Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What YWCS Means to Me... by Kim Borysewicz

First, I will start off by saying I have never blogged before so bear with me. Maybe I should have chosen an easier topic but I feel strongly that this needs to be the topic I address first. Over the last few months many people have asked what Yes We Can Sir is all about and why I am so passionate about it. So for those of you who don’t already know, here is some background. 


In February of 2012, my friend and neighbor was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. It was the day many lives would be forever changed. Although I had lost both my dad and grandfather to cancer this was a whole new experience for me. How could a 34 year old have cancer let alone colon cancer? Needless to say I was very naïve. How could someone so young have cancer, it is supposed to be an elderly person's disease, right?

After the shock of learning of Michelle's condition, her family and friends banded together and started putting plans in motion for a fundraiser to help her. You see, her diagnosis came very shortly after her husband got laid off from his job. I was committed to helping them so I jumped on board. A whirlwind of conversations, and meetings took place in a short period of time followed by commitments with vendors to make this event happen. I was beyond amazed.

During all the craziness of planning the event, Michelle and one of her friends went for a walk. Although I don’t know exactly how their conversation went, I do know Michelle was asked what she heard when she heard the word "cancer". Michelle replied "I will not be afraid of cancer, it simply means Yes I Can Sir!" - The benefit for Michelle now had a name! 

Finally, it was benefit day! The weather did not cooperate at all. It was raining and windy! Did that stop people from attending an outdoor event? NO! I was speechless. I couldn’t even begin to count the amount of people that walked into the event. How could a small group of people from a little town like Scotia pull off such a successful event! Everyone was amazed at what was accomplished and Michelle was beyond grateful!

About a week later Michelle came down and watched me work. As we were sitting in my office (and she was cringing over my lack of organization!) she told me she needed to pay it forward and here is the plan she came up with. She wanted to make an organization that would help cancer families with medical bills, groceries, daycare, or anything else they may need. In essence, to be a support system. She would say, "Do you know how many people out there have to face this illness alone?" Before she could even finish I knew I wanted to be a part of this. I looked at her and said, "Count me in, if you want my help!" She smiled that amazing smile of hers and said, "Why do you think I am here?" So, the "accountant" side of me took over. 

What’s the process? What paper work needs to be filled out? Little did I know the nonprofit charity application is 36 pages long! On top of that bylaws, mission statement and articles of incorporation all needed to be created to go along with this monster application!

Michelle and I put our heads together and met whenever she was feeling up to it. We accomplished it all- even as she was struggling with surgery and treatments. The paper work was finally mailed in August of 2012. Phew! Half way there we thought! A year later, yes a whole year later, we received our letter that Yes We Can Sir was an official 501(c)(3)! 

Now to be incorporated by NYS. More paperwork. This wasn’t so bad only 4 pages! At this point Michelle had more bad days than good and this paperwork was pushed to the side. We lost Michelle on New Year’s Day of 2014. The paperwork was still incomplete. Shortly after Michelle’s funeral, I knew I needed to get off the couch and do something. So, I started focusing all my energy on continuing to make Michelle's dream a reality. On March 28th 2014 we became incorporated!

My dream and desire is to make this organization everything Michelle envisioned it could be. Michelle was an amazing woman. Little did I know when I met her that my time with her would be so short. She did, however leave me a whole new set of friends and family that I cherish. In fact, without their love and support YWCS would not be where it is today and for that I am thankful. 

YWCS is not just an organization, for me it’s the laughter, love, sorrow, joy and struggles my friend endured for the last 2 years of her life. There is not a day that goes by that she is not in my thoughts and thoroughly missed. 

Due to Michelle’s influence in my life, I want to make as many cancer patients and their families smile even if it is just for one day. I want them to hear what Michelle said. "Don’t be afraid of cancer… It simply means, "Yes I Can Sir".

Sunday, September 14, 2014


The Saratoga Get Your Rear In Gear 5 K walk was a success.  We walked in memory of Michelle.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

YesweCANSir Redemption Fundraiser

Creating Change Redemption Center
309 Saratoga Rd Glenville, NY 12303
(518) 265-1420

Creating Change Redemption Center and YesweCANSir are partnering up to make your donations as easy as it can get.......

