This post is not about the Survivor party, but I’ll throw in a few random party people photos just to keep your attention. That’s me with my pink-shirt BFF STACEY ALDSTADT (who made 14 tons of ice cream–including my all time favorite peach!!–for the party). I do have enough hair now that I run around without any head covering of any sort, but as I mentioned it was 106 degrees out so a hat was in order. And if you’re going to wear a hat, you may as well wear a HAT!
Thanks for the voting on when the blog should die a natural death. Seems most of you said “when there is nothing left to say about cancer.” Which is very nice of you. Then it occurred to me, finally, you aren’t exactly a captive audience anyway (and probably some of you didn’t vote on when it should end because I didn’t give the “three weeks ago” option). You can stop reading whenever you like and I could keep blogging even if I was only talking to myself. So perhaps there isn’t such a thing as a natural death of a blog. Or there is but it might be a different time for you than it is for me. Or something crazy and meta like that. But here’s the thing–I’m not quite ready to stop. I’ve still got check-ups and all that sort of ongoing business and while I ramble through these postings, it sometimes actually helps me process all that goes on. So there. (photo on the right is me, Teresa 2 –also a breast cancer survivor!, BARB ABEL, and of course, the good and great and tattooed DR. AMER KARAM; still paying attention?)
But then today, a really valid reason to keep going presented itself! I met with the lovely ladies from Inland Agency’s Women’s Health Initiative (BECKY FOREMAN, JODEE PALMER and ROSA OLAIZ). Besides being able to give them $330 from the Survivor t-shirt sales at the party, I was able to learn about their plans for the much-needed, long-awaited Breast Cancer Resource Center in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. They have a physical location and hope to soon run a center that provides information, support, books, publications, wigs, scarves, prosthesis, lymphedema sleeves, education and outreach and basically allllllllllllll the stuff a woman may need when first diagnosed with breast cancer and throughout treatment. Fantastic!! I can’t over emphasize how much this is needed here. I marvel at what UCLA has in this regard, but I also realize not everyone can drive to UCLA. There’s a great resource center called Michelle’s Place in Temecula (about 30 miles south of here) that does great work, but we need another center in our vast two county area.
(photo is Jayden Pierce rockin’ the pirate look in a feeble attempt to hide the fact that I’m kickin’ his Pampered butt in the hair growing contest!!)
So, I’m going to help (of course I am!). And you are too (of course you are!!). I offered to help put together an advisory committee to focus on exactly what a breast cancer patient needs throughout treatment and beyond (you know, besides a blog!) and then of course where we can get those things. I’ll be calling on my local friends who’ve “been there done that” either themselves or in support of a loved one. [But hey, you know who you are, save me a call and just email me that you'd love to be involved (not a lifetime commitment here; just a few meetings and I promise good wine)].
For those of you who aren’t local or can’t be involved at the committee level, email me or leave a comment with your thoughts on what would make for a great resource center. What did you want to know? What things did you need? What resource did you find that was particularly helpful to you? What works? What doesn’t work? Speak up! I want to hear from you. I’ll give you an example–I had a heck of a time organizing all the paperwork and keeping track of everything I needed to know, test results, phone numbers, doctors information, prescriptions, and all that crap. About halfway through treatment my new friend and fellow survivor URSULA VUCCI-GIGLIA sent me a fantastic Breast Cancer 101 “Basics for the Diagnosed” organizer! Super useful. And it would have been even more useful had I known about it from the beginning (she sent it in response to my complaints on the blog!). Little things like that make a difference. So give me your ideas and experiences and help make this resource center happen (a lot of women will thank you later; I’ll thank you now!).
(photo is COURTNEY KERN, SUSAN SANTOS, and KATI KERN–Chris’s sisters and aunt; in the background is RINA GONZALES…but I don’t know the boys she’s with; I’m guessing they were there celebrating Michelle’s birthday!)
I’ll likely have much to blog about in this new endeavor. I’m also the honorary chair of the 2010 Shop to Stop Breast Cancer which raises funds for the Resource Center and breast health programs (including mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured). We’ll have so much to chat about.
The Dog Lived. I lived. The Blog Lives!!!