Friday, November 30, 2012

Grandma Jennie

Always cooking, ALWAYS! She literally smelled like garlic

My dad's mom had stupid dumb breast cancer when I was like 5. It really is the first memory I have as a child. My mother died when I was 1 (that’s another post, well maybe someday) and my Grandma Jennie helped take care of us. Now I am not one to sugar coat anything so while she LOVED me that wasn’t the case for my siblings and some cousins. Grandma Jennie had a hard side and if you messed with her you were done. She actually didn’t even let some of them in her house, yet I slept over all the time. Sure she was tough on them, I am sure they were rotten in some way.  But this is about me so we won’t go into that! I however, was her princess and she spoiled me rotten, so I am not complaining. She did have a moth like a truck driver. When asked what was for dinner she would reply “Shit and Piss now go play”. And you wonder where I get my mouth?!

 She was the typical Italian Grandma always cooking and cleaning and I was her helper. I learned how to cook and clean through her very meticulous ways. I played bingo with her, went to get her hair done, we watched EVERY soap opera on TV, played Gin Rummy like crazy and I just loved being around her. Then all of a sudden the word “cancer” was in our vocabulary. I don’t remember much and what I do it vague. I remember waiting in the waiting room for her to come out of surgery. My dad, uncles, aunts and a few cousins come into my memory. I know I couldn’t go see her because of my age and I waved to her from the window, I do remember missing her so much. Then she was out and doing well. I have no memory of chemo or radiation but remember her having to stretch her arm up the wall, which I am doing now.
I love this one!

What I vividly remember is this…..I slept at her house weekly and we would come home from bingo and get into bed and watch Johnny Carson! She had a pink silk night cap and silk pillow to keep her hair from messing up. I loved to sleep on that pillow so much. She would take her bra off in front of me and that’s when I saw it. Grandma Jennie had one breast; the other was prosthesis in a pocket of her bra. Her shoulder had an indent because the bra was so heavy. I hated the way her shoulder mark was. Honestly what I loved to do was wear the bra! Sometimes I would put the fake boob on my head and walk without it falling. What a whacko I was?

 Then there was the scar. She let me run my finger across it, not in a fun way but because I needed to see she was ok. I asked her over and over through the years “Did it hurt?” “Are you sad?” she never gave me a real answer. Always, “no big deal” or “sad, I don’t have time to be sad” sometimes “have a meatball”.

As I take all the steps involved through this stupid dumb breast cancer, I wonder what went through her head and how she really felt. We didn’t talk about it but it wasn’t hidden in our family either. I remember everyone being worried and helping every way they can but it still makes me wonder how she really felt.
My HS graduation with my Grandma Dunni, we will blog about her later

I have been grappling lately with my choice to get implants. I really hate these foreign fucking things. I hate the fakeness of them, how they feel and especially how cold they are “Like a corpse” my girlfriend said great friend right? LOL!! Maybe I should have not done reconstruction, but the choice has been made and I need to find a way to be accepting of these boobs.

 I wonder if Grandma Jennie just accepted this and moved on. I have this feeling she did. I never heard her complain or say "Why me?". Whatever the case is I am proud of her bravery. She did not fall even back when breast cancer was scarier than it is now. She was a strong women and a force to be reckoned with, her bad side was not a good side to be on. Rock on Grammie thanks for leading the way for me, I am sure you had no idea where it would take me! I know she sent me crazy love along with my Grandma Dunni, my mother and my friend Lisa. It is good to have loved ones in high places, literally:)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Library series

I am so excited for this library event! Some of the photos will be up on display starting December 1st, check them out. On December 10 at 7pm I will be giving a short presentation about this journey Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer has taken me on. While the photos are raw, graphic and uncensored my vocabulary will be guarded, I promise.  I want people to feel comfortable bringing young adults and teens to this. It is so important for them to see not just the images but to see the support that friends and family give. How we as a community, family, girlfriend, father empower each other to get through the hard times. With that in mind bring a friend. This is a battle we all are fighting and we need friends to battle with. Make it a save your breast date. If you bring a friend The Dazzle Store in Manlius is offering 10% off coupons to you both! Great store showing fantastic community support, if you haven’t been to the store you need to check it out. Check their Facebook out!/thedazzlestore?fref=ts or their website Thanks so much to Dazzle for adding some sparkle to this event.

The community has been incredible with their support and it really continues with this event. The library will be giving free a coffee to anyone who purchases a shirt! The staff at the library especially Brenda has welcomed Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer with such enthusiasm it is truly amazing.  This event is not only showing everyone the real side to breast cancer but raising the awareness to a new level. I am so proud of what it coming out of this journey. Thanks to everyone involved!