Archive | December, 2012

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby . . .

31 Dec

One of the many things I am grateful for in my life is music – in particular – my Dad’s music. I truly believe music promotes good health and healing. I was fortunate to grow up hearing live music every day of my life. My Dad is an amazing pianist, composer and arranger. He can truly play anything. I grew up hearing Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto – performed by my Dad in our living room. He has composed many original works as well as arranged popular and classical pieces.Christmastree

In what now seems a life time ago, my Dad and I performed together 6 days a week (five nights and Sunday brunch). It was how I paid for graduate school. But, more importantly, it was fun, sheer joy. Nothing replaces playing that often – no amount of practice is the same. So I have, to say the least, lost whatever chops I ever did have. But, it is still a joy to play with my Dad.

So, here’s a little bit of me and my Dad playing on Christmas day. My bass playing isn’t so great on this – it is a fast paced song that I haven’t played in a long time, so it was a bit hard to keep up . . . but fun. (Also, the fall I had down my stairs was just before this little number . . . I didn’t know I had really injured myself yet, looking forward to getting better and having an easier time lugging my bass around) 🙂

My Dad is his usual amazing self . . . have a listen (the link below will take you to youtube – haven’t figured out a fancier way to do it than this) 🙂

By the way, my Dad is a cancer survivor too!

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby

Happy New Year to everyone! I wish you health and all good things in the year to come!

Love and peace,


Some days are simply back breaking . . . LOL

29 Dec
Red Rock Crab, Cancer productus

Feeling a little crabby after falling down the stairs. I wonder if my bones are stronger or weaker than this crustacean’s?

Okay, maybe this isn’t funny, but it is to me.

First of all, I had an amazing Christmas with my family . . . truly memorable. The only sad part was that more of my family couldn’t be there (I missed my beautiful niece and nephew and one of my brothers – their dad). But, fourteen of my family members were able to come over and we had a great time. We had a tappas Christmas (my new thing post cancer). I will post pictures soon.

I made a sangria this year and it was colorful and beautiful. I also made several other dishes as did family members, it was a wonderful feast, but most of all it was just a wonderful day with family. We played music (my Dad played the piano, Christmas songs as well as some great jazz standards and I joined him, to the best of my abilities, on the bass. I have some video of his playing that I will post here soon.

I learned knew things about them, interesting things and it was so wonderful to have an opportunity to catch up with them and to learn about what is going on in their lives. So often it has been about “how are you doing Lisa” and so “are  you good now?” etc. It was nice to not have it be all about me and my trials and tribulations . . . it was a much needed and pleasant escape from cancerland.

And then I slipped while walking down the stairs (I swear, there was no Sangria involved – I was wearing stockings  – no shoes – and walked down my carpeted stairs and my feet slipped right out from underneath me and down I went . . . down several steps to the bottom landing on the tile floor. It was quite a jolt (several jolts actually). But, I thought I was fine and would just be sore.

The next day I was in quite a bit of pain. By the second day it hurt to breathe, I’m figuring now at this point it might be more than some bruising. So I go into to see my doctor and dang it if I don’t have stress fractures. Chemo can weaken your bones. I have had bone density tests and have been told that I have osteopenia, but that it “isn’t bad at all”. I have come to learn that when someone tells a cancer patient that “it isn’t bad at all” that this means that it is bad, it just isn’t bad given the possibilities of bad – it is like a bell curve of sorts (I think). It ranges somewhere between “you have the ‘good’ kind of cancer” (whatever the bleep that means) to “I’m sorry . . . ” (that means you have the really bad kind of cancer – as if there are good kinds). The point of all of this is that I am a success story – so far. I am alive, I am seemingly healthy. I made it through an aggressive cancer, through aggressive treatment and came out of it N.E.D. (no evidence of disease). I have even had my oncologist on occasion refer to me as “cured”. All pretty great things. So in the scheme of things, when you look at the possibilities of what could have happened (never surviving treatment, etc.) having osteopenia really “isn’t bad at all”.

