Tell Us Your Stories

Over the past few months we have asked our families, friends and neighbors to participate in our Walla-Pa-Looza event(s) and you did. We are humbled, gracious and excited by your efforts! We have raised over $100,000.00 in a very, very short time. We have had bands, food, beer and even cupcakes. No one had ever thought we could raise such an awareness for the disease that has effected every single one of us. The local community came out in droves to support something so new that we deemed it “our turn”. So, here comes the part where you get to tell us what made this so important to you.

As you know, we have just reached over 2,100 Facebook friends and you continue to spread the word about the guy that wanted to have a party and raise some money at the same time. Well, that guy wants to hear your story! My story begins with a grandmother (Sally Bujak) a mother-in-law (Patricia Grisco) and many others in my family that lost the battle to cancer. So, I am asking that you give us your story. We have put together this page for just that. We want you to submit your story and why the fight against cancer is important to you. If it doesn’t start in the community where does it start?

I also want stories of success. For those of you that have battled and have made it through please share with us how you made it. If it was positive thinking, prayer, exercise, support, medicine or all of the above, give the rest of us some hope. If you are embarrassed, just plug it in as an annoymus name and we will post it too. I know it has already been a tough road and I don’t want to make it any more difficult for you.

A dear friend of mine, once said, “you can’t do this alone” and this is why we are here.

To share your story click this link and fill out the form below.

Anythings Possible!

Craig

Your Stories ...

  • In the past 11 years that I’ve worked in dialysis, there have been many patients that have ended up on dialysis due to chemotherapy. Some of the lives ended early and some lives have continued on. It’s exciting to see once the people are cancer free for a year they can go on the transplant list and finally get off of dialysis. One particular patient that sticks in my mind was diagnosed with synovial cancer. She was in her early 30′s, mother of 3 young children and had a wonderful family. I remember when I met her, it was a little under a year ago and I brought her back up to her hospital room. I had no idea how sick she was. She got out of the wheelchair and I wished her well. When I got back to my department, my co-workers were talking about her illness and I had never heard of that type of cancer and was shocked. She was a beautiful little thing. She passed away right before Christmas. It was heartbreaking.

    On a personal note, my great grandmother passed from ovarian cancer. My grandfather had metastatic esophageal cancer. During surgery, they took out about 1/3 of his stomach, he survived for another 10 years. He had his ups and downs, but we still had Oopie (his nickname), around! I have a cousin, who is younger than me, fight leukemia as a child. She is now a healthy mother of 1! And Karen, my hairdresser, is married to a one time cancer surivor and he is in the process of battling another type of cancer and doing well, he is only in his fourties. And I can’t forget Zak Woods, whom I never met, but I am thrilled for him and his family that they beat cancer.

    I feel very priviledged to be a part of this group that is helping those in need that are suffering from this horrible invader. Too many people have suffered and too many lives have been cut short. God bless all of them! I also want to thank all of the oncology doctors, oncology nurses, and researchers that help people along the way as they are a very important part of this process.

    Comment by Robin Hivon — November 4, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  • My step-son Zak Woods,a 15 year old High Schooler was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on July 27th, 2009.

    In December of 2008 Zak was diagnosed with Mono. After several weeks, there was still a swollen lymph node that remained on the right side of his neck. We were then referred to an ENT, who did a needle biopsy. Those results came back benign and we were all relieved. After consulting with the doctor, we decided to have the lymph node removed. After all, it didn’t belong there, it was no longer functioning properly and was very visible. Zak had the mass removed July 22nd, 2009 and it was five days before we would find out that he was diagnosed officially with the disease.

    The treatments took a total of 9 weeks, with 6 sessions of chemotherapy and 3 sessions of blood work. Zak is truly a fighter, and has proved it as he is CANCER FREE as of October 29, 2009!

    If any positive came out of this, it is that we have been blessed by an incredible amount of support from family, friends, community and beyond. It is horrifying for someone to go through this – much less a 15 year old boy – but it is truly amazing how much support is rallied within a community for a person. The Walla-pa-looza organization for one has been a tremendous support for our family. Here is a group of 30/40-something’s that stepped up and said “It’s our turn” and did something to try to fight back against cancer.

    Zak is also very athletic and is on the High School football team as well as Baseball. The football team really came through for him from the minute the news was released. Within days, there were two banners in our front yard signed by the team, friends, and neighbors in show of their support. There was also a head shaving and lift-a-thon in Zak’s honor organized by the football team as well.

