Monday, December 29, 2008

Looking back at 2008

One of the highlights of 2008 notes the below; thought it worthwhile enough to share!

Cancer researchers noticed another hopeful trend for women with breast cancer: Patients who survive five years after diagnosis have a good chance of remaining cancer-free. In the most detailed study of its kind, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that 89% of such patients remain disease-free 10 years after diagnosis, and 81% are cancer-free after 15 years.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Last Week of 2008

My cousin Mike and I on Christmas sporting the same 'do!
Another grey day here in NJ but the outside temperature is not bad - I think it is over 50 out there.

Christmas has come and gone in a blur of brightly wrapped gifts, children's laughter, good food and oh did I mention good food? We spent the day with both my family and Greg's - I guess I should say "our family"! We are both thankful for all that we received and for being able to have a day of celebration with everyone.

We were also fortunate enough to spend some time with my sister and Lynn as they made their way south back home after spending the holidays on the Cape. When she asked what I have planned for the winter, all I could think of to say was "surviving"!

I think that was my response since I had recently found out I'll be receiving an infusion of Zometa to help keep my bones healthy as the hormone treatment I take daily can lead to early bone loss. I can't help but focus on what has become truly important to me - being alive!

I have also realized I need to be a bit more vigilant in watching my diet and exercise. I did a 4 1/2 mile run yesterday and felt pretty good, however while showering afterwards I felt a lump under my left arm. I believe it was a build up of lymph fluid as it appears to have disappeared this morning but it was quite unnerving to discover. Too much salt and sugar over the past few days along with some running - bad combination! Another thing to add to my list of resolutions for 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

That merry time of year!

I sit in our office gazing out the window at our snow covered yard and the riot of color our Christmas lights create against it. Today is December 21st. Christmas is only 4 days away - unbelievable how fast this year has gone, and I'll say it again: I for one, am very happy to see it go.

While not usually one to wax poetic about peace, love and happiness I can definitely say I feel truly blessed this Christmas season. I have a wonderful family, incredible friends, a place to work that I enjoy, a roof over my head, a clear mammogram and one very patient husband. I have hair again, something to eat every day and warm boots to wear with my big winter coat. I look around and I realize I have so much that is good in my life that my resolution for 2009 will be to be sure to enjoy it. I'll focus less on the things that make me crazy and more on the things that make me smile. I'll do my best to remind my friends - those who carried me through 2008 - just what great people they are. To tell my family that I love them, I could have never sat and typed this without their caring and support this past year. And I will do my best to be more aware; to realize when someone needs a helping hand but may not know who to ask for it.

During the past few weeks walking about with my new take on the buzz cut, I have been approached by women every where - from the grocery store to the nail salon to the hallways at work. Women telling me how much they admire my bravery for wearing such a daring 'do. Sometimes I just smile and say thanks; other times I admit it isn't a style by choice. More often than not these women have been there and share their story with me. They are stories of the shock of diagnosis and the suffering through treatment after treatment and the lovely side effects treatment brings. I have been told stories of hats and hairstyles, support groups and pink everything. Yet, every story has one resounding theme - these women are all filled with hope and a joy for life perhaps I would have never noticed before. They assure me life goes back to normal. They tell me not to forget where I have been but also to not forget to always look to the future. So I am - I might even embrace a Monday morning after all this is Christmas week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I had my 1st post - surgery mammogram yesterday and it was clear! I almost kissed my doctor when she showed me the films!

My day was a crazy one, starting with lab work that I could not get because although I had a prescription, the lab needed a doctor's order. Thankfully we were at the NYU Cancer Center and my surgeon was able to send the order through. So I had four vials of blood drawn, a mammogram, a bone density scan and to top my day, an echo cardiogram. (The tech advised I have a beautiful heart!)

I made a comment aloud, heard by the woman administering my mammogram as I approached the digital machine - "Ah - friend and foe!" She stopped in her tracks and said she had been doing mammograms for years, probably thousands sets of breasts she had squeezed, smashed, & flattened and no one had ever, ever called the machine "friend". I explained - "I had a mammogram in March which found my cancer in an early stage. If it had not found it, I might not have been so lucky." She told me I had the right attitude and that is what she tells all the women who complain about the machine being made by a man (hence my mention of foe...); that while it is not pleasant we should be happy such a device is available to us to help us stay alive. I could not agree more. Dr. Moy who reviewed my films mentioned I should consider discussing annual MRIs or ultrasounds with my surgeon Dr. Shapiro as a young woman (again I could have kissed her!) I have dense tissue and they could be helpful given the location and type of cancer I had.

Boy, do I love saying "had"! So next week I trek back to the cancer center for my one month follow-up after radiation. My skin is slowly starting to look somewhat normal again. My eyelashes are getting longer but staying white - thankfully there is mascara! My hair is also slowly getting longer although I read that the pixie cut is in so I no longer look like someone who was sick, only someone trying to be "edgy" - or so I tell myself every day as I look in the mirror.

I am off to make Christmas cookies, can it be only 12 days away???

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am now 41 and happy about it!

So, I really never thought I could be happy about turning 41 - I mean at 40 you at least get the big party if you so choose and everyone makes a big deal about entering a "new phase of life", etc. My 40th year is one I am happy to leave behind.

I spent the day away from family, including my husband, instead opting for a few days of focus on "me"! I went to the New Age health Spa in Neversink, NY with my friends Jessica and Meridith. Meridith has been a guest at the spa before but it was the first visit for both Jess and I.

We departed Sunday afternoon and arrived in time for a late afternoon yoga class. The studio was beautiful - huge room, heated floors and giant windows overlooking the snow covered hills of the Catskills. Dinner was delicious; most of the greens and vegetables were grown right on property in the spa's greenhouse as we would learn during our "herb and vinegar" demo Monday afternoon. While I did try several new things - Nia Fusion Dance and body work on a Pilates Reformer, there was down time in front of a roaring fire with cup after cup of wonderful teas. It was a most wonderful way to spend a birthday.

I should mention the great weekend I had leading up to my Sunday departure. Friday night I watched my cousin Kristen star in a play she helped write at the Pequannock High School One-Acts competition. I cannot believe she is a senior! Saturday morning Greg and I were the guests of my mom to see Cirque du Soliel's Wintuk at the theater at Madison Square Garden. It was a wonderful show! We then walked up to Rockefeller Center to see the tree. Greg and I then spent Saturday evening at the home of our friends Danielle and Jack talking, eating and drinking; a wonderful night!

