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The Falls were White~

Posted by Christine Dwyer on November 22, 2011 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

What an incredible experience to see Niagara Falls turn white for Lung Cancer Awareness!


I made the just over 5 hour drive out to Buffalo, NY on Wednesday morning and spent the day with my friend Gary doing the touristy thing.


We made our way up to the Falls around 6:30 that evening and stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe to have a celebratory drink. I was stunned at how empty the entire area was. I had been there in July and the crowds were unbelievable. I am not a fan of crowds so to have pretty much the whole park to ourselves was a welcome surprise.


The event itself was slated to begin at 8pm and run for 15  minutes. I don't know what happened but it was a bit late in getting started. There are no words at all to begin to accurately describe the feelings of seeing the rainbow colors slowly fade and be overtaken by pure, bright white. Just stunning. Breathtaking. Bautiful.


What made this night even more special were the hundreds of messages being posted to the Event's page on Facebook, the ones being posted to my personal page, the emails,  and the phone calls all letting me know how much this meant to so many. There is nothing that compares to that feeling. I am blessed, honored and so proud to have been able to make this happen.


I found out yesterday afternoon that this event will happen again in 2012~ I was so thrilled to get that news and will again make the trip up to see this happen in person. My heartfelt thanks to the Niagara Parks Department for working with me on this and making this all happen! As things fall into place I will get the details out to everyone. My hope and intent is to make the 2012 event even more special!


I will add this.. If you do visit the area and view the falls at this time if year, DRESS WARMLY! The constant mist and breezes (winds) make it very, very chilly!


I have so much to be thankful for this year and hope that you all have a joyous Thanksgiving!


Much love,

Always

Christine


Before they went White.... Just awesome!


And then...





November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

Posted by Christine Dwyer on October 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

 

 

How many people really knew that November is Lung CancerAwareness Month (LCAM)?

I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that unless your life has been touched by lung cancer, you had no idea.  We don’t have all of the fanfare and waves of pink to promote our cause. We have the color gray, pearl or white. Washed out,transparent, lost in the shuffle colors. We don’t have national brand names touting fundraising for lung cancer. We don’t have made for tv movies chronicling our fight and our challenge.

We DO have a growing movement of, determined, dedicated and  good people who are working day and night to change all of this. I am one of those people.

 

Of the 50 states in the contiguous nation of the UnitedStates, only 24 have proclamations naming November as LCAM.  Twenty-four states; Not even half!  It’s really no wonder we have to work so hard to make any difference at all.  Even the states are seemingly blind to our plight.

 

There are so many ways to help raise awareness of not only“our month” but about the true facts surrounding lung cancer. We can all help to remove the stigma attached simply by becoming educated ourselves and then sharing that knowledge with others. The truth is easy to come by, simply check with any of the reputable lung cancer associations out there. They generallyall have a page on their web sites dedicated to the FACTS about this disease.It really and truly is not all about smokers or smoking any  longer. Most newly diagnosed lung cancer patients are either people who quit the habit years and years ago or have, in so many cases, never touched a cigarette in their lives.  In this day and age,women are being diagnosed more frequently than men. Even children, yes, kids are being diagnosed with lung cancer. Although cigarettes are heavily blamed and the favorite culprit of lung cancer, there are MANY other causes for this disease. Radon gas is the second most deadly cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colorless,odorless and for the most part undetectable element in so many homes! There are simple radon detection kits available at your local hardware or home supply stores and they are fairly inexpensive. Yet again, this is such an unknown cause of this maligned disease that most people are simply clueless. Genetics are also suspect of playing a huge role in lung cancer. Asbestos has been found to cause Mesothelimoa, another type of lung cancer. Every day air pollution has been linked to lung cancer as well.

 

Those are just a few facts about lung cancer.

 

The biggest thing I think we all need to remember is that if you have lungs, you are at risk for lung cancer.

 

Lung cancer does not discriminate.


We truly cannot afford to any more, either. 

Know the facts.

Share the facts.

Let’s work together to make a difference for Lung Cancer.

