Race day was beautiful. I have no doubt that Candice was with us all on Sunday and I could see her beaming smile!
The weather and the company couldn't have been more perfect. Thank you to all of you who participated in the 5K Walk/Run! Also, thank you to all of you who have supported me in many other ways - from shirt purchases, donations, emails, texts, cards, phone calls, visits, food and all around love!
I can not really put into words how difficult this time has been for me, yet how much love has kept me strong and hopeful. I remember when I was in junior high or sometime in school and we were learning about the word "dissonance". For some reason it seemed a hard concept to grasp at that time but now it seems to capture my feelings most days. To feel blessed in a time that I feel cursed is no easy feat.
As of today, we raised over $14,300 in funding for Pancreatic Cancer Research ($11,605 from the race and $2698 from the Booster). There were 61 people who raced in Westborough and several who ran/walked remotely wearing their T-Shirts.
A special Thank you to Mindy and Erin Mailman, who offered and hosted the post race BBQ in Roslindale. It was so generous and so wonderful to have a place to go after the race. Delicious Food and a few laughs were a nice way to end a weekend.
Thank you my dear, dear, dear friends and family! With much gratitude:) Thank you Maureen for the beautiful banners and supplying most of the pictures found below in the slideshow!
OK- really? Thank you all so much. It may take the rest of my life to repay you all for your generosity, support and love! As of today, we have 58 teammates, we have raised $12,088 for the race (combined Booster and Westborough Pancreatic Cancer Research walk/run)
Thank you to my new teammates- MIchelle Gabor, Mary Ann Cassell and Jordyn Calnan.
Thank you new donors-Carlye Atkinson, Ed Weaver, Michelle Gabor, Rebecca Mackey.
Thank you to all you who have donated to support my teammates.
I am so humbled by the generosity of so many people. The list of you to thank and re-thank grows each day. I am not able to keep up and not because I don't want to, but because some days just getting out of bed is a real accomplishment. But I do because I know Candice would want me to and because everyone's support lifts my spirits.
Since my last post, three more folks joined my team (bringing it up to 55 runners/walkers). Thank you Kerry Calnan, Sara Hammond, and Vanessa Savas.
We have raised a combined $10,703 as of 5/6/14. This does NOT include those who donated directly to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in memory of Candice.
Thank you to new donors: Kerry Calnon, Patty White, Christine and Sherie Grillon, Kathryn Austin, Jodi Weiner, Anne Hogan and the entire staff at the Audiology Department at the VA Hospital, my aunt Marjorie Phelps, and Megan Campbell. Also, thank you to all who have donated to my teammates.
52 teammates for May 18th! 160 T-Shirts sold! We have raised a combined $9,130 of my $10,000 goal! Amazeballs:)
Special thanks to the latest donors and/or teammates-Alyssa Pozniak, Lynn Hall, Mary Mt Flaherty, Mary Ann Marks, Carly Burton, Christine Jozitis, Christie Swett, Jennifer Royal, Naomi Rivera
If you haven't already, please consider donating a to the: 2014 Westborough Walk/Run
Today I was thrilled to learn that my sister Heather's annual oncology visit showed no signs of cancer. Heather was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer a little over 8 years ago. Since that time, Candice and I were so thankful that Heather survived that we ran the NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) 5K every September to raise money and do our part to improve awareness and find a cure for another well known "silent" cancer. The picture to the left was taken September 2013. This picture reminds me that it is extremely important to be thankful for the advancements of treatment in cancer and for those who survive - even in the wake of knowing that there a so many strong, healthy and amazing people who don't each year. Thank you Megan, Melanie, Diane, Jen and Maria for running Candice's last 5K with us. She was so happy when she was running for this cause and I know my sister was thankful too!
As of 11:30 tonight, I am proud and thankful that I have 48 members of my team running/walking in Westborough on May 18th and I have raised $8,345 in combined race donations and the T-shirt booster. My goal is to raise $10,000 and have 50 teammates. I would say that I am well on my way to making my goal come to fruition. Thank you all. We sold 156 T-Shirts- unbelievable!
