Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PINKTOBER (or, shoot me now)

During Pinktober, I and my fellow cancer bloggers, rail about the world turning pink and all the money to be made by slapping a pink ribbon on just about everything. However, for the record, I want to thank everyone who purchased the products, signed up for the walks, and wore (or wear) pink ribbons. I know that you wanted to help, and thought you were doing so. I can’t tell you how deeply I appreciate what you’ve done. BBC (before breast cancer), I did the same thing because, like you, I never knew the truth. Still, if you want to wear the pink ribbon – you go right on ahead! I’m not offended! I think you’re awesome; I just want us all to take the next step & demand honesty from those that claim to be helping us find “the cure”. Again, thank you for wanting to help the cause and women like me. God Bless You.

I can’t help it, but every time Pinktober rolls around, I think about Ralphie in the movie, “Christmas Story”. Aunt Clara made a big pink bunny suit for him, which his mother forced him to try on. As he comes down the steps, his mother thinks that it’s adorable while his father shares in his son’s horror. He says that Ralphie looks like a big pink nightmare. All I can think about is the other months, staring as October is forced to wear pink; you just know they’re all laughing and pointing. Which is sad, because October should be equated with falling leaves, apple cider, pumpkins, and Halloween. 

Sadly, like Ralphie, it’s now just a big pink nightmare.

I have my own rants coming your way about this time of the year when all the world turns pink and companies slap a pink ribbon on just about everything. Hey, there’s money to be made! But before I rail, I want to share a post from my blogging sister, Ann Silberman. Ann is a metastatic cancer patient, and is fighting each and every day. The way I see it, if anyone can beat Stage 4, it’s Ann (and my friend, Stacy).

You can keep up with Ann on her blog, “Breast Cancer? But Doctor – I hate Pink”. Here’s her story about being contacted to help a guy “save man’s real best friend – boobs”. Ugh. Wouldn’t it be nice if the emphasis was on saving the woman, not the boobs? Anyways, here’s what Ann had to say to the idiot:

Look at this jerk. He actually wrote me a private message and asked me to support him in his effort to save "man's real best friend...boobs." and asked me if I wanted to "rock a tee shirt" like a dying woman has the energy to "rock" anything, and support Komen and some damn race. He didn't bother to call me by name, (more evidence that those of us with mets are not people) he didn't learn my stance on Komen, didn't even gather a little clue by the name "I hate pink." He just blithely asks me to help him get MONEY so he can enjoy himself. He's spamming me, obviously, but hey, it's for the "cause" How could I possibly object?

My response? In part: "I, along with many metastatic women, do not support Komen and won't have anything to do with them. Komen does not help the ONLY women who will die of breast cancer - those of us with metastatic disease. Out of hundreds of millions of dollars raised, Komen donates only 17% towards research that could possibly result in a cure. The rest of their money goes to throw parties and races for the "Survivors" which also include women who never had cancer. Their profound focus on early detection has caused tens of thousands of women to lose their breasts over a disease that is called DCIS which could never, ever have killed them. Research would help them too.

I am dying of cancer. It is not cute, it is not pink. It is not about bras, and it's not about "rocking" anything.

You want to show support for women with cancer? Than learn something, don't just do something you enjoy already (exercise) and pretend you are helping. Read my blog. Read sites like "Think Before You Pink." Watch the movie Pink Ribbons, Incorporated. Read the New York Times article (where I am quoted) here:


Ugh, I hate this month, where every idiot in the world wants to make a buck off the suffering of the 40k women who will die this year of breast cancer and everybody thinks because I have written about my terminal disease of breast cancer I MUST support Komen. That is how brainwashed they have people.

Do not help this guy and in fact, let's get the word out that if he wants to run in a damn race then he should effing pay for it himself. His prizes for donations include such sensitive and charming items as "sweater puppy solo cups"


I suggest you ask any other metastatic women to support you as you will likely get a very similar response.

Thanks, Ann, for always telling it like it is. If you’d like a REAL eye opener at how low Komen will go to get money for feel good walks & parties, check out Ann’s latest post on her Facebook page. You can read it here.

