Surviving 23 Years Later


Finish Line Boogie

Finish Line Boogie

Surviving – we all do it.  We survive so many different things in our lives.  Today is October 31.  It’s Halloween and we won’t be home for the kids tonight as we are on vacation this year.  What doesn’t take a vacation is breast cancer, or for that matter any type of cancer, and this is also the last day of #Pinktober and I am inspired to write.

I just started my 23rd year of thriving after walking through the flames of the pink fire too many of us have had to walk through.  Many of us made it and the extinguished the flames, others did not.

I had what is called survivor’s guilt for quite a while.  I couldn’t understand why I made it through and others, with a similar diagnosis and stage of breast cancer did not.  I vividly remember the day Linda McCartney died – it was April of 1998 and I was 5 years out of treatment.  My caring Oncologist called me on the phone that afternoon to ask me how I was doing.  She knew that many of her patients were feeling like I did, stunned and in disbelief.  Same diagnosis, same treatment, same treatment plan after diagnosis, she died, we lived.  Why?

When I was first diagnosed I was living alone in Richmond, VA., and my work took me all over the country to of all places, different hospitals.  I was a corporate consultant for a huge hospital chain and it was my job to find errors within individual hospitals.  When the call came that my mammogram was highly suspicious for breast cancer I returned home immediately.  After being diagnosed and getting all scheduled for surgery and post-op treatment I had time to try to find answers as to why I had breast cancer.

Did I get it because I chased the mosquito spray trucks down the road as a child?  Evidence showed that DDT binds to fat cells in our bodies, and our breasts are filled with fat cells.  Did I get it because I would run into the shoe department at Sears Roebuck and put my feet into the machine that actually x-rayed my feet in my shoes.  As I bent over to look at my feet my chest was also in the field of x-rays and my brother and I put our feet in that machine all the time.  Thank you Buster Brown and your dog Tag.  Did I get it because some of my family is from Eastern Europe and Jewish?  Genetic testing later told me I was negative for the BRCA genes but there are other genetic markers still undiscovered.

I made an appointment with an Episcopal priest to discuss with him a book I read at the time.  I searched and searched for the title of this book to no avail today.  It was co-authored by a surgeon and a priest and they discussed medical reasons and religious beliefs about cancer.  I wanted to discuss this more.  We talked over tea, and I left with no definitive answers but it gave me that moment we all go through.  He and I prayed together and of course I bargained with God promising to do better, be better and always be there for other people in breast cancer.

My own Oncologist told me my cancer was very slow growing and possibly had been in my breast for 10 years.  He asked me what happened in my life 10 years ago.  As I told him my story of of my marriage, my children, death and destruction and more, he just looked at me with one of those “well it’s possible” looks on his face.

It’s my 23rd year – and I like the number 23.  Michael Jordan wore it and I saw him play many times when I lived in Chicago.  LeBron James wears it, and he is my star athlete, plays for my hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  I think I may wear it myself this year because this is the year I sit down and write my story.  You know that God promise I made – well I was called on to deliver on it almost immediately, and I answered the call to deliver over and over wondering when it would be my turn to heal.  Now in looking back I realize that was my healing time, that was my mission, I promised to pay it forward, and I still do.

Today a friend from Facebook, whom I have yet to meet, re-posted a blog I wrote about her biopsy last year.  Her name is Patti Hughes and my plan is to meet her and sit down with her because she honors me every year when she shares one of my two articles about her and her dear friend, Patty who did not make it through the pink flames as a thriver.  This is the year I write my feelings, the year I talk to others, the year I travel back in time and open the door to many things some people will not like that I feel all played a part in this whole number 23 experience.

Thank you Patti Hughes and thank you readers for supporting me here, and on my Facebook page

Come visit the page, it’s a safe page, no selling, just inspirations and thoughts.

Now did you have your mammogram this year?  Did your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, and any other female in your life?  Just for the record my husband had 4 mammograms for a lump that turned out to be just fine.  Early detection – our only protection.



Patti and Patty friends forever.

Patti and Patty friends forever.

I wear this to remind others.

I wear this to remind others.

Surviving Forgiving and Moving On

Surviving, forgiving and moving on is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because as I get older I realize how important it is to forgive people and move on past them.  I know that the reason to forgive anyone is for me, not for them.  The most amazing blessing that comes from forgiving – when it is done with peace and conviction that person no longer can tug at my heart strings which means your heart strings are safe too.