But, now I realize that it means that my bones can break. This can happen to anyone. But, it can happen to me more easily than some and certainly more easily than most people my age. But, I am not one to compare myself to “most” people. It doesn’t help me much. I am in a lot of pain right now and I am limited in what I can do physically for a time. But, that is it. It will get better. And in the scheme of things . . . “isn’t [that] bad at all”

I am disappointed that I will not be able to run the half marathon I signed up for – it is in six weeks – I should be running most days right now to prepare for it. There will be no running for some weeks. Not sure how many, but I am definitely not going to be able to prepare adequately for running a half marathon by February 3rd. So I am planning on walking it again (walked it last year, promised myself I would run it this year . . . oh well . . . maybe next year I will run it).

So I am disappointed. I admit, I was really depressed about this a couple of days ago. But, now I am resigned to it, it will get better, I will get better and hopefully I will get some help with things around my place (lifting is not on my agenda right away). Oh, I really should post the list of things that I am not supposed to do – it is quite hilarious – apparently I am not allowed to go taboggening or snowmobiling (although sledding was not on the list . .. hmm). It is a pretty funny list.

I am going to try walking on the sand (not sure if that is going to hurt more or less than walking on a sidewalk) and I am going to increase my swimming as much as possible (I still have this fantasy where I will actually be able to pull off running at least some portion of the half marathon). But, I am not going to be stupid about it.

Well, I should be sleeping.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Love and peace,


Coming up for air . . .

11 Dec

I don’t even know where to begin. I have started to write a blog post so many times in the past several months, but have not been able to finish one. I have so many “saved drafts” of what should be a simple, easy thing to do – writing a blog post – but nothing. I haven’t been able to get past the first few paragraphs because if I were to continue with something I would actually make public, well. then it would not be true.

So instead, my only contribution lately has been to re-iterate my complete disdain for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Nancy Brinker et. al. and that is about as far as I can get.

I just haven’t been able to speak personally here at all. It is just too much.

It is all fine and good when all you have to say is that the coast is clear, things are getting better, “I’m feeling stronger every day”, “everything is so much better now”, “cancer is behind me”, oh and let’s not forget my favorite: “I’m so grateful”.

First of all, I am grateful. Grateful to have celebrated, just a few day ago, another birthday. A birthday that a few years ago I had about a 50/50 chance of having . . . so yes, I am really, really, really grateful.

But, for some reason, as I make my way back to a more normal life post cancer, I am finding it harder and harder to cope with post cancer life. Because, you see, there is no real return to your life before cancer, there is no “cancer is behind me” – at least not in the sense that cancer ends and you go right back to the way things were before. And, I am not saying that I want to go back to the way things were before entirely. But, let’s just say that I liked feeling like I had a path and I knew what that path was and I was able to handle my life.

So I haven’t had much to say here. I jumped in only once during the month of October and that was simply because some idiot posted a nasty (and mostly just ignorant)  comment on one of my posts from last year where I asked Komen to leave me alone. I had to respond to this person because, well, I had to. I highly doubt that my reply has convinced this person to stop drinking the Komen Koolaid, but, I gave it my best shot.

I find it is easier to express myself in areas cancer related when it is confined to the following situations 1) talking with someone who is newly diagnosed and who needs some support, encouragement (“look at me, I am fine, you will be too”, etc.) or 2) calling out Komen for their misleading use of “for the cure” when in fact they (in my opinion) are more interested in their own commercial branding, the PINKWASHING of corporations and the continual re-perpetuation of lining their own Komen pockets and the pockets of those companies for whom they sell their pink ribbon in the name of pink washing . . . NOT the cure they constantly profess. (For those who have not heard of the term “pinkwashing” it refers to the practice of companies who produce products that actually cause or increase the risk of cancer paying for a pink ribbon – a “for the cure” stamp of approval – which then leads people to further purchase these cancer causing products, consume them and actually feel good about it). Pinkwashing is bad. But perhaps one of the most horrific things that Komen does is to to claim that they are “for a cure” and yet only donate somewhere between 14% and 19% of the money they raise in the name of a cure to research. (Some years Komen has raised nearly $400 million dollars – just think that if instead of only donating about 14% of that money to research, they donated 50% or 80% . . . now that would be something, wouldn’t it)?

See . . . this is all I feel comfortable writing about. It IS important to tell this story of Komen – the very true, very wrong story that IS Komen.