Un freaking believable.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Houston, we have a nipple

Looking back on recent posts, I see that I have been remiss in telling you about what you get sent home with once you have a brand new nipple. Ready to find out what this sci-fi like technological wonder is?  Really? Okay, heeeerrrreee it is:

It’s a piece of foam that they cut a hole in, held onto your breast with tape. Don’t get me wrong; it works. The thing is, after seeing all that they can do with rebuilding my boob, I expected there to be some amazing contraption (that I never would have dreamed of) protecting the new nipple. Eh – the point is, it works, so there you go.

The second nipple surgery has gone quite well! Plus, Dr. Morrissey didn’t need to do a skin graft or take fat, so there wasn’t any pain – woo hoo! It’s looking good, well, with the exception of the ugly black stitches. Ever notice how black looks even darker when it’s up against a light colour? I’m so white, I glow in the dark, so the stitches are kind of scary looking.

The good news is that there has been no oozing or scabbing this time!! The bad news is that it looks like a little cone head. Hopefully, that’ll change in time, or else I’m going to look perpetually cold.

I see either Morrissey or Jason next Wednesday. I’ll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime, here’s a big head’s up!!!


Dr. Topham told me this, but that was a while ago. I guess I conveniently forgot, as at the beginning of summer, I was going nuts because I needed a strapless bra. Ever tried to find one of those bad boys without a wire in them? Trust me – it’s like rooting for truffles in a fish tank. I’d found this really cute dress, but it was strapless. Finally, I decided that since it was only this one time, I dug out an older strapless bra – with underwire. I trotted around, all happy with my smart self, arrogantly thinking I knew what I was doing.

Until that night.

I took off my bra, glanced down at my boob, & saw that it was misshapen – really, really misshapen. It looked like something out of a sci fi movie. I freaked out a little.

Okay, I freaked out A LOT. But it was the weekend so I couldn’t call Dr. Topham and let’s face it – a trip to the emergency room was out of the question. Although if I’m being honest, it did cross my mind. Fortunately, the boob was back to its normal boob like shape in the morning. Crisis averted.

Still, I wanted to find a strapless bra that didn’t house those little torture wires; I began to look everywhere. They have plenty of those boob squishers called “bandeau bras”. If you happen to wear a cup size over “B”, then this isn’t for you. Well, that is unless you want your boobs flattened, sending them migrating to your back, thus parking your nipple in your armpit. If that’s cool with you, then have at one - and send pictures.

However, one glorious day, I took Boy to the Philadelphia Outlet mall, where I saw a Maidenform store. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t at least give it a shot, so I went in. A really sweet girl (who I took to calling Angel when I retold the story) asked if she could help me; so I told her that I was looking for what constitutes the Holy Grail of bras for reconstructed boobs. She thought for a second, then went towards the back of the store, stuck her hand in a display, and brought out a wire free strapless bra.

I had to blink my eyes really fast cause I could have sworn I saw a halo glowing over her head.

I asked if there were more of these treasures hidden throughout the store, and she sadly informed me that she was surprised they had this one. Oh, well, I didn’t care, I had the elusive wire free strapless bra in my hot little hands and I was happier than a politician with an original idea (whoops – that’ll never happen so let’s just say I was happy). Just at the moment I thought Nirvana was mine, my salesgirl asked if it was the right size.


I stood there gaping at Angel as in my mind her halo fell off her head and Elvira, Mistress of the Night, was looking back at me instead. It’s amazing how quickly one can go from joy to despair.

Thankfully, the band size was correct, but the cup size was one size too small. I thought for several moments, then made a decision to buy the bra. I figured that as long as I had one of those nipple foam devises to protect my new addition, I was gonna jam those bad boys into that bra like I was stuffing a sausage. All was once again right with the world and I took my bipolar self out of the store; of course, after thanking Angel profusely.

