Blog Archives - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
 
OK, so I know I've done nothing but talk about this fundraiser lately, but it's been so much fun and the support from this has just been overwhelming (in a good way).

So my office has already raised over 5K for the Hope Lodge.  And we know there is so much more that in the mail and yet to be donated.  We've raised FIVE THOUSAND dollars in just 3 weeks!  That is DOUBLE our original goal!  I'm still picking my jaw up off the floor.  It's amazing.

Thus, we've upped the ante.

We have one manager signed up for every thousand dollars we raise from this point onwards until we get to $10K.

Then at the $10K level, two of the ladies in the office have agreed to dye their hair pink!

I've never felt more loved by coworkers before in my life!

I don't know if we'll get the whole way to $10K, but then again, I never imagined we'd get to $5K, so you never know!

So how does this make me famous?

Well, our communications coordinator contacted a few news stations... and by a few I mean all the major news stations in the Twin Cities.

And one of them called her back.

And drove to Mankato to do a story on our little fundraiser.

And it was the lead story on the 9 o'clock news tonight.

Seriously, the LEAD STORY.  CRAZY!!!!!!

And the most shocking part?!?!  I didn't hate seeing myself on TV.  The station did an amazing job with it and I didn't sound like a total goofball (as I usually do whenever I'm on video).

Once again, I'm just amazed by the support of my family, friends, coworkers, and the community here.  I know I say this all the time, but I am TRULY blessed.

Edit:  Here is the link to the news story. 

Hope Lodge News Story
 
So good news.  We are WELL on our way to meeting our $2,500 goal for fundraising.  We already have over $1000 collected and we're planning on having a fundraising dinner next week. 

This has been so much fun.

I really mean that.  It's been fun to see my coworkers just take this whole fundraising thing to the next level.  In FACT 4 other men offered to shave their heads as well!  So it's on a bit of a graduated scale.  If we raised $500 by last Friday, my friend Warren would shave his head.  If we raise $1000 by this Friday, 2 more guys lose their hair.  So you get the idea of how this works.  In the end, it'll be 5 bald men... and EVERY SINGLE TIME I think about that, I laugh. 

It's awesome.

And it's STILL growing.  So now our communications manager is contacting local press to come be apart of it.  For two reasons, first to get more publicity for Hope Lodge.  And second, so we have loads of video and photos of the baldness :)

Thus, my old boss decided that maybe we should get some shirts made up for the baldies.  You know, since they'll be on TV and all.  My coworker Sarah (the brains behind the operation) and I were charged with coming up with some great slogan for the T-shirts.

Not being terribly inventive right now, I went onto the internet to see what I could find.  And boy oh boy, there were some GREAT ones.  And then there were some even BETTER ones that were wildly inappropriate.

Here are some examples of the ones we thought were both appropriate and entertaining:
1. Don't let Breast Cancer steal second base!
2. Bald... it's the new blonde.
3. I'm having a NO HAIR day.
4. I lost my hair, not my sense of humor.
5. Does this shirt make my head look bald?

Some that were not so appropriate, yet very entertaining:
1. Save a life, grope your wife.
2. F*ck cancer!
3. Chemo: about as cool as a honeymoon handjob.

And ones that I just find entertaining for myself:
1. I lost my boobs... I think I put them in my purse somewhere.
2. Looking for an assman.
3. I have chemobrain, what's your excuse?
4. I pay my oncologist BIG BUCKS for this hairstyle!
5. The chemo made me do it!
6. Of COURSE they're fake... the real ones tried to kill me!

I'm sure not all of these makes sense to y'all, especially considering I haven't yet touched on topics like chemobrain (chemo makes you dumb... D-U-M).

We're not quite sold on ANY of the sayings above for our Cancer Boyz, so if you come up with any others that are funny, please feel free to post them here.

