Monday, December 27, 2010

Wonderful Christmas!!!

I woke up on Christmas eve morning feeling like myself!

Wow that was just in time, I have been feeling bad for almost 3 weeks! but this morning was different. I woke up early, made myself a cup of coffee and went into my VooDoo room at about 5 am.
I knew this day would be different than the past 3 weeks, I was ready for Christmas. the tree was up and trains were running, the presents were wrapped and my family was bringing over dinner. Instead of me cooking this year they all volunteered to cook. My son Dominick and his wife came a few minutes early to fry the Flounder and Oysters. My sister dropped off wine, my daughter made the cutest Reindeer cupcakes ever. My sister in law and brother were bringing shrimp cocktail, my mom even made the Calamari and the Baccala. It was a feast in the true sense. It was going to be a wonderful family celebration and I was feeling good! What a great Christmas present for me!

We ate early because everyone was busy and of course I go to bed at 7 PM anymore! the kids were especially good and loved the train set, they took turns operating the trains and being the conductor... it was great fun to see them so excited.

This was my wish, to be surrounded by my family in the traditions that we have always had and to be supported and comforted by the sound of the grand kids laughing. I was feeling good and this was  wonderful present for me.

The next morning it was Christmas and we headed out to Dom and Carries for our traditional Christmas brunch, to see Finn and Gavin and have breakfast with Carrie's parents. It was perfect!
We left to get back home in time for a visit from both of Clint's daughters and Little Clint and Shelby were there too. We celebrated and had a wonderful visit with them.

Time for an afternoon nap and then off to Tina's for Christmas dinner with her in laws and my parents there it was a wonderful and joyous time!
This weekend with the snow and wind was perfect for just staying home and reading, both of which we did. It was a perfect holiday!

Tomorrow we head down to JEFF for my infusion. I am feeling good and I know in a couple of days I will be feeling sick again but you know what?~ I had such a wonderful Christmas that I will take this one day at a time and enjoy every second, sick or not!!!

I wish you all the joy of this season and I hope you are surrounded by love and light and an inspiration to enjoy each day of your life.
This Christmas was different for me but I enjoyed every second and I realize it is not about the presents or having a ton of money.. it is about family and friends and  memories and traditions. I had it all and I am so grateful!

Friday, December 24, 2010


As I get through this holiday season, I am wished a Blessed Christmas. It made me realize how blessed I already am.

I am blessed with a loving and caring husband, who has not left my side during these past months of turmoil, anguish and tears. We are in this together and he gives me strength and hope each day.

I am blessed by a strong and supportive family, who wrap their arms around me and make sure I am OK. My children, daughter in law and son in law, all who would do anything to help me at any time.
My Mom and Dad who are stunned by all of this but help me in any way they can. My sister and brother who are always there for me.

I am blessed with my grandsons, who run to kiss me with open arms each and every time I see them.

I am blessed with clients who have become friends and my friends, this seemingly legion of supporters help me make it through each day, sending me cards, notes, e mails, food, gifts and most importantly prayers and hope.

I am blessed with a comforting home, a view out my bedroom window, an ability to share my thoughts in writing. I am blessed with good doctors and caring professional who try to ease this journey.

I am blessed with all the little things life has to offer each day, a sunrise, a amber streaked sky, a full moon, the sound of the wind and my wind chimes, a bubble bath, a soft pillow, an electric blanket, a warm scarf, a good bowl of soup, these keep me warm in my heart and in my soul.

This Christmas season has been very different for me. It gave me a chance to realize I have so much in  my life already.Yes, I am going through a tough time. It is not easy I will tell you that. I have been drawn to tear so much these past two weeks but I will get better and do what I have to do to get to the other side of this journey, this trip through Cancer. I am strong, I have faith and I also have a sense of humor which saves the day more times than I can count.

I did hear from the Liver Surgeon last night at 5:15, long after I gave up hope that he would call me with the results of the MRI before the holiday.

