Busy Week and Rewarding Weekend – Lots of Pink!

Whew! I’m exhausted but feel wonderful. There is nothing more rewarding than to give back and help much less fortunate cancer patients and future generations. And to memorialize Tracy while being surrounded by family and friends. There were two major events this week: The Seattle Seahawks “Crucial Catch” game on October 5th at home which was dedicated to breast cancer and the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” family walk on October 10th.

Media leading up to the big events

As the Survivor Ambassador for the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” family walk, I was honored to do a number of TV and Radio interviews.

Here is one interview at 7:30am on the Seahawks game day: http://www.king5.com/videos/news/health/2015/10/09/american-cancer-society-raises-awareness-about-breast-cancer/73659992/

King5 live outside the stadium for game day

King5 live outside the stadium for game day

Joyce was so sweet

Joyce was so sweet

Interview being filmed_100515_KING5

Interview being filmed_100515_KING5

Here is a 2nd one at 1pm before the Seahawks game:    http://www.king5.com/story/sports/nfl/seahawks/2015/10/05/seahawks-go-pink-for-breast-cancer-awareness/73414374/

Seattle Seahawks Game on October 5th – Dedicated to Breast Cancer Survivors

In spite of press that indicates otherwise, the NFL does a lot during the month of October to raise awareness about early detection/screening, raising dollars for research, and partnering with local organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, to support programs that are so important to patients, caregivers, families and more. You can read about the NFL’s Crucial Catch program here: http://www.nfl.com/pink?campaign=dk-nf-bc-ro-nf-1100880

For the first October home game, the Seattle Seahawks featured survivors and patients, before the game, at half time, and during the entire game. We were on the field during the anthem, and at half-time and my short stint in modeling the Seahawks Pink Gear were on the jumbotron throughout the game.

The pink semi-circle around the performer were all survivors, including me!

The pink semi-circle around the performer were all survivors, including me!

We were out there to form this ribbon...so fun

We were out there to form this ribbon…so fun

VZM.IMG_20151005_191705

Jumbotron featuring 3 survivors and I throughout social media all month!

Jumbotron featuring 3 survivors and I throughout social media all month!

And, finally, the big Breast Cancer Walk: “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” for the American Cancer Society.

Mom (Ilse), Milo (Tracy’s son) and my sons, Shane and Chad, all flew in for the weekend. Plus, my team, “Dana’s Gladiators” raised over $22,700 for this wonderful cause, about 12% of the day’s fundraising success. Thanks to friends who had their own teams hanging under my team, and to donations by so many, we not only made a huge impact on breast cancer (supporting research, support programs, screening and more), but we had 50 gladiators walking together, showing our power.

I gave a speech at the beginning about celebrating three things:

  1. Surviving and thriving. We are not just survivors and cancer-conquerors, we are all advocates for so many who are less lucky than we are. We, at the race, are blessed with being survivors and that we need to consider those cancer patients who are sick today, out of treatment options and relying on research to deliver trials. That’s where our dollars go.
  2. Birthdays. Use October as a birthday to remember to get your mammogram and, men, encourage all of the women around you to do so, as well. Beating breast cancer is all about screening to catch it early.
  3. Gratitude. Those of us here today came from our cozy beds, wearing layers of clothes, and drove in our nice cars. However, what about the medically disadvantaged who don’t have access to health care and can’t afford cars to get to treatment? The NFL’s Crucial Catch program and the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program are just a few examples of efforts to help the disadvantaged.

 

Dana, Shane, Ilse and Chad

Dana, Shane, Ilse and Chad

Dana's Gladiators after a wet walk

Dana’s Gladiators after a wet walk

Mathis and Dana singing in the rain

Mathis and Dana singing in the rain

Dana, Gwen and Breeze

Dana, Gwen and Breeze

The 'Survivor Ambassador' speaking!

The ‘Survivor Ambassador’ speaking!

Treasuring the moments

Treasuring the moments

My #1 Supporter - I love you, Mathis

My #1 Supporter – I love you, Mathis

Dana, Milo, Ilse, Shane, Mathis and Chad

Dana, Milo, Ilse, Shane, Mathis and Chad

Daughter-Mommy time on the walk

Daughter-Mommy time on the walk

Milo Frank and me at the end!

Milo Frank and me at the end!

To see all of the pictures (thanks to Greg Manciagli), please go here:

https://www.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AcM2LFq1Zt2jIvA&emid=shareprintviewer&linkid=link

Every one of you who donated, sent warm wishes, and who walked in the rain, THANK YOU!

Stupid Cancer Update:  Finished week one of radiation – only 5 ½ more weeks to go!