I know it seems like I am doing too much, I just want to embrace all that life has to offer these days!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

More things to be thankful for...

Like a new niece! The above photo features the newest addition to the Burt family -Maia Grace who was born on November 19th to my brother Philip and his wife Jessica. Greg and I had the honor of meeting her this past weekend - she is beautiful!

We had a great weekend on the Cape visiting with Dad and Linda, seeing my brothers Nick and Chris as well along with Chris's girlfriend Irina. The drive home? Well, that was not so great. Sunday as those of you in the Northeast know, was a nasty weather day. Our normally 5 hour ride became an 8 hour one. Yes, we did detour through Madison, CT, a town we just love to meander through, but Route 95 was just pure hell. I swear they have been doing construction on that highway in the same place for over 30 years!

So, it is now December. I have another birthday coming up. I have decided I need to embrace them as I am lucky to be able to celebrate them! I am in denial however that Christmas is right around the corner!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am thankful for....HAIR!!!!

Check it out - I have hair! Enough for me to venture out into the world sans wig! The side by side photo you see above shows you the extent of the growth. My bald shot was taken 9/1/08. The newly blonde 'do was photographed this fine Thanksgiving morning! The return to normalcy has begun. In fact, this week was the first without a physician appointment since early April. My body is still sporting evidence of my radiation treatment but I anticipate that it may begin to fade this week. I am so looking forward to 2009!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

The fire is roaring, my wine glass is empty and my Christmas cards are done. A perfect Sunday!

I awoke to a morning too cold to run. I went shopping with my mom instead followed by a vist to my aunt's for tea. I arrived home in time to assist Greg with clearing our yard of the many leaves that had finally all fallen from the trees.

So, as you may have surmised, I am feeling good. Really good. I am able to see the beginnings of eyebrows and eyelashes when I look in the mirror. My bald head is almost covered - my hair may be grey but it is hair! The only lasting side effect from my radiaiton is a rash of a sort, almost a mottled bruising of the skin, but that too is fading. The holidays approach and I am thrilled to feel like myself again!

My oncologist appointment went well; everything "looks great". I do have a few more tests in front of me: a bone density scan, a final echocardiogram, an ultrasound, more blood work and yes, a mammogram. I inquired about a full body scan. Since I had one after my surgery that was clear, my doctors feel the above list of scans,etc. is quite sufficient! I do not need to go back for three months! Hooray! There is quite enough to keep me busy, like deciding what color my hair should be...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Tuesday

I sit and type this Tuesday am, November 18th. Why is this significant? It is because I AM DONE WITH TREATMENT!!! Can you hear the joy in my keystrokes? I am sitting in my very own kitchen after putting in a good morning run (THANKS AMY!). I even laughed about the snow; yes that four letter word - it is a crisp morning and I feel good! At the risk of sounding incredibly cheesy, I am filled with energy and happiness as I HAVE MADE IT THROUGH the dark side. I look back at the blur the past few months have been and realize I am finally at my finish line. While I still face the race for my life throughout the next five years until I can be deemed "cured", I feel as if I made through the trials and qualified for the winning round. The credit goes to my support network:

It goes to all of you who have read this blog and posted a comment, sent me note, picked up the phone, sent a card, shot me an IM, passed along a message through a friend. It goes to those of you who made Greg and I wonderful dinners, provided rides, understood when I had a meltdown, who understood when I had to say "no, I can't do that", to those who walked with me and for me, ran with me and prayed for me. It goes to all of you for you have all touched my life in someway and made it worth living, worth fighting for, worth not giving into the disease and its possibility of despair or depression. I cannot thank you all enough, my family and my friends. When I am asked if this experience has changed me, I honestly can say yes - I mean check out my head! No, seriously, I have realized how wonderfully blessed I am to have so many incredible people in my life and I will be doing my best to always remember to tell you all just how incredible you are. Without all of you I never would be sitting here feeling as good as I do even though I am still somewhat bald, eyebrow and eyelashless!

I still face a round of physician visits and scans in the few months but this Thanksgiving I will give many thanks for how far in my journey I have come thus far. I will give thanks for all I have learned about myself and those in my life. I will say an extra thank you for the wonderful doctors, pharmacists, and medical institutions I have interacted with during the past year. I will also say thank you for the technology of 21st century and for those pursuing the cure for cancer so that women of the future may continue to thrive even when faced with a diagnosis like mine. I guess I best start saying my thanks now as this could take a while!

So now what? I visit my oncologist later this week, I'll let you know!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sprinting towards the finish line!

November winds have been carrying winter air to NJ. All of the trees around my house have shed their leaves and point bare limbs towards the sky. The night starts early now, making me want to hibernate until the warm weather returns.

I face my very last week of treatment. Suffice to say I really cannot believe it. I will be zapped for the last time, see my surgeon for my six month follow-up and my oncologist for my one month follow-up. (I still can't get used to the fact that I have an oncologist...)

I am waiting for my hair to fill in. I can deal with the color, or should I say lack of color. What I am having issues with right now are my eyelashes. Correction, my lack of eyelashes. The lashes that are returning are white. Very white and very spiky. When they get some length, they curl and not in a good way. I find myself unable to keep some one's eye which in turn makes me feel uncomfortable almost as if I no longer have any confidence. I find it strange as I was fine with sporting a buzz cut, even a bald head. I know I just need to give it time but I never realized how much of "me" I identified with how I looked.

Ah time for "True Blood" - my newest televised fetish. Last episode of the season, guess will need to get my vamp fix else where. Guess I'll need to get in line to see "Twilight"!

Monday, November 10, 2008

7 More Days...!!!

This morning I was granted a brief reprieve from my jaunts to NYC as the NYU Cancer Center is undergoing a software upgrade. Only 7 days from now I will be facing my very last "zapping" and moving on to the next phase of my treatment which I hope does not entail weekly physician visits. It has been over six months since I have gone a full week without seeing some kind of doctor. Don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate all my docs, even really like them, but I just want to have a week without being scanned, 'scoped, zapped, or sitting in a waiting room!

The weekend was good - I was able to get my trail run in on Sunday and it was a beautiful morning to do so. Feeling some tightness on my left side; not sure if it is from the daily position I receive my treatment from or if it is from the treatment itself. I see the doctor tomorrow so will talk to her then about it. Spent Saturday helping my mom and aunts Lorna and Karen clean up my grandfather's house followed by dinner out. Greg and I also enjoyed dinner at my mom's Sunday evening too - it was nice to have a weekend spent with family.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Week #2 Completed

WHAT A WEEK!!! Obama has been elected our next President, I filled my car for under $50 and I have made it through another five days of trips to NYC to be zapped. Starting to feel a bit "tender" and realizing I need to be a bit smarter about my choice of attire! I get a brief reprieve Monday as the Cancer Center radiation department is closed for a software upgrade!

