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I Hope…

25 Jan

January 25, 2013

In my last post, less than 2 weeks ago, I said I would be very happy to not talk about cancer… so I’m not going to talk about cancer.

Instead, I’ve chosen to talk about hope because hope is positive and optimistic. Hope keeps you going when times get tough. Hope keeps you dreaming. Hope looks forward to a happy tomorrow, even if today isn’t so happy. Hope is believing and trusting. Hope is one of those things in life you cannot do without. I’d rather talk about hope than cancer.

There’s the kind of hope you use in your everyday life…

I hope I get a good parking spot…

I hope that sweater is still on sale…

I hope I remembered to set my DVR…

And then there’s the kind of hope and longing that fills your entire heart and soul.

I’ve known that kind of hope all too well. First with my own diagnosis, then with my father, and now for my cousin Jenny and her husband (my cousin-in-law) Charlie. Just a short while ago we found out that Charlie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was one of those sucker punches that came from nowhere. One day you’re celebrating Christmas, then you turn around and you’re dealing with cancer.

We’ll never understand why these things have to happen so the best we can do is to hold on to hope, and to give hope in whatever way we can. I sent Li’l Charlie, my superhero of Hope, off to Charlie and Jenny to watch over them and to remind them that we believe in them and that we believe in the power of hope.

Li’l Charlie

Complete with a purple ribbon heart!

Jenny has been writing about their journey on their Caring Bridge website and I wanted to share the site because the more positive, good thoughts heading their way, the better.

Real Charlie

I recently came across a sweet quote…

“Hope is knowing that people, like kites, are made to be lifted up”

Charlie, as you begin your treatments next week, our hope is that you and Jenny will continue to feel loved and lifted by all those around you.

Please know that your aunt, uncle, cousins, and cousins-in-law are sending our love to you!

Okay, We’re Changing Colors…

9 Sep

September 9, 2012

In my last post (which really was going to be my last!) I said it was time to wrap up this leg of my journey and put my little blog on the shelf. Well my blog is literally on the shelf thanks to Blog2Print, a website that magically turned it into a real book…

Oh, if only life were as neat and tidy as that. Wrap it up, magically put it on a shelf, live happily ever after…

But we all know that life isn’t as neat and tidy as that. Life’s journeys change course and change colors–and mine has done just that. My newest journey, along with my family, is to be a support to my father as he bravely navigates his journey with bladder cancer. Pink has now changed to blue, lavender, and marigold (the official colors of bladder cancer awareness). It’s not a journey any of us wanted to buy a ticket for but it’s one that we will travel together.

I’m new to this side of the road, the side of being the supporter in a cancer diagnosis, and I didn’t start out doing a great job–evident on the day we found out dad had to have chemo and radiation. I was a mess and there my dad was soothing and reassuring me, telling me that he felt good and that everything was going to be okay. Words he has always said to me throughout my entire life. No matter what my worry was, he would always say it was going to be okay, that I was going to be okay. And those words from him always did make me feel okay.

And things are okay. His prognosis is a good one and the PET scan showed that thankfully the cancer did not spread. He is, however, going through a rigorous treatment of radiation and chemotherapy, so I’m going to ask for prayers. Prayers for his continued strength and optimistic outlook. Prayers for my mom who is by his side daily. Prayers that he’ll continue to be okay…

Because now it’s his turn to hear those words.

Dad, it’s going to be okay, you’re going to be okay.

And you’re loved so very much!

Approaching My Two Year Anniversary…

9 May

May 9, 2012

Oh boy, I can’t believe I haven’t written since October. I’m sure my blogger’s license has been revoked by now, but I’m going to give this a whirl anyway.

It’s hard to believe that I’m approaching my 2-year anniversary of being diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. Just recently I was going through a bin of “bits and bobs,” and came across my 2010 calendar…

June 21: Mammogram.

The day that would be the beginning of a journey that I had already traveled 14 years earlier. It gave me chills to actually see the words in black and white but it also made me realize that I don’t think about cancer very much anymore. Sure, there are days or moments when I go back in time, get scared, feel sad…but those days are few and far between. I know my cancer journey is never going to be over but it’s not a part of my daily life any longer. This journey has turned a corner.

So, what have I been doing these past 7 months since I’ve been away from this blog?

I’ve had 3 haircuts. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was sporting (or should I say covering) this hairdo:

I started a part-time job for Hallmark. It’s been a good way for me to slowly get back into the working world, one greeting card at a time.

I got Shingles. Shouldn’t you be immune to getting things like Shingles, the flu, or colds when you’ve had cancer twice? Just doesn’t seem fair to me.