On another note, remember when I asked for funny hat suggestions?  Well someone put a link to THIS in my comments section.  Yes.  It's a knit cap that looks like a BOOB.  Do you think that'd be inappropriate as a gift for all the guys shaving their heads? :)
 
So remember when I wrote the blog about raising money for a charity so that my old boss would shave his head?

And asked you to send money?

But I hadn't chosen a charity yet?

Well I chose a charity.  I know choosing a charitable organization to give money to might not seem like a difficult decision, but I really wanted to find something that meant alot to me.

So I've chosen the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Minneapolis, MN.

This charity provides free lodging to cancer patients and their caregivers during their treatments.  Why is this important to me?  Because cancer is a pain in the ass.  Treatment is hard.  And many cancer patients not only have to deal with the day to day difficulty of surviving, they also enter a whole new world of financial stress.

Aside from the obvious costs of insurance and co-pays and all that, there is the cost of getting to and from treatment.  This isn't something that people generally think about as a huge cost for cancer patients, but it definitely can be.  Many of the best cancer treatment facilities are located in major cities.  For some patients, getting to their treatment facility can mean a long drive or even a flight.  And some portions of treatment are DAILY.

Here are a few examples:

A good family friend from Pennsylvania was diagnosed with cancer that required a bone marrow transplant.  They had to lower his white blood count to 0 prior to the surgery.  He was in the hospital every day for several weeks to get the treatment he needed.  The hospital was over 2 hours away from where he lives and travel with a low white count is generally NOT recommended.

Another cancer patient my mother just met is from Minnesota.  Her cancer is so severe that the doctor in MN basically told her to go home and die.  The hospital she found that WOULD provide treatment is in Boston so she has been living there for the past several months, away from her 12 year old son and husband.

Even for early stage breast cancer, many women undergo radiation.  Radiation is a daily treatment.  You have to be at the hospital every single weekday for about 4 weeks on average. 

Can you imagine the extra cost of hotels and food and travel?

Now imagine that the cancer patient had to take an unpaid leave of absence from work to get these daily treatments so your income as a family was just halved.

Or maybe you're an unmarried cancer patient, so your income was just cut to ZERO.

I am lucky.  I have great insurance.  I live only 1.5 hours from my doctor.  My husband and I make enough money to live very comfortably.  And I've been able to work my way through 90% of treatment thus far.  We are A-OK when it comes to the financial front.

But financial hardship is a reality for so many cancer patients.  Bankruptcy is a reality for cancer patients.

And to me that is just insane.  Dealing with finacial stress when your main goal should simply be getting healthy and surviving is INSANE.

This is why I've chosen the Hope Lodge.  My hope is that by helping to support a facility that provides FREE lodging for cancer patients, we can help relieve some of that financial burden.  And by taking away some of that financial burden, they can spend more of their time focusing on getting healthy.

If you'd like to learn more about the Hope Lodge, click on the link below:

HOPE LODGE

If you feel as though this is a worthy charity and would like to give, you can send a check made payable to 'ACS Hope Lodge' to:

Connie Wood
Pioneer Hi-Bred
151 St. Andrews Ct, Ste 910
Mankato, MN 56001

If you donate through this current fund raising effort, know that we will be applying for matching funds from my company so your donation COULD be doubled!

Thanks again for all your support. 
 
Just wanted to point out that I'm done with AC!!!!!

AC is reportedly the sucky drug cocktail in my treatment plan.  And I'm DONE!

I finished my fourth and final AC treatment on Friday.  If I had the guts to do it, I'd post a video on here of me doing a happy dance.  Instead, I'll leave you to imagine what that looks like.  Hint: it involves alot of the popular mid-90s dance moves... like "the sprinkler"!  WOOT WOOT!

I'm so happy to have this portion of my treatment done and over with.

So do a happy dance and say a little prayer of thanks that I made it through this with most of my sanity intact :)
 
I wish this was a deeper blog.  But I'm tired, so it's going to be VEEEEERRRRY superficial.

