Helene the Fighting Machine!!!

Hope 4 Helene

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

Monday, May 31, 2010


We are all waiting to hear about your trip!!! Hope you had an awesome time!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Our trip is finally here- Denise picks me up in 30 min. and we are meeting Holly and Liz at the arirport. Can't believe we are getting away!!!!! No needles, drs, appts- YEAH!!!!! Sun, fun and girlfriends. I only wish Linda could go- she needs a break as much as I do. She and her famiy are going to Michigan to open up the cottage. Linda has her work cut out for her there- hopefully they'll have nice weather.

Gotta go.....


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What a scare with that headache! Glad to hear that all is well and that your trip was not cancelled! Enjoy! (Why would I think you need to be told that??) Live it up!! I'll be thinking of you!


I hope your trip is awesome! You deserve to just go and relax and forget about life for awhile!

The "New" HTFM

Yes! The new HTFM could also be Helene The Foxy Mama - especially with that blond pony tail! - Teri

A New "HTFM"

Its so great to hear how excited you are and I know in the next couple of days you will be feeling so great because you will be with your girlfriends and not be anywhere near hospitals, needles and chemo. I truly hope you have the best time ever and just remember to take lots of pictures so those of us that aren't with you can experience it as well.

I think its time for a new "HTFM". How about:
Hope Time in Florida is Magical

Lots of love!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Being a "blond"

Teri Goralski cracks me up!!!! I was out getting more medicine for my migraine and I got home and on the front porch a personaly made "HTFM" hat with a 2 foot long blond ponytail to attach to it!!!!! Now I can have a blond moment!!!! Watch out- I have a lot of blond moments (no meanness meant for any real or faux blonds out there!)

I had a visit from Kim today. She is my amigo from AZ who started this whole blog thing. Kim was in for her father-in-law's memorial service in Joliet. George- her husband understands our need to hook up once in awhile and she came to Plainfield. No Red Lobster this time...... Monday's and seafood????? Not happening. It waws just great catching up.

I am so excited about our trip to Sanibel!!!!! We have talked about a girl's trip for the last few years and now we are actually going!!!! I wish everyone I know could join us! A beach, a pool, is good!

Rest and Relaxation

Hi, Helene! I have been tuning into your blog the last few days to follow your saga. Your dog and then your health takes a turn for the worst. Well, at least you scored some narcotics! Seriously though, I hope things are on the up swing and I hope your trip is the pinnacle. Thanks for sharing your ups and downs on your blog. I know it beats repeating your story like a hundred times. Wishing you well and happy travels, - Teri

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What a week...needs my "peeps"

Hey there,

Friday was extremely stressful at chemo- the FL trip was almost cancelled for me.......

Started off with a sinus infection and strep (we thought) on Monday with a headache everyday since last Sat.- a killer headache I woke up with every day. The dr. thougt I just the headache due to the sinus infection. When we went th to the chemo factory- I had to see the nurse practioner because I still had the stinikin' headache. She was really concerned- could be the cancer was in my brain (or a severe migraine)and the one chemo I take does things to the blood vessels (thus the nose bleeds). If I had chemo I could get bleeding in the brain. YIKES. Sharon, my friend was there to relieve Linda as - Linda was hosting bunco for me at her house and had tons to do. Linda wouldn't leave and was more nervous that I was! I was in a daze, to be honest.

So the soonest they could get me in for a CAT scan was 3:00 which meant I could't get chemo until next week! I was in tears!!!!! So I played the woe is me card- played my little bunny that says a prayer for the dr (Tia had given it to me).....and they called a tech in for an emergency CAT scan. Then Tia showed up as Linda had texted her....So the 4 of us went over to get the CAT scan, waited anxiously for the results AND I do not have any cancer in the brain, was able to squeeze in chemo, got narcotics for the headache and am good to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still have a headache- but it is not as strong. YEAH!!!!!!!! Chuck- Denise's husband came to visit me at home with a little chocolate, something, something...(not for the boys) and he took had to go to Naperville to that Cancer Center as the drug is one that needs a dr's signature. The nurse practioneer can't sign it, a fax or phone call wouldn't work- so he drove to N'ville, got the RX filled and saved me! What a guy.

