Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I may be off by a few days, but here goes anyways. I have an amazing life right now and am so very grateful for every second that I'm here to thoroughly savor it. My children are delicious, I soak them up with all my senses and expand as a person exponentially every time they show me how deep the human capacity for love really is. My family is very much at my side, and whether they know it or not, I gather so much strength from them. I'm still in love with my husband of almost 10 years. We share a bond forged by love and hardship, unbreakable, unwavering. My friends have already shown me that they'll go to the ends of the earth for me and my family. Sometimes that's where I've been, and they've been able to bring me back. I'm sitting in a room surrounded by the clutter of happiness. There are family pictures in manila folders, art work from the girls piled up, a thick candle that's lost almost all it's wax, stuffed animals galore, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, marathon medals, pine cones from long ago hikes, and an almost deflated yellow balloon from Maddy's 3rd birthday. Somehow these things never found the perfect place, somehow they describe the lives of a happy family in the midst of a storm. I am thankful for this shelter, this respite, this moment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I am a fighter

I will use everything in my arsenal to win this war. My heart, my strong will, my intellect, my ability to use other peoples intellect (way more impressive!), my love, my tenacity, my gumption, my new found cooking abilities, my friends, my family, total strangers, pubmed and curcumin. Good thing I like to fight. Better that I like to win!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Angio Sarcoma Awareness

A couple months ago, I was recovering from surgery, waiting endlessly for other people's chemo infusions to finish so that I could take my turn in the Dana I infusion cattle barn, riding a roller coaster made in the imagination of a sadistic misanthrope, trying to graduate, trying to keep my smile for my children, and desperately looking for anyone else on this planet that knew anything about this wretched disease. My how things have changed. Our initiative, to fund research and find answers, has taken off and has spread almost as fast as a juicy rumor in the halls of any typical american high school. I can't believe that a couple months ago, Lauren and I said, "let's get it done", and now it's actually happenings. It's a life's dream, conceived and realized in the blink of an eye. Will any of this change the course of my disease? Don't know. Will it change someone's life down the road? I believe wholeheartedly that it will. When the collective scientific community tells you that your prognosis is, and I quote, "dismal", it feel s pretty damned good to say, not for long!

Friday, November 19, 2010

those red ruby slippers

In the mid morning, when the sun is just high enough in the sky to peak inside our van windows, magic happens. The grey carpet and leather seats sparkle with thousands of reflections from the ruby red slippers which are the choice shoes for both girls. "I want them to shine mommy" is disappointingly uttered from the back seat every time I take a turn that brings my babies feet out of the light. In the rear view mirror, I can see them both looking down at their shoes, waiting, wondering why it happens so fleetingly, almost with no pattern. "you just have to be patient sweeties, they'll shine again".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

when a friend is hurting

This beast is attacking my friend right now and I feel so freaking helpless. How could we send people to the moon, erect cities of skyscrapers, dive down to the depths of the sea, develop string theory, get up every morning and drive cars that were made by robots, how could we do this and so much more, yet have nothing but broken hearts to give to our friends who are suffering from cancer. How can it be?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

what if heaven is now

And people completely missed it because they were watching TV, thinking about how people are thinking about them, living in the past or future, bored. I say rally around now, right now...it certainly can't hurt.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

writing a paper

Oh blog, how I've missed you so. For the past couple weeks I've been focused on writing a paper that spans a couple years of my research. When I mention to people that I'm writing, I think they get the vague notion that I sit down and put words on a page. What actually happens is I sit down and search through endless terribly named folders looking for some piece of data that might just make a good figure, but I won't know for sure until I see it, which I eventually will and then decide that it was an exercise in futility. On the rare occasions that I seek out and find something worthy of a figure, I then spend a day changing the fonts, thickness of the axes, colors of the lines, angle of the view, sizes of the letter. It's been so long since I've visited some of this stuff that I'll find complete figures, long forgotten, made from experimental data that took me weeks to gather, bam, there it is, like magic. Now all I need is to open up some folder that's titled "future" and find pictures of me with my grandchildren.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