Years ago I wrote a letter to my breast cancer forgiving it for coming into my body.

There is forgiveness that has happened that I have been totally unaware of until one day when I thought about these people nothing hurt.  My heartstrings were not twinging.  The former best friend who preferred the bubbly in a bottle to true friendship, the narcissistic business partner who dissolved our partnership on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, the bully, the ex-lover who showered me with gifts of a particular perfume and broke my heart and then wrote a novel in which is main female character wears the same perfume (that one made me smile).

I don’t want these people in my life, would never want them back, they brought pain but when I realized the pain was gone I had gratefulness to them because I can pick these people out of a crowd now and avoid anyone even resembling their persona.

I had to learn emotional self-defense mechanisms and one of the first things is that I had to be more choosy with the people I trust with my head and heart.  I also went back to the theory of like attracting like and I really looked for people whose mind and spirit were like mine.  If/when someone makes my hairs stand on end I back off.  I have been fooled, and it will happen again.  However I am more in tune now and fooling me is a little more difficult.

I was watching the TV show “The Good Wife” and Peter said “You are being used.”  Alicia said “Who isn’t.”

There will always be users in my life, in your life too.  Set boundaries.  I do.  You know when someone wants something and it’s OK as long as all eyes remain wide open and we all get something in return.

I ask for something in return most of the time.  A friend recommended me to be a mentor in a startup incubator program, I asked them to refer me some paying clients too.  A friend asked me to do all the social media for a big charity event, I asked for acknowledgement in the program.  Even my wonderful husband asks for things and we bargain nicely.  Nothing should ever be one-sided.

I also realized that the happier I was the easier it was to move on, obviously holding onto hateful thoughts and wanting revenge will always be roadblocks on the highway to forgiveness.

Also in forgiving people you find you don’t allow them to rent space in your head any more.

I also had some help along the way.  My wonderful husband would listen and occasionally render an opinion, but it was the listening that really mattered.  The truly good friends I have now are the kind of friends I always wanted.  They are reliable.  I have an amazing career I love.  I don’t have a “real job” I have a real career.  Forgiveness opened my heart and my eyes.  I no longer take just any client, there has to be a good fit and they have to understand boundaries.  This is only part of the reward system I get from giving forgiveness.  When I let go of the ugly really good things started to happen.  It does work.

I do know and understand that there may be somethings in life so tragic forgiveness is way out there and unattainable or so I thought.  Then I remembered that I am forgiving for my inner peace, not their inner peace.  I am forgiving for myself and moving on – and that’s how I do it.

That and one last thing – advice from my cancer surgeon who always tells people to put things/people/happenings in a balloon and float them out of your life.


Let it go, be happy, forgive, move on.

Let it go, be happy, forgive, move on.


Surviving Letting Go of Our Dog Taffy



It has been a year tomorrow that we had to let our boy cross over.  He had been struggling with a cough that we could never seem to get diagnosed properly.  We tried everything.  We tried different vets and he was misdiagnosed.  He was also put on meds that he did not need.  We were overcharged for these meds by a mobile vet we tried.  Sadly we know it was her lack of good care, her misdiagnosis, that shortened Taffy’s life and caused him to die in a horrible way.  At the very end he was drowning in his own fluids.

I don’t know why I never finished this blog.  In fact I did not realize I had not finished it until now.  Sweet Taffy, our little boy, is in a box on top of our entertainment unit where he looks down on us all the time.  We feel his spirit.  We hear the sound his tiny feet made running on our tile floors.  We see him out in the back yard.

Today I thought about how dogs are genetically bred to go absolutely nuts everytime we leave and come home.  In my opinion there is no better way to be greeted coming into a house than by a dog who goes nuts over and over again.

This has been a terribly sad week for Larry and I knowing that tomorrow we will re-live letting him go.

We had gone to Orlando to visit family.  All three of our little ones were in their hotel/spa back home.  We came to pick them up and they told us Taffy had been having a rough time.  We knew he had been getting worse.  We came into the house, and it was apparent Taffy was in respiratory distress.  Larry took him into the shower and let the steam build up as he had done before.  His cough was not much better after this treatment.

