Friday, December 31, 2010


I may have mentioned this before…in our family we have somewhat of a ritual, every New Year’s Eve we all write on small pieces of paper the things that we felt were great about the year and put them in a small “memory” box with the year written on them so we can look back on those pieces of paper in the following years. We also write on small pieces of paper for that same year what things were bad, and then we put those memories in the fireplace and watch them burn. There’s something quite cathartic about seeing the bad things burn away, giving a fresh start to the new year, with nothing but the good memories left behind; of course this is symbolic, we still have our minds to deal with, but generally it’s a very purifying experience.

The year 2010 has been a difficult year for me and my family, and this year we’ve all said that while we’ve had a few things that we were glad that we had the chance to be able to see and do, and of course we would all like to write down those few things and put them in the box, what we all felt like we wanted to write down about the bad things instead of writing the individual things which seemed too many to write was to just write down 2010 and throw it in the fire. We’re still deciding what we will do, and what will make us feel best. Here are some of the things:

In the box:
We really enjoyed going to Maine this summer, seeing Jamie in Rumors this winter, Rachel is very happy that after many years of wishing she finally got an Apple computer for her birthday. I met some amazing people this year that are helping me make my Non-Profit Brain Matters and the walk I intend to make in October go from a dream to a reality. Jon and I happily spent a beautiful time celebrating our 25th Anniversary at Bedford Post Inn. Jamie interned at Telsey Casting this summer, which she loved so much she wished she could just camp out there overnight. We’re always thankful for our pets, and this year we’re glad for having met Jamey Garfinkle at Pet Sitters, who walks Max four days a week. Jamie has been such a help to me, and a great friend to Max. Lastly, we’re glad that we’re here to see the possibility that 2011 is a better year.

In the fire:
We were supposed to move in December 2009 when the seller of the house that we’re now living in came to visit us at the house we were living in at the time, uninvited two weeks before we were suppose to move into his house and said he didn’t want to move anymore. What? We learned a lot about NY Real Estate law this year. We moved, but not when we had planned, but the people who bought our house still moved into our house, fortunately they rented it to us for a month after they bought it (while they lived elsewhere), then we moved at the end of that month. All our stuff went into storage, we moved in with my parents, including all our pets…just like the old days when I was in High School…NOT. Shortly afterward one of our cars was in a car accident, only we weren’t in it (that was good, I guess), it was hit while parked. Our other car stopped working because it needed a new transmission (bad timing). While the cars were being repaired, I went to LA for a few days, and Jon and Rachel went to Florida. I missed my first flight, and flew out the next day. I started to feel my whole body buzzing-the warning of what would turn out to be seizures that I was to be diagnosed with due to a combination of post-radiation and stress. When I was leaving LA, my return flight was 4 hours delayed. When I returned, it was one thing after another, our dogs were crazy living at my parents, it snowed every other day, we continued to battle it out every day with our “sellers”. At the end of the month I was in the hospital. We closed on the house the beginning of February, but I was unable to go to closing. Our stuff left storage and we moved into the new house without my being there…it took me months after we moved in to find things. Rachel helped tell the movers where things should go once they reached the house. Jamie came home from school to help Jon get things from my parents to the house. I was still trying to figure out my medicine and my seizures. After all this, we dealt with kitchen renovation, painting, I didn’t drive for months, one of our birds died in June, Jamie had stuff, Rachel had stuff, Jon and I had stuff, our dogs had stuff. How could we not have stuff? Goodbye 2010. Here’s to hoping 2011 will be better year, and no worse a year. Happy New Year!

It's Days Like This

There’s this way of assuming things, taking things for granted, that once you’ve learned that you can’t…you don’t…you won’t, not ever. This not ever taking things for granted is as they say “both a blessing and a curse”, it allows you to appreciate things in a way that you may never have been able to before, but you also are anxious and worried that you may not live long enough to see and do the things you want to be seeing and doing. So it’s with that in mind that I tell my next story…event really. It goes like this:

Jamie (my oldest daughter), who is now in her senior year at the University at Buffalo was recently cast as one of the leads in Neil Simon’s farce “Rumors”. First, it’s hard to believe Jamie is a senior in college. She just started college when I called her to let her know that I was going to have to have another brain surgery. My first brain surgery was when Jamie was a bit over a year old-she doesn’t remember much, if anything at all about that surgery. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled story.