At 9:45am every morning, Monday through Friday, I go visit my Virginia Mason radiation oncology department. I leave my house at 9am, then I am on the table at 9:45am for about twenty minutes then done. They are radiating 3 separate areas so I’m a complicated case, they say. I also hold my breath for about 20 seconds multiple times to separate my heart from the radiation field.

Note: Puzzles and fish are standard equipment for waiting rooms. So are hideous olive green robes that make me look washed out.

Puzzles n' Fish, Puzzles n' Fish, etc.

Puzzles n’ Fish, Puzzles n’ Fish, etc.

Beautiful green robes...not my color

Beautiful green robes…not my color

Thank you for listening and being so wonderful every day.

With love and hugs,

Dana Manciagli

cell: 206.849.1000

DanaManciagli@hotmail.com

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Don’t Say These Things to Cancer Patients & Survivors; Do Say…

Hello, and I’ve been asked by many people recently what they should/could say to cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. So I thought I would re-publish some older blogs.  I’ll combine two articles here with the goal of sharing how you can be helpful and how to avoid unhelpful things!

Dana and Tracy Babies_1961

Dana and Tracy Babies_1961

PART I

For the estimated 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, being out in public can be both a personal triumph and a huge blessing. However, for many cancer patients, conversations with the public carry an element of dread. Nearly everyone who has gone through treatment for a life-threatening illness will tell you that there’s likely to be at least one guest with “foot-in-mouth disease” at every event; one friend who doesn’t quite know how to handle the situation.

As most of you know, I recently lost my identical twin sister, Tracy, to breast cancer, and I continue to fight cancer too. I was recently diagnosed with my 3rd time with breast cancer. Over the years we kept a running list of things you should never say to a cancer patient, sort of like the Letterman Top 10.

As Tracy and I alternately battled the disease together, we learned ways to cope with the off-color, insensitive – and downright strange – comments we encountered at public gatherings. Once we heard a comment, we called each other and announced a new “Letterman’s Top 10 Stupid Things People Say to Cancer Patients”.

We know everyone is touched by cancer but we don’t want to hear other people’s cancer stories. And sorry, I really don’t want to hear that your dog, cat, guinea pig, whatever, had cancer.  My conclusion: if you’re feeling awkward, probably whatever you say will come out awkward.

Dr. Joe Taravella, a psychologist at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation, said it’s natural to feel uneasy in the presence of someone you know is very sick. “I think basically what happens is people don’t know what to say in difficult situations, or sad situations, or when they hear not-so-great news,” Taravella said. “People just don’t know what to do with it. Instead of actively listening, they want to give advice and make someone feel better.”

But Tarvella said these social encounters are not the time to offer medical advice, even though it might feel weird not to address the “elephant in the room.” People often are going to be insensitive, whether it’s intentional or not,” he said.

If you’re interacting with someone you know is seriously ill, he says it’s best to let that person take the lead and determine what they’d like to talk about, whether it’s the weather or work or their cancer treatment.

Still unclear about what NOT to say to someone with cancer? Here’s a quick primer.

Do NOT say:

“You’re going to be fine. Everything will be fine.”

“I know how you feel.”

“Oh MY GOD” (followed by moans, crying, drama, pathetic looks, sadness)

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

“I have a [friend, cousin, grandmother, relative, dog, fish] who survived cancer.”

“My [friend, cousin, grandmother, relative, dog, fish] just died of cancer.”

“Why aren’t you trying this treatment I read about on the Internet [or heard about from a friend of a friend]?”

“What are your odds?”

“Best of luck on your journey!”

“Which breast did you lose?”

“Well, you don’t look sick!”

YES, say this instead:

“Is there anything you need?”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Would you like to talk about it?”

“It’s so nice to see you!”

“How are you feeling?”

“How is your recovery going?”

“No matter how you feel, we’ll stick with you through this.”

“How are you feeling? I’m here to listen.”

Compliment them (without ending it with “for someone with cancer”

Some other helpful hints:

  • Instead of saying “Please keep me posted” or “Call me after the procedure,” say, “I’ll stay close and ask how you are doing after.”
  • Remember not to share stories of other people either recently diagnosed or experiencing any type of illness. Just not helpful. Period.
  • Avoid the word should, as in: “You should try this…should do that…”
  • Avoid asking about the past. “When was your last check-up; when did it crop up, did you have regular mammograms?” It doesn’t matter, right?
  • Don’t send a book on death and dying or on the afterlife. Instead, ask them if they would like any reading material.
  • Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. Simply sit with that person, listen to them and just be with them.  That quiet comfort can many times be just as welcomed.

