Archive for the ‘A Pink Voice…’ Category

Moving Forward…

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Thank you to ALL – Those visiting the website for the first time and those that have been supporting Pink Inspires for years!

In order to continue spreading the Pink Inspires message, we partnered with PEEKABOO Pour Nous… Another Inspirational brand that not only supports the fight against Cancer but also CELEBRATES life!

Come visit our new website: www.peekaboopournous.com

Goals Dreams

(Pink Inspires remains a Not for Profit entity. 100% of the proceeds are donated towards the fight against cancer.)

Reflecting Back…

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

On behalf of a beautiful soul, known by her friends and family as being incredibly beautiful, sweet, kind hearted but hard working… These days she shares her days and nights reflecting. Reflecting back on her life as she fights brain cancer.

When asked today what one message she would like to share with others…

She answered “It took this cancer to find purpose and the meaning of life.”

When asked “What is it?”

She replied “Kindness”.

Our hearts and thoughts are with you and your family.  We Thank you for sharing.

~ A Pink Voice

Be Strong, I’m Here For You…

Monday, July 8th, 2013
Last week my aunt was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. While we all remain hopeful and positive, I can’t help but remember how helpless I felt when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. However, there is no denying the bond between a mother and a daughter during times like these.
Stay strong for one another.
Support one another.
Laugh and cry together.
Support
I love you A – I ‘m always here for you.
~ Anonymous

Trust and Courage

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Although it may not happen often enough,  “Good people” do cross our paths. That’s right, genuine, honest, FRIENDLY, good hearted, HAPPY, down to earth people with no ulterior motive but to be a part of your life, share and inspire you.

There are those that will judge the value of their life and success by the number of Facebook friends or contacts in their Rolodex (WOW… I feel so dated lol!).  And there are others that will choose more wisely and only surround themselves with quality individuals that bring happiness, laughter and consistently demonstrate a two way friendship.

Just recently, my life intersected with such an individual.  Under the oddest and unlikely of circumstances, both of us dealing with difficult issues in our lives, here’s someone who has completely proven me wrong.

I had been wondering “Where have all the Good people gone”?Over the past few years,  I started to accept that most people, men AND women, are extremely selfish, lazy and are not accountable for their actions.  How refreshing to see there are still people left in this world who will not run away from their problems or blame others.

In a desire to find happiness and live an honest life to the fullest, my friend is choosing to do what, frankly, most will not. When two people find they no longer bring joy to each other or they have little in common, it seems people would rather stay in an unhappy situation, trapped in an emotional jail because they are afraid of the unknown or being alone.  It takes a much stronger individual to make the hard decision and seek change. Unfortunately, people stay in relationships at the cost of their own happiness for the ‘sake of their children” or because of the financial burden.  We all know someone who has gone through a divorce or separation that was so degrading, mean and hurtful.  It is shameful to witness humans act with such callous, hate and revenge towards the same person they once loved and shared their life with.

Even when one person is acting selfish and behaving with such evil, it is a relief that the other person does not lower their standards and remains civil while acting with honour and integrity.  Many today, both personally and professionally, when faced with a situation that is unfair or turns their world upside down, will lash out and react solely in defence of their precious ego.  All logic disappears.  It truly takes a courageous person to check their ego and behave in a manner that is productive and EFFECTIVE, versus being right…

You hear all the time that Life is short. Yes, life can be like a boxing match where you win some and you lose some.

The important thing is to stay in the match and keep fighting… BUT with grace, poise and self respect. No dirty punches because you’ll forever be remembered for that one cheap shot…

No matter how difficult the road ahead may seem, congratulations to those willing to step up, take a chance and face their situation full on.  Life can be about waiting for the storm to pass…  But wouldn’t you want to learn to dance in the rain instead?

~ One Of The Many Voices of Pink Inspires

 

Glass Half Full

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

It has been one year since my hysterectomy, and I am gearing up for yet another surgery. Because of my high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, my doctors advised me to have a double mastectomy as well. Originally I scheduled the mastectomy three months after my hysterectomy. However, with the blood loss, I had the cancel the mastectomy until I was well enough. One year later and I was cleared to proceed with the “prophylactic bilateral mastectomy”.

According to my husband, this was the worst day of his life (Haha – A facetious statement, of course!).