I had a business appointment and when I came home an hour later I knew immediately that we were losing him.  I walked in and this sweet boy was walking around with his neck hyperextended trying to get relief.  It looked like he was trying to swallow air.  I looked at Larry and I said “Vet-now”.  They tried everything.  They had him on 100% O2 and I am not sure what else they tried.  Dr Dave was talking to us when the tech came in to call him out, and I knew the time had come.

Dr Dave came back in and told us it was time, we knew that, it helped to have an expert validate it though and they brought our boy in, laid him in Larry’s lap and we got to spend some time loving him and telling him what he meant to us.  After that it was time for the IV and the medication to let him cross over.  It was without a doubt the most difficult thing Larry and I have had to do in our marriage.  Everyone left the room – we had privacy to hold him and love him even more.  Then he was wrapped in a soft blanket and taken from our arms.


The Blog I Could Not Finish


Surviving letting go of  our dog Taffy, our special boy dog (with the girl’s name) seems impossible.  I walk through my daily routine and things seem normal then in less than a second I feel as if the wind has been knocked out of my chest.  Overwhelming sadness blankets me and I find it difficult to breathe.

Larry, big strong Larry, whom I nicknamed “Bear” is a puddle of tears.

We are consumed with sadness.  Sometimes we can’t move.  It is like we are frozen.  We see him everywhere, we hear him, we feel him, we want him back.

Larry and I had only been married a short while when I told him I wanted a dog.  The look that came over his face was one of “Oh shit”.  However, Larry is very good to me, and when I explained why the search for the perfect dog began.

We went to pet stores, we visited in rooms with dogs, but nothing clicked.  I would scan the ads in the Chicago Tribune and not find what we were looking for, until one Sunday an ad was there that caught our attention.  I called the number and I was assured that all the dogs that were there had been bred by the owner.  The name of this kennel was Canine Club near Joliet, IL.

We made an appointment and off we went in Larry’s brand new Dodge Durango.

The place was huge, lots of green grass, and a big barn with puppies.  One after another were brought out, but none that we saw tugged at our heartstrings.  The owner said she had “one more dog” and she carried out this little tan fur bundle and it was love at first sight.  What an adorable little curly haired mess he was and we signed the papers and wrote out the check.  We named him Taffy our sweet little Lhasa Poo, and the love of our lives.

Little did we know we had saved his life that day.

We stopped on the way home at a Farm and Fleet to pick up some compost fencing, a cage, food, supplies and remember that brand spanking new Dodge Durango?  Taffy puked all over the seat and carpeting and I thought this would really upset Larry.  It didn’t upset him at all.  What a guy!

We brought him home and put him outside to start the housebreaking habit, Larry sat in a chair and I picked Taffy up and put him on his chest.  Taffy became Larry’s dog from that moment on, they bonded.

Several weeks went by and our local NBC news channel carried an investigative story about Canine Club.  It seemed that they had been adopting out sick dogs.  Dogs with parvo.  Dogs were dying.  They also had lied to us, they were not breeding dogs, they brought them in from puppy mills all over the midwest.  The reporter went on to say that they were putting puppies down at 4 months old because they were too old for many people to adopt.  Taffy was turning 4 months old when we adopted him.  We saved his life.

Taffy was a very good dog.  He never bit anyone, he never snarled or snapped.  He thought everyone who came to our house, came to see him.  He loved everyone.  He especially loved children.  He could walk on his hind legs.  He smiled like Elvis, one lip up, and he charmed everyone in his world.

18 months later we went to the pet store for supplies and sitting in a cage was a little blonde Lhasa-Poo named Corky, and once Larry got my attention away from a black Pomeranian Taffy and I were looking at, papers were signed and Taffy had a buddy.

They were the best friends.  Where one was, the other was.  They would lie back to back and sleep.  This time Larry did not “steal” my puppy and Corky came to me more, but his personality was different and he did not need to be with people all the time.  To this day he is still a loner at times, but as sweet and loving as they come.

Larry was getting rid of his Durango so we took it to the dealer and while we


Surviving That Decision re: Hiring a Coach

Yes, today’s blog is about surviving that decision re: hiring a coach.  Things are out of sync, your business is stagnant, your love life is non-existant, something is wrong and you just cannot put your finger on it.  This happens to all of us and we all need help from time to time to get in sync, to be refreshed, to have love in our life and to be at peace.

