The Broom Moment

So, the thing is…
Apparently brooms can always do what we all had them doing last night.
Some people are going to make fun of everyone who did it and call them gullible.
Not me.
Why?
I was on the couch, exhausted, when I first read it. I got up, got a broom, and saw it actually stood up on its own when I thought it wouldn’t. I called Quinn and Morgan and Maddie and we all laughed and laughed.
I took a picture and put it up, which was followed by multiple friends putting up pictures and lots of laughter.
Laughter is always a a good thing.
There are reports now that it was always possible, people just never tried it before.
It was always possible…
Like when Dorothy found out she always had the power to go home the whole time.
That’s what I’ve been living on the past three years.
Someone told me that Jesus is always with me, and has the power to heal me, and I’ve been praying for that ever since.
Making a broom stand in a kitchen is nothing compared to what I’m asking for… but seeing everyone believe in something so little and then actually trying it because they saw pictures makes me remember the phrase,
“We walk by faith, not by sight.”
I get glimpses of complete healing when I hear stories of people still alive twenty years after their diagnosis. Those glimpses are few, so I need to rely on my faith more than my sight.
Those stories are the ultimate broom picture.
We were told to be like salt, to bring out the best flavor in ourselves and others. Use words to glorify Him and all He does. Some use their words to break down others or make fun of others, or always speak negatively. What kind of words and actions will you use today? Will you be the “salt of the earth”, or just use salty language?


Today, may we all walk by faith…
And maybe use the broom to brush away those who make fun of the little child in us who came out last night to play along.
In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

World Cancer Day

You would never know if you met me in the street today what I’ve been through the past three years.
It’s World cancer day.
You would never know what I’ve been going through if I didn’t share.
So here’s a rundown…
Diagnosed terminal from the start.
Told weeks or months.
Been throwing everything possible at it to make it go away…yet it keeps spreading.
Breast biopsy, lymph node biopsy, sacrum bone biopsy, liver biopsy, skin biopsy.
Appendix removed.
Port placed into chest for easy access for chemo.
Treatments that have failed to stop progression….Ibrance, Letrozole, fulvestrant, clinical trial, taxol, carboplatin, verzenio, everolimus, xeloda, tamoxifen, xgeva, adriomycin, Cytoxin, doxil.
Too many scans to count.
Lost my hair twice.
Gained forty pounds.
Menopause induced.
Hot flashes.
Side effects include headaches, exhaustion, skin peeling from hands and feet, bone pain.
Three long term hospital stays.
Hundreds of vials of blood.
Too many sleepless nights crying and worrying if I will see my children grow up.
Too many tears shed over friends I’ve made who I’ve loved and lost… megan, Alycia, Leila, Lisa, Brittney…
It’s the suckiest club no one wants to join, yet it’s filled with the kindest people.
It’s the spinning wheel you want to get off of, but can’t… because you’ll die.
It’s the club where everyone has opinions on what you should be doing, especially those who have never been in your club.
It’s the club where when you die, you’re a loser. “She lost her fight against cancer.”
Screw that.
Everyone in the club wins every damn day they get out of bed.
And when they die, they didn’t lose.
It’s the club where everyone is exhausted and puts on a brave face even when scared.
It’s the club where after a while, relationships change because people just can’t handle your diagnosis.
Which makes you feel even worse…
But you appreciate the ones who stay even more.
You would never know if you looked at me.
I’ve been sent so many people I’ve lost count.
Some people in the club are quiet about it.
That’s ok too.
You would never know if you looked at them, either.
It’s a weird place to be, sometimes you look
Healthy and feel ignored…. and sometimes
You look like a cancer patient and want to be swallowed up and have no one look at
You.
It’s the club where people feel obligated to tell you about other people they know with cancer….who died.
More and more people are coming into the club every day.
I hate this damn club…
And love everyone in it. Today we welcomed Shannon Doherty to our club. Maybe she will pull a Michael J Fox and fundraise like crazy for a cure. But if she doesn’t… that’s ok too. Everyone handles it differently. I cant wait for “World Cancer Cure Day.” In Jesus’s name, amen. Xoxo Keri

The Power of “I am” on Chemo Day

I went to school and taught in the morning. We have moved onto learning about penguins. This bird has wings but doesn’t fly. Imagine that. The kids loved learning that there is a penguin called the macaroni penguin and we all laughed and laughed. There will be lots of waddling in the next few days.

