Wednesday, May 17, 2017

#523 Just Write/Right


                                                            Bronte Sisters


I'm just going to write because I cannot help it. 

Charlotte Bronte
                                              Read more at: Brainy Quote Charlotte Bronte
  

Aha!  Here's a portion of an email I received today from Healthline that put a big old smile on my face.
  "We'd like to let you know that you've been chosen as a winner for our Best Blogs 2017 in the Metastatic Breast Cancer Category. You can see the article here: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/metastatic-breast-cancer-blogs

One of the best blogs of 2017 from Healthline.  Wow! is all I can say. Thank you to this organization's kind words and encouragement.  It certainly makes getting back to the computer a little easier especially when the writer's block flops down and glares at me with its beady eyes.

Putting the pen to the paper (or in this case, fingers to the keys) has provided me several different avenues ranging from comfort of spreading the MBC word, to angst.  Either the idea is there or it is not; and when it isn't--nothing makes sense and my hands wave the white flag of surrender.

Other days I feel a tad like Charlotte (not in the same range of talent, but I digress) and can not get the words down fast enough.  So much to say and so little time.

But today--I will steal a portion of Sally Field's academy award's acceptance speech--"You like me, you really like me"!  It is a huge ego boost for me to be recognized and realize that I am making a difference to those women and men living with metastatic breast cancer.  Thank you Healthline for making my day!

Thanks for reading #523 of 7777.












Thanks for reading # 523 of 7777.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

#522 Reaching for the Stars---YOU!


Thumbs up to you if you join us!

Calling all advocates or "wanna be" advocates or "I'd like to help but don't know how" advocates in Wisconsin.  Yes, I'm talking to you today.  Rob and I have been stewing a while on a plan for swimming this summer and how to reach out to others but we need your help.

We are looking for a few ____________(fill in the blank with --good, kind, generous, wonderful, marvelous) human beings to offer their lake homes with a place to swim, people to educate and purses to contribute to the stage iv fund.  It is quite simple, really.  Set up a date with us, contact your friends on your email list and on the lake and I'll swim and share information on MBC.  You provide the people and we will provide a caterer for a lovely evening or afternoon get together.  We may even convince our UW Carbone Cancer researchers to speak and share their knowledge.

Oh, so you don't have a lake or friends with a lake?  No problem.  I don't need water to spread my message.  Just have a cocktail/luncheon/whatever meal you want and I will provide "entertainment" with some graphics about MBC.  I know it doesn't sound terribly amusing but I will make sure your guests will feel that are making a contribution to a worthy cause.

Our reasoning behind our shift in venues is we have had many "asks" of our friends and family to contribute and they have been extremely generous but we need to expand our circle and find others to support us.  We will give you all the assistance you need to make this successful because if it is successful for you imagine what it will be like for the funding that would come in for MBC.

Please contact me about details on how your lake or your friend's lake can be party central for getting the word out.  It will be a good time had by all--guaranteed.

Thanks for your consideration and sharing of this information.  The more we reach the more we gain.

Really and truly can't commit?  Please go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate.  Trust me, today on Mother's Day, you will be making a difference.

Also, thanks for reading # 522 of 7777.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

#521 The "Unrant" Rant



This is not a rant. Trust me. I've ranted enough to know one when I write one.  This, instead, is a plea.  I would get down on my hands and knees if you could see me because it is that critical.  It is a plea for all noncancerous robust women and men to take up our cause.

I know you are probably as fit as a fiddle and cancer is the last thing on your mind but guess what? It was not on my radar either.  How could this disease creep into my healthy lifestyle when I was too busy running, working out and eating a (mostly) nutritious diet?

Well, my friends, this ugly disease can raise its monstrous head and attack when you least expect it.  That is why I am pleading with you to get on board today to take action with us.  Those of us with metastatic breast cancer number between 150,000 and 250,000 and many are too sick to rally about anything except getting to the next day.  We need your energy and your drive to help us out.

One out of eight women will be newly diagnosed this year and one out of three will metastasize either as de novo (first time breast cancer) or as a recurrence.  I was sitting in the same place you were six years ago helping out friends who were diagnosed and mentally counting the people I knew figuring the one out of eight ratio had been reached.  I was on easy street or so I thought--I was on the "right" side of the statistics.

WRONG!  Easy street just hit a dead end and bingo, here I am getting thumped by the cancer bomb--twice.  Was I interested in advocating for those with breast cancer before the bomb went off in my body?  Of course I did walks and sent donations when needed but to stand up beside women living with this disease and advocating for them?  I will admit it was the furthest thing from my mind.

My request to you is to please help us.  Help us advocate for more research, better health care and larger chunks of money to go directly into finding a cure. Sixty percent of the population knows little to nothing about metastatic breast cancer.  We need more voices spreading the word screaming from sea to sea so legislators and other government officials hear us.

Get involved, ask questions.  Let's stop 113 women and men from dying every single day.  Not to scare the pants off of you but the life you save may be your own.

