I’m a RISER

Music can be so motivating. It’s amazing when you hear a song you can relate to… you listen to every word, turn it up and feel like the song was written about you.

While I don’t personally know Dierks Bentley, I feel like he knows me.  His new song RISER, feels like it was written for me and my journey over the last three years of my life…

“I’m a riser…I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider… pushing comes to shovin’ hey I’m a fighter…When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter… a get out aliver… out of the fire…SURVIOVOR
I can personally relate to every word above.  It’s been a tough three years, but I’m thankful to be in year four. You truly don’t know how strong you are until you have no choice but to be strong.
Music is a very strong motivator, the right song is inspirational and extremely emotional.  It’s easy to listen to a song… but the special songs are the ones you can feel.
RISER is a song that I feel.  Thank you Dierks.
#RISER  #DIERKSBENTLEY #SURVIVOR

Every Cancer Has A Color

EVERY CANCER HAS A COLOR

World Cancer DayOn this WORLD CANCER DAY, let’s recognize that every cancer has a color. No matter the diagnosis or the prognosis, we all have a battle. Let’s not just recognize PINK for breast cancer or GREY for brain cancer, let’s treat all cancer equally. Every form of cancer needs to have a cure. Our hope on this World Cancer Day is to raise awareness for all ribbons so that one day there is a cure and CANCER NO LONGER HAS A COLOR.

The Things Cancer Taught Us

CANCER CANKNOT. There are so many things that Cancer Cannot do, but there is one thing that it CAN do, it can teach you a few things about life.

In 2011 when I was diagnosed with cancer, I was young, happy, had a wonderful family and a seemingly perfect life… and then cancer happened. Cancer tried to take all of those things away, but instead it actually taught our family how to live.

Cancer Canknot Be More Powerful Than Those That Love and Support You

When they say, IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A FAMILY, well it also takes a village to help you survive cancer. Everyone you interact with plays an important role in moving forward with your diagnosis; family, friends, doctors, nurses, co-workers – everyone makes their own contribution and impact in beating this disease. Cancer Canknot be more powerful than those that love and support you.

Cancer Canknot Ruin Your Outlook on Life

Staying positive truly is key. Having moments of frustration, sadness, fear, and anxiety is one thing, but letting it consume you is another. You cannot let that bad moment turn into a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month. Having a positive outlook is what keeps you and everyone around you fighting. Cancer Canknot ruin your outlook on life.

Cancer Canknot Break You

Don’t sweat the small stuff. For every problem there is a solution. It is easy to get upset when things don’t go your way, but you can always find a way to move past it. For every moment of falter there must be a moment of strength. What doesn’t break you does make you stronger. Cancer Canknot break you.

Cancer Canknot Stop Hugs or Kisses

Kiss each other good night. Tell your kids you love them as they leave for school. Not only be appreciative of every day, but every moment. After cancer you realize that any moment could be your last, so always take advantage of your time with loved ones. Cancer taught us to be conscience of the last thing you say to someone, so make sure you have had that opportunity to leave a lasting impression. Cancer Canknot stop hugs or kisses.

Cancer Canknot Consume Time

Don’t wish away your days. It is easy to say things like “I wish it was Friday.” Cancer teaches you to live in the moment and appreciate all the days that you do have. Take advantage of your time and be thankful for your life as everyday creates new experiences and opportunities. Cancer Canknot consume time.

Cancer Canknot Stop You From Moving Forward

Don’t wait. You know the famous saying NEVER PUT OFF UNTIL TOMORROW WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY, well it’s true. Seize every moment and take advantage of time. It is easy to say, “I will do that next week” or “we can take a vacation next year.” Do it now. Don’t save it all for the rainy day fund. Sometimes it is important to use those savings on the sunny days. Time is precious and never let a moment pass you by. Cancer Canknot stop you from moving forward.

Cancer Canknot Take Away the Importance of Family

Family first. We’ve all heard the saying “work-life balance” and cancer taught us the importance of that. A bad day at work is just that, ONE bad day. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t important. Family is what is important. Family is what keeps you going. Family is what keeps you strong. Family is what keeps you fighting. Cancer Canknot take away the importance of family.

Cancer Canknot Keep You From Being Happy

If you get angry… get over it. Just as quickly as you feel hurt, angry or upset, it is just as important to forgive, forget and move on. Resentment and anger can consume you, and the quicker you can realize those things aren’t important or healthy to hold on to, the happier you will be. Cancer Canknot keep you from being happy.