Funny Greeting Card

Part II

More on the conversation about “Dos and Don’ts” to help you and your friends be great cancer patient supporters.

FACEBOOK: Facebook “likes” are NOT connecting with people going through tough stuff. Click away, however, please feel free to comment as I read every single comment and they bring me joy. Don’t worry if other people have said the same thing. Just speak from your heart.

Hey, what if we all wrote Zuckerberg and asked him to put a “This Sucks” thumbs down icon right next to the “Like” thumbs up button?  It’s definitely awkward to click “Like” when someone is sharing bad news!

Some of you are still uncomfortable saying anything. I got the following note from a friend who said, “Been following your news on Facebook… praying for you!” Well, those are nice, but why not comment on FB or give me a call, e-mail, or text? That’s where the feel-good stuff begins… for both of us! If cancer makes you so uncomfortable that you can’t send me a, “Hi, how are you?” text, get over it.

MIA: And what if you have been MIA – Missing in Action? It’s just been too hard and now it’s to the point where you really do feel awkward connecting, right?   Here’s a trick that I teach in my networking sessions:   Simply try again and start your communication with TWO WORDS: “I’m sorry.”

Here’s a sample: Dear <name>, I’m sorry I have not connected since hearing of your health news. How are you feeling? Is there anything you need?   I’m always thinking about you and I’ll do a better job staying connected in the future.”

REAL WORLD EXCUSES:

  1. I haven’t called for fear that I would wake or bother you. Just know that our phones will be on silent or off if we’re napping. And we can flip your call into voicemail and listen to it later. And you can e-mail, comment on FB, or comment on my cancer blog.
  2. I just don’t know what to say… so I don’t call. Read the first article of this series as it provides a great script you can steal from!
  3. Other people are saying the same thing so I don’t want to look like a copy-cat. Don’t read other people’s stuff… just write yours! So what if there are other similar ones! It’s the thought, silly!
  4. I’m so busy during the week at work and then mean to call on the weekends, but…   Well… I don’t have much of a response other than a smarty-pants one: ”It’s just not that important…” and there’s no need to share why you can’t or didn’t call.

THE GOOD STUFF:

  1. Great greeting cards (old school paper) that I am keeping.
  2. Care packages of cozy things like lavender, magazines, munchies, socks.
  3. Friends just offering to pop by and not staying too long (maybe they see me fading).

ADDITIONAL SHORT LIST of “things not to say or do:”

  • “Will your beautiful eyebrows fall out, too?”
  • “I’m sorry.” I never know how to reply and end up reassuring people that my cancer is not their fault. Also, it’s the number one way to bring down the vibe.
  • Don’t recommend or send cancer books, special remedies, or recommend we watch a cancer documentary. Yes, I know it’s my choice to keep or toss the idea, but my purpose in life is to be healthy – physically, spiritually, and emotionally.   To me, that’s all positive thinking. I don’t need more information…just peace and happy, healing thoughts.
  • Watch the “should’s,” please. You should do this, gotta try that, this worked for a friend of mine who had cancer. I love my doctors and am under tremendous tender loving care.
  • Don’t come over if you have the slightest sniffle please. Best to re-schedule. If you are healthy, use the Purell bottle hung around my staircase.
  • Don’t gawk! Yes, I see you, total strangers gawking at my naked head. Haven’t you ever seen a scalp before? Bruce Willis has been around since the dinosaurs. So avert your eyes or tell me you loved V for Vendetta.

Just trust your heart and don’t be afraid to stay connected! It will bring joy to me… and you!

With gratitude and hugs,

Dana Manciagli

Cancer Update: Making Sure “FUN” Exceeds “Not-so-Fun”

People ask me if I attend a support group. “Why, when I have the best support group right here!”

Let’s get the not-so-fun cancer update out of the way:

The last post was fresh out of surgery, which followed chemotherapy.

The surgery results were very positive, with ‘clean margins’, which means they got all of the cancer from this one area, on the right breast.  My cancer is still potentially ‘alive’ in my mammary lymph nodes, left and right, so we need radiation to do its magic on living cancer, as well as clean up dormant cancer in the radiation field.

I started radiation on Thursday, October 2, which will occur every day, Monday through Friday, for 6 ½ weeks so I will finish around November 16th. The radiation field will be larger than what I expected, too, as it will cover my chest and right side out to the other lymph nodes under my arm and up to my collarbone.

I’m already putting on cream to prevent a burning and skin discoloration. I’m a “complex” radiation patient since this is a 2nd pass and we need to avoid my heart, lungs, rib cage, etc. I just learned my heart is close to the center of my chest, which means I’ll need to hold my breast during radiation to separate the heart, preventing damage. Of course I have to be unique…I’m special, right?