 

 

~~~ A short P.S. to this post…

I was going to leave this post ‘as-is” but something I read not too long ago as well as something I wrote to a friend this morning has got me thinking again.

25 years ago nobody talked (out loud anyway) about Breast Cancer. Using the word BREAST in any type of media was sort of Taboo. We did not talk about boobs! It was just not acceptable. Not only boobs but talking about cancer of any kind at all was just not acceptable in society.


Take this discussion from the Make Some Noise for Lung Cancer Awareness’ Facebook page..This is a discussion that the late Frank Clements and I had regarding perception and acceptance of cancer vs generations/age groups. The use of the phrase “Shameful Secret” really sums it up~

 

·  MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!.... For Lung Cancer Awareness

Hello All,

 

I was having a discussion with one of our admin members this morning about age vs cancer perception and, for lack of a better word, acceptance.

 

Frank made a comment that the generation which would include my parents,grandparents, etc  would never discuss cancer!  If a family member had any typeof cancer and died from it, it most likely remained an almost shameful secret,as if it was a curse! I noted that my own Mom was never really able to acceptmy step dad's diagnosis, and to this day, a year and a half out from his death,she still really doesn't accept any of it.

 

I'd be interested to hear how you all feel about this notion. Are we, in this age of the internet and with more access to information and ideas as well as the ability to connect with so many others who are in the midst of this cancer journey, more tolerant because we are more educated about cancer in general?

 

As Frank put it to me.. and I quote with his permission...

 

"The older generation (your Mom) has different ideas about cancer in general. My aunt was telling me that when my grandmother passed away from cancer back in the 60's, it was kept quiet as to what she passed away from. Nobody talked about it. There was a stigma to having any cancer - any cancer - at one time.Can you imagine?

 

Here's just a hint to what what makes us better in 2010. We have ways of reaching each other and educating the world as we and it should be educated.The internet has changed the way in which we live and communicate. It fascinates me. Knowledge is power. I don't know if I would have gotten through 2009 had I not had the internet to realize that life can continue on. Once I was diagnosed, I thought it was over for me. What a world we live in. :-). It never stops teaching us something about life, about others, and about ourselves..... "'

 

Well? What are your thoughts? Please share with us!

 

 

I hope to hear from many of you!

 

Christine

· 

MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!.... For Lung Cancer Awareness

Despite how low the LC survival rate STILL is, I do believe that some things have changed for the better, and I wouldn't be surprised if we're living longer with the disease because of the information and networking that's readily available. The internet has done wonderful things for us. The availability of clinical trial and different chemotherapy treatment information have to be bringing progress to the longevity aspect. There's also the human interaction within this community that turns alight on to what was once such a dark and hidden secret. Being able to share our fears, our hopes, and sharing information that was once nearly impossible to do within our community is a blessing, and it's really only been available for such a short period of time.

 

Thanks for listening!

 

-Frank

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Look at today!! Look at how different things are NOW vs how they were in our parents and grandparents day! Cancer is literally and figuratively EVERYWHERE. We see it in print, there are commercials all over the television,there are bill boards and radio advertisements.  We cannot go into a store without being beaten down by pink merchandise. And it’s not just about breast cancer, although that does get the majority of the accolades if you will. I see ads on during hockey games for prostate cancer. I see ads for leukemia, lymphoma, brain cancer, and yes, even lung cancer and mesothelioma~ It may FEEL like we are fighting an uphill battle and in many ways we are, but we ARE making forward strides, making progress!

 

We are very fortunate that we are no longer in the dark ages. We are actually very lucky that pink IS everywhere. Pink and boobs have made such major advances in making cancer an acceptable topic in today’s society.  Today we CAN talk openly and honestly about cancer, even lung cancer. And we are making steady and very real progress in bringing lung cancer out of the dark ages and into the light by sharing the truth about this disease, by educating those who do not know or understand that Lung Cancer can and DOES strike anyone at any time from any walk of life.  Lung cancer only cares that  you have lungs. Period.

 

So, take heart and keep the faith. We ARE making very positive and progressive strides in our efforts to raise awareness!

