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Missing my cousin.....

Monday, September 07, 2009

This morning I received a phone call that you was not unexpected, but it was also not see, my cousin Debbie had gone a few years without her yearly mammograms, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she finally got up the courage to be tested. By that time there were 2 tumors in her breast, and it had also spread to her lungs. Before we knew it, she had metastases to the bones, receiving radiation treatments to multiple areas is her spine, and her brain. She had a great outlook and although we didn't speak as often as I would have liked (we moved to Florida 8 years ago and she still lived in NJ), when I did speak to her, she was pretty upbeat and positive.

I am now 2 years out from my diagnosis, but Debbie wasn't so lucky. She was admitted to the hospital late last week, and they did not think that she had much time left. Sure enough, this morning we received that dreaded phone call that she had passed away, only about 1 year from her original diagnosis. She was still very young, only about 49 by my faulty math......At this point she was in such bad shape, that it really was time for her to go, but my heart goes out to her husband of 27 years, her son who is in his first year of college, and her other son, who is only a sophomore in high school.

After I shed some tears, I dragged out the old photo albums and relived the great times we had trips in Vermont, beach vacations in North Carolina, hundreds of family get togethers.....she was always there, always smiling. Then there were pictures of her with her babies...and the cakes she made for their younger birthdays, beautiful, wonderful creations that rivaled most wedding cakes! Debbie's smile was infectious, and she loved to get together with family and catch up on what was going on in all of our lives. Before long, my tears had dried, and there was a smile on my face again. I will miss her terribly, and I know that her family will have a hard time going on without her, but the memories that we have, will be cherished forever!

Love you Debbie, my cousin in marriage, my sister in the breast cancer fight, you are one special lady and will be tremendously missed!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERBABY4 11/3/2011 11:08PM

    I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. We lost our 19 year old daughter to cancer . It is good to talk about her and the wonderful times we had watching her grow up. Happy memories always ease the pain and they stay with you forever. Always keep her close to your heart. She will be there for you.

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BLUEWILLOW527 3/10/2010 1:24PM

    Suzanne, I am so sorry about your cousin's illness and passing. I know it hurts to lose someone so young that you're close to, with their whole life ahead of them, especially to cancer. She sounds like such a sweet and special person and I know you still miss her very much. I lost a dear cousin to brain cancer last June. He was only 53-- we were five months apart in age, literally grew up together, in the same classes at school, and he had just moved back home to our hometown here in North Carolina from Texas, where he had worked in the nuclear energy field for many years, when he became ill suddenly. He had a very aggressive cancer and survived only a year after his diagnosis. He was so tough, and even came to my after-treatment party to celebrate with me. I have asked "why" so many times did I make it ok and he didn't, as I am sure you wondered when you lost your Debbie. We just have to hold onto wonderful memories, keep those photos nearby, and cry and smile when we need to.
Take care, my dear Spark Friend!
Mary Jo

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TRECECOOKS 2/4/2010 5:36PM

    I am so sorry for your loss.

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PINK-SOLDIER 10/9/2009 6:41PM

    I know it's been so hard on you, just letting you know everytime I see your profile pic, I see the love you shared with her. emoticon

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NISSANGIRL 9/16/2009 3:47PM

    So sorry for your loss.

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CAREDFORONE 9/13/2009 8:06PM

    What a tragic loss. I am so sorry.

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SWAZY33 9/9/2009 8:40AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin.
Way to young =(
Prayers to you and the family!

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LIZNMARK1 9/8/2009 11:53PM

    What a beautiful tribute to your cousin!! I'll be keeping you all in my prayers! What a difficult road ahead for her sons...I cannot begin to imagine!

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CHRYS13 9/8/2009 11:25PM

    I'm sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and praying for you and Debbie's family.
May you have many more happy memories of her...