    Knock on wood, Zak will remain cancer-free for the rest of his days. He has shown the courage of a soldier in battle though all of this and deserves nothing less than a great life. It is through organizations like Walla-Pa-Looza that people like Zak can use as a platform to share their experience and raise awareness of this horrible disease. If just one person heard that a big factor we had on our side was that we caught it early, and they are now more in tune with their bodies because of it then anything that organization is truly worthwhile.

    Please take a look at our blog site for a chronicling of events at http://www.idontheartcancer.com. And please pass the word on about this site as well, education is the greatest weapon we have against this disease.

    You can’t do this alone.

    Comment by Nick — November 4, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  • As many of you know my mom was dignosed with lung cancer in mid-August of this year. It was by chance they discovered it . She went to urgent care because she had not been feeling well for several days. She thought it was the flu. They did a C.A.T scan to check for pneumonia and found the tumor on her right lung. They did a biopsy and it was cancer. But what was making her not feel well was blood infection that was cuased by a urinary tract infection. So that was a blessing in disguise.

    When I heard the word cancer I just broke down and my dad did as well. I can’t remember the last time I saw my father cry . He was truly terrified.

    In early September my sister and I went up to Minnesota to support our parents. We got there only to find out the surgery would be delayed a few days. It was nice in a way because we could spend some time with them before, but also torture had to wait.

    When they did the surgery they performed an upper lobectomy on her right lung. The surgeon was sure he removed all the cancer. As of today it appears he did. She goes in for another C.A.T scan in December and hopefully it will be clear.

    If it were not for my family and great friends such as Craig and his “Walla-Army” it would have been so hard to cope with. What Craig has started is truly a blessing. I was at Walla-Pa-Looza and thought it was a great cause while I was there and didn’t think Iwould be affected by cancer so soon. So I want to thank Craig and all his volunteers for the great work they are doing.

    Keep it up and i know this has been said before but it is worth repeating.You can’t do this alone and you don’t have to.

    Monty McLean

    Comment by Monty Mclean — November 11, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

  • My name is Donna Grabow and I am writing to tell you about a little boy that has forever changed my life.

    Three years ago we were blessed with a wonderful little baby that we named Jackson. From the very beginning Jackson had the ability to change people. He had this amazing gift to soften hard hearts, put a sparkle back in someone’s eyes and the most notable, to make everyone smile. Jackson was a lover as well. Always hugging, kissing, and making sure you knew that he loved you. He was enjoying the life of a happy two year old.

    The month of December 2008 was extremely trying for our family. I had just suffered a miscarriage and we noticed that our Jackson was not his usual self. It was our hope that everyone was healthy for the Christmas holiday. During this time Jackson started having difficulty keeping his balance and was unable to keep anything down. We thought he was just coming down with something. After trips to the doctor’s office and urgent care we decided to take him to the ER of our local hospital on December 31st. That day will forever be etched in my brain. That is the day my world came to a screeching halt. After an initial exam it was decided that a CT scan was in order. Moments later we received the news that no parent should ever hear. Jackson had a golf ball sized tumor on the bottom area of his brain. My initial reaction was to scream and cry out. Instead I automatically put myself in the role of holding everything and everyone together. I cuddled with my Jackson and let him know just how much he was loved by everyone.

    Hours later we were taken by ambulance to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee (we live in the NW suburbs of IL.) Upon arrival we were completely overwhelmed with questions of family history and what this brain tumor meant for Jackson. It was totally surreal and intimidating trying to make sense of all this new information they were spewing at us. Scared out of my mind we spent our New Years snuggling in a hospital bed closely monitored by the doctors and nurses in the PICU. The following day Jackson had an EVD put in his head to relieve all the fluid and pressure that was causing his symptoms. The day after that my brave little boy went into 6 hour surgery to remove the tumor from his brain. It was a success. The pathology report showed that Jackson would need more than surgery to make sure the tumor would not return. This cancer was serious and needed to be treated with chemotherapy. The full name is called Medulloblastoma. It is rare and hard to treat. Before chemotherapy could start Jackson had another surgery to place a central line. Again, something no parent and child should be exposed to.

