Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BYE BYE CANCER

Yes….Good Bye Cancer!!! I am officially done with treatment and isolation and boy does that feel good. I have been waiting for this day for over three months and I can’t tell you how good it feels to have my surgeries and treatment behind me. The radioactive iodine treatment that I received will continue to do its job for several months but I’m going to go ahead and say that I have kicked cancer’s butt!! I am still working on gaining all my energy back and that will take weeks, if not a few months, to feel completely back to normal but, with all the bad stuff behind me, I can deal with being tired and achy a little while longer. Yes, there is always a chance of a recurrence, but that is not something I am going to think about. I believe that it is so important to be positive so that is how I plan to live from here on out.

I could never have gotten through this journey without so many special people in my life. One of the most special of these is my husband, Joe. Cancer can cause a lot of stress in a family and Joe took on the reigns of our household without complaint and he did it well!! Not many husbands could switch gears and single handedly take on four active kid’s schedules, assume housekeeping 101, while also working their day job. He did just that and, in addition, provided me with so much love, support and encouragement through every step of this long journey. He is amazing and I love him so much.


I’ve already talked in previous posts about my wonderful parents, sister and family. They have helped me immensely and mean the world to me. I have always known I have the best parents and I realize it even more after going through cancer. I am also lucky to have THE best sister ever. My sister, Selena, is my best friend and I love her dearly. She also had to run Annie & Isabel by herself and we had our best month in sales to date during that time...so she was busy....in a good way!!!

I want to thank each and every one of you for joining me on this journey and especially for helping me get through each step from surgery #1 ~ to surgery #2 ~ to treatment and isolation. You have all been my biggest cheerleaders and have helped both me and my family tremendously in remaining positive and recognizing the good things that have come from this experience. We were so blessed by all of you in so many different ways:

• We have had dinners brought to our home from friends from the week I was diagnosed until now and that has been a huge blessing. It’s been one BIG thing that we haven’t had to worry about.

• I have received so many beautiful cards in the mail. I never realized how much a card received via snail mail could lift my spirits and make me smile until going through this cancer diagnosis.

• I had one dear friend, Anne, invite me over for a girls chick flick day when I was too tired to do much else but lay on the couch.  She treated me to a lunch that met my special diet guidelines and made my day!
The two of us on a more energetic day!
·   One of my co-workers baked me three loaves of bread that met my special diet restrictions to get me through the period of time that I was required to be on a strict diet. 

• I had numerous families take my children out to do fun things like bowling and going to dinner and plays.

• While I was in isolation, I had several surrogate moms to give my little ones hugs! I know they appreciated that.

·  I received this beautiful quilt made by my mother-in-law to comfort me during my recoveries and this banner, made by a friend, to remind me what my job was...to Kick Cancer's Butt!

• I was blessed by two friends who are teachers that had their children write me notes of encouragement. I cried both times because of how wonderful it felt to hear from children who were so thoughtful to reach out and write to me.


• Several times I found fun gifts left on our doorstep to brighten our family’s day (and to fatten me up after losing some weight after surgery).



• My three best friends from high school all got together to come see me. Two of them had to fly in from out of state. We hadn’t been together at one time in over 8 years and while I felt so tired that day….they gave me more energy and laughter than I had had in a long time!


• I received several small little gifts that I wore and used throughout my journey that reminded me to keep up the good fight with a smile on my face.



• I received a prayer blanket from a dear relative who I hadn’t corresponded with in years. It was a special blanket that was prayed on while being made and given a special blessing by the monsignor of their church. I used this on my bed while I was in isolation and it was so comforting.

• We had several families provide rides for our children to and from school and sporting activities

• I'm so amazed at the friendships that we've made through Annie & Isabel from far and near. This gorgeous painting was left on my doorstep, while in isolation, by local realtor and artist Tim Collom. It brought tears to my eyes because it's my family's favorite vacation spot and I've only just met Tim this year. He shared something so precious with me...his gift of art. It will remind me of the love and support of friends as I look at this painting for years to come.

• I had several friends who knew exactly what to do to make me laugh, including this special gift from my friend Amy when I was about to become radioactive. Only from a good nurse friend like Amy can you get a gift in "biohazard wrapping" to lift your spirits.
· Another great friend researched and explained the low iodine diet I was required to do prior to treatment. She helped me get organized and prepare ahead of time which took a huge weight off my shoulders!!

• I received hundreds of notes of encouragement via email and twitter and each and every note boosted me tremendously. Even Real Housewife of New Jersey Teresa Giudice read my story and sent out this thoughtful tweet!
·  I received an abundance of flowers to brighten up my days.


These are only a few of the beautiful arrangements I received
• Thank you to Facebook and all my friends on Facebook too! I know some people think Facebook is a waste of time but I have to say that the notes, likes and comments I received via Facebook kept my spirits up and made me smile so much. Facebook was my savior during my isolation period. I have been in awe and humbled by the amount of support I have received through this social network.

I don’t share all this with you to brag about all the neat things that were sent our way or were done for me and our family. I share all these things with you to show you how much of an integral part of this journey you all were in helping me win this battle. I have always felt so blessed and lucky to have so many people standing alongside me in this fight against cancer.

When I first blogged about my thyroid cancer diagnosis I said that cancer didn’t stand a chance against me and that I was going to “Kick Cancer’s Butt”. I did Kick Cancer’s Butt but the support that you all provided to me made it so much easier that I would now say that I didn’t kick cancer’s butt but, rather, WE Kicked Cancer’s Butt!!! Thank YOU so much!

