Wednesday, November 30, 2011

357 Days later

Last year, Christmas came late for the D'Imperio family.  As I've documented here, my younger brother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer on December 8.  Life as we knew it was changed forever.   Surgery after surgery, complication after complication.  Colostomy bags and chemotherapy became a part of our everyday vernacular.  The Patient was in the hospital for Christmas; the first time I haven't had a Christmas with my brother since I was 4.  As the family gathered for our Christmas gathering, we called him on the phone to give the illusion that he was there, but it certainly wasn't the same.  We did finally get to celebrate with him, a week or so later, but still, knowing what was to come definitely put a damper on the day.

This year, Christmas came early for the D'Imperio family.  After almost a year which included 6 months of chemotherapy, various complications, infections, surgeries and countless antibiotics, The Patient is now The Survivor.  Bloodwork and the 'ill-fated' follow-up colonoscopy have revealed that the cancer is gone.  Our Christmas will be normal once again, we will all be together like it's supposed to be.  The events of last year will just be a memory.

It will be a very Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday, September 9, 2011


This weekend is an emotional one.  Let's start with the good.

6 years ago on September the 10th, I was married.  I was married on a beautiful, sunny, warm day.  Just a few clouds were in the sky that day.  I was married in front of one hundred and fifty friends and family, people who were there for us to witness the beginning of the rest of our lives together.  I truly remember that day in such great detail.  I could tell you what was going on every hour of that day.  The memories are SO vivid!  I often say that day was the best day of my life.  It still is.  I thank all of you reading this, who were there, who supported us, and were there for us on our big day.  Gregory, if you're reading this, which you probably won't unless I tell you to, I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for loving me and everything about me.  Thank you for being my best friend.  Thank you for being a fantastic husband.  You "get me" and that's no small feat!  Thank you for starting a family with me, I can't imagine our life any other way.  Thank you for saying "I do" 6 years ago.  If I had to do it all over again, I would, and I would change nothing.  Come What May, always and forever.  I love you.

Changing gears.

September 11, 2001.  It was a big day for me.  I was starting a new job.  It was a new beginning for me.  I remember walking into my new office, and meeting my new coworkers.  I was getting the rundown of the ins and outs and inner workings of the Social Work department at Saint Peter's University Hospital.  At 8:46am, a coworker came in and announced the grim news, plane #1 had hit.  Not knowing anything of terrorists or attacks on America at that time, we assumed it was a freak accident.  I said a silent prayer for those affected and tried to put it out of my head.  A few minutes go by, another plane, another announcement, another prayer.  This happened a total of 4 times.  I remember a lot about that day.  I remember watching the second tower fall, live on TV.  I remember the phone calls that we received asking if we had information.  I remember the images of people hopelessly jumping out of this day, that thought gives me chills.  it's just not something you ever forget.  I remember having to watch helplessly while my new coworker worked quickly to clear the hospital for 200 victims.  Victims that never showed up.  Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and business returned to "normal."  Life turned back to "normal."  But what is normal?  Life will never be the same after that fateful day.  People are harsh and quick to say that it was 10 years ago, that people need to get over it.  GET OVER IT?  Are ya kidding?  How do you get over something like that?  it makes me sad that people can brush off an attack on our freedom like it was nothing.  I will never forget.  It was such a big day.  Such an important day.  Such a sad day.  10 years later, it still hurts.

Tonight, while celebrating my anniversary, I will be taking a dinner cruise that will bring us up close to that beautiful, yet empty and forever changed NYC Skyline.  What an amazingly bittersweet moment that will be. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hello there

Wow, it's been a long time since I've graced you all with my literary presence.  I really haven't written much of anything in any of my blogs, so don't feel like you're the only people I'm ignoring.  It's not for lack of things to talk about, it's the lack of time it takes to sit and get it all out. 

