Miracles Happen

It was April 1st, 2014. Yes, April Fool’s Day. A day when we rack our brains, trying to think of that perfect gag to play on co-workers and friends. But not last year. Last year April Fool’s Day was no laughing matter. And it’s a day I’ll never forget – as long as I live.

I was sitting in my office with my face in the computer when I received a call from my best friend. She had her biopsy results — Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. And it had metastasized to her liver. I think this is the first time I fully understood what the term “in shock” meant. Just six months earlier we lost a friend to breast cancer – and the probability of the “C” word hitting again was impossible – so we thought.

I remember trying to speak, but couldn’t. Hindered by that lump in my throat. When I finally opened my mouth, my voice was trembling. And tears were running down my face. However, the person on the other end of the line wasn’t trembling. She wasn’t even crying. She was pissed! And it was at that very moment I knew, cancer had met its match.

I may not be right about a lot of things in my life, but I knew I was right about this. There was no way this badass friend of mine was going to be a statistic. And so, for the sake of this post, she agreed to let me refer to her simply as “Badass.” Because she is. Thank God. And we love her for it.

Badass immediately started researching the best treatment options, speaking to doctors, and reaching out to survivors. She changed her diet, started taking supplements… and she prayed. Every day. Religiously, so to speak. Still does. And not just for herself, but for others. And we pray for her right back.

And, although reluctant, she accepted help from others. Whether it be a shoulder to lean on, someone to stay with her during treatment, or homemade meals delivered to the house… she agreed to let others in. Like the purple bracelet says “No One Fights Alone.”

Someday I’ll tell her whole story. But for now, this is just part of her journey. The journey to “Survivorship.”

You know, they say that God works in mysterious ways, and boy do I believe it. Because it was that same day I received a call from a friend I hadn’t seen in months. And little did I know she’d be instrumental in helping Badass fight this fight.

Maryann, and her husband Brian, called to see if I’d like to meet them out for some Buffalo wings and a beer so we could catch up. As much as I wanted to, I just wasn’t in the mood – still reeling from the bad news. As we talked on the phone Maryann shared with me that she had a number of family members with Pancreatic Cancer. And from that very moment, she was on board – sharing information about the Macrobiotic diet, doing research, checking in on Badass, and praying every day. And it was Maryann that initiated our visit to Sloan Kettering – to an extraordinary person by the name of Nick Medley.

Fast forward to September 2015…

Badass is doing amazingly well almost 18 months after her diagnosis, and looks fantastic to boot. Yes, she still gets hit on by any man who glances her way. She’s a “hot” Badass, don’t cha know. However…looks aside, she’s still fightin’ the fight and we need to kick it outta the park!

On September 18th, 2015, we visited the Sloan Kettering Outpatient Cancer Center in NYC. You see, Maryann learned about a concierge at Sloan Kettering who gives “healing hugs,” and insisted we bring Badass to meet him. “My husband and I will pay for the hotel.” she said, “We need to do this; we need to go!” So…we did. Remember, when an earthly angel (AKA Maryann) is this insistent… you do as she says. And I’m so glad we did.

When you walk through the doors at Sloan Kettering there’s no need to ask for Nick…he’s waiting for you. He’s the first person you see. And you can feel his love and concern immediately.

sk1

His smile alone melts your heart. And when he hugs you – yes, he hugs everyone – you feel the warmth, the healing, the sense of peace.

His caring is not superficial.sk3
It’s genuine. And for a man who was featured on ABC news, and gives over a thousand hugs a day, we were shocked that he spent over two hours with us… telling Badass success story, after success story.

sk2He held her hands. He looked into her eyes. He said “Trust. Release. Live.” Trust in God — that all will be okay. Release your Worries — even if it means screaming, and punching a pillow. And Live your Life — to the fullest!
As I watched him speak to Badass, I was at the edge of my seat. There was something about Nick. I could see it in his eyes. A sense of calm came over me just being in his presence. I could tell that Badass and  Maryann felt it too. A sense that everything was going to be alright.

He gave each of us a guardian angel pin. And said “Whenever you’re having a bad day, look at this pin. And know you’re not alone.”

When it was time to say goodbye, it was kind of sad. Like leaving an old friend. We gave him a Syracuse University polo shirt and made him promise to root for our team. We said we’d keep in touch – and we will. Because he’s now part of this path to recovery. And Badass has already seen a small miracle since our visit. Yes, God does work in mysterious ways.