    From January to March we spent many days and nights in the hospital receiving chemo treatments and staying in for sick visits. Jackson didn’t even seem to mind when he lost his hair. He took everything in stride. Always inviting his nurses and doctors into his room on 8East to watch a movie, play with play-doh, or just to giggle. Rarely would you see Jackson unhappy. We were very hopeful up until the end of March when during a unusually long sick visit doctors discovered that cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid. At that moment I prayed the hardest prayer I have ever had to pray. “Lord heal my son or take him home to be with you.” I prayed that prayer every night.

    A week and a half later we were back at the hospital for what I thought was going to be another sick visit. This was the first time I saw my Jackson truly unhappy. His words to me were, “mum I wanna go ni ni.” Looking back now I know what he really meant. Less then 24 hours later his dad and I had to make the hardest decision of our lives. Due to unforeseen complications our Jackson was not going to come back to us. We agreed to let our precious baby pass in the loving arms of his mom and dad and surrounding family and 8 East nurses. It was the most bittersweet moment I have ever had in my life. Even towards the end of his battle he always made sure to get a smile and laugh out of you.

    As his mom I can tell you first hand that this special little boy has taught me way more than I could have ever taught him. He has taught me that we should all follow our hearts. We all deserve what we want out of life no matter what anyone says, every single person matters, and the best lesson, to love one another unconditionally. Even though his father and I miss him dearly, he is still helping us find happiness in everyday. Looking back now I can see that Jackson was our angel here on earth. And now he is our beautiful angel up in heaven watching over us. I am so proud of the impact Jackson has had on all the lives he has touched. He brought a community together and he made us all take a step back and remember what life is all about and how we should live it. It has been 7 months since Jackson’s passing and his legacy is in full bloom.

    To our excitement the city we reside in dedicated a street to him properly named Honorary Jackson Grabow Way. It doesn’t stop there. McHenry High School West Campus had a maple tree planted in honor of Jackson (He was their Honor Child for St. Baldrick’s Day. The students raised money for us as well as St. Baldrick’s.) Next to the tree is a large rock etched with his name and a fitting description,” A short life that inspired many.” I am so proud to be called his mom.

    The reason for this letter is simply this. I want to share Jackson’s story. I want to let other families know that they are not alone. I want to share how important cancer research is. It is sorely underfunded. There are far too many families that have been affected by this awful disease. We all know what an ugly word cancer is, especially when you add children to the mix. Fundraising is the way to get closer to a cure. It is my prayer that one day parents can put the fear of cancer behind them.

    I believe my father (John Rupp) spoke at your first event. If you need anything please let me know where I can help! Also if you could PLEASE spread the word I have joined forces with Just For Fun Roller rink in town for a fundraiser on Saturday Dec. 19th from 6:30-9PM. They are donating HALF on the nights proceeds to Pediatric Cancer Research. It would love to see the place packed. I have attached my flyer for they event.

    Any help you can do with spreading the word would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by Donna Grabow — November 11, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  • Please use the money raised at these cancer events to directly help the people who need it- the patients! The amount of stress piled on a family torn by cancer is staggering! They are the ones who would benefit the most from a financial gift.

    We all know the Big Pharma has too much to lo$e with offering a cure to the public.

    God has provided the medicines we need. Please take a moment to research outside the box.
    Keep your eyes and ears open… “seek and you will find”

    Comment by Kimberly — November 15, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  • After reading all of these touching stories, it just confirms my strong committment to helping with this cause. Throughout my life I have been unfortunately touched many times by cancer. My Great-Aunt, Grandmother, Aunt and Mother all died from cancer. My youngest son was born with pre-cancerous moles on his back that had to be removed at 10 months. I had a pre-cancerous scare as well this year that fortunately has turned out fine.

    Cancer turned one of the happiest times of my life to also one of the worst. In the fall of 2000, my Mother was losing a lot of weight, wasn’t feeling good and not eating. She pretty much kept to herself about her health. She was a very stubborn woman who somehow knew she was going to die of cancer but never went to the doctor because she didn’t want to ever know. That same fall, we found out we were pregnant with our first son.

    By the time January came around, my Mom could hardly breath, so she finally agreed to go to the hospital. She said she wanted to wait until after Christmas. She had a collapsed lung, and was only breathing at about 10%. She was in the hospital for a while enduring many tests.