Here are a few ways to you can get involved:
1. Go to www.onewomanmanylakes.org for information on writing to our legislators about increased     funding for NCI and NIH.
2. Donate to UW Carbone Cancer Center
3. Sponsor a swim (I'll join you) and do your own fundraising
4. Share this site or the One Woman site to your friends.
5. "Like" my One Woman page on Facebook and share
6.  Talk to others about our concerns of being ignored

That's it for now.  Many thanks for the shout out.

Thanks for reading #521 of 7777.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#520 What's an Outlier?

These are the statistics we face as we dream of becoming an outlier.


Outlier— according to Merriam-Webster dictionary:  a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.  

What does that mean to me and why does it continue to be such a profound word in my vocabulary?  

To put it simply, an outlier is everyone’s dream if you are living with metastatic breast cancer.  A question often asked is could I possibly be one of those who defies the statistics and lives beyond the median three year life expectancy?  

When my first treatment passed the average length of time most patients take the drug-- seven to nine months--the word, outlier, crept into my world and gave me hope that maybe I could join the most sought after club in the universe.  

Unfortunately, despite my successful 26 months on this drug, it wasn’t the miracle I had hoped it to be. The next line of medications may prove to be a successful marvel and hold this cancer at bay for many more months but one never knows. It is always a guessing game, this cancer world we live in, but that four letter word, HOPE, continues to raise its beautiful head as we cling to the possibility that the term “outlier” will attach itself to our name.  The greater hope is it will some day become obsolete in our vocabulary as some brilliant researcher will cry, "Eureka! I found the cure for cancer". 

While perusing the internet, I found an article from the NY Times about an outlier,The NY Times.  Was there some type of magic behind her long existence and can it be bottled to be shared?  A spoiler alert--nope.  Doctors have no idea why she defied the odds when so many succumb to cancer--no matter what kind.  

So we metsters continue to read about the longer living individuals and yearn to be part of their group.  When a survey is sent out and requests those living more than ten years with MBC to reply and share their stories, I am thrilled to read all about them but admit the green machine of envy rising up.  Maybe someday I will be filling out an outlier survey and will encourage the newly diagnosed woman to dream about reaching this goal too.  

Please help me and others add a new moniker to our names--outlier--by donating to UW Carbone Cancer Center today. We are forever grateful.

Thanks for reading #520 of 7777.


Friday, April 21, 2017

#519 Carpe Diem!




Having a moment today--a good one--reflecting on the week in paradise with the family.  It's one of those unparalleled experiences forever stored in my memory bank and in my heart.

Planning this amazing trip began with a couple of simple requests on my part--actually they were quite complex but it didn't deter the king of logistics--Rob. He loves a challenge and this one could be rated a ten on planning a complicated family excursion while coordinating nine people to all end up in the right place at the right time.



It began last fall when, on a difficult day living with this disease,  I sweetly requested (or whined, depending on who is the story teller) about returning to Kauai--an island that feels like home.  Rob immediately agreed but then I hit him with the bombshell of inviting the entire family join us.  If I remember correctly, he gulped and responded, "Of course, dear, that's a lovely idea" (Remember who's telling the story). Orchestrating this adventure would tax even the best logistical guru, but my beloved husband came through hitting "the ball out of the park" making it a whale of a good time for all (Get it, whale of a good time?  Too much sun and fun is causing chaos with my sense of humor--or lack of...).

I can happily report that all went well without any hitches or catastrophes and this number one husband has also moved up to number one dad by his children.

Some of the highlights:
Family time--24/7
Grandbaby holding
Watching sunsets on the lanai
Swarming parakeets gathering at dusk
Game playing every single night
Dolphins leaping
Eating, eating and more eating
                                                                         Snorkeling
Hiking to the canyon


















Devouring shave ice almost every day

Whales breeching
Flowers blooming
Boogie boarding
Surfing the waves
Sand building
Volleyball in the pool


Creating memories for a lifetime
Walks to the "Horn"
Ukulele playing and singing
Seder meal
Birthday celebration

















An exhausting but exhilarating time was had by all.   Here's to fine memories and an abundance of family vacations together for many years to come.

Oh, and you can make this happen by going to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donating to the brilliant researchers working on a cure.  A whale size thanks!

Thanks for reading #519 of 7777.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

#518 FAMILY




This is absolute joy in paradise as I spend a glorious week with the entire family.  No time to sit on the computer so will end it with a picture worth a thousand words.

Help me make sure I will have many more vacations with this lovely group of people.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate today.  Thanks from all of us.

Thanks for reading #518 of 7777.






Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#517 Hairy or Not


                                                   "Shoulder length or longer,
 Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy
Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair".*

What is our fascination with the golden tresses. We admire those who have them and feel cheated when our own hair does not give us the same satisfaction.  Toss your head around and feel your luxurious mane glide from side to side in slow motion--magical!