I am still experiencing weird side effects from chemo. My eyebrows continue to disappear with no signs of regrowth. I feel like Divine every time I use an eyebrow pencil. My lip gloss and mascara days are over! Also my fingernails look like I have some bizarre disease - white stripes (called Beau's lines for those of you who may be wondering!)showing each chemo treatment I received are clearly evident. Thankfully it is fall and I can carry off some dark polish.

No wild plans for the weekend although I do have a trail run planned that has me itching to put my running shoes on!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week 1 of Radiation Done...2 to Go!

We turned the clocks back last night and at 8:30 am the sun is shining brilliantly through our windows. I am watching on television the runners line up in Staten Island for the ING NY Marathon with feelings of jealously (I wish I was able to run that far) to happiness (they all look COLD!) and reflecting on the race I am nearing the finish line on - this fight that has taken over my life for the past six months and made 2008 fly by in a blur of physician appointments, drug names I had only heard of at work, and daily "hair growth checks" - I am rounding the corner now and can see the balloon arch floating above that glorious finish tape....

Week one of radiation is behind me. I really cannot complain as the staff at the Cancer Center has been incredible and the treatments themselves not bad. Greg found the website about the machine I am strapped to everyday: It is actually very cool - laser beams and moving into the exact positions every day.

Halloween was fun but we didn't have that many Trick or Treaters. My niece and nephews came over for a pizza dinner and we accompanied them to a few houses in the neighborhood. My sister-in-law was definitely in the spirit and was dressed as my brother's greatest fantasy: a Starbucks barista! ;-) My 17 year old cousin Kristen was dressed as what she called "punk", I cringed as saw her photo and realized her costume was pretty much what I sported daily back in the late 80's! Shelly made my day by sending me the link to Ministry's "Everyday is Halloween"; making me once again ask - "Why didn't we get on that tour bus? Oh yeah, final exams!" (That's for you Shell!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sad News

We learned today that the world has lost a beautiful woman. You may remember me talking about Susan. We both attended the wedding of our friends Meridith and Doug this past summer. Susan and I sported matching chemo ports and spent much time together talking about cancer, our challenges and our triumphs. Susan was dealing with a recurrence of a brain tumor. Me, I was going through my first round of chemo. We compared stories of pursuing adoption and how our diagnosis impacted the dream of motherhood. She was attentive and positive; graceful and striking. And now she is gone. She passed away Monday. Both Greg and I have been shaken to the core by this news - this is not supposed to happen to people in our "circle".

I struggle daily to check the fear I have about my cancer coming back. Every twinge, pain, discomfort sends a spike of terror through me as the thought of "It's back" or "It's spread" invades my mind. I ran the Poland Spring 5 mile marathon kick-off this past Sunday in NYC. It felt so good to move. It felt even better to cross the finish in under an hour - THANK YOU DENISE for running by my side and talking to me, pulling me through. As I crossed that line I admit it was tough, almost painful and I was quickly reminded of what I had been through over the past six months. Yet there was a brief moment when that fear - "oh, no it must be in my lungs" was there. I quickly brushed it aside and continued my day. I have spoken to other survivors who tell me this is normal, who tell me this will fade.

So the days pass and I feel different. I started radiation Monday and that has been quite the trip. I am tired but think it is attributable to my early morning commute into the city. The plus side is I get to select the music they play while I get zapped, so I have been listening to the Psychedelic Furs and The Smiths. It makes the fact that I am lying there half naked and alone with my arms restrained above my head a bit more tolerable! Truly, it isn't bad - the actual treatment is very fast and the staff at the NYU Cancer Center is incredibly nice - I just need to get past the fact I am being radiated. It is so weird! 3 treatments down 13 to go - I hope the days continue to fly by.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Scanned, Mapped and Ready to Go!

This week was another interesting one - they all are these days but I am thankful for each one that goes by! I am starting to feel better everyday. (When I say better, I mean less "chemicalized!) Coffee and chocolate taste okay again - not sure if that is a good thing though! I was able to run twice this week (THANKS AMY & JESS) - it felt so good to move even if it was pitch black and cold out and my eyes and nose kept running down my face - I felt a sense of plain giddiness that I was able to run three miles! How did I ever do 26.2? My hair is coming back and that too has been interesting. I'll post photos soon. May need to hold onto my wig longer than originally planned...

On Tuesday my friend Erin (THANK YOU!) accompanied me to the city to be my "sanity check" as I met with the radiology group who will become my newest friends as I begin to see them daily starting this coming Monday for my radiation treatments. I have found it is always good to have someone else with you to hear those things a nurse may say that you may not. Erin had questions for the nurse I didn't think of: what fabrics should I avoid? Is deodorant okay? In case you are wondering, cotton against the skin is best and deodorant is fine!

The nurse marked my skin with a sharpie marker and I had two CAT scans - one laying on my stomach, the other on my back. They would be comparing the percentage of heart and lung tissue that would be exposed to radiation and selecting the pose in which the least amount would be. Seems reasonable right? This is the clinical study I am in! This is not what they normally do! It will soon become the norm as the doctors evaluate the impact of three weeks of treatment as opposed to six which is currently the standard. I am so amazed by the research aspect being done about breast cancer. I am so grateful for all of those women who volunteered to be study subjects in the past - they allowed me to benefit by having only a lumpectomy; by only having 6 lymph nodes removed; and by changing the chemo protocol I was on. I hope that one day when three weeks of radiation is the norm someone is just as thankful for those of us who helped them get there!

The sharpie marks were covered with clear adhesive bandages and I was told they needed to remain there until Friday. Uh, okay - that was three days away but they stayed there! So, Friday morning I returned to the NYU Cancer Center to be tattooed and found out my treatments would be given while I lay face up, not what I expected but I'll get more detail Monday when I go for my first zapping. I was told I could expect some fatigue and possible reddening /thickening of the skin in the radiated area but that will all go away. I think the hardest part will be the commute to and from NYC!