I’m in the best hands with my medical family at Virginia Mason Cancer Institute with angels at all levels, from check-in coordinators, nurses, technicians, schedulers and, of course, the best doctors in the country.

Now for the FUN stuff, which exceeds the above not-so-fun

A.  Keynote speaking – telling my story and inspiring donors and participants.

I spoke at the American Cancer Society’s kick-off breakfast on the same day as my LAST day of chemo – great celebration!

Holding Up Hands - 10-10 for October 10 Walk Date

Holding Up Hands – 10-10 for October 10 Walk Date

Strides Kick-Off Breakfast

Strides Kick-Off Breakfast

B. TV!

I was on our local “New Day Northwest” TV just 6 days after my surgery following chemo. See the segment clip here: http://kng5.tv/1FzHRvu. Friends and some American Cancer Society staff joined the taping and it was a great way to celebrate surgery recovery.

They wanted PINK!

They wanted PINK!

New Day Northwest TV Segment

New Day Northwest TV Segment

C.  Public Service Announcements – for Breast Cancer.

I was asked to record 3 public service announcements for Northwest Cable News on 3 different topics: the NFL Crucial Catch, the October 10th Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, and breast cancer screening.  Let’s see who catches one of these running throughout the month of October.

You can play each one-minute segment here:

MSABC: https://kingcreates.wistia.com/medias/0xddfrwlz6

A Crucial Catch: https://kingcreates.wistia.com/medias/7ymqcbnig7

Volunteer: https://kingcreates.wistia.com/medias/kzc8n8bx6a

PSAs for NW News Cable

PSAs for NW News Cable

D.  Gilda’s Club Event – Supporting families going through Cancer

Thanks to my friend and committee chair, Tanya Button, I keynoted the breakfast fundraiser for the Gilda’s Club of Seattle on September 24,. Gilda’s Club is named in honor of Gilda Radner, who, when describing the emotional and social support she received when she had cancer, called for such places of participation, education, hope, and friendship to be made available for people with cancer and their families and friends everywhere.

http://www.gildasclubseattle.org/

Gilda's Club Fundraiser with Tanya Button

Gilda’s Club Fundraiser with Tanya Button

E.  Party time!

Then, the American Cancer Society (ACS) had a wonderful Gala two weeks after my surgery and I had a great time dancing (gently). I went with Kari Dart and Karin and Paul Allen, too. (No, not THE Paul Allen, but my Paul is just as special!).  It was the first time out in public with my hair “fuzz” as I have not enjoyed the growing-out look.

ACS Gala with my new hair "fuzz"

ACS Gala with my new hair “fuzz”

ACS Gala with Karin and Paul Allen

ACS Gala with Karin and Paul Allen

F.  Sporting events to rally the community.

The Virginia Mason Cancer Institute invited me to be their “Patient Hero” for the Seattle Sounders soccer game on August 16. I got to place the match ball on the podium, high five the players, and then the announcer read a short story about Tracy and I.. Mathis and Kari and Sean Dart were there – and the Sounders won!

DSCN3295 12414-1 DSCN3250

G.  Seattle Seahawks model – for new Pink Merchandise for the NFL’s Crucial Catch.

Last week, I had a blast pretending I was a model. The Seattle Seahawks are launching their new line of PINK Seahawks merchandise and they asked ACS for patient models. Off I went! The campaign is now live and I’ll be in a  different shots.  You can see them rolling out here.

A number of them are used for social media so you’ll see them on Facebook here.

Some samples:

Gwen and Dana

Gwen and Dana

Team Shot

Team Shot

Warm cap and "cool" sweatshirt...all for cancer

Warm cap and “cool” sweatshirt…all for cancer

Dana2

You can read about the NFL’s Crucial Catch Program here: http://www.nfl.com/pink.

I know a lot of people question the interest of the sports teams during this month-of-pink.  And there are some people who can’t stand the color pink for this cause, either. But the bottom line, to me, is that any incremental amount of dollars toward screening, patient support, or research is a wonderful dollar. So deal with the pink! Better yet, wear it proudly. I am.

H.  More sports fun coming up:

  • October 5th Seattle Seahawks Game at home: First, I’ll be interviewed by King 5 at 7am. Then I’ll have radiation at 10:45am, then back to the game to be on the field at half time with other survivors for their “Crucial Catch” game.
  • October 10th, Saturday, the big “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” 5K walk with my family and friends. Join us! Go here to sign up as a participant on “Dana’s Gladiators” team or donate.