The news was not what I was hoping for. He said that although I was reacting wonderful to the chemo, I still have some "spots" on my liver that will benefit from more chemo. He wants me to have at least 3 more months of chemo before we even talk about the operations. He was brief and I was taken by surprise because just last week he told me my results were dramatic and he thought that he could just cut out the remaining spot which has now turns into spots according to this latest MRI. This is how it goes, up and down and around and around, everything changes in an instant.

Although this is NOT what I wanted to hear especially in the days before Christmas, it is what it is and after I did my crying I realized that I will do what I have to do to get better. If more chemo is the answer then that is what I will do.

And so I am blessed, I am blessed with the will and strength to get through this, I am blessed with family and friends who will see me through these next few months. I am blessed with an ability to turn these feeling of sadness around and be happy to have the care of good doctors and the love of so many people.

I am blessed to be able to enjoy this holiday with my family around me, cooking for me and wrapping me in their love.

I know this is a very busy day, time is scarce but take a minute to count your blessings, it is much more fun than counting presents under the tree. You are blessed in so many ways, take a minute to realize that life is all about family, friends and love and acceptance.

I wish you a Blessed Christmas filled with love and laughter and good food and many many blessing!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I have been good this year. I was nice to my brother and sister and listened to my parents. I treated my kids well and my grand kids better!

I treated others the way I want to be treated.

I have been especially good this month of December because of the Elf you sent to watch me. That Elf on the Shelf has been in every room of my house keeping an eye out to see if I was naughty or nice. He is relentless!

This year I can ask for many things. The Mercedes I always wanted, to sit in the sun some place with nothing to do just a drink in my hand and Clint beside me, a million dollars (now that would come in handy for sure), I can ask for peace on earth but I am sure someone already asked for that.

I really just want one thing this year. Well make that several~ but I would still consider it one thing.

I want to hear back from the Liver surgeon about my MRI. I had it done on Monday and I know he is a busy guy but I am waiting patiently for the results and I would love to hear from him as soon as possible. I want my energy back, I want these Chemo symptoms gone! I want my hair back and my humor... kinda lost almost all of those two things lately. All this may seem like a lot but really it is just about one thing.. getting better.

I want to be on the other side of this journey, a better person, a healthy person, a person who laughs more than cries, one who loves the simple things in life and I want to be surrounded by my family and friends. I want to see my grandsons grow up to be big handsome boys, still running to kiss and hug me no matter what the age. I want to grow old with Clint and love life like I always have.

So there is my wish list. I hope you can get me what I want and one more thing~ can you make it sooner than later!

Thanks Santa, I know you gets tons of requests but mine is simple and I have been good.

Love, Susan 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Dehydration is a serious business.
When you are dehydrated you feel lethargic, dizzy, listless, your body works twice as hard and you really can't figure out what is wrong. A raging headache can appear in seconds, you list to one side when you get up from a chair to walk, you feel like you are under a cloud, dizzy, goofy even stupid!

Well after having the runs since my last infusion no amount of water, Gatorade, potassium pills would help. I have been feeling tired but that seemed the norm for me but this was something much more serious. I started to feel really sick right after one of my grandson's Christmas show on Thursday afternoon, I canceled my MRI that night ~who could be in a tube with a jack hammer at this point? I went right to bed. About 2 AM on Friday morning I woke up with a killer migraine and stayed in bed weepy and sick all day Friday and into Saturday. I missed my Grandson Brandon's Christmas show, on Friday morning, I couldn't babysit Finn and Gavin on Friday night although I promised a while ago.

When you feel sick like this along comes the tears, they are impossible to stop so along with feeling sick I was crying, Clint was crying, we were both a mess.

This is the time that the little voices come into my head WHY?? WHEN- if ever will I feel better? NOW?? at Christmas? WHY? No answers to those questions.

