Category Archive: Me

A Love Affair, It’s All in the Secret Sauce

Soo, yesterday was an Anniversary of sorts for me.  More specifically my #Bomberversary!! What you don’t celebrate the day you found an amazing place to grab a burger? This is only partially about the amazing burgers & fries and OMG, CHEESE CURDS!!!

Yes, they are REALLY Good!!

Yes, they are REALLY Good!!

I found AJ Bombers a few years ago, when friends of mine posted total food porn from there and when I say I found them, I mean I discovered them on Twitter! At the time I was living in California and had no idea if I would ever visit Milwaukee! Yet, the Bombers Crew happily tweeted at me and our love affair began!! We had fun and silly convos as is the personality at Bombers!

Then last year, on my epic #WestmovesEast trip, I built into my trip a side trip, coz really what’s a few more hours in the car, to visit this amazing place?? TOTALLY WORTH IT!! OMG, they totally took care of us!!

My first visit!! Great Food and Excellent Company!!

My first visit!! Great Food and Excellent Company!!

The Crew felt we should try the ENTIRE menu!!

The Crew felt we should try the ENTIRE menu!!

 

While, the food is drool worthy and obviously, I have more than a passing addiction affection for Bombers, really that’s not the point here.  Nor is my newly discovered luv affair with Cheese Curds! Here it is in a p-nut shell, they CARE!

Yup, the guys that run the joint ( I have recently discovered they also, run 5 other places in & around Milwaukee) have discovered the Secret Sauce.  They hire the right people, they hire the people that get what they do, that they aren’t just slamming down a burger in front of someone, they are creating an experience!

Me, being me, was curious if they really GOT it… so I tried another of their restaurants and guess what, same experience!! Amazing food and mind-blowing service! I encountered them again at a Social Media Club Milwaukee event where they sponsored the food, they didn’t just drop off food and bail, a few minutes was spent greeting people and making sure things were all good with an obvious dash of humor. tots

Then when they came back to pick up everything, more time was taken to greet and meet people, check how the food was.  Actually, this is where I finally met The Man behind the Bomb, Joe Sorge!!

Would I be as in love with Bombers if they hadn’t taken the time to develop the relationship? Probably not! Would I keep going back if the people there hadn’t been so welcoming? Nope! The very first time I walked in, it was like walking into my favourite chocolate store, they welcomed me with open arms and freshly fried curds! And, every single time after that, I was greeted with the same enthusiasm.  My visits extended beyond great food.  It’s obvious the crew over there gets the “hire for culture, train for skills”

Every single visit is unique yet the quality of service is the same!  Even when they know you, they still make sure your experience is the best it can be! Doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the hundredth, there is that magical element of care and time! His team, takes the time to develop and build relationships with customers. That extends to online! Yes, I have had conversations with them on Twitter while sitting and eating!!

 

 

Very few companies hire for the fit, those that are, have spent the time defining the company strategy and brand voice  and lead with a strong internal culture that flows to the customer experience.  This type of open communication is cultivated and magical.  For companies to succeed in today’s world of Social Business it is imperative to embrace it or lose customers.  Finding a place on Social networks that is so deeply aligned with offline presence will be leading the way for more and more companies.  Customers are going to be looking for that relationship and care.  I applaud the team behind AJ Bombers for setting such a high bar of excellence and realizing that not only feeding their people well is top priority but cultivating their customer relationships is just as important!!

Not Quite How I was Planning My Next Tattoo and #BewbLuv Moves Forward

Yup, that's a whole group of #cmgr's throwin the #HashTag down!!

Yup, that’s a whole group of #cmgr’s throwin the #HashTag down!!

Soo, a few weeks ago, I headed back to NY… technically I was there for Social Media week and #cmgrUN! And they were awesome! I will be writing about #cmgrUN over on My Community Manager! The trip to NY also, included my check up appointment for my bewbs! Deep Breath

I procrastinated making my appointment, dreaded that call.. it had been almost 60days since I stopped the chemo.  My body had almost stopped hating me for injecting all the horrible drugs, my war with food was mostly over and I just needed Dr. AKME to sign off, to give me magical words…

Only, it turns out there are no magical words. Once you have CANCER, you are always at risk, there is no magical phrase that makes it better.  I move from patient to survivor. I am not ok with this.  There are no good words for any of this.  I heard words, like negative, benign, recurrence, chances are… not you are cured, this is over.  *sigh*