Starting NOW! You can bring your bottles and cans to Creating Change Redemption Center and they literally do the rest. They sort and count all the bottles and cans. You don't have to touch another messy can!!

Just say YesweCANSir and the refund will go directly to our organization to help those dealing with cancer.

The exciting part is that with every donation you will receive a blue wrist band printed with and You Are Not Alone..

For those of you that are located outside the Schenectady County area please feel free to email us at and we can arrange a pickup or send you further information on how you CAN donate.
Thank you. Please share with friends, family, and those who may not be on Facebook.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thank You For Your Support

Can we make a difference?  Yes we can sir! With your support we can continue to make a difference in the community and in someone's life.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

YesWeCanSir & The Joan Nicole Prince Home

Left to Right: Kim Borysewicz, Donna Schraa, and Executive Director Susan Tomlinson.

The Yes We Can Sir board of directors:
Kim Borysewicz; President/Treasurer, Jo Landolfo; Vice President, and Donna Schraa; Secretary recently visited the Joan Nicole Prince home and donated an array of much needed supplies thanks to your generous donations. Susan Tomlinson; Executive Director and Gail Macejka; Residential Coordinator, took the time to give us a tour of this magnificent and tranquil home and explain in detail what their organization is all about.  We all were enlightened and in awe with the whole organization and how they serve our community every single day. 

The following is an excerpt from the website, it says it all:
 The home is named after Joan Nicole (Keating) Prince, a Niskayuna, NY native and young mother of four. “Joanie” lost her battle with cancer and, in her honor, her husband gave a notable donation which allowed the Home to originally open in 2006.

Located in the Village of Scotia, The Joan Nicole Prince Home provides 24 hour bedside care for two residents at a time in a homelike environment. It is staffed primarily by volunteers and the care provided consists of laundry, meals, personal care, cleaning and support to our residents and their families.

The Joan Nicole Prince (JNP) Home is not a medical facility and it is run independently by the Schenectady Community Home, Inc. The Home collaborates with Hospice who provides the
medical management for the patients as they do for anyone receiving hospice care in their own home environment. The volunteers and staff of the JNP Home become the “surrogate family” for residents.” 

Please read more about the Joan Nicole (Keating) Prince Home, who is eligible, what is the cost for guests, how the home is staffed, and much more, please click on their website:

Please join their event. Monday, August 18 2014

  7 am - 3 pm
Annual Golf Tournament

2nd annual golf tournament.  Help us grow this fundraising event.  Being held at the prestigous Mohawk Golf Club. Breakfast and lunch included.

Follow link below for sponsorship info:

Follow link below for golfer information:


The following is their WISH LIST.

• Forever Postage Stamps
• Copy Paper - 20 lb. white & color; 24 lb. white
• 3-Ring Binders 1 1/2"

* Individually wrapped chocolate candy
• Hand Sanitizer
• Pump hand soap
• Dishwasher detergent/action packs
• Fragrance-free laundry detergent
• Clorox wipes
Tall kitchen bags - 13 gallon
• Fragrance-free fabric softener sheets
• Unscented hygiene wipes (thick baby-style wipes)
• Gift cards - OfficeMax, WalMart, Visa, MasterCard
• Dish detergent

·         Bleach
·         Lysol spray
·         Swiffer Sweeper wet mop refills
·         Scrubbing  Bubbles
·         Clorox Clean-up

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sharing Your Story

Yes We Can Sir would like to hear your personal story about dealing with cancer. Whether you are a family member, a friend, or about your own battle. What have organizations or individuals done for you that helps ease the battle in some way? Thank you in advance for sharing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 18th, 2014

Yes We Can Sir has many events that are being planned for the near future. We are proud to say that we have collected many donations that have afforded us the opportunity to send two children to Y camp, and much needed donations to local Comfort Homes in our community.  We would like to do more. With your help we can continue giving to those that need assistance. Please go to the fundraising page and give a gift to those dealing with cancer. Thank you for your support. Please email us if you are interested in volunteering at our events.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

YMCA - Exciting News

Yeswecansir is excited to announce we have given a grant to two young boys which will enable them to attend the Capital District YMCA day camp for one week this summer.

