Oh What A Night!

red ink…

imageArriving to a receiving line of cameras flashing, smiling faces with headsets on, pink ink had her red carpet moment. At last! Once inside the door of the theatre, a special center seat awaited her where she was surrounded by love in every seat and on every side. The place was packed. Pink ink’s play “Life in the Cancer Lane” debuted last night in Phoenix and she was there to see it all. Now let’s be clear, this was no small feat. She left the hospital yesterday morning, rested for a short while, and rallied to get herself up and ready for her big night! So many of us worried about whether it would be too much for her to make it out because she was still weak following her hospital stay, but she, as always, was determined. The night before, she basically threatened the nurse who was administering her night medications saying “you’re NOT going to stop me from going to my play!” I think the lady was a little scared honestly. Lol! Pink ink’s play has been a labor of love. She has poured her soul and her journey into writing this wonderful series of vingettes that chronicles, not only her journey, but that of many other breast cancer survivors. It’s real talk, full of insightful advice for anyone going through this themselves or with someone they love. She hit every topic imaginable from the expected “diagnosis” and “chemo” to the more sensitive like “hair,” “sex,” and “crazy-ish people say.” I laughed out loud and cried unconsolably recognizing some of our conversations in the play, all within the span of a couple of hours. For me and everyone in the room, it made us think about the effects that breast cancer has on everyone it touches. She took the task of telling this story more seriously than almost anything else I’ve ever seen her do. She was disciplined and precise about her writing process, and deliberate about soliciting and receiving feedback. I don’t know that people, including me, understood how serious she was about this at first, but her commitment made each of us get on board, one by one, so that we became as invested in her achieving her vision as she was. She inspired me and so many others (We started writing at the same time and my book still hasn’t been published BTW.) She wanted to be heard because she had something important to share – and last night all ears were open. There are a whole host of people to acknowledge – to be clear, I don’t know everyone. Just know, whoever you are, that I’m certain that pink ink is eternally grateful for everything, from the smallest thing to the most monumental, to make her dream a reality … from her girls in Phoenix who had the idea to put up the show, secured the backing for the show (Thank you Cox Communications), and laid out the beautiful reception, to those who recorded every bit of revised dialogue and stage direction to those who assisted with props to the unseen narrators, to those who traveled from near and far to fill the house, to her husband who gave her introduction in her stead, and to everyone who inspired one of the monologues. It was a beautiful night. At the end of the night, she had just enough energy to spare to spend a little bit of time at the reception to take photos with the “cast” – those in the play and the rest of us who are in her much larger “supporting cast.” Everyone wanted her to know that they were there to be a part of her vision, and by the looks on every face – we were all SO proud of her. Pink Ink you made your mark! My mother always said that she wanted to “receive her flowers while she could still smell them.” Just before leaving the reception, someone walked up to pink ink and put a single pink rose in her hands. She got into the car, exhausted, and on the way home and held that flower in her lap, and no doubt, took in the scent of sweet success. Now on the to book and the movie!

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Post

Pink Ink…

Good Morning! Just a quick interruption of the regular scheduled post.

Some of you are returning to this site after reading about, or hearing about a post RedInk posted last night.  Unfortunately, we had to temporarily take it down.  This is my BRIEF reasoning on why.

My family looking on, as I recuperate! #couldn'tDoItWithoutThem

My family looking on, as I recuperate! #couldn’tDoItWithoutThem

RedInk wrote a WONDERFUL, LOVING, HONEST post about our reconnection this past weekend.  And what a weekend it was! I can’t really begin to describe all the emotions we have experiences.  JUST what I needed and so wonderfully captured by RedInk. Whether it was watching our girls love on each other, my vomit, Red telling me to sit down and shut up, or the true comedy of Red rubbing my feet as the skin slouged off.

