Monday, May 26, 2008

What a Marvelous Wedding!

Saturday was a beautiful day for Theresa and Andrew to get married.

The day started with the girls and Carol , Andy's Mom and I getting our hair done at About Faces in Tano Mall in Edison. They returned home for some pizza and to get dressed. Lauren Grabelle the photographer took some photos on the patio in the backyard. The limo picked up the guys at the Bridgewater Marriott and dropped them off at St Paul's in Highland Park. Then the limo and a white Bentley came to pick up Nick and Theresa and all the bridesmaids to take them to the Church .

The ceremony at St Paul's was touching and the pews were filled with family and friends some traveling over 800 miles by air and car to share their special day. Theresa's cousin Alycia did one reading and Andrew's Aunt Kass did the other reading while Crystal , a friend of Andy and Terry from Dickinson College read the petitions. Two grandmas and one great aunt attended and the happy couple took photos with them in the prayer garden behind the church.

Then it was off to the Bridgewater Manor in Bridgewater. We took photos out by the pond that I can't wait to see. All the food at the cocktail hour and the reception was delicious. We had a guitarist, Vinnie Carrao during the cocktail hour who was amazing . Then we moved inside to the Somerset room where DJ, Paul Anthony played Terry and Andy's first song and then Nick danced with Theresa- Ok I admit I teared up for that one -and then Andy danced with his mom. Everyone from the 8 year old to the 99 year old was on the dance floor having a good time and the time just flew by. I don't have many photos to share I was too busy enjoying myself. The one above is Terry and Andy cutting their unique cake. Both being math majors the cake was made up of 3 tiers- the bottom a square , second a circle and top one was a triangle. So before we knew it it was time for the last dance. Hard to see such a fun day end.

Nick and I decided to spend the night at the Bridgewater Marriott where we had 22 rooms booked for our out of town guests. The next morning we all had breakfast together.

It was a fantastic weekend and I am so happy to see so many family and friends share our joy.
Two years ago I was not sure that I would be around to share in Matt's graduation and Theresa's wedding so it made these past few weeks so, so special.

We are off in a few days to help Theresa and Andrew move to Texas. So if I am not doing much posting please don't worry I am just out there living life !

OC survivor and mother-in-law
PS Photo by N.Fornaratto

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Well the day of Theresa and Andrew's wedding is finally here. 

Yesterday's rehearsal went well and dinner at Old Bay was delicious. I woke up this morning to the sun shining bright. Being here for this day is a true gift from God.

May Terry and Andy have many years of health, happiness , fun,  adventure and  love!
I love you both.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Fight Back Express Coming to NJ"

Info from CINJ:
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey will host the American
CancerSociety's CAN "Fight Back Express Bus" on Thursday, May 29th from
4:00pm - 5:00pm in front of CINJ at 195 Little Albany Street. The
"Fight Back Express Bus" is on a six month tour across the United
States to make cancer issues a national priority. During it's stop at
CINJ, the only NCI Center stop in the tri-state area, individuals will
have an opportunity to sign the bus and learn about the American Cancer
Society's important issues including the need for increased federal
funding for cancer research and access to health care. As part of the
Bus's stop at CINJ, ACS will hold a brief press conference to bring
attention to their issues. The details of the press conference are
still evolving but, we hope to have several public officials attend.We
hope you will take a few moments to attend the press conference and
visit the "Fight Back Express Bus" when it is at CINJ."


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

President Bush Signed Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Today President Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. This law will prohibit insurance companies and employees from discriminating against people based on their genetic information.

Women can get tested for mutations in their BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes to see if they are at risk for breast or ovarian cancer. The test results will help them to make informed medical decisions and their employers and insurance carrier can not discriminate against them because of positive results. The BRCA 1&2 genes are responsible for 5-10 % of all ovarian cancers.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A New Advocacy Group is Forming for NJ Cancer Survivors

In January Betty Gallo and I gave an Advocacy 101 Workshop at the Wellness Community of Central NJ. Betty is in charge of Outreach and Government Relations at the Dean and Betty Gallo Prostate Cancer Center at CINJ. There was so much interest in advocacy among the people who attended we decided to meet again. ( Our original meeting for March had to be postponed.)