    At the same time, I had some issues with my pregnancy. I had an issue with my imbillical cord that only happens to 4% of pregnant women. Everything eventually turned out fine, but at the time was a huge scare. During this time we found out that my Mom had stage 4 lung cancer, but it was in the lining of her lung, and was the secondary source. That meant it didn’t originate there and in order to help her, they had to find the primary source. My Mom unfortunately wasn’t a fighter, and decided that she didn’t want to fight. This was one of the hardest times of my life. Each day that my baby was growing inside of me and was one day closer to being born, was also one day closer to the end of my Mother’s life. I felt guilty looking forward to the birth of my son, because I wasn’t sure if my Mom would still be alive. My Mom died March 12th, exactly one week before my 33rd birthday. She never did get to see my sons and I feel such a tremendous loss because of that.

    I feel like I have lived 2 lives. One as a child with a Mother, and one with children as a Mother. I have felt robbed. But, that is cancer. It affects all. Hopefully, our efforts will prove to be benificial in the lives of many.

    Comment by Joanne Wallace — December 27, 2009 @ 1:12 am

  • I’ve been very blessed in my life with Grandparents. Right after I graduated high school actually was when my last GREAT grandma passed away. So for most of my life I had my grandparents around – 8 to be exact.

    Now, I know you aren’t suppose to pick favorites, but I certainly had mine. My mom’s father, aka: Oopie…he was my favorite. We always sat and sang songs and talked on his reel to reel tape recorder, swam, played with “our” dog Monty, slept on his screened in porch, he followed me around with a camera and we watched the reels on the screen. He and I spent alot of alone time with me until Robin was born. My love of cars, pool and well the thought of playing a good golf game are from him.

    He was a 6 ft. 225lb strong man. Known as Storm’n Norman for his quarterback abilities, he was also was a navigator is WWII – and navigated during the Bridge of the River Kwai. But he was my teddy bear.

    Then it hit. Robin and I were pretty young and so was he, if I remember correctly he was only about 59. But he was sick to his stomach, losing weight and found out that he had stomach cancer. They operated on him and took out 90% of his stomach. Oddly enough it was explained that his stomach was now the size of a golf ball – ironically his favorite game. But, he was alive.

    He was an amazing man. Still could hit his dam ball farther than most, he was tired alot and his body and mind were years apart. He was an incredibly smart man and everyone loved him. Just wish his body was as strong as his mind.

    When he passed away he was only 69 and probably about 100 lbs. I often wonder if the cancer would have crept in later, and the resources were different if he would still be here today. My daughter Emily often hears stories about him, and I wish he could have met her, they would have been pretty amazing together. Considering the rest of his brothers and sisters lived/are living well into their 90′s, I just consider the cancer a thief. We did get those 10 years after his surgery, so we were blessed, but I miss him dearly.

    Love ya Oopie xoxo Amy

    Comment by Amy Hivon — February 22, 2010 @ 11:51 pm

  • In honor of all those effected one way or another by cancer cases – this one goes out to my neighbor which was just recently diagnosed with colon cancer. She’s been my Neighbor Mom for 20+ years. We shared recipes, laughs, cries, she made sure my oldest daughter had lunch when she was the lunch lady at the JHS school cafeteria; watched and talked with my younger kids, always made the best desserts, we traded garden flowers and so much more …but most of she’s been there for me when I was a single mom and put me under her wing! Ellie has shown me more strength I never knew – I’m here for you & your family as you have always been for me and my family…and I will continue to be here. Love you Ellie!Stay Strong! Thanks for letting me share my story:)

    Comment by Lisa Schroeder — July 15, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  • December 9, 2009 was a day that changed my life forever. My dad was diagnosed with Lung cancer. January 5th, 2010 he had his left lung removed. He made it thru with flying colors. March 17th he was admitted to the hospital with a catastrophic blood clot in his remaining lung. He almost died. He missed my sisters wedding but was there by cell phone and was still able to give her away !! Again … he made it thru it. June 7th this year my aunts husband died of cancer and 3 days later they removed an egg sized tumor from the base of my dad’s spine. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 bone cancer. Almost everyone in my family, including my daughters 12 yr old friend, has been taken away from me by cancer. I see what my dad is going thru and it breaks my heart !!! Thank you guys for doing this…. Sheryl… thank you for this… I wish dad was able to make it today but he is still too weak and sick. Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much this means to me ( crying as I write this) …

    Comment by Christy Drach — July 31, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  • While there is no one cancer story that is sadder then the next, whether it is of a small child who has not yet experienced life, a teenager just beginning life, a grown adult enjoying life or a 100 year old who lived a great life. As we all know CANCER does not discriminate. With that being said we will share with you the story of our mom “Barb”