Naturally, I wanted another one of these miracle bras, and came home to begin my search on the world wide intranets – only to find that they no longer manufacture this well made bra. Well, of course they don’t – it’s comfortable. My friend, Dorothy, said that maybe I could take wire out of a bra, which was brilliant! So I grabbed an older one out and began the task of yanking the booby destroying wire out. A few cuts, several gashes, a myriad of curse words that I didn’t even know I knew and well over an hour later, I triumphantly held the wire in my bloody little hands. I put it on, and grabbed a shirt. While my arms were heading north to put the shirt on, the bra was headed south. Or, I found out what keeps most bras up – and I’d just removed it.

I’m still looking for a comfortable wire free bra. Wait, I should amend that to strapless. You can find many regular bras without the little torture wires, but that’s because straps hold the girls in place. I have no idea what miracle produced the Maidenform bra, but I’m still looking for another one.

To that end, if you ever stumble upon a Lilyette (made by Maidenform) bra, style #457, would you give me a holler?

This Wednesday, I think Morrissey will take the stitches out of ol’ righty here. Soon, it’ll be time to tattoo her so she looks like lefty. I’ll be sure to let you know, in mind numbing detail, how it looks as we near the finish line. Why should things change now?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Just a quick giggle

I'm getting a post ready, but until I put it up, I thought I'd share this with you.

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be...if it doesn't come back it was never yours to begin with. BUT, if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats all of your food, uses your phone, takes your money and doesn't appear to realize you set it free...you either married it or gave birth to it!

And you'd get all this silliness for free if you "like" my Lucy page on Facebook. I have NO idea why that's important, but supposedly it is. I contend that my readers are like me - technological troglodytes. We're only using the web for important things, like shopping. In fact, one of my dear readers sent me an email about the time she tried to find my Facebook page, so she had her son Google "The Brunette Lucy". 

And that's how I found out there's a porn star out there going by the same name. 

Anyways, here's my stupid Facebook page in the event you're bored & want to scroll thru & read some of the dumb stuff I post (like the above). Just click the link & my big ol' face will show up (my big ol' AIRBRUSHED face)! I'll never be accused of writing the great American novel, but I sure do think of stupid stuff. That counts for something, right? Okay, here's the link:

The Brunette Lucy

Before I let you go, I have to show you the sweetest, most adorable nurse ever in the whole wide world (aside from my daughter, Elyse). Her name is Kyriel Manzo and she's awesome. She, like Jason (you can see his photo below) work for Dr. Morrissey. Soo, like I always say, if you need a plastic surgeon, see Morrissey. He's a talented surgeon & his staff is the best.

Here's Kyriel (with her dog Bruno):

Isn't she adorable??

I'll post about my second nipple surgery soon! Then I'll tell you about my visit with Dr. Nakajima (oncologist). I have the most interesting conversations with nurses. Here's a hint - we spoke of undergarments of the steel belted, rearranging your innerds persuasion. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A nipple for Lucy - kind of

Sorry I haven’t written for a while! I’ll try to catch you up as best I can.

Before I do, would you mind including my friend, Stacey Kemmerer, in your prayers? I’m at the end of my battle, but there are SO many women out there on the battlefield, fighting the good fight, but needing as much help as they can get. It seriously freaks me out that cancer hasn’t been eradicated. What with all the foundations dedicated to finding the cure, you’d think we’d be much farther along in our understanding of this horrible disease.

Unfortunately, many charities have lost their way and are using the funds for things that have nothing to do with cancer research. Susan G. Komen, in MY OPINION (if I don’t say that, I can get sued – they have tons of lawyers on hand to keep an eye on people like me. And sue, sue, sue, sue, sue – that should really be their motto – in my opinion), is the worst. If you learn nothing from this blog, please know that many, many women who blog about cancer feel the same way about this organization that should be ashamed of themselves – in my opinion. If you’d like to read more about them & others, I wrote a four part series for AOL’s “Patch”. The first two parts were about my experiences with cancer; parts three and four deal with what many of my blogging sisters refer to as “pinkwashing”. Here’s the links to those articles:

Okey doke, I’ll get off my soap box! On to what’s been going on.