BUT, I have a life. And that life is one that has become increasingly difficult to share about here, online. I have felt guilty about not sharing here. I feel as though I have abandoned a commitment that I made. There are a group of women bloggers who are devoted and passionate about writing – this is true awareness (and it is awareness that Komen does NOT provide). There are women that have taken up the cause in every way and continue to do so, they don’t give up – women like Anne Marie at Chemobrainfog, Kathi at The Accidental Amazon, Phillippa at Feisty Blue Gecko, Nancy at Nancy’s Point, and so many others (I have so many to add to my “blogroll” here. In fact, my next post will be a list of bloggers I think you should follow, that I wish I had more time to follow). And sadly there are so many newly diagnosed women who are now joining us here on the blogosphere.

In the beginning I wrote to let family and friends know how I was doing. It was far easier than making phone calls since most of my days were about fighting with my insurance company and simply keeping up with treatment and the sometimes 6 medical appointments in one week. It was a full time job.

Now as I have returned to my real full time job there are many adjustments to make. It has been hard. There was a cancer scare last summer that seemed to trail into the fall and take over the past several months. Fortunately all turned out well. But, it was a series of tests, biopsies and finally a surgery to remove the (thankfully) not so offending tissue. It wasn’t fun. But, as the anesthesiologist told me before I went into surgery last month, “this will be a breeze compared to what you’ve been through”


I didn’t know whether to find peace in that statement or to simply cry. I did take solace in that whatever was coming was not going to be as bad as whatever had happened before. But, it did really strike a chord with me – that this surgery was going to “be a breeze”. My life since 2009 has been anything but a breeze. But, whose life is? I recall days I could barely walk and the friends that would take me on walks because I couldn’t go alone and so desperately wanted to walk . . . they went with me, walked as slow as I needed to go so that I could get that mile in if I could. Those were some days.

And now I can run. And now I can work a forty hour work week (and then some). And now I am getting my life back. But, there is an expense that comes with that – a lack of balance I guess. I am grateful to be rebuilding a business I had to close down because of cancer. I am grateful for the opportunity to start over. But, I am tired. It is so hard and it is so difficult.

To be reliable in my business, I have to be unreliable in my personal life. That stinks. I hate that. But, what choice do I have? I have been clawing my way back with every ounce of my being to regain whatever I can – physically, financially. To do those two things I have little time or energy for anything else. I am trying to create a new version of my business, one that will fund a more balanced life. But, until then I am working very long hours after which I pretty much just go to bed. I communicate with few people and go out rarely other than work related things. I am determined, so determined to get my life back. But, I am grateful for what I have today and I am hopeful for a future that enables me to do more of what I want.

I miss spending time with friends and family. I miss having time to connect with my friends and family. And, I miss writing here too. I hope to be back in more ways than I am now. But, I am here and so grateful for that. This most recent birthday was amazing. I truly did not think back in early 2009 that I would be here now in 2012. I will never forget what my doctor told me when I asked her if I could survive this. She said, “The best thing in your favor is your youth and that you are physically strong . . . fight”

Those were chilling words for me. When I pressed for statistics I was told not to think about numbers (of course this was because the numbers for me were not good). But, that time is gone now. Those days are over. And now I look toward a future where hopefully I will remain cancer free.

It is hard to keep your eye on that prize sometimes . . . I have lost three friends to cancer in this past year alone. I have seen two more friends diagnosed with cancer. It is an epidemic and it seems to be one that is affecting younger and younger women. Of course I am no scientist. I am simply going by what I see. We need to do something. Komen is not it. (I know, I always come back to that). But, clearly what they are doing is not working. We need real money going to a cure. We need research funded for all types of cancer and in particular – the kind that kills – metastatic cancer.

Well, now maybe you will understand why I haven’t posted anything here in so long. This ramble, jumble of a post is going to be posted. To those of you who have been unable to reach me, who I haven’t called back, or been able to see, please understand why and please accept my apologies. I hope that next year will be one where I am able to have more balance and  can do more than simply work 🙂 But, I AM so, so, so very grateful I am able to work like I am right now. It is wonderful.

I wish everyone a wonderful holiday. I will be spending mine with my family – we will be doing our third annual Tappas Christmas (that is how I celebrate Christmas now post cancer – no more boring turkeys or crown roasts for this girl . . . I’m mixing it up).

Much love to you all and thank you for your continued prayers.


P.S. To everyone who has tried to reach me, please keep trying and don’t give up on me. It is not because I don’t love you, I am just doing the best that I can. Things will get better 🙂 I appreciate your understanding. Happy Holidays.

Me and my niece last summer :)

Me and my niece last summer 🙂