Thursday, November 27, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Thanksgiving Day: Support

On this Thanksgiving Day, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude for the enthusiastic support we have received for our project.  Your comments, donations, and your help in spreading the word is appreciated more than you know.  

We are about one fourth of the way to the first 1000 likes on our Facebook page. Remember that for each 1000 likes we receive before December 31, we will be awarding a one week stay at our vacation cabin in Maricao, Puerto Rico.

Please keep sharing our web site, encourage your friends and family to like and share our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.  And and keep the lodge project in mind when you're making your holiday gift list.  Make a donation toward the project in honor of a loved one.  

Thank you...and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 2: Laughter

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."  ~~e.e. cummings

"Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."  ~~Victor Hugo

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."  ~~Woody Allen

"Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand."  ~~ Mark Twain

On this eve of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for laughter.  

Even on the darkest day, laughter is like a ray of sunshine.  When going through treatment, or any other rough patch in life, it truly helps to surround yourself with humor and laughter. Listen to your favorite comic, watch a funny movie, or just go to YouTube and find videos that make you laugh.  Who could stay grouchy watching this??  (By the way, Micah's dad in this video is ripping up a job rejection letter!)

Smile at someone today.  Make someone laugh.  You never know how it could change their outlook.  Here's to laughter!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 3: Music

On this third day before Thanksgiving, I am grateful for music.  If you know me at all, you know that music is a huge part of my life and as necessary to me as the air I breathe.  It's the "universal language".  We all have that song that can instantly transport us to another point in time, and it always amazes me that sometimes I can't remember what I had for breakfast, but I can remember every word to the songs I listened to growing up.

On the cancer journey, there are many who have "chemo playlists" to get them through treatment.  Music can pump you up or calm you down.  A great song can mean different things to different people, but everyone has a favorite.  It's a part of every culture on earth.  

Take time to listen to your favorite music this evening, or listen to something new.  Be grateful for music.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 4: All of Life's "Moments Between"

My previous post was about being thankful for each new day, from sunrise to sunset and every moment in between.  To carry that one step further, today I want to express thanks for all of life's little details, those "moments between"...the things we don't see until we take the time to notice.  Here are a few examples:
  • Lying on your back watching the patterns and shapes in the clouds
  • The smell of fresh cut hay
  • Curling up with your cat on the couch
  • The moment your favorite song comes on the radio
  • A hawk floating on the spiraling air currents
  • Butterflies on a purple coneflower
  • Slipping between flannel sheets on the first cold night of winter
  • The feel of warm sun on your skin
  • A bright red cardinal against a backdrop of newly fallen snow
  • The first hint of green on the willow trees
  • Reading a favorite book with a child
  • The smell of apple pie baking
  • Your dog waiting at the door for you at the end of the work day
You get the idea.

Today I invite you to look around, stop and take notice, and be truly thankful for all of those little moments we too often take for granted.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 5: Each New Day

I'm catching up this weekend, so this is the third of three Thankfulness posts today.

With 5 days and counting until Thanksgiving, my simple gratitude is for each new day, from sunrise to sunset.  It's easy to take our time here for granted...but when you are diagnosed and faced with your own mortality, each day becomes precious because you know your days here on earth are limited.  

Today I remind myself to be thankful for each sunrise, each sunset, and every moment in between, every day.

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 6: Research

With 6 days left until Thanksgiving, gratitude today is for the research that develops new medicines and treatment methods.  

I have been the direct recipient of this research, receiving  Rituxan, a monoclonal antibody derived from mice, as a treatment for my lymphoma.  Rituxan was the first Monoclonal Antibody (MAb) therapy developed for treating cancer in the 1990s.  Rituxan and the other resulting MAb therapies have truly revolutionized the treatment of blood cancers, as well as breast and colorectal cancers.

I have also contributed to research by being part of a clinical trial involving two different methods of using Rituxan to treat lymphoma.  One arm of the study gave "maintenance" treatments every few months, and the other, which I was randomized to, retreated at relapse.  

Rituxan has been a true lifesaver for me.  I have been treated 3 times in 8 1/2 years, and Rituxan has kept the disease under contol.  I am truly fortunate and very grateful for the research that led to the development of this miracle drug, and many other amazing medications and treatments.  Many thanks to the scientists, researchers, and clinical trial participants who make new treatment options available, and could possibly lead to a cure!

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 7: Hope

“Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”
 ~Anne Frank

Today I'm thinking about hope, one of the strongest emotions known to humans.  When you look for things to be grateful for, it puts you in a more hopeful state of mind.  

One of my favorite quotes comes from Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh - "Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today."  Even when things seem dark, the human instinct is to have hope for something better right around the corner.  Without hope, it would be difficult to move beyond the hardships in life.

So today, sow gratitude and reap hope!  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 8: Higher Power

Eight days until Thanksgiving, and counting.  Today's gratitude is for a "higher power", the power that is greater than ourselves alone.  

Whether we believe in a higher power in the form of one supreme being, a deity, or collective consciousness, this belief can help see us through our darkest hours and give us the strength and faith to keep going.  

Today, just take a moment...breathe in and breathe out...and offer up thanks.

"When God Smiles" - Photo by Sara Luptowski of Through Sara's Eyes Photography

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 9: The Gift of Possibilities

If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.

