Saturday, June 27, 2009


We have all heard about the sad death of Farrah Fawcett. Right now I am watching an episode of Charlie's Angels, the show that launched her to superstardom. She only appeared in the first season of the show but of course she made an impression.

People who didn't grow up in the 60s & 70s don't realize that there were not that many shows that had strong women as the leads on shows. I grew up with the Angels and Wonder Woman. We didn't have the shows with lots of strong female leads like today like Mariska Hartigay on Law & Order SVU or any of the Desperate Housewives.

I know people who watch the shows now will say it is dated and, during its time it was called jiggle tv, but still these ladies were my heroes none the less.

Farrah died of anal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society there are only 5,000 new cases of anal cancer every year, with about 680 deaths. The type of cancer she died of didn't have a walk or an awareness month. In fact, I, like most people I am sure, have never heard of anal cancer until Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with it.

I watched, or I should say, I tried to watch Farrah's Story when it first aired. It was real, it was gripping, and for me it cut a little to close to home. Watching her story was difficult, I think everyone who has been diagnosed and watches someone who films their life or watches a movie of the week about someone who has cancer sees a little bit of themselves in that person, and I am no exception. Watching Farrah want to cut off her blonde locks that made her so famous in the 70's so that she would lose her hair on her own terms was a reminder of something that I had gone through (shaving my head that is) I couldn't watch the entire two hours of Farrah's Story. It was too hard for me to watch, although I was hoping to muster up the courage to watch the entire 2 hour movie and hopefully the sequel, but sadly that will never come.

Obviously how every person deals with cancer and chemo is different, but I could relate to a lot of the things she was going through, and I applaud her for going public with her very personal battle, bringing light to a disease, showing people that if an american icon like her can get this insidious disease then anyone can.

Farrah was only 12 years older than me when she passed. 12 years. That is not much older than me. That is first thru twelfth grade, barely a blip in time in the universe.

All three of the original Charlies Angels battled cancer, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith had breast cancer, they battled the disease and both are currently in remission.

So as the night, and a tribute to Farrah comes to a close, I applaud you & thank you Farrah Fawcett, thank you for showing the world what cancer is like, I didn't see it from a celebrities perspective, just from a woman's perspective. You had a great impact on me when I was a young girl and you have had a far greater impact on me now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Extreme makeover

Today I had fun at a makeover event sponsored by the local chamber and several local salons. It was a great even full of beautiful transformations of local women in the community. I met some great people and hung out with some good friends.

After I got home I started to think about my own transformation, not one of makeup and haircolor but from chemo and side effects.

Almost all the people who I know here in Michigan didn't know me before all of this, when I worked in the entertainment industry, when I worked 16 hour days, played hockey 3 days a week, barely had any time for Doug or my friends.

I grew up in a town smaller than I live in now, wanted to get out and go to Los Angeles and work in the entertainment industry. Hollywood is a strange place. Everything centers around entertainment and it is easy to get caught up in things that seem important, but are not, like award shows, who is eating where, who is with who, celebrity sightings (ok I still love to hear about that one, my coolest one by the way was Ginger Rogers at a gas station in Hollywood, she wasn't pumping the gas of course) well you get the routine.

When I decided to leave LA, it was a tough decision, I knew I would moving back to a small town, and I thought I loved winter, I do, but do they have to be so damn long??

Ok I digress back to the transformation. I guess I was into the whole "LA scene" I didn't go clubbing, ok if you know me the thought of that must be hilarious, but was into the award shows(they changed the day of the oscars from during the week to the weekend so people wouldn't leave work early to watch the show), and caught up into all of it.

Now its been been over 5 years and I have been through an extreme makeover of my own, some of my own design, but most from cancer.

I don't think that I am as self involved as I used to be, and entertainment isn't as important as it used to be. I still enjoy watching a good tv show and see if my friends names are in the credits.

With being on the radio I can inform people on several different topics, and, like tonight, we told people about some great salons and the money went to a great cause.

I don't think my own extreme makeover is complete, not yet anyway, and I think its ironic that I am speaking in public and on the radio, I never wanted to be in the public eye growing up and now I am doing public service announcements. Someone called me a tv star. Too funny for someone who always wanted to stay in the background.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." —Charles Darwin

Monday, June 22, 2009

The road not traveled...

I recently was involved in a charity bike ride. It was in memory of someone who had lost their battle with breast cancer. I saw many survivors and friends and relatives of people who had lost loved ones to this disease. I gave a little speech, I offered to, although I never know why the hell anyone wants to hear what I have to say, and I rode about 7-10 miles, stopping to visit a friend of mine who owns a business nearby.

Early detection, luck, personal trainers, doctors and a lot of prayer helped to save my life, and for that I am grateful.