Their names are Dylan (age 6) and his brother Brady (age 8). Dylan was diagnosed with Leukemia one day before his 3rd birthday. He spent a week in the PICU and underwent multi-blood transfusions, bone marrow aspiration and started Chemo. Dylan just finished his last Chemo treatment in March 2014.

Both boys have been involved with the YMCA Circle of Champs program since July of 2011. This program is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children who have been touched by a life threatening illness. YWCS is excited to be associated with this program and IS looking forward to working with them in the future.

Thanks to all for your continued support-whether it be monetary donations, volunteering your time or relating your ideas/suggestions, your continued efforts have helped to make yeswecansir successful.

Please like us, share and post on Facebook and please be sure to visit our website:


Fundraiser at Trickshot Billiards Sports Pub

Thank You Stacy Hill for promoting a successful fundraiser. On behalf of YWCS words can not describe how grateful we are to everyone for all their time effort and generosity put into this. Thanks for help fighting the fight!!!! You said it all in the following quote:

"Words cannot express how thankful I am to have so many great people pass through my life. $1200 was raised tonight for YesWeCanSir and I could not have done it without every single one of you! I'm in love with this scene, in love with you beautiful people and am honored to have been a part of this fantastic benefit. Built for Battle, Fromwithin, Sworn to Vengeance, Winters Burden and Panzram, Thank You is just not enough."

June 7th-YWCS Garage Sale

The garage sale was a huge success. We would like to thank everyone who helped in donations, volunteering and purchases. The winner of the raffle tree was Michael Schraa..Congratulations! All winnings were donated to YWCS.



Help Yes We Can Sir every time you shop:

 We get $5 for each new supporter in July. Plus, iGive is also giving away a special $2,000 in July to the top three people who get the most friend...s to join and use the iGive Button. Friends can support our cause, or their own favorite group. There will be one $1,000 winner, and two $500 winners. All you need to do is try the iGive Button through October 15, 2014. No purchase necessary! So, help us spread the word by sharing this post and by joining iGive!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beauty Tips for Cancer Patients

Love, love....LOVE this girl.  Karina Xavier is a lovely 15-year-old patient at Dana-Farber in Boston.  She was asked to make videos providing beauty tips for cancer patients.   Below is a video on how to style your head using scarves and headbands.

Check out her fashion blog here:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Save the Date!! Tues, April 8th 2014

Save the Date!

Please join us
Tuesday April 8th
4 - 8 PM Moe’s Southwest Grill
2 - 9 PM Menchie’s 
Frozen Yogurt

Moe's Southwest Grill and Menchie's Frozen Yogurt will generously donate 20% of table sales to us!  Print out this flyer and share with your friends.  Better yet, drag all your friends and family down to Moe's and Menchie's. They are located at:

Hannaford Plaza
1410 Altamont Avenue
Rotterdam, NY

Friday, March 21, 2014

Faces Of Blue

Every day in the month of March, the Colon Cancer Coalition is highlighting one person impacted by colon cancer in their Faces of Blue series. Michelle's mother and one of our director's Jo Landolfo was featured today. She wrote a great piece on how it takes an army to battle cancer.

Read her post.

This picture was taken last October. Michelle setup cake and balloons and for a surprise 60th birthday party for her mom Jo in her room at Albany Med.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hope in Hospice.

Let’s talk about the H word.


Six months ago, the word hospice to me meant that you are giving up and ready to die.  But now I am here to tell you that there is hope in hospice.

Michelle entered the care of the The Community Hospice only 4 days before her death.  I was blessed to be with Michelle during those last days and so I can attest to how invaluable their service was to her and the rest of my family.

I only have one regret in the experience and that is that we didn't seek out their help sooner.   If you have read Michelle's story, you know that she stopped chemotherapy treatments in June 2013 as her cancer did not respond to it.  She continued to have radiation treatment, but this was primarily to reduce the chronic pain she was experiencing.