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time we called it “therapy”.  No one knew what coaching was outside sports.  Many times we just needed to sit down and talk to someone other than our best friend (who is always going to agree with us).  Back in the day our insurance companies even paid for our talk sessions.

That was then, this is now and coaching is the new talk session.  Believe me I have nothing against hiring a coach.  I know there are incredible coaches in this world.  Some people call them advisors – many people have them right up to every President of the United States if we think of it that way.  How many of us have financial advisors?  Many of us have a religious advisor, our priests, our ministers, our rabbis, and many more.

We have all had coaches in our life before the term became a buzz work for talk sessions and problem solving.

The ONLY thing that doesn’t sit well with me is the fact that anyone can call themselves a coach, hang a shingle, print some business cards and voila they are a coach.

I am sure that there are some people who are natural born coaches, but I do not think they are born every day.  If you have made the decision to coach with someone then there are some things to consider.

I took this list right off Vickie Champion’s website:

Vickie gives you both the pros and cons of situations and clearly explains what a good coach will do for you.  She has years of experience that make her a coach that is in high demand.  Her website truly spells out for you ALL the things you should be looking for in a coach as well as all the questions you should be asking.

If checking Vickie out doesn’t appeal to you then here are some steps you can take on your own to find a great coach.

  • Totally check them out.  Google their name.  Ask them to tell you what makes them a great coach.  Hey why not?  It’s your money you know.  You are hiring them- ask for that resume’.  Ask for references.  Again, why not?  They are going to work for you.  Check out the BBB and Ripoff Report, see if anyone has complained.  Google their name with the words “complaints about _________________”.  Ask where they “learned” to be a coach.  There are coaching programs, so ask.
  • If you feel that you are being pressured to hire someone take a breath and back off.  Never hire someone/anyone who pressures you.
  • Watch out for those lump sum up front fees.  In my work in social media I am on a lot of webinars and they always end with a “coaching package” priced at a ridiculously low amount.  Some are worth it, some are not.  Be careful.  If there is a contract involved be triple careful. Signing a confidentiality agreement is an absolute, signing an agreement to coach on a repetitive basis for a certain amount of time is not.  What if the coaching sessions are not working out?  Pay as you go is a much better way to do things.
  • Ask for testimonials and if they don’t look right to you they might not be so maybe you should look elsewhere.
  • Watch out for the upsells.  If you attend a meeting for example, and you are offered a “free 20 minute consult on coaching” you are going to be sold to, that’s how we all do business.  There is nothing wrong with this, just be aware that with the free comes the upsell.
  • Coaching is not therapy.  If you need therapy, you need to hire someone with a license to practice it.  They have the educational background to help you, in many cases, maybe most cases, a coach doesn’t have this background.
  • Trust your gut when you interview people, and yes I said “interview people”.  If you are looking for a coach you should be interviewing more than one.
  • You should also compare apples and apples so to speak into how much the coaching sessions cost.  The most expensive won’t always be the best, and likewise.
  • Here is one final HUGE piece of advice – do NOT hire someone you know personally as in friendship, to coach you or anyone you love.  It would be difficult to be honest on your part and when you are honest you may have feelings of regret.  You want a totally unbiased stranger in your corner.

There you go – I am pro-coaching.  I am about picking the right person to help you, someone you can trust.  Do your homework.  It’s your money, your life, you are the boss.  Remember that – you are the boss.

This paragraph was written by a coach I know well – she has been trained as a coach and her words really resonated with me today:

“Credentials and experience are vital. National standards for health and wellness coaching have been developed and are now being rolled out, with quite a high level of training required. Many coaching schools will be revising curriculums to meet these standards ( that have been developed over the last 5 years. The standards were published in May in the Global Advances in Health and Medicine Journal, a peer-reviewed journal. To the question you first posed, in coaching it is important that people understand the roles of the coach and the client in these relationships because coaching is relatively new in the public domain (though I’ve been teaching and coaching for Wellcoaches for nearly 12 years). Numerous organizations like the ICF, and the Institute of Coaching at Harvard are ensuring we have evidence based answers to be a professional in this relatively new profession.” ~ Pam S.

Surviving The Mean Girls

Surviving the mean girls is a lifelong experience.  Those bratty little girls you knew in elementary school became more bratty in junior and senior high school.  They morphed into “sweet” sorority girls in college and possibly put their meanness on hold in marriage and motherhood.  That’s only temporary.   They just had distractions from their main purpose in life for a while, that being mean.

