My Sacred Cancer Journey

My name is Cally Pivano Tendrick, I was a runner and now I am a stage 4 Cancer Warrior. In November of 2013, I lost my twin sister, Sue, to cancer. ...

What They Don’t Tell You

I’ve been reading a book about a woman who overcame breast cancer and her friend who did not. It got me thinking that just as there are five stages of grief, there are also emotional stages of a cancer diagnosis that are very similar. The five stages of grief...

Side Effects

Today I met Karen, a fellow patient who had just received her last radiation treatment. She was a pretty girl and didn’t appear to be very tall as she sat in her wheelchair. She wore a scarf on her head and had the sweetest childlike voice. We started chatting...

Healing With Reiki

Today is Friday, October 11th 2019 and I am happy to say that I have already completed 10 rounds of radiation; only 25 more to go! I learned that the hospital where I get my radiation treatments provides Reiki for free to all patients who are undergoing treatment. While...

Healing Myself

I just finished reading a book called Radical Remissions: Surviving Cancer At All Odds which I learned about from the documentary Heal. A radical remission is when someone recovers against all odds without the help of conventional medicine, or after conventional medicine has failed. The author, Kelly Ann Turner,...

Celebrating Life

My birthday is in three days; I’m have feelings of trepidation before it as I have for the past six years. I am so grateful to be alive, absolutely a reason to celebrate but also very bittersweet because I miss my twin sister, Sue and this will be my...

Learning To Walk Again

Just finished meditating in the garden; I treasure these mornings; it’s so nice to sit outside and feel the sun on my face while my eyes are closed. I feel like I’m in my own natural sanctuary surrounded by colorful summer flowers, magical humming birds, bright yellow finches and the...

Heal

Bit of a rough day, it started in the middle of the night around 1:00 am. I wasn’t wearing my skid resistant socks when I got up to go to the bathroom and slipped while trying to maneuver my way in. I only put a teeny bit of pressure...

I Am A Warrior!

It is the third day that I am home from the hospital; I came home on Friday 8/23. It wasn’t easy but thankfully, Larry was able to get a wheelchair and ramp from our local surgical supply store. He and my son, Rich, were able to get me up...

What Lies Ahead

I am scheduled yet again for surgery tomorrow. This time it’s to remove a large tumor from my good leg, my right calf.  I’ve been trying to keep myself busy today; trying to keep my mind occupied as I am anxious to get this beast removed from me. The...

Twists And Turmoil

After my lung surgery in June, I took time to recuperate and finish up taking care of my Mom’s affairs. I was in the hospital to remove another lung tumor two weeks after she passed so I didn’t have much time to get things done. As the weeks passed...

Another Bombshell

Losing Mom was very hard for me and for the entire family. She passed just one month shy of her 92nd birthday and we felt like she would always be around. She was like the Energizer Bunny; she just kept on going! Losing her was compounded by the loss...

Mom, May Your Spirit Soar

My Mom’s nurse practitioner, Melissa, was scheduled to come by on Friday May 31st, two days after my brother’s funeral. She had performed some tests the week before because Mom was complaining of an upset and swollen stomach. Melissa was coming by to check in on Mom and give...

Danny’s Gone

My brother, Danny, has passed after having his leg amputated twice and developing sepsis. He passed on Sunday May 26th; a week to the day after the anniversary of our father’s passing. I had no idea when he first went in that my visits with him would be numbered....

Daniel My Brother

I just got home a few minutes ago from visiting my brother, Daniel, who is back in the hospital. He had to be readmitted after spending a month in there approximately six weeks ago. They had to amputate his leg below the knee when he was last there due...

Walk This Way

I’m in bed recuperating from the five hour surgery that I had last week for spinal stenosis.  I only spent 2 days in the hospital but I’m really laid up with pain. Just getting in and out of bed is difficult and painful. I have needed the surgery for...

Devastating News

I haven’t written in a while… I’ve been super busy, a really bad cold and had some unexpected situations arise. I took the Tuesday after last Thanksgiving off because Mom fell at 3 am the night before. After running some errands for her, I spent the day with her...