Rubbing dry, crusty skin off! #DoneWithLove

Rubbing dry, crusty skin off! #DoneWithLove

But in great moments there are often miscommunications/misunderstandings.  Some we addressed in person, through laughter and tears.  Others we didn’t know existed…until last night.  Unfortunately, the irreplacible memories we created were overshadowed by the “almost correct” health info.  Normally not a big deal…until it effects LIL B.  I will be brief.  We don’t have 100% confirmation of liver presence.  We will find out shortly. The HIGHLIGHT of my stay in hospital was that it was determined that it was NOT in my brain.

This requires a STANDING OVATION!

I carry this to the post, b/c we were immediately deluged by phone, (cell and home), texts, twitter, and, calls to LIL B ( COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE) about my status.  Fortunately, I intercepted these WELL MEANING communications.  But it teaches us all a lesson.

When this type of information comes out in the future, please wait to go into detail of the news or the expression of your support, when you text…only with me or Red INK.  PLEASE don’t call my house. Please don’t contact Lil B, even to say you support her.  WE have entered a new era, where she can’t have EVERY detail w/o direction from Mommy and Daddy. I value EACH & EVERY bit of support, but last night as her head lay in my lap, I felt like I was protecting her from a falling wall.  Thank you to those who did in fact recognized that Red’s presence got the 3Bs through a very difficult reentering society.  Without Red, Mini Red, and Big B’s mom, we would definitely ALL be back at MAYO!  More on that later!

Thank you for listening/reading this.  Please don’t take this as an admonition!  I was floored once again, by all the amazing expressions of love.  Some knew something was off when the post was quickly deleted.  Know, I am GRATEFUL that Red wanted to share our love and experience of the past few days.  But, I did not appreciate people questioning if I was in the hospital a week (like Red said) or a few days longer, (like I instagrammed)  Really?  Most of all, I love each of you, for caring and for understanding that we now must wrap B in even tighter arms of love and be mindful of our responses.

ok, that’s it.  I feel like this will be an epilogue somewhere! So keepy our eyes open.

Now back to your regular scheduled…post.

 

 

Update: That RedInk post will be back with a few tweeks.

In 2013

 

Pink Ink…

Well we have hit the end of 2012! What a year it has been. Let’s do a review, shall we!? It’s a long post, so grab some Champagne, and buckle up!

January: New Years Day in the ER with exploded boob and drains everywhere! But ended month in Vegas!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

February: Back in chemo!

So Pissed...March: Found more cancer. No Spring Break for me.  More surgery.

So thirsty...

So thirsty…

April: Radiation begins.  My College Roomie is diagnosed with Breast Cancer. (After 26 years of friendship we’re still “sharing” stuff!)

radiation

They say this doesn’t hurt…

May: Radiation is done! 3rd degree burns. I think the worst is over! Friends fly in to celebrate!

Let's Party!

Let’s Party!

Lil B and I ring that Bell!

ouch

ouch

 

 

June: Chicago to celebrate with all my besties! Then the headaches begin.

headaches

Surprise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

July: Headaches are getting worse. More tests.

Got needles in my brain!

Got needles in my brain!

August: Made it to the Vineyard with my people! Lil B celebrated a birthday. I’m starting to feel better about stuff! I discover Instagram!IMG_0577

DSCN0154

Touch your Tata ad

Touch your Tata ad

September: Still have headaches. More needles to the brain stop them!  Discover dots on lungs! More tests.

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October: Racing for a Cure with family and friends! Renewing Wedding Vows! Waiting to see what’s up! 30 days of Pink!

 

Pink It Out1

I do!

I do!

 

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November: Metastatic Cancer in the lungs. More chemo… But we kept our President!

4 more years!

4 more years!

My Bs are right there with me.

My Bs are right there with me.

Here we go again...

Here we go again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December: Chemo. Surgery. Platelet Transfusion. Blood Transfusion. Bad Reactions. ER visits.

Reaction to Neulasta shot.

Reaction to Neulasta shot.

 

Quite the year!