You know how I said I was traveling the past few days (or like all freaking week)?  Well, here was my means of transportation:
Picture
Yeah.. THAT'S RIGHT!  It's the company jet!

So when I told y'all I got a promotion a few months ago, you didn't realize it was like THAT did ya? :)

OK, so I might be exagerrating my awesomeness and the level of my promotion... I'm not THAT cool. 

Basically I had to travel with 6 other managers in from my office to 6 research stations and 4 production stations in 4 days.  That's 10 different cities in 4 days.  Which equals 12 flights.  Did I mention that the cities were in 5 states?  Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

I'll admit, I feel kind of like a rockstar when I say that.  Only a rockstar would say "I'm going on tour, I'll be in 10 cities in 4 days!"

It really wasn't that glamorous though.  The jet has 8 seats.  They're in 2 groupings of 4.  So of the 4 seats, 2 face forward and 2 face the back of the plane... which means for the duration of the flight, you're staring at someone.  It's not awkward at all.  Especially when they fall asleep with their head back and you can see straight up their nose.  True story.

To drop all the sarcasm, it was fun and exhausting and overwhelming.  Before this trip, I had never been to any of these facilities.  I honestly didn't even know that much about the research/production side of our business, which I'm a little ashamed to admit.  So I took this as a great opportunity to learn as much as I could and annoyingly asked about 5,000 questions.  If you want to know the dumbed down version of plant breeding and production, let me know, I can muddle my way through it.  And the people I travelled with were alot of fun.  We're not exactly the shy type that doesn't talk.  Nooooo, we're the type that has the sense of humor of 12 year old boys and laughs at stupid things and makes fun of one another incessantly.  So it wasn't boring.

Another funny story that demonstrates the sense of humor that we had.  We have to sign into all the sites we went to.  When one guy was checking us in, he noticed that someone that had signed in previously had the name of "Dick Kass".  Say it outloud.  Say it fast outloud.  Get it?  We seriously laughed about that for like 15 minutes.  Granted that was on day 3 when we were all a little loopy and exhausted so maybe it's not as funny as I thought it was.

So that was my week.  I learned alot, ate a TON of amazing food, flew on the company jet, got to know some cool guys alot better, and generally had a good time.  But I'm glad it's over.  I'm glad I'm home.  And I'm happy it'll be another year before I have to do that again.
 
Note: I'm travelling for work all week so I've decided to post this blog I wrote about 2 months ago.  This is a darker blog that I wrote during all the craziness that is cancer diagnosis + a miscarriage.  At the time, these emotions were overwhelming.  Now, they are still there, but in a much smaller way.  Writing this blog was a big piece of me understanding, accepting, and starting to move past some of these emotions.  The only reason I'm posting this is because I don't want this blog to paint cancer as all rainbows and laughs.  I want it to be honest.  And this is as honest as I can be. 

I can't say I'm usually an envious person. 

I love my life.  I feel incredibly blessed every day to have my loving husband, my beautiful child and my awesome job.  Generally, I've felt like, if anything, people should envy me, not the other way around.

But with the cancer and the miscarriage, my life has suddenly taken a turn into a whole unplanned and unexpected universe.

Today, I was supposed to be pregnant and complaining about it, but otherwise healthy.

Today, I was supposed to be joyfully awaiting the return of my husband with a big belly, picking out the paint colors for the new nursery and nesting.

But that just wasn't in God's plan for me... no matter how much I wish it had been.

I've accepted that and I'm really OK with it.  God has other plans for me.  God has other plans for my family.  And when we get where we're going, I'm certain we will be exactly where we need to be (as cliche as that sounds).

But occasionally, the envy seeps in.  I see friends that get to have what I now view as "simple" lives.  Lives without cancer.  Lives without chemo.  Lives that are going exactly as they planned them.

I guess that's what I envy:  The plan.