Hmmm.  In my 65 years, I think that happened about once when I was still in high school and I'm not sure if it actually did the whole swaying movement--I only thought it did.  Mine has never been in the lush quality or quantity category that we all envy. I would rate it as wimpy fine with a random uncontrollable curl that never seemed to curl in the right direction.

When I went through chemotherapy a few years ago, I was completely distraught at the thought of losing it all--which happened; and after shaving it off I didn't feel quite as devastated as I imagined. However, after months of chemicals flowing through my body the stubble began to grow and I swore I would never cut my hair again picturing me as Rapunzel with golden locks down to my knees.

Didn't happen.  After it began to grow back in I remembered the weak texture, and with the added chemo toxicity, the quality didn't improve.  Mid chin length is what I settled on and it suited me fine for a while.  Looked okay but it was a pain to blow dry every day without stunning results and was a constant reminder of the after effects of the drugs.

After thinning again because of my current medication I made the decision. Short was going to be the new me.  It took a bit of an adjustment but now when I get up in the morning it is a quick shower, towel dry and I am off saving the world or whatever is on my agenda for the day.  Time is precious and an additional fifteen more minutes does make a difference.  Besides, I remind myself (which sounds like my mother), beauty lies within us and quit being so shallow.  At least that's my justification when my gaze settles on someone with that "shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen"*  hair and I feel the jealousy bug popping its head out.

I say, unite short hairs and embrace the young sleeker look and think... sassy. That's what my new do makes me feel. Although I still admire those with the endless flowing tresses and often envision a luxurious head of hair, this short cut is working out just fine.

Thanks for reading #517 of 7777.


*Metrolyrics (Lyrics to Hair)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

#516 Not One More


Champagne Joy

Two deaths noted in less than a week on Facebook.  Unless you are friends or family or a metastatic sister you may not have heard the huge sucking sound as these brave tireless workers for the MBC cause left this earth.

I did not know them personally.  One need not physically meet any metster face to face to connect in some invisible way.  There is a tight bond that weaves us together.  When we read about another living and thriving "sister" ripped from us it follows with a punch in the stomach that leaves us dizzy and breathless.  Not fair, not fair!

They were both relentless fighters for more funding for MBC.  Champagne Joy ( love the name and the person behind it) shouted and screamed from the rooftops.  She founded the group #cancerland and was an outspoken member of our community.

Beth Calabatta was a swimmer, outstanding athlete and compassionate human being.  We had connected on several occasions to join forces to swim for MBC funding.  Unfortunately on my part it never worked out but I continued to follow her swimming escapades and fundraising techniques.  Actually, she was a outstanding swimmer and I might have been a bit intimidated by her strength and prowess in the water but that wasn't the reason we never met.  It was one of those moments you put off until the timing is right---which it never seemed to be--and now she is gone.  A lesson learned to do it today, not tomorrow, but now.  Read her latest blog entry for insight on this incredible woman,  Dying is about Living.

These are only two mentioned of the 791 who will die of metastatic breast cancer this week.  The names could go on and on.  Each person loved by many and lost forever.  Outrage! Where is the outrage?  Research must be a top priority on the national scene and our elected officials need to hear this from all of us.  It is our best hope to have more time with our families.   Funding for researchers is what we need.  We CAN NOT let one more person die without making that effort to give scientists more ammunition to tackle this disease.

As Champagne said, "I won't leave this earth until I see the beginnings of change." View her Facebook page and learn about this formidable woman https://www.facebook.com/champagnejoy.  She began something the rest of us need to finish--finding a cure or at least making it a chronic disease before one more bright light goes out.

Today I am feeling saddened, vulnerable and pissed.  Wake up NIH, wake up NCI, wake up women and men who are all as susceptible as Champagne and Beth.  Cancer strikes and does not care about your social status, economic status, whatever status--help us because it may eventually benefit you or your loved ones.

Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center  and donate.  Let's make sure we are beginning the change for a cure.  Already donated?  Take action --please email your representative and senators--https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials-- and demand increased funding for NIH and NCI.  Do it today and then ask twenty friends to do the same.  Together we can make a difference.

Thanks for reading # 516 of 7777.

Monday, March 20, 2017

#515 Are We Crazy?


The old--stay tuned for the new.

To remodel the kitchen or not? That is the question floating through our house at the moment.  The problem isn't if it shouldn't be remodeled. It is a 25 year old kitchen with cupboards that were cheaply made and, after the passing of time, they are looking pretty rough around the edges.

Rob and I have been discussing this at length--invest in the house and enjoy the beautiful surroundings for many years or live with it as is until we are shuttled off to a retirement home.

What the elephant in the room isn't shouting is if I will be around to appreciate it for the next 10- 15 years or will this disease progress quickly and... well, it could get complicated.  We don't discuss that angle.  Instead we throw ideas back and forth on increased value of the home, owner benefits--all those "logistical" questions based on if we should proceed with this foolhardy idea; or could it actually be a valid move in the right direction?

