Friday, March 30, 2012

Better!



The beautiful thing about a new cancer drug discovery is that it has just begun. Patients have only just started to use it, so it's healing potential is just in it's infancy.

While almost every medication had side effects, cancer meds are the ruling class in side effects. They can rend asunder even the most fit of bodies - that's why when people call us "survivors", they mean it!  

A news story today caught my eye. The famed Herceptin has been a life saver (yes, literally) to many many people. But now there is another new kid on the block, following in her footsteps.  

This one, as advancing medicine often is, just has a few more bells and whistles. This one has lessened some of the tricky side effects! Now that may not seem to be a Herculean accomplishment or big news to many of you, but to me and my fellow patients, it's huge. Because it just shows we can all just keep doing the same thing.

Keep.doing.better.  :)


Photo: Getty Images

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kelley





TIPP CITY, INDIANA -  Years ago, my sweet friend Kelley came to a Vera Bradley sales event and saw a video. That video featured my daughter, Alexandra.

Alex shared the fact that someone with a serious illness does not go through it alone. In fact, the family of that person lives the experience as well as their friends, neighbors - even our pets! It is a great video, but the kid is the highlight.

Kelley thought so as well. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she told me how Alex was the inspiration for her to get involved. She had a daughter not that much younger and it broke her heart to think all that Alex has endured. So she started an event in her town. 

It had now grown substantially. One of the biggest outside fundraisers, it has taken over the whole town! Stores, restaurants, even entire streets get involved!

And this year, as a special treat, Alex herself will be in the fashion show. With little Ava. So the girl who's mama has cancer can be with the girl who's mama is working so hard to make a change through What a Girl Wants: Fashion for a Cure:) 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cheese!


AUBURN, INDIANA - There is something about quilters - they have big hearts and talented fingers. I have a friend who has made a quilt to benefit the Foundation for several years now, and her art is such a gift.

I spoke to this delightful group of quilters recently, and I'm proud to say that this year I did not touch any of them without a glove on. (That's a big no-no in the textile art world, just so you know ...)

When I was done speaking, I asked just one question. Then I took this photo. The question?

Who wants cancer to be CURED? :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Beauty





CALIFORNIA - Late Saturday night, I received an amazing note from a friend I've not seen in quite some time. It was simple, elegant and uplifting - an exact replication of my friend. It said: 

"I wanted to share this quote with you. It reminds me so much of you and all the other survivors I've met."

Here is the quote he liked, and I wanted to just pass it on to you. I've chosen my friend and fellow patient Devon for this blog post. Beauty, indeed. 

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Backup


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA -  Since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a Pip. As in, the backup singers for Gladys Knight. My mom, God love her, chose only to tell me that the reason I might not be considered was that the fabulous Ms. Gladys only used her relatives for that job. Sadly, we were not related. That did not stop me from learning ALL the words and moves for "Midnight Train to Georgia".  (Come on, you know you are saying whoo whooo in your head right now ...)

Sometimes, we get to realize a tiny bit of our dreams if we are lucky. This past weekend, I went to a pink pajama party to raise money for breast cancer patient services. Indiana Women In Need hosted this fundraiser and as always, it was moving. Touching. Emotional. And indescribably FUN. This annual event is always rocked by an amazing band. The band always gets the ladies in pink moving on the dance floor – just so much fun.  So a tiny bit of my dreams came true.

Gladys wasn’t there, but I went up on stage with the band and danced with the horn line. I blended in. Totally. ☺

Just kidding, I was totally goofy but I had fun. That’s kind of the entire mission of IWIN. To be in the background, but letting people have fun. Women who are going through treatment need someone just to be backup. If they need money for gas, for lawn maintenance, for so many things – IWIN is there. There are so many similar organizations all over. I strongly recommend that you do a little research. And then donate. You, too, can be backup. (And keep dancing!)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Paint



TRINITY, FLORIDA - I painted a canvas. No, it was not a spectacular success. No, I have not left my job to pursue the artistic realm. No, I did not spill on my clothes, thank you so much for asking. But YES, a big resounding YES for this – I had fun.

I was with  a fellow Vera Bradley employee and dear friend, Renee. We were at a Painting with A Twist studio location who was doing a fundraiser for our foundation. As you know, I dabble in pottery painting, because of my love for our friends at the CCSA and my introduction to them via their fundraiser. I enter as a untalented novice, and leave the same. :) But when I leave, I have new friends. Sincerely – people that contact me personally, people that inquire after my children, know my dog’s name, understand my endless passion for this mission. 

But canvas painting? I thought there was no/way/possible that this could work. Couldn’t I just use a stamp of some kind? But they have a really cool method for getting you up and running. “Just put the paint on the brush and GO” said our instructor. And drink your wine, that will help, she said. (Note for my doctor, I didn’t have wine. I know the rules of my cancer meds and I won’t break them!)

Anyway, we painted. We laughed, and we hugged. There were college girls, retirees, middle aged soccer moms. Every color of the rainbow was represented, and I don’t mean in acrylic. I mean in humankind. As a result, all of our paintings were different. Unique examples of who we are. I want to say a big THANK YOU to the PWAT team, so many studios across the country participated. It was a great evening, and I highly recommend you give it a whirl. You never know who might end up sitting at the easel next to you!