Last, I do need to give a huge shout out to my sister-in-law Christine for an amazing Mexican meal that Greg and I so greatly enjoyed!!! THANK YOU!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn on Lake Edenwald

I had to post some photos of our pond and our cabin. This time of year it is so beautiful here!

Making Strides

The Park Awash in Pink

My Walking Attire!

What a weekend! I spent Friday afternoon recovering from my port removal. We had a wonderful dinner courtesy of my mom but I spent the evening on the couch. I awoke feeling pretty good on Saturday. It was a beautiful day! We drove up to the lake had dinner with Greg and Jean. We retired somewhat early as we had joined my oncologist's team to walk in the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides for Breast Cancer" in Central Park.

We arrived in the city by 9:15, found our group and were off. The day was bright and crisp. We walked the route with 30,000 people - sorry to say we quickly lost our team. Greg and I had fun walking together; we received many comments on my hair (PINK!) and his shirt (F*CK CANCER!). It was a five mile stroll through the park. We left the city en route to my mom's for lunch and met my Aunt Louise and her fiance - they seem very happy! My cousin Ryan was there with his wife Cathy and her daughter Alexis. Alexis is playing field hockey and her team (sixth grade) is undefeated. I played in high school and really loved the sport so figure we should go see a game! My grandfather was also there, Louise flew up from Florida so that she could drive back with him. I think Greg and I need a trip down there. The winter is going to be extra cold without any hair!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Metal Free!

It is official - I no longer have a foreign body embedded under my skin; my port was surgically removed very early this morning! YAHOO!!!!

Both Greg and my mom made the journey to NYU Medical Center with me. We left last night... just kidding. However 4:45am to me is still "last night"! - I was due there by 6:15.

I was awake for the procedure although they draped my body so I could not see anything. It was quick and painless. I wanted to keep my port, heck it has been part of me for about six months, but it needed to be sent to pathology. I can pick it up on a subsequent visit to the city if I so desire.

So, now I feel like chemo is really over! I am feeling a bit better every day. I do have to admit that since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month I am feeling a bit inundated with pink things everywhere (a pink mixer?) - I can't get away from it even when I do not want to think about it - but it is great to see the focus on this disease.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Chemo This Week!!!

What a week - and it isn't over yet!

I started the week off by being so sick I could not move. Not quite sure what happened; I was fine Saturday morning (even did a combo 4 mile walk/run with Jess) but started feeling weird as the day wore on. We had dinner plans with Lorna, Steve, Michael, Sarah and Kristen at the new Portobello. The restaurant is beautiful and I wish I could tell you about the food but I ended up having to leave I felt so bad. Greg drove me home and returned to Portobello; I dove into bed. I was so violently ill that poor Greg arrived home to find me in tears along with a mess to deal with. (...for better or worse...) I spent all day Sunday and Monday on the couch. Lorna brought me homemade chicken soup which I was able to keep down by Sunday night. THANK YOU!

I returned to work Tuesday but have not felt quite 100% since. I have been sleeping in (no AM walks or runs) and going to bed early. I keep waiting to feel better - I guess I will keep waiting!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

PHASE 1 - Surgery - done. PHASE 2 - Chemo - DONE!!!

Last Needle

Being Bubbled

Best Nurses - Eileen

Best Nurses - Beth

April 22 seems like a distant memory. 4/22 was the day of my lumpectomy. 4/22 was the day I learned my cancer had spread. 4/22 was the day I found out I needed chemotherapy. I found an oncologist I admired and trusted: Dr. Ruth Oratz. She was open and honest and ended my consultation with me by giving me a hug. I knew I was in the right place.

Since May I have been visiting her office; for past three months I have been there weekly. Each visit as I arrived, I was greeted with a smile from the front desk associates: Nancy and Anna. I was then greeted with another smile by a nurse, either Beth or Eileen. I never felt more cared for. These women pulled me through my treatments, made sure I was feeling okay and not just physically - they could tell when I was down or tired and trying to hide it. I knew I could always call them anytime (and I did!). I never felt like a "patient" - they made me feel like a person.

So it was with mixed emotion that I visited the office for my very last Taxol treatment. Greg was my partner - he was there for the first visit and was with me to celebrate my last. When the needle was withdrawn from my port for the last time, I was elated but at the same time overcome with sadness and fear. This had become routine. I knew I was being treated against further spread of cancer. Now what? How would I know I was really okay? Such a rush of emotions, I was in tears as we sat in Beth's office where I had been directed.

Beth and Eileen soon joined Greg and I and closed the door behind them. Beth told me they had a ritual for those who finished chemo: they got bubbled. And as she and Eileen began to blow bubbles all around me they spoke of the bubbles as each a wish for good health and happiness. They mentioned the optimism and spirit I showed as I underwent treatment and how it was an inspiration for all. They made me even more emotional - what wonderful, kind women they are. Everyone in the office is! I left yesterday a much different person then when I walked in almost six months ago.

I say I am different because I have now endured things I never imagine I would. Chemo - it is not fun, but you can learn to make the best of it. Being bald - well, that has at least been interesting! Breaking down due to fatigue and the low level chemical buzz my body seems to constantly have - I ran marathons, how could I be so tired? Having to ask for help - I am not too good at that but quickly learned it was okay. Being so moved I was/am at a loss for words by the actions of my friends and family who carried me through the past six months on thoughts, prayers, food, laughs, cards, calls, emails, etc. - I am eternally grateful.

I am not yet quite "done". My port will soon be removed - YAHOO! I then face three weeks of radiation. After 24 weeks of chemo, it will be a piece of cake. Then the biggest challenge of all - moving on and not letting the fear of recurrence take over my life. I'll be on Tamoxifen for five years to help with that. As, I said, I am a different person then I was six months ago. I am a person who has had cancer. I am a person who has survived the first steps of beating this disease. I am a person who has truly come to appreciate this thing we call life and all of those folks who are in it with me. My journey continues - I just can't wait to see where the road takes me next!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

For Better or Worse

The Normandy Inn

Girls on the Dance Floor

Pregnant Jess

Team Jane Hildebrandt

"Do you remember our wedding vows? About for better or worse?", I asked Greg as we sped down the Garden State Parkway towards Spring Lake - our destination for the weekend. As he said yes but looked at me with questioning eyes... I continued, "Well, I just realized I left my Neupogen in the fridge. At home. And since it is now 4:30pm if we turn around we will never make our dinner reservation." And rather than angrily turning the car around, or berating me for my forgetfulness, he simply said, "Call your nurse and see if it is okay to take it on Sunday rather than Saturday." Which I did and it was. As I sat back I realized just how happy I have been for the past five years married to this man. I figure if we have survived this far through 2008, the future should be a piece of cake!