A special thank you to the latest donors: Ryan Ellis, Mary Ann Marks, Theresa Gannon, Karen Dervin, Lisa and Gina Kelly, Colleen Kelly, Vincent James, Donna Davison, Sally Friar, Paula Callaghan, Jen Gaman, Naomi Rivera, Mollie Ruben, Sarah Hammond, Grace Buchanan, Karen Kirwan, Shannon Kirwan, Erik Brizzee, Renee Nearpass, Cindy and Mark Blouin, Jenna Gibbons, Pamela Welch, Liz Robson, Jennifer Deminico, Eliza Floyd, Heather Finn, Terri DeCarlie, Anne Marie MacDonald, Jill Nelson, Lauren Erwin, Jennifer Johnson, Briana McBride, Gwen Pinkerton, Phylle Lentz, Beth Crenshaw, Melissa Carter, Anthony Gallonio, Kerry Calnan, Tracy Antonio and all you anonymous folks (only you know who you are)
Today marks the month anniversary of Candice's passing. This is a very difficult day for me, but my heart is filled with love. In a month, I have raised $7,587 for two important organizations that focus on Pancreatic Cancer research. We have sold 122 "I Heart Candice" T-Shirts and I have 41 members of my team running/walking on May 18th. Tomorrow is the last day to buy a T-Shirt at: http://www.booster.com/iheartcandice.
I would like to send out a fourth thank you to those who recently supported my fundraising efforts: Cyrus Kosar, Brenda Rich, Sandra Desjardins, Bob Coughlin, Kim Tierney Goodwin, Kathryn Austin, Melissa Straz, Kristine Souza Buss, Mindy Mailman, Erin Mailman, Cheri Ribbe, Mary Lee Venuti, Candace Wilson, Karen Quiachon, Deborah Springer, Georgia and Joe Smith, Jean Hunter, Phylle Lentz, Mickey Lentz and Maureen Morris. Also the anonymous donors (only you know who you are).
The picture above was taken in November 2014. Candice and I had gone to DC to celebrate her 40th birthday.
Excerpts from a friend's email "I wanted to ask you a question about one of your recent blogs. You had mentioned that you saw signs. It sounded like they were very minor, but signs nonetheless. Many of the sights that talk about this cancer call it the silent cancer because usually there is no warning. I'm wondering if you could share some of the things you did see. Hope that's not getting too personal, it just could be information that could help someone else. "
I did learn a significant amount about Pancreatic Cancer while I lived in the hospital with my wife for 5 weeks. The question above haunted me at first because I thought about "what ifs". But as I read more, I understood Candice's signs were presenting during the late stages of her cancer and that there are no clear signs that a healthy 40 year old women would have Pancreatic Cancer. She did not present pain in the region (abdominal/back) until her last week in the hospital.
I would like to share a video that I watched in the hospital that helped me understand this "silent and deadly" cancer - Pancreatic Cancer. Please watch this video to understand better what we are up against: http://hstalks.com/?t=BL1192756. Also, you can read more about signs at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/overviewguide/pancreatic-cancer-overview-diagnosed
The biggest sign and first sign Candice had was a large blood clot (DVT) in her leg. This was found on December 26th and it ran the length from above her knee down her calf. No tests were run to screen Candice for cancer at the time, but clotting is a sign of Pancreatic cancer (and other cancers). Candice was placed on Lovenox and told that after three months she should come back for a ultrasound. No follow up visit between was recommended. When we inquired about follow up, we were told it was not necessary. I must admit it was a little surprising the response regarding an "unprovoked" blood clot (especially given the size of the clot). Both Candice and I were very concerned going in, but after meeting with the doctor, we felt a little relief. The only recommendation that was made was to see if she had a genetic predisposition to clotting and Candice immediately opted to have these tests to see if this was the cause of the DVT. The doctor did contact her to let her know that she did not have a genetic predisposition.
Other symptoms included: uncontrollable chills/shaking for several hours each evening and then followed by significant sweats where she actually wrapped herself in towels each night (these were likely malignancy fevers as it turned out and the sweats occurred when she was breaking her fevers). These continued in the hospital sometimes multiple times a day. Candice had extreme lethargy (She was a very active person who went from moving to sleeping in her spare time), weight loss (I did not notice this because I live with her- but looking at pictures as above, it was clear that she lost weight especially in her face and also in lower body), discoloration of skin (Candice's skin went from flushed, to ashen to jaundice at times). Although we were keenly aware that Candice was not herself, these signs were also associated with side effects of her medication (Lovenox shots).
I do not think that earlier findings would have resulted in saving Candice's life, but I do feel that a little testing after her blood clot was found may have prevented the stroke. Perhaps it is not protocol to do more tests than necessary, but given that this cancer is so deadly and there are so few signs, ruling out cancer for patience with "unprovoked" clots may be something that should be considered.