Slow and steady DOES win the race..

 



Making Some Noise, down under style!

Posted by Christine Dwyer on October 22, 2011 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Making Some Noise.. LITERALLY!

 

I woke up this morning and found a message in my Facebook inbox. It was from a lady by the name of Susan Bradley. She introduced herself as one of the growing number of non-smoking lung cancer survivors.

As I read Susan’s story in our back and forth correspondence it occurred to me that this is one amazing lady!

Now, any of you who know me, know that all of my LC people are my personal heroes. I am touched by each and every story that I hear and am always so honored to be friends with these courageous warriors.  Each and every one of you (them) have a story and each and every one of them touch me in different ways.

 

Susan’s story is pretty special.

You see, Susan is a professional musician.

She plays the tuba!

And since her lung cancer surgery, she now plays the tuba with ONE LUNG

Now you see what I mean about her being special??

 

I am honored to share Susan’s story here with you. I think this gives us all some inspiration!

 

Here, in part, is the message(s) I received this morning…

 

Susan to me:

Hi Christine,

you don't know me personally, but I would like to add you as a FB friend if possible. I had lung cancer, despite being a non-smoker, and have beaten it,and strongly wish to raise awareness of lung cancer.

I am a professional tuba player, so the loss of a lung was somewhat upsetting initially, but I have resumed my career with renewed energy in a determined attempt to show that lung cancer is not a death sentence!

 

Christine to Susan:

Hello Susan!

I have been reading some of your comments and posts on your page this morning and I must say you are truly an inspiration!!! While lung cancer has come into your life, you have not let it take OVER your life and I love that! So many people just seem to be overwhelmed by the fear and beaten down by the horrible (AND UNJUST) stigma that this disease carries. But you have just moved forward! What a wonderful, wonderful inspiration for not just lung cancer, but for anyone faced with life altering adversity!

 

Susan to Christine:

I prefer to live life as a public person, not a private one,and partly due to the 'cancer thing' for want of a better phrase. When I first fell ill I saw people in the ward whose lives had been taken over by the cancer and by the whole 'being seriously ill' thing. I resolved to ignore that as much as possible.  So far, so good.

Currently twenty months after losing a lung in order to regain a life, I have no cancer, and don't intend to have any more.

I Make Noise with a tuba on a daily basis, as I have always done, and if  it helps for me to Make Some Noise for Lung Cancer Awareness then I will!

I am based in Australia, with fabulous surgeons, lung specialists and oncologists at The Royal Melbourne Hospital. My surgeon, Phillip Antippa, should be of special note, as he also runs an orchestra, with whom I recently played a concerto ( part of my physiotherapy, almost!). If you Google our names together you should find a) an article in The Age newspaper from late July on that concert (with a very unflattering pic!) and also a recorded interview on (Australian) ABC Classic FM Breakfast Show, with Emma Ayres, in her Grace Notes Lounge Section.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Here is the link to the article about Susan and Dr Antippa..

 

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/one-lung-but-this-muso-is-still-blowing-strong-20110719-1hn5l.html

 

 

And this is the sound bite from Sue’s interview with Emma Ayres’ Grace Notes

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/classic/podcast/current/audioonly/gnt_20110729.mp3

 

Susan, thank you for sharing your story here with us, for sharing this wonderful inspiration, and thank you for MAKING SOME NOISE for Lung Cancer!!

 



 

 

 

Awareness on a Grand Scale

Posted by Christine Dwyer on October 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Lung Cancer Awareness in a HUGE, HUGE way

 

A week or so ago I had read an article about Niagara Falls being illuminated in pink for breast cancer awareness.  I have to admit I was really a little envious to think that one of the largest and most beautiful natural resources in the world would be turning pink.

Pink is everywhere.

 

As I read the article one thing kept running through mymind. I have told this to many people and now it was time to apply this advice to me;

“If you don’t like something, do something to change it!”

 

So, I sat down and I wrote an email. I knew it was a huge long shot but hey, I have been turned down and told NO on more than one occasion, what did I really have to lose?

 

I had all but given up and forgotten about the request honestly.  So many things happening in my life that I really wrote it off as another “No”.  But I was wrong!!!

 

This morning my cell phone rang.  The voice on the other end told me that he was calling regarding my email and wanted to know what day in November I would like to have NIAGARA FALLS ILLUMINATED IN WHITE FOR LUNG CANCERAWARENESS!!!!!!!!