We were headed to Spring Lake not only to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary, but to celebrate the marriage of our friends Lauren and James, both co-workers of mine. Wonderful people they are and their gathering of friends and family at The Breakers was full of happiness and joy. Greg and I were happy to share "our date" with them! They even played our wedding song for us - it was a nice evening.

We stayed at the Normandy Inn, pictured above. We walked the beach, walked into town and to dinner Friday night. It was a great weekend weather wise at the Jersey shore. I hope to return in May for the 2009 Spring Lake 5, one of the last races I ran this year.

The weekend was a busy one! The baby shower for my sister-in-law Jess was Saturday; I heard from Phil the funky onesies I sent were a hit! It was also the weekend of the Avon Walk to Cure Breast Cancer, and my co-worker Gina Gruhn along with three of her friends walked both Saturday and Sunday all over Manhattan together raising over $8000! Their team name was: Team Jane Hildebrandt! How cool is that? I hope to be able to participate myself next year! Thank you Gina and company!

I sure have a lot of plans for "next year"! However as my treatment draws to a close I cannot help but to think how good I am going to feel once all this is behind me!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

#11 Done - 1 MORE TO GO!!!

Well my 11th Taxol treatment is behind me - I feel pretty lousy but cannot help but be excited about the weeks ahead! Only one more week of Neupogen, two more weeks with my port. THE END IS NEAR!

I started the morning with three wonderful notes from my nephews and niece packaged in Starbucks cups - To quote Aaron, he wished me a "venti,venti good day"! Shelly was my chemo companion today and we had quite a visit. We laughed a lot; Shelly had brought along several pages of photos from our college days - could it have really been 20 years ago???

In the photo above I am holding a "collage" I had given her at graduation. Time flew by as we tried to figure out what the heck we found so funny about the words I had written! We wondered aloud about many of the folks we knew at BU and what may have become of them.

I came home and had to take a nap. I do have that nasty "chemo" feeling again but thankfully I had the distraction of work this week along with actually being able to run two mornings with Jess.

It has been an interesting week. We have watched the turmoil of the financial markets daily. The referendum I voted in favor for to fund upgrades to my town athletic fields passed - hooray! We learned that my Uncle George passed away (my dad's older brother) at age 64 from a heart attack in his sleep. George lived in Florida and was not close to the family. We did get to see him at my cousin Kristen's wedding in NH this past May. I spent a wonderful evening Wednesday with Denise at Admari tea shop in Midland Park learning about the finer points of Oolong. Even though I have felt pretty bad all week, the class was enjoyable and the tea was soothing on my system. Greg and I had two wonderful meals compliments of Lorna and Laurie (THANK YOU!!!) All along I have been struck incredulous that we are in 4thQ 2008 already - time has flown by. The leaves are turning bright colors quickly and Christmas items are starting to appear in the stores. I am trying to be sure to take time to notice the changes; life is such a gift and change is what makes it so exciting!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer.

Protect yourself with three easy steps:

Annual mammography (Starting at age 40) – If you have a family history of breast cancer or other concerns, check with your trained medical professional. S/he may advise you to start getting mammograms at an earlier age.

Clinical Breast Exam (Starting at age 20) – You should have a clinical breast exam by a trained medical profession at a minimum of every three years before age 40 and annually thereafter.

Monthly Breast Self Exams (Starting at age 20) – It is important to examine your breasts monthly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Taxol Treatment #10 - Placebo for Me

Thursday, September 25th - Today the Avastin clinical trial I was participating in was unblinded and (my heading gives it away) I am not on it. So, on the pro side: I do not need to continue infusions once every three weeks until May 2009; on the con: whatever benefits one may possibly derive from Avastin I did not receive. Hey, its the luck of the draw and all in the name of science. Someone has to be in the control group!

Taxol treatment #10 is now behind me - many thanks to John (Your ability to jump in last minute was greatly appreciated!) for making the early morning trek into NYC with me today. We had to brave rush hour due to a change in appointment time. Only two more to go!

My counts are all good. I can start running again - woo hoo! The week so far has been a relatively quiet one. One highlight was the NY Times article explaining the new protocol of radiation being that of which I am going to receive: three weeks. My doctor was quoted in the article. i have to admit that I get some satisfaction seeing my docs called upon as SMEs. (Subject Matter Experts). And, yes - I did schedule my port removal procedure! No more E.T. , well except for the missing hair and eyebrow...

The NJ weekend weather prediction is quit dire; rain and wind. The leaves are just starting to turn so hopefully the rain won't last and we can all enjoy autumn's splendor.

I added photos to my last post as well as more Disney photos to my post "The Most Magical Place on Earth"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Begins and the Countdown is On!

How can it be the first day of Autumn already? I suppose we have been a bit busy and have not paid attention to the days passing us by. I enjoy this time of year - crisp days and nights and the vibrant colors that begin to adorn our trees.

I do owe a shout out to my friend Tracey Rodgers-Lenge who was not only my chemo companion last week but also made us some awesome mac'n'cheese as well as gave us several wonderful meals from her husband Phil's pizza place - THANK YOU!!! Tracey can always make me laugh with stories about her two young sons or how it is to balance life as a pharmacist and mom. I had a great day. I realize I say that a lot about my chemo appointments but it is true! My counts were good and once again I had the honor of spending a chunk of time with a friend.

I must also mention the fabulous meals we received recently from Jacqui - her chicken and mac'n'cheese was great and a life saver when we returned home from Disney exhausted and hungry; along with Corrine Brewer who made a mini-Thanksgiving meal which was wonderful and my sister-in-law Christine who treated us to a Greek feast - Thank you all!!!!

Since my counts were good on Thursday we were able to trek on up to one of our favorite places, the Berkshires. We were there to celebrate Scott Levy and Sheryl Victor's wedding. We stayed in our favorite inn, The Red Lion, and spent Friday night at the rehersal dinner listening to good music provided by Scott's brother Kenny and his band "The Wandering Bards" (They play Jersey clubs and are worth a viewing: We retired early and I felt pretty good Saturday morning so we took a walk - I'll post photos once we down load them - but obviously pushed myself a bit as afterwards I needed a nap. We then joined the wedding "camp Day" at Camp Pontiac where we watched the three legged races, etc., joined the BBQ and quite enjoyed the bonfire. The wedding was held yesterday and was simply beautiful. The location was the Lenox Club and everything was just right - the weather, the vibrant colors, the music and food - it was a lovely event and Scott and Sheryl looked really happy.