Creating Awareness

Prior to learning about the tumor in my lung, I applied to speak at a Ted Talk in Asbury Park, NJ and was chosen to audition. I was thrilled to be chosen and worked ardently gathering research for my speech. The topic that I would be speaking about was,...

Glimpses of Heaven

I went for my quarterly PET Scan on Thursday. It felt similar to the one I had in February when I had the flu. This time, instead of the flu, I had a bad cold. I took a tissue in with me but it was useless. Having your arms...

On The Mend

Ugh…..got the flu twice in February. I also had to get my PET scan while I had it and it sucked! I had to fast so I couldn’t take any medication . It was by the grace of God and my meditating experience that got me through it. If...

Salute to Seniors

Today was a beautifully touching day. A local radio station, NJ 101.5, held a contest called Salute to Seniors. The premise was if you knew of a senior who has made a difference in their community you could nominate them to be recognized.  I decided to nominate my Mom...

Faith Family And Friends

Yesterday would have been my parent’s 70th wedding anniversary. It was also time for my quarterly Pet Scan. I was feeling kind of sad and lonely thinking about Susie; how I would sit with her during her treatments only now it’s me sitting alone. As my mind wandered, the...

Brielle Is Born!

My newest grandbaby, Brielle, was born on November 14th! She is the second daughter for my son, Rich and his wife Kendra; Ava, is their firstborn. Ava was so happy about becoming a big sister. She wants to hold Brielle and even at 3 years of age, she acts...

Happy Anniversary?

Tomorrow will be the first anniversary since the surgery that has changed my life. I am sad to say that while I am very grateful, I am not feeling celebratory. While I should be focusing on the good, I am in mourning for the life that I once knew....

Once A Twin…Always A Twin

My birthday was last Wednesday; it was a very emotional day filled with mixed emotions. Being “twinless” on your birthday when you are a twin doesn’t make you feel like celebrating. However, this year is a bit different. While I am feeling sad missing Sue, I am also grateful...

Finding My No Fear Running Gear

This past weekend I found a backpack in the rear of my closet that I hadn’t seen in a long time. When I opened it, I found my running gear that I had packed away. My Aerosmith baseball cap, running shoes etc. I also found my beloved No Fear...

Back To Reality

I had a good weekend, some friends came by for an impromptu barbecue on Saturday. We sat outside and after dinner we lit a fire in the chiminea. The backyard looked amazing; huge ten foot tall sunflowers abundantly surrounded by an assortment of flowers creating a rainbow of color....

The Summer Of Fun

After my last scan in June came back tumor free, we decided that this was to be the summer of fun! This was going to be a summer that would be embraced and lived to the fullest; at least to the fullest extent that is physically possible for me....

A Disturbing Epiphany

I had a disturbing epiphany three days ago. I was thinking about the tablet that my grandson, Parker, received for his birthday. I was concerned about the consequences of radiation exposure to him and other children because tablets have the same components as cell phones. Remember how we were...

Mom’s 90th Birthday

Yesterday was Mom’s 90th birthday; we all had dinner together and had a nice time celebrating this milestone birthday as a family. The night was bittersweet and I was feeling a bit melancholy because I can see how much she has aged. This could very well be her last...

Rocking With Habitat For Humanity

My friend, Laura, from Habitat for Humanity Monmouth reached out to me to see if I could volunteer tonight to help raise money at a concert at PNC Art Center in Holmdel, NJ. Habitat for Humanity is a benevolent organization that I have volunteered with before. It is a...

Jack Brian Is Born!

My newest grandbaby, Jack Brian, was born on June 13th! He was born on the same day as my grandfather, Antonio and is the second child for my son, Dave and daughter in law, Christa. Parker is their firstborn and my firstborn grandchild. I enjoy spending time with him...

No New Tumors!

Today I received my scan results from Dr. Patterson….feelings of apprehension followed by gratitude and relief. I’m good for another 3 months….no new tumors!!!!!!!!!! What a huge relief yet I was saddened to see a very young girl maybe around the age of 12 or 13 at the doctor’s...

National Cancer Survivors Day

There were survivors’ like myself who attended and were acknowledged for our bravery. There were also emotional tributes to honor the memories of our loved ones who have passed. Being a survivor, it was a special day for me. What made it extra special, was the distribution of my...

