Saturday, June 15, 2013

Time to honor the daddy-o's

First let me say that my heart goes out to all those who are missing their fathers today. I know your pain all too well. These made up holidays suck. It is crazy how a Hallmark holiday can make you so sad. I will not say all those stupid comments like "enjoy your kids", "remember the good times" or it gets easier. All that crap is just crap when your heart hurts. Losing someone especially a parent is hard and really doesn't get easier. Second I am sorry that this post is about a made up holiday but my dad is awesome so I have to. 

My father is far from perfect, way far. Our whole life he has been an emotional basket case. He thinks and acts with his emotions before calming down. But the truth is he has taught us to have emotions not to be cold heart jerks who don't know how to feel.  He loves completely sometimes making it hard to discipline his wild children. Car crashes, boy chasing, pot smoking, fights, teeth knocked out, drunks, sneaking out, dropping out, breast cancer, divorces you name it we got. Believe me this wasn't all me I have never been divorced! I don't think we were ever grounded, ever and believe me we should have been. What he has taught us is to love our children no matter what they are going through. He taught us to be there for them and stand by their side with nothing but love. We  didn't  grow up rich but boy we never wanted for a thing my father always put our needs first. Sure we all should have had major therapy after my mom died but the love he gave us  while he was suffering got us through. There is the one thing he did that was vital to who we are now is he loved our mother. There is this saying "The best thing a father can do for his children is love their mother", my dad did that beyond words. Beyond the regular love, beyond the simple "I love you". He showed us love and respect really that is what you need most in life that is what you need to give! I don't think this love comes around a lot but he had it and that love reflected on us. It is the one thing I can never fault him for. I think that is why he can love Deb too, he has a lot of love to give. Just ask any of our friends who all consider him a dad. Better yet ask Tom, Karen or Jon if they use the term "father-in-law" or just father.


As a grandfather he is perfect!!! Anthony wrote a card the other day and it said.  "You are the greatest grandfather that ever there was", honestly he is. If you ask Matt he will tell you just that, ask Nicole and she will confirm. Jess will only brag even more and Lowell will add to it. Ben will tell you how awesome he is and it will be the only time him and Sam agree. Julian will tell you he was the one who told Anthony that Pa is their Pa and he is all they need. He comes to soccer, track, swim, volleyball, concerts everything. He does it because he wants to not because he has to. Everyone knows and loves Pa because he is the ultimate grandfather. Our children are so spoiled and lucky. The best thing is they know that he is awesome and love him right back. We have the coolest family don't hate, hahahah.

I have to end this with my husband as a dad. We have totally different parenting styles I am a yeller he is not. But like my dad he loves our boys and does it unconditionally and believe me they are royal  pains. The real thing is  like my father he love his wife. Is it a perfect love, no but it's real and solid. I hope one day my boys see the love their father gives me and gives it to their partner. If they ever leave us that is.  I hope they treat them like royalty just like my knight treats his princess. Well, most of the time!



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Scared for life forever empowered