There is no doubt in my mind that they are not born mean, they learn it.  Just like you have to teach children to be hateful, you have to teach them to be mean.  Maybe they were not taught in the form of having actual lessons, it is possible they learned as a defense mechanism to someone being mean to them, and it snowballed into a lifestyle.

When they are young their meanness shows – it is front and center and obvious.  As they get older they hang in packs of meanness.  Eventually they realize meanness should not be front and center and they hide it behind smiles, laughter, flattery and other false methods and many times you don’t see it until it is too late.  When it comes out you feel like you were hit by a taser gun.  You never really see it coming at you – as in directly at you.  You may have seen it directed at others, you may have accepted it in them because the meanie uses smiles, laughter, flattery etc to move your thoughts into a new dimension.

Flattery looks like friendship, just like a wolf looks like a dog. - Anonymous

Flattery looks like friendship, just like a wolf looks like a dog. – Anonymous

“I was only kidding/teasing/I didn’t mean it/it was a joke.” They were not kidding, teasing, they meant it, and it wasn’t a joke.

I read a wonderful article this week that a friend passed on to me on Facebook.  It is about how bullying doesn’t end as we age.  It doesn’t.  Worse yet is now that we have the internet and social media it is so easy to bully people from behind a keyboard.  We have all seen it.

The article I am referring to is:

It is really a very good article and not deep or disturbing.

Surviving the mean girls means identifying them first.  We all get fooled.  Many times we don’t see them for who they are, and by the time we do it is often too late and we feel the emotional pain of what being pommeled on the playground must feel like physically.

The beauty of being “older” is we know we would be arrested if we bitch slap them so instead we ask around.  We vet them after the fact and we always find people who have also been pommeled.

What I have noticed though is those of us who have been pommeled are speaking up and speaking out.  We are not just taking it any longer. Remember this, when someone is being mean to you, they are also being mean to others.  Just this week I learned that a mean girl I know is “on the local news” so to speak.   Her meanness is out and this alone will take some victims out of her path.  It works that way for all of us because once we ID the mean girl we take some of their power away.

The largest lesson I have learned in all of this is going back to what I said.  It is never just you, other people are being pommeled too.  I just sat back and listened and in conversations little nuances would come out. You can do this too.  No names should ever be mentioned, that would be mean.  Allow others to share their circumstances and you may start to see similarities and pretty soon a pattern will emerge.  Age does have it’s privilege or maybe it comes from watching cop shows on TV, but at least once you know that you are not alone you are empowered.

Let’s stamp out mean girls!


Surviving Those Who Just Don’t Do the Right Thing

Surviving those who just don’t do the right thing takes patience because your first urge is to smack someone, or to yell at them, or tell the world about them but you can survive the urge to do all these things because once you cool down,  you will do the right thing.

Don’t be a victim.  This is key to getting past the all those urges and actually have peace so let’s talk about getting to that place of peace.

First of all we cannot expect people to act the way we would act.  I recently had a client that no matter how hard I tried to please, it did not work.  I offered a refund of 50% of the monthly fees and we both agreed that it was a fair amount to refund.  Last week I got two referrals from this client.  I did the right thing.  Lesson here:  when you do right by a client more business will come to you.

There are always going to be situations in our lives where we feel we should be compensated fairly and in reality both sides of any disagreement should be discussed and an agreement should be reached.  When this doesn’t happen you may have been left with a very bad taste in your mouth.  Resolving issues in an agreeable manner is always the best way to go.

Giving good customer service is vital these days.  You see complaints all the time.  Social media makes it very easy to launch a complaint war and if this happens to you guess what happens?  You won’t win.  PR companies know this, that is why they call it crisis management.

Karma may be a bitch but an elephant sitting on your chest could be worse.

Karma may be a bitch but an elephant sitting on your chest could be worse.

If you don’t do the right thing an elephant has now entered the room.  It will sit on your chest and make it very difficult for you to breathe.  You will always be looking for that next shoe to drop, that next complaint to happen, that next person who gives you that look.  You know that look – it says they have heard that you did not do the right thing.

This world is very small.  Ugly doesn’t take long to make the rounds.  Most big corporations understand this and they make ugly go away.  Smaller business owners need to pay attention.  Give bad service, word gets out.  Treat someone poorly, word gets out.  Don’t do the right thing, word gets out.

