The Cast Of Survivor - Living The Dream (well, I'm trying...) Blog at - 252180

Living The Dream (well, I'm trying...)

The Cast Of Survivor 
Oct. 1, 2011 3:20 pm 
Updated: Oct. 9, 2011 12:50 am
On a crisp and cold, but sunny morning in early January 2008, the pretty young 38 year old wife and mother of 3 called out, "Hey Mama, come in here." There at the foot of the snow laden Rocky Mountains in New Mexico 12 miles from anything what-so-ever was the 5 acre paradise this young women, along with her husband, had built by the sweat of their brow and their own two hands. It was the end of the most perfect of Holiday Vacations for Lisa's parents. And, the beginning of the nightmare that would follow.

I walked in the bathroom she had called me into to see what my youngest daughter needed. She asked me to feel something on the side of her right breast. A lump! OMG, a lump! It was about the size of a walnut. I asked her how long she had had this lump. "Oh, gee Mama, probably a month or so." We immediately discussed the need for her to see a doctor. She promised me she would call her family doctor the next day after she and my SIL deposited us at the airport. Our perfect Christmas vacation was over and it was time to come home to Oregon.

Well, we came home to Oregon and she went to the doctor. Five days later, her world and ours was turned upside down. Lisa was diagnosed with "invasive and aggressive" breast cancer. She would require bilateral mastecotomies and a full year of aggressive chemotherapy. My babygirl could NOT have cancer. No, this isn't happening. It is absolutely a mistake. My yougest daughter with 3 young children, a husband, a very busy life (Pioneer Woman style) is not sick! But, she was. I immediatley went into Super-Mom mode and made arrangements to put my life on hold to help to be available for her recovery from surgery and the effects I knew would result from her chemotherapy.

One morning two weeks later, as I walked into my still dark kitchen to make coffee, I collapsed in grief across my kitchen countertops and sobbed uncontrollably. How can this be happening? I begged God to let this all be a bad dream. Please I asked, "let me wake up." Please.."let it be me." I spent the day praying the best negotiating prayers I ever prayed and crying, "Please God, do not let this be happening." But, it was. And, I had to "buck up" and be a support for my good and beautiful and courageous daughter.

I flew back to New Mexico and was there during her recovery from surgery. I took her to all of her doctor appointments and attended CANCER classes with her. We went to the wig shop at the Cancer Center and did the tour of the chemo department. She would start chemo in 6 weeks.

After filling her freezer with precooked meals, I came back home to Oregon. She started chemo. It would be 8 hours every Monday for one full year. She got sick, went bald, developed seeing problems, hemorranged and almost died twice. Our family supported her by wearing pink bandanas (DuRags for those of you familier with the Grateful Dead) every Monday. We arranged for meals, house cleaning and kid transportation. We prayed, sent cards of encouragement and phoned on a regualr basis to talk with her AND her husband and children to make sure they were doing alright. Their family and friends rallied like nothing I've ever seen. Here in Oregon, my extended family and friends rallied like something I've never seen. It was amazing.

In October of 2010, a co-worker asked me if I would like to walk with her team for the Susan G. Koman sponsored "Walk for the cause, Run for the Cure" walk in our town. Of course I said yes. Our entire family joined in the walk. It was a very cathardic, moving and humbling experience. On that day, I committed to walk every year until a cure for breast cancer is found or I am no longer able to walk. THIS year, my precious girl Lisa, now 41 walked with a diagnosis of "No Evidence Of Disease." She is a SURVIVOR. The Grand Marshall was Laura Morett, CBS TV Reality Show Survivor Cast Member, 2009-2010 Season. She is also a Breast Cancer Survivor.

There are many Cast Members of Survivor: Cancer Survivor. I saw lots of them today as we walked proudly to help stomp out this beast of a disease that takes the lives of men and women.