The three and half years since Jamie started college have flown by in one way, and crept by in another. So much has happened in these years, and yet there have been times we have all wished for certain of those events to move by faster than others. The family has moved, we’ve had pets that have died, more doctors appointments than we can count…these things some how have gone by slowly, but Jamie’s time in college…to us anyway, has gone by quickly.

Jamie has always loved the stage; she loves everything about it. Before she was performing on a stage, she was performing at home. When she was got a bit older, she went to USDAN, a summer theater camp where she met and still stays in contact with other theater loving kids-who have and will go on to pursue careers in theater. I don’t think I can remember happier times for Jamie than the ones when she’s been onstage. Among other roles, she was an excellent Peter Pan at her Junior High School-in fact they still talk about it at that school, and it’s been probably eight years since she’s played that role. This year she was cast as Chris Gorman in “Rumors”. Jon and I booked our flights, our hotel room, Max’s Pet Motel stay. We were in snowy Buffalo a total of 24 hours. Jamie said something, that rang poignantly to me; she said that was probably going to pursue a career in the world of theater, but her intent was not to pursue a career as an actor (that wasn’t what rang poignantly). She said, “you know, I was thinking…this may be my last time on stage!” My feeling is that if she loves it, she will find a way to do it. What’s the saying? Where there’s a will, there’s a way? Even if she doesn’t do it professionally, she can do it locally, or regionally…who knows…passion is an extraordinary thing. I know this first handedly. But still it did leave me with a funny feeling; it felt like sort of an ending, which I guess is somewhat of the same feeling she was feeling in herself. All the more reason I was glad to have been able to make the trip.

The organizing and traveling for this “blink of an eye experience” was so totally worth it. Jamie was magnificent. She looked terrific, she was funny, captivating, of course I missed the fact that she didn’t sing, because I love when she sings, but I was so glad to be able to be there. As I was watching her on stage all I could think was that over these last few recent years I wasn’t sure where I was going to be, or how I was going to be…but here I was…watching her. I will remember this always. I love you Jamie-you’re terrific, and will be terrific at whatever you choose to do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just call me "A Regular"

Rachel and I have had a routine for the last year or so where we go to our nearby walkable diner to eat Sunday brunch. Brunch has become lunch, because it was really crowded at Brunch time, and then Lunch became 2:30/3P because that was when it was not crowded. So this is the routine now, we go every Sunday at 2:30/3P after I walk Max at 1:30/2P, the usual Max walking time, and Rachel walks Chloe (our older dog) at around that same time, and then off we go. The place is ours.

We have the usual!

It took a long time to establish the usual. When we first started going, the waiter would ask us what we wanted. I would gesture to Rachel in a sort of showman, you go first way, and say “why don’t you go first”. Rachel on cue would say, “I’ll have the hash and eggs sunny side up please, with French Fries, not the home fries, and rye toast, and a unsweetened ice tea. Thank you”. Then it was my turn. I would say “And I’ll also have the eggs, only instead I’ll have mine over easy with the hash and the home fries, and if you could make it only one egg instead of two please, no toast, and I’ll also have a unsweetened ice tea. Thank you”. Seems easy enough, you would think, right? It would come, and it would be a delicious, while of course a cholesterol laden eating fest, it’s tasty. Then the bill would arrive, and I would be charged for two orders of eggs and hash. Not one order of Eggs and Hash, and one order with one egg. This is where the diner entertainment starts.

I could not let this one egg thing go. I did not have two eggs. How much could one egg be? But why should the customer be charged for two eggs if they are only eating one? The egg I wasn’t eating, someone else was eating, only I was being charged for it, this seemed like a built in bonus…to the diner, not to me, not to the waiter, not to the cook, but to the owner.