If you haven’t yet figured it out I am BURSTING with excitement  and pride and a sense of thankfulness that is indescribable.. But enough about me!!!

 

Please mark your calendars and join me on November 16th  when Niagara Falls MAKES SOME NOISE and goes WHITE for LUNG CANCER!

From 8-8:15pm and again from 9-9:15pm the only color lighting the falls will be white..


I will post some links to live feed web cams so that everyone can see this event, even if you cannot be there in person.


HUGE Hugs

Always,

Christine x x

 

 

Scanxiety!

Posted by Christine Dwyer on October 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Scanxiety..  I have always thought I knew how this must be, but having been in the position, (Not for LC or any C, thankfully!) to a certain extent I can say I had NO IDEA how bad this can be.

Scanxiety.  The “art” of waiting, and waiting and sometimes even  more waiting for results of CT scans, PET scans, MRI’s, x rays, ultrasounds and so on. It’s the games your mind plays with you while you anticipate the results, hoping, praying and believing in only the best case scenario, yet knowing full well that it COULD bethe worst case instead. It’s the feeling of panic, the feeling of being scared out of your wits, yet trying to put on a brave face and deal with the emotions while attempting to lead a “normal” life.

 

For my LC people, this can actually truly be a matter of life altering results, and life changing decisions. It can be the make it or break it of their journey, quite literally.

For me, it is the unknown cause of the sometimes excruciating pain that I have been getting while trying to keep up my fitness walking. It’s a pain that is indescribable really and has been all but 100% diagnosed as a condition called Compartment Syndrome.  The fix or cure for this is surgery.  It’s not major and certainly not life threatening but it is a surgical procedure. Surgery and me? Not a good mix..

 

I had an MRI done on Saturday and I dropped off the disk with the results and images to my Ortho’s office yesterday. Now I wait. I don’t wait well. The outcome of this test will dictate my next move.  While I know none of this is a big deal,especially to those who are battling the LC beast, this is a very stressful time in my life. Not only am I facing the possibility of surgery, I am dealing with a timeline that is closing in all too quickly for me. My son will be leaving the day after Thanksgiving to do his second tour in Afghanistan. He and I both would really like to get this taken care of BEFORE he leaves so he can go knowing that all is fine and dandy here at home.

So, on top of the whole leg/pain/unknown/scanxiety stuff, I am also dealing with the imminent departure of my first born. Yep, I did it before and I know what to expect, but that almost makes it harder to handle this time around.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a whole new respect and empathy forall of you, my LC Peep for what you go through waiting on those results. I never cease to send my love and prayers to you during those days and now I know a bit better just how very, very hard those days can be!

 

 

The whole moral behind this, if there is really a moral at all is this..

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  ~ Plato.

 

 

Wishing you all less scanxiety and loads of love, hugs and prayers~

 

Always,

Christine



 

Long Over Due Update!

Posted by Christine Dwyer on August 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

It's, once again, been a while since I have posted here. It's been for various reasons, some very good, some not so good. Regardless; I wanted to share a couple of things with you.

 

This first bit is not lung cancer related but I wanted to bring this to everyone's attention because it's a heart touching story and one that YOU, my readers can help with.

 

I have a shop on etsy. Etsy, for anyone who may not know is a web site that show cases  folks who create some pretty awesome things. The woman I am about to introduce you to is one of those creative, craft folks!

 

Rebecca's story, in her own words from her profile on her shop goes like this..

 

"I'm a mother of four. I am studying psychology. I am a 'stay at home mom' by choice and necessity. I have a small child with Cerebral Palsy who requires constant care.

I paint, bead, crochet, sew, write and make jewelry to relieve the steam cooker in my head.

 

By purchasing my arts you are enabling me to better care for my children. I am very grateful!"

 

I am absolutely in awe of this lady and her strength and her devotion!

 

Rebecca has graciously offered my readers a 35% discount on anything you buy at her Etsy shop... Simply enter the word SWEET at the checkout and you will receive your discount.

Why not visit her today and get a start on some holiday shopping, get some beautiful items and help this much deserving family out.

 

Use this link:

 

http://www.etsy.com/shop/RebeccasWhims?ref=pr_shop






 

 

 