Even more fun things – a special focus on family

    • Chad and Shane were here visiting following Shane’s week of hiking through the Cascade mountains. They come back to Seattle 10/9 with Milo and Mom for the big cancer walk, too!
Mom, Chad and Shane_082515

Mom, Chad and Shane_082515

    • I’m planning our wedding celebration for January 2016 and it brings me joy to plan something FABULOUS. Here is a recent photo that our friend, Alison Jensen, a professional photographer, took of us.
Mathis and Dana_090115

Mathis and Dana_090115

  • Mexico ahead! 5 days after radiation finishes, Mathis and I are off to Puerto Vallarta with Ilse (Mom), Shane, Chad, and Milo during Thanksgiving week.
  • January – a wedding party!
  • And I’ll plan more happy milestones after that, of course. Got ideas?

All of our kids and family are doing well…we are so blessed. Mathis’ daughters, Christina and Leslie are thriving and Tracy’s son, Milo, is crushing it down in L.A.

I would just like to express my warmest gratitude for all of your calls, greeting cards, words of support, and invitations to fun things.

Love and hugs,

Dana Manciagli

Cropped_Dana solo_large

Relaxing on 9-1-15 – photo courtesy of Alison Jensen

I’m asking for your support!

As you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please join me in my #1 major event to memorialize Tracy, whom we lost a year ago. And to be a member of “Dana’s Gladiators” by donating and walking if you are in Seattle on Saturday, October 10th, 8am check-in at the Seattle Center.

Simply go here and do your magic:  http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Danas_Gladiators.

Last year, Mathis, Milo (Tracy’s son), and Chad joined me in our walk.

Mathis, Milo, Dana, Chad Oct 2014

Mathis, Milo, Dana, Chad Oct 2014

This year, my Mom, Milo, Shane, Chad, and Mathis will be there too! Thank you to all who donated and walked last year; hope you can be with us again this year.

New this year, just for fun, the first 50 of “Dana’s Gladiators” get a great T-shirt, sponsored by American Apparel!

So, simply go here:  http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Danas_Gladiators and:

  • Click “Donate”
  • Click “Participate” and come out and walk!
  • Forward the link to your friends and family to join you.

I’m the American Cancer Society’s “Survivor Ambassador” for this year’s event.

It has been a huge joy and honor to be the American Cancer Society’s “Survivor Ambassador” for their premier event “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” on October 10. I have spent a lot of time being a strong voice, advocate, and storyteller to the media and co-team leaders and I’ll be speaking at the 5K family walk event, too.

With warm hugs and great gratitude,

Dana Manciagli and my new hubby, Mathis Dunn

Cancer Has No Chance. Zero. Period.

20 weeks of chemo, check!

Surgery to remove the entire right breast (2nd mastectomy), check!

My medical team at Virginia Mason was fantastic from the 5:45am check-in on the September 3rd until my checkout at noon on the 4th. Mathis stayed overnight on a cot and we’re both glad to be home for a good night’s sleep …and the beginning of my two-week-plus recovery.

Oh, and here is what Mathis packed for his overnight stay. Obviously I’m driving him to drink!

Look what Mathis snuck into the hospital!

Look what Mathis snuck into the hospital!

Unfortunately – and fortunately – I’ve been through this operation and the recovery process before. I need to take it very easy so I heal faster, which will allow me to head into radiation sooner.

Post-surgery 9/6, sharing a photo with my friend, Karin Allen. She and Paul brought yummy food, flowers and laughter.

Karin Allen Visit_090715

Karin Allen Visit_090715

Next treatment: aggressive radiation. The area will be broad, blanketing all mammary lymph nodes up to the bottom of my neck. I’ll be done by Thanksgiving!   Scans again by the end of the year. Then pills to keep the cancer at bay for the rest of my life.

Some wonderful words of wisdom from my friend, and Tracy’s closest friend, Jennie Grimes:

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited…

It cannot cripple Love

It cannot shatter Hope

It cannot corrode Faith

It cannot destroy Peace

It cannot kill Friendship

It cannot suppress Memories

It cannot silence Courage

It cannot invade the Soul

It cannot steal Eternal Life

It cannot conquer the Spirit

 

Friday, in the hospital, I had a tough moment when they removed the bandages. Then, this picture arrived and I laughed:

2015-09-04 08.51.06

This week, Wednesday, I’ll be interviewed on a local TV show, “New Day Northwest”, along with the American Cancer Society in preparation for the October 10 “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” 5K family walk. You can sign up now as a participant and help “Dana’s Gladiator’s” reach 50 people walking together. And/or donate any amount.

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer/MSABCCY15GW?team_id=1868424&pg=team&fr_id=70071

I love having these milestones to look forward to. More importantly, I love my family and friends love and support.

