Friday, March 29, 2013

"this girl is on FIRE"....... by Alicia Keys

No literally... this girl is on fire.
See... I got 2 premeds before my chemo* (*Gemcitabine & Abraxane) on Wednesday. Zofran is one. The other is decadron which is a steroid, and it can also affect your body's temperature regulation. So, needless to say, my body and face especially feel like they're on fire. It usually starts 24 hours after receiving it for me. I don't know how the kids with leukemia do it... they have to take steroids for an entire month in the beginning of their treatment... I would definitely have roid rage. Well... the 'fire' was the perfect excuse to stop and get ice cream at Friendly's. And it was the best ice cream ever! But perhaps it was the company :o).

Well... now that it has been more than 12 hours, I'm happy to report, the fire has been downgraded to one alarm :o)... On a total side note, an interesting tidbit that i learned from my seventh grade history teacher on why dalmatians are associated with firemen. Well, according to my seventh grade teacher (not me), and you can check google if you like, fire companies used to be competitive back in the day. They would even disconnect one fire company's hose, to connect their own so they would be the one to put out the fire. And since dalmatians were known to be good guard dogs, they started using them to guard their hoses. Very interesting. I hope it's true now that i've just posted it in my blog. Otherwise, I may be getting a phone call from Mr Google himself :o)

Well... also had a wee bit of nausea tonight too, but nothing a married lady like myself couldn't handle :o). I also had the neulasta* shot yesterday late afternoon. *Neulasta is an injection given after chemo to stimulate one's count recovery. So I'm anticipating muscle and bone aches to start later today. The nurse practicioner I saw on Wednesday recommended taking claritin one hour before taking the neulasta. Pharmakokinetically... woah, big word & probably not spelled correctly... but it can't really be explained why it helps some people, but it's worth the try. I'll let you know if it helps me, but i just wanted to share this tidbit with you. You, meaning any cancer patient receiving neulasta, duh :o)

Well off to bed now... sweet lollipop dreams :o)
lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. I'm shedding more than my cats now. Here's some wall art from my shower on Wednesday :o)


Thursday, March 28, 2013

wedding album preview

Art Museum

the rings

St Francis Xavier Church

Balloon Release to Rylan in Heaven

Hi everyone...

Here's just a quick sample of our wedding pictures. Courtesy of our talented photographer Amanda Young at

lots of love... Mrs. little lisa lollipop

Broad Street photo op
Mariachi Flores
Tequilas Restaurant Dinner Celebration

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Honeymoon on my sofa...

After a few busy weeks of planning the wedding, and then having not one, but two wedding celebrations... we pretty much crashed and burned. 

Monday was the perfect rainy day for sleeping in... so we did just that 'til about 2:30pm... woke up and we started watching a movie.  At about 4:30pm I sent Juan out for a coke* emergency (*coke is my vice) since we both needed some caffeine. But by the time he got home, it was too late. I was sound asleep. I slept till 9:30pm... at which time we spent the remainder of the night on the sofa. Dinner and a movie!

Couldn't think of a better way to relax and spend our honeymoon together.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Addendum to yesterday's blog: my sister just told me that the term shotgun wedding means that you are forced to get married by the bride's father... because the bride is pregnant... or otherwise you face the gun.  Whoops. Definitely not pregnant; I'm getting more chemo today.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Love will find a way...

Love will find a way...
This was my wedding theme. And with lots of love from so many people, we were able to pull off this shotgun wedding.

I also bought this personalized print called 'love will find a way' as Juan's wedding present which  we displayed at the wedding. Thanks to the great crew at who worked so hard and rushed the print to us on time. Gracias  to the kind man i spoke to on the phone who made it all possible (and sorry if i was crying :o).

Our wedding on Sunday was... amazing! I have been so humbled by everyone's generosity. Many thank yous owed! I don't think i will ever be able to repay you all of you for your kindness. Like they say at the Oscars... Apologies if i have left someone out and special Thanks to the man upstairs :o).

1... thanks for all the love, support, and patience :o) from my family and friends. Special thanks to my parents for their help.

