Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Definition of a hero

Memorial Day was this past weekend and it made me think of my friends in the military, and the word hero. When I was going through my chemo & radiation treatment some of my friends said that I was brave, courageous and their hero.
I know I wasn't any of those things.
The real heroes are those who serve in our armed forces. Friends like Rob McGinn, Jeff Nelson, Bob Brown, Tom Clough, Brian Cummings, Rob McCoy, most of whom I had gone to high school with, who have served for our country.
Soldiers like my friend Lt.Commander Owens Walker, who was in the Pentagon on 9/11, he got out, when some friends of his did not, went back and said his bookbag and filofax had melted to the floor.
Soldiers like Justin Paton, who I worked with for a brief time at a local restaurant, who went to Iraq and did not come back.
Dictionary.com defines hero as a (man) of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds or noble qualities.
The next time you go out and enjoy a movie or go shopping or just wake up in the morning, remember freedom isn't free, and remember who the real heroes are.
Listen to me on the Vic McCarty show from 10am-Noon eastern time on wmktthetalkstation.com

Friday, May 22, 2009

Relay for Life spot

This is the Relay for Life spot I recorded in April. Me in Hi-Def, too funny. I tell the people who tell me that they have seen me on TV that they have to go to the Relay if they mention it.

Listen to Me on The Vic McCarty Show 10am-noon eastern standard time Monday-Friday on wmktthetalkstation.com

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pink Ribbon Blues

I originally posted this blog on StupidCancer.com in December, but with the new Grey's Anatomy season finale I found it appropriate.
I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Breast Cancer in September of 2007, a couple of weeks shy of my 38th birthday. Of course I was in the usual shock and state of panic that
everyone goes through at such as emotional time but I also had the unfortunate luck of being diagnosed right before Breast Cancer Awareness month in October. So not only did I celebrate my birthday with this news I had to see that damn pink ribbon everywhere.
Now you think I am exaggerating when I mean everywhere, but there it was like a cloud of dirt around pig pen, following me everywhere. "Hey want to go to the store?" my boyfriend asks, "Sure I say" shopping always makes me feel better, but no can't escape that ribbon. Its on shampoo, soft drinks, keychains, yogurt, milk, golf balls soda cans and kitty litter, yes I said kitty litter, so everytime my cat Rocky makes a deposit in his box a portion of the proceeds will go to the breast cancer charity of your choice right??!!! I could not escape it.
TV, I will watch TV, but NO!! Every station seemed to have one of those "very special episodes" with the disease of the week being cancer. Even those Desperate Housewives had one of their own go through breast cancer. While I am sure most of America felt her pain, at the end of the day Felicity Huffman, the actress who played the character with cancer, could remove her scarf, take off the make up that made her look sick and hop in her car and drive off of the lot and go home, far away from cancer. I am sure she probably did what most actors do in these situations, when they find out that their character will be diagnosed with some disease she probably spent time in a cancer ward "researching" what its like. No offense Felicity, but a few days researching is nothing like actually going through it. (Sorry if I offend you Ms. Huffman, but your character was the reason I stopped watching your show last year, I watch TV to escape reality not be smacked over the head with it.) And don't even get me started on Lifetime, television for women. I think I deleted that off of mhy cable box last year, and it was one of the main reasons why I had to start taking xanax. Sorry but I really don't want to know why you wore lipstick to your mastectomy, and aren't there rules in the hospital about wearing makeup? I couldn't even keep my earrings in and they let you wear makeup?
Its been a year now and I am over my frustration and disgust with the pink ribbon. I have actually come to embrace it. In January of next year I will be getting a tattoo of the ribbon on my back to commemorate my battle. Am I a hypocrite? I don't think so. I have just grown that's all. But take my advice. If you are going to get breast cancer, get it in the summer, far away from those "very special episodes" kitty litter pink ribbon special offers.
Listen to me on the Vic McCarty show 10-noon eastern time on wmktthetalkstation. com.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Don't take it for granted