Remember that game, telephone?  You would say something and it would get repeated to many other’s ears and what came out at the end was not what you first said, right?  Well same thing happens when the word gets out.  The story does get distorted and it can get ugly.

Do the right thing up front.  Otherwise karma will visit you in the form of an elephant, sit on your chest and you won’t be breathing well at all.  It is simply the right thing to do – got it?  Do the right thing.  Oh and if you are guilty of not doing the right thing, fix it as soon as you can before the elephant leaves you a big smelly pile of ugly.

Surviving the Phony People in Life and Business

Surving the phony people in life and business isn’t really that hard to do.

  • Don’t attend the same events and if you do smile nicely say hello and get the hell away from them.
  • Facebook – unfollow them.  They are usually uber-posting annoying people anyway.
  • Twitter – unfollow them there too.
  • Don’t connect on LinkedIn, don’t pin on Pinterest etc.
  • Don’t take their offers of doing things for free as tempting as it is
  • Don’t enable them with compliment after compliment – you are creating a monster
  • Say no – it’s probably one of the kindest things to do for them.

I took a long hard look at several women I know who are at the top of the food chain in their businesses.  I watched what they do with the phony people, they use them.  Sounds bad but in reality phony people are always kissing up.  They give gifts.  They do work for free.  They are the first to raise their hands and volunteer.  They hold events and donate money raised to your cause. You are hurting them.

There are very genuine people who do all these things too, but let’s separate the genuine from the phony people.

Genuine people don’t want or need public thanks or praise.  They give from the heart and many times they do it all anonymously.  Phony people need public thanks and they crave praise.  They “allow” themselves to be used and they are ok with it because it is part of their master plan.  Their master plan includes what trickles down from others in the form of compliments.  It also includes the building of their self-esteem which is also phony.  They are not building it the proper way.  Worse yet they are using you too!  Yes they are – they are manipulating you for their own personal gain.

You might be saying “a lot of people do that, I have even done that at one time or another.”  The key phrase is “one time or another”.  Phony people do it all the time.  It’s a habit, an addiction.

Sadly because phony people have a master plan they can also be very nasty.  The niceness everyone sees is a mask and it’s hard work to always be so saccharin sweet.  In fact it’s exhausting.  They get so wiped out they have to re-energize and many times they do this by crying on the shoulders of a friend who hasn’t seen the phony part of them yet.  They are good.  In fact many give award-winning performances.

Here are 4 things they all do so you can decide who stays, who goes, or whom you ignore:


What is it about people who constantly smile — even when it’s way past the point of appropriate — that is so terrifying? Smiles usually elicit such a warm, calming response in other human beings. The need to constantly present an “everything is awesome, this is great, as long as I keep smiling you can’t say anything” kind of attitude is one that says, on some level, “I am smiling at you because you will think I am wonderful and tell the world.”

“This food is delicious, did you get it catered?”
What is better than starting off any social gathering with a nice, warm backhanded compliment smushed all over your face like a giant handful of cotton candy because remember their words are sticky sweet? Nothing!
What’s wrong with that phony person? Oh, nothing. They’re fine. Don’t worry about them. They don’t have a single care in the world, they’re just going to make you tear and pry at them because their actions are telling the world that something is so wrong and they need validation.
THEY TALK BEHIND EVERYONE’S BACKS – and they have talked about you (to me).
The thing about gossip is, no matter how much you enjoy it in the moment (and we all kind of have our ugly moments of saying something nasty about someone that we wouldn’t say to their faces), you know it is probably happening behind your back, too. My phony person actually did something in front of me, she did not mean for me to see it, I did though and from that moment on she became “friend non grata” to me.


Sadly this is a learned behavior probably dating back to a miserable childhood.  Something is really screwed up in their lives.  It could be emotional, it could be physical.  Whatever it is, they are going to go through life giving, doing, creating, etc and they will crash and burn.  Not everyone can possibly maintain a phony attitude day in and day out.  They have a motive but it’s just all so wrong.  If they were genuine they would get much further.  They are not though, they allow themselves to be used but in reality they are using people too.  They have an agenda – don’t be on their “to-do” list.


Run as fast as you can.

Run as fast as you can.


Surviving Selecting the Unfriend Option on Facebook

Surviving selecting the unfriend option on Facebook comes with many different emotions.  Many times it is easy to let go, other times it is not.