So, the appointment, went well… I have gained back most of the weight lost thanks to the lovely chemo and eating only scrambled eggs and Ben and Jerry’s for months.  They took the blood, did the mammogram and those tests came back benign negative!! WooT! I knew all this, I knew my surgeon did a fantastic job and got all the visible cancer.  And, she even managed to keep the scars loverly and non-visible! Dr. AKME admired her work and even mentioned how symmetrical the girls are.  I know, all superficial but for me, that was good to hear after months of looking at my Chemo ravaged body!!! Did you see, I even haz hair!!!

Special thanks, to Jay Bryant for this amazing pic!!

Special thanks, to Jay Bryant for this amazing pic!!

Now, what’s next… Radiation!! For a whole 24hours, I thought I wasn’t going to have to do this, I thought, I was done.  Only, I was a bit premature in this thinking.  With my type of cancer, my diagnosis and my age… radiation is a must!! Why? Coz, of my age, coz of the type of cancer! Upside….

The radiation offices have this

How can you dislike a Dr. office that has this!!

How can you dislike a Dr. office that has this!!

I was in awe and shock after walking into the offices buried deep down in the Financial District, after the horrors of my mammogram ( that is a whole nother story) I was leery and a little bit bitter when I arrived.  However, the staff… AMAZING, the offices, GORGEOUS, my new Dr. and Tech, there are no words!! And, y’all know me, I am not frequently speechless.  I’m going to call new Dr, Dr. RAD… she sat me down, laid it out for me.  She told me I wasn’t special.  The statistics of recurrence not in my favor.  I needed to start radiation.  Good news, I don’t have to have much and the side-effects are minimal.  In fact, only 33 days.  Not such a random number, it’s every day for 10min.  And, they get me there. They go above and beyond to make you comfortable, to make the experience painless and completely tailored to you. It’s all about the patient!!

This was waiting for me, it was soft & comfy and perfect!!

This was waiting for me, it was soft & comfy and perfect!!

So much so, they were able to do the initial set up while I was there.  Dr. RAD sent me off for coffee and when I came back, the Tech was able to get me in, take pics, give me my tattoos! Yup, I was put into this machine, I was x-ray’d and tattooed*! They are goin to focus the radiation where Morte was and then my lymph nodes where minute cancerous cells were found! This will, hopefully, prevent recurrence!!

Two itty bitty tattoo dots where the radiation rays will focus!!

Two itty bitty tattoo dots where the radiation rays will focus!!

MRI machine, this will help them focus radiation

MRI machine, this will help them focus radiation

 

 

 

 

 

 

So… this week, I will be in Austin attending #SXSWi with @Nestivity and @Rawporter! Next week, I will be starting a different gig, ya more about that later!! While, I am looking for a place to live in NY starting the first of April.

*This was not how or where, I was planning on getting my second tattoo! However, they do look like freckles and I haz those, so I’m not going to count these, I have decided!! So, I am still planning for my 2nd tattoo!

 

Job Hunting, Resume Not Needed

I popped into #Tchat last nite as I’m wont to do, it’s a great chat with an amazing community, hosted by a wonderful friend!! The tweet that caught my eye was about paper resumes and job hunting.  Well, I’m job hunting and not doing a traditional resume!!

Turns out I’m not alone, Vala Afshar is seeking a marketer and he is solely using Twitter to get his applicants, I don’t know if he is going to be requiring a paper resume later on, I do know he is going to blog about his method and findings and I am curious to see what the end result is….  I really like this method.

This is "Old School" found @Offsite in NY

This is “Old School” found @Offsite in NY

This may not work for everyone or even every business, traditional methods may still work.  Only, I am no longer traditional and neither are many of my cohorts! We are starting to see this more and more, however it is still so new that most people are perplexed by the idea of a new digital resume.

In chatting with a friend, we have discussed this, labeling it “Digital Footprint”  My resume is completely online and easily found with several platforms that allow me to group everything together!! Check out my About.Me or my Twylah page…there you find my twitter, Facebook, blog and even my LinkedIn.  My reputation, my influence and my capabilities can all be found, weighted and measured with just a few clicks and waves of your mouse!!