To some extent, we were somewhat blessed with not knowing sooner because it would have only felt like a death sentence sooner in the year and this news would have likely prevented us from going and enjoying our final trip with my sister, brother-in-law and niece to Disney World in mid-January. This was a magical and connective opportunity for Candice with Sarah and I do not think it would have been fun or special if Candice had the burden of knowing about her cancer. Although she did get wheeled around in a wheel cheer-she rode roller coasters and laughed and loved every minute of it! For this I am thankful.
Side effects that Candice did not have that are often found (in Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer) are: severe back pain and/or abdominal pain.
Note about picture: this was taking February 8th 2014 at the Cambridge Antique Market where Candice and I went for a "fun activity" during a cold winter day. This was the weekend prior to her stroke.
I continue to be amazed and thankful for the generous donations in memory of Candice Costa. The T-shirts Booster alone has raised $1,848 and 102 shirts have been sold! I have 37 team members for the 5K on May 18th and we have raised $4,715. The past few days have been very difficult ones for me personally, but all of the love and support lifts me each day.
To purchase a T-Shirts by the deadline April 25th, please visit: http://www.booster.com/organizer/campaigns/iheartcandice
To sign up for the 5K race on May 18th :http://2014westboroughwalkrun.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1098855&team=5921410
I am overwhelmed by the love and support for Candice Costa. Unbelievable -I am already over 1/2 way to my goal. A special thank you shout out for all of the support to date! In no particular order -thank you - Kristine Souza Buss and Family, Lesley Corda, Eliza Floyd, Brian and Faith Franey, Jen Gaman, Amanda Gentile, Maria Grig, Jaime Hannon, Karen Hirsch, John and Carrie Hunt, David and Chryseis Hunt, Heather Hunt Weaver and Family, Jean Hunter, Jennifer Kayal, Cyrus Kosar, Rhiannon Lee, Amy Lipman, Melanie Lb, AnneMarie MacDonald, Katie Majeski, Rebecca Mackey, Rebecca Mathews, Diane O'Connell and Carol O'Connell, Cheri Ribbe, Meg Shutzer, Danielle Stiles and John Stiles, Kimberly Talbot, Mindy Gillis, Shannon Muhs, Kellie Cochran, Pam Lannutti, Elizabeth Libby Williams, Dennis Costa, Maureen Morris, Jean Ochs, Carly Burton and Mo, Michael J. Epstein, Judith, Weiner, Ally Mancuso, Chris Haigh, Vanessa Savas, Debbi Rauhala, Tracy Gardinera, John Macka Youmans, Tracy Morris Antonio, Paula Szyndler, Barbara Morris McBride, Ilana Shuman Fandel and Family, Tara Mullarkey, Mark Campbell-Foster, Jennifer Garrett, Karen Donoghue, MaryAnne Mitchell Abernethy, Sheryl Gunapati, Anne Catherine Kim, Kim Pratt, Donna Davison, Edward Souza, Emily McMorrow, Jennifer Mackey, Kathleen Thomas, Kerri Noonan, Kristen Bresnahan, Laura Cuniff, Leah Kane, Melissa Winters, Nicole Pierce, Pam Waterman, Michelle Coleman, Niki Reid, Carol Maxwell, Sally A Friar, Sue Mumby Gibbons, Karen McCormack Keegan, Paula Callaghan, Erin Sweeney, Jenna Sweeney, Kirsty Carey, Melissa Campbell-Jones, Tracey Gobbi, Simone Valone, Sandra Musella, Darlene Corda, Lynne Wagner, Anna Day, Judy Martin, Jenna Hubbard, Melody Eskow, Lesley Corda, Jen Riley, Peggy Duhamel, Chelsae Donley, Janet Cummings, Kerri Noonan-Steele, Karen Brown, Isabelle Bourdonne, Kim Hickey, Karen Hirsch, Ruth Thompson, Karen Garrigan, Jennifer Royal, Christie Swett, Rebecca Wingfield, Marie Butler, Jessica Tang, Jessica Lockwood, Amy Lipman, Sarah Goldman, Jennifer L. Johnson, Jessica Lazcano, The ENTIRE Phi Sig Sorority, Joann Wilson-Singleton, Kerianne Reardon, Melanie Leclau Martin, Lori Lorelei Hill Eurto, Emily McMorrow, Stephanie Daly, Derrick McBridge, Karyn Souza, Jaime Hannon