A Woman Without A Flag

June 22nd, 2008

Ovarian Cancer Awareness FlagWe have no right to ask when sorrow comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way. ~Author Unknown

How do I write this post without it sounding like a sob story? I certainly don’t want to sound dramatic but at this moment, this very moment I feel as if I’m going to lose it. Completely lose it. I’m about five seconds from having a nervous breakdown. Thank God it only takes about 30 minutes for the Xanax to kick in.

Yes, I am taking tranquillizers. You would too if you were me, I’m pretty sure of it and certainly if after the visit I had with my doctor on Friday. It’s going to take a heap of healing yoga AND tranquillizers for me to remain calm. I don’t believe that I have that much inner sanity left. Perhaps I do, but at this moment I’m finding it difficult to channel it.

My sanity has left the building. Should you see it, please send it home.

(Dude is testing the remain .5 ounces of it by incessantly banging pots and pans in the kitchen…please tell him to stop before I go ballistic…thanksomuch.)

Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out.

O.K.

I realize I probably sound like a deranged lunatic but bear with me because this is just outrageous and unbelievable…at least to me.

Something I try NOT to do in relation to my illness is get all technical and medical because it’s not necessary. I get the information from my doctor and educate myself thoroughly so that I’m on top of my game and so that I understand what they are saying to me. I do LOTS of research. It’s all part of MY game plan in this fight.

So far, so good.

Everything was pretty cut and dry up until a couple of weeks ago when the doctor told me I had a rare form of stomach cancer. I felt relieved that there was an answer to the mystery puzzle we were trying to solve and that I finally fit into some kind of cancer “category”.

I also felt like I had a new color, a new ribbon and a new flag…

For four years I’ve had a teal ribbon awareness flag in my garden in support of ovarian cancer awareness. I’ve spoken to at least 100 women, if not more about ovarian cancer. It’s been my flag to fly. Two weeks ago I took down that teal flag and replaced it with a periwinkle ribbon awareness flag…periwinkle, the color of stomach cancer. My new flag to fly.

Then I went to see the doctor on Friday and he had the written pathologists final report.

This is where I break my rule of being all technical and medical…just this one time and only this one time,

“The overall impression is this is a cyst papillary adenocarcinoma of unknown primary that could very well represent a primary urachal carcinoma or a carcinoma derived from other embryonic rests in the region. It is the opinion of this pathologist that the two processes, though they may be related in some distant way via propensity represent 2 different primary processes.”

Edit: I also have a CEA marker that measured 57.8 and a C125 marker that measured 318. The CEA marker would indicate that I have colon or gastric cancer. The CA125 marker would indicate that I have a reproductive cancer. The two together indicate that I have something rare in correlation with the pathologist’s report.

So, what does that mean? It means that I have a very, very, very, very rare cancer that no one has ever seen and no one knows how to treat. And there is a reason I’ve put all that information in this post. I’m hoping by some freak chance a rockstar oncologist or rockstar oncology researcher is going to search the Internet looking for THIS CANCER because they have the answers I need, the cure I need.

In the meantime I’m searching for a rockstar oncologist. I’m hoping that I find him/her in New York City in two weeks. If not in NYC, then maybe in Boston. And GOD, please tell me there is some foundation out there that helps people like me, who have been laid off, denied unemployment and cannot collect Social Security…with funding to travel.

I’ve never asked “why me?” but c’mon. Why? How do I make sense of this? How do I get the doctors to stop saying, “I’m sorry, I’m so very sorry.” How do I get them NOT to give up on me?

Am I suppossed to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to die? Is that what I’m suppossed to do now? I can’t do that. I cannot walk around with my heart in my throat when I look at my two children knowing the clock is ticking and that every moment I have with them is a “last moment” because that’s where my heart is right now.

Fuck me, I don’t even have a flag anymore. Exactly what am I suppossed to do with the new flag in my garden now?

Be My Guest

June 20th, 2008

Well my friends we are quickly approaching Act II of the show called “Chemotherapy”.  It’s that time already where I have to repeat that ugly cycle of sitting still for three to four hours while I receive chemo through an IV.

But wait, there’s more.  Next Thursday I’m having surgery before chemo!  Isn’t that exciting?  I’m thrilled to the nines!  I’m having a port “installed” so that it will be easier to receive chemo and not excruciatingly painful like the first time.  I have the feeling next Thursday will be funtastic!

By Saturday I can guarantee that the nauseating, tired cycle of sleepiness begins and lasts for a few days.

I’m not complaining.  In fact I’d like you to be my guest.  No, not at my house to watch me sleep unless of course you’d like to keep my children entertained or bring chicken soup.  I’d love to have some guest posters.  You would have free reign to write about ANYTHING you want.

If you are interested first make sure you are a registered user, then just leave a note in the comments or send me an email at [email protected].

Thanks for helping me out!