When we returned home last evening, Christine had sent me an email with the link to a blog of her friend Jen - a fellow Cancer survivor:

(Jen SingerCreator:, a Forbes Best of the Web, Author: You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either) Blogger: Good Grief! for Good Housekeeping and Yahoo Shine)

I urge all of you to read - folks like Jen keep me inspired. I met her in the airport on the way to Disney as she is a Kinnelon resident. Her sense of humor about life was very evident as we spoke about losing our hair, growing it back, blogging,etc. Check it out (you most likely have to cut and paste into your browser as I cannot get the link to work!):

Only three more weeks of chemo to go! I admit I was really wishing I had hair this weekend. (Bonfires and wigs - not a good match) I do however, get to schedule the removal of my port this week; hooray! That alone should make it a great week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More photos from NYC Race for the Cure 2008

2008 Komen Race for the Cure

What a day!!! Over 24,000 people took to the streets of NYC to raise awareness for breast cancer - how awesome is that???!!! Many, many thanks to all of you who contributed to my fundraising campaign. With my outstanding checks included, I raised over $4000! YOU GUYS ROCK!!!

I walked side by side with so many special people: my mom, her friend Dolly, my "sisters" - Shelly and daughter Julia, Laurie, Jess, Terri, Denise, Jill, Chris, Patrice (my special guest all the way from Missouri) - Christine and my niece Hayden, Jeannie and Heather (Sorry we lost you!) as well as Terri's mom, Laurie's mom, and most importantly the one who has stood steadfastly at my side through the very worst of this, my husband Greg. Shout out to Aaron, Ethan and Bill for being the best sideline support - great signs guys!

Team Medco raised $20,000 - nice work! Kudos to Cathy, Kim, David, Dennis, Glenn, Jason, Indira, Kathleen and her daughter Ann and to Claudine for making it all happen; along with all the other Medco folks I may have forgotten. Being one who has been struck by this disease, I thank you all from the depths of my soul and bottom of my heart for giving up a Sunday and making the trek on a hot September day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Day of Remembrance

NYC was subdued yesterday. The traffic at the tunnel was light but the cross town traffic was pretty bad. I could not help myself but to stare at the Empire State Building as we drove by on 34th Street. There were NYC policemen and women everywhere and I had to believe it was a difficult day for them to be working the streets and scanning the skies.

My day started nicely; my mom was my chemo buddy for the day. She presented me with the "Ford Cares Warrior Scarf" to take with me as the doctor's office tends to always be cold. The chemo office was also quiet as Dr. Oratz was away but I was done quickly, as I only received Taxol.

From chemo we walked over to the NYU Cancer Care Center for my appointment with the head of radiation oncology there, Dr. Silvia Formenti. The good news is I qualify for three weeks of treatment instead of six and the even better news is a will participate in a trial that will allow them to do two CAT scans of me prior to starting therapy one while laying on my back, the other while on my stomach and this will allow them to measure precisely - measure what you might ask - measure how much of my heart and lungs fall away from the field to be radiated based on my positioning. (You may recall, my cancer was found on my left side) The very cool thing is this trial is being funded by COACH, so it is of course one I want to be in on even though the doctor advised no bags would be forthcoming! Was glad my mom was there to hear the doctor explain my options, as well she (my mom) had just seen Dr. Formenti speak on TV last weekend on a show talking about the Race for Cure. I was sold!

So I start radiation late October and should be done prior to Thanksgiving. I will have much to be thankful for this year!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Most Magical Place on Earth

I realize I have been somewhat delayed in my normal post schedule, however that is due to the fact I was visiting the mouse in Florida... I have been so fortunate! My aunt Debbie and Uncle Frank came down last week from NH to accompany on my trek to NY. It was so nice to see them! We had a lot of fun having dinner with my Bill and his family one night and the the next at my mom's joined by Christine and the kids. Work has been quite crazy lately, I jokingly told my peers there I was actually looking forward to chemo! I know, sick joke, but when I have such great people with me for each visit, it really isn't all that bad!

I'll post more about Disney later as I will be making my weekly trek to get my Taxol today but I am also going to see the radiation dept at NYU so please cross your fingers that I qualify for the three week protocol vs the six... My mom is my companion today. After today only 4 weeks to go!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Best Thing About Being Bald


September begins

Leaves are turning bright colors, yellow school buses abound, football returns to TV -I have always loved the fall and this year more than ever! Only 6 more chemo treatments to go!!!

Labor Day was great, we spent the day at Warwick Valley Winery with our neighbors Hank and Jessica, along with Laurie, Rodger, Rob and Robyn. Rob was able to show off his new Harley and Hank and Jessica were able to show off their new son - Gregory Jupiter. There was live music and a cool breeze. Nothing beats a day of great company in a beautiful setting.

I owe a shout out to Terri and Michael for a wonderful dinner Friday night; their kids are adorable and growing up so fast! Saturday evening we tried "Tiffs" along with my grandfather and my aunt Lorna. It was okay. Most likely will not rush back.

I had to post the photo of my nephew Ethan promoting the latest line of "green wear"; wigs!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who says chemo can't be fun?

Many thanks to Karen Mirrer for the excellent props! It seems somewhat strange to say I had a good time when referring to chemo therapy but I did! Thanks again Karen!!! Counts holding steady, and I am feeling good!

Also thank you to my sister-in-law Christine for the wonderful chili; to Art and Karen for dining with us even though I was not feeling my best, and to our neighbors Hank and Jessica for a wonderful dinner (although I think the kudos should actually go to Hank's mom who cooked!)

It has been a crazy week and the evenings are growing darker much earlier all of the sudden. I do enjoy the fall, nothing better than running on a crisp fall morning.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last Days of Summer...

Wow - August 26th already. Unbelievable. In some ways I am thrilled as the end of summer bring me closer to the end of my chemo treatments but on the other hand I am somewhat sad as this summer was a blur of trips to NY, feeling good and bad, and sticking close to home. I am already planning my summer of 2009!

Lots of good the past few days: we had our homestudy updated Friday so we hope our adoption procedings will continue as planned. We asked the social worker what turnaround time they are telling folks now and she said 29-30 months. That puts us at Sept/Oct 2009. We just have to wait and see.

