Welcome – and F*Cancer

Hello!

I am a cancer survivor.

I have started this blog to help others who are navigating this same, not same, similar, dissimilar, crazy, unknown, unpredictable path that I have traversed.

I hope it helps.

F*Cancer

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Our page is gone

I am a bit troubled.  A bit heartbroken.

When my wonderful mother-in-law passed from ovarian cancer, we researched to find the best cancer research foundation to honor her memory.  We found OCRA – Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.  We looked into how much of the donations went to ovarian cancer research, it was the right place for us to forward donations from us, and those from our loved ones.

We created our own tribute page, uploaded the perfect picture, one from my in-laws 50th anniversary Alaskan cruise, and I sent it out to the world.  It was included in the obituary, and I linked it on my blog.

Today, I went to update my blog a bit, sort of organize things a bit better, and in doing such, I clicked on all my links, to make sure they were still active.

I clicked on the link to our tribute page, the one we had titled “In Myrt’s Honor.”  Gone.  The link did go to the main OCRA page, but the tribute, the picture, the counter showing the thousands of dollars we raised for the cause in Myrt’s honor was no longer there.  I searched the website, to see if I could find a way to see the page, and if the fundraising counter was still active.  Also gone.

Gone but definitely not forgotten.  Never forgotten.

I had gotten emails from the site, informing me they would be making updates, I guess I never thought the history of our tribute page would disappear though.

I have updated the link on the side of my blog, with the main webpage, for anyone that would like to donate to an ovarian cancer fund.  I still believe in the work the organization does.  If you donate, feel free to add “In Myrt’s Honor” to your donation, to honor a great lady, Myrt Klein.

 

Link to the OCRA website, in case you want it:

https://ocrahope.org

Our original donation page, because I can’t bring myself to delete it:

http://support.ocrfa.org/goto/InMyrtsHonor

We miss you every day.

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What do you write?

What do you write?

It’s a common question, a simple question, but one I’m not yet accustomed to answering.

“I have a couple of blogs, on one I write about my experience with breast cancer.”

Sitting in a room with other published writers, it seems to be a bit insignificant.  “I’m working on a book, but I’m not there yet,” I say..wondering if I’ll ever finish it.

Then she told me about how many people she knew had been affected by breast cancer, and asked me for my website.

It reminded me why I put myself out there, and share my story.  For others.  To help.

#FCancer

 

The Big, Bad Card Company – exploiting cancer?

CANCER-FREE

Huh…  Wow…  That’s something I wasn’t expecting to see.  

I had gone into CVS to buy a card.  Right at eye-level was a card with that sentiment.  

I was for a quick second impressed – they are finally making it easier for people who want to send something to their friends, but don’t know the right words. Maybe take away some of that, “what should I say” anxiety, and give them a card that they can mail.  I finished reading the inside, closed it, and there it was.  The symbol.  Made it look all legit.  I glanced around at its neighbor cards in the rack.  There were a few other cancer related sympathy cards, with different sentiments.  All proudly displayed the American Cancer Society logo on the back of them.  

There were also some placards with information in this section, mostly just saying “American Cancer Society,” but none had the information I was really looking for.  Something, anything to show me how much of the proceeds of this card go to a cancer related cause.  Research, charity, anything.  There was no information.  I glanced at the back of the card again, and read what it said.  “Hallmark is proud to support the American Cancer Society.”  But it didn’t say how.  It did instruct me to find out how at cancer.org/ourstory.

I set my hand basket down on the ground, took my phone out and snapped a couple pictures of this card, including the back side, which had the logo, and the website.  I figured I’d do some research when I got home.  

Back at home, I went to the website.  It was a donation page at the American Cancer Society.  Nothing about the big bad card company.  I went to the big bad card company’s website.  Searched for American Cancer Society.  Nothing.  Found the card on-line, looked to see if the on-line info offered any information about charity or donations.  Nada.  

I went to the ‘contact us’ section, and sent them a note, including this question:

Do any of the proceeds from the sales of these cancer cards go to support any type of cancer research?  If so, how much?  Is it a percentage?  If so, what is the percentage.

They sent back this:

Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

We do apologize but, we do need a bit of information from the card to look into this for you. If you can look for what is called a SKU letters and numbers on the card this would help. The SKU number should be printed near the printed price on the back of the card. We would also need the price of the card as well. Once we have this information we will be able to find this information for you. Hope to hear back from you soon.

OK, I get it, you get thousands of questions about your line of cancer cards, you may have hundreds of cancer related donations and you want to be sure you give me the exact correct answer.  Lucky for me, that bar code was plainly visible in the pictures I took.  So, I responded:

Hello and thanks for the response. 

The SKU number is 09200 54677 6 and the printed price on the card is 4.99 

Thank you. 

Finally, I got an answer back:

Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

In response to your question, we send $0.22 per card from our Mother’s Day cards. For more information, please visit https://ww5.komen.org/Hallmark/

We appreciate your interest in Hallmark and hope we were able to help you.

Well, let me start with this.  If someone thinks this is an appropriate Mother’s Day card, you are wrong.  While being cancer free on Mother’s Day is a fabulous thing, I’d like my  card to include something about being a mother.  That’s why I get the day.  