Easy To Let Go:

  • The Facebook drama queen or king
  • It is all about them boring Facebook shit
  • The political idiot
  • The gamer
  • The pervert on Facebook
  • Those who argue with you and everyone else

You get the picture, and I know there are more.

Harder to Let Go:

  • Family members you will see in person
  • Real friends who have taken a path you don’t take
  • A friend of someone you do care about and unfriending would/could cause an awkwardness
  • People you hold on to because you just are not ready to let go

The last reason in the “harder to let go” section is what I am really writing about this time.

Once upon a time I had a friendship with someone, a deep friendship going back years.  I knew from the beginning she liked bubbly in a bottle a lot.  Then she married someone who liked booze in a bottle a lot too and over the years the bottles in their lives were more important than anything or anyone else in their lives.

Things happened over the years that waved big flags but we lived miles apart.  Stories came out as if they were funny happenings.

  • Dropping a baby down the stairs because of having too much to drink.
  • Sleeping through a crying baby because of being passed out.
  • Driving a teenager to work at McDonald’s while drunk many times.
  • Dropping lit cigarettes on the floor because passing out in front of the TV was what? Normal?

I tried intervening.  Part of the family visited me in another city asking for my help. I had many talks with both of them.  I tried a second intervention.  Nothing worked.

The second intervention attempt was when the friendship truly started to unravel.  I was punished for trying to get them both to stop drinking by being put on a “friendship schedule” of when we could talk and how long we could talk.  Then texts started to go unanswered, emails were unanswered and probably not read, she did not read my blog even though she knew it was important to me.  My wonderful husband, who saw and heard most of their stories, told me I was being emotionally abused.  I see that now.  Why did she punish me?  A therpist friend explained it best.  My BFF couldn’t admit I was right about their drinking problems and that made me the person to be angry at, because it was easier.

One day I blogged about my feelings and in less than an hour she answered me in a reply. She never would have seen that blog on her own.  I knew her daughter had seen it and had told her to read it.  This fall I was finally able to let go of her daughter as a friend on Facebook.  It was way past time.  I had held on because holding on provided a connection – I reached a point where I did not want the connection any longer.

Connections have to go two-ways, whether in the virtual world of Facebook or for real.

Connections are the hardest to let go off when selecting the unfriend option on Facebook, but when the time is right, the decision is peaceful.Breaking the Connection


Pinktober May Be Over but NEVER Let Your Guard Down Be Your Own Breast Friend

Every year a Facebook friend, Patti Hughes re-posts a story I wrote about her dear friend, Patty Avery.  This year was no exception.  Pinktober may be over but never let your guard down – be your own breast friend.

I wrote Patty Avery’s story 4 years ago and it makes me cry every time I read it.  I cry for Patty and her family.  I cry for Patti Hughes who lost her dear friend.  I cry for every woman with breast cancer who was mis-diagnosed as Patty Avery  was , and I cry for everyone who still hears the words “You have breast cancer.”

Best Friends

Patti Hughes holding her daughter with Patty Avery

Patti is on the left with her daughter and Patty Avery of course is on the right.

On Tuesday, October 21, I opened my Facebook account and saw I had a message from Patti (with an “i”).  My heart sank into my gut as I read the message.

“I’m only sharing with a few right now but 2 weeks ago I had a mammo last week I had a diagnostic mammo and sonogram and today I had a needle biopsy and waiting for those results.”

I couldn’t even think for a long time.  I have known Patti for years.  Yet we have never met.  She has been so instrumental in raising awareness.  She has walked the 3-Day so many times and not only here in our great Tampa Bay area but in San Diego where the walk is hilly and beautiful.

She has crewed the walk too

I couldn’t find the right words.  You don’t flipping say “I am sorry” – I can tell you those are not the right words to say, even thought I was.  I turned to my husband and I cried.  I was pissed, totally pissed.  I cursed.  I wanted to punch something.

Finally this is what I wrote back:

“well (taking big deep breath and trying to wrap my head around this) what did they see? Microcalcifications? When did they say results would be in?”   I went “clinical” being my background of Oncological Nursing.

Then we had this exchange:

  • I should know by tomorrow. They were concerned because it wasn’t smooth it was spiky (root like) . No worries I can handle anything. I’m more concerned about what’s next, I’m a terrible planner. I just wanted you to know and hold on if this cancer I’m taking you for a ride on my journey. Xoxoxoxoxo

  • Carole Sanek
    Carole Sanek

    Honey I will be there with you every step of the way you know that.

