Category Archives: cancer

The Happy Thoughts Jar

I need to give you all a little history. In 2010 I moved to Texas and I graduated from The Ohio State University. All huge things. But the thing that I will never forget about 2010 is that it was the year that we found out that my mom had stage 3 ovarian cancer. She had surgery in October of that year and then started chemotherapy in December. She was such a trooper. She shaved her head, bought wigs, wore said wigs, had said wigs almost get blown off by the wind, and most importantly laughed. She rarely got sick, and continued to work. She was such an inspiration to continue to trudge on, for all us, for everyone that knows her.

And last year with the help of family and friends we threw my mom a huge surprise party to celebrate her birthday, Mother’s Day, and most importantly the finish of her chemotherapy. All of it was a surprise, my being in Ohio, the party, her childhood friends being there, and the fact that we all could actually pull it off without her finding out. That birthday and Mother’s Day needed to be celebrated in that way. It was the first happy thing that we had all experienced in 7 months. And it was great, we all had so much fun.

And this year I wanted to do something special. I unfortunately could not go back to Ohio, with a new job and many big, expensive things planned this year it just was not in the cards. So I shopped and looked and decided that making something was the best choice.

I used an empty plastic jar and modge podged tissue paper onto the outside of the jar to give it texture and to make the jar opaque. I then used purple acrylic paint to cover the tissue paper. I left the gray lid alone because I could not think of a medium that would not rub off or crack. I then took purple ribbon and wrapped it around the jar (my bow is ugly, don’t judge) and then put American Crafts thickers on the ribbon. Inside I took lots of little pieces of purple paper and wrote notes for my mom to let her know how awesome she is. Even though the cancer is…in remission…hate those words, it has still been a tough couple of years. 2 days before that party I mentioned up there we found out that my mom was BRCA 1 positive. This meant that even though the ovarian cancer was taken out that she was still at an 80% risk for breast cancer and a whole host of other kinds of cancer. As a family we made the decision for her to have a prophylactic mastectomy. And in March of this year she finally finished that journey. She is now missing all of her “female” original parts, something we don’t talk about often but I know that it has got to be weird and hard. And that’s why I made her the “Happy Thoughts” Jar. Because on top of all of that really hard stuff, there is still life, other people have gotten sick, and better, people been born, have gotten married, and died, and its hard to keep truckin’.

Being worlds apart from my mom on Mother’s Day is hard, especially because her birthday is the same week.