2... thank you to all the people working behind the scenes.  And I'm sure I don't know about most of it. I know i sound like a broken recording, but I really wouldn't have been able to do this without the help of our third musketeer and my almost Irish twin, Marita... M. Erin Lavelle... who went above and beyond. She really needs to start her own wedding planning business :o) ... Maria too who helped coordinate the hair and makeup for my sisters. Thanks to Colleen and Dana for their services & to Beautiful Brides Philly for accommodating me on such short notice.

And a special thanks to Little who were very sneaky and paid for so much. P.S. You   need to change your name to Big Smiles :o)
Señor y Señora Dorantes

3... the wonderful ladies at la Bella Moda in who rushed my dress alterations... My dress had SAMPLE written across the lower back when i first tried it on :o)

4... and, of course, my brother-in-law, John, who paid the dress balance off without me knowing. love you. Gotta plug A1 Carpet Cleaners too while I'm at it :o)

5... the anonymous person that bought my necklace and little jacket at Sabrina Ann's

6... I can count the number of times that i've had a manicure in my life on one hand, but i have never had such a great experience as i did at Rittenhouse Nails who provided their services as a gift. En was super sweet and gives the best massages.

A que hora vamos por el pan, papi?
7... Rita & who donated the tuxedos for my father and the groom... Juan looked so handsome; i couldn't take my eyes off him.

8... Father Sam who worked diligently behind the scenes to make all the wedding logistics possible. And St Francis Xavier & Father Paul for accommodating us & allowing us to use their beautiful church on such short notice.

9... Julie for pulling together a gospel choir to sing for my entrance and exit. You never would have known that they sang for the first time together  that day and with only one hour of practice. See... my little sister and I used to think we were gospel singers when we were younger, and our two favorite songs to sing were Go Tell it on the Mountain & this little Light of mine (which happens to be my theme song :o)

10... Omar... for your help translating the wedding vows into Spanish, so i could surprise Juan.

11... all the ladies that made the ballon release to Rylan possible. Video posted on FB.  More to come about butterflies in a future post.

12... the talented Amanda Young from who photographed the event for free. We can't wait to see more pix.

13... Jeff & Lauren, the kind videographers that the generous Cate W. sent :o)

14... Potitos: to make such a beautiful cake on such short notice. It was delish!

15... WOW is all i can say to Nadine & Katy form Flowers & Company... The most beautiful flowers arrangements and bouquets. And my bouquet came complete with a butterfly for Rylan. The room at Tequilas never looked better :o)

16... Mariachi Flores were the BEST! And they were a surprise present from all of Juan's coworkers at Tequilas. Muchas Gracias! Muy amable.
17... The most AMAZING dinner and service at Tequilas: the best Mexican restaurant in the city! All courtesy of Tequilas too! And thank you to all of the workers at Tequilas who have been sharing their love and support non-stop. Juan is so lucky to have such a great 'family' here.

18... Did i mention that we also had an amazing after party in South Philly... thrown by Juan's good friend: Flaco, his surrogate sister: Celia, & her DJ husband: Ismael. But it was more than an after party, it was actually like another wedding ... Mexican style. Had lots of fun, and I was running on pure adrenaline. We got in at 4:15am.  My niece and nephew especially loved their first 'real' piñata. My niece broke the chili pepper piñata, & a little while later,
my nephew fell asleep clutching his bag of candy.

Querida Celia, Mr & Mrs Dorantes, & Celia's DJ husband Ismael

Muchas gracias to everyone for giving us such an awesome wedding!

As John Lennon said... 'All you need is Love.'
And lots of love to all of you... Mrs. little lisa lollipop

P.S. our timing was perfect... it has begun

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Game Over!

