Chronically Terminal

It has taken me many years to get to this point where it has become completely clear that I need to begin to tell my cancer story more thoroughly.  I have an outline loosely based on my journals from the earlier years of facing the diagnosis, reacting to it, responding, & accepting diagnosis & eventual treatment.  A lot of events profound, humorous, fearful and fearless happened in between.  I am going to attempt to chronicle these significant life changing and altering events to hopefully process my experience, and perhaps influence or even inspire many.  I don’t think fighting cancer is a boring topic, but perhaps it is a bold move on my part to presume I have an audience for my story.  If anything, It will be a lasting legacy of insight, courage, inspiration, and perseverance I have drawn from my life’s experience of dealing with and living with ovarian cancer.

I am not sure how I can articulate such profound moments as seeing a friend react to my allergic reaction to carbo platinum, and understanding deeply and sorrowfully in a flash that my cancer hurts others near to me.  I was so quick to use humor to deal with my own internal horror that my body was shutting down, and dramatic allergic reactions were infiltrating my systems, and the infused Benadryl made me high and loopy, so the humor just poured from me like a drunken individual in a state of protest.

I have flashback moments when I remember using my dark cancer humor to crack a joke about the doctors trying to “kill me” while killing the cancer.   Maybe it was all too much for my sweet friend to bear, but suddenly the team of doctors & nurses tending to my allergic reaction were moved to gather around her (once I was stable, off course) and minister to her heart ache moment of witnessing my allergic vulnerability to the cancer fighting drug.  I am not sure if I am describing this well, but the reflection of it had a deep impact on me, and something in me shifted after that.  I became mindful of my serious reality, and how it not only was affecting me, but those around me.  Her reaction deeply endeared this friend to me, and forged an even deeper bond since that shared moment.

Healing Hope 2013 Fundraiser!

Finally, the evening of gathering to raise funds and awareness for the MGH cancer patients’ financial challenges has arrived.  I have been planning an evening of HOPE on a Saturday evening in April.  I am so thrilled that many of my musician friends will come out for a night of music with a Healing Hope theme. There will be tables of healthy snacks.  A silent auction will be featuring a beautiful handmade quilt, 2 Boston Bruins tickets to the April 15th game, an Ulrike Welsh photograph, and several other items to bid on. Please save the date on your calendars and plan to join us for an evening of HOPE.

Healing Hope 2013 Fundraiser!

When? Saturday, April 13th What time? 6-8:30

Where? NSAG Fellowship Hall 77 Kennedy Drive, Malden



Gift card or monetary donation to:

Healing Hope Ministry 

On the night of the event, please make checks payable to: NSAG

100% proceeds go directly to recipients


Mary-Margaret Almonte, Founder of Healing Hope Ministry

77 Kennedy Drive Malden, MA 02148


Healing Hope Ministry Fundraiser soon to come…

For now, all applications for Healing Hope Ministry gift card to cancer patients have been placed on hold until we can replenish the funding with the third fundraiser coming soon. The plan is to have an evening of music and raffles to help raise funds for reaching out to cancer patients that are struggling financially.

Please stay tuned for details in the coming weeks.

Writing Through Cancer

Writing Through Cancer

Since knowledge of the ovarian cancer reoccurrance I have been getting weekly emails from a writing group faciliated by a writer from San Diego, California.

I recently responded to one of her prompts that involved free verse.  The results below:

Cancer is a startling reality that you may not be living as long as you or others expected.

It is a sharp contrast to a teen’s sense of immortality.

It is a caution and complete abandon to live according to a higher purpose.

Cancer is a prioritizer.

It is a constant presence.

It is a consistent reminder to live each day to the fullest.

It is a reality changer.



I am reminded to trust God with all my heart, and not lean on my own understanding or even the knowledge of the doctors.  I cannot lean on my fears.  God is able to heal me completely.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday.  Today and Tomorrow.  He is the power, my strength, and the love of my life.  He has and is directing my path.  I am on the journey now.  I continue to walk in full trust of Him who has made me.




Cedar Point Amusement Park Sandusky, Ohio

We (meaning a bunch of us Batanians and extended family members) spent the day at Cedar Point.  I had not been there since 1978 when “The Blue Streak” was the rave.

The roller coaster they have now are mind (and body) blowing.

I ended my excursion with a swift (but nauseating) ride on a roller called the “Raptor”.  Yikes!  I was as nauseated as chemo can make one…but it passed by the time I had traveled an hour home to my sisters, and laid my tired (but happy) head on a pillow.

Elisha experienced his very first roller coaster ride (s) and the verdict is still out on if he liked the experience or not.  My sister Cathy and I laughed so much throughout the day-especially on the ride home when we were all a bit ‘punchy” from the days events.

I won't eat a hot dog, but I will take a pic with one!


Cousins Sarah & Elisha

"Iron Dragon Roller Coaster Stress!"

Ice cream & a funny photo cured Roller Coaster Stress!


Healing Hope Fundraiser Today

Today between 3-7 many will gather for the purpose of raising funds and gift card donations for the Healing Hope Ministry.

We are gathering in my sister’s church for this event.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Oregon, Ohio.

The gift card ministry to cancer patients at MGH is expanding west!  It is naturally expanding to a Toledo area hospital-Mercy cancer Center.

My sister Cathy has headed up this event, and it is going to be amazing.

We are holding a silent auction, and I am excited about seeing people bid on the many donated items.  I am in awe at the generosity of family, friends and customers of my sister and brother in law.  My Ohio visit is about this event, but once it is through, onto visiting my siblings that live here, and my parents more deeply.  Since my return from California, my time has been occupied on assisting with this event.

I will be posting the results this coming week, and trust the fundraising event will be blessing many patients and their families in the weeks and months to come…

I heard my sister state to someone that this will become an annual event.  I smiled inside to hear that.



In Ohio back from California

At Twin Towers-

Above was taken at Twin Towers in San Francisco.

I assure you, Elisha was safe while snapping this photo.

There was a one foot drop to a grassy area that led to a very long leap below…

My adventuresome 9 year old was not in danger taking this photograph!

View from the Towers


I have not posted since the eve of our excursion (a flight) back to the bay area in California.  Words (for today) cannot describe the expereince both Elisha and I had with my brother Matthew and his lifetime partner, Michael.  Being in the midst of my brother’s daily life in SanFrancisco and in a northern community 2.5 hours above the city was  relaxing, enJOYable (my brother has a wit beyond anyone I have ever met, and kept us laughing), and an experience for all the senses.

We experienced the quiet buzz of a neighborhood in the Pacific Heights to the Sea lions’ calls on Fishrocks.

I will post the photos and let them tell the story, but I do have many snipets of time spent out west to share.  Just not now.

Helping Hand To Uncle Matt

Uncles Matt & Mike's Neighborhood


A.M. City Gardening

Cool Elevator on Jackson Street

View from the roof at Uncle Matt's

We love Uncle Matt!

Signs on Filmore Street

View From Twin Towers

Feeding the One-Legged Pigeon

" I am NOT a Giants fan!"





Saturday Adventures

Today we all went to the waters around here for a picnic lunch-with both golden retrievers. (Annie & Ellie)

It was a gorgeous morning in the pacific northwest, and prior to our picnic, Tim and Laura took us to a farm property where an event they are planning to host for a big New York Life gathering.

The farm was so beautiful, and the couple that farms the land were so gracious to us.

Cousin Max and a hen

Organically Fed Beef (soon to be)

Investigating the little barn

Raspberry picking

More raspberry picking...

Playing fetch with the "girls"!

"The Girls"

Laura and Tim

Ready to go now!