I wanted to share my story of HOPE with you; my AR family. I also wanted to let you know that I continually HOPE for a cure. I wear a braclet that bears the letters H O P E. I make and give these braclets away to others. As long as I have breathe, I will HOPE for a cure. Today I hope that anyone you know and love with cancer will be a "Cast Member of Survivor."  

Me & Hubby sporting our Pink DuRags

2009 The bald, but BEAUTIFUL Lisa

 A much needed outting. Lisa sunning herself by a mountain creek

Monday; Chemo Day
A Family Of Support

October 1, 2011
Walk For the Cause, Run For the Cure
Albany, Oregon
Lisa and Candice

Two Survivors, Lisa and Laura

Lisa's MIL, Lisa, Laura and Candice
Oct. 1, 2011 4:05 pm
Thank you for sharing your story of hope and reminding young women to be watchful.
Oct. 1, 2011 5:03 pm
Great Blog, I'll think of you tomorrow when my wife and I do the Run for the Cure in Vernon BC. Her mom died of breast cancer when my wife was 6 years old so with that and her 'high risk' status, it's an important thing to support.
Oct. 1, 2011 5:13 pm
Candice, when I come up there, I want you to give me a bracelet! I will gladly give you money in honor of all the young and old women I know who are going through this right now. Very nice blog!
Oct. 1, 2011 10:17 pm
Thank you, Candice, for sharing this moving story. Cancer, including breast cancer, has invaded the lives of both my family and my husband's family. I'm glad to see your Lisa looking so strong and radiant in your photos.
Oct. 2, 2011 7:43 am
Marie C, yes... our young women must learn to do "self exams." The recommended age for a woman's first Mammagram is age 40. Many are diagnosed much earlier.
Oct. 2, 2011 7:48 am
Raedwulf, I am so sorry your wife lost her Mama to breast cancer at such a young age. I'm with you in spirit today as YOU walk for the cure, sending all my HOPE-ful thoughts you way. And, thank you for thinking of OUR family today as you walk.
Oct. 2, 2011 7:51 am
Raedwulf, would you please send me an e-mail so I can have your e-mail address? Thanks!
Oct. 2, 2011 7:55 am
Good Morning Miss Marianne, thank you for your kind words of support. I believe you have a "HOPE" braclet. I brought some to the LV Bash. But, I will gladly give you 1 or 10 or 20 when you come to Oregon. Then you can wear one and give away the rest to the women you know with breast cancer as a symbol of hope! BTW, we are all getting so excited for your visit.
Oct. 2, 2011 8:00 am
Mamaw, I wish I could meet just ONE family that has not been touched by cancer of some kind. I as so sorry that your family has experienced this horrible disease. Thanks for coming by my blog. Lisa is 18 months out of chemo and getting stronger every day!
Oct. 2, 2011 8:02 am
the boys do a Terry Fox, walk for the cure every year at school, it has become an annual fundraiser-so much pink for support is found everywhere. Hopefully one day this disease shall also pass.
Oct. 2, 2011 8:03 am
BTW, you and Orange look marvelous in pink:)
Oct. 2, 2011 10:33 am
RNG, I just love to hear about "young" people participating in these events. Hopefully we will find a cure for cancer so THEIR generation won't have to endure the disease. During our walk, many young kids from the high schools were positioned on the corners and along the sidelines cheering us on as we passed by. There were also many, many young people walking too!
Oct. 2, 2011 10:34 am
You are right! PINK looks good on ORANGE?
Oct. 2, 2011 2:17 pm
Such timing - I just came in from walking along with about 2500 other women here in town. I too know too many people who have been affected by cancer. Your daughter looks so healthy and happy, and very much like her lovely mother.
Oct. 2, 2011 4:34 pm
At first I thought I would short out the keyboard cause I didn't want to hear about someone losing their child. My baby just had his going away party for bootcamp so I thought I would drop in to AR for some distraction. Your message reminded me there is no need for distraction. My child is healthy and this is what he wants to do. My mother and her sister both had breast cancer and survived to live and love for many years despite this disease. God bless you and your daughter and may you have many years together to live and love!