However, I think it’s a little easier than that… Everyone acknowledges the different platforms, each platform needs to treat each Community & Audience differently.  Your use of each platform and your presence there should fit the needs of your brand, YOU, what your message is, level of engagement and interaction.  Keep in mind, we are talking only digital persona, a single dimension, the REAL person you can’t really get to know without some face time!! That being said… For most people, you can really get a good indepth glimpse of someone by completing the “Social Trifecta”

Borrowed from GrowMap.com

Borrowed from GrowMap.com

Sounds like some sort of Mob hit, rite?? Nah… easy enough, we know most people are on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Looking at those three platforms as follows:

  • Twitter- conversations, sharing content, in-depth discussions via various TwitterChats (List of my favs)
  • Facebook- Sharing pictures, family and funnies, share content, keeping up with friends and family personal accomplishments & happenings
  • LinkedIn-Professional accomplishments, share content, online resume

Generally, by connecting with a person on all three platforms, you will get a very good idea of who a person is, learn about the dynamics that makes up their Social Footprint.  Granted, we all use Social differently and this theory works for most people but not all.  You are going to get that person that shares the same thing, at the same time across all three platforms or the person who keeps personal completely offline.  Spend some time, learn what you can on those platforms.

I digress, back to the paper resume, we are in a Digital World, companies are in transition learning that hiring people for their skillz isn’t the best thing, hire for fit and train.  You want your company to be Social, internally and externally, look in the space where people are being successful at being and doing social, choose from that sandbox.  For me, I’m a Social Gurl and surviving in the Digital World.

 

 

The End of #BewbLuv… Sorta

As promised, here is the down, dirty and ugly of the last several months!! Once in NY and finally getting into a treatment program, new doctor and restarting Chemo. It all went pretty fast. By fast, I mean, I consistently got sicker and sicker!!

The Dr. in NY, I’ll call her Dr. Almost Killed Me but Didn’t Mean It or Dr. AkMe for short was brillz!! I went from the not going to help you at all hospital to the amazing wonderful Ralph Lauren Breast Cancer Center! Where everyone was nice, remembered me, bent over backwards to help or even just empathize while not being pitying or condescending!!

Dr. AkMe changed up my treatments a little, I was originally scheduled for 2 differ chemo treatments( that means 4 injections of 2 different types of medicines) over 4mos and she finished the first treatment with no changes, she changed the second treatment a little to accommodate for my health.  See, I totally, am an over achiever, I really rocked all the side affects of chemo!! YEA ME! That meant, I was sick as a dog, well, actually sicker…. Treatment was fast-tracked ( That was my bright idea, I don’t recommend it) So, I went to treatment every other week with blood work every week.  I steadily lost 5lbs each week, a concern for Dr. AkMe not so much for me.  It was only at the end, when you could count my ribs that the loosing weight became an issue.  My immune system consistently crashed.  That was to be expected and once again I felt the need to over achieve and made sure mine barely registered!! *sigh*  I was consistently fighting not only keeping any food down but also, dehydration.  Then the fight, got harder…

The second round of chemo was meant to attack my bone marrow and sure as sh*t, it totally did, so while I had finally stopped throwing up ALL the time, now I was dealing with excruciating pain in my joints and bones! Fortunately, Dr. AkMe anticipated this (she is really smart) and upped my pain meds.  During all this, I was pretty much on lock-down except for the horrifying Cab rides to treatment!! By the way, Cabbies totally stop FAST when you tell them you have to throw up!!

I realize now, I can throw in my quirky sense of humour and even smile.  However, at that time… not only was I struggling with being so incredibly, physically sick…. it ( the Chemo, being Sick) had started to affect my mind, my spirit.  I struggled on a daily basis with memory loss, crying jags and the occasional temper tantrum.  I was consistently forgetting things, conversations and since I basically slept 20hours a day I was up at odd hours.  Not to mention, I was pretty much confined to bed, since I was totally doped on pain meds or nauseous or just plain to weak!! I really didn’t want to talk to people at all.