One of the things I love to do is ride my bike. I haven't ridden it since before my diagnosis. I finally got it off of the deck today and put it in my car and went down to the bike path, I try not to ride in traffic, I just don't trust the drivers nowdays, texting, cellphones, ipods, there are a lot of distractions, so I just enjoy the path.
The picture above is like the one that I have, it is a Kona Smoke, a commuter bike I bought used 2 summers before my diagnosis, from winnings from the local casino, I don't usually go to the casino, but my friends were in town and they wanted to see it so I went. Casinos are ok, mostly if they are in Vegas, and if they would be smoke free they would be better.
Most people enjoy a good wine or beer to give them a good buzz. I enjoy exercise. There is nothing like being on a bike on a nice summer day to clear your head and relax you, even if, like today, my legs burn from exercising yesterday and it was very windy, and I couldn't go as far as I usually bike but I went a decent distance considering I haven't been on the bike since 2007, before my diagnosis.
I am looking forward to this summer more than other summers. I have my energy back, for the most part. I have a wonderful man who loves me, and we have plans to do things around here, which we couldn't do the past two years just because of my illness, nothing exciting, trips around town, miniature golf, the local ice cream maker has kitchen and tasting tours(not too many of those, then I will definitely need to be on the bike more) but Doug and I keep saying that we need to do this and that and go here and there. This summer we will. After everything I have been through, after everything we have been through together, why wait. Life is too short to wait for the good stuff.
Listen to Mel on The Vic McCarty show10am-Noon weekdays Monday-Friday eastern standard time on Wmktthetalkstation.com

Monday, May 11, 2009

Isn't it ironic, don't you think???

Ok. I am no stranger to side effects. Like most cancer survivors/warriors I have had my fair share, which if you are a follower of this blog you know all about so no need for me to repeat myself. Today I saw the endocrinologist, follow up appointment and checking on the Hashimoto's Thyroiditis that I have, (Yeah I didn't make that up, Daniel-san, that is what it is called) making sure my thyroid levels were all good based upon the medication I am taking.

I asked the doc about my constant fatigue, which was getting better after I started taking Vitamin D.

So here I am almost a month later after I started taking the Vitamin D and I am still tired. Yes I have blogged about this before, but you know what I found out? I am probably doing it to myself, not because I am firing on all cylanders or burning the candle at both ends or insert other cliche' here, but because I am weaning myself off of medication (with the doctor's approval of course, I don't go off any meds without letting one of my docs or ologists know about it)

The nurse promised me it would get better. Easy to say when its not you.

You know that refreshed feeling you get when you wake up from a nap or a good nights sleep? I haven't felt that in a while, I wake up thinking about when can I take my next nap. I don't wake up during the night and I know I dream because I remember bits and pieces.

Pretty ironic, don't you think? Yep like that Alanis Morrisette song, only if it was a black fly in my chardonnay I would call the waiter and ask for another glass, or if it was like rain on your wedding day, well I think that last one would just plain suck.

Thefreedictionary.com defines ironic as - characterized by often poignant difference or incongruity between what is expected and what actually is; "madness, an ironic fate for such a clear thinker"; "it was ironical that the well-planned scheme failed so completely"

Yep the last one feels like me. A well planned scheme (going off meds, the meds are supposed to make me feel better) failing so completely (makes me so tired and frustrated)
The feeling of sleepiness when you are not in bed and can't get there, is the meanest feeling in the world.- Edgar Watson Howe
Well said Edgar, well said.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The only constant is change

It has been an exciting few weeks. I just started a new job. I am still producing the Vic McCarty Show. I am also producing a new show for a new internet radio network empoweradio.com. The Maria Shaw show is the new show I am producing. I finally feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I obviously felt that during The Vic McCarty show, but now that I am solely producing radio I am very happy. I am not on air during Maria's show, which is just fine with me, I love being Vic's comic foil on the Vic McCarty show and championing the causes that I believe in.

I am slowly feeling like myself again. The vitamin D deficiency put a dent in my plans to get back to the "new normal." I am still having problems with what is referred to as "Chemo brain." This is very hard for me. Before cancer I was always on top of my game, I could remember peoples names and faces, and now sometimes I still struggle to get words out. I know that when I get tired it aggrivates my lack of focus, and I was pretty tired today. I was ready for a nap at 11:30 in the morning, and of course since I work full time I don't think my employer would appreciate me taking a snooze in the middle of a radio show, it wouldn't make for a good program that is for sure.

It gets frustrating to take 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Sometimes I feel like I am playing some game of monopoly. Some days I own all the hotels and I am winning the game, some days I do not pass go, do not collect $200.00.