Oct. 2, 2011 10:42 pm
We did the 5k today, both of us ran the distance and finished at the 31 minute mark. We raised 330.00 towards a take of $65,000 today. It was so touching to follow the group of 'survivors' out to the the starting gate. We've already resolved to do it again next year, with more family involved and were going to take the fundraising seriously. A totally awesome day.
Oct. 3, 2011 12:33 pm
Hi Cat, so very glad you DID stop in!!! I remember sending my youngest child, a boy, off to Great Lakes Naval Base for boot camp. Cried like a baby for weeks! I love what you said about our kids being healthy and pursuing the things in life they dream about. It's so rewarding knowing you've raised a child to "leave" and be excited about life. Thank you too Cat for blessing us. I know Lisa will live a long and LOVING life. You words speak encouragement to me!
Oct. 3, 2011 12:36 pm
Whoot!!! Whoot!!! Way to go Raedwulf! That is just awesome! I'm so very impressed! WE, on the other walked. Took us 1 hour, 5 minutes to walk 3k. I also am WAY impressed that you've committed to walk again next year. YOU ROCK!!!!
Oct. 3, 2011 12:56 pm
Aw......tears of joy from Las Vegas. I am so relieved that your daughter is a survivor. I wish her many more healthy years and the joy of raising her children and her future grandchildren. Let the cure come soon for all cancers. I wish you all the love in the world.
Oct. 3, 2011 3:29 pm
Thank you so much mauigirl! I would just love to hug you right now! I'm sending you all that love right back. Oh, and BTW.... making your Shoyu Chicken this Friday night for guests. Love that stuff! What sides do you serve with it?
Oct. 4, 2011 6:31 am
Thanks Candice but I have to disagree. Awesome belongs to people like that group that led us to the starting gate and your daughter, fighters. We just ran lol.
Oct. 4, 2011 6:45 am
You're absolutely right Raedwulf! Lisa never once said "Why me?" In fact, she said, "Why NOT me?" She handled herself with so much grace, it just totally amazed me. YES, you are absolutely right.... the fighters are the AMAZING ones!
Oct. 4, 2011 6:47 am
BTW, we spend many years training up and teaching our children only to be taught by them. Lisa taught me so much during her ordeal.
Oct. 4, 2011 6:36 pm
Mom, what a great blog! This was such a difficult time for our family. I always thought of Lisa as my meek little sister. I learned how truly strong she is as she went through this. I have a new found respect for her. Thank you for devoting a loving blog to her journey.
Oct. 5, 2011 11:21 am
My sweet Christine, thank you so much for pointing that out. Actually, finding out that MEEK doesn't mean being "whimpy" was just one of the things I learned.She is a VERY strong women, just like you!
Oct. 5, 2011 11:22 am
Thanks Randy, got your e-mail!!!!
Oct. 5, 2011 4:59 pm
Candice, you asked me if I had read this blog post. The short answer is no. I had judged this "book by its cover" and thought it was about the TV show which I don't care for. My bad, Candice. This is a beautiful story and I feel humbled for having read it. Cancer is deeply personal and very emotional for me because of what it has done, is doing and will continue to do to my friends and family. Seeing hope in evolve from the darkness of uncertainty is exactly what support is all about and the power of love in the face of adversity is an incredible thing to witness. Thank you for giving us this portrait of courage. God bless Lisa and her entire army of support!
Oct. 5, 2011 7:05 pm
Mike, thank you for your sweet comments. I, like you, have a very personal and emotional reason to HATE cancer. It almost took my baby girl. However, I will tell you this. I saw firsthand what the power of LOVE (and hope) in the face of adversity is all about. Far and away more powerful than any cancer. God Bless you and your family too Mike!
Oct. 6, 2011 5:50 am
Candice, I was wanting some noticeable outward sign of some kind to wear so that it would be a reminder of breast Cancer Month for those that pass near me. I didn't know about the DuRags until I saw them in your photos. Mine will be here Monday and I will wear it through the 31st.