Michelle and my family spent a lot of time in the hospital the last 4 months of her life.  It was a whirlwind of non-stop emergencies, one complication after another.   Her disease was progressing far faster than any of us imagined or realized at the time.

At this point, Michelle could have enrolled in hospice care.   But I can tell you, the word "hospice" to a cancer patient and their caregivers is terrifying.  The doctors did not talk about it, Michelle didn't want to say it and we didn't want to admit that her fight was coming to an end.  We all probably had it in the back of our minds but we certainly didn't discuss it.    In our world then, hospice meant that we were giving up hope and that she was ready to die and that was not acceptable for a 36 year old.  

While her disease was aggressive, it had only spread locally.  She did not have any disease in her liver, lungs or brain, common places for colon cancer to spread.  Besides the tumors in her abdomen, she was otherwise very healthy.  What she did struggle with was chronic nerve pain and persistent bowel obstructions.   What Michelle needed back in September was palliative care.

As described by the Community Hospice website, palliate care focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.

I am not saying that palliative care would have changed the outcome but I do believe this service would have improved her journey.  It would have given her and her family the breathing room to really take a hard look at her disease progression and it would have improved her quality of life.   The palliative care service would have brought caring, compassionate nurses to her home.  They perhaps could have prevented or reduced the frequent emergency room visits that Michelle endured due to pain.   They could have taken care of the logistics of hospital beds, oxygen, prescriptions, coordinating doctor appointments and so on. It would have allowed Michelle and my family the time to focus on the important stuff and that is spending valuable time together.

What is the hope and the fighting for if you can not spend quality time with those you love?

What I realize now is that there is hope in hospice and it is a lesson we learned very late.  No one is ever prepared to take on a cancer diagnosis, often it is fly by the seat of your pants to make decisions and rearrange your whole life.  But I have hope that these lessons we learned can help others in a similar situation.   Perhaps someone reading this blog is in the same situation as Michelle was and will consider all the services that hospice offers without fear.  Perhaps this post will spark an important conversation that everyone is afraid to have.   Enrolling in these services is not about giving up.  It is asking for help and accepting help when it is most needed.

This is a blog post that has been on my mind for months.   For those on the Community Hospice mailing list, you may have been pleasantly surprised to open the donation request letter this week and see Michelle's beautiful face.  This letter was the spark I needed to share.    We are honored to have Michelle highlighted to demonstrate how important a hospice service is in a cancer patients life.

With much love,

Friday, February 28, 2014

Eat Wings and Raise Funds for Get Your Rear in Gear - Saratoga

On March 5th through the 9th, bring THIS TICKET to the Buffalo Wild Wings at 22 Clifton Country Road in Clifton Park, NY, and 10% of your food order will be donated to Get Your Rear in Gear - Saratoga.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World Cancer Day

February 4th is world cancer day and the focus this year is reducing stigma and dispelling myths about cancer. 
Debunk the Myths!

Learn about the 4 myths by clicking the links and reading the fact sheets:

  1. We don't talk about cancer
  2. Cancer...there are no signs and symptoms
  3. There is nothing I can do about cancer
  4. I don't have the right to cancer care

Now Do Something!  

Visit Chevrolet's "Purple Roads" website and turn your Facebook profile purple.  They will donate $1  to the American Cancer Society for each purple profile.

Volunteer for "Road to Recovery".  Help patients with transportation to and from treatment.  They have a search by zip code feature on their website to find local programs.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Story by Michelle Gordon

My Story
by: Michelle Gordon

September 23, 2013

I would first like to start off by introducing myself and warning you that English and writing was never my strong point.  I tend to wander with my thoughts and even more so these days with all of the medications I have been on.