Listen to me on The Vic McCarty Show weekdays 10am-noon eastern time on wmktthetalkstation.com

Listen to the show I produce The Maria Shaw Shows weekdays noon-three eastern time on empoweradio.com

Friday, May 1, 2009

This is my first published article from 2008

Reprinted by permission from the Grand Traverse Womans Magazine Oct 08 issue
I have always had a wicked sense of humor. I get that from my dad. On Sept 18, 2007, when I was told, "It's cancer," I didn't know how my sense of humor and my favorite game, hockey, would get me through perhaps the greatest challenge of my life. Immediately I saw the irony in my breast cancer. I had just participated in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life a couple of months before and now I was a cancer survivor. My primary care physician broke the news and, since I had basically just met her, it was dubious at best. I remember she told me and then her voice sounded like the adults in the Peanuts cartoon. After that she made an appointment for me to see a surgeon, Dr. Brown. I immediately pictured Doc Brown from Back to the Future. If he starts talking flux capacitors and screams 1.21 jigawatts I am so out of there, I thought. Fortunately he is nothing like that. We discussed my options and decided I would get a lumpectomy. "You could get a mastectomy so you can be sure the cancer doesn't go into the other breast" he said. Well I am all for preventative medicine but let's not get carried away. To quote one of my favorite TV shows, Seinfeld: "They are real and they are spectacular." I decided to keep both of them. Dr. Brown did two surgeries, one to remove the lump and one for the port. He told me the surgery would only take about a half hour. I got to the hospital around 10 a.m. Surgery was scheduled for around noon. I couldn't have anything to eat or to drink after midnight. I was waiting in a private room, watching the video about my port. The time ticked by and soon it was 2 o'clock and I was still waiting. I happened to spy the doc walking by my room and yelled out, "So what did you do, forget about me?" He had some kind of cardiac emergency to take care of and told me I was next in line. He said "You must be pretty hungry, huh?" I was and said, "Yeah you owe me a pizza." He said OK. As I was being wheeled into the OR the surgical nurse said, "OK now the doctor will be right in. He is just ordering your pizza." "Haha," I thought, "Funny joke to play on someone who is just about to be put under." Sure enough when I woke up from surgery a Jet's pizza was waiting for me. Having cancer is not easy, and telling people is just as difficult. Some people I could tell right away, while others would have to wait. It is exhausting enough just having the disease, let alone rewinding and replaying the story for my friends and family. So how do you tell people? "Hey!! Haven't seen you in a while, how ya doin'? I have cancer. How are the kids?" I never thought I wouldn't be OK, even after I lost weight. People who didn't know that I had cancer said, "Wow, you look great!!" "Yeah," I said. "That cancer is the best diet ever!" Even after my first chemo treatment made me so dizzy and nauseous for three hours, I still knew I was going to be OK. No wonder I don't drink. Chemo gave me the worst hangover I ever had. Even after I had my stylist shave my head because the chemo was making my hair fall out I had to laugh. My mom wanted a current picture of me and, as it turned out, I got my head shaved on her birthday. Happy Birthday Mom!! My hair is growing back, and she is still waiting for that picture. I really didn't have the side-effects that many people do, with the exception of the first chemo hangover bedspins. I am convinced that working out to get ready to hit the ice really helped me battle this disease. All this was going on around the beginning of hockey season, something I look forward to. I am the captain of the Petoskey women's hockey team and I always work out my hardest to get ready for that, and, because of my job at WMKT, I was able to go to the Red Wings Training Camp. I was diagnosed on the last day of training camp. The Wings save their best game for the last day. Unfortunately I did not make it to that game. Since I am a huge hockey fan, it really meant something special to me when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. The Wings will hoist the Stanley Cup banner on Oct. 9. One year to the day of my lumpectomy surgery.
I use hockey as an analogy to fighting cancer. If you are on the ice and someone knocks you down, you don't stay down. You get up and keep skating. That is what I will do. I will keep skating.
Red Wings Training camp photo copyright 2007 by Melinda Majoros taken during the 2007 training camp, that's right, a few days before my diagnosis.
Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty show. Listen live Monday-Friday 10am-Noon eastern time on wmktthetalkstation.com.
Mel also produces The Maria Shaw show on Empoweradio.com. Listen Live Monday-Friday Noon-3pm.