There have also been many many good times!  Many great memories!  I’ve reconnected with old friends! Thanksgiving and Christmas with family that brought only peals of laughter and joy!  Again, there are too many people to thank for getting me through this year!  You know who you are! There are not adequate words to express my gratitude! Sending you all a wish for a happy, family fun filled 2013!

The saying goes that God only gives you what you can handle.  I guess I can handle a lot!

Here’s hoping that I have a lot less to handle… in 2013!

What did YOU do?

Pink Ink…

 
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is officially over! What did you do? Did you wear pink? Did you walk a Race? Buy a product? Get a mammogram? Nothing? One of the things I did was “PinkItOut” for 31 days. Yes, I wore pink for 31 days!


Some people said, “We get it. You had breast cancer. “ Others said “Oh, that’s cute.” But no one asked me “Why?” Yes, I am a Survivor and yes, pink IS cute. But that’s not why I did it. This past February, Star Jones inspired me. You see, she wore red for a month as a way to promote heart health after she had heart surgery. “I learned late in life that my heart health is my greatest asset.” she said when asked why it was important to her. Each day that she wore red, it prompted someone to ask her about it, or comment on it. She used her celebrity for good! As an American Heart Association Ambassador, I knew about National Wear Red Day. But I loved that her simple act of wearing red created dialog!


Could I do the same thing? Given that none of my friends asked me why I was rocking pink for a month, one could argue that I was not effective. After all, I am no celebrity. My friends checked Instagram just to see if I could keep it up. Again, they thought, “Ok, we get it! You have breast cancer! “ But even if no one “got it”, I “got it”. I know breast health is a lifestyle, not just a month. Choosing something pink EVERY DAY, forced me to take action. The small action of choosing something pink, led me to think about breast health and awareness the moment I got up! The small step of choosing pink motivated me each and every day to think, talk, tweet, and write about breast health. (For all 31 days, check out “pinkwellchick” on Instagram!)


Am I glad I am done wearing pink for a few days? Yes! (I’m headed to Mayo in sweats!) But I am even stronger in my belief that breast health is more than a month. It is a…lifestyle!

 
What did YOU do?

Happy Halloween!

Pink Ink…

I’m baaaack! Did you miss me? Thanks to Lori and Michele for holding it down!

It has been a busy month, and I have had the privilege of doing several breast awareness events, from interviews, to fashion shows. I’ve got a month’s worth of posts just from these experiences! Not to mention the Race for the Cure, renewing my vows, and my Mayo adventures!

But I wanted to put my toes figuratively back onto the Inkwell, with a light post! A brief trip down memory lane! Don’t worry; it’s not what you think!

A year ago today, I shaved my head! Yup, on Halloween, I gathered Big and Lil B together and before we went trick or treating, we busted out the clippers. It was actually a fun way to lose my hair. A year ago, I wrote that “it’s just hair”. I believe that even more now! My hair has been growing in since April. But instead of letting it grow back, I have been cutting it periodically. I actually miss having little to no hair! It is so much easier. People keep complementing me on how it’s growing back. I hate to disappoint them that there is a real chance that it will be gone again soon! Lil B in particular is begging me to grow it back. She wants to “play in it”. But alas, no! So here’s a quick look at my HAIRstory!

Day b/f chemo starts

Big B gets to work!

Done! Headed 2 trick or treat!

1st real debut of the baldy!

MEDICAL MINUTE:
The other reason I have been a little distracted is that there are “things” growing in my lung. Originally, there was some discussion that they were just scar tissue spots. But last week we found out that that is not the case. It is indeed “something” because they are growing. Possibilities are lung cancer or some kind of master infection. Either way, my doc says,…”it’s something”. So tomorrow I head back to Mayo to get cut again.

Left side=now. Right = August


The big blob is my kidney…or liver next to my heart.(?!) (Hey! Don’t judge! I’m a lawyer! lol). Ignore the blob. Look at the little dots on the left, below.

