Zoe's Story: The Red Devil and the Details (Week 23)
Updated: Mar 8, 2021
Today March 3, 2021 is round 2 of my AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) treatments. The last two weeks evaporated in part due to the side effects of the treatments and the final touches needed to host the Raise a Glass event.
The Red Devil (Adriamycin) is everything they said it would be. I followed my medical team's instructions and got ahead of the nausea and vomiting by taking my anti-nausea medication every six hours. A side effect of this medication is drowsiness. A side effect of the AC is extreme fatigue. Safe to say, between the effects of both drugs for the first three days following treatment I felt like I was being injected with an anesthesia prior to surgery. It was hard to raise my head off the pillow and my weary bones out of bed. The nausea is extreme, with equal measure of body chills and hot flushes. The bone pain in my sternum and long bones (Tibia and Fibula) was noticeable but completely bearable. They do not know why Claritin helps with the pain, but it does. So, I took it to help with the bone pain and did very well with the treatment. The mouth sores and tongue blisters (Chemo tongue) are painful but gargling with a mixture of salt and bicarbonate of soda water multiple times a day most certainly helps. As all the hair is lost from your nose you have a constant and irritating nose drip which is helped by wearing a face mask! To proceed with round two AC today, my bloodwork had to be stable and I am thrilled to say my body and immune system fought back hard and I was able to proceed without transfusion, hydration or delay to my treatment with good bloodwork results.
The highlight of my week was most certainly the "Raise A Glass to Kick Cancers ASS" event which we hosted on Sunday February 28, 2021. The event was hosted in support of the American Cancer Society ResearcHERS initiative. Finding cures for any disease, in my opinion, is the single most important effort we should be making. I also believe, when communities come together to collaborate and work together, miracles happen. You only need to consider how quickly the world created three vaccinations for COVID-19 or a cure for HIV, to know that anything is possible. Raise A Glass was a magical day with community coming together to fund cures for ResearcHERS.
The event once again sold out and the Addison’s family, friends, and guests (from near and far) gathered in the magnificent Banyan covered courtyard to give with open hearts to this noteworthy cause.
As I am not at full-strength (for the first time ever when hosting an event), I was not present for the morning setup. Instead, I arrived to a magnificently setup event that filled my heart and soul with pride and joy. Max, Ken, Patrick, Jose, Melanie, Allison, and the entire Addison team never cease to amaze me. They are truly a team of extraordinary people whom I love and respect immensely.
As I walked through the gates, my temperature was checked and butler-passed trays of pomegranate mimosas greeted me; the talented guitarist, donated by Alan Andai from AA musicians, played throughout guest arrival. Cassie from Jar of Stars Events custom designed and donated a wine themed photo wall backdrop for the photo booth donated by Rob from Parisi Events.
The tables designed by Allison, the Office Manager at the Addison, were sensational. The place settings were donated by Felix from A Different Look. The tables were covered in Linens from Over the Top and adorned by the once again stunning floral creations designed by my beloved friend Benny from Daniel Events. No detail was overlooked even the menus were custom designed, the gold flatware pink dipped and the pink napkins were folder in the shape of the breast cancer logo. The courtyard was spectacular and weather perfect to host this incredible event.
Guests feasted on a delicious three-course brunch prepared by Executive Chef Patrick Duffy and all courses were paired with wines donated by the Grieve Family Winery. Rob from Parisi hosted the event and donations rolled in. Large TV’s donated by Mark from Premiere AV were scattered throughout the courtyard to ensure no-one missed a second of the days agenda, meticulously planned by Melanie, the Marketing Director at the Addison.
Linda from the American Cancer Society, a 21-year cancer survivor, did a welcome speech and my incredible Oncologist Dr Reshma Mahtani truly drove home the importance of finding cures. I honored the cancer survivors present, the healthcare workers and medical professionals that help us get through our cancer journeys with roses from Daniel Events and Chocolates from Cristino Chocolates and finally honored those recently lost to this horrid disease.
My beloved and dear friends Harry and Amy Seidman yet another 21-year cancer survivor decided that the day needed to be elevated just that much more. When they got up and whispered in my ear that they would personally match dollar for dollar any donations up to $7,000.00! I thought my heart would explode with joy and gratitude. The crowd stepped up as I knew they would, and we raised more than $22,000.00!
One of the most special moments of the day was when Kourtney Cannon, of Kourtney Cannon Art, surprised me with the finished canvas of her live event painting. The piece was of a magnificent Addison banyan tree containing the female form - representing roots, womanhood, strength and family. It meant so much to me.
When I looked around me, it was apparent how much love and support filled the courtyard, and I could not have been happier to have my beautiful mum by my side to witness firsthand the outpouring of generosity and love showered upon me. John and Graham from Munoz Photography captured every perfect second of the event with their stunning talent.
I had to honor my special friend Chad the owner of Timeline Video Productions. He and his beautiful wife Sarri got engaged and married at the Addison but over the years they have become family. Chad gave up his birthday to attend the event and the day would not have been complete without a birthday cake and sing song in his honor. Chad, being a crier, did not disappoint and shared his trademark tears of joy for all to see.
He also produced yet another captivating video documenting the day.
I will never have enough words to adequately thank all those that attended and worked diligently to make "Raise a Glass" such a phenomenal success just know that every unique occasion like this gets me one step closer to the end goal of beating this awful disease.
To learn more about and to support life-saving cancer research, visit Zoe's ResearcHERS ambassador page, visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/ZoeLanham