Saturday, January 8, 2011


It's now one week into 2011. Though I don't like to get caught up in the resolution hype, I do think that this is a time of year for reflection. The idea of "wiping the slate clean" doesn't appeal to me. All of the experiences of my past are what make me who I am in this moment. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Every choice that I've made, every hurdle I've crossed, every time I've fallen and gotten back up has led me to this. I can't let go of what's shaped me. And, looking back, it's unnerving, pride inducing and tremendously humbling to see where I've been.

Despite all of the trials the year brought, it's been a pivotal year full of much personal growth, beauty and light. I:
  • Literally stomached dozens of husband-administered shots of hormones to the stomach
  • Together with Craig, created three beautiful embryos now peacefully living in cryopreservation until we are ready to thaw them
  • Endured two lymph node biopsy surgeries and two bone marrow biopsies
  • Grew an even tighter bond with the wild Miss Sammy Dog
  • Enjoyed several Emergency Room visits
  • Discovered so much love around me
  • Had a Quentin catheter jammed into my neck and shoved down my subclavian with only local anesthesia
  • Learned to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, adapt. adapt. adapt.
  • Reaped the benefits of amazing friends and supporters at two extremely moving and humbling fundraisers and a Be The Match donor drive
  • Watched my nephew transform into an adorable miracle of a little man and found out that I'll be an aunt for a second time (this time to a baby girl!)
  • Healed those damn anal fissures that haunted 2009
  • Took a painting class
  • Received many bags of life saving red blood cells and platelets and despite some hives, escaped any serious reactions
  • Created 12 million stem cells
  • Mastered the art of packing and unpacking and repacking
  • Made it through the year with only two, count 'em, two vomit sessions
  • Became quite the chef – especially with farm to table food
  • Learned how to cope with living as a hospital inpatient for days at a time
  • Have become more honored every day to be the daughter of my unbelievable parents
  • Had nurses coming into my home twice a day to pump me with chemo drugs
  • Handled ICE, DICEP and BEAM high-dose chemotherapies and all of their debilitating side effects. Endured a mini, immediately followed by a full, autologous stem cell transplant. Then GND and Bendamustine chemotherapies ...
  • Took a mini-vacation by myself
  • Learned to snap basil off from the top of the plant and how to properly pick edamame, green beans and cherry tomatoes off the vine
  • Fell even deeper in love with my husband
  • Hiked and walked many, many miles
  • Learned how to lean on people when I need them and to no longer be afraid to take a helping hand when I need a boost
  • Pulled out of several days of shaking chills and high neutropenic fevers to walk out of Smilow Cancer Center completely on my own, carrying all of my own bags, just 10 days post autologous stem cell transplant
  • Rekindled so many old friendships and sparked countless new ones
  • Lost, then regenerated all of my taste buds
  • Became an honorary New Yorker who can now hail a cab like a pro, navigate Manhattan city blocks and avenues, and knows the Metro North New Haven and Harlem line stops by heart
  • Developed a yoga practice that has become sacred to me and become something that I'm quite good at
  • Made my first dough from scratch
  • Learned that my younger sister and I are much more alike than I ever thought
  • Met many angels on Earth in the form of my medical team
  • Blogged, blogged and blogged some more, further kindling my deep love for writing
  • Connected with truly amazing and inspiring individuals from all over the country – my fellow cancer warriors
  • Discovered a love for bed and breakfasts in Newport and New Hampshire
  • Ran the Rocky stairs in Philadelphia
  • Survived eight months post transplant and feel stronger and more confident every day
  • Built an entirely new immune system
  • Went on our first cruise traveling to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. John and Turks & Caicos where I celebrated my 28th birthday with salty margarita in hand and white sand as soft as flour between my toes
  • Taught myself to research and comprehend complex medical jargon surrounding cancer research, medicine and treatment
  • Kept our household going – from administrative work to housekeeping
  • Navigated the intricacies of short-term disability, long-term disability, FMLA, leave of absence, health care co-pays and deductibles and pre-approvals and reimbursements and pre-existing condition clauses and statements of benefits and hospital bills and doctor bills and ... .
  • Learned to kayak and spent much time on the Farmington River
  • Lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes completely and grew them all back fully – for a second time – each now fuller and softer than ever
  • Kept my head on straight and my body strong despite some major blows
In 2011 I envision many, many more good things to come. My yoga instructor said in class the other day that if you put it out there, it will happen, but you have to make the space within yourself to let it happen. There is no room for negativity, anger, fear. So I'm putting it out there and I'm leaving space for the good.

My intention for 2011 is simple: To be mindful in everything that I do and fully invested in each experience – from the simplest to the most complex. To live each day with intention and an open heart, grateful for every moment that I have.

With this intention, I move into another year of working toward those two words that I keep coming back to: STRENGTH and PEACE. Building strength in my body and my mind to get me through the difficult times. This continued strength is what will get me toward finally finding peace within my body. A body without cancer. No more cellular battles, no more ravaging inflammation. No more fighting, fighting, fighting against this disease – but instead everything will be at peace, dancing in harmony and all will be in balance once again.


  1. Excellent blog as always! This new year will bring peace and an end to this nonsense!!! This new drug is the answer and will bring a year filled with happiness!!!! xoxoBev& Blake

  2. Dancing in harmony beautifully articulated, as always.
    Yes dance in harmony will come to be.

  3. After reading this and the truly amazing blogs you have posted, I am humbled. You are a vibrant woman with an extraordinary amount of strength and will. You are a role model for all of us and the way we should live our lives. I know that 2011 will be the year of miracles. My prayers continue and thank you for giving us all hope. I continue to root for you!