Yoga Now

June 19th, 2008

What is possible? What you will. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

The blogging community, once again has amazed me. Just when I think the entire Internet has lost it’s mind over scandal you come along with support…OVERWHELMING support and wow me…AGAIN.

I’ve always wanted to take yoga but I never took the time to do it. There was always studying to do for school or a conflicting class schedule or the kid’s karate schedule or SOMETHING. Excuse after excuse.

Now more than ever is the time to do the things that are good for my body, mind and spirit. Now more than ever is time for me to do the things I’ve been putting off.

First you helped me do the biggest thing on that list and that was to take Cam and Teenie to Disney World. I just started making the scrapbook from our trip so that they will always have a book of full of memories to remind them of the best vacation, the best time and all the love we shared during that trip.

That trip changed our family and brought us closer together. The relationships between us became stronger as a result of spending seven days…24 hours each of those seven days…together. We came home and still LIKED each other. If it were not for you I would never have had that time with my family.

Then there have been the past 24 hours…

I love making bracelets. Especially awareness bracelets. I try to make them as pretty and as simple as I can so that they can be worn every day. I also don’t make anything I wouldn’t wear. There have been plenty of times I’ve made a bracelet and thought, “ewwww, I wouldn’t let and old lady wear that!”. O.K. so they don’t come out that bad but I’ve been known to rip bracelets apart and start over again.

So, yesterday I put some bracelets up for sale and there is just one left. I even took some extra orders because I’m accommodating like that. Some of you were very, very generous and donated money because you either don’t wear jewelry or because you could.

To be honest, I didn’t think more than one bracelet would sell.

Because of you I can take yoga for 12 weeks, pay for 5 rounds of chemotherapy co-payments and 3 months of medication co-payments.

I’m not sure if you can possibly understand the magnitude of all of that. That’s life, I mean LIFE SAVING for me. So essentially if you purchased a bracelet, an anklet or if you made a donation you helped save my life.

That’s totally not what I expected to happen.

Once again I find myself in a position where I’m not sure how to thank you. I can’t bake a cake but I can keep kicking cancer’s ass and keep fighting.

Now, if I could only ENROLL in the yoga class. I’ve left THREE messages today and no one has returned my calls. I was hoping to start tonight, because I’m impatient like that. It’s just that I’ve waited so long to do this, like years, that I really don’t want to wait any longer.

If I wanted to go skydiving, would you help me out with that? JUST KIDDING!!!

Do you have things that you’ve been wanting to do? If you had a year left to live what are some of the things you would do. Not obligations…but things in life that you’ve put off either because you haven’t had the time or you haven’t had the money.

If time and money were not an issue but time was what would you do? How can you make that happen if time and money are and issue because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

I know I never expected to hear, “Lisa, I’m so sorry, I’m so very sorry but you have cancer again,” but I can tell you that every since March 31, 2008 I have lived each and every day differently. Today I don’t put off what I can do tomorrow because I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

Neither do you.

It’s A Sale!

June 18th, 2008

Recently I found out that I have a rare stomach cancer and not recurrent ovarian cancer so my new awareness color has gone from teal to periwinkle. I still fully support ovarian cancer awareness though because the first time I had cancer four years ago…it was ovarian cancer. In fact I had ovarian cancer that went undiagnosed for about three years until I landed in an emergency room with an 11-inch cyst.

Well, you see there is a Healing Yoga class at the cancer center I go to for treatment and with the rest of my family involved in martial arts I’d like to be involved in an exercise program too. The yoga class is designed specifically for cancer patients which I think is awesome…and SAFE! But it’s an added expense for me and as you know I’m not working so there can be NO added expenses.

If you purchase a bracelet the cost will go directly towards paying for me to attend the Healing Yoga classes at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. I will be able to take 12 weeks of yoga classes and learn how to do yoga everyday! Of course if you don’t want to buy a bracelet you can always use the donate page located on the sidebar.

These bracelets are one of a kind and I cannot reproduce any of them…thanks! All are made from glass beads and are approximately 7″ long. Please click on the pictures to see them more closely. All bracelets will be shipped within 24 hours. If you have any questions please email me at [email protected]

P.S. I also have an anklet that someone requested a while ago. If that person sees this and could email that would be great, otherwise I have an ovarian cancer awareness anklet for sale…15 bucks. SOLD!

Bracelet #1 Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Silver and Teal Glass Beads - SOLD!

Silver and Teal Beads

Bracelet #2 Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Clear and Teal Glass Beads - SOLD!

Clear and Teal Beads

Bracelet #3 Teal and Real Turquoise NOT OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS - SOLD!

Bracelet #4 Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Teal and Gold Glass Beads - SOLD!

Teal and Gold Glass Beads

Bracelet #5 Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Teal Swirly Beads - SOLD!

Swirly Teal Beads

Bracelet #6 Ovarian Cancer Awareness Bracelet: Gold-tone Teal Glass Beads - SOLD!