Hello Lolly friends.
Tomorrow's the big day! Just think... this time, tomorrow night... Game Over! lol

Still busy & crazy here. I was just pampered at Rittenhouse nails, so I now feel more relaxed. Had a mani & a pedi compliments of Erin & Thank you much! I just hope the pedi was half price... cause of the one foot :o)

In the midst of all this wedding planning, I only had 2 reality checks: One when i was driving to drop off my junior bridesmaid's dress yesterday. I received one of those annoying automated messages to confirm my doctor's appointment and treatment for this coming Wednesday.  The second when i was asked about my honeymoon at the nail saloon. Kind of can't, cause i'm getting chemo, dawg. :o) Honeymoon, smoneymoon... :o)

Also in the midst of all this wedding planning, I realized I didn't have any clean panties for the wedding tomorrow. This made me think of my good friend, Teresa.  You know... the crazy one from high school. Once she told me that she doesn't do any laundry until she needs clean panties. And once in college, she was soooo lazy, she went and bought some more panties instead!

I dislike doing laundry too, but not as much as I did in Mexico... where i had to wash all my clothes by hand on a washboard. Back then I was often guilty of Teresa's Panty rule. Once i was forced to wash panties in the rain since i let the laundry go too long.

But rest assured, i did some laundry, & i'll be wearing clean chones tomorrow. lol.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. Tomorrow i'll be Mrs. little lisa lollipop to you. :o)

Thursday, March 21, 2013


OMG! What was I thinking!
Planning a wedding in 2 weeks. It's been pure chaos here, but I don't think I'm a bridezilla... just yet.

Had my final dress fitting. Juan has his tux.. Black Tie Philly gave him a fancy smancy 'Perry Ellis' one, so he's going to look better than me :o). Also had a St Patty's Bachlorette Party with my sisters, cousins, and crazy high school friend.  Juan is still out at his surprise Bachelor Party, so nothing for me to report there... just yet :o).
Crazy High School
friend & Lisa

I have been so humbled over the past few weeks by how generous and helpful people have been. And thank God especially for my Maid of Honor, Marita; my friend/wedding coordinator, Erin; and Little who have been so amazing to me. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all of their help. And now times a tickin... only 3 more days!  Good news is that I've been so busy, that I haven't even had time to think about being sick. :o)

Punxsutawney 2012
Again... what was I thinking! We were supposed to have the Polar Bear Plunge in the middle of all this wedding planning too. Madness. My sister looked at ocean temperature for today, and it was in the low 40s. Exactly! What was I thinking? The answer... I wasn't. But Happy Spring to everyone! I guess the groundhog was correct... yet again :o) 

Fun Fact: Punxsutawney, PA had already been crossed off my bucket list in 2012. It took 6 years to plan the trip though... waiting for the Groundhog Day celebrations to fall on a Wednesday & Thursday... that's when Juan and I have our official weekend time together. (Since we both work Saturdays & Sundays). Sorry... I'm really babbling. Anyways... love the movie (was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois),                                        and we had a blast!

And ladies, you know he's the one when he'll take stupid pix like this at your request and doesn't take himself too seriously :o).

lots of love...
little lisa lollipop

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Erin go bragh!!

Hmmm... perhaps I should get
a red headed wig.
May the luck of the Irish be with you...
and also with me.  Sorry I had to take a few days off.  I felt a little beat up over the past few days.

I think I got beat up from the neulasta injection that I gave myself on Friday morning, and I would say every bone in my body has ached at some point over the past few days.  And I have taken multiple cat naps. So hopefully... today being St Patty's Day and me being half Irish, I'll be more lucky today. P.S. Everyone is Irish on St Patty's Day.  And Fun Fact: I'm watching Sunday Morning... another favorite show of mine... and they said 34.5 million Americans can trace their roots back to Ireland. Verrrrrrry interesting.
Me beat up by chemo!
Thanks John for the cool app.

Also went to Target the other day for some wedding supplies.  And because I was so achy, I did... what I thought I would never do... I used the scooter. It was actually kind of fun. Here's a picture of me Backin' that Thang Up... with the annoying beeping sound and all.

Backin' that Thang up!

Well here's to being lucky and feeling better.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Friday, March 15, 2013

Busy as a bee...

Halloween 1993

Hi lolly friends!

I'm keeping it short and sweet today. Between chemotherapy yesterday and running around today for wedding plans, I've been busy as a bee. And now I'm a wee bit exhausted.

Thought you would enjoy this picture of me from my sophomore year at college... hence, the two legs :o)
I won best costume at the Theta Chi party as the
No Rain bee girl.