My amazing team of doctors and I opted for a new procedure called the “One Step”. Ultimately, the goal is to remove all of the breast tissue, and insert a silicone implant at the same time. This eliminates the need for tissue expanders. (A tissue expander is a devise that stretches the breast skin and chest muscles before a permanent implant is inserted). The One Step procedure offers instant gratification; something we Generation Xers appreciate! Also, if no cancer is found at the time of surgery, I have the option to keep my own nipples.
As always, there are also downsides.  The surgery is very lengthy, seven hours. Often times, further reconstruction may be required after the procedure. Also, just because my nipples would be spared, the sensation would not be.  And last, my breast would not look like “real breasts”. Because all of the breast tissue is removed, all I am left with is skin on top of implant. The best analogy is this – Imagine placing a tennis ball under a comforter, versus placing a tennis ball under a sheet.  In other words, you can see any ripples and indentations because there is no layer of fat between the implant and the skin.
Still, I wasn’t scared.  So what? I could now officially scratch topless dancer off my list of career choices. Hahaha!  But on that note – my girlfriends did talk me into getting topless photos taken before my mastectomy. It was sort of a…Bon Voyage party for my breasts.  I did cover mine up with my hands… Hey, for me, that was still risqué! Definitely not in my character, but strangely liberating to go topless!
So, on April, 5, 2012, I endured the seven hour surgery, and woke up to new breasts. Turns out, a tumor was removed from the left breast. The pathology came back, and it was ruled Fibroadenoma; a BENIGN breast tumor.  Music to my ears!  The left breast would need reconstruction in the future, but who cares? I was healthy.
Six months have gone by since my mastectomy. This week I am scheduled to have my first breast reconstruction surgery. I’m excited to close this chapter of my life; but forever grateful for the experience.
Sure, I no longer have some parts of my female anatomy. My stomach is scarred, my breasts are lumpy, and I’m so pale most days that I could probably pass as an extra in the Twilight series.
But, I choose to not let those things get to me.
I have my health, my friends, my family, my wine… Need I go on?
I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains – Anne Frank

Nobody Told Me

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Nobody told me, that without breasts I would be more confident than ever before.
Nobody told me, that without breasts I would still fell sexy and still feel like a real woman.
Nobody told me, that without breasts I would find a deeper meaning in life.
Nobody told me, that without breasts my husband would love me more because of the pain we endured together.

Nobody told me, that losing my breasts would result in having more compassion for others.
Nobody told me, that losing my breasts would bring me closer to the people I love.
Nobody told me, that losing my breasts would allow me to cry and to feel other people’s pain and empathize in a way I had never done before.

Nobody told me, that without breasts I would be included in this thing we call “Sisterhood”. It’s an intimate bond between breast cancer survivors that enables us to talk to one another like we have been friends forever, as we understand the intensity of the fears and anxieties we share together.

Nobody told me, that without breasts I would grow to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.
Nobody told me, that without breasts I would have more patience for my children.
Nobody told me, that without breasts my kids would still think I was normal even with
all my scars.
Nobody told me, that without breasts I would allow myself to slow down and enjoy life.

Nobody told me, that without breasts I would come closer to the Lord and feel his love closer to me.
Nobody told me, that without breasts I would welcome my birthdays and not be troubled over the fact that I am getting older, but rejoice at the blessings given to me, as I have been graced by God to celebrate another year.

If I had to change anything, I wouldn’t. Losing my breasts represents all that I am now. It represents that I can have a part of my body removed and I can still love and people can still love me. It represents that it’s what’s in my soul that makes me happy and content. I am now someone that understands what it truly means to love. To love my family, my friends and myself with a love that is much richer and deeper than I had ever imagined!

Nobody told me that without breasts, I would understand that every day and every moment is
a gift.

~ ALS

Today is a Day to Celebrate

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

This time of year is always hard for me.  Seven years ago, today, my mom lost her battle with breast cancer.  I can remember every detail of that day as if it were yesterday.  The fear on my father and siblings’ faces, were almost unbearable. I can describe it only as the worst heartbreak, ever.  Life as I knew it, would never be the same.