clip_image001 This blog post has been in my head which is a scary place for a while now, maybe even since the day I was DX. I need for those who do not “get it” to maybe really see it. Cancer changes you there is no doubt. The changes are physical and emotional which make for a very intense journey. It takes your body and mutilates, deforms, scars and transforms it into a foreign being.  It takes what you knew to be you and makes it into someone else. It is really like living in someone else's body. I cannot express to you how scary this is to live in a body you don't know or can even feel. clip_image002 Wrapped up not knowing to what to expect is so frightening. I was in shock and needed to see what the doctors only tell you yet never show. They show you what you those great pictures of what you  will look like after but never during. I sought out webpages like Scar Project to show me what was going to happen to me. I was empowered by these women and their strength. I needed to see their scars, tears and support to see I was going to heal.  I found Kerry Mansfield and cried hard. I was talking to Alissa at 1am and freaking out that my body was going to do that! How can this be happening? How was I going to be ok? I was scared yet comforted by these images. It took the unknown out of the picture for me.  She was still standing, she was alive and she was stronger now. clip_image003 I had no idea what was going to happen after this but these pictured helped me beyond words. When Genevieve Fridley took them it was helping me even then. We had no idea what we were going to do with them or if we would ever show them. I kept thinking of the images I saw and how they helped me, could these pictures help others? “My Journey Through the Lumps” was then created. Over 550 people came to see all the graphic, uncensored pictures and we raised over $12,000.00. Who would have thought?  I was vulnerable revealing myself like that yet I felt powerful too. I wanted people to see what the real side to cancer was, I wanted them to see the pain because I didn't "look sick". I am lucky that Genevieve isn't just an amazing photographer but one of my best friends. My girlfriend Karen looked at me and said “I had no idea what you went through”. That was exactly the message I want to send. clip_image004 You can slap a pink ribbon on breast cancer and call it awareness but that is not what cancer is about. I love PINK just love it, boas, ribbons, sparkly things that are pink, tattoos that have ribbons all of it. I am what is behind that image. This is life, this is my life. Facebook called these images pornographic/offensive and wanted them removed. Seriously?? There are images and pages on there that are over the top crude and beyond offensive yet they are still up and not getting any attention. My friend Sarcastic Boob was not going to stand for this. She made up a petition and urged people to sign it. Through over 20,000 people agreed! Facebook saw the importance of this and overturned it. The news spread yesterday and ABC posted an article. This is the movement I wanted from the day I posted my first picture. I am proud to be apart of this yet at the same time pissed people still are telling me these images are pure nudity. I just can not wrap my head around that. clip_image005 There is such an intense reality to the change in my body. I try on my clothes and they don’t fit the same. It isn't just the weight that I have gained because of cancer, nothing like losing body parts yet gaining 20 pounds. It is about the scars that hurt so badly, the alien body that is now mine and the loss of feeling in my breasts. I do not feel sexy or sexual, cancer changed that. Having a full hysterectomy did not help. I feel like a hollow woman with no feeling in her breasts. When the boys are asleep at night and Tom is snoring next me I cry, a lot. I hate what cancer has done to my body and my friends. I cry because there was nothing I can do about it. I am healing and that is a long process these images are showing that the scars take time to heal it doesn’t happen overnight. They also show strength, courage and power. Not porn, never porn. Healing is what the images show and anyone that thinks otherwise is a dumb ass.clip_image006 Thank you Facebook, David Jay, Scorchy Barrington and all the woman who live with these scars. This is what the pink ribbon should be about, this is awareness, this is LIFE. It is now my reality and I am making a difference with my pink breast friends next to me. This to me proves that stupid dumb breast cancer will never have me! After all my tiara didn’t fall off once, I remain a princess with a pink boa and stilettos and a whole different look on life.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cancer does not define you but it sure changes you

For those just tuning in this post is about last year and my diagnosis with that thing called cancer.......
After my lumpectomy I really wanted to believe there was no problem. Doctor thought it was just papilloma no problem. Tom was going to take the day off, why that is silly there is no problem.  No I just needed to go to my appointment to check it out there was no problem. MC wanted to come, there was no problem so no need. Got there fast and they took me right away, there really was no problem. In walked my doctor, path report in her hand, serious look on her face, PROBLEM. I remember her saying she had to look at my path report a few times and couldn't believe it was me. I said “Because I have cancer.” “Yes, you have cancer”. It was sort of a blur as to what she said next, shit I should have had Tom take the day off, MC should be there cause I have no idea what the hell she is saying, shit shit shit my dad was watching Julian. I walked out of the office thinking what the mother fuck just happened. I seriously wanted to tell the person in the elevator next to me but thought they may think that was odd. I was walking to my car and my phone rings, Nikki calling to check on the appointment. I sat in my car telling her what they just told me. She said "well they have to send it off to a lab, maybe in Maryland" UMMMMMM this is the lab report from Maryland! She kept looking for the silver lining, yet having a hard time finding one. At the same time her voice was a comfort to me.

I drove out in a fog and pulled into Kohl's parking lot to find a disbelieving MC. She sat in the car reading the report with that WTF look. Off to tell my dad next. I asked him to call my sister and brother I didn't feel like dealing. BRIIIINNNNNNGGGGGGG my brother called. Yup it is true, WTF. Texted Tom CALL ME ASAP, "what's up?" CANCER that is what is up. I walked in and out of stores that day in a fog. I wanted to shout to everyone "I HAVE CANCER" yet I wanted no one to know. Telling the kids was so hard. I felt like we had lied to them saying it was nothing now it was something. I sent an email out to people and would you believe people thought I was joking! I mean I know I am a wise ass but come on. Then the blog was born! 96,000 views later here we are. It was then time to make decisions, doctor appointments and face reality.