The good thing is that I feel fine.

But, I am tired. I am tired of being cut. I am tired of waiting for the 15th shoe to fall. I am tired of having to share this kind of news. I am tired of being the poster girl for “My life is a Lifetime Movie”. But I guess this is what God’s plan is for me, to fight and share my story! Big B is floored. He had convinced himself that this what nothing because really, how much more could we endure? Plus, he kept saying I look better; I look healthy. For the 1st time, we have chosen not to tell Lil B. Our story is that it is just more testing. So technically, not a lie. When the time comes, and we have news, then we will share. I cry at that possibility.

People have begun to ask me again “what can I do?” Truthfully, there is nothing to do. Just pay attention to your own health. Yes, you may have done your mammo, but did you do a self-exam? Did you do 30 minutes of exercise today? Yes, I know. Life gets in the way. But take it from one whose life is hanging on precariously. You still have life. Make sure you value it.
Ok that’s my lecture for the day! I’m back and more posts to come! Don’t forget to check out http://www.pinkwellchick.com!

Happy Halloween!

Peace on October 21st

Pink Ink…
A 1st for today! A guest posting by one of my besties. A friend who has held my hand from afar. She gave me many things including my prized chemo bag and space to cry for my daughter. She has loved Lil B as only another Leo can! You never know how you affect someone’s life. I am honored to have her as a sister-friend! Enjoy!

Guest Ink…

Thirty two years ago today, when I was eight years old, my dear mother, Dorothy Louise Taylor Hall, died from colon cancer at the age of 40. I am now 40 and my oldest son is 8. And my dear friend PinkInk is battling breast cancer and fighting to ensure she will be around for her daughter, Lil B. It has all come around full circle, but not by coincidence. In the deepest place in my heart I know that it is by my mother’s angelic design. You see, I am Lil B. I see myself in her. I am the little girl who lost her mother to cancer. Although, unlike the “3 Bs”, we didn’t get to fight her battle – it was too sudden and short, a mere two weeks from detection to death, and then we were left shocked and shattered trying to pick up the pieces.

This day, October 21st, which has always been dark, sad, lonely and gray for me, is now a day a victory. Victory for PinkInk. See, PinkInk’s going to win. In fact, she’s already won. Because she is fighting it every single day with an open and accessible candor, a remarkable and natural sense of humor, by arming her sweet Lil B with information and thus interest and understanding so she too can participate in the fight. She is fighting by walking for Komen, being interviewed in magazines and on local news stations and most of all with her dialogue to all of us, her friends, family, followers and supporters, collectively her admirers, who she keeps posted and updated with this blog, quippy emails and texts and with her closest friends – long, deep and emotional conversations, e.g. “cancer real talk” as she has famously coined it.

During one (of many) of these conversations with PinkInk recently, we were talking about how it was for me to lose my mother. After all, I am what she DOES NOT want for Lil B. I am the reason she is fighting. So that Lil B will NOT be me. I’ve always loved Lil B dearly but this fight of PinkInk’s is to me, a fight for Lil B. I didn’t get to fight for my mother. My family kept the gravity of her illness from my brother and me because we were so young. I don’t blame him, especially now that I’m a parent. How do you tell your child that their mother is dying? I didn’t even know or fully understand how sick she was. In fact, she wrote me a letter from the hospital saying that she would be home in few days, not to worry, and that I should carry on my normal tasks of doing my homework and not arguing with my older brother (well 1 out of 2 ain’t bad!). A few days later she was gone. So when I see Lil B walking for the cause and doing super adorable promotional videos for Komen, my heart is warmed. I have joined this fight along with and for Lil B in my mother’s honor, for my sake and for Lil B’s benefit.

Lori flew in to help me celebrate kicking Cancer’s butt!