Love and hugs,

Dana

Girls Just Gotta Have Fun!

Hello, friends and family,

First, an update on the cancer front:

Good news! My scans on August 17 showed diminished cancer on the mammary lymph nodes and another area showed no visible cancer. So chemo did most of what it’s supposed to do. Now, we continue to treat the cancer aggressively!

Next on the schedule:

  1. Surgery on Thursday, September 3, which is similar to a mastectomy (again) on the right side. At least a few weeks recovery and lots of Vicodin for pain.
  2. Radiation will start as soon as possible after surgery for 6 weeks every single day.
  3. Puerto Vallarta during Thanksgiving week!

I am feeling much better now as my energy is coming back (along with my hair).  I’m back in the gym, although not 100% yet.  Getting there!   Yes, surgery and radiation will set me back a tiny bit but not too much.

Harley Girl Now!

I like to plan fun things to look forward to. And when opportunities come along, I take them! I recently had a great experience; I got to ride on our friend Carl Sittig’s Harley Davidson motorcycle!

Not only that, but he had the gear so I got to look the part, too!

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

                                                       (Oh, my cap says “Suck it up, Buttercup”)

Safe and Snazzy!

Safe and Snazzy!

Off we go! Around Lake Sammamish

Off we go! Around Lake Sammamish

Thank you, Carl, for the special treat!

Later that same day, I saw this cool bike in a store with my friend, Kari    2015-07-15 14.29.12

Fun with Socks

Two of my girlfriends, Gail and Connie, have given me great socks, and I wore them to chemo for every treatment! The nurses loved them, too.

Read this!

Read this!

3 mix n' match socks - fun!

3 mix n’ match socks – fun!

"Kick This Day in its SUNSHINY ASS"

“Kick This Day in its SUNSHINY ASS”

 

Professional Soccer Game Highlight

My medical family at the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute invited me to be the “Patient Hero” at a sold-out professional soccer game between the Seattle Sounders and Orlando FC on August 16, 2015.

I placed the match ball on a podium to kick off the game, high-fived the players as they came out, and then the announcer told my story to a stadium filled with 40,000 people. They learned about my three rounds battling cancer, about Tracy, and my efforts to raise money for the cancer cause. Then we all watched the rest of the game and the Sounders beat Orlando 3-0!

Mathis and Dana at the Sounders

Mathis and Dana at the Sounders

Waving to my closest 40,000 friends

Waving to my closest 40,000 friends

2 Big Screens and an announcer telling my cancer story and honoring Tracy, too.

2 Big Screens and an announcer telling my cancer story and honoring Tracy, too.

Photo album here: https://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AcM2LFq1Zt2jHbg

Upcoming fun things:

  • I’ve really enjoyed giving time to the American Cancer Society and the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute to help raise awareness and funds. So, between now and the month of October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), I’ll be a “survivor ambassador” and do some local TV and radio shows.
  • October 2-3, I get to visit my Aunt Sandy, Uncle Bobby and Cousin Elizabeth and her kids in Durham, North Carolina. Can’t wait!
  • Saturday, October 10, the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides for Breast Cancer” 5K family walk. I will be leading “Dana’s Gladiators” and many of my friends have started their own teams, hanging under “Dana’s Gladiators.” Here is the link to my team site so you can sign up to walk with us or donate: http://makingstrideswalk.org/danasgladiators 
  • Mathis and I are constantly planning concerts, golf, movies, outings with friends and so much more. Join us!

 

In close, I recently had a wonderful visit by my girlfriend, Mary Foss-Skiftesvik, who was my college roommate at UC Santa Barbara in 1982 and who now lives in Connecticut. She shared the following quote:

Yesterday is History. 

Tomorrow is a Mystery. 

Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.

A special thanks to each of you for being on my team, supporting me every step of the way.  I still hear “Oh, I don’t want to bother you” or “call me when you need me” but please reach out any time of day or night. If I’m resting or sleeping, my devices are off so there is no risk of bothering me.  I cherish each connection with family and friends.  I used to be that “crazy-busy” person and now look back and wish I had taken more time (prioritized) to just be there for friends. Family and health were always a top priority, as they are now.

Huge hugs and love,

Dana

DanaManciagli@hotmail.com

cell: 206.849.1000

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dana.manciagli

Got Hitched; Made It Legal; Tied the Knot!

You knew that Mathis proposed on my birthday in June, right? What you didn’t know is that we went to the courthouse and got married on Wednesday, July 29th! So easy and stress-free.

My wonderful mother, Ilse, flew up from L.A. and two of Mathis’ buddies, Joe and Steve, were there as witnesses, too. The judge did a beautiful job with the vows.