I also put Donnie cream all over my hands and feet because I lost the whole layer of skin on the bottom of my right foot. You know how people are obsessed with that pimple popper doctor? And there is a new show about feet doctors? I was like, these gross fetish people would pay money to see this, as I dealt with this side effect. The thoughts we have…

I wore white gloves yesterday so the cream wouldn’t get over anything.

The kids asked why I had on gloves, so I told them I had some dry hands and want to make them smooth, and I’m also a magician. I said I could make a room full of children quiet when I waved my hands… and proceeded to wiggle my fingers and they were so quiet watching me you could hear a pin drop. “See? It worked!” I also said they help me perform the magic trick of helping children learn to read, and besides, I like looking like Mary Poppins.

I left at lunch and rob and I drove in to the hospital. He has a cold now, so he wore a mask the whole time. We listened to the Oprah Winfrey podcast with Joel osteen. It reminded me to watch my words, and the power of “I am”. When I was first diagnosed I wrote “I am healed” on every morning update. I need to get back to that. He said our body hears our talk. “I am so fat”, “I cant lose weight”, “I just can’t keep the house clean”, “I never win”… all self fulfilling prophecy talk.

Oprah said every morning when she wakes up, she opens her eyes and says, “Thank you”. If that’s the only prayer you ever say, that’s enough.

Joel said it’s important to say your positive “I am” statement out loud, so the words come back into your ears and you HEAR the words.

Say what you want to be in five years.

“I am beautiful.

I am worthy of love.

I am strong.

I am blessed.

I am surrounded by those who only want me to succeed and want the best for me.

I am healthy.

I am successful at all I do.

I am grateful for my loving family and friends.

I am healed.

I am living my best life.”

It was good to hear on the way in.

I saw so many of my nurse friends and got lots of hugs. It makes it so much easier.

The port gave us some trouble but I started the cough and raising my arms and legs trick and it started the get blood return. The nurse was new to me and said I was a pro at knowing what to do.

We say my doctor and her nurse assistant and they were pleased with how I looked. She said my labs looked great and we discussed the plan should things go south again with this infusion. The tumor markers weren’t back and she said they could go up because it’s been five weeks without chemo. My heart sank, but I remembered Joel’s words in the car.

“I am healed”.

We went up for the infusion and I learned I can watch movies. I chose Dr Strange, a superhero who uses his mind and harnesses all of his powers that way. I figured it would be a good way to pass the time.

They pushed IV fluids for an hour, and some steroids. Then it was decided instead of one quick push of the Benadryl, it would be a slower drip. It still affected me the same, but not with one big hit.

We started the doxil drip after that, and although I felt like I had about six shots of vodka and had that drunk feeling, I had to stay awake. Rob put the frozen peas in ziploc bags on my feet and hands and covered them with socks, then gave me a frozen smoothie and spoon fed me ice to keep my mouth cold. He had to take it all off when I had to go to the bathroom and I had a nurse help me walk with the pole. I totally would have failed a sobriety test. Rob put it all back on again and we got blankets because I was shivering and freezing.

As much as I wanted to sleep, I knew in the long run it would help me with side effects and mouth sores, so i forced myself to stay awake and freeze. Jean came and sat with us and we talked about being proactive, and about the tumor markers.

One went up again.

But two dropped… when we were expecting a rise. So maybe those two are even lower.

The rest of my labs are fantastic.

I looked up more things to make me laugh on Instagram on the page called “TheCancer Patient”. Dark humor but when you get it, and live it… you have to laugh or else you cry.

We finished, packed up the peas and socks, got “deported” with my port, and grabbed dinner. I’ve been fasting, and we had a discussion about no warm food again. Salads, smoothies, juices… any warm dinners I’ll have to have go cold, and then eat. Suck on ice as keep hands and feet in ice.

