Monthly Archives: January 2014

TMI

I’m going to spare you the details but I had a proceedure today at MGH to check me out further for any issues relating to my Mother’s colon cancer. My mom died very young from the disease and I’ve always been followed closely. My surgeon suggested I get checked bf my breast surgery and I am happy to report that all was good! I knew all that green juice and veggies were good for something! I am so relieved that the test is over and I am all clear! I have to admit that having developed breast cancer has rocked my confidence and made me pretty concerned that something else could show up.
I am happy to report that I am back to dealing with the original issue, and will take the next few weeks to prepare for surgery and whatever steps we take from there.
I am thankful for my doctors and surgeon from MGH and Dana Farber. One step at a time. This step is to keep life as smooth and normal as possible for my family.
Thank you for all the words, support and prayers. Hoping for no more appointments until closer to the 20th!
Have a great weekend and I love you all!
Carlene

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By |January 30th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

What’s the plan?

Thank you all so much for the overwhelming love and support. I can’t even express how each word has landed in my heart!
Well, its been about 7 days and I can’t even believe this is happening! Matt and I spent the day in Boston yesterday. I had a consult with the plastic surgeon that will work with my surgical oncologist. She is an amazing surgeon and comes highly recommended. That was the lighter part of the day…. even with all the gore of how this will all go down, I am confident that in the end, I’m going to be very happy with the results. Dana Farber was definitley a harder appointment. We met with a medical oncologist at Dana Farber. He went over my biopsy results, pending surgery and next steps after the surgery. We definitely have a clearer picture of how this will all go down and chemo seems to be lurking in the wings. Matt and I are powering through this to get as much information, confirmation, and guidance as we can. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have such an amazing husband!
My surgery is scheduled for Nov20. It will be about 5 hours and I will be at Mass General Hospital. It can take up to two weeks for all the pathology to come back so I will be home healing and waiting for next steps. I know that I will be in the hospital for two nights and can’t do anything for 6 weeks. I will be traveling back and forth to Boston quite a bit. My father and Liz will be here to make everything run smoothly as well as make an endless supply of comfort food for all!
I was scheduled to attend a yoga training in Utah on Nov 6-15. Ive been waiting for this training for a year! I decided I would wait for my surgery date to see if I could still pull it off. As much as I want to be the girl with her middle finger up to cancer, and head out to Utah, I feel like the place where I will get the most strength is home with Matt and the kids. I have amazing family and friends that are truly loving me up! I also have some outrageously inspiring friends who have traveleld this road before me…they are making sure I don’t miss a thing!
My faith and my yoga practice have given me a gift to keep reining myself back into the present moment. I keep coming back to right now and taking each thing as it comes, not focusing on what will be next. I am in good hands, I have a lot of faith and I have some kick ass guardian angels!
Tomorrow I have a proceedure that I need to get out of the way before any of this happens and I would love a little prayer that it is completely uneventful! I also have a dear friend that was diagnosed the day after me! If the prayers are flowing, send her some love too!
I will keep you posted!
Love, Carlene

By |January 30th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

The Boston Marathon Scarf Project

The marathon was a beautiful, sunny, warm April day.  So, why was I wearing a scarf??

That blue and yellow scarf was given to Matt the day before the marathon.  The Old South Church on the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston St in Boston (just beyond the marathon finish line) gave out more than 7,000 of them!  The scarves were made all over the world and in almost every state in the US, sent to the church where they were blessed and given out to the runners!  Volunteers stood in front of the church passing out the scarves for days.  Easter Sunday, walking around Boston, you could see a sea of all different blue and gold scarves.  Complete strangers were coming up to Matt wishing him good luck and God’s blessing for the marathon.

We attended Easter mass at the Old South Church.  The priest handed them out to non-runners and asked that they placed it around the neck of a runner with a prayer for safety and a great run!  Our daughter,Chloe, placed the scarf around Matt’s neck which he wore all day on Easter  Sunday.  On Marathon Monday, I placed that scarf around my neck as I waited for Matt to reach us at mile 25.

