It's October 2015

It's October 2015
Have You Scheduled Your Mammogram??!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Father +Daughter Share Pink Ribbons

Hi all,

Below is a link about Arnaldo and Vanessa Silva, a dad and his daughter, who both discovered they had breast cancer at the same time. I've mentioned them before in earlier blog postings. What the video fails to mention is that Arnaldo lost his sister to BC. So after he was diagnosed and tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, that's when Vanessa thought it was best she get tested as well.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=6043173&page=1

I'll have the privilege of dancing with these stars at the October 25th recital.

Please take a moment to hear their story.

Best,

Liz

Monday, October 13, 2008

One Small Step For Woman...Giant Leap for Mankind...



OK, so it's coming up... my first dance recital. Feeling a combination of calm, nervousness and excitement. I'm attaching the invite for the details. Seats are assigned so sooner  you buy, better the seats.  And if you can, come early for the silent auction. Proceeds go to the Helen Sawaya Fund, which is how I got to do this dance recital in the first place since it helps support patient programs for survivors, amongst many other things. 

Since I last wrote, I've done the Susan G. Komen Walk, which in just three or four short days of fund raising brought in a fair amount of money. I'd like to thank everyone for his/her donations. I'm not even sure of the final total yet b/c as I understand it, some donations were made and I have not yet received acknowledgment of them. 

I'm sure there's no need to remind you that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so if you haven't had your yearly mammo, please make your appointment now! 

Lots of love!

Liz 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hey, Great Tips!

Yesterday our first group lesson was held at Dance Times Square. Wow, the energy could not have been any more positive. Nine female and one male survivor (yes, there's the father/daughter team I've written about in an earlier post). We discussed wardrobe, makeup (which will be done by Bobbi Brown volunteers, fake eyelashes and all), dress rehearsals, and of course reviewed our piece. We were short five male instructors but all things considered, I must say we were pretty darn good.

I met up with a woman, Bethany, who I've met numerous times at other Continuum Care events. Both a journalist and near one year survivor, she and I discussed writing articles or better, those that need to be written. I'd like to share a very important piece she wrote that is appearing in the October issue of Woman's Day. It actually was one that I pitched in my writing class, however, it never came to fruition. I'm also going to include part of the note she sent to me via email:

"...I'd love you to mention my articles in your blog (links
below). I wrote my piece for Woman's Day ("You have breast cancer...now what?)
after being diagnosed last October and being sick of seeing stories on every
magazine cover that proclaimed: "How to avoid breast cancer" "The new
anti-cancer diet" "Ten foods to eat to avoid cancer"...etc. etc. You know the
ones I mean. They pissed me off because I did everything right...I ate healthy,
exercised, never smoked, hardly drink, etc. and I still got breast cancer. As
Lance Armstrong has said, cancer is truly "random" in so many cases like yours
and mine.

Anyway, I wanted to write an article that helped some other
women out there who were going to go through what I've been through and I hope
my research can help them. I wanted to tell them where to find questions to ask
their doctors, info on how to read a pathology report, what great websites are
out there, support groups, books, etc. The article was drastically cut (I can be
verbose when I get excited about a subject) but I think what appeared is pretty
helpful. I wish I had read something like this last year.

So spread the
word. Love to know what people think. And if anyone you know knows any editors
for whom I can write more on the subject, I have some really great breast cancer
story ideas I want to pitch..."


http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Health/Conditions-Diseases/Reducing-Your-Risk-of-Breast-Cancer/You-Have-Breast-Cancer-Now-What.html

http://www.womansday.com/cancersupport


This article is really important because one can be very overwhelmed with all the new information being thrown at him/her at the time of diagnosis and it feels like all the decisions must be made over night. That is not the case as it's more important to take your time and do your due diligence before making any critical decisions.

So please pass these great tips on to anyone you know may benefit from them.

Hoping to see some of you at the walk this Sunday and thanks to those of you who have sponsored me (or other walkers).
http://www.komennyc.org/site/TR/Race/race2008-wide?px=1734359&pg=personal&fr_id=1150
To send a donation:
Write the participant's name on the memo line of the check.Make all checks payable to: Komen Greater NYCMail to: PO Box 9223New York, NY 10087

Much love,

Liz

PS More tips from Bethany received after I originally posted this entry:

"Here's another good tip from an email I just got today
giving me a free subscription to a magazine, Women&Cancer (covering all
kinds, not just breast). Not only do you get a complimentary one year
subscription if you're a survivor, but Cancer Treatment Centers of American
will donate $5.00 to Stand Up 2 Cancer; in support of cancer
research in your name. Here's info:


In order to help us achieve our goal of donating $20,000
please forward this email to any other cancer patients that might be interested
in receiving a complimentary one year subscription to Women&Cancer; they can
register for their free subscription at
www.womenandcancermag.com."

Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

Monday, September 8, 2008

Be A Bra and Offer Support!

Hi all,

It's been a while, which one can say means, "No news is good news."

This coming Friday, September 12th, marks my one year anniversary of being cancer free (one year from the date of surgery). I'm happy to report that my most recent mammo and ultrasound were free and clear of any ickiness and the prognosis continues to look good. I remain confident that the Tamoxiphen will do what it's supposed to do and all the decisions I made were the right ones.

It's remarkable to think a whole year has passed. As my scars fade (they're barely visible) my memory sort of does, too. This is a good thing. But occasionally when I get pissed off at something really silly, I have to remind myself that it's probably not worth the negative energy; things can always be worse. For a good six months if someone complained to me about something bugging them, I'd jokingly say, "Well, at least it's not cancer!" And the truth is, there wasn't anything s/he could say back because it's true. The big things become little and the little things become even littler when you stop for a second and ask yourself, Is this really worth getting upset about?

Anyway, enough of that, let's get down to business.

This coming Sunday, September 14th, is the Susan G. Komen Five Mile Race For The Cure in Central Park. It's $25 to sign up and you don't even have to do any fundraising. Just show up and offer your support to the 1 in 8 women affected by BC. And the good part is, it doesn't matter how in shape you are. You can walk, talk, stroll, roll, bring your dog, your kids, etc. No idea of the weather forecast at this time, but with the exception of tomorrow, this week's looking pretty good.

For more information on this event or one in your city please contact info@komennyc.org or you can sign up to be on the same team as me (see bottom of this page).

Second, one of my favorite people on the planet, Joan Deignan, is in charge of Patient Support Programs at St. Luke's Roosevelt (part of Continuum Group, to which my hospital, Beth Israel, belongs). She herself is a three time survivor and has more fire in her belly than just about anyone I know. With her smarts, charm and networking abilities, she has arranged for 10 survivors to get get 10 free dance lessons at Dance Times Square (the owners of which you might've seen choreographing on the last season of "You Think You Can Dance") http://www.dancetimessquare.com/. I have been fortunate enough to be one of the reciptients. The one caveat is that we all have to partake in a recital! EEEEEEEEKKKK. The last time I was on stage was probably Junior High Band not to mention I CANNOT DANCE. For the past month or so I've been working closely with Manuel, my gorgeous, compassionate Italian dance instructor, who has given me so much guidance and confidence on the dance floor, that I'm really beginning to think that I have one left and one right foot. So please reserve the evening of 10/25 for the dance recital (there'll be a follow up with the box office info). I will only be in one dance and I could fall on my face, who knows, but there'll be other very experienced students from the school showing off their moves. It should be a lot of fun. (BTW, if anyone has any suggestions of where I can find a hot red dress for this event, please let me know. And by hot, I don't mean it fell off of a truck.)

Thanks for tuning in and hope to see you this Sunday.

Liz

Race info:
Continuum Cancer Centers Team finished first place in the Race for the Cure 2007 -- We're # 1 and with your help Continuum Cancer Centers Team will “win the race” again this year.

On Sunday, September 14, 2008 The Greater New York City affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure will be holding its 18th annual 5K Run/Walk –Komen New York City Race for the Cure. On that day 20,000 New Yorkers, including 1,500 breast cancer survivors, will come together to Run Breast Cancer Out of Town.

Please join us in the fight against breast cancer by registering as part of our team – Continuum Cancer Centers Team – we need your support every step of the way.

Date: Sunday, September 14, 2008
Time: 8:45am for Team Picture
Place: NE corner of 73rd St. & Central Park West
To Register –
Call Joan Deignan @ 212-523-7275 or email: jdeignan@chpnet.org

Alison Estabrook, MD, Chief Division of Breast Surgery
Paul Tartter, MD
Sharon Rosenbaum Smith, MD
St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center

Friday, May 2, 2008

One For The Boys

According to the American Cancer Society, "...breast cancer is about 100 times less common among men than among women. For men, the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.... In 2008, about 450 men will die from breast cancer in the US..."