You see, I like to plan.  I like knowing what comes next.  And until this point in my life... my life has gone EXACTLY to plan.  When I was in high school and planning out my life (as the young tend to do), I planned on going to a great college (check!), meeting and falling in love with a great guy (check!), gettting married at 26 (check!), having a baby at 28 (CHECK!)... you see?

It was ALL IN THE PLAN.

And now it's not.

And now... I'm left without a plan. 

I don't know what comes next.  And, holy shit, THAT IS SCARY!

I'm left planning only 1 month ahead and have so many questions about the future that I'm afraid to think about.  Will we ever be able to have another child?  Will we be brave enough to try?  Will we be fortunate enough to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary?  Our 20th?

Just a few months ago, all of those things seemed a given.  We would have lots of babies.  We would both live til we were 80 and were wrinkly and still madly in love surrounded by a bajillion grandchildren who adored us for the loving, doting, spoiling grandparents we'd be. 

Pretty typical for a young-ish couple, right? 

But now, I ache for the days when I could dream those naive dreams and believe in them.

People my age should get to be naive.  They should be able to dream about that "perfect" future.  About where they will be in 10 years or in 50 years.  That is the beauty of being young, unlimited possibilities!  Please do not think I begrudge anyone my age their dreams.  As a matter of fact, I urge you to dream BIG!  Please enjoy that gift and many nothing ever steal that from you.

But that is what I envy.  I envy all those around me who can still dream.  Whose plans involve words like "forever" and "old". 

My plans involve "tomorrow", "next week" and maybe even "next month". 

Some day, I know I will dream again.  Some day I know I will be blessed enough to say the words "when we're old" and really believe them. 

But today is not one of those days. 
 
OK everyone, I need your help.

Do you remember this photo?
Picture
Well, shortly after recieving this, I forwarded it to some guys in my office in an email that might've insinuated that this was a challenge.  I mean, people in AFGHANISTAN that DON'T EVEN KNOW ME shaved their heads in support!  Shouldn't all these tough farmer guys I work with shave their heads too?!?!

Bwahahahahahahaha! (that's my evil laugh... because cancer has made me slightly evil)

However, there was a little resistance.  My old boss was like "all for one, one for all, this means the girls have to shave their heads too!"  Well the only girl on the team is getting married in September... and no girl wants to be bald.  And certainly doesn't want to be growing her hair out in time for her WEDDING.

In his defense, he is almost 50 and has a full head of hair.  Shaving your head at that age when you're not even close to bald is kind of like defacing the Mona Lisa.  He's like the white unicorn of the late 40s crowd... the man with hair.  So I get his hesitancy.

However, my old team took him to happy hour, fed him a drink or two and got him to agree to shaving his head.

BUT before he'll shave his head, we have to raise $2500 for cancer during the month of March.

Yes... he's a wily old man.  He put a time limit on it. 

So, while I have no doubt that we'll be able to raise this amount, I thought I'd ask for your help. 

PLEASE SEND MONEY!

I REALLY WANT TO SEE HIM BALD.  I'm pretty sure this will give me at least one laugh per day for as long as it takes his hair to grow out.  AND I get to be the one to shave his head.  There will be photos.  Many, many photos.

Is it bad that I look forward to this with so much glee?  I've been smiling all week since he told me he'd do this if he got approval from our boss. 

I do get to choose the charity that this goes to.  I haven't made any decisions yet.  If you know me, you know that I have a need to research things.  I want to take some time and research charities to A) ensure it's something I want to support and B) make sure it is a highly reputable charity with a high % of their donations going back out the door to the promised cause.  I do promise to you that I don't take this decision lightly and 100% of what is sent to me will go towards that charity.

So as far as donations go, we're gonna do this old school.  Yep, using postal mail.  Because I'm not sure how to sign up for PayPal as a charitable cause and all that jazz. 