Dr. Morrissey has a new doctor working with him. His name is Jason Dos Santos & he is so freaking sweet! I keep forgetting to bring my camera to appointments, and I haven’t taken a decent picture with my Blackberry in, let me think . . . oh, let’s see. When was the last time I took a decent picture with my phone? Oh, yeah, I know – never. Soooo, I found his photo on line (if you’re reading this, Jason, please don’t kill me for putting this up). Here he is:

Cute, right?

Okay, back to nipples.

After the new nipple surgery, I was feeling pretty awesome. It looked amazing. Dr. Morrissey put a skin graft on half of it – the top half. Of course, that’s what I see when I’m looking down, so that was cool. Then he created the nipple mound using what’s called a “skate flap”.

Before I forget, Dr. Morrissey said he didn’t think it would hurt much. Now, I consider myself a seasoned surgical veteran, and hence, a bit of a connoisseur of levels of pain. I’m also fairly sure that I have a little higher tolerance than most. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that due to all these surgeries, I’m highly tolerant of percocet. Which really, really sucks. Anyways, when I saw him for a follow up visit, I told him to never tell a woman that it doesn't hurt again. Well, I think I might have said something snarky like, “it hurt, you ass”. I hope not THAT snarky, but I say so many dumb things, it’s hard to keep them all straight. Anyways, it’ll hurt because they’re taking skin & fat from other places on your body. The breast mound has no nerve endings, so there’s no pain there. But I don’t care who you are, if someone slices off some of your skin, it’s gonna hurt. And I don’t know why (and I kept forgetting to ask) but my side and a small area on my stomach was really, really sore for weeks. Sore, however, I can deal with.

But I digress.

For the first week or two, everything went great. Matt & I even went on a weekend get away to celebrate our 25 years of marriage; to each other - with all 25 years served consecutively (giggle).

Then, it began to ooze. And a small part near the projection site turned green. Originally, I thought it was infected, but Jason said that my body rejected that portion of the graft & cut it off. The projection began to look smaller. Then the oozing stopped and scabs began to form. Then the scabs would fall off, the oozing started again, and the nipple began to shrink again. Long story short, the projection is almost nothing. Which really, really sucks. Now don’t get me wrong. Dr. Morrissey told me that shrinkage was normal and expected.

Gotta be honest, though. Every time he said that, all I could think of was the “Hamptons” episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry’s girlfriend walked in after George had been swimming. Shrinkage, baby, shrinkage! “It shrinks like a frightened turtle”. Apparently, my nipple channeled a frightened turtle. And soon became little more than a pimple.


I had the option of having Dr. Morrissey do a 3-D tattoo. After the nipple had healed, I was going to have the areola tattooed to match ol’ lefty anyways. But all I could think about was I could have done that in the first place. So, I’m electing to give it another try. Tomorrow. If the nipple doesn’t take this time, I’ll just leave it alone & have the tattoo.

Tonight, I’m getting things ready for tomorrow’s surgery. I’ll write more, probably this weekend. I’ll explain what happens after surgery, and what you run around wearing in such a sensitive area. Curious, now, aren’t you?

I also want to tell you about the wonderful staff at St. Luke’s Quakertown campus. From checking in to pre-admission testing, the people are wonderful. I can’t wait to tell you about Fran, my awesome & beautiful (really) pre-admission nurse.

Talk to you in a few days!! In the meantime, feel free to leave your comments here. Or, you can “Like” me on Facebook. Here’s the link to that – The Brunette Lucy. I mostly post stupid stuff, but I also answer anyone who writes to me. Here’s a few examples of my dumb Facebook posts.

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be...if it doesn't come back it was never yours to begin with. BUT, if it just sits in your living room, messes up your stuff, eats all of your food, uses your phone, takes your money and doesn't appear to realize you set it free...you either married it or gave birth to it!

If you’ve gauged huge holes in your ears and don’t keep Oreo cookies in them for snacks, then what the hell’s the point?

A friend took going to jail badly. He refused all offers of food & drink, spat at people, swore at anyone who came near him, and smeared the walls with his own feces.