 My name is Michelle Gordon and I am a happily married woman with 2 children and a fantastic life.  I can easily say that “I have it all”!! I have a husband that most women would do anything to find, he not only cooks, cleans and does the laundry but he also works hard for his family and loves me unconditionally.  I have two beautiful children, Marcus is 12 and Sophia is 5.  I could write an entire novel about my children and how wonderful they are but for now you will have to take my word for it!  I work for the New York State Office of Mental Health as a budget analyst and cannot express the love I have for my work family.  Since my diagnosis, I have had nothing but love and support from all of my friends at OMH.  Life was good and uneventful, peaceful and comfortable until fall of 2011 when a common constipation issue turned into something much more.

One of the most common questions I get regarding my disease is “what were your symptoms” and to that I would say the following:  I had what most would consider normal constipation with the feeling of not being able to evacuate completely.  I did have a few incidents of blood but it was always bright red and I wrote it off to possible hemorrhoids.  However, in the fall of 2011 I started having this pain and numbness in my lower back which was always worse at night and when I laid down.  I researched this issue and tumor appeared on all the reputable sites out there.  This of course had me concerned to the point where I pushed for a scan.

February 6, 2013 was the official beginning of my journey, although I didn't know it or better off, wouldn't accept it at the time.  I had gone and had an MRI done of my abdomen and had received notice from my doctor that they had indeed found a “concerning mass”.  This was immediately followed with heart palpitations and the need to leave work and find my husband.  We both cried and then calmed each other down with all of the other possibilities or more like-lees it could be.  We were in complete and utter DENIAL!  We would remain in this state until we had concrete, hard evidence otherwise.   After all, how many 34 year old, healthy young women do you know with cancer?

The next 10 days were a whirlwind of tests and procedures.  I had a colonoscopy done in which they couldn't even get the scope past the mass.  They did a biopsy and the doctor called me back to let me know that it came back not as cancer but as “villotubular adenoma with nests of severe dysplastic cells”.  This, of course, just supported my state of denial even after the doctor told me not to get excited, he was still 99% sure it was colon cancer.  I remained in the 1% not cancer.   Emergency surgery was performed just days later on the 13th, were they removed my uterus, my cervix and the top of my vagina.  As a side note:  I found it ironic how it took me over 2 years to convince my husband to go have a vasectomy and only a few months later I have to have my uterus out anyway!  I thought it was worthy of a chuckle, not sure hubby saw the same humor.  The surgery took the better part of the day and I woke up with a new friend on my stomach that I would have to get used too, at least temporarily.

February 17, 2012, Diagnosis: Stage IV colorectal adenocarcinoma or T4b, N1, M1b.  BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I had so many questions at this point that my head was spinning.  Was this payback for something I had done?  What happened to karma?  Is this genetic, what about my siblings and my kids are they at risk?  Crying became my hobby and Kleenex had a new top supporter.  Oh yea, remember that Michelle that hated taking any type of pill at all, well Xanex became my very best friend.  My world was flipped upside down.  I felt like my family and I were trapped inside one of those little snow globes, being shook by a very energetic 6 year old boy on Christmas morning.  The stay in the hospital was pretty uneventful, I had to learn how to take care of my colostomy, recover from surgery and try to get some sort of plan in motion for my future battle with cancer.   I had a port placement procedure done shortly after and it was decided that I would move forward with chemotherapy.

It seems appropriate at this time to talk about one of the most important pieces of my life I like to call The Tree of Me.  The tree of me represents the roots or people in my life and how they support me.

I have Mark, my husband, as a caretaker of me and more so of our children.  He had to become a mom and dad in one, a super parent and he did so with such ease, it is beautiful to watch.  My children that bring smiles and laughter to my face, a joy and light to my world when sometimes all I see is darkness.

My mother is my root of emotional and medical support.   She is there for me whenever I need an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on.  During my times in the hospital when I couldn't take care of myself, she was there, with such a delicate and gentle touch, to make sure my hair was washed and I was comfortably adjusted in bed to get rest.   My father and second mother are my rational decision making and financial support.  They have sacrificed so much of their time to make sure that I am getting the best care possible by the best doctors.  My sister Sandra is my organizational root that has assisted me with anything technical needed.  She is my Google.  She has created a website that is dedicated just to me and my medical history.  It contains every detail from doctor’s notes to surgical reports to the actual MRI/Pet/CT scans, all available at the click of a button.  To those whom have had to deal with medical personnel on a more frequent basis, I am sure you can appreciate the value in having something like this.  My sister Jennifer is my spiritual root.  She has helped me to get closer to God and to have peace with my life and wherever I should go.  I know that I am safe in Gods arms.  My sister Jessica has her PhD and therefore acts as our medical interpreter.  Again, for those that deal with the medical world more often than others, this is a true asset.  