The bottom line for me is will I be around X number of years to get MY value of out it?  Will the last knob get screwed in as I lie in the next room feeling screwed out of a longer life or will I be drinking my morning coffee reveling in a more efficient kitchen design for many more years?  Right now I'm feeling pretty confident of the latter scenario.

To do or not to do--always an unanswered question as we carefully proceed through life making decisions based often on financial advantages and not always taking in consideration our longevity.  My gut feeling is to bite the bullet and get it done.  For once I would love to look forward to opening that aggravating lazy susan cupboard and not have it collapse throwing the contents topsy turvy all over the floor.

Worth the risk of not enjoying it for an eternity?  Cancer takes another back seat on this one as my vote is yes; and I do believe I can convince the "best ever husband" the same.

Stay tuned for more home improvement adventures.  Oh, and by the way, to keep me sipping my coffee in the new kitchen, go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate.

Don't forget Our call to action:  As the health care legislation is presently working its way through Congress please email your representative and senators--https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials-- of our need for protection in health care affordability.  Do it today and then ask twenty friends to do the same.  Together we can make a difference.

Thanks for reading #515 of 7777.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

#514 Don't Let A Road Block Your Way


A slight glitch of plans in the road.
Plans:  a method for achieving an end
b :  an often customary method of doing something :  procedurec :  a detailed formulation of a program of action
d :  goal,  aim

Plans. We make them, we organize them and we coordinate them; and sometimes they are altered on a whim or a catastrophe or for no apparent reason at all.  Having cancer often makes planning a precarious undertaking but can also be gratifying to help us look forward, onward; and the best is when our intentions are fulfilled.

Due to my continuing saga of health issues, our plans to Washington DC were on, and then possibly on hold, and then back on again.  I hate the uncertainty this disease renders me when my objective is to get from point A to B without interference.

A little help from friends gets us through every time.

Plan or not to plan? That is the million dollar (or plane ticket) question.  My conclusion--do it, get insurance if need be, use the cancer card to get out of things, whatever it takes-- just do it.  Cancer should not put life on hold waiting for the day when the body is motivated to cooperate.  It's stupid cancer, for crying out loud, and I for one will suck it up and keep planning and doing; or even repair a road with a few rocks and hardy friends, if need be (See the above picture), to get to my destination.

Phew! Live it up is my mantra so it is off to grand parenting duties in Seattle, family fun in Hawaii and anything else that might hit my fancy.  Time is a'wasting and those adventurous moments must be seized, cherished and above all, treasured.

With this short blog, you have plenty of time to go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so all of us can fill our calendars with the luxury of carefree escapades.

Thanks for reading #514 of 7777.




Friday, March 10, 2017

#513 Voices Heard on the Hill

The two of us, Speaker Ryan and our son, David

Well it's over.  The much anticipated meetings with the big wigs on "The Hill" are in the history books and the verdict?  Time will tell but here's a brief recap of what transpired and how the day unfolded.

First of all, let me begin with a caveat about life as a metster and our days that are the feeling good, conquer the world kind of days; or the down right rotten ones-- leave me alone kind of day. We never know which one will present itself until our feet hit the floor.

Unfortunately for me the BIG day would have better spent in bed than traipsing across Washington DC but, alas, here we were and the stakes were too high to be a no show.  The morning began with a sleepless night due to my ongoing enemy--insomnia.  From there it continued to deteriorate into a long, and literally $hitty day (TMI- I won't go into details but nearly every bathroom was visited in both the House and Senate buildings). Oh, the joys of the side effects from medicines that are prolonging my life...

But I digress.

The morning meetings with the legislators went smoothly with their aides and Senator Baldwin indicating approval regarding more funding for research.  How could they contradict me as I described my limited time here and my mission on protecting my children and grandchild and all future generations from this ugly disease?

My final meeting was at the Capitol for a private session with Speaker Ryan. He agreed that supporting research and curing cancer must be a top priority in our country. I reminded him of the fact that we do not have the luxury of years or even months to wait for the debate on where to find the money.  I also informed him of his and our country's moral obligation to solve this "problem" quickly.

Was he listening?  He assured me this was an uppermost concern for him as he had a family member die of metastatic breast cancer.  I expressed my dismay that 600,000 Americans will die from cancer this year--many more than any terrorist attacks. He nodded in agreement.  Rob (the true genius behind all these meetings and best husband...ever) pointed out our concern of the present administration's beliefs on reducing the need for science and research. Ryan responded about being the ballast on the boat driving research forward and would not let that happen (No political comment from me).

One of the biggest concerns for the cancer community is what will happen to our health care and the financial toxicity that we face with this diagnosis. Again, I was assured that we will be protected (Really, I mean...REALLY?).

So, a successful experience or a bust?  The verdict is still out until we see NCI's funding increased and our health care becomes affordable.  Stay tuned.  With a brief 15 minutes of Speaker Ryan's time, the hope is my story and those of you who responded to my request for advice will prompt him and others on the Hill to do the right thing.