With 9 days left until Thanksgiving, I'm focusing today on the gift of possibilities.  You might think that a cancer diagnosis leaves no room for possibilities, but I don't think that's true. The experience of diagnosis certainly doesn't seem like a gift at the time, but once you get past the shock of it, it can give you a whole new perspective.  Your priorities become clearer.  You realize that you have options for every choice you make in your daily life, from the clothes you wear to who you spend your time with to how you react to any given situation.  New friendships are formed.  Some who you had counted as your closest friends fade away.  And you realize who will be with you on this journey...and who will not.  

Life truly is what you make it.  The possibilities are endless.  Today, I am thankful for possibilities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 10: Caregivers

Today I am thankful for all of the caregivers I have been fortunate enough to have in my life. Here are just a few examples:

  • Since my diagnosis in 2006, my husband has accompanied me to every appointment and every scan.
  • My oncologist has always been good about listening to my opinion and working with me regarding treatment options.
  • My nurse practitioner has become one of my very favorite people.  She always takes time to talk with me during appointments about life outside of cancer.
  • One nurse in particular was extremely helpful when, while on vacation, I came down with symptoms of a urinary tract infection.  She found a drugstore in Puerto Rico for me, and called in a prescription for immediate relief from the symptoms, completely saving our vacation.
I can honestly say that every person who works at my oncologist's office goes above and beyond and gives exceptional care.  I am so thankful that over the last 8 plus years, many of them have become like part of my family.

To caregivers everywhere, a heartfelt thank you to you all!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 11: The Global Community Called the Internet

Today I express my gratitude for the global community called the Internet!

When I was diagnosed, one of the first things I did was to consult the internet to research. That was probably a huge mistake, but it also led me to the WebMagic forums for Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. "The Board", as it is affectionately known by those who use it, was an invaluable source of support for me in the early days after diagnosis and before treatment. It was through the Board that I met others who had gone through all of the stages of being a cancer survivor, from diagnosis to treatment, and even to cure for some.  

Common experiences make for good friendships, and for the friendships I have made through the cancer journey I am eternally grateful.  I would be neglectful if I failed to mention one very special friendship in particular.  Without the Internet community and the WebMagic Board, I would never have met my dearest friend Sara, who is an inspiration to so many. No matter how many times life throws a knockout punch at Sara, she always finds a way to get back up again.  I am so very thankful to know her.  There truly are no words.

So, counting down to Thanksgiving on Day 11, I give thanks for the Internet community, which provides information, support, and new friendships!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Twelve Days of Thankfulness - Day 12: Clarity

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  Getting together with family, sharing a meal, and remembering on this one day of the year how very fortunate we are (along with the fact that Thanksgiving is probably the least commercialized of all of the holidays), makes the fourth Thursday in November special to me.  

In these days leading up to Thanksgiving, we will be featuring one thing each day that we have come to be thankful for since cancer touched our lives. 

Today, I am thankful for the clarity that a diagnosis of cancer can give.  When a potentially life threatening disease enters your life, everything changes--and what you make of the situation defines every day that follows.  Priorities instantly become more focused.  The true nature of the people in your life becomes immediately apparent, and you quickly realize who is truly with you on your journey.  You understand the meaning of the phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff".  Because "down here on the planet, it's all small stuff".  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Official Rules for the "Thousands of Likes Campaign"

Official Rules for the "Thousands of Likes Campaign"

For every 1000 "likes" on this page between now and December 31, 2014, we will be giving away a one week stay at our vacation cabin in Maricao, Puerto Rico. Here's how it works:

1. "Like" our Facebook page.
2. Share the page with your friends and family and ask them to "like" 
our page as well. This will help us get to our goal of 1000, 2000,
3000 or more "likes" by December 31, 2014.
3. You must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible.
4. Airfare, car rental, and meals not included.
5. Each entrant or participant releases Facebook from any
responsibility for this promotion.
6. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered
by, or associated with, Facebook.
7. For each 1000 "likes" received by 11:59 PM on December 31,
2014, we will choose the name of one person who has "liked" our
page to win one free week at our Maricao, Puerto Rico vacation
cabin, to be used during 2015, pending availability.

Please check out our project web site at  Donations gladly accepted, but you do not need to make a donation to be entered to win the free week.

For more information about our vacation cabin, go to

Thank you!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Thousands of Likes Campaign!

We're asking for your help in spreading the word about the Esperanza Renovada - Renewed Hope Lodge project, and in return, giving you a chance to win a one week stay at our vacation cabin in Maricao, Puerto Rico.

For every 1000 likes on our Facebook page between now and December 31, 2014, we will be giving away a one week stay at our round cabin**.  Here's how it works:

  • Go to our Facebook page and click the "like" button.
  • Share the page with your friends and family and ask them to do the same.
  • Everyone who has liked the page will have their name put into a drawing for a one week stay at our cabin in Maricao, Puerto Rico, a $450 value. 
If we have 1000 likes, we will draw one name.  If we have 2000 likes, we'll draw two names, and so on.  

Here are some pictures of the Maricao cabin.  

More information about the cabin and things to see and do in southwest Puerto Rico is available on our web site.  Contact us for full details.

Winners will be announced on January 4, 2015.  

To make a donation toward the Esperenza Renovada - Renewed Hope Lodge project 

**No donation is necessary to enter.  Airfare and car rental not included.  Value based on charge for one week rental of cabin.