Oct. 6, 2011 8:20 am
In the winter, I would be inclined to make BakingNana's fried rice and stir fried vegis on the side. Maybe potstickers for an appetizer. In the summer, I do an asian slaw and macaroni salad. Love that chicken too. XO BTW marinate your chicken today. (thursday) I also think it works best with thighs. Chicken breast tend to dry out too much in this dish to me.
Oct. 6, 2011 9:06 am
Cancer..I really HATE to even type the word, let alone say it. Both of my parents had it. My Mom unfortunately lost a five year battle with it. But I do have to say, that the disease has made me realize how strong a person can be, made me realize how strong that I could be. It has made me love deeper than I can ever imagine and appreciate the littlest things in life. Candice, I admire you and your wonderful family for standing by your beautiful Lisa. With love, courage and strength, Cancer doesn't stand a chance. God Bless.
Oct. 6, 2011 9:40 am
I lost my mother to breast cancer & my sister is a survivor of two types of cancer. Here at work we recently lost a beautiful, brave, young woman who battled breast cancer for 16 years. We are wearing pink every Friday in October in her memory.Thank you for all who walk & pray for a cure & God bless all survivors.
Oct. 6, 2011 12:11 pm
uh, stopped in to make sure what I posted on your blog wasn't, well overwrought with "mom" emotion since I was that day(overwrought with mom emotion). I have been thinking of you and that was sweet what you said back. Now I don't feel near as bad about wailing like a banshee these last 2 days. Again, God bless you and everyone dealing with this disease!
Oct. 6, 2011 1:57 pm
Wonderful blog. The best thing will be when we don't have to raise money to cure diseases such as this. May the cure be close at hand.
Oct. 6, 2011 2:25 pm
Mike, we still have our DuRags. Me, my middle daughter Christine NICU RN and DIL Jill made them one gloomy Sunday in 2009 just before Lisa began her Chemo. We have decided to have a bandana burning ceremony on Lisa's 5 year cancer free check-up. (she's just 18 months "No evidence of disease" at this point)You really ARE a Beat Breast Cancer Supporter, aren't you. BTW, Where did you get yours?
Oct. 6, 2011 2:40 pm
Oh, one more thank Mike.... YOU MUST TAKE A PICTURE of yourself with your DuRag on and post it to your blog. I can't wait to see you in it!
Oct. 6, 2011 2:40 pm
Oh, thank you Mauigirl. I just looked up BN's recipe and that's exactly what I'll serve as my side. And, I've already got thighs marinating. I agree, breasts are just too dry. Oh, I'm making pineapple upside down cupcakes for dessert, in keeping with the theme. Thanks again for your help. (blowing kisses)
Oct. 6, 2011 2:44 pm
Anissa, I'm so sorry to hear that BOTH your parents had cancer. (btw, I too hate to type that word or even say it. Worse than cursing, in my opinion!)The one thing I do without reserve since Lisa got sick is to always make sure I tell my family and friends how I feel about important they are to me...and that I love them. I don't care how silly or awkward it seems,or if they don't say anything back. (no need) I never let "moments" slip by me anymore. NEVER!
Oct. 6, 2011 2:48 pm
Mimi, I am so very sorry you lost you Mama to that horrible disease. And, I am so very happy that your sister is a SURVIVOR! What a wonderful show of support from those of you at your work who are heathly to those who are not to wear PINK every Friday. I echo your words. God Bless the survivors!
Oct. 6, 2011 2:57 pm
Oh, dearest Cat, please don't even think for one minute that you sound like "EmoMom!" When it comes to my kids, I'm totally an "EmoMom!" I don't care what anybody thinks either. My heart IS my kids. I cry at the drop of a hat if they get a raise or get a mosquito bite, makes no difference. That's what us Moms do.
Oct. 6, 2011 2:59 pm
chris k, thank you so much for your kind words. I would love it if they had to cancel the walk next year because a cure had been found.
Oct. 6, 2011 5:13 pm