Thank you for all your positive vibes and good wishes.  My voice was one small whisper in everyone's ear but I am hoping it will resound into a chorus of shouts from all of us.

Our call to action:  As the health care legislation is presently working its way through Congress please email your representative and senators--https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials-- of our need for protection in health care affordability.  Do it today and then ask twenty friends to do the same.  Together we can make a difference.

Thanks for reading # 513 of 7777.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

#512 The Update on My Big Date




The meeting is coming!  The meeting is coming!  In two days we will be in Washington DC convening with our legislators and Speaker Ryan speaking to them about metastatic breast cancer and all Stage IV cancers.  I will have the ear of the #3 person in the country and I don't want to blow it.  Pressure is on and I'm feeling like the kicker in a tied football game--hit it and you are the hero--miss and you are in the doghouse.

To make sure I cover everything I want to say in my short 15 minutes with the Speaker, I asked the metastatic community through the closed Facebook pages to give me advice...and the words began to flow.  Over 150 comments came in ranging from: "Tell him your story", to "Don't wear pink--wear black", to "Research must be a priority"; and most often expressed, "Make health care affordable.".  All were both heartwarming and heart wrenching ("I miss my mom every day").  I also heard from non cancer women offering support as they could some day be in this cancer hole without a cure in sight.

How could I let these voices go unheard--they were profoundly expressed and affirmed what we all want--more time.  Thanks to modern technology Rob copied and pasted the comments on twelve sheets of paper (removing all names) and sent them to the legislators and Speaker Ryan's office.  Let them read and hear our voices and our outrage at being ignored.

Stay tuned next week when I can report what happened.  I'm not expecting any miracles or huge revelations on his part but maybe, just maybe, when a bill comes up regarding more funding, he will hear my voice in his ear about our country's moral obligation to protect all citizens--especially those who are living/dying with this disease every single day.

As always, keep sending the donations to UW Carbone Cancer Center so if our government doesn't make it a priority, we can assure these dedicated scientists support towards finding a cure.

Thanks for reading #512 of 7777.




Tuesday, February 28, 2017

#511 La La La La...I Feel Great!

Hiking on the top of the mountain


I am completely stumped this week to come up with a blog entry.  Usually I can wiggle something out of my brain but...nope, not a thing is jumping out at me of what to say.

After thinking about this dilemma, I have concluded that it must be a number of reasons why I am void of words tonight.  Here are a couple of thoughts in no particular order.

1. I feel great--no pains or aches or worries--finally.
2.  Rob has been behaving himself and hasn't created any type of comedy routine I can report.
3.  Kids are moving through life quite nicely.
4.  Grand baby, well, I could write volumes about her but will spare you.
5.  Some big meetings coming up with legislators and the #3 man in the White House but will wait until it is over.
6.  No issues with anyone that I can think of offhand.
7.  I'm hiking and swimming; and did I mention I feel great?
8.  Life feels normal for a change.

And that's about the best summary of why I am in a writer's block funk.  No problem because this feeling of floating along like a La La Land movie is pretty darn good and I can't ask for anything more than that.

Now for a gentle reminder to keep me in this writing funk (it's okay, really) is to donate to UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Thanks for reading this non blog of a blog #511 of 7777.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#510 Surprise, Surprise!

The two of us after the surprise

Surprises come in all shapes and sizes and least when we expect them--hence, that's what defines a surprise (more later on my brainless, and oh so obvious, declaration).

Lately it seems I've had my share of "not so grand" surprises clobber me.  It began with the first bombshell from the suspicious mammogram. No, it can't be cancer because that doesn't happen to healthy old me...surprise, yes it does.  Scans revealing progression--the surprise was in my denial the cells were still behaving themselves.  Surprise at the negative reactions of some people when they find out I have metastatic breast cancer ( Don't run from me, I am not contagious).  The white blood count surprised me when I was feeling robust; and low and behold it was in the pits.  Surprise from the response of the last series of injections that left me bedridden for two weeks.  Enough of these bombshells. According to Jane Austen Emma, "Surprises are foolish things.  The pleasure is not enhanced, and the convenience is often considerable."  I'd have to agree with her.

Until...

Along came one of those surprises that bowled me over leaving me speechless and dumbfounded but thrilled with the outcome.  The story, which will be told for years to come, began three weeks ago between Best Ever husband, Rob and my super sneaky and fabulous sister, Susan.

A few weeks ago, I had a terrible reaction to the hormone injections I receive once a month and, as a result, have been in considerable pain.  Super sneaky Susan contacted BE husband about coming out to cheer me up and, in her words, "While we're at it, let's keep it a secret" (She didn't realize the amount of pain killers I was on so, in my defense, it wasn't too difficult--but I digress and also making excuses).

