Countdown to Mother’s Day – May 8, 2009

I love to give baskets full of goodies for gifts. I love a good theme too. So I’m recommending you get yourself a basket (or a mini storage bin, tote bag, anything that hold goods — just don’t make it a laundry basket, OK?). Then get yourself a theme, and put together a little something special for mom on Mother’s Day.

Pick a healthy eating theme, and fill your basket with an assortment of fruit. Choose a summer reading theme, and stock your basket with a few books (try this one), a bookmark, a pair of sunglasses and a sun hat. How about summer movies? Gather some movie tickets or a Blockbuster gift card, some microwave popcorn and some not-so-treacherous movie candy (Milk Duds are better than peanut M&Ms). And my favorite: The R&R basket, complete with candle, bubble bath, body lotions and gift certificate for a pedicure. Your basket can be a hodge-podge of all mom’s favorite things, too. You get to decide — just get out there and decide, because Mother’s Day is on Sunday, and it’s Friday, and, well, you’re running out of time.

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I haven’t been watching much of “Grey’s Anatomy” lately, but I do know that Katerine Hiegl’s character Izzie Stevens has cancer, so when I caught tonight’s episode, I was somewhat prepared for the storyline. What I wasn’t prepared for was my reaction to the end of the show, when Izzie pulls fistfuls of hair from her head.

She cried.

I cried.

I cried big, sobbing tears, because even though I am almost five years removed from that same helpless, hopeless feeling, it was still there, right in the pit of my stomach, waiting to be called up.

My cancer memories are vivid. Every one of them. But nothing is as vivid as the feeling that suffocated me the day my hair started falling out, when it washed from my head in the shower and gathered in the drain, and wound around my brush, and then covered my pillowcase when I woke up the next morning.

“That was the worst,” I told my husband as “Grey’s Anatomy” ended tonight and Izzie sat in a hospital bed with a completely bald head. “You survived it,” John said. Yes, I did. But I’ll never forget it.

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – May 7, 2009


Are these not the cutest flip flops ever? They’d make a pretty nifty Mother’s Day gift, wouldn’t they? I’m thinking so. In fact, I know how comfy these Havaianas Fit cuties are — my sister won a silver pair in a giveaway recently, and she passed them on to me (she’d just bought herself some silver sandals and was feeling generous) — and so I can promise mom will love them. Well, maybe not promise. But chances are, she’ll feel pretty sporty and summery in her very own pair. All you need to do is shell out $30 bucks (she’s worth it, right?) and order a pair for mommy dearest. Pick from pink, white, black, silver or gold. Hey, get a  pair for yourself while you’re at it.

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – May 5, 2009

I know moms and flowers go together pretty well, and you might be thinking of sending your momma a perfectly pretty bouquet of arranged flowers for Mother’s Day this year. But flowers are expensive, and they don’t last very long, and that’s why I suggest you head over to your nearest garden shop and buy a few plants your mom can plop right in her own yard. Hand deliver your favorite picks, and help mom bury them in the dirt. If you don’t live nearby, bundle up a few packets of seeds and some other garden goodies and mail them off to your special girl. Whether you live near or far, mom will get to watch your love grow.

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – May 4, 2009

yogurtTimes are tough, and money is tight. But even though you might not have much to spend on mom this year, doesn’t mean you can’t treat her right. In fact, if you’ve got a TCBY nearby, you can get your mom something — for nothing.

TCBY is handing out a free cup or cone to all moms who stop by one of their stores on Sunday, May 10. I, for one, have this marked on my calendar, because I love frozen yogurt (try the non-fat, no-sugar-added flavor — it’s always yummy), and I don’t want to forget to get myself there for my very own freebie. Oh, and TCBY will be dishing out the same deal for Father’s Day, so mark your calendars for that too. But for now, plan to take mom for a frozen treat on Sunday. She’ll love you forever. Well, she’ll probably love you forever anyway, but just to seal the deal, get her something smooth and creamy, and maybe even sinful.

Here’s what TCBY says about their great gift to moms: “For the second year in a row, TCBY will open its doors to celebrate moms on Mother’s Day with a sweet tribute to the women we all love. And there is arguably no better gift than one that’s both delicious and healthy. TCBY’s yogurt is low in fat and calories, when compared to ice cream, and is loaded with plenty of live, active cultures (probiotics) to improve overall health and digestion.”

