Friday, January 31, 2014
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Please check out foobie fitness for post-mastectomy exercises.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Four years ago today I married the love of my life. We had only met five months prior, but the connection between us was there from the beginning. I took on a part time job as a hostess at the restaurant where Jason worked. I was recovering from my annual case of bronchitis, but went to work anyway because I needed to make extra money to cover the $300 cost of the doctor bill and prescriptions. I decided to have some French onion soup to soothe my sore throat before my shift started (this vegetarian didn’t realize it was made with beef broth). I chatted with a few coworkers as I enjoyed my beefy “vegetarian” soup. Jason came over to join us, and we engaged in casual conversation.
To this day, Jason insists this was the first time we met. However, we actually met a few weeks prior around my second week. He came up to the hostess stand and introduced himself. “I’m JC… or you can call me Jason. It doesn’t matter.” Later on that evening he helped me rearrange tables for a large party coming in. He doesn’t remember this though.
A few weeks later we had our first date. Two months later we moved in together. Three months later we were married. We didn’t have a big wedding. It was just the two of us. Plain and simple. That was all we needed.
There are people who say that everything happens for a reason. You find love when you aren’t looking. Sometimes God sends a person into your life when you least expect it, but need it the most. They may stay in your life for a few days, months, a lifetime or a just a few short moments. Jason came into my life during a time when I was doubting whether or not there were any decent men left in the world, or if I would ever find someone who would respect me and love me and complete me. All of my struggles prior to meeting Jason suddenly made sense because each decision I ever made, whether it be good or bad, ultimately led me to him and our happiness.
Jason and I balance each other. In situations where I become the control freak and worry, he remains calm, laid back and reminds me that everything will be okay (which it usually is). From the moment I received my BRCA test results he was by my side assuring me that everything will be alright (which it is). He was by my side at every doctor appointment he could be at holding my hand. He stayed with me during my two night hospital stay after my mastectomy sleeping on a reclining chair that made sleeping on a rock look more comfortable.
These past four years have been the best years of my life. I have an amazing husband, a sweet little boy and I no longer have the fear of breast cancer looming over my head. Life is good.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
ABC News Interview: http://www.abcactionnews.com/dpp/news/health/locals-react-to-angelina-jolies-decision-to-have-a-double-mastectomy-to-avoid-breast-cancer
Tampa Bay Times Interview: http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/angelina-jolies-decision-draws-praise-from-tampa-bay-patients-physicians/2120976
Angelina Jolie's Op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?_r=0
Monday, May 6, 2013
I was contacted recently through my RainyGenes blog by a man named Cameron whose wife was diagnosed with mesothelioma 8 years ago. He asked if I would share is story on my blog. I am more than happy to spread awareness of any type of cancer whether it be breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer or mesothelioma. Cancer doesn't discriminate no matter what form it comes in.
Here is Cameron's story...
My wife Heather and I were an ordinary couple with an infant daughter Lily in November of 2005. That was when our life took a most unexpected turn after Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma. It was a frightening time, since neither of us knew how the disease would proceed, but I did my best to stay strong for her and to support her as best I could as she began to undergo the necessary treatments.
A cancer diagnosis throws a monkey wrench into a typical life. Instead of going to work every day, our hours became consumed with traveling to see doctors and specialists for consultations and treatments. It was time-consuming and scary, and Heather had to endure the physical challenges of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Meanwhile, I had to take care of her and Lily and provide her with the emotional strength that she needed in order to get through this difficult period. My perspective changed, and my ideas about what was important in life altered radically.
Throughout the whole process, I became much more aware of how precious time with our loved ones is. Now that Heather has miraculously come through her ordeal and is cancer-free, I treasure every moment that we have together. I also have taken the opportunity to return to school and study Information Technology, a challenge for which Heather's illness equipped me, since I learned so many lessons about time management and dealing with stress during her illness.
I also learned that as much as I wanted to provide everything that Heather needed, I could only do so much. That is something that every caregiver should keep in mind, especially when an illness comes up unexpectedly as this one did. I had no qualifications or expectations that I would be assisting my wife in this manner, but it became my daily reality. While I don't regret that for a minute, I learned that a caregiver has to be willing to count on others for support during these times. We would have had a hard time managing if it hadn't been for all of the friends and relatives who generously offered their time and resources.
Allow others to help in a time of crisis is not weakness. It is merely a part of being human. As terrible as Heather's cancer was for both of us, it brought us a deeper appreciation for the bonds of friendship and love that exist among us and so many other people. Despite the terrifying odds that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis, Heather is still here, healthy and cancer-free over seven years later. She refused to take her diagnosis as a death sentence, and because of that she has been able to see our baby daughter grow into a beautiful little girl. We are so thankful for everything we’ve been blessed with, and we hope that our story of success over cancer can be a source of hope and inspiration to all those currently fighting cancer today.