“I am healed.

I am healthy.”

I’ll keep saying it.

We came home but I was out of it. I hate that the kids see me like that.

I’m up now since three a.m..

Steroids. Good times.

“I am sleepy.”

Today I’ll go to work, then Madison has her navy ball. I’m excited to see her all glammed up. She is a beautiful girl who makes no effort every day when she goes to school. No Makeup, glasses, sweatpants and sweatshirt, hair in a ponytail. I can’t wait to see her with her hair done and in her dress.

“I am grateful to be here to see this day, and can’t wait to see her at her wedding.”

“I am excited for my life and my future. My best days are ahead of me.”

Thank you, Joel.

I’ll try to get an hour or so more of sleep.

“I am sleepy”

“I am grateful”

“I am healthy”

“I am healed”

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Cancer Makes you Angry

Confession time?

I’ve been getting angry inside again.

At situations.

At people.

At little things.

And I’m not really angry at those things.

I’m angry about the cancer.

I’m angry that I’ve got steroid “moon face” and my face is a big round circle.

I’m angry that I’m forty pounds heavier than is healthy, but the medicines keep the weight on, no matter what I do.

I’m angry I’m still wearing wigs, and the new hair is coming in black and has a widows peak on my forehead. Which means I have to wear the wig lower down and now it looks fake.

I’m angry the skin is peeling off my hands now.

I’m angry I cant sleep more than a few hours a night again.

I’m angry that I’m a good person, and horrible people are out there NOT dealing with cancer.

I’m angry I took down my Christmas tree yesterday and kept thinking how sad my kids and rob would be next year if I die and am not here next Christmas.

I’m angry that the government isn’t doing enough for stage four research.

I’m angry at all the pink, and women ringing bells and making cancer seem like a party. Because this isn’t a party.

I’m angry that now I am back to every two weeks of getting chemo through a tube stuck into my chest, and have to get medicine that makes me want to crawl out of my body as they push it in.

I’m angry I think about dying about a hundred times a day, when four years ago I took for granted that I would grow old with rob and meet my grandchildren.

I’m angry we are finally finishing up my quiet place room and keep thinking I may not be here long to enjoy it.

I’m angry that little children are going through this too.

I’m angry that Quinn wants to go skiing on a day trip and I cant go. It’s right when chemo hits me and a day full of driving, sitting and standing in the cold, and then driving home would be too much.

I’m angry I cant take my detox baths anymore because the heat would bring the chemo to the skin and make it worse. I also miss warm showers.

I’m angry I look like a cancer patient on the outside now.

I’m angry seeing other people go on vacations and not have a care in the world, and I have to watch all of our money because the cancer is in charge of my finances now.

I’m angry it’s been three years of appointments and pills and chemo and not feeling normal.

I’m angry we don’t have college savings for our kids, and have to rely on scholarships of they are to go anywhere other than community college or trade school.

I’m angry that I’m fighting for my kids education and it means more to me than other parents. It means more because I may not be here to fight for them in a year, and I dont care who I piss off now.

Get…out… of …my …way.

But you wouldn’t know how angry I am if you look at me.

I’m still teaching kindergarten full time and using my “teacher voice”. I’m still smiling at people. I’m still having play dates with my kid’s friends and soaking up every giggle and laugh I hear. I’m still driving my kids around everywhere and thankful I get to do it.

I’m still breathing.

I’m still here.

I got an email from my oncologist last night asking how I was and if I thought I would be ready to have chemo this Thursday.

I said yes.

It’s a weird place to be…

Angry, sad, grateful, fighting for your life and trying to stay calm.

I never thought this would be my life.

I look at other moms going about their lives and think…”That was me. I wonder what they would do if they got stage four cancer out of the blue?”

It’s Dr Martin Luther King Jr day. I spent all week teaching my kindergarten children about him and about equality.

How everyone should be treated the same.

Death is the greatest equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, rich or poor, religious or atheist, beautiful, young, old.

It comes for you.

It comes for all of us.

Some have it appear out of the blue and take them away without warning.