Grief is a peculiar emotion. It affects everyone differently. For me, I can honestly say that I was the epitome of a lost soul for a very long time.  My husband and I live next door to my parents (believe it or not, it was my husband’s idea). It took a long time for me to get used to no longer waking up and running next door in my pajamas to grab a cup of coffee with my mom. Having the comfort of being able to pick up the phone to call my mother when I had something to tell her… Would never happen again.  I can remember calling her cell phone just to hear her voice message, until finally, that was turned off. On the outside, I really tried to remain strong.  On the inside, I was crumbling.

The good thing about being an eternal optimist is that I knew this feeling would go away slowly.  I just had to let time take its course. I forced myself to do things, spending a lot of time with my mom’s sisters. With both aunts having such close striking resemblances to my mother, they kept my mom close to me on so many levels.  When I talk to my Aunt Maureen on the phone, she sounds like my mom. When my Aunt Jean gets excited about cooking something new, I swear she is a dead ringer for my mom.  I don’t know whether or not my lovely aunts are aware of how much they helped me through some of my darkest days.

As time passed, I soon enjoyed the reminders of my mom.  I finally accepted she was gone.

With acceptance of my mom’s passing, came acceptance of change. Family traditions were no longer. My siblings were growing up, and moving out. My dad was keeping busy with hobbies, and even thinking about dating again. When my mom was sick, she specifically told me that she didn’t want my dad alone, and that she was okay with him meeting someone else.  At the time, I was certain that I would never be comfortable with my dad dating.  However, a few years later when my dad was finally ready to date, I was truly happy for him. You see, when you love someone, you want what’s best for them. Being alone, was not what was best for my dad!
He went on a few dates, but nothing came about.  Until one day, he introduced me to his new “friend”, Kathy.  She is beautiful, kind, and she loves wine! But most important, I see that she makes my dad happy.  Kathy is widowed as well, so they have a connection that only the other truly understands.  She was just what my dad needed.

So rather than sulking today, I’ve decided to celebrate finally moving on.

I am certain that this is just what my mom would have wanted.

 

White Light?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

As if it were yesterday, I lay in the hospital bed waiting for my hysterectomy, feeling a wide range of different emotions.  I was relieved that I was finally having my surgery. After all, I went through hell just to get to this point. On the other hand, I was still torn and feeling sad because after that day I would no longer be able to bear another child. I couldn’t help wondering if this would make me less of a woman.  Clearly, I was very anxious.

A sweet woman with a volunteer badge approached me and asked if I would like a massage. (I highly suggest you ladies take advantage of this perk if it is offered at your hospital.)  It was amazing. She covered my eyes with a satin mask, put headphones over my ears with beautiful music, and massaged my head and shoulders. I can assure you that this was the best part of my day! Shortly after my massage, I was wheeled in for surgery.

A few hours later, I awoke in the recovery room extremely cold, sore and nauseous.
A few days later, I was released to go home.
Over all, not so bad…
However, I did have one concern… The blood flow would not stop. But when I called my nurse she reassured me I had nothing to worry about.
A week after my surgery, I was eating lunch with my cousin, and felt something wet on my seat. I excused myself, went to my restroom and noticed a moderate amount of blood. I drove myself to the hospital where my surgeon examined me, and again assured me there was nothing to worry about. But, just to be safe he cauterized me, and sent me home to rest.
8am on May 4, only one week later,  I had the scariest experience of my life. My husband had just left for work, and I was getting ready to take my son to an appointment.  I put my favorite “mom” outfit on; Sanctuary shorts, a black tank top and flip flops. I grabbed my bag and headed for the door. I decided to use the restroom before I got on the freeway. I kept going, and going, and going. Finally I looked down and realized that it was blood coming out, not urine. I sat on the tile, grabbed my phone and called my friend Nancy. Crap, no answer. Next on my cell phone was my friend Cody. He answered. I have no recollection of what I said to him, but I knew he was on his way. I stood up and unlocked my front door. I called my husband last because, A – I was in a panic and wanted someone there NOW, and B – he takes the train to work so there was no way he would have been able to get back home any time soon.  When I did finally reach my husband he urgently instructed me to call 911 immediately.  To this day, I have no idea why I didn’t do that in the first place!  Clearly… I wasn’t thinking straight.
The ambulance arrived and the medic immediately started me on an IV.  I remember hearing them call someone and saying I had lost over a liter of blood. By then, my teeth were chattering, my mouth was going numb, and I was feeling very scared. I clearly remember being more worried about my son seeing the blood in the house and becoming scared.  Later, I found out that a kind neighbor had come to the house and whisked him away.
Once I was in the ER, a team of nurses and doctors began “packing” me in the attempt to slow the bleeding. This clearly was not working. I remember starting to panic and at one point, my blood pressure was 56/19 with a heart rate over 200. Now, I may not be a doctor, but I knew this couldn’t be good!
For over two hours the doctors repeatedly tried to stop the bleeding. Nothing was working. My friends and family looked so scared. They were crying, and whispering to one another, and becoming increasingly more and more upset with the hospital staff. Still, I tried to remain calm. I absolutely refused to die in that hospital. My mother took her last breath in that place and I sure as hell wasn’t going to follow suit.