I guess that is why I advocate so hard for a cure to this disease. I am in remission, but I still feel the effects almost every single day, but I am lucky, I am alive, I can speak out and talk about it. I know so many others who don't want to talk about their cancer, which is fine. I have a voice and a way to reach other people, in this blog, on various social networking sites, on the radio and wherever anyone can hear the sound of my voice. I don't want anyone else to go through this, that is for damn sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just one more hour...

6 years ago today my Dad passed away. A couple of weeks from now it will be father's day. I have written about him before because I miss him dearly. I think about him almost every day. I wonder what he would have thought about my battle with cancer, my job as an on air personality on the radio. I wish he got to see me play hockey, I think he would have liked that most of all. To see Majoros on the back of a jersey skating around kicking butt. I think I would have enjoyed teaching him the rules of hockey, he was more of a football fan, but since I play I think he would have had fun watching his little girl get a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight, although I have never gotten into a fight on the ice, he would have gotten a kick out of it I am sure)

One of my favorite songs is "Me and Bobby McGee" written by Kris Kristofferson and sung by Janis Joplin, one of the best blues singers of all time. There is a line in that song "I'd give up my tomorrows for one single yesterday.." Now I wouldn't give up my tomorrows, I love life and I am always amazed and excited for new things, and even every day things, but I would have liked to spend just one more hour with my Dad. Tell him about all the things that have happened to me since 2003. I am lucky that he met my fiance Doug and liked him. Doug and I haven't set a date for our wedding just yet, but it is one event that I would love to have my Dad at, to walk me down the aisle.

My Dad was a great man, was the best father a girl could ever ask for. If I was to have that hour I would tell him that as much as I love him I am a little upset at him for robbing me of our time together. As I blogged before he had diabetes, and I am pretty sure he never checked his blood sugar like he did. Wanted to live life on his own terms. I think about that often because I read more and more things about people not going to the doctor because they don't have insurance or they hate doctors or some other excuse. Yes my Dad lived the way he wanted to, but if he could have seen what it did to him at the end and the precious time it robbed from being with his family I think he would have changed his mind.

A few good lyrics to leave you with from Nickleback
"so do whatever it takes
'cause you can't rewind
a moment in this life
let nothing stand in your way
cause the hands of time are never on your side"

I have great memories of my Dad and I and am grateful for that.

Happy Fathers Day Dad.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tiaras in Lansing

This is a picture of the 2008 Ms. Michigan Ashlee Baracy and I at the state capitol in Lansing, Michigan. I just came home from attending the Celebration at the Capitol for the American Cancer Society. We were there to talk to the legislators to convince them to make Michigan smoke free. We met with our Representative and Senator. One of them totally agreed with the bill, the other one didn't. While I have to respect the decision of our lawmakers, I don't have to understand it. Unless you have been touched by cancer in some way I guess you wouldn't understand why I would want Michigan smoke free.

Doesn't it make sense to have restaurants and bars smoke free? For the health of the workers and the patrons? Now some would say that if you don't want to breath smoke you should eat somewhere else, but don't I have the right to eat a meal with out worrying about getting another form of cancer? Some people will say the workers can just "get another job" Really? Have you tried looking for work now days? And what if they have been working at a restaurant or bar for years, should they just give up their seniority to find a job somewhere else?

Yes smokers have rights just like anyone else, but I have the right to go to eat and not breathe in their smoke.

Is it too much to ask not to be put at risk of cancer from second hand smoke when I go out to eat at any restaurant?

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen live weekdays 10am-noon eastern on

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whatever gets you through the day part two

I was on one of the social networking sites tonight instant messaging a friend of mine and we were talking about using anti depression medication. I recently tried to get off of mine, but a week of trying to get off of it and nasty side effects from it made me decide to stay on them. Unless I was going to be away from people or not on the radio I would have been able to get off of them, but the side effects of getting off of effexor, the brand of anti depressant I take was I was extremely jumpy and I felt like I was going to burst into tears at the drop of a hat. I don't think that would make for good radio, although some may disagree.

There is less of a stigma now days with people taking anti depressants or anti anxiety pills as there used to be. I was even nervous about asking my doctor about getting on some form of anti depressants, but I felt like I wasn't me, I am usually in a good mood most of the time and survivorship, cancer, side effects, well I guess the whole snowball of everything got to me. I remember sitting in the room talking to the doctor, not even being able to look at her, kind of embarassed about asking. She told me not to worry, that it wouldn't be forever. But you know what? I am ok with the fact that it might be. I have been through a lot in the last two years, and if I have to take a little pill to keep me from feeling lost or sad or out of sorts then so be it. I would not be where I am with out it, and of course this is only my opinion, if you think you need something like this to help you always consult with your doctor, that is what I do, sometimes, I think to a ridiculous degree, but hey, I am was definitely not used to going from being in great health and getting ready to play hockey to having cancer, going through chemo, losing my hair, feeling like shit, feeling tired, having insomnia, being hungry and not being able to eat, having radiation, having people treat me different, having people give me that poor you look, (which I hate by the way, if you ever give me that look I will call you on it, I have to my friends and to my health care professionals) not being able to work, not being able to do the things I want to do and changing my whole life because my body basically wanted to kill me.