Ellen Levine, Program Director of the Central NJ-Wellness Community, was kind enough to contact interested parties and allowed us to meet last night in the Wellness Community's building in Bedminster. Ellen also participated in the meeting. After introducing ourselves Betty reviewed a number of bills at the State and National level of interest to cancer survivors. The last bill she spoke of was HR 2676 and S 2999 Access to Cancer Clinical Trials Act of 2008. The Act would require group and individual health insurance plans to provide coverage for individuals participating in approved cancer clinical trials . ( Being a clinical trial participant myself I know how important participation in clinical trials can be.) Everyone in the room supported the bill and wanted to do something to insure the bill becomes law.

We agreed that the best way to make sure that the voices of NJ cancer survivors are heard would be to form an advocacy group. We will work on a name and mission statement via e-mail and snail mail over the next month or so. We are hoping to work with the CINJ Advocacy Commission of which I am a member ( and how I met Betty). We also will develop contacts with support groups , hospitals and other cancer survivor organizations throughout the state. If anyone is interested in being a part of this new group, please leave a comment for me and I will add you to our list of participants. We are still working out when and where we will meet but we hope that those who can not attend meetings can still join and receive e-mail's regarding bills, awareness campaigns, education etc.
It really is exciting to be on the ground floor of an organization that can change the future for cancer survivors in NJ. Our Next Meeting is scheduled for June 30th.



A Nike Gift / LiveStrong Challenge

I had a special treat waiting for me when I got home today.
My niece and nephew sent me a pair of Nike Air Relentless LAF Cross trainers. The shoes look great with LiveStrong on the tongue and yellow around the Nike swish. The greatest thing about the gift is that 100% of the profits from this shoe as well as other LiveStrong products go to the LAF. Now that is awesome!! Check out some other products here .

The best thing about this gift is that it came one day after I registered for the LiveStrong Challenge in Philly this August . I will be wearing them for the the Challenge and on my trip in July to Columbus for the Summit .


Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Sister Was On TV

My sister, Melabee , a professional photographer was on TV this morning. I watched her on Cablevision channel 110 on "HOUSE TELEVISION" at 7:30 am. She was interviewed about her work with Adaptive Textiles which produced floorcloths using her images.  Her flower images looked fantastic on the cloths. I am so proud of the beautiful images she has taken. You can check our more of her work here
Congrats Mel!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Great Job for LiveStrong Day - Kevin

My nephew, Kevin, set up a table outside the Long Valley, NJ Pathmark on Tuesday, LiveStrong day. He collected $150 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. He handed out LAF information, bracelets and also a number of the "new" LiveStrong Survivor Notebooks.
Thank you Long Valley Pathmark for your support. And...

Great Job Kevin. I'm proud of you!

Aunt Dee

Dr Rodriguez to Present Clinical Study Results at ASCO

Dr. Lorna Rodriguez, Chief of Gynecological Oncology at CINJ will be presenting the results of my Selenium clinical trial at the 44th Annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology(ASCO) in Chicago. The clinical trial looked at selenium in combination with carboplatinum and taxol to treat Ovarian Cancer. Please click here to read the press release.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Supplemental Appropriations Bill

Congress is currently considering a Fiscal Year 2008
Supplemental Appropriations bill for
the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA). These additional funds, $400
million for NIH and $275 million for FDA,will help both
institutions maintain support for important medical research
and drug safety.Send an e-mail to your congressmen to support
this additional funding by going to the advocacy page
at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.


Monday, May 12, 2008

LiveStrong Day 2008

Remember to wear your Yellow bracelet or a yellow shirt or tie on Tuesday to show your support of LiveStrong Day 2008! I'll be wearing my Unite shirt and handing out Livestrong bracelets at my support group.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Fabulous Graduation Weekend

I spent Thursday, Friday, Saturday and part of today in Virginia celebrating graduation 2008!