    She was 27 years young, a single mom with the four of us bratty girls. The oldest was 11 and the youngest just a newborn. She was diagnosed with STAGE FOUR HODGKINS DISEASE. She was treated with agressive chemotherapy and the removal of her “spleen”. ~ REMISSION~

    ~ sometime between 27 and 30 she was diagnosed with Primary UTERINE cancer. She had a hysterectomy. ~ REMISSION~

    At 30 years young, she caught the FLU. Hemophilis Influenza Type B. She had no “spleen” to fight the FLU. It is a flu that babies carry. She worked as a waitress at Wags in McHenry and we suspect that is where she caught it from. She was “sick” with FLU like symptoms and very weak one morning. She was taken to the hospital and when in triage they discovered she had no blood pressure, she was “gone”. They took her by ambulance to NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL and along the way used the difibulator to bring her back to us. While at NORTHWESTERN she slipped into a COMA for 3 weeks. During that time, “gang green” had set in her toes, which later spread to below both knees. She has been a double amputee since.

    ~ For 20 years she lived life in remission from HODGKINS, and UTERINE CANCER and adjusting very quickly to her “new legs” she quickly resumed her normal role of being our mom again, she went back to work and has done the best job any mom could do. She is hindered by NOTHING ~

    At age 50 she was diagnosed with Primary Breast Cancer. She worked her full time job during her treatments of Chemo and Radiation. ~ REMISSION~

    May 16th 2010:
    CUBS GAME TODAY! Day at Wrigley Field planned with her husband and his grown children, some in from California for this special day. It was her husbands 70th birthday present from his kids.

    Mom wasnt feeling good for a while and looking back in hindsight there were a few signs that were missed by all of us. But on that morning, the pesty daughter who always has a tendancy to call mom too many times during the day and too early in the morning, phoned her before she had to be to work that morning. She wanted to tell her to have a good time at the game. It was then, mom told her she “didnt think she was going” “maybe another day.” She was just really tired and had fallen out of bed that night as she just “forgot to put her legs on to use the bathroom” and slept on the floor, so she didnt get a good night sleep.

    Her ride to the city for the CUBS game turned into a ride to the hospital. She was wheeled in the ER and when the front desk asked how they can help us, it was simply said, “my mom needs a CAT scan of her head.” They of course asked if we had a “prescription”, “appointment” or a “referral” and they were told no. When we were brought back to the room, the doctor came in and asked what was going on. The answers were, mom is not mom. She almost looked as though she had a mini stroke. She was forgetting things, she was late to EVERYTHING. She had fallen twice earlier in the month and had said a few times she just didnt feel “herself” we told the ER doctor that she had seen her Primary Care Doctor and he took her off her Cholesterol pills but we thought it was someting more going on. So he asked her a few questions that she passed with flying colors – made me feel like a fool. But I was INSISTENT they do the CAT Scan. They took her for the scan. At this time it was just me, my cousin who came there and my mom at the hospital. 2 of the “sisters” live in Florida and the other lives in Geonoa City ~ she had gone to work that morning after telling me to take mom to the hospital. I was glad to have someone there with us as I was expecting the bad news that mom had a stroke. ~ waiting ~

    They brought her back to the room and the doctor showed up a few minutes later to advise us that “yes” there is “something” going on. She has some swelling and while a stroke “could” cause swelling it was his opinion it wasnt a stroke as she had no other symptoms of one. He wanted her admitted and more scans done to see what was causing and what was behind the swelling. She was admitted. The scans showed a tumor. A 6 centimeter tumor on her brain. PET SCANS, CAT SCANS, MRI’s just kept showing more and more bad news. She also has a tumor on her adrenile glad, spots on her liver and spots on her lung. Her group of doctors were trying to come up with a treatment plan. 2 weeks in the hospital no game plan, cancer spreading, tumors growing, surgery on the brain, no surgery on the brain? radiation, no radiation? It was just a nightmare. After 2 weeks she was discharged….. SECOND OPINION SOUGHT.

    Her records were gathered and sent for second opinion on a Friday afternoon. Monday they were reviewed. Tuesday phone call advising us to bring mom in for surgery. Wednesday tumor removed. We were told the surgery would be 6 – 8 hours. The surgeon came out in 2 hours, the waiting room was filled with family and friends who’s hearts sank immediatley. We thought the worst, she didnt make it through the surgery… doctor says “she pulled through like a champ” looks great. She will be the same person she was before she went in those doors you can see her in about an hour! Wow, relief. For a few minutes anyways. She did great in surgery now we still need to deal with the other cancer that is there. But first things first. She recovered so quickly, was walking 3 days after brain surgery!! She would have been walking on day two if we wouldnt have taken her “legs home” with us. We did not want them lost… oh was she mad. She stayed in the hospital for a little over a week and went home. She had the Gamma Knife procedure and then on to the next….

