A Mustache For Dad & Special Cancer Post complete with KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway!! #recipesfromtheheart
"Today's event is being hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Jen of Juanita's Cocina. They teamed up with their blogger friends to help raise awareness and support for Cancer and Hospice today in memory of Kim's dad. We encourage everyone to read the posts and share their own experiences withcancer. We also would like to encourage everyone to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society, the American Cancer Societyand also to the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. Hospice was a key element during Kim's father's battle with cancer. They made it possible for Kim to care for him at home. So please show your support and donate if you can. You can also contact your local Hospice and donate directly to them if you wish. A little goes a long way! "
Kim has been a good friend of mine for years now. I credit myself with her starting her blog (yes, I am *that* friend on her bio!) to which she took blogging to a whole new level of awesome. When she mentioned she wanted to do something like this for Father's Day, I jumped in. Am I a foodie like all of the other bloggers participating? No. Do I like to cook? Sure, but I like to dial a number on the phone more. So you may be asking why I am participating in a blogging phenomenon like all of these other amazing, talented bloggers and food makers...and the answer is that I too have been deeply affected by cancer. So, for all of you foodies who might have found your way to my blog and think you might be lost I hope that you stick around :) Perhaps you will find a new hobby to entertain yourselves with when waiting for the timer to go off.
Grandma and me
Cancer has always, unfortunately, been a part of my life. My beloved grandmother passed away from breast cancer on Christmas Eve when I was 10. To say we were close would be putting it mildly. Sure, when I was very little I liked to play with her jelly filled breast prosthetic (amd learned at an early age not to shout out that I want to play with her boobie in public places) but I never realized how bad cancer was until she got very sick. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her and hope that she is proud of the woman I have now become.
But, cancer has reared it's head once more in my life. This March, my father was diagnosed with Stage II Brain Cancer. I remember the day he called me telling me this and he said not to worry that it was a "good cancer." Good cancer? Those two words have never belonged in the same sentence. Though to the doctors, this slow growing non-moving cancer is "good."
Let me give you a little back story. My father is a stubborn man whose favorite phrase is "don't worry." Eight years ago he was getting blinding headaches, walked around like he was drunk, and was just out of sorts. But I was told "don't worry about it" so I never realized how bad it was. I was up at college enjoying my junior year and trying not to worry about it. During winter break, I spent New Years Eve with my boyfriend out in western Massachusetts. We went to a New Year's Eve party at his brother's house and I got very, very, very tipsy. That morning I woke up, hungover, to the sound of my cell phone ringing. I blearily opened one eye and saw it was my mom. I ignored it. The phone rang again, and I still ignored it. Then Nate's family's house phone rang so we answered it. My mother was in tears telling me that my father had collapsed and was at the hospital - they thought it was a stroke.
Long story short, it wasn't a stroke. My father had a brain tumor the size of a large man's fist. Brain surgery was scheduled for the next day and that was 8 hours of waiting. When the brain surgeon came out he told us that due to the size of the tumor my father only had 6 months left to live. I was devasted to say the least and tried to be strong for my mother and father. Now, the brain surgeon made this proclamation with no lab results. So imagine our gratitude and surprise when a few weeks later he called, on my dad's birthday no less, to tell us he had made a mistake and the tumor wasn't malignant. My dad would be fine.
Fine is a relative term...
Dad & me
I don't want to bore you with a very long, lengthy diatribe of the following eight years but let's just say due to circumstances I got into the habit of calling my father every day when I got out of work at 5 pm. One Monday night in February I was running late so I called my dad on his cell and he didn't answer. I then tried the house phone, no answer. I didn't think anything of it really - he was probably walking the dog. So I waited until I got to the next train station and tried again. And again. Still nothing. Now I started to panic - my dad usually jumped on the phone when I rang and called me out for being late. And mom had mentioned over the weekend that she wanted to make an appointment with the neurologist. And my dad wasn't answering the phone. My parents live on Long Island, and I work in Boston (live in Rhode Island) -- that's 4 hours away. I didn't know what to do. Should I call the police? Ask a friend to stop by? I called my mom and told her the situation, she said the same thing I thought that he was probably walking the dog. I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong though. Mom left work early and rushed home, and my entire commute home I kept calling. and calling. and calling.
