Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting and Ending in Kansas

2010 Highlights
Kansas trip and Andy's deployment ,
Packing up a home,
Celebrating Matt's Graduation from VT with his Masters degree,
Buying a new home,
Traveling to DisneyWorld with Theresa ,
Celebrating my 5th Cancerversary,
Selling our old home,
Welcoming Amber , the All- American dog to our home,
Celebrating Thanksgiving in our new home
Visiting DisneyWorld during a cold Florida December ,
Celebrating Christmas with Matt in our new home,
Finishing up the year in Kansas - Andy is Home !

A year of port flushes, CA-125's , CT scans , gyn-onc appointments that all confirm I am still in remission. Blessed for 365 days. Toasting the future.

Every Day is a Blessing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Closing a Door

December 31st marks the end of my three year term on the Board of Directors of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation. It has been my pleasure and an honor to serve with so many other women and men whose priority is to fund ovarian cancer research and raise awareness of the disease. I will continue to support the mission of KOH and a number of events not as a Board member but rather as a volunteer.

Since KOH's mission is to fund research I have had the opportunity to meet researchers whose work is cutting edge and who are dedicated to finding a cure. I shared my story with many of them so that they knew the face of the disease. I had a hard time explaining to them just how appreciative I am of their efforts. I even had the opportunity to tour one researcher's lab at The Ohio State University . And I've had the chance to work with the wonderful doctors on our Scientific Advisory Committee to draft this year's request for grants proposal.

I have enjoyed meeting women from other ovarian cancer groups who guide their groups in efforts to raise funds for research, support women diagnosed with the disease and raise awareness. I hope that the consortium that has been formed will continue to prosper and find its collective voice.

One of my favorite activities as a Board member was working with our web designer to update the KOH website. I learned about design, layout , and how to edit the site. But the best part of being a Board member has been the opportunity to meet other women diagnosed with the disease and family members of those who lost their lives to ovarian cancer. I met them at the Gala, at the walks , at the Passing of the Torch and at awareness events. We are fighting together to make teal the new pink, to have primary care physicians listen to our symptoms and diagnose us quicker and to work closely with our gynecologic-oncologists to find the best treatment for each one of us. Many of these women have become my friends.

I am not sure what lies ahead in 2011 but as the saying goes "as one door closes another opens". So I am looking forward to the next door that will open.

Every Day is a Blessing ! Indeed.
PS Thanks Matt for taking such a beautiful photo of a door in Riva.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Weekend

What a wonderful and white Christmas weekend.

We started out with a Christmas Eve celebration at our friend's Ron and Elaine. For 20+ years we used to live on the same block in Edison. Now we live about 1 mile and a half from each other in neighboring towns and have been able to continue the tradition of sharing Christmas Eve with each other. Linda and Vinnie who moved from our block years ago were also able to join the festivities driving up from Maryland with their son. Elaine's brother and his wife also joined us. I learned for the first time that he is cancer survivor. His wife compared notes with my husband about being a caregiver and getting us to and at times talking us into continuing treatments. He and I compared the neuropathy we have in our feet. (I find it interesting that even meeting people with different cancers there is a special bond that makes you want to talk about our shared experiences. ) He is blessed with 2 years of survivorship. We ate delicious food and played fun games. The 5 year old twins were the real winners in the Christmas Memory Game.

On Christmas morning, Nick, Matt and I went to mass at St Anthony's then came home and with the fire going in the fireplace opened presents. I always wanted to be able to do that and in my new home I finally can. Later in the afternoon we ate dinner. Being of Italian descent, we needed the beginning pasta dish- ravioli then ham, sweet potatoes, & creme spinach. We let that settle and then went to see my Aunt for dessert. My sister and her family were there and my cousin joined us a bit later. From pears with honey , to an Egyptian coconut cake everything was delicious. Except the chocolate pecan pie I made - not good at all. Next year I'll go back to the Kentucky pecan pie recipe.

On Sunday after Mass we stopped for some things at the food store and hunkered down for the blizzard. We had about 20 inches here and the wind blew drifts even higher. It was so bad even the mail didn't get delivered today.