These figures may seem small and not worth worrying about. Until you know one person who it has affected. That one suddenly has the weight of a million.

I had the honor of participating in a small focus group at one of NYC's Continuum Group hospitals yesterday. It never ceases to amaze me how many interesting stories there are to be told. And how many wonderful people I've met who have shared them.

One in particular stands out. A beautiful woman, 33 y.o., mother of three, told her story.  Last year, her father felt something in his chest. He saw a number of doctors who shrugged it off as a growth or something not worthy of investigating further. The lump grew larger and he got more concerned, which lead to more dr. visits. He was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer. This coupled with his sister having died of breast cancer just a couple of years prior, convinced the young woman in the group, to get tested for the BRCA gene. She not only tested positive for it, she discovered that she too had breast cancer. 

Can you imagine a father and daughter scheduling visits to the doctor together? How about surgery? How about getting chemo treatments together? Sure, it's possible, but you don't hear about this often. Certainly this was a first time for me. 

I'm happy to report that the two patients are fairing well right now. The woman's 15 year old son has been tested for the BRCA gene, which in fact came back positive. He has not been diagnosed w/BC but needless to say, he will be  monitored carefully. 

We all have so many health concerns these days. Mad cows, chickens on roids, brain cell killing phones, blah blah blah... everything seems to cause cancer these days and it can get overwhelming. That being said, I'm not writing about the small statistic of BC in males to scare the bejezus out of anyone, but rather just to raise awareness and encourage you guys out there to "check yourself out" too. 

Speaking of which, after sharing the story above with a friend today, she shared a story that her friend told her. His girlfriend's 15 year old son was in health class and the topic was testicular cancer. The teacher explained the proper way of "checking oneself." Sure enough, this smart teenage boy went home and "did his homework." (No jokes here, this is serious stuff.) Lo and behold, he felt something and yep, you guessed it... he went to the doctor and was diagnosed with testicular cancer. This exam saved him! Yes, he might've caught it further down the road, but he thankfully took care of it in its early stage. 

Again, don't want to be the voice of gloom and doom.......... Just want to get the message out to you guys and hope you pass it on to others. 

In the meantime I'm feeling great and looking forward to spring arriving for real. 

Much love, 
Liz

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No News Is Good News

Hi All...

A few of you have mentioned you haven't heard from me for a while on the boobblog front.

So here I am happy to report that all is going very well. I went for my six month post surgery f/u mammo (rt side only) this past Monday. A couple of calcifications found but nothing of concern. I did see the digital image blown up on the computer screen. It looked like a planet. Saw a bunch of staples that were left in there. That's right, I was stapled back together. Between those and the chips that are in the other side, one would think I'd set off at the airport. Thankfully not or I'd have to be searched and that could get embarassing.

Next appt is to meet with the surgeon for a follow up in early April. At that time he will give me an Rx for an MRI (date obviously TBD). They'll check up on the left side to make sure there's been no change to the little buggers that were there last year.

That's all the news for now.

Thank you to those who have checked in.

Love,

Elizabeth

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thanks for The Mammaries...


Hurrah! 
January 30th marked not just the end of the month, but the end of my radiation treatments (with minimal side effects).   
 
This was followed by imbibing and eating an obscene amount of champagne and shrimp cocktail. 

Moving forward, I'll just have follow up appointments, will take my vities and meds and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. 

My writing class has begun and with any luck, I'll be able to get something about my experience published by October (BCA Month) 2008. 

So stay tuned. 

Make an appt to get your mammo if you haven't already. 

And keep reading. Remember, you have to remain informed in order to make any decisions about your health. Don't rely on doctors alone. If you've learned anything, opinions vary. Remember, just a few months ago I was set on getting a mastectomy based on the advice of one doctor and survivor that scared the bejeezus out of me? Whew, am I glad I didn't. There would've been NO NEED for this whatsoever. I'm so glad I continued to do my research and eventually fell into the hands of a wonderful surgeon. 

Thanks for sticking with Twin Peeks and not changing the channel. I hope it's been informative. I'll be in touch with any new developments (all good of course)!