Plus I get to see my dear friend Kim from AZ (who is the culprit who started this whole bog thing) on Monday, as she will be in town for her father-in-law's memorial. Just seeing her will make my yucky day better....we usually treat ourselves to Red Lobster when she comes in as both of our husbands won't go with us- but RL might be a little too much for me. Then we usually shop for a while- it is hard to pass up a shopping trip- esp. with FL next WED!!!! So I will hopefully loose the headache, suck it in and go shopping with Kim!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sending warm wishes your way

I hope you are feeling better. I know how it is when your immune system is compromised and then you catch every virus and bacteria out there. Do you want to live in a bubble with me and my girls? That's my solution!!!

Good luck with chemo tomorrow. I hope you are strong enough to handle chemo and Bunco!

Miss you and always sending prayers your way.

Hey friend!!!

Hope you are feeling well, you haven't posted for a few days! See you soon!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

S & S

Mondays suck for the most part- but throw in strep throat and an sinus infection and you have a recipe for feeling really crappy. I was able to see a dr. by noon and started these big honker antibiotics by one yesterday, so I hope I feel better soon. I am taking it easy- the semester at COD is over and I just have to go in and finish up some paperwork. I have to get better- as I am having Bunco Friday- but Linda has graciously volunteered to have Bunco at her house. My Bunco Babes are each bringing something- as Friday is Chemo Factory day and we see the dr.

Jana brought over a chicken dinner last night- which as I told her was a saving grace! I needed to eat something and Tyler and Rob ahome ravenous- esp. Tyler the eating machine.

I am looking for a cock-a-poo puppy. I have looked to adopt- but most of the dogs available are huge- and have a lot of pit bull types out there. I just want a dog I can walk and cuddle with. The house is way too quiet without my Payton Jo.

xoxo, HTFM

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oh, Helene, I am so sorry to hear about Payton Jo. I can sympathize with you and the quiet house...but I still hear our 2 cats walk through the house "crying" to us. And I am still careful with the doors, not to "let them out". We had to put Benny down almost 2 years ago and Simon was the year before. I miss them. You have my sympathy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Payton Jo

Yesterday, with the help of my peeps, I had to take Payton Jo in to join Rookie Jo, Maxine, TJ, Dryfus, Anja, Bluebell and Bitsie (and any doggies I left out) in puppy heaven. Payton went downhill really fast the last few days. I thought we had the diabetes under control but she stopped eating, and had trouble in the elimination department. It is so darn quiet in the house this am. Tyler wants to get a puppy NOW but I want to wait until he is out of school- he thinks he will train the puppy-HA- can't see him getting up all thru the night.... Tyler wants a big dog- I on the other hand want a small one as I am the one cleaning up the yard. My friend Karen M is also looking for a dog- she wants an older one that is potty trained. We may start making the rounds at the pet adoption places- as she said, she'll take the mom and I can have the puppy.

"Chemo Friday" and I get to wear my new PINK White Sox shirt that I got from Linda and Tom when they went to the Mother's Day Sox game with Kaleigh and Sam. The nurses all wear their baseball gear on Friday's- there are some white Sox fans and those unfortunate Cub fans- who have a little competition going there... all in good fun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


You just would not believe what a sweet, talented girl dropped off this afternoon!! Shea Johnson, daughter of Tia, made me the cutest snugglie blankie that she brought over. It is pink with white polka dots and sooo soft!!! Shea- who is 9 or 10- had been making the blankets in Girl Scouts for a service project for sick children. She had a light bulb moment and wanted to make me my own blanket- this blankie is big enough to wrap myself in. I am hoping to take it to chemo with me- I will need a wagon to carry all of my "babies", food, magazines, pop and blanket to the Cancer Center. The nurses will get a hoot out of me bringing in my own blankie! Shea is one creative girl. The cutting and the knotting look so perfect! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

Got tatooed today for radiation....I wanted to get my eyebrows tatooed but they don't provide that service at Edward's. Trying to get everything done at COD before Linda and I go on our next trek for Chemo on Firday. Keep those positive thoughts comin!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday- boyfriends.....