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If you knit, you understand.  When I knit a gift for someone, that person is warmly in my thoughts while I am doing it.   I am grateful for the time, effort and care they put into that scarf.  We felt it!  It reminded me of the power of being of service to others and how powerful an act of kindness can be.

Thank you to Ginny, Pat, Myrtle, Carmella, Jean, Elaine, Nancy, and Lee Ann.  Your scarves provided comfort, love and inspiration!  Love, Carlene

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By |January 30th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Peace in the Present Moment

The Boston Marathon 2014 is complete.  Matt made his best time in 12 marathons, blew away our fundraising goal for Dana Farber Marathon Challenge and it was a peaceful, sunny, memorable day.  I have never run the marathon.  Each year, someone on the course inspires me with their determination, perseverance or possibly a Wonder Woman costume with a tutu and I think, I should do that!  That thought quickly fades and I am happy to cheer on my husband from the sidelines, he is the Marathon Man in our house!  Who knew back in my college days of “watching” the marathon from Whiskey’s on Boylston Street that it would come to have so much meaning in my life.

April 14, 2013 on the car ride home from Boston, I can’t say I was surprised when Matt stated his plan was to run again.  Deep down I would expect nothing less from him and I had no energy to argue after hours of not being able to find him during the chaos of that day.  I secretly hoped he’d just forget to train.  The past year has been one of his quiet determination after being stopped just minutes from the finish line. I wrote as a way to process the marathon day last year.  I learned this year, this marathon day, peace in the present moment.  True peace is in the present moment.  Each time my memory was stirred, my heart fluttered or my pulse quickened as I was brought back to the events of last year, I said to myself, “ be HERE now”.  When I am in the present, I am not reliving stories from the past or trying to predict the future.  Although I am proud of my very first blog post,   , it is now just a story from the past.  This Marathon Monday, I chose to experience the marathon in the present moment, reminding myself to “be here now”.

Cheering Section! Nephews Aidan, Cole, Sister in Law Lisa, Chloe and me. Mile 25!

Sending a big thank you for the encouragement, love and support of friends, coworkers, family, neighbors and people we have never met.  Thank you to all who supported our fundraising efforts for Dana Farber and who shared precious names of the people close to their hearts who are fighting or have lost their battle to cancer.  There were too many names to fit on his shirt this year so we wrote almost 175 names on a piece of paper he carried.  Matt carried those names all 26.2 miles but more importantly, the meaning they have, carried him.

Wishing you peace in the present moment.  

By |January 28th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Holidays, new year planning and chemo…

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and happy holidays! We had a great couple of days. Although we were sad that our annual pajama and pancake breakfast didn’t happen, we had two amazing days of friends, family, food and LOVE! I am feeling physically stronger everyday. It’s amazing that my surgery was a little over 4 weeks ago!

We have been waiting for more results from Dana Farber and Mass General. To make a long story very short, chemo starts this Tuesday. The consensus among both teams is that chemo is the most aggressive path and recommended. I had a choice but both oncologists leaned toward this path for many reasons…I heard nothing after they said it was because I was so young;)

So as far as we know right now, it’s four rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart. I have been told that there is a chance we will go for another 4 rounds after that but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now, eye on the prize means early/mid March.

My focus is staying healthy and keeping my family on track. Chloe and Jack are not even mid way thru their basketball seasons and Matt is working on some exciting projects and training for his 10th boston marathon with Dana Farber Marathon Challenge.

I miss teaching and practicing yoga. I miss being around that amazingly uplifting community but I have felt every prayer, good wish and love sent my way. Lots of lessons learned by me over these past few months and I plan on sharing all the good stuff!

I am wishing you all HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN 2015 and beyond!

Happy happy new year!

