Over the Edge 2016: A Fundraiser for GIlda’s CLub

overtheedge2016logo

I’m taking the plunge again!  I went Over the Edge 2 years ago and helped raise money for the amazing Gilda’s Club and can’t wait to do it again!  This year marks my 4th year being cancer free and GIlda’s Club played a big part in mine and my family’s recovery.  They provide FREE support services and activities to ANYONE touched by cancer.  I am a blessed and grateful survivor, but there are more women, men, and children being diagnosed every day who need our help.  Please open your hearts  – and your wallets! – and make a donation today.

Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.

Many thanks for your support — and don’t forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!

Please click here to visit my fundraising page: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/SoniaConvery/4th-annual-over-the-edge

Peace, love and good health to all!

Sonia

*Gilda’s Club, a nonprofit agency, is named in honor of comedian Gilda Radner- one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live and creator of lovable characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella. Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989 at the age of 42. The first Gilda’s Club opened in New York City in 1995, and the second affiliate, Gilda’s Club South Florida, opened in Broward in 1997.

Gilda’s Club South Florida is a free cancer support community for women, men, children, and teens with all types of cancer and their families and friends. We offer networking groups, lectures, workshops, specialized children’s and teen programs, and social events in a nonresidential, non-medical, home-like setting. Gilda’s Club South Florida is located in a beautiful historic home in downtown Fort Lauderdale on the Tarpon River.

To learn more about Gilda’s please click here http://www.gildasclubsouthflorida.org/

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Is it hot in here, or is it just me…?

sevendwarfsofmentapause

I was 44 years young when a blood test confirmed that I had begun Perimenopause (the transition into Menopause).  I had been having irregular periods and hot flashes so I went to my primary physician, who did lab work to check my hormone levels.  A few days after my visit, I received a call from a way too cheerful nurse saying, “Congratulations!  You’re in Perimenopause!” Congratulations? Really? I didn’t feel lucky, I just felt tired and old.  A month or two after this windfall, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer.  As I was going through the process of diagnostic tests to determine more about my cancer (MRI’s, PET scans, etc.), they found a grapefruit size cyst on my right ovary.  No one said congratulations this time, they said “let’s get that thing outta there!”  The doctors were concerned that it might be malignant, so the cyst – along with my ovary – was promptly removed. Thank God it turned out to be benign.  However, it was not all good news.  When I was in my 20’s, I had my left ovary removed due to another benign cyst – which now left me with no ovaries.  Goodbye Perimenopause, hello full-blown Menopause.  I was miserable.  Then on top of that, I started chemotherapy, which enhanced the effects of menopause.  I would walk around with a wet rag on my bald head and was never without a paper fan to cool me down.  It’s now 4 years later and I still have hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and fatigue.  The symptoms have lessened somewhat, but they can still be extremely frustrating and exhausting.  What’s worse is that my cancer was Estrogen positive, so I’m on a 5 year hormone blocker (Arimidex), and can’t use any hormone replacement meds or over the counter menopause remedies (they contain soy, which acts like estrogen in the body).  I have no choice but to just live with it – and pray my air conditioning never breaks down!

When you need Help asking for Help

A well-meaning friend or family member has just found out about your diagnosis.  They’re in shock and so are you.  Wanting to offer comfort and support, they often say something like, “if there’s anything I can do for you, let me know.”  Often, our reply is, “thank you, I will” – but then you never do.  Sound familiar?  For many of us, asking for help is uncomfortable, awkward, or just plain unheard of.  There are many reasons for this, but I don’t want to focus on the why we can’t in this post, but on the how we can.

brave help

Years ago, I used to run a support group for Caregivers who took care of their elderly loved ones, many of whom had dementia and other debilitating conditions.  They did a wonderful, amazing job of caring for their loved ones, but often a terrible job of taking care of themselves.  They put their loved ones first, neglecting their own well-being, and often felt they had to do it alone, that asking for help would be an admission of failure or that they were shirking their responsibilities.  Many of these Caregivers became ill themselves, and some even passed away before the loved ones they had been caring for.  They pretty much all had the same thing in common – they had a difficult time asking for help.  One of the resources I often turned to for ideas was Today’s Caregiver magazine and their website, http://www.Caregiver.com.  An article that I found extremely helpful was one that suggested making a “Reverse Gift List.”  The concept was to create a list, much like a Christmas list, except next to people’s names, you list a “gift” that person could give you.  For example, you might have a neighbor who could go grocery shopping once a week for you, or a sister-in-law who could make dinner and drop it off once a week. This way, when someone asks, “is there anything I can do for you?”, they could pull out their little list and say, “well, as a matter of fact, there is…”, and give them specific tasks to do.  This not only helps the person asking for help, but it also makes the person offering help feel like they are contributing in a meaningful way.  I experienced this first hand when I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago.  I had a wonderful partner and we had two lovely daughters, the oldest 5 and the youngest 2.  We realized quickly that we could not handle everything on our own and sat down to make a list of everyone in our support system – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers.  Just as I had a treatment team of doctors and medical professionals to fight my cancer , my partner and I assembled a team to help us get through it.   It was so helpful to have a ready-made list of things we needed help with.  It gave me a sense of order in the midst of the chaos and gave my helpers a sense that they were contributing to my recovery, to my family and to kicking cancer’s butt.  Often, people really want to help, but don’t know how – making this list gives them the answers and – most importantly – the help you most desperately need.

ask for help

*To read the full article from Today’s Caregiver on “Reverse Gift Lists”, visit:  http://www.caregiver.com/articles/general/reverse_gift_list.htm

     
 
   

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