I asked Badass, “What should we name this post?” and she very simply stated… Miracles Happen.

Yes they do, Badass… yes they do.

Trust. Release. Live. 🙂

And while you’re at it, say a prayer for Badass.
No One Fights Alone!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Eagles Among Us

I took a hiatus from my blog recently as I focused on graduation activities, and finalizing details on a golf tournament fundraiser to honor the memory of dear friends. But, now I’m back. 🙂

Yesterday, as we were finishing up the tournament, I was thinking of all the loved ones in our graduating class who have passed… unfortunately, over twenty now. And I couldn’t help but feel as if they were ALL right there with us.

It did my heart good to see sponsor signs throughout the course that honored the memory of our fellow “Golden Eagles.”
class sara

And I believe they were right along side of us… listening to our stories, laughing at the stupid things we did as kids, and saying “Here’s to good friends!” as we raised our beers more than once.

As a matter of fact, I believe 100% they were there.

For those who know me, the topic of “the other side” is one that has intrigued me for years. I’ve read dozens of books about people’s experiences with signs from loved ones who’ve passed. And to be honest, I can’t explain a number of things that have happened to me personally.

I’ve seen toys with no batteries suddenly working, smelled cigarette smoke or perfume when nobody’s there, and found dimes in the oddest placed — like the shower. I’ve seen things move on their own (thankfully I had witnesses for this one), had dreams that seem way too real, and once I asked my grandma to help me find a pair of missing glasses and they appeared a few moments later on my dresser.

And what I love even more, is hearing other people’s stories. Even skeptics. Once they know I believe in signs from the other side, they’ll open up and tell me one of their own. They would “come clean.” I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, but I can remember every story I’ve ever heard.

I’ll share any experience I have, even at the risk of people thinking I’m crazy. And, I make sure to acknowledge any sign I receive. If I’m missing someone and their favorite song pops on the radio right at that moment… I just say “Thank you for that.” I would assume even angels like a thank you every now and then.

So, when I’m sad over losing someone, I stop and think…. they are in a place of pure love, beauty, and joy. A place with no pain. And I’m assuming they can fly around which is an added bonus. And, I believe with my whole heart, they can continue to share in our lives — and be with us anytime they please. So, when they say “hi,” I make sure to always let them know… I got the message, and “thank you.”

The Art of Giving

This year, my friends and I will watch three of our children walk across that stage, and graduate from high school. We’ve already started planning their graduation parties and comparing notes. Being a single mom…it can be a little overwhelming — the invitations, decorations, food, etc. But it’ll get done.

As I sat there looking at my “to do” list, I received a phone call from my friend Michele. She said “Ok, here’s the deal…” then rattled off at least a half-a-dozen dishes that her and the girls are bringing to my son’s party. The next day I had more offers from my family and neighbors. So, it looks like I can breathe a sigh of relief.

I don’t know how I got so lucky, but my friends and family are always there when I need them. I don’t even have to ask. And I’m not sure if they’ll ever really know how grateful I am. That’s why I’m writing this post.

They have mastered the “art of giving.”

Giving, because you see the need.
Helping, because you can.
Expecting, nothing in return.

But, of course, if you can pay it forward — you do. And I will.

Last year I had a similar experience. I ended up in the hospital, unexpectedly, and was out of work for weeks. Again, these “angels on earth” came to my rescue.

  • Someone to bring me to the emergency room — and patiently stay with me for hours on end, not knowing what to expect.
  • Someone waiting at my hospital room, to greet me — as I was being admitted.
  • Someone to support me, by arriving late at night just to walk beside me as I was wheeled into surgery — and to stay with me until they knew I was okay.
  • Someone to visit with me, and bring me the make-up I so desperately needed — while cheering me up the following day.
  • Someone to take the day off of work — just to drive me home.
  • And someone who (anonymously) donated all of their vacation time at work — so I wouldn’t lose a paycheck.

All Angels.

It didn’t stop there. Once home I had dinners delivered, groceries dropped off, visitors to check on me, flowers to brighten my day, and a personal chauffeur since I wasn’t allowed to drive. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.

So, to my friends and family, I want to say “thank you — from the bottom of my heart.”

And I hope, that others are inspired by you. You’re the best!