And more importantly I'm looking forward to making new memories...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trying so hard not to be scared...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Current mood: Scared

OK, here's the deal. A couple of months ago, yes I said months, I thought I pulled a muscle in my left arm. After a few weeks of still having pain, I thought maybe it was early on set of arthritis but when the pain got worse and nothing helped, not Tylenol or Ibuprofen, I started to get a little concerned. Keep in mind that my breast cancer was in my left breast. That is what put the red flag up for me.

As a cancer survivor, you always fear the worst. I'm trying really hard to not freak out but I don't think I'm doing a good enough job.

I FINALLY called my oncologist this morning to try and set up an appointment for an x-ray when I see her next month. Of course she was in meetings all day but my old chemo nurse called me back. I miss Helen, she was always there to put a smile on my face even on my worst days, chemo days. Anyways, we talked and she was concerned and said I should probably come in for a bone scan before my routine appointment next month.

What if my cancer has come back? Of course I've been on the computer every waking moment doing research on bone cancer, my head is spinning.

I'm starting to get a little scared and I'm crying a little more often. Deja Vu...

Something tells me there are going to be some sleepless nights ahead. January 21st can't come soon enough.