 I decided I needed help. I called the infusion center and asked if they could hook me up so I could get some fluids. They were at my door in less than 2 hours to access my port and give me instructions on how to hook myself up when the fluids came. I did just that. On Sunday I gave myself 2 liters of fluids over the course of 6 hours and then another liter on Sunday morning. I spent all day Sunday glued to my bed. Hoping and praying that this would work and I would feel better.

My house is in disarray, each room looks like something blew up in there. Packages remain in their cardboard boxes, unopened from the time they were delivered weeks ago, my hamper was over flowing, my Christmas tree lay in my back yard waiting to be stood up and brought into the house. The trains set still wasn't up and my desk was overflowing. There was no energy to tackle any of this and it made me sad.

I am still not myself, a little better because I was able to go and get my MRI attention to the liver, downtown at JEFF yesterday. As I lay in that tube for an hour, ferocious banging in my head, sounds like a jack hammer is in the tube with you! I felt like I was in an episode of LOST IN SPACE , laying in the tube! beam me up Scottie!  I was breathing and holding my breath as instructed, I thought to myself, OK this is it. FEEL BETTER NOW Susan!!!

Sometimes that works and sometimes not, but I have to say this morning I am feeling slightly better.
I can concentrate enough to write this blog. I will call the Liver Surgeon today and hope for a good news from the MRI. It would be a wonderful Christmas present~that's for sure!

My weepiness has subsided and I am getting control of myself ( I hope!) I will slowly tackle the disaster area that is my house and I am sure just that will make me feel better.

Christmas is days away, I can't believe how fast it got here. I will do what I can and what doesn't get done~ oh well!

I am so appreciative of all the cards and notes and gifts I am getting each and every day. I have to say that it brings tears to my eyes every single time to realize that I am surrounded by such support and love. and I thank you! I really can not do this without each and everyone of you! Your words of encouragement make me realize that I am not alone and that I am strong and that this will pass and I will be back to ME!

Take time for YOU this Christmas season, I know you are all running around taking care of everyone else but YOU are important too! take a breather, take a break from all the rushing, sit quietly, breath deeply, look around you. This season is really about the people not the things!

Hopefully I will get good news today or tomorrow, I will write again. Thanks for listening and being there for me. It make a world of difference not to be alone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


That is the word used by my Liver Surgeon to describe the way the chemo is working on this Cancer. He walked into my room on on Tuesday afternoon as we waiting patiently and told me he read the results from the PT/CT scan. "You have dramatic and remarkable results with the way the chemo is working. I see a vast improvement, 15 spots down to ONE spot on my liver!!!!!!!! this one spot can be burned or cut out.. a far cry from taking half my liver out~ that's for sure!!!!!

As I was hearing these words I felt relief but also I know that this journey is not always what you think or expect and he proved me right by telling me he wants to order a MRI with attention to the liver so he can be sure. I also have to see my Colon surgeon (so many doctors!!!) to see what he has to say about the way the colon is reacting. He also told me that when they do schedule the surgery I will be off the one drug called AVASTIN but not all the chemo. I will have a lower dose of chemo until my operation. So this journey takes a new turn.

I have an MRI scheduled for 7:30 tonight down at JEFF. It is way past my bedtime but that is all that was available, so we will venture downtown to get this test .. the sooner the better!

I also pleaded and begged not to have Chemo 3 days before Christmas and my Chemo Doctor agreed to give me the week off. My next infusion will be December 28th.  This week was full of good news as I tried to find a way to look at all the good that is happening around me instead of how I still feel, I am still fighting strong fatigue, I get tired very very easily and I love my sleep!!! the good news is that I baked cookies yesterday and went to my grandsons Christmas show.. it was wonderful.

I have so much to be thankful for this season. As I drank my coffee by candlelight early this morning and wrote my morning pages I realized that I have so much in my life that is good.