We are NEVER playing Monopoly again.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Barbie gets a nipple

In case you haven’t heard me say this before, I call the new boob my Bionic Baby Barbie boob. Bionic because they built it better; Baby because it’s still really young, and Barbie because it has no nipple. That’s all going to change tomorrow!

I’m going to St. Luke’s hospital where Dr. Morrissey will make me a brand new nipple! And, as I’ve always said, I love Dr. Morrissey, but for some reason, this surgery is making me nervous. It’s kind of dumb, but there you go. I’ve had a big ol’ slice of my abdomen & all its fat removed and placed where my old boob used to be (that was the only time I was happy I had plenty of c-section belly fat!). Two surgery sites – we’re talking major freaking surgery here, folks. Yet I’m nervous for this one – go figure.

I’m sidetracking right now, but I can’t help it. I’m going to confess something that I’m not proud of.

There’s a really, really shallow thought running thru my apparently extremely superficial brain which is really funny when you consider the fact that I’m almost 52 years old. This stuff shouldn’t be running thru my mind. I should be thinking about support hose and signing up for the AARP. Well, actually, support hose sounds really good right about now, I have an invitation to join the AARP on my kitchen counter, and frankly, a steel belted girdle is on my shopping list. But still.

As I’ve gotten older, my stupid skin has a few little red spots that are pissing me off. I’ve been able to cover them, but when you have surgery, you can’t wear make up! Crap! So there I’ll be, my big ol’ gut hanging out, hair pushed into one of those oh so attractive blue beanies, wearing one of those tie in the back “gowns” they give you that come apart at the first sign of any movement so why bother at all, with my blotchy, make up free face. I hope there’s no little kids getting surgery & waiting in the holding tank. I’m enough to scare the living daylights out of them. I can hear it now, children shrieking, “Mommy, shield me from the monster!” You know, I think it might behoove the medical establishment to let old ladies like me wear makeup just to spare them from looking at us.

Just a thought.

Wait, I haven’t adequately lamented about another thing I hate: pre-operative marking. It’s where the surgeon marks areas that he’ll be working on; usually done while I’m standing up. No matter how many times it’s been done to me, it’s still embarrassing. Maybe if I was a swim suit model or, I don’t know, twenty years old, it wouldn’t be quite so humiliating. But you get to stand there nekkid except for panties (and sometimes they’ve been off which is even WORSE) while the doctor is drawing on you, asking you to turn this way or that, using a sharpie to create his surgical road map. I know that it’s a good thing & is helpful to the surgeon. It’s just that when it’s happening to you, there’s no hiding anything. You’re on display like Honey Boo Boo and her hillbilly clan at a debutante ball.

But I guess if I’m being honest, what’s making this particularly scary for me is what it’s going to look like. I know Dr. Morrissey is the best, but I’ve looked online at all the different photos of nipple reconstruction. Gotta tell ya – some look good and some look like a well used dog’s chew toy. I’m positive mine will be fine, but those photos are going thru my mind.

On the bright side, I’m going to see if I can make Dr. Morrissey “remember” that he said (wink) that he’s going to throw in a small facelift or under eye surgery.

A girl can try!

But the other thing I’m thinking about tonight is how far I’ve come. It’s been three years of ups & downs – with a whole lot more downs than ups. Still, there were a lot of ups. I beat MRSA, survived chemo & radiation, underwent more surgeries than I care to remember, and have a breast where there wasn’t one. I’ve met wonderful people, both in the medical field and in doctor’s waiting rooms. I’ve mourned friends who lost their battle with cancer and am head cheerleader with others who are still in the throes of the fight.

Right now, I’m almost 2 years cancer free, although there have been two terrifying scares. Once the bone scan showed what looked like bone cancer, but was really a nick in the bone that Dr. Topham had made to thread veins. The other was a spot on my liver, but it turned out to be nothing. I had to undergo an MRI for the liver thing, and once again confirmed the fact that I’m claustrophobic. Thank God for the wonderful technicians at St. Luke’s who helped me through all my testing procedures.