If you'd like to donate, please send cash/check/lots of quarters and change to me at:

1535 Meyer Lane
North Mankato, MN  56003

Just remember, seeing this man bald is vital to my continued happines.  OK maybe not vital.  But it sure would make me laugh!  Have I laid on the guilt too think? :)
 
First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CALEB!!!!!!!!

In celebration of this day, I have a funny "boy" story to share. 

So Caleb came into work today because some of the ladies here love to see him.  I mean, what's not to love?  He's adorable.

One woman in particular, we'll call her J, just loves kids.  So whenever Caleb comes in, we go pay her a visit to make her smile.

When we got over there today, she had a story for Caleb.  It went a little something like this.

Caleb, I have a great story for you.  This story is about my children and the funny things they do.  I have 2 kids, a daughter that is in 6th grade and a son that is in 4th grade.  Well, my daughter, she can be mean.  She can say some really mean, awful things and she hurts my son's feelings.  So one of the days she said something really mean to my son and he got really upset, so he decided to play a trick on her.  You wanna know what he did?  He saw her nice clothes all laid out in her room and ready for school and...

He put TOOTHPASTE in her PANTS! 

At this point, I burst out laughing and started asking questions.  Which went something like this.

Me:  Wait, he put toothpaste in her pants?!?! 
J:  Yep.

Me:  Did she notice?  I mean she had to notice!  She didn't wear them to school like that, did she?
J:  Well I think it must've been around the knee area or below and I think it was like that gel toothpaste b/c it didn't dry out all day, it was just wet and sticky.  She just kept wondering why her pants felt wet/damp all day long.

Me:  THAT IS BRILLIANT!  HOW DID I NEVER THINK THIS UP WHEN I WAS A KID!!!!  Your son got your daughter to sit in pants with TOOTHPASTE in them ALL DAY at school! 

Caleb: (totally ignoring us and trying to play with the keys on the filing cabinet)

*sigh* this just takes me back to the days of my youth.  Being in a family of 6 kids, there is some creative stuff that is done in the name of revenge.  Like when of my sisters glued my eyes shut.  True story.

I just had to share and hope that you all get a smile from it like I did.  I hope that Caleb grows up with even half of the creativity displayed by J's son.  BRILLIANT!
 
Just wanted to say I'm feeling better today.

Actually I feel pretty normal today.

The whole being bald thing ruins the illusion of being normal, but if I had hair, I'd say I felt like any normal mom of an almost 2 year old.

OH!  Did I mention that to y'all before?  My son is turning TWO!!  tomorrow!!!

TWO!!!

EEEEEEEEEKKKKK!

So you thought I was all freaked out about ME turning 30... well I'm super freaked out by my son turning 2!

I'm sure this is silly, but it's a little bittersweet.  Two seems to be the milestone when your baby becomes a toddler.  You stop counting their age in months.  The doctors appointments are fewer and further in between.  They learn how to speak and use a toilet (hopefully).  And, most importantly, they now have loudly voiced opinions and desires. 

A part of me LOVES that my baby is growing up.  I cherish watching him get bigger and I'm in awe of his intense desire and ability to learn.  He's such a little sponge right now and I sincerely feel like in 6 months, he could be smarter than me.  Not saying my kid is a genius, just saying that my brain cannot actually think up enough activities to keep him fully engaged and entertained. 

And then there are the days that I think he actually outsmarts me.  Like "Mom, look over there!  It's a bird!" and I look (because I'm gullible and I have Chemo-brain) and then he climbs the bookshelf and leaps off.  OK, not really, but that might be a recurring nightmare of mine.

What I'm trying to say is that this age is just terrifying and awe inspiring all at the same time.

I'm excited to see what the upcoming year brings (whether it be the terrific or the terrible twos) and I just hope I can keep Caleb alive for all of it.  Seriously.  He's a bit of a daredevil and I will consider myself a huge success if we make it to the age of three without any brain damage or broken bones.

Anywho.  Just wanted to say I'm feeling good and looking forward to my son's big birthday!  Thanks for all the kind words of support this week.