Happy Tuesday everyone!
Another beautiful week here in the great city of New York. All temps are in the 60’s and 70’s – hello sweater weather. Fall is my favorite time of year in the city, with the leaves changing, the cool crisp autumn nights and the Saturday football games. My father, a Notre Dame alum, would watch his fighting Irish play every single Saturday. He never missed a game unless it was for something important. Our parents took us to a few games out in South Bend, usually at the beginning of the season when they had no snow on the ground yet….so September! The weather out there is so crazy….but we always had a great time.
My father passed away of Pancreatic Cancer back in March of 2010. My sister and I were just juniors in high school. Our father was diagnosed a year and a half earlier which is usually rare as Pancreatic Cancer is very difficult to detect until you are in the final stages of the awful disease. Our father fought with his whole heart and soul and he never once said “why me” or “this is unfair”. He took the diagnosis and continued to stay strong, work, spend time with his family, laugh, and see his beloved Notre Dame a few more times. Cancer has a way of touching all of us. I do not know somebody who hasn’t been effected by it in one way or another. I remember thinking to myself and even voicing it to my mom how I don’t know what I would do if that had been me, and she said “you’d do what daddy did and fight.” However, I also remember thinking to myself that if I ever had to worry about this even happening to me it wouldn’t be until I was much older as my dad passed away at the age of 48.
I never knew that in a few short years I’d be facing a similar obstacle as my father. In the summer of 2014 my doctors discovered a tumor in my Parotid Gland. It was as if my world had stopped turning. I remember looking out the window at the cars going by and how those people were going about their day but mine had stopped. I had the biopsy done the following day and thankfully it was benign. Due to the fact that it was benign, I had a small window of time to wait before having it removed as my doctors weren’t sure if the tumor would grow or not. I wanted to continue to live my life and enjoy my summer before I needed to have the surgery. So “Ted” the tumor and I bonded through the summer before it was time for him to exit the building. The surgery was extensive as they needed to remove my ear to get the tumor out before reattaching it and the recovery process was long, as the tumor was much larger than they had initially seen. It was actually the size of a golf ball. My doctor did another biopsy as he was incredibly concerned with how much the tumor had grown and thought that it would have turned, but he found no new cancer cells and he said that if they hadn’t found the tumor when they did the outcome would’ve been a lot different. I am forever grateful for my incredible doctors at John’s Hopkins and that I was incredibly lucky to only live a few minutes away.
I drew from my family’s love and support as well as my friends. I also drew my strength from my father and knew that he would keep me safe. I also knew that if he could go through this, stay strong and fight than so could I because giving up was never an option. While the tumor was benign, that does not mean that it is any less scary as everything can change in an instant. However, it is up to us to decide how we want to control the situation which is why I named my tumor and why I would make jokes and laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine and it is much better than worrying or being scared. Men, women and children deal with cancer everyday and it is not only the patients but it is their families that are taking it day by day and choosing to live and not let the cancer win. I believe that no matter what, cancer never wins! It is how we choose to live our lives during the darkest of times that makes us strong and brave. If you can do that then you have already won and you are a hero to others.
This company Stand Up To Cancer which was created in 2008, is an incredible company that gives millions in donations to different cancer research projects, foundations, clinical projects, support groups, etc. They are a wonderful company and they accept any form of donation as well as they have an incredible backing from the global community. While cancer touches all of us, we must never forget that we are all warriors and that we are all strong. While I miss my father every day and I wish he was here, I know that he is always watching over my mother, sister and I and keeping us safe. I know he would be so happy and proud of what we are accomplishing. I know that he is smiling from heaven.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day and please look at this incredible foundation and program.
All my love.
Stand Up To Cancer Shirt – I am wearing a size small, and it is so comfy and is perfect for the fall weather. They come in sizes small through large.
Skirt – I am wearing a size 25. While it is a new fall item, the sizes that are left are 27 through 31.
Booties – I am wearing a size 7 and they are made by TOMS, which I love. They are so incredibly comfortable and remember when you buy a pair you give another pair to a child in need. They come in sizes 6 through 10.