Friday, February 27, 2009

PJ Party

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - When I was going through my breast cancer treatment, I was exhausted. Really, that’s not a strong enough word but it is about all we have to describe extreme weariness. As a result, of course, my housework suffered. My treatments are finished now, but somehow my house is still a mess…but that’s really a story for another time. Today I want to introduce you to cancer services that are cropping up all across this country. These service providers help women going through breast cancer treatment by supplying them with help for the basics. Lawn mowing, housecleaning, laundry services, etc., - things that you just don’t have the energy to do after chemo, but still it needs to be done. Cancer service assistants match volunteers with very grateful patients. This evening, I am going to a ‘pink pj party’ in Indianapolis – a fundraiser for Indiana Women In Need, who provide exactly these great deeds at no cost. I will be wearing my pjs (Vera Bradley pj pants, of course), dining, chatting, and standing in awe of people who are so willing to give of themselves to help others. Thank you to everyone who helps in such a way – and to those of you who think you might be able to spare an hour every now and again, feel free to look up your local cancer services provider. Tell them you are ready to help a weary woman when she really needs it the most!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Last act

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - You know you have a short time to live; you know this because you have the wisdom, the history, the years spent trying to cure the very disease which has now taken hold of you. Decades of being an oncologist and researcher allow you the insight to know all the signs. What do you do with this information if you have it? Would you call a dear friend to help prepare your memorial service? Your first day in hospice care, would you order Valentine’s gifts for your sweetie to make sure she got them even if you weren’t there? Dr. Stephen Williams, oncologist, spent his last days like he has spent so many days before that: thinking of and caring for others. The items he purchased? Vera Bradley bags in Hope Garden – bags that give a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer. Thoughtful, even with his choice of gifts. We will miss you, Dr. Williams. Thank you for all you have done for cancer patients. And thank you, too, Mrs. Williams, for sharing this story with us – and for sharing your sweetie with so many.

Friday, February 13, 2009


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - It was this day in 1975. I was a young girl as I watched my neighbors’ television and was totally awed by what I was watching. There was a lady with this sassy little haircut, a great smile and the most fantastic outfit skating around a rink in Innsbruck, Austria. She won the gold, of course, that Dorothy Hamill, and was immediately elevated in my mind to the area I have put so many people: untouchable. I knew that I would never get to meet her, never get to tell her that I went into the bathroom the next day and cut off all of my hair (sorry, mama) just to look like that. She was untouchable to me as any other celebrity, politician or any historic figure that I would like to say hello to but will never ever get the chance. Last January, however, she entered my world without even knowing it. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. That trusted American sports icon joined the sisterhood of so many of us, and my mind went to the irony of that situation. I will still never meet her, never get to give her a hug but we have walked the same path, she and I. She wasn’t the first olympic skater to have cancer – Peggy Fleming and Scott Hamilton have also faced this disease. Since my treatment, however, I now get to hang out with amazing ice skaters and even future olympic skaters, and what a blessing that is. I think it’s good to know that while we may not get to meet everyone we admire, we can still include them in our thoughts and prayers – you never know who might be taking the same journey as you!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Strength of heart

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - It’s wear ‘red day’ today – helps point out the fact that heart disease is a huge issue for women. I wanted to mention this for a few reasons; first and foremost; while finding a cure for breast cancer is my mission, there are other causes that need attention as well. The second reason is one you may not know about yet. When it was determined that I had to undergo some fairly rigorous chemotherapy sessions, the first thing they checked was my heart. Why? While my big brother stated it was ‘just to check to make sure you had one’, it was really to make sure that my heart was strong enough to handle the strain of those drugs. Certain types of chemotherapy are so intense, so truly toxic that they cause heart damage. If I am ever to go another round with that nasty cancer, I will have to use different medicines as I have already used the maximum amount allowed during one lifetime. So now I have heart flutters, weird palpitations, stuff like that. It stops me in my tracks every time I feel it – just waiting to make sure it stops acting that way. I think its important that we all look at the big picture when we consider donating to charities. Sometimes by curing one disease, you may actually help a small portion of people affected with another disease as well. I heart you all!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Next Generation

Huntington, Indiana. It is bittersweet, really, but I like to focus more on the ‘sweet; that’s just the way I am. Do you know how impressive it is when young people embrace a cause? The young ladies from the Huntington University’s basketball team showed such enthusiasm - yes, they even wore pink socks!! This new generation of women taking up this fight is so heartwarming. Look at that amazing amount of money raised during one game!! It goes without saying, however, that I hope with all of my heart that by the time that handsome little son of mine is in college, it will be a completed mission.