Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Breast Thing This Holiday is Gratitude and You

It’s nearly Christmas Eve and the first night of Chanukah. The rain is falling. The air is crisp. I love this time of year! 

A lot can change in a year. Your life can change in a year. It’s not about the gifts. It’s about being grateful. 

I’m grateful because cancer has taught me what’s really important. It knocked me down over an over again, but I’ve gotten back up… like I did today… when radiation kicked my booty yesterday. 

I’m grateful for my doctors and nurses …. who… when I’m in their offices crying out of frustration or covered in rashes…always have a concerned smile and find an answer for me.

I’m grateful for for my family (especially my parents) and friends, because I know it’s been just as difficult for you as it’s been for me. I am grateful for all of you. YOU are my gifts! You are the stars that brighten the sky on those nights all I see is darkness.

Although chemo has some side effects that I’m still struggling with, I am grateful to wake up “healthy.” I know this journey could have been different if this was a different year.

Never take anything in your life for granted. The frosted cookies you’ll likely eat tonight… the candles you may light… the hugs you will get…the memories you will make. Live your life! Share your smile! Celebrate the little things! Never forget what’s really important.

Happy Holidays from my corner of the world to yours! 


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Thankful

April 22, 2016. I’m at work. My cell phone rings. It’s my radiologist. I leave the newsroom to go into the hall and sit on the floor. Why? I know I’m about to learn some life changing and breaking news. I take a breath. “You have cancer,” says the doctor. David Muir walks by as I sit on the floor. “How ironic,” I think, as I try to process what the radiologist is telling me. I hear him say something about surgeons…that the tumor was small… that I should be okay. Everything else is just white noise. I hang up feeling numb and not surprised. Cancers of all kind run in my family. I knew this was the likely diagnosis. I just wasn’t expecting it… after my first mammogram (which I randomly decided to have following a visit to my gynecologist)…at 40. Only two people knew that in the last 38 hours I’d gone in for a mammogram and had a biopsy. They were not my parents. No need to worry them until there was something to say. Now I had something to say but didn’t know when to say it. It was the day before I was to fly home for Passover. Keep my mouth shut until the last day of my short trip home or tell them tonight… while I’m at work. I felt the tears well up in my eyes and knew I had to get some fresh air. Work was quiet. I told my friend/colleague who knew about the biopsy that I was going to Central Park for some fresh air. I didn’t give her details. Just texted her I’d be back shortly. I sat on a bench, put on my sunglasses and let the tears roll down my cheeks. I looked at all the people walking by. They seemed so happy. I was anything but. The world had kept turning for them. My world had just paused. I wiped my tear-stained cheeks and walked across the street and back to work. I sat down and texted my friend/colleague that I had cancer. She was sitting next to me. I just couldn’t say the words out loud. I didn’t want to, but had to share the breaking news with someone. In hindsight, texting people you have cancer is probably not the best way to share big news. However, for me, it was the easiest. 

5 months later I’m happy to say surgery is done. Chemo… check that off the “Kicking Cancer’s Ass” list. Up next is radiation. So on this Thanksgiving… a mishmash of what cancer has taught me thus far or reminded me of. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  1. Be thankful for your parents and friends. I could not have made it this far without my parents and friends… period. 
  2. True friends will step up. Keep these people by your side and never let them go.
  3. It’s okay to be selfish when it comes to your health. You could lose it tomorrow.
  4. Not everyone has the same heart as you. Don’t expect people to treat you the same way as you would treat them. You will just end up disappointed.
  5. Keep going. Physically and mentally. Remind yourself that bad days are just temporary.
  6. You will learn something from every person you meet. (Blog post to come on this one!) 
  7. Some people will make you feel small. But for every crappy person out there, there is a good person.
  8. Just breathe. Anything bad happening at a particular moment will pass. 
  9. One smile from a stranger can brighten a dark day, so share your smile.
  10. You never know what a person is going through. Cut them some slack if they do something  to piss you off.
  11. Nobody fights alone.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Marathon

Good Morning! It’s the calm before the marathon madness. The barriers are up, the runners are  getting ready, and soon the streets surrounding my apartment will be full of cheering … and later on…. finishers! 

As I get up and look at the barriers I realize those of us battling cancer … or any kind of long-term health issue …. are all running marathons … just a different kind. We are being cheered on, just like the marathon runners getting ready to pound the pavement. I see the cheering in Instagram posts of fellow warriors. I see it in Tweets. We are all cheering each other on.

As I hear a cowbell ring outside it hits me. I’m rounding the corner on the second leg of my own kind of New York City marathon! I’m exhausted. My bones feel old. I look tired. I am just tired. I’m so tired that my tired is tired! However, I look to my right and see the aid station before the next leg of the race. I look to my left and I see all my friends and family cheering … just like those who have their friends and family supporting them on the streets of New York today.

As Dean Karnazes once said, “Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

Keep Going

Hello! It's been a bit, but I'm finding some energy to write. As some of you may know, since April I've joined the thousands upon thousands of warriors battling different kinds of cancer... or just plain health issues. It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I found myself just needing to type last night ... to boost my spirits. Sometimes you gotta be your own cheerleader! I hope this inspires you to keep going on days you just feel dumpy, sad or frustrated. Here's what I wrote .... 