So, I'm 34 weeks +2 days pregnant.  I feel like the size of a baby beluga (sing with Raffi and I, will you?) and I still have 5 weeks to go.  I can't even imagine how much larger I can get.  I kind of anxious about getting back to my non-pregnant state, as the heartburn, nausea, dry-heaving, feeling like a furnace, aching back, etc of pregnancy is getting really old.  Like really old.  Like, it got old about 2 months ago.  Bets are in, and most people think I will deliver earlier than my June 17th scheduled date.  I would be inclined to agree.  However, now that we are all expecting her to come early, she'll decide to stay put until it's time.   I can't wait to meet the little one.  Can't wait to see who has been taking up residence in mah belly for the past 8.5 months.  I can't wait to see who she looks like, or see what her personality is like.  I can't wait to yell at her for kicking me in the ribs all night every night.  Damn kid. 

Jack and Emma have been...interesting....and that is putting it nicely.  Emma is fully entrenched in all things terrible two, for she is 2 and she is terrible.  Yes, cute little Emma is a beast.  She just about lives in time out, throws tantrums, bites, hits, yells, tells me no...Good times in my house.  Jack is slightly better than her.  He's full of energy from the second he wakes up in the morning to the moment he lays down in bed at night.  Double naptime still happens, so for that I'm eternally grateful.  Emma's speech has improved immensely, and Jack is getting ready for preschool (MY BABY BOY IS GOING TO SCHOOL?!?!?!?).  I'm just so proud of both of them...when I'm not so frustrated with both of them.  Adding #3 into the mix will prove to be very interesting. 

We are most likely taking the house off of the market until next year.  Response to our completely redone, overhauled house has been less than stellar.  Yeah, yeah the market.  Yeah, yeah the recession.  Yeah, yeah shut up.  Our house rocks.  I'd want to live here if I wasn't already (and if I didn't have (almost) 3 kids).  Hopefully, a year will make a difference and we can get this place sold.  I'm okay with this.  totally okay with it.  It took me a long time to be okay with it, but I'm 'there' and it's fine.  It's simply just not our time.  Our neighborhood is great and we've made friends and we really enjoy being here, so that makes having to stay even more okay.

I was just about to end this, when I realized I didn't post about the person who became the main focal point of this blog.  Joey.  He is more than halfway finished with his chemo treatments.  He looks wonderful.  When you think 'chemo patient', you think skinny, pale, gaunt, bald, etc.  This has not been the case (knock on wood 3 times, please) for Joey.  If you didn't know the kid was sick and going through treatments, you would never peg him for a cancer patient, that's for sure.  His attitude remains positive and he's managed to not get too, too sick.  Impressive.  Still, we take one treatment at a time, and his journey isn't over by a long shot. 

I guess this can be it for now.  I'm hoping to catch son's Z's while the kiddos are sleeping.  Which is code for I'm going to eat ice cream and watch TV .

Thursday, March 3, 2011

It's been a while!

Hello all.  It's been some time since I've posted here. 

I've given my brother the moniker "Chemo Joe"...pretty self explanatory, dontcha think?  I will leave the specifics to him, as he will be updating the official blog soon, but two chemo treatments are complete, and there are 10 more to go.  Again, how he's feeling is up to him to convey, but I will tell you how I feel about the whole thing...I think it sucks.  There's nothing like knowing that there is poison running through the body of one of the most important people in your life.  Funny though, isn't it?  Poison to make him feel better?  It's almost comical.

I will say that the poison afforded me an opportunity to spend some time with TWO of the most important people in my life.  Last night, C.J. wasn't feeling so great, so I decided to offer him a remedy that helped me during some of the more nauseous times of my life...a morning-sickness lollipop.  Whether or not it worked, I'm not sure, but I'll tell you what made ME feel better (me, me, me)...I got to hang with C.J. and Danny.  Just us.  It was like old times.  Listening to music, laughing, singing, actin' a' fool.  It was lovely.  I was reminded of why I love those two as much as I thanks, boys, for making the ol' girl smile.