I had dinner Friday at my mom's with "the girls" and laughed so much my stomach hurt. The food was great too and my mom gave me some beautiful flowers. Saturday I walked/jogged at the track in the morning which tired me out a bit so spent some time at my Aunt Lorna's sitting by the pool reading. We then got my badly needed shopping done. When are they going to put a Trader Joe's in Kinnelon? After stopping home to unload the groceries we stopped by Laurie and Rodgers for a quick hello as Rob and Robyn were there too. Saturday night was spent at Erin's for Lauren's bachelorette pre-party. It was a lot of fun and I was very envious when they all piled into a limo and took off for dinner and revelry in NYC. There is just no way I can stay out to 3 or 4am these days. Maybe once the port comes out... Ended the weekend with a very nice dinner at the beautiful home of Kathleen and John out in the country. (Clinton, NJ) The work they have done on their home is fabulous; Greg and I have always loved big old stone homes.

Back at work Monday and all I can say is my days there fly by as I am pretty busy. Karen M. will be my "chemo companion" this week! The countdown continues!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Chemo treatment #9 is done! My day started out great - I was deemed worthy of gold by my niece Hayden, as you can see by the medal I am wearing in my photo, for being Top in Category: "Being an Aunt". In fact, my nephew Aaron even said, "...when it come to aunting, you are like Michael Phelps and swimming..." - Ethan sent me a great card too!

Chris Melone accompanied me today - how great to spend some time with her! My counts were good - WOOHOO! Dr. Oratz told me I could even start running again, albeit slowly, but actually running!

Lastly - my hair is growing back!!!! It is white - like a fine peach fuzz but it is hair! I have read that it comes back without color first with pigmented hair coming in a bit later. Can't wait to have my buzzcut back and to see what color my real hair is!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Suddenly Sunday

The weekend started out all right: Friday night my mom brought me a beautiful basket of flowers, Jess dropped off an elaborate salad, and we had a wonderful dinner at Lorna's. Off to a good start right?

Saturday morning was beautiful. We drove down to Flemington to meet Greg's friend Doug, his wife Karen and their two girls, MacKenzie and Kylie for breakfast. (They were in NJ visiting family; they live in Minnesota.) We had a very nice time; the girls are beautiful and very entertaining! After breakfast we walked around the outlets for a bit picking up some cool baby outfits for our new neighbor, Gregory Jupiter Jones (Cammos for newborns - who knew?).

As we headed north we heard from our friends Laurie and Rodger who were in the midst of their annual family party and we planned on stopping by. I fell asleep in the car on the drive back and when we arrived home did not feel quite right. I thought perhaps I needed to eat something, but no, that did no make me feel better. I then thought perhaps a short nap would snap me out of it. Greg woke me up about 3 hours later and all I wanted to do was sleep. Not sure why I was feeling so fatigued but figured I best go with it. So, needless to say we missed Laurie and Rodger's gathering along with my dear friend Antoinette's 40th celebration. Our neighbors Hank and Jessica - parents of the aforementioned Gregory Jupiter - took pity on Greg and invited him over for dinner. Greg woke me to try to get me to eat but food was just not appealing to me. I tried to sleep but could not so spent the later part of evening laying on the couch just watching to the Olympics.

So as my post title states, it was suddenly Sunday. I had accomplished nothing on Saturday. I was feeling good so started laundry, etc. while Greg tended to the lawn. Phyllis called and I decided I was up to lunch at her beautiful new house. The chores could wait! We had a good time having lunch with her and Mike; they are so happy! From the south we traveled north and spent an enjoyable evening having dinner with Greg's Dad and Jean. It was a beautiful night on the lake and the grilled meal was perfect. The highlight of the evening was my Greg receiving some vintage Star Wars toys from Jean And Greg Sr. He smiled the entire drive home!

Was able to walk with Amy this AM and now it is off to work ! I look forward to chemo this week as after this treatment I will finally be at that place in my treatment plan where I have less cycles still facing me than I have already had! That light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mingling with the Masses

Ah, freedom, sweet freedom! Yes, my white blood cell count has rebounded and I am free to leave the house. Okay, so I left the house once or twice, but now I can even go to a restaurant or Whole Foods and not wear gloves and a mask! (No, I never did that - but the thought did cross my mind!)

I started Thursday morning off by opening the front door of the cabin and seeing the signs in photo above stuck in my front yard. I laughed out loud! I knew right then and there it would be a good day, I mean really, how could my day go wrong with a beginning such as that?

Jess was my chemo bud (Thank you!). At my oncologists's office, we met a woman going through chemo for the 1st time. She will be on the same drug protocol I am so I gave her my phone number and told I'd be happy to talk if she needed to. She may have thought I was nuts handing over my number to a total stranger, but I found that talking to folks who had been through what I was now experiencing put my mind at ease when I was freaking out! We were then able to have lunch with my brother who is located just a few blocks away.

My evening was capped off by Denise bringing us some homemade beefstew! As I said - it had to be a good day! I'll be returning to the office Monday.

ONLY 8 MORE CHEMO TREATMENTS TO GO!!!!! If keeping with my marathon comparison, I am at mile 13.1 and just hitting my stride! 13.1 more to go!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bubble Girl

Tomorrow it will be a week since the start of my chemo induced exile and I have:

1. Become addicted to the Olympics
2. Refolded everything in my drawers
3. Learned just what it must be like to have OCD

Seriously folks I know I need to take it easy and all but I am praying my counts are good and I can, at minimum, go to the grocery store! (Althought I have to admit, shopping using the Peapod delivery service is quite nice and also there is Mom's delivery service which can't be beat - homemade soup and flowers, not to mention a supply of antibacterial gel and bug spray!)

I have been able to walk outside which has been has been quite comfortable. I am hoping my iron counts are good so I may even return to some light running. My brother, my niece and nephews along with Amy and Jess have kept me company walking, it is nice to have human interaction! Keeping my fingers crossed for Thursday!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Taxol treatment #3 is now behind me - thankfully!

My friend Maureen joined my today - it was great to see her and have her company! The bad news today is my WHITE blood cell count has crashed to a dangerous low. Just when I got my iron counts under control! I almost did not have my infusion today which would have been a major downer since I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel; I mean I am finally in the single digits when it comes to remaining weeks of chemo: NINE!!! HOORAY!

Anyhow need Neupogen ASAP and will use that to try to get my counts back up but in the meantime no malls, no movies, no restaurants and no office. I also need to be very careful about who comes to visit. So while this interlude may be good for my pocketbook, (maybe not - internet shopping still works!), I may lose my mind!