Love Carlene

By |January 26th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Thankful Thanksgiving

Thank you for the prayers and words of encouragement as I went into surgery last week. All went as planned with the happy surprise of no issues with my lymph nodes! I ended up just staying one night in the hospital and was more than ready to get home that next day once my pain medication was under control. I feel like I’ve been in a time warp! Anyway, there is not much to report except that i am well taken care of and just resting to heal. I couldnt possibly list all the extraordinary things family, friends and complete strangers have done to make this road a little smoother. Matt continues to be the most attentive, loving guy, helping me in each moment! This experience is sure to change me forever! We are all trying to patiently wait for word on chemo / radiation. The surgeon said 7-10 working days until I will hear. With Thanksgiving, that brings it well into next week or beyond. I will leave you with a really cool story/example of a strangers kindness.
Last week I came home from one of Jack’s basketball practices to a huge package outside the garage. I opened it to find a personal note and a kick ass pair of red cowboy boots. The note was from a woman, Margaret Burns Vap. She has a yoga and horses retreat in Big Sky Montana. Turns out you can nominate anyone going through breast cancer treatment to get a pair of boots to “kick cancer”. My friend Aimee nominated me and I wore those boots until they made me take them off the day of my surgery. If you love horses and yoga, check out her website.

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Thanksgiving day just know that I will be saying a special prayer for each one of you and a wishing that anyone going through some sort of health challenge will feel the same love and care that I feel each moment!
Happy Thanksgiving!
Love Carlene

By |January 24th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Breaking the news…I HAVE BREAST CANCER

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I went for a routine breast MRI last week. I am followed a little closer than normal because of some risk factors that I have. For 5 years I have been getting breast mri and mammogram 6 months apart. Each visit has come up with something new, not cancer but “some area of concern” or “something to watch”. I had no reason to think that last Thursday would be any different. It was. They called me back and after mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy, I have Invasive ductal carcinoma grade2, estrogen and progesterone positive, HER2 negative (best breast cancer to get I’m told!).

I have an amazing team at Massachusetts General Hospital and feel so comfortable with all the medical advice we are getting. That said, we are also going to Dana Farber for another opinion as well as a second place to view the pathology that comes back after my surgery. Based on my risk factors, the chance I have of recurrence and our doctor’s recommendation, I will have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. It is about a 5 1/2 hour surgery where the surgical oncologist does her thing then the plastic surgeon comes in and does hers. I am told it is about a 6-8 week recovery from the surgery. Once they take the tumor and any lymph nodes for testing (up to 2 weeks) they will make a recommendation about chemotherapy and radiation. This point is where the second opinion will be comforting. Once MGH has tested and looked at all the breast tissue, tumor and lymph nodes, they will send it off to Dana Farber for a second look.

Matt and I meet with the medical oncologist at Dana Farber next Wednesday. As of right now, I do not have a date for my surgery. There are so many moving parts to come together that it makes my head spin. I am hoping to have a date either later today or Monday. The sugeon says this type of cancer is slow growing and I am not in any immediate danger. I am on tamoxifen which slows the growth as well.

Over the last 3 days, I have met with nothing but professional, caring, amazing people to help me navigate this road! Matt is right by my side, asking a million questions, five different ways! Chloe and Jack are digesting the news and really just going thru the appropriate stages of learning something like this. It is hard for them, so many questions and unknowns. My father and stepmother are headed this way for Thanksgiving so I know I will have an amazing amount of help! I appreciate everyone’s notes, messages, hugs and support. It is all very surreal. I feel like I’m going through a dream. I taught my first yoga class today after finding all this out and it was so great to be back. There was so much support and love and yoga did its magic on me as I taught.

I am so lucky to be in this place right now… Boston hospitals are the best in the world, my husband, kids, family and friends are OFF THE CHARTS supportive, I have a yoga practice that keeps me in reality, not spinning off into a made up land of what ifs and I have my two guardian angles (Mom and Jackie) that guide me every day! Believe me, this is overwhelming and takes my breath away at times but overall I feel that this is a big bump in our road and we will handle each moment as it comes.

I love you all, every last one of you for caring enough to read this post and offer your support. I guess we all take turns in life offering and receiving, I have a really hard time with the recieving so maybe that’s my lesson.

Love Carlene

By |January 24th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Loss for words…not really

So, the girl with the blog, yoga website, yoga teacher is totally at a loss for words. You’d think this experience would have me bubbling over with yoga wisdom but I’m feeling pretty quiet right now. My surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, Nov 20. The fun begins at 9:30am but the surgery doesn’t begin until 11:45am at Mass General. It is supposed to last approx 5 hours and Matt will be at the hospital with me. I can’t begin to explain how much all your support and love mean to me. I just want to look each of you in the eye and thank you for the love and support just leading up to this! I feel like there are a lot of questions that will be answered over the next few weeks… chemo, radiation, healing from surgery. I know that I couldn’t be in a better place, with the best doctors, support system at home, etc. Matt has done absolutely everything to make sure I am in the best place physically and mentally for surgery and whatever comes from it…I couldn’t imagine a more supportive, loving, positive, focused partner to have in this!

One thing that I have thought about a lot over these past few weeks is, how do people do this that don’t have the support I do? How do single parents go thru this on their own? How do they keep life normal for their kids and hide the toll it takes without the help of a partner, family or friends close?? If you’ve known Matt and I for any amount of time, you know how important cancer research, Dana Farber, and supporting strong focused organizations is to us. I can tell you that we are already working on our own way to answer some of those questions I have been thinking about…stay tuned:)

I think that’s all I have right now. I hope that if you include me in your prayers you will include Matt, Chloe, Jack and my whole family. I am keeping very busy over the next six days so that will be a good thing. Lots of plans for this weekend and sports during the week to keep up with. All the activity will be a good thing, just keeping everyone on track. So many wonderful things have happened to me over the past few weeks… family, friends and complete strangers have reached out in their own way to let me know they are with me. I think at this point, connection is the gift and I will keep on receiving that connection and building my healing from there!

Love, Carlene

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By |January 13th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|

Planning and Gratitude

I just wanted to check in and let you know how things are going. Yesterday, I had my third plastic surgery post op appointment. I am finally rid of all the drains and tubes which is a huge relief. Each time I see the plastic sugeon, she gives a little fill to the expander between my ribs and pec muscles, AKA my new boobs. It is an uncomfortabe process and today I feel like someone beat me up but each time is a baby step to being finished.

The past two months have been a lot of waiting. It has been three weeks since my surgery and next Wednesday Matt and I will be in Boston all day to meet with my doctor at Dana Farber and to meet with all my doctors at Mass General. It is a full day and we are hoping and planning to have all the information we need to know how we will move forward. I am a girl that likes to have and plan and be acting on it!

I have had a few trips out which is nice and exhausting. I have been to one of Jack’s basketball games and I am hoping to get to Chloe’s game tonight. My step-mother and I took a trip to Target to get the house stocked up on all the necessities which entailed me leaning on the cart bossing her around:) She was a good sport and is a huge support to me. My father and Liz will be leaving on Wednesday. Their presence and around the clock help has made this process so much smoother for Matt, Chloe, Jack, and Me! My father is officially Chloe and Jack’s “driver”. He can’t believe the amount of mileage we cover in a week! Thanks to my crazy neighbors and my aunt Joanne and uncle Ralph visiting, the outside of the house is as festive as ever. I so appreciate that for Chloe and Jack!

Gratitude is overflowing over here for the amazing things that have been done for us over these past few weeks. I may have been a little cloudy in those first few days/weeks:) but I am just so thankful for the food, decorations, books, gifts but most importantly the words…cards, texts, emails, phone messages, Facebook… all of it!

Love Carlene

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By |January 12th, 2014|Yoga|0 Comments|