I could never go through this experience alone and I have so very many friends and clients that write, call, send emails, offer help and encouragement when I am down, people who follow my blog and send me notes of love and healing. Gifts left on my doorstep, luscious soups and food for Clint and I to enjoy. I am so blessed to have so many of you in my life now. Friends who see me always give me a kiss and a big hug, some with tears in their eyes which make me cry too but I feel the love and I am so very grateful!!!~Thank you all so much!

I have a wonderful support system and I just couldn't make it through the holiday season if it weren't for YOU!!!!!

I realize now that life is all about the little moments. The hugs, the cookies, the smiles and the love.
You are creating your life right now, be kind, smile, laugh often and at all the little things that life throws at you. Be grateful for all that you have and know that you are right where you should be and that it will all work out... no matter what.

I wish you joy and peacefulness during this busy busy time, I wish you laughter and hugs. I send you white shining light to fill your life and your body. Don't forget to take some quiet time each and every day just to look at your life and realize how lucky you really are!

And THANK YOU all for each and every thought you send my way. I lay in bed at night with an open heart to receive all that you send my way and I appreciate it all so very very much!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feels like Christmas

I am 5 days past my last infusion and I have been in bed practically that whole time. I did venture into the kitchen on  Thursday and Friday and Saturday to cook for the jobs I had. Patti and Clint were a big help to me as I sat in the chair and told them what to do! Even that was tiring, almost unbelievable to me!

This is the season, for lights and cookies and wrapped packages and trees and Santas. I am overwhelmed by all of this. In years past my home was decorated Thanksgiving weekend. Trains up, Santa's lining my mantle and window sills, tree decorated, cookies baked, presents wrapped. This year is different. I am dreaming of doing all of this not doing it. I have very little energy. This alone can get me down in the dumps. I want to participate in this holiday. My body has other ideas!

I am slowly dragging my boxes of decorations up from the basement, Clint is putting up our big train set for the grand kids, they can't wait! I think about baking cookies and one day I will wake up and actually feel like baking cookies!

I feel like this is some sort of lesson for me~to slow down, to accept I am not who I was last year, to let others do for me what I can't do myself. Although this does not seem hard it really is. Being a doer all my life and all of a sudden not being able to do even the simplest stuff is excruciating to me!

My next infusion is scheduled for December 22nd, I think they are crazy!!! I will call and plead with my Doctor to give me Christmas week off. I cannot even imagine being this sick for the Holidays.

In years past I have always cooked the Feast of the Seven Fishes but with me it ended up being the Feast of the 10 fishes (I get carried away!)

It was a pleasure for me to carry on this tradition in my home surrounded by my family and with the grand kids running around the house in excitement, the noise level was almost unbearable! but oh so much fun! and that is what the holidays are all about, being surrounded by family, some who you love and others who you tolerate. It is all OK on Christmas eve!

I have to come to the realization that this year will be different. Christmas with a twist. Others cooking, not so many decorations, cookies sent by others (I LOVE them!). My family will be by my side and I will enjoy this different scenario with the same gusto I have always enjoyed the holidays. Not so easy but I am so appreciative of everyones' help. A BIG lesson for me!

Life is about choices and I chose to enjoy each day and the time that I feel good. I don't want Christmas to pass me by so I will be involved, however I can.

I wish everyone a Happy and loving Christmas filled with family, fabulous food, love and joy. Remember it is not about how much stuff you get but the relationships you have in your life. You never know when you will need your family and friends around you to love and support you.

Be kind, be happy, be grateful. Your life is NOW!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Infusion Day

I am headed down to JEFF this morning at 7AM for my scheduled infusion. I have such mixed emotions today, I know I need to go and I have to go to get better but I really don't want to go. The infusion center tries to make it as pleasant as possible but there is no getting around that they will access the port and start dripping these meds in my veins. I am not happy about that.

I woke up early to try to prepare myself mentally for this long day. For some reason I am emotional today, I will get through this, I know but on the other hand I am resistant to this, I guess it is normal. who the heck wants to be given all these drugs and then be sick for over a week?? not me and that's for sure!