I’m tired. I’m tired of doctors. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of not being able to do much of anything… and yet I keep moving one foot in front of each other. I just gotta keep running the race till I cross that finish line. I’m not going to lie. It is super frustrating when the finish line gets pushed back a few more hundred yards. It’s like a not funny joke. You just gotta remember there are people cheering you on along the sidelines. You fall down. You curse. You cry. You get back up and keep an eye that finish line. Why? Because you see the big picture. You are alive! You were given that gift. You WILL get better. Things may be different once you cross that finish line. Your life. Your perspective. Your priorities. But remember… you WILL reach that other side of the finish line. You just gotta keep moving one foot in front of another no matter how big or tiny the step. You don’t need to enjoy it, you just need to tackle it any way you can. The secret=keep going!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Be The Light. Be The Change. Beat The Bully

“The best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing you can do is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

I’m not sure who wrote, or said, those words. However, that’s the message I tweeted in my Positivity Project today. The project, combined with Daniel J. Watts’ THE JAM: LOVE TERRORISTS (A Benefit for Orlando), is why I’m writing this blog.

I mentioned tonight’s event (link will be at the bottom) to some people. Their reaction was that it sounded good! However, some raised their eyebrows at the title of the event. Why? It has the word “terrorists” in it.

Let’s look at the word “terrorist.” One dictionary defines it as “a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.” Fortunately, we (thank you to those who serve and protect) don’t often use terrorism and America in the same breath. However, I feel, that there are terror attacks happening in our country all the time. I’m not talking about the terror attacks involving bombs, guns or hostages. I’m talking about another kind of attack that happens every day… in every city… in every school. It’s an attack everyone has suffered or witnessed in their lives. It’s the terror of an attack from a bully. You don’t have to be a kid to experience bullying. It happens to adults too. It has to stop. I truly believe we need to raise each other up. We need to support each other on this journey of life. We can stop the terror.

The question is… will you do the right thing, the wrong thing, or nothing. Nobody should have to fight bullies alone. The man who walked into Pulse nightclub in Orlando was a bully. He created terror. As a country… as a community… we are stronger than any bully. We showed that on June 12th. 

Orlando Strong. Dallas Strong. Baton Rouge Strong. America Strong.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sending Smiles: A Positivity Project

Social Media. It’s part of our daily lives now. I came home from work last night and marveled about the likes of Twitter and Facebook … how in one click of a button a message can affect one person … or dozens.

I also came home last night to a lovely card. So simple. One card. One smile. It’s a simple gesture I picked up from my mom. I send cards too and have been for years. Snail mail provides something more personal than social media can provide. I call it Sending Smiles. 

Besides coming home to a smile, I came home to find a children’s book I had written. I dug it up because at work we were talking about fish (Yes! The Bachelorette was on one of the dozens of monitors that lit up the newsroom with the red, white and blue of politics). Anyway, I’m digressing. If you watch The Bachelorette you’ll get the fish reference. Ok … so anyway, I wrote this book in 1997 for a college class I was taking. Here’s how it ended.

“Not everybody in the world is made the same. There is a place for everybody in this world and we can learn a lot from the people we meet. Annie learned that night that even though she is now different on the outside, she is a very special person on the inside and nobody can take that away from her … or C.J. or anybody!” 

Funny, how what I wrote all those years ago in Kansas is so relevant today. These past few weeks have been full of bad news. I can see the effect it has had via comments on social media. I’ve been reading a lot of hateful comments. I’ve been reading a lot of confused comments. I’m starting to become more aware of bullying type comments. We rise by lifting others. That is why I’m starting the Positivity Project on Wednesday at 9am EST. If you follow me on Twitter you know I typically start the day with a quote or something positive. I’m still going to do that. However, I want you to send that smile on. I’m asking you to forward that Tweet to one person you follow. I want you to do so in hopes of brightening their day. I’m sure it would make them smile. Hence…#SendingSmiles. Hopefully that person will forward that Tweet … and so on and so forth. At the end of the day I want you to Tweet one moment that brightened your day.

The Power of Positivity. Let’s help spread it, and send some smiles while we are at it. #SendingSmiles

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Just Breathe

Good morning you. It’s a new day. The sun is peaking from behind the fluffy, white clouds. The quiet buzz of taxis are starting down the street. It’s a new day. Breathe it in. 

Most of you know I work at a television network. I cover a region of the United States. I keep a pulse on what’s going on there. Among the states I monitor are Louisiana and Texas. The pulse in Dallas and Baton Rouge over the past few weeks have been all over the place… but the people in those cities continue to breathe. The spirits of those who were killed are felt. Their breath can be felt. They are felt in the words spoken by people they helped protect. They shine brightly in the candles that flicker across the country in remembrance. They are felt in hugs that are given by strangers to those grieving.

Love, life and death unfold every single day. It’s something every person, in every city, every village, and every suburb have to deal with every day. So, when you feel sad or mad stop and breathe. Remember, there is good in the world. There is some good that comes from tragedy. I believe that cause I hear it in the stories being told by survivors of the ambush in Dallas. I see it in the flowers being dropped off at makeshift memorials in Baton Rouge… flowers that bring color and light to what sometimes may feel like dark days. The flowers are being given by people who are, often unknowingly, leaving footprints in our hearts. 

I wonder what footprints I leave behind. Do you? Footprints in the sand may be washed away, but they are proof that you existed and did something. Even when a footprint disappears in the tide, it’s taking the sand and bringing it elsewhere. Maybe the sand mixes with a new beach… a beach overseas in Nice. The sand mixes with people walking along that beach. They are people you probably don’t know… but the sand mixes with their footprints and in an instant you are connected. We are all connected. Through this blog. Through social media. Through friends. Remember that. Remember to spread love. To show respect. To honor life. To breathe.