Lastly but by no means the least, my friends, extended family and community act as my water and sunshine on a daily basis.  There isn't a day that goes by where I don't thank God for this complete circle of support I have been afforded.  I think about the many in a similar situation that are missing a root or don't have any support at all.  Those are the people I would like to help with our non-profit organization Yes We Can Sir.  

Back to some more medical history on me.  February 24, 2012 marked the day we put our plan into action.    I say we because it is not only me that goes through this, it's the entire Tree of Me or we that goes through it.  We decided to move forward with 6 months of Folfox with Avastin, followed by radiation to the pelvic region and ending with a colostomy reversal.  I will call this plan A. Simple, easy; I can do this....right? I start off with both feet running, I still work while on treatment, most weeks more than 40 hours to make up for the treatment hours I missed.  I was nauseous, tired, suffered from neuropathy and cold sensitivity....all still bearable.  This, I would like to note is the first time I felt like a cancer patient.  I had to have my chemo treatments hooked up to me for 48 hours which meant I wore a pump around my waist while at work, while sleeping, while cooking my children dinner.  This pump made a noise that I will forever remember, a sort of cranking sound every time it pushed some more poison into me...makes me a little sick to my stomach thinking about it.  Not far into my treatments I hit a small roadblock, my white blood count dropped too low and I had to miss a treatment.  My doctor then put me on Neulesta shots which aid in keeping your white blood count high enough to continue treatments.  This shot comes with a long list of side effects as well including a general ache throughout your entire body.  Overall, treatment was a slight inconvenience to my schedule, I feel like crap in general but there is an end in sight, remember plan A above, I can do this, I am strong!

September 12, 2012, PET scan to check out what is going on.  BAM!!! Like a comet coming flying down into earth’s atmosphere and slamming into the ground.  It's not gone; there are 3 spots that are “worrisome for a focus of metastatic seeding”.  Although anyone that knows me, I try to focus on the positive which is that there is still nothing in my liver or lungs, the two most popular travel sites for metastatic colon cancer.  This is my happy place and this is where I am going to live.  In fact, I will ignore the other 3 spots on the scan because those do not make me happy!   Regardless of what I focus on, the bottom line is that plan A is scratched and we now must think of a plan B.

Plan B involves Dr. Alexander and his team down at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.  It involves 3 months of Folfiri followed by HIPEC surgery, 3 more months of FolFiri and finished off with a colostomy reversal.  I can do this plan, I am strong, I will get through this!

On November 9, 2012 I started experiencing severe pain in my abdomen on my left side.  My mother and I went to the emergency room at Ellis hospital and after a series of scans and tests I was told it was a kidney stone.  I was sent home with some pain medications and told to drink tons of water to flush it out.  When nothing happened a day or so later we decided a urologist would attempt to grab the stone with a claw like tool and pull it out from me, sounds fun right?  Well when they went up kidney stone.  This is when they changed their minds and decided it was tumor wrapped around my ureter and obstructing the flow.  I woke up with a nephrostomy bag attached to me.   This was one of my lowest points.  I am by no means someone that judges based on exterior features however I was now a 34 year old young woman that had to poop AND PEE in bags.  This was devastating to me and my one and only goal was to get rid of the pee bag.  That I did within a week which was a huge relief.  I had already gotten used to the colostomy; it's easy to maintain, easy to hide under clothing and quite frankly is easier at times, but to have a pee bag on top of that.....NO WAY!  In the end, I had a stent put in with intentions of repairing the ureter and bladder during surgery and remove the stent.