I have been feeling pretty good since the last infusion the day before Thanksgiving, a day or two feeling lousy here and there for no apparent reason, but over all pretty good. I guess that is why I am reluctant to go, I don't want to feel sick, I don't want to spend a week in bed.

Well, I just have to take a deep breath and get dressed and do what I have to do and know I will be OK.
So here's to my day, send me some love and good thoughts, I need them today!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tis the season!!!

These are some great ideas for holiday entertaining, stay tuned I will be posting more recipes for the holidays! let me know how you like them!!!!

Meatballs in a Honey Bourbon Sauce
1/2 cup bourbon( Old Grand Dad)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs honey
3 tbs melted butter
dash hot sauce
2 tbs mayo
1/2 cup coarse mustard
1 small can cream of celery soup

Combine ingredients for bourbon sauce in saute pan and whisk until smooth and hot, pour over fried meatballs.
Mini Meatballs
2 lbs ground mix (beef, pork, veal)
salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for frying
Combine ingredients for meatballs and roll into small balls , fry in oi till crisp, top with bourbon sauce


2 cups goat cheese crumbled
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar
~combine in oven proof dish, bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbly,garnish with chopped scallion or parsley, serve with bread slices or crudites

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Appetizer Recipes

I promised recipes so here they are... I will be posting more from previous cooking classes, all very easy and delicious!I will also be posting recipes from an Italian Christmas featuring great ideas for the Feast of the Seven Fishes!!!!
 I just made my cookbook LIVE, LAUGH, COOK available as an e book! It is filled with wonderful easy recipes and great fun to read short stories and it is also filled with the most important ingredient in the world!!!!~LOVE!!!!!! Just go to my web site to order

Cranberry Jewel Topped Brie

1 large wheel of brie (2 LB)
1 ~ 12 ounce packs fresh cranberries, rinsed
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup triple sec
1/4 cup orange juice
~in saucepan combine all ingredients except brie, bring to boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all cranberries burst, top brie with mixture and put brie in 350 oven for 15 minutes , serve with bread slices.

Caramelized onion & goat cheese pizza
2 large onions sliced thin
3 tbs melted butter
salt & pepper
1 tbs brown sugar
~in melted butter saute onions until golden, add salt, pepper, sugar, drain if too wet
pre-baked pizza shell
1 cup goat cheese crumbled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
~spread onions on pizza shell top with goat cheese and sprinkle with grated Parmesan, bake in 350 oven for 10 to 15 minutes

Orange Mulled wine
4 cups white wine                 one orange sliced
1/2 cup sugar                       1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup honey                       1 tbs cinnamon
~combine in saucepan & serve warm

2 lb. beef cut into strips
6 inch bamboo skewers
~thread beef onto skewers and bake in 350 oven for 15 minutes
Spicy dipping sauce
2 cloves garlic minced                       ~combine in a saucepan,heat until
1 generous dash hot sauce                     fragrant~10 minutes or so
1 tbs. sesame oil                                       pour over cooked beef skewers
2 tbs. olive oil                                          ~can be made ahead & reheated
2 tbs. brown sugar
4 tbs. teriyaki sauce
1 cup ketchup
scallion for garnish

1/2 cup bottled blue cheese dressing
3 tbs. Franks Hot sauce
~combine in a bowl

2lbs boneless chicken, cut into strips
~dip the chicken into the blue cheese mixture and thread onto a skewer
bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, 350 for 15 to 20 minutes
You can make additional sauce for a dip


6 Granny Smith apples sliced thin
3 tbs. melted butter
3 tbs. brown sugar

1 cup blue cheese crumbed
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Bread slices
~in saute pan cook apples in butter & sugar until soft and caramelized
Layer on bread slice and top with blue cheese crumbles & sliced nuts, put into a 350 oven for 10 to 15 minutes