God Gives Me The Strength

I went for my three month CT scan yesterday and had an allergic reaction to the contrast iodine that was given to me intravenously. It wasn’t too bad, I broke out in hives and started sneezing. They immediately took my blood pressure, gave me Benadryl and plenty of water...

Ch Ch Ch Changes

For the longest time, I had prayed so hard for change in my life because I wasn’t happy with work or sometimes even life in general….watch out what you ask for! It dawned on me that today is my six month anniversary from the day that I had my...

Focus On The Good

Don’t want to feel pain, fear or sadness anymore! I have decided to change the channel in my mind to a more positive one so that I can become a much lighter, happier version of myself. So, I choose to let go of the negative emotions and make the...

I Don’t Want To Be Pitied…I’m Still Me!

Today starts the beginning of my fourth week back to work……amazing how fast the weeks fly by. I’ve been working part time and was still able to land a decent account that the office has been trying to get for years and yet somehow I did it! The owner...

Staying Hopeful In Uncertain Times

How appropriate that I returned to work the day after Easter (Monday April 17th 2016) Easter, a time for resurrection…new beginnings and of course spring. We celebrated Easter with a nice brunch at my son Dave’s house then did some gardening when we got home. It was so wonderful...

Man I Ain’t Changed But I Know I Ain’t The Same

There are so many of us, cancer survivors and families whose lives will never be the same. I’ve read about people with the same type of cancer as me who had recurrences of their sarcomas in other parts of their bodies and others who had to have their legs...

Feeling Better

I’m definitely feeling better than I did since I last wrote; the gym has been really therapeutic for me. So have the anti-depressants that my doctor prescribed.  On my last visit to see Dr. Patterson, I told him that I was having a difficult time and felt like I...

Exercise Therapy For The Body & Mind

I am struggling with depression….is it post traumatic stress disorder? I should be feeling relieved that my first CT scan came back negative yet I feel like the old Cally is dead….the girl who could do anything….now I feel like a handicapped old woman. I joined the cancer exercise...

Road To Recovery

I went to see Dr. Patterson for my follow-up visit and to get the results of the first CT scan since my surgery. Thankfully, no tumors were found! I am on disability until March 20th and will return on a part time basis to start due to fatigue from...

Thirty Five Rounds Of Radiation Completed!

I did it! My last radiation treatment is over; thirty five rounds behind me!!!!!! There is a major snowstorm that started last night and made it extremely treacherous but I was not going to miss it! When I came home, I saw a beautiful cardinal outside…was it a sign?...

A Visit To Mary’s Place By The Sea

I was grateful to get a good night’s sleep last night which left me feeling somewhat rested today; at least rested enough to be able to visit Mary’s Place By The Sea. Mary’s Place is a non- profit organization located in a beautiful Victorian home that provides a warm...

Lymphedema Begins

I am now experiencing extreme fatigue and am also developing lymphedema as a side effect of the radiation treatments that I’m receiving. Lymph edema is a chronic condition of localized swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system. I learned that they perform lymphatic massage to drain the fluid at the hospital...

Making progress

Today is my 22nd day of radiation…only 13 more to go! I met a nice woman in the waiting area who was on oxygen and getting treated for lung cancer. She has also had bladder cancer and her husband was treated last year for prostate cancer. I gave her...

Giving Out Angel Peace Blankets

I began giving out Angel Peace blankets today. Angel Peace blankets are blankets that I had created in Sue’s memory with the intention of donating them to cancer patients. When Sue was getting chemotherapy, the facility was cold and they did not have blankets for the patients. Fortunately, I...

Experiencing The Sacred Bond Of Cancer

Today was day number 18 of radiation therapy. This has been an amazing time for me. As my daily routine has evolved from going to work into going to physical therapy and radiation, I have found this to be a comforting time. Instead of rushing around trying to meet...

Radiation Commences

On Wednesday, December 21st 2016 I started the first of 35 radiation treatments. In order for my body to start healing from the extensive surgery that removed my quadricep muscles, I  needed to wait about a month before I could start radiation.  During that month, I endured significant pain,...