I’ve been making little Hope dolls…

(hey, a little privacy please. Can’t you see that we’re naked and bald?)

all dressed and ready to go to Advocate Good Shepherd hospital in Barrington for a show.

And most importantly, I’m just living life!

So as this anniversary approaches, what could be more fitting than to be at the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in Grayslake last month where I came upon this…

An engraved brick with the sweetest message was sitting along the walkway of the place where I first learned I had cancer again. The place where I felt warmth and compassion, the place that holds so many memories for me. What a perfect place for this little remembrance to be!

(To give you some background…when I was first diagnosed, Bob heard about a fundraiser for the new Cancer Center at the Grayslake facility. People had the opportunity to purchase a brick engraved with a personalized message for the garden area. As a surprise, Bob and Bobby donated money for a brick in my honor–but it took until just recently for the bricks to be placed.)

After donating the brick, Bob was interviewed for a story in the Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital magazine:

Bob Liginski wanted to do something for his wife Cathy. Although she beat breast cancer over 14 years ago, a recent mammogram at the Grayslake Campus showed that the disease was back.

“I wanted to give hope to future patients who walk into the center and get that kind of news,” Liginski says. “You could go into the garden, or spend time there while you’re waiting, and see the names of many survivors. We’ve been so happy with the facility and all of the doctors here. It wasn’t just a way to give hope–it was a way to say thank you.

Bobby Liginski, the couple’s seven-year-old son, gave his dad a dollar so that the brick would officially be a gift from him as well.

“It was a great way to teach him about money and the importance of giving back. Cathy was so surprised and happy. She can’t wait to see how it looks once it’s complete.”

And it’s finally complete. And I am happy!

Back in the Summer of 2010, I couldn’t imagine being where I am today, but here I am. I got through it. I’m cured. And I’m looking forward to celebrating my two-year anniversary…

as a very grateful wife, mother, and survivor!

Everyone Needs a Little Hope in Their Life!

13 Oct

October 14, 2011

And why is that?

Well, because hope is positive and optimistic. Hope keeps you going when times get tough. Hope keeps you dreaming. Hope looks forward to a happy tomorrow, even if today isn’t so happy. Hope is believing and trusting. Yes, hope is one of those things in life you cannot do without!

And Hope is the name of the little dolls I’ve been making this past few months. Li’l Hope …

These dolls are my way of giving back and being a part of the Pink Ribbon community that has given so much hope to so many women… hope for a cure, hope for a future. I’ve been so fortunate to have benefited from many of the advances that have been made in the fight against breast cancer and I want to contribute in my own way to this fight. All of the pink ribbon fabric used is fabric that gives back to various breast cancer research organizations through percentage of sales and when I sell a doll, I donate a percentage to breast cancer research as well.

Last October my treatments for breast cancer were just beginning and thankfully they’re all behind me now. It was a tough year but through it all I never gave up hope. And Li’l Hope, with her crazy hair, big smile, and pink ribbon skirt is a sweet and simple reminder for me to always keep that hope in my heart… to always keep dreaming and keep believing that it’s all going to be okay. That’s what her little face tells me when I look into those button eyes!  And you know what? I believe her!

Yep, everyone needs a little hope in their life!

 

I’m a Vlogger… I think…

29 Dec

December 29, 2010

I’ve just put a few videos on my blog so I think that means I’m an official vlogger now.

Oops, Bob just informed me that I’m not really a vlogger. He explained that a vlogger is someone who talks on video.

So I guess I’m not really a vlogger but I’ve posted a few videos on my blog and attached the links below. Hope you enjoy them!

December 20, 2010
It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas

December 9, 2010
Stand

November 13, 2009
The Glorious Gloria Tribute

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas…

24 Dec

December 24, 2010

Well, the Norad Santa tracker is telling us that Santa has reached Fuji, Japan. We’re ready and waiting for his arrival in Grayslake, IL. Bobby has asked just about every day if he’s been good but he’s also explained to me that he doesn’t have to be good all the time, he just has to try his best. Quite an interesting loophole.

December has been wonderful. I got through my 5th chemo with the expected results and just like clockwork, my tastebuds and energy returned about 10 days later. Just in time for me to enjoy all the holiday fun.

The first event of December was the Lake Forest Woman’s Club Holiday Luncheon. I was given the opportunity by my friend Kathy Schmidt to make Christmas dolls which were displayed and sold.

For all of the Project Runway fans out there, here I am with Peach Carr as she looked at my dolls! Her designs were adorable and so was she! It was quite exciting!

And here I am with Kathy Schmidt… a truly lovely and incredible lady. She’s my angel! (And before I got married, I was Cathy Schmidt too. See, we were meant to become friends!)