Thanks, TCBY!

Photo courtesy of TCBY

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Countdown to Mother’s Day – May 3, 2009

51amrfx7gbl_aa280_If you’re a mom, or you have a mom, or you love someone else’s mom, then you know how important Mother’s Day is. Sure, we should honor the moms in our lives every day, but I like that there’s one special day set aside for celebration. Kind of like a birthday, where balloons and candles and mounds of gifts are the norm, Mother’s Day should be treated like one big party.

Let’s talk gifts — do you know what you’re getting mom this year? Do you know what you want this year? Between now and the big day — Sunday, May 10, 2009 — I’ll be naming some ideas and sharing them here and over here, at the PlanetKid Child Care Blog.

Today, let’s start with something for the foodie mom, the mom who is interested in food but wants to be healthy and maintain her weight too. How about this nifty food scale, which comes in all sorts of colors and is perfect for measuring out that exact one-ounce serving of dark chocolate, which, you know, is actually a healthy daily indulgence — you did know that, right? Makes a good case for buying mom some of the dark stuff too.

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The Breast Gifts – Books and Socks

A friend asked me the other day what I suggest she buy her neighbor who is in the midst of breast cancer treatment. I gave her three ideas. First, I suggested this inspirational book by Dr. Bernie Siegel. It’s all about exceptional patients, and it will convince you that the right attitude really does heal.

Then I recommended this book by Dr. Susan Love. I was once told it’s the bible on breast cancer, and now that I’ve consulted it for my every breast cancer question, worry and freak-out, I know that every breast cancer girl should have this book by her bedside. Dr. Love knows her stuff, and she explains it like she’s a trusted friend with all the answers.

And then there are socks — comfy, cozy, fuzzy socks. I got yellow ones in the mail (Thanks, Ginger!) when I was knee deep in chemotherapy, and they really saved the day. There’s nothing like feeling all warm and toasty when the world is crashing down around you.

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Hannah has breast cancer


I’ve never heard anything like it and apparently, not many people have, because the parents of this sweet little girl are at a crossroads over how to treat their 10-year-old daughter, who was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Hannah Powell has invasive ductal carcinoma, Stage IIA.

Here’s the dilemma: What type of treatment should a child with an adult disease receive? Hospitals that deal with breast cancer usually do not treat children, and children’s hospital do not have facilities for treating breast cancer. Hannah’s family posts on their website, “We have two options at this point; (A) Hannah goes to a breast center that does not have the experience in children or (B) she goes to a hospital that has more pediatric care but not so much in the breast cancer area.”

Hannah’s family is searching for answers, and if you have any information that might help them, please stop by their website and let them know. Do you know of any very young breast cancer patients? Do you know of any doctors who have treated very young breast cancer patients? Even if you don’t know how to specifically guide this family, I know your well wishes would help. So pay them a visit when you can.

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At 8 a.m. this morning, I arrived at the oncology clinic at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, FL for a six-month breast cancer follow-up. I sat in a nearly empty waiting room for a short time, then was moved to an exam room, where I had my blood drawn (ouch!), my weight checked (good news), my blood pressure taken (low, but good) and my temperature taken (98.3). Then met with my lovely Dr. who checked my boobs, my lymph nodes, my belly and my breathing.

Everything was just fine.

And then I drove away. And it’s been a glorious day ever since.

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Giveaway – Sweet Onesie Gift Set


Got a giveaway going on over here at this blog, and you’ve got to enter. It’s free, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post and you might just be the lucky winner of a precious baby onesie and burp cloth, compliments of Little Sassy Pants. The best part: If you win, you get to personalize the items just as you wish. Perfect for a baby gift or for your own little ones. Check it all out right here. And if you just want to do some sassy shopping, click here and check out the handiwork of my friend Deidre.

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Every Six Months


You’d think the days would get easier after four whole years. But still, nearly 1,600 days after my breast cancer diagnosis, it still makes me nervous to sit in an exam room every six months, in my pretty blue gown, waiting for my oncologist to reveal whether or not he feels anything suspicious in my breasts and other body parts, whether or not he finds anything wacky in my blood work and whether or not he’ll report that I am still healthy and apparently cancer-free.