It also makes me wonder….how do they ensure their donations go to the right place?  Are there other cards that make it into the ‘$0.22 goes to mom’s day’ bucket?  Maybe not just the cancer cards?  Is Komen even a good place to donate?  I have heard mixed reviews in the past, but never could find out how much of what they get goes to cancer related charities.    

Who knows.

But…I guess at the end of the day, $0.22 goes to a cancer cause.  Do with that information what you will.  

For those of you still on the fence about what to say, what to do, how to bridge that awkward, ‘what do I say to them’ phase of your friend’s cancer journey – let me put this out there for you, there is a fabulous website, Ticking Off Breast Cancer – 

http://www.tickingoffbreastcancer.com

Click on the ‘For Friends and Family’ tab.  This site has great advice if you are at a loss.  And hey, once your friend has finished their treatment, “Let’s go celebrate!!” is a great conversation starter.  

As always…F*Cancer! 

 

Oh, Hello 2nd Menopause

2nd menopause is interesting.

Am I in the elite few, that get to do this twice?  I mean, if it’s worth doing, you may as well do it twice, right?  Hugs to my soul sisters that have also hit the 2xMenopause milestone!

1st menopause was, I guess, as expected.  Night sweats, hot flashes, other stuff…

Well, maybe not totally as expected, due to its inception being chemo-induced, and not natural, but, looking back, the symptoms were spot on to what was expected.  ~yawn~, I do not miss those days!

2nd menopause though, way different.

The night sweats are not as prevalent.  The hot flashes are not as severe.  They still happen.  Does my random afternoon tiredness stem from this? Who knows, but man, do I crave naps these days.  I may upgrade my couch just to make napping more comfortable..just wait.

What I just can’t figure out, during 2nd menopause, is, what is reality?  Is it really warm in here? Is it just me?  Is our A/C not pulling its weight?  Obviously, I’d never tell Mike I’m warm, he would take that as an affirmation that the house is too warm, and in need of cranking down the A/C, please ignore the sweat beads forming on my forehead….

2nd menopause doesn’t trend with that crazy, super hot, super cold give me more covers cycle that 1st menopause introduced me to.  It’s like a creeper, hanging out, trying to confuse you with it’s indirection.  Bastard.  I never know what the reality is.  It makes me wonder, is it warm in here?  or no.  Grrrrrr.  Can I just have the energy to exercise.  You F@*%er.

I’m hot.  I’m tired.

I’m cold.  I’m awake.

Oh, 2nd menopause, I will beat you, but you are an annoying asshole.

 

Who is that Person?

“Look at that hair.  Who is that person?”

My immediate response was to cringe, there it goes, yet another hair comment.  His comment wasn’t intrusive though.  He was a coworker that, while not close with me, had always been friendly, and I knew his comment was kindhearted.  He wasn’t going to follow it up with any annoying questions, or ask personal facts that one is not inclined to share with those they aren’t close with.

I could write a book about how many inappropriate comments I’ve heard over the past few years.  Oh, wait…I am writing a book…there may be a chapter about something like this.  OK, you got me…there is.  But, this comment was not offensive.  It was said it with a smile, completely supportive, nothing negative to be construed from it.  I did marvel, for the umpteenth time, at how often people whom I’m not close with think my hair an appropriate conversation item.  Deep down, I knew this person meant well.  I smiled back, “it’s getting longer, isn’t it?”

That comment carried with me, in the recesses of my mind, fading in and out of my subconscious, until the evening, when I happened to glance at myself in the mirror at the same time as I absentmindedly reached both hands on either side of my face to pull my hair back.  I caught sight of the way some of the shorter layers of my hair fell onto the longer layers, the visible end points, slightly more lightened in color from the sun, reflecting back at me.  Are those split ends, that maybe I see?  Been a while since I’ve had to even think about that.  

The earlier question echoed in my brain.

“Who is this person?”

The same, but not the same person is of course the answer.  A flood of memories came back, me during my treatment, me…bald…my mind’s eye remembered the me that stared back from this same mirror just a couple of years ago.

A scalp, void of hair.

A face, void of eyebrows, but some indication of a brow bone, beneath my forehead’s surface, that once marked the arch where my caterpillars used to perch.

A pair of grayish-blue eyes, completely void of their lovely rows of protective eyelashes, nothing left to keep the dirt and dust out, completing the picture of vulnerability of one in the midst of treatment.

I remember that me like yesterday, and at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago.  It seems surreal, almost as if it were a story I’d heard about somebody else.

I’m healthier now.  My hair has grown back, much the same as before.  My skin, wonderfully sun-kissed from a weekend beach trip, once again shows the wrinkles that chemo tried to take away from me.

I may not be back to my old normal, but I certainly have a new normal.

Who is that person?

Who indeed?

Add one to the Win column

My friend Ryan was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer.  It had metastasized to his brain when it was discovered.

He underwent surgery, chemo, and radiation to fight it, while at the same time following a strict diet, and adding in meditation and exercise.

He was diagnosed as cancer free on June 20, 2019.

He has taken what he learned in beating cancer, and created a foundation aimed at helping others through their cancer treatments.

I am so happy for Ryan, and I love seeing the good guy win!

Check out his website, and spread the word.  One person can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

https://hiddenfountain.com