I once heard someone say that if there’s day that you always dread when it comes every year because of a death, tragedy or terrible memory, you should actively seek out ways to do things on that day to create new and positive memories so that bad ones don’t always incarcerate you. So today, on October 21st, I claim victory. Not loss. Victory for PinkInk, for Lil B, for myself and for all the little girls whose moms are battling or lost their battles to cancer. And for the moms, God bless their brave souls, especially my dear PinkInk. YOU fight on, since my mother could not, so that you can win, Lil B can win and I can win. This is a new day. I won’t cry for the loss of my mother (even though I cried therapeutic buckets writing this), I will rejoice in the victory that we are claiming. The victory here is PinkInk’s fight – the educating of others, the passionate outreach to everyone, the determination, the 31 days of wearing pink, the blogging, the recording of videos, the tweeting, the Instagram pics of the day, “being on her grind” as she so regularly refers to the sum total. Making a difference – a real difference – by turning the pink ribbon into a tapestry, a line, which others can easily access, grab a hold of, and follow the ride meaningfully into the depths of their hearts. Thank you PinkInk.

Your battle has given me something I never ever dreamed possible… peace on October 21st.

With a Strong Voice

red ink…

Earlier this week I heard an interview with a TV news anchor who talked about her double mastectomy in what I thought at the time were the starkest terms. She said “Look, I loved my breasts, they were a part of me growing into a woman and nursing my children, until they tried to kill me, and then they had to go…”

Now that, it struck me, is the voice of a survivor! I was honored to be in the presence of thousands of them today at the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Phoenix, each with their own story – each with their own unique voice.

Standing at the kickoff at sunrise this morning listening to Pink ink share her story as one of the Grand Marshall’s of the race, I was hearing Beyonce’s “I’m a survivor…I’m not gon’ give up…” in my head. (I’m a B fan. Her music is my “Rocky” inspiration when I run.) Barb was loud and strong today as she looked this damned disease in the face and in her own way said a resounding “NO!” for every one of the survivors gathered – no, they would not stop fighting, no they would not lay down or stay down, no they would not stop living, and loving and smiling and laughing and sharing and believing in their power to find a cure – with their resolve to BE THE CURE.

The faces I looked into were old and young, male and female, speaking many different languages, pushing strollers, and walking with canes all into the Arizona sun with the mountains at their back. I felt truly hopeful as we all joined forces with survivors to start the walk. A nice surprise was when we were joined by Miss Black Arizona, an undergraduate journalism major at Arizona State University, who learned about Team Pinkwell Chick online and just wanted to be a part of us!

It was especially great for me to match faces with the now familiar voices of people who have become family on team Pinkwell Chick this year. I will always be grateful to Barb’s cancer mentor Tracey who has been there every step of the way and snuck a call post-op just to let her hear my voice. Embracing her and her family, and walking together in the race, made the occasion even more special.

Listening on as Barb and Lil B were interviewed by Channel 12 near the finish line, and hearing both of them talk eloquently about their ongoing commitment to breast cancer awareness dating back well before Barb’s diagnosis (this was their 10th race together), I knew that no matter how tough this year has been (and it has been tough), they are tougher! I love that they have not been silenced by this enemy, but their voices have grown stronger. Pink ink really has become kind of a local celebrity’s with glossy spreads in magazines, tv interviews and fashion shows all in an effort to raise awareness about breast cancer.

We were all exhausted afterwards, especially Pink Ink who looked like she had finally exhaled, and retired 16 strong to LoLo’s for some chicken and waffles before the members of Team Pinkwell Chick started our respective journeys home.

As we were settling up, an older lady – her name was Millie and she was there in the restaurant with just her husband – came up to me noticing my shirt and our crowd. I told her that we were there to support my lil sis who had been diagnosed a year before. She told me that she had been diagnosed last year too and had been through surgery to remove multiple lymph nodes that had left her with swelling in one arm that she was still trying to resolve, but “Hey” Millie said with a big smile and strong voice, “I’m still here…”

You sure are Millie, and so is my girl!

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