Friday night was Matthew's University Graduation from Virginia Tech. I am proud to say he graduated cum laude with a major in history . We attended the reception for honors students and then walked in the somewhat cool but at least not rainy air over to Lane Stadium. It was great being in Lane stadium with the family and friends of the over 3700 undergrad and 1200 grad students who completed their studies. ( I figure I won't be there for a football game since they sell out every game in the 67,000+ stadium.)It took 20 minutes for all the graduates to march into the stadium. Since Matt graduated with honors he walked into the stadium first with all the other honors students. The keynote speaker was Hoda Kotb a 1986 tech grad who is co-anchor of NBC's "Today " Show and a "Dateline NBC" correspondent and a breast cancer survivor. She gave a fantastic speech which had everyone laughing, applauding and the students jumping up and down to the music she played from her I-pod. She said that after you survive a tragedy you get four words "You can't scare me". That applies to what VT has been through as well as a cancer diagnosis. She certainly gave a memorable speech.If you would like to listen to the mp3 of the 12 minute speech click here.

The History Department Graduation Ceremony was Saturday afternoon in the War Memorial Gym. We ended up sitting next to the parents of another student who studied in Riva with Matt last spring. This ceremony included12 master degree awards and about 130 undergrads. It was awesome hearing his name announced! This ceremony and the reception after gave us a chance to meet a number of his friends and professors. I am so happy that he will be staying at Tech to get his masters degree.

After the ceremony we went back to the car and Theresa put on her master's gown. ( The photo is of Matt and Theresa in front of Burruss Hall on the Tech campus.) She missed her graduate school ceremony at the University of South Carolina ( 4 hours from Blacksburg in Columbia , SC). She was awarded a masters in applied mathematics. I am just so proud of my children- what a great gift on Mother's Day weekend for me!

It was certainly a beautiful weekend and I thank God for the opportunity to share it with my family and all the Hokies.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

NJ- LiveStrong Day Project May 13th

Kevin, my niece's husband and a testicular cancer survivor has planned an event for LiveStrong Day on May 13,2008. LiveStrong Day is a one-day initiative to raise awareness and funds for the cancer fight.The Long Hill Valley Pathmark gave Kevin permission to set up at table outside the store's entrance from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Stop by and learn more about the Lance Armstrong Foundation and cancer survivorship and make a donation to the LAF. I'll be stopping by.



Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Turn the Town Teal - KOH

The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation (KOH) has a campaign called Turn the Town Teal (TTTT). In September , volunteers tie teal ribbons around trees on the main streets of towns throughout northern and central NJ to raise awareness of Ovarian cancer. The towns where the ribbons are hung will also proclaim September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Last year, with the help of my husband and the Lopez family, we was able to hang ribbons in Edison. We placed them on trees around the municipal building and on Amboy Avenue. Mayor Choi held a press conference to present Lois Myers , founder of KOH with the proclamation. I also helped hang ribbons in Woodbridge and at the Cancer Institute of NJ.

This year KOH is kicking off the TTTT campaign on May 12,2008 at a cocktail party at the Carol G Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Memorial Hospital . The festivities will take place at the Rooke Family Plaza from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen ,a supporter of the mission of KOH will speak at 6pm.

For more info contact 973-644-0500 or e-mail -
KOH- raising funds for Ovarian Cancer Research


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Awesome News

As most of you know I am a regular participant in the Central NJ -Wellness Community . I feel so comfortable when I enter that white building in Bedminster - it feels like home. I walk in the kitchen and make myself some tea, read the bulletin board for news and sit in the "living room" and chat with other survivors. I've attended the Gynecological Networking Group for 2 years now and I am a regular at the Book Club discussions. I have spoken to Ellen Levine, the Program Director, about the needs of cancer survivors and she has given me invaluable advice 0n how to put my LAF personal action plan into place. For the past two years, I attended the celebrations they had for National Cancer Survivors Day. That was where I learned how to drum.

Eunice Jadlocki, Executive Director and Ellen asked to speak to me and they told me that this year at National Cancer Survivors Day on June 1st (12:30 pm - 3:30 pm) they are presenting an award called the "Spirit of Courage Award". The awesome part is that they would like to present it to me! I am honored and thrilled to even be considered for this award since I have walked this road with so many other incredibly courageous survivors. I am still getting used to this totally unexpected honor. "WOW" about sums it up for me.

Thank you Wellness Community for touching the lives of so many cancer survivors.

LiveStrong !