As a breast cancer survivor, I’m not sure whether I love October or fear it. Seeing the spectrum of pink colors everywhere can be overwhelming. It’s a constant reminder that I’m sick. And yes, I know that thousands of women and men are afflicted with this disease yearly, so the pink promotion isn’t about me being ill. But sometimes, I just get inside my head. My thoughts go to the scary places that we all want to push away. And sometimes, I just want to cry.
I’m not sure when to celebrate my cancer-aversery.
Is it the day we found the first lump (12/18/2004?)
Is it the day of my first official diagnosis (12/29/04?)
Now, that I’ve had a reoccurrence, should I commemorate the day when scan reports outlined the probability of metastatic disease (8/29/13?) Or, should it be the night of Friday the 13th (9/13/13) when my oncologist’s voice quietly gave me the official word – “It IS cancer.”
Throughout this cancer journey, I’ve stumbled upon amazing organizations that have helped my family and others navigate through this experience. So today, in honor of “International Day of Charity,” I’ve listed some of my favorite cancer charities and how you can donate. Their missions serve people in different ways. Some focus on research to find a cure, while others promote early detection to prevent it altogether.
It’s back-to-school season, and while most of us rush to find the best sales on the teacher recommended school supplies, it’s also important to keep an eye out for eco-friendly items. Not only do they help the environment, but they’re also better for our children’s health.
Growing up in the 80’s, it wasn’t hard to be active. Because social media didn’t exist and phones didn’t have call waiting, if I wanted to see my friends, I ran around the neighborhood to find them. If I couldn’t wait to share a big girly secret, I would walk miles to tell my gal pals or show up at their camp activities.
Today, kids of all ages (and I’m speaking of myself, too) often use technology as their main tool to socialize and communicate. As a result, we don’t have as many opportunities to be active as we once did. While I do enjoy the conveniences and pizzazz of our multi-media lives, I want to be sure to instill a love of activities filled with personal interaction for my son. In an effort to practice what I preach, here is a list of activities to keep a young kid (and his mother) fit while having fun.
I’ve always loved eating out. I have such fond memories devouring meatballs and spaghetti off the children’s menu at east coast diners. As I grew older, my family celebrated honorable report cards, choir concerts, dance recitals and mini-milestones at what I thought were fine-dining establishments: Mandarin Yen or Shakey’s Pizza. Even in high school, after football games, we congregated at Davanni’s, Carbonni’s, Perkins or my all-time favorite, Taco Bell. Whatever happy (often made up) non-traditional holiday we celebrated was at a restaurant. Truth be told, my mom was a fine cook, we just enjoyed the hassle free, family or friend focused meal. My mother also cooked healthy dinners, so dining out included gorging on cheesy pizzas, fried rice dishes and creamy pastas. I know better now that eating out doesn’t mean I have to let go of all inhibitions and start “my diet tomorrow.” While it’s tempting to overdo it, I’ve learned a few tips to keep my diet clean while enjoying a night out for travel, on business or just for fun.
I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the Fall of 2013. The news was shocking and sobering, especially considering I knew very few people who thrived with it. Scared beyond comprehension, filled with sleepless nights and worries dancing through my head, I thought I knew what that diagnosis meant. At the same time, publicity ramped up for Disney’s “Frozen,” but I didn’t pay attention. The movie opened Thanksgiving weekend and after the holidays, the world knew it was not only a box office hit, but the key to a young girl’s heart. I didn’t realize, it would be to mine, as well.
As the world was singing “Do you Want to Build a Snowman, ” I was anxiously awaiting my first set of scans after being diagnosed. My mind was filled with wildly ranging thoughts:
Was this the calm before the storm? Would the results show tremendous growth and I would only have a few months or years left?
If so, would my child really know me? Should we tell him or not?
Will my new treatments debilitate me? Will I feel like myself? Will I be myself?