With friends in on the scheme, they arranged my ride to the doctor's office while Rob covertly picked Susan up at the airport.  Meanwhile, these so called trustworthy friends boldly lied to me about the need to head directly to pool 8 before going home.  Naive me never had a clue.  Walking to the pool I searched for our friends and saw a woman across the way smiling at me.  I distinctly remembered registering in my brain how familiar she looked--cousin Liz, I thought--but kept cluelessly walking towards the couple.  Friend, Colleen, had to point out that Rob was there--didn't even see him --when this familiar/unfamiliar person stood up and said hello.  Suddenly I realized my clever as a fox sister had pulled the ultimate prank on me.

Both of them, without me even remotely suspecting anything, can be crowned Academy award winners of all as the instigators behind the biggest and best surprise...ever!  So, Jane Austen Emma, I guess all surprises are not necessarily foolish things.  Yes, I did feel a tad daft for being completely bamboozled, but it was well worth the end result.  Thanks, sneaky Susan and wily Rob.  You got me!

Of course, to celebrate surprises go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so my sister and I can continue shocking the britches off each other. It's my turn to get her back!

Thanks for reading # 510 of 7777.







  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#509 A Vote For Greg is a Vote "Garding Against Cancer"



Working together is what we do to make sure cancer not only takes a back seat but gets kicked under the bus.  The UW Men's basketball coach, Greg Gard, has a campaign under way through ESPN supporting researchers by providing them with more resources to make cancer disappear or at least renders it to a chronic condition.  That is our ultimate hope; and being generous philanthropists, they are willing to work towards that reality.  "Show us the money, ESPN" and let's make it happen.

You can do your part by going to the website (below) to send Greg on to the next level of funding.  It is so simple I even did it-- once a day--takes less time than brushing your teeth in the morning.  Garding Against Cancer--one more way to make this playing field fair for all of us.

Sink a three pointer from your comfy chair and vote every day until he wins the big one. All you need to do is click here-- Vote for Greg Gard and it will then direct you to sign up for ESPN. Next, find Greg Gard's name and push the vote button.  Bingo!  You are done.  Oh, and no worries-- it won't cost you a dime.  Trust me, it is so easy and will make a significant  difference for our researchers at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

After clicking on Greg's site, go to mine, More For Stage IV , and make a donation to further increase the possibilities to finding that elusive cure. It's there; and with more funding and your help this dream could win the most humungous prize of all.

Thanks for reading #509 of 7777.

Monday, February 6, 2017

#508 Let The Good Times Roll

Urban Sports Talk

This, my friends, is a happy post. One of the happiest posts I've written in quite a while.  What is the basis for all this delight?  Life continues on and on and on; and right now I am smack in the middle of it.  That's it.  Nothing more but ecstatic that I'm part of this universe.

If you remember the past few posts have had me whining about the literal pain in my neck and woe is me as I struggled to manage the havoc this new debilitating condition had rendered me.  Yes, this menacing pain has created havoc on my daily activities and has dealt me a poor excuse for an acceptable quality of life.  But, enough is enough. It's now "hi ho hi ho", it's off to life I go.

Leaving this merry old tune aside and speeding the message of good cheer along-- the story is the onc doc upped my pain patch to a new high which then propelled me into this feeling of elation. (On a side note, these mega pain killers may have led to this euphoric post but I digress).  I know, I know, it is not a cure and without this "bandaid" I'd be back in the fetal position moaning and groaning but for right now--let me say that again--RIGHT NOW--I can function like a normal (?) human being.  This makes me jumping for joy after the twelve days of hell that enveloped every cell in my body.

The stupendous news is that life really is not only good but amazing and I will appreciate each pain free moment with more gusto than I could ever imagine.  Heather McManamy's mantra was "Every day matters".  I understood it to a point where, yes, I do have a terminal disease and live every moment to its fullest; but I have not had extreme pain and had not personally experienced the horrible underbelly of what this despicable disease can do to fully be grateful for living a torture free life.

I'm there now and will forever acknowledge those good days when they roll around.  Not to sound like Patty the Preacher, but I would suggest that you ( especially those without cancer) revel in your good days--even if they number 365 this year.  Enjoy, relish, luxuriate in, adore--all of the above--and savor every minute.  It's the best gift we can give ourselves.

To help me keep reveling, go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate, donate, donate.  Gracias, mi amigos.

Thanks for reading #508 of 7777. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

#507 Discombobulated...again.

The Torture Chamber

Late post getting out today. Can you tell I'm a bit discombobulated?  Quick update--had the MRI but no results yet.  Stay tune to the drama of Days of Our Lives...

It is getting late on this Monday night as I stare at the computer screen thinking of a profound statement to make...and there is nothing.  Why am I at a loss of words when there is so much yet to say?

Cancer slowly creeps in leaving me totally exhausting or frustrated on a day to day basis. As someone once said, "If it's not one thing, it is another".  And the other is what has thrown me for a loop this time around and has left me wordless.

A brief history because you are probably shaking your heads trying to figure out what the heck the whining is all about.  Last week I received my monthly shots in each bum and one in my arm.  No problem; and as I walked out of the onc office a giddy feeling swept over me for the relatively painless ordeal.