So yeah I am a proponent of Anti depressant and anti anxiety meds.

I know with this blog it seems like the meds aren't working, but trust me they are, it has been a long day,a good day, but a long one none the less and along with humor I use an ample supply of sarcasm to help me cope.

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen live weekdays 10am-noon eastern on

Friday, June 5, 2009

Whatever gets you through the day....

Recently I was interviewed on a radio show to talk about how positivity kept me going during my treatment and survivorship. Like most survivors, I assume, I got through it using whatever I could to get me through the day. Humor, sports (mainly hockey) movies, friends, etc all that got me through. I am positive I would say 98% of the time (look out if you are around me for that dreaded 2%.)

I stay positive even though it seems like I have a hard time remembering things. Leave it to me again to acquire side effects after chemo. This is particularly hard for me because my memory is usually sharp as a tack. Now when some people ask me questions, even just the simplest ones I struggle to find the answer. My doc says that this will go away in time, ah yes this too shall pass.I know, a war was waged in my body and I fought and won, and this is all collateral damage from the drugs that were used to kill the cancer. I guess the hardest part is that look that people give you when you are searching for the answer to a simple question, and, if the person doesn't know you, they look at you like you are stupid.

This is part of the new me, for now. It is frustrating, and difficult, but I know, slowly I am getting back to normal, or as close as I can get to the old me.

So I stay positive, still, even though I see friends of mine and can't remember their names for the life of me, and trivia, which used to come to me like a breeze is missing from the computer in my brain. How can I stay positive? I don't know. I guess I don't know any other way to be.

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen Monday-Friday 10am-noon eastern standard time on

Monday, June 1, 2009

Relay for Life

This past week I have had writers block. I try to blog at least once a week if I can, but I just couldn't find anything to write about. Ideas and thoughts were there, but they were not able to go from my head to black and white. This past weekend I went to the Grand Traverse Relay for Life. I am the vice chair of the Emmet County Relay. I was just the media rep, but some people dropped out and I decided to step up to the plate and help out (sure I mean what else do I have to do except for 2 jobs, go to doctor's appointments, find time to exercise, and find time to see my fiance?)

So Sherri, the Chair of the Emmet County Relay and I got up early, well early for me on a weekend anyway and drove to Traverse City for the Relay. We got there a little late, well lets say we rolled up just barely in time for the opening ceremony, of which I said a little speech, I wasn't really prepared for that, I walked up on stage and was handed the microphone by Josh, one of my co-workers at the radio station. I really don't remember what I said, but I am sure it was worthwhile (HAHA) I am pretty good at coming up with stuff off the top of my head, that is what I do for a living right? It is a little different though, being in a room by yourself with just a microphone and a room full of about 100 people.

Sherri and I stayed for a while and then we left, planning to come back for the luminaria ceremony later on in the day, hey we drove all the way to Traverse City, so we had to get some shopping in right?

After a feverish search for certain items of clothing in several different stores we were ready to go back to the Relay, and luckily for us we were able to get there in time for the survivor dinner, a delicious spaghetti dinner and chocolate cake for dessert.

We had about 2 hours to kill before the luminaria ceremony, so I got a massage (another one, I love massages) and was able to watch game one of the Stanley Cup Finals. Leave it to me to be able to watch a hockey game at a cancer event, thanks to the Best Buy team for having a sweet HD tv available for viewing.

The luminaria ceremony was very emotional. In case you have never been to one a speech is given, and the names of survivors and those we have lost to cancer are read. It was both inspirational and sad. One person had 80 luminaria bags bought in memory of him. I don't think there was a dry eye in the house, mine included. When the name of my friend Lisa was read by her son, I almost lost it. She is a 9 year survivor of colon cancer.

All I can say is this. If you have been touched by cancer, even in a periphery sense, you should attend a Relay. Yes you can say I am biased because I am a vice chair of the Relay, but also I saw how the day touched the lives of everyone who attended.

So if you have a chance come to the Emmet County Relay for Life on July 18th. If you can't attend that one then find one near you. You wont regret it and it will change your life.

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty show on Listen live 10am-noon weekdays.