So Here Are My Parting Words To You Cancer:

1. Thank you for making me a better person.

2. It has NOT been fun.

3. I have, indeed, Kicked Your Butt!!

4. Now stay away because I have an amazing life to go live.

~Anna

31 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration to all those facing Cancer, and it's treatment. Keeping a positive attitude, having the love and support from family and friends who offered help, encouragement and brought cheer to you and your family has been a true blessing. Sending you good wishes and prayers for complete recovery.
    God Bless You! (Judy-FB Friend)

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  2. Anna, I'm so happy to read this post. You did it! And you are amazing. And I LOVE seeing how you were just wrapped in so much love and support. (((hugs))) :)

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    1. Thank you Brandie! You have always been one of my inspirations and I continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers:-) {{{{{{Hugs}}}}} right back at you:-)

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  3. Yipppeee! So, so excited you're at the end of the treatment road. Isn't amazing how wonderful people are? You have great friends, and a whole army of virtual supporters rooting you on, Anna. Eat well, sleep well and rest up b/c you've got a lot of livin' to do, girl!

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  4. Oh my goodness Anna, you are an inspiration, I lost my best friend 2 years ago to ovarian cancer, she was only 20 years old! Reading your story made me cry, laugh but more than anything made me smile and feel so proud of you for kicking cancers butt.... Congratulation now go and live your life with you wonderful family :)

    Laurie Rose xxxxx

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    1. Laurie...I am so sorry about your friend and she was so young. That is truly awful and I'm sure was so hard for you. I feel blessed that I get the chance to enjoy a good life:-) Thanks for your nice note!!! ~ Anna

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  5. I can't tell you how much I love reading your updates. I too have kicked cancer's BUTT this last year. Your words are so perfect. I have read your updates over and over. Our family and friends are very similar. I have learned so much by experiencing this, and know I will remember your story forever. Congratulations! Enjoy all those wonderful boys and I know your future is truly blessed. XOXO

    Kristie Harlan

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    1. Kristie...Congrats to you too!!!! Sad that we had to endure a cancer diagnosis but so true in that we have learned so much. I definitely appreciate life and my family so much more:-) May you have a long healthy life ahead of you!! XOXO ~ Anna

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  6. I am so glad to see you and yours doing so well!

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  7. Anna- I am so glad you are doing so well! We love you and you're family!! Fingers crossed, we'll be in-laws some day! :) Now, when do we get to go on that pirate ship again???

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    1. Wouldn't that be great!!!! I will keep my fingers crossed for your:-) Pirate ship here we come....let's do it!!! You have no idea how blessed I feel to have you as our neighbors!! Love you! ~ Anna

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  8. Yay! So great, and your attitude is awesome. I love that you shared all the support you got - that's amazing! Now stay cancer free!

    Stopping by from SITS.

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    1. Thanks Robin!!! I definitely plan to stay cancer free and enjoy life to the fullest.

      ~ Anna

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  9. Anna, Congratulations on completing your treatment. Your attitude is inspirational!! I really appreciated all of the things you shared about the ways people encouraged and supported you during your treatment. So often we feel helpless and don't know what to do. Your post was full of awesome suggestions. God bless you with many many healthy years ahead!! Deb

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    1. Thank you Deb! I was very blessed by so many wonderful people who supported me throughout this journey.

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  10. Congratulations! That is quite an accomplishment!!! I love this post of hope and restoration. Stopping by from SITS. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  11. Congratulations!! What a beautiful post of courage and support.

    Visiting from SITS, make it a great day!

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    1. Thank you so much and thanks for stopping by!!!

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  12. That is awesome! you will be in my prayers. Yay, for kicking cancers butt!!!

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    1. Thank you for the prayers!! See you later Cancer:-) Thanks for stopping by Bonnie!!

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  13. Reading your post has brightened my day and put a big smile on my face! Wow! Congratulations! With all the love and support you have in your life, there's no way you're not going to continue getting stronger and healthier. Yeah you!

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    1. Thank you. That is my plan....to get stronger and healthier. It is so great to be done with treatment!!

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  14. Anna, I am so happy to hear that you have "KICKED CANCER'S BUTT"! I have kept up on your progress through Facebook. Your attitude & that of your family is a great example of grace & strength. I will continue to pray for your continued good health & successful business! God bless you <3

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  15. WOO HOO! Congrats! What a wonderful post.

    Stopping by from SITS . . . and so glad I did!

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    1. Thank you and thanks for stopping by from SITS. LOVE SITS:-)

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  16. Wow! I also found you via SITS and am so glad I did. What a beautiful, inspiring post and story. Way to go!

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    1. Thank you Louise!! Appreciate you stopping by:-)

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  17. What great news for you and your family...cancer sucks and I'm so happy someone is kicking it's ass. It deserves it!

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  18. Dear Anna & Selena,
    Your blog is really wonderful and I am so glad that Sacramento news has given you time. Cancer and other illness happens everyday in different ways to so many people and your descriptive experience can be valuable information for many of those going through the trama of a difficult illness. I think that you darling girls need to go on The Doctors or Dr. Oz. Anna's story and the importance that you give to family and the village needs to be shared on a big scale and they would love your gowns! Praying for you and wishing you the best always. XOJo & Dean

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