The other bit of news is about a brand new foundation which has begun. It is called the Lung Cancer Survivors Foundation and it's got some fantastic goals in place. I am proud to have had a hand in helping them get a start on Facebook! The mission is pretty simple and is laid out below:

 

 

Our collective Movement is born of personal experiences and social need.

In an allied effort to create a place of empowerment,validation,and support, we strive to reduce the crippling effects of the stigma surrounding Lung Cancer.

 

 

Description: There is little to no financial help for struggling Lung Cancer survivors.This fund is created for anyone wishing to donate directly to helping Lung Cancer patients and Survivors.

 

It is the hope that we can achieve solidarity to establish private funding for the victims of a tragically underfunded and neglected disease.Focusing on the individual needs of people living with Lung Cancer.It's up to US-The survivors of Lung Cancer to make this happen.

General Information: This group is formed to collect and disburse donations to any qualifying Lung Cancer survivor.Funding has not been established at this time as this group is a "work in progress" -Any and all suggestions welcome.

To provide funds for qualifying Lung Cancer Patients,in the hopes of alleviating the financial hardships caused by a Lung Cancer diagnosis.

Pledging to always remain true to what a Charity is intended to be.Relief for those in need.

  

 

 

 

Stop by and see what's happening on this new page and join in.

 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lung-Cancer-Survivors-Foundation/110664985698350?sk=wall







 

 

Finally, I hope that everyone in the path of Hurricane Irene will be safe!! Please take this storm seriously as it does have the potential to create massive devastation and destruction.

 

Warm Hugs to All,

Always, Christine

New Features!

Posted by Christine Dwyer on July 29, 2011 at 10:32 AM Comments comments (0)

With the warm reception of the Survivor’s Corner and some interest having been voiced about this,  I decided that we needed a “home” for our awesome caregivers, family members and friends.

Here’s what I have so far!

 

 

Caregivers  (family/friends, too) Corner

 

As promised I am working on another new feature for MSN4LC’spages.

This time it is all about caregivers and family members. What I need to know is what YOU, the caregiver, family, friends need and want most!

Drop me a reply here and let me know what content would most help you, what you most need and want to know, what you would change, etc.

Right now we have a blank page! So let’s get some suggestions rolling in and mold this into something that will be a useful resource in the future!

 

Love and Hugs

Always,

Christine



 

One Month.

Posted by Christine Dwyer on July 8, 2011 at 3:52 PM Comments comments (0)

July 7, 2011 was one month since Patti’s passing. Life is resuming for most but for me it has taken a new tone. I am still reaching for the phone to call her and share some silly event or hear how she is doing. I still wait for her emails and those jokes she would send. I still wait to hear how her chemo went, how the scans were, etc. I can’t seem to get used to these things being gone from my life.

 

One month. It went so quickly. My duck tattoo is fully healed and looks fantastic. I am so glad I did that. I have been asked about it a few times and through the tears that form behind my eyes I explain that it is my Super Hero LC Duck, it’s a memorial to an awesome lady who battled the beast and won her ultimate fight. People probably think I am nuts but I don’t care. My duck is beautiful, Patti is beautiful. That’s all there is to it.

 

One month. Will this stupid pain ever ease? Yes. It will.  When it’s time.  When will it be time? Who knows. I DO know that it will happen, I have been in this situation before and I have managed to live through. I will this time, too. I try and think of the pain as a reminder of the wonderful friendship Patti and I had, have. It’s a reminder that she is in a better place, free of pain and stress. Free of chemo and tests and scans and worry.

 

One month. It went so fast but so slowly, too. I am preparing to go on vacation for a week. It seems to be taking forever to get here. Yet the past month went so fast. It’s so strange how that works.

 

I have decided, since I have really been unable to do much in the way of my Lung Cancer work that once I get back from my break, I will begetting back into things full on.


I am going to hold the first Shine ALight-athon in Berkshire County, Massachusetts in November. I am going to begin working on preparations for that as well as, hopefully, some other events, too. I am going to continue to do what I do and work towards educating people about the FACTS of LC, working to remove the myths and stigma and overall just continue to strive to make a difference. 

With Patti’s death I needed to take a huge step back and let myself grieve and heal. I am still grieving, I always will for her, for all of the friends and loved ones lost to this insidious disease. But I can grieve AND make a difference too. And I shall do just that or at least give it one hell of a try.