The fact was I felt great and was in excellent shape. I ate pretty damn good and exercised. On the outside I was doing everything right but inside was having a cancer party, who invited that dumb ass! Cancer does not care what you are doing right but I will say that it does help in battling the beast. It doesn't care what you have going on in your life or how difficult your life has been so far. It does not care who you are, your race, sexual preference, gender NOTHING. It is very open minded and hateful at the same time.

I wish this never happened yes. But truthfully it has also brought me closer with some amazing friends that are more like my sisters. I am friends with people all over the world who I never would have met had I not been DX. It has brought my family even closer, was that even possible? It has taught my kids a lesson in life even though I wish it hadn't it has made them stronger. Cancer has helped me help so many others battling. It also has shown my breast to a lot and I mean a lot of people. So, while I do not feel cancer defines me or anyone it definitely changes you. Some for the better some for the worse, I tend to think I am better. My filter button was a little wobbly cancer broke that shit off.

Today I have thought a lot about this year and how my world changed so much. I am still so tired, not sure how to catch up on all that lost sleep. I have gained weight yet lost body parts, how is that fair!? I am scared physically and not sure that the emotional scares will heal any time soon. Physically, emotionally changed for sure but still no matter what and in spite if cancer a princess and don't you forget it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

G-Deb + Pa = FAMILY

When I was a little girl I didn’t want my dad to really “date” anyone. For no other reason than I didn’t want to share his attention. My brother and sister are 9 and 10 years older than me so my dad and I spent a lot of time together just us. He would sing “Me and my shadow” because I followed him everywhere (guess Julian is my payback!). Trust me my dad dated in his day, he was a stud and a major flirt so ladies love him. So it is not like we didn’t see a few ladies come and go, but the fact is no one could put up with him. I remember one girlfriend trying to win my heart said: “Wouldn’t’ it be great if your dad and I got married”, “NO I like things just the way they are”, was my reply and I did. You have to understand that my dad lost his wife tragically at 35 when his family was just starting out. He was all of a sudden without his love and with 3 young kids, so he comes with some serious baggage. Plus there is us kids to have to contend with, we are not the easiest bunch!

  I was pregnant with Sam (almost 11 years ago) and my dad met someone. He wanted me to stop by the park to see her and give my opinion. Really, while I am hormonal, man was he brave. So, Tom, Ben and I went down and met Deb very casually. HMMMMMMM she is YOUNG, but nice I guess. Little by little Deb would make an appearance at different family gathers, seeming to be nervous I am sure my brother didn’t help, he can be intimidating. I thought she was OK at the time but would she last that was the real test. My sister well let’s just say it was hard, she remembers my mom and dad together but she wasn’t opposed to the idea of them either. Over the years we got to know this caring, kind, loving woman. Deb actually loves my dad, like really loves him! She understands that my dad will never stop loving my mother and she is respectful of that. She understands that he has a HUGE heart and there is room for her in there. She gets that we are a family and there is nothing stronger. I actually think she needs us too which makes us take her in even more. Deb will bend over backwards and do anything for us and it all comes from her heart. When I was diagnosed she said she wished it was her and knowing Deb I know she meant that, I wished it was no one. I love the fact we have been going to the Cape for the past 10 years, what memories we have made!

 Last year, I encouraged my dad to put a ring on her finger; PHEW I was scared I was going to have to care for him. He was a nervous wreck, but that Christmas Day before church he gave her a little purse and inside was a ring. They came over to celebrate and popped champagne! Anthony made a comment that he thought Deb “took care of Pa” and while I found that hilarious after this past week I realize it to be true. I am so thankful for Deb, for her and my dad living together, for her love for him, her love for all of us really. I never knew my mother and I am certainly not looking to replace her, no one could do that. But having Deb in my life is the next best thing.

  Tomorrow is Deb’s birthday, 50 and I hope it is a great year. Happy Birthday to our G-Deb! We love you and are so proud to have you part of this wacky family. You must really love us to stay in it after the year we have had!