Feeling better. Yesterday Linda and I found out that my vocal cords have no paralysis- the raspiness and hoarseness is because of the chemo- not the tumors. So...may need speech therapy once this is over- I would rather skip that. Today I go have a CAT scan to determine where the radiation will go for the tumor causing the most pain in my back. Then I think I start radiation for 10 days - maybe starting Th.

Denise brought over a meal yesterday- as it was her day for visiting the "sick and infirm". She keeps me grounded and is such a good listener (heck- she is free therapy- since she is a trained therapist!!!) Still can't believe we will be in Sanibel in 15 days!!!!!! It will be so good to see Karen again- we were going to meet in Indy after Christmas but with family stuff going on-we were unable to meet.

I have to admit to something....I have several boyfriends at my health club...Okay- maybe boyfriends is a stretch- they are all around 70 and have been really worried about me. I was able to go to the health club this am for a little cardio and they came running (walking fast?) once they saw me. So great to be loved! Jimmy even gave me a card with cash in it to take to FL!!!! I have to try and work out- not that I will ever be a size 4 again- HA! but I just enjoy the feeling I get once I am done- plus I get to see my boyfriends!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Answered prayers!!!

From your friend far, far away...I am so excited to hear the great news!!! God is good!!! Will continue to talk to the man upstairs!!! You go girl!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chirstmas in May!

Some of you people need to restrain yourselves!!! I am feeling totally unworthy of all of things that people send, do and give!!!I truly am blessed and to have such a
great family and friends... I keep forgetting who I have sent thank you notes to and who I have I have thanked on this blog thingy. So if I have forgotten- I plead a cancer pass as Linda calls it.

Got a very cool Edible Arrangement of fruit from Sandy, Scott, Claire and Luke. Healthy and beautiful at the same time! Almost too cute to eat...but when there is fresh fruit involved that I don't have to cut up....I can't hold back.

Now I officially HTFM....Holly and Liz sent me a beautiful Tiffany (yes the little blue/green box Tiffany) bracelet and engraved on the back of the heart is HTFM. Gorgeous and creative at the same time- and hopefully something I will be able to wear for MANY years to come.

Karen sent a whole bunch of matching bracelets that all go together in a theme of pink! I guess I will have to start buying more pink outfits- HA- like that hasn't happened yet.

Three of Rob's co-workers sent a gift certificate for the Spa at Coldwater Creek! When this stupid tumor gets zapped- I am hopefull that I can go in for a relaxing massage.

Like I said- you people are going overboard! Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming. Monday I go to an ENT to find out why I am so hoarse and raspy all
of the time and Tues I go in for another CAT scan to figure out where to zap the tumor that is on the nerve near my spine that causes a lot of pain.

HTFM (officially!)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Helene, I am in VA right now visiting Michael. Am on the computer trying to catch up with emails and stuff after being gone for a week. Had to check in on your blog! I have tears in my eyes right now thinking about those tumors shrinking!! That chemo may be hell to go through but it sounds like it is the answer!! Way to go, woman, putting up with those awful Fridays!!! I'm rooting for you!

HTFM= Hope Today-Found Miracles

LOVE what Tia came up with!!! Just checked my email before I take off for the chemo day from hell and here is Tia with this uplifting phrase for HTFM!!!! Tia is so darn creative- you guys should see her picrures that she takes and all the scrapbooking she does- way too talented!

Denise's husband- Chuck- stopped by just to drop off a chocolate mousse that he got at the bakery in Chicago yesterday. It is to die for!!!!! Chuck babysits his grandaughter Zahra on Th and their regular stop is this bakery near their Zahra's house. I will cetainly enjoy this special treat when I get home from chemo. Once again I hid it in the vegetable drawer in the fridge- where the boys will never look. Any sweets are at risk in our house.

Jean-Marie dropped off another delicious meal yesterday. She is such a good cook and really helps us out with her meal on wheels! The boys went gaga over her peanut butter brownies!