I know and felt all the concern from all of you, your thoughts and your respectfulness of trying to find out how to help without overstepping and THANK YOU!! I am humbled, honoured and overwhelmed with all of you.  Altho, during those dark months, I was consistently angry and bitter at you.  I didn’t want to share any of that with you, not until it was ME and not the DRUGS.  Yes, I was on so much medication that I wasn’t sure anymore what was Sparkly me and what was Hideous me.  I resented your health, your happy lives and how things moved forward for you while I was stuck, consumed with Doctors, drugs and the failings of my body & mind! I wrestled with feelings of shame, remorse and bitterness constantly. And, let’s not forget the WHINING! I was so disgusted with myself, my body and my lack of being able to see the end, So much so, that I walked away from everyone.

After the last treatment, I left NY.  I needed a warmer place where I wouldn’t be tempted to go out and socialize once I started to feel better ( We all know that I totally would have, too).  I needed to get my head back.  I didn’t wanted to leave at all, leaving felt like failure.  It was necessary, I wasn’t in a good place and I was completely unemployed and living on my savings.  And, go figure, Cancer is freakin’ expensive!! Even with all the help from Ralph Lauren.

I was struggling with who I am, trying to figure out what I wanted to do and reconcille myself to the lost period.  I needed first to sleep for weeks and work the rest of the drugs out of my system.  I did that.  I managed to end my war with food and start eating again.  Some foods still make me nauseous, others don’t taste right and some I just find icky.  But, we are happy together again! And, Hullo COFFEE!!  That’s right, I was off coffee.  That was most sad.

I wasn’t ready to share my story.  I wasn’t ready to see where you are with your lives.  I wasn’t ready to make any decisions.  Now, I am ready to share my story.  I am loving where all your lives have taken you.  The decisions are still hard.  I still get angry.  I still have gaps in my memory or can’t remember something I know, I know.  And, basically, all of my plans, hopes and wants have changed and I don’t know who I am.  The Cancer & treatment, took over my life, me.  I fought it and denied it but it did anyways.  Saving my Bewbs became all consuming, so much so it became who I am.  I don’t want to be that person.  I will always be a Cancer survivor, in fact, last year will become a defining year in my life.  Only, instead of Breast Cancer defining me, I am going define its role in my life.  I am going to continue to write about it, support those who need it and advocate for foundations that are supporting this community of brave women and their families!

Lucky for me, I am well loved.  Not only am I loved but I am loved by extraordinary people.  These people, my friends, most I consider my family, know ME.  They are stepping up and showing me who I am, that I am ok and holding my hand while I dip my toes back into the world of the living.  Well, I was dipping my toes then just decided to dive right back in by attending #NMX and #CES!!

What’s next?? Several things… I am job hunting, looking for a community management role somewhere. I go back to Dr. AkMe for a check up.  I probably don’t need any more treatment but may need to take medication for the next few years to prevent the Cancer from coming back.  I will be heading back to New York.  I am back partnering with Tim McDonald and MyCommunityManager, producing our #cmgrUN conference series for 2013.  I am also, working with Sam Fiorella and Danny Brown with their new book Influence Marketing launch/tour in May!!

If you need a quick catch up… go here and here!!

Help Needed, Please Don’t Apply

I have been putting off this post, well, actually, I’ve written it out a few different times and in a few different ways and it never sounded right, never felt right. I have finally just decided it’s never going to sound or feel right.

I started chemo again, after a very long and complicated break, with much thanks and some amazing wonderful people, I was able to get into the right program (I’m unisured, remember) and start my chemo again.  And, damn, if it didn’t just kick my ass and throw me down.  It was horrible and tomorrow, I go again.  I can’t even tell you how much I am dreading it.  Each time, I think I’m ready for the drugs, that I am prepared, I’m not.

Sadly, I wish, the drugs were my only obstacle.  The reason, I have not shared or been open.  I have been hiding.  Hiding my shame, my anger and my bitter disappointment.  In myself.  Shame, that I’m not coping well with this last round of chemo, anger that my body, the meds are destroying everything.  Hiding while I try to figure who I am, what I am doing.  Disappointment is a funny thing, it becomes harsher as it’s directed at ourselves and our internal voices perceive it so largely the negative vibes can no longer be shaken off.

I never wanted to be consumed by my treatments, have my health and medical take the drivers seat in my life, yet, that is exactly what happened.  I realize that I am lucky, that this won’t last forever… In fact, I have one last treatment of the Red Devil and then I switch treatments and will be done with chemo mid-November!! Woot, rite?