Goldtone Beads

Bracelet #7 Real Turquoise and Sterling Silver NOT AWARENESS BRACELET - SOLD!

Bracelet #8 Teal and Gold Glass Beads Swirled NOT AWARENESS BRACELET - SOLD!

Bracelet #9 Ovarian Cancer Awareness : Swarvorski Crystals and Sterling Silver - SOLD!

I Refuse To Work

June 16th, 2008

Unemployment is like a headache or a high temperature - unpleasant and exhausting but not carrying in itself any explanation of its cause. ~William Henry Beveridge

A few weeks ago I was laid off from my job as an administrative assistant. It was a banner day because it was the same day I found out I have a rare form of stomach cancer. I felt like throwing myself a fucking party but instead I called the temp agency that placed me at the job and asked what other positions they had available. The person I was working with told me she had no administrative assistant positions but she noticed I had “customer service” experience.

STOP RIGHT THERE…

That’s exactly what I told her. I told her that I didn’t spend $90,000 on a college education so that I could go back to a customer service position and that was PAST experience. I explained that my degree was in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and that I am also a graduate student studying for my M.B.A. I’ve done time chained to a phone like a prison monkey, which is exactly why I went to college to get my degree.

Her response to my mini-tirade was that there were no administrative assistant positions available but that I should call back the following week…the week after my last day of work. Which I did. I called the Monday after I was laid off.

At that time my recruiter, Ann, told me that she had an administrative assistant position she thought would be a good fit for me. GREAT! or so I thought. I was HONEST and told her that I have cancer. I explained that my now former assignment was cool with the fact that I was going to need a day off here and there for chemotherapy. I also explained that I WANTED to work but I would need every THIRD Thursday off for chemotherapy. IT IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.

Ann asked me if my doctor said it was O.K. for me to work. Well, he never said I couldn’t work and I would like to work as long as I am physically able. AT NO TIME did I ever say that I REFUSE TO WORK. The only thing I did say was that I was UNAVAILABLE for interviews the day I had to go for chemotherapy. It’s kind of hard to go to an interview when you are hooked up to an I.V. for SIX FUCKING HOURS!

So, Ann asked me to send my resume to her but to send it to the general email address at the temp agency because she was leaving for maternity leave any second. She told me Heidi would be working with me going forward. I have the distinct feeling that Heidi is either overloaded or a complete deadbeat because my phone hasn’t rang. Either that or my resume got lost in limbo because no one ever called me back about the job.

OR Ann heard “cancer” and stashed my file way in the back of the drawer.

In the meantime I filed for unemployment because I lost my job due to no fault of my own. In fact I left the assignment with a letter of RECOMMENDATION. That tells me I did a half decent job. Better yet…I emailed a copy of that letter to the temp agency!!!

SoWTF???

On Saturday I received a letter from Unemployment office stating the amount of money I would receive on a weekly basis and felt some relief. The relief was SHORT LIVED! There was another letter stating that the unemployment had been contested by the temp agency for REFUSAL TO WORK!!!!!

REFUSAL TO FUCKING WORK???

ARE THEY KIDDING ME???

Well Ann has gone on maternity leave but I hope she is ready to find a babysitter for her newborn baby because she is going to have to make an appearance in court to recount our conversation because I am contesting the living HELL out of this.

I WAS LET GO FROM A JOB DUE TO NO FAULT OF MY OWN.

I CALLED THE TEMP AGENCY SEVERAL TIMES TO GET ANOTHER ASSIGNMENT.

THEY DID NOT PROVIDE ME WITH AN ASSIGNMENT.

WHERE IS THE “REFUSAL”?

You CANNOT imagine how pissed off I am. Poor Dude has had to listen to it all weekend because I am furious. Livid. Extremely and explosively angry.

I CANNOT wait to call Heidi at the temp agency Monday morning. God hath no fury than an angry, unemployed woman with cancer…this angry, unemployed woman with cancer. And before I make that call to Heidi you better believe your sweet ass I’m calling my attorney.

The $90,000 degree is finally going to pay off…thank you God…because I’m finally going to use it to my OWN ADVANTAGE. I’ve absolutely had it with this kind of crap.

Good Morning Heidi…hope you had a FABULOUS WEEKEND because I’m about to blow the lid off of your Monday! Coffee and donuts anyone?


    Snapshots
    Tomato SaladWheeeeeeeeee!OuchieOMG FUNNEL CAKE!!!!
    Counting Down
    • Chemo Round 3:
      in 12 days, 21 hours, 22 minutes
    • Sloane-Kettering:
      in 19 days, 22 hours, 52 minutes
    • Teenie's & Cam's Baptism:
      in 29 days, 22 hours, 52 minutes
    • Chemo Round 4:
      in 1 month, 2 days, 18 hours, 22 minutes