What happened next, I have no logical explanation.

The most calming feeling suddenly came over me. The panicky feeling I had felt before completely subsided, and I felt as if I was floating.  I could see everyone in that room, including myself. I’m assuming there is some sort of medical explanation for this phenomena; but to me, it was my “near death” experience. It was not scary. In fact, on the contrary, it was peaceful and beautiful.

Obviously, my experience was merely “near death”, cause I am here to write about my experience today. And yes, the doctors did finally stop the bleeding because they realized the problem stemmed from my robotic hysterectomy.  As it turns out, the bleeding was caused as a result of my stitches not being pulled tight enough by the robot.  Every last stitch had come undone and I hemorrhaged. I lost over two-thirds of my blood.
The good news, make that the great news, is that I survived! In fact, my witty doctor told me that I was the Honorary Miracle Survivor of the Week.  Yay!
Once again, things didn’t go quite as planned.  But, that’s A-okay with me. Yes, I’m weak… and pale, but I’m here to share my story.  Oh, and you can bet that I will BE standing in line to donate blood, as soon as I can!

In My Shoes…

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

Days leading up to my hysterectomy quickly approached.

Blood work – check.

Babysitting logistics – check.

Hospital bag packed – check.

Clean house (yes, I am one of those) – check, check.

Several family and friends called to wish me well, but it was during my aunt and uncle’s visit that things went sideways.

My doctor called asking me how I was doing and casually mentioned he had something he wanted to share.  Not thinking anything of it, other than I was pleasantly surprised to receive a house call from my doctor, I responded, “Okay, what is it?”

“You’re pregnant”, He said.

Two small simple words.  I can still vividly remember, how instantly I became lightheaded and on the verge of passing out. I could still hear my mom’s voice, in my head, so I desperately held it together not wanting to “freak out” my relatives, while I politely, asked my doctor if I could call him back.

The next hour seemed to crawl by.  I tried desperately to keep my cool; all the while knowing that my aunt and uncle suspected something was going on.

When I called my doctor back an hour later… I was still numb with shock.  My doctor shared he was equally surprised since he had informed me that my chance of becoming pregnant was extremely slim. My ultrasound showed that my ovaries and fallopian tubes were covered with “growths”.  I had stopped taking my birth control pill for only a month, and to be perfectly honest, with a crazy schedule, the stress of the surgery, and a child that likes to sneak into our bed every night… There wasn’t a lot of action going on.

After whispering, “What does this mean?” to my doctor, he explained that he had cancelled my hysterectomy.  But, more importantly he wanted to know if I was going to continue with the pregnancy. If I chose to continue the pregnancy, I would be monitored very closely. However, if the masses in my ovaries and fallopian tubes were malignant, the high levels of estrogen could cause the cancer to spread quickly.

So much to process. I needed to talk to my husband yet I was sick to my stomach knowing he really wanted another child.  On the other hand, after seeing what this disease had done to my mother and knowing that it may be my fate too, I couldn’t continue the pregnancy.  I knew my husband would take the news well but I must admit, I was very surprised that he never once questioned my decision. He was extremely supportive and said without hesitation that terminating the pregnancy was the only decision.

The following morning, I let my doctor know of our decision.  But, things are never easy.  Unfortunately, my doctor informed me that he could not terminate my pregnancy at my Catholic hospital, because one I am Catholic and two my life wasn’t at stake.  My only option was to seek out a local clinic to perform the procedure.  What??? I could not believe what I was hearing.  This “policy” was completely absurd. Unfortunately, this was a battle I did not have the energy for and I knew the longer I waited, the harder this decision would be.