Yes, that is a good thing. Only, I am struggling.  Struggling with what the drugs are doing to me, the ironies of the medicine that is supposed to be healing me, is slowly eating away at my mind, stealing what health my body had and is carving into the person that I am and turning me into someone I don’t know.   I don’t know who I am anymore.

The Chair

That is more frightening to me then the Cancer ever was.  It’s not about having “Chemo Brain” and forgetting milk at the store or lunch with a friend, it’s not about throwing up in the nearest trash can on 6th Ave or Central Park or in the Subway station ( actually, not as bad as it sounds, NY has lots of trash cans), it’s not even the fact that I “forget”to temper my tongue and speak my mind before I filter it.  I struggle with everyday things, with what my body tells me versus what my mind wants to do.  I can no longer tell what is the drugs and what is me.  I fight with myself constantly, pushing harder and then giving in. Tamping down feelings and temper tantrums, only to have a single outburst over a silly thing and crying jags.

It’s a lot, I’m going through a lot.  My mind acknowledges this.  My body hates it.  I despise it.  There is a lot of confusion in my head and a lot of screaming (as one’s inner voice can only do)!! There is no shame in my weakness, yet I am overwhelmed with it.  I turn down offers of help, not because I don’t appreciate them but because I don’t know what to do with them, I don’t know how to ask for what I am looking for… I don’t know!! Yea, that’s a lot of I don’t knows coz guess what… I don’t know and that is agonizing for me.

It is no longer enough to talk with my friends, to turn to twitter for amusement and cheering up.  I feel myself withdrawing, spending more time in my head and that is not a good thing.  I am spinning in this never ending tilt-a-whirl that is full of sickness and confusion.

Now, before, y’all get your knickers in a bunch and start in on me… I have already come to the conclusion that it’s time for help.  I’m crazy and while I occasionally do stupid things, I’m not dumb.  I, also, know it’s going to take some time to get my groove back and become balanced. That forevermore, my life is changed and change is good.  Even though currently, the changes are bleak and dismal.

I don’t know what is going to happen over the next few days, since I have chemo in the morning and I’m ok with that I’m well stocked in Jello and sprite (Both of which, I really, really don’t like) Hmmmm, I wonder if I could find someone to make me some Jello Jigglers maybe that would make it more palatable!!

Soo much fun!!

 

Success…. Bittersweet and Awesome: A Mother’s Quandry

Today is a day a lot of us will be experiencing over the next few weeks, that oft celebrated and bemoaned day of the year!! The First Day of School!!

This is one of my last firsts that I will have, my youngest is starting the first day of 8th grade!! Kinda a big first.  I’m not there, I’m not there taking the requisite first day of school picture that I have taken every year for both kids. I’m not there giving hugs, checking a back pak, signing emergency forms or even taking that deep breath as my baby starts a new journey that will take him a little further away from me.

As a parent, as a mother my biggest goal with my raising my children, teach them to think.  Sounds funny, right? But it’s true, as a parent, all I want for my kids is to be happy, not to worry about what others thought.  I wanted to instill in them they have the choices, they need to make them, I can’t make those choices for them, I don’t know what will make them happy only they can determine that.  Ohhh, trust me, I have bitten my tongue many a time through the years, lately more then ever.Watched as they made choices that would take them down a harder life path, watched as they chose to forage a rougher path.  Even as I hurt and ached for them, I proudly watched as each in their own way, they learned who they were and what they believed in and then stood strong.  They are both still very young and have so much to learn, see and grow.  Personally, I think they have started out really well and even though their paths have taken them further away from me this year, I am ready if they need me.

While watching as both of my kids have made choices that have taken them on paths that are vastly independent of me.  And I am so very proud.  As much as I have spent questioning my parenting skillz and anguished over raising them, it would appear that I have taught them to think for themselves, to colour outside the lines and forage their own paths!!

The Elusive Teen & Sunshine

The Elusive Teen and Sunshine have returned to Cali after an amazing time in NY!! They decided they needed West Coast Sunshine instead of New York hustle and bustle!! Soooo very proud of them, even if I wanted them to stay.

And, for the first time in over 12 years I am missing a first.  The first day of 8th grade for my son.  He has chosen to spend this year in the mid-west. While, I am a little sad about this, I am also, really proud of him.

Adorbs, rite?