Next step. I would mention the over-charge to the waiter, and they would tell me that there was no difference in the charge between a one-egg order and a two-egg order, but I was welcome to take it up with the owner. Perhaps, many customers would prefer not to take it up with the owner, perhaps the owner was counting on the fact that most customers would not be taking this up with him. Perhaps the owner thought that most people like two eggs instead of one, or didn’t mind wasting an egg. Perhaps the owner thought that most customers didn’t mind paying an extra amount for an egg they didn’t eat. Well, that could be. How much extra was I paying? There was no one-egg option on the menu.

I decided to go to the register to discuss the overcharge with the owner. I say to him “there seems to be a problem with my bill, I’ve ordered one egg, and I’ve been billed for two”. He said, “Oh sorry” and he deducts 75 cents. This may not seem like a lot to some, but to me, this was worth asking for, because once tax is added, we’re talking 81 cents for that egg. I don’t need to pay 81 cents for an egg I’m not eating.

Next week we go again, the same routine, the same meal, the same charge, the same conversation, and the same deduction. This goes on for about two months, and it begins to wear on both of us…it’s not as fun or as easy as it was back two months previous. But I continue to go up to the counter, and I’m not wearing out, maybe they were counting on the fact that I would, maybe they were thinking I wouldn’t be coming on a weekly basis, or maybe they didn’t think we would be eating the same thing.

Finally the bubble bursts…was it the meal, the bill, or the talk? The owner tells me that they really don’t have a one-egg meal and that they can’t continue to make this adjustment. I respond by saying that I can’t be the only one that wishes that there was a one-egg choice on the menu, and that perhaps they should offer it. He volleys the proverbial menu point over the net, and responds by telling me that they just had the menus redone and that they’re not planning on redoing them again for a while. This I acknowledge, because I noticed that my usual Final Bill had gone up about 5%, which is probably why we’re even having this conversation. Perhaps the cost of my egg is more, perhaps they can’t take 81 cents off the bill, it’s not as cost-efficient, or perhaps they are concerned that now that the bill is higher, I may (because I’m just that kind of a customer), be asking for more money off the bill for the egg.

This conversation is becoming tiresome. I like the restaurant, I’m sure he likes the business. I get to the crux of the matter. I say “Sir, I like it here, I just don’t want to pay for what I don’t eat, suppose I eat one egg here, and take one egg home with me? Suppose I eat one eat over easy, and take a hard-boiled egg to go?” He says, “I can do that, no problem, good plan!”

The following week Rachel and I dine, we order with the new plan. The waiter is confused, and says, I’m not sure we can do that. I say “the owner said it wouldn’t be a problem”. He says “hold on, let me check.” He comes back in a minute and tells us he can do it. It took many weeks, and many waiters, many times we heard “let me check”, and Rachel and I would laugh. We finally got everyone trained. We would order our meals, and the waiter would bring my hard boiled egg, in a paper cup with a plastic cover in a small white paper bag before the end of the meal and I would bring it home and eat it somewhere within the next day or so. It’s a good plan-it works for both sides.


So about two weeks ago, Rachel and I got to the diner around 2:30P/3P our usual time. I saw one of our usual waiters, and on that day I was contemplating saying “I’ll have the usual”. I don’t know why, but I even kidded with Rachel that that’s what I was going to say. She kind of rolled her eyes “like oh Mom, don’t do that, that’s going to be embarrassing…it’s one thing to embarrass yourself, but do you have to embarrass me?” So the waiter comes to the table and says “And what will you be having today?” And following those words…from behind his back with the finesse of a magician he materializes a small white paper bag, which is holding the usual paper cup with the usual hard-boiled egg. Can you believe it? Rachel couldn’t believe it. I said to him, you’re timing is amazing, I was just going to say, “I’ll have the usual”. We laughed, I gave him the high five, he wrote down on his pad the rest of what I wanted, and what he knew Rachel would want. I said to Rachel after he left to get the kitchen preparing our Sunday 3P lunch, this is what it’s like “to be a regular-we’ve sure come a long way in a year”. We gave our waiter a very good tip for being such a great magician. It only goes to show you what you can do if you stick to it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

