Insane in the Membrane (Sep 11, 2011)

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{NOTE: This was originally published on Vanessa’s CarePage. We are copying all those posts here to have her story in one place that all can access. We are back-dating the posts to match when she originally published the post there, and are marking the blog post here with Vanessa as the author, as these words that follow are her own.}

Posted Sep 11, 2011 11:17pm

There is so much going on, I don’t even know where to begin!

Lots of info to share… good news and bad news… so please be sure to read through to the end.

I gotta start with the good stuff first:

Jessica’s due date is fast approaching (Sep 20), so super-cute nephew #3 will be here any day!

Also, all of The SCAR Project festivities will be here before I know it! There really is something for everyone: fancier events where you can meet the photographer and see the exhibit, gallery walk-through tours, general admission times, and even a newly added afterparty. Some people are confused as to what everything is, so here is the inside scoop to hopefully clarify a few things:

Thurs Opening Night Gala – 9/29: ($200/ticket) we mostly invited doctors and sponsors, but it is open to anyone. Fancy (suits / cocktail dress) with wine, and light food. There is talk that with every Gala ticket purchased, you will get a bonus walk-through ticket + 10 general admission tickets too, to have sales pick up a little. Buy tix:

Fri Friends and Family Cocktail Celebration 9/30: ($50/ticket) similar to Thurs night but invited friends & family, cheaper price, a little more of a relaxed atmosphere, and what I would probably push for people attending over the Thurs Gala. Fancy (suits / cocktail dress) but probably not as fancy as Thurs, with wine, and light food. If price is a problem, please let me know. I don’t want to have people not come simply b/c of price… Also, the link to buy tix is different:

Sat Official Afterparty 10/1: ($3 suggested donation) we are doing a fun party at a different venue, with live music by Yearbook Committee (my sisters band who is super awesome!). At The Avenue Lounge in Covington (, 10 min from the gallery. Can come after you go to the gallery, or just stop in for the show. Doors open at 7:00, music starts at 9:00. Half price wine specials. Proceeds to benefit The SCAR Project. Event info:

Walk-Through tours with Photographer: ($35/ ticket) there are 5 different ones scheduled throughout the weekend if you want to listen to the photographer talk about his experience taking the pics, etc. More intimate than General Admission and more of a group setting. Buy tix:

General Admission Tickets: ($15/ ticket) many open times all weekend for general public. Cheapest option and not group led, so more of a do-it-at-your-own-pace type of atmosphere. Nothing fancy, just the exhibit. Buy tix:

All other Cincy specific SCAR Project info is on the blog:

Ok, on to the not-so-good stuff:

This is always difficult for me to share, because I don’t want to spring things on people, but…I had a head MRI last week b/c I was having severe headaches. Turns out there was a cluster of cancer cells that showed up on the scan. My doc explained that they are present in the protective lining of my brain, called the meninges. There are enough cells in the same place that have created a mass of sorts, large enough to make my skull buldge and push my brain out of the way. The doc also made sure to remind me that the caner isn’t actually in my brain, just pressing on it, which is good news I guess.

My mom made a good analogy that makes things easier to understand. So here goes: I always have cancer cells floating around in my body. Always. They like to party. They like to all go to the same place and “hang out”. When there is a party, I usually get a mass or area where the cancer cells are conglomerating, and only then is there a chance for them to show up on scans. So for me, it’s like I have to stay vigilant and see where the party will go to next. Then I get to start planning a party shut-down. This time the party is in my head. As I like to say now, I am officially insane in the membrane! :)

Anyway, I know that I will need to start radiation to my whole head. It is supposed to be everyday for 10 days, starting Tuesday. I followed up my head MRI last week with a spine MRI. The doc said that the meninges area surrounding the skull also goes down the spine, so if the cancer cells are partying anywhere else, it would probably be there. Tomorrow (Monday) I find out these results. Also I will learn if I need chemo again as well. I should have a better gameplan after my appt and will send an update when I can.

Also, it seems like so much has happened recently, even outside of my situation, that I have come to realize how precious life is and how lucky we are to share it with the ones who mean something to us. I’ve said it before, but I really mean it… live with passion. Live with intention. Live healthy. Live with no regrets. Live Sincerely.

I have to say that my recent news didn’t surprise me, but it of course is never easy to hear. I have really tried to think what would be helpful at this time. Some people have asked how they can help. The short answer is I don’t know yet. I do know that I don’t want to dwell on this really if I can help it. I want to keep a sense of normalcy whenever possible. So in the spirit of Living Sincerely, I would most appreciate for you all to look inward and maybe take some time improving your own situation, so you can be present in your own life. I realize this might be unconventional and unappealing, but it is what I want most right now.

There are so many people living lives with diseases or challenges that they did not choose, that they have no control over, but are trying to just make the best of it. So please look inside yourself and see if there are things you CAN do to make your OWN life better. :) Life’s not easy, but I am challenging everyone out there to live, really live. If for no one else, do it for me.

Much love to you all!!

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