Until..Wham!  The next day arrived with my neck screeching out in pain and a headache that should be X rated for the obscenities spewing from my mouth. Must be a reaction to the prior day's injection fest as I took a few extra pain relievers and slowly went about my day thinking that tomorrow has to be better--with the sun coming out, etc, etc, etc. A big negative on that score.  Right now it is pain 10, me--in fetal position-- 0.  For six days it has not let up and the mega pain relievers aren't making a dent in the torture chamber I'm locked in with the key thrown across the floor.

After a number of calls to various docs, I am scheduled for an MRI or better known as the tomb of terror.  Nervous? Apprehensive?  Scared shitless?  Oh yeah to all of the above.  And nothing to say except, "let's get 'er done".

Ahhh! The life of a metster.  Ups and downs and ins and outs but we keep plugging along hoping the next day will be a bit brighter, a bit easier, and less of a pain in the neck than last week.

I will not apologize for this whining blog--my good buddy, Bob, tells me it is completely unnecessary  for ever saying sorry about this mess--but will continue to shake the bushes for some more of your cold hard cash that may give me a few more years on this planet or at least something that will eliminate the side effects of these wonder drugs.  Please go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate.  It will brighten my day.

Thanks for reading #507 of 7777.


Monday, January 23, 2017

#506 GPS--Where In The World Am I?



Physical activity has always been a big part of my life and now with cancer cells taking residence in my bones, my body has been compromised and not able to handle any prolonged exercise.  To deem it frustrating is putting it mildly.  ^#*$($# is what I say on those days when moving hurts or getting out of bed is a struggle.

What happens when your identity--an active maniac--has been stripped, shredded and spit out as undoable?  I loved pushing myself to the limit and getting that "high" from the exertion.  There is nothing like sporting a sweaty body, bursting lungs and then collapsing from exhaustion after a hard workout.  Presently, even a minor exertion is completely out of the picture as I struggle to hike a mere few miles without repercussions the next day.

But then something happens and I rethink my limitations.  What began as an easy five mile hike turned into an adventurous nine miler as we tried to find the elusive car in a mountainous desert area.  Every trail looked the same, no one was around to help us out so it was planting one foot ahead of the other as we tried to climb our way out of this maze.  Was I concerned about my old cancer-filled body not making the journey and crumbling in a heap to be food for the desert rats?  Perhaps a moment or two made me cringe with moderate terror, but on the whole, the camaraderie of the group sharing hilarious stories motivated us all and eventually the lost car was within hiking range.  I, for one, was ready to get down on my knees and kiss the blessed mode of transportation but didn't want to look too much like a drama queen.  I pictured the headlines to read something about a terminally ill woman dragging her friends on a death march.

While I was hiking I thought of the similarities of hiking and cancer.  Day to day it is one step forward, a couple steps back. When my blood work is in the pits and my treatment is temporarily suspended until the white blood count behaves itself, I must be reminded to keep on going. The oncologist knows what he's doing and, as frightening as it seems, he tells me the cancer isn't raging through my body with the stoppage of medication.  We will get to the goal of finding the right combination, however, are not there yet.  For a metster, it is a scary time.

I must take a deep breath, and even though cancer--the ripper of dreams and who I am--tends to be my primary focus, I must remember those days when a nine mile hike unfolds in front of me and I conquer it.  Reconfigure and redo with new hobbies to be discovered is now my mantra while others are laid to rest.  It is not what I wanted but it's what has been handed to me.  Frustrating? Yes, but not life stopping so will continue onward with a half smile/ half grimace on my face.  Let the good times roll when they can.

As always, go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate so I may hike many more hikes but will promise to have a compass in my back pocket.

Thanks for reading # 506 of 7777.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

#505 Bucket List Worthy

Green Bay Packers!

Bucket lists.  Where did this interest begin? There are over 58 million sites on the internet varying from: what to do before you die, what to do before you marry, what to do before you have kids, etc. etc. etc.  Bucket lists and terminal cancer seem to go hand in hand thus I began thinking about making my own.

Watching the Packers in the Super Bowl is probably top on my list. Actually going to the Super Bowl to watch the Packers play is number one. After that it begins to dwindle to something as elementary as making sure I live to see 2018. I'm not sure that one qualifies as a bucket wish but none of the sites addressed specific rules on what should be and shouldn't be included.

But then something extraordinary happens, and I think, "That should be on my bucket list".

Case in point...Rob and I gave a "cancer" talk to a group of about 90 people out here in the desert. Despite my lack of confidence in public speaking I thought it was going well as I explained the facts and statistics of metastatic breast cancer and what living with this disease feels like on a daily basis.  At the end of my speech I thanked all who came and suddenly I looked out at the crowd and everyone was on their feet applauding.  My first thought was I had gone over the time frame and they were sick and tired of hearing me rant and rave--which sometimes happens--and were heading for the door.