We followed the 5pm ceremony with a dinner at Jak’s Grill in Issaquah and then: done!

Marriage Certificate at the Courthouse!

Marriage Certificate at the Courthouse!

Without sounding presumptuous, Mathis and I want to stress something:

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY NO GIFTS (of any kind) !!!

Donations are preferred to the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute, the Dana-Mathis Guild: http://connect.virginiamasonfoundation.org/donation/dana-mathis-guild

Here is our photo album from the wedding: https://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0AcM2LFq1Zt2jGsg

More Great News

I had my last chemo treatment on Tuesday, August 4, and we celebrated with the nurses and oncologist. Next steps are scans on August 17th, then surgery, and then radiation for 6 weeks. Almost done – I can see the end. I know I crushed this stupid cancer!

I can’t thank my friends and family enough for being AMAZING. My family has been by my side every step of the way. And my wonderful husband, Mathis, has truly been dedicated to my breast cancer battle 24/7; reducing his travel for work, gently scolding me when I’m overdoing it, and holding me when the nighttime blues hit. Thank you, my love.

“You may kiss the bride”

“What Happened?” – Cancer Happened

“What Happened?” – Cancer Happened

During a recent fun trip to Los Angeles, my Mom, Ilse, and I had a mother-daughter bachelorette party. We started at 3 in the afternoon with facials and massages. Then, we went to dinner with celebratory beverages. Then we saw Magic Mike XXL! Yes, indeed, and loved every minute of it.

Mother-daughter bachelorette party

Mother-daughter bachelorette party – my blouse says “NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE”

Another “what not to say to cancer patients” story: During my facial in L.A., when I crawled under the warm blanket, “Evy,” the facialist said, “What happened?” when she saw my bald head. I paused, stumped since this was a first. So I said, “Cancer happened.”

Then, Evy proceeded to tell me that she thought her mother-in-law was in chemo for her arthritis. I paused again and gently said, “I’ve never heard of this treatment for arthritis. Did your mother-in-law lose her hair, too?” Evy said “No.” Stumped again. We didn’t talk for the next 50 minutes.

Afterwards, laughing with my mom about it, I wished I had a great response. Here are some ideas my girlfriend Alexis and I brainstormed:

  • “I had hair down to my lower back then my hair stylist accidentally shaved it.”
  • “I have a crush on Bruce Willis.”
  • “I fell off my bike.”
  • “I had a hang nail.”
  • …what are some you recommend? Reply in Facebook or via this blog with your best answers!

I love, love visiting with friends. You give me energy, love and laughter. In the last week, I’ve had two friends fly up to Seattle: Ina from L.A. (a high school buddy), Lindy from San Diego (a college roommate). Then, during my short L.A. trip, I not only spent time with Mom and Milo, but I saw Vicki (kindergarten-through-high school), Randy and Alexis (1984, on), and Francine (since 4 years old).

Randy_071015 Alexis_071115 - Copy

DSCN3134DSC_06312015-07-07 02.03.32Francine_071115b - Copy

 

So many of you ask how Milo, Tracy’s son, is doing. He is amazing. He co-manages a hot, Santa Monica bar, the Shore Bar, and helps the parent company with their other restaurant and bar venues, too. He’s learning so much and is able to go to auditions and gigs for commercials during the day. He recently taped a two-day Footlocker commercial. He’s got amazing friends around all the time and he has simply blossomed. (Yes, I’m embarrassing him right now…oh well). He’ll be coming to Puerto Vallarta during Thanksgiving with Chad, Shane, Mathis, Grandma Ilse, and I, too.

Tracy and Milo  to:  2015-07-11 20.40.36 - CopyDana and Milo_071215

Joy from being engaged! I’m enjoying planning a wedding celebration in early 2016. Mathis and I will get married at the courthouse on July 29 and Mom will fly up from L.A. to be a witness, along with one or two of Mathis’ friends. It’s all very special.

2015-07-07 02.04.06

Next cancer treatments:

  • 4 weeks of chemo with the last one on August 4
  • Wait 2-3 weeks for scans (by end of August)
  • Start radiation for 6+ weeks

I’ve had some challenges with my low white blood cell count, but my oncologists don’t anticipate any further low counts. Fatigue is increasing and good size headaches pop up. However, overall, I’m doing well. Naps are my best friend, my appetite and taste buds have returned, and I’m getting better at listening to my body and going horizontal when I need to rest.