Gotta go- Driving Miss Daisy is here!
xoxo, HTFM

A New "HTFM" Day

Helene, I am so happy for you and your good news! I started crying when Linda told me on the phone yesterday and everytime I think about you I get misty eyed! I think its time for a new about:
HOPE Today - Found Miracles
I know there are so many wonderful friends of yours that are praying for you every day. The hope we carry for you every day has already found a miracle for you, and the hope and prayers will continue and spread like wildflowers.
I'll be thinking about you today.
(Just let me know if you want a Portillo's Chopped Salad...hee hee)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

GOOD NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hi there,

Today Linda, Denise and I went for a consult with an oncology radiologist AND the tumors are shrinking!! A few of the lymph node ones have disappeared and no new ones have been discovered!!!!! I couldn't believe it!! Linda jumped up and hugged me and I think I started crying- for happiness this time. The dr. wants to do specific radiation to an area near my spine that is causing me a lot of pain. I would have 10 treatments- starting with a CAT scan next Tues. Yikes!!! This chemo crap is working!!

To celebrate we had lunch at Kaitie O'Connors- our new favorite restaurant in P'field. Enjoyed a very fattening bacon/cheddar burger and onion rings.....however, I did take 1/2 of the burger home for Tyler.

Keep those prayers coming- they are working!!!!

xoxo, HTFM who is now a tumor shrinking chick :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Sometimes I wonder what I did to have such wondeful friends....When we got home from the flea market, sitting on my front porch was the most gorgeous basket of outdoor flowers, a card and a gift bag. I already thought I had hit the bonanza at the flea market! Liz brought these gifts over - and the flowers match the wreath I had made for my front door- in yellow and purple silk flowers. Inside the bag was a b/c koozie- and for those of you who know me well- I love my diet coke zero in a koozie every morning. (sometimes I sneak another diet coke- I did try to quit)

What would I do without my family and friends? I can't imagine getting through this horrendous disease without some support.

Now I am getting a little too serious and I have to gear up the laugh factor to get through Friday. Once I get home and wake up from my nap on Fri., I will send out the results of the tests- praying those friggin' tumors have shrunk.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Chillin' With My Peeps"

That's right- Chillin' With My Peeps" and we have t-shirts to prove it!!!! Linda and I found these t-shirts with this saying and a little Easter Peep on them. So- 6 Kohls stores later...we had the sizes we needed to each have one and gave one to Tia, Sharon and Lynn- AND we all wore them at the flea market on Sunday! What a hoot! We had such a great day at the flea market and bought all kinds of things. It was a beautiful day, no needles, no stress- just being kinda silly.

I feel a little like a bad mom because Tyler was in a tournament and I missed a game that he really pitched well in. I did get to go to half of his 2nd game and the championship game after that. It was a long day- but I felt pretty good- yet am tired today. The port site is still painful so I talked to the nurse and basically I need to suck it in and keep taking the pain medicine.

Tomorrow I have the MRI so keep your fingers crossed. Th. is the radiologogy consult and then Fri. we see the dr. for the results and I have to start back on chemo.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tryin' to feel normal..

Hey there,
Sometimes I wonder if people get tired of reading this blog thingy- I don't want to bore someone to death. Seems like a good way to keep people up to date, tho.

Linda's scoping went well- the dr. stretched her esophogus a little- maybe related to how she was born. Always something with the "Brade" girls....

The port site is still very sore- I am icing it and taking my nbf vicodin. It is refreshing not to have chemo and to start feeling semi normal. I am looking forward to going to the flea market with my "peeps" tomorrow. I will take it easy and just go along for the fun and to get away from thinking of hospitals, needles etc. We always have such a great time- just looking at stuff, people watching and getting "bargains". Hopefully the weather will hold. As Lynn B put it so graciously, "Go out and get the stink out of ya."

Lynn B cooked us a great dinner last night- something a little on the fancy smancy side! Beshamel sauce pasta, a salad, log cabin or camper roll things, and peach cobbler. That girl can cook! I didn't know there was such a thing as beshamel sauce.... Lynn also helped out Linda by cooking her and her kids dinner on Wed or Th. With Linda "Driving Miss Daisy"- she hasn't had the time to cook as much as she likes. I am grateful for all of the support Linda is getting, too. Maybe Lynn should have her own cookbook, - but then again- Lynn said she doesn't like to follow the recipes. I am trying to get the recipe for Rolly Pollies (not the bugs!) out of her. She keeps that info. pretty close to her chest.....

Going to Tyler's game soon- I feel bad that I have missed so many this year. I think he understands, but he is still just a kid- in a man's body.
xoxo, HTFM