Cancer Canknot Take Away Love, Hope and Memories

Lastly, MIRACLES DO HAPPEN. What was a 6-12 month prognosis has turned into a three year SURVIVORSHIP. In those three years, we have had the opportunity to write a book, design a line of jewelry, and bring a beautiful baby girl into the world. All of which seemed impossible on that December day in 2011. Cancer Canknot take away love, hope and memories.

WHAT HAS CANCER TAUGHT YOU??

 

Support of a Spouse

coupleRight before Eric was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2011, I just knew something wasn’t right. Now, I have a tendency to be a little bit of a hypochondriac, but the excruciating headaches, vomiting and not being able to bend down to tie a shoe should be an indication to anyone that something wasn’t right. After much begging and pleading, I finally got him to see a doctor – to which they recommended that he get a CAT scan.

I will never forget the moment that Eric walked out of the exam room at the hospital and said “they don’t want me to go anywhere, I think they found something.” My heart sunk deep into my stomach and from that moment on, our lives would change forever. We were then brought back to a consultation room where the Radiologist proceeded to tell us that Eric had a large mass in his brain, about the size of a baseball. My first question to the doctor was “it is CANCER?” On December 20, 2011 -about 10 days after we got the news Eric had a mass in his brain, and one brain surgery later, our greatest fear was confirmed – Eric had grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. I dreaded asking what the prognosis was, but I did anyway; six to twelve months is the typical prognosis for this type of brain cancer. Continue reading “Support of a Spouse”

*NEW* Cancer Canknot Shirts To Support Cancer Research

PO5195846-frontblackThank you to all of you who have made the books and the jewelry  successful in just a few short months. We are excited to announce that we’ve designed and created another way to help support cancer research.  We have started a Cancer Canknot T-Shirt Booster campaign where 100% of the profits will be donated to support cancer research.  We have loved to see so many  necklaces and bracelets out there with the knotted ribbon and want to thank you for helping us spread the word.

We feel the T-Shirts campaign can now do the same and can reach an even broader base.

In purchasing a shirt, you are showing your support not only for our family but for that family member or friend that has been affected in your life.

Wear this shirt to support your Mother or Father, your Grandmother or Grandfather. Wear this shirt for your Son or Daughter or your Brother or Sister.  Wear this shirt for your Aunt, your Uncle, your Nephew or Niece. Wear this shirt for Yourself.

Whether they are still fighting, are in remission, or have unfortunately passed on, wear this shirt with pride and as a symbol of support for your loved ones that have been affected.

At the end of the day, Cancer CANKNOT takeaway our LOVE, our HOPE or our MEMORIES.

I am a proud to wear the logo on my chest for myself as a survivor and for all of the people who have supported me over the last three years. When you see me wearing my shirt, please take it as a personal “Thank You” for all of your support.

I would personally love to see all of those who have supported me and those who are supporting others through the difficult process wearing the shirts proudly too.  Most of all, I would love to see other SURVIVORs and their own support groups wearing the logo and proving another one of the many things Cancer Canknot do.

The campaign runs through FEBRUARY 1st. I encourage everyone to visit the site at the following link and purchase your shirt directly through our booster.

www.booster.com/cancercanknot 

We have set a goal of selling 50 shirts by the end of the campaign and I sincerely feel that we can accomplish and even exceed this target. The best part about the campaign is that 100% of EVERY DOLLAR OF PROFIT WILL BE GOING TO FUND CANCER RESEARCH.

Thanks again for all of the support and wear your shirt proudly knowing that you supported the cause!

Lessons Learned

Through my diagnosis, we have learned many lessons First and foremost we learned the importance of family and friends. Many people ask how we got through such a difficult time, and our response has always been our amazing support system. People helped in any way they could; gift baskets, homemade meals, cards, and many positive thoughts and prayers.

IMG_4739However, I think one of the most amazing things we  learned during this process is the resiliencies that a child possess in the diagnosis of a family member’s cancer diagnosis. As many of you know, Bryce was three years old at the time of my diagnosis. Just as we described in our reasoning for writing the book, one of the first thoughts that crosses your mind is how are we going to tell him? At first, we thought that maybe we don’t say anything at all, but we quickly learned that a child is very perceptive. They soon realize that something doesn’t seem quite right; Why is  daddy tired?, where did all of his hair go?, why do we go to the hospital so much now?

