Healthcare Degree

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trying to Stay Positive

I've been somewhat avoiding writing a new post lately because the past few weeks have been full of ups and downs, and I didn't want to say something that I'd want to take back later. I decided to go to Massachusetts to visit my family (on my dad's side), and I've been here since July 10th. I spent a few nights in Maine with my aunt, grandfather, and cousins, but that ended horribly and I most likely will never talk to them again. I've been staying with my grandma ever since which has been nice because I'm the closest to her anyway. Me and my dad are actually hoping she'll move to New Jersey sometime very soon, because she's having a hard time living on her own and our family in New England really doesn't pay her the attention she needs.

My grandmother from Massachusetts was the only grandparent that I heard from during my diagnosis and recovery of lung cancer. My grandmother that's 300 miles away, isn't that a shame? I made sure my concerns about it were heard in Maine. Well, I addressed it the best I could anyway. Long story short.. A misunderstanding about who was driving my grandfather back to the shore house turned into attacking Heather (me), to my aunt bashing the way my father raised me and my brother among other things that completely shocked me, and so I felt it was my chance to express my feelings on my cancer experience and the little support I felt I got from that side of my family. Honestly, for the most part I'm sure it was completely ignored, because that's how it felt.

Basically I have virtually no relationship with most of my family members on both my dad and mom's side. It is what it is. I can only hope that one day I have my own family, which I hope to have a larger one, and I can start over fresh. For now, I can count on only one hand the family I talk to and would say I have a strong relationship with.

Some of the best family members in my life are...
My father and grandmother

They have always supported me whatever up and down my life goes through.

Staying on a more positive note, here are some highlights of my trip so far:
  • I went to McCray's Farm with my grandmother where we got GREAT homemade ice cream!! It's the best, they have so many flavors, and you surely can't find that in NJ :-)
  • Me and my grandma went to The Mohawk Trail, which is our favorite place to go! They were having a festival, which is more like a townie thing but anyone can go. We are going back in a few weeks to a cabin at The Mohawk Trail State Forest. I am really looking forward to it!!

I got to make my own glass pendant!
  • I've been going to Mount Holyoke College to run, but it's not the same as NJ. The trail is okay, but it's only a mile long, there's horse poop all over, it's heavily wooded and the Mosquitos are just nuts here even during the day! Today I hiked for about an hour at Mt. Tom and I took my dog, Oscar, with me. 

That's about all for now. Overall, I am having a good time and making the best of the down days. I am excited to get home (the first week of September)and  have a HOAGIE from WAWA!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hope Summit (3 of 3): My favourites

There were some most memorable moments at this year's Hope Summit. Here are my top 5...

(1) The Hugger & George 
As some people in the group were telling their personal stories with lung cancer one man explained how he hugged everyone during his treatment. He was a very tall man with an even larger heart. George, a 18 year lung cancer survivor, followed shortly after him. As George spoke he lost his words in the weight of what a cancer diagnosis can do to a person - even after 18 years. As George began to tear up so did many others including myself, and someone said "someone give him a hug". You know who stood up? The man who than iconically became known the rest of the weekend as 'The Hugger'.  And everybody in the room came to a roaring clap. That was a beautiful moment in Hope Summit history. 

(2) Meeting Jessica
I had been following Jessica's blog for months before finally meeting at Hope Summit. Jessica is only a few years older than I am, and she's been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Please check out her blog at:

(3) Meeting new friends & reconnecting with old ones

(4) Taking the Washington, DC bus trip with other survivors

(5) The inspirational speach made by Dr. Lynne Elderidge on Hope Summit's opening day



Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mark your calendar!

Watch me on the ABC 6 news segment called Perspective New Jersey on Saturday June 1st between 5:30am-6:00am.

I'll try to get an embedded video or link to the video for all of you not within the Philadelphia/New Jersey area!