I've turned into a Colon Cancer Awareness zealot.  Trying to sell wristbands, trying to get word out, trying to do what I can do to help.  As of right now, there is no official organization, or foundation for Joey, so it's an all out effort by the family just to try and figure out how to help.  Foundations, trust funds, corporate sponsors; none of it makes much sense to me, so trying to figure it all out with limited knowledge and resources (and time) is proving to be difficult to say the least.  But, I'm confident that things will work out the way they are supposed to...whatever that means. If anyone reading this wants to have some sort of benefit for C.J., feel free!  Right now, everything is a free for all.  Just let me know what you're thinking, and I'll help in any way I can.

Tomorrow, March 4th, is National Wear Blue Day.  Blue is the color designated to colon cancer awareness.  I would recommend you wear blue; the more blue the better.  If you're reading this, you know (or know of) at least one person who is battling this disease, so do it!  I thank you, my family thanks you, and most of all, Chemo Joe, the patient, ;...he thanks you.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wonder Boy, what is the secret of your power?


Those are just a few of the words that I can use to describe the outpouring of love and support for "The Patient".  You know, I dubbed him "The Patient" to maintain some sort of privacy factor for the insanely private Joey.  I was of the thinking that, since he didn't have a Facebook or a blog, I shouldn't broadcast his business all over the internet.  But, getting people involved, and making people aware was what I could do to help at the time.  The more people I had praying, the more I felt like I was helping.  Well, word has gotten out; the identity of "The Patient"  is now known to all.  And what a great thing that has turned out to be...

Thank you to each and every single one of you who have offered your money, your time, your well wishes, your prayers, and your positive energy.  No lie, we can not do this without you.  Thank you to the hundreds, literally hundreds, of people who haven't thought twice about coming out to the first of many benefits being held for Joey.  It's awe-inspiring to know that so many people care, that so many people want to help.  Words really can't describe it.

Let me answer some questions that I've been asked:

Q:"I want to make a donation, how do I do that?"
A:  Quite simply...wait.  We are working on setting up a foundation in Joey's name (which should be finished very soon) and all donations will go directly to the foundation.  All information will be on the website once it is launched.  We appreciate the sentiment, and we will DEFINITELY appreciate any monetary help you are willing to give, but just give us some time to get stuff settled and the kinks worked out.  Also, the P-51 fundraiser is not through the foundation, it's just a bunch of Joey's friends getting together to play music, and raise awareness.  Any questions regarding the show should be directed to the people running it.  If you want to donate money to this particular show, but aren't able to make it, my only suggestion is to give the money to someone you know is going to the show so they can give it in for you.  Or, you can just donate that amount to the foundation.

Q:"I have an idea for an event.  Who can I tell about it?"
A: Well, if you're reading this, you must know me.  So, you can tell me about it!  I will then bring it up to the other members of his foundation, and we will discuss the logistics of it to see if it's something that we would be able to do.  Suggestions are always welcome! Also, if you know of any people/businesses who may want to sponsor a future event, please pass along that information as well.

Q:"Is Joey going to get better?"
A:  My answer to that is a resounding YES!!  He does have a LONG road ahead of him.  He has a couple more surgeries lined up, and not to mention the 6 months of chemo, but YES he WILL beat this!  Yes, he WILL get better.  Yes, he WILL be a cancer survivor.  I know and believe this with every fiber of my being.  Is it going to be easy?  Nope.  But, he will do it.  He will do it because he has the will to fight, he will do it because he has an army that spans across the globe fighting behind him.  He. Will. Win.

I don't think words will every be able to express how grateful and humbled we as a family are.  Really.  It's touching and it means so much that you are all willing to fight the good fight with him...with us.  I told him today that a LOT of people love him and that he is truly a lucky man.  Very, very lucky.  We are all lucky to have you all on our side.

If anyone has any questions about anything Joey-related, please feel free to ask away.  If I don't have an answer, I will GET an answer and give it to you.  I will try my best to keep everyone updated via this blog, via the website, and via Facebook. 

On behalf of the D'Imperio family, I thank you...even though that doesn't seem like enough...