The days don’t get easier, because even though my chances of survival increase with each year that passes, there are still people out there who are re-diagnosed after the exact amount of time that has elapsed for me. A woman who visited our garage sale a few weeks ago told me that on the very day she celebrated five years of survival, she was told her breast cancer had returned and was spreading. She was given three to five years to live. Crap. I haven’t even made it for five years. Clearly, this could happen to me.

Will my oncologist tell me on Monday at 8 a.m. that my cancer is back? I really don’t think so. But I really don’t know, either. And that’s why I’m nervous.

Photo courtesy of daveparker on flickr

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Social Responsibility – Don’t Duck Out of the Game


Are you responsible? Like, socially responsible? Blogger Laurie is, and she’s making it her mission to help find a cure for breast cancer by participating this June in the 2009 Race for the Cure that benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Laurie wants to help others, you see, and so she’s got a team and a big event she’s planning — On April 16, she will be hosting a dinner and raffle at On the Border in order to raise funds — and there is no doubt in my mind that she will made a big difference in the lives of others. It only takes one person, you know, to start a movement, and boy will Laurie be moving as she tackles those 60 miles in two months.

To read more about Laurie and her adventures in breast cancer, take a peek at her blog, La Vie de Laurie. And check out her breast cancer awareness page too. Then let this girl inspire you to become socially responsible. Take your own few steps for breast cancer, help a friend in need, deliver a meal to a neighbor in distress, share a few dollars with Laurie — you make the call. Just. Make. The. Call.

Photo courtesy of kimberlyfaye on flickr

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Have Hope




When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Joey was almost four, and Danny was 18 months old. Now Joey is eight, and Danny is almost six. And I’m still alive. How’s that for hope?

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The Everything Flat Belly Cookbook


This isn’t a breast cancer book, but it’s related in a kind-of, sort-of way. You know how we hear all the time that eating a clean diet can help ward off cancer, and how breast cancer recurrence is less likely if you feed yourself mostly nutritious foods? Well, The Everything Flat Belly Cookbook is chock full of healthy recipes — 300 of them, to be exact — and the best thing about this handy, dandy book (except that my friend, neighbor and former trainer wrote it) is that you can whip up these eats in no time at all — and for not much money either. There’s nothing extravagant about the dishes you’ll find here, there are no fancy ingredients you’ll need to hunt down and I’m pretty sure adults and kids alike will gobble up these goodies. I mean, who doesn’t like toasted cheese? It’s in there, and you can make it with a mere 177 calories and absolutely no fat. Like taco salad? Me too. Especially the kind with only 233 calories and 2 grams of fat. And don’t worry, you can get your chocolate fix too. A dark chocolate pretzel rod will fill you with just 76 calories and 3 grams of fat. You won’t want to suck these down, of course, but a bit of chocolate here and there is definitely do-able.

There’s no question this book will help you stay healthy. It’ll keep your abs in fighting flat shape too. Now that’s a two-fer you’ve got to like.

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Pink for the Sink

41jy4ciww7l_sl500_aa280_Every time I look down into my kitchen sink, I see this breast cancer strainer drain. A mommy friend gave it to me, way back when I was knee deep in chemotherapy, not a hair on my head. This momma was one of many who dropped by meals for me and my boys, and along with the food she delivered on her assigned night, she brought me this.

If you’re looking for a simple, yet meaningful and not-so-expensive gift for someone touched by breast cancer, this just might fit the bill. Click right here to purchase your very own.

Photo by:

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What Breast Cancer Looks Like – Susan



Susan, a mother of four and breast cancer survivor for two years and three months, says, “My college daughter, Kait, created this intaglio ink print (etched on a metal plate)  during my treatment in 2007. She never titled it, but to me it is what breast cancer looks like. This print is of our special vacation place, Lakeside, Ohio on Lake Erie. I feel it represents hope, love, comfort and sadness. The picture of myself and my sister (volunteering at the Race for the Cure) “looks like breast cancer,” because we, as patients, get through the treatment with support from those special people around us.

Want to show me what you think breast cancer looks like? Please send me a photo that captures the essence of breast cancer, and I will display it here. Email to, make sure your shot is at least 450 pixels wide and tell me something about the photo. No blurry pics, please.

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