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GRAMMYSKIDS58 9/8/2009 9:01PM

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin. We all know she is in a better place and she isn't suffering anymore.
I am so glad you got to look back on those memories and it brought a smile to your face... she will always be a part of you.
HUGS, Kathy

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CHALLENGE130!! 9/8/2009 12:48PM

    Very sorry to hear of your loss! Early detection is definitely worth educating everyone about! Our family has had their fair share of breast cancer survivors...and are currently dealing with a few fighters that are fighting more severe cancer. It is so true about having the memories and pics!! It helps so much to remember all of the great times that you shared! That is what life is about! Thinking of you during this difficult time. emoticon emoticon

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RO2LOOSE 9/8/2009 6:35AM

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. As BC survivors each loss to this horrible disease hits home hard. I will remember you all in my prayers. Hugs across the miles~~ Ro

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Revival of the Nordic Track!!!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

For the past couple of days I have been wracking my brain to come up with a new exercise routine that would help me burn calories but not cause too much pain. As a result of chemotherapy (and probably years of high impact sports , let's not blame chemo entirely!!) my hip and shoulder joints have become very arthritic, and makes my current workout routine (karate training) not a viable option. I've been walking the dog, but just couldn't get my heart rate up with that alone, but was really having a hard time coming up with something that I could stick to, was convenient, but would burn some much needed fat!!

Thanks to a blog that was posted previously.......about exercise equipment becoming an expensive clothes hanger......I remembered the Nordic Track that I had used faithfully when we lived up north, but somehow never got in the habit of using now that we live in Florida. It was in the back of a closet, rather dusty, but still working beautifully. Add an iPod and my favorite tunes, and it was like I had never stopped!

Of course this is one day, and only time will tell if this is a life change or just a passing fancy, but the economic minded me is happy not to shell out hundreds of dollars, and I'm rather proud of myself for resurrecting an old friend who has never steered me wrong.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LORI2008 8/10/2009 10:40AM

    Good for you!

Make sure you are eating plenty of protein rich foods and Vitamin B rich foods if you still have problems with excessive tiredness or fatigue. I had major problems just getting started with exercise because one session would make me tired and miserable for 3 days after. A nutritionist helped me work out a meal plan that would promote recovery from my treatments and help me have the energy to work out. After a single month, no matter how hard I work or play, I don't have fatigue problems. It's great!

Also make sure you warm up and stretch before working out and stretch after working out. I here you on that tightness in the joints. When I first started, I would feel like I had tendonitis in my whole body the next day. That has been improving too.

We will heal! We survived the cancer so we can survive the treatment too! LOL!

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VICKSBURG 8/9/2009 1:20PM

    You have hit on a gold mine. Easy does it. Incremental increases in time, speed and incline will pay off in gigantic dividends. I know, I've been there more than a dozen times over the years. Even after a heart attack the first exercise I did under physician supervision was the treadmill. You go, Girl! emoticon

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

OK, when I started on Spark, I decided that I would only post my weight as it there would be days and days where I would not change it. But on those days when the scale was my friend, I jumped at the opportunity to post the lower number! And for awhile that worked....but then health issues caused me to work out less, or at a lesser intensity, and the numbers on the scale started rising.....yet on Spark, the number miraculously remained the same.

But it is time for a change, time to be honest with myself and with my friends here. No, I am not still at 159+ pounds, this morning I stepped on the scale and was actually HAPPY to see it read it had been as high as 175, practically the weight that I was when I started. Though I see 165 as a form of failure, I've decided to "speak the truth" and be honest with myself. Yes, I did put on weight, no, I am not happy about it, but I no longer want to hide behind the erroneous 159 number......I vow to update at least weekly, whether high or low, it will be the truth!

Will this help my resolve? I do not know. But I do know that if I am honest with myself, and admit my short comings, I will be more patient with others who are fighting the same battle, and not feel like such a hypocrit!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DRADISCH 7/21/2009 11:18PM

    You are truly an Inspiration and a great motivator to getting back on track.

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ROXANNEGREY 7/5/2009 12:03AM

    You are amazing...Do you know that? I so admire you.
emoticon emoticon

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PATSYANN47 7/1/2009 7:01PM

    Hi, I just dropped by your page to say Hi, it seems that I hadn't 'seen' much of you lately. I saw your 6/20 blog and stopped to read it. I totally understand about the honesty thing. In the past I would have done what you did and try to hide from the truth. But honest is the best policy (to use an old saying) and being honest with yourself is so cleansing. When I re-joined Spark this year and made the commitment to lose weight while my grandson is in Iraq I also made a commitment to myself to be totally honest about what I was eating, how much I was working out and how much I weighed.
emoticon on your new commitment. THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE - I don't know who the quote is from, but it's my motto. Luv'ya

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GRAMMYSKIDS58 6/27/2009 4:25PM

    I admit I use to do that too and then get frustrated when I lost a few pounds I couldn't move my ticker because it still read less than I really was. SOOO I had to start moving it EVERYTIME!
I don't feel like I am a failure anymore when I have to move it back. I know I just have to work harder or just WORK. In order for me to be successful I have to be honest on ALL levels of my weight loss journey. emoticon Here's to a new start! Good luck!
HUGS, Kathy

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MOB8/2009 6/21/2009 12:26AM

    You are so right. I've ignored the weight loss ticker on MY page because I've gained back 5 of the lbs I had lost. Guess it's time for an adjustment on my page as well. Here's to starting over.