It's not just breast cancer, Candice. I became active during Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the first time this year. I missed the local walk but there will be another in Kalamazoo in two weeks that I will participate in. I'll wear the pink DuRag in honor of a niece that has had to deal with breast cancer but I'll be wearing a dark purple shirt for all cancer. The shirt bears the same message as my current avatar.
Oct. 6, 2011 5:34 pm
I purchased the DuRag on eBay from the seller "". It was the last one. However, if you visit that site, she has an email address to contact her to get some more. I gladly paid $10.80 for it.
Oct. 6, 2011 7:45 pm
A couple of things my sweet friend, first of all, Lisa is beautiful. And I know that with a momma bear like you around there was no way that insipid disease was going to get a foothold anywhere near your babies. My life too has been riddled with family and friends that have traveled this journey. Some have made it, others have not been so lucky. There is most definitely strength in numbers and hope in those that believe. Both you and Lisa and all the siblings serve as inspiration to many, many people. You've done a lot of good today sweet friend. And as far as Laura is concerned.....does she know you wrote this? Did you know I know her? She is a great woman.
Oct. 6, 2011 9:32 pm
Mike, all I can say is that you INSPIRE me!
Oct. 6, 2011 9:39 pm
Oh My Goodness, thank you Avon for your encouragement! It really WAS a family banding together in faith during that time. There are so many who have fought this battle and so many who have family or friends who are right now. We have to continue to prayerfully HOPE! And, NO... I didn't know you knew Laura. I can't wait to hear all about how. Hugs to you dear friend. BTW, I sent you an e-mail earlier this evening about Marianne's & Magnolia Blossom's visit.
Oct. 7, 2011 2:13 am
I am all choked up. Sympathizing with your mother's fears and desires to take it away and make it better at the beginning of your story and relief at Lisa's survival! Candice, I wear my HOPE bracelet with a friendship bracelet I was given [from a friend (=] - I love it! I carried the handwritten note that came with it in my back pocket. I loved it, too. Sadly, it went through the wash and was destroyed )= I love YOU, too, btw (= Your children are richly blessed to have you as their mother - and I am blessed to have you as a friend! (How come there wasn't a warning at the beginning of this blog to stop and get a tissue before reading?!) BTW, I have said that I can hear mis7up's voice when I read her blog - I can hear your voice reading yours, too. Thank you for sharing!
Oct. 7, 2011 8:51 am
Thank you so much Barb for stepping inside to learn a little bit more about me and my family. It WAS such a struggle for us, but WOW... what it taught us. We are so very grateful for Lisa's good health and we take nothing for granted. Every breathe is a gift! Barb, I love you too! You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit! I miss you!
Oct. 7, 2011 8:52 am
Barb, I just sent you a reply e-mail. Remember "Hope for the best in ALL situations."
Oct. 7, 2011 10:29 am
I miss you, too! (Here come the tears again! I am blaming my age and wonky hormones!)
Oct. 7, 2011 10:30 am
I came back to say (re: Avon and Lisa): It's a small world after all! Don't you love those "small world" moments in life?!
Oct. 7, 2011 10:34 am
Btw, I am old enough to remember (and love) Helen Reddy. I have a "best of" CD, and "I am woman, hear me roar" is (one of) my mottos. (I played that song over and over during the period leading to my divorce - made my ex nuts! [I am a naughty girl (=])
Oct. 7, 2011 6:50 pm
Barb, you're an AWESOME girl. Great talking with you today! Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!
Oct. 9, 2011 12:50 am
It was so kind of you to take the time! I really appreciate all of your input! God has so richly blessed me with wonderful friends here!
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I am a wife and mother of 5 grown children. Being semi-retired has allowed me time to do things I've put off doing; like really learning to cook and bake. I also love to garden, read, scrapbook and just recently I've gotten into geneology. I am loving this phase of my life with my husband and family.
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