Some have Death send it’s henchman named cancer, and it follows that person around all day long, whispering how it will take you…someday. But first it’s going to scare the crap out of you and make you suffer.

You think you will live forever…

Until you know you won’t.

So today, I’m going to breathe and read and go on a walk. Morgan had a friend sleepover last night and today Quinn and Maddie have friends coming over. I’ll work hard on releasing the anger again.

It’s a cycle and ebbs and flows.

December and January were hard months.

Physically, emotionally, mentally.

It’s time for things to turn around.

I’m hoping the much lower dose of chemo is a dose my body can handle, yet is still effective on killing the cancer but not my organs. I’m hoping my herbs and supplements and diet kills the stem cells and switches genes back to where they recognize cancer and kicks it out.

That’s not too much to ask for, right?

Here’s to releasing anger, accepting peace, and my moon face going away.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

RALLY DAY!

It’s Rally Day.

Time for everyone to put up or shut up.

Either you fight for our district and stand with us to get what we are owed, or you get out of our way.

To make it even more movie worthy and magical, it’s going to snow.

Don’t worry, we will be inside.

I don’t want to hear excuses of why people can’t go.

Want to know why?

Because I’m going to the rally… instead of seeing my daughter run in a league meet and watch her coach at his last meet ever with her. This man has been a part of Madison’s life for years. Three days a week all summer long we would meet and he would coach these kids. He brought her up to varsity as an eighth grader. He put together the go fund me which has helped our family have some breathing room during cancer treatments. He has been Madison’s social studies teacher, and is so gifted, she got a five on her AP exam. I wanted to watch Maddie try and break the school record today, and be there for Justin Cobis, an amazing human.

But I’m not.

I’m rallying instead. He understands, as he is an educator. I’m choosing to fight for all of my Kid’s future today.

I also should be home resting. It was only one week ago I was released from the hospital after thinking I was dying. I still have a rash all over me that’s itchy and painful. I’ve got skin coming off of my hands and feet. I’m exhausted, and I’ve got chemo this week. I worked all week teaching kindergarten. It’s Saturday and I’ve got two weeks worth of house chores to do.

I’m rallying instead.

Morgan is performing tonight at East Hampton for the Hampton Music Educator Association concert, where the best musicians from all of the schools on the east end are selected to perform. I’m rallying so I can make sure my district gets its fair share of aid and we can continue to enrich their education with music.

Quinn’s troop is hosting a pancake breakfast from 8-10 at Applebee’s. Everyone is up and moving. I’ll be there a little later with madison. Go fill your bellies before the rally and support this troop that has been a blessing and also through so much.

I’ve personally contacted media, tweeted politicians and made signs. All while working full time, raising three kids, and going through heavy chemo.

I don’t want excuses.

If you can’t make it to the rally, I’ve put up links to sign petitions. I found out last night we have another big rally we may be planning.

It’s that big of a deal.

It’s $31 millions dollars.

Sharing what other districts are owed opened people’s eyes. Especially when they saw the white districts get their fair share. But district with kids with different color skin?

Millions are missing.

Brentwood is owed over a hundred million dollars. Imagine that.

What is weshampton owed? Zero/

Tell me again how politicians aren’t racist in their actions and who they stand up for and fight for.

I’ll wait.

Then I’ll show you how they treat the children.

I love riverhead. I love that my kids are in school with kids of all skin colors and cultures. My kids are better prepared for the real world, and have amazing friendships. I drove Maddie around last night to a sweet sixteen party with a friend from Guatemala. We laughed and laughed as I tried to find this party. As we drove we talked about America and all of the opportunities it has.

My kids know how lucky they are.

They also know how NYS is screwing them over.

Ill be at the rally with my thirteen signs.

I’ll be fighting for ALL kids.

I’ll be standing up for OUR town.

It’s time.

Let’s go!!

May our voices be heard and the money given back.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

I’m Calling You Out, Albany

I left school yesterday, picked up all three kids, ran to michaels crafts store for poster boards, dropped off two kids, picked up dinner, ate, then worked for four hours on signs for the rally on Saturday.

I was both disgusted and hysterical.

Hysterical at some of my signs.