 February 28, 2013 turned out to be a very long day for my family and my medical team.  My surgery to remove the tumor and repair the ureter and bladder took over 8 hours.  In the end, they could not remove all of the tumor so metal pins were placed for anticipation of radiation treatment to follow.  I don't remember a whole lot with exception of I know I woke up in severe pain.  I was in and out of consciousness and I just remember being in so much pain that I didn't want to see my family, I just wanted them to knock me out again.  Because of the amount of pain killers I had been on previously, it was impossible for them to keep me comfortable.  I was placed in a dark room and had very little care for the next 24 hours.  I remember not wanting to live and praying to God to just end my pain.  I would later find out that the doctor had overstretched my nerve in my left hip which caused such a shooting, sharp pain to radiate down my entire left leg.  I couldn't walk; it was painful just to sit up.  This surgery was nothing like my first.  I still to this day do not think I have made a full recovery from that surgery.

I went on to do radiation down in Maryland upon Dr. Alexander’s recommendation that  there was no machines similar to the one they had there and that the best care would come from Dr. Ragine's team at the University.  Arrangements were made and I traveled back and forth 6 hours each way, every weekend to get done what needed to be done.  I was looking at the finish line again and so I was strong, I can do it!  I had treatment twice a day and to be honest, the first two weeks were great! I had my Dad there with me the first week and my step mother there with me the second.  I felt good, the radiation was working so I was getting more and more out of pain and there is a lot of beautiful site seeing to do in Baltimore.  With that said, by week 3 I was done!  I missed my family terribly and I was starting to feel the effects of the radiation.

It was right around this time that I started the process of weaning off of the Fentanyl patch.  I was told I need to do this slowly to limit the withdrawal symptoms.  I did what I thought was appropriate however a few weeks after radiation, in the middle of it all, I had a breakdown.  The withdrawal put me into such a state of depression that I actually had thoughts of ending my life. It was then that I sought additional help and got back on track.  They say that withdrawing from Fentanyl is similar to that of heroin and I can now understand why so many addicts stay addicted.  I can relate more to the people in those commercials you see on TV for people dealing with depression.  I don't want to get any further into this other than saying that our medical community really lacks in its general understanding of all of the issues that go along with the drugs that they prescribe to their patients and that can be deadly.

June 3, 2013- DOUBLE BAM!  We were again blindsided by the results of this scan.  We were all in shock when the scan came back reveling activity at the radiation site as well as four additional spots on my abdominal wall.  I don't think I need to go into how upset we were.  The team in Maryland all came into my room that day with heads bowed and their tail between their legs, they were just as astonished as we were.  They were also done with me.  They had nothing further to offer me and so with that we were off.  My father and I alone in the car for a 6 hour drive back home after hearing the news.  We had to make phone call after phone call repeating the bad news so that everyone was aware of what was going but each time splitting into our hearts like a sharp ax cutting wood.  Tears and sadness overwhelmed me...thoughts of my children growing up without their mother was too much to bear.  This is when I realized that I can't catch a break.  It seems along every turn there is something new to be dealt with.  I HATE CANCER!

Eventually the tears dried up and the heartache turned into sunshine once again, when I realized that it really is all in God’s hands and I have to sit back and enjoy the ride.  I have to live each day to the fullest and really enjoy everyone around me.  I need to appreciate what I have and not take any of it for granted.  It's so cliché but yet so true and I not only know it to be true but feel it in the deepest part of my soul.  It's hard to live each day by this motto but I have to try and get myself there whenever I falter.

I am now living on the edge a bit I suppose by enrolling myself into a clinical trial.  I truly believe that the answer in curing cancer lies in our own bodies.  I believe that immunotherapy will be the cure; it's just a matter of getting the right agent for the tumor.  You see, all colon cancer is not the same, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's almost misleading to segregate people into groups by what organ the tumor started in.   I think they will find that every tumor is different, just like everyone's genetic makeup is different.  Back to the clinical is trial NCT01053013 for those of you so inclined.  It involves small beads containing mouse cancer cells from a mouse kidney cancer line.  The cells in the beads produce substances that have been shown to slow or stop the growth of tumors in experimental animals, veterinary patients, and 23 humans with different types of cancers in a Phase I safety trial.  I am monitored and blood work is done every 15, 30, 60 and 90 days.  A scan will be done at 90 days in which we will determine if the treatment was effective and if I should proceed with the second round of mouse beads.