 

 

 

 

 

My parenting job isn’t done, far from it, it has just shifted and like all relationships, needs to grow and change.  It’s not time to bemoan they are no longer babies but young peoples and celebrate those peoples and embrace who they are becoming.  I love who they are and even though I don’t always like their choices, I am eagerly watching them. Err, ok, some of them I’m cringing but still… I wanted to raise strong, independent thinkers and it would appear that I have. *sigh* I love them both with all my heart and while this particular success is bittersweet, it’s what I have!!

Vanity Time-Out: A New List

Sooo…. I should be telling you all about the cross journey trip we took, #WestmovesEast coz it totally rocked and was incredible and maybe about all neato stuff I’ve been doing since I’ve landed in NY and y’all are probably wondering about my bewbies…

That will all come later, for now I need your help!! I have started a list about all the wonderful things about being bald.  You see, I knew it was coming and that it was going to happen. However, the knowing and the reality are kinda throwing off my groove thing!! Just to catch up, I shaved my head.  When my hair started coming out in mass gobs that would put any hair ball to shame, I shaved it. No, there are no current pictures, there will be…. as soon as I get the cajones to take some.

Getting Shaved!! That's what's left of my hair....

It’s tru… I am taking a huge hit to my self esteem, to the way I carry myself and finding that it’s bugging me a lot more then I thought was possible.  I mean, it’s freakin hair…it will grow back.  So, while I struggle with the evil VANITY fairy that has attacked, can ya help me out???  Please add to or vote for the whys and haves of being bald!!

In return, I promise to take some uber cool pics and change all my avi’s and get ya’ll up to speed on the haps!!!

Good, Bad and the Bald
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Brandie McCallum

Good, Bad and the Bald

Why is good or bad to be bald???

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  1. 1  Your eyes will be that much more striking.

    Your eyes will be that much more striking.
  2. 2  Don't have to drop $350 for haircut and colour

    Don't have to drop $350 for haircut and colour
  3. 3  Doesn\'t take 45min to wash & style

    Doesn\'t take 45min to wash & style
  4. 4  I get to buy Groovy hats & wigs (YEA Shopping!!)

    I get to buy Groovy hats & wigs (YEA Shopping!!)
  5. 5  It's entirely possible you won't have to shave your legs - which means they'll be sexy smooth :)

    It's entirely possible you won't have to shave your legs - which means they'll be sexy smooth :)
  6. 6  Make A Wig for @SeanMcGinnis

    Make A Wig for @SeanMcGinnis

    Take the hair you've lost or cut and make a wig for Sean!! Or @josepf!! PLEASE

  7. 7  You can dress up as Evey Hammond every single day!

    You can dress up as Evey Hammond every single day!

    Directed by James McTeigue. With Hugo Weaving, Natalie Portman, Rupert Graves, Stephen Rea. A shadowy freedom fighter known only as "V" uses terrorist tactics to fight against his totalitarian society. Upon rescuing a girl from the secret police, he also finds his best chance at having an ally.

  8. 8  Your earrings will never be overlooked.

    Your earrings will never be overlooked.
  9. 9  You get to look more like Ric Dragon and Josepf Haslam (sans the facial hair)

    You get to look more like Ric Dragon and Josepf Haslam (sans the facial hair)
  10. 10  Rocking the Natalie Portman Look

    Rocking the Natalie Portman Look

    Own it, love it, be loved for it :)

  11. 11  Good because you will see first-hand that you are not your hair...

    Good because you will see first-hand that you are not your hair...

    ...not your beauty, not your age, not your gender, not your bank account, not your religion. You will begin to see who you truly are.

  12. 12  Low maintenance mornings

    Low maintenance mornings
  13. 13  You can be mysterious with those super chic scarves..

    You can be mysterious with those super chic scarves..

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To My Community, My Friends

I’ve started and stopped this particular post several times, changed the words and nothing I’ve said has seemed to be enough and perhaps it won’t ever be, for the only words I have are THANK YOU!!

Since, I shared my breast cancer with you, I’ve been met with nothing but support, strangers that are now friends, reaching out to me, emails, DM’s, phone calls, skype messages, text messages and even snail mail.  Y’all sure do know how to reach out across every single platform!!!