And I can and will do a better job updating this site, too.

 

Patti, I love and miss you; Everyday. 






 

Moving Forward. Slowly.

Posted by Christine Dwyer on June 20, 2011 at 10:29 AM Comments comments (0)

I will begin this post by saying that I am sorry I haven’t updated before this.

Patti’s death definitely has had and continues to have a profound effect on me but I am trying to find the strength to get back into the swing of things.

Amazing to think that a year ago I was in Cleveland for the walk at the zoo. What a great day that was and such warm memories. It was just so neat to see so many people showing so much support for Lung Cancer!

On the flip side of this, the news story about the management firm in Massachusetts who let a long time employee (13+ years) go after his wife was diagnosed with stage 4 LC definitely had a lot of people stirred up. I was so happy to see so much support for this family. I was also really sad to see many people posting to news stories etc and spouting off inaccuracies regarding the disease. One in particular really was clueless, saying that the ONLY reason, at her age, that the patient in this story had lung cancer just HAD to be because she smoked. Now, really; not once in any of the stories did anyone write about this lady being a smoker and chances are quite good that she wasn’t. It’s ignorance and attitudes like this that make me and so many others ANGRY.

There were/are campaigns going on to email, phone/fax this company and voice displeasure over the way they treated this employee. The story goes something like this. The man’s wife was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. He went to his employer to request a change in his work schedule, not a reduction in hours, but to have a bit of flexibility in his days to be able to be with his wife as she endured chemo, testing etc. Although there is some hope that the wife’s cancer is not as advanced as first thought, the sheer fact that this man lost his job, his income, his insurance, has left this family devastated emotionally and financially.

Such is life some would say and no, had this story been about someone with any other illness than Lung Cancer I may not have even heard about it. But I did. And it makes me sad, angry and more determined than ever that we need to find the elusive cure for this hideous disease.

If you want more information about the couple in this story, the link to one of their news stories is;

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2003988/Devastated-husband-Carl-Sorabella-FIRED-wife-diagnosed-terminal-cancer.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

In closing, I wish you all a wonderful, productive and positive week.

Hugs,

Always, Christine

Patti B

Posted by Christine Dwyer on June 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM Comments comments (10)

This is by far, the hardest entry I have ever written. Yet, through the tears I did find some smiles and happy memories.

Patti, I love you. Rest in peace dear friend.


Patti B

That’s the name I knew her as when I first met her 4 and a half years ago.

She had read a post on a support site about my other web site, cancergrief.com and sent me an email about it. That was the start.  She and I began emailing daily, several times a day.

As our friendship grew and the phone calls became a main stay in our lives, I got to know more and more about her, her son, her husband and extended family.  Finally in August of 2009 I took  the first of what would be 3 trips to Ohio to finally meet this amazing lady in person. Her words to me when I got there were, I am  so glad you came! I feel like we have known each other forever!

We had a blast that trip. We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of  Fame, and although we swore we would never tell anyone, we got all confused and never saw the top floors! (Quite  a laugh we had about that when we went back again a year later!) We went to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. She had such a wonderful day there as did I. She was born and raised in the area but had never gone to see the gardens before. I am so honored to have shared that with her!



Patti


Posing by Lake Erie


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


In September of the same year I returned to visit with Patti again.  This time we went back and finished seeing the hall of fame and we also spent an amazing day at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Monkey Island will forever be in my memories! She talked about having taken Nick there as a child and how there were so many monkeys on monkey island! We decided that anyone who did not behave that day was to be banished to Monkey Island! Good Times, Great Laughs and Precious Memories.

Monkey Island!


I went back to Cleveland to help Patti host a Lung Cancer Awareness walk in June of 2010. She had begun to take a little downward turn during this time but was determined to host this walk and make it a HUGE success. Patti,single handedly put on one amazing walk! It was held at the Zoo and we had a huge turn out! There were tons of raffle prizes, over one hundred participants for the walk and most importantly, an immeasurable amount of fun and memories! And oh yes, she raised over $20,000!!!