It then occurred to me they were giving me a standing ovation.  ME!  A standing ovation.  Bucket list worthy as far as I'm concerned and I never had given it a thought prior to this meeting.  My confidence in public speaking has now shot up 100% with this gift and "Getting a second standing ovation" has been added to the forever evolving list.

Of course high on the list is raising a million bucks for metastatic breast cancer research before I kick the bucket.  The last count on our fundraising moved the thermometer to over $340,000 with $90,000 coming in from last December's big campaign.  You can help fulfill my dream by going to UW Carbone Cancer Center--More for Stage IV and donating.  A million dollars moves the Packers (my number one team) to number two on my bucket list.  I think they will understand.

Thanks for reading #505 of 7777.

Monday, January 9, 2017

#504 Do You Feel Lucky?

Who said black cats aren't lucky?


Someone in a movie script once asked, "Do you feel lucky?".  Lucky?  No, I have cancer--bad luck abounds in all directions and hasn't been kind to me lately...however, the past few days may have given me the opportunity to make a shift in gears in the hall of fame luck category.  

Football lucky.  Yesterday a group of our fun loving football fans gathered to watch those amazing Green Bay Packers win.  Of course we had to create a pool to make it interesting--throw in five bucks and then there was something about adding the numbers together (Math and football are not entirely my thing).   Not sure what transpired but on the last touchdown the numbers worked in my favor to proclaim me the big winner of a grand $20 bucks.  

Life saving lucky. That's not the only luck happening around our household in this new year. Our monumental campaign for metastatic breast cancer that began in December generated a whopping $87,000 with the match.  Luck for me and 250,000 women and men living with this disease all happened due to your generosity.  Luck for our families that the tireless researchers can proceed with this windfall and discover that "landing on the moon" cure.  Holy Toledo! It not only thrilled us but surpassed our original goal--raise 25 grand and match it to get to 50. Surprise! Surprise!  You nearly doubled that goal.

This proposal provides our researcher, Dr. Josh Lang, to continue his vital work on the use of circulating tumor cells to interpret cancer progression and discover targeted therapies specifically geared to HR+ breast cancers.  He had success with prostate cancer cells and feels breast cancer research will benefit from his revelations.  

You, our supporters, held us up and raised us beyond our goal with your generous donations.  I know you gave because of your kind hearts; and my thank you card, my verbal thanks and kissing of your feet does not adequately share my utmost gratitude.  You are my shining stars and these gifts give me hope that I will have more time with my family...especially my one and only beautiful granddaughter. A gazillion thanks to you.

If you missed this campaign you can still donate.  100% of all your donations will continue to fund innovative stage IV breast cancer research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center.  Please share with your friends and others so our researcher can find the answer to make this a chronic disease. We all know research is our best hope.

Thanks for reading # 504 of 7777.


Monday, January 2, 2017

#503 The Gentle Must Inherit the Earth

A new day!
I was intrigued when I discovered this New Year's poem by May Sarton.  Not only insightful and perceptive on the approaching 365 days but I felt she conveyed my thoughts on this upcoming twelve month period and saying good bye to the past.

After a bit of investigation on the internet I found she had died at the ripe old age of 85 of breast cancer. Unfortunately I could not locate any more information about how long she had lived with the disease or her views on what was happening during her declining health.

  She was a year older than I hope to be when I leave this earth (Remember my 7777+ days mantra?   That number would take me to 84 but I would love to hang on one more year to match this gifted writer's departure).  She left us with numerous writings and comforting reflections.  Read and enjoy.


New Year Poem
by May Sarton 
Let us step outside for a moment
As the sun breaks through clouds
And shines on wet new fallen snow,
And breathe the new air.
So much has died that had to die this year.
We are dying away from things.
It is a necessity—we have to do it
Or we shall be buried under the magazines,
The too many clothes, the too much food.
We have dragged it all around
Like dung beetles
Who drag piles of dung
Behind them on which to feed,
In which to lay their eggs.
Let us step outside for a moment
Among ocean, clouds, a white field,
Islands floating in the distance.
They have always been there.
But we have not been there.
We are going to drive slowly
And see the small poor farms,
The lovely shapes of leafless trees
Their shadows blue on the snow.
We are going to learn the sharp edge
Of perception after a day’s fast.
There is nothing to fear.
About this revolution…
Though it will change our minds.
Aggression, violence, machismo
Are fading from us
Like old photographs
Faintly ridiculous
(Did a man actually step like a goose
To instill fear?
Does a boy have to kill
To become a man?)
Already there are signs.
Young people plant gardens.
Fathers change their babies’ diapers
And are learning to cook.
Let us step outside for a moment.
It is all there
Only we have been slow to arrive
At a way of seeing it.
Unless the gentle inherit the earth
There will be no earth.

Remember gentle souls, we are still raising money for metastatic breast cancer--it will not end until we have a cure.  Go to UW Carbone Cancer Center and donate today.

Thanks for reading # 503 of 7777.