25 Years

I haven’t written in a few weeks, so many things…so little time in which to do them. I’ve been preparing for the walk for Brain Matters-this means many phone calls, paperwork, meetings, and exercising-all great, but definitely time consuming. Thank you BTW to all of you who have been working with me; I couldn’t be doing it without you. I can’t help thinking how it certainly beats last year when I was deep in the middle of moving from one house to another…so glad I’m not doing that this year. Also, on November 16th, Jon and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary, in some ways this went by quickly. What am I nuts? No way did this go by quickly. In some ways 25 years feels like many more years than that-not sure how many more…but more. I was going through some old files a few days ago, and came across something I had written a couple years back. I had written it because so much has happened over the years, that I didn’t want to forget it, I also think of one day writing a book about my experiences and want to make sure I’m able to have these things written down so I don’t forget them. Given this last year and my most recent medical problem and how it effected my memory, I’m glad that I did that. I thought it would be interesting considering the 25th Anniversary Triumph, that I would share a few of the other events that have happened to Jon and I in the last 25 years besides of course the ones that I’ve written about here on the blog, and the birth of our two fantastic kids. It hasn’t been easy to be married this 25 years, some amazing times, some not so amazing, some times I know we both could have done without for obvious reasons, some for not as obvious reasons, but we’re still standing, and we’re still here. I offer these quotes in celebration:

"The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret"
-Henny Youngman

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
-Mignon McLaughlin

"A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year."
-Paul Sweeney

And now for some of those other events that have taken place in the last 25 years. You could probably make this stuff up, but knowing that I didn’t is what makes it all that more unbelievable. Does that make sense?

After our apartment was demolished in 1989 because of the steam-pipe explosion, a crew of workers came into the apartment to clean up the asbestos that littered it. We could not stay in the apartment for 6 months during this cleaning. These workers subsequently stole most of what we were forced to leave. My wedding and engagement ring were left in the apartment (in those days I didn’t wear them when I worked and the apartment was closed off without warning). Six months later after the asbestos clean up was finished and we could re-enter our apartment, we couldn’t find the rings anywhere, we assumed like so many other things, that they too had been stolen. Five years later I was unpacking some things and found a box I hadn’t seen before…my rings were inside. Some honest person must have hidden them there for safekeeping. Amazing!

When I was about 8 months pregnant with Rachel; my credit card company called to tell me that there had been $8000 worth of charges on my card. Did I make them? No! Two weeks later a woman from a local Coach store called to thank me for my $500 purchase. Only one problem, I didn’t make the purchase. Suspecting it may have been our babysitter who made the purchase (not many people had access to my things), I brought a picture of her to the store. Busted! We filed a police report. The police arrested her. At this same time I realized that my wedding ring and engagement ring (the ones that I found in the previous paragraph) were missing; my fingers were swollen and the rings didn’t fit, so I kept them in a drawer. When I couldn’t find them I assumed I had misplaced them. I mentioned it to the police. When they asked our babysitter about the rings, she admitted she had pawned them. The shop still had the rings, and I got them back…again. Magical rings!

When Rachel was 5 and Jamie was 12, our live-in babysitter for five years, named Judith, but Rachel called her Judah, started to feel sick. Two weeks later and still feeling ill, she went to the hospital Emergency Room. She was diagnosed with 4th Stage stomach cancer and died four weeks later. Afterward we discovered a diary that showed that she had paid thousands of dollars of her salary over the preceding year to a woman in Las Vegas who claimed to have a “special” relationship with God and could free her of her ills. I really wish she had said something to us sooner.