Around 9:00 am that Monday morning my dad went down to the basement to get clean clothes from the dryer. Two steps down, his left leg gave out and he fell. He wound up fracturing his back and couldn't move, though he tried. When mom got home she called the ambulance and they brought him to the hospital. Like deja vu the EMTs said they thought he had a stroke. Like deja vu, it wasn't.
My dad had another fist sized tumor in his brain. Almost exactly where it was 8 years ago. I won't rehash the hours of tears (there were many) or the fear of the week (it was mind numbing) but the tumor was was benign once more and we thought my dad just had to recover again. With the back fracture he was in considerable pain but was hobbling along with a walker. Then some pathology results came back in saying that although the tumor was benign, surrounding brain tissue was malignant.
After Brain Surgery
Before round 3 of chemo
It's now Father's Day, and I'm home visiting my father. He is about to start round 4 of chemo this Monday but he's doing OK. He is still in a lot of pain due to his back, but he says his head doesn't hurt at all. He doesn't remember the week in the hospital, only the part after he woke up from the brain surgery. He is back to telling me "don't worry" and constantly hounding me to see if I've eaten that day. Since he started chemo, I've been turning that question back on him since he has no appetite and food doesn't taste the same. I still live 4 hours away and don't get to see him nearly enough, but I talk with him every day on the phone -- at 5 pm and other times of the day. My dad is stubborn - he says he isn't going anywhere until he walks me down the aisle and bounces a grandbaby on his knee. I keep waiting for the news that he is in remission or the cancer is gone. But I remain hopeful that if anyone can beat cancer, it's my dad.
In honor of my father and all other people affected by brain cancer I have crocheted a grey mustache pin to wear. For some reason the grey ribbon for brain cancer doesn't appeal to me -- grey is such a hopeless color! But, as you can tell by photos in this post. My dad has a mustache . And it is now mostly grey. As I mentioned earlier, this is not a foodie blog and while I could have posted a recipe I chose (with Kim's permission) to knit or crochet something.
The pattern is a freebie that can be found here and is a very easy basic crochet pattern. I am always amazed at how much quicker crocheting is from knitting...but I'm still not about to turn my needles in and become a hooker full time (Foodies still reading, a hooker is not only a lady of the night but a term for someone who crochets.) To turn it into a pin, I just threaded a normal safety pin on the back. And Voila! I wear my Brain Cancer Mustache Pin with pride.
Now this is the part of the post that would make sense if I was a foodie blog...but I'm not, so this is going to seem random and out there. But hey, even crafters cook and who wouldn't love to win a KitchenAid stand Mixer? (Contest open to only US and Canada residents only and is open to contestants from ALL blogs participating in this event, not one winner per blog)
Winner gets to choose their color!
Enter for your chance to Win an Artisan® Series KitchenAid® Stand Mixer in the color of your choice (there are 26 to choose from) as well as an Ice Cream Maker Attachment. A sweet choice for all, this creative attachment features the largest ice cream bowl capacity in the industry. Prepare 2 quarts of ice cream, sorbet, gelato or other frozen desserts. We're pleased to announce the giveaway is open to Canadian residents, as well as U.S. Residents. Winner will be chosen and announced during the pinchatlive event, described below. Winner will also be notified via email and has 48 hours to respond. If winner does not respond another winner will be chosen. 1 Stand Mixer and 1 Ice Cream Attachment are being given away as a group, not 1 per blog just to be clear for our readers.
There are bonus prizes for the pinchatlive event. We are giving away 1 Vanilla Infused Gift Box Set, 1 Lemon Infused Gift Box Set and a $30 Amazon Gift Card. In order to participate in this event follow the Pinterest Board #recipesfromtheheart. Hop on the Pinterest board on June 22 at 2 pm Est to follow along. We'll ask questions and those who comment are entered to win the bonus prizes. There will be a G+ Hangout on Air during the event as well. Winners of the pinchatlive event must be Canadian or U.S. residents.
I know that for me this has been a very long post but I do hope that you will check the blogs of the other participants in this event. They are all amazing, talented cooks and bakers and I have tried several of their recipes in the past and they are delicious!!