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The Good, The Bad, and the Not-So-Ugly

This morning, when I arrived bright and early at my beloved Fr. Michael McGivney Center for Cancer Care at Saint Raphael Hospital in New Haven, CT, (yes, I know, they were recently acquired by Yale Medical Center, but it will always be St. Raphael's to me...) with my sister Diane and my soul-sister Kerry in tow, all sporting our matching super-hero-daisy-bracelets, we were anxious to learn the results from the PET scan and CAT scan I had yesterday. The good news is that the mischievous little lymph node that started all this trouble last year has all but disappeared, and [...]

By |October 10th, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on The Good, The Bad, and the Not-So-Ugly

Liberating or Crushing…The Cross

I was asked by my church community, Saint Thomas More the Catholic Chapel at Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, to write a reflection for Good Friday, to be shared with the entire community.  It is an honor to share it with this community, as well... When I was asked to write a reflection for this Lenten series, I agreed, humbly and without hesitation. When Jeff Marrs sent me the readings for Good Friday, I was humbled even further, and became hesitant – wondering how I could possibly be the one to have been chosen to speak to our community about [...]

By |April 6th, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on Liberating or Crushing…The Cross

Mon arrivée surprise! (My surprise finish!)

One aspect of breast cancer I had no experience with until now was radiation therapy.  My protocol began on January 25th and would be 30 treatments, Monday through Friday, with weekends off. Unfortunately, I was forced to take a two-week respite after treatment #25.  I had begun suffering third degree burns as a result of this aggressive therapy that was targeting the wide swath from my spine to my throat, my chest to my back, and up and over my shoulder, all areas that had been affected at the time of my relapse a little more than ten months ago. [...]

By |March 21st, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on Mon arrivée surprise! (My surprise finish!)

Joy Waiting

Ahhh, March Madness...I'm down to the "Final Four"...radiation treatments, that is, not basketball tournaments! I began my 30 treatment regimen on January 25th, my son's 18th birthday.  Eddy missed a few classes that morning to accompany me to the cancer center, making this a double-milestone for our little family.  By law, he is now an adult, and his first official act was to hold my hand and report back to his away-at-college-sisters that he had inspected the machine, met my radiation therapists, and given his approval. (His second official act was to go straight from the cancer center to City [...]

By |March 13th, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on Joy Waiting

Meet: Justin & Mary

When you have five minutes left, are you going to waste a single one of them being unhappy?  Not me.   I was thrilled for the extra time this Leap Year provided us all with...1 more day, 24 more hours, 1,440 more minutes, 86,400 seconds. And I spent 3 minutes and 59 seconds watching a lovely piece that photographers Justin & Mary Marantz, along with Jeremy White,  produced about me...it's called  "Meet:  Mary Ann" and I hope you find 239 seconds to spare to watch it, as well. Friends, I would like to introduce you to Justin & Mary...take a moment to [...]

By |February 29th, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on Meet: Justin & Mary

“Zapped!”… Day 1

I have spent the last month preparing myself in many ways for the 6 weeks of daily radiation therapy that is the next phase of my breast cancer relapse oncology protocol...lots of scans and tests and consults...and re-scanning, re-testing, and re-consulting. Radiation is new to me, and I am getting quite the education in this remarkable treatment that will go after those dastardly little cancer cells in my spine and in one little lymph node in my neck that just wouldn't heed the 21 chemotherapy eviction notices they received! Wanting to maximize the experience of these 30 treatments, Monday through [...]

By |January 25th, 2012|My Blog|Comments Off on “Zapped!”… Day 1

I choose joy.

My dad would often tell me not to rush my life whenever I said, “I can’t wait…” for one thing or another that was off in the distant, or not-so-distant future. His advice was to enjoy today, savor every moment, the sweet and the sour, the good and the bad, the yin and the yang. You might find it “curious” that the year that brought me an incurable stage 4 metastatic recurrence of my breast cancer could be one of the most wonderful years of my life. Yeah, I thought you might. How is that possible…how can I look back [...]

By |December 31st, 2011|My Blog|1 Comment

“The Truth of the Privilege” … by Kerry Alys Robinson

"There's life after cancer." My friend and soul-sister, Mary Ann Wasil Nilan, reminds me every day, "There's life right in the middle of cancer." And to share that life with someone you love whose health has been challenged, whose illness might even be terminal, is among the most intimate and sacred invitations one person can give another. So make it count.  Begin with mindfulness.  Be present, fully.  This is the first great gift your loved one is offering you:  the chance to be aware, attentive and appreciative of all that matters most about our wild, tumultuous, exuberant and heart rendering [...]

By |December 21st, 2011|My Blog|3 Comments

Rest of Life: Day 1

The sun has just set on the first day of the rest of my glorious life. I spent much of this holy day reflecting and walking on the beach...in solitude, in silence, in prayer, and in thanksgiving for the news that was delivered to me yesterday by my oncologist. “Everything’s great!” Those were the words that my superhero doc mouthed as she burst through the doors of the cancer center yesterday morning, the most "intense and meaningful" day of my life.  Her silent words were accompanied by two thumbs up - and in that instant, I knew my life was [...]

By |December 8th, 2011|My Blog|7 Comments

Standing on one leg with my finger on my nose…

The magnificent Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” I’ve handled “all of the above” the same way in which I just handled “all of the below…” I just got home from having my 21st chemotherapy treatment (honestly, even I find it difficult to say that and not shake my head in disbelief) and have decided that my most pressing decision this afternoon will be whether to spend the rest of this day laying on [...]

By |November 30th, 2011|My Blog|6 Comments