I have felt rather helpless, knowing that you wanted to help, wanted to offer support of more than just words and I  just didn’t know what I would need, I didn’t know how to let you help me.  And, of course, y’all being the smart, loving and caring people that you are… You found the best way possible. (With some gentle nudging from some of my best friends, a plan was concocted)

Each of you in your own way, let me know that I was loved, cared about and that I was important.  The Sunday afternoon and evening before Morte’s demise, #BewbLuv really started to take off as messages of support and well wishes started to poor in.

Dave Reynolds donned his pink dress, ready to wear it until I was out of surgery.

#PrettyinPink

Sam Fiorella, my colleague, friend and even sounding board, voluntarily gave up his coffee until I could once again enjoy it as well.  I know, Sam, I’ve seen Sam without coffee, I knew what a sacrifice that was and was completely blown away. Also, I’m sorry for anyone that dealt with Sam, sans coffee on Monday!!

In the early hours of Monday, as my friends on East Coast woke, more well wishes rolled in, as did the the wash of Pink across my facebook.  Then the most amazing thing, people started changing their Avi’s on Twitter & Facebook.  Thanks, to J.C, people were able to choose from several different avi’s!! A twibbon popped up.

One of my best friends, sent out his 100,000 to me, wishing me well.

 

As I headed into surgery, I was able to spend time reading the tweets but not respond to the mass amount of well wishes, hugs and love that was pouring in.  Not just from my Community, but from everyone’s community.  My friends, the people that know me best, had started making phone calls, my story was being circulated.  By the time I was home and safely tucked into bed, back on Twitter, #BewbLuv had trended in 5 different countries, 7 cities in the US and the tweets were still pouring in.

Y’all, awe me, I was completely blown away and knew that you had helped me in a way that I didn’t know I needed, you were able to distract me, entertain and in so many different, creative and simple ways give me the gift of friendship and support.

Within the next couple of days, a new page will be up here…. Simply titled #BewbLuv you will be able to find all the pictures, videos and links to all the blog posts written from that day.

I will be forever grateful to all of you, to the day the Interwebz turned my entire life pink and made my Bewbs famous worldwide.  Thank you!!

Gratitude, Cookies and #BewbLuv

I do not have the words adequate enough to express my thanks and my gratitude for the amazing support and friendships y’all have shown me since my little announcement.  Trust me, I have checked both my thesauruses and neither wielded the words sufficient enough! So, please accept my simple Thank You!!

and, I received…..

 

Bacon cookies!! Err, crumbles!! Thanks, Ted Curtin

Giant Chocolate Chip cookie!!! FTW, Thanks Tim

 

On the heels of my announcement, I’ve decided that in following in the footsteps of chronicling all my major events on Twitter, we need a hashtag (Yes, I am a TwitterAddict), several twitter conversations, couple of texts and consulting with the Elusive Teen….  #BewbLuv has arrived!! ‘Tis true, I do lurve my bewbs and it’s time to get them fixed and all better before Summer and bikini season!!
 
I realize Cancer is scary! I also, know it is awkward and uncomfortable, that people don’t know what to say or what to do! Well, it’s doubly so for me, it’s horrible to share all of this with you. Not because y’all aren’t wonderful, coz you really are but because, I don’t like this focus on me, I am uncomfortable.  So, why am I doing this, why am I being so open with something that makes me cross-eyed and terrifying?  I’d like to say that I am all noble and selfless, but really, I’m not… I’m going to need y’all and I refuse to cower and sob in the corner, even if I do have my fav Princess blankie.  I’m scared and worried.  That being said, I’m also, sharing all of this coz I am not the only person in this place.  I am not the only woman who has been dealt this card.  I will share all the down and dirty in the hopes that perhaps I can comfort someone or even help.  Maybe just maybe, I can ease the mind of someone else, that perhaps my words will lend strength to someone.
 
Soooo, y’all will be getting all the down and dirty, mostly…. there will be no pics!! And, I have elicited promises from a few people to make sure that I am electronic free while drugged up!! I kno, that takes out all the fun, rite?? Don’t worry, I assure you there will be shenanigans and antics galore!! For one thing, I am hoping to gain a few more foursquare mayorships out of this ( I will be changing the names of all my doctors), I am anticipating some good drugs and maybe even a few days where my Mommy cooks my favourite meals for me ( There will be foodie pics)!!
 