When we told Bryce of daddy’s cancer, we expected many questions – which we got, inspired through the book, but what we weren’t expecting was how resilient Bryce was after he learned about my cancer diagnosis.

Bryce understood so much more than we expected, and even after such a heavy-hearted conversation, he continued to be the amazing boy we always knew. Bryce was able to move past the word “cancer” that we were so afraid to tell him.

Through my  treatment, it was like he “just knew.” He just knew when daddy was tired and couldn’t play as much. And then on the days that I was feeling well, he would ask to wrestle on the floor and sing and dance before bedtime.

We get asked a lot by families on how they should tell their children of a family member’s diagnosis. We always that tell them that they know their  family best and what they are capable of understanding given the situation they are faced with,  but as we shared in our experience, you may be amazed with their resilience.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, all! As we begin a new year, many people are devoted to making resolutions for the upcoming twelve months; and that is no different for our family and Cancer Canknot.

Last year was an exciting time for our family. Two projects that we devoted so much of our love and attention to, Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing, as well as our jewelry line, Cancer Canknot, came to fruition. Also, on a personal level, we welcomed a second child in to our family – a beautiful baby girl, Erica Jane – named after her daddy, which just seemed fitting given Eric’s  heroic battle with cancer and his  devotion to our family.

Last year for New Year’s we resolved that we wanted to launch both the jewelry and book before the end of the year, to which we happily succeeded! Now that our work is out there, we are setting our New Year’s resolutions around bringing attention to our projects so we can help raise cancer awareness.

First, we want to inspire others with our story. We are making a resolution of putting ourselves “out there”, so that we can reach others also affected by this disease, and share that there can be positivity to this diagnosis.

Secondly, we want to strive in giving back to cancer research. When someone hears the book or references Cancer Canknot, we aspire to have our name known in being a funder in finding a cure for cancer.

Lastly, we resolve to achieve these New Year’s resolutions as a family. Through the diagnosis of cancer, we have found that friends and family are a big part in what gets your through, so it is important that family remains a top priority.

Thank you to all who have supported us and sent us kind words on what we are doing. Your love means a lot.

Cheers to a happy and HEALTHY New Year!

 

Our Inspiration

OUR INSPIRATION…..Three years ago our world was turned upside down when Eric was diagnosed with grade 4 glioblastoma brain cancer. As a healthy 29 year old male, a loving husband and father to an amazing little boy – the news of the words “CANCER” seemed so far from the truth.

Since the day that Eric was diagnosed, we knew there had to be a greater plan as to why we were dealt this deck of cards and why we were chosen to battle such a monstrous disease. Then, one day we had an idea; an idea on how to pay it forward.  We had an idea to write a children’s book for families affected by cancer.  We have also created a jewelry line with a local jeweler who fell in love with our story and wanted to be a part of it.

OUR STORY BEHIND THE BOOK….It all goes back to the first thought that crosses your mind when you are given such devastating news; your child. At the time of the diagnosis we were the parents of a 3 year old boy and much of our time was spent reading children’s books to him. When you hear news as devastating as cancer you think; “How are we going to explain it? Maybe we don’t say anything?”

We have written a lighthearted rhyming children’s book, Bear Hugging and Cancer Crushing, to help explain to a child what cancer means. Children’s books are amazing and almost always filled with life’s lessons told in a way that a child can understand.  Children have many questions when they learn of a parent’s diagnosis, and everyone needs to find strength through what can be a trying time. Our son gave us strength in the best way he knew how, his bear hugs, which inspired this book. With so many people affected by cancer and many of those being parents, this book can benefit countless families – as it has our own.

ABOUT THE JEWELRY….Our Cancer CanknotTM Jewelry is custom designed to look like a cancer ribbon with a knot in the middle of the ribbon to symbolize strength and be a reminder of everything that Cancer CanknotTM do. When we approached Perrywinkles Fine Jewelry in downtown Burlington, Vermont they were inspired by our story and immediately stood behind the idea. From there, our partnership was formed.

We brought our design ideas to Perrywinkles and they were able to refine the jewelry pieces, so they were functional and most importantly…beautiful. Perrywinkles’ exclusively produces and sells all of the jewelry pieces.  We are very proud of our creation. Whether you are a survivor, a person battling cancer or a part of the support system for the person fighting the disease, you can wear this jewelry as an unspoken word to how you have been affected by cancer and what it canknot do.

We hope our life experience inspires many other families in need of hope.

Anna and Eric Gilcris