Tomorrow is one step closer to closing this chapter in my life. Oh, I’ll always be vigilant in scheduling my scans and there will probably never be a day in my life that I won’t remember this journey. But I’ll also be thankful for the skilled surgeons and oncologists that held my hand thru it all. The nurses, CNAs & administrative staff that call me by name and laugh at my lame jokes hold a special place in my heart. And like I said, the techs were simply awesome.

More than anything, however, I’m grateful for the support of my family and friends, new and old. Jim Bryan, you’ve been a wonderful surprise and a friend that I’ll treasure forever. Thank you. And thank you to my Facebook friends who’ve cheered me & supported me. I wish I could name you all.

I’ve met the most amazing people who have followed my journey and cheered me on when I was down. I run a large homeschool group (between 350 & 400 families), and I have to be honest, I didn’t know all of the members by name. But some ladies who only knew me as the wacky broad who organizes things, volunteered to bring food to my house. Many offered to clean my house! Thank you to all of you – I’m forever in your debt.

And if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that my best friend is Michele. She’s been there thru it all – and laughed at me when I was a total dork. She’s irreplaceable and I’m so thankful I have her.

My mother in law, Gretchen, was wonderful. I didn’t share this with you, as it wasn’t mine to share, but Gretchen battled – and beat – bladder cancer during all of this. Yet no matter what I needed, she was there. My crazy sister, Theresa, was always on call – and always ready to help.

My kids have been awesome. They chauffeured me to chemo and then daily to radiation treatments.  They organized a chart with the list of medicines I was scheduled to take, and even gave me a bell to ring if I needed anything. They cleaned the house, learned how to do laundry, and turned out to be some darn good chefs.

And then there’s my Matt; my husband of 25 years. No one was blind sided by this disease more than Matt. I swear, when Dr. Quiros told us that there was no saving my right breast, and couldn’t tell us how extensive the cancer was or even give a prognosis; I actually felt the breath come right out of him. He was hit hard, and he was scared. He was trying to be strong for me, so it hasn’t been until recently that he’s shared how difficult this has been for him. Trust me, I knew it was hard; but I can’t imagine the hours he spent in Hell (also known as hospital waiting rooms), waiting for the doctors to tell him what was going on. We’ve truly been thru this together. And thankfully, we’re coming out the other side a stronger and more committed couple.

Finally, thank YOU! You’ve been reading this blog, & have been keeping me in your prayers. I’m so lucky and I thank you.

I’ll let you know as soon as I’m able about what happened. And, you know me, I’ll tell you every detail!

Good night everyone & thank you so very much.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Goodbye, my friend

Yesterday, God welcomed my friend and fellow cancer fighter, Gail Ann Cavallaro, home. She fought hard, but cancer is evil and beat even a strong combatant like Gail. Thankfully, she is no longer in any pain as she sits with the angels tonight. God Bless her family.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And now for something completely different.

I think the title says it all! I wrote this piece a year or so ago about Easter. Even as I write this, my girls are in the kitchen rolling out sugar cookie dough to make Easter cookies. I'm guessing dying eggs will be Saturday. 


Easter Sunday is next week, reminding me of the many Easters I’ve spent dying eggs with the kids. I’d spend hours getting ready for the event; boiling eggs, gathering cups and preparing the dye. But the most time consuming of all was covering the kitchen table with newspaper in the event that a cup of dye was spilt.

Oh, who am I kidding; there was never a question of whether or not a cup would spill. It was just a matter of time.

At first, I just covered the kitchen table, but after the second or third cup of dye hit the floor, it, too, got covered. Inevitably, as soon as the kids enter the kitchen, the newspaper that I just spent twenty minutes covering all surfaces within a ten foot radius, gets strewn everywhere but where I had put it.

I started using tape to keep the newspaper down. I was especially diligent about taping it to the floor after I got doused with a cup of dye while crawling on the floor, replacing scattered newspaper. I now own an outfit solely for dying eggs.

Now that my kids are teens, I thought for sure they would tire of coloring eggs. They have not. And I’m sorry to report that even though they’re older, there is still going to be a dumped cup of dye somewhere. My days of papering the kitchen are not behind me as I had hoped.