  • Patti Hughes
    Patti Hughes

    then everything will be ok <3 promise I’m ok no matter what the results. Early detection right?

    I knew immediately I was going to write Patti’s journey because like me, Patti is a messenger.

    This is her story – her words about what she went through and I am thrilled to say she does not have breast cancer.

    So now for the rest of the story (thank you Paul Harvey) in Patti’s words:

    • 10/6/14 morning consult for breast reduction and afternoon mammogram
    • 10/7 call from doc at 9:00 am that needed sonogram and diagnostic mammogram
    • My heart dropped when I heard my doctor say this is Dr Peter Bridges.
    • 10/14 sono and mammo 10/15 meeting with breast doctor.
    She told me that something was there on the right side close to my armpit about 1 cm.  I had ringing in my ears and a headache for the entire day.
    On 10/20 I was scheduled for a stereotactic breast biopsy . I went into a surgery center .
    I walked into what looked like a very clean doctors office with a huge white machine in it. The table was pleather and cushioned with a big hole where my head should go. The hole was larger than a basketball. That’s where my breast went. An under-the-table mammogram machine took a hold of my breast as the nurse guided it in so the could see the 1 centimeter culprit . I felt a slight sting and then a little ache. My doc said the ache wasn’t ok and numbed it more. Then all was good. It took maybe 5-10 minutes and the nurse was easing my breast out of the machine and I was sitting getting a elastic type tube put on me. Then I waited.
    post biopsy
    I have a great support system , I’m lucky but the last 4 days of waiting sucked. Then today oct 24th I get a call “it’s benign” I repeated it back to her benign? As my voice cracked. She said yes have a fantastic weekend I called my husband Tim and I started to cry. So now I have a appointment with a Reiki Master. Super excited to live my life cancer free.
    I asked Patti to tell me just how many times she has put herself out there for women and me over the years because she is a dedicated breast cancer fundraising volunteer and this is what she told me:

    3 day walked 09,10,11 in Tampa , motorcycle route safety 2012 bicycle route safety 2013. Walked the 3 Day San Diego 2013. Cheered DC 2013. Sgk 5k every year either volunteered or participated and I won’t stop.

    I decorated my golf cart for the Christmas parade in Sun City Center.  All I want for Christmas is a cure!

    Patti that’s all that we want too.  Color me a lovely shade of rosy pink that you got great news!

    Every year I know Patti will re-post my blog and every year I will cry – I wish I had known Patty Avery.

    Patty Avery (L) and Patti Hughes (R)

Pink is NOT my Color

Pink is not my color.  I remember the first pink ribbon pin I was given from a friend when I was diagnosed.  I put it in my jewelry box and left it there because I don’t wear pink.  Now I treasure that pin.

Several years ago when I was asked to participate in a discussion with women who have metastatic Stage 4 breast cancer I was momentarily frozen and couldn’t find words to explain the fear that struck in my heart.  I was certain I would not know what to say or add to the discussion.  I just sat and listened to them.

These are the women I am writing about today.  Many of them do not think pink.  Awareness is something they know 24/7/365 and most of them are in treatment every day.

I have over 20 friends who have lived for years now with the discovery of amazing chemotherapies.  I have a dear friend in California who is treatment and disease free for the first time in 7 years.  I have a friend in Kansas City who goes for IV infusions every month and is 14 years past her metastatic disease diagnosis.  Both of these women are NED – no evidence of disease in their bodies, and treatments keep them that way for now.  I have lost 5 friends.

This year I want to salute these women, the ones who shout the loudest that they are aware, and we all need a cure.  These are my heroines in the pink life.  They are mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and friends.

I will leave you with this thought.  Mammograms save lives and the timing of a getting a mammogram saved my life.  Get yours annually and regularly.  If you have a feeling that something is not quite right – get it checked.  You know your own body, listen to it.

There is an organization that has put the medical research world on notice – January 1, 2020 – that is the deadline for a cure. They did the research on what it would take, how long it should take, using the amount of brilliant minds in the world.  The clock is ticking.

The world has been put on notice 1/1/2020 - a cure.

The world has been put on notice 1/1/2020 – a cure.