A babysitter that Jon and I hired before we hired Judah, worked for us for a month, asked to borrow on her future salary and then afterward said she had a tragedy at home in Barbados; she needed to leave, but she would be back in a month. A month later she hadn’t yet returned, but said she still intended to do so. Around that same time we received a phone bill with $800 worth of charges to 1-800-Psychic. We wondered what sort of psychic advice she was getting before she left us? She never returned. We’ll never not have a 1-800 block on our phone line. Later I found out that this kind of storytelling is not so rare.

And that’s just some of the stories in 25 years…so many more. That’s Life. Here’s to Living!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don’t Put Off To Tomorrow, What You Can Do Today!

I almost can’t help myself, I’ve been living this way for so long; funny thing is that until only recently I thought everyone lived this way. I was talking to a friend of mine about all the things I’ve been doing…this is a long list of things, partially because of habit (I’ve always been a person who feels best when I’m doing a lot of things), and partially because I’m a person who has NOT always been able to do the things I want to do when I want to do them…not everyone gets to know that experience. I admit it’s overwhelming at times, even brings me to tears, because I don’t know at what point I may not have the energy I need to do what I want to do, and that can be exhausting. It’s not that I don’t think if I were to put things off until tomorrow I wouldn’t be here to do them, it’s just that I do know that it’s certainly a possibility.

My friend said to me, as any friend would say to their friend in tears “why don’t you relax, take it easy, you can do it later, tomorrow, the next day?” This is something that someone like myself doesn’t ever really think of because my rest(s) have come when I’m not the one choosing them-to me they seem to come when my doctors have chosen them- they have come out of necessity. I feel this want-this need even, to take supreme advantage of the time that I CAN be a doer, even if it can sometimes be a bit of struggle to do what I can physically do-because I know all too well what it feels like not to be able to do what you’d like to do when you’d like to do it. This knowledge is…what do they say “both a blessing and a curse”. However, it’s my feeling that this bit of knowledge isn’t such a bad thing for everyone to keep in mind.

So as you’re thinking of that, think of some of these things, think about the people you haven’t reached out to, that you want to-but haven’t, the art class you may want to take, but don’t think you have time to take, the old storage container that needs to be cleared out because you’re sure that the something you’ve needed or wanted to have is inside it, but you haven’t had the time to look in it…for 3 years, the promises you’ve made, but haven’t kept, the calls you need to make. The cavity you need to fill before it becomes a root canal, the doctor’s appointment you’ve been meaning to make. Think about who you’ve been meaning to thank. Who do you want to say I love you to? There are always going to be things that I don’t get to, but I try. I have a list…and of course there are priorities, there are only so many hours in a day, I know that, but I remember the things I can’t get to because I write them down on the list. If you have to put off to tomorrow, what you can’t do today…write it down on your list so you can remember those things tomorrow. Today is a good day to start.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Walking, Yes Indeed I'm Walking

So next October 1st, it’s my hope should all things go right (this is no small task), that it’ll be the first day I will be on the road to Boston. My plan is to walk 10 miles a day, the trip is about 300 miles long…it’s shorter if I’m driving, the trip is longer because I’ll be going through individual neighborhoods. When I drove the trip every week in 2008 for radiation treatment, it was about 218 miles-but that trip was very direct. It’s my hope that by taking the long way, and going through neighborhoods I’ll be able to be more visible and in touch with people and communities, giving me the greater ability to make them aware of Brain Matters…again we’re talking hopes…

It’s funny to think that on the first day I will walk 10 miles, and at the end of that day I will only be 10 miles away from my house-I’ll probably just take a car back and come home…may even do this the first few days, until it just doesn’t make sense to do so…but I’m just thinking out loud, everything is still so much in the planning stage…the hoping stage.