dead sprint to my babies

It takes less then one second for me to go from sweet dreams to a dead sprint when I hear Maddy cry out in the middle of the night. She falls out of bed from time to time, and I'll rush in to see her on the floor, totally confused as to where she is, why she hurts and what's going on. I sweep her up in my arms, cradle her, give her kisses and send her back to sleep. Guess what..I love my girls!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Charly is learning to read and we've been working on sight word flash cards. Tonight Maddy held up the cards and Charly read them. Any time I see my babies bonding, it brings me so much joy. They'll need each other in this world. They'll need to hold up much more then flash cards..it's a good start.

Monday, November 8, 2010

driving through the debris of someones life

On our way back from Long Island yesterday, everyone fell asleep in the car leaving me to drift off into my own thoughts for the last hour or so of the trip. Just as we were about to exit the mass pike, there was a traffic backup. I could see the blue lights reflecting off the semi in front of us, so I knew we weren't far from the accident. As we inched our way along, I imagined all the scenarios that could have caused the delay. It was exceedingly windy and there was more then one time when I tapered back on my own speed for fear of drifting all over the road. We rolled up to the scene and there it was, a mid-sized sedan, flipped over on the hood. A man stood next to the mangled vehicle with an industrial sized broom raking the glass out of our way. I can't imagine anyone walked away from that wreck uninjured. As we drove past the scene, the papers and books that were once packed in this persons life were now in a disorganized mess all over the highway. Loose papers were caught in the eddies of the fast moving cars, cars trying to make up in speed for the time they lost rubber necking someone elses disaster. There were text books ripped apart, all kinds of personal effects strewn about. We literally drove through the debris of their life. All I could think about was the phone call that had to be made to some poor family member. We just never know what lies ahead, what paths we'll cross, when we'll be lucky and when we'll be the subject of phone calls that rip people right out of time and stamp them forever in one startling unmovable frame.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am blown away on almost a daily basis by peoples generosity. It's humbling and also speaks to the gravity of this situation. Cancer sucks..big time. I simply can't believe that it's powerful enough to rip families apart, to leave bottomless pits at the center of their hearts, to steal away time from even one unfinished life. I really f'cking hate cancer. We have to stop it, we have to try. People seem to get that and are supporting us in ways I could have never imagined before. It's not just the outright donations, but the wholehearted expressions of support that make this whole mess a little more tolerable. I'd like to give a giant thank you to all of you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Miss Maddy is still little

9th percentile height. She's a little itty bitty girl with a smile, laugh and heart so big that there are no charts to guide us for comparisons. I don't know that I've met a three year old with more personality and a more developed sense of humor then this child. She was cracking jokes at the dinner table before she could talk. I'm the luckiest mother in the world to have these kids. I'm the luckiest person I know in general.
Kinda makes me laugh when people walk away from an interaction with me thinking almost audibly how happy they are to not be me. Well folks, I wouldn't switch lives with anyone. I was getting my car fixed the other day and the man whose job it is to sit in a folding chair in front of a window and wait for cars to roll up in order to perform his full service duties started to make small talk with me while I was waiting. He told me about his family and how they all die young because of alcoholism, how he's single and childless, how he sits in a folding chair for his career. That man was counting his blessings when I left, he was so grateful for his life, for the fact that he would live long enough to die from the bottle, that he would be around for at least a couple more years to make a good and deep impression on that chair. He left thanking god that he wasn't me. I guess we have that in common. I don't in any way want to disparage him or anyone else based on the merits of their job, or lack thereof. I'm just using him as an example of why we shouldn't pity people, those people just might pity you too.

at home with an angel

Charly has walking pneumonia. I feel like mother of the year dragging her down to DC and back over the weekend to watch Ted run the Marine Corps Marathon (he did kick ass in it though and came in the top 1% with a sub 3hr!!!). Oh well, now I get to work from home while she snuggles next to me. Is it wrong to be secretly happy that she has to stay home? As she falls asleep under the same covers as me, I can feel her rubbing her little feet together just as I did as a child.