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!

It’s a Wrap…

3 Jul

July 3, 2012

It’s the summer of 2012 and the 2-year anniversary of my diagnosis has come and gone. It’s now time for me to wrap up this leg of my journey and put this little blog on the shelf for now.

I’m so glad I started this blog even when I didn’t know what purpose it would serve. And I’m go glad you came along for the ride. I hope that my writing touched you or sparked something in you, inspired you, or made you laugh.

I never dreamed that writing this blog would have so much meaning for me. It gave me a place to put my thoughts and fears. It let me share the ordinary days and those incredible extraordinary days. It kept me connected and reminded me that people were there with me even when I felt alone. It gave me a sense of calm and peace. It gave me hope and helped me heal.

And that’s quite a lot for a little blog to do… especially one that started without a purpose. Sometimes we set out to find our story, and sometimes our story finds us.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story, my journey, with you.

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!

 

Herceptin: A Piece of Cake

26 Aug

August 26, 2011

I just finished my very last Herceptin treatment–and 2 weeks early to boot. I guess I was sprung from the Big House early for good behavior! So now I’m officially on the maintenance plan (somewhat like Weight Watchers I guess.)

I didn’t realize until I walked out today (feeling very light-hearted) just how heavy these treatments were weighing on my mind. Even though I’ve been given an excellent prognosis and am considered cancer-free, walking into the doctor office every three weeks was still a constant reminder of cancer, and was quite unnerving.

Looking back at my post from last year on my first day of Herceptin (Herceptin: A Piece of Cake), I was feeling really sad. But today… not at all. I’m happy… I’m done… And I’m going to celebrate!

How am I going to celebrate?

With cake of course. A big piece of No-More-Herceptin cake…

Happy No-More-Herceptin Day to us!

Sweet Home Chicago!

30 Jul

June 29, 2011

Today Life In A Day officially premiered in theatres around the country! This little experiment that was supposed to live happily ever after on YouTube after its Sundance premiere has instead taken the world by storm. And how thrilling that we were able to travel with it from country to country–and then enjoy it right here in our hometown with our family and friends. We had a wonderful Life In A Day Chicago week…

The pre-screening at the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown…

Reuniting with the brilliant, fun, and absolutely delightful Kevin Macdonald and Joe Walker again…

While back at the ranch, the air conditioning at our hotel wasn’t working…

Lunch the next day with Kevin and Joe at the Cheesecake Factory. When in the U.S., eat BIG. And that we did…

I don’t think Kevin or Joe ate again for a week.

On Sunday (July 24), we headed out to Rosemont with friends to see the special Anniversary showing at Rosemont 18…

It’s a real movie… right up there with Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter!

And if that wasn’t enough to keep our 15-minutes-of-fame clock ticking, we were asked to come to the NBC studios in Chicago to be interviewed for a segment on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams…

We didn’t end up on the cutting room floor either! Below is the segment that aired on Thursday night, along with an article in today’s Chicago Tribune…

NBC Nightly News – July 28, 2011

Chicago Tribune – July 29, 2011

So there it is. Life In A Day has come full circle for us. A little sad, yes… but the beauty of a circle is that it never really ends. Our Life In A Day journey will be with us forever!

July 24, 2011

24 Jul

July 24, 2011

Last year on this day I was thrilled and relieved to be back home after four days in the hospital following my mastectomy.

It was a happy day. I felt good and we had a fun project to focus on. We were taping our day for an experimental project called “Life In A Day.”

Fast forward one year. The experimental project called “Life In A Day” became an amazing, powerful documentary that is getting world-wide attention. It’s a film that gave our little family a year like no other. A year that changed us, healed us, and will be in our hearts forever.

As I’m sitting here one year later–July 24, 2011–I can thankfully tell you that I’m cancer-free! I’m filled with optimism and a deeper appreciation for life. I’m looking forward to spending this day with my family and later tonight, with friends as we watch the US premiere of Life In A Day together.

I couldn’t say it better than Arsen Grigoryan did as he kicked off this magnificent film called Life In A Day…

THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!

One Year Later...Same Pajamas!

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