Disgusted when I saw just how unfair this funding formula is to my kids. I found a website where I can check how much districts are owed from NYS.

I typed in Riverhead and there it was…

$31 million dollars.

Then I typed in surrounding districts.

$0.

What the what?

I got really upset when I was thinking of the skin color of the majority of the students at those other districts.

Yup.

White kids.

Riverhead?

We are a melting pot.

You want to think that Albany cares for kids of all colors and treats them all the same… but then again, it’s only 2020.

That’s right, Albany.

That’s right, Cuomo, Palumbo, Thiele, LaValle.

I’m calling you ALL out.

Talk is cheap.

Education is expensive, and you have not done NEARLY enough to help my town.

Hell, I am not asking for MORE money.

I’m asking for WHAT YOU OWE US.

$31,000,000 dollars.

The last time I made signs and rallied was when I went and spoke up against testing.

Commissioner John King was the focus of my signs. He left soon after. It took some time, but people woke up to how the politicians were screwing public education and they began to refuse the tests.

I emailed, made phone calls, and sent letters.

We’ve been fighting for years about the state aid funding formula as well.

In Riverhead, we also get extra screwed because of the charter school. That school takes millions away from us each year. We have kids leave, go there, then they inevitably come back and are usually farther behind than when they left us. Parents are also using it for child care because of the longer day.

So not only are we owed money, we have money siphoned off from us.

Let’s add in the sudden increase we’ve had in students and the fact that my son is now in a school where classes have 30 kids in a class…. in fifth grade.

Size matters, people.

My daughter at the high school has trouble making it through the hallway.

We deserve better.

We deserve what all the other districts around us have…

Support and funding from the state.

I’m looking at YOU, Albany.

How do we have money to give people Mets tickets to show up to court, money when you are released from Jail for food, yet don’t have money for children?

How about we put more funding in the front end of their lives so they don’t end up in jail.

Let’s stop the prison pipeline and fix this system.

$31 Million.

We demand you pay us back.

I’ll never forget when we went to the Viking Swim Meet upstate with the kids. A small town…with a HUGE pool and track and shiny big beautiful building. Mine and robs jaws dropped. How did this tiny little upstate town have such a gorgeous facility? There’s a lot more like it too. Albany uses Long Island as their cash cow, and then ignores us… especially if you live where everyone’s skin color is a different shade.

I’m calling you out, Albany.

I’m sharing this on my blog, which is read all over the world. I had over 55,000 visitors last year. Maybe God placed me in the cancer situation so the platform could be bigger. I’m going with that.

I hope to share a follow up that the rally this Saturday at 12:00 Riverhead middle school was huge. Media covered it and politicians were ashamed. They found the money they OWE us and gave us a check.

And if they don’t?

The signs I made last night will be nothing compared to the signs I’ll make.

If you live in Riverhead, bring EVERYONE tomorrow. We are all equally screwed over by the state on this one.

This is one of those rare moments we can all stand together for what’s right.

Seniors, children, brown skin, white skin, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, atheists.

Albany has screwed every single one of us in Riverhead over.

It’s time to tell them we won’t take it anymore.

I’ll see you tomorrow!

Let’s go get our money and help our kids!

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

This Mom is Rallying for Riverhead

Feeling like you are dying sooner than later changed a lot.

One would think I would relax more.

Nope.

I laid in that bed and felt a switch turn on.

I need to make sure everything is ok for my kids.

Which meant a few things had to happen.

The first was the death paperwork. I’ve held off filling it out for years now. I finally did it yesterday. If I should pass while still teaching and working, and this isn’t filed, my family gets nothing of my retirement. Zero. Zilch. Mentally it was hard to do. Your mind can play games. But this was serious enough of crisis to put aside my mental and emotional concerns and take care of business.

I’m calling it the snowblower policy. You know, when you buy a snowblower it doesn’t snow. You fill out this form and you don’t die.

The other thing that happened is i don’t care anymore what people say about me… I’m all in and fighting for this district.

You see, this year…people bashed teachers, there is a whole group that has first added me then blocked me, there are people who add to the chaos without answers, people who are stirring up the racist soup yet pretend they aren’t holding the spoon.