As of today, it’s October 11th, I’m walking 4 miles a day a few times a week…I’m in the building stage, this is the most amount of exercise I’ve had in a while. When I’m walking, I’m imagining myself a year from now, what it will be like; I’m also dreaming about all that I want to make happen between now and then. As of now, I walk when it’s raining, because I know I will have to walk when it’s raining. I walk when it’s cold because I know I will have to walk when it’s cold. When I’m walking, I notice the changing of the leaves and I think, “that will look so good on film” (because a group of my friends and I plan on filming this all for a documentary), and it will be so beautiful to see this all as I walk from here to New England. I think to myself should everything go according to plan I will arrive in Boston just around Halloween next year, but I’m purposely choosing not to arrive on that day because that could be a crazy day to arrive; I’m choosing instead to arrive a day or even a couple days later, as long as it’s before the clocks get moved forward on November 6th, and as long as it’s on a weekday.

I’m walking, I’m dreaming, I’m imagining, I’m hoping…yes indeed I’m walking.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It’s Not Called Dun-Rite Cleaners for Nothing

So yesterday I was passing through the neighborhood I used to live in about seven years ago…it’s not far from where I live now...about fifteen minutes away-I was on my way to some other place, but I had a few things with me that needed to be dropped off at a Cleaners. One usually stays totally local with these things, but that’s more habit than anything else; I don’t love the Cleaners I go to now, I just use it because it’s within a couple of blocks of where I live. So back to my story…I saw the Cleaners I used to go to when I lived here…seemed like a “no brainer” (no pun intended), I would just drop my things here. I parked the car, went inside, and was greeted by the same woman who had always been there, and she said, “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in a long time.” I said, “You have a terrific memory! I moved, I haven’t been to this Cleaners in about seven years, but I was driving through the neighborhood and decided to drop these things off”. She asked how my daughters were, and I told her one was 21 and the other 14…she couldn’t believe it. She let me know my things would be ready on Thursday. She then told me what made me think that not only had Dun-Rite Cleaners named themselves appropriately for their expertise in dry cleaning, but in how they handle their customers as well…she said “It was great to see you, you look the same!” I like this place, made me wonder about what other things I might have at home that need dry cleaning.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Day We'll Always Remember

These days I almost never watch TV, don’t know why…not enough time, not much I want to see, my eyesight makes it so that it’s harder to see…but for some strange reason on this Saturday morning (forgetting that it was September 11th), I turned on the TV at 9A, only to see that it was the beginning of the September 11th Memorial…the reading of all those names, I turned on the TV just before they rang the bell to signify the crashing of the second plane into the World Trade Center at 9:03A, the plane that made us all know that it was no accident that the first plane had crashed, and that that day would never be like any other day. I remember that on that day I was sitting on an American Airlines flight that was supposed to take off at 8:45A to Los Angeles, when it was delayed for take off because the two gentlemen seated in front of me needed to get off immediately, and because no one can leave a plane without claiming their baggage, the plane was delayed. I later found out that those two gentlemen where reporters and that they had already heard about the crashing of the first plane into the Trade Center…so we sat. While we sat, the flight attendants on the plane I was on, started to receive upsettling phone calls from their friends about people that they knew, who had been on the plane that had already crashed. I decided to call my husband (he worked across the street from the Trade Center), and even though I was pretty sure he hadn’t left for work yet, I was thinking he probably shouldn’t. When I reached him, he turned on the TV, and for the first time he saw what was happening…that was about 8:55A. I sat on that plane waiting to take off...and then the Captain of the plane made an announcement informing us all about what was going on in the world, that an American Airlines plane had crashed into one of the Trade Towers just around the time we were supposed to have taken off, and that another one had just crashed into the Second Tower, all flight transportation had been canceled and that they were releasing us from the plane. As I walked through JFK, I heard through the hysteria in the airport about the third plane crashing, and I began thinking I might have to raid the vending machines because I would have to spend the night at JFK Airport, at the same time I was wondering if this could perhaps be the World’s Last Day. I made my way through the crowds, went outside and found a Transportation Cop and asked if there was any transportation out to Long Island. He said that there usually was a bus every half hour, but he hadn’t seen any in a couple of hours, and then he said “But wait, you’re in luck, their it is, that’s it, it will take you to Roosevelt Field Mall”. I jumped onto that bus, there were three other people on it; we drove very slowly through the crowds, street traffic, and panic. It took us over two hours to get to the Mall, when it would usually take a half hour. I was on the cell phone with my sister (which also was amazing because service was not easy to get), when she told me the first Trade Center had collapsed. My husband was able to pick me up at the Mall; he did not go into work that were lucky if you didn't have to go anywhere that day. I got home around 1P; I got to see my family on that day. I lived to see another day. I’ll never forget that day. We should never forget that day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time Flies