Buzzing away to bed now.
lots of love...
little lisa lollipop

Thursday, March 14, 2013

This just in...

Polar Bear Update:
So planning a wedding in 2 weeks is turning out to be somewhat chaotic. Therefore, it is with great sadness that we need to postpone the Polar Bear Plunge... it was planned to celebrate Spring's arrival. We are now looking to reschedule it for late April or early May...  and the weather will also be more tolerable for our plunge into the cold Atlantic. BRRRR. Sorry for any inconvenience.

And for the record, I was ready:
look at my hat :o)
And to the peanut gallery, I know Polar Bears don't hibernate. Lol.

                 Medical Update:
Nursing Progress Report:
Pt received zofran and decadron premeds this afternoon. Abraxane 125mg/m2 & Gemcitabine 1000mg/m2 given as indicated. Pt experienced some dookie for the remainder of the day, but otherwise fine :o) No nausea or vomiting. Pt with a good appetite & actually gaining weight. Noooooooo! Need to fit in my wedding dress :o). Neulasta tomorrow. The end.

P.S.  This is my new required PORT position for lab draws. :o)

Wedding Update:

Wedding dress & tuxdeo: check
Bridesmaid & junior bridesmaid dresses: check
Cake: yummy cake testing tomorrow at Potito's Bakery
Florist: meeting tomorrow with Flowers & Company
Photography: pending
But there's so much more on my checklist!

And lots more to do tomorrow. So on that note... good night, everyone.
lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. Thank you to my secret admirer that left the pretty flowers & lollipops on my door step. :o)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"The Oak Tree"

White Oak of Aura, by Connie Nicholson
A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree's leaves away.
Then snapped its boughs & pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.

The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"
The oak tree said, " I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two,
Carry every leaf away,
Shake my limbs, and make me sway.
But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
They are the deepest part of me.
Until today, I wasn't sure
Of just how much I could endure.
But now I've found, with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."

Staying strong... for more chemo tomorrow.
lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. Thanks to Curt Nicholson. A great man and a great friend!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

'Cause if you liked it, then you should've put a ring on it....... by Beyonce

Well... he musta liked it, cause he put a ring on it. Finally!! Good thing I'm patient :o). So it's even more official now.

Ring: check

Lisa & Juan: México circa 1997
Me celebrating after 15 years

lots and lots of love...little lisa lollipop

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bald is beautiful!

Bald is beautiful! Or so they say... Dr. W at CHOP even told me that hair is overrated. Easy for him to say though because he is completely bald :o).  But hair loss is never easy. Even at the age of ten, losing my hair was the most traumatic part of my cancer diagnosis. And when you think about it, hair is such a big part of your identity. Just think of how your mood is affected when you're having a bad hair day. But the proof is in these pictures:

Same person!
Charlize Theron on a good hair day... and on a very bad hair day (for the movie Monster).

My little sister, who was four when i was first sick, had to draw a picture of her family for preschool. I was so upset when i saw the picture: she drew me with one single hair on my head. Because i actually had more like two :o).  Well...  i did have a few straggly strands of hair, and i would do what i call a chemo comb over. I would then put a hat on... and think those strands fooled everyone! suckas :o)
little lisa lollipop's chemo comb over 1985
I remember running my fingers thru my hair when i was ten,  and i ended up with a huge hairball in my hand. So... when i started chemo again at 19, i was afraid to touch, comb, and wash my hair... for fear of it falling out. Big mistake!...  My hair became so matted... it ended up looking like a beehive hairdo.  And it was pulling on my scalp and hurting so bad...  i begged my older sisters to cut it off.
Big Bon-Bon & Li'l Haf.  Peace out, hair!

Now... I'm not looking forward to going bald this time either, but with the seriousness of this diagnosis, it isn't that big of a deal.  My good friend Bonnie even hosted a 'Going Away Hair' Party for me the other day.  If anyone can make a bad situation funny, it's my CHOP coworkers.  And laughing is always better than crying.  I just wish i could pull off the bald look like all the cuties at the hospital, but these chubby cheeks of mine and a bald head just don't mesh.  Oh well... why stress about something you can't control.  Auf Wiedersehen, Hair!