However, they’ve begun to get more elaborate in their egg decorating. Through the last few years, I’ve been instructed to purchase kits that are supposed tie-dye them, make them look like marble or cover them with glitter. They also enjoy writing in wax pen on the eggs; sometimes, they’d put appropriate things like crosses or their names. However, I’ve stumbled upon more than one egg that has written across it things like, “I would have like to have seen Paris before I dyed. Signed, the Egg.”

They also expect treat filled baskets; not for any sentimental purpose but because they’re kids. Getting free candy and gifts is not something they give up easily. You’d have better luck getting an elephant into a Smart car, handing it the keys and asking it to pick up the Easter Bunny.

As you’d imagine, however, the trinkets that find their way into the baskets have gotten smaller, while the price tag has gotten larger. Most of them require batteries as well and now cost almost as much as a Smart car.

When they were little, I bought huge baskets because they had to hold large stuffed animals or character dolls. I, whoops, the Easter Bunny, stuffed a singing Ariel (from Disney’s “Little Mermaid”), large Little Foot dinosaurs, and Cookie Monsters inside the baskets. There was also Power Ranger action figures, a roaring “Simba” from “Lion King”, and a giant blue genie from “Aladdin” in the baskets at one time or another. I purchased them happily; until the day Elyse discovered a large purple dinosaur.

My three year nightmare began and his name was Barney.

While the overacting was perfect for children, parents were banging our heads against the wall. And the songs; oh the songs. Matt and I took to substituting our own words for the theme song, “I Love You, You Love Me”; they’re not suitable to write in this column.

That being said, I’ll admit that the show is full of qualities such as teaching children to share, how to settle an argument using words and other such teaching principles that parents everywhere want their children to learn. Sometimes parents have to bite the bullet and take one for the team.

So, I bought a singing purple dinosaur and let Easter Bunny put him in Elyse’s basket. They make a new stuffed Barney every year and the big Bunny kept jamming the oversized beast into her basket. Thankfully, she grew out of it but the timing couldn’t have been worse. It was the day after we bought her an expensive interactive Barney doll that she held once, then tossed into her toy box.

Of course, there was always an accompanying video to go with each character. And the kids wanted them every bit as much as they wanted the doll.

I don’t know who loved the videos more, though – the kids or me. I loved to watch as the kids would clutch their beloved character while they watched the movie for the hundredth time. I believe that seeing their little faces reflect the emotion on the screen, or listen as they sang along to every song is a gift that parents everywhere treasure. In fact, whenever a new Disney movie came out, we’d take the kids. But I never saw it; I was too busy watching my babies’ faces in the dark instead. And I don’t know whose heart broke more when the sad part came; them as they cried, or me as I held their hand. Those are memories that you cherish for the rest of your life; even the tears.

This year, as we decorate eggs, I’m going to remember when they were little, and keep those memories close to my heart forever. But I’m also going to tuck the new memories made with my teens into my mental scrapbook, and keep them as treasured as the memories we made years ago. This time, too, will pass quickly.

Besides, how many more times in my life will I run across Easter eggs that say, “Eat beef, not chicken!” or “$500 reward for E. Bunny – see Chicken Little.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh, boy - just shoot me now

I have good news & some disconcerting news to share. I’m going to start with the good news.

I met with my original booby daddy, Dr. Morrissey last week, March 13th. It was awesome to see him. In case you don’t remember, here’s his picture:

(cute, isn't he??)

I love Dr. Morrissey; he’s always made me feel like he wasn’t rushing me. He answered all my (often times dumb) questions without making me feel like I was mentally deficient. I’m never nervous when he’s operating on me – you can’t buy that. So if you’re looking for the best plastic surgeon in the entire Lehigh Valley, heck, the entire state, consider seeing Dr. Morrissey. Here’s his information:

Dr. W. Michael Morrissey, Jr.
1213 Main Street
Hellertown, PA 18055

He has offices in Quakertown & Bethlehem, too.