Now I'm just wondering how long until I see the wooden reindeer I have in the front yard.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catching up

The last few weeks have been very hectic. Sorry for not updating more frequently.

We went to Disney World with our good friends, Linda and Vinnie. The weather was very cool, reaching a low of 32 degrees Fahrenheit one night. I think it was warmer in Maine than it was in Florida. But the weather did not stop us from seeing the Parks. We bundled up like we were going to a football game to watch the moving performance of the Candlelight Processional narrated by Susan Lucci. The light spectacular at Disney Hollywood Studios was well worth braving the chilly weather to see. There was no swimming - even in the heated pool - which was right outside our door.

It is always good when we get a chance to stop in Virginia to see Matt. While there we found the vendor we purchased a small wooden deer from a few years ago. So we decided to purchase another deer - this one a bit taller . Both deer look great on our front lawn.

We finished puppy kindergarten classes at Golden Grange Kennels. We missed one class but Amber got to practice a bit while we were away since we boarded her with Joe at Golden Grange. Amber did very well with the first basic set of commands - look, sit ,down,stay ,come . We still need to work on Leave-it. Amber seems to love picking up everything in her mouth.

I've missed the November Girl's Night Out so I was really looking forward to getting together with my girl friends for December. We all had children in the same class at St Francis School and have been getting together monthly for years. This year we shared a Christmas meal at Nancy's home. It was wonderful and really is what the Season is all about.

I had my gyn-onc visit and port flush last week. The flush went well and the doctor visit even better. I am good for another three months. Hurrah! A great holiday gift.

I am thrilled that Matt is home for Christmas. I really enjoyed having a few of Matt's Tech friends spent a few days with us.

The rest of the time I have been decorating the house inside and out, writing out Christmas cards, shopping for myself, making my visits to see Aunt Dora, calls for Cancer Hope Network and began working with a committee at CINJ on Survivors Day 2011 in June.

Lastly, I have been winding down my term on the Board of the Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation. It is one of the best Ovarian Cancer organizations in NJ and supports cutting edge research. I will still advocate for Ovarian Cancer Survivors but will not be involved in the day-to-day activities of the foundation.

That about sums it up. On to cookie baking and gift wrapping and the real Reason for the Season.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

He'll be Home For Christmas

This version of I'll be Home for Christmas has always been a favorite of mine. This year it takes on special meaning.

I am thrilled that my son-in-law who has been deployed to Iraq since January of this year is coming home this evening !

Welcome Home Andy ! We missed you.

Every Day is a Blessing ! Having Andy back home is a real blessing.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thank you Elizabeth

In 2006, I heard Elizabeth Edwards speak at the Livestrong Survivors Summit in Austin, Texas. It was a very moving speech. Elizabeth could have chosen to fight her fight in private but instead like so many other cancer survivors she spoke up and talked about what survivors need. She spoke about health care reform and she told her story. She was there for so many breast cancer survivors. She made a difference.

Thank you Elizabeth for being there for others. Rest in Peace.

Every Day is a Blessing!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jewlery Sale Supporting OC Research at Penn

Click on the image above to enlarge.

Help support the ovarian cancer research of Dr Coukos at Penn Medicine by buying a beautiful piece of jewelry on Saturday December 4th from 7pm - 10pm at Billig Jewelers ( 330 Route 73 South , Marlton, NJ). For more info contact Laura Ferraiolo at 215-746-2948.

Isn't that Heart beautiful!

Every Day is a Blessing!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Daughter's Thoughts

I follow a number of blogs written by young women with ovarian cancer or ones with a mother who had /has ovarian cancer. Sami writes a blog called " Dear Mom , Can you get letters in heaven?". Sami's mom passed away 3 years ago from ovarian cancer and through her blog Sami continues to write her letters .

Having lost a mother at a young age I was very moved when I read Sami's blog entry.

Three Years, No Tears (Yet!)

I will not even try to summarize what she wrote - please give it a read.
Thank you Sami for sharing your thoughts and feelings so eloquently.

Every Day is a Blessing! I am blessed by the people I have met who have been touched by this disease.