    We met with the oncologist who confirmed to us that she has STAGE 4 LUNG CANCER. Since mom has has SO MUCH chemo in her life, with 3 prior PRIMARY CANCERS, the doctor was not sure how much more she could take. The treatment plan was 4 chemo treatments and then a CAT SCAN between treatment 3 and 4. That would have been this week. BUT, last week we went for her follow up to the Gamma Knife and doctor said things look good at the cavity site that was treated, however, he sees some new “activity” in a new area and suggested 15 days of radiation which she is currently doing. CHEMO is delayed. We did go last week and get a CAT scan of her chest and were told she “looks good” “stable”…. she will undergo her last treatment sometime after radiation. She is done with radiation this Wednesday. She will get her last chemo, we will go for a scan and pray that we can write back and say ~REMISSION~ at the end of this paragraph just like the ones above.

    Our mom is a fighter, she is strong and has a HUGE support team… she is not a quitter and has never given up on anything in life. It is with such mixed emotions we share our story. As we started this letter saying “cancer does not discriminate” we will close it by saying, cancer does not only hurt those it choses to find a home in, it devastates everyone in the family,including friends. And that is why we NEED to keep spreading the word and help do what we can to assist in the research of this monster and finally KILL CANCER so it cant KILL anymore! ~thanks for reading~

    Barbs girls,
    Candi, Bobbi, Jenni, Wendi
    (and on behalf of the rest of her family and friends who love her beyond words)

    Comment by Candi, Bobbi, Jenni, Wendi — September 23, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  • November 2009 started like any other year. Scheduled my yearly mammogram. Was notified that I needed to come in for an ultrasound, since something was different. When I was at the ultrasound, I was seen by some very wonderful people in the women’s care unit at Centegra-McHenry. They worked to get me to see a surgeon the day before thanksgiving, so that I would not have to wonder all weekend.
    It took the surgeon 3 attempts to clear the margins. I was told that there was no lymph node involvement, so things should go well.
    In January 2010 after a PET scan, I was informed that my cancer was stage IV. It was now on the liver and in two different spots on the bones. I was asked by my doctor if I would consider going on a clinical trial for stage IV breast cancer that has never been treated by chemo before. I decided that if I can do something to help, why not.
    In February 2010 I started my chemo. Avastin and Paclitaxel. I was to see the oncologist every week because of the clinical trial. In the end I was on chemo for only 3 series. I started to complain about side effects almost immediately. In March I was forced to go on disability, due to my weakening state.
    On April 28th I was admitted to the hospital because I was unable to breath (I was actually crawling up and down the stairs because I couldn’t climb any other way). On May 1st I was taken to ICU and placed on a respirator. That lasted 10 ten days. I have been told by my family that one night they all stayed at the hospital, because they were told that I may not make it through the night. On pure oxygen I was only showing a blood oxygen level of 71.
    Needless to say I refused to give up and was taken off the respirator 2 days after Mother’s Day. I spent another 3 weeks in the hospital between ICU, Skilled Nursing and Rehab. Who would think that 10 days could make your body forget how to walk and function.
    I have some permanent damage that has come along with this journey. One is neuropathy of the feet and legs. I have dexterity problems in my hands and fingers. My eyesight is not what it used to be. And last but not least my brain does not function as it used to.
    I have to have CAT scans every four months since I am still not in remission. I see the Oncologist every two months at this point. Because of the damage to my lungs and the neuropathy, I have a tendency to see doctors quite often.
    I have 2 daughters, and so far 2 granddaughters. Both of my daughters are currently pregnant, bringing my total grandchildren next year to 4. When I was admitted to the hospital, my oldest granddaughter (Ava) was only 2 and my second one (Olivia) was 1 month old. My youngest daughter was getting married in August of 2010. I had a lot to live for and was determined to be here for every moment.
    I am still fighting and have yet to go into remission. I plan on being around to see my wonderful grandchildren grow up. My advice to everyone is to fight with everything you have.

    Comment by Linda Bartolone — February 3, 2012 @ 10:38 am