I’ll be a tricky radiation patient since I had radiation back in 2002, during my 1st bout. But the Virginia Mason Cancer Institute has a plan! Here I am in chemo today, 7-14:

Chemo Tuesday July 14 2015

I can’t thank Mathis enough for being all-in every day and night. He has curtailed his travel, is always checking in on me, warning me when I’m over-doing it, and being super sensitive when I get anxious or scared. Shane, Chad, and Milo are also amazing for calling, dropping lines, and visiting. And Mathis’ girls, Christina and Leslie live out of state, but constantly send their warmth. And my mom, of course, is “all in” too!

THANK YOU: Everybody near and far has been amazing and please don’t ever think that you’re bothering me. I’ve heard that from a number of folks. Please know that when I’m sleeping, my phone is off. I get energy and joy from visits e-mails, Facebook notes, cards or phone calls.

Love and hugs from Mathis and I and our families,

Dana Manciagli

cell: 206.849.100

e-mail:  Dana@DanaManciagli.com or DanaManciagli@hotmail.com

 

 

 

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Some Short Stories – My Cancer Odds N’ Ends

I’m a Prize-Winner!

Last Saturday, Mathis and I attended a Junior Achievement fund-raising picnic since I’m still on the board. They sold raffle tickets for a number of cool prizes so we donated to the cause and put little red tickets in each prize bowl.

Wouldn’t you know it? Of ALL the prizes and ALL the event-goers, I won two free haircuts at a local salon! Just what I need, right?

Dana wins haircuts!

Dana wins haircuts!

My Hair Doesn’t Talk to One Another

About three weeks ago, the hair on my head started to grow back! But now it stopped growing. I think my hair was thinking, “Oh, goodie, we’re done with chemo,” when I finished the first wave of chemo. But then I started a second round of a different chemo and it said, “Shit. I have to lay low a little longer.”

But the real dilemma is that the hair on my head doesn’t talk to my eyelashes or eyebrows. Once my head hair started growing back, my eyelashes fully fell out. Then, my eyebrows started peeling away a few weeks later. Can’t you guys get coordinated?

Makeup Is a Wonderful Thing

I found wonderful YouTube videos done by other cancer patients showing how to create the illusion of having eyelashes and eyebrows. And I have also done make-overs at the Nordstrom cosmetic department where I learned a lot! I now wake up every morning and put on makeup since it makes me feel more “normal.” Even if I am sitting around most of the day…

Engagement Bliss

Well, I must share our glee with getting married. And since most of you saw the “joke” ring that Mathis bought me, I thought I would show you the real wedding ring that I’m already wearing. Who cares about the order of things, right? It’s my favorite designer, David Yurman, and so gorgeous.

Real Ring

We’ll be getting our marriage certificate and get “legal” by the court sometime in July. Then plan festivities when possible. Here’s a recent photo of us from this past Saturday night:

Dana and Mathis_062715

Dana and Mathis_062715

Cancer Update

I am doing great. Really. Yes, I’m fatigued, but no serious side effects of chemo. I have 5 weeks left of chemo (August 4) then two weeks to wait for scans, then radiation for 6 weeks.

Recently my white blood counts have been very low so I missed one week of chemo and then only got partial chemo the following week. That means my bone marrow is “tired of chemo.” But I just started new shots that I’ll give myself daily to boost them up again through the end of chemo.

Radiation is tricky since I’ve had radiation before in 2002, but I have a lot of faith in my amazing Virginia Mason cancer team of doctors. There may be some surgery, too. All depends on those scans so please keep up the happy thoughts and prayers!

Here’s a shot from Tuesday’s chemo (June 30) and Mathis was sitting there right next to me!

Chemo June 30 2015

Thank you for all of the well-wishes, prayers and happy thoughts streaming in. Please stay close!

Love and hugs,

Dana

Happy News! And it Certainly Offsets the Cancer Crap

Announcement!

On June 17, after a wonderful birthday dinner, Mathis asked me to marry him!  We’re so thrilled and we’ll continue to enjoy our wonderful life together.LM1040115KR3-18

Our celebrations will be low key; however, we’re certainly celebrating life every day and wanted to share our joy with you, too.

What about the ring, people ask!

You all know Mathis is a jokester and would like to be a stand-up comedian in his next life. You also know he knows me quite well (and tolerates my unique characteristics). He knew I would want to select my preferred ring style.

So he went to Ross Dress for Less and poured through a stack of cheap, costume rings. He found my engagement ring prize for $7.49 so here is “the rock” I received.

It’s a beauty, eh?  Engagement Ring_061715 Hysterical!

P.S. Mathis already bought me a gorgeous David Yurman wedding ring.

We just want to share our love and appreciation for all of our family and friends.

Hugs to all,

Dana and Mathis