I am at just over $900 towards my goal of $1500 for the Komen NYC Race for the Cure. THANKS EVERYONE! Also, so many folks are walking with me, it is going to be great! My mom, Christine and Hayden, Jess, Shelly and her daughter, Jeanie and Patrice will all be walking with Team Medco. I am glad the team is open to "outsiders!" I have decided I will walk bald. I'll wear my pink wig for the Team Medco photo (I do not need my bald head posted on Medco's intranet)and then remove it for actual walk. I also plan on wearing my F*CK CANCER shirt so will need to make sure I am in the back row for photo as well! Be sure to check back here for photos! The Race for the Cure is 9/14 - again I'll ask you to please join us or consider supporting us!

Monday, August 4, 2008

August Already

It is yet another Monday morning and thankfully I am feeling well. In fact, my 2nd Taxol treatment was not that bad. I had some achiness Saturday and Sunday but taking some ibuprofen and a nap seemed to do the trick.

We did a bunch of nothing this weekend which tends to be just what I need these days. We kicked off Friday evening with a long walk and dinner made by my friend Terri. Saturday came and went with rain, I did a lot of reading! Sunday was beautiful, cool and breezy. We spent the morning at the New Jersey State Fair (See giant sand sculpture photo above) with the Haggertys. How can you not feel good at a carnival? So many colors, sounds, smells - it is sensory overload! Sydney and Sarah always make me laugh so it is good to be around them. I was sad I could not go on the rides this year due to the location of my port and most over the shoulder restraints but I'll be back next year! Also, the dietary offerings leave a it to be desired when not all that much tastes good! Pizza always seems to work. I tired quickly from walking around in the sun and after a quick stop at my mom's (who gave us homemade beef and barley soup - Dinner! Thanks Mom!) headed home and took a much needed nap.

This week chemo is on Wednesday. It was great to spend time with Tracy last week, this week I'll get to spend some with my friend Maureen. Treatment should go rather quickly as all I need to receive is the Taxol. No Benadryl and no study drug. Ten more treatments to go...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye to July!

Tomorrow brings Taxol treatment #2. My friend Tracy, a former Medco now J&J employee will be my "chemo companion". It will be good to see her and spend some time with her!

I have had a good week thus far: Sunday morning I was able to meet my friend Chris at Starbucks and catch up in person and ended the night with the Boss: a great way to kick-off the week! Felt good enough to go into the office Mon, Tuesday and today; Had dinner At the PQ diner Monday night courtesy of Denise (THANKS!), Tues. night tried to see Mamma Mia with my mom but it was sold out, however we did get to have pizza and Dairy Queen (vanilla soft serve is one sweet thing I can tolerate; no cone though...) I was able to walk with Amy in the morning today and this evening was treated to a delicious dinner compliments of Corrine Brewer, my sister-in-law's mom.. (THANK YOU - the blueberry/rhubarb cobbler was perfect - not too sweet!); and I also learned this week that my "sister" Patrice will be flying in from Missouri to do the Komen walk with me on 9/14 - how cool is that? I have know Patrice for many years; we met while each working at our respective BCBS plans. During that time we were often mistaken for sisters or as each other! I am thrilled she will be visiting us!

I am hoping to find out tomorrow what I might take to alleviate my bone aches as well to begin the discussion around my radiation treatments, as in where and for how long. I am still sporting my Lex Luthor look and suffering the metallic taste in my mouth but so thankful not to have the constant internal discomfort I dealt with the last drug mix!

Based on my comments above, I am guessing I won't have to worry that I have lost any weight this week! I also am hopeful that my iron count stays where it was last week or if it moves, goes up! Number 2 for Taxol here I come, then only 10 more to go!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Phase 2 - Taxol

Well I have started phase 2 of my chemo treatment. On 7/24 my friend David accompanied me for my 1st round of Taxol. David was a trooper as I warned him of the possibility my iron would be too low and I would require a transfusion or I might have an allergic reaction to the Taxol that would cause me to have difficulty breathing.. and still he drove from NYC to pick me up, drove me back to the city for treatment and returned me back to NJ - as I have said, my friends are a pretty amazing bunch! My brother stayed at my house Thursday night since Greg was in San Diego for Comicon 2008. He (Greg, not my brother!) brought me home a great Amanda Connor Supergirl print - THANK YOU Amanda! You rock! I really wanted to go this year with all the DK hype but will wait until 2009. Besides - 2009 will be the year of the Rat...

The treatment itself was a non-event but by Friday afternoon I was definitely feeling it. Very different from my A/C cocktail, I felt an overall ache in my bones - I mean even my teeth hurt! No nausea thankfully but that weird metallic taste did come back. My achiness lasted until Sunday when I awoke feeling quite normal. Greg and I enjoyed a quintessential Jersey summer event Sunday evening at Giants stadium; we took in the 1st of 3 Springsteen concerts. After hearing "Janey don't you lose heart" I knew it was time to call it a night even though the Boss rocked on until midnight. Yes, there are times when I am 100% Jersey girl!

Back at work today and felt okay. Chemo is weekly now so return to the city Thursday so not looking forward to the return of the "aches" but will inquire as to what, if anything I might take to relieve the pain. This will be treatment #2 of 12 - the end is finally in sight! In fact, Greg had suggested I look at my treatment like running a marathon since I have done two of those. So when I did the math I figure I am past the 10K mark...I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and soon I'll be at that glorious finish line!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bald is Beautiful!

It has been a while since my last post due to my escape to Cape Cod. Greg and I spent five wonderful days with my Dad and Linda. We walked the beach every day, floated in their new pool to cool down from the heat, shopped in P-Town, visited Dad and Linda's oyster beds, ate wonderful meals and spent time with my brothers as well. Of course we also caught the latest Batman film - which was excellent, a must see!

The highlight of our stay was the Saturday evening festivities at the house. My Uncle Frank and Aunt Debbie came down from NH along with their daughter Kristen and her new husband Andrew. Grandma Marty was there with her grandson Andy too. We had a great time eating pond side in my Dad's backyard and listening/dancing to Abba.(Who needs Mamma Mia!) After dessert and a swim for the boys it was head shaving party #2! All my brothers, my Dad, my uncle, and both Andy's joined in as Greg acted as barber. I removed my wig for photos - with so many good looking bald heads, who needs hair? (You can click on the photos for a close-up!) I have to say - you guys sure know how to make a girl feel loved! A big thank you to all!!!