The next day, my husband accompanied me to a local clinic where they first made me sit down, while they counseled me to make sure I was making this decision with a clear mind. Next, I was moved into an examination room for an ultrasound.  Remember I said earlier nothing is every easy?  Well, it turns out that the tech was unable to locate a gestational sac so I under went blood work to check for HCG levels that would confirm if I was pregnant.  Obviously I was.  However, because the pregnancy was in the early stages, I was denied the termination and instead told to return in another week.

Are you KIDDING me???

The next week was complete hell and to say I was on an emotional roller coaster would have been a complete understatement.  I couldn’t get away from everyone asking why my hysterectomy was cancelled.  Few people knew about the pregnancy and I just couldn’t deal with the stress so I let my poor husband deal with all the questions.  In amongst all the feelings, I remember feeling utterly embarrassed. I had always considered myself responsible. How could I have allowed this to happen?

A week later, my husband and I returned to the clinic, this time arriving on a Saturday.  Outside the clinic, protesters were thrusting Pro Life pamphlets in our faces as we walked inside. I felt so ashamed and so annoyed all at the same time.  How dare these people judge us?  They have no idea what each woman’s story is, that bravely walks through those doors.

Once inside, I was escorted again into an examination room for another ultrasound. Again, the tech was unable to spot the embryo, so the doctor was called in.  To my relief, even though he was unable to locate the embryo, he agreed to perform the procedure.  Now, I could finally reschedule my hysterectomy.

This experience has taught me so much about myself and made me appreciate what others must face.  I am completely aware of the negative stigma and knowing I may offend or alienate people around me when they find out I was faced with this Pro Life/Pro Choice decision.  I contemplated whether or not to share this personal, yet controversial part of my story.  Even though, I made the difficult decision to terminate a potentially dangerous pregnancy, I know not everyone will agree.  There will be those that will judge me and simply won’t care about my reasons. However, I do choose to hold my head up high and stop second-guessing myself.  I am here today and able to enjoy and share every minute of my life, with those around me that I love.

… For those of you that read this story, I THANK you from the bottom of my heart for your open mindedness and allowing me the opportunity to share.  Stay Tuned for the next phase of my journey.

 

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

When my mother was  diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I was eighteen and didn’t know the extent of her diagnosis.  I remember coming home one night and she was drinking her glass of wine, watching Nightline (this was her nightly ritual after my father and siblings went to bed).  That evening, she invited me to sit down next to her.  We had the talk that no parent should ever have with their child.

My mom shared that she didn’t know if and how long she was going to live, but she was prepared to fight with everything she had.  Hours passed with both of us sobbing.  But, in perfect “Lynn Style”, she told me to stop whining and I had better not make a big deal out of this or I would scare the s%#t out of my father and four younger siblings.  To this day, I still shed a tear but manage to smile out of pure respect for my mother, when I remember that night.

Now, back to my story.  My husband and I had a huge decision to make. Of course I downplayed the mass on my right ovary.  Why, you ask? Because I didn’t want to scare the s#%t out of my husband and son!  In reality, I was scared out of my mind.

My doctor had informed me that he could not tell for sure if the mass was benign or malignant, until he performed a biopsy on it. He advised me that with my history, I should really consider a complete hysterectomy. However, he was willing to keep an eye on it for a bit longer while I contemplated.

Do I chance it? I knew the viciousness of cancer. As my mothers’ caretaker, I helplessly watched her suffer for years. On the other hand, a hysterectomy was permanent.  Not only did my husband and I want another child, but I believed I would be less of a woman.  Although my husband assured me that I would be no different to him, I still couldn’t make the decision.

Was I was looking for validation that I wasn’t overreacting? What would my mother have advised me to do?

Being in this situation made me appreciate my mothers’ courage even more.  She fought this horrible disease for over 10 years. She never once questioned whether or not to have another surgery.  She always agreed to try another treatment with the hope that one would work. She did what she had to do.   And I have no doubt that she made those decisions with her family in mind.

I am, after all, my mothers’ daughter, and when it came down to it, I had to do what was best for my family.  So, I had the surgery.