Much love, 

Liz 

P.S. Title credits go to D!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Neither Hair Nor There

Happy New Year one and all...

Thanks to my friend, D, I laughed my way into 2008. D got a few of us tix to see the Chris Rock (and Jill Scott) show at MSG. The show was great, the tix were great, we imbibed in our seats, the balloons, etc. dropped at midnight and the subway got us home in ten minutes. I highly recommend doing something like this 351 days from now. 

Speaking of laughing, I just finished "Magical Thinking", a book of short stories written by Augusten Burroughs ("Running With Scissors," "Dry"). Not only did I laugh, I laughed out loud. Really hard. By myself. Usually on the subway or in the waiting room at the hospital. My friend, L, bought me this book to read after my surgery and I just got to it now. It's really true, laughter is the best medicine. (Thanks, L... now that everyone's seen me laughing alone in a corner, the dr's are considering moving me to the psych word for additional treatment). If you like David Sedaris, you'll like A. Burroughs. Get this book. 

Just to keep with the laughing-in-hospital theme... As I've mentioned before, during treatment, one is dressed from the waist down and on top you wear a flimsy seersucker robe (Sidebar: I throw out about three robes a day before finding the one I'll wear. Most of them are missing the ties and people just put those back in the laundry so these useless robes get washed and recycled. Then someone like me comes in and starts sorting out robes. No one in an entire hospital has thought to just buy more ties instead of throwing out tons of robes. THIS pisses me off). OK, OK, back to the funny thing. So, the two techs who most frequently treat me are A and D. A has a real gift of gab. Chats pretty non-stop about music, politics, religion, Brazil, whatever's on his mind. Don is adorable, quieter, loves shopping for clothes for he and his girlfriend. A + D both love to comment on the boots that I wear. So I lie down in on the table and on this day I came in wearing probably a fifth pair they haven't seen. The machines are moving around, being adjusted and there's music playing (supplied by A) in the background. I hear D say to A at the foot of the table, "Yeah she's got nice boots." Al agrees, says something. I, who am not supposed to budge an inch, fly up, 3/4 dressed (remember only one side's exposed) and say, "WHAT DID you say?" Don says, "Oh, we were just saying you have really nice boots." To which I replied, "OOOOH, I thought you said nice BOOOBS...I really didn't think that was allowed..."  Har, har, har... we all got a good laugh from that one especially since the machine broke down that day and people were sitting around frustrated for hours. 

So in between laughing, I've decided that this should be a year of change. This is one of those things that happens either a) from age or b) after having "C" or c) perhaps a little of both. 
I've decided to enroll in a writing course. I've only been talking about doing this for about, hmm, five or more years. I attended an open house at The New School last week and after talking to a seemingly suicidal poet and a chain smoking novelist, I decided I to sign up for Writing for Women's Magazines. 

Last Friday, the day before the 41st anniversary of my being here on earth, I went to get my hair cut. The 2nd time in two weeks (far from typical). I opened a magazine, ripped out a picture and said, "Chop it off." B looked at me like I was crazy... Are you sure? she said... Yep. Get rid of it. 

And so I did. I officially have short hair. Well, long short hair. Within the past three months, I've probably lost about 12 inches. In hair that is. And I can't tell you how good it feels. We all cling to our hair. Some of us hide behind it. Some choose to make a statement with it. Some wear it one way or another b/c a boyfriend likes it that way. Some have no choice but to loose it. I decided that I put too much emphasis on it. Not that I don't style and slop some gel into it now. But I thought by cutting it, there'd be some Samson effect and my Bed Bath Beyond sheets would turn to salt or we'd fall into a recession. 

Oh, shoot. Did I do that?

I kid. 

Really, it was quite cathartic, loosing all this hair. It's as if it had the anti-Samson effect. I feel that much stronger

Many people have asked me, Liz, how do you think you've changed since this summer? 

Well, I can't exactly put my finger on it, but, all of a sudden the little things like hair don't seem to matter. Less seems to be more. More seems to be a lot more. It's all good. Take it all with a grain of salt. Yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. 

My suggestion to YOU(!) is, do something today that you never normally do. Walk to work a different route. Wear green eye shadow. Eat a pomegranate. Make a concerted effort to make eye contact, smile and say hi to everyone you pass. These little changes will make a huge difference. Even just for a minute or two. I promise, you'll kinda like being hair, not there. 

L.