It’s not just me that loves the living daylights out of Dr. Morrissey! I met a woman this past week who handed her 6 week old baby over to him for surgery (he needed quite a few). She, too, couldn’t imagine a better, more competent doctor who inspired confidence. I mean, really, you can’t get a more glowing recommendation than a mom who’ll hand her baby over to a doctor several times with no reservations.

Did I mention that Dr. Morrissey is the best?  

After the original mastectomy, he put tissue expanders in. Then MRSA reared its ugly head, & I was in & out of surgery 4 more times. The final time was an extended stay in the hospital where they kept the wound open, packed and cleaned it twice a day. That was horrible, but it kicked the MRSA out, so there’s that.

Unfortunately, the MRSA ate the tissue expander, and when the ordeal was finally over (a few months), Dr. Morrissey felt that I should see a micro surgeon for reconstruction, which I did. Dr. Neal Topham of Fox Chase Cancer Center did a good job of making my bionic (they built it better), baby (brand spanking new), Barbie (no nipple) boob – my bionic baby Barbie boob! It’s time, however, to end its status as Barbie, because we’re fixin’ to slap a nipple on that bad boy & call it a day. I have surgery scheduled for the second week in May – or do I?

Here’s where the crappy part comes in.

I went to see a gynecologist on Tuesday, Dr. Patriarco. Turns out, since I had breast cancer before age 50, my chances of getting ovarian cancer are about 87%. Throw in the fact that there’s either uterine or ovarian cancer in my family, & I hit the genetics jackpot. I either may already have it, or I’ll more certainly get it. Guess who wants to yank those bad boys out? I also want them to take out the rest of the plumbing. Like I’ve said a lot recently – they’re about as useful as screen doors on a submarine.

The doctor took my blood & has sent it to a genetics lab out west. They’ll determine if I carry something called a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. There’s a lot to explain about it, but since I want to get this up, I’ll just post the link here. Suffice it to say, I’m hoping I don’t carry the gene, but more for my girls than for me.

I’ll keep you posted as surgeries get scheduled. Gotta say, though, I’m getting really tired of my reproductive system trying to kill me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Moving on . . . .

As you may know, I've written my humor column that ran in over 20 cities for AOL's Patch over 2 years. In fact, if you scroll down, you can read my indictment of the pink ribbon marketing bonanza which was a departure from my normal silliness. I tapped into my old job as a journalist to expose the massive amounts of money being made by simply slapping a pink ribbon on some product or another. The biggest problem is that miniscule amounts of money were donated to any charity or went to help cancer patients. Most of the money was pure profit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of making money. But I detest when it’s done based on tapping into humanity’s innate desire to help and it’s even more despicable when it’s made from the suffering of others.

I haven’t decided whether I despise the corporations who slap that pink ribbon on their product and paint the town pink for “Pinktober” or the charities that claim to be helping women like me (cough, Komen, cough, cough). One of the worst charities, in my opinion, is Komen, who barely spent 17% of their earnings from the pink ribbon marketing cash cow to anything remotely helpful. Worse, their signature fragrance had ingredients directly linked to causing breast cancer. Helpful little bunch, wouldn’t you say? But, like I said, you can scroll down to read the series.

I’ve changed direction, and am finally writing my book. It’s tentatively called, “My Heels are Alive (and are trying to kill me)”. I’m almost done – woo hoo! So that’s another reason I haven’t been writing for y’all with any regularity.

I’d LOVE it if you’d connect with me on Facebook. If you “like” my fan page (just click on the name & it'll take you to FB & my page), Tamara Kells, The Brunette Lucy, you’ll be able to interact with me much easier than here on the blog. Although I thank you for all your emails! I can’t tell you how much I looked forward to hearing from you. There were days when I was sick, others that I was depressed, and I’d see that one of you sent me a letter. It was the most awesome thing – it’s hard to put it into words. Thank you seems trite. Still, it’s the only way to express my feelings about you.

Thank you.

If you feel inclined, come over & visit me on Facebook! I look forward to reading whatever you have to say.

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