Now, the UPDATE…. I got nothing. No, really… turns out you can’t just call a boobie doctor and say “Hey, I haz a sick bewb, can u fit me in next Tuesday before lunch and golf” I am SHOCKED!!! The problem is I don’t have health insurance.  And, while I know Doctors won’t work for free, mostly, I didn’t realize there are other factors.  Other factors, like having a referral, finding out if a doctor is well versed in the latest technology and medical stuff and knowing which questions to ask.  I do, have a referral, and the doctor I went to for the diagnosis is utterly fantastic!! There is a program (I’m to young for most of the programs that assist woman with breast cancer, we aren’t even going to start in on the fact that it’s utterly ridiculous that 40 is the magic number to get breast cancer since obviously you don’t have to be 40 to get it!!) that will help me and yesterday after a minor tech challenge, I was enrolled and given a surgeon.  Great rite? Yes and no…. see I can look up the surgeon and learn about her education and how long she has been in practice, I can also, see that she is not specifically a breast surgeon, that her main practice is general surgery.  That makes me nervous.  I am going to go speak with her, at the sage advice of my friend.  But, I’m afraid, concerned that just because I don’t have health insurance perhaps that maybe I’ll not get the best care.  There is also, the fear that maybe I am not asking the right questions, since I am certain there are more questions I should be asking other than “What kind of drugs do I get and When can I wear my bikini” Yes, people, I am vain enough to be concerned about how I am going to look.  I realize this is a secondary issue but it’s still niggling at me*!!!
 
Also, I have a wonderful friend, who has stepped up and is checking on getting me help from a top doctor in NY.  I have options, I know this.  I am waiting, since that seems to be all I can do and I am staying off Google, it’s possible, I may have wine, too.  I am ok, well, mostly… special thanks to the time spent on the phone yesterday with two different friends that held my hand while I experienced my minor meltdown.  I fully expect to be on the mend no later then the beginning of May, as I have major plans for both May and June!! I will be in Chicago at SOBCon in May and in June after the Elusive Teen graduates from high school, we ( the kids & I) will be moving to New York!! I’m looking for suggestions as to where to live and also, a 3 bedroom place… so if anyone knows of a good place, please holler!!

 

* Thanks for all the offers from my friends who have offered to visually check my bewbs after surgery, I realize the huge sacrifice you are making and appreciate that you are ready to assure me, my girls are still gorgeous!!

 

C Is For Cookie… Not This Time!

I have pretty much been open here, have clearly stated what is private and what is shareable in my life.  I drew clear boundaries and lines and for the most part that has always been respected.  I struggle with those boundaries quite frequently.   So, now the time has come where once again the lines are going to become blurred.

I am a very private person with a close intimate group of friends and while I realize the life that I have created in the Social Media world is very public, I have for the last several years been able to keep a good chunk of my private life just that private.  I have also, clearly, stated that, this blog, my words, I will use to help, inform and even entertain.  I always hope that my words, thoughts and experiences can help someone as they struggle or celebrate the same things that I do, that perhaps, I can make someone feel not so alone.

With those thoughts warring in my head, heart and soul, I have come to a very hard decision.  I have opted to share with you all, something that is going to challenge me in a way that I have never known.  I wish that I could keep this private, that I could be brave enough to not share but I’m not.  I am going to need you all and perhaps, I can help someone.  Perhaps, this particular struggle will not be so much about me.

I have breast cancer.

I’m going to let that sink in for a moment.  It’s ok, take a deep breath.  I apologize if this comes as a shock, I was rather shocked, myself.  Yes, I’m under 40.  No, there is no history in my family.  Yes, I am slightly worried.  Yes, I have told my family.  I apologize if I haven’t told you myself and you are finding out this way.

As for the rest, I don’t know all the nitty gritty.  I do know that I have the most common type of Cancer.  There is a high survival rate.  I am headed to a surgeon, yes, surgery will be involved, DUH, rite?  After, I meet with the surgeon, a plan will be determined. It seems fairly straight forward and easy, however, I doubt that it will be either of those things!!

I will be taking y’all along through all of this.  I am certain some days will be better than others and there may or not be a rant or two tossed out.  I have an amazing family, fantastic friends and I know that I’m not alone.  I thank all of you for this.

 

p.s. Please send cookies!!!

 

 

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