The Pioneer Press was there.  Keep reading… they talk about me towards the end!

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/evanston/lifestyles/trend/2971546,trend-merrymistle-122310-s1.article

The Lake Forest Woman’s Club hosted its “Merry Mistletoe” holiday luncheon Dec. 14 at the Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park. The luncheon featured a fashion show, silent auction, raffle, and a holiday stocking-stuffer boutique.  The Lake Forest Woman’s Club has been a part of the community for 108 years.

The fashion show–which featured daughters of club members as models–began with Peach Carr of “Project Runway” fame exhibiting her most recent creations. Her line of tennis wear is designed to transition to evening wear.

Ellen Stirling of the Lake Forest Shop also presented fashion — both daytime and formal party wear. Stirling shared her advice and humor with members of the club throughout the show.

Neiman Marcus capped off the show with a presentation of fur coats.

The holiday boutique featured jewelry, stationery, decorative items for the home and dolls created by cancer survivor Cathy Liginski.

The club commissioned Liginski to make dolls specifically to sell at the luncheon. But after she had committed to making the dolls, she was diagnosed with a second bout of breast cancer. Liginski initially thought that she wouldn’t be able to complete the assignment during her cancer fight, but, she said, “the process brought me joy and brought me to this day.”

One of the dolls that Liginski has created is named the Pink Ribbon Beauty, and she donates the proceeds of the sales of the doll to breast cancer research.

Santa arrived during the lunch to draw the raffle and silent auction winners. Prizes included a helicopter ride over downtown Chicago.

Proceeds from the luncheon supported the club’s scholarship fund. Amy Fog of Round Lake Beach and Karen DeMaio of Brookfield, two students enrolled in the Trinity Teach program at Trinity University, were awarded scholarships at the event.

At this year’s luncheon, several Club members were joined by their daughters and granddaughters. The granddaughters, called Merry Mistletoe Girls, were dressed in matching holiday dresses and served as greeters and raffle helpers.
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Below is the video as Kathy spoke to group, telling them the story of our friendship. I felt so honored standing next to her, and so thankful for that moment we first met!

Celebrations continued…

We had our annual Liginski family parties…

Second grade classroom party…

All-school holiday sing…

Holiday lunch with Grandma Fern and Grandpa Bill… I forgot my camera 😦

And our annual Kim and Chrissy holiday get-together where we ended up dancing and eating huge amounts of mexican food and black forest cake.

Chrissy summed up the evening perfectly in an email note to us:

We had a good time on Sunday!…… and for the time we were all dancing around the living room and singing no one had cancer and the world was wonderful!

What beautiful words. Isn’t that what the holiday season should feel like!?

It has indeed been a wonderful December filled with friends, family, love, and fun. I couldn’t have asked for more.

A Merry Christmas to all… and may all your holiday wishes come true!

 

Meeting Marsha!

29 Aug

August 29, 2010

Wednesday (8/25/10) was such a wonderful day.  I finally got to meet, in person, a very special lady who became my friend through the dolls I make.  We first talked years ago — in 2007 — when I was included in an article called Readers Share Their Creativity.  The editors of Lifeline (the quarterly newsletter of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength) asked readers to send in artwork that was inspired by a breast cancer experience.  I sent in a picture and short description of my Pink Ribbon Beauty dolls.  The dolls caught the attention of a woman in Connecticut–Marsha.  With only “Cathy Liginski, Grayslake” to go by, she tracked me down and gave me a call.  From the very first phone conversation we had a connection. 

I made quite a few custom dolls for Marsha using the fur coat that belonged to her mother.  She would send me pieces of the coat, along with jewelry that belonged to her mother, and I made dolls that she gave to family and friends in memory of their beloved Rose (or Bubby!).  I was terrified to cut into that real fur coat but thankfully the dolls turned out beautifully.

Well, it just so happened that Marsha came into town for a very special occasion and made time to see me.  On Wednesday she and her lovely friend June drove over an hour out to Grayslake for a visit. 

Here we are!

And all three of us… Marsha, Cathy, and June.

It was a lovely day and one that I will never forget.

When Marsha originally contacted me about a doll, her thought was to make one for her friend who was battling cancer–Gloria.  Well, it turned out that Gloria wasn’t really a doll person (!) so we decided against making one.  Sadly, Gloria lost her battle with cancer but through Marsha, Gloria’s daughter contacted me to make dolls to honor her mother, just as I had done for Marsha’s mother.  I did, and the Glorious Gloria story began.

Gloria did get a doll after all–whether she liked it or not.  But I’m thinking this is one doll she just may have liked!

Thank you Marsha and June for a glorious day and may this be the first of many visits in the future!

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