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TRECECOOKS 6/20/2009 4:28PM

    I agree, honesty is always best, for all of us.

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Cherry Blossom Festival in DC

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Just arrived back from a week in Washington DC, my son and 179 other High School students marched in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade last Saturday, and did a great job! They also played at the Navy Memorial afterwards, during the Blessing of the Fleets ceremony, which was just amazing. Even though it rained a bit while we were there (Friday and Monday), we rearranged the schedule to make the most of the sunny days, and visited museums on the rainy days. We took a dinner cruise, went to the Holocaust Museum, the Air and Space Museum, Iwo Jima, Air Force, WWII, Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR, Korea and Vietnam memorials, along with our bagpipers playing at Sousa's grave, and a special ceremony at Arlington for the father of one of our chaperones (also the grandfather of one of the band members) who was buried there. 2 of the students played Amazing Grace on bagpipes, and another played Taps on trumpet. It was one of the most moving experiences, and I think it deeply affected the kids as well as chaperones.

We had a great time with the kids and they behaved quite well, including a 26 hour train ride on the way there, and a 22 hour train ride back......was a bit much to ask of them, but they made us quite proud.

Now I'm really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight and getting back to my Spark People routine!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    As former band mom I know you had a great but exausting time!

I popped back in to see how you were. You must be doing very well and good for you!

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MOB8/2009 4/12/2009 12:06AM

    That sounds like a great trip! I've chaperoned HS students before and although they can be trying, I've always come away with a real feeling that our world is going to be in capable, safe hands.

Have a wonderful Easter/Passover!

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LORI2008 4/8/2009 9:11AM

    Welcome home!

Sounds like a great trip. I wish my son didn't want to give up band next year.

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    So glad you had a great trip, and that you are all home safe & sound!

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GRAMMYSKIDS58 4/7/2009 8:56PM

    WOW it sounds like you had a really great time. I am so glad you were able to chaperone and enjoy that time with your son and the other kids. The ceremony sounded beautiful... I was moved just reading it. Enjoy your own bed... lol I know how that feels.
HUGS, Kathy

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Home from the hospital!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Well, only had to stay overnight, but didn't get discharged until 5:30 pm, I think that they forgot about me! I had to go to a different hospital than "usual" as that's where the specialist worked out of, and I was more than willing to go wherever he felt comfortable working. The surgery went well, they were able to remove uterus/tubes/ovaries with the laparoscopic assistance, so only 3 small pelvic incisions, not the 6-8 week recovery, only looking at about 2 weeks recovery! Last night was a bit rough, but with the help of some pain meds, was able to sleep pretty well (right through 2 TV shows that I wanted to watch, but that's what they make reruns for, right?) Today is a totally different day, feeling human again, resting, but able to go without pain meds, as they only create nausea anyway.......Very happy to be home and looking forward to catching up with all my spark buddies again, I feel so out of touch!

Oh yeah, think I forgot to mention, all tests have come back negative for malignancy. Even though they didn't feel that it was cancer related, nice to know for sure! So regardless of how sore, tired, achy I am, I am THRILLED to be home and soooo happy that everything is benign!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm glad all went well.
You should be past all the aches and pains now. Up side, no more menses. Down side, hormones.
I opted to take replacement therapy for 2 years afterand noticed I was sleepless and "flashing" anyway. Then the big replacement scare emerged and I dropped them like hot lead. I never looked back.
Feel beautiful,

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WATERBABY4 2/25/2009 11:56PM


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LORI2008 2/19/2009 10:35AM

    Oh, wow! I'm sorry I missed this was going on in your life. I haven't had much time on the laptop lately, because my kids have needed to work on school projects.


I'm so happy everything turned out okay and I hope you feel better soon!

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MOB8/2009 2/18/2009 5:12PM

    FABULOUS NEWS!!!! I am so glad the pathology came back "clean" and once you heal, you can move on with your life! Take is slow and easy for a few days (why do I have a feeling this cautioning is needed by you????). emoticon

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