This August 30th was the 20th Anniversary of the first time I had brain surgery. In 1990 I was the mother of a one-year old baby girl. Jon and I moved four times the year before that, because our apartment had been destroyed by the Con Ed Department Steam Pipe Explosion-a true New York City story. We had decided a lucky 15 minutes beforehand to take a walk with our then 4 month old baby girl, and because of our miraculous timing, we had been left unharmed…had the timing been different, that story could have been different…our next door neighbor was killed in her apartment. One morning after happily and finally being moved into the last apartment, I woke up and whacked myself in the eye with a phone…who does that? Guess I couldn’t wait to pick up the call. Phones in those days had a great deal more heft to them than they do now and I really felt that heft…I genuinely saw stars, and the next day I saw double. I called my eye doctor and described my problem, made an appointment, and barely made my way to his office. When I arrived, he did his Eye Doctor thing-he looked in my eyes, had me cover one eye, then another, gave me drops, then looked again. At the end of that visit I was prepared for the diagnosis, and he told me “There’s nothing wrong with you”. I said “How can that be-I can’t see? Is that an ophthalmological point of view or a neurological point of view?” He said “It’s an ophthalmological point of view.”…and off I barely went as I made my way home to begin my long research project to find out what was wrong with me. Little did I know on that day that that whack in the eye with the phone actually would serve as an alarm bell about a tumor in my brain that otherwise I might have gone years without noticing, but the swelling is what caused me to have tests that I wouldn’t have needed until perhaps it was too late to do anything. Little did I know on that day, that twenty years later that the project I was embarking on, would be such a long one, that the lessons would be so numerous. Little did I know on that day that many years later after two brain surgeries, many MRI’s, and many opinions I would discover that what I had was a very rare kind of cancerous brain tumor. What a long, strange trip it’s been. My oldest daughter is now 21…we just dropped her off at college to complete her Senior year, our youngest daughter is 14 and just started her first year of High School-we’ve moved several other times, most recently this year. This year in particular has been a difficult one, but it’s my hope to be able to pick up this blog where I left off last year, and to pass on the lessons that I’ve learned over the last 20 years. The education that I’ve received is not one that I would have chosen, nor would it be a school that I would have attended…but I did, and the information I’ve learned is worth others knowing. Beyond that, I just received confirmation from NYS, that BRAIN MATTERS INC. is now my official non-profit corporation…this took longer than I thought, and it’s still my hope to walk from my house to Massachusetts General Hospital next Fall to raise funds and awareness for brain tumors. I thought it would be this Fall, but between the stress of this year’s other events and some post radiation effects that slowed me down, coincidentally the paperwork timing and my personal timing worked out; even if I was physically ready to walk, paperwork-wise I wouldn’t of had everything in place. My reason for walking to Mass General is not only because that was where I went for Proton Radiation two summers ago, but because as someone who has seen many doctors and been to many hospitals, it was one of the best and most positive experiences I’ve had within these many years, and I’d like to give back what I can to them as I start on this next chapter in my life. As of my last visit this June, my tumor has not grown…that’s great news! The concept of being able to think more full heartedly about the next chapter in my life is not one that someone whose been where I’ve been takes for granted. I’m back, we’ve moved into our new house…I'm looking forward to the future. My hope is that by my sharing what I've learned during these last 20 years, that it may make it just a bit easier for someone who is about to face similar circumstances...even just a bit, and for me personally, maybe it feels like there's a reason for this School I've been made to attend. May The Force Be With Us All!