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Saturday, March 9, 2013

"Get busy living... or Get busy dying..."

Anyone that has seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption knows that great saying. Now, being inspired by the movie, I had always wanted to travel to Zihuatanejo. It's the little, tiny fishing village that Andy Dufresne refers to in the movie, and Red comes to join him in the end. So back in 2003, I did just that. And I invited my little sister... the baby of the family to join me.
little baby sister & lisa in Taxco 2003
So... getting there was quite challenging.  We had to take several buses...  and the last bus ride was the worst travel experience of my life. Let me explain... it was in the middle of the night, and the bus had to curve around mountains on some very bumpy roads... which also made it kind of scary. And in the middle of this bus ride, of course, i had to use the bathroom. Walking with crutches on a moving, bumpy bus has always posed challenges for me.  But i crutched away to the back of the bus to its little bathroom nook. And not only did i get a visit from my lady friend, but i also got Montezuma's revenge.  TMI?...

I know, gross... but it doesn't phase us nurses to talk about poop and diarrhea... even while eating lunch. lol. Okay, back to the bus nightmare... Then after arriving back in my seat, I'm struck by nausea from the bumpy ride.  I grab the first thing that i could find... an empty plastic bag in my sister's backpack. Not only do i throw up, but i also almost choke from some chunks of food that were occluding my airway.  But... i survived... obviously. The funny part of the story is that my little baby sister slept the whole time thru my ordeal.  And to top it off... when we finally got off the bus, she saw her plastic bag in my hand... and screamed at me... "You took my plastic bag!" Typical baby sister. :o)

little lisa lollipop attempting to mount a horse 2003

Well... Get busy living!
lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. Zihauatanejo was beautiful!!!! Just don't recommend getting there by bus.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Calling all Polar Bears!

Wake up, sleepy head!
Anyone that knows me well, knows that I hate the cold weather. I must have gotten spoiled after living in México :o). Now, I literally tend to hibernate during the winter months which is ironic when you think about it... because my birthday officially marks the first day of Winter. Here's more irony too... it was snowing in Philadelphia today.

Well, I never actually wanted to do this, but now it's on my bucket list.  So... we're calling all polar bears out of hibernation to take the Polar Bear Plunge.  What a better way to celebrate Spring's arrival on Wednesday, March 20th. Save the date! More details to come.  Location: Ocean City, New Jersey. Time: T.B.D.  Bring a friend and grab sponsors if you can. AND most of all, swim at your own risk!  P.S. I'm only going up to my waist due to infection purposes and my PORT.  What's your excuse? :o)  Costumes welcomed!
Quick medical update from today: 
The bad news... my counts weren't high enough to receive more chemo today.
The good news... my counts weren't high enough to receive more chemo today. No, that wasn't a typo.  But it's good because this means I'll have my hair for our impromptu wedding. Yay hair!

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Got Milk?

Well, it's actually barium. Had a PET scan today. *A CT scan which involves glucose and cell metabolism to locate cancer metastasis. 

Anyhows, i thought i was real clever with the whole milk mustache idea. Then, i looked in the mirror... and realized my stache had become irritated. See after picture below...

All i could think is... f bomb... my wedding pix! And speaking of wedding, i just want to apologize for any confusion.
YUCKY, Barium!

We only started the paperwork process, and we aren't married just yet. We're trying to put together a last minute wedding sometime before Easter... which according to my onco calculations :o), will be when my hair starts falling out. Nooooo! :o)

If things were less complicated, we would just go to Vegas and get married by Elvis.  Side note... 
Vegas is on my bucket list.
But my dream wedding would take place in México where my boyfriend and I first met. See, after college, I volunteered for a year at a Mexican orphanage... where my boyfriend (correction: fiancé) was also working. It wasn't across a crowded room or anything like that, but it was love at first sight.  So...  i'll keep you posted - literally ha ha ha. Sorry for the confusion, but thanks for all the congratulations.

lots of love... little lisa lollipop

P.S. Happy Birthday Ellie O!