The Cleveland LC walk




Patti and I laughed so much together. We could and would talk for hours on the phone. (Thankfully Verizon to Verizon calls are free! )She would tell me about Nick and his swimming and the pride and love she had for that boy would shine through! She told me about scans, chemo, we talked about side effects and doctor appointments. We talked about her other “baby”, Calli , her kitty and how much she loved her. (I have to admit, Nick is a pretty stellar young man and Calli is just as sweet as they come!)


Nick and Calli


Patti told me, in great detail about the day she was diagnosed. The doctor told her that if, IF she was lucky, she might have a year. I know this guy had no idea who he was dealing with! Patti told him what she thought of that diagnosis and explained that Nick was only 14. He was in high school and she was DAMNED WELL GONNA BE HERE TO SEE HIM GRADUATE.

 She changed doctors and attacked the beast head on.

Throughout the nearly 5 years that she battled with the lung cancer, she never, ever had any true break from her chemo treatments. She had 15 sessions of whole brain radiation (WBR) in 2009, finishing up just before I went to visit the first time. She lost her hair but she never, ever lost that drive, that determination to keep on going. I do not think she ever missed a single swim meet that Nick was in. I will never forget the pride in her voice when she would tell me how well he did! 

 

We shared so many memories, so many wonderful times. We always knew that we had each other to rely on when we needed an ear or a shoulder.  I was blessed beyond words to have met Patti online and even more so to have had the chance to meet her in person and visit those three times.


Ducks.. Ducks were our thing! She had told me about the ducks that would come up to her pool in the spring time and do what ducks do in the spring time I never laughed so hard as I did when she would talk of the male duck holding the females head down, under the water and quack so loudly, bragging about his conquest! Oh lord, the laughter brought tears!!!! From that point on, every holiday, every birthday, every just because day, we would send rubber duckies back and forth to each other. Mine are lining the window sill in my office, a framed photo of Patti and I at Lake Erie nearby and another photo of us at botanical gardens on my cork board. 

 

Two weeks ago I called to check on her. She sounded so sick.  I know she had lung cancer and stage 4 at that, but honestly, she never sounded “sick” to me! Not like this.She was in the hospital at that point. Nick had taken her in because she was having such a hard time breathing.They admitted her with pneumonia. I called daily to check on her. She was so happy the evening I called and they had decided to let her go home. It was the weekend of Nick’s prom and she was determined to see him and his date .

And she did!

 

Nick graduated from high school this past Saturday, June 4,2011 . Patti was there. In front. She saw her son receive his diploma and I can feel the pride she felt. I know how much she fought to see that day. I know what it meant to her. She told that first doctor she was going to see her son graduate.

And she did!


Patti, Nick and Joe, at Nick's graduation

 

Patti was admitted back to the hospital that evening.

She left this world around 3am on June 7, 2011.

I lost the closest thing to a sister I will ever have. I lost the greatest friend anyone could ever ask for.

But what I lost is nothing in comparison to Nick and Joe.  They have lost their wife and mother.

And my heart feels like it has shattered from the loss we have all suffered.

 

Patti, my dear sweet friend, I love you forever. Thank you for being in my life and for being such an incredible example of human spirit.

I will continue this fight, this war against lung cancer.  I will continue to work to remove the stigma and the ignorance surrounding this disease.

I am so relieved that your pain has ended. Mine will subside and become bearable eventually but it will take some time.


A lot of time.

 

Rest In Peace Patti.



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I just received the following message and photo from Nick;

"I found a box my mom had. It had two wristbands to the rock hall, one paper ticket from Aug 12 09, a paper ticket from Sep 24 09, a rock and roll hall of fame pamphlet, a Cleveland botanical garden pamphlet, a hand written letter by Meg about a duck, A Clev. Zoo newspaper, a comedy cookbook magnet, a Rock Hall exhibit guide, a coaster from the rock hall, a lamented friendship card, a Medina Depot flyer, a ticket to the zoo, a picture coupon, a blue rag and 7 feathers."



 



Funniest story about those feathers.  We were at the zoo and watching the flamingos. Patti saw the feathers on the ground, JUST inside the pen. Well she was not leaving without them! Yep, I practically climbed into the pen to get them for her. And, she still has them.. <3



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