It comes down to this when making decisions in life:  The choices we make not only affect ourselves, but those around us as well.  I, at this point in my life, will NOT be doing any more harsh chemotherapy.  I truly believe in quality over quantity and since chemo is in no way curative, I choose other treatments, no matter how outside of the box they are.  Did you know that up to 80% of cancer patients are reported to have died from complications from treatment and side effects or related symptoms?  Not from cancer itself.  If this disease does take my life, it will be the disease that kills me, not the treatment!

P.S.  I try not to plan anymore :)

Michelle started what we will continue.  Raising awareness and helping those who do not have the fortune of a support network Michelle had.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


We just heard about a great YMCA program for cancer survivors.  From their website:

LIVESTRONG at the YMCA addresses the increasing number of cancer survivors who find themselves in the transitional period between completing their cancer treatment and feeling physically and emotionally strong enough to attempt to return to a normal life or the "new normal."

Cancer survivors includes those from diagnosis through remission.

This 12-week program is designed for adult cancer survivors to meet twice a week for an hour and 30 minutes. YMCA wellness coaches work with each participant to fit the program to her/his individual needs. Our instructors are trained in the elements of cancer, post rehab exercise and supportive cancer care.  

Find out more information on their website or contact Nancy Gildersleeve, Director of Healthy Living for the Capital District YMCA at or call 518.869.3500 x 9928.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Our dear Michelle has passed away.

Michelle Lee Gordon, 36, Scotia, NY, passed into the arms of the Lord on January 1, 2014 at her residence with her loving family present after a courageous battle with colon cancer.  She was born on October 31, 1977 in Glens Falls, NY and was the daughter of William M. (Connie Reynolds) Gordon of Burnt Hills, NY and Jo (Hill) Landolfo of Scotia, NY. 

Michelle was a graduate of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, class of 1995.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in marketing from SUNY Albany.  She worked for the NYS Department of Mental Health in Albany as a budget analyst until retiring due to her illness.  A determined advocate, Michelle established a non-profit organization, Yes We Can Sir to raise cancer awareness. 

She was the beloved wife of Marcus W. Frechette;  loving and devoted mother of Marcus William Frechette, Jr. and Sophia Christine Frechette; caring sister of Jennifer (Gary) Wells of Hudson Falls, NY, Sandra (Darren) Bratlie of Ft. Collins, CO and Jessica (Ryan) Seifert of New York, NY;  adored granddaughter of Paul and Virginia Hill of Scotia, NY, Mildred A. Gordon and the late William Gordon, Jr. of Glenville, NY, and Alice E. Reynolds and the late Max Z. Reynolds; daughter-in-law of Martha Frechette and the late John Frechette of Albany, NY; sister-in-law of Donna (Michael) Schraa of Scotia, NY, John (Laura) Frechette of Rensselaer, NY, Ronald Frechette of Albany, NY, Sandra Tolbert of Scotia, NY and Fran (Vosco) Hicks of New York, NY.  She is also survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins and was the “favorite” aunt of numerous nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to call Monday, January 6, 2014 at the Burnt Hills United Methodist Church, 816 Route 50, Burnt Hills, NY 12027 from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.  A celebration of her life will be held at 6:00 PM following the calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made for the benefit of Michelle’s children with checks made payable to “Marcus Frechette and/or Sophia Frechette” c/o William Gordon, 30 Velina Drive, Burnt Hills, NY 12027.  Alternatively, donations may be made to The Colon Club ( in Michelle’s honor, where she received immeasurable support.

With confidence, the family has placed their trust in the loving care of the Townley & Wheeler Funeral Home, 21 Midline Road, Ballston Lake, and they encourage you to view and leave messages on Michelle’s Book of Memories at