I’ve kept quiet lately because I was tired of being bashed as “some teacher”. But guess what?

I’m way bigger than that.

I’m a MOM.

MY kids deserve more.

We’ve got some big issues all at once happening in this district. I am not speaking as a teacher now, because no matter what happens, I keep my job. I’m not worried about my job.

But my kids?

MY KIDS???

They will be affected in a huge way.

As a mother, it is my job to fight for MY kids.

The first is the rally this weekend. Five districts in NY have been shorted millions and millions of dollars. New York State politicians crap all over Riverhead, make us a dumping ground, and pass us over because no one speaks up. Oh sure, people speak up all over Riverhead Local and Riverhead News Review. But actually make calls and write letters and send emails? Crickets.

This Saturday at 12 pm our district is hosting a rally at the middle school to fight for the state to give us what’s owed. I’m talking millions and millions and millions. We don’t have to even travel to rally, it’s right in our own backyard.

I see two scenarios.

The first one is embarassing. This town which has hundreds of comments bashing the district any time it’s written about has no one show up. We try to show we are angry and dammit! “Give us what you owe us! “ But turnout is pathetic and small and politicians look and laugh and say, “That was cute. Hey Sally, remind me to send more money for the rich white districts which will vote me in next time. Riverhead shows up for homecoming but won’t even fight for the money we’ve stolen from them. Riverhead just doesn’t show up. Those silly blue waves…more like ripples.”

The second scenario is amazing.

The middle school is packed. Overflowing. Families bring their kids to show how much they care. Everyone is holding signs. Seniors from the senior centers are there. Town government representatives. Media. People of all races and genders standing together. No matter where they stand on the bond or the town or the school, they all know this money helps everyone. We get this money and we can improve programs, add staff, improve the quality of education and programs which would improve the school, and in turn improve their house values. People cheer the speakers, media blows up how Riverhead comes together and fights. “We are sick and tired of being ignored. WE ARE THE BLUE WAVES AND WE WILL TSUNAMI YOU OUT OF OFFICE!”

I wonder which scenario will happen?

I’m making signs.

I’ll be there.

Do you care enough? Or is a football homecoming game more “fun” to show up to and anything else that actually matters doesn’t matter to you? Your kids have graduated and you’re checked out? You don’t have kids in the town?

Guess what?

You pay taxes?

Then you should be angry and show up and fight.

The second is the bond.

We will be short 350 seats in the high school in 2023. The district didn’t pull this number out of thin air. They have to go by a set number and the state makes them stick to this number; even though we all see even more monstrous apartment buildings being built and proposed. Right now my fifth grader is in school with classes of thirty kids in a class.

THIRTY KIDS IN A CLASS!!!

Split sessions are on the table. They are not a scare tactic. That would be devastating to families like mine who have children that they are excelling. My eleventh grader doesn’t even take a lunch. She takes advanced classes and orchestra and NJROTC. She is in classes all day long. A split session would cut offerings. How would that look for kids wanting to go to college? I want my eighth and fifth grader to have the same amazing opportunity.

MY kids deserve it.

I’m seeing parents who have had kids graduate now say they will vote no. I’m seeing parents whose kids were saved by our district when their school shut down and left them high and dry saying they will vote no.

Every no vote I’m taking personally.

Because every no vote is a vote against MY kids.

MY kids deserve what YOUR kids got.

I’m angry that our district has been swamped and overwhelmed by so many new students, and so many state rules without the state giving us the funding.

If we don’t stick together…

We will drown.

You think we are in bad shape now?

Just think what your house value will be if the bond fails. Good luck to all of you people saying you’re going to move out of NY. How about we rally for the aid, pass the bond, then you can move and get your house value and I will stay alive and work to keep our town and district great?

Deal?

Rant over.

See you all Saturday.

Being your signs.

Mine will be epic.

Let’s do this for MY kids, for ALL kids.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

Ps. I worked all day yesterday, went to a meeting after school and a PTO meeting last night. Getting stronger every day. Thank you for your prayers!