Just Put a Potato On It

It is hard for me to completely comprehend how my cancer affects the people in my life.  When I was first diagnosed, my daughter Maggie (front and center) asked with a frightened look on her face, “Mom, can I get it?”  At first I stumbled, unsure how to answer, I realized she was afraid she might catch it, like a common cold.  “No, honey,” I explained, “you cannot catch cancer from me.”  Her face immediately softened and her big brown eyes sparkled again.  I could see the instant relief on her adorable little face. 

Of course, Maggie is only 10, so I didn’t tell her that she now has a much higher risk of getting breast cancer than the average woman.  I am not pushing her to take preventative measures to reduce her risk by eating healthy and organic food, exercising, using only natural shampoos and toothpaste, drinking spring water, living stress free and staying away from sugar, soda, and yes, frozen yogurt with brownie pieces and a cherry on top.  It would be futile and pretty pointless to instill fear in a 10 year old little girl who already has a lot on her plate dealing with her mommy and all the changes I am about to endure.      

She is not the only one I worry about.  One of my dearest friends, Raundi, watched her mom die of breast cancer.  I can only imagine how she is taking all of this.  Both of my dad’s parents died of cancer.  I was born soon after.  They never got to meet me.  My dad is a cancer survivor.  He battled with Lymphoma when he was 21 years old, radiation and the whole shebang.  He hates the dreaded disease.  My husband is working 12 to 15 hours a day and a two hour commute to boot with his new job.  I know he worries about not being there for me.  It can’t be easy on anyone, whether it has touched you personally or someone you love.  Everyone I talk to knows someone with cancer, a mother, a sister, an aunt or a friend of a friend.  Everyone!  No one is exempt.  And everyone has a story. 

The funniest story yet, the other day my neighbor suggested I put a potato on it.  He said that there is this magical potato from Hawaii that helps heal breast cancer.  Apparently, it healed his mother.  Later in the conversation he finally mentioned that she had surgery and chemo as well.  He then went on to tell me that he has a good friend that had a double mastectomy.  He said, “She has never been the same since.”  HELLO!  Honestly, “And why are you telling me this?” I was thinking, as I waved good bye to him and told him to have a nice day. 

I know he was just trying to be nice.  What do you say to someone with cancer?  As difficult as all of this is for me, I can only imagine how all of you out there feel.  There is a lot of fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety associated with a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. Some have different opinions on my path to recovery.  Others just simply do not know exactly what to do or say.  Some are naturals, born nurturers.  And, many wish they could do more.  I know that if my mom had her way she would move in with me tomorrow. 

But, no matter how you cope, deal, handle or reach out, I want you to know that I truly value each and every one of you out there.  I could not do this without you.  Let me re-word that, I do not want to do this without you.  So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and let you know how much I appreciate you.  Your outpouring of love and support has been incredible.  I have never felt more loved and that is because of all of you.  

  • So Aunt Linda, thank you for the “Fight Like a Girl” T-shirt.  I sleep in it every night. 
  • Eric and Leilah, thank you for the warm fuzzy slippers, jammie pants and jacket that keep me oh so warm. 
  • Cindy, thank you for the cozy pink and black fleece blankie that I curl up under when I read a book. 
  • Sally, thank you for the inspiring cards you have sent to me and the support you have given my mom.  And, thanks to all of my parents friends and family that have reached out to them. 
  • Clare, thank you for the basket of Harry and David goodies you so cleverly sent. 
  • Grandma Anita, thank you for the beautiful flowers that adorned our dining room table over the holidays. 
  • Riley, thank you for sweeping up the broken glass and the “anti-headache” mellow music CD you made me.
  • Mom, thank you for calling me every day to let me know how loved I am.
  • Patricia and Kevin, thank you for driving across the desert to surprise me at the “Kicking Breast Cancer Ass, The Yes Mom Way Fundraiser.”  You made me cry.  Also, thanks for putting together “Team Deanne’s Daisy Chains” for the “3 Day Breast Cancer Walk” in San Diego in November.  Better get walking. 
  • Megan and Aunt Gloria, thank you for the breast cancer bracelets that you had made and are wearing way over there in Texas.   
  • Tina and Marcia, thank you for putting together the “Kicking Breast Cancer Ass, The Yes Mom Way Fundraiser” and to all of you that came out to hear us sing, made a financial contribution and simply gave me a hug. 
  • Amy, thanks for watching Maggie for me while I trekked off to yet another doctor’s appointment. 
  • Raundi, thank you for putting together the Brown Family Food Train and for simply being my friend, and to all of you that have brought such delicious amazing dinners for the kids – Amy, Stephanie, Raundi, Carolyn, Cyndi, and Cindi.  You are all amazing cooks.  Cindi, Riley wants to move in with you.
  • Orit and Diana, thank you for keeping me well fed with your healthy yummy macrobiotic meals.  Diana, the trip to Oroville would not have been the same without you and Orit my head overfloweth with knowledge from you and all the books you have sent my way.   
  • John, thanks for cutting up squash for me and leaving a trail of informative sites on my computer. 
  • Carole, thank you for getting me started on the road to Macrobiotics, a life saving diet that has forever changed me. 
  • Bob, you are a fighter, thank you for showing me I can do it.
  • Isis, thank you for using your Goddess powers and helping Maggie get into school.  Not just any school either.  Thank you, girlfriend. 
  • April, thank you for the progesterone cream and tea and all your research.  I enjoy your E-mails and our chats. 
  • Julia, thank you for the book, Cancer Vixen.  Loved it! 
  • Liz and Isabelle, thank you for sending a cleaning crew to my house after the teen party.  A true treat.
  • Daisy Chain, thank you for keeping my soul fed. 
  • Riley, Casey and Kevin thank you for wearing “I Love Boobies” bracelets. 
  • Also, thank you for all the facebook messages, E-mails, cards, texts and phone calls.  Delena called me from Germany, Michelle from Michigan and Steve from Seattle.  Friends from grade school, high school and college have reached out to me.  Tear!  

And to all of you, thank you for reading my blog.  I plan to turn this experience into a book some day and you will all be a part of it.

I am sure I forgot someone in this list because so many of you have reached out to me but that does not mean you are forgotten.  Truly, your outpouring of love has my “love tank” full.  That is the key to fighting cancer, love, much better than putting a potato on it.

7 Responses to “Just Put a Potato On It”

  1. Tina Says:

    Thank you for…well, for being you. It is a gift to know someone like you. It is a gift to be able to freely express love and know that it will be accepted with open arms and reciprocating heart. Through your journey you will offer your own healing touch to the rest of us and as tears stream down my face, I am grateful because each time you touch my heart, it opens a little more. So sappy though it may be, thank you.

  2. Mom Says:

    Tina said it before I had a chance. That is to say THANK YOU DEANNE FOR BEING YOU.Just a little more than a week and I will be there.

  3. Terry Says:

    You are amazing! It will be great to see you this weekend dancing again…..dance like no one is watching! Your blogs always give me a lift and I look forward to reading it and it will make for an amazing book. Our prayers are with you always! xoxoxoxo Terry&Michael

  4. lynelle Says:

    you don’t know me, but i found your blog through Debi (Daisy Chain Debi and still one of my best friends ever).

    your shared thoughts have smiled me, laughed me, cried me, and reminded me of the hope we can grow and share with each other.

    you’re in my thoughts. thank you for making the time to share yours.
    sending healing and kick-cancer’s-ass wishes.

    (and i need your mailing address if you’re willing to share it: lynellex@comcast.net)

  5. clare Says:

    That list is the most incredible tribute to the love you inspire in others. It just went on and on and brought me to tears. My best friend in Denver had breast cancer, and she, too, developed the most gutsy sense of humor to cheer up all her friends. When I moved away she embroidered and framed a little clock face for me and on the back she wrote, “Time to call a friend”. Every minute of every day is the right time to let a friend know you love them.

  6. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Wish I could be there. Let me know what color you want and I will make you a
    warm and snuggy afgan to keep you all cuddly while you recover. Love you Honey.
    Patti (oops, Patricia) and I talk of you every day. Know that you are soooo loved and
    being prayed for by so many people.

  7. Deanne Says:

    Hi Aunt Marilyn,

    I would love one of your warm comfy afghan